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Eleanor Roosevelt | Article

FBI Files on Eleanor Roosevelt

While the FBI never launched a formal investigation of Eleanor Roosevelt, FBI references to her comprise one of the largest single files in J. Edgar Hoover's collection. Her affiliation with liberal groups such as the American Youth Congress, as well as her outspokenness about segregation and lynching and her assertions for free speech combined to render her in the minds of conservatives such as Hoover as a threat to the status quo in American society. The 3,000-page FBI file contains charges against her for suspected Communist activities, threats to her life on the grounds of her disloyalty to the country, close monitoring of her activities and writings, and a record of possible insurrectionary groups that she may have influenced. 

Eleanor denounced the ways by which Hoover's FBI procured its information as "Gestapo-ish" and wrote outraged letters protesting the investigations of her friends and even of her personal secretary. Yet despite her protestations, her "file" would continue to grow until her death. 

Highlander Folk School

In 1958 Eleanor spoke at a civil rights workshop at the Highlander Folk School in Tennessee. This portion of the file includes a copy of the $100 check she sent the school, press coverage of the event, and a document relating to the Klu Klux Klan's threat on her life.

        1.  Icon Mrs Roosevelt and Highlander (47.8 KB)
        2.  Icon Eleanor FBI File on Area Visit.pdf (1.2 MB)
        4.  Icon Eleanor FBI charges Fifth.pdf (84.5 KB)

Eleanor Clubs

Rumors about the existence of "Eleanor Clubs" launched an all-out investigation during the war. The clubs were assumed to be the undergournd organization of black domestic workers who were planning subversive attempts to eradicate segregation in general, and black manual labor in particular. The clubs bore Eleanor Roosevelt's name because of her professed condemnation of segregation.

        1. Icon Eleanor Cub Memo (37.0 KB)
        2.  Icon FBI File on Eleanor Clubs 1 (170.5 KB)
        3.  Icon FBI Files on Eleanor Clubs 2 (480.2 KB)

Eleanor's Red Record

Many Americans during and after World War II were anxious with a fear of Communist infiltration. Groups such as the "Citizen's Committee to Combat Communism" sprung up and attacked Eleanor's associations with "subversive" groups. 

        1.  Icon Eleanor FBI Red Record.pdf (78.3 KB)

Other Propaganda Items

J. Edgar Hoover kept a record of propaganda, as well as articles written by Eleanor's arch-enemy in the newspaper world, Westbrook Pegler. 

        1.  Icon Roosevelt (305.8 KB)
        2.  Icon Mrs. Roosevelt says McCarthy is a Menace (117.3 KB)
        3.  Icon Mrs. Roosevelt (146.4 KB)
        4. Icon Mrs. Roosevelt's Public Life (197.9 KB)
        5.  Icon Comments on Mrs. Roosevelt's Public Life (134.8 KB)

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