Franklin D. Roosevelt Hyde Park Foundation’s

THE NEW DEAL

Issue 2 : 2022

 ‘The New Deal’ was a series of programs, public work projects, financial reforms, and regulations enacted by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in the United States between 1933 and 1939.

Today, we are using it as the name of our newsletter to inform you of what the Franklin D. Roosevelt Hyde Park Foundation, and our partners, the National Park Service, are working on together to further the preservation and enhancement of the National Historic Sites at Hyde Park, New York. With donations from people like you, we are able to continue this important work.

Thank you for your support!

Kevin Burke
Chair, FDR Hyde Park Foundation

Message from the Superintendent

2022 has brought many unexpected surprises, new friends, and wonderful projects here at the national parks in Hyde Park. Even though we may not be back to a “normal” operation, I believe each day this year we became more comfortable with what life after a pandemic might look like. I am forever grateful for our employees, volunteers, and partners for jumping in and assisting in welcoming visitors to our parks and helping them explore the grounds and the special history we have here.

Mr. Donald Borquist
Mr. Donald Borquist
We also received a very large surprise this year! In April, I was contacted by the National Park Foundation, which reported that the Home of FDR and the Vanderbilt Mansion had received a very generous bequest of over $400,000. In digging a little deeper, we discovered that our benefactor was Mr. Donald Borquist, a long-time NPS employee at the parks.

With special support from the FDR Hyde Park Foundation, we could accept this donation and begin immediately to implement it. So far, funds have been used to begin the restoration of the Snuggery in Springwood and the conservation of the portrait of Laura Astor Delano. Other efforts that will benefit from this donation include the conservation of President Roosevelt’s wheelchair, access gates and other features around the estate, and additional supplies and support to the Home Garden. We could not move as swiftly as we did with these projects if not for the Foundation’s support. Thank you!

In looking to 2023, we are excited about many big events that will be taking place. First, 2023 is the 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) that Eleanor Roosevelt helped draft with the United Nations. This moment brings a powerful opportunity to explore human rights with our visitors, students, and community. This will also complement a parallel discussion we will be having this year on the Roosevelts and Civil Rights. The NPS recently finalized a Historic Resource Study on the Roosevelts and Civil Rights Leaders, which highlights the important impact that leaders like Walter White, Mary McLeod Bethune, and Pauli Murray had on the shaping of FDR and Eleanor’s thoughts, policies, and actions. This study will also help inform the next exhibit at the Presidential Library, which will open in June 2023, entitled “The Roosevelts, Black America, and Civil Rights.” Programming, publications, exhibits, and online content are all planned for all of these topics this next year.

It takes a great deal of effort to preserve our nation’s treasures. From mowing grass to keeping up with the historic fabric of our buildings. From providing guided tours of the houses to developing new exhibits and content to keep things fresh. Our staff works tirelessly to ensure we keep up with the maintenance needs while providing the public with as much access as possible. We could not do this without partners who champion these efforts and understand the importance of preservation and education. Thank you for being such an important part of what we do here at the parks!

Amy Bracewell
Superintendent
Roosevelt • Vanderbilt • Van Buren National Historic Sites

Amy Bracewell

NARA Announces new Director of the FDR Presidential Library and Museum

The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) has announced the appointment of William A. Harris as the Director of the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum, effective October 23, 2022.

William A. Harris
William A. Harris

Debra Steidel Wall, Acting Archivist of the United States, said of the appointment, “President Roosevelt recognized the National Archives’ vital mission as the nation’s recordkeeper and the Presidential Library’s important role in that critical effort. Bill Harris will strengthen this commitment and ensure the advancement of the Library’s innovative archival, museum, education, and public programs.”  

William began his NARA career in 1996 as an archivist at the George H. W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum. He later served in a senior role within the National Archives’ Office of Presidential Libraries where he was instrumental in the development of the William J. Clinton and George W. Bush Presidential Libraries and Museums. In this role, he also assisted in the transition of the Nixon Presidential Library from a private institution to a NARA-operated library and museum.

Most recently, William has served as Deputy Director of the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum. In this role, he has focused on building collaborative relationships with the library’s onsite partner, the National Park Service, and with the Roosevelt Institute. William holds a Master of Arts degree in History and a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and History from Auburn University.

Read the full press release here.

FDR National Library from the air
Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum, photo courtesy Gerald Berliner

ROOSEVELT HOME GARDEN REPORT 2022

Harvest

The Roosevelt Garden was very productive in 2022, with 363 crates of fruits and vegetables donated to Dutchess Outreach Fresh Market. Perennial crops, like strawberries, raspberries, asparagus, and rhubarb, began to produce well last year.

Fresh radishes and carrots from the garden
Photo courtesy Elizabeth Walden, National Park Service Guide
Artichokes growing in the garden

A sturdy trellis for the raspberries was milled and constructed by Dave Hayes, NPS Resource Management Team Leader, from a historic oak that overlooked the vegetable garden for the entirety of Franklin Roosevelt’s life.

Photo courtesy Elizabeth Walden, National Park Service Guide
A sturdy trellis for the raspberries
Fresh strawberries from the garden
Half a century ago a small boy took especial delight in climbing an old tree, now unhappily gone, to pick and eat ripe sickle pears. That was about one hundred feet to the west of where I am standing now. And just to the north he used to lie flat between the strawberry rows and eat sun-warmed strawberries--the best in the world.
– Franklin D. Roosevelt, 1939; Address at the Laying of the Cornerstone of the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library, Hyde Park, NY. 

