When – This event is SOLD OUT!
Saturday, May 11th at 2 pm

Eleanor Roosevelt Center at Val-Kill (ERVK)
Route 9G, 106 Val-Kill Park Road
Eleanor Roosevelt National Historic Site
Hyde Park, New York 12538
(ERVK is located at the end of the first left off the driveway)

Ticket Price: a donation of $20 or more

Book Price: a donation of $20 or more

Join us on May 11th for a panel discussion featuring Shannon McKenna Schmidt, the author of The First Lady of World War II: Eleanor Roosevelt’s Daring Journey to the Frontlines and Back. She will be joined by the Franklin D. Roosevelt Museum and Library’s Deputy Director, Kirsten Strigel Carter. The conversation will be moderated by ERVK’s Board Chair and Eleanor Roosevelt’s great-granddaughter, Anna Eleanor Fierst.

Light refreshments will be served.

You don’t want to miss this opportunity to learn how the First Lady supported our troops in the Pacific in ways that until now have been largely overlooked. Please join the conversation between a gifted historian, a lead archivist from the FDR Library, and Eleanor’s great granddaughter.  

Note: A limited number of books will be available at the event in exchange for a donation of $20 or more. All donations must be made using a credit card through the ERVK website. Please be aware that ERVK is unable to accept cash or check donations on-site.

About the book:

Eleanor Roosevelt’s Daring Journey to the Frontlines and Back

In August 1943, Eleanor Roosevelt journeyed to the Pacific Theater, where the United States was at war with Japan. A goodwill tour, diplomatic mission, and fact-finding foray, the 25,000-mile trip was further, longer, and more dangerous than any previously undertaken by the well-traveled First Lady. 

The First Lady of World War II follows Eleanor on this daring trek, taken under arduous conditions in a theater of war that sprawled over vast ocean distances. The trip, which demonstrated how dramatically she had transformed the role of First Lady, still stands —in the words of a reporter at the time—as “the most remarkable journey any president’s wife has ever made.”

“This action-packed and suspenseful wartime drama vividly captures the selfless grit and tenderness of Eleanor Roosevelt’s battle-zone leadership.”  —David Michaelis, author of ELEANOR

Shannon McKenna Schmidt is the author of The First Lady of World War II: Eleanor Roosevelt’s Daring Journey to the Frontlines and Back. She is also the co-author of two previous books, Novel Destinations and Writers Between the Covers, and has written for National Geographic Traveler,, and other websites and publications. She has appeared as a guest on television and radio programs, including MSNBC’s Morning Joe, and has spoken at such venues as the FDR Presidential Library and the National World War II Museum. From 2010 through 2017, Shannon traveled full-time—first in the United States by RV and then backpacking around the globe. She lives in Hoboken, New Jersey. More info at

The Eleanor Roosevelt Award for Bravery in Literature

December 16, 2023

Live discussion at the Fisher Center at Bard with authors who have been honored with the Eleanor Roosevelt Award for Bravery in Literature. Come celebrate intellectual freedom and speak out against banned books. Tickets will be available soon through the Fisher box office. 

The Award

The award honors, protects and elevates important works of literature that advance human rights, even in the face of adversity.


Authors will be presented with awards at our first annual awards ceremony each for a work of literature vital to our culture, which has experienced challenges and banning by local governments or school boards.

Why Now?

  • We are living in a time with more books than ever before in U.S. history being banned. Last year represented the year with the most government censorship of books
  • We are holding our awards ceremony during the 75th anniversary of the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights, which Eleanor led the drafting of as Chairperson of the drafting committee. Article 19 of the UDHR speaks to the “freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.”

Why Eleanor?

  • Eleