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Audio Recordings

Legal Use
Speeches and utterances by President Roosevelt and public officials may be duplicated for reference or broadcast purposes without permission, except for specific recordings which require donor consent prior to their use or duplication. Comments by news personnel on speeches delivered by the president and others may not be broadcast without the permission of the networks. Most of Eleanor Roosevelt's recordings may be reproduced for reference purposes; however, permission of the networks or other sources is required to broadcast most of her recordings. The Franklin D. Roosevelt Library will duplicate for reference purposes other sound recordings in its collections, except those that are donor restricted. Permission is required to broadcast many of these recordings.

Frequently Requested Audio:

The President's Collection, 1920-1945. 1,020 items.

Recordings of speeches delivered by the President; political speeches and radio appearances by administration spokesman; programs of music performed by Federal Music Project orchestras, bands, vocal ensembles and artists; radio dramatizations produced by Federal agencies; political and non-political radio addresses delivered by associates and members of the President's family, including his wife and mother; political songs and folk music recorded by professional artists and amateurs given to the President; and poetry and dramatic readings sent to the President by Government agencies and professional artists.

Audio Research

Recorded Speeches of FDR: Fully Digitized

The Speeches and Other Utterances of Franklin D. Roosevelt collection includes material recorded between 1920 and 1945. The core of the collection consists of 238 disc-recorded speeches presented to President Roosevelt by radio networks and other sources and sent by the White House to the National Archives for eventual deposit in this Library. The Archives prepared a duplicate disc set of these recordings in 1947-1948 and deposited them in the Library. Most of the tape dubbings of these speeches presently used by the Library were made from the original discs that remain stored in the National Archives building under the administrative supervision of the Office of Presidential Libraries.

The original series of recordings has been augmented by a large gift from the International Business Machines Corporation and by donations from radio station WKIP in Poughkeepsie, New York, the National Broadcasting Company, the Center for Cassette Studies, Columbia University and Mr. W.H. Utterback, Jr. of Amarillo, Texas. Mr. Utterback's recordings generally include not only Mr. Roosevelt's speeches, but also the corresponding radio network commentator's narration.

The collection also includes a series of unique recordings made in President Roosevelt's office between August 23 and November 8, 1940 using an acetate recording material and an experimental machine made by the Radio Corporation of America. These recordings consist of fourteen presidential press conferences, numbers 674, 675, 678, 680, 682, 683, 685, 686, 688 and 690 through 694 and conversations between President Roosevelt and people visiting his office. Before the acetate recordings completely deteriorated, their contents were transferred to 16-inch discs. The original recordings were then destroyed. The sound quality is uniformly poor, but it has been made listenable through use of modern equalization equipment. These recordings were most recently remastered in 1995.

Access the digital collection

The Eleanor Roosevelt Collection, 1939-1972 . 463 items.

Recordings received from Mrs. Roosevelt, or her estate, and from the ABC disc collection at NARA, including three radio series, 1940-41, 1948-49 and 1950-51, which featured guests interviewed by Mrs. Roosevelt or her daughter, Anna; recordings of miscellaneous speeches given by the President, Mrs. Roosevelt and others; radio interviews of Mrs. Roosevelt, Louis M. Howe, Anna Roosevelt and Franklin D. Roosevelt, Jr.; recordings produced for the United Nations, particularly those connected with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights ; Mrs. Roosevelt's statements during political campaigns, 1940-1960; recordings of music by professional and amateur musicians, vocalists and performing artists, both publicly and privately produced, sent to or collected by Mrs. Roosevelt, which reflected her interest in human rights.

Eleanor Roosevelt Speech Collection
This collection includes the radio series produced by the Pan American Coffee Bureau
(September 28, 1941 - April 4, 1942) wherein ER commented on affairs of the week and interviewed guests. It contains only a general description of the 1950-1951 radio series which followed the same format for 233 numbered programs and an additional 93 interviews. In this series, like the first, Mrs. Roosevelt is essentially the host and interviewer rather than the interviewee.

Click here for a listing of recorded speeches and other utterances of Eleanor Roosevelt.

Additional Collections

The Thomas J. Watson Collection . 979 items.
A set of recorded speeches of the President and CBS network coverage of his funeral procession and memorial programs, April 13-15, 1945.

The National Broadcasting Company Collection, 1971-1975 . 66 items
Presidential speeches not found in the National Archives or the Watson Collections; and speeches, interviews and other utterances of Mrs. Roosevelt, 1935-59. The collection was donated to the Library by NBC Radio News.

The W.H. Utterback Collection, 1970- . 116 items.
Recordings of selected Presidential addresses and utterances from sources other than the National Archives.

The Franklin D. Roosevelt Library Collection, 1946- . 946 items
Recordings found among manuscript collections accessioned by the Library or recordings produced by the Library and National Park Service staffs. They include Presidential speeches made in the Hyde Park - Poughkeepsie, New York area and recorded by WKIP Radio, Poughkeepsie; other copies of Presidential speeches; speech excerpts from commercial sources; interviews from network sources pertaining to the President and/or Mrs. Roosevelt; radio presentations by manuscript donors including Adm. Ross T. McIntire, Leon Henderson and Louis M. Howe; the only recordings of the President's press conferences from August to November, 1940, made by the National Archives from experimental recording machines developed by RCA; recordings of memorial exercises in honor of President and Mrs. Roosevelt; professional recordings of folk music; and material pertaining to the President and Mrs. Roosevelt from all major network sources.

Fireside Chats
The White House did not always indicate whether a particular radio address by the President was to be regarded as a Fireside Chat. As a result, there is some question of the exact number of Fireside Chats Mr. Roosevelt made. The best information available to us at this time indicates that there were definitely 28 such addresses. Two other radio addresses could be considered Fireside Chats, although the evidence for this is not conclusive. A list of the 28 Fireside Chats of which we are certain and of the two which are questionable follows.

The Master Speech File lists the first 21 "Firesides" but from 22-28 they are not given the "Fireside" designation. By extending the list (which ends with the 5th War Loan Drive) to include the 6th War Loan Drive speech, and speeches of 1-11-44, 11-6-44, 11-19-44, 12-24-44, and 1-6-45, the number of "Fireside Chats" could be extended to as many as 33.

For FDR's statement on the purpose of Fireside Chats, see the 1933 volume of Public Papers and Addresses of FDR , note before first Fireside Chat, March 12, 1933.



Motion Pictures

Frequently Requested Motion Pictures:

The collection consists of films presented by President Roosevelt, his estate, Eleanor Roosevelt, other members of the Roosevelt family and various individuals and organizations. Most of these films are black and white; approximately 15 percent are color prints. All 35mm nitrate films have been converted into 16mm safety stock as part of the Library's ongoing preservation program. Eighty-five reels of original color film have been placed in the cold storage vault at the John F. Kennedy Library. The Library also holds videocassette tapes and DVDs of television programs about the Roosevelts.

The core of the collection of films on FDR consists of newsreels produced by Movietone News, Paramount, Pathe, Hearst and Universal. These films cover much of Roosevelt's public activities throughout his presidency as well as certain events dating back to his tenure as Assistant Secretary of the Navy, Governor of New York and the presidential campaign of 1920. The newsreels show FDR campaigning, delivering public addresses and "fireside chats," meeting with administration officials and foreign leaders, attending wartime ceremonies and conferences and vacationing at Hyde Park, Warm Springs, Ga. and other locations with family and friends.

The Library has color films on President Roosevelt that were produced by government agencies. The National Youth Administration covered the visit to the United States of King George VI of Great Britain in 1939 and Roosevelt's third inauguration in 1941. The Navy Department filmed the President's wartime inspection trips and overseas conferences, 1940- 1945, including the Allied war leaders at Cairo, Teheran and Yalta. The Signal Corps covered the 1943 Casablanca Conference.

Amateur films in the Library's collection provide informal glimpses of Franklin D. Roosevelt. Those taken by speech writer Samuel I. Rosenman show FDR at Warm Springs, on an Erie Canal barge trip in 1930 and sailing on the yacht, Sequoia, in 1933 and 1934. John Boettiger, the President's son-in-law, filmed in black and white and color scenes from the 1941 and 1945 inaugurals, FDR's trip to Yellowstone Park in September of 1937, his review of the American Naval fleet in July, 1938 and his visit with Winston Churchill and the Duke of Windsor at Hyde Park in September, 1944. Nancy Cook's movies, which appeared on NBC's television program Chronolog in 1972, show Roosevelt and his family and friends at Campobello, Hyde Park and Warm Springs during the 1930s and 1940s. Other home movies show Mr. Roosevelt dedicating public buildings, vacationing and on political trips. A few contain a small amount of footage showing FDR walking.

The collection also includes commercial motion pictures, television documentaries and news programs. Among these are two Fox Movietone features, reissued by Blackhawk films, entitled President Roosevelt's Message to Congress, December 8, 1941 and The Inauguration of Franklin D. Roosevelt, 1933 . Additionally, the Library holds the twenty- six part ABC-TV series FDR and Roosevelt, The Man and the Politician and FDR Remembered , two shows produced by CBS-TV which appeared in 1962 and 1965, respectively. Finally, the collection includes a 1975 ABC television movie entitled Eleanor and Franklin as well as CBS's FDR: The Man Who Changed America (1975) and NBC's FDR: The Last Year (1980), which is based on a book written by Jim Bishop.

The Library has worked with Mr. W.H. Utterback, Jr. to reconstruct on film selected public addresses of President Roosevelt. Film footage used in the reconstructions comes mainly from the Universal Collection located at the National Archives. The following speeches have been reconstructed: the State of the Union Address, January 6, 1942; the Navy and Total Defense Day Address, October 27, 1941; and the Address at Chautauqua, New York, August 14, 1936.