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Franklin D. Roosevelt’s 16th Visit to Georgia


Sixteenth Visit

April 22 - June 4, 1929

Roosevelt returned to Warm Springs for a spring vacation after the session of the New York legislature was complete. Naturally his correspondence tended to be more business-like, though he did frequently work in comments about Warm Springs. His legislation as governor also showed the effects of rural poverty he had witnessed, and was a precursor of his New Deal programs, as shown by the following letter to a friend:

“. . . I am getting a fine rest down here, and expect to get back to Albany the last of this month. The Legislative Sessions were much as I expected, but I succeeded in getting through a very important and far reaching Farm Tax Relief Program, which equalizes and decreases the tax burden in the rural counties. Furthermore, I got the first step towards a plan for ‘old age secured against want.’. . .” Source: Elliott Roosevelt (ed.), F.D.R.: His Personal Letters 1928-1945, (Duell, Sloan and Pearce, New York, 1950), p. 52.

Roosevelt’s interest in agriculture extended beyond Warm Springs; he even had a small farm at his home in Hyde Park, and was involved in detail in its operation. Writing from Warm Springs, he asked a fellow farmer for some advice:

“I have written Moses Smith on my farm to get four or five acres ready for the squash seed. I told him to plow the land now and harrow it twice before the seed is put in about July 1st, and to put about six or eight loads of manure to the acre, harrowing it in. Is this correct? . . . Please write me any further directions as to how the common stock should be planted, whether it should be watered, whether the distribution should be wide or closely harrowed, whether it carries any bonuses (besides bugs), other stock in the same rows, etc. . . .” Source: Elliott Roosevelt (ed.), F.D.R.: His Personal Letters 1928-1945, (Duell, Sloan and Pearce, New York, 1950), p. 60.

Roosevelt enjoyed the opportunity to show Warm Springs to one of his cousins, and to brag about his suntan, as he told his mother:

“Eleanor got here safely last night and today we have had a nice visit from Lyman. He got here at 2:30 and we drove him all over the property including the Knob Road and he seemed much interested and looked well and was awfully nice about everything here. ... you won’t know me when I get back, for I’m brown as a berry…” Source: Elliott Roosevelt (ed.), F.D.R.: His Personal Letters 1928-1945, (Duell, Sloan and Pearce, New York, 1950), p. 61-2.

Even though he was much more actively involved in politics now, Roosevelt did not abandon his fund raising attempts for the Georgia Warm Springs Foundation. Indeed his being governor now gave him access to more moneyed interests, and he used the opportunity. On the same day he left Warm Springs, June 4, he spoke to a group of bankers about the needs of the country’s crippled in general, and about the work going on at Warm Springs in particular:

“Eleanor got here safely last night and today we have had a nice visit from Lyman. He got here at 2:30 and we drove him all over the property including the Knob Road and he seemed much interested and looked well and was awfully nice about everything here. ... you won’t know me when I get back, for I’m brown as a berry…” Source: Elliott Roosevelt (ed.), F.D.R.: His Personal Letters 1928-1945, (Duell, Sloan and Pearce, New York, 1950), p. 61-2.

” Source: Theo Lippman, Jr., The Squire of Warm Springs: F.D.R. in Georgia 1924-1945, (Playboy Press, Chicago, 1977), p. 53.

Roosevelt then enthusiastically told them about Warm Springs and encouraged all the bankers to come down and visit.

Franklin D. Roosevelt’s 16th Visit to Georgia View large image

FDR Beside Car in Warm Springs, May 1929
Source: National Archives

Franklin D. Roosevelt’s 16th Visit to Georgia View large image

FDR with Four Other Men at Warm Springs
Source: Franklin D. Roosevelt Library