Eleanor Roosevelt, Volume One, 1884-1933

by Blanche Wiesen Cook

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Marion Sturgis Hooper ‘‘Clover’’ Adams Clover Adams was an educated and accomplished woman who was also known as the most brilliant hostess in Washington, D.C. She committed suicide in 1885, at the age of forty-two, after discovering that her husband, Henry Adams, was having an affair with another woman. The statue that her husband had erected in her memory, known as Grief, was an inspiration to Eleanor Roosevelt.

Jane Addams Jane Addams was a social feminist who championed many of the causes that Eleanor believed in.

Corrine Robinson Alsop Corrine Robinson Alsop was a cousin of Eleanor Roosevelt and like Eleanor Roosevelt attended Allenswood School in England.

AnnieSee Anna Bulloch Gracie

BamieSee Anna Roosevelt Cowles

Anna Eleanor Roosevelt Hall Boettiger Anna Eleanor Roosevelt Hall Boettiger was Eleanor Roosevelt’s daughter. Their relationship was often a difficult one. Anna felt misunderstood at home and wanted more say in decisions that affected her life. Eleanor Roosevelt could be cold and distant toward her daughter, but later their relationship began to heal. Anna attended Cornell School of Agriculture and married the financier Curtis Hall in 1926. In 1932, she divorced her husband and married John R. Boettiger, a journalist.

BrotherSee Franklin Delano Roosevelt Jr. (II)

Dorothy Strachey Bussy Dorothy Strachey Bussy was a classmate of Eleanor Roosevelt’s at Allenswood School. She wrote a novel, Olivia (1948), based on her time at Allenswood. She married Simon Bussy, a French painter.

ByeSee Anna Roosevelt Cowles

Carrie Chapman Catt Carrie Chapman Catt was a pioneering feminist and a leader of the women’s suffrage movement. Catt inspired Eleanor Roosevelt, and they became colleagues in organizations such as the League of Women Voters and the national Conference on the Cause and Cure of War.

Katharine Delano Robbins Price Collier Aunt Kassie was the aunt of Franklin Delano Roosevelt and the sister of Sara Delano Roosevelt.

Nancy Cook Nancy Cook was a feminist and close friend of Eleanor Roosevelt. They first met in 1922. Cook was a capable administrator and political organizer and worked with Eleanor Roosevelt on many projects, including the founding of the Todhunter School and the Women’s Democratic News. Cook was active in the Women’s Division of the New York State Democratic Committee.

Calvin Coolidge Calvin Coolidge was a Republican Massachusetts governor who became vice president of the United States in 1921 and president in 1923. Eleanor Roosevelt opposed his policies in many areas.

Anna Roosevelt Cowles Bamie was Eleanor Roosevelt’s aunt, and the sister of Theodore Roosevelt Jr. Although she held no political position of her own, she was influential behind the scenes during her brother’s presidency. Eleanor Roosevelt was inspired by her example.

Josephus Daniels Josephus Daniels was Secretary of the Navy during the administration of President Woodrow Wilson and boss of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. He was known as a stern moralist.

Marion Dickerman Marion Dickerman was a feminist and intimate friend of Nancy Cook and Eleanor Roosevelt. One of the first women ever to run for office, she was a candidate for the New York State Assembly in 1919. Later she became dean at the New Jersey State College in Trenton. During the 1920s, with Eleanor Roosevelt and Cook, she was a dominant influence in the Women’s Division of the New York State Democratic Committee.

Anna Bulloch Gracie Anna Bulloch Gracie, ‘‘Annie,’’ was Eleanor Roosevelt’s great aunt. Eleanor Roosevelt was fond of her and described her as gentle and patient. She married New York banker James King Gracie.

Maude Hall Waterbury Gray Maude Hall Waterbury Gray was Eleanor Roosevelt’s aunt. Eleanor Roosevelt lived with her (as well as Maude’s...

(This entire section contains 2680 words.)

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sister and mother) for six years after her parents died. Eleanor Roosevelt adored Maude and regarded her as very unselfish, with a gift for appreciating the abilities of others. She married polo player Larry Waterbury. After they were divorced, she married writer David Gray.

