As part of our Roosevelt week theme, today we’re taking a look at Franklin Roosevelt’s pre-Presidency career, and a captured moment that would later gain notability.
Shortly after Theodore Roosevelt and his Bull Moose party lost the election of 1912 to Woodrow Wilson, Franklin Roosevelt was appointed as the Assistant Secretary of the Navy. As part of his duties, FDR presided over a ceremony during which the keel for “Battleship No. 39” was laid. Here, he is seen arriving at the Navy Yard, walking at the front of the group in a stylish derby hat.
Battleship No. 39 would later be christened as the USS Arizona, which was sunk during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, a defining point in FDR’s presidency. By that point, he had also been diagnosed with polio, confining him to a wheelchair for the rest of his life.
Learn more about the discovery of this remarkable photograph in the words of the archivist who discovered it, and watch Ken Burns’s “The Roosevelts: An Intimate History” on pbstv tonight for more about FDR’s early political career.
Image: "Laying Keel of U.S.S. Battleship Number 39, Arrival of Assistant Secretary of the Navy Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and Others" 03/16/1914