Found in the Archives

Eleanor Roosevelt and Gore Vidal

The recent death of celebrated author Gore Vidal (1925-2012) led us to explore his relationship with Eleanor Roosevelt. The following “My Day” column drafts and letters from Gore Vidal are found the Eleanor Roosevelt Papers here at the Roosevelt Library.

From the beginning of Vidal’s literary career, ER read and enjoyed Vidal’s books and theatrical works.  Indeed, after having read Vidal’s first novel in 1946, she wrote in her “My Day” column that she believed Vidal had a promising career ahead of him.  How right she was.

Eleanor Roosevelt's "My Day" column draft, dated May 26, 1946

Eleanor Roosevelt’s “My Day” column draft, dated May 26, 1946. Click the image above to read this complete draft and others discussing Vidal.

Gore Vidal moved to Dutchess County, New York in the 1950s, and ER became his friend and political adviser.  When Vidal unsuccessfully ran for Congress as a Democrat in the heavily Republican 29th district in the Hudson Valley, he looked to Mrs. Roosevelt for encouragement and political insight.

Gore Vidal to Eleanor Roosevelt, circa 1957-1962

Click the image above to read letters from Gore Vidal to Eleanor Roosevelt, circa 1957-1962.

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One Response to Found in the Archives

  1. Chris says:

    While an occasional story about Eleanor Roosevelt is interesting, this IS the FRANKLIN D. Roosevelt PRESIDENTIAL Library, and I have to wonder — once again — why the staffers at the FRANKLIN D. Roosevelt PRESIDENTIAL Library are so reluctant to tell the story of FRANKLIN D. Roosevelt.

    Is it that the staffers don’t actually know much about FRANKLIN D. Roosevelt, or is it that they feel duty-bound to keep FRANKLIN D. Roosevelt in the shadows?

    At every other Presidential Library, the staffers seem to feel obligated to brag, out of all proportion, about the president whose legacy they are employed to describe.

    But not at the FRANKLIN D. Roosevelt PRESIDENTIAL Library. At this presidential Library, the staffers seem to feel obligated NOT to tell the story of the president whose legacy they are employed to describe.

    And, by the way, posting stories about letters written TO and gifts given TO Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt do not count as telling the story of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the president whose legacy the staffers are employed to describe.

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