As the caption on the image suggests, Eleanor Roosevelt was still finding herself when this image was taken in her early middle-age

We had the second and presumably last snow day of the winter today. With April almost here I imagine we won’t be getting many more blasts like this one. New York City itself was spared the worst of it. That said, I did not leave the house all day. It looked pretty slick out there. I had grand visions of writing today but it did not come to pass. I don’t think I realized until getting up this morning how tired I was. I would rather be busy than not but with the semester in full swing there has been so much to get done. Now I’m charged up for tomorrow.

This morning I began part one of Blanche Wiesen Cook’s three-volume history of Eleanor Roosevelt. The first installment goes from 1884-1933. Part one came out in 1992, twenty-five years ago. It was interesting to read the introduction, in which Dr. Cook discusses what in the early 1990s were still fairly new trends in historiography that incorporated Women’s Studies and other aspects of social history into scholarship. The third installment came out late last year. I intend to read all three works over the late winter and early spring and am curious to see how if at all the author’s perspective changes over time.

I am only up to the wedding of her parents Anna and Elliott but apparently Dr. Cook’s thesis is that it was Eleanor’s 1918 discovery of Franklin’s relationship with Lucy Mercer after he came home from visiting the battlefields in Europe during the Great War that led to the new phase in her life. She was only 34. Any marriage is more complicated than it appears to outsiders but the Mercer discovery unquestionably changed Franklin and Eleanor’s relationship. It is reasonable to assume that it also sparked her increased confidence and willingness to reach out and build a wider social and political support network for herself.

(image/New York Public Library)