Growing Up Roosevelt

A Granddaughter's Memoir of Eleanor Roosevelt

By Nina Roosevelt Gibson

Subjects: Biography, New York/regional, History, General Interest
Series: Excelsior Editions
Imprint: Excelsior Editions
Hardcover : 9781438495132, 204 pages, November 2023

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Table of contents

List of Illustrations

1. Arrival

2. Extended Family—The Curnans and the Entrups

3. Forays in Dutchess County

4. Val-Kill Visitors

5. Campobello—Our Beloved Island

6. Travels with Grandmère

7. Israel

8. Paris and London

9. Sally

10. Closing Doors—November 1962

11. Val-Kill in Transition

Epilogue Val-Kill Today

A granddaughter's intimate portrait of Eleanor Roosevelt at her longtime home of Val-Kill as well as on a diplomatic trip to Europe and the Middle East.


When Nina Roosevelt was just seven years old, her family moved from California to live with her grandmother at the small cottage, Val-Kill, in Hyde Park, New York. It was at Val-Kill Farm that Nina shared her childhood years with her remarkable grandmother, the woman who would change her life. To Nina, she was Grandmère, but, to most everyone else, she was Eleanor Roosevelt. Few people realize how important Val-Kill was for Eleanor Roosevelt. Returning "home again" nourished her, allowed her time for reflection, planning, and rejuvenation so that she could continue pouring her heart and soul into the needs of so many people the world over.

Growing Up Roosevelt gives an intimate picture of life at Val-Kill as well as Nina's wide-ranging experiences traveling as a teenager with her grandmother. Included are portraits of the family, staff, famous friends, people in need, and world leaders as disparate as Nikita Khrushchev, Haile Selassie, and John F. Kennedy. This book will appeal to anyone interested in the life and times of Eleanor Roosevelt, her work as a trailblazing political and feminist leader, and the intimate behind-the-scenes details that only her granddaughter can tell.

Nina Roosevelt Gibson lives in Vail, Arizona.


"…an intimate and homespun memoir … Gibson's detailed descriptions have a poetic sensibility, such as her memory of her grandmother coming to bid goodnight in the guest bedroom where she let her granddaughter stay during frequent sleepovers." — Albany Times Union

"To every grandchild, grandma seems special. But the woman Nina Roosevelt Gibson called Grand-Mere was Eleanor Roosevelt, and in Growing Up Roosevelt she vividly captures what it was like to spend a dozen formative years within the orbit of that extraordinary woman. She evokes the sights and sounds and changing seasons at her grandmother's tranquil haven at Val Kill and also reveals what it was like to tag along on one of her frenetic trips abroad. No one interested in the Roosevelts will want to miss these warm and loving memories." — Geoffrey C. Ward, author of A First-Class Temperament: The Emergence of FDR

"Nina Roosevelt Gibson's splendid memoir of her grandmother Eleanor Roosevelt is moving, compelling, and important. Gibson's vividly written travels with ER are filled with intimate observations that enhance a uniquely informative work." — Blanche Wiesen Cook, author of Eleanor Roosevelt, Volumes One, Two, and Three