She was born in New York City on October 11, 1884, daughter of Anna Hall and Elliott Roosevelt, younger brother of Theodore. When her mother died in 1892, the children went to live with Grandmother Hall; her father died only two years later. At 15, Eleanor attended a distinguished school in England. This developed her self-confidence among other girls. In her circle of friends was a distant cousin, Franklin Delano Roosevelt. They became engaged in 1903 and were married in 1905, with her uncle the President giving the bride away. Within eleven years Eleanor bore six children; one son died in infancy.
In Albany, where Franklin served in the state Senate from 1910 to 1913, Eleanor started her long career as political helpmate. From his successful campaign for governor in 1928 to the day of his death, she dedicated her life to his purposes. When Mrs. Roosevelt came to the White House in 1933, she understood social conditions better than any of her predecessors and she transformed the role of First Lady accordingly. She never shirked official entertaining; she greeted thousands with charming friendliness. She also broke precedent to hold press conferences, travel to all parts of the country, give lectures and radio broadcasts, and express her opinions candidly in a daily syndicated newspaper column.
After the President’s death in 1945 she returned to a cottage at his Hyde Park estate, telling reporters: “the story is over.” Within a year, however, she began her service as American spokesman in the United Nations. She continued a vigorous career until she died in New York City that November, and was buried at Hyde Park beside her husband.
“Happiness is not a goal; it is a by-product.”
“It is better to light a candle than curse the darkness.”
“No one can make you feel inferior without your own consent.”
“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”
“It is not fair to ask of others what you are unwilling to do yourself.”
“Ones philosophy is not best expressed in words; its expressed in the choices one makes. In the long run, we shape our lives and we shape ourselves. The process never ends until we die. And the choices we make are ultimately our responsibility.”
“Do what you feel in your heart to be right – for you’ll be criticized anyway. You’ll be damned if you do, and damned if you don’t.”
“When you cease to make a contribution, you begin to die.”
“I think that somehow, we learn who we really are and then live with that decision.”
“You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’ You must do the thing you think you cannot do.”
“Only a man’s character is the real criterion of worth.”
“Absence makes the heart grow fonder.”
“For it isn’t enough to talk about peace. One must believe in it. And it isn’t enough to believe in it. One must work at it.”
“Friendship with ones self is all important, because without it one cannot be friends with anyone else in the world.”
“Hate and force cannot be in just a part of the world without having an effect on the rest of it.”