1 The quotes here are based on my conversation with Marion in Miami on Decem-
ber 2000. In general, for the purposes of maintaining the privacy of the people
to whom I spoke, I omit or alter identifying details unless I am quoting some-
one such as the National Park Service supervisor who spoke to me more formally
in an official capacity. Although Marion spoke of Eleanor Roosevelt as ‘‘ambassa-
dor’’ to the United Nations, she was technically a ‘‘delegate.’’ Moreover, I could not
find external corroboration of Marion’s assertion that Roosevelt directly intervened
in the particular matter of bringing Polish deportees back from Siberia. Whether
Roosevelt’s intervention remained largely unknown, undocumented, or unpubli-
cized, or whether Marion mistakenly attributed her sister’s release to Roosevelt, I
don’t know. Roosevelt was widely recognized as an advocate for human rights and
the oppressed, including Jews. She led the U.N. creation of the ‘‘Universal Declara-
tion of Human Rights,’’ approved in 1948, the year in which she also won a medal
from the American Hebrew for promoting better relations between Christians and
Jews. See ‘‘Mrs. Roosevelt Honored; Gets Award for Aiding Amity of Christians and
Jews,’’ New York Times, 3 March 1949, p. 30. Thanks to Alex Wenger for her research
help on this matter.
2 Chris Burbach, ‘‘All Aboard! Train Station Gallery Opens,’’ Omaha World-Herald,
2 July 2000, sec. b, p. 1, I discuss this habit of refer-
ence further in the introduction.
3 While some insist that the dimensions of the physical relationship between the two
women remain a matter of speculation, their letters, even after many were discarded
and those remaining often heavily edited, are suggestive of correspondence between
lovers, as indicated by the much quoted letter dated 7 March 1933, written by Roose-
velt, which begins ‘‘Hick darling,’’ and goes on to say ‘‘I want to put my arms around
you, I ache to hold you close.Your ring is a great comfort, I look at it & think she does
love me, or I wouldn’t be wearing it!’’ The letter, which can easily be found on the
Internet, is reprinted in Empty without You: The Intimate Letters of Eleanor Roosevelt
and Lorena Hickok, ed. Rodger Streitmatter (New York: Free Press, 1998), 19. Roose-
velt also had lesbians among her close friends, who, Streitmatter notes, ‘‘served as
Previous Page Next Page