tv FDR and the Post Office CSPAN June 17, 2017 9:04pm-9:16pm EDT
>> host: here's the book. if i understood you, what i have this look on my face? the art of science of relating and communicating. the authors alan all. thank you for being here. >> makes stuff from hyde park, new york, anthony discusses his book, fdr and the post office. a young boy's fascination, a world leaders passion. >> music was is extremely important fdr. when i was writing the book i found four letters in the archives and his handwriting not typewritten that actually credited stamp collecting saving his life after he became ill and it ended up being confined to a wheelchair. what he meant by that what i gathered from the letters to his family and friends was that it
gave him the motivation to pull himself out of bed, get in his wheelchair, roll over to his desk and his family home in hyde park and pour over his collection, sometimes ten hours per day. he did that to keep his mind stimulated. he started collecting stamps at eight years old. ironically, at the time he really made stamp collecting what it became. when he was eight and his mother and father introduce them to stamp collecting it was thought to be a child's hobby. adults would never waste their time on stamp collecting, it was too trivial. so was interesting is that he was never interested in the condition of the stamp of the value of the stamp, he was more interested in the person, place, or event pictured on the stamp.
he kept saying why is this so worthy to be on the stamp? so in effect he got an education of stamp collecting. that served him very well. when he was president of the united states and got into world war ii he was in the war room and they were going over and planning an attack on a certain country. they're going to come in and they were explaining it to the president. he said, from my knowledge in country in geography and train you would be much better off coming in from the right. so the generals from what i read about looked at each other like this politician but when they went back to check, that he had it right on the money. they did do the attack on the right than the left, it was easier. i personally pick the time when
he became governor of new york state, the lofty position. he would not preach to people about it he never did it once in his life but he would always see the two we've stamp collection into speeches. he was so enthusiastic that other adults are saying if this is good enough for the governor of new york, why shouldn't i be collecting and suddenly the mindset of the country started changing and people are at cocktail parties discussing their latest stamp acquisition. it just happen like that. it change the whole face of the post office department at that time. when he ran for president in 1932 he was sworn in on march 4, 1943 but he selected another up-and-coming politician and a very savvy businessman named james farley and he made him his the campaign manager.
he sees on the fact that fdr was touching people personally while he collects stamps he was a regular guy because of that. so he actually designed campaign envelopes that had fdr's picture on the outside of the envelope and it said, i left the state collecting president, member of the -- association because he wanted that message floating around the country. once he got into the oval office, for instance i give you changes that took place. fdr took away a job from an assistant general unassisted on reviewing and giving final approval for every stamp that came out during his term as president. that happened to be 206 stamps. on top of that, he designed
several stamps, his most famous was the admiral burke he was very good friends with admiral byrd. he was doing his second expedition and fdr personally designed the stamp also with f fdr. you have his close ally is general and he had a stamp collector sitting in the oval office. they did so many things to change the face of the post office. one was putting it as fdr suggested a window. what the window was cut city don't like stamp collecting being rushed from there looking at stamps because the customer with the heavy parcel mumbling behind them. so he put in windows thoroughly to be used by stamp collectors so you could take all your time is the person behind you is going to do the same thing. they introduced first day ceremonies which go on today.
that was james follies idea. he said we have to get people excited about stamps. the first time they would see a new stamp is when they went to the window and bought a sheet of stamps. he said we have to have ceremonies to get the networks up. that is still ongoing and a very good tool to get information out there. the two men really change the face of the post office department. this is a piece that belonged to the fdr collection and i have an interesting story to tell about this. on the back the auction house which were philatelic auctioneers they had fdr's collection go in new york city and they stamped the back. they authenticated that this was a part of fdr's personal collection. it was going to the secretary of state. when fdr got in the oval office
he found his predecessor was also a stamp collector but not nearly on the level as fdr. he initiated a program with the state department that once the contents were taken out of the envelopes all of the envelopes in this once from 1935, all of them would be forwarded to the oval office to see if the president needed stamps for his collection. fdr went a step higher. he once wrote a letter in pencil on stationary and i got it when i was researching for the book. this from the president to the secretary of state and i thought they misfiled it. but i was going to leave the letter before a filed it. it was hand written letter to
the secretary of state where fdr was accusing the state department employees of holding back some of the larger empty envelopes. he was insisting that the secretary of state oversee the operation. any stamps he wouldn't need the secretary would snap them off and would put them in a plastic baggie because he was getting thousands of letters from children say i started a stamp collection miss who hand would send them a letter on behalf of the president wishing them well with their collection and starting them off with 25 stamps. fdr was in every facet of the industry at that time. he had a portion of his stamp collection with him everywhere he went. that includes at his house when he was governor he had a portion of it with them in the top left her of his desk. there are certain memos that when he was on a boring
conversation as governor he would slide the drawer open and start working with this stamp collection until the torment of the conversation ended. then he had it on the white house with him and a portion of his collection in georgia. he brought a portion of it to the famous conference with churchill and stalin. he would work on his stamp collection every day for one hour before going to bed. one of the reasons was to let them unwind from the hectic day that he had. he passed away on april 12, 1945. he always had a portion of the stamp collection with him and he worked on that morning. when he got up as part of his routine. of course he died that afternoon at 335.
believe it or not james cannot find one member of the family that even wanted one item of the stamp collection. i don't have an exact number but when he decided to turn it over to the auction house james decided that my father would want to share this with other collectors. there are so many that they had to do the auction over seven days and four sessions, all-day sessions. while his collection was estimated at $85000, he didn't care if the stamps were better oil from his fingers, the final gavel fell when they raise $225,000. everybody wanted to get a piece of his collection. >> here's a look at some of the
books being published this week. senior editor explores the history behind the iphone. british neuroscientist shares his research on brain death. also being published they were called the life of -- smalls new york university journalism mrs. stevens discusses lowell thomas in, the voice of america. cardiac surgeon reflects on the successes and failures of his 11000 surgeries in, open heart. look for these in bookstores and look for many of the authors in the near future on book tv at c-span2.