Eleanor Roosevelt: A Passion to Improve

Eleanor Roosevelt: A Passion to Improve

Eleanor Roosevelt: A Passion to Improve

Eleanor Roosevelt: A Passion to Improve

Synopsis

The Makers of America series provides introductory biographies of major figures in modern American history. Each volume uses documentary evidence and archive photographs.

Excerpt

The 20th century was more than 15 years away when Anna Eleanor Roosevelt was born on October 11, 1884. The Eiffel Tower hadn't been built, and the Wright Brothers had not yet constructed the plane they would fly at Kitty Hawk. People still lit their houses by gaslight and used horse-drawn carriages to make their way around the crowded New York City streets. Women wore floor-length dresses and could not vote.

Eleanor came into the world only 24 years after the end of the Civil War, and if President Abraham Lincoln had survived the bullet wounds inflicted by John Wilkes Booth, he would have celebrated his 75th birthday the year she was born. From Britain, Queen Victoria ruled a vast empire, while in the United States of America, President Chester Alan Arthur resided in the White House. Mark Twain had just published The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. And on Bedloe's Island in New York Harbor, workers were busy laying the foundation for the Statue of Liberty, a gift from the people of France, which would arrive dismantled and packed in over 214 gigantic packing cases during the following year.

The times, however, were changing. Mixed with the steady traffic of horse-drawn vehicles, cable car systems began to spread through city streets, carrying over 400 million passengers annually in 1884, and within 10 years, Henry Ford would manufacture his first automobile. The first skyscraper (consid-

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