January 4, 2007
FDR at 125: Prologue Takes a Fresh Look
Washington, DC…A century and a quarter after his birth and six decades after his death, Franklin Delano Roosevelt still fascinates Americans, provides grist for historians, and consistently ranks as one of our greatest Presidents.
To mark the 125th anniversary of FDR’s birth on January 30, 1882, Prologue, the quarterly magazine of the National Archives, is devoting much of its Winter 2006 issue to a fresh look, in articles written especially for this issue, at FDR and the times in which he lived.
“The Roosevelt years, 1933 to 1945, mark the transformative years of the 20th century—nothing after 1945 was much like what it was before 1933,” according to the introduction to the FDR articles in Prologue. “FDR had, with the New Deal and in World War II, changed the nation’s social, economic, and political landscape and made the United States the most powerful nation on Earth.”
In the lead article, Cynthia M. Koch, director of the Roosevelt Presidential Library in Hyde Park, New York, describes the rekindled interest in the 32nd President since his centenary in 1982. “It is a measure of his greatness that scholars and the public continue to ask new and different questions of the Roosevelt era,” she writes.
Koch also offers observations on FDR from prominent Roosevelt historians, including Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., James MacGregor Burns, Doris Kearns Goodwin, Geoffrey C. Ward, and David M. Kennedy.
In other articles, Curtis Roosevelt, who lived with his grandfather in the White House for several years, recalls how FDR exercised leadership both on the world stage and in intimate settings with his family. William vanden Heuvel, co-chair of the Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute, writes that FDR’s place in history was secured through bold and decisive actions he took in the face of skepticism, reluctance, and outright opposition. In his regular column, Archivist of the United States Allen Weinstein recalls how an eight-year-old boy in New York City struggled to come to terms with FDR’s death in 1945. And Jonathan Alter, author of a new book on FDR, talks about researching the book at the National Archives.
The Roosevelt Library in Hyde Park, New York, is planning a full schedule of events in 2007 to mark FDR’s 125th birthday, beginning with a special birthday observance on January 30. For more information about the library’s programs and its historical holdings, go to the library’s web site.
Winter Prologue also seeks to unlock the mystery surrounding the disappearance of the “Christmas tree ship” that sailed Lake Michigan in the early 1900s. Another involves reconstructing, through NARA records, the crew list of the Portland, which went down off the coast of New England in 1898.
Prologue’s regular Spotlight feature focuses on the high level of customer service and special programs possible at NARA facilities around the country because of the help of unpaid volunteers. Read about them in “NARA’s Armies of Volunteers.”
For nearly four decades, Prologue has shared with readers the rich resources and programs of the National Archives, its regional archives, and the Presidential libraries. Each issue features historical articles—drawn from National Archives' holdings and written by noted historians, archivists, and experts—as well as articles explaining and describing many of the National Archives’ activities and programs as the nation’s recordkeeping agency. The Washington Post said, “Prologue . . . can be regarded quite literally as an invitation for further study. It is also consistently absorbing reading.”
A 1-year subscription to Prologue costs $20. To begin a subscription, call 202-357-5482 or 1-800-234-8861, or print out the order form found on the web site. Mail orders to Prologue, P.O. Box 100684, Atlanta, GA, 30384.
You can also fax credit card orders to Prologue at 301-837-0319.
Single copies of Prologue are available at the Archives Shop or at the Cashier's Office in the National Archives Building in Washington or at the Publications Sales Office at the National Archives at College Park. Back issues are also available at the College Park location.
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For press information, contact the National Archives Public Affairs Staff at 202-357-5300.