First Mothers by P-HarpercollinsPubl


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									First Mothers
Author: Bonnie Angelo

Bonnie Angelo, a veteran reporter and writer for Time, has captured the daily lives, thoughts, and feelings
of the remarkable women who played such a large role in developing the characters of the modern
American presidents. From formidably aristocratic Sara Delano Roosevelt to diehard Democrat Martha
Truman, champion athlete Dorothy Bush, and hard-living Virginia Clinton Kelley, Angelo blends these
women's stories with the texture of their lives and with colorful details of their times. First Mothers is an
in-depth look at the special mother-son relationships that nurtured and helped propel the last twelve
American presidents to the pinnacle of power.

A man who has been the indisputable favorite of his mother keeps for life the feeling of a conqueror, that
confidence of success that often induces real success.--Sigmund FreudA Restless young Franklin
Roosevelt, under strict quarantine for scarlet fever in the Groton school infirmary, was startled by the
scraping sound against the red brick wall, followed by a gloved tap on the window'and then the apparition
of his mother, the regal Sara Delano Roosevelt, peering into the room. She was perched on a workman's
ladder, risking her safety and shattering her dignity to circumvent the no-visitors edict.From that
precarious roost, she talked with him each day and even read to him. When she learned of his illness she
had rushed home from Europe to comfort him; from the day he was born her son had been her total
concern.When he was a student at Harvard, she rented an apartment in Boston to oversee his social life.
When he and his young wife needed a larger house, she provided it. When he was stricken with polio,
she pampered and cosseted him, against his wishes. When he was president, she schemed to bring the
White House up to her standards. And when he was contemplating divorce, she threatened (so it was
whispered) to cut off his funds from the family fortune. Whether Franklin wished it or not, Sara Roosevelt
was determined to do what she deemed best for him. Not that she always won. After all, she had shaped
this son in her own mold'confident, determined, and pleasantly stubborn when it came to getting his own
way.From the beginning she and her husband, James Roosevelt, created a world of privilege and
principle, a secure little universe in which Franklin could grow up on the family estate at Hyde Park,
covering hundreds of acres in New York's beautiful Hudson Valley. Shielded by his family's position, he
was exposed to only a small circle of family, servants, the local gentry, and a few deferential
shopkeepers in the village that bordered on Roosevelt land. The values and lifestyle of his parents were
emblems of the world of a disappearing landed aristocracy.At first their relatives in the other branch of the
family'the Republican Roosevelts'regarded Sara and James as an odd couple. It is unlikely that Mrs.
Theodore Roosevelt, whose son Teddy was away at Harvard, had harbored any intention of matchmaking
when she invited her daughter's good friend 'Sallie' Delano to a dinner party that included, among other
guests, cousin James, a widower of fifty-one, a rather formal man with muttonchop whiskers'and a son
Sara's age. Sara was twenty-five, tall and graceful at five-foot-ten, and world-traveled. By the end of the
evening, Sara had accepted an invitation to visit him at Springwood, his country home, properly
chaperoned, of course.In May 1880 Sara arrived at Springwood; Hyde Park was abloom, and before the
visit ended, so was love. Years later Sara wrote a nostalgic letter to her son, then the governor of New
York:Darling Son:Just 51 years yesterday, the 7th, I came to visit. If I had not come then, I should now be
'old Miss Delano' after a rather sad life!That Sara was still unmarried when she met James was
astonishing. She was one of the five 'beautiful Delano sisters,' as New York society called them,
daughters of another family in the Hudson Valley aristocracy. Numerous young men paid court to her,
only to be rejected as not suitable by her father, Warren Delano II. (One such was Stanford White, a
budding architect whom she found charming, but her father did not, ordering her to return his flowers with
a cold letter that would...
Author Bio
Bonnie Angelo
Bonnie Angelo is the author of First Mothers. During her more than twenty-five years with Time magazine,
she has reported on the White House and has covered newsmakers and events across America and the
world. She lives in Bethesda, Maryland, and New York City.

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