Built from 1939-1940, President Roosevelt's library was the first presidential library under the auspices of the National Archives and Records Administration. Built under FDR's personal direction near his home in Hyde Park, New York, the library was originally constructed to house his large collection of historical papers, books, and memorabilia. Roosevelt's desire to build a public library to contain his presidential records was inspired by a deep respect for history and government transparency. Before Roosevelt's Library, presidential records were often lost, destroyed, or sold and therefore inaccessible to the public. Roosevelt started a new tradition of preserving records and putting them on display for the public. Noteworthy collections in the library include almost 2 million pages of writing from Eleanor Roosevelt, as well as classified wartime correspondence between President Roosevelt and Winston Churchill.
President Roosevelt carved the turkey during the annual Thanksgiving dinner for polio patients at Warm Springs, Ga., on Dec. 1, 1933. First lady Eleanor Roosevelt was by his side. Roosevelt was jeered for changing the date of the holiday in 1939. Critics dubbed the revised holiday as “Franksgiving.” (Associated Press)
Eleanor Roosevelt's 1933 inaugural gown had detachable long sleeves. It was made of slate-blue silk crepe embroidered with gold thread. Her political activism is well-known but not highlighted in the exhibit. (Photo courtesy Smithsonial National Museum of American History)