”With the new day comes new strength and new thoughts.”
Who Is Eleanor Roosevelt?
First lady Eleanor Roosevelt (1884-1962), wife of Franklin D. Roosevelt (1882-1945), the U.S. president from 1933 to 1945, was a leader in her own right and involved in numerous humanitarian causes throughout her life. The niece of President Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919), Eleanor was born into a wealthy New York family. She married Franklin Roosevelt, her fifth cousin once removed, in 1905. By the 1920s, Roosevelt, who raised five children, was involved in Democratic Party politics and numerous social reform organizations. In the White House, she was one of the most active first ladies in history and worked for political, racial and social justice. After President Roosevelt’s death, Eleanor was a delegate to the United Nations and continued to serve as an advocate for a wide range of human rights issues. She remained active in Democratic causes and was a prolific writer until her death at age 78.
Her Early Years
Anna Eleanor Roosevelt was born on October 11, 1884, in New York City. Her father, Elliott Roosevelt (1860-1894) was the younger brother of Theodore Roosevelt, and her mother, Anna Hall (1863-1892), was from a wealthy New York family. Roosevelt’s father was an alcoholic and her parents’ marriage was troubled. After her mother died of diphtheria in 1892 (her father died less than two years later), Roosevelt and her two younger brothers, Elliott Roosevelt Jr. (1889-1893) and Gracie Hall Roosevelt (1891-1941), lived with their grandmother, Mary Ludlow Hall (1843-1919), in Manhattan and Tivoli, New York.
A First Lady
Eleanor Roosevelt was initially reluctant to step into the role of first lady, fearful about losing her hard-won autonomy and knowing she would have to give up her Todhunter teaching job and other activities and organizations she cared about. However, after Franklin Roosevelt was sworn in as president in March 1933, Eleanor began to transform the conventional role of first lady from social hostess to that of a more visible, active participant in her husband’s administration.
From 1946 to 1953, Roosevelt served as a U.S. delegate to the United Nations, where she oversaw the drafting and passage of the Universal Human Declaration of Rights. Roosevelt considered the document, which continues to serve as a model for how people and nations should treat each other, one of her most significant achievements. From 1961 until her death the following year, Roosevelt headed the first Presidential Commission on the Status of Women, at the request of President John Kennedy (1917-1963). She also served on the board of numerous organizations, including the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and the Advisory Council for the Peace Corps. Roosevelt remained involved in Democratic Party activities during her post-White House years, campaigning for candidates around the country. Additionally, she hosted radio programs and a television news show, and continued to write her newspaper column and give lectures. Over the course of her life, Roosevelt wrote 27 books and more than 8,000 columns.
To read a full biography check: www.history.com