Anna Hall Roosevelt

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Anna Rebecca Hall
Anna Rebecca Hall.jpg
Born (1863-03-17)March 17, 1863
Died December 7, 1892(1892-12-07) (aged 29)
Cause of death diphtheria
Known for mother of Eleanor Roosevelt
Spouse(s) Elliott Bulloch Roosevelt
(m. 1883—1892; her death)
Parent(s) Valentine Gill Hall, Jr.
Mary Livingston Ludlow

Anna Rebecca Hall Roosevelt[1] (March 17, 1863 – December 7, 1892) was an American socialite. She was the mother of First Lady of the United States, Eleanor Roosevelt. Anna was described as a celebrated beauty.


She was born Anna Rebecca Livingston Hall on March 17, 1863. She was the eldest of seven children born to Valentine Gill Hall, Jr. (1834–1880) and Mary Livingston Ludlow (1843–1919) of the Livingston family. Their marriage "...united a member of a prominent New York merchantile family with Hudson River gentry.[2] Anna was born in New York City.

Her brothers Valentine III (1867–1934) and Edward (1872–1932) were both tennis champions, and later alcoholics who spent beyond their means and inheritances.[3] Anna's four sisters were Elizabeth (1865–1944), Mary (1869–1872), Edith (1873–1920), and Maude (1877–1952). Her father died without leaving a will when Anna was 17, and she was forced to take control of the family and help manage the finances.[4]

Anna was one of the leading debutante of the 1881 season.[4] A prominent figure among the New York City social elite, she was a skilled horsewoman. It is believed that Anna and Elliott became engaged Memorial Day, 1883, at a houseparty given by their good friend, Laura Delano, at Algonac, the Delano estate on the Hudson River at Newburgh, New York. At the time, Anna was living at Oak Terrace, her family's estate far upriver at Tivoli, New York.[2] She married Elliott Bulloch Roosevelt, the brother of future President Theodore "T.R." Roosevelt, Jr., on December 1, 1883[5] in Calvary Church at Gramercy Park in New York City.[6] The couple moved into a brownstone house in the fashionable Thirties.[2]

Anna bore Elliott three children:

Anna Roosevelt was responsible for numerous social events and charity balls. Her brother-in-law Theodore considered her frivolous.[7] At the time of their marriage on December 1, 1883, Elliot was already known as a heavy drinker addicted to laudanum.[3] Often subject to headaches and depressions, Anna was somewhat ashamed of her daughter Eleanor's plainness and nicknamed Eleanor "Granny", due to the child's serious demeanor.[8]

In the spring of 1887 the family sailed to Europe aboard the S.S. Britannic. one day out of port their ship was rammed by the S.S. Celtic, the bow of which pierced a full ten feet into the side of the S. S. Britannic killing several passengers and injuring numerous others. The Roosevelt party was evacuated to lifeboats before continuing their voyage aboard another ocean liner. Upon their return Eliot commenced construction of his Long Island country residence Half Way Nirvana.[9] Parties at their estate included polo, and riding-to-the-hounds.

In 1889 after the birth of their second child, Elliott's drinking only increased and the family traveled to Austria in search of treatment. After three months they moved to Paris, where Anna's third child, Grace, was born.[3] The marriage teetered on collapse during their time in France. Soon afterwards Elliott and Anna separated.

When Eleanor was eight, Anna contracted diphtheria and died at age 29.[10] Elliott died on August 14, 1894 from a seizure after a failed suicide and the cumulative effects of alcoholism. The remains of both Anna and Elliott are interred in the Hall Family Vault at the cemetery of St. Paul's Episcopal Church.

Anna's daughter Eleanor would go on to become First Lady of the United States when her husband, Elliott's fifth cousin Franklin Delano Roosevelt, became President of the United States of America in March 1933.

See also


  1. "Eleanor Roosevelt - Family". December 5, 2006.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 White, Mason. "Elliott, the Tragic Roosevelt", The Hudson Valley Regional Review, March 1988, Volume 5, Number I
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Spinzia, Raymond E., Elliott Roosevelt, Sr. – A Spiral Into Darkness, The Freeholder 12 (Fall 2007):3-7, 15-17
  4. 4.0 4.1 "The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Project", George Washington University
  5. "Anna Rebecca Hall". generationsgoneby.coom. December 16, 2009.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. "First Lady Biography: Eleanor Roosevelt". National First Ladies' Library. The National First Ladies' Library. Retrieved 9 September 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. Cook, Blanche Weisen. Eleanor Roosevelt Vol. One 1884-1933, (New York: Viking, 1992), p. 38
  8. Graham, Hugh Davis. "The Paradox of Eleanor Roosevelt", Virginia Quarterly Review, Spring 1987
  9. Lash, Joseph P., Eleanor and Franklin, (New York: W. W. Norton & Co., 1971), p.29
  10. Goodwin 1994, p. 94.