National Park Service
Eleanor Roosevelt - American Visionary
Political Allies

The Museum Collection

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Eleanor Roosevelt's life was marked by many deep and influential friendships. At Allenswood Academy, her headmistress and mentor, Marie Souvestre influenced Eleanor through her own inner strength and focus on personal development and social responsibility. She believed Eleanor had great potential.

FDR and ER en route to Washington, DC, 1935

Franklin D Roosevlet and Eleanor Roosevelt en route to Washington, DC, 1935
FDR Library 09-1789

ER, Marian Dickerman, and Nancy Cook in Campobello, 1926
Eleanor Roosevelt, Marion Dickerman, and Nancy Cook in Campobello, 1926
FDR Library 09-2298

In the 1920s, Eleanor worked with the Women's Division of the Democratic State Committee in NY. She became fast friends with her political mentors, Nancy Cook and Marion Dickerman. With them she edited the group's newsletter, owned and taught at the Todhunter School in New York City, and established Val-Kill Industries in an effort to promote local economic stability. Her writings during this period reveal increasing individual courage, confidence, and democratic conviction.

In the late 1920s, Eleanor met Lorena Hickok, an accomplished Associated Press reporter. Lorena was assigned to cover Eleanor during the 1932 presidential election and then to cover her as First Lady. They formed a close and intimate friendship. It was at Lorena's suggestion that ER began holding her own press conferences open only to women reporters. This gave credence to women in the field and provided a forum for issues of concern to the First Lady.

Formal White House portait of ER
FDR and ER in Washington, DC, 1933
FDR Library 57680
ER in Sydney, Australia, 1943
Eleanor Roosevelt and Lorena Hickok (right) in Puerto Rico, 1934
FDR Library 09-2324

Eleanor formed a resilient and complex partnership with the President. She learned how to use her position as political activist, First Lady, and Presidential confidante to promote issues of concern to her. She became adept at operating productively within the constraints of her public position.

ER in Sydney, Australia, 1943
Eleanor Roosevelt in Sydney, Australia, 1943
FDR Library 09-2383
Franklin Delano Roosevelt
Image Gallery

During FDR's presidency, Eleanor and Franklin's relationship matured into a political partnership of unprecedented breadth and productivity.

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Eleanor Roosevelt: American Visionary
Museum Management Program
"Links to the Past"
Last Modified: 12/5/2006