Eleanor Roosevelt, Up Close

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tags: Eleanor Roosevelt



Presumably, Bill Clinton was joking when he said his wife had communed on a regular basis with Eleanor Roosevelt during his presidency. But Phillippa Ewing would not be too surprised if Hillary Rodham Clinton had just such a connection.

“To me that’s not abnormal at all,” said Ms. Ewing, a consultant at the Roosevelt-Vanderbilt National Historic Sites in Hyde Park who led a recent tour. “In fact, Eleanor speaks to me frequently. This was a powerful, powerful example of a life.”

Though she never held elected office, the wife of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt is widely considered to be the most influential first lady ever. Joan Hoff, a presidential historian, in a letter to The New York Times in 1996, went so far as to say that “largely because her husband was disabled, Mrs. Roosevelt acted in effect as his vice president, representing him all over the country.”




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