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Lorena A. Hickok (1893–1968)

Author of The Story of Helen Keller

Includes the names: Hickok l a, Lorena Hickok, Lorena A. Hickok, Lorena A. Hickock, hickoklorenaahickokl

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Lorena Alice Hickok had a troubled childhood and youth. She failed out of college in her first year, and got a job at The Battle Creek Evening News covering such minor stories such as train arrivals and departures. She then went to work for the Milwaukee Sentinel as the society editor, and moved on to the city beat when she proved to be a talented interviewer. She gained a wide readership for her pieces on celebrities such as Lillian Russell, Ignac Paderewski, and Nellie Melba. Lorena first met Eleanor Roosevelt in 1928 when assigned to interview her by the Associated Press. When FDR ran for president in 1932, Lorena Hickok convinced her editors to allow her to cover Eleanor Roosevelt during the campaign and the four-month transition period between FDR's election and inauguration. The two women spent a lot of time talking and began a long, close friendship. Eleanor Roosevelt, who had had a loveless childhood herself, was especially sensitive to others with similar backgrounds. Lorena Hickok joined the Roosevelts every Sunday night for dinner but maintained her home in New York City. Some biographers believe Lorena was in love with Eleanor but others have warned historians not to be misled. It is known that Eleanor and "Hick" wrote lengthy, affectionate letters to each other every day. For three years, Lorena worked on public relations for the 1939 New York World's Fair. In 1940, with help from the First Lady, Lorena became executive secretary of the Women's Division of the Democratic National Committee, working on that year's presidential campaign. From January 1941 until shortly after FDR's fourth inauguration in 1945, she lived at the White House. Lorena's diabetes worsened in 1945, and she was forced to leave her position with the DNC. She wrote several books, including Ladies of Courage (1954) with Eleanor, followed by The Story of Franklin D. Roosevelt (1956), The Story of Helen Keller (1958), and The Story of Eleanor Roosevelt (1959), among others. Her health continued to decline, and she moved to a cottage on the Roosevelt estate at Hyde Park, New York, where she died in 1968.
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