Romantic Quotes Her BiographySource (Google.com.pk)
Eleanor Roosevelt was born October 11, 1884 into a family of lineage, wealth, and uncommon sadness. The first child of Anna Hall Roosevelt and Elliott Roosevelt, young Eleanor encountered disappointment early in life. Her father, mourning the death of his mother and fighting constant ill health, turned to alcohol for solace and was absent from home for long periods of time engaged in either business, pleasure or medical treatment. Anna Hall Roosevelt struggled to balance her disillusionment with her husband with her responsibilities toward Eleanor and Eleanor's younger brother, Hall. As the years passed, the young mother became increasingly disconsolate.
An astute and observant child, Eleanor rarely failed to notice the tension between her parents and the strain that it placed on both of them. By the time she was six, Eleanor assumed some responsibility for her mother's happiness, recalling later in her autobiography This Is My Story that "my mother suffered from very bad headaches, and I know now that life must have been hard and bitter and a very great strain on her. I would often sit at the head of her bed and stroke her head . . . for hours on end."
Yet this intimacy was shortlived. Anna Hall Roosevelt, one of New York's most stunning beauties, increasingly made young Eleanor profoundly self-conscious about her demeanor and appearance, even going so far as to nickname her "Granny" for her "very plain," "old fashioned," and serious deportment. Remembering her childhood, Eleanor later wrote, "I was a solemn child without beauty. I seemed like a little old woman entirely lacking in the spontaneous joy and mirth of youth."
Her mother's death in 1892 made Eleanor's devotion to her father all the more intense. Images of a gregarious, larger than life Elliott dominated Eleanor's memories of him and she longed for the days when he would return home. She adored his playfulness with her and the way he loved her with such uncritical abandon. Indeed, her father's passion only underscored the isolation she felt when he was absent. Never the dour child in his eyes, Eleanor was instead his "own darling little Nell." Hopes for a happier family life were dashed however when Elliott Roosevelt died of depression and alcoholism nineteen months later. At the age of ten, Eleanor became an orphan and her grandmother, Mary Hall, became her guardian.
Eleanor's life with Grandmother Hall was confining and lonesome until Mrs. Hall sent Eleanor to attend Allenswood Academy in London in 1899. There Eleanor began to study under the tutelage of Mademoiselle Marie Souvestre, a bold, articulate woman whose commitment to liberal causes and detailed study of history played a key role in shaping Eleanor's social and political development. The three years that Eleanor spent at Allenswood were the happiest years of her adolescence. She formed close, lifelong friendships with her classmates; studied language, literature and history; learned to state her opinions on controversial political events clearly and concisely; and spent the summers traveling Europe with her headmistress, who insisted upon seeing both the grandeur and the squalor of the nations they visited. Gradually she gained "confidence and independence" and later marveled that she was "totally without fear in this new phase of my life," writing in her autobiography that "Mlle. Souvestre shocked one into thinking, and that on the whole was very beneficial." Her headmistress’s influence was so strong that as an Eleanor later described Souvestre was one of the three most important influences on her life.
When Eleanor returned to her family's West 37th Street home in 1902 to make her debut, she continued to follow the principles that Souvestre instilled in her. While she dutifully obeyed her family's wishes regarding her social responsibilities, she also joined the National Consumers League and, as a member of the Junior League for the Promotion of Settlement Movements, volunteered as a teacher for the College Settlement on Rivington Street. Her commitment to these activities soon began to attract attention and Eleanor Roosevelt, much to her family's chagrin, soon became known within New York reform circles as a staunch and dedicated worker. That summer, as she was riding the train home to Tivoli for a visit with her grandmother, Eleanor was startled to find her cousin Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR), then a student at Harvard, also on the train. This encounter reintroduced the cousins and piqued their interest in one another. After a year of chance meetings, clandestine correspondence, and secret courtship, the two Roosevelts became engaged on November 22, 1903. Fearing that they were too young and unprepared for marriage, and believing that her son needed a better, more prominent wife, Franklin's mother, Sara Delano Roosevelt, planned to separate the couple and demanded that they keep their relationship secret for a year. Sara Roosevelt's plans did not work, and after a sixteen-month engagement, Anna Eleanor Roosevelt married Franklin Delano Roosevelt on March 17, 1905. President Theodore Roosevelt, who was in town for the St. Patrick's Day parade, gave the bride, his niece, away. The wedding made the front page of the New York Times.