Gardening in Today’s Climate

Excessive heat and drought posed challenges for plants and people.  Water conserving methods, such as timed soaker hoses, were used to keep crops productive.  Pace and hydration were key to keeping gardeners safe.  Organic methods that take a holistic approach to garden health helped buffer the garden from crop stresses caused by extreme weather.

NPS Ranger spraying a hot garden volunteer with water
Photo courtesy Jennifer Henion, Roosevelt Home Garden Volunteer​

Following an infestation of onion maggots in young transplants and consulting with Cornell Cooperative Extension, the gardeners applied New York native entomopathic nematodes to all garden areas. These microscopic creatures parasitize the larvae of many soil-born garden pests, and populations are persistent.  NPS horticulturists will stay in touch with Cornell Researchers about this relatively new research application.

A row of fresh opinions growing in the garden
Photo courtesy Elizabeth Walden, National Park Service Guide
Image of soil-born garden pest larvae

Interpretation through Social Media

This season, the garden got a big boost from NPS Interpretive Ranger Elizabeth Walden.  Elizabeth visited the garden during harvest on Tuesdays, photographing the produce andinterviewing staff, volunteers, and visitors.  From these visits, she created fun and educational posts for the park’s Facebook site, expanding public outreach and helping to spread the Roosevelts’ legacy of the importance of equal access to nutritious and locally grown foods.

Below is the link to Elizabeth’s final Facebook post of the season:

Facebook post screen shot
NPS ranger fills big containers with garden produce
Photo courtesy Jennifer Henion, Roosevelt Home Garden Volunteer

Partnerships

The horticulture staff continues to strengthen community partnerships. Food security programs at Dutchess Outreach have evolved to meet expanding needs in the region.  The FDR Hyde Park Foundation has provided support for these programs through Home Garden produce donations and raising awareness of the benefits of the Mobile Fresh Market.
Dutchess Outreach showing fresh produce from their Mobile Market trailer
Photo courtesy Jeanne Traugot, Dutchess Outreach
Dutchess County Outreach volunteer showing children how to plant saplings

Other program-expanding partnerships included Nubian Directions, a City of Poughkeepsie Youth Employment Program; and Living Resources, an organization that supports and empowers individuals with disabilities or other life-challenging conditions to live with dignity, independence, and happiness.  Both of these partnerships bring energetic volunteer support to the garden and help the NPS work towards goals of accessibility for the community.  Poughkeepsie Day School and the Culinary Institute of America continued to be great educational partners for shared learning both in the park and on their campuses.

Nubian Directions, a City of Poughkeepsie Youth Employment Program learning about the garden from a volunteer
Volunteers working in the garden
For the second year in a row, NPS horticulture staff partnered with Vassar College Office of Community Engaged Learning (OCEL) in the Vassar OCEL Fellows program. Vassar OCEL identifies, recruits, and pays a stipend to student Fellows who are best matched to the NPS community horticulture program.  Hailey Osika designed an educational kiosk for small space garden exhibit, took a leadership role in garden volunteer support, introduced other Vassar students to the park and its volunteer programs, and became an integral part of the staff with significant contributions to work in all areas.
Hailey Osika
Hailey Osika

Volunteers

This year the horticulture staff launched a successful campaign to increase volunteer participation.  Ten new repeating volunteers were added to the existing ranks, and volunteers logged 920 hours in the garden. While these numbers represent a significant amount of labor for the program, they don’t begin to describe the talent, energy and outreach that volunteers contribute.
Volunteers working in the garden
Photo courtesy Elizabeth Walden, National Park Service Guide
Volunteers working in the garden
Volunteer showing freshly picked produce
Volunteers working in the garden
Photo courtesy Elizabeth Walden, National Park Service Guide

The Landscape and Garden Division of the Roosevelt Vanderbilt NHS thanks the Franklin D. Roosevelt Hyde Park Foundation for their continued support of the Home Garden Restoration. Their support ensures the interpretation of an important legacy of the Roosevelt family in Hyde Park and allows us to connect our community and visitors to their stories.

Greenway Conservancy Trail Grants

Hudson River Valley Greenway has awarded a grant for trail education and interpretation in the amount of $10,000.

The Greenway’s support will fund the work of the FDRHPF over 2022 and 2023 to complete a series of educational videos showcasing the opportunities for outdoor recreational use of the trails that traverse the National Park sites in Hyde Park while facilitating the historical interpretation and ecological understanding of the surrounding lands.

The Greenway Conservancy for the Hudson Valley is a public benefit corporation that was established in part to facilitate and support the creation of the Hudson River Valley Greenway Trail System. Twelve miles of trails serve to connect the four prominent historic sites in the Town of Hyde Park: Vanderbilt Mansion, the Home of Franklin D. Roosevelt and the Presidential Library, Eleanor Roosevelt’s Val-Kill, and Top Cottage. These twelve miles of trails are part of the Hyde Park Trail system and are designated Greenway Trails. We are so thankful for their support of this project.

Interpretive Trail Sign
Top Cottage Trail Sign
We would like to thank our partners at the NPS for their contributions to this newsletter.

View and download a PDF.

Get Involved - how you can help

Preserving these National Historic Sites is of great importance in protecting the integrity of the Roosevelt’s legacy, the buildings, gardens, and surrounding forests for people to experience, learn about and enjoy. This is achieved through the hard work and dedication of the National Park Service and by the raising of supplemental funds by the Franklin D. Roosevelt Hyde Park Foundation. You, too, can help us with this by making a donation. 

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