Anna Eleanor Roosevelt, United Nations diplomat, humanitarian, and American first lady, the wife of Franklin D. Roosevelt, was born on October 11, 1884 in New York City to Elliott and Anna Hall Roosevelt. Eleanor was the niece of President Theodore Roosevelt (President, 1901-09). After attending school in England, she returned to the United States and was married to her distant cousin Franklin Delano Roosevelt on March 17, 1905. In the next 11 years Eleanor Roosevelt gave birth to six children, one of whom died in infancy. After her husband was elected to New York Senate in 1911, Eleanor began to assume new role of political hostess. As the wife of the Assistant Secretary of the Navy during World War I, she pitched into war work with the Red Cross. After 1921, she provided help and inspiration for her husband in his struggle with the crippling effects of poliomyelitis, becoming an effective public speaker and being involved in such institutions as Women's Trade Union League, state Democratic Party Women's Division, League of Women Voters, etc. By 1933, when her husband became the President, Eleanor Roosevelt was already a political figure of her own right.
During her 12 years as first lady (1933-45) Eleanor Roosevelt instituted regular White House press conferences for women correspondents for the first time. For many years, beginning in 1936, she wrote a daily syndicated newspaper column, My Day. A widely sought-after speaker at political meetings and at various institutions, she showed particular interest in such humanitarian concerns of the New Deal as the National Youth Administration, child welfare, slum-clearance projects, and equal rights. In 1941 she made her one venture into holding public office herself, as co-director of the Office of Civilian Defense. During World War II she traveled in Great Britain and the South Pacific as well as to U.S. military bases.
When her husband died on April 12, 1945, Eleanor Roosevelt assumed that the "story was over", however, she went on to 17 more years of notable public service. President Harry S. Truman appointed Mrs. Roosevelt a delegate to the United Nations (1945, 1949-52; 1961 - appointed by President Kennedy), where, as chairman of the UN Commission on Human Rights (1946-51), she played a major role in the drafting and adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948). Mrs. Roosevelt circled the globe several times, visiting scores of countries and meeting with most of the leaders of the world. Eleanor Roosevelt died on November 7, 1962, in New York City, and was buried at Hyde Park next to her husband. Her many books include "This Is My Story" (1937), "This I Remember" (1949), and "On My Own" (1958).