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Remembering FDR

FDR Memorabilia - Center for New Deal Studies


Franklin D. Roosevelt PortraitThe Center for New Deal Studies at Roosevelt University maintains a wonderful collection of artifacts relating to the life and work of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. In 2007 a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) provided the funds needed to digitize over 3,500 rare and popular artifacts. The digital images of a portion of these artifacts are now available for everyone to view on the Illinois Digital Archives website:

Margaret Rung, Director of the Center for New Deal Studies, states that "It is a wonderful opportunity for students and scholars to have access to a very rich collection and to gain much better understanding and indication of popularity of FDR and the variety of ways that he was represented to the people and how people represented him."

The largest part of the collection has been on permanent loan from the Illinois Historic Preservation Society since the early 1900’s and originally belonged to Joseph Jacobs (1907-1995,) a Chicago labor lawyer who represented more than a dozen international unions and hundreds of locals, including the Chicago Teachers Union.  Jacobs was a founding member and leader of the Illinois Labor History Society and a well-known figure in political memorabilia collecting.

The site also displays items from the Lowery-Harris Collection. Howard L Lowery of Burbank, Calif., purchased thee Roosevelt-related memorabilia from collector Murray A. Harris, and then donated it to the Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute in Hyde Park, NY. The institute later gave the collection to Roosevelt University. 

The Center for New Deal Studies at Roosevelt University features resources and activities that deepen our understanding of the legacy of the lives of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt, and of the social, economic, political and cultural history of the New Deal Era. In addition to offering lecture series, workshops and publications, the Center also houses the Roosevelt Photograph Collection, the New Deal Book Collection, the Balanoff Labor Oral History Collection and the Albert Lepawsky Papers, which cover the various government positions for which Lepawsky served during the New Deal years.