Lorena Alice “Hick” Hickok

Lorena Alice “Hick” Hickok

Birth
East Troy, Walworth County, Wisconsin, USA
Death 1 May 1968 (aged 75)
Hyde Park, Dutchess County, New York, USA
Burial Rhinebeck, Dutchess County, New York, USA
Memorial ID 5515168 · View Source
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American journalist and friend of Eleanor Roosevelt.

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Lorena was DAUGHTER to
FATHER - Addison Hickok (a buttermaker)
MOTHER - Anna (Wiate) Hickok (a dressmaker)

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Lorena had a clouded upbringing with her parents, finally living with relatives. She flunked out of college and finally found employment that would change her life. 'The Battle Creek Evening News' hired Lorena to cover train arrivals & departures; She was paid $7 per week to author personal interest stories.

She next got a job at the 'Milwaukee Sentinel'. Hickok convinced her editor to assign her to the City Desk, where she excelled as an interviewer. Several jobs in several towns, a couple of newspaper mentors and she was a skilled newspaper woman ( a rare position for a female)! She made a name covering politics and stories like the Lindbergh Baby Kidnapping.

In 1932, Hickok met Eleanor Roosevelt during the 1932 Presidential Campaign. The two women quickly trusted each other - ER speaking honestly about politics and social issues and confiding her fears regarding her life, should FDR win the White House. Their campaign experience led to a lifetime devotion.

She was affectionately called: 'Hick' by her friend.

Hickok left the Associated Press (AP), no longer objective about her coverage of the Roosevelts. ER recommended she be hired for the Federal Emergency Relief Administration. Hickok was to investigate conditions 'average Americans' were confronting. Over a 2 year period, she traveled to 30-some states and recorded information to help FDR's Admin. assist the needy through govt. programs.

Hickok proved directly helpful back at the White House. She suggested ER hold press conferences with only women reporters and encouraged the First Lady to resume her writing career. In 1940, Lorena became Executive Secretary of the 'Women's Division of the Democratic National Committee' (DNC). During this period, Hickok actually 'lived' at the White House.

Her health began to fail in 1945 as Hickok was a diabetic. She had to leave her job with the DNC. By 1954, a frail and partially blind Hickok moved to Hyde Park to be closer to ER. The twosome collaborated on a book titled: 'Women of Courage', a portrait of female political leaders. Hickok authored: 'Reluctant First Lady', a biography of ER; Lastly, she wrote six children's biographies including 'The Life Of Helen Keller'.

*AUTHORS NOTE - The KELLER book was a childhood favorite of the person posting this FIND A GRAVE site. It was read in 1962 - and that very same book is still owned and treasured today.

When Roosevelt died in 1962, a distraught and sick Hickok could not attend the funeral. Near midnight, away from prying eyes, a minister drove Lorena close to the burial site so she could leave wildflowers and be alone with her thoughts.

In later years, there has arisen much speculation regarding the sexual preferences of the two woman - along with several other women friends.

No one claimed Hickok's ashes when she died in 1968. She was buried in 'The Unclaimed Remains Area' at Rhinebeck Cemetery. Her last rites were witnessed by just her undertaker. No one had asked for her ashes for 20 years so they had merely rested on a shelf, forgotten for a long time...

Patsy N. Costello, a Hyde Park neighbor of Hick's, thought it was a shame she would be buried in an unmarked grave.

Today, a marker, bench and dogwood was dedicated on the anniversary of Hickok's death at her grave. The marker cites her as:

"Author, AP Reporter, Activist, Change Agent and Friend of Eleanor Roosevelt."

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*** SYMPATHETIC WORDS ***

"There are secret ties,
there are sympathies,
by the sweet relationship
of which souls that are
well matched
attach themselves to each other,
and are affected by
I know not what,
which cannot be explained"

BY - Pierre Corneille.


This biography is humbly presented by A. Burtrum-Stanley/Ark.


Lorena Hickok was my neighbor here in Hyde Park, NY. Back in 1999 I was invited to a one-woman play in Kingston about Lorena which was produced by Great Dames Productions (Linda Kavars), which was very well done. I got to thinking about "I wonder where Lorena is buried"? I went back to my book about "Lorena Hickok, ER's Friend" by Doris Faber, and found that her remains were handled by the Dobson Funeral Home in Rhineback...so I called them a few times and finally found out that Lorena was cremated. By NYS law they were required to keep her ashes for two years, however, they kept them for 20 years, and as no one claimed them, so they were buried in the Rhinebeck Cemetery, along with several other people's ashes in an unmarked grave in a back corner of the cemetery.

Upon learning this I thought that was not right -- Lorena Hickok was the most famous AP female reporter during the Roosevelt Administration and a friend of Eleanor Roosevelt's, and I felt her grave should be marked. I'm sure ER would have made arrangements for her friend, however, ER passed away in 1962, before Lorena. I then got in touch with Linda Kavars (LK), and we got the wheels turning to have a luncheon at Beekman Arms in Rhinebeck to raise money for the bluestone bench, dogwood tree, and plaque that are now by her grave in the Rhinebeck Cemetery. Not only was her grave marked, but as donations continued to come in, there were scholarships offered at Vassar College, Marist College, and SUNY New Paltz for women going into journalism or women's studies. Great Dames Productions were responsible for this. Blanche Wiesen Cook, one of Eleanor Roosevelt's biographers donated a portion of her book on ER to the cause, and many others helped as well.

Recently I came across a new book, "America 1933 -- The Great Depression, Lorena Hickok, Eleanor Roosevelt, and the Shaping of the New Deal" by Michael Golay, published in 2013, and was amazed at all that Lorena Hickok recorded by traveling across the USA to see how the people were living during the Depression. I would highly recommend this book and am even more glad that I was instrumental in helping to have Lorena's grave marked. I'm sure Eleanor Roosevelt, whom I also knew, is happy that someone in the community was instrumental in marking her friend's grave site.

And now as Paul Harvey would say, "You know the rest of the story."

Patsy Newman Costello

Bio by: Someone Who Cares...


  • Created by: Beverly Kane
  • Added: 5 Jun 2001
  • Find A Grave Memorial 5515168
  • David Allen Vargo
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Lorena Alice “Hick” Hickok (7 Mar 1893–1 May 1968), Find A Grave Memorial no. 5515168, citing Rhinebeck Cemetery, Rhinebeck, Dutchess County, New York, USA ; Maintained by Beverly Kane (contributor 46485975) .