Even though it is difficult to know much about people after their deaths, there is compelling evidence that Eleanor Roosevelt was a lesbian. The First Lady, President Roosevelt’s wife, was regarded as the “First Lady of the World,” yet she had a long-term romance with another lady.
She allegedly had a long-term connection with journalist Lorena Hickok, as per Lillian Faderman, author of To Believe in Women. The two exchanged passionate love letters, indicating that, even if they were not physical lovers, they were pretty close and intimate friends. “Funny, whatever I do, my mind flies to you; you are never out of my heart,” Eleanor Roosevelt wrote to her lover.
So, was Eleanor Roosevelt lesbian? Continue reading to find out.
Why Do People Think Eleanor Roosevelt Was A Lesbian?
Eleanor Roosevelt is said to have spent years of her life in an intimate relationship with Lorena Hickok, a writer who, according to letters she wrote, wore pants and shoe years before it was socially acceptable for women to do so. This made people start believing that Eleanor was truly lesbian.
In 1918, when Eleanor found love letters between her husband and her secretary, she asked for a divorce. Due to career and familial demands, this was virtually impossible at the time, so they remained married, but their marriage wasn’t the same.
The Roosevelts were partners in certain respects (and definitely in public), but sexually and romantically, they drifted apart for the rest of their 27-year marriage. Eleanor began to discover herself at this point.
As President Roosevelt’s political career progressed, things grew more challenging. Hick worked for the Associated Press and went with the future First Lady on Franklin’s presidential campaign in 1932. They quickly became good friends. By 1933, they were spending the majority of their days together. Hickock gave Eleanor a sapphire ring, which she wore to her husband’s inauguration that year.
“Considering what has been revealed in the letters they exchanged, it now appears beyond debate that the Hickok connection was certainly romantic,” Russell Baker wrote for the NYR of Books in 2011. Indeed, the pair’s 16,000 pages of letters reveal the nature of their connection.
Some of the letters read as follows:
Eleanor to Hickok on March 9, 1933: “My photographs are almost all up, and I have you in my parlor, where I can stare at you most of the time!” Because I can’t kiss you, I’ll kiss your photo good night and good morning! ”
Hickok to Eleanor on January 22, 1934: “It was a beautiful weekend, dear.” I’ll be thinking about that for a long, long time. Doesn’t every time we spend together in this manner bring us closer? ”
About Eleanor Roosevelt
Eleanor Anna Roosevelt was born on October 11, 1884, in New York, United States, and died in New York on November 7, 1962. She was the 32nd President of the United States’ wife and a United Nations ambassador and humanitarian. She was among the world’s most respected and influential women at the time.
Eleanor Anna Roosevelt was the niece of Theodore Roosevelt, the 26th American president, and the daughter of Elliott and Anna Roosevelt. She grew up in a wealthy family that placed a high value on community involvement. Her parents died when she was ten, and relatives fostered her and her brother. Eleanor was devastated by the loss of her father, with whom she had become very close.
Enrolment at Allenwood
Eleanor enrolled in Allenwood, a female boarding school outside of London, at age 15, where the French headteacher, Marie Souvestre, influenced her. Souvestre Eleanor’s curiosity and desire for adventure and excellence—in everything except sports—awakened similar interests in Eleanor, who subsequently considered her three years in the school the greatest moment of her life.
She returned to New York reluctantly in the fall of 1902 to prepare for her “coming out” into a society that winter. She followed in her family’s footsteps by volunteering in the community and teaching at a settlement home on Manhattan’s Lower East Side.
Being Courted By Franklin Roosevelt
Franklin Roosevelt, Eleanor’s distant cousin, began courting her soon after arriving in New York, and they married on March 17, 1905, in New York. His sense of humor clashed with hers, and she often reminded him that he had to find other people to have fun with.
Eleanor Roosevelt gave birth to six children between 1906 and 1916, one of them died at birth. After Franklin was elected to the New York City Senate in 1911, the family moved to Albany, where Eleanor began her career as a political wife.
