Skip to main content
Go to accessibility notice

    Description

    FDR re: Warm Springs, "...the public disliked and objected to use of public pools by patients."

    Franklin D. Roosevelt: Autograph Letter Signed.
    -June 27, no year, ca. 1920s. Location. One page. 7.25" x 10.5". Vice President Fidelity Deposit & Company letterhead.
    -To: Mrs. Bulklay.
    -File holes at top, professionally tissue-backed, fine.

    FDR writes, "Thanks your letter. Last year clearly demonstrated that the public disliked and objected to use of public pool by patients. [Several words written and crossed out by FDR and above them FDR writes] Sorry but cannot afford handrails by making exception for one or two people. [Word crossed out and arrow inserted to sentence below which FDR circles] I tried to explain this clearly in May. Hope perfectly feasible arrange mechanical means enter small pools. [Several other words crossed out by FDR] Franklin D. Roosevelt". This handwritten letter details FDR's concerns about George Warm Springs Foundation patients using the public pools, the public's dismay with polio patients using public pools, and FDR's demurring at the suggestion of continuing to use the public pools. FDR solved this problem by building his own pools for use by the patients at the Georgia Warm Springs Foundation.


    More Information:

    The extended description below was supplied by the consignor. We are making it available to our web bidders who are interested in more in-depth research and broader historical perspective. Please note that presentation (i.e. framing), lot divisions, and interpretations of condition and content may occasionally differ from our descriptions. Assertions of fact and subjective observations contained in this description represent the opinion of the consignor. These remarks have not been checked for accuracy by Heritage Auctions, and we assume no responsibility for their accuracy; they are offered purely to allow the bidder insight into the way the consignor has viewed the item(s) in question. No right of return or claim of lack of authenticity or provenance based upon this extended description will be granted.

     

    In FDR's own hand in its entirety, an autograph letter signed on Fidelity and Deposit Company of Maryland letterhead, dated June 27, no year, sent as a "Night Letter" as indicated in FDR's own hand, relating to the use of "public pools" by the patients of the Georgia Warm Springs Foundation. Interestingly, although there is a full signature of FDR at the end of this completely handwritten letter, there are multiple corrections made by FDR, including circling a sentence and by use of an arrow inserting its content earlier on in the letter content. In other words, this handwritten letter by FDR is quite messy, looking more like a draft, but at the end he still signs his name. The flow of FDR's verbiage indicates perhaps he intended to send this night letter as a postal telegram. Perhaps this letter was later transcribed and typed and sent out as a night letter, but in any event this is the original, handwritten text by FDR. FDR writes: "Night Letter/ Mrs. Bulklay:/ Thanks your letter. Last year clearly demonstrated that the public disliked and objected to use of public pool by patients. [Several words written and crossed out by FDR and above them FDR writes] Sorry but cannot afford handrails by making exception for one or two people. [Word crossed out and arrow inserted to sentence below which FDR circles] I tried to explain this clearly in May. Hope perfectly feasible arrange mechanical means enter small pools. [Several other words crossed out by FDR]/ Franklin D. Roosevelt." Searching for relief from poliomyelitis, Franklin D. Roosevelt first came to Warm Springs, Georgia in 1924 to swim in the springs' naturally heated water. Enchanted with the area, he built a vacation cottage on the side of Pine Mountain while running for president in 1932. During his trips to Georgia, FDR spent many hours visiting neighbors and learning of their difficulties, especially during the Great Depression. This handwritten letter by FDR details his concerns about George Warm Springs Foundation patients using the public pools, the public's dismay with polio patients using public pools, and FDR's demurring at the suggestion of continuing to use the public pools. FDR solved this problem by building his own pools for use by the patients at the Georgia Warm Springs Foundation. It had been the dream of the man from Hyde Park to found a center for aftercare of poliomyelitis at Warm Springs. With four other men whose interest he obtained, FDR formed the Georgia Warm Springs Foundation, a non-stock, non-profit institution. Among the incorporators were FDR, George Foster Peabody, Basil "Doc" O'Connor and Louis McHenry Howe. In 1926, FDR bought the property that would eventually house the Georgia Warm Springs Foundation. The purchase totaled 12,000 acres and included the Meriwether Inn, rental cottages, pools, and land where FDR would build the Little White House. FDR paid $195,000 for the property, two-thirds of his personal fortune. He began to create and design the first modern treatment center for infantile paralysis in the country. As he struggled to rehabilitate his own withered limbs, he devoted himself for the first time to helping others. FDR and architect Henry Toombs designed a new pool complex in addition to the old Meriwether Inn's existing pools. The new pool complex featured an indoor pool, a play pool and an exercise pool while extending the public pools for the resort visitors. However, the old resort soon fell into ruin as visitors vanished, fearful that they might contract polio by swimming in the public pools. Could this be what FDR was referring to in this handwritten letter to Mrs. Bulklay? The Georgia Hall was built soon after as a part of the new polio treatment center. This new hall was built, impressively, using money donated by average Georgians. It was named in their honor. Built in front of the Meriwether Inn, the Georgia Hall was constructed with a dining room where Roosevelt held the annual Thanksgiving dinner. Over time, it came to replace the old resort, which had become known as "the fire trap." The new buildings that went up, the new interest that mounted, and the wider ripples of hope that spread from Warm Springs throughout the nation were all made possible by the generosity of the people who shared the dream of the man from Hyde Park. In 1932, those same people helped elect him the 32nd President of the United States. An interesting letter written entirely in FDR's own hand, with multiple corrections, and a full signature, detailing the use of the public pools by Georgia Warm Springs Foundation patients.



    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    June, 2008
    7th Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 5
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 321

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    19.5% of the successful bid (minimum $9) per lot.

    Sold for: Sign-in or Join (free & quick)

    Heritage membership

    Join Now - It's Free

    VIEW BENEFITS
    1. Past Auction Values (prices, photos, full descriptions, etc.)
    2. Bid online
    3. Free Collector newsletter
    4. Want List with instant e-mail notifications
    5. Reduced auction commissions when you resell your
      winnings 
    Consign now
    • Cash Advances
    • More Bidders
    • Trusted Experts
    • Over 200,000 Satisfied Consignors Since 1976
    Consign to the 2020 May 3 Luxury Accessories Signature Auction - Beverly Hills.

    Learn about consigning with us

    Heritage has gone above and beyond my expectations in handling all of my transactions in a thoroughly professional manner. I would not hesitate to recommend them to anyone worldwide for the exemplary auction and valuation services they provide.
    Richard H.,
    Corsicana, TX
    View More Testimonials

    HA.com receives more traffic than any other auction house website. (Source: Similarweb.com)

    Video tutorial

    Getting the most out of search

    Recent auctions

    2019 November 2 Lincoln and His Times Americana & Political Signature Auction - Dallas
    2019 November 2 Lincoln and His Times Americana & Political Signature Auction - Dallas
    REALIZED SO FAR $1,853,301