It was Eleanor Katherine Roosevelt’s lot in life to reside in homes that had names rather than addresses. Born in 1915, the daughter of Henry Latrobe Roosevelt and Eleanor Morrow Roosevelt, she summered at Roosevelt Hall during the family’s time here.
Henry Roosevelt had inherited the mansion from his uncle, S. Montgomery Roosevelt, in 1920, but the family spent much of the 1920s in Europe, where Henry was the European representative of the Radio Corporation of America (RCA). They reopened the mansion in 1930 and summered there until Henry’s death in 1936. New York’s Governor Franklin Delano Roosevelt visited twice in 1932, once in April and again in September, when he was campaigning for President.
In 1937, Eleanor married Reverdy Wadsworth of Washington, the son of U.S. Rep. James Wadsworth. Reverdy was a grandson of John Hay, Theodore Roosevelt’s Secretary of State, so history at least had already linked him with the Roosevelt family.
In 1952, after his father’s death, Reverdy inherited Hartford House in Geneseo, N.Y. The Wadsworth family had founded the town of Geneseo, and Hartford House had been theirs since 1835. Eleanor lived there for much of her life. In February of 1956, Reverdy and Eleanor hosted the Eleanor Roosevelt, widow of President Roosevelt, while she was on a speaking tour.
But my favorite picture of her comes from a family album in the Roosevelt Hall collection of the Skaneateles Historical Society, a photo taken during a visit in the winter of 1930-31, in which a far more natural Eleanor steadies the family’s camera-shy dog for a photo.