This Is My Story, signed by Eleanor Roosevelt
New York: Harper & Brothers, 1937. First edition, second printing. Hardcover. This is a signed first edition, presumed second printing of the first of Eleanor Roosevelt’s biographical writings (followed by 1949’s This I Remember and 1958’s On My Own). On the half title page, below the printed title, she signed “Eleanor Roosevelt” in black ink. The copyright page neither explicitly states “First Edition” nor makes mention of further printings. Since we have observed that the third printing was so-stated on the copyright page, we speculate that this is a second printing of the first edition.
Condition is good plus in a good plus dust jacket. The light blue cloth binding is square, tight, and unfaded, though slightly mottled with shelf wear, including a few dents to the bottom edges and a hint of sunning to the edges where sun snuck past the dust jacket. The publisher’s name “HARPER” is ghosted onto the spine from the dust jacket. The contents are clean, with no previous ownership marks and light spotting confined to the endpapers. Differential toning of the endpapers corresponding to the dust jacket flaps confirms that this copy has spent life jacketed. The dust jacket front flap is neatly price-clipped, but the jacket is otherwise substantially complete and respectably bright, with only the slight color shift between the gold and blue fields on the spine and front face. The jacket shows edge wear and moderate overall scuffing, most notably a roughly 1.25 x 1 inch (3.18 x 2.54 cm) abrasion to the upper left of the front face (not affecting any text or images). The dust jacket is protected beneath a clear, removable, archival cover.
This first of Eleanor Roosevelt’s memoirs covers her early years and family up until the 1924 Democratic Convention, and was originally serialized in Ladies’ Home Journal. The book was written in 1936 and published in 1937. Herein, Eleanor simply and frankly discloses her personal narrative, and gives cause and context to the liberal influence which anchored her life and politics.
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. She did so, and in so doing “…she became a fearless international champion of progressive causes and perhaps the most influential American woman of the twentieth century.” (ANB).
Eleanor’s famous partnership with Franklin D. Roosevelt ended with FDR’s death, in April 1945 at the start of his fourth presidential term. Of that partnership, Eleanor wrote in This I Remember “He might have been happier with a wife who had been completely uncritical… Nonetheless, I think that I sometimes acted as a spur, even though the spurring was not always wanted…” She could as easily be speaking of her relationship with the world, which she loved as earnestly as she goaded, undaunted by its challenges and disappointments. Item #007177