John Roosevelt Boettiger

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John Roosevelt Boettiger
John Boettiger Jr.gif
John with Eleanor and Anna Roosevelt in October 1939.
Born (1939-03-30) March 30, 1939 (age 77)
Seattle, Washington, United States
Residence Northern California
Nationality American
Occupation Professor of psychology (formerly)
Parent(s) Anna Roosevelt Boettiger (mother)
John Boettiger (father)

John Roosevelt Boettiger (born March 30, 1939, in Seattle, Washington) is a retired professor of psychology and the son of Anna Roosevelt Boettiger and her second husband, John Boettiger. He is the grandson of U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Eleanor Roosevelt. He lives in northern California.[1]

Early life and family[edit]

As a child, he lived with his mother in the White House during World War II while his grandfather was president. His parents divorced in 1949, and his father committed suicide the following year. His mother remarried James Addison Halsted on November 11, 1952. She died on December 1, 1975.

As a college student at Amherst College he lived and traveled with his grandmother Eleanor Roosevelt and joined her in work on behalf of the United Nations. He served as national president of the Collegiate Council for the United Nations from 1958 to 1960.


Boettiger served for 20 years as professor of human development at Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts, of which he was founding faculty member. He created and was chairman of Hampshire's interdisciplinary Human Development Program. Leaving Hampshire to work with graduate students in clinical psychology, he was professor of psychology and dean of student affairs at the California School of Professional Psychology in San Francisco and Berkeley, California. From 2007 to 2010 he was professor in the Research Institute of Modum Bad Psychiatric Center in Vikersund, Norway.

He is chairman of the board and president of the Christopher Reynolds Foundation, on whose board he has served for nearly 40 years. Trained as a political scientist at Columbia University before moving to a career in psychology, he taught at his alma mater Amherst College, was a consultant to and member of the Social Science Department of the RAND Corporation, and briefly served as a desk officer at the United States Department of State. He holds a Ph.D. in clinical and developmental psychology, for which his principal mentor was Erik H. Erikson of Harvard University.

Earlier in his career, Boettiger wrote on educational and political themes, including two books on United States policy in Vietnam. He has an interest in the intersections of social history, memory, narrative and psychology, themes explored in his biography of his parents' lives and their family history, A Love in Shadow, published by W.W. Norton in 1978. More recently he published a monograph, "A Resource for Healing and Renewal," about Modum Bad, a community and psychiatric hospital in Vikersund, Norway (Modum Bad, Vikersund, Norway, 2007). Boettiger edits and writes an online journal, "Reckonings: a Journal of Justice, Hope and History"

Personal life[edit]

Boettiger has four children:

  • Adam Boettiger
  • Sara Boettiger
  • Joshua Boettiger
  • Paul Boettiger

eight grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren. He was married to Leigh McCullough, who before her death in 2012 was a clinical professor of psychology at Harvard Medical School and Director of Research at Modum Bad Psychiatric Center in Vikersund, Norway.