To the End, Courage

After Franklin Roosevelt's death, admirers as well as detractors had assumed—as she had herself—that Eleanor Roosevelt would gradually fade from public sight into "a private and inconspicuous existence." Yet of all of Roosevelt's associates, she had become more rather than less of a public eminence. Henry Morgenthau came to her upset because he had gone to the White House and had not been recognized. "Don't you know that if you are out of the limelight three days they will forget you?" she comforted him, adding, "they will forget me too." They did not. The leading woman in the Roosevelt administration, Frances Perkins, was given refuge in her final years at the Cornell School of Industrial Relations. Miss Perkins was never wholly reconciled to the contrast between herself, almost forgotten after President Roosevelt's death, and Mrs. Roosevelt, who had moved onto a world stage and was functioning as a world figure. Why Eleanor Roosevelt did not even have an intellectually tidy mind, she confided to her Cornell associates. 1

Tidy mind or not, Eleanor Roosevelt had a right to feel, as she did, that she had made a success of her professional career and had done so on her own. Sixteen years after her husband's death she continued to be America's "Most Admired Woman," more popular than Jacqueline Kennedy, Queen Elizabeth, Mrs. Dwight Eisenhower, Clare Luce, and Mme. Chiang Kai-shek. Her professional income in 1961 totaled more than $100,000, of which lecture fees accounted for $33,500, her writing close to $60,000, her column $7,794, and Brandeis University paid her $6,500. 2

"When you cease to make a contribution you begin to die," she wrote in her seventy-fifth year. "Therefore, I think it a necessity to

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Eleanor: The Years Alone


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