Mary Livingston Ludlow Hall Mary Livingston Ludlow Hall was Eleanor Roosevelt’s grandmother. Eleanor Roosevelt lived with her for six years after the death of her parents. Hall was strict, but Eleanor felt warmly toward her. She died in 1919, at the age of seventy-six.

Valentine Hall Valentine Hall, ‘‘Vallie,’’ was Eleanor Roosevelt’s uncle on her father’s side. He was an alcoholic and his behavior was often unpredictable. He was irresponsible with money and often squandered what money he had.

Warren G. Harding Warren G. Harding, a Republican, was president of the United States from 1921 until his death in 1923.

HickSee Lorena Hickok

Lorena Hickok Lorena Hickok was one of the foremost reporters of her day and from 1932 on was a close friend of Eleanor Roosevelt. Hickok’s mother died when she was young, and her father was abusive. Her first job in journalism was on the Battle Creek Journal, after which she became society editor for the Milwaukee Sentinel. In 1917, Hickok joined the Minneapolis Tribune, where she worked until 1926. In 1928, she became a reporter for the Associated Press (AP) and covered New York state politics. She first met Eleanor Roosevelt in 1928. Their friendship blossomed in 1932 when Hickok was assigned by the AP to cover her during the presidential campaign. It was an intense relationship. Hickok could be willful, difficult, and emotional, but she was also loyal and generous in her love for Eleanor Roosevelt.

Herbert Hoover Herbert Hoover, a Republican, was president of the United States from 1929 to 1933. Eleanor Roosevelt campaigned against him, on behalf of the Democratic candidate, Al Smith, in 1928.

Louis McHenry Howe Louis McHenry Howe was a close friend and political adviser to FDR, and he also became a close friend of Eleanor Roosevelt. Howe served as FDR’s chief assistant when FDR was Assistant Secretary of the Navy. He exercised great influence over his boss, and continued to do so up until FDR’s election as president. Eleanor Roosevelt at first resented Howe, but in the presidential campaign of 1920 they became close friends. Eleanor Roosevelt placed great trust in Howe, and he did not let her down.

Aunt KassieSee Katharine Delano Robbins Price Collier

Esther Everett Lape Esther Everett Lape was a journalist, researcher, teacher and publicist, companion of Elizabeth Read, and friend of Eleanor Roosevelt. She was also a feminist and was influential in the League of Women Voters.

Marguerite LeHand Marguerite LeHand was FDR’s secretary from 1920 on. She and FDR became close, and she was his main companion after he became governor of New York in 1928. Eleanor Roosevelt always treated Missie graciously and showed no jealousy.

Alice Roosevelt Longworth Alice Roosevelt Longworth was Eleanor Roosevelt’s cousin. She and Eleanor did not get along, and Alice often spread malicious gossip about her. Alice married Nicholas Longworth, who was Speaker of the House, but the marriage was a failure. Each came to hate the other.

Lucy MercerSee Lucy Page Mercer Rutherford

Earl Miller Earl Miller was a state trooper, who was assigned as Eleanor Roosevelt’s bodyguard in 1929. He was athletic and had been a middleweight boxing champion in the Navy. He and Eleanor Roosevelt became constant companions; he enjoyed protecting and defending her, and she was charmed by his attentiveness. He coached her at tennis and taught her to shoot a pistol. There was gossip about their relationship. Miller married in 1932, and again, following a divorce, in 1941, to quiet the rumors that he and Eleanor Roosevelt were having an affair.

MissieSee Marguerite LeHand

MittieSee Martha Bulloch Roosevelt

Edith Livingston Ludlow Hall Morgan Edith Livingston Ludlow Hall Morgan was Eleanor Roosevelt’s aunt, whom Eleanor Roosevelt held in high esteem. It was Aunt Pussie who gave her an appreciation of music, theater and poetry. Pussie married Forbes Morgan; the marriage ended in divorce. In 1920, Pussie died with her two daughters in a house fire.

Elizabeth Hall Mortimer Elizabeth Hall Mortimer was Eleanor Roosevelt’s Aunt Tissie. She helped to introduce Eleanor Roosevelt to the arts. She married Stanley Mortimer and lived most of the time in England.

