32nd President. Typed letter signed “F.D.R.”, May 29, 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:
It is fine that both of the houses were moved into last Thursday. I don’t remember the bedroom plan in A-1. The door must, of course, be changed so as to allow for putting in two beds. I am pretty sure that if my one-quarter inch to the foot plan was literally followed, there was plenty of room for the door to open inward. It is ridiculous that the cost on A-1 and B-5 should run $400 over the estimate, as I said that if the estimates could not be carried out, I would give the contract to the Anthony Lumber Company. However, I guess the cottages are pretty nice and I am glad the Carpenters and Jaspers are pleased.
It is fine that the shop is going so well. I do hope you will get into your cottage soon.
Isn’t it great that we have the money to go ahead with the winter pool. Mrs. Hubbard has a building superintendent who will arrive July 1st to undertake the job and they are getting bids for materials and for the greenhouse roof, etc.
Thanks for letting me see the enclosed letters. I think Miss Merrill will be a very valuable ally with all of the Boston crowd.
I have to dash back to the country as my Aunt-in-law, Mrs. John Roosevelt, has died. She has been practically unconscious for weeks and was ninety years old.
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.