Eleanor Roosevelt endures not only as the longest-serving American First Lady (1933-1945), but also as one of history’s most politically impactful, a fierce champion of working women and underprivileged youth. But her personal life has been the subject of lasting controversy. In the summer of 1928, Roosevelt met journalist Lorena Hickok, whom she would come to refer to as Hick. The thirty-year relationship that ensued has remained the subject of much speculation, from the evening of FDR’s inauguration, when the First Lady was seen wearing a sapphire ring Hickok had given her, to the opening up of her private correspondence archives in 1998.
Though many of the most explicit letters had been burned, the 300 published in Empty Without You: The Intimate Letters Of Eleanor Roosevelt And Lorena Hickok (public library) — at once less unequivocal than history’s most revealing woman-to-woman love letters and more suggestive than those of great female platonic friendships — strongly indicate the relationship between Roosevelt and Hickok had been one of great romantic intensity. For instance, on March 5, 1933, the first evening of FDR’s inauguration, Roosevelt wrote Hick: "Hick my dearest– I cannot go to bed tonight without a word to you. I felt a little as though a part of me was leaving tonight. You have grown so much to be a part of my life that it is empty without you."
Hick herself responded with equal intensity. In a letter from December 1933, she wrote: I’ve been trying to bring back your face — to remember just how you look. Funny how even the dearest face will fade away in time. Most clearly I remember your eyes, with a kind of teasing smile in them, and the feeling of that soft spot just north-east of the corner of your mouth against my lips." For more examples, go check out the book, "Empty Without You: The Intimate Letters Of Eleanor Roosevelt And Lorena Hickok"!