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ELEANOR ROOSEVELT AND LORENA HICKOK “ELEANOR & HICK” : THEIR RELATIONSHIP EXPLORED IN A NEW BOOK

ELEANOR ROOSEVELT AND LORENA HICKOK “ELEANOR & HICK” : THEIR RELATIONSHIP EXPLORED IN A NEW BOOK

Eleanor_Roosevelt_and_Lorena_Hickok_on_horseback_tripEleanor Roosevelt had a long-term relationship with reporter Lorena Hickok, one that began when she was the wife of the Governor of New York State and persisted during her tenure as First Lady. Susan Quinn’s saucily titled Eleanor and Hick. The Love Affair That Shaped a First Lady was published by Penguin Press in late 2016.

Mrs. Roosevelt’s emotional and physical separation from her husband Franklin Roosevelt was perennial and has been no secret. Her affection for, and interest in, her four adult sons and daughter Annie could be episodic and nettlesome. As a consequence Eleanor sought empathy and sensitive relationships elsewhere. Several women entered her orbit; the lesbian couple, Marion Dickerman and Nancy Cook were her business partners. The political reporter Lorena Hickok later supplanted this pair and became very close to Eleanor psychologically and to an unknown extent, physically.

Hick, as Lorena Hickok was familiarly dubbed, met Eleanor when the reporter covered the governor’s mansion in Albany, New York. Hick soon developed a deep and reciprocal relationship with Mrs. Roosevelt. Their intimacy deepened when the latter became first lady. Hick abandoned her newspaper career since she refused to betray Eleanor by reporting inside or hurtful information gleaned from her friendship.

The two vacationed together and spent weekends together; Hick even lived in the White House for awhile. The physical intimacy between the two, while present, was of unknown depth and intensity. The extant letters between them are inconclusive.

Franklin Roosevelt died in April 1945. His widow moved to New York City and became very active in humanitarian and international affairs. There Eleanor developed an intense, albeit platonic relationship with Dr. David Gurewitsch. Hick was abandoned.

Susan Quinn: Eleanor and Hick. The Love Affair That Shaped a First Lady (New York: Penguin Press, 2016).

 

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