American RadioWorks |
(Photos: Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library)

The First Family of Radio

When Franklin D. Roosevelt was elected president in 1932, he and first lady Eleanor Roosevelt both used the new medium of radio to reach into American homes like never before. They rallied the nation to combat the Great Depression and fight fascism. The Roosevelts forged an uncommonly personal relationship with the people. This documentary explores how FDR and ER's use of radio revolutionized the way Americans relate to the White House and its occupants.

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American RadioWorks |
(Photos: Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library)

The First Family of Radio

When Franklin D. Roosevelt was elected president in 1932, he and first lady Eleanor Roosevelt both used the new medium of radio to reach into American homes like never before. They rallied the nation to combat the Great Depression and fight fascism. The Roosevelts forged an uncommonly personal relationship with the people. This documentary explores how FDR and ER's use of radio revolutionized the way Americans relate to the White House and its occupants.

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  • 11.10.14

    Radio: FDR’s ‘Natural Gift’

    President Franklin D. Roosevelt was a radio natural. He spoke in a confident, informal way, using simple words and phrases that were easy to grasp.
  • 11.12.14

    The Roosevelts as a political team

    Eleanor and Franklin Roosevelt were not the first White House couple to act as political partners, but they were the first to do so in such a public fashion.
  • 11.10.14

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    Some predicted radio would be a powerful force for democratizing information and spreading knowledge to a vast population previously separated by geography or income. But the new technology also raised anxieties.


Adoption stories


Rebecca Hammer
San Jose, CA

Birth Country: South Korea
Decade of adoption: 1950s

My name is Rebecca Hammer, and I am 53 years old. I live in San Jose, California with my husband, a retired English teacher. We share four grown children and four grandchildren. I work as an administrative assistant for Pathways Health and Hospice in Sunnyvale, California.

I came to America 49 years ago from Seoul, Korea. My Korean name was Mi Rae Kim, though I was called Mita. It was 1956, and I was 3 years old. My adoption was sponsored by Christian missionaries who took me from the orphanage because I weighed only 14 pounds and was suffering from severe malnutrition. From time to time, I am still in contact with the American missionary with whom I lived for one year before coming to the United States. I know nothing of my birth parents except that my mother was Korean and my father was an American soldier.

Even though there is so much I do not know about my beginnings, I do have much to share: letters, photos and documents (many in Korean) from the orphanage in Seoul, from my adoption process through the International Social Service and from both the Korean and American governments. I was the first Korean orphan to come to Iowa in 1956 and have photos and newspaper clippings of my arrival there.

I have been so energized since looking at your Web site and now better understand why I know virtually nothing of my motherland. Many people never even guess that I am half-Korean. I think that, due to American sentiments at that time, my adoptive parents were more focused on "Americanizing" me than keeping me connected to my Korean heritage. In fact, except for liking Kim Chee, which I adore, I have absolutely no knowledge of Korea, its history, its culture or its language. I was told that my birth mother, for my survival, dropped me off at the Eden Orphanage in Seoul and walked away.

Becuase of your radio program, I suddenly feel as though a whole new opportunity to understand my past has opened before me. You have given me the impetus to do what I have before only thought about. I want to gather my documents and photos, piece as many details together as I can, and tell you my story with the dignity it deserves.

I have always felt the dichotomy of my existence. The keys to my past may remain forever unknown. I very likely could have died in Korea before my third birthday, but in being transported to America, I have thus far lived a rich, full life. I am lucky to be here.



Back to Adoption Stories


American RadioWorks |
(Photos: Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library)

The First Family of Radio

When Franklin D. Roosevelt was elected president in 1932, he and first lady Eleanor Roosevelt both used the new medium of radio to reach into American homes like never before. They rallied the nation to combat the Great Depression and fight fascism. The Roosevelts forged an uncommonly personal relationship with the people. This documentary explores how FDR and ER's use of radio revolutionized the way Americans relate to the White House and its occupants.

Recent Posts

  • 11.17.14

    The Utility of a PhD

    Humanities professors at colleges and universities are re-thinking what it means to offer a PhD. The old model is proving unsustainable. It takes an average nine years to get a doctorate, but less than 60 percent of PhDs are finding tenure-track teaching jobs. This week, we look at a new report recommending academics view doctoral programs in a new light.
  • 11.10.14

    Radio: FDR’s ‘Natural Gift’

    President Franklin D. Roosevelt was a radio natural. He spoke in a confident, informal way, using simple words and phrases that were easy to grasp.
  • 11.12.14

    The Roosevelts as a political team

    Eleanor and Franklin Roosevelt were not the first White House couple to act as political partners, but they were the first to do so in such a public fashion.
  • 11.10.14

    Radio: The Internet of the 1930s

    Some predicted radio would be a powerful force for democratizing information and spreading knowledge to a vast population previously separated by geography or income. But the new technology also raised anxieties.