Eleanor Roosevelt refashioned the role of First Lady at a time when the nation, struggling through the Great Depression, needed innovation. Insecure as a young adult, the growing women’s rights movement bolstered her energy and confidence throughout the 1920s. During Franklin D. Roosevelt’s tenure as governor of New York and in the early years of his presidency, she taught at a school she founded in Manhattan three days a week. She continued writing and lecturing throughout her husband’s legacy, donating every dollar earned through her career to organizations such as the Women’s Trade Union League and the Red Cross. She tirelessly fought for employment opportunities for women, whether through New Deal legislation or privately among friends. During her tenure, she set a new standard by which all future First Ladies would be judged. Eleanor was a confidante, counselor and activist, using her influence to extend opportunities to women. Following her husband’s death in 1945, she continued her work, representing America at the United Nations, drafting the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and later heading the Commission on the Status of Women from 1961 until her death in 1962.  Her work outside the White House made her “First Lady of the World.”
Facts and quotations from First Ladies: From Martha Washington to Michelle Obama by Betty Boyd Caroli. C-SPAN is exploring the influence of First Ladies in its series.
Image credit: Labor - International Ladies G… Digital ID: 1676675. New York Public Library.

Eleanor Roosevelt refashioned the role of First Lady at a time when the nation, struggling through the Great Depression, needed innovation. Insecure as a young adult, the growing women’s rights movement bolstered her energy and confidence throughout the 1920s. During Franklin D. Roosevelt’s tenure as governor of New York and in the early years of his presidency, she taught at a school she founded in Manhattan three days a week. She continued writing and lecturing throughout her husband’s legacy, donating every dollar earned through her career to organizations such as the Women’s Trade Union League and the Red Cross. She tirelessly fought for employment opportunities for women, whether through New Deal legislation or privately among friends. During her tenure, she set a new standard by which all future First Ladies would be judged. Eleanor was a confidante, counselor and activist, using her influence to extend opportunities to women. Following her husband’s death in 1945, she continued her work, representing America at the United Nations, drafting the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and later heading the Commission on the Status of Women from 1961 until her death in 1962.  Her work outside the White House made her “First Lady of the World.”

Facts and quotations from First Ladies: From Martha Washington to Michelle Obama by Betty Boyd Caroli. C-SPAN is exploring the influence of First Ladies in its series.

Image credit: Labor - International Ladies G… Digital ID: 1676675. New York Public Library.