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Eleanor Roosevelt
American First Lady & Humanitarian

1884 - 1962

No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.

                                                                                                   —Eleanor Roosevelt

(Anna) Eleanor Roosevelt was born on October 11, 1884 in New York. Her family called her Eleanor. She was the wife of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, but won fame in her own right for her humanitarian work, and as a role a model for women in public life. One of her most noted quotations, and an excellent reflection of her attitude about life is: "It's better to light a candle than to curse the darkness."

Eleanor married a distant cousin, Franklin Roosevelt, in 1905. When her husband was stricken with polio in 1921 she began to work on his behalf, making frequent fact-finding trips during his terms as governor of New York, and later as President. While First Lady, she went on nationwide lecture tours, and held over 350 press conferences for woman reporters only. She wrote a daily newspaper column and articles for many magazines. Eleanor was also a civil rights activist during her husband's tenure as President.

Roosevelt served as a United States delegate to the United Nations General Assembly from 1945 to 1951. In 1946 she was elected chairman of the UN's Human Rights Commission. She helped draft the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In 1961 she returned to the General Assembly. Later in 1961 President John F. Kennedy appointed her head of the Commission on the Status of Women.

Eleanor Roosevelt wrote four books: This is My Story (1937); This I Remember (1950); On My Own (1958); and Tomorrow Is Now (published in 1963 after her death).

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Copyright © 1995-2016 Robin Chew
Article written by Robin Chew - October 1995