Caroline Love Goodwin O’Day Caroline Love Goodwin O’Day was a wealthy suffragist and pacifist and a friend of Eleanor Roosevelt. She was a contributor to the Val-Kill partnership, which produced the Democratic Women’s News, and the Todhunter School. She married Daniel O’Day and after his death devoted herself to social reform.

Pussie (I)See Edith Livingston Ludlow Hall Morgan

Pussie (II)See Corinne Roosevelt Robinson

Elizabeth Fisher Read Elizabeth Fisher Read was a scholar and attorney who became one of Eleanor Roosevelt’s closest friends and her financial adviser. Read was an influential figure in the League of Women Voters in the 1920s.

Corinne Roosevelt Robinson Corinne Roosevelt Robinson was Eleanor Roosevelt’s aunt on her father’s side. She worked behind the scenes to advance the career of her brother, Theodore Roosevelt Jr.

Anna Eleanor Roosevelt Roosevelt Anna Eleanor Roosevelt Roosevelt was born into an aristocratic family in 1884. Her parents, Elliott Roosevelt and Anna Rebecca Livingston Ludlow Hall Roosevelt, both died when Eleanor was a child. During Eleanor’s adolescence, she lived with her aunts and her grandmother and went to Allenswood School in England. At the age of twenty she married her distant cousin, Franklin Delano Roosevelt. They had five sons, one of whom died in infancy, and one daughter. Eleanor supported her husband’s political career, but she also asserted her own independence, developing interests and friendships of her own.

Working within the Democratic party, she eventually became a powerful political figure in her own right. She spoke out on many issues of social reform, particularly those involving the welfare of women and children. She was also an outspoken campaigner for women’s political rights and during the 1920s was an influential figure in the League of Women Voters. She also campaigned for the cause of world peace. As one of the ‘‘New Women’’ of the 1920s, she was a feminist who believed that women should not be limited in what they were able to achieve merely because of their gender. Eleanor was a dynamic organizer who gave herself passionately to the causes in which she believed. Her tireless energy became legendary—in addition to her political work she was also a writer and teacher— and by the time FDR was inaugurated as president in 1933, Eleanor was known nationally as a woman of vision and achievement. As a pioneer, she also attracted controversy and opposition.

Anna Rebecca Livingston Ludlow Hall Roosevelt Anna Rebecca Livingston Ludlow Hall Roosevelt was Eleanor Roosevelt’s mother. Her father, Valentine Hall, died when she was seventeen. Anna received little education. She was beautiful and loved a life of gaiety and pleasure, valuing social success above everything. She married Elliott Roosevelt when she was nineteen years old. The marriage was a troubled one, due to Elliott’s drinking, and Anna learned to keep her emotions under control. She often treated Eleanor in a cold and aloof manner, and Eleanor was unable to really please her. Anna died of diphtheria when she was twenty-nine.

Edith Carow Roosevelt Edith Carow Roosevelt was Eleanor Roosevelt’s aunt, the wife of Theodore Roosevelt Jr. Edith’s relations with Eleanor Roosevelt were not especially warm.

Elliott Roosevelt (I) Elliott Roosevelt was Eleanor Roosevelt’s father. He married Anna Rebecca Hall in 1883, at the age of twenty-three. Elliott was charming and attractive, but he drank to excess and became an alcoholic. Although he doted on his daughter Eleanor, who idolized him, his relationship with his wife deteriorated. He became abusive and suffered from mood swings. In 1891, he was admitted to an asylum near Paris, and his brother Theodore wanted to have him declared incompetent and insane. Elliott recovered his health but was unable to repair his marriage. Then when his wife died, he started drinking heavily again. He died in 1894.

Elliott Roosevelt (II) Elliott Roosevelt was Eleanor Roosevelt’s son, born in 1910.

