Eleanor Roosevelt’s hands

America’s monuments tell us something about the people who view the monuments, as well as informing us about the people or events the monuments commemorate.

With statues of brass, for example, if people touch the statute in the same place, repeatedly, the brass is brighter at that spot.  At Lincoln’s tomb in Springfield, Illinois, the bust by Gutzon Borglum has a shiny nose, where thousands — or millions — have touched his nose.

At the relatively new monument to Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the entirety of which I got to view for the first time last night, there is a statue of his wife, Eleanor.

Look at her hands, showing the bright brass history of people reaching out to touch her.

Eleanor Roosevelt's hands, photo by Ed Darrell (FDR Memorial) 06-22-2012 DC Capitol, monuments 229

Eleanor Roosevelt’s statute at the FDR Memorial in Washington, D.C., where thousands of people touched her hands.

Touring and sight-seeing (and site-seeing) continue today on our Teaching American History grant studies tour of Washington.  Blogging will be light, apologies.  Much, much to talk about.

10 Responses to Eleanor Roosevelt’s hands

  1. […] “Eleanor Roosevelt’s Hands,” Millard Fillmore’s Bathtub, June 22, 2012 […]


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  6. Porlock Junior says:

    Good idea. But I don’t know his current address. I understand that

    Lenin’s Tomb
    Under the wall of the Kremlin
    Moscow, USSR

    is no longer valid.


  7. Ed Darrell says:

    So the Russian to be third in that grouping needs to trek to London and pose for the photo . . .


  8. Porlock Junior says:

    Now I’ve gotta look again at Roosevelt and Churchill on their park bench on New Bond Street next time I’m in London. I know that sitting with them is a popular scene in which to be photographed.

    Wait. Just looked in Google Earth and found a couple of photos. The one labeled in Russian shows well how popular their knees are as well as the small space between them.

    Then I looked at the Russian title (as assigned by whoever posted the pic to Panoramio) “A gde tretii” and dredged up the fact the it means, “But where is the third?” Nice touch; there is a third person who comes to mind, especially in Russian. Mildly splendid coincidence that this comes up just after Historic Miscalculation Day.


  9. I touched Lincoln’s nose because I felt pressured to do so and it seemed like it was ok, but I never thought about touching other statues like Mrs. Roosevelt. It must give people a lot of comfort to touch her hands.


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