Thursday, October 24, 2013

Wheelchair



When he was 39 in 1921, Franklin D. Roosevelt contracted polio.  People in that era often thought that a physically disabled person was likely also mentally disabled.  So, Roosevelt took pains in public to minimize the lingering effects of his illness, even though he never walked again.

The wheelchairs of that time were big, awkward and hard to disguise.  So, Roosevelt had an ordinary wooden kitchen chair cut down and fitted with wheels.  It is shown in a corner of the living room at his family's home in Hyde Park, New York.



If they ever decide they don't want that rug, they can send it to me.

28 comments:

Cezar and Léia said...

Once I saw a movie about his life, very touching! Love the second image, charming room!
Léia

Kate said...

I knew about the wheelchair, not walling again but did not know about the chair's design. Very clever. Wish my parents could have seen what you are showing us in this series of photos.

Malyss said...

Like the mood of this office!
I saw a movie with K. Brannagh showing the Roosevelt's everyday fight against disease.This chair is very moving.

Luis Gomez said...

Thank you Jack.

Tanya Breese said...

as soon as i saw that wheelchair i was thinking fdr! i've been to his home "the little white house" in georgia.

Lynette said...

Thanks for this insight into FDR's efforts to keep his image more whole, Jack. And I agree about the rug. Wow.

RamblingRound said...

So glad that people with disabilities are much better understood these days! BTW, I love the wood paneling.

Sharon said...

That wheelchair might be smaller but it doesn't look all that comfortable. I'm impressed looking at these photos at how well the rooms were depicted in that recent movie about Roosevelt, "Hyde Park on Hudson". Unless they actually shot some scenes in these rooms, they did a good job of recreating them.

VP said...

The only place at home where I could fit that rug would be on my terrace...

Lowell said...

Hard to imagine dealing with what he had to deal with in good health; being crippled makes it even more remarkable!

Taken For Granted said...

That is a beautiful room, filled with great furnishings. But what is the white object on the floor next to the desk? A coffee cup, a candle, a roach trap perhaps? It doesn't fit the rest of the decor.

Sylvia K said...

He was an amazing man and it is indeed hard to imagine dealing with all that he did and from a wheelchair! And that is a gorgeous rug!! Hope you're getting ready for a lovely weekend, Jack!

LOLfromPasa said...

Super posting, Jack. My Dad had polio when he was 14 and met FDR in Warm Springs when he was there for treatment. Exciting for Dad. It is wonderful how well Roosevelt managed during his presidency.

RedPat said...

A grand room that is. Not the most comfortable wheelchair though!

cieldequimper said...

Dream on, Jack!

(Medical progress is a cool thing).

Karl Demetz said...

Thank you Jack for showing us these photos!

Joan Perry; Sidewalk Curator said...

What a warm, comfortable room. The chair however would need a soft cushion.

Nita Davis said...

Very interesting, and that room is fantastic!

Michelle said...

I would take that whole room. Carpet, chairs, the whole shebang....

William Kendall said...

It is a grand room, but also a very human one, very inviting.

LONDONLULU said...

Love seeing this again! I was quite touched by the things I learned there. (I know the schools for the same reason, undergrad at one, grad school at another...though ironically neither at Princeton!)

Randy said...

Beautiful room.

Lois Evensen said...

What a lovely room!

Duncan D. Horne - the Kuantan blogger (大哥) said...

Wow, great room! I'm sure Roosevelt felt better in that chair, but it sure doesn't seem the most comfortable invention!

Duncan In Kuantan

John "By Stargoose And Hanglands" said...

That's a rather minimalist wheelchair. Such a shame that he felt he had to hide his disability. What a role-model he would have been for others.

CaT said...

that wheelchair is quite creative!
i think people still think like that... not always, but sometimes.

PerthDailyPhoto said...

You and I have the same taste Jack that rug is divine..in fact I like the comfortable feel of the whole room.

EG CameraGirl said...

Polio must have been a real challenge for FDR. I'm glad people realize now that just because a body is impaired that does not affect mental abilities.