Eleanor Roosevelt

Eleanor Roosevelt

Original Name Anna Eleanor Roosevelt
Birth
New York, New York County (Manhattan), New York, USA
Death 7 Nov 1962 (aged 78)
Manhattan, New York County (Manhattan), New York, USA
Burial Hyde Park, Dutchess County, New York, USA
Memorial ID 896 · View Source
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United States First Lady. She received international notoriety as the longest-serving United States First Lady serving from 1933 to 1945, as a politician and diplomat, and activist to the less fortunate of all creeds, races, and nationalities. Born Anna Eleanor Roosevelt, she was the daughter of Anna Hall and Elliot Roosevelt. When her mother died in 1892, she and her younger brother, Theodore, were sent to live with their Grandmother Hall. Two years later her father died. Her education consisted of a private school in England. Upon returning to the United States in 1902, she was presented at a debutante ball at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel on December 14th. Shortly after that, she renewed her acquaintance with Franklin Delano Roosevelt on a train; they became engaged in 1903; and married on March 17, 1905 with her uncle, President Theodore Roosevelt giving the bride away. She and Franklin Roosevelt were fifth cousins once removed. Within eleven years, she bore six children; a son died as an infant. With her husband elected to New York State Senate from 1910 to 1913, she began her long career of a politician's wife. When her husband served as Assistant Secretary of the Navy, she learned the ways of Washington, D.C. During World War I, she served in the Red Cross in a Naval hospital while her husband made an extended tour of naval bases and battlefields in Europe. Upon his return in 1918, she found letters proving that he had been romantically involved with her social secretary, Lucy Mercer. She offered him a divorce, he declined and promised never to see Mercer again. Their marriage was not the same after this. In 1920, her husband was the Democratic candidate for the United State Vice-President ticket; since the Republican candidates won the election, he returned to the private sector for employment. In August of 1921 her husband was diagnosed with poliomyelitis and would be confined to a wheel chair for the rest of his life. She was devoted to him being his confidant. She became active in the women's division of the State Democratic Committee to keep his interest in politics alive. She also became a member of the Women's Union Trade League and the League of Women Voters. She taught American history and literature at a private New York City school, the Todhunter School. At both the 1924 and 1928 Democratic Convention, Franklin Roosevelt nominated Al Smith as a candidate for president. In 1928, she became the First Lady of the State of New York when her husband became the state's 48th governor. After two terms as governor, her husband became the Democratic candidate for the office of President of the United States. On March 4, 1933, inauguration day, she became the First Lady of the United States, but her husband was elected president to a nation that most banks were closed, industrial production had dropped 56%, at least 13 million wage earners were unemployed, and farmers were in dire straits. She understood her social responsibilities better than many of her predecessors. She was a gracious hostess and never shirked official entertaining; she greeted thousands of people in the White House; and she broke precedent having press conferences. She traveled to all parts of the United States and the world, gave lectures, spoke on radio broadcasts, and wrote 8,000 copies of a syndicated newspaper column, “My Day.” In 1936, he was re-elected to a second term and the economy was improving. As a protest in 1939, she resigned from the Daughters of the American Revolution after being an inactive member of seven years. Her resignation was based on the decision that the talented African-American opera singer Marian Anderson had to sing to a segregated audience in the DAR-owned Constitutional Hall; Anderson refused, hence her concert was canceled. Segregated audiences were a common practice in the South until the late 1960s, yet Anderson sang at Constitutional Hall to integrated audiences in 1943, 1953, 1955 and again in 1964. At this point, Eleanor Roosevelt became an active member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the NAACP. By the 1941 inauguration day for his third term as president, German was planning to invade England. On December 7, 1941 the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor in Hawaii destroying most the Pacific fleet of the United States Navy; her husband made his famous radio speech, “a date which will live in infamy;” and the United States entered World War II. She supported the American military by boosting their morale, encouraged volunteerism on the home front, and pushed for female employees in the defense industry. She spoke frankly about keeping her husband's New Deal during the war even though many apposed this. Although her husband had promised not to see Mercer again, she was with the President in Warm Springs, Georgia when he died suddenly from a cerebral hemorrhage on April 12, 1945. At this point, she was no longer the First Lady and built a life of her own. From 1946 to 1953, she served as the United States delegate to the United Nations where she helped draft and work for the passage of the Universal Human Declaration of Rights, a document that served as a model for how people and nations should treat each other. In 1961 until her death the following year, she was the chairperson of the first Presidential Commission on the Status of Women. She wrote 27 books including her 1961 autobiography. She served on the Advisory Council for the Peace Corps. She died of plastic anemia, tuberculosis, and heart failure. Her funeral was attended by President John Kennedy and former presidents Harry Truman and Dwight Eisenhower. After her death, it was learned that J. Edgar Hoover, Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, believed Eleanor Roosevelt's views were dangerous and she might have been in communist activities. He ordered his agents to monitor her behavior and kept an extensive file on her. Leaving her mark in American history, she served her country well from the Gilded Age, the Progressive Era, as the First Lady during the Great Depression through World War II, and into the Cold War.

Bio by: Linda Davis


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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Added: 31 Dec 2000
  • Find a Grave Memorial 896
  • Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Eleanor Roosevelt (11 Oct 1884–7 Nov 1962), Find a Grave Memorial no. 896, citing Franklin D. Roosevelt National Historic Site, Hyde Park, Dutchess County, New York, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .