FDR knew networks

By Laurie Bennett

July 29, 2010 at 8:03am

A 75-year-old document released Wednesday by the National Archives highlights Franklin Roosevelt’s keen understanding of network dynamics.

In a 1935 note to Harry Hopkins, he quickly outlines $150 million in spending on work relief, urging the manufacture of overalls and other clothing to employ 280,000 garment workers and consume 750,000 bales of cotton.

The single-page memo “shows the interconnectiveness of everything he’s doing: using bales of cotton to make overalls, which would support farm prices, which would put money in people’s pockets and improve the economy,” archivist Robert W. Clark tells The New York Times.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt
Franklin Delano Roosevelt

As federal relief administrator, Hopkins helped Roosevelt assemble programs designed to put people back to work. The New Deal was itself a network of interconnected programs and objectives. (New Deal Network is also the name of an online guide to the Depression, sponsored by the Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute.)

FDR’s note to Hopkins is part of a cache of documents once held by Grace Tully, personal secretary to the president, who died in 1984.

The chain of possession forms another interesting network - one that suggests there might be a bit of bad luck associated with ownership:

  • The documents were donated to the Roosevelt Presidential Library by the Sun-Times Media Group.
  • Sun-Times Media, which declared bankruptcy last year, acquired the collection as a successor to Hollinger International.
  • Hollinger’s former CEO, Conrad Black, had purchased the archive and written a biography of Roosevelt.
  • Black, convicted in 2007 of defrauding investors, was released from federal prison this month pending the outcome of his appeal.
Follow Muckety on Twitter Tweet This! Share on Facebook

Click here to sign up for the Muckety Newsletter

 Read related stories: Networking · Recent Stories  


  • #1.   Wayne McGinnis 08.02.2010

    FDR Rocked! We need another FDR now!

Leave a Comment

The relationship map to the left is interactive.
• Solid lines are current relations. Dotted lines are former relations.
• Expand items with + signs by double-clicking or by selecting multiple items in the map and pressing the "e" key.
• Move an item in the map by clicking and dragging.
• You can also delete items, separate boxes and save maps. Right-click on the map or select Map Tools for these options.
• Find out more about an item in the map by right-clicking on the item and choosing Information about...
• View map color key.
• This interactive map requires Flash player.

Become a fan of Muckety on Facebook

  • Search for stories
    Special Features

Follow Muckety on Twitter Follow Muckety on Twitter
Muckety has no direct connection to most of the people or organizations listed on these pages.
We are unable to forward personal messages or provide personal contact information.
We make every effort at Muckety to ensure that our data is correct and timely. However, relationships are in constant flux and we cannot guarantee accuracy. If you come across incorrect or outdated information, please let us know by email.
© 2017 Muckety LLC