Franklin’s Affairs With Her Social Secretary
Eleanor discovered Franklin’s romance with her social assistant, Lucy Mercer, in 1918. According to Joseph Lash, her colleague and biographer, it was among the most painful moments of her life. Franklin declined Eleanor’s divorce proposal and agreed to cease dating Mercer, citing his political future and fear of losing his mother’s financial support.
The Roosevelts’ marriage fell into a pattern in which both individuals pursued separate objectives while remaining respectful and loving toward one another. But their connection was no longer intimate. Later, Mercer and other attractive, intelligent women continued to grab his attention and monopolize his time, and Mercer was with Franklin until he died in Warm Springs, Georgia, in 1945.
Who Was Eleanor Roosevelt’s Husband?
Eleanor Roosevelt married her fifth cousin, President Franklin Roosevelt, on March 17, 1905, and they had six children between 1906 and 1916: Anna (1906-75), James (1907-91), Franklin Jr. (1909), Elliott (1910-90), Franklin Jr. II (1914-88), and John (1916-81). During this time, family responsibilities and her partner’s political career got in the way of her public work.
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With the US joining World War I, she became involved in the American Red Cross and volunteered in Navy hospitals. When Franklin D. Roosevelt was diagnosed with polio in 1921, Mrs. Roosevelt became more involved in politics, partly to help him retain his passions and emphasize her personality and aims.
Eleanor Roosevelt was a member of the League of Women Voters, and the Women’s Trade Union League and served in the New York State Democratic Committee’s Women’s Division. She helped start Val-Kill Enterprises, a non-profit woodworking company in Hyde Park, New York. She also gave talks at the Todhunter School in Manhattan, which is a special school for girls.
First Lady Duties
Eleanor Roosevelt reminded the public upon her arrival at the White House in 1933 that they should not expect their incoming first lady to represent a beacon of luxury, but instead “plain, everyday Mrs. Roosevelt.” Despite this caveat, she proved to be an exemplary First Lady. Mrs. Roosevelt was the first First Lady to conduct her news conference in 1933.
She permitted only female reporters to participate in order to provide equal time to women, who had hitherto been prohibited from presidential news conferences. The Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) did not permit African American vocalist Marion Anderson to perform at their theatre in 1939.
Mrs. Roosevelt withdrew her affiliation with the DAR in protest. Throughout FDR’s administration, Eleanor traveled widely around the country, visiting relief programs, inspecting living and working conditions, and relaying her findings to the President. She was dubbed “the President’s eyes, ears, and legs” because she gave her husband objective information.
When the Japanese struck Pearl Harbor and the US joined WWII, Mrs Roosevelt ensured that the President didn’t abandon the New Deal aims. She wielded political and social power as well. She became an outspoken advocate for the rights and interests of the poor, minorities, and the underprivileged. The public was captivated by the First Lady’s escapades and exploits, which she chronicled in her international daily column, “My Day.”
She started writing the newsletter in 1935 and continued until her demise in 1962. She was the Assistant Director of Civilian Defense during the war between 1941 and 1942. She travelled to England and the South Pacific to build goodwill among the Allies and bolster the morale of American forces abroad.
First Lady of the World
Mrs Roosevelt remained in civic spaces after President Roosevelt died on April 12, 1945. She was named to the UN General Assembly by President Truman. She chaired the Human Rights Commission and worked extensively to develop the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which the General Assembly approved on December 10, 1948.
Mrs Roosevelt duly withdrew from the US Delegation to the UN in 1953 because then-new Republican President Dwight Eisenhower might pick someone of his selection to fill the seat. She then volunteered for the American Association of the United Nations and served as an American delegate to the World Federation of United Nations Associations.
She subsequently rose to the chairperson of the Association’s Board of Directors. President John F. Kennedy reappointed her to the US Delegation to the UN in 1961. Afterward, he named her to the Peace Corps National Advisory Committee and chaired the President’s Commission on the Status of Women.
Mrs Roosevelt rose to prominence as an advocate of humanitarian causes. As a lecturer and educator, she was in high demand. Roosevelt used the nascent television technology well, just as her husband did with radio. She was a brilliant writer, having written several articles and books, such as a multi-volume autobiography.