Eleanor Roosevelt


Anna Eleanor Roosevelt was born in New York City on October 11, 1884 to a wealthy family. Her father, Elliott Roosevelt, was the younger brother of President Theodore Roosevelt, and her mother, Anna Hall, was a member of the prominent Livingston family. Eleanor was orphaned as a child, and lived with her grandmother Mary Hall in Tivoli, New York. Eleanor attended Allenswood Academy, a school for girls in England, where she studied under Mademoiselle Marie Souvestre. Souvestre's tutelage shaped Eleanor's social and political career. On March 17, 1905, Eleanor married her cousin Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR). His polio diagnoses in 1921 inspired Eleanor to pursue her political goals. She participated in the League of Women Voters, the Women's Trade Union League, and promoted the Roosevelt name in Democratic organizations.

Eleanor Roosevelt proved to be an extraordinary First Lady after assuming the position in 1933. She held her own press conferences that catered to women journalists, protested racial injustice through her resignation from the Daughter's of the American Revolution (DAR), and supported Works Progress Administration (WPA) projects. After the United States entered World War II in December 1941, Eleanor visited England and the South Pacific on goodwill tours to boost the morale of U.S. troops overseas. She continued her fight for racial equality on the home front through her highly publicized visits to the Tuskegee Army Air Field and the Gila River Internment Camp.

Eleanor continued to participate in politics after President Roosevelt's death in 1945. She served as chair of the Human Rights Commission, and worked diligently to pass the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Eleanor also served as a cultural ambassador in Japan after the war, and continued her efforts to promote women's equality through her position as chair of the President's Commission on the Status of Women. She retired to Val-Kill estate in Hyde Park, New York, where she died on November 7, 1962.

Women in Politics

"The idea largely is to make an understanding between the White House and the general public. You are the interpreters to the women of the country as to what goes on politically in the legislative national life, and also what the social and…

Depression Relief

"The men work in the mines in winter and one or two days a week intermittently in summer. This Iowa farm land makes any one living in New York State envious, the soil is rich and free of stones. Each homestead has from three and a half to eight…

Civil Rights Activist

"...I am in complete disagreement with the attitude taken in refusing Constitution Hall to a great artist. You have set an example which seems to me unfortunate, and I feel obliged to send in to you my resignation. You had an opportunity to lead…

An Education for Women

"Yesterday morning we drove around the grounds of the Georgia State Women's College, where the students certainly have every opportunity for a healthy and happy outdoor life. Available are tennis courts, horses to ride, a beautiful swimming…

Red Tail Resistance

"Finally we went out to the aviation field, where a Civil Aeronautics unit for the teaching of colored pilots is in full swing. They have advanced training here, and some of the students went up and did acrobatic flying for us. These boys are…

Supporting the War Effort

"...I can only say that the men are doing their part extremely well in adjusting to a climate which is traditionally in November somewhat rainy, and so has given them plenty of rain and mud to cope with under conditions which require a saving of…

A Nation of Immigrants

"To undo a mistake is always harder than not to create one originally but we seldom have the foresight. Therefore we have no choice but to try to correct our past mistakes and I hope that the recommendations of the staff of the War Relocation…

Entering a War Zone

"Guadalcanal looks very different from when the Marines landed. By holding on through the desperate first months, till we could get supplies and the Army came in and relieved them, they assured us of ultimate domination in the Pacific. Today…

A New President

"My dear Mr. President: There have been many thousands of letters, telegrams and cards sent to me and my children which have brought great comfort and consolation to all of us. This outpouring of affectionate thought has touched us all deeply…

Spreading Democracy

"On Monday morning I was invited to meet with a group of about 20 members of the political leaders of the Diet. The Committee seemed rather pleased by this and said it was an unusual thing for them to do. I was not asked to make a speech but I…

"First Lady of the World"

"I have come this evening to talk with you on one of the greatest issues of our time—that is the preservation of human freedom. I have chosen to discuss it here in France, at the Sorbonne, because here in this soil the roots of human freedom…

Regarding Women's Equality

"Thank you very much. I think that's a very good objective, but there is one thing that I think a great many women are interested in, and that is that here, where women have in many ways a very much better situation than they have in other…