Eleanor Roosevelt and Elinor Morgenthau, wife of FDR’s Treasury Secretary Henry Morgenthau Jr., were fast friends and that was partly due to the similarity of their natures. They were women of their time and had iron fists inside velvet gloves. While with their famous husbands, they stepped back to let them take center stage, but they were powerhouses behind the throne. (This was especially true early on, before Eleanor Roosevelt had cast out and made a name for herself.)
What is really interesting is the tenor of the two womens’ friendship. They truly loved each other. The two families lived less than an hour away, the Morgenthaus in Fishkill, NY and the Roosevelts in Hyde Park, NY. The two women rode together and felt such a connection that after pictures were taken, they had their horses air-brushed to look alike.
The letters between them that I unearthed in the Roosevelt Library, show an emotional bond. Elinor, who suffered from bad health, was envious of Eleanor’s other friends, and told her so, which caused Eleanor to lecture her friend that she should not get so easily hurt.
I’ll be talking about this unusual relationship at the Roosevelt Reading Festival, as well as about Eleanor’s close affinity with my husband Robert Morgenthau, Elinor and Henry’s son. The details of the Roosevelt-Morgenthau bond are featured in my book ‘Timeless: Love, Morgenthau, and Me,’ a memoir about the May-December marriage of Bob and me as well as the inside stories of his famous cases during his thirty years as New York City’s District Attorney.
The Roosevelt Reading Festival will be held Saturday, June 20, in the Henry A. Wallace Center at the FDR Presidential Library and Home, 4079 Albany Post Road, Hyde Park, NY 12538.
This is a free public event. All are welcome. Click HERE for more information.