FDR Estate in Hyde Park Releases Shocking Roosevelt Footage
Rare footage of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt was unveiled in Hyde Park this week.
The Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum received a donation of previously uncovered home movie footage that shows FDR doing something that was rarely captured on film.
A film of the 1935 White House Easter Egg Roll was recently donated by Richard G. Hill. Hill's grandfather, Fred, took the 16mm home movie footage with his own camera. The film shows a rare glimpse of the White House and other landmarks, but the most remarkable moment comes at 1:40 into the clip:
Yup, that's FDR walking.
Roosevelt lost the use of his legs after he contracted Polio at 39. The press was careful never to show FDR walking, as to not portray him as weak. In fact, it was an unwritten rule that the public would never be allowed to watch him attempt to walk, as he needed the use of a cane and someone to help him.
Historian Geoffrey C. Ward says the footage is something most of the world has never seen:
Only a handful of mostly private snapshots and a few feet of blurry amateur film hint at that struggle. But 31 seconds of silent 16mm amateur black-and-white footage recently deposited at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library offer the most vivid glimpse we've yet had of his gallant attempt to persuade the public that he was merely "lame," that he was vigorous enough to withstand the awful pressures of the presidency.
The film has been made available for viewing in the FDR Library research room and has been posted online.