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One of the most important women of the twentieth century, Eleanor Roosevelt (1884-1962) was also one of its most prolific letter writers. Yet never before has a selection of her letters to public figures, world leaders, and individuals outside her family been made available to general readers and to historians unable to visit the archives at Hyde Park.
It Seems to Me demonstrates Roosevelt's significance as a stateswoman and professional politician, particularly after her husband's death in 1945. These letters reveal a dimension of her personality often lost in collections of letters to family members and friends, that of a shrewd, self-confident woman unafraid to speak her mind. In her letters, Roosevelt lectured Truman, badgered Eisenhower, and critiqued Kennedy. She disagreed with the Catholic Church over aid to parochial schools, made recommendations for political appointments, expressed her opinion on the conviction of Alger Hiss.
Some letters demonstrate her commitment to civil rights, many her understanding of Cold War politics, and still others her support of labor unions. As a whole, this collection provides unique insights into both Eleanor Roosevelt's public life, as well as American culture and politics during the decades following World War II.
Leonard C. Schlup, a professional historian who lives in Akron, Ohio, has written numerous articles and essays for historical dictionaries and encyclopedias.
Donald W. Whisenhunt, professor of history at Western Washington University, is the author of Poetry of the People: Poems to the President, 1929-1945.
"Roosevelt’s writings demonstrate her significance as a stateswoman and professional politician. They also reveal a dimension of her personality often lost in collections of letters to family members and friends—that of a shrewd, self-confident woman unafraid to speak her mind."—Appalachian Quarterly
"Schlup and Whisenhunt’s annotated selections span 50 years but deliberately emphasize the period after FDR’s death. . . . Correspondents included Churchill, Averell Harriman, Madame Chiang Kai-shek, and Martin Luther King Jr. Forthright, savvy, and deeply opposed to oppression in all forms, Roosevelt tackled everything from conflicts in the Middle East to school funding to racism."—Booklist
"They show that ER did not withdraw from the public scene after FDR died but rather became even more outspoken in her support of rights for minorities and women and in the pursuit of world peace."—Bowling Green Daily News
"The first comprehensive collection of her letters to public figures, world leaders, and individuals outside her family."—Feminist Academic Press
"Relatively little has been published about Roosevelt's life as a public figure after her husband Franklin’s death in 1945. It Seems to Me helps correct this imbalance. . . . A valuable source of primary material and a fascinating read."—Florida Historical Quarterly
"Develops a new appreciation of the range and depth of Eleanor Roosevelt’s knowledge of public affairs."—J. William T. Youngs
"The first volume of her letters to political leaders. . . . Superbly introduced and footnoted for the general reader to gain insight into the public persona that Roosevelt created for herself during the second half of her productive life."—Library Journal
"Begins to fill the gap in the scholarship and can help draw attention to her political vision and the courage she took in defense of democracy."—Maryland Historical Magazine
"These letters trace the development of her thoughts on a multitude of issues and show Roosevelt as a stateswoman and professional politician."—McCormick (SC) Messenger
"Provides a more direct approach to Roosevelt’s place in public life, while at the same time providing additional information about her personality and values."—New Deal
"Offers many profound insights into the thoughts, character and nature of this esteemed American woman."—Salem (OH) News
"Roosevelt’s letters reflect her insights, courage and determination."—Tucson Daily Star
The University Press of Kentucky
Place of Publication
Eleanor Roosevelt, United States politics
United States History
Roosevelt, Eleanor; Schlup, Leonard C.; and Whisenhunt, Donald W., "It Seems to Me: Selected Letters of Eleanor Roosevelt" (2005). United States History. 111.