The Roosevelt Children: Anna Eleanor (1906-75)

Figure 1.--This 1937 Wire Photo shows President and Mrs. Roosevelt happily joining their children and grandchildren at fireside in Seattle home of their daughter (Anna) and son-in-law John Boettiger. The children are Sistie and Buzzie, Anna;s children from her first marriage. I think the other man is James and perhaps his wife. The photograph was taken September 29, 1937.

Anna Elenaornamed after her mother was the oldest of the Roosevelt children and the only girl. As a child she was very cloe to her father, closer than to her mother. As the oldest she was able to appreciate and to deal alone with the tensions between her mother and her domineering grandmother Sara. She also learned of her father's affair with Lucy Mercer. Her relationship with her mother improved as Anna matured. She did not like Louis Howe one little bit, Eleanor also did not like him t first. Howe was unkempt and constntly smoking smelly cigars. Howe was, however, the person who was vital to her parent's political career. As a teenager, she made no secret of her attitude. Later in the white House she would get put out with another key adviser, Harry Hopkins when he moved into the white House. She entred Cornell, but did not stay long. Anna married twice. The first marriage was largely to escape her family sitution. she married to stock broker Curtis Dall (1926). The had two children: Anna Eleanor (Sistie) and Curtis (Buzzie). They lived in the White House (1933-34). The reporters loved them. The marriage collapsed. She then married Seattle journalist John Boettinger (1936). They had one child together. Anna had a not very successful attempt at journalism, although she and her husband even tried to ruun a newspaper after the War. She came to play an important role in the White House, especially during the War years. Eleanor had all kinds of commitments and friends beyond her official duties as First Lady and the President's companion. And she was unwilling to drop them all and devote herself full time to the President. Anna was willing to do this and devoted herself primarily to support the President who enjoyed her company. And she did not press the President on social issues as Eleanor did. The President thus chose Anna rather than Eleanor to accomany her father to Yalta. She also was put in the position of arranging, without her mother's knowledge, meetings between her father and Lucy Mercer. Her mother was furious when informed by a not very well meaning relative. Eleanor began to soften a bit when she saw the trenendous outpouring of grief as she rode on the train with her hisbamd's casket through town after town. She reflected on the trenendous burdens her husband carried. It was a while, however, before she reconcilded with Anna. After the war and he mother grew older, the two became very close and kept up a steady correspondence. Anna married again, this time to Dr. James Halsted (1952). After Elenaor died, Anna became active with many of the organizations her mother had supported.



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Created: 11:54 PM 2/15/2016
Last edited: 11:54 PM 2/15/2016