- Eleanor Roosevelt was born in 1884 in Manhattan, New York. Her parents were important socialites in New York. Her father was President Theodore Roosevelt’s brother. Her mother was the niece of a famous tennis player.
- Eleanor’s family was very wealthy, but from a young age, Eleanor didn’t seem interested in her family’s status. She was quiet, shy, and plain. Her mother sometimes called her “Granny,” because of her serious nature.
- When she was only eight, her mother and one of her brothers died of diphtheria. Her father died two years later. Before he died, he asked Eleanor to take care of her younger brother, Hall.
- Eleanor took this request seriously and became like a mother to the young boy. After her parents’ death, Eleanor lived with her grandmother.
- As a child and teen, Eleanor was insecure because she wasn’t pretty. She called herself an “ugly duckling.” She later wrote though that all will be attracted to a woman with “truth and loyalty stamped upon her face,” no matter how plain.
- Eleanor attended a private finishing school in London where she was encouraged to gain confidence, speak up, and make a contribution to society. This experience changed her life.
- She married Franklin D. Roosevelt, a distant cousin, in 1905. The couple had a lavish wedding attended by many important people. They lived in New York City and had six children.
- In 1921, Franklin became seriously ill. He recovered but his legs were left paralyzed. Eleanor nursed him back to health and convinced him to stay in politics. At the same time, she became increasingly involved in public matters.
- Eleanor Roosevelt was very interested in making conditions better for the poor. She organized work and education programs. She also fought for equal rights for women and African Americans.
- Franklin D. Roosevelt served as president of the United States for four terms. Eleanor was a very outspoken and involved first lady. She held regular press conferences, wrote newspaper and magazine articles, and sometimes publicly opposed her husband’s views.
- Paralyzed: unable to move
- Lavish: very fancy
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