Published Date

December 28, 1934

Resource Type

AHA Archival Document, Archival Resource, Primary Source


United States

This letter was located by William I. Hitchcock (Univ. of Virginia) in the William Dodd Papers at the Library of Congress. A copy of the letter, graciously provided by Hitchcock, can be downloaded above. 


The White House
December 28, 1934

My dear Doctor Dodd:

It was with a sense of pleasure that I received the invitation to speak at the Founders’ Dinner of the American Historical Association. It is with an equal sense of regret that I find it impossible to be present and personally pay tribute to the small band who remain of those forty-one historians who themselves made history on September 10, 1884.

We like to commemorate the deeds of the patriots who founded and developed this great nation. When we honor these men we reconsecrate ourselves to the traditions by which they were guided and pledge ourselves to cherish the liberty they established and maintained. It is well to do this, but it is also fitting that we should remember those who have recorded the events of our history.

Due to the efforts of the American Historical Association, we know more now about the history of the United States during the Revolutionary period than was known fifty years ago. It has magically eliminated time and made our ancestors living, breathing realities instead of dim historic figures. We cannot overestimate the value of the study of the past in America and its relation to good citizenship and as an aid to the determination of the policies of the future.

The American Historical Association, however, has not confined its efforts to this country alone. We are grateful to it for the special contributions made to the study and development of civic education throughout the world and for its distinguished aid, through history, to the wider and deeper knowledge of the whole field of social sciences.

Franklin D. Roosevelt

Honorable William E. Dodd
President, American Historical Association
Washington, D.C.