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Eleanor Roosevelt National Historic Site,
Hyde Park, New York

Photo courtesy of Eleanor Roosevelt National Historic Site

Val-Kill Cottage, the simple, two-story stone building located within the Roosevelt family property at Hyde Park, was the home of Eleanor Roosevelt (1884-1962) for the last 17 years of her life. With the death of President Roosevelt in 1945, Eleanor moved permanently to Val-Kill, viewing it as her personal residence and making it the only home the former First Lady ever owned. Eleanor once described Val-Kill and its pastoral surroundings as the place "I used to find myself and grow" and where "I emerged as an individual." During Mrs. Roosevelt's residency from 1945 to 1962, a visitor to Val-Kill might have found her engaged in any number of activities, from hosting Winston Churchill to reading stories to the groups of neglected children who visited Val-Kill every summer.

[Photo] Eleanor Roosevlet and Fala, the family's dog, at Val-Kill in 1951
Photo from Franklin Delano Roosevelt Libray, 09-2475a

The years following her husband's death, Eleanor Roosevelt emerged as a world figure, beginning with her appointment as American ambassador to the United Nations in 1946 and her work on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, written chiefly in the solitude provided at Val-Kill. Her humanitarian activities took her around the globe, often touring nations to promote American concepts of justice, freedom and opportunity. Her pursuit of these ideals led President Harry Truman to identify her as the "First Lady of the World." Today, Val-Kill is a significant part of the Eleanor Roosevelt National Historic Site in Hyde Park, New York.

The Eleanor Roosevelt National Historic Site is the subject of an online-lesson plan produced by Teaching with Historic Places, a National Register program that offers classroom-ready lesson plans on properties listed in the National Register. It is also one of the sites featured in our Places Where Women Made History travel itinerary. See also the National Park Service Museum Management Program's online exhibit: Eleanor Roosevelt, American Visionary.

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