At the time of his death, FDR had over 20,000 books in his personal library---half of them written by Eleanor, I think.
He had essentially donated all of them to the nation while he was still President. One of the buildings on the grounds at Springwood is his Presidential Library and Museum. FDR oversaw the building of it himself. He intended to use it as his office, headquarters, and study when he retired to private life. He did get to use it while he was President. He is the only sitting President who ever got to work in his Presidential Library while he was still in office.
Most of the library is actually museum. Books and documents are out of sight. The rooms are full of memorobilia and large photographs. There's one large room, practically a whole wing, devoted just to Eleanor.
The opposite wing houses a rotating series of exhitibtions devoted to specific aspects of the Roosevelts' lives and times. The exhibtion there now focuses on FDR's role as Commander in Chief during the War.
Too much to get into here. One of my favorite items, though, was a poem Eleanor kept in her wallet when she traveled on behalf of the war effort. It's in the case with the blue Red Cross uniform she wore when she visited hospitals and military bases.
Lest I continue
My complacent way
Help me to remember that somewhere, somehow out there,
A Man died for me today.
As long as there be war,
I then must ask and answer,
Am I worth dying for?
FDR's voice fills the exhibit. Recordings of his speeches and his fireside chats play over the loudspeakers, but on your way out, in the last room, there are other voices, the voices of the people who loved him. I don't mean his friends and family. I mean his friends. The people.
On one of the walls are facisimiles of condolence letters Eleanor received when he died. They are all from nobody we ever heard of, but they all felt that the Roosevelts heard them. One is from an accountant in East Chicago, Indiana, who typed up a poem of his own on company letterhead. He was inspired, he told Eleanor, when he heard someone in his office announcng FDR's death by saying, "The friend of the working man is gone."
Another poem was written by a woman, Ethel M. Vernam, of Portland, Oregon, who identified herself as "just a mother." Her poem included these lines, "I loved his smile...the flip of his head And twinkling eyes When something was said. I loved his friendly voice...his firm chin...Always longed for his words to begin."
The one that got to me most though is from Gerd Landaur, a boy who'd been born in...Germany. "Dear Mrs Roosevelt," it begins, "I am just an ordinary student in a New York school...."
I wonder where Gerd is now.
That last room was filled with recorded voices too. People who lived through the 30s and 40s remembering what FDR meant to them.
One woman talked about how terrified she was listening to the broadcasts from Germany just before the war.
You'd hear these great roaring crowds, she said, This screaming voice saying "Seig!" and thousands and thousands of voices screaming back, "Heil!"
You could hear in her voice the remembered fear that the world was going insane.
And then, she said, On the other side of the ocean, you would turn on the radio and this one, warm, comforting voice would come on to talk to us...