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Foundations of a Public Life:  A Privileged Youth

A Privileged Youth

"At quarter to nine my Sallie had a splendid large baby boy. He weighs 10 lbs., without clothes."

     - James Roosevelt, diary entry, January 30, 1882

FDR's father, James Roosevelt, was a wealthy lawyer and businessman with investments in mining, railroads, and banking. In 1880, James - then a 52-year-old widower with a grown son - married 26-year-old Sara Delano. On January 30, 1882, Sara gave birth to the couple's only child - Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

The Roosevelts doted on young Franklin. Educated by governesses and tutors, he enjoyed a charmed - if somewhat solitary - childhood. His amiable father taught him to hunt, fish, sail, and ride on the Hyde Park estate. His adoring mother instilled a love of books and travel. Every year Franklin accompanied his parents on extended trips to Europe. Summers were spent sailing, fishing, and exploring at the family's vacation home on Campobello Island in Canada.

To learn more about the Hobby Horse, shown above, visit our Digital Artifact Collection.
Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum Home Page   National Archives and Records Administration
Lobby Foundations of a Public Life A New Deal FDR's "Act of Faith" The Promise of Change America, 1932: A Nation in Fear Temporary Exhibit Gallery War!  Lower level FDR's Death and Legacy First Lady Behind the scenes Legacy Franklin's first letter, written when he was five, was to his mother who was ill with a cold. Franklin enclosed a drawing of a ship along with his first letter to his mother.