The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Project is a university-chartered research center associated with the Department of History of The George Washington University

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The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Project
Questions and Answers about Eleanor Roosevelt

Question: Where did ER and FDR live?

Answer:

ER's childhood homes

New York City: ER was born in her parents' first home, 56 West 37th Street. When she was seven, her mother moved the family to 54 East 61st Street while her father stayed in a Paris hospital to battle his addiction to alcohol. After her mother died, ER went to live with her grandmother, Mary Ludlow Hall, who divided her time between her 11 West 37th Street home and Tivoli, New York, where Grandmother Hall managed Oak Wood, the family country estate.

ER and FDR's homes

[picture: building at 125 East 36 St., New York City] Eleanor and Franklin Roosevelt lived in several cities during their marriage: New York City, Albany, Hyde Park, and Washington, DC. They also vacationed at the Roosevelt homes on Campobello Island. FDR spent many summers at his Warm Springs, Georgia, retreat.

New York City: When they were first married, they rented rooms in the Hotel Webster so that FDR could finish his first year at Columbia Law School. Later in 1904, after they returned from their honeymoon, they moved into a house Sara Delano Roosevelt had rented for them at 125 East 36th Street. In 1908, they moved into the 49 East 65th Street townhouse (adjoining Sara's home at 47 East 65th Street) SDR had built for the couple as a Christmas present. This remained the Roosevelt base in New York City until SDR's death in 1941.  FDR then sold the house to Hunter College.

Albany, New York: In 1910, after FDR was elected to the state assembly, the couple moved to the state capital where they rented a six-story house at 248 Upper State Street.

Washington, DC: In 1913, when Woodrow Wilson appointed FDR assistant secretary of the navy, ER and FDR moved to Washington, DC where they rented Auntie Bye's home at 1733 N Street, NW. In autumn 1917, they rented a larger home at 2131 R Street, NW.

[picture: Springwood, Hyde Park, New York] Hyde Park, New York: After FDR's defeat in the 1920 election, the Roosevelts divided their time between the East 65th Street house and Springwood. In 1925, ER, with FDR's strong support and with the partnership of friends Marion Dickerman and Nancy Cook, built Val-Kill, a stone cottage on a popular picnicking site on the Roosevelt estate.

Warm Springs, Georgia: [picture: Warm Springs, GA of home of Franklin Roosevelt.] After being paralyzed by polio, FDR sought treatment to restore his strength and mobility. He discovered the restorative power of exercising in the mineral waters of Warm Springs, Georgia, bought the declining resort hotel there in 1926, and established a therapeutic center devoted to helping polio patients like himself. He built a small cottage for himself near the center and, in 1932, a somewhat larger one that came to be called "The Little White House." Although ER visited FDR when he was in Warm Springs, she never spent long periods of time there.

Albany, New York: In 1929, the family moved into the governor's mansion in Albany; however, as ER divided her time between New York City and Albany, she spent the first part of each week in New York at the East 65th Street house.

Washington, DC: From March 1933 until April 12, 1945, the Roosevelts lived in the White House. However, ER often used her friend Esther Lape's Manhattan apartment at 20 East 11th Street as her "hiding house," a comfortable private space where she could meet friends and colleagues without fanfare. In 1940 or 1942, she leased an apartment at 29 Washington Square West, also in Manhattan, for both her and FDR to use after they left the White House. The war and failing health prevented FDR from ever visiting the apartment.

Campobello Island: [picture:  Roosevelt family home at Campobello Island] They also had a family home on Campobello Island off the coast of New Brunswick, Canada. Both FDR and ER loved to vacation there and the family spent summer vacations there from 1909 to 1921. Sailing, tennis, horseback riding, and hiking filled their days. On August 10, 1921 FDR and the children battled a small forest fire. That evening he complained of chills and aches and went to bed early. Two days later he was paralyzed from the chest down. (This house is now part of the Roosevelt Campobello International Park.)

ER's homes after the White House

Hyde Park, New York: ER loved Val-Kill Cottage and made that her Hyde Park home.

New York City: After FDR's death, ER moved into an apartment at 29 Washington Square West in Greenwich Village. In 1950, she rented suites at The Park Sheraton Hotel (202 West 56th Street). She lived here until 1953 when she moved to 211 East 62nd Street. When that lease expired in 1958, she returned to The Park Sheraton as she waited for the house she purchased with Edna and David Gurewitsch at 55 East 74th Street to be renovated.
 


Sources:

Cook, Blanche Wiesen. Eleanor Roosevelt: Volume One, 1884-1933. New York: Viking Press, 1992, 24, 169, 182-183, 187, 314, 382.

Cook, Blanche Wiesen. Eleanor Roosevelt: Volume Two, The Defining Years, 1933-1938. New York: Penguin Books, 1999, 2.

Goodwin, Doris Kearns. No Ordinary Time: Franklin & Eleanor Roosevelt: The Home Front During World War II. New York: Touchstone Books, 1994, 336.

Lash, Joseph P. Eleanor and Franklin. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 1971, 45, 66-67,146,153,160, 187, 305.