LGBTQ History #16: Eleanor Roosevelt Writes to Her Female Love

First NYC Dyke March, Tagg Magazine
LGBTQ History #15: The First Dyke March
October 24, 2014
Get a Clue BurlyQ Show Flyer
Burlesque Takes You on an Interactive Adventure
October 27, 2014

LGBTQ History #16: Eleanor Roosevelt Writes to Her Female Love

Eleanor Roosevelt and Lorena Hickok

Eleanor Roosevelt (2nd from left) and Lorena Hickok (far right) - Photo: wikipedia

Eleanor Roosevelt and Lorena Hickok

Eleanor Roosevelt (2nd from left) and Lorena Hickok (far right) – Photo: wikipedia

The wife of the 32nd U.S. president built her own vibrant political career and personal life shaped, in part, by her decades-long intimate friendship with a pioneering female journalist.

Eleanor Roosevelt met Lorena Hickok in a 1928 Associated Press interview, and the women developed a deep emotional bond as the reporter covered the future First Lady during the 1932 presidential campaign. They began a private exchange of letters that would ultimately number in the thousands, though the surviving correspondence does not make clear whether their relationship culminated in physical intimacy.

“Someday perhaps fate will be kind and let us arrange a life more to our liking [but] for the time being we are lucky to have what we have,” Roosevelt told Hickok in one letter penned in the White House in 1934. “Dearest, we are happy together and strong relationships have to grow deep roots.”

Another letter written by Hickok for Roosevelt, was slightly more graphic: “Most clearly I remember your eyes, with a kind of teasing smile in them, and the feeling of that soft spot just north-east of the corner of your mouth against my lips.”

Their raciest letters were incinerated and hidden forever from history, according to Empty Without You: The Intimate Letters of Eleanor Roosevelt and Lorena Hickok. In the lengthy investigation of their relationship, historian Rodger Streitmatter quotes Hickok remarking that Roosevelt “wasn’t always so very discreet in her letters to me.”

The two women maintained close contact until Roosevelt’s death in 1962. Hickok died six years later.

 

Powered by Quist, the free app about LGBTQ history. For more stories like this one, download for your Apple or Android device. quistapp.com.

Comments