Category Archives: Eleanor Roosevelt

Full Interview: My Grandmother, Eleanor Roosevelt A Conversation with John Roosevelt Boettiger and Susan Ives

by Living New Deal, published April 3, 2015

This conversation took place on March 21, 2015 at John’s home in Mill Valley, California.

john-Roosevelt-Boettiger
John Roosevelt Boettiger John is the grandson of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt

John, who was the person that most influenced you?

There isn’t any doubt that it was my grandmother, my mother’s mother Eleanor Roosevelt. We grandchildren called her Grandmère—she learned French before she learned English. She was such a gifted person. She let me absorb who was and what she treasured. I think I learned my basic values from her — for example, her attachment to her family, her devotion to human rights; her absorption with the United Nations; her affection for Israel.

What are your early memories of her?

I was very young, but I still remember Grandmère getting off an airplane in Seattle and coming to stay with us on Mercer Island. Later, while I was still a young child, my mother and I moved to the White House during WWII, but I hardly remember her from that time because she was gone so much—overseas, visiting bases in the Pacific, London or elsewhere.

John-on-his-grandmothers-lap
On Grandmere’s lap Anna Roosevelt, Eleanor Roosevelt, John Boettiger, Jr., and Curtis Roosevelt. Sou

My memories of her are more vivid from the years I was a student at Amherst College. My parents had gone to Iran for two or three years, so she said, as was her way, “Johnny, if you don’t have a home to go home to, you have mine. Come to New York City or to Hyde Park, wherever I am. And I did.

What do you remember of those times?

There are so many memories…like when John Kennedy won the presidency from Richard Nixon and we watched it on television at her apartment on East 83rd Street, and when JFK visited her at her home in Hyde Park. There were two houses on her parcel of land on the estate at Hyde Park. The family home, Springwood, we called The Big House, Her home, called Val-Kill, was named for the stream that meanders through the land. Her home at Val-kill was actually constructed as a small furniture factory that produced amazing reproductions of traditional American furniture. It was my grandmother’s way of employing a few local craftsmen that would not otherwise have had work.

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Eleanor Roosevelt Interviewed by Bill Downs and Edward P. Morgan

1953. An Interview with Eleanor Roosevelt: What is a Liberal?
An Interview with Eleanor Roosevelt

This interview took place on the “Longines Chronoscope” broadcast at 11:00 PM on August 26, 1953.

Excerpt: Eleanor Roosevelt Explains the Meaning of the Word ‘Liberal’

BILL DOWNS: You have become known as the leader of what is loosely called the “liberal movement” in this country, or what used to be called the liberal movement in this country, and some people call them “do-gooders” and the rest of it–could you define a liberal for us in your own words?

ELEANOR ROOSEVELT: …I would feel that a liberal was a person who kept an open mind, was willing to meet new questions with new solutions, and felt that you could move forward; you didn’t have to always look backward and be afraid to look forward.

DOWNS: And that’s what this National Issues Committee* that you’re…

ROOSEVELT: The National Issues Committee is going to try to look at the issues, to put them in simple terms so that the people can understand them as objectively as possible and to feel that they can as the liberals do move forward.

Continue reading Eleanor Roosevelt Interviewed by Bill Downs and Edward P. Morgan