Lot 26: Franklin D. Roosevelt Letter Signed To His Long-Time Physical Therapist
30th August 2018
Very personal and candid letter signed by Franklin D. Roosevelt to his long-time physical therapist Helena Mahoney, who worked at FDR's Warm Springs Institute for polio rehabilitation. Dated 7 August 1929, Roosevelt writes this letter ''in perfect frankness'' about Mahoney extending her leave of absence to fully regain her health. Upon his New York gubernatorial letterhead, letter reads in part, ''I do so hope that you are having a thoroughly enjoyable time and are feeling really much better. You certainly have had your share of illness. I want to write this letter to you in perfect frankness, and I hope that you will accept it in the spirit in which it is sent - in other words, with the knowledge that I have a real fondness for you quite aside from my regard for your ability and my appreciation of what you have done for Warm Springs generally and for me in particular. I have been talking to some of our trustees during the past month and have had correspondence with others, and I find there is a very distinct feeling that they want you not to return to Warm Springs until you are full of health. It was with this idea in mind that we asked for a six months' leave of absence for you. We all feel that the most important work at Warm Springs is the directing of the patients' exercises both in the pool and walking. Of course, for the past year you have been unable to carry this on in the way in which we started. We feel that Warm Springs has been the loser, and want you to get completely well so that this good work can be continued. We feel also that one of your physios should be trained to take over many of your duties such as supervision in the colony, checking up on discipline, etc., in order that more of your time may be devoted to the pool and to the walking -- in other words, the more scientific part of the work. I feel as you do about the pool work, that is, that you should not take regular patients but should make the rounds, taking the patient with his or her own physio and going trough the exercises with the physio. The same idea applies to walking. I think, too, that it is important for you to closely supervise the first pool exercises of every new patient. This assures them of the right start and gives them a confidence which no one else could give them. Do let me hear from you, - where you are and what you are doing. Did you have an audience with the Pope and did you get down on both knees and behave properly?...Mrs. Roosevelt and the two boys, and Nancy Cook and Marian Dickerman are in Liverpool now...Marguerite is just back from the trip with the two girls and had a grand time...[signed] F.D.R.'' Two page letter on two sheets measures 8'' x 10.5''. Folds, otherwise near fine condition.
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