quote by Susan Cain

Eleanor Roosevelt, Rosa Parks, Gandhi — all these peopled described themselves as quiet and soft-spoken and even shy. And they all took the spotlight, even though every bone in their bodies was telling them not to.

— Susan Cain

Jaw-dropping Eleanor Roosevelt quotations

The bible says no man can take your joy.

That means no person can make you live with a negative attitude. No circumstance, no adversity can force you to live in despair. As Eleanor Roosevelt, wife of wheelchair-bound President Franklin D. Roosevelt, often said, ‘No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.


The library of my elementary school had this great biography section, and I read all of these paperback biographies until they were dog-eared. The story of Eleanor Roosevelt and Madame Curie and Martin Luther King and George Washington Carver and on and on and on.

I learned the power of radio watching Eleanor Roosevelt do her show.

I used to go up to Hyde Park and hold her papers. I was just a messenger, but it planted the bug of radio in me.

You always admire what you really don't understand. - Eleanor Roosevelt

Eleanor Roosevelt is a political force of enormous ambitions.

I believe she is a menace, unscrupulous as to truth, vain and cynical - all with a pretense of exaggerated kindness and human feeling which deceives millions of gullible persons.


The vengeful hag is played by Ingrid Bergman, which is like casting Eleanor Roosevelt as Lizzie Borden.

[On going into politics:] My husband went to bed with Debbie Reynolds and he woke up with Eleanor Roosevelt.

No woman has ever so comforted the distressed or distressed the comfortable. On Eleanor Roosevelt

She Eleanor Roosevelt got even in a way that was almost cruel. She forgave them.

I even asked Eleanor Roosevelt difficult questions and she loved it.


A line from one of my 1997 columns - 'Do one thing every day that scares you' - is now widely attributed to Eleanor Roosevelt, though I have yet to see any evidence that she ever said it and I don't believe she did. She said some things about fear, but not that thing.

The Eleanor Roosevelt Award that I received for women's rights activities is one I treasure.

I'd like to ask Eleanor Roosevelt what she regrets most, because I think that might reveal something that I didn't catch on to while I was writing my book and, hopefully, that would start a conversation.

Eleanor Roosevelt could easily have told negroes the deceitful maneuvering of the United States government that was going on behind the scenes. She never did it. In my opinion she was just another white woman whose profession was to make it appear that she was on the negro's side. You have a lot of whites who are in this category. Therefore, they have made negro loving a profession.

[John] McCain references favorite presidents like Teddy Roosevelt. Hillary cited Eleanor Roosevelt.


Eleanor Roosevelt was painfully shy, painfully shy.

So she overcompensated. In the same way that Nancy Reagan felt unattractive and unlovable and so everything had to be - hair had to be perfect, and the makeup and the clothes. Because she thought, "They don't think I'm pretty."

What was really great with Eleanor Roosevelt - I mean, of course, we all have this stereotypical, really satirical almost, version of how she speaks. What was really interesting to me was I found various radio and TV appearances of hers, but there was one talk show that I saw her on; she was the only woman, it was all men. They were talking about policy - I think it was after she was First Lady. I think it was more in the U.N. days.

There were always jokes about Hillary Clinton channeling Eleanor Roosevelt, but Eleanor Roosevelt was really instrumental at the UN, and would want to meet with various other delegates.

I came upon a telegram from Eleanor Roosevelt herself to Gypsy Rose Lee that read, 'May your bare ass always be shining'. That was the clincher; I had to write about this woman.

One of the things for me, as a biographer, that is so significant is for Eleanor Roosevelt - the child who never had a home of her own, who lives in her grandmother's home and then goes to school and then gets married and lives in her mother-in-law's homes, and then in public housing (like the White House and the State House) - housing becomes for Eleanor Roosevelt the most important issue.


So she [Eleanor Roosevelt] is an amazing First Lady.

What other First Lady in U.S. history has ever written a book to criticize her husband's policies?

And you can really see in all of these issues that are priorities for Eleanor Roosevelt, where the compromises are painful, the compromises are hard, and the difficulties between them really begin to loom very large by 1936, by 1938.

Eleanor Roosevelt doesn't ever do anything that is going to hurt her husband.

She tries things out on him. She gets permission to do things. The amazing thing, I think, historically, is that he says, "Go do it. If you can make this happen, I'll follow you."

Politics is not an isolated, individualist adventure.

Women really need to emerge as a power to be the countervailing power to the men. And Eleanor Roosevelt's really the dynamo and the spearhead of that effort.

So in 1924, Eleanor Roosevelt really gets a sense of what the limits of the battle and the contours of the battle are going to be. The men are contemptuous of the women, and the women really need to organize. She writes an article which becomes an article she writes in different ways over and over and over again: Women need to organize. They need to create their own bosses. They need to have support networks and gangs so that they are a force.


And in the same way, FDR's not much of a father.

Although the children in all their memoirs really talk about what a fun-loving guy Dad was, and how brooding and unhappy Mom was. The children sort of blame it all on the mother. Well, this is kind of standard and typical, and aggrieved Eleanor Roosevelt that she was not a happier mother. She wanted to be a happier mother. And I must say, she was a happier grandmother.

A lot of people say that Eleanor Roosevelt wasn't a good mother.

And there are two pieces to that story. One is, when they were very young, she was not a good mother. She was an unhappy mother. She was an unhappy wife. She had never known what it was to be a good mother. She didn't have a good mother of her own. And so there's a kind of parenting that doesn't happen.

She [Eleanor Roosevelt]wants a life of her own.

Her grandmother could have been a painter. Her grandmother could have done so much more than she did with her life. And Eleanor Roosevelt decides she is going to do everything possible with her life. She's going to live a full life.

But it's also the beginning of another level of liberation for her]Eleanor Roosevelt], because when she returns to New York, she gets very involved in a new level of politics. She meets Esther Lape and Elizabeth Read, and becomes very involved in the women's movement, and then in the peace movement. And ironically, the years of her greatest despair become also the years of her great liberation.

Well, in Washington, this is a very hard time for Eleanor and Franklin.

This is when Lucy Mercer first appears. And Lucy Mercer is Eleanor Roosevelt's own secretary. Very beautiful young woman, not unlike Eleanor Roosevelt: tall, blonde, thick haired. And FDR is having an affair with her, which Eleanor Roosevelt finds out when FDR returns from Europe in 1918 with the famous flu of 1918.


I think FDR was very dashing and charming and debonair, and probably reminded her of her father. A great bon-vivant. He loved to party. He loved to sing. He loved to have fun. And he wrote beautiful letters, just as her father did, which - alas and alack - Eleanor Roosevelt destroyed. But she refers to his beautiful letters. And she was charmed by him.

Eleanor Roosevelt loved to write. She was a wonderful child writer. I mean, she wrote beautiful essays and stories as a child. And Marie Souvestre really appreciated Eleanor Roosevelt's talents and encouraged her talents. Also, she spoke perfect French. She grew up speaking French. She's now at a french-speaking school where, you know, girls are coming from all over the world. Not everybody speaks French.

I think Eleanor Roosevelt's so popular at Allenswood because it's the first time she is, number one, free. But it's the first time somebody really recognizes her own leadership abilities and her own scholarly abilities.

And her [Eleanor Roosevelt] Grandmother Hall provided her really with a quite wonderful education, and a freedom that, within the framework of Tivoli (which is a framework of discipline and order) is also a very encouraging and loving one.