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Setting the Stage

Franklin Delano Roosevelt was born to a family of wealth and social position on January 30, 1882, at Springwood, the family's estate in Hyde Park, New York. It was here that Franklin, an only child, learned from his father, James Roosevelt, the things that a young gentleman of his class should know. Mr. Roosevelt shared his own love of the land and place with his son, teaching him horsemanship, rowing, fishing, sailing, and ice boating on the Hudson River, the farm, and in the woodlands that comprised his estate. Franklin's mother, Sara Delano Roosevelt, supervised his tutoring at home, his activities, and social contacts. After her husband died in 1900, during Franklin's first term at Harvard College, she became the owner and mistress of Springwood and lived there until her own death in 1941.

In 1905, the year of their marriage, Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt were invited to share Springwood with Sara Roosevelt. Over their years of public service they lived there at least part of the time, raising their five children at Franklin's lifelong home. During Roosevelt's career, Springwood became incorporated into his public life. From the time of his first political election and acceptance speech on the Springwood portico in 1910, thereafter the scene would be repeated for each election. Cabinet members, heads of state, royalty, congressmen, senators, and Secret Service stayed at the house during the years of his presidency.

In July 1944, the summer before his death, a war-weary President Roosevelt said, "All that is within me cries out to go back to my home on the Hudson River." He hoped to retire to Springwood and work on his papers and collection in the presidential library. However, following the 1944 election, Roosevelt's physical condition deteriorated, and he died of a cerebral hemorrhage at Warm Springs, Georgia, on April 12, 1945. He was buried in the Rose Garden at Springwood on April 15, at his own request.



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