Celebrating the Big Day: FDR’s First Inauguration and the Annual Anniversary Celebrations, 1934-1945

The formal program to FDR's first inauguration. (FDR Library, Grace Tully Papers) By William A. Harris, Deputy Director With March upon us, it is once again time to celebrate the first inauguration of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, as FDR himself did almost every year (except 1941 and 1945) of his Presidency. In 1933, FDR became … Continue reading Celebrating the Big Day: FDR’s First Inauguration and the Annual Anniversary Celebrations, 1934-1945

Television, FDR and the 1940 Presidential Conventions

by William A. Harris, Deputy Director FDR on television accepting the Democratic Presidential nomination, July 19, 1940. This photo was taken by a viewer while watching the broadcast and sent to the President. (FDR Library, President's Official File-Television) This year marks a major turning point in Presidential nominating conventions with the impact of the COVID-19 … Continue reading Television, FDR and the 1940 Presidential Conventions

Keep on Trucking: Esoterica from the FDR Library Files

by William A. Harris, Deputy Director For the car and truck enthusiasts, as well as those fascinated by the operation of Federal agency motor vehicle fleets during World War II (and really, who isn't?), we provide a glimpse into the operational world of the FDR Library in the early to mid-1940s, including the paperwork nightmare of a pre-computer … Continue reading Keep on Trucking: Esoterica from the FDR Library Files

Artifact Highlight: The Sphinx

By Herman Eberhardt, Supervisory Museum Curator One of the most unusual items in the Roosevelt Library's Museum collection also happens to be one of my favorites. The object is a sculpture. Of course, that isn’t an unusual thing to find in a museum collection. However, this particular sculpture, which stands over 8 feet high, isn’t … Continue reading Artifact Highlight: The Sphinx

Remembering Gus Siko: The FDR Library’s Gold Star Staff Member

Augustus Julius "Gus" Siko, 1921-1943 by William A. Harris, deputy director On this Memorial Day weekend, we'll again honor the service of Augustus Julius "Gus" Siko, one of the original FDR Library staff members and one of only four National Archives employees to die on active duty during World War II. His patriotism and sense … Continue reading Remembering Gus Siko: The FDR Library’s Gold Star Staff Member

Unpretentious History: Alma Van Curan and the FDR Library Logbooks

by William A. Harris, Deputy Director A smiling Alma Van Curan, 1941. As archivists and historians know all too well, the most surprising documents are often the least obviously important ones. They lurk in plain sight, but they lack that "oh wow" brilliance of a "Day of Infamy" speech draft. The import of these less … Continue reading Unpretentious History: Alma Van Curan and the FDR Library Logbooks

Pomp and Circumstance: The Other State Visit of 1939

by William A. Harris, Deputy Director President and Mrs. Roosevelt greet President and Mrs. Somoza at Union Station, May 5, 1939. (Photo courtesy of the Library of Congress, Harris and Ewing Collection) Many are familiar with the state visit of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth in the summer of 1939. That hot dog lunch … Continue reading Pomp and Circumstance: The Other State Visit of 1939

May 1940: President Roosevelt and the German Invasion of the Low Countries

by William A. Harris, Deputy Director Eighty years ago today, on May 11, 1940, the world looked very different in Europe than it had just the morning before. Nazi forces had attacked the Low Countries--The Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxembourg--on May 10th. The invasions had not come as a complete surprise, for Germany had been at … Continue reading May 1940: President Roosevelt and the German Invasion of the Low Countries

Florence Harriman, Diplomat

Portrait of Florence Harriman, ca. 1920s In 1937, President Roosevelt appointed Florence Jaffray Harriman (1870-1967) as United States' Minister to Norway. A founder of the Women's National Democratic Club and active in the Democratic National Committee, Harriman was related through marriage to W. Averell Harriman, future adviser to the President and governor of New York. … Continue reading Florence Harriman, Diplomat