Our Collection

At the Institute’s core is the Gilder Lehrman Collection, one of the great archives in American history. More than 70,000 items cover five hundred years of American history, from Columbus’s 1493 letter describing the New World to soldiers’ letters from World War II and Vietnam. Explore primary sources, visit exhibitions in person or online, or bring your class on a field trip.

Roosevelt, Franklin D. (1882-1945) [State of the Union Message]

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Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC03181.01 Author/Creator: Roosevelt, Franklin D. (1882-1945) Place Written: Washington, D.C. Type: Typed document signed Date: 4 January 1939 Pagination: 8 p. ; 35.5 x 20.5 cm.

Signed at end, inscribed to Lillian Wald, and signed at top of first page. Speech to Congress warns of the impending war and mentions his worries that fascism and war might attack freedom of religion. "Storms from abroad directly challenge three institutions indispensable to Americans, now as always. The first is religion. It is the source of the other two -- democracy and international good faith." Stresses the need to prepare the nation. Marked "Confidential" and "Hold for Release" by Stephen Early, Secretary to the President.

Wald was a humanitarian who founded the Henry Street Settlement, which evolved into the Visiting Nurse Service of New York City. She also helped initiate revision of child labor laws, housing conditions in tenement districts, education for the mentally handicapped, and immigration regulations.

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