Eleanor Roosevelt

Lived:October 11, 1884—November 7, 1962 (aged 78)
Career:Chair of the Presidential Commission on the Status of Women, 1961-1962
President and chair of the U.N. Commission on Human Rights, 1946-1952
U.S. delegate to the U.N. General Assembly, 1946-1952
First lady of the United States, 1933-1945

Eleanor Roosevelt was first lady of the United States from 1933-1945, the wife of the 32nd president of the United States, Franklin D. Roosevelt. She was also a diplomat and activist.

Anna Eleanor Roosevelt was born on October 11, 1884, in New York City. Her father, Elliot Roosevelt, was the younger brother of Theodore Roosevelt, the 26th president of the United States. She was tutored privately, and attended a private finishing school in England from 1898-1902. After returning to the United States, she became active in the social reform movement, working as a teacher of dance and calisthenics at a settlement house on the lower East Side of New York for a year, then as a volunteer investigator for the National Consumer’s League reform organization from 1903-1905. She married Franklin D. Roosevelt, her fifth cousin once removed, on March 17, 1905.

Starting with FDR's tenure in the New York state Senate from 1911-1913, Roosevelt began her interest in politics and served as his political helpmate and surrogate. She also developed her own career in reform politics, writing and teaching. As first lady of New York, she quit most of her political affiliations but remained politically active. As first lady of the United States, Roosevelt was the first to hold weekly press conferences. She gave lectures and radio broadcasts, wrote a syndicated newspaper column called "My Day," traveled extensively and was a vocal supporter of gender equality and the Civil Rights movement.

After her husband died on April 12, 1945, Roosevelt became a delegate to the United Nations General Assembly, serving from 1947-1962. Here she played an important role in drafting the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights and was the first chairperson of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights. In the 1950s, she continued on national and international speaking roles and continued to write her column. She also made a number of appearances on radio and television.

Roosevelt died on November 7, 1962.


FDR Library & Museum. (n.d.). Eleanor Roosevelt Biography. Retrieved on October 6, 2020, from https://www.fdrlibrary.org/er-biography.

National First Ladies Library. (n.d.). First Lady Biography: Eleanor Roosevelt. Retrieved on October 6, 2020, from http://www.firstladies.org/biographies/firstladies.aspx?biography=33.

The White House. (n.d.). Anna Eleanor Roosevelt. Retrieved on October 5, 2020, from https://www.whitehouse.gov/about-the-white-house/first-ladies/anna-eleanor-roosevelt.