With his legs paralyzed from the effects of polio, Franklin Delano Roosevelt could not have relaunched his political career without appearing to walk. His physiotherapist, Kathleen Lake (although one could argue she was an occupational therapist) devised a method where he could swing his heavily braced legs from side to side through the movement of his hips, while holding his son’s arm and a cane with his other hand. The effect was to give the impression of a casual stroll and conversation. Only two brief video clips of this exist, as journalists were careful not to reveal the true depth of his mobility issues to a public that would never have elected someone in a wheelchair. When the President met actor Orson Welles, he referred to the actor and himself as the two greatest performers in America.


“To bring together the records of the past and to house them in buildings where they will be preserved for the use of men and women in the future, a Nation must believe in three things.

It must believe in the past.

It must believe in the future.

It must, above all, believe in the capacity of its own people so to learn from the past that they can gain in judgement in creating their own future.”

– Franklin Roosevelt At the dedication of his library on June 30, 1941

Earlier this month it was announced the President Barack Obama’s Presidential Library will be built on the south side of Chicago. It will be our 14th Presidential Library.

The idea originated with FDR who in his second term “on the advice of noted historians and scholars, established a public repository to preserve the evidence of the Presidency for future generations”

Then in 1955, Congress passed the Presidential Libraries Act, establishing a system of privately erected and federally maintained libraries.

Here’s a sampling of images from the Digital Public Library of America related to our presidents and their libraries. Enjoy!

This post is part of a series from Book Patrol, a blog run by DPLA Community Rep Michael Lieberman that highlights interesting news, images, and related content from all corners of the book universe. To learn more about Book Patrol, visit

Image credits

  1. JFK Library and Museum in Boston. Courtesy of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign University Library.
  2. FDR laying the cornerstone of his presidential library. Courtesy of the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum via the Empire State Digital Network.
  3. Herbert Hoover Presidential Library, West Branch, Iowa. Courtesy of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign University Library.
  4. Jimmy Carter Library and Museum. Courtesy of the Jimmy Carter Library via the Digital Library of Georgia
  5. Presidential Room at The Eisenhower Presidential Library, Abilene, Kansas. Courtesy of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign University Library.
  6. Richard Nixon Library & Birthplace Site model, 1971. Photo by Julius Schulman. Courtesy of the J. Paul Getty Trust.
  7. Inside the Harry S. Truman Presidential Library. Courtesy of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign University Library.
  8. Former President Gerald R. Ford and his Cabinet officers at the dedication of the Gerald R. Ford Library in Ann Arbor, Michigan, April 27-28, 1981. Courtesy of the Georgia State University Libraries Special Collections via the Digital Library of Georgia
  9. Mourners pay their final respects to former US President Ronald Reagan as his body lay in repose inside a flag draped coffin at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library. Courtesy of the National Archives and Records Administration.

Before 1939 no reigning British Monarch had ever set foot on American soil since America’s Independence in 1776. But that all changed when King George VI (the one that stutterer and has that movie kings speech made about him) was invited by FDR to visit. In hopes to win over the sympathy and support of the American people towards the UK for the inevitable war ahead. And it work Americans welcomed the royal couple heartily and came from all over to just get a glimpse of them. 

So I just wanted to draw the reserved slightly shy royal couple being unconformable and overwhelmed with the the american presidential overly friendly family’s big personalities.

[via Zinn Education Project]:

On Dec. 17, 1944, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Korematsu v. United States that the denial of civil liberties based on race and national origin was legal. Fred Korematsu (Jan. 30, 1919 – Mar. 30, 2005), a U.S. citizen and the son of Japanese immigrants, had refused to evacuate when President Roosevelt ordered the internment of Japanese-Americans during WWII. Korematsu was arrested, convicted, and sent to the Topaz Internment Camp in Utah. Korematsu unsuccessfully sued the U.S. government for violating his constitutional rights.

Learn more from: (1) Tracked in America website: (2) Unsung Heroes lesson for middle and high school: (3) Of Civil Rights and Wrongs: The Fred Korematsu Story: (4) More stories of protest of the internment in the film Conscience and the Constitution:

Image courtesy of Karen Korematsu and the Korematsu Institute


February 19th 1942: Japanese internment

On this day in 1942 US President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed executive order 9066 which allowed the military to relocate Japanese-Americans to internment camps. Japanese-Americans were considered a national threat due the attack on Pearl Harbour which prompted the US to join World War Two. Other groups were also detained, but it was Japanese-Americans who were mostly targeted, with 120,000 being held in camps. In Korematsu v. United States (1944), the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the executive order. Those interned suffered great material and personal losses, with most losing a lot of property and some losing their lives to illness or the violence of sentries. The victims and their families eventually received an official government apology in 1988 and reparations began in the 1990s.

So President Teddy Roosevelt gave away Eleanor at her wedding but he also stole all her attention (not intentionally I don’t think). It was so bad that the only attention the couple could seem to get was when they gave Teddy a slice of their wedding cake or when he finally left the party all together. Which miffed FDR, while Eleanor didn't mind because she was use to being pushed in the background at that point in her life.

In all honestly I just wanted to try drawing young  Roosevelts 


“Your Dad has told me that you are a stamp collector and I thought you might like to have these stamps to add to your collection.”

Letter from President Franklin Roosevelt to nine year old Bobby Kennedy on July 12, 1935

“I am going to frame your letter and I am going to keep it always in my room.”

Reply to President Roosevelt from Bobby Kennedy on July 19, 1935



In the 31 years between 1914 and 1945, over 100 million people were killed in the deadliest fighting the world has ever seen. The world wars were a time of ruthless tyrants, but also legendary heroes. An era when a single generation of men determined the fate of all mankind.


October 11th 1884: Eleanor Roosevelt born

On this day in 1884 Eleanor Roosevelt was born in New York City. She married her cousin Franklin D. Roosevelt, the future President, in 1905. Eleanor was actively involved in her husband’s political career, and encouraged him to continue in politics after his partial paralysis from polio in 1921. Franklin was elected President of the United States in 1932 and served as President from 1933 until his death in 1945. Eleanor was a very active First Lady, openly campaigning for greater rights for women and African Americans. After FDR’s death, Eleanor was a US delegate to the United Nations, and chaired the UN Commission on Human Rights. In this capacity she oversaw the creation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Eleanor Roosevelt died in 1962 aged 78.


Letter from Fidel Castro to President Franklin D. Roosevelt, 11/06/1940 

Item from Records of the Foreign Service Posts of the Department of State. (03/05/1923 - 01/1961)

This letter from tweleve year-old Fidel Castro congratulates President Roosevelt on his re-election and asks the president to send him a ten dollar bill. Presidents receive hundreds of thousands of letters every year from children and adults sharing their concerns and well-wishes with him. 



Get out of the “Funk” that is the “Great Depression”!


Sept. 26, 1937: Some 5,000 patriots came out to Mount Rushmore in September 1937 to see the unveiling of Abraham Lincoln’s face, measuring “66 feet from chin to crown,” the same height as his fellow granite presidents Washington and Jefferson (Theodore Roosevelt’s head would be dedicated in 1939). Coincidentally, when the “Shrine of Democracy” was presented, on the 150th anniversary of the Constitution’s signing, The New York Times’s lead story concerned another President Roosevelt’s not-quite-so-constitutional court-packing scheme. Photo: The New York Times