A President in Our Midst
Franklin Delano Roosevelt in Georgia

Kaye Lanning Minchew

The Georgia–FDR connection and what it meant for the entire country


“Historians have paid too little attention to Franklin Roosevelt’s loving but complicated relationship with the state of Georgia. With A President in Our Midst, Kaye Lanning Minchew has compiled a fascinating collection of stories, eyewitness recollections, and photographs to fill that gap. It’s a wonderful addition to the library of Rooseveltiana.”
—James Tobin, author of The Man He Became: How FDR Defied Polio to Win the Presidency

“Born with a silver spoon in his mouth, a scion of New York social aristocracy, a son of Harvard, and the very model of the North’s elite, why would this man fall in love with the people of Georgia, and especially the poor farmer? It is a great mystery, but one that transformed Roosevelt himself. In Georgia life came back to a polio-stricken FDR, and there he breathed his last breath.”
—Jamil S. Zainaldin, President, Georgia Humanities Council

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Franklin Delano Roosevelt visited Georgia forty-one times between 1924 and 1945. This rich gathering of photographs and remembrances documents the vital role of Georgia’s people and places in FDR’s rise from his position as a despairing politician daunted by disease to his role as a revered leader who guided the country through its worst depression and a world war.

A native New Yorker, FDR called Georgia his “other state.” Seeking relief from the devastating effects of polio, he was first drawn there by the reputed healing powers of the waters at Warm Springs. FDR immediately took to Georgia, and the attraction was mutual. Nearly two hundred photos show him working and convalescing at the Little White House, addressing crowds, sparring with reporters, visiting fellow polio patients, and touring the countryside. Quotes by Georgians from a variety of backgrounds hint at the countless lives he touched during his time in the state.

In Georgia, away from the limelight, FDR became skilled at projecting strength while masking polio’s symptoms. Georgia was also his social laboratory, where he floated new ideas to the press and populace and tested economic recovery projects that were later rolled out nationally. Most important, FDR learned to love and respect common Americans—beginning with the farmers, teachers, maids, railroad workers, and others he met in Georgia.

This project was made possible, in part, by the generous support of the Norman and Emmy Lou Illges Foundation

Published in association with the Georgia Humanities Council

Page count: 272 pp.
200 b&w photos
Trim size: 10 x 8

Read more about Franklin D. Roosevelt in Georgia at the New Georgia Encyclopedia.


List price: $34.95

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List price: $29.95

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Kaye Lanning Minchew was the executive director of the Troup County Historical Society and Archives for more than thirty years. Now retired, she serves as an archival consultant and lives in LaGrange, Georgia.