Hall Roosevelt

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Gracie Hall Roosevelt (June 28, 1891 – September 25, 1941) was the youngest brother of First Lady of the United States Eleanor Roosevelt and a nephew of President Theodore Roosevelt. He was usually called Hall.

He was named Gracie for his father's aunt, Anna Bulloch and her husband James Gracie, and Hall for his mother's family. When Hall was one year old, his mother, Anna Hall Roosevelt, died, and shortly after his third birthday his father, Elliott Roosevelt, died as well. He and Eleanor were then reared by their grandmother at her estate in Tivoli, New York.

Before his death, Eleanor's father had implored her to act as a mother towards her toddler brother, and it was a request she made good upon for the rest of Hall's life. While at Tivoli, Eleanor doted on Hall, and when he enrolled at Groton in 1907, Eleanor accompanied him as a chaperone. While he was attending Groton, she wrote her brother almost daily, but always felt a touch of guilt that Hall had not had a fuller childhood. She took pleasure in Hall's brilliant performance at school, and was proud of his many academic accomplishments, which included a Masters degree in engineering from Harvard.[1]

At twenty-one years old, Hall married Margaret Richardson (1892–1972), a young woman he met at school, and together they had three children:

  • Henry Parish Roosevelt (1915–1946)
  • Daniel Stewart Roosevelt (1917–1939)
  • Eleanor Roosevelt (1919–2013)

When Hall wanted to seek a divorce in 1925, it was only with Eleanor's approval that he followed through with his decision. In the late 1920s Hall married again and found work in the railroad industry, as well as serving in the city government of Detroit as Comptroller for a number of years. Hall had three children from his second marriage to Dorothy Kemp (1898–1985):

  • Amy Roosevelt (1925–1992)
  • Diana Roosevelt (1927–1998)
  • Janet Roosevelt (born 1930)

In 1937 Hall sought a divorce from his second wife. By this point alcoholism, a problem he shared with his father, had come to dominate Hall's existence, and he was unable to hold down any job he was offered.[2] He spent the last few years of his life in a small building on the Hyde Park estate, and he died in September 1941 at age 50. Roosevelt's funeral was held in the White House and his body was then transported to Tivoli, New York where he was entombed in the Hall family vault in the St. Paul's Episcopal Churchyard. Eleanor Roosevelt would survive her brother by 21 years.

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Notes

  1. ^ Goodwin 1994, p. 276–77.
  2. ^ Goodwin 1994, p. 276&ndash77.

Bibliography

  • Beasley, Maurine, Holly C. Schulman and Henry R. Beasley, eds. The Eleanor Roosevelt Encyclopedia. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2001, 458–459.
  • Cook, Blanche Wiesen. Eleanor Roosevelt: Volume One, 1884–1933. New York: Viking Press, 1992, 64–67, 139–140.
  • Goodwin, Doris Kearns (1994). No Ordinary Time. Simon & Schuster. ISBN 9780684804484.