September 16, 2002 Letters to President Franklin D. Roosevelt to be Featured in "Books & Beyond" Program on Tuesday, Oct. 15

Program to Focus on Citizen Responses to FDR’s Fireside Chats

Press Contact: Craig D’Ooge (202) 707-9189
Public Contact: (202) 707-5221

Cultural historians Lawrence W. Levine and Cornelia R. Levine will present a talk about their book, “The People and the President: America’s Conversations with FDR” (Beacon Press, 2002), at the Library of Congress at 6:30 p.m., Tuesday, October 15, in the Mumford Room, sixth floor, James Madison Memorial Building, 101 Independence Ave., S.E.

Part of the Center for the Book’s Books & Beyond author series, the program is co-sponsored with the Recorded Sound Section of the Library’s Motion Picture, Broadcasting, and Recorded Sound Division and the National Archives and Records Service. It is free and open to the public. No tickets are required.

In “The People and the President,” the Levines emphasize one of the many profound changes instituted by FDR: “a revolution in the pattern of communication between Americans and their Chief Executive.” They focus on the letters that President Roosevelt received in response to the 31 “Fireside Chat” radio addresses he gave to the American people between 1933 and 1945. The letters not only help re-create a remarkable picture of America from the hardship of the Depression to the turmoil surrounding our nation’s entry into World War II, but also show how radio, a new technology at the time, “functioned as a primary medium of communication.”

Lawrence W. Levine, a MacArthur Award-winning historian who teaches at George Mason University, is the author of “The Opening of the American Mind” (1996) and other books about American cultural history. Cornelia R. Levine is an independent scholar. They live in Berkeley, Calif., and Washington, D.C.

The Recorded Sound Section of the Library’s Motion Picture, Broadcasting, and Recorded Sound Division contains the largest publicly available radio broadcast collection in the United States, including more than 650 recordings of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. The National Archives and Records Service administers the nation’s presidential libraries, including the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library in Hyde Park, N.Y., the major resource for the Levine’s book.

The Center for the Book was established in 1977 to use the resources and prestige of the Library of Congress to stimulate public interest in books, reading, and libraries. For information about its program and publications and the activities of its statewide and national affiliates, see its Web site:


PR 02-127
ISSN 0731-3527