Navigation bar links to the Curriculum Kit home page, lesson plan descriptions, and email. Curriculum Kit Introduction Descriptions of the Six Lessons Email Teaching with Historic Places.

First Lady of the World
Eleanor Roosevelt at Val-Kill

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About This Lesson

Setting the Stage: Historical Context

Locating the Site: Maps
 1. Eleanor Roosevelt NHS
 and Surrounding Region

 2. Eleanor Roosevelt's Home
 at Val-Kill

Determining the Facts: Readings
 1. Eleanor Roosevelt at Val-Kill
 2. Goodwill Ambassador
 to the World

 3. Universal Declaration
 of Human Rights

 4. A Complex Woman

Visual Evidence: Images
 1. Val-Kill
 2. Members of UNESCO Meet
 with Eleanor Roosevelt

 3. Eleanor Roosevelt Lunches
 with Future President,  August 17, 1960

 4. Eleanor Roosevelt Hosts
 Visitors from Overseas

Putting It All Together: Activities
 1. My Day
 2. The Declaration of
 Human Rights

 3. Local Volunteer


Eleanor Roosevelt NHS

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Eleanor Roosevelt
"My Missus and some of her female political friends want to build a shack on a stream in the back woods and want, instead of a beautiful marble bath, to have the stream dug out so as to form an old-fashioned swimming hole."

This is how Franklin D. Roosevelt described his wife Eleanor's ambition to build a retreat for herself and her friends away from the big family house at Hyde Park, New York. The "shack," built in 1925 near a gently flowing stream, was actually a stone cottage situated on land FDR offered the women for their lifetime use.

The following year, the women had a second building constructed on the site to house a small furniture factory. After the factory closed in 1936, Roosevelt converted the building into a cottage for herself, her secretary, and guests, and christened it "Val-Kill Cottage." She used the cottage only sparingly until the death of FDR in 1945. Then, she moved permanently to Val-Kill. She had once described Val-Kill as the place "where I used to find myself and grow" and where "I emerged as an individual." It was truly her home and the place where she came into her own. She gained strength and inspiration from the pastoral surroundings.




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