The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams. ~Eleanor Roosevelt
Last week, as summer started to heat up the country, we took a road trip to Massachusetts and upper New York State. One of our stops was President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s house in Hyde Park, New York, which has been on my “must see” list for a while. The estate, which encompasses a mile of woodland, is idyllic, dreamy–high above the Hudson River.
The mansion, originally bought by James Roosevelt, was renovated by his son, Franklin (FDR), who would become the only man to be elected three times to the office of President of the United States. As the park ranger described FDR’s projects to expand and modernize the house, Franklin’s personality and political philosophy loomed large. His dream, his vision of America added another dimension to our visit and this post.
True individual freedom cannot exist without economic security and independence. People who are hungry and out of a job are the stuff of which dictatorships are made.~Franklin D. Roosevelt
Franklin was an only child, born to the privileged Delano and Roosevelt families. He could have easily had a quiet, insular life, filled with luxury, but FDR was committed to public service. A maverick, an individualist, he developed a political philosophy shaped by his life experience, his battle with polio, and his commitment to people from all strata of society. This put him at odds with some members of his family and his contemporaries. On our tour, the park ranger explained how FDR, in his inimical style, installed twin antique canons on his front porch to “defend” his home from neighboring Republicans.
Remember, remember always, that all of us, and you and I especially, are descended from immigrants and revolutionists.~Franklin D. Roosevelt
FDR and his family lived in this home before he donated it to the American people as a national monument, museum, and library. All its contents were selected and arranged by the Roosevelts–down to the magazines on the coffee table and the pictures on the wall.
I loved all the wonderful details in their home…the photos, the furniture, the toys, the clothing–all preserved since the last day the Roosevelts occupied the house. As you can see in the photo, the house was crammed with memorabilia. FDR, a collector of political cartoons, stamps, coins, and butterflies, put many of his collections on display in the home and museum.
We are a nation of many nationalities, many races, many religions-bound together by a single unity, the unity of freedom and equality. Whoever seeks to set one nationality against another, seeks to degrade all nationalities.~Franklin D. Roosevelt
The bedrooms were on the second floor, accessed by a steep, winding staircase. FDR, whose legs were paralyzed by polio, was far more debilitated than the public realized. Unable to stand for more than a few minutes or walk unassisted, he relied on his wheelchair to ambulate around the house. To ascend and descend between floors, he wheeled himself onto a small platform in the dumbwaiter and raised and lowered himself by a rope.
Upstairs in his bedroom, a toy Scottie was perched on the window ledge, which surely reminded him of his famous canine companion, Fala. I processed the image in black and white, to give a “historic” feel to the image and highlight the details in the room.
The value of love will always be stronger than the value of hate. Any nation or group of nations which employs hatred eventually is torn to pieces by hatred.~Franklin D. Roosevelt
He had a second telephone installed by his bedside–a private, high security line for sensitive diplomatic talks– with world leaders, such as Winston Churchill during World War II.
His devotion to his mother was well-known. Sara Delano Roosevelt lived with Franklin and his wife Eleanor throughout their married life, which made Eleanor feel like a guest in her own home. I used sepia and vignette filters in this shot of Eleanor’s desk to highlight her sense of isolation within the family and her dedication to public service, her life work and passion.
Repetition does not transform a lie into a truth.~Franklin D. Roosevelt
FDR was no doubt a complex man with an iron will. His vision of America extended to all members of our society. He provided us with safeguards and protections against banking fraud and greed, such as the Federal Deposit and Insurance Corporation (FDIC), and pension benefits like Social Security. His dream has sustained us through decades of wars, civil strife, and economic recessions, but it is now under attack.
In the days since our visit, the news is full of blaring messages of hate, of division and discord, of rumors of war. But history is cyclical. Once again, democratic ideals and values are threatened. Once again, internal divisions within the country threaten to destroy American values and its ideals. But history is also full of surprises, of dramatic reversals, of triumph over hate. Which way will America go? Which dream will sustain America in the 21st Century? These questions linger during these hot days of summer.
In closing, I want to thank Ann-Christine for her marvelous Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #55: Dreamy this week. Please be sure to take a look at her post which highlights her recent visit to Iceland. And a special thanks to our participants in last week’s Details challenge. The variety and quality of your entries were outstanding!