Eleanor Roosevelt and Adoption

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Eleanor Roosevelt was born, the eldest of three children into a wealthy and prominent New York family (her uncle was President Theodore Roosevelt), but her mother and one brother died when she was eight and her father, an alcoholic, when she was 10.

She and her other brother were raised by their emotionally distant grandmother after her mother died until she was sent to Allenswood boarding school in England at 15, where she began to blossom. In 1905 she married a cousin, Franklin Roosevelt, who later became the longest-serving president in US history (1932-45), but she had a career as a social worker before marriage, and after marriage was deeply involved in the League of Women Voters, women's trade unionism, Democratic party politics, Depression relief and job creation, racial equality (she famously resigned from the Daughters of the American Revolution when the African-American contralto Marion Anderson was refused permission to sing in a DAR-run concert hall), the establishment of Israel, and Americans for Democratic Action (for which she was accused of being a Communist sympathizer).

She was a US delegate to the United Nations from 1945 to 1953 and chaired the commission which drafted the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights. She also wrote a widely-read newspaper column and a number of books.

She is believed by some to have been bisexual.


Dever, Maria, and Dever, Aileen. Relative Origins: Famous Foster and Adopted People. (Portland: National Book Company, 1992) Microsoft Encarta 98 Encyclopedia, 1993-97 Cook, Blanche Wiesen. Eleanor Roosevelt, 1884-1933. (Penguin, 1993 reprint) Cook, Blanche Wiesen. Eleanor Roosevelt, 1933-1938. (Penguin, 1999 reprint) Roosevelt, Eleanor. The Autobiography of Eleanor Roosevelt. (DaCapo Press, 1992 reprint) "Anna Eleanor Roosevelt, 1884-1962." [Includes portrait]. Available at: