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Eleanor Roosevelt Lesson for Kids: Biography & Facts

Instructor: Jenny Homer

Jenny has masters' degrees in public health and public administration.

Learn about Eleanor Roosevelt, a First Lady who accomplished many important firsts. We will learn about her childhood, her time in the White House with President Franklin Roosevelt, and her work later in life.

Who is Anna Eleanor Roosevelt?

How cool would it be to have an uncle who was president of the United States and be married to another president?! Would you just be excited to live in the White House and meet famous people? Or would you roll up your sleeves and get to work?

Anna Eleanor Roosevelt, who we know as Eleanor, decided to make a difference. She was married to President Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR), who was president from 1933 to 1945 and the only president to be elected to a fourth term. Eleanor spent a lot of time in the White House, more than any other First Lady (the title given to the wife of a president), and she made the most of it.

Eleanor Roosevelt's Childhood and Early Career

Eleanor was born on October 11, 1884, in New York City. Both of her parents died when Eleanor was little, and she went to live with her grandmother. Eleanor's uncle, Theodore Roosevelt, was president from 1901 to 1909. When she was 15, she went to England for school.

After she came back, Eleanor married FDR, her fifth cousin, and they had six children. In 1921, FDR got sick with polio. Eleanor became more involved in women's political groups like the League of Women Voters and did other volunteer work, while her husband worked in politics.

Eleanor Roosevelt in the White House

Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt at the White House, 1933.
Franklin and Eleanor at the White House, 1933.

In 1933, Eleanor became First Lady when FDR was elected president. Today, when we think of First Ladies, we think of Michelle Obama or Laura Bush. They're on TV, talk to reporters, and are always on the go.

But when Eleanor Roosevelt was First Lady, the job was different. First Ladies didn't have press conferences where they answered questions from reporters, and women reporters did not have the same chances to cover the news as men. To change this, Eleanor had a press conference in 1933 and only invited women reporters! Eleanor also gave speeches and wrote a daily newspaper article called My Day.

Franklin was president during a tough time. The country was in the Great Depression, when the economy slowed and it was very hard for people to find jobs. Eleanor traveled around the country to see what life was like, and she would tell her husband what she learned. During World War II, Eleanor helped out and traveled to visit troops.

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