FDR’s Accessibility Designs
The FDR Library was conceived and built under President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s direction during 1939-41.
Because a 1921 attack of polio had left Roosevelt paralyzed from the waist down, FDR primarily used personally-designed wheelchairs for daily mobility. Since he intended to personally and regularly use the vast collection of papers and manuscripts housed in the archives at the Library, he made sure the storage area aisles were built wide enough to accommodate his wheelchair.
He also personally designed the document storage boxes initially used to house his papers. To enable his own lap-top style reading while in the storage areas, a special box type was created that could lie flat on the shelf, open in a clam-shell fashion, and act as a sort of paper tray. Read More
Pictured, an archivist in the FDR Library archival stacks, circa 1950. The document boxes were designed by FDR.
More - Blueprints with FDR’s Handwritten Notations