Hissing Cousins: The Untold Story of Eleanor Roosevelt and Alice Roosevelt Longworth


Based on their new book Hissing Cousins: The Untold Story of Eleanor Roosevelt and Alice Roosevelt Longworth, co-authors Marc Peyser and Timothy Dwyer will present a Tea & Talk on the lifelong rivalry of these two Washington insiders.  The speakers’ presentation will take place at Ventfort Hall Mansion and Gilded Age Museum on Saturday, November 12, at 3:30 pm.  A Victorian tea will follow.

When Theodore Roosevelt became president in 1901, his beautiful and flamboyant daughter became “Princess Alice,” arguably the century’s first global celebrity. When she married Ohio Senator Nicholas Longworth, the White House wedding reception hit the newspapers like a storm.  In 1933, at the depth of the Great Depression, Alice’s first cousin Eleanor moved into the White House as First Lady, wife of Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

The two women had been born eight months (1884) and twenty blocks apart in New York City, spent much of their childhoods together and were far more alike than most historians acknowledge.  But their politics and personalities couldn’t have been more distinct.

Democratic icon Eleanor was committed to social justice and hated the limelight.  Republican Alice was an opponent of big government who gained notoriety for her cutting remarks.  The cousins liked to play up their rivalry.  During the 1930s, they wrote opposing syndicated newspaper columns and embarked on competing nationwide speaking tours.

Peyser is a writer and former deputy editor at both Newsweek and Budget Travel.  His work has appeared in The New York Times, Life, Vogue, Time and Conde Nast Traveler.  He is currently the deputy editor of All You magazine.

Dwyer’s work has appeared in Time, Washingtonian and online at The Atlantic.  He is the chief executive officer of The School Choice Group, an education advisory company.

Tickets for the Tea & Talk are $24 for advance reservations and $29 day of the event.  Reservations are highly recommended as seating is limited.  For information or reservations call Ventfort Hall at 413-637-3206 or visit info@gildedage.org. The historical mansion is located at 104 Walker Street in Lenox.

An Official Project of Save America’s Treasures program sponsored by The White House, Ventfort Hall Mansion and Gilded Age Museum was built in 1893 for George and Sarah Morgan.  She was the sister of J. Pierpont Morgan, the legendary financier.  The museum offers daily tours of the historic mansion, as well as Tea & Talks, such exhibitions as the Bellefontaine Collection, concerts, theater and other programs. This elegant Jacobean-Revival Berkshire “cottage,” listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is open to the public year round and is available for private rental. Ventfort Hall has undergone substantial restoration, which continues.

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