JF Ptak Science Books Post 1302
FDR may well have been among our greatest presidents--but a reader, well, he was not. Doesn't matter, not really. (Harry Hopkins, long an adviser to Roosevelt and who held numerous high-level positions in the Roosevelt administration, once said that he never saw FDR with a book, let alone reading one.)
There is a presidential library for him, of course, but that doesn't prove that the Great Man read very much. Maybe he just didn't need to for the job. (That has been proved true in recent times though with a different outcome at the end of the presidency.)
And frankly I don't care if Roosevelt read anything more than L'Il Abner. But I do know for a fact that he did come into contact with a great piece of American social history in this famous story of a girl named Virginia O'Hanlon (1889-1971) who wrote to the editor of the New York Evening Sun in 1897, asking "Is There a Santa Claus?" (Her father prompted her to write, stating that if one saw a positive response in the pages of The Sun, then it absolutely must be so.)
And of course there is a Santa Claus, and so wrote the editor. (See here for the full text of the response, and also about the man who wrote it--a nice story of a man who rose to the occasion after the assignment got batted around a bit.)
The telling of the story in the book that I have here, an almost-fancy and semi-sumptuous little affair, was once owned by FDR. It was no doubt sent to the new president from the publisher in December 1933. Satisfied with the story and needing no further help with his own belief on the matter, Roosevelt sent his copy on to the good folks at the Library of Congress, and after six decades there, came to me.
For what is it worth, I think that FDR knew there was a Santa, and that was that.