Lorena Hickok

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Lorena Alice Hickok (1893-1968), journalist, author and alleged lesbian lover of Eleanor Roosevelt, wife of Franklin D Roosevelt, US President.

This page writen and copyright 2006-2008 by Will Johnson, Professional Genealogist.

Lorena was born 7 Mar 1893 in Grant County, Wisconsin, the daughter and eldest child of Addison J Hickok (1864-1932) and his wife Anna Adelsa Waite (1870-1906). Addison and Anna had married April 1891 in Elkhorn, Walworth County, Wisconsin.

Lorena's mother Anna died 16 Sep 1906 in Bowdle, South Dakota of a stroke, leaving her husband and three daughters: Lorena, Ruby and Myrtle. Doris Faber prints in her book, the obituary of Anna (Waite) Hickok from the Sep 20 issue of the Bowdle Pioneer. About fifteen months later, on 1 Jan 1908, her father Addison married again to Emma Flashman in Brown County, South Dakota.

Lorena is reported to have been an extra mouth in a family who didn't really care for her. Her father abusive and violent, her step-mother detached and uninterested. Lorena found her own way by working sometimes as a live-in housemaid until she moved in with remote family members. Lorena started in journalism and this is eventually how she managed to meet Eleanor Roosevelt about 1932. Lorena deposited a large volume of letters writen by both herself and Eleanor, to each other, into the Roosevelt Library, to be opened only ten years after Lorena's death.

When the letters were opened, biographers were stunned. The letters would seem to clearly indicate a deep and personal relationship between them. Some biographers of both her and Eleanor state that they clearly had a romantic and probably sexual relationship, others are not quite so committed to the sexual nature, including Eleanor's daughter Anna.

Lorena Hickok died 1 May 1968, age seventy-five.

Primary documents

  • Wisconsin Births 1820-1907 showing "Alice L Hickok, born Mar 7, 1893 Grant County, Wisconsin but also interestingly Lorene H Hickok, born Mar 9, 1891, Grant County, Wisconsin
  • 1900 Census of Elkhorn, Walworth County, Wisconsin showing "Aaron J Hickock, Dec 1860, New York, Teamster; Ama Adelia Hickock, 38, New York; Alice Lorena Hickock 7, Wisconsin; Ruby A Hickock 3; Myrtle M Hickock 2; Matilda B Wait 66, mother-in-law, New York". Although Ancestry.com has his name indexed as "Aaron", viewing the actual image shows writing overlaying his name making it hard to read. It could very well be "Adison" to my eye.
  • South Dakota Marriages 1905-1949 showing "Addison Hickok of Aberdeen, Brown County, 44, American, widower to Emma Flashman of Aberdeen, Brown County, 37, Divorced; by J W Taylor, Minster, of Aberdeen Jan 1, 1908" (ancestry incorrectly indexed this marriage as occurring in 1907).
  • San Antonio Express', 26 Feb 1933, "The Roosevelts — Just an Informal Family — 'Blue Bloods' But They Ban Snobbishness and the White House Latchstring Will Be Kept Out", by Lorena A Hickok, Associated Press Staff Writer

Secondary Sources

The Life of Lorena Hickok, E.R.'s Friend, by Doris Faber. William Morrow and Company, New York, 1980. ISBN 0688036317

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