Rare Documents Show a Palm Reader's Take on Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt

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tags: FDR, Eleanor Roosevelt

Perhaps, in the weeks after his second term began, Franklin Roosevelt sought a prediction of what lay ahead for him and whether his plans, such as his controversial attempt to add more Supreme Court justices, would succeed. Perhaps, given the President’s fear of Friday the 13th and of the practice of lighting three cigarettes on a single match, he was feeling superstitious. Perhaps he and First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt were merely interested in experiencing a craze that was sweeping the country in the late 1930s.

For whatever reason — the exact answer isn’t clear — on Mar. 1, 1937, at the personal invitation of Eleanor Roosevelt, celebrity palm reader Nellie Simmons Meier of Indianapolis visited the White House and performed a reading on the President and his inner circle. In the wake of that day, the Roosevelts asked Meier not to publicize assessment of their characters. Now, however, there’s a chance to read it, as palm-reading reports and original signed handprints of the Roosevelts are going up for auction on Dec. 2 in Dallas. Heritage Auctions says the bidding starts at $10,000, but the auction house expects that the collection could potentially fetch as much as $20,000.

According to Meier’s account of the meeting, a sneak peek at which was provided exclusively to TIME by Heritage Auctions, Eleanor Roosevelt had scheduled to host her at the White House on Feb. 26. When Meier arrived, Eleanor told her that and the President also wanted to see her because he had been interested in the reports he had been receiving through his secretaries, and “if I could come back on Monday [March 1] at four, he would make his engagements to fit that time.”

Read entire article at Time Magazine

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