Hall Roosevelt (1891-1941)
Born on June 2, 1891, Hall Roosevelt was Eleanor Roosevelt's younger brother, and the relationship that they shared proved to be one of the most important of ER's life. When Hall was two years old his mother, Anna Hall Roosevelt, died and, shortly after his third birthday, his father, Elliott Roosevelt, died as well. Hall accompanied ER to their grandmother's estate at Tivoli where they continued to be raised.
Before his death, Eleanor's father had implored her to act as a mother towards her toddler brother, and it was a request she made good upon for the rest of Hall's life. While at Tivoli, ER doted on Hall, and when he enrolled at Groton in 1907, Eleanor accompanied him as a chaperone. While he was attending Groton, ER wrote her brother almost daily, but she always felt a touch of guilt that Hall had not had a fuller childhood. She took pleasure in Hall's brilliant performance at school, and was proud of his many academic accomplishments, which included a masters degree in engineering from Harvard.
At twenty-one years old, Hall married a young woman he met at school, and together they had three children (the only daughter of which he named Eleanor, after his sister). When Hall wanted to seek a divorce in 1925, however, it was only with ER's approval that he followed through with his decision. In the late 1920s Hall married again, however, and found work in the railroad industry, as well as in the city government of Detroit as controller.
In 1937, Hall sought a divorce from his second wife. By this point alcoholism had come to dominate his existence, and Hall was unable to hold down any job he was offered. He spent the last few years of his life in a small building on the Hyde Park estate, and he died in September 1941.
Beasley, Maurine, Holly C. Schulman and Henry R. Beasley, eds. The Eleanor Roosevelt Encyclopedia. Westport, Conn: Greenwood Press, 2001, 458-459.
Cook, Blanche Wiesen. Eleanor Roosevelt: Volume One, 1884-1933. New York: Viking Press, 1992, 64-67, 139-140.