In 1914, Assistant Secretary of the Navy Franklin D. Roosevelt watched the laying of keel No. 39 at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. This ship would later be commissioned as the USS Arizona, struck down during the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941 when Roosevelt was President of the United States.

In 1914, Roosevelt had not yet been struck down by polio. National Archives staff took a closer look at the glass plate:

Striding confidently in the front of the group was a smiling figure wearing a stylish derby hat with his head cocked staring straight at the camera. Behind him was a gaggle of VIPs in great coats, hand warmers, and top hats. We weren’t sure if the person in the image was Franklin Delano Roosevelt, but P.T. as a military history buff was quick to point out that everyone knew…that “Battleship No. 39” was the Battleship Arizona sunk during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor during World War II.

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