Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Down Memory Lane with Franklin and Eleanor

 We spent Monday in the Hudson River Valley. In 1978, I spent a few weeks at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library under a grant from the Eleanor Roosevelt Association, doing research on the State Department and Soviet policy. As soon as we decided to make this trip, I knew that I wanted to return to this beautiful valley which had helped to shape my professional life.

Nothing is ever the same, of course, and much had changed, but now, older and no longer a scholar of American foreign policy, I spent the day with Sharon touring my own back pages.

The Franklin D. Roosevelt Library and Museum, much as I remember them, at least on the outside

Springbrook, the family home, where FDR was born and where he returned as often as he could

The sitting room. Note the wheelchairs. What Roosevelt sought to obscure, his disability, the birthplace and museum deal with quite openly.

Roosevelt as a young man, "the squire of Hyde Park"

The bed in which FDR was born, in 1882, and where his beloved mother Sara, died.

Roosevelt's boyhood rooms. As each of his sons became the oldest then living in the house, they succeeded to this room

The room that Franklin and Eleanor chose for themselves after they were married

The room Eleanor retreated to

Sara's room

Eleanor and Franklin's gravesite

Inside, the building is nothing like what I recall. The museum is now state of the art, and I did not see the library

A wonderful summation of the New Deal

Eleanor Roosevelt's Stone Cottage, built in 1926 as a retreat for herself and three friends. FDR helped design it.

The cottage is a wonderful evocation of craftsman style

Val-Kill was built to house local crafts and industry, a social experiment that ran for a decade. In 1936 Mrs Roosevelt had it converted as a larger residence.
ER's main sitting room and office.

Dining room at Val-Kill

And now for something different. Down the road, the Vanderbilt estate. I recall walking the three miles from the FDR Library to the estate and being stunned not so much by the grandeur of the house . . .

as the beauty of the view. It was nice to see, thirty eight years later, that I had not embellished it

Rosa and Sharon call on the Commodore

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