Eleanor Roosevelt: A First Among Ladies


By: Nathan Chandler

5 Min Quiz

Image: Wiki Commons

About This Quiz

Until the audacious Eleanor Roosevelt came along, first ladies were expected to serve their time in office by throwing nice parties for socialites and politicians. Eleanor, however, used her huge stage to champion causes for women and the oppressed. How much do you know about this political powerhouse?

Eleanor Roosevelt was a political trailblazer. She served as first lady in which decade?

Roosevelt was married to Franklin D. Roosevelt, who served a record four terms in office. Her intelligence and position made her a very powerful woman.


Before she married her husband Franklin, Eleanor Roosevelt was already related to a president. Which one?

She was the niece of famed U.S. president Teddy Roosevelt. The connection was distant -- Teddy was a fifth cousin, once removed.


What was Roosevelt's actual first name?

Her given name was Anna Eleanor Roosevelt. She was born in New York City in 1884.


What were the circumstances of Roosevelt's family during her childhood?

The Roosevelts were a wealthy New York City family. Eleanor Roosevelt was expected to marry an elite husband who would help her carry on the family legacy.


How many children did Eleanor have with Franklin Roosevelt?

The couple began having children a year after their marriage. They had six children, one of whom died in infancy.


Who signed the young couple's marriage license as a witness?

They kept it in the family, of course. They purposely scheduled the wedding to work around Teddy Roosevelt's schedule. He helped the couple make their marriage official.


President Truman had a nickname for Roosevelt. What was it?

Roosevelt was known for her dedication to humanitarian projects around the globe. Truman called her the "First Lady of the World."


Which figure had a prominent role in the couple's young marriage?

Eleanor Roosevelt's mother-in-law was domineering and took control of the young family (which, due to her maneuverings, lived in a connected house). Franklin Roosevelt's mother manipulated her son's marriage and the upbringing of her grandchildren to suit her likings.


Why did Roosevelt begin to emotionally withdraw from the marriage after about 10 years into the partnership?

About 10 years into their marriage, Eleanor Roosevelt found love letters from another woman addressed to Franklin. Although it effectively ended their marriage relationship, they stayed together for political purposes.


In the 1920s, Franklin Roosevelt began a struggle with which ailment?

Stricken with polio, Franklin's legs became paralyzed, a fact that the family went to great lengths to conceal. Roosevelt doted on her husband … while also developing her activism in social work.


After Franklin Roosevelt was diagnosed with polio, how did Eleanor Roosevelt want him to proceed?

Paralyzed from the waist down with few chances for real recovery, Roosevelt pushed her husband to stay in politics. In spite of his ill health, he still managed to become enormously successful.


Roosevelt helped to create the Val-Kill Industries, which did what?

She helped to co-found Val-Kill Industries, a non-profit organization that built furniture. Low-income people were given good jobs there.


Roosevelt was from a wealthy family. How did her father die?

Her mother died of diphtheria. Her father died of alcoholism in a mental ward, leaving her grandmother to help raise her to adulthood.


Wealth aside, Roosevelt's family had many challenges, which turned the young girl into what sort of child?

Perhaps due to her family situation, Roosevelt was extremely shy but starved for attention. She had great empathy for others, a fact made apparent by her lifelong devotion to social causes.


Franklin Roosevelt was first elected president during which major event?

He was sworn into office in 1933, as the Great Depression was well underway. Both he and Eleanor Roosevelt witnessed Americans suffering and set out to help them.


Roosevelt possessed great physical beauty … and she knew it.

Roosevelt was average in physical appearance but painfully insecure, a fact that drove away many potential suitors. It took her longer than she wanted to find a husband that fit her upper-class life.


Tragedy struck the couple's young family. How did Roosevelt's third baby die?

Franklin Jr. sadly caught the flu and couldn't shake it. He died just a few months after he was born.


Roosevelt wrote a syndicated newspaper column for decades. What was the name of her column?

She wrote a column called "My Day," an often informal and whimsical style of writing that won her the hearts of many Americans.


Roosevelt became a powerful political force. She grew up very smart about government and politics.

Roosevelt was exceedingly ignorant about government. During her honeymoon, she famously noted that she didn't know the difference between national and state government. As it turned out, she was a quick learner.


It wasn't Franklin Roosevelt who showed Eleanor Roosevelt the ropes in politics -- it was Louis Howe. Who was he?

Louis Howe was her husband's political advisor. He helped Roosevelt develop what eventually became effective political prowess.


Roosevelt was an incredibly prolific writer. How many books did she author?

In the middle of a life filled with politics and social work, she also somehow managed to write 27 books -- in addition to the 8,000 columns she penned.


How did Roosevelt approach the American civil rights movement?

Ever one to root for the oppressed, Roosevelt was a vocal supporter of civil rights for all people. She fought hard for black rights.


As first lady, Roosevelt traveled the country to give speeches and encouraged Americans to work through hard times. How did she use the information she gathered from ordinary citizens?

In many ways, she was Franklin's eyes and ears. She reported to him regularly so that he could use the information to guide government policy.


In 1942, Franklin Roosevelt's health was deteriorating, and he asked his wife to come and stay with him. What did she do?

Roosevelt never forgot her husband's adulterous behavior. When he finally decided that he really needed his wife, she said no.


In the 40s, Franklin Roosevelt's health took a terrible turn for the worst. Eleanor Roosevelt was with her husband when he died in 1945.

Although he'd told Roosevelt he'd never see his mistress again, she was present when the president died. Roosevelt, however, was not.


After Franklin Roosevelt's death, Eleanor Roosevelt decided to run for elected office.

She had no real desire to deal with elected life. Instead, she remained very social and politically active as a private citizen.


How did Roosevelt feel about her husand's death?

The two shared a lifelong (if flawed) friendship. She was incredibly sad at his passing … and sadder still when she learned that he died with his mistress in his home.


What event ruined Roosevelt's health?

In 1960, she was struck by a car, an event that spiraled into aplastic anemia, tuberculosis and, finally, heart failure in 1962.


How many U.S. presidents attended her funeral?

Upon her death, Roosevelt was treated like a state official. President John F. Kenney attended her service, as did former presidents Truman and Eisenhower.


After her husband's death, Roosevelt served as a spokesperson as part of which organization?

Roosevelt ceaselessly advocated for human rights. She worked as part of the United Nations in an effort to help balance the world for the less fortunate.


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