Eleanor Roosevelt Held Her Own White House Press Conferences

First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt held her own press conferences in the White House. Open only to women, the weekly press conference saved the jobs of women journalists and insured their access to news. Unless women reporters could find something new to write about, the chances were that some of them would lose their jobs in a very short time. The press conferences would cover subjects of special interest and value to the women of the country, but never encroached on politics. Over a period of 12 years, the press conferences — 348 of them — provided the First Lady with a national audience and invaluable publicity. Women journalists delighted in the new opportunity, and admiration for the First Lady surged among reporters. At first, Eleanor Roosevelt told about her daily schedules, discussed the prints on the White House Walls, and shared low-cost menus for Depression-era households. However, reporters pressed the First Lady for more news on public policy, and in April 1933, she provided a political scoop: She announced that beer would be served in the White House once Prohibition ended. Eleanor Roosevelt held her last White House press conference on April 12, 1945, a few hours before President Franklin D. Roosevelt died of a massive intracerebral hemorrhage in Warm Springs, Georgia.