My Day: A Window Into Women's History

My Day: A Window Into Women's History
Eleanor Roosevelt: Education, Arts, Letters and Ideas

Skill: High School/College
Time Required: One week


Eleanor Roosevelt was quoted to have said, “It is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.”  One way that she chose to bring light to this world was through the written word.  As an author, she wrote a daily newspaper column, articles for many magazines and four books: This is My Story (1937); This I Remember (1950); On My Own (1958); and Tomorrow Is Now (published in 1963 after her death).


In this lesson students will explore the writings of Eleanor Roosevelt to gain a perspective of the challenges women faced and overcame in her life time.

Materials Required:

The writings of Eleanor Roosevelt and other female writers; access to the Internet and/or a public library.


1. Explain to students the difference between autobiography and biography.  Also explain that not only can we learn about people in history through reading about them, we can also learn about them from what they wrote both autobiographically and on other topics.

2. Either print the articles by Eleanor Roosevelt on the website indicated below or have students access the articles directly.

3. In groups of three or four, have students read through two or three of the articles and report back to the class the following information:

  • What was the primary topic of the article?
  • What did Mrs. Roosevelt believe about the subject discussed?
  • Did she convince you that she is correct on the subject discussed or did she not persuade you?  Why or why not?
  • What conclusions might we make about women in the time that the article was written based on the articles read?

4. Write the conclusions on the board.

5. Together, as a class, research the life of Eleanor Roosevelt and other women in her era to determine if the conclusions made are correct.  

Extending the Lesson:

To extend this lesson assign each student a female author and have them research women’s history using the above procedures.

Sources & Resources:

Eleanor Roosevelt: Juvenile 
   Freedman, Russell. Eleanor Roosevelt, a Life of Discovery. New York: Clarkion Books, 1993.    (Newberry Award) 
   Rosenburg, Pam. Eleanor Roosevelt. New York: Compass Point Books, 2003. 
   Winget, Mary. Eleanor Roosevelt. Minneapolis: Lerner Publications Company, 2003.
Eleanor Roosevelt: Adult 
   Black, Allida (ed). Courage in a Dangerous World: The Political Writings of Eleanor Roosevelt.  New York: Columbia University Press, 1999. 
   Embridge, David (ed.). My Day: The Best of Eleanor Roosevelt’s Newspaper columns, 1936 - 1962. New York: first Da Capo Press, 2001.  
   Feinberg, Barbara Silberdick.  Eleanor Roosevelt, a Very Special Lady. Brookfield: The Millbrook Press, 2003. 
   Mattern, Joanne. Eleanor Roosevelt, More Than a First Lady. New York: The Rosen Publishing Group, 2003. 
   Roosevelt, Eleanor. The Autobiography of Eleanor Roosevelt.  New York: Harper & Brothers, 1961. 
   Roosevelt, Eleanor. You Learn By Living. Philadelphia: The Westminster Press, 1960.
History of Women: 
   Cott, Nancy F.  No Small Courage.  New York: Oxford University Press, 2000. 
   Hecker, Eugene A.  A Short History of Women’s Rights from the Days of Augustus to the Present Time.  Whitefish: Kessinger Publishing, 2004.

Writings of Eleanor Roosevelt Online: Articles 
Writings of Eleanor Roosevelt Online: Books 
Children’s Books Written by Female Authors:  

Eleanor Roosevelt: 
Women’s History:  

This lesson was written by Debra L. Clark, Kent State University.