|Hyde Park, NY||August 16, 2004|
Though far more reserved than her gregarious presidential kin, Theodore and Franklin Roosevelt, Anna Eleanor Roosevelt managed to connect with the American people in profound ways during her twelve years in the White House and beyond. In the wake of her death in 1962, the New York Times opined Roosevelt “was more involved in the minds and hearts and aspirations of people than any other First Lady in history. By the end of her life she was one of the most esteemed women in the world.”
Mrs. Roosevelt was laid to rest beside her husband of 40 years in the rose garden at Springwood, FDR’s lifelong home. The president designed their shared gravesite. According to the National Park Service, which maintains Springwood and the gravesite, the memorial stone is eight feet long, four feet wide, and three feet high, with a base that adds a two-foot perimeter around it. Of the two burial mounds in front of the monument, the former first lady lies beneath the one closer to where I am positioned in this picture.
Here I am standing in the same spot 14 years later. The landscaping had changed, and I was a wee bit taller. This was my second visit to Springwood and the neighboring Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum. On this occasion I was accompanied by my friend Kelvis, whereas the first time I visited my parents and sister were with me.
Born: October 11, 1884 in New York, New York
Spouse: Franklin D. Roosevelt (m. 1905-1945)
First Lady Tenure: 1933-1945
Died: November 7, 1962 in New York, New York
Cause of Death: Aplastic Anemia; Disseminated Tuberculosis; Heart Failure
Interment: Home of Franklin D. Roosevelt National Historic Site, Hyde Park, New York
“Long ago, there was a noble word, “liberal,” which derives from the word “free.” Now a strange thing happened to that word. A man named Hitler made it a term of abuse, a matter of suspicion, because those who were not with him were against him, and liberals had no use for Hitler. And then another man named McCarthy cast the same opprobrium on the word. Indeed, there was a time — a short but dismaying time — when many Americans began to distrust the word which derived from “free.” One thing we must all do. We must cherish and honor the word “free” or it will cease to apply to us. And that would be an inconceivable situation. This I know. This I believe with all my heart. If we want a free and a peaceful world, if we want to make the deserts bloom and man grow to greater dignity as a human being — WE CAN DO IT!”
- Eleanor Roosevelt
in her book Tomorrow is Now, published posthumously in 1963
Sources Consulted and Further Reading
MacGuill Dan. “Did Eleanor Roosevelt Say This About the Word ‘Liberal’?” Snopes. January 7, 2020. https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/eleanor-roosevelt-quote-liberal/.
National Park Service. “Visit the Burial Site.” Updated June 4, 2021. https://www.nps.gov/thingstodo/visit-the-burial-site.htm.
New York Times. “Mrs. Roosevelt Dies at 78 After Illness of Six Weeks.” November 8, 1962. https://archive.nytimes.com/www.nytimes.com/specials/magazine4/articles/roosevelt2.html.