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Personal Life

While at Harvard, Franklin fell in love with ANNA ELEANOR ROOSEVELT,
his fifth cousin once removed.
Eleanor had had a trying childhood.
Her mother, a beautiful socialite who gave her
little affection, died when Eleanor was eight.
Her father, Theodore Roosevelt's brother, was spirited and charming.
But he was unstable and alcoholic,
and he died when Eleanor was ten.
Orphaned, she lived with her maternal grandmother
and entered her teens feeling rejected, ugly, and ill at ease in society.
When Franklin, a dashing Harvard man two years her senior, paid her attention,
she was flattered and receptive.
On March 17, 1905, the two Roosevelts were married.

Her uncle Theodore ROOSEVELT,
president of the United States, gave her away.
The marriage was successful enough on the surface.
Within the next 11 years Eleanor delivered five children (a sixth died in infancy):
Anna (1906), James (1907), Elliott (1910), Franklin D., Jr. (1914), and John (1916).

Having been born into wealth, the Roosevelts never lacked for money,
and Eleanor and Franklin moved easily among the upper classes in New York and Campobello.

Eleanor, however, was often unhappy.
For much of her married life she had to live near Franklin's widowed and domineering mother.
Family duties kept her at home,
while Franklin played poker with friends or enjoyed the good life.
Later, during World War II,
she was staggered to discover that Franklin was having an affair with her social secretary,
a pretty young Virginian named Lucy Mercer.
(The bottom dropped out of my own particular world," she later said.
"I faced myself, my surroundings, my world, honestly for the first time.")
Click Here There was talk of divorce, but when Franklin promised
never to see Lucy again, the marriage continued.
For Eleanor a new path had opened,
a possibility of standing apart from Franklin.
No longer would she define herself solely in terms of his wants and needs
. A new relationship was forged, on terms wholly different from the old.)
Despite these tensions, Eleanor remained a helpful mate
throughout the 40 years of her marriage to Franklin.


When he contracted POLIO (more info tag on last page) in 1921,
she labored hard to restore his emotional health and to encourage his political ambitions.
Thereafter, with Franklin confined to braces and wheelchairs,

she served as his eyes and ears.
Because she possessed deep sympathy for the underprivileged,
she goaded his social conscience.
For the first five years of their marriage the young Roosevelts
lived in stately houses in New York City.
Franklin attended law school at Columbia until the spring of 1907,
when he quit, foregoing the degree,
after passing the New York state bar examination.
He then took a job with the Wall Street law firm of Carter, Ledyard, and Milburn.
Much of the firm's practice was in corporate law.
Roosevelt found the work tedious, and chafed under the routine.
By 1910 he was 28, restless, and unfulfilled.