Eleanor Roosevelt

The First Lady

Early Life

Born October 11, 1884

Parents: Elliot Roosevelt & Anna Rebecca Hall

Oldest of three children

Brothers: Elliot & Gracie "Hall"

  • In 1892, her mother contracted diphtheria and died.
  • In 1894, her father died from a seizure that was the result of a suicide attempt.
  • After her mother's death, Eleanor went to live with her grandmother.
  • She was educated by private tutors until the age of 15, then she was sent to a school for girls in England.
  • At age 18, Eleanor returned to New York.
  • She became involved in social service work, joined the Junior League and taught at the Rivington Street Settlement House.
  • On March 17, 1905, she married her fifth cousin.
  • They became the parents of six children: Anna Eleanor, James, Franklin Delano, Jr., Elliott, Franklin, Jr., & John.
  • During World War I, she became active in the American Red Cross and in volunteer work in Navy hospitals.
  • She participated in the League of Women Voters, joined the Women's Trade Union League, & worked for the Women's Division of the New York State Democratic Committee.

The First Lady

  • In 1933, Mrs. Roosevelt became the first, First Lady to hold her own press conference.
  • In 1939, the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) refused to allow Marion Anderson, an African American singer, to perform in their auditorium. In protest, Mrs. Roosevelt resigned her membership in the DAR.
  • Traveled around the US, visiting relief projects, surveying working and living conditions, and then reporting her observations to the President.
  • Called "the President's eyes, ears and legs".
  • An advocate of the rights and needs of the poor, of minorities, and of the disadvantaged.
  • In 1935, she started a daily column called "My Day".
  • During the war, she served as Assistant Director of Civilian Defense from 1941 to 1942 and she visited England and the South Pacific to foster good will among the Allies and to boost the morale of U.S. servicemen overseas.

After Her Husband's Death

  • Husband died on April 12, 1945
  • President Truman appointed her to the United Nations General Assembly.
  • She served as chair of the Human Rights Commission
  • Drafted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which was adopted by the General Assembly on December 10, 1948.
  • Volunteered her services to the American Association for the U. N.
  • Became the chair of the Associations' Board of Directors.
  • She was reappointed to the United States Delegation to the U. N. by President Kennedy in 1961.
  • Appointed to the National Advisory Committee of the Peace Corps and chair of the President's Commission on the Status of Women.
  • She was in great demand as a speaker and lecturer.
  • She was a writer with many articles and books to her credit including a multi-volume autobiography.
  • She died on November 7, 1962.