Hillary Clinton is a great admirer of Eleanor Roosevelt, wife of FDR, with whose spirit or ghost then-First Lady Hillary held “seance” conversations.
It turns out Hillary has much more in common with Eleanor than both having been First Lady.
Brooke Hauser writes for the New York Post, Oct. 22, 2016, that Susan Quinn’s Eleanor and Hick: The Love Affair That Shaped a First Lady is an account of the 30-years-long “love story” of Eleanor Roosevelt and a bourbon-drinking, cigarette-smoking Associated Press reporter named Lorena Hickok, or Hick.
In more than 3,000 letters, the two women called each other “darling,” “dear one” and “heart,” and told each other “je t’aime” and “j’adore”. In one letter in March 1933, the normally reserved Eleanor wrote: “All day I’ve thought of you . . . Oh! I want to put my arms around you, I ache to hold you close.”
Quinn is not the first to tell the tale of Eleanor and Hick.
Quinn’s book begins in 1932, shortly before Hick began covering Eleanor Roosevelt during FDR’s presidential campaign. After observing Eleanor’s unease with the spotlight at that year’s Democratic convention, Hick wired her boss: “THE DAME HAS ENORMOUS DIGNITY, SHE’S A PERSON.”
Hick spent the following weeks as “Eleanor’s appendage,” traveling on the campaign trail and earning her trust. Eleanor told Hick that she “never wanted to be a president’s wife, and I don’t want it now.”
Eleanor Roosevelt (l); Lorena Hickock (r)
By the time FDR was inaugurated in 1933, the two women had fallen in love. The evening before FDR delivered his famous line about having nothing to fear but “fear itself,” Eleanor had read it first to Hick.
For his part, FDR, who had his own extramarital affairs, accepted his wife’s “friendship” with Hick and even let Hick have her own room at the White House to be closer to Eleanor.
Not one to show physical affection, even to her children, Eleanor showered it upon Hick, describing the tender kisses she wanted to give her when they were apart. Hick responded with equal passion, writing: “I’ve been trying to bring back your face [and] the feeling of that soft spot just north-east of the corner of your mouth against my lips.”
Hick helped Eleanor to learn how to navigate the press. Hick’s relationship with the Roosevelts forced her to abandon her career as a news reporter, but Eleanor helped her get a job working as a field investigator for Harry Hopkins, the head of New Deal relief programs.
Later, Eleanor shifted her affections toward her handsome, much younger doctor, David Gurewitsch, to whom she wrote in 1956, “I love you as . . . I have never loved anyone else.”
After Eleanor’s death in 1962, Hick lived for 5½ more years, worn down by blindness, arthritis and loneliness. She finally died of complications from diabetes at the age of 75. Her body was cremated; her ashes sat in anonymity on a shelf of a funeral home for 20 years before being interred in an unmarked grave at a cemetery in Rhinebeck, New York.