Eleanor Roosevelt’s Recovered Letters Expose Her Concealed Love Affair

Eleanor Roosevelt is remembered as a leading figure in American history. Quite aside from her role as First Lady to President Franklin D. Roosevelt, though, she was also a prominent political figure herself with an agenda of her own. But there was even more to Eleanor than many people realize. Away from politics, Eleanor’s personal life was complicated, and historians have uncovered letters that prove just how much she was hiding.

Not as it seemed

First ladies and their husbands generally like to present themselves and their relationship in a highly idealized light, but the reality can be quite different. And in the case of the Roosevelts, all definitely wasn’t as it appeared from the outside. They didn’t quite enjoy the traditional life expected of a presidential household.

A loveless union

As far as the American public was aware, the Roosevelts had enjoyed a perfectly happy marriage. In truth, it was anything but. Theirs was a union defined by betrayal and, ultimately, lovelessness. The president had been unfaithful to his wife, while she is rumored to have had her own extramarital entanglement.

A scandalous relationship

The specific nature of this relationship, which is revealed in letters penned by Eleanor herself, would certainly have caused a scandal, had it been widely known about during her own day. Given the attitudes of the time, it’s probably fair to suggest she would have taken a lot of heat for it. And that’s because the object of her desires seems to have been another woman.

Elite origins

Eleanor’s life had always been full of twists and turns. A native New Yorker, she arrived into the world in October 1884. Her family was extremely privileged, both in terms of its finances and its political connections. Her uncle was Theodore Roosevelt, the first president to carry the Roosevelt name. Given a family like that, she was always destined to be among the country’s elite.