Eleanor Roosevelt had a sad childhood despite her New York City family's wealth and prominence.
Her mother was a beauty disappointed in Eleanor's looks, and her father, Teddy Roosevelt's brother, was a loving but unreliable alcoholic.
Both died before Eleanor was 10, when she joined her strict maternal grandmother.
At English boarding school Eleanor gained confidence and purpose, returning home and volunteering at a New York settlement house.
Her idealism impressed Franklin Roosevelt, her fifth cousin and recent reaquaintance.
They wed in 1905, President teddy Roosevelt giving the bride away.
With five children and a domineering mother-in-law, Eleanor drew strength from community work.
As Franklin became impressed in politics, so did she, linking him to his party and the public after he contracted polio in 1921.
By the time Eleanor got to the White House, she was used to being Franklin's "eyes and ears," going where his legs couldn't take him and reporting what she saw.
But she went further as First Lady, becoming an indefatigable champion of the poor and the powerless.
A demoralized America loved her for it and even her enemies admired her devotion to social justice.
An early advocate for American blacks, Eleanor helped bring minorities and women into the Democratic party.
She wrote a daily column, held press conferences, and tirelessly toured the nation.
During World War II, she visited U.S. Troops in Europe an Asia. After Franklin's death in 1945, Eleanor remained a leader in human rights.