Appendix A:

Eleanor Roosevelt and
the Nobel Peace Prize

Several efforts were made to have the Nobel Peace Prize awarded to Mrs. Roosevelt. In 1961 Adlai E. Stevenson, at that time United States representative at the United Nations, nominated her, not only because of the contribution that she had made to the drafting and approval of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, but because "in this tragic generation [she] has become a world symbol of the unity of mankind and the hope of peace." 1

A year later, when he renewed his request for consideration of Mrs. Roosevelt's nomination, he was seconded by President Kennedy, who wrote the Nobel Committee that she was "a living symbol of world understanding and peace," and that her "untiring efforts" on its behalf had become "a vital part of the historical fabric of this century." An award to this remarkable lady, Kennedy added, "in itself would contribute to understanding and peace in this troubled world." 2

This was nine months before Mrs. Roosevelt's death. Death did not stop the efforts on her behalf. Ralph J. Bunche, himself a recipient of the prize, proposed that it be awarded to her posthumously. "I can think of no one in our times who has so broadly served the objectives of the Nobel Peace Award," he wrote Gunnar Jahn, chairman of the Nobel Committee of the Norwegian Parliament which made the award. 3 The prize went to Linus Pauling in 1962 and to the International Red Cross in 1963.

In the summer of 1964 a new effort got under way to obtain the prize for Mrs. Roosevelt posthumously. Lester B. Pearson, prime minister of Canada and a winner of the prize for his work in establishing the first United Nations peace force, wrote Gunnar Jahn urging a posthumous award. "She certainly was an outstanding woman and I believe that the world does owe her a special debt of gratitude for her magnificent work for peace, and for the freedom and human rights on which

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Eleanor: The Years Alone


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