Why Publish the Eleanor Roosevelt Papers?

Eleanor Roosevelt's persistent, exceedingly personal outreach to people around the globe; her determination to create institutions respectful of people's needs and dreams; and her refusal to succumb to the politics of despair remain the example of democratic practice. Almost forty years after her death, she remains arguably the world's most outspoken advocate for human rights.

Eleanor Roosevelt left a voluminous written legacy. She wrote seventeen political books (although only one remains in print), more than eight thousand columns, over four hundred articles, an average of 150 letters a day, and countless memoranda and speeches. Her State Department human rights file fills 198 archival boxes. The records of her work as an American delegate to the United Nations, her frequent radio and television commentaries, and the documentation of the positions she advocated are scattered around the world.

The documentary record of her work is invaluable. It reveals the struggle to build the United Nations, craft a viable Universal Declaration of Human Rights, ensure civil rights and civil liberties, protect refugees, promote the living wage, assist the developing world, promote widespread inclusive economic prosperity, contain nuclear weaponry, recognize Israel, and encourage women's full political and economic participation.

As direct and engaging as it is bold, her work resonates with powerful examples of policies, debates, and implementation strategies essential to contemporary discussions of democratic values and human rights policies. It is a resource as valuable to those studying the spread of democratic governments across Africa and the Balkans as it is to Americans concerned with the rights of cross-border immigrants, housing, education policy, and the living wage.