Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and MuseumVirtual Tour
Sign up for Museum Newsletter    Return to Museum Home Page    Search the Museum website
   
Foundations of a Public Life:  Courtship and Marriage
Back
Next
 
   
 

Courtship and Marriage

"E Is An Angel."

     - Franklin Roosevelt, diary entry, July 7, 1903

"Well Franklin, there's nothing like keeping the name in the family."

     - President Theodore Roosevelt to Franklin Roosevelt, March 17, 1905

Franklin was 20 and Eleanor just 18 when they began courting. Distant relatives (fifth cousins, once removed) they'd met on occasion during their youth and enjoyed each other's company.

In 1902, Eleanor returned from school in England to make her debut in New York society. In November, she encountered FDR at a society event. Soon they were meeting at parties. They danced, talked, and read poetry together.

Eleanor was attracted by Franklin's charm and ambition, and by the sense of self-confidence and security that had been missing from her own life. Franklin thought Eleanor beautiful and was drawn to her intelligence and concern for others. She volunteered to work with immigrant children on Manhattan's Lower East Side. He was stunned to see the conditions under which they existed.

The Roosevelts married on March 17, 1905 in New York. Eleanor's uncle - President Theodore Roosevelt - gave away the bride. His overpowering presence made the newlyweds supporting players at their own wedding.
 
Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum Home Page   National Archives and Records Administration
Lobby Foundations of a Public Life A New Deal FDR's "Act of Faith" The Promise of Change America, 1932: A Nation in Fear Temporary Exhibit Gallery War!  Lower level FDR's Death and Legacy First Lady Behind the scenes Legacy Letter, Theodore Roosevelt to Franklin Roosevelt, November 29, 1904. Marriage certificate.