Eleanor Butler Alexander Roosevelt, Ted Roosevelt’s wife, seen here in center holding knitting, as she was in France during the Great War. On Christmas Eve 1918 she was back in New York City and talking to the media of the work she and others did with the Y.M.C.A. in France.

In December 1918, weeks after the Armistice, Americans were arriving back in the United States, often on such massive transport ships as the Leviathan carrying as many as 9,000 doughboys. It was not just the men however. On December 16, 1918 the Lorraine arrived in New York Harbor carrying Mrs. Anne Harriman Vanderbilt, Mrs. Vincent Astor, a noticeably gaunt Scottish soprano Mary Garden, and Eleanor Butler Alexander Roosevelt, Ted Roosevelt’s wife. It was a difficult time for the Roosevelt family. Quentin had been killed that past July, and the other boys gravely wounded at different times during the war with physical and emotional injuries from which they would never entirely recover. Eleanor’s father-in-law, former president Theodore Roosevelt, had been failing for some time and was quite infirm by this time. He had spent almost all of the past two months in the hospital.

Eight days after her arrival Mrs. Roosevelt was again settled in to her and Ted’s home on East 74th Street. Her husband was still in France with the First Infantry Division. On Christmas Eve 1918 Mrs. Roosevelt gave an interview at the Upper East Side house to expand on, and even defend from some doubters, the work of the Y.M.C.A. that she and so many others had conducted during the war.

(image/New York Times)