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Private Archives of Franklin Roosevelt to Become Public


Franklin D. Roosevelt was a pivotal figure in the history of the United States. As president, he brought the United States out of the Great Depression and led his country through much of World War II. In spite of his prominence in American history, however, there is still much about the man that historians do not know. This may soon change when the last major archives of Franklin Roosevelt become public. These archives consist of 14 boxes of handwritten notes and correspondence that have been held in private hands until now.

This amazing archive is known as the Tully collection. Grace Tully was Roosevelt’s private secretary and she amassed about 5,000 documents during her tenure with the president. Included with the archive are photographs, books, gifts and correspondence annotated by Roosevelt with his personal notes and thoughts.

The Franklin Roosevelt presidential library and museum is located in Hyde Park, New York. According to Cynthia Koch, the museum’s director, the Tully collection is “really the last great archives from the Roosevelt era that’s been in private hands”. “It represents his close working relationship with his personal secretary, so it is immensely important to see his close thinking in his own hand on a whole range of issues that came before him.”

The Tully collection has been locked up for a number of years over (ironically) tax issues between the government and the private owners. Now that it appears this bottleneck has been resolved, the last great private archives of Franklin Roosevelt will finally be available to historians and the general public.

Interesting Genealogy Facts about Franklin D. Roosevelt

• Franklin D. Roosevelt (often referred to by his initials FDR) remains the only American president to be elected to more than two terms. He served four terms in all from 1932 until his death in 1945.

• The Roosevelt family has produced two presidents: Theodore Roosevelt and Franklin D. Roosevelt. Theodore and Franklin Roosevelt were fifth cousins.

• Franklin Roosevelt married Eleanor Roosevelt, who was the niece of Theodore Roosevelt. Franklin’s mother strongly objected to him marrying Eleanor.

• The Roosevelt’s had six children: Anna Eleanor; James, Franklin Delano Jr (who died at seven months of age); Elliott; a second Franklin Delano Jr and John Aspinwall.

• Between the five surviving Roosevelt children, they had 19 marriages, 15 divorces and 29 children.

• The Roosevelt family had Dutch origins. It is believed that their first ancestor to arrive in America was Claes Martensen van Rosevelt (or Rosenvelt). He arrived in New York City (then known as New Amsterdam, a Dutch colony) sometime between 1638 and 1649. In 1652 he purchased a farm of around 50 acres in what eventually became midtown Manhattan. Interestingly enough, the Empire State Building now sits exactly on the land once owned by Franklin Roosevelt’s ancestor. This is a fun piece of genealogy trivia that you can tell your friends the next time you visit the Empire State Building.

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