From 1933 to 1945, labor supporter Eleanor Roosevelt was First Lady of the United States. A recent book by NWU Member, Brigid O’Farrell, and an upcoming play hosted by SoCal NWU members explore the longest-serving First Lady’s passions.
On the Stage: On Saturday, Nov. 22, SoCal NWU and & SoCal Arbeter Ring present the one-woman show, Hick: A Love Story, starring Terry Baum, and written by Baum and Pat Bond. The production explores Lorena Hickok’s life and romance with the First Lady. The venue is SoCal Arbeter Ring at 1525 S. Robertson Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90035. Tickets are $10 at the door, first come first seated.
The Backstory: To get the scoop on the patrician First Lady and the charming butch reporter, Baum traveled to Hyde Park, NY, to study original documents, including Roosevelt’s letters, which are in the “Lorena Hickok” files at the FDR Library. Of the letters the First Lady wrote to Hick, more than 2000 survive; they date from 1933 to 1962—the year Roosevelt died—says the play’s star. The missives were discovered in 1978, when aresearcher opened 18 boxes willed to the FDR Library by Hickok. Baum also interviewed people who knew Hick, a prominent journalist of her time whose stories were published on the front page of the New York Times.
The two women met during FDR’s first Presidential campaign in 1932, when Hick convinced her editor that the candidate’s wife was worth her own reporter. The love affair went on for several years, but the friendship lasted a lifetime. Hick helped Roosevelt become an outspoken, media-savvy activist for democracy and human rights, and one of the most powerful women of the 20th century. See a promo for the play on YouTube.
Brigid O’Farrell gave a talk celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Wider Opportunities for Women at the AFL-CIO headquarters in Washington, DC, and discussed her most recent book, She Was One of Us: Eleanor Roosevelt and the American Worker, (Cornell University Press, 2010). The volume explores the First Lady’s life long activism on behalf of working women and theirunions, including her role as chair of President Kennedy’s Commission on the Status of Women. A journalist and author, Roosevelt held membership in The Newspaper Guild for more than 25 years. O’Farrell’s book has taken her across the country to facilitate the workshop: “Using Our Past to Change our Future: Leading with Eleanor Roosevelt.”On the Page: In October, Bay Area member and author
Photos courtesy: progressinvolvment.com and the authors.