About Roosevelt's Secret White House Tapes
During the summer of 1940, Franklin Roosevelt had a recording machine installed under the Oval Office with the intent to record press conferences. The machine was often turned on before press conferences and would often continue recording after the press conferences concluded. Because of this, many of the recordings include office discussions immediately before or following the press conference. Also a small number of conversations that may or may not be independent recordings (i.e. not associated with a specific press conference) were recorded.
The complete collection of Roosevelt Presidential Recordings is available for download below. On the original audio files, conversations often spanned more than one file. We have spliced audio files together when reasonably certain that the two files originally represented a single conversation.
Browsing or searching the Roosevelt tapes
- All available recordings for all six presidents who secretly recorded conversations are available on the Research the Tapes landing page. The collection of recordings across all six presidents includes more than 30,000 unique recordings.
- Using the "Filter" tool, you can limit your search or browsing to one or more presidents.
- The Roosevelt tapes will display in chronological order.
- Generally there will be two types of recordings available. They will be titled “Press Conference [Relevant Press Conference Number]” or “Office Conversation.”
- Each recording has a limited set of metadata associated with it to allow for searching. The metadata for Roosevelt includes: date and a very brief description.
- We use organic search for the Secret White House Recordings allowing users to use a multiple terms in a single data string. So, for example, if you were interested in finding recordings involving Japan and Cordell Hull you would simply enter: "Cordell Hull Japan" into the search box to surface the relevant recordings. Do not use boolean terms such as "and" or "or."