Roosevelt, Eleanor, 1884-1962

Alternative names
Birth 1884-10-11
Death 1962-11-07

Biographical notes:

Eleanor Roosevelt (October 11, 1884 - November 7, 1962), wife of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, was an especially active and visible First Lady who, it was claimed, did more to popularize the Roosevelt administration than any other person or factor. Her innumerable trips across the country and visits to workers and their families did much to promote her as one of the people, a democrat with a small "d." She was the first president's wife to hold White House press conferences, and millions of people read her syndicated column, "My Day," and listened to her fifteen-minute radio broadcasts. She was deeply committed to social service projects, particularly those ushered in by her husband's New Deal program, including the National Youth Administration, slum clearance, nursery schools, and playgrounds. During World War II, she traveled to Great Britain, Australia, the South Pacific, and army camps in the United States, boosting the morale and good will of the Allies and American servicemen. Her almost constant public exposure, however, left her vulnerable to criticism, and she was often the butt of "Eleanor" jokes in cartoons, the press, and on radio. She was especially criticized for her sponsorship of the American Youth Congress and her membership in the American Newspaper Guild: both, her critics charged, were dominated by Communists, but she steadfastly refused to end her association with those groups. After her husband's death in 1945, Eleanor Roosevelt was appointed by President Truman to the U.S. delegation to the United Nations. She was also elected chairman of the Commission on Human Rights. By 1949, she was being called the "First Lady of the World" and "Number One World Citizen." A Woman's Home Companion poll showed that she was the most popular living American of either sex, and in 1948, the American Institute of Public Opinion revealed that she was the "most admired woman living today in any part of the world." She was the recipient of numerous awards, including the first annual Franklin Delano Roosevelt Brotherhood Award in 1946, the Four Freedoms award, and the highest honor award of the National Society for Crippled Children and Adults. In addition to her syndicated column, she was a contributor of numerous articles to magazines and the author of several books, including It's Up to Women, The Moral Basis of Democracy, and On My Own.


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