Choose another Topic

Return to History Introduction

Return to Progressive Era-World War II 1901-1945: Individual Items

Return to Timeline: Progressive Era-World War II 1901-1945

FDR Address at Dedication of Georgia Hall, Warm Springs, Nov. 24, 1933

Address of President Roosevelt at the Dedication of Georgia Hall Warm Springs, Ga., Nov. 24, 1933

Most people have visions of things they would like to see accomplished; fortunate are those who with their own eyes see the accomplishment becoming a fact.

Most of you who are here tonight know the story of Warm Springs during the past nine years. You know of the hopeful handful of crippled children and adults who came seeking to walk again, and of the growth of our physical facilities and of our medical care to the point where the completion of Georgia Hall gives us a clear idea of the rounded picture of the Georgia Warm Springs of the future.

In all these years our splendid progress would have been impossible had we not had the sympathy, the understanding and the help of our neighbors; and tonight I express my appreciation and thanks, first, to you my neighbors of Warm Springs and Meriwether County, for your true friendship toward me and toward all those who have come here; and secondly, to you the people of Georgia whose welcome hospitality has culminated in this splendid gift to the Foundation and made me feel prouder than ever to call this “my other home.”

It is this understanding spirit on the part of those who surround us that has contributed so greatly to what we call the “spirit of Warm Springs.”

No perfectly appointed hospital, no medical care of the highest skill can accomplish the best results unless at the same time we build up, as Mr. Callaway has said, confidence, self-reliance and cheerfulness on the part of the patients themselves. That is why the Warm Springs Foundation has established itself as a practical success in bringing back so many crippled children and crippled grown-ups to normal activities, and at the same time to a normal confidence in themselves.

We hear much these days of two adjectives – “social” and “economic.” Generally they are used to denote different things. Here at Warm Springs we have proved that in our work they go hand in hand. Let me give you an example: If a child is so incapacitated, because of infantile paralysis or accident or some other cause, that the child is unable to get about, take care of himself and go to school, the chances are that in most cases some grown-up person must spend a large part of the time in taking care of the child. Every social objective requires that the child be rehabilitated to lead a normal life – to become a useful member of society. In accomplishing this we reach at the same time the economic objective, for we restore the child and at the same time we release a member of his family from the constant supervision and care of the child, and enable that person so to be an economically useful unit in the community.

Figures show that there are well over three hundred thousand crippled children in the United States and probably at least an equal number of grown-up people. It is my belief, and I think the belief of the doctors of the United States, that the great majority of these citizens of ours, more than half a million of them, can be restored to useful citizenship if we can give them the most modern, scientific, medical and educational treatment. Toward the attainment of that goal the Georgia Warm Springs Foundation seeks to play a leading part. This work at Warm Springs is not local; people come here from every state in the Union and from many foreign countries. It is true that we can take care of only a small proportion of those who need care; but at the same time the educational value of the methods and of their results is making itself widely felt in the care of the handicapped throughout the United States.

I wish much that people all over the country could be with us here tonight to learn of the splendid effectiveness of the work we are doing; to see this beautiful building which for all time will be the center of our work, and especially to understand that thing which we call “the spirit of Warm Springs,” which does so much to supplement the skill of science. The people of Georgia have given to this work a noble gift. In the name of the Trustees of the Foundation I thank them, and especially I thank the Georgia Hall Committee, who under the untiring efforts and leadership of Mr. Cason Callaway and Mr. Cator Woolford, have made intangible the vision of many years ago.

View large image

Meriwether Inn Overlooking Georgia Hall, late 1933 or early 1934
Source: Ed Jackson

View large image

Georgia Hall, April 12, 2007
Source: Charles Pou

National Archives