James Roosevelt, the second child and oldest son of Eleanor and Franklin Roosevelt, was educated at Groton and Harvard and was a partner in a Boston insurance firm before becoming his father's White House assistant in 1937. He resigned in 1938, however, amid Congressional charges of nepotism. Thereafter, he worked as a Hollywood film executive until 1940 when he joined the Marines. After completing his service in the Pacific, for which he received both the Navy Cross and the Silver Star, Roosevelt returned home, resumed his insurance work, and began his own political career by chairing the 1946 California State Democratic Central Committee. In 1948, as a Democratic national committeeman disappointed with Truman's leadership, Roosevelt urged Dwight Eisenhower to run as the party's presidential nominee. In retaliation, Truman refused to endorse Roosevelt's 1950 candidacy for governor of California, thus ensuring his defeat. In 1954, Roosevelt won the first of six congressional elections in which he supported liberal Democratic politics. After losing the mayoral contest in Los Angeles, Roosevelt left Congress in 1965 to accept an appointment to the United Nations Economic and Social Council only to resign a year later to become president of the International Overseas Services Management Company. Thereafter, he lived in California where he worked as a business consultant, chaired Democrats for Nixon, campaigned for Ronald Reagan, and founded the National Committee to Preserve Social Security. He also wrote two books about his family, the second of which My Parents: A Differing View was written in response to his brother Elliott's books on their parents and suggested that ER might have had an affair with bodyguard Earl Miller. James Roosevelt died in 1991 after a stroke.
Sources: Blanche Wisen Cook, Eleanor Roosevelt, vol. 2, 1933-1938, (New York: Viking, 1999), pp. 353-54, 410-11, 538-39, 553; Doris Kearns Goodwin, No Ordinary Time: Franklin & Eleanor Roosevelt: The Home Front in World War II (New York: Touchstone Books, 1994), pp. 177-78, 635-36; Otis L. Graham, Jr. and Meghan Robinson Wander, eds., Franklin D. Roosevelt: His Life and Times (New York: Da Capo Press, 1985), pp. 370-371.
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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