Elliott Roosevelt Jr. Elliott Roosevelt Jr. was Eleanor Roosevelt’s brother. He was born in 1889 and died in 1893 of scarlet fever and diphtheria.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt Franklin Delano Roosevelt was Eleanor Roosevelt’s husband. He was educated at Harvard and Columbia Law School, and he married Eleanor in 1905. FDR began his political career in the New York Senate in 1910 and became Assistant Secretary of the Navy in 1913. In 1920, he ran as the vice presidential candidate on the Democratic ticket and was defeated. In 1921, he contracted polio, which paralyzed his legs. He became governor of New York in 1928 and was reelected in 1930. In 1933, he became president of the United States. Eleanor supported her husband’s career, but his affair with his secretary Lucy Mercer in the late 1920s strained their relationship. However, they came to an understanding, and warm feelings were restored. Eleanor Roosevelt remained a political asset to FDR, even though, in many respects, they went their separate ways.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt Jr. (I) Franklin Delano Roosevelt Jr. was Eleanor Roosevelt’s son. He died of influenza in 1909 at the age of seven and a half months.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt Jr. (II) Franklin Delano Roosevelt Jr. ‘‘Brother,’’ was Eleanor Roosevelt’s son, born in 1914.

Gracie Hall Roosevelt Gracie Hall Roosevelt was Eleanor Roosevelt’s younger brother, born in 1891. Popular and charming, he was successful at Harvard and earned an advanced engineering degree there. He married Margaret Richardson and served as an aviator in World War I.

James Roosevelt James Roosevelt was the father of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. A wealthy widower, he married Sara Delano Roosevelt at the age of fifty-two. Although in some ways a snob, he also possessed a social conscience, and he urged the wealthy to work for the good of humanity.

John Aspinwall Roosevelt John Aspinwall Roosevelt was Eleanor Roosevelt’s youngest son, born in 1916.

Martha Bulloch Roosevelt Martha Bulloch Roosevelt was Eleanor Roosevelt’s grandmother and mother of Elliott Roosevelt and Theodore Roosevelt Jr. She died of typhoid fever in 1884, eight months before Eleanor was born.

Sara Delano Roosevelt Sara Delano Roosevelt was the mother of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Often rigid and opinionated in her views, she was a strong-minded woman who liked to keep control over her son’s affairs. In the early years of Eleanor Roosevelt’s marriage to FDR, Sara dominated Eleanor and ruled the household without consulting her. Eleanor tried hard to win her mother-in-law’s approval. Eventually, Sara came to respect Eleanor Roosevelt’s political activities.

Theodore Roosevelt Jr. Theodore Roosevelt Jr. was Eleanor Roosevelt’s uncle. He was president of the United States from 1901 to 1909. He and Eleanor Roosevelt felt warmly towards each other, although Eleanor had little interest in politics during the time of his presidency. He died in 1919.

Lucy Page Mercer Rutherford Lucy Page Mercer Rutherford became Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s secretary in 1914. She was young, attractive, and efficient, and she and FDR had an affair. When Eleanor Roosevelt discovered this in 1919, it strained their marriage.

Rose Schneiderman A Russian immigrant, Rose Schneiderman was one of the leaders of the Women’s Trade Union League and a friend of Eleanor Roosevelt.

Alfred E. Smith Alfred E. Smith was governor of New York and the Democratic nominee for president in 1928, when he lost to Herbert Hoover. Believing that Smith was committed to social reform, Eleanor Roosevelt was one of Smith’s biggest supporters and worked hard on his campaigns.

Marie Souvestre Marie Souvestre was the founder of the Allenswood School in England and Eleanor Roosevelt’s teacher. A Frenchwoman, Souvestre was a strong-willed, independent feminist thinker and a demanding teacher who encouraged her students to think for themselves and challenge accepted beliefs. Eleanor Roosevelt became her favorite student.

Squire JamesSee James Roosevelt

TissieSee Elizabeth Hall Mortimer

VallieSee Valentine Hall

Narcissa Cox Vanderlip Narcissa Cox Vanderlip was a wealthy friend of Eleanor Roosevelt. A Republican, she was committed to feminism and progressive politics, and she was chair of the New York State League of Women Voters.

Woodrow Wilson A former president of Princeton University, Wilson became president of the United States in 1913 and was supported by FDR. Wilson took the United States into World War I in 1917. Wilson distrusted FDR and Eleanor Roosevelt, and after the war he thought the Roosevelts were allied with his opponents.




Critical Essays