Eleanor: The Years Alone

Eleanor: The Years Alone

Eleanor: The Years Alone

Eleanor: The Years Alone

Excerpt

A few days after Franklin's death, a newspaperwoman intercepted Eleanor Roosevelt at the doorway of her Washington Square apartment in New York City, the one which she had selected with an eye to Franklin's using it after the White House years, and asked her for a statement. "The story is over," Mrs. Roosevelt said quietly and hurried on.

If precedent was any guide, the story would be over. Previously, presidential wives, after the death of their husbands, quickly sank into obscurity and were seldom seen or recalled except on ceremonial occasions. But this presidential wife was different. It was a measure only of Mrs. Roosevelt's lingering insecurity and modesty that after thirteen strenuous years in the White House she could still believe that she was so widely admired—and hated—not in her own right but because she had been FDR's wife, and could still wonder whether with his death her public career might not be finished.

Yet, the same qualities that had turned this protected daughter of old New York into an uncompromising champion of the poor and oppressed, that had transmuted her beloved but alcoholic father's letters into a primer of youthful virtues and strengths, that had enabled her to remake her marriage after the discovery of her husband's unfaithfulness into a journey of self-discovery and a partnership of immense usefulness to America foretold that Eleanor Roosevelt, now standing alone and speaking for herself, would leave her mark on the times.

She had overcome so much, turned so many difficulties into points of growth. She had emancipated herself from the insular and . . .

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