The editors of the Eleanor Roosevelt Encyclopedia have designed this book to be an introduction to Eleanor Roosevelt and her world; we hope that you, the reader, will find it a helpful volume. It is the first attempt to pull together in one volume the manifold material about Eleanor Roosevelt that elucidates her complex career and makes the interaction of her public/private life more accessible to scholars, students, and the general public. A total of 237 entries presented in an A to Z format provide a guide to basic biographical facts about Eleanor Roosevelt and offer insights into her multiple roles in six main areas: as wife and mother, First Lady, humanitarian, diplomat, public communicator, and, perhaps most of all, symbol of the changing position of women in the twentieth century. We chose the topics on the basis of recommendations from senior scholars and the staff of the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library at Hyde Park, New York, selecting those that related broadly to one of these six categories.
Cutting across our six areas are three main themes. One is Eleanor Roosevelt’s relationship to various networks of reformers and politicians. The second is her remarkable ability to communicate with the public through her speeches, press conferences, interviews, newspaper column, magazine articles, advice columns, books, and radio and television broadcasts. The third is her performance in different roles: as the wife of a leading political figure, as a mother, as First Lady, as an independent career woman, as an activist for humanitarian causes, as a diplomat who also was the widow of one of the world’s most revered figures, and as a global leader who personified the emergence of women in the twentieth century.
We hope that this book will serve two purposes: to offer a synthesis of the information now available on Eleanor Roosevelt and to suggest