FDR’s Newly Acquired Letters Include Notes from His Mistress

By Maryann Yin Comment

FDR.jpg The United States’ 32nd President, Franklin Delano Roosevelt had the extraordinary tasks of seeing our nation through the Great Depression and much of World War II. Wouldn’t that make for an interesting memoir?

Archivist of the United States, David S. Ferriero offers this quote: “Roosevelt did not keep a diary, did not sit for extensive interviews with historians, and did not live to write his memoirs.” With that said, New York State’s recent acquisition of 5000 pages of the former President’s letters is sure to be a feast for writers interested in this leader’s life. Included in this collection are notes from FDR’s mistress, Lucy Page Mercer Rutherford.

A former aide to FDR, Jonathan Daniels, wrote of this relationship in his 1966 memoir, The Time Between the Wars. Archivists are hoping to make this collection publicly available by November 2010 and later, online by January 2011.

The Washington Post has more about the affair: “[Rutherfurd] and Roosevelt had a brief affair after she was hired as his wife’s social secretary in 1914, scholars think. The affair was discovered in 1918 when Eleanor Roosevelt found a bundle of Rutherfurd’s love letters in her husband’s steamer trunk. The relationship ended. Rutherfurd married, and she and the president seldom saw each other over the next 25 years, scholars say. But by the 1940s, the affair had secretly been rekindled.”