Eleanor Roosevelt (1884-1962) demonstrated how women could redefine traditional roles and create a new place in American culture. Eleanor created a long legacy that extended far beyond her years as First Lady. She redefined the role of a First Lady, becoming an activist and world leader in her own right. Her works have inspired subsequent First Ladies, and other women, to seek their own political and social causes and enact change.
During World War I Eleanor worked for several organizations that assisted service personnel and joined the League of Women Voters. She supported her husband, Franklin D. Roosevelt, in his political career, becoming active in the Women’s Division of the State Democratic Committee.
During her time as First Lady, Eleanor entertained, gave lectures, held press conferences, traveled, and represented her husband in official and unofficial business. She helped develop several New Deal programs, supported troops, and worked to improve race relations. When her husband died after twelve years in office, Eleanor continued to work for her nation as a United Nations representative, chairing the U.N. Human Rights Commission.