Anna Eleanor Roosevelt (October 11, 1884 — November 7, 1962) was the longest-serving First Lady of the United States, holding the post from 1933 to 1945 during her husband President Franklin D. Roosevelt's four terms in office. She was born into the Roosevelt family, so in addition to being married to Franklin (who was also her sixth cousin), she was the niece of President Theodore Roosevelt. Roosevelt was a controversial First Lady for her outspokenness, particularly her stands on racial issues. She was the first presidential spouse to hold press conferences, write a syndicated newspaper column, and speak at a national convention. On a few occasions, she publicly disagreed with her husband's policies.
She continued to be active in politics even after her husband's death, serving as a delegate to the United Nations, among other offices. She died in 1962 of tuberculosis.
Eleanor Roosevelt in "Cayos in the Stream"
Hemingway's private assessment of Eleanor was far from charitable: while she had an attractive personality, Hemingway thought her a homely woman, and hoped for her husband's sake that he had paramours.
Eleanor Roosevelt in The War That Came Early
In 1943, when Peggy Druce expressed disgust with how the Chicago Tribune wanted nothing more than to hold Franklin Roosevelt's feet to the fire, her husband Herb, reminded her that they wanted to do the same thing to First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt as well.
Both Roosevelts became targets of Nazi propaganda after Germany attacked the U.S. in March 1944, bringing the U.S. into the Second World War. One example was a poster in Münster that showed the Roosevelts sitting side by side in fancy dress, but Franklin's face was a false front, behind which was a crude stereotype of a Jewish man. Eleanor was depicted as telling her husband that his "mask" was slipping.
Eleanor Roosevelt in Joe Steele
Eleanor Roosevelt (1884-1932) died in Albany along with her husband, New York Governor Franklin Roosevelt and several members of mansion staff, when the Executive Mansion caught fire in July 1932. The fire was concurrent with the Democratic convention in Chicago.
She and her husband were both buried in Hyde Park following their deaths.
In later years, many wondered what kind of First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt might have made, especially as the actual office holder, Betty Steele, the wife of Joe Steele, was virtually invisible during his 20-year term.
Lou Henry Hoover
|First Lady of the United States