Eleanor Roosevelt was born in New York City on October 11, 1884.
Her father was Elliott Roosevelt, President Theodore Roosevelt's
younger brother and her mother was Anna Hall, a descendent of the
Livingstons, a distinguished New York family. Both her parents
died when she was a child, her mother in 1892, and her father in
1894. After her mother's death, Eleanor lived with her
grandmother, Mrs. Valentine G. Hall, in Tivoli, New York. She was
educated by private tutors until age 15, when she was sent to
Allenswood, a school for girls in England, whose headmistress,
Mademoiselle Marie Souvestre, had a great influence on her
education and thinking. At age 18, Eleanor Roosevelt returned to
New York where she resided with cousins. During that time she
became involved in social service work, joined the Junior League
and taught at the Rivington street Settlement House.
March 17, 1905, she married her fifth cousin, Franklin Delano
Roosevelt, and between 1906 and 1916, they became the parents of
six children, all of whom are deceased -- the first Franklin
Delano, Jr. (1909), Anna Eleanor (1975), John (1981), Franklin
Delano, Jr. (1988), Elliott (1990), and James (1991). During this
period her public activities gave way to family concerns and her
husband's political career. However, with American entry in World
War I, she became active in the American Red Cross and in
volunteer work in Navy hospitals. After Franklin Roosevelt was
stricken with polio in 1921, Mrs. Roosevelt became increasingly
active in politics both to help him maintain his interests and to
assert her own personality and goals. She participated in the
League of Women Voters, joined the Women's Trade Union League, and
worked for the Women's Division of the New York State Democratic
Committee. She helped to found Val-Kill Industries, a nonprofit
furniture factory in Hyde Park, New York, and taught at the
Todhunter School, a private girls' school in New York City.
Franklin D. Roosevelt's presidency, Eleanor Roosevelt was an
active First Lady who traveled extensively around the nation,
visiting relief projects, surveying working and living conditions,
and then reporting her observations to the President. She also
exercised her own political and social influence; she became an
advocate of the rights and needs of the poor, of minorities, and
of the disadvantaged. In World War II, she visited England and the
South Pacific to foster good will among the Allies and boost the
morale of US servicemen overseas.
President Roosevelt's death on April 12, 1945, Mrs. Roosevelt
continued public life. She was appointed by President Truman to
the United States Delegation to the United Nations General
Assembly, a position she held until 1953. She was chairman of the
Human Rights Commission during the drafting of the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights which was adopted by the General
Assembly on December 10, 1948.
1953, Mrs. Roosevelt resigned from the United States Delegation to
the United Nations and volunteered her services to the American
Association for the United Nations. She was an American
representative to the World Federation of the United Nations
Associations, and later became the chairman of the Associations'
Board of Directors. She was reappointed to the United States
Delegation to the United Nations by President Kennedy in 1961.
Kennedy also appointed her as a member of the National Advisory
Committee of the Peace Corps and chairman of the President's
Commission on the Status of Women. Mrs. Roosevelt received many
awards for her humanitarian efforts.
Roosevelt was in real demand as a speaker and lecturer, both in
person and through the media of radio and television. She was a
prolific writer with many articles and books to her credit
including a multi-volume autobiography. In late 1935, she began a
syndicated column, "My Day," which she continued until
shortly before her death. She also wrote monthly question and
answer columns for the Ladies Home Journal (1941-49) and McCalls
her later years, Mrs. Roosevelt lived at Val-kill in Hyde Park,
Dutchess County, New York. She also maintained an apartment in New
York City where she died on November 7, 1962. She is buried
alongside her husband in the rose garden of their estate at Hyde
Park, now a national historic site.