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Franklin D. Roosevelt


FDR writes of Warm Springs:  "All well here & the work is progressing fast.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt, 1882-1945.  32nd President of the United States, 1933-1945.  Autographed Letter Signed, Franklin D. Roosevelt, one page, 8½" x 11", on stationery of Roosevelt & O'Connor, Warm Springs [Georgia], February 16, 1927.

Roosevelt wrote this outstanding association letter while he was in Warm Springs, Georgia, working to establish the Georgia Warm Springs Foundation, which ultimately became the Roosevelt Warm Springs Institute for Rehabilitation. A victim of paralysis, Roosevelt first went to Warm Springs in 1924 when one of his friends, banker George Foster Peabody, who was an owner of The Meriwether Inn in Warm Springs, wrote him about the substantial improvement of a local polio victim who swam daily in the warm water.  By early 1927, when he wrote this letter, Roosevelt and his law partner, Basil O'Connor, were busy organizing the foundation.

Roosevelt writes here of the foundation's progress.  He also expresses an obvious concern over its finances, seeking a legal determination from Benjamin F. Crowley, an associate in his law firm, whether the nonprofit foundation could use the hotel to generate additional revenue.  In full:  "Will you check up on this—The figures are wrong—Send a line to Spencer Trust & Co to straighten them out!  /  All well here & the work is progressing fast.—If the new charity corporation takes over the Hotel can it take regular guests (not patients)?  If not I suppose it can lease part of the hotel to the manager.

Roosevelt was stricken with paralysis, at the time assumed to be caused by poliomyelitis, in 1921.  He apparently contracted the virus on a trip with prominent supporters of the Boy Scout Foundation to visit the summer camp at Bear Mountain on July 28.  He felt continually more tired each day after the trip.  On August 9, while vacationing at Campobello Island, New Brunswick, he began to experience pain and loss of function in his legs.  Despite his courageous efforts to overcome the crippling illness, he never really regained use of his atrophied legs.

The Georgia Warm Springs Foundation became one of the premier rehabilitation facilities dedicated to eradicating polio. When the disease all but disappeared as a result of the Salk vaccine, the Foundation's mission expanded to embrace all people with disabilities.  Today the facility, known as the Roosevelt Warm Springs Institute for Rehabilitation, is operated by the state of Georgia and specializes in long term acute care in addition to both medical and vocational rehabilitation and offers a wide array of outpatient services.

Roosevelt has written this letter in black fountain pen.  The pen ran out of ink, so the last two lines show a change of ink color resulting from Roosevelt either filling the pen from a different bottle or changing pens altogether. 

This letter, with its excellent association, is a superb piece for any serious Roosevelt or presidential collector.  The letter has mailing folds and is slightly soiled, and file holes at the left affect one word of the text.  There are also red pencil notations of “Georgia Warm Springs [illegible]" and "Ans" in another hand.  Overall the letter is in fine condition..  Since it is written on only one side of the page, it is easily displayable. 




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