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tv   FDR and the Post Office  CSPAN  June 17, 2017 1:16pm-1:28pm EDT

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the federal government. these weren't taxes. a war bond is that you give the federal government money and they take your money in the end date give it back with you with a one or 2% interest earned, so it wasn't just that he was taxing the people here key was saying it's your responsibility as american citizens to support the federal government in this war against fascism. do you believe in america and democracy and if so then you need to contribute. i think it's a different attitude that we had today where most of the burden of military service falls on the small sliver of our population, one or 2% provide almost all the military support for this country, so it's no longer a shared burden and i think that is a bigger problem than the idea of saying we have a massive deficit. the reason we have large deficit is because we are not equally sharing the burden of doing the things we need to do both domestically and internationally >> the director of fda or--
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fdr's library and museum, thank you very much. >> it's an honor to have you. thank you. >> next up from hyde park new york anthony discusses his book, fdr and the post office. a young boy's fashion a sin, a world leader's passion. >> it was extremely important to fdr. in fact, when i was writing the book, fdr and the post office, i found four letters me archives in his handwriting, not typewritten that actually credited stamp collecting with saving his life after he became ill and ended up being confined to a wheelchair. what he meant by that, you know, what i gather from the four letters to his family friends was that it gave him the motivation, to pull himself out of bed, get in his wheelchair,
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rollover to his desk at springwood, his family his family home in hyde park, and just pour over his collection, sometimes 10 hours a day. he said he did that to keep his mind stimulated all the time. he thought of collecting stamps at eight years old. ironically, at the time he really made stamp collecting when it became because when he was eight years old when his mother and father james then sara roosevelt introduced him to stamp collecting, it was thought to be a child's hobby and adults would never waste of their time on stamp collecting. too trivial for them, so what was interesting about fdr was he was never interested in the condition of the stamp, the value of the stamp. he was more interested in the person, place or event pictured on the stamp because he kept saying to himself analyze this person place or event so worthy to be on a stamp.
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so, in effect he got an education of stamp collecting and that came back to serve him well. i can tell you a short story. when he was president of the united states and we got into world war ii, he was in the war room with the generals and admirals and they were going over and planning an attack on a certain country and they were going to come in from a left blank and they were explaining this to the president and he said, you know, from my knowledge of that country and geography and train you would be much better off coming in from the right and so the generals front-- from what i've read about kind of looked at each other like yeah this politician, but when they went back and checked he had a correct. they did do that attack from the right flank instead of the left. it was easier. i personally take the time when he became governor of new york state, a very lofty position and he would not preach to people
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about it. he never did that once in his life, but he would always seem to weave stamp collecting into his speeches and he was so enthusiastic that finally adults, other adults were saying if this is good enough for the governor of new york why shouldn't i collect and suddenly just the mindset of the country started changing and people were at fifth avenue cocktail parties discussing their latest stamp acquisition. it just happened like that and definitely change the face of the post office department at that time. what he did was when he ran for president in 1932 he was sworn in march 4, 1933, but he selected another up-and-coming politician and a very savvy businessman whose name was james aloysius barley and he made him his campaign manager and barley ceased on the fact that fdr was touching people personally. he collects stamps and i collect
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stamps and he's a regular guy because of that. so, he actually designed campaign envelopes that had fdr's imprint, his picture on the outside of yellow and it said: new line a collecting presidents, member of the association because he wanted that message floating around the country. between once he got into the oval office, for instance, i will give you changes that took place. fdr personally took away a job from a assistant postmaster general and he insisted on reviewing and giving final approval to every stamp that came out during his four terms as president. that happen to be 206 stamps. on top of that, he designed several stamps. his most famous was the admiral byrd who he was very good friends with. he was doing his second and
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arctic exposition and he personally designed a stamp. also, fdr and james fawley, his close ally as postmaster general and a stamp collector sitting in the oval office and they did to semi- things to change the face of the post office. one of them was putting in at fdr's suggestion a philatelic window and with a philatelic window he said i don't like stamp collecting being rushed when they're looking at the stamp at a normal window because there is a customer with a heavy parcel mumbling behind them, so he put in philatelic windows that were only to be used by stamp collectors so you could take all your time at that window because the person behind you was going to do the same thing. they used to do birthday ceremonies which still going today and that was james farley's idea. he said we have to get people excited about stamps, so the
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first time they would see a new stamp is when they went to the window and bought a sheet of stamps. fawley didn't like that. he said we have to have ceremonies to get the networks out in the newspapers, so that is still ongoing and is a good tool to get that information out there. so, they really-- the two men really changed the paste of the post office department. this is a piece that belonged to the fdr collection and i have an interesting story to tell about this. on the back, the auction house which were philatelic auctioneers in new york city and london. well, on the-- obviously they had fdr's collection in new york city and they stamped the back and authenticated this is a part of fdr's personal collection. you can see it was going to the secretary of state. well, when fdr first got in the oval office, he found that his predecessor herbert hoover was also a stamp collector, but not nearly on the level as fdr and
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he initiated a program with the state department that once the contents were taken out of these envelopes on the envelopes, this would have particular from 1935, all of the envelopes would be forwarded to the oval office to see if the president needed the stamps for his collection. fdr being fdr he once wrote a letter in pencil on white house stationery and i got it in my hands when i was researching for the book and it was from the president to the secretary of state and i said they must have misfiled it and i better hand the sin, but you know i was going to read the letter anyway and it was handwritten in pencil to the secretary of state where fdr was accusing the state department employees of holding back some of the empty envelopes and he insisted the secretary of state oversee that operation. any stamps he didn't need his
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first secretary as president would snip them off and when she got 25 she would put them in what we call a plastic baggie today because she was getting thousands of letters from children saying mr. president i started stamp collecting and she would send them a letter on behalf of the president wishing them well with their collection and starting them off with 25 stamps, so fdr was in every facet of the industry at the time. he had a stamp collection with him everywhere he went. that includes-- obviously he had it as spring would his house when he was governor he had a portion of his stamp collection with him in the top left drawer of his desk and there were said memos that i read that when he was on a particularly born conversation of governor, he would slide the drawer open and start working with his left hand on a stamp collection until the torment of the boring conversation ended and then he
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had it obviously at the white house with him. he had a portion of his collection in georgia and even brought a portion of his stamp collection to the famous work conference with churchill and stalin and he was said to have worked at his stamp collection every single day for one hour before going to bed and one of the reasons he said was to let him unwind from the hectic day he had especially during the war period. he passed away while he was in warm springs george on april 12, 1945. like i said, he always had a portion of his stamp collection with him and he worked on them that morning when he got up. it was just part of his routine and then of course, he died that afternoon at 3:35 p.m. now, his son james roosevelt was the executor of the will. a believer or not, james could not find one member of the
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roosevelt family that even wanted one item from the stamp collection. i don't have an exact number on how the items when the collection, but when he decided to turn it over to auction house james finally decided my father would probably want to share this with other collectors. there were so many items that they had to do the auction over seven days and four separate sessions, all-day sessions and while his collection was estimated at $85000, which surprised a lot of people because he was-- don't forget, he did not care if the stamps were bent or if there was oil from his fingers. the final gavel fell and they raised a $225,000. >> c-span is in hyde park new york learning about the area seen. next we find out more about the hudson valley earliest inhabitants and evan prichard's


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