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During his second term in office, President Franklin D. Roosevelt surveyed the vast quantities of papers and other materials he and his staff had accumulated. In the past, many Presidential papers and records had been lost, destroyed, sold for profit, or ruined by poor storage conditions. President Roosevelt sought a better alternative. On the advice of noted historians and scholars, he established a public repository to preserve the evidence of the Presidency for future generations. Beginning a tradition that continues to this day, he raised private funds for the new archival facility and then turned it over to the United States government for operation through the National Archives.
In addition to presidential materials, FDR amassed and donated extensive collections of personal papers related to his early political career, and to the Roosevelt and Delano families. His collections include books, photographs, artwork, artifacts, naval and historical manuscripts. Eleanor Roosevelt donated her collection of over 3 million pages of personal and professional papers to the Library, as did roughly 400 of the Roosevelts' presidential, professional, and personal associates. The archives has grown to house more than 400 distinct archival collections at an estimated estimated 17 million pages, all accessible through the Library's public research facility (https://www.fdrlibrary.org/research-visit).
Franklin D. Roosevelt Library is a member of the Southeastern New York Library Resources Council.