Eleanor worked with the underprivileged in the East Side slums of New York City. She taught the children of the slum dwellers dance and literature. In fact she cared for them and did whatever she could do to make their lives better.
On March 17, 1905, her uncle and the President of the United States, Theodore Roosevelt gave her away in marriage to Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR). In 1910, Franklin Roosevelt was elected as a Democratic representative to the Senate of New York City and Eleanor acted as hostess to the Democratic caucuses held in her drawing room. In 1913, Franklin was appointed as the Assistant Secretary of the Navy. Eleanor had displayed keen interest in politics during this period.
soldiers in the hospitals, worked at the local canteens; also set up organizations to cater to the rising demand for woolen clothes for the Navy. She showed great leadership qualities and exhibited her love for civic affairs by participating actively in social work during the World War I. She created a niche for herself during this period by volunteering for Red Cross.
She actively participated in the women’s suffrage movement. In 1921, she became the political surrogate for Franklin Roosevelt who was crippled by a bout of polio. Her constant encouragement and support helped Franklin Roosevelt to return to politics. During his tenure as the Governor of New York (1929- 1933), she opened a furniture factory, Val-Kill, in New York for the unemployed youth. This factory was later expanded to include weaving and pewter.
Eleanor Roosevelt, along with her friend Marion Dickerman, bought a private school, Todhunter, for girls from Winifred Todhunter. Here she implanted the principles of her headmistress, Mlle. Souvestre. Eleanor taught history in this school and also worked as an assistant principal. She enjoyed her active participation in the activities of the school.
Her husband, FRD, was impressed by her accomplishments and he used it as his groundwork to win the presidential elections in 1932. In 1933, Franklin Roosevelt became the American President and she the First Lady. Eleanor Roosevelt held exclusive press conferences with women reporters to promote jobs for women in the newspaper and media industry, and also to discuss the current issues. She delivered public lectures to explain the objectives of the "New Deal", a program formulated by Franklin to recover from Depression.
In 1935, she started to write a syndicated column in a leading newspaper called "My Day". She addressed her issues of concern and her opinions in this column.
Eleanor Roosevelt was instrumental in creating an organization called National Youth Administration (NYA) to provide financial aid to students and hands-on job training to both men and women.
She worked for the betterment of African-Americans. The issues relating to African-Americans were of great concern to her and she worked with organizations such as the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and National Council of ***** Women. In 1939, an African-American singer Marian Anderson was not allowed to perform at Constitution Hall. Eleanor made her protest against discrimination by resigning from the Daughters of the American Revolution.
Eleanor Roosevelt volunteered for the war effort second time, when United States entered World War II. She became the assistant director of the Office of Civilian Defense (OCD). She had worked towards gathering civilian volunteers to participate in the war effort. She also visited the US troops abroad.
In 1945, Franklin died in office and Eleanor stepped down as the First Lady. By then she had already created individuality and space for herself through her social work. United Nations appointed her as their delegate. She was an expert in issues relating to humanitarianism. In 1946, she became the chairperson of the UN Human Rights.
In 1948, Eleanor drafted the "Universal Declaration of Human Rights". This law affirmed liberty and equality to all people regardless of their creed, race and color. She was instrumental in the establishment of the State of Israel. In 1952, even though she had resigned from the United Nations she remained an unofficial ambassador of the Middle East, Asia and Europe.
In her lifetime, she authored books on her personal experiences. They are This is My Story, This I Remember, On My Own and Tomorrow is Now.