Tags: leader: eleanor roosevelt

andrew potter

Eleanor Roosevelt & Lorena Hickok

Eleanor Roosevelt (October 11, 1884 – November 7, 1962), wife of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, was First Lady of the United States from 1933 to 1945, and, shortly before her death in 1962, she was voted the Most Admired Woman in America. The woman Eleanor herself most admired was journalist Lorena Hickok (1893-1968). They first met in 1928 and remained close, basically living together from 1939 until the end of their lives.

Thousands of letters and notes between the two women show that they had an intimate and passionate relationship. For instance, in a letter dated December 5, 1933, Hickok wrote to Eleanor: “I remember your eyes, with a kind of teasing smile in them and the feeling of that soft spot just north-east of the corner of your mouth against my lips.” On September 1, 1934, Eleanor wrote to Lorena: “I wish I could lie down beside you tonight & take you in my arms.”

Franklin Roosevelt, paralyzed by polio, apparently approved of the relationship between his wife and Hickok, who lived at the White House from 1939 to 1945. However, Hickok’s image was usually removed from photos printed in the press at the time, and she maintained a room at the Mayflower Hotel where she could meet less intimate friends and associates.

After the death of Franklin Roosevelt, Hickok moved to the Roosevelt estate with Eleanor, where she had a cottage of her own. After Eleanor’s death, Hickok continued to live on the estate until her own death six years later.


Lorena Alice Hickok was an American journalist and confidante of Eleanor Roosevelt. Her relationship with Roosevelt has been the subject of research. A key passage from just one early 12-page handwritten missive to Lorena from Eleanor sheds light on their relationship:Goodnight, dear one. I want to put my arms around you and kiss you at the corner of your mouth. And in a little more than a week now, I shall! It is not universally accepted by historians that the two were romantically connected.

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Stern, Keith (2009-09-01). Queers in History: The Comprehensive Encyclopedia of Historical Gays, Lesbians and Bisexuals (Kindle Locations 10390-10401). Perseus Books Group. Kindle Edition.

Lorena Alice Hickok (March 7, 1893 – May 1, 1968) was an American journalist and confidante of Eleanor Roosevelt. Her relationship with Roosevelt has been the subject of research.

Lorena Hickok, popularly known as "Hick", was born in East Troy in Walworth County, Wisconsin, the daughter of Anna Adelsa (née Waite) and Addison Hickok. During childhood, Hickok experienced a troubled family life, characterized by abuse, unemployment, and repeated moves. She left home at the age of fourteen to work as a maid until her mother's cousin, Ella Ellis, took her in. While living with Ellis, Hickok finished high school and enrolled at Lawrence College in Appleton, Wisconsin.

Hickok never adjusted to college and dropped out after one year. She was then hired to cover train arrivals and departures and write personal interest stories at The Battle Creek Evening News. To attempt to follow in the footsteps of her role model, novelist Edna Ferber, she eventually joined the Milwaukee Sentinel as its society editor, but moved on to the city beat, where she developed a knack as an interviewer. Hickok then worked in Minneapolis and New York, but was unsuccessful in such a big city and was fired after just a month. She returned to Minneapolis to work for the Minneapolis Tribune and enrolled at the University of Minnesota, but ended up leaving upon being forced to live in a women's dormitory. She stayed with the Minneapolis Tribune, where she was given opportunities unusual for a female reporter. She had a by-line and was the paper's chief reporter, covering politics and football and preparing editorials. She left the Minneapolis Tribune in 1926. After a period of travel, and ill health, she went to New York. After working for "The Mirror" for about a year, Hickok landed a job with the Associated Press in 1928, where she became one of the wire service's most valued correspondents. She reported in a prominent way on such huge events as the Lindbergh kidnapping. Her specialty was campaign reporting, often sharing campaign trails with her male colleagues.

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Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lorena_Hickok
Eleanor Roosevelt had a deeply committed relationship with her husband that involved working together closely and raising five children. They also both had lovers and committed relationships outside their marriage. For several years Eleanor Roosevelt was romantically and sexually involved with journalist Lorena Hickok; later this relationship was replaced by a profound, if complicated, friendship. Hickok reported on Roosevelt's political work and, in 1959, authored a book for young adults, The Story of Eleanor Roosevelt, that detailed her former lover's life and work. Their letters give a profound sense of their involvement. On February 4, 1934, Roosevelt wrote to Hickok from the White House:
Hick darling, I just talked to you, darling, it was so good to hear your voice. If I just could take you in my arms. Dear, I often feel rebellious too & yet I know we get more joy when we are together than we would have if we lived apart in the same city & could only meet for short periods now & then. Someday perhaps fate will be kind & let us arrange a life more to our liking [but] for the time being we are lucky to have what we have. Dearest, we are happy together & strong relationships have to grow deep roots.
Roosevelt remained intensely involved with her "ladies' brain trust" for decades. Later in life, working with the United Nations, she was deeply committed to international human rights.
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Days of Love: Celebrating LGBT History One Story at a Time by Elisa Rolle
Paperback: 760 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 1 edition (July 1, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1500563323
ISBN-13: 978-1500563325
Amazon: Days of Love: Celebrating LGBT History One Story at a Time

Days of Love chronicles more than 700 LGBT couples throughout history, spanning 2000 years from Alexander the Great to the most recent winner of a Lambda Literary Award. Many of the contemporary couples share their stories on how they met and fell in love, as well as photos from when they married or of their families. Included are professional portraits by Robert Giard and Stathis Orphanos, paintings by John Singer Sargent and Giovanni Boldini, and photographs by Frances Benjamin Johnson, Arnold Genthe, and Carl Van Vechten among others. “It's wonderful. Laying it out chronologically is inspired, offering a solid GLBT history. I kept learning things. I love the decision to include couples broken by death. It makes clear how important love is, as well as showing what people have been through. The layout and photos look terrific.” Christopher Bram “I couldn’t resist clicking through every page. I never realized the scope of the book would cover centuries! I know that it will be hugely validating to young, newly-emerging LGBT kids and be reassured that they really can have a secure, respected place in the world as their futures unfold.” Howard Cruse “This international history-and-photo book, featuring 100s of detailed bios of some of the most forward-moving gay persons in history, is sure to be one of those bestsellers that gay folk will enjoy for years to come as reference and research that is filled with facts and fun.” Jack Fritscher

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