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Eleanor Roosevelt, First Lady and Citizen Activist

Page history last edited by Caroline Harland 3 months, 2 weeks ago


Eleanor Roosevelt



Eleanor Roosevelt was the wife of Franklin Roosevelt and one of the most influential first ladies in United States history.



Link to the Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Project for an extensive biography from The George Washington University



Link to the White House site for short biography


Link also short biography from National Women's History Museum

Blanche Wiesen Cook Continues Her Biography of Eleanor Roosevelt, The New York Times (November 18, 2016)


Primary Sources

Eleanor Roosevelt Letter to the Daughters of the American Revolution, 1939

Letter from Eleanor Roosevelt, 1936 from Race Relations in the 1930s and 1940s, Library of Congress

Eleanor Roosevelt's Four Basic Rights, 1944


  • Her statement of the four basic rights that every citizen must enjoy



Image from LivingNewDeal.org, Department of Geography, University of California Berkeley


My Day Newspaper Columns

My Day: A Comprehensive Electronic Edition of Eleanor Roosevelt's My Day Newspaper Columns


  • 6 Day a week Newspaper Column that Eleanor Roosevelt wrote from December 30, 1935 to September 26, 1962


    • At its height, the column appeared in 90 newspaper nationwide with a readership of 4,034,552


      • By the 1950s, the column voiced her political positions and political activities



My Day, The First Lady in Her Own Words




Progressive Era and the New Deal

Roosevelt represented several ideologies of the Progressive Era. She believed that the environment in which an individual lived in played a large role on shaping this person's socioeconomic 'fate.'

This perspective rejected Social Darwinism and embraced 'Social Gospel.'

  • Roosevelt believed that the government had a social responsibility to maintain equality, justice, and various living/working standards.

In the early 1920s, Roosevelt became a member of several unions/clubs preaching similar attitudes.

  • Women's Trade Union League
  • League of Women's Voters
  • National Consumers League
  • City Club of New York
    • These groups fought to establish a minimum wage, maximum hours, child labor laws, and worker safety standards.

For more information on the Progressive Era and Eleanor Roosevelt's contributions, please visit: http://www.nps.gov/archive/elro/teach-er-vk/lesson-plans/notes-er-and-progressivism.htm

Official White House Portrait
Official White House Portrait

Eleanor Roosevelt as First Lady

Eleanor Roosevelt also supposedly bisexual and had a close romantic friendship with White House journalist, Lorena A. Hickok.




The Declaration of Human Rights


As a U.S. international delegate she also helped craft the U.N. Declaration of Human Rights in December 1945.


Click here for a video of Eleanor Roosevelt giving a speech on human rights


Link to the Creation of the United Nations and Universal Declaration of Human Rights



Teaching Resources

Click here for a lesson plan on Eleanor Roosevelt and letters written to her by children.


President Truman, Harry Truman and Civil Rights from Eleanor and Harry: The Correspondence of Eleanor Roosevelt and Harry S. Truman, University of Missouri

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