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Renunciation of love for the mother is the sacrifice by means of which the boy submits to his father's authority and gains entry into the privileged male order.

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Eleanor Roosevelt Biography :: National First Ladies' Library

She did, however, support his intentions to someday return to national politics. In fact, she alone was the first to recognize that his returning to the public arena would serve as a solution to the loss of his mobility, in terms of his happiness. For a time, she acted as both father and mother to their young children. She would also take her two of her sons on a trip to Europe, a commitment that their father had initially made to them. In doing so, LeHand unwittingly freed Eleanor Roosevelt from such duties and permitted her the time to pursue an increasingly independent career in reform politics, writing, teaching, new friendships and other pursuits both professional and personal.

The Women's City Club of New York, board of directors, vice president, City Planning Department chair, Finance Committee chair, An organization which kept women informed of political issues of the day and offered members a network of fellow professional women. Within three years of joining this organization, Eleanor Roosevelt would be elected to the board and then first vice president. Her work with the Club helped develop her own organizational, writing and speaking skills.

The Women's Trade Union League, member, Led by both women of the elite class who had worked in the settlement movement and working-class women labor leaders, this organization sought to enlist more women members into trade unions, notably in the garment industry and to lobby state legislatures and Congress on fair wages and work hours.


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Eleanor Roosevelt also made enormous monetary contributions to the organization. During the worst year of the Great Depression, in her capacity as chair of the finance committee, she solely supported the organization for several months. She would also teach classes, host parties and provide literary readings as part of the educational broadening of working-class members.

She would picket with the organization and be charged with disorderly conduct for doing so. In , Eleanor Roosevelt testified before the New York State legislature advocating shorter hours for each workday for women and children. With the goal of garnering Democratic candidates the votes and support of more women, the organization became a powerful venue in state politics.

Presidency of Harry S. Truman: Part I

Eleanor Roosevelt became associated with it when she was invited by Nancy Cook to address the group. Eleanor Roosevelt helped create and sustain an outreach of the organization to rural counties. Franklin D.

As a county and state delegate she attended the New York State and national conventions of the league, widening her circle of fellow women reformists and activists, and delivering lectures on policy related to infant mortality, and health, employment and housing issues facing women. She actively helped the state league achieve its goal of creating a division in every state county. Resigning her offices from the bi-partisan league in , she remained an active member who promoted the ideals and platform of the Democratic Party, with which she became more overtly involved.

As a vigorous supporter of Eleanor Roosevelt helped to organize and chair with her friend Esther Lape a committee which sought to award the best plan that would ensure eventual world peace and get the U. Bok had proposed it. Her role was to establish a bipartisan Jury selection board of prominent Americans who would review the over 22, entries the committee received and to then promote the winning plan. The contest created controversy; the prevailing post-war mood and foreign policy sentiment being isolationist in nature, and critics charged that the Bok Prize was an effort to improperly influence Congress.


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  4. Eleanor Roosevelt was exposed to the efforts of world peace by suffragist Carrie Chapman Catt. Val-Kill Industries, furniture factory, co-owner, They founded and ran a small company that made furniture for the cottage, soon expanding the enterprise to make commercial pieces sold in New York. Production of the quality colonial era reproductions took place in what would end up becoming a four-story factory in Hyde Park, intended to employ jobless local workers. She ended her formal role as a teacher once FDR became US President, but still took an active interest in the school and its students, inviting a group of them to the White House for annual events.

    Writer, Lecturer, Radio Show Commentator, Eleanor Roosevelt had a lifelong career as a writer of books, introductions or other contributions to books, newspaper and magazine articles and columns. Her first piece in a commercial publication appeared in the October of Ladies Home Journal.

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    Al Smith for President campaign, , She also successfully urged FDR to make his first public appearance after contracting polio by addressing the Democratic National Convention in favor of Smith. She earned the trust of Smith and was able to help him gain access to and convince FDR to run as his successor as Governor of New York. As First Lady of a state, Eleanor Roosevelt sought to avoid as many potential conflicts of interest as possible. She continued her own private enterprises of the Todhunter School and Val-Kill Industries, splitting her time between the capital city of Albany and her private home in New York City.

    As she wrote in Good Housekeeping magazine during these years, "It is essential to develop her own interests, to carry on a stimulating life of her own Although she quit most of her political affiliations, Eleanor Roosevelt remained highly politically active, if not always in public. With her own formidable and independent political experience and skill, Eleanor Roosevelt could not help bring her b ackground to her role as a supportive wife of the governor. In this context, her considerable political influence was simply an outgrowth of her natural interests, passions and beliefs, but adapting it all to a manner which aided her husband.

    She began to substitute for the Governor when either his immobility or his schedule precluded his presence at political meetings and conferences. She put to use her growing but already considerable tactical skill in managing political personalities. She believed he was the ideal leader to guide the nation through the Great Depression, but feared the loss of her own independent life. As far as public campaigning, however, Eleanor Roosevelt was more visible on behalf of Herbert Lehman, the Democrat hoping to succeed her husband as New York Governor.

    While she joined him for part of his national campaign, she steadfastly refused to make any speeches. Despite her reputation as an overtly political person, she drew a line when it came to speaking on behalf of her husband and would not go beyond making personal appearances with him for his , and presidential campaigns.

