From the Museum

Figurine of Huckleberry Finn (MO 1971.49.11)


Outdoor picnics were one of Eleanor Roosevelt’s favorite activities. In 1933, a large stone picnic fireplace was constructed at Val-Kill, her retreat in Hyde Park. The outdoor grill was used to cook hot dogs, hamburgers, and other foods for family, friends, and famous visitors, including Shirley Temple and Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands.

This painted terra cotta figure of Huckleberry Finn eating a hot dog once hung over the picnic fireplace. It was a gift to Eleanor in 1939 from Earl Miller, who served as her bodyguard during the years when FDR was Governor of New York and became a close friend.