Anna Hall Roosevelt

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Anna Hall Roosevelt
Anna Rebecca Hall.jpg
Roosevelt in the 1880s
Anna Rebecca Hall

(1863-03-17)March 17, 1863
DiedDecember 7, 1892(1892-12-07) (aged 29)
Cause of deathDiphtheria
Known forMother of Eleanor Roosevelt
ChildrenEleanor, Elliott Jr., and Hall
Parent(s)Valentine Gill Hall Jr.
Mary Livingston Ludlow
RelativesSee Livingston family
and Roosevelt family

Anna Rebecca Hall Roosevelt[1] (March 17, 1863 – December 7, 1892) was an American socialite. She was the mother of First Lady of the United States, Eleanor Roosevelt. Anna was described as a celebrated beauty.

Early life[edit]

Anna Rebecca Hall was born on March 17, 1863. She was the eldest of seven children born to Valentine Gill Hall Jr. and Mary Livingston Ludlow of the Livingston family. Their marriage "...united a member of a prominent New York merchantile family with Hudson River gentry".[2]:20 Anna was born in New York City.

Her brothers, Valentine III and Edward, were both tennis champions and, later, alcoholics who spent beyond their means and inheritances.[3] Anna's four sisters were Elizabeth, Mary, Edith, and Maude. Her father died without leaving a will when Anna was 17, and she was forced to take control of the family and help manage the finances.[4]

Anna was one of the leading debutantes of the 1881 season.[4] A prominent figure among the New York City social elite, she was a skilled horsewoman. It is believed that Anna and Elliott Bulloch Roosevelt, the brother of future President Theodore Roosevelt, became engaged Memorial Day, 1883, at a house party given by their friend, Laura Delano, at Algonac, the Delano estate on the Hudson River at Newburgh, New York. At the time, Anna was living at Oak Terrace, her family's estate far upriver at Tivoli, New York.[2]:20

Married life[edit]

On December 1, 1883, she married Roosevelt[5] in Calvary Church at Gramercy Park in New York City.[6] The couple moved into a brownstone house in the fashionable Thirties.[2]:22 Anna bore Elliott three children:

Anna Roosevelt was responsible for numerous social events and charity balls. Her brother-in-law Theodore considered her frivolous.[7] At the time of their marriage on December 1, 1883, Elliott was already known as a heavy drinker addicted to laudanum.[3] Often subject to headaches and depressions, Anna was somewhat ashamed of her daughter Eleanor's plainness and nicknamed Eleanor "Granny", due to the child's serious demeanor.[8]

In the spring of 1887, the family sailed to Europe aboard the S.S. Britannic. One day out of port, their ship was rammed by the S.S. Celtic, the bow of which pierced a full ten feet into the side of the S.S. Britannic, killing several passengers and injuring numerous others. The Roosevelt party was evacuated to lifeboats before continuing their voyage aboard another ocean liner. Upon their return, Elliott commenced construction of his Long Island country residence, Half Way Nirvana.[9] Parties at their estate included polo and riding-to-the-hounds.

In 1889, after the birth of their second child, Elliott's drinking only increased, and the family traveled to Austria in search of treatment. After three months, they moved to Paris, where Anna's third child, a son, (Gracie) Hall, was born.[3] The marriage teetered on collapse during their time in France. Soon afterward, Elliott and Anna separated.

When Eleanor was eight, Anna contracted diphtheria and died at age 29.[10] Elliott died on August 14, 1894 from a seizure after a suicide attempt and the cumulative effects of alcoholism. The remains of both Anna and Elliott are interred in the Hall family vault at the cemetery of St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Tivoli, New York.

Anna's daughter Eleanor would go on to become First Lady of the United States when her husband, Elliott's fifth cousin Franklin Delano Roosevelt, became President of the United States in March 1933.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Eleanor Roosevelt - Family". December 5, 2006.
  2. ^ a b c White, Mason (March 1988). "Elliott, the Tragic Roosevelt" (PDF). The Hudson Valley Regional Review. 5 (I): 17–29. Retrieved 22 June 2016.
  3. ^ a b c Spinzia, Raymond E. (Fall 2007). "Elliott Roosevelt, Sr. – A Spiral Into Darkness: the Influences" (PDF). The Freeholder. 12: 3–7, 15–17. Retrieved 22 June 2016.
  4. ^ a b "The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Project: Questions and Answers about Eleanor Roosevelt". George Washington University. Retrieved 22 June 2016.
  5. ^ "Anna Rebecca Hall". 16 December 2009. Retrieved 22 June 2016.
  6. ^ "First Lady Biography: Eleanor Roosevelt". National First Ladies' Library. The National First Ladies' Library. Retrieved 9 September 2015.
  7. ^ Cook, Blanche Wiesen (1992). Eleanor Roosevelt Vol. One 1884-1933. New York: Viking. p. 38.
  8. ^ Graham, Hugh Davis (Spring 1987). "The Paradox of Eleanor Roosevelt: Alcoholism's Child". Virginia Quarterly Review. Retrieved 22 June 2016.
  9. ^ Lash, Joseph P. (1971). Eleanor and Franklin. New York: W. W. Norton & Co. p. 29.
  10. ^ Goodwin 1994, p. 94.