Why Does the FDR Library Have These Pictures?
Collection consists of 379 glass plate negatives taken by Hyde Park
resident Charles Sylvester Piersaull between the years 1890 and 1900. Mr.
Piersaull's photographed the people, buildings, and landscape of Hyde Park,
giving us a unique look into life in turn-of-the-century Hyde Park, New
York. The negatives were found by Celia Zepf while cleaning out the
basement of one of her father Albert's buildings. She turned the
photographs over to the National Park Service headquarters at Vanderbilt
Mansion so that they could be held at the Library of Congress, but when
Franklin Roosevelt learned of the photographs, he insisted they be held at
his library. "There is no question," he wrote to National Park
Service, "that the negatives and other material relating to Hyde Park
and Dutchess County should be deposited in the Franklin D. Roosevelt
Library." FDR wanted his local history to be enjoyed and studied by
Hyde Park residents. Townspeople helped to identify the photographs and on
January 23, 1943, the negatives were turned over to the FDR Library.