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    From November until March of , however, Eleanor Roosevelt found herself increasingly depressed at the prospect of what being First Lady would mean. During this period, she befriended several women reporters who covered her activities, notably Lorena Hickok, Ruby Black and Bess Furman and shared her fears. Although she resigned her job as teacher at the Todhunter School, she did continue her lucrative career as a lecturer, freelance journalist, and radio broadcaster.

    Although not yet First Lady, Eleanor Roosevelt soon found herself publicly derided when she expressed her view that young girls should be permitted to drink beer if Prohibition was repealed, and the fact that one of her radio commercial sponsors was a mattress company. There were also false allegations that it had been Eleanor Roosevelt who had spurred on FDR to the presidency as some form of thwarted form of fulfilling her own political ambitions.

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    In fact, at one point during the transition, she had the impulsive idea of filing for divorce as a way of escaping the inevitable and imminent limitations. For them and for other close personal friends and political associates, she hosted an informal reception following the swearing-in ceremony.

    Following a tradition since the Inauguration, there was no official Presidential Inaugural Ball. However, Eleanor Roosevelt did appear in a white fur and gown at a charity fundraiser ball held that night, accompanied by several relatives. She would continue to do so, appearing at the and Inaugural balls.

    No presidential wife served as First Lady for a period longer than did Eleanor Roosevelt — twelve years, one month, one week and one day. Unique to her tenure was the fact that the President was physically limited by his then-hidden condition of polio. Despite this being an outgrowth of her own progressive reform work, it was now conducted within a public realm, making both her, personally, and the Administration, generally, vulnerable to political attack and criticism, the charge being that she was neither elected nor appointed to carry out such tasks as it related to the American people.

    Generally, Eleanor Roosevelt ignored the frequent criticism to help achieve her goals or those Administration objectives with which she concurred. Unlike her three immediate predecessors Florence Harding, Grace Coolidge, Lou Hoover , Eleanor Roosevelt did not enter into the role of First Lady with specific plans to continue previous support for a constituency Harding and animal rights and veterans, Coolidge and the hearing-impaired, Hoover and the Girl Scouts.

    All she knew for certain was that she would be active in word and deeds, especially in light of the devastation the Great Depression was continuing to have on the lives of millions of Americans.

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    In terms of her life experiences and her evolving vision as First Lady, Eleanor Roosevelt was unprecedented in comparison to others who had or would assume the role. In her first days and weeks as First Lady, Eleanor Roosevelt had great anxiety about just how she could have a real impact on those citizens then suffering the worst affects of the Great Depression, or even how to begin determining this.

    It was on the advice of Louis Howe that she made one simple gesture that began to lead the way for her. Knowing she could not deliver something that the new Administration had not promised, she was unsure of what she would say. In Kansas City mayor James A. April 29, 10 a. The series is presented in partnership with the Conservatory of Music.

    Pendergast's life and career, see the following resources:. Often it was a singular, unambiguous action intended as a symbol that prompted a public facing of the issue. The fact that the new First Lady arrived by driving herself into their encampment immediately impressed the veterans. They shared their struggles and frustrations with her, they discussed the war, and the brief visit ended with her standing on a chair and offering her heartfelt empathy and a promise that she would see if there was anything to be done to help them, but without promising anything further.

    She was startled to receive their warm and rousing cheers, and joined them in singing some of the popular songs of the war. This initial visit showed Eleanor Roosevelt that she could genuinely relate to people who were suffering, without regarding to gender, age or socioeconomic class; it gave her confidence. While the gesture was purely symbolic, it also had a positive affect on the veterans, giving them a sense of hope about the new Administration and willingness to at least initially support the new President and his policies. Perhaps there was no more important decision among her initial deeds as First Lady than her decision to continue her work as a writer, public speaker and media figure.

    It helped in her mission to inform the public, provoke discussion and debate on conversation, rally public support for efforts she believed in or promoted as part of the Administration. On 6 March , two days after becoming First Lady, Eleanor Roosevelt held what was to become the first of press conferences, with nearly 35 women in attendance.

    The idea emerged from her burgeoning friendship with Associated Press reporter Lorena Hickok as a direct measure to help women reporters keep their jobs during the depression. She conducted them to help keep the American people informed of her White House life and the political activities of the Administration, but to provoke national consciousness about larger issues and crises of the day, and to do so in newspaper print.

    The press conferences afforded her the chance to focus on breaking news whether it was the threat that Hitler presented to Europe or the endemic problems of Washington, D. Large publications wanted to carry the news that Mrs. Roosevelt generated, but could do so only by continuing to employ the women reporters given exclusive access to the press conferences. On one occasion, following her return from the South Pacific during the war, men reporters were permitted entrance. This practice proved crucial in establishing women reporters as part of the permanent and modern White House Press Corps, their presence and professionalism soon becoming part of the familiar fabric of the working White House.

    Her sustaining the press conferences through the Depression and WWII, they covered economics, commerce, defense and foreign affairs issues. The press conferences ultimately raised women into the ranks of professional journalism. Her solidarity with them remained strong. After some initial press conferences taking place in the Green Room, Mrs. Initially, no direct quotation of the First Lady was permitted without her permission.

    She had an aide who attended and transcribed the exchanges.