The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers, Volume 1

The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Project, Foreword by Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton

Eleanor Roosevelt walked out of the White House more than the president's widow. As a nationally syndicated columnist, popular lecturer, author, party leader, and social activist, Roosevelt assured her friends that "my voice will not be silent." Vowing not to be a "workless worker in a world of work," Roosevelt dedicated her unstinting energy to "winning the peace." By 1946, she had unexpectedly moved onto the world stage, whereas a delegate to the United Nations, she accepted the request of its fifty members to articulate a vision strong enough to instill hope, repel fear, and deter war.

The 410 documents in The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers, Vol. 1: The Human Rights Years, 1945-1948 not only tell the tale of Roosevelt's development as a political force in her own right and the impact she had on American politics and the United Nations. but also the serious treatment she received from those in power. These papers disclose the inner workings of Truman's first administration, the United Nations, and the major social and political movements of the postwar world. They trace Eleanor Roosevelt's efforts to defend the New Deal, strengthen the United Nations, confront the refugee crisis, advise Truman and party leaders, confront cold war polemics, defend civil rights and civil liberties, recognize Israel, and build popular support for human rights at home and abroad. In the process, they reveal the intense struggles Roosevelt's correspondents and advisors had confronting a war-scarred world, the conflicting advice they gave her, the material Roosevelt reviewed and the people she consulted while determining her own course of action.

Using a wide variety of material — letters, speeches, columns, debates, committee transcripts, telegrams, and diary entries — this first of five volumes presents a representative selection of the actions ER took to define, implement, and promote human rights and the impact her work had at home and abroad. Readers may disagree over various decisions she made, the language that she used, or the priorities she established. Yet her influence is unquestioned.

Eleanor Roosevelt played a critical role in defining one of the most critical issues of our time: human rights.

Praise for the Printed Volumes


From the forward by Hillary Rodham Clinton:

"In Eleanor Roosevelt's words, we can see how she embodied the struggles of the early part of the twentieth century; how she took what she experienced in her own life and translated it into work on behalf of others. As one reads these papers, I believe one will be struck by the breadth of Mrs. Roosevelt's interests and concerns, and also by the passion, eloquence and honesty with which she wrote. . . Through Volume I of the Eleanor Roosevelt Papers, we honor her work, her legacy, her timeless values and ideals, and her commitment to imagining a better future for all people. As you read through this volume, I hope her words will be a call to action."


Praise for The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers, Volume 1:

"After 1945, with over 50 million dead, and the world riven by terror and suffering, Eleanor Roosevelt was in the leadership of those who wanted World War II to be 'the last civil war to tear humanity apart.' That required human rights — dignity, security, respect for all people; and diplomatic justice between nations, including economic stability to protect the earth's resources and the needs of humanity. Allida Black and her diligent, generous staff's remarkable collection of ER's papers — her letters and columns, memos of meetings and conversations, brilliantly edited and profoundly learned — gift us with the history we need most urgently now as we again confront a dangerous future. ER's life was dedicated to the eradication of poverty and racism, war and despair. This splendid and important volume — generously illustrated, filled with dazzling insights and stunning surprises — is a gift of hope and courage."

Blanche Wiesen Cook,
University Distinguished Professor John Jay College
& The Graduate Center, CUNY author, Eleanor Roosevelt vols. I, II, III (forthcoming).