Eleanor Roosevelt
Anna Eleanor Roosevelt was born in New York City on October 11, 1884, to Anna Hall and Elliott Roosevelt, younger brother of Theodore. Her mother died in 1892, when she was eight, and her father only two years later. Eleanor then went to live with Grandmother Hall, and at age 15 attended a boarding school in England. In 1903 she became engaged to Franklin Delano Roosevelt (a distant cousin), and in 1905 they were married.

Over the next eleven years she and Franklin had six children. Franklin served in the state Senate in Albany, NY from 1910 to 1913, and then became Assistant Secretary of the Navy. It was during these years that Eleanor began assisting Franklin with his political career while also developing her own. She joined the Women's Trade Union League, and began championing women's causes within the Democratic Party. When Franklin contracted poliomyelitis (polio) in 1921, Eleanor stepped up her efforts to keep her husband's political career alive. She travelled extensively thoughout the U.S. and abroad on his behalf, especially after he became governor of New York in 1928, and even more so when he became President of the United States in 1932.

Eleanor's true dedication to her husband's political aspirations likely brought him the White House, but by no means did Eleanor ever lose sight of her own individuality or goals during these years. She constantly fought for a better life for the people of all creeds, races, and nations who were less privledged than she. And as First Lady, Eleanor was unfraid to try new things, holding women-only press conferences, giving extensive lectures, visiting soldiers abroad during the World War II, and publishing a daily syndicated newspaper column, "My Day" for 26 years!

She also became a great civil rights' advocate - much more so than her more conservative husband. Franklin Delano Roosevelt died in 1945, but Eleanor's work was far from done. From 1945 to 1951 she served as a United States delegate to the United Nations General Assembly, and In 1946 she was elected chairman of the UN's Human Rights Commission, where she helped draft the UN's Universal Declaration of Human Rights. She also helped found UNICEF. Eleanor again joined the UN's General Assembly in 1961, and that year President John Kennedy appointed her head of the Commission on the Status of Women.

Eleanor had dedicated her life to championing the well-being of others, living by this now famous quote of hers - "It's better to light a candle than to curse the darkness." She died in New York City on November 7, 1962.

In the Eleanor Roosevelt segment of Women: Back to the Future, Ms. Stevenson performs the song "Fun!", with music by Thomas Tierney and lyrics by John Forster, from the musical ELEANOR - An American Love Story, by Jonathan Bolt, Thomas Tierney and John Forster.

For more information about this musical click on the poster above.


Kate Campbell Stevenson presents: Women: Back to the Future
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