Anna Eleanor Roosevelt, the eldest child of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt, was born in New York and briefly attended Cornell University. Although her relationship with ER was strained during her youth and again briefly as an adult, the two grew closer particularly after Anna married.
Anna married New York stockbroker Curtis Dall in 1926, in part to escape the Roosevelts' difficult family situation in the aftermath of her father's affair with Lucy Mercer. The couple had two children, Anna Eleanor and Curtis, who lived at the White House with their mother in 1933-34. During that time, Anna, with ER's help, sought to become financially independent by working as a journalist. After divorcing Dall in 1934, she married journalist John Boettiger in 1935. They had one son. From 1936 until Boettiger went into the army in 1943, the Boettigers worked on the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Anna then returned to the White House as her father's confidential assistant. As such, she accompanied FDR to Yalta and served as White House hostess during ER's many absences. The immediate postwar period was difficult for the Boettigers. After attempting to run a newspaper in Arizona, they divorced in 1949. Again ER helped Anna financially, joining her on a short-lived ABC radio discussion program. In 1952 Anna married Dr. James Halsted, a physician with the Veterans Administration. Thereafter, she worked closely with her husband in the medical field. After ER's death, she supported her mother's causes such as Americans for Democratic Action, the United Nations Association of the United States, and the Wiltwyck School. She died in 1975 in New York.
Sources: Bernard Asbell, ed., Mother and Daughter: The Letters of Eleanor and Anna Roosevelt (New York: Fromm International Publishing Corp., 1988), pp. 30-31, 41, 277; Maurine Beaseley, et al., eds., The Eleanor Roosevelt Encyclopedia (Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 2001), pp. 222-226; Betty Boyd Caroli, The Roosevelt Women (New York: Basic Books, 1998) pp. 262, 277, 287.
Recommended citation: Eleanor Roosevelt, John Kennedy, and the Election of 1960: A Project of The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers, ed. by Allida Black, June Hopkins, John Sears, Christopher Alhambra, Mary Jo Binker, Christopher Brick, John S. Emrich, Eugenia Gusev, Kristen E. Gwinn, and Bryan D. Peery (Columbia, S.C.: Model Editions Partnership, 2003). Electronic version based on unpublished letters. .
For more information, visit The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers home page at https://erpapers.columbian.gwu.edu/.
Copyright © 2006. The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers. All rights reserved.