ROOSEVELT, ELEANOR

Regarding a Gift of Nylons Sent after FDR’s Death: “I am in mourning and wearing black stockings”

Item #20424


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ROOSEVELT, ELEANOR - Regarding a Gift of Nylons Sent after FDR’s Death:  “I am in mourning and wearing black stockings”
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ROOSEVELT, ELEANOR - Regarding a Gift of Nylons Sent after FDR’s Death:  “I am in mourning and wearing black stockings”

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ROOSEVELT, ELEANOR. (1884-1962). First lady, author and peace advocate.TLS. With a holograph postscript. (“Eleanor Roosevelt”). 1p. Small 8vo. New York, March 31, 1946. To Sam Cook Singer.  

 

It was more than kind of you to send me the nylon stockings, and I very much appreciate Mr. Geist’s thought in asking you to do so. I know that nylon stockings are difficult to purchase and I wonder if in view of the fact that I am in mourning and wearing black stockings if you would not like to have me return these, so you could send them to some one who can use them now? Later on when I change to lighter colored stockings, perhaps nylons will be more plentiful. Very sincerely yours… [In holograph:] P.S. I have all the black stockings which I need -”

 

After FDR contracted polio, Eleanor took on additional political responsibilities, and worked tirelessly during the 1932 presidential campaign. In her twelve years as first lady, the unprecedented spectrum of her political activities and her advocacy of liberal causes made her nearly as controversial (or beloved) a figure as her husband. “Seeking to define her own role in relation to Franklin’s, she called him the politician, herself the agitator,” (DAB). This activist spirit prompted Eleanor’s support for such contentious issues as women’s rights and temperance.

 

On April 12, 1945, FDR succumbed to a stroke and was laid to rest at Hyde Park on the 15th. Rather than end Eleanor’s public career, her husband’s death signaled a renewal. After Vice President Harry Truman took office, he appointed Eleanor a delegate to the United Nations General Assembly, where she served with distinction from 1945-1951 and again under President Kennedy. As chairwoman of the UN Commission on Human Rights she helped draft the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, accepted by the General Assembly in 1948 and still regarded as the authoritative doctrine on the topic.

 

Our letter is written nearly a year after the death of her husband and reveals that she was still observing an official period of mourning.

 

Accompanied by the original envelope addressed to “Mr. Sam Cook Singer / ‘Reporter’ / Empire State Building” and bearing a stamped frank with her full name, Anna Eleanor Roosevelt.

 


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