Found in the Archives: Happy Birthday FDR Library!

Happy 70th Birthday, FDR Library!!!!!

On June 30, 1941, President Roosevelt stood in the courtyard of his presidential library and opened it to the public for the first time. Among the guests in the courtyard were his mother Sara Delano Roosevelt, Eleanor Roosevelt, and members of the Norwegian Royal Family who had fled to America after Germany invaded their homeland.

The Archivist of the United States, R.D.W. Connor, was present that day to accept the Library as part of the National Archives, and he stated: “The raw materials of history are the records of past human affairs, and only when such records have been preserved and made available to him can the historian truly reconstruct and interpret the past. It must have been some such thought that inspired the idea that finds concrete expression in this library which we dedicate today.”

Then the President approached the podium and spoke to the gathered dignitaries and the American people listening at home on their radios. By declaring the opening of the Library to be America’s “act of faith”, President Roosevelt was showing a world inflamed by war and dictatorship how a democracy trusts its people “so to learn from the past that they can gain in judgment in creating their own future.”

He then invited everyone to come into the Library “and see the building and what is in it.” Today, 70 years later, we invite everyone to follow the President’s urging and come see the Library for yourselves. Even during its current multi-year renovation, there is always something for our visitors to see and do. And in 2013, new permanent exhibits will open that bring a New Deal for a New Generation of Library visitors.