Eleanor Roosevelt

(1884—1962) American humanitarian and diplomat

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(b. 11 Oct. 1884, d. 7 Nov. 1962).

UN diplomat Born in New York City to a wealthy family, and niece of President Theodore Roosevelt, she was educated in England, and in 1905 married her remote cousin Franklin D. Roosevelt. When the latter developed poliomyelitis in 1921, she helped him to overcome the disease and took on many public duties. A strong supporter of New Deal policies, she helped to democratize the White House by her press conferences and her journalism. She built up her own political connections, and became a leading advocate of civil and women's rights. Actively and publicly involved in numerous social projects, from equal rights for minority groups to child welfare and slum clearance, her strong activism and influence during her husband's presidency aroused some criticism. She was also deeply admired by millions of Americans. A delegate to the UN, she was appointed chairperson of the UN Commission on Human Rights (1946–51). As such, she helped draft the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948, and travelled the world tirelessly as a UN representative. She wrote a syndicated and influential column for over twenty years. She also helped found the liberal lobby group Americans for Democratic Action, which became very influential in the Democratic Party.

Subjects: United States History.

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