A Blast of Inspiration at FDR’s Hyde Park

Steven Beschloss is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker.

Franklin D. Roosevelt and Eleanor Roosevelt in Hyde Park, New York, 1906

Franklin D. Roosevelt and Eleanor Roosevelt in Hyde Park, New York, 1906

As a writer, I delight in visiting the homes of great authors and other historical figures. In Moscow, in one of the wooden houses that survived the fires of Napoleon’s 1812 invasion, I was fascinated by the desk chair that Leo Tolstoy shortened so his failing eyes could be closer to his manuscripts. In London, in the red brick home that Sigmund Freud lived after fleeing Vienna in 1938, it took all my willpower not to sneak onto the red velvet couch where Freud conducted many of his legendary psychoanalytic encounters. My curiosity with these living spaces probably began as a four-year-old when I visited Abraham Lincoln’s home in Springfield, Illinois; I was startled to see a bedpan sitting under the Great President’s bed. Read more…

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