Empty Without You: The Intimate Letters Of Eleanor Roosevelt And Lorena Hickok

Front Cover
Simon and Schuster, Aug 19, 1999 - History - 352 pages
16 Reviews
The relationship between Eleanor Roosevelt and Associated Press reporter Lorena Hickok has sparked vociferous debate ever since 1978, when archivists at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library discovered eighteen boxes filled with letters the two women exchanged during their thirty-year friendship. But until now we have been offered only the odd quotation or excerpt from their voluminous correspondence.
In Empty Without You, journalist and historian Rodger Streitmatter has transcribed and annotated 300 letters that shed new light on the legendary, passionate, and intense bond between these extraordinary women. Written with the candor and introspection of a private diary, the letters expose the most private thoughts, feelings, and motivations of their authors and allow us to assess the full dimensions of a remarkable friendship. From the day Eleanor moved into the White House and installed Lorena in a bedroom just a few feet from her own, each woman virtually lived for the other. When Lorena was away, Eleanor kissed her picture of "dearest Hick" every night before going to bed, while Lorena marked the days off her calendar in anticipation of their next meeting. In the summer of 1933, Eleanor and Lorena took a three-week road trip together, often traveling incognito. The friends even discussed a future in which they would share a home and blend their separate lives into one.
Perhaps as valuable as these intimations of a love affair are the glimpses this collection offers of an Eleanor Roosevelt strikingly different from the icon she has become. Although the figure who emerges in these pages is as determined and politically adept as the woman we know, she is also surprisingly sarcastic and funny, tender and vulnerable, and even judgmental and petty -- all less public but no less important attributes of our most beloved first lady.

What people are saying - Write a review

User ratings

5 stars
4 stars
3 stars
2 stars
1 star

Review: Empty without You: The Intimate Letters of Eleanor Roosevelt & Lorena Hickok

User Review  - Susan - Goodreads

wow, i had no idea. fascinating stuff to read Read full review

Review: Empty without You: The Intimate Letters of Eleanor Roosevelt & Lorena Hickok

User Review  - Rebekah - Goodreads

The letters were interesting, but Streitmatter's "helpful" comments made Eleanor's messy letters nearly illegible and didn't help clarify what was happening so much as big the reader down. I'd have ... Read full review


March 1933
July 1933
SeptemberDecember 1933
JanuaryFebruary 1934
MarchJuly 1934
Letting Go but Holding On
Epilogue The Long Way Home

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

Popular passages

Page ix - At any rate, when a subject is highly controversial— and any question about sex is that— one cannot hope to tell the truth. One can only show how one came to hold whatever opinion one does hold.

References to this book

About the author (1999)

Rodger Streitmatter is professor of journalism at American University, where he has taught for more than twenty years. He is the author of "Mightier Than the Sword: How the News Media Have Shaped American History" and "Unspeakable: The Rise of the Gay and Lesbian Press in America." He lives in Washington, D.C.

Bibliographic information