About this Famous Person
Franklin D. ROOSEVELT
32nd President of the United States
Published by : Tim DOWLING
Roosevelt was born in the Hudson Valley town of Hyde Park, New York. His father, James Roosevelt, and his mother, Sara Ann Delano, were sixth cousins and both were from wealthy old New York families. They were of mostly English descent; Roosevelt's great-grandfather, James Roosevelt, was of Dutch ancestry, and his mother's maiden name, Delano, originated with a French Huguenot immigrant of the 17th century. Franklin was their only child.
Roosevelt grew up in an atmosphere of privilege. Sara was a possessive mother; James, 54 when Franklin was born, was considered by some as a remote father, though biographer Burns indicates James interacted with his son more than was typical at the time. Sara was the dominant influence in Franklin's early years; she once declared "My son Franklin is a Delano, not a Roosevelt at all." Frequent trips to Europe made Roosevelt conversant in German and French. He learned to ride, shoot, row, and play polo and lawn tennis. Roosevelt also took up golf in his teen years, becoming a skilled long hitter. He learned to sail, and his father gave him a sailboat at the age of sixteen which he named "New Moon"
Roosevelt attended Groton School, an Episcopal boarding school in Massachusetts; ninety percent of the students were from families on the social register. He was heavily influenced by its headmaster, Endicott Peabody, who preached the duty of Christians to help the less fortunate and urged his students to enter public service. Forty years later Roosevelt said of Peabody, "It was a blessing in my life to have the privilege of [his] guiding hand." Peabody recalled Roosevelt as "a quiet, satisfactory boy of more than ordinary intelligence, taking a good position in his form but not brilliant".