Dselected documentocument of the Month: March

Franklin and Eleanor's Marriage Certificate

Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt were married in New York City on March 17, 1905. The date of the marriage was selected so that Eleanor’s Uncle Theodore Roosevelt, the President of the United States at the time, could be present to give the bride away.

Franklin and Eleanor were distant cousins (fifth cousins, once removed) and had known each other as children. They were reconnected as young adults, began dating, and became engaged shortly thereafter.  Their marriage produced six children, five of whom lived to adulthood.  

Early on the marriage was strained when it was discovered that Franklin had an affair with a women named Lucy Mercer. Their marriage was never quite the same after that. It became however, a strong and productive partnership based on mutual respect, affection and a commitment to common goals and values. Below is a copy of their marriage certificate.

Marriage certificate, 1905, for Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt 

Here are some things to consider and discuss after reviewing the Roosevelt’s Wedding Certificate.

  1. Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt’s marriage is sometimes referred to as being something of a “partnership.”  What were the strengths that each of them brought to the partnership? What were the weaknesses brought by each? In what ways did their individual skills compliment each other?
  2. President and Mrs. Roosevelt were a powerful team and accomplished a great deal in the 1930s and 40s. Is there a current or recent couple to which they can be compared? In what ways are the comparisons valid; in what ways are the comparisons not valid?
  3. What role did Theodore Roosevelt play in the wedding and the lives of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt?

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