To place Franklin Roosevelt’s passion for collecting stamps and to a lesser degree him maritime collection in a meaningful context is not really possible without the backdrop of the depression. He worked on his stamp collection almost to his death. Its obvious he was a lackey to the Rockefeller and Morgan interests, and the idea of promoting a child hobby like stamps would have to bear relation to the plight of children during the Depression. The ideology of charity in the 1930′s had reached an unyielding and resolutely opposed form unless it was , as in the case say of an ideological weapon like Shirley Temple where profits could be sucked from compassion. FDR is not exactly like fiddling while the heartland burned but, was licking stamps a metaphor for the tongue in the great wealth’s backside…
When storms toss the Ship of State, the President finds diversion with his great collections. Modern Mechanix sent James N. Miller to the White House for this story of the nation’s great hobbyist.
by JAMES NEVIN MILLER
A SECRET service agent rapped on the door of the home of a retired minister in a suburb of Washington.
The clergyman opened the door. The government agent flashed his badge. Timidly, perhaps apprehensively, the minister asked the man to step into the living room.
Imagine his astonishment when the agent announced:
“Your Reverence, the President would like to have you drop in some day at the White House. He’d like to see you about your stamp collection. He says that you should bring it along so that he can take a look at it.” Read More:http://blog.modernmechanix.com/category/history/page/4/a
While recovering from polio, he spent many bedridden hours arranging and annotating thousands of specimens. As President, there was scarcely a day when he did not spend some time with his collection….
…At his death, his personal stamp collection numbered over 1,200,000 stamps, 80% of which was of little value-”scrap”" as the President called it. The collection was sold at public auction in accordance with his wishes and realized $228,000.00. The stamps he received officially from foreign governments were not sold, but are a part of the holdings of the Roosevelt Library.Read More:http://www.fdrlibrary.marist.edu/facts.htmla
Eckert: But Roosevelt was not only more politically expedient than Hoover, he was more culpable. Hoover was insulated from, and insensitive to mass thought and feeling. He could call children “cheerful human electrons” and think he would be understood. Roosevelt was a common sentimentalist. At Warm Springs in Georgia, he helped maintain a hospital for crippled children (he had suffered from polio himself) which he loved to visit. He also liked to lecture the children, on one occasion anticipating the thesis of this article with a bedtime exploration of the relation of economics to society.
“We hear much these days of two adjectives—social and economic … Here at Warm Springs we have proved that they go hand in hand.”
The proof, to summarize Roosevelt’s prolix demonstration, lay in the fact that almost every crippled child required the care of an adult; rehabilitation made the child a “useful member of society” and released the adult “to be an economically useful unit in the community.” In another address on the occasion of his birthday and the holding of over 6000 birthday balls to raise funds for Warm Springs, Roosevelt said,
“Let us well remember that every child and indeed every person who is restored to useful citizenship is an asset to the country and is enabled to ‘pull his own weight in the boat.’ In the long run, by helping this work we are not contributing to charity, but we are contributing to the building of a sound nation.”
The image of crippled children compelled to heave at the oars would be monstrous if it were not so ingenuously political.
One final anecdote. Roosevelt, a former boy scout, was asked to address the scouts upon the occasion of their twenty-fifth birthday in February, 1934. He asked Harry Hopkins, his relief administrator, for ideas. Hopkins suggested that the scouts be asked to collect furnishings, bedding and clothes for those on relief. Roosevelt liked the idea and announced it, adding,
“Already I have received offers of co-operation from Governors of States, from Mayors and other community leaders. I ask you to join with me and the Eagle Scouts and our President and Chief Scout Executive who are here with me in the White House in giving again the Scout oath. All stand! Give the Scout sign! Repeat with me the Scout oath! ‘On my honor …’” and so forth….
…As the second year of Roosevelt’s administration drew to a close in the winter of 1934, sufficient federal relief was no longer a serious possibility. Commentators noted that the impression that the Democrats would act had utterly demoralized charity efforts. And yet in New York alone there were 354, 000 on relief, 77,000 more than a year before. Relief applications were coming in at the rate of 1500 a day. One reporter passing through Ohio discovered families receiving one cent and a half per person.Read More:http://www.ejumpcut.org/archive/onlinessays/JC02folder/shirleytemple.html