Created shortly after the death of President Franklin D. Roosevelt as a memorial, this “Official Films” silent newsreel was sold for home use. The film shows the career of FDR starting with his earliest days in politics, including rare footage before he was stricken with Polio. It also shows the President throughout his four terms in office, and then the funeral preparations and burial.

The backstory of the funeral is this: in the early afternoon of April 12, 1945 President Roosevelt was in his private cottage at Warm Springs Georgia signing papers and sitting for a portrait painter. Suddenly, he raised his hand to his head complaining of a headache. He then slumped forward, losing consciousness.

At 3:35 PM he was pronounced dead from a massive cerebral hemorrhage. FDR’s sudden death stunned the nation. The public’s shock was magnified by the fact that Roosevelt had been America’s chief executive for over twelve years. Young Americans had no memory of any other President. The timing of his death, at a moment when victory in World War II seemed at hand, added to the country’s grief.

The President’s body was carried by train back to Washington D.C. Full military honors were rendered in a procession from the train station to the White House. The streets were lined with units of the nation’s armed forces and thousands of grieving citizens. At the White House the casket was placed in the East Room where a private Episcopal Funeral Service was conducted at 4:00PM. That evening the casket was removed and placed on a train for the trip to the President’s Hyde Park home.

At Hyde Park the casket was transferred to a horse-drawn gun carriage and carried up the hill to the estate preceded by a military band and a battalion of West Point cadets. Limousines containing President Truman, the Roosevelt Family, and close associates followed. The president was buried in the Rose Garden at Hyde Park.

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This film is part of the Periscope Film LLC archive, one of the largest historic military, transportation, and aviation stock footage collections in the USA. Entirely film backed, this material is available for licensing in 24p HD and 2k. For more information visit

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