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Biographies Unit Biographies

Eleanor Roosevelt 1884–1962
Social Reformer, Diplomat, and First Lady

Eleanor Roosevelt spent much of her life trying to make other people's lives better. When she was a teenager, Roosevelt began working at a settlement house in New York. A settlement house was a place for people who needed food and shelter. “There is joy in accomplishing good,” she said.

Later, Eleanor Roosevelt married. Her husband, Franklin Roosevelt, was elected President of the United States in 1932. As First Lady, Eleanor Roosevelt worked for equal rights for women and African Americans. She also spoke about the rights of children and helped people living in poverty. While she was First Lady, Roosevelt gave over seventy speeches every year. She wrote 2,500 newspaper columns and published six books.

In 1945, Roosevelt began working at the United Nations. The United Nations is a group of people from many different countries, working to promote peace. The group helps people around the world get food, medicine, and other things they need. Roosevelt visited many countries while she worked with the United Nations. She became known as “the first lady of the world” because she defended the rights of people around the globe.

Comprehension Check

Why was Eleanor Roosevelt called “the first lady of the world”?

Critical Thinking

Why did Eleanor Roosevelt give so many speeches and write so many articles while she was First Lady?