New York: Frederick A. Stokes Company, 1933. First edition. Hardcover. This is a first edition of Eleanor Roosevelt’s first book, It’s Up to the Women. Eleanor published this book in 1933, concurrent with the first inauguration of her husband, Franklin D. Roosevelt, in part as a declaration of her intended transformative approach to the role of First Lady.
This example is a strikingly bright and clean, fine example in a very good minus dust jacket. The light teal cloth binding printed in dark teal and black is beautifully clean, square, and tight with sharp corners and no appreciable wear. The contents are likewise remarkably clean, free of spotting or previous ownership marks. The deckled fore and bottom edges are likewise immaculate. The top edge shows only a trivial hint of shelf dust. The dust jacket is unclipped, retaining the original “$1.25” front flap price, and substantially complete, with only fractional loss to the joint and flap fold extremities. The jacket is also notably clean. There is a 1.5 inch (3.81 cm) closed tear with attendant wrinkling to the lower right of the front face, and light overall wear to the extremities and joints. The spine is evenly toned, but the blue title and author print (a notably unliberated “Mrs. Franklin D. Roosevelt”) remains clearly legible. The dust jacket is protected beneath a clear, removable, archival cover.
Called “First Lady of the World” by President Truman for her humanitarian work, Eleanor Roosevelt (1884-1962) was the first US Representative to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, a prolific writer (including dozens of books, hundreds of articles and editorials, and a daily newspaper column from 1936-1962), and the longest-serving first lady of the United States.
When her husband, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, was running for president in the fall of 1932 as the likely election winner, Eleanor had already independently made for herself a name in Democratic politics as a spokesperson for the newly enfranchised woman voter, labor advocate in the midst of the Great Depression, a vocal promoter of civil rights, and the head of the Women’s Division of the Democratic National Committee since 1928. She feared her impending role as First Lady, a heretofore purely social and apolitical role, would necessitate a quieting of her convictions and force her to step down from her political positions; she even told friends that she would divorce FDR should he win rather than lose her independence.
After FDR’s unprecedented victory securing 42 of 48 states, Eleanor made the decision to transform her new position rather than yield to it. In January she announced that she would write and publish a book before the March inauguration. The result was It’s Up to the Women which was, as The Hartford Courant called it, “a book of general counsel and advice on pretty well everything, from dish-washing to high diplomacy.” Topics ranged from recipes for “hot stuffed eggs” to advice for women in negotiating salaries equal to their male counterparts to counsel for women seeking public office. Critically, Eleanor tied her husband’s promise of a New Deal to the civic engagement of the American woman. She wrote, “If women are really going to awake to their civic duties… then we may indeed be seeing the realization of a really new deal for the people.” (p.201). Item #007173