I was at the NYPL Central Library going through old issues of the Roosevelt House Bulletin this afternoon. They are fascinating glimpses into a New York City and an America that no longer exist. There are also tidbits large and small that shed light on the Birthplace. Often I take what I learn in my digging and work it into posts for the Park Service’s social media platforms. Those linked to the TRB Facebook page will see something in the coming weeks about Gene Tunney visiting the Birthplace in 1940. Just remember that you heard about it here first.
My favorite era in the history of the house is the 1920s. For one thing Anna (Bamie) and Corinne were both still alive and leaving their mark on the historic site. It was quite a scramble to raise the funds and to build the house and museum. I am increasingly aware of just how tough the task was. I came across a touching blurb today from one of the 1919 issues of the Roosevelt House Bulletin. (As you can see in the image above, it was later renamed The Roosevelt Quarterly.) The RMA received a contribution of $1 from a private in the 31st Infantry, American Expeditionary Force. What was so incredible is that the 31st was stationed in Siberia at the time. The Siberian Intervention lasted from 1918-22 after the collapse of the Czarist Empire, the Russian surrender at Brest-Litovsk, and the onset of the Russian Civil War. The Americans and other Allies were there to protect the stores of weapons given to the czar and to prevent those weapons from getting into the hands of the participants in the internal struggle now taking place within Russia. From halfway around the world this young doughboy’s dollar made it all the way to New York City and to the headquarters of the Roosevelt Memorial Association.