Arkansas PBS > Engage > Blog > "The Roosevelts: An Intimate History" Begins Sept. 14

"The Roosevelts: An Intimate History" Begins Sept. 14

  • Posted by
  • AETN
  • on

They changed our nation’s history … and, in the process, what it means to be an American. In Ken Burns’ latest documentary series “The Roosevelts: An Intimate History” — which premieres Sunday, Sept. 14. — the stories of Theodore, Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt are woven together as we explore one of the most prominent and influential families in American politics.

“ … beyond simply sharing a bloodline or political success, [Theodore, Franklin and Eleanor] each shared a passionate belief that America is at its strongest when everyone has an equal chance. And on a personal level, they each struggled to overcome their own fears while maintaining a public face of courage.” - Ken Burns

Following the Roosevelts’ story for more than a century — starting with Theodore’s birth in 1858 and ending with Eleanor’s death in 1962 — this series charts the impact they had with their government and each other and how they redefined the role of the U.S. within the wider world. It’s a fascinating look into the history we typically associate with these famous family members — the creation of the National Parks, the digging of the Panama Canal, the New Deal, WWII and Hitler’s defeat, and postwar struggles for civil rights at home and human rights abroad — while also delving into the intimate human story surrounding family ties and the unavoidable influences of betrayal, family feeling, personal courage and the conquest of fear. 

Adding another outstanding layer to an already impressive film series is the featured voice-over talent. Legendary Meryl Streep portrays Eleanor Roosevelt in readings form the former-first lady’s personal letters and writing; Paul Giamatti provides the voice of Theodore Roosevelt; and Edward Herrmann — well-known for his performances as FDR in “Eleanor and Franklin” and “Eleanor and Franklin: The White House Years,” as well as in the first feature film adaptation of the Broadway musical “Annie” — voices our 32nd president.

Learn more about what you have to look forward to — and explore the incredible project image gallery — at



“The Roosevelts: An Intimate History” 



“The Roosevelts: An Intimate History”

Sept. 14-20, 2014, at 7 each night