ER's personal physician, confidante, traveling companion, and housemate, David Gurewitsch shared a close friendship with Eleanor Roosevelt from 1947 until her death in 1962. A native of Switzerland, Gurewitsch emigrated to Palestine after the completion of his medical training, but relocated to New York City in the mid-1930s after Mt. Sinai Hospital offered him funding to conduct research. Choosing to remain in the United States, Gurewitsch found work at Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center practicing rehabilitation medicine. While there, Gurewitsch met ER through a mutual friend, Trude Lash, and ER soon retained his services as her personal doctor. During the late 1940s and 1950s, ER and Gurewitsch corresponded regularly and took a series of trips together. Visiting thirteen different countries together - including India, the Soviet Union, and Israel - Gurewitsch snapped hundreds of pictures of ER along the way, including the famous shots of her meeting with Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev in 1957. Gurewitsch married Edna Perkel in 1958 and his friendship with ER only seemed to grow stronger as time passed. The three purchased a townhouse on New York's Upper East Side later that year, and ER divided the rest of her life between this residence and her cottage at Val-Kill. As her health deteriorated, Gurewitsch provided ER with both medical care and emotional support. Following ER's death, Gurewitsch secured appointment as the medical director of the United Nations and then as advisor to Abraham Ribicoff, secretary of health, education, and welfare. He died in 1974 in New York City.
Sources: Joseph P. Lash, Eleanor: The Years Alone (New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 1972), passim; Maurine Beasley, et al., eds., The Eleanor Roosevelt Encyclopedia (Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 2001), pp. 219-221; Edna Gurewitsch, Kindred Spirits: The Friendship of Eleanor Roosevelt and David Gurewitsch (New York: St. Martin's Press, 2002), passim.
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 Electronic version based on unpublished letters.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/.
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