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Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt, the first lady of American politics, died last night in her Manhattan apartment at the age of 78.
Mrs. Roosevelt, who presided over the White House for 12 years as the wife of Franklin Delano Roosevelt '04, was hospitalized Sept. 26 with a lung infection and anemia, but failed to respond to treatment.
The world's most respected woman was a frequent visitor to Harvard. She spoke at Radcliffe's East House last May 21 and answered a barrage of questions on topics ranging from nuclear testing to the morals of Vassar girls.
Work for Democracy
Often illustrating her points with personal anecdotes, Mrs. Roosevelt urged her attentive audience to work actively for democracy. She had long taken part self in a multitude of activities, serving as a U.N. delegate and as chairwoman of the U.N. commission on human rights and President Kennedy's commission on the status of women.
Mrs. Roosevelt was known throughout the world as a lecturer and writer, one who frequently advocated unpopular causes. She was one of the first prominent white persons to fight for civil rights of Negroes; she headed the unsuccessful attempt to swap tractors for the prisoners seized by Fidel Castro in the abortive Bay of Pigs invasion.
Mrs. Roosevelt even lent her stature to a series of television commercials which gave her an opportunity to plead for food for the world's hungry peoples.
Long after President Roosevelt's death in 1945 she remained influential in politics. Speaking on "Unrest Within the Democratic Party" at the Law School Forum in May, 1961, Mrs. Roosevelt called for a "re-alignment based on principles" in the American party system. She told the audience, which greeted her with a standing ovation, that today Democrats are becoming more representative of intellectual and middle-class "suburbia" groups.
In Washington, the Associated Press reported, President Kennedy announced plans to attend the funeral. Kennedy called Mrs. Roosevelt "both an inspiration and a friend," and said her death will be "deeply felt by all those who admired her tireless idealism or benefited from her good works and wise counsel."
Prior to the Democratic convention of 1960, Mrs. Roosevelt opposed Kennedy's bid for the Democratic nomination. But she actively supported his presidential candidacy and served Kennedy in a number of posts--among them on a commission to advance the status of women in employment and in government.
The late Dag Hammarskjold, secretary-general of the U.N., said at Mrs. Roosevelt's 70th birthday party in 1954: "Millions of people all over the world think of (her) as their friend."
Mrs. Roosevelt's 78th birthday was celebrated quietly in the hospital Oct. 11, with only members of the family present. She has four sons and one daughter.
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