The Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum presents an author talk and book signing with Kathryn Smith, author of THE GATEKEEPER: MISSY LEHAND, FDR AND THE UNTOLD STORY OF THE PARTNERSHIP THAT DEFINED A PRESIDENCY
Thursday, September 8, 2016 at 7:00 p.m.
Henry A. Wallace Center at the
FDR Presidential Library and Home
HYDE PARK, NY — The Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum is pleased to present an author talk and book signing with Kathryn Smith, author of THE GATEKEEPER: MISSY LEHAND, FDR AND THE UNTOLD STORY OF THE PARTNERSHIP THAT DEFINED A PRESIDENCY. The program will be held at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, September 8, 2016 in the Henry A. Wallace Center at the FDR Presidential Library and Home. Following the presentation, Smith will be available to sign copies of her book. This event is free and open to the public.
President Franklin D. Roosevelt considered his savvy personal secretary, Marguerite Alice “Missy” LeHand, one of the most vital, and certainly one of the most loyal, members of his inner circle. He often remarked that Missy was “my conscience.” Missy worked with FDR for more than twenty years, starting from his first failed Vice Presidential campaign in 1920, through his time as governor of New York, and for almost a decade in the White House. Yet while hundreds of books have chronicled FDR’s four historic terms in office, as he steered the country through the Great Depression and World War II, Missy has literally been relegated to the footnotes of history … until now.
Far more than a secretary, Missy fulfilled the crucial duties of Chief of Staff (long before the position was formally created), and she was a persuasive voice in policy decisions and appointment recommendations. She was also FDR’s confidante, his support when he contracted polio, and his close friend. Journalist Kathryn Smith finally tells Missy LeHand’s story in THE GATEKEEPER.
People in Washington, D.C., knew one indisputable truth: if you wanted to get to FDR, you had to go through Missy. From her humble beginnings in working class Boston, Missy remade herself into a worldly and glamourous figure who moved in the inner circles of power in the Roosevelt administration, and who even appeared on the cover of Time in 1934. However, she faded out of the public eye after suffering a debilitating stroke at the age of just 44, and was even more overlooked after her death three years later. What little has been written about her since is all too often wrong, dismissing her as a love-starved secretary at best, or an in-house mistress at worst. There has never even been a book about her life — until now.
Author Kathryn Smith had unprecedented access to original source materials kept lovingly, but largely untouched, by Missy’s heirs for generations. Her extensive research uncovered crucial missing details that redrew Missy’s portrait, including the truth about her long relationship with William Christian Bullitt, the American ambassador to France in the early days of World War II, and the permanent heart damage she sustained as a teenager from a bout with rheumatic fever that ultimately took her life. One notable discovery is a home movie of FDR, taken by Missy in the polio rehabilitation facility in Warm Springs, Georgia.
Kathryn Smith is a journalist and writer. She spent decades writing for daily newspapers and has been the book columnist for the Anderson Independent Mail for twenty years. She has been involved through Rotary International in the worldwide effort to eradicate polio, called PolioPlus, and she has lectured and spoken on FDR’s leadership in that arena. Smith is also the author of A NECESSARY WAR, an oral history of World War II told by living veterans and civilians.
Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum
Designed by Franklin Roosevelt and dedicated on June 30, 1941, the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum is the nation’s first presidential library and the only one used by a sitting president. Every president since FDR has followed his example and established a presidential library administered by the National Archives and Records Administration to preserve and make accessible to the American people the records of their presidencies. The Roosevelt Library’s mission is to foster a deeper understanding of the lives and times of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt and their continuing impact on contemporary life. This work is carried out through the Library’s archives and research room, museum collections and exhibitions, innovative educational programs, and engaging public programming. For more information about the Library or its programs call (800) 337-8474 or visit www.fdrlibrary.org.