Franklin Delano Roosevelt


Franklin Delano Roosevelt

Anecdote 1...

The many details which an inaugural committee must cope with in a short time inevitably produce a few mistakes. Thus, FDR, in 1937, received an invitation to his own inauguration.

Through the White House social bureau he solemnly sent word that the press of official business would keep him away. Then, relenting, he sent a further note in his own handwriting: “I have rearranged my engagements and think I may be able to go. Will know definitely January 19. F.D.R.”


The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.

~Franklin D. Roosevelt at his First Inaugural Address

Be sincere. Be brief. Be seated.”

~Franklin D. Roosevelt

More FDR quotes

Anecdote 2...

Roosevelt found the polite small talk of social functions at the White House somewhat tedious. He maintained that those present on such occasions rarely paid much attention to what was said to them. To illustrate the point, he would sometimes amuse himself by greeting guests with the words, “I murdered my grandmother this morning.” The response was invariably one of polite approval. On one occasion, however, the president happened upon an attentive listener. On hearing Roosevelt’s outrageous remark, the guest replied diplomatically, “I am sure she had it coming to her.”

Biographical Note: 

Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR) was a U.S. statesman and the 32nd president of the United States [1933–45]. Despite an attack of polio in 1921 that left him paralyzed from the waist down and threatened to end his public career, Roosevelt became governor of New York State and the only U.S. president to be elected for four terms. The economic measures of Roosevelt’s New Deal enabled the country to recover from the Depression of the 1930s. After the bombing of Pearl Harbor by the Japanese in 1941, Roosevelt took the United States into World War II. He died in office just before the end of the war.

More Information: 

Read a biography of Franklin D. Roosevelt on the White House website.
Visit the FDR Presidential Library and Museum

Photo Info

Roosevelt as Assistant Secretary of the Navy, 1913. Photographer unknown. Public Domain