A Thin Black Line

One of the beautiful things about archive collections are the serendipitous moments when you just happen upon something.  That was the case for how I came across this letter from Eleanore Roosevelt, written to her good friend in St. Louis. Dated May 18, 1945 the letter is typed on mourning stationary with the thinnest black lines down each edge, for indeed, her husband Franklin had died the month before on April 12.


The second paragraph of this letter makes reference to “Marty” — journalist Martha Gellhorn, and Edna’s daughter.  You can read more about Martha’s groundbreaking adventures as one of the earliest female war correspondence on the PBS site Reporting America at War.

The Edna Gellhorn Papers are one of over 300 collections available for research at University Archives.

About the author

Miranda Rectenwald is Curator of Local History, Washington University Special Collections. More info.