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Foundations of a Public Life:  Friendships or Relationships?

Friendships or Relationships?

Over the course of their careers, Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt each enjoyed close friendships about which their contemporaries gossiped and historians continue to speculate.

While Governor of New York, FDR assigned state trooper Earl Miller to protect his wife. Handsome and affable, Miller became one of her closest friends and some have suggested Mrs. Roosevelt was romantically attached to him. Her closeness to pioneering newspaperwoman, Lorena Hickok, also caused speculation. The two often traveled together during the early 1930s and for a time wrote one another intensively affectionate letters almost every day.

Washington insiders wondered about the exact nature of the relationship between FDR and his unmarried long-time secretary, Marguerite Le Hand - known as 'Missy.' Fiercely devoted to her boss, she often controlled who got in to see him at the White House, and acted as his hostess at his cottage in Warm Springs, Georgia.

Margaret Suckley, a shy distant cousin of the President, escaped the attention even of those who thought they knew him best. But she was his closest confidante during his last years - the only person to whom he spoke frankly about the daily hardships polio imposed upon him.
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