Eleanor Roosevelt was born on October 11, 1884 in Manhattan, New York. Eleanor was often called “Granny” by her mother because she was very serious. As a child, Eleanor was the “outcast” of the family. Meaning she was the only one without good looks in her family. Her mother, Anna Hall Roosevelt, was a very beautiful and wealthy women. In fact her whole family was very wealthy. When Eleanor was just six her father was sent away to a sanitarium in Virginia to deal with his alcohol abuse problem. Then when Eleanor was seven years old her mother became very ill with headaches.
Then her mother, the beautiful Anna Hall died, shortly after Eleanor’s brother Elliot Roosevelt caught diphtheria and he too died. A few months later her father, Elliot Roosevelt died also. All these tragic events happened within eighteen months of each other. After all that Eleanor went through she and her brother moved in with her grandmother in her dark and gloomy townhouse in Manhattan. There were no children or anyplace for Eleanor and her baby brother to play. Granny Hall decided to send Eleanor to a boarding school in England just before Eleanor turned fifteen.
The school was called Allenswood and was on the edge of London. The school was a private school for girls only. During her time at Allenswood, she earned the respect she never had from her classmates in the United States. She also joined the field hockey team and started to look after her health. Everyday before class she would take a jog and do exercises. Eleanor would also take cold showers for the health of her immune system. When Eleanor was eighteen she left Allenswood to go back and live with her grandmother Hall.
When Eleanor returned to Manhattan ,she had more self confidence and attended formal parties and family events. When Eleanor was nineteen she and her fifth cousin Franklin D. Roosevelt fell in love. For a time they met secretly. then they started to attend parties together. When Eleanor and Franklin married she was nineteen and he was twenty-one. during their ceremony President Theodore Roosevelt walked out of the church and everyone that attended the wedding followed. Franklin was quite annoyed but Eleanor didn’t seem to mind a bit. In May 1906 the young couples first child was born.
During the next decade Eleanor gave birth to 5 more children one of which died in infancy. Looking back at the past, Eleanor realized that she should have been stronger and less receptive to people making fun of her. People would constantly make fun of her including her mom. Eleanor was the family outcast. Everyone in her family was good looking and not shy. Eleanor was very shy and “the ugly duckling” of the family as her mother would say. This made her think how her life as a child could have been better. Allenswood helped Eleanor’s self confidence a lot. Franklin’s political career excelled very rapidly.
In 1910 he was elected to the New York State Senate. During the year of 1913 President Woodrow Wilson appointed Franklin Roosevelt Assistant Secretary of the Navy. Franklin was appointed a very high position in the United States Government system. Along with his new position, the job required the Roosevelt’s to move to Washington D. C. In 1917 the United States entered World War I with Eleanor Roosevelt as an active combatant. Eleanor threw her self into the war efforts. With her husbands influence, she helped The Red Cross of America build infirmaries for the wounded soilders.
Eleanor and Franklin Roosevelt became well known across the country for their efforts in helping with the war efforts. In 1921 Franklin caught a disease that causes paralysis called polio. At the time, nobody knew what caused the disease nor did they know how to cure it. Franklin survived the disease but the lower half of his body was paralyzed. Many advisors and even his mother advised him to stay away from politics and to live the life of a country gentleman in the Roosevelt estate in Hyde Park, New York. Now, Eleanor strong and calm, stood up for her ideas, as well as Franklin’s ideas.
She said he should not be treated like a sick person and should not be tucked away in the country side just waiting to die. Franklin agreed with his wife and soon recovered health. His energy came back to him and he was soon elected Governor of New York in 1928. Then in 1932 Franklin Roosevelt was elected President of the United States of America! At this time Eleanor changed. To make sure Franklin stayed in the public eye, she to became involved with politics. She felt it was her duty. Eleanor made fund-raising speeches all around the State of New York for the democratic party with the help of Franklin’s adviser Louis Howe.
She also helped in the work of the League of Women Voters, the Consumers League, and the foreign Policy Association. She gave to the Women’s Trade Union League (WTUL) after becoming interested in the problems of working women. Eleanor met a group of remarkable women doing interesting work that made a difference in the world through the WTUL. Eleanor learned about life in the slums through this group of women. They put hopes in her that something could be done about the condition of the poor. she joined the world of reform- social change and dropped out of the fashionable society of her wealthy friends.
Eleanor and her reform friends would spend hours at a time talking to Franklin about how to improve the lives of the poor. They showed him the need for new laws, laws to get the children of America out of factories and into classrooms. Laws that cut back the long hours that women would work and laws to let all workers have the same wages. When franklin was sworn into office, the Nation was facing one of its greatest depressions. Elaenor fought for women’s rights. Unlike any First Lady of that time, she linked Americas public to the President.
But, one of her most important acts was protection of religion and civil rights. Eleanor even resigned from the D. A. R (Daughters of the American Revolution) when she discovered that the D. A. R would not let the great black singer Marian Anderson perform a concert in their auditorium in Washington D. C. Then Eleanor once again performed a good deed. She had arranged for Marian Anderson to sing in front of the Lincoln Memorial. Her actions caused the rights of blacks to be noticed. On the day of December seventh 1941, Japanese Armed Forces launched a battalion of Kamikaze Soldiers and Japanese Bombers.
These Forces attacked Pearl Harbor Naval base on the island Oahu, Hawaii. The United States was trying to stay out of the war, but when Japan bombed Pearl Harbor, The U. S. was forced to join the war. Eleanor helped The Red Cross raise money to build infirmaries for wounded soldiers. She gave blood for transfusions and sold war bonds. By the spring of 1945 the war seemed very close to the end in Europe. Then on April 12 tragedy struck. While in Warm Springs, Georgia for a break from all the stress of being President, Franklin died.
Everyday,Eleanor was home she would put flowers on Franklins grave. Now that Franklin was dead one would think that Eleanor would just drop out of the eye of the public. Instead, she found new ways to live an interesting life. She found new strengths within herself, and she also found new ways to help others. She still wrote her News Paper column called “My Day”. Then, one night while sleeping, Eleanor died on November 7, 1962 at the age seventy-eight. Eleanor and Franklin Roosevelt were buried alongside each other in the rose garden in Hyde Park, New York.