"Maybe you are right about what the man on the street is saying but you are also right about my personal desire and real determination to get back to Hyde Park.".
Many wrongly assume that Franklin Roosevelt's ambition and desire for the Presidency caused him to run for his third term, breaking the sacrosanct 2-term cut-off. The reality, however, is different. By 1940, he had begun transferring things back to Hyde Park from the White House, and made specific plans to return there...
Many wrongly assume that Franklin Roosevelt's ambition and desire for the Presidency caused him to run for his third term, breaking the sacrosanct 2-term cut-off. The reality, however, is different. By 1940, he had begun transferring things back to Hyde Park from the White House, and made specific plans to return there in January 1941. He had begun construction on his Presidential library and also on a small retreat not far from his main house. Moreover, FDR was weary from the burdens of office and not well. Like George Washington before him, he longed to retire from public office and return to home and family, far from the tumult of the White House and Washington. All this while his supporters clamored for him to stay on and run again.
On July 5, 1938, FDR selected a site for the construction of Walter Reed Naval Hospital, to be built in Bethesda, MD. Then, on July 16, he left for a cruise of the Galapagos, returning August 9. It was a trip that had a scientific purpose as well as a personal one. Like his cousin Theodore, Franklin used his foreign expeditions to benefit public institutions, sending back many samples to the Smithsonian of life from the islands.
Commander George C. Sweet was a U.S. Navy officer significant in promoting the early use of aircraft by the Navy. In September 1908, then-Lieutenant Sweet, serving as a Naval observer, reported favorably on the Wright Brothers airplane demonstration at Fort Meyer, near Washington, D.C. In 1909 Sweet was taken up with the Wright Brothers first Army flyer, becoming the first Navy officer to travel in an airplane. Sweet was then assigned to the Navy’s school for airplane instruction, and was thereafter a Navy engineer in Washington, specializing in steam engines. In early 1919 Sweet was named assistant to the Naval Attache at the American embassy in Paris, a particularly plum posting as the peace conference to end World War I was being carried on in Versailles.
Franklin D. Roosevelt followed in his cousin’s footsteps to fame by serving as Assistant Secretary of the Navy from 1913-1920. He was a prime advocate of naval aviation, and against strong opposition is credited with preserving the Navy’s air arm from demobilization after World War I. He surely met Sweet in his capacity of promoting naval aviation. Roosevelt was called to Paris to join President Wilson at the Versailles Conference in January 1919. According to the Sweet descendants, FDR and Commander Sweet forged a friendship onboard ship, clearly indicating that the two men were passengers on the USS George Washington together in 1919, though whether on the sailing in January or return in July (or both) is not known.
Roosevelt was a careful man, aware that his statements must be made guardedly to avoid giving aid and opportunity to his political enemies. His public correspondence was generally drafted by aides, and was measured, serious, deliberate and discreet. However, the private FDR was outgoing, humorous and frank, the life of the party, and when he corresponded with those he could trust, this side could show through. Sweet was such a man. We recently obtained this letter directly from the Sweet descendants.
Typed letter signed, The White House, Washington, August 17, 1938, to Sweet, apparently in response to a letter from Sweet saying that the talk was that FDR would run for a third term. In it he makes clear he is aware that his plans were being discussed, but denies the accuracy of the gossip, and mentions construction of Walter Reed Naval Hospital. "Dear Old George: That is a mighty sweet letter of yours and that from a feller whom I let down badly last Spring when you were in the Naval Hospital. Two, three and four times I was literally all set to drive out there and see you but on every occasion something 'just happened' and before I knew it you were gone. But I did keep track through Ross McIntire and knew that the operation was really worthwhile. Incidentally, we are just about ready to start a new Naval Hospital which while far away on the Bethesday road – twenty minutes out – will have lots of land and all new buildings and equipment. It is worth it.
"The trip to the Galapagos was really perfect. Lots of fish, lots of rest – and the only fly in the ointment was that on the Equator the weather was so cold and windy and wet in the small boats and the Islands so bare, that we forgot we were in the Tropics.
"Maybe you are right about what the man on the street is saying, but you are also right about my personal desire and real determination to get back to Hyde Park.
"Some day this Autumn, I do wish you could run down and spend the night and let me know you the new cottage I am building on the hill, 410 feet above the River, marvellous view of the Peekskill, Shawungunks, the Hudson highlands and the Berkshires; no telephone, no radio, and only two bedrooms. I am have a real obligation there and at the 'big House' two and one-half years from now.”
This historic letter appears to be unpublished, as we can find no mention of it. It remained in the hands of the Sweet descendants until now, and has never before been offered for sale.
The one thing that FDR decided would keep him in the White House was an outbreak of war in Europe. He believed that placing the nation in the hands of new and untried leadership at such a moment would be a threat to national security. The war broke out September 1, 1939, and the rest is history. FDR remains the only President to serve more than two terms, and he served four.
Frame, Display, Preserve
Each frame is custom constructed, using only proper museum archival materials. This includes:The finest frames, tailored to match the document you have chosen. These can period style, antiqued, gilded, wood, etc. Fabric mats, including silk and satin, as well as museum mat board with hand painted bevels. Attachment of the document to the matting to ensure its protection. This "hinging" is done according to archival standards. Protective "glass," or Tru Vue Optium Acrylic glazing, which is shatter resistant, 99% UV protective, and anti-reflective. You benefit from our decades of experience in designing and creating beautiful, compelling, and protective framed historical documents.Learn more about our Framing Services