History buffs get a different side to American history with Showtime’s new anthology drama The first lady. The show features portraits of Eleanor Roosevelt (Gillian Anderson), betty ford (Michelle Pfeiffer) and michelle obama (Viola Davis) and shines a light on historic moments through their eyes at the White House. Naturally, this sparked the curiosity of viewers wanting to delve deeper, and one question kept coming up week after week: Were Eleanor and Franklin Roosevelt related?
Turns out the answer is yes: Eleanor and Franklin Roosevelt were cousins — more specifically, fifth cousins once estranged. According to History.com, Eleanor was born Anna Eleanor Roosevelt and was raised by her extended Roosevelt family in Oyster Bay, Long Island. The Franklin side of the family (also called branch) was from Hyde Park in upstate New York.
She was taken in at the age of 10 when her father died of alcoholism. Her mother died two years earlier of diphtheria, a contagious bacterial disease. Years later, Eleanor crossed paths with Franklin when they were teenagers. But The New York Times reports that they didn’t really notice each other until four years later, when the Roosevelt cousins attended an event at Madison Square Garden in 1902. There are other accounts that they met at the debutante ball in ‘Eleanor, as seen on the show.
Later that year they began dating and within months, 22-year-old Franklin proposed to 19-year-old Eleanor in 1903. The couple married in an intimate wedding on March 17, 1905. At New York. According to reports, St. Patrick’s Day was chosen as the special date to welcome President Theodore Rooseveltwho was Eleanor’s uncle and Franklin’s fifth cousin.
In addition to officiating, he also gave the bride. Unsurprisingly, his presence garnered a lot of press attention. Leaving the wedding reception, he reportedly shared his thoughts on the Roosevelt-Roosevelt marriage. “It’s a good thing to keep the name in the family,” he said, according to History.com.
Five years after their nuptials, Franklin followed in Theodore’s footsteps and was elected to the United States Senate in 1910. During this time, Eleanor gave birth to several of their children, and the couple eventually had five: Anna, james, Elliot, Franklin Jr. and John. At the height of his two-decade political career, he was named the 32nd President of the United States in November 1932. President Franklin served a total of four terms from March 1933 to April 1945.
Although Eleanor stood by Franklin throughout his presidency, the two are said to have lived separate lives due to multiple affairs. Still, Eleanor took her position as First Lady of the United States seriously and used her platform to discuss civil rights, humanitarian causes and philanthropic work. After his death in 1945, she continued to participate actively in public service and became a United Nations delegate in 1948. Eleanor died in 1962.
Step into Eleanor’s life as mother, wife and first lady:
To get a better idea of what the relationship between Eleanor and Franklin was really like and the kind of amazing job the First Lady did, we invite you to read this special Good Housekeeping letter from the archives that their son James wrote in 1960. In it, James highlights his mother’s incredible, yet overlooked, accomplishments and speaks candidly about her upbringing, struggles, and overall poise as a working mother in public service.
GH+ members can access the exclusive letter above for free. Non-members can read the letter when signing up for GH+. Once registered, members will have instant access to more exclusive content, one year Good Housekeeping print subscription and special offers and discounts to save money. Moreover, you will also have the chance to become a product tester and enjoy free shipping on every order from the Good Housekeeping Shop.
This content is created and maintained by a third party, and uploaded to this page to help users provide their email addresses. You may be able to find more information about this and similar content on piano.io