Thought of the Day 10.11.12 Eleanor Roosevelt

  [Eleanor Roosevelt is such a hero of mine, I’m thrilled to write this bio.]

“Great minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, small minds discuss people”

“Do what you feel in your heart to be right, for you’ll be criticized anyway.”

“No one can make you fell inferior without your consent.”

“Remember always: That you not only have the right to be an individual, you have an obligation to be one.”

“You must do the thing you think you can not do.”

–Eleanor Roosevelt

Eleanor Roosevelt at Waldorf Astoria Hotel in ...

Eleanor Roosevelt at Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City – NARA – 195324 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Anna Eleanor Roosevelt was born on this day in New York City, New York, USA in 1884. Today is the 128th anniversary of her birth.

She was the niece of one US president and the wife of another. She grew up with immense wealth and great personal sorrow. She was a quiet, shy child, so serious that she was nicknamed “Granny”. Her mother died when she was eight of diphtheria. Just months later both her brothers contracted Scarlet fever, one, Elliot, died. Her father died two years later.  Orphaned she went to live with her grandmother Mary Ludlow Hall. She was privately tutored until 15. Then she was sent to a finishing school near London, England called Allenswood. It was a progressive school where Eleanor was said to be studious but popular. At Allenswood she learned self-confidence.

“During her time at Allenswood, Roosevelt came out of her shell of childhood loneliness and isolation. She thrived both academically and emotionally. ” [New World Encyclopedia]

Eleanor in 1898 at school in England. [Image courtesy: New World Encyclopedia.]

Eleanor (she always preferred to be called by her middle name) was presented to society on December 14, 1902 at the Waldorf-Astoria hotel in New York City. As a young woman she volunteered with the New York Junior League and worked in the city’s slums. She taught dancing and calisthenics to children and was a member of the Consumers League (a group that investigated sweatshop conditions in the city.) It was a connection with the poor that she would continue through her life.

She met Franklin D. Roosevelt later that year. He was her fifth cousin, they got engaged in 1904 and married on St. Patrick’s Day of 1905. President Theodore Roosevelt gave away his niece.

When Franklin entered politics Eleanor became his partner in “it” as well. Her role shifted, “I simply knew that what we had to do we did, and that my job was to make it easy.”  During World War I she “threw herself into wartime relief.” She worked for the Red Cross and helped with Navy Relief. Her work was outside the scope of what she had done to promote her husband’s career, and, she later noted “I … gained certain assurance as to my ability to run things, and the knowledge that there is joy in accomplishing good.”  [The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Project]

Franklin D. Roosevelt and Eleanor Roosevelt wi...

She had an infamously difficult relationship with her mother-in-law Sara Delano Roosevelt. Franklin was very attached to his mother and the lived in one of her houses. The tide turned when Franklin contracted Polio, Eleanor realized that she had to “stand on her own two feet in regards to her husband’s life, her own life and the rearing of her children. ” [Franklin d. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum]

Together she and Franklin had six children: Anna Eleanor, Jr. ; James (after Franklin’s father James); Franklin Delano, Jr (who died as an infant); Elliott (after Eleanor’s father); Franklin Delano, Jr (the second son named for Franklin); and John Aspinwall.

Franklin D. Roosevelt, Eleanor Roosevelt, Sara...

Franklin D. Roosevelt, Eleanor Roosevelt, Sara Delano Roosevelt, and Mr. and Mrs. James Roosevelt in New York City… – NARA – 197052 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Although Eleanor never sought elected office she was surely America’s FIRST LADY.

“While she neither drafted legislation nor held elective office, she worked with other reformers outside and inside the administration to shape the contours of the New Deal.” [Franklin d. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum]

She also wrote  a syndicated column “My Day” six days a week  from 1935 til her death. It was her bully pulpit for social issues.

English: Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Li...

After Franklin’s death she was

“…Selected to be a delegate to the United Nations General Assembly, serving from 1945 to 1953. She also became the chair of the UN’s Human Rights Commission. As a part of this commission, she helped to write the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.” [Biography]

English: Former U.S. First Lady Eleanor Roosev...

English: Former U.S. First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt with the English version of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights Italiano: Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt, moglie del presidente degli Stati Uniti, mostra la Dichiarazione in formato poster (1949) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

She wrote about her experiences in 1937’s This Is My Story;  1949’s  This I Remember;  1958’s On My Own; and 1961’s Autobiography.

President Kennedy asked her to serve as chair of the Commission on the Status of Women and made her delegate to the UN in 1961.

Eleanor Roosevelt


About ritalovestowrite

Freelance writer, graphic designer, musician, foodie and Jane Austen enthusiast in Northern Baltimore County, Maryland. As a writer I enjoy both fiction and non fiction (food, travel and local interest stories.) As an advocate for the ARTS, one of my biggest passions is helping young people find a voice in all the performing arts. To that end it has been my honor to give one-on-one lessons to elementary, middle and high school students in graphic design and music. And as JANE-O I currently serve as the regional coordinator for JASNA Maryland and am working on a Regency/Federal cooking project. View all posts by ritalovestowrite

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