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Newly discovered footage provides a rare glimpse of FDR walking in the White House

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Newly discovered film shows FDR walking

Raw video: Franklin D. Roosevelt, who is a paraplegic after contracting polio and worried about appearing vulnerable to the American public, be seen walking with a cane and an aide of bodyguard in rare video released by the FDR Presidential Library.

Extremely rare footage has surfaced that shows President Franklin Delano Roosevelt at a White House event in 1935.

The images, which was recently deposited in the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library, shows the enormous effort that it took the President to walk only a few halting steps.

Roosevelt, who contracted polio in 1921 at the age of 39, and then leg braces, and assistance to walk. His handicap, however, was kept from the American public if the White House imposed strict rules about how he could be photographed or filmed. “There are no images of FDR in his wheelchair or being helped in and out of the cars were allowed; no visual record was made of the strenuous effort that it took him only a few steps on his stiff tied up legs,” says Geoffrey C. Ward, a Roosevelt historian and Library Trustee, in a statement.

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1935, the images were taken during the annual White House Easter Egg Roll on April 22 of that year. The silent black-and-white film was shot by Frederick Hill, a Nevada farmer, who was attending the event with his wife and two children.

Armed with his camera, Hill apparently was not aware of the White House rules and pushed behind a group of news-cameraman for the film, FDR slowly walking along the house porch. The smiling president is leaning on a cane in his right hand, while the left hand grasps the arm of his bodyguard, Gus Gennerich.

“The larger-than-usual crowd on the lawn that day may account for the fact that the Secret Service can’t see what Hill is doing; she had seen that he was filming the President in motion, they would have asked him to hand over the camera and removed the film before the back,” Ward noted.

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In the film, Roosevelt grabs a railing with his left hand before waving to the massive crowds with his right hand. After the greeting of the public, FDR slowly make his way back into the White House, helped by Gennerich.

The architect of the New Deal and the Commander-in-Chief during the second world War, FDR is the only AMERICAN president to have more than two terms. He died of a cerebral hemorrhage on April 12, 1945, 63 years old, during his fourth term of office.

Follow James Rogers on Twitter @jamesjrogers

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