Although Eleanor clearly loved Franklin, married life was difficult from the start. Sara Roosevelt chose their first home, a small brick dwelling three blocks from her own residence, hired the staff, chose all the interior decorations, and became Eleanor's most constant companion. Within a year, a daughter (Anna) was born; followed in rapid succession by James (1906), Franklin (1909, who died soon after birth), Elliott (1910), Franklin (1914), and John (1916). She later said of this period, "for ten years I was always just getting over having a baby or about to have one, and so my occupations were considerably restricted during this period." Moreover, as the Roosevelt family grew, in 1908 Sara Roosevelt gave the couple a townhouse in New York City, which was not only adjacent to her own home but which had connecting doors on every floor. While the two women were very close; their intimacy only reinforced ER’s sense of dependence and inadequacy. ER, as she began to sign her letters, was miserable, recalling that she was "simply absorbing the personalities of those about me and letting their tastes and interests dominate me."
All that started to change in 1911. Dutchess County elected her husband to the New York state senate. FDR asked her to leave Hyde Park and to set up a home for the family in Albany. Eager to leave the vigilance of her mother-in-law, ER tackled the move with enthusiasm and discipline. "For the first time I was going to live on my own," she recalled twenty years later. "I wanted to be independent. I was beginning to realize that something within me craved to be an individual."
By the time FDR left Albany to join Woodrow Wilson’s administration two years later, ER began to view independence in personal and political terms. FDR had led the campaign against the Tammany Hall block in the senate and an indignant ER watched in fascination as the machine attacked its critics. Outraged that a political machine could vindictively deprive its critics of the means to support themselves, ER lost a great deal of the naivete that characterized her earlier attitude toward government. "That year taught me many things about politics and started me thinking along lines that were completely new." FDR agreed, later telling a friend, Albany "was the beginning of my wife's political sagacity and co-operation."
Consequently, when FDR was appointed Assistant Secretary of the Navy in autumn 1913, ER knew most of the rules by which a political couple operated. "I was really well schooled now. . . . I simply knew that what we had to do we did, and that my job was to make it easy." "It" was whatever needed to be done to complete a specific familial or political task. As ER oversaw the Roosevelts’ transitions from Albany to Hyde Park to Washington, coordinated the family's entrance into the proper social circles for a junior Cabinet member, and evaluated FDR's administrative and political experiences, her independence increased as her managerial expertise grew. When the threat of world war freed Cabinet wives from the obligatory social rounds, ER, with her commitment to settlement work, administrative skills, disdain for social small talk, and aversion to corrupt political machines, entered war work eager for new responsibilities.
World War I gave ER an acceptable arena in which to challenge existing social restrictions and the connections necessary to expedite reform. Anxious to escape the confines of Washington high society, ER threw herself into wartime relief with a zeal that amazed her family and her colleagues. Her fierce dedication to Navy Relief and the Red Cross canteen not only stunned soldiers and Washington officials but shocked ER as well. She began to realize that she could contribute valuable service to projects that she was interested in and that her energies did not necessarily have to focus on her husband's political career. "The war," observed Ruby Black, a friend and early biographer, "pushed Eleanor Roosevelt into the first real work outside her family since she was married twelve years before."
Emboldened by these experiences, ER began to respond to requests for a more public political role. When a Navy chaplain whom she had met through her Red Cross efforts asked her to visit shell-shocked sailors confined in St. Elizabeth's Hospital, the federal government's facility for the insane, she immediately accepted his invitation. Appalled by the quality of treatment the sailors received, as well as the shortage of aides, supplies and equipment available to all the St. Elizabeth's patients, ER urged her friend, Secretary of the Interior Franklin Lane, to visit the facility. When Lane declined to intervene, ER pressured him until he appointed a commission to investigate the institution. "I became," she wrote, "more determined to try for certain ultimate objectives. I had gained a certain assurance as to my ability to run things, and the knowledge that there is joy in accomplishing good."
The end of the war did not slow ER's pace or revise her new perspective on duty and independence. In June 1920, while she was vacationing with her children at Campobello, FDR received the Democratic nomination for Vice-President. Although both her grandmother and mother-in-law strongly believed that "a woman's place was not in the public eye" and pressured ER to respond to press inquiries through her social secretary, she developed a close working relationship with FDR's intimate advisor and press liaison, Louis Howe. Invigorated by Howe's support, ER threw herself into the election and reveled in the routine political decisions that daily confronted the ticket. By the end of the campaign, while other journalists aboard the Roosevelt campaign train played cards, Louis Howe and ER could frequently be found huddled over paperwork, reviewing FDR's speeches and discussing campaign protocol.