7 Curious Facts About the Roosevelts

  • Franklin D. Roosevelt smiling
Franklin D. Roosevelt smiling
Photo credit: Hulton Archive / Stringer via Getty Images

The Roosevelts are one of American history’s most prolific and influential political families: Leaders such as Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Eleanor Roosevelt not only redefined the eras in which they lived but also shaped the country for decades to come, in some ways changing the very political fabric of the nation. 

The family arrived in pre-independence America around 1649, when Dutch immigrant Claes Martenszen van Rosenvelt and his wife Jennetjke began life in New Amsterdam (later known as New York). Shortly after their arrival in the Americas, anglicized variations of the family surname began appearing, with their son Nicholas — born in 1658 — becoming among the first to bear the name “Roosevelt.” Nicholas also became the first Roosevelt to hold political office in the Americas, serving as an alderman in the West Ward of New York City from 1698 to 1701, and again in 1715. The political clout of the Roosevelt family ballooned from there, reaching new heights in the 20th century when both Teddy and FDR served as President, guiding the country through harrowing times. Meanwhile, FDR’s wife, Eleanor Roosevelt, broke barriers by carving out a new role for women in American society and politics, and spent her lifetime advocating for humanitarian issues. Here are seven facts about this uniquely influential family.

You may also like