3¢ FDR and White House
Issue Date: June 27, 1945
City: Washington, D.C.
Printed by: Bureau of Engraving and Printing
Printing Method: Rotary Press
Perforations: 11 x 10.5
Franklin Roosevelt was President at one of the most important times in American history. During his time at the White House (commemorated on U.S. #932), Roosevelt successfully led America through both the Great Depression and World War II. This stamp was issued as part of a series of four memorial stamps issued just a few months after President Roosevelt’s unexpected death in April 1945.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt – America’s Only Four-Term President
Elected President four times, Franklin Delano Roosevelt served in the nation’s highest office longer than any other chief executive – 12 years. He was born on January 30, 1882, in Hyde Park, New York, the only child of a wealthy family. Roosevelt graduated from Harvard in 1904, and then studied at Columbia Law School.
In 1910, Roosevelt was elected to the New York state senate. He was appointed assistant secretary of the navy in 1913. Roosevelt was stricken with polio in 1921. Although permanently disabled, he remained active in politics. In 1928, Roosevelt was elected governor of New York, and was re-elected in 1930. As the Great Depression ravaged America in 1932, he was elected President over Herbert Hoover.
Roosevelt took office at a time of great economic turmoil in the United States. By 1933, the four-year-old Depression was taking a large toll on the country. Unemployed workers lost their homes. Thousands more were forced to stand in bread lines because they could not afford to pay for food.
As the Depression progressed, anxious investors rushed to get their money from the banks. Many banks were unable to meet this demand and were run out of business. This, in turn, caused more investors to pull out of banks, causing more banks to fail. On March 6, 1933, just two days after taking office, President Roosevelt imposed a “bank holiday” and closed all the banks in the United States. When each bank was inspected by the Department of the Treasury and determined to be sound, it was re-opened. This increased the public’s confidence, because of the belief that if a bank was re-opened, it was safe.
On March 9, 1933, President Roosevelt called a special session of Congress in an attempt to help ease the Depression. During this session, called the “Hundred Days,” Roosevelt introduced an aggressive package of reforms aimed at getting the economy back on track. “The New Deal” contained such important programs as the Agricultural Adjustment Act, the National Industry Recovery Act, the Works Projects Administration, and the Civilian Conservation Corps. In addition, Congress passed the Social Security Act of 1935 and the National Labor Relations Act of 1935.
As the election of 1940 approached, Europe was in the midst of a great war. Americans felt that the same President who was leading them out of the Depression should lead them through this time of international turmoil. President Roosevelt was elected for an unprecedented third term in office. Roosevelt intended to give the allied forces all aid short of joining in the war. However, on December 7, 1941, Japan bombed the U.S. Pacific Fleet in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. The following day the United States declared war on Japan. Three days after that, Germany and Italy, Japanese allies, declared war on the United States. World War II would become the most costly war in American history up to that time.
Although Roosevelt did not want to run for President a fourth time, he felt it was his duty to run, thereby avoiding a wartime change in leadership. He was re-elected easily. However, Roosevelt would not live out his fourth term. On April 12, 1945, while sitting for a portrait at his retreat in Warm Springs, Georgia, the President complained of a terrible headache. He died of a cerebral hemorrhage a few hours later. Roosevelt is buried in the rose garden of his home in Hyde Park, New York.
First Air Force One Christened
On November 24, 1954, First Lady Mamie Eisenhower christened the first plane to be designated Air Force One.
Decades earlier, Theodore Roosevelt became the first US president to fly in an airplane. The flight came after his time as president, on October 11, 1910. On that occasion, he rode in an airplane piloted by Arch Hoxsey at a county fair in St. Louis.
It would be several years before a sitting president would fly. But by the 1930s, the technology had improved enough to make presidential air travel relatively safe and reliable. In 1933, Franklin Roosevelt’s administration received a Douglas Dolphin, the first aircraft bought specifically for presidential travel, though there are no records indicating Roosevelt ever flew on the plane. In 1943, he flew aboard the Dixie Clipper Boeing 314 Flying Boat to the Casablanca Conference in Morocco – a 5,500-mile trip.
The US Army Air Forces didn’t want the president to have to rely on commercial airlines for his travel, so they ordered a C-87A military aircraft be converted for his use. But the plane had a questionable safety record and the president never used it, though some of the people in his cabinet would use it.
Eventually, the Secret Service acquired and upgraded a C-54 Skymaster for Roosevelt’s use. Nicknamed Sacred Cow, it had a sleeping area, radio telephone, and a retractable elevator to lift Roosevelt in his wheelchair into the plane. Roosevelt flew in the plane once before his death, to the Yalta Conference in February 1945.
After Roosevelt’s death, Harry Truman replaced the presidential aircraft with a C-118 Liftmaster named Independence (after his Missouri hometown). The Independence had a distinctive bald eagle head painted on the nose.
Then in 1953, two planes nearly collided over New York City. One was Eastern Airlines flight 8610 and the other was Air Force flight 8610. Because they had the same call sign, they entered the same airspace and nearly collided. After this incident, it was decided that the president’s plane should have its own unique call sign, Air Force One.
At the time, Dwight Eisenhower used Lockheed C-121 Constellations, which he called Columbine I and II, after the state flower of Colorado. After the near collision in 1953, the Columbine II was called Air Force One. Then on November 24, 1954, a new upgraded Constellation was brought into service for the president. This was the first plane to be christened Air Force One from the start of its service. First Lady Mamie Eisenhower christened the plane with a bottle of Rocky Mountain spring water from Colorado.
Later in Eisenhower’s term, the Air Force acquired three Boeing 707 jets, one of which he flew on a 22,000-mile “Flight to Peace” goodwill tour to 11 Asian nations. During John F. Kennedy’s presidency, industrial designer Raymond Loewy redesigned the presidential aircraft, adopting a popular design with the country’s name spaced out widely along the side of the plane accompanied by the presidential seal and the US flag.
During Ronald Reagan’s administration, two Boeing 747s were ordered to replace the older 707s in use at the time. The newer aircraft are considered traveling White Houses. If there were an attack on the US, the President could remain airborne and continue his duties.
Eisenhower’s administration also marked the first time helicopters were used to transport the president. He needed a faster way to reach his summer home in Pennsylvania and Air Force One couldn’t land at the White House or his summer home. The first presidential helicopter was a Sikorsky UH-34 Seahorse. Up until 1976, the Marine Corps and the US Army shared the responsibility of presidential helicopter transport. Since then, the Marines have solely handled this, which is why it’s called Marine One.