By Meg Ratliff, Berry College
As most Berry students know, President’s Day was earlier this week and, of course, we were not out of school. Even though it is a national holiday recognized by many schools and organizations, we watched President’s Day come and go while sitting in class or working on papers or doing homework. Luckily for me I was able to make my President’s Day worthwhile by actually enjoying my work while editing some documents.
My favorite group of documents is the collection of letters and images regarding the presidents and their interactions with Martha Berry and her schools. Although many people might already be familiar with the famous photograph of President Theodore Roosevelt driving Martha Berry in a wagon, I will soon begin scanning other images of the Presidents and Berry. I have also already tagged a number of documents relating to almost every president from Teddy Roosevelt to FDR. Moreover, while visiting Oak Hill and the Martha Berry Museum with my family last weekend, I found many portraits, signed photos, and documents between Martha Berry and U.S. Presidents including Calvin Coolidge and Teddy Roosevelt. It’s exciting for me to find these different connections between Martha Berry and the Presidents.
One of the most interesting of the Presidential documents can be found in the FDR tag. I discovered correspondence between Martha Berry and FDR written in 1927 when Roosevelt was Vice President of the Fidelity and Deposit Company of Maryland. In this letter he discusses his future plans for Warm Springs, Georgia and his inability to visit the Berry Schools because of his crutches. I have always been interested in FDR’s presidency and in this time period in American history, so you can guess at how excited I was to find this letter. It is always fascinating to see how influential Martha Berry was with a select few of the Presidents, even before they were in office.
You can find more Presidential documents and images on the MBDA site under the collection ‘U.S. Presidents and the Berry Schools’.