32nd President. Typed letter signed “FDR”, July 27, 1928, “Fidelity and Deposit Company of Maryland” stationery (listing FDR as the Vice President), 7.25×10.5, to his physical therapist Helena Mahoney, who was also the head therapist at Warm Springs, in full:
Glad to get your letter of July 23 and to know that the patients are so much better.
I have not heard the rumor that Mrs. Hovey and Miss Plastridge are going to take my house!
Ask Allen to put one man on my grass for one day, for if he works hard he can clean it up in that time.
All well here and up to my neck in work – this office, law office, Democratic Executive Committee, fifty letters a day, Warm Springs contributions, and forty other things on the side. I expect to survive until I get back about September 15th.
Missy telephones that she feels practically all right again. I hope she will come to Hyde Park very soon, but her mother wants to go up to Potsdam early in August and Missy thinks she should go with her for a week.
I am writing Mr. C.P. Hubbard to ask him if he can take back that bath tub.
FDR delivered his famous speech at the 1928 Democratic National Convention, where he stood at the podium without crutches in support of the nominee Al Smith, just weeks before sending this letter.
Great letter showing FDR’s hands-on approach to running Warm Springs.
In fine condition, folds.
In 1921, FDR received the dreaded diagnosis of polio—a simply unacceptable condition that potentially spelled disaster for the up and coming politician. He refused to believe that his paralysis was permanent, and it was not until a friend recommended the natural springs of Warm Springs, Georgia, that he found hope for the future. The mineral springs’ buoyancy allowed him to walk its waters without the benefit of braces and made him feel whole. So taken was Roosevelt with Warm Springs that he bought the spa and founded the Green Warm Springs Foundation, a hydrotherapy center for polio victims with virtually no working capital and no real financial plan.
In 1928, when he was elected Governor of New York, he turned over the reins of the struggling foundation to his law partner Basil O’Connor who immediately began to put Warm Springs’ financial house in order. O’Connor, the foundation’s director, became its biggest champion and fund-raiser. Green Warm Springs Foundation eventually became the March of Dimes and funded Dr. Jonas Salk’s polio vaccine. Ironically, with today’s science and forensics, it’s now widely believed that FDR never had polio, but another neurological disease, Guillain-Barré syndrome, an autoimmune disorder.