New Situations, New Answers
For Eleanor Roosevelt history’s value was not in remembering specific actions or accomplishments. Evaluating the past was important as a guide to living. It could provide guidance, even courage, in the fact of obstacles and uncertainty. She looked to history to find an ethical approach to finding solutions to human problems in the present. In advising a friend who sought to memorialize her husband a year after FDR’s death, she counseled that “the only thing to do is to point up the fact that as time passes, the perspective of what a man has lived by is probably more important than the actual things he did, because new situations necessitate new answers and one cannot apply the same theories or exact methods. The background of a man’s thinking and acting is at all times a living thing.” In history we see the results of human thoughts and actions in the past, a vivid reminder that every day "we make our own history."
Cynthia M. Koch (Public Historian in Residence)
Please visit the exhibits curated by the students who participated in "Eleanor Roosvelt: We Make Our Own History," a public history practicum offered in Spring 2015. Choose exhibit pages on the right or click on the links below to go directly to the exhibits.
Clara Allison ('18): Trousers Won't Do the Trick: Eleanor Roosevelt and Feminism
John Ohrehberger ('16): Eleanor Roosevelt: Patron Saint of the Arts
Jonian Rafti ('15): Eleanor Roosevelt: The People's Advocate