FDR Hyde Park Foundation Supports the Rehabilitation of The Snuggery

Archive Shot of The Original Snuggery
Archive Shot of The Original Snuggery

Located in Springwood, Hyde Park, NY (FDR’s home), the South Parlor was where FDR’s mother, Sara, managed the household and estate. Now affectionately known as The Snuggery, it was Sara’s private domain. Some of the oldest and most precious family heirlooms are preserved there.

In 2023, the National Park Service undertook a rehabilitation of The Snuggery, the main focus being the replacement of the wallpaper. The Franklin D. Roosevelt Hyde Park Foundation was pleased to support the NPS’s work on this project. The Donald Borquist Bequest funded the project.

Park historians believe Sara introduced the original wallpaper in this room when the house was altered in 1915. By 1964, this original paper was in such poor condition that it needed to be replaced with a reproduction that remained in the room until today.

Sara Roosevelt
Sara Roosevelt (FDR's Mother)
Original Wallpaper
Fragment of the original wallpaper, circa 1915

Now, nearly 60 years later, it was time to replace the wallpaper again. The current paper was soiled, and the removal of old security and fire detection systems has left unsightly scars.

The paper fabric is hand-embossed with a weave texture and washed with a gold sheen. Only three small fragments of the original paper survive, preserved in the park’s museum collection. Embossed papers such as this are not easy to manufacture. The French firm Atelier d’Offard is one of the few remaining manufacturers of embossed papers, specializing in reproducing historic wallpapers used in restorations worldwide, and they supplied the new replica wallpaper.

The New Wallpaper
The new embossed wallpaper is an almost exact match of the original.

National Park Service staff removed the existing paper and repaired and prepped the walls. Wall repairs included patching penetrations and plaster losses.

Evidence of hand-blocking in the finished product required highly specialized skill to hang the paper correctly. The park worked with Jim Yates, master paperhanger and owner of Historic Wallpaper Specialties. Yates (and his team) brought extensive experience working with historic houses, including Mount Vernon, Montpelier, The Hermitage, Lindenwald, Boscobel, and the White House.

Wallpaper hanging
Wallpaper hanging

This project coincides with the conservation treatment of several gilt frames from this room and the treatment of a large continental cabinet that requires conservation before it can return to exhibit.

The Snuggery is due to reopen to the public in mid-September 2023.

New Wallpaper
The New Wallpaper and Fireplace
New Wallpaper

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CAITLYN GERMINARO is a Human Services professional whose passion is supporting and advocating for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Caitlyn is a Senior Program Coordinator for a non-profit organization serving people with disabilities and partnering with communities across the Mid-Hudson Valley. In 2022, Caitlyn received a CP State Annual Conference Staff Recognition Award. She also received the 2023 Leadership Dutchess Community Advocate Award and is a graduate of the Leadership Dutchess program. Caitlyn holds a BS from the College of Saint Rose and an MS from Walden University. A golfer, gardener, and sunset enthusiast, she lives in Red Hook, NY, with her husband and their two dogs.

DAVID SCHWARTZ Born in 1951, David grew up in New York City. In 1972, he received his B.S. in Economics from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Finance. Following graduation, David began his career with Mikasa, a leader in the Tableware and Housewares industry – first in sales, then in management and as a company principal. Following the company’s initial public offering on the NYSE, David retired from the firm in 1996 and has since made his livelihood as a private investor. Recently, he’s become an active member of the Hudson Valley Start-up Fund, an Investment group that seeks to enable a stronger business ecosystem for entrepreneurs in the Hudson Valley region.

David lives at “Windridge”, a 130 acre former dairy farm (now mostly forested), in Hyde Park, New York. The land adjoins the Franklin D. Roosevelt National Historic Site.

David serves on the Boards of several Hudson Valley non-profits, including the Children’s Home of Poughkeepsie, the Vassar Haiti Project, and the Mid-Hudson chapter of Mensa.

FDR Hyde Park Foundation Symbol

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