Upstairs at the Roosevelts: Growing Up with Franklin and Eleanor

Upstairs at the Roosevelts: Growing Up with Franklin and Eleanor

Upstairs at the Roosevelts: Growing Up with Franklin and Eleanor

Upstairs at the Roosevelts: Growing Up with Franklin and Eleanor


Curtis Roosevelt knew what it was like to live with a president. His grandfather was Franklin Delano Roosevelt. From the time Curtis, with his sister, Eleanor, and recently divorced mother, Anna Roosevelt Dall, moved into his grandparents' new home--the White House--Curtis played, learned, slept, ate, and lived in one of the most famous buildings in the world with one of its most famous residents.

Writing about his childhood from that perspective, Curtis Roosevelt offers anecdotes and revelations about the lives of the president and First Lady and the many colorful personalities in this presidential family. From Eleanor's shocking role in the remarriage of Curtis's mother to visits from naughty cousins and trips to the "Home Farm," Upstairs at the Roosevelts' provides an intimate perspective on the dynamics of one of America's most famous families and those who visited, were friends, and sometimes even enemies.


Because my sister and I often lived with these close relatives, I came to know my Roosevelt grandparents, Franklin and Eleanor, well. Indeed we lived in the White House for many years as youngsters, and as teenagers as well, and also at the family’s home at Hyde Park. One forgets that fdr was elected four times as president, and Springwood at Hyde Park—the Big House, as the family referred to it—was my grandfather’s home, in which he was born and to which he often returned, if only for a long weekend. Leaving Washington late in the evening, he could be home by early the next morning.

These chapters, only a few of the many that form my recollections, are my memories. So of course they are opinionated. My sister might well have different views. But I believe I am a better observer than she is. and I know I have a better memory!

The chapters cover a lot of ground, and much of it has been written about by FDR’s biographers. I have the advantage of actually having been present in the scenes I describe. and indeed I am opinionated.

What you will read here has been written over the past ten years, although I have had trouble applying myself to the task in the past couple of years. Had it not been for the encouragement of my editor, Sarah Harrison, I do wonder if I would ever have completed them. Life in my mid-eighties does slow me down!

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