Once Upon a Time I Visited Eleanor Roosevelt's Val-Kill Home

Towering Above Me - Eleanor Roosevelt

In April 2002, my grandson Shane and I visited the Franklin Delano Roosevelt National Monument beside the famous Cherry Tree Walk on the Tidal Basin near the national mall.  

Shane took this picture of me standing beside Eleanor Roosevelt who has always been an inspiration for me.



Elizabeth beside Eleanor Roosevelt at the FDR National Memorial
Photo by Shane Larkin, April 2002



Eleanor Roosevelt 
by Douglas Chandor

[Source: White House Historical Association]

"We stand today at the threshold of a great event both in the life of the United Nations and in the life of mankind. This declaration may well become the international Magna Carta for all men everywhere. We hope its proclamation by the General Assembly will be an event comparable to the proclamation in 1789 [of the French Declaration of the Rights of Man], the adoption of the Bill of Rights by the people of the U.S., and the adoption of comparable declarations at different times in other countries..."


The "First Lady of the World"

In early October 2001, I visited Val-Kill, the home of Eleanor Roosevelt in Hyde Park, NY. 

Eleanor Roosevelt, whom President Harry Truman called the "First Lady of the World

At 19 and barely out of school, Eleanor enrolled in the Junior League of New York where she taught calisthenics and dancing to immigrants and in the Consumers' League where she investigates working conditions in the garment districts. From then until her death in 1962, her life was a continuous fight for the oppressed. For more, see the PBS site, Eleanor Roosevelt.

Val-Kill, home of Eleanor Roosevelt in  Hyde Park, NY
Val-Kill Cottage, a converted furniture factory,  was the only home Eleanor Roosevelt ever had. She named it after a nearby stream.

"The greatest thing I have learned is how good it is to come home again," Eleanor Roosevelt once told a friend, talking about her Val-Kill cottage.


Eleanor Roosevelt was our first delegate to the United Nations Human Rights Commission (1945-52) and regarded the Universal Declaration as her greatest accomplishment.

"Where, after all, do universal human rights begin? In small places, close to home - so close and so small that they cannot be seen on any maps of the world. Yet they are the world of the individual person; the neighborhood he lives in; the school or college he attends; the factory, farm, or office where he works. Such are the places where every man, woman, and child seeks equal justice, equal opportunity, equal dignity without discrimination. Unless these rights have meaning there, they have little meaning anywhere. Without concerted citizen action to uphold them close to home, we shall look in vain for progress in the larger world."

-Eleanor Roosevelt