Synopses & Reviews
Impoverished young Americans had no greater champion during the Depression than Eleanor Roosevelt. As First Lady, Mrs. Roosevelt used her newspaper columns and radio broadcasts to crusade for expanded federal aid to poor children and teens. She was the most visible spokesperson for the National Youth Administration, the New Deal's central agency for aiding the needy young, and she was adamant in insisting that federal aid to young people be administered without discrimination so that it reached blacks as well as whites, girls as well as boys.
This activism made Mrs. Roosevelt a beloved figure among poor teens and children, who between 1933 and 1941 wrote her thousands of letters describing their problems and requesting her help. Dear Mrs. Roosevelt presents nearly 200 of these extraordinary documents to open a window into the lives of the Depression's youngest victims. In their own words, the letter writers confide what it was like to be needy and young during the worst economic crisis in American history.
Revealing both the strengths and the limitations of New Deal liberalism, this book depicts an administration concerned and caring enough to elicit such moving appeals for help yet unable to respond in the very personal ways the letter writers hoped.
An honest, splendid depiction of the hopes, fears, vulnerability, and aloofness that both Eleanor Roosevelt and the children who wrote her needed to survive the Depression. (Allida Black, editor of The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers)
Poignant, heartfelt, and brimming with childlike faith, these missives represent a portion of the population often overlooked by historians. (Booklist)
A must-read for anyone concerned about poverty and its impact on the young. (David N. Dinkins, former mayor of New York City)
Activism made Mrs. Roosevelt a beloved figure among poor teens and children, who between the Depression of 1933 wrote her thousands of letters describing their problems and requesting her help. Here are 200 of these extraordinary documents to open a window into the lives of the Depression's youngest victims. Illustrations.
About the Author
Robert Cohen is director of the Social Studies Program in the School of Education, associate professor in the Department of Teaching and Learning, and an affiliated member of the History Department at New York University.