Eleanor Roosevelt
October 11, 1884 - November 7, 1962

Eleanor was born in New York City the daughter of lovely Anna Hall and Elliott Roosevelt, the younger brother of Theodore Roosevelt. Eleanor had two younger brothers. Her mother was considered a beautiful and socially successful woman but sometimes she was not very nice to Eleanor. Eleanor's mother called her "Granny"which made Eleanor feel plain and awkward. When Eleanor was only eight years old her mother died of diptheria.

Eleanor adored her father, but he was not a very stable part of her life and he had problems with depression and drinking. Eleanor's grandparents decided that Eleanor and her brothers should live with them, but her father would stop and visit. Eleanor's older brother died of scarlet fever and diptheria the same winter her mother died. Eleanor's father was so depressed by the death of his wife and son, he stopped visiting Eleanor and began to drink heavily. He died when Eleanor was ten years old, so much of Eleanor's young life was spent with her Grandmother Hall, who was quite strict.

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Eleanor was taught by private tutors until she was 15; then, she was sent to Allenswood, a private boarding school for girls in South Fields, England, not far from London. Eleanor finally had a chance to be with other girls her age and gained some confidence in her abilities. At age 18, Eleanor returned to New York to enter society as a Debutante. She lived with her cousins and 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 distant cousin Franklin D. Roosevelt. President Theodore Roosevelt took the place of Eleanor's father and gave the bride away. Eleanor and Franklin had six children over the next 11 years, one of whom died in infancy. Eleanor's mother-in-law was a very strong willed person and Eleanor often allowed her to dominate her household.

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Franklin was elected to the New York state Senate in 1910. Eleanor had to take on the social role expected of the wife of a public official. When World War I started Franklin became the assistant secretary of the navy and Eleanor began to work with the Red Cross. Eleanor and Franklin had some trouble with their marriage at the end of the war, but they reconciled and returned to New York in 1921. At that point Eleanor also realized she had to build a life for herself in addition to raising her family. Eleanor became active in the League of Women Voters, the Women's Trade Union League, and the women's division of the Democratic party. That same year Franklin was stricken with polio. Eleanor was determined to keep her husband's interest in public affairs alive. She also opened a furniture factory in Hyde Park to help unemployed people and became part owner and vice-principal of a school in New York that taught history and government.

By 1928, Franklin had recovered from polio enough so that he could return to politics, and in 1933 he was elected President of the United States. At first Eleanor worried that she would be unhappy at the White House, but she soon became busy holding press conferences and lecturing around the country. She even had her own radio program and newspaper column. She served as her husbands eyes and ears as she traveled around the country and did much to aid the underprivileged and racial minorities. During World War II she visited troops in England, the South Pacific, the Caribbean, and on U.S. military bases and became a recognized and much loved person among the troops.

After Franklin died on April 12, 1945, Eleanor continued her public service to our country and the world until he own death in 1962. Eleanor Roosevelt will long be remembered as the "First Lady of the World."

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