Remembering Eleanor Roosevelt

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Eleanor Roosevelt | The White House Historical Association | 15152

Former American First Lady Anna Eleanor Roosevelt was born on October 11, 1884 and died on November 7, 1962; Marc Peyser and Timothy Dwyer are the authors of “Hissing Cousins: The Untold Story of Eleanor Roosevelt and Alice Longworth”. They write in Huff:

June marks the start of Gay Pride season, with parades from Boston and Los Angeles to Tel Aviv and Oslo. It’s a good bet that somewhere over those rainbows, Eleanor Roosevelt’s spirit will be marching, too. She’s appeared off and on over the decades, whether loud and proud on posters reclaiming her as an uncelebrated lesbian or more demurely as a sort of mascot for branches of the Eleanor Roosevelt Democratic Club.

The First Lady’s sexuality remains shrouded in mystery. So why was she, in the White House, and at such a dangerous time for gay men and lesbians, such a champion of their rights?

Some would argue that was because the First Lady was a closeted lesbian. The most often-cited evidence is her intense friendship with an openly lesbian reporter named Lorena Hickok. Roosevelt and Hick worked together, vacationed together and wrote each other hundreds of letters, many of them as purple as a late-summer eggplant. “Gee! What wouldn’t I give to talk to you & hear you now, oh, dear one,” said one from Eleanor. “It is all the little things, tones in your voice, the feel of your hair, gestures, these are the things I think about & long for.” The First Lady got Hick a job reporting from around the country on the progress of the New Deal. Back in Washington, she bunked in a guest room at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. And the rumors began. “And so you think they gossip about us?” Eleanor wrote to Lorena in November 1933. “I am always so much more optimistic than you are. I suppose because I care so little what ‘they’ say!”

Well worth reading.

http://firstladies.c-span.org/FirstLady/34/Eleanor-Roosevelt.aspx

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/marc-peyser/the-first-lady-of-gay-rights_b_7608122.html


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