|FDR's First Cabinet. Will Woodin, Treasury |
Secretary, is on his left.
He grew up an only child, graduated from Harvard in 1904 and then Columbia Law School. In 1905, he married Eleanor Roosevelt, a niece of TR and a distant cousin.
FDR was elected to the NY State Senate, served as Assistant Secretary of the Navy under Woodrow Wilson, and in 1920 ran for Vice President on the unsuccessful Democratic challenge to Warren Harding. Despite being paralyzed by polio in 1921, he was elected Governor of NY, serving from 1929 to 1932. As Governor, he tried out social programs that were more successful than national programs to combat high (as high as 25 percent) unemployment attempted by President Hoover.
He was not financially well situated to run for President in 1932 because he had accumulated huge debts running his Warm Springs Foundation in Warm Springs, Ga. Originally envisioned as a spa for himself, FDR brought in more staff and served other patients with the care he had been obtaining for himself, regardless, it seems, of the patients' ability to pay.
To allow FDR to run for President, Will Woodin, who as of 1928 was President or Chairman of two of the 20 companies in the Dow Jones Industrial Average–American Car & Foundry and American Locomotive–raised the money to pay off FDR's Warm Springs debts, and then helped him raise the money for his campaign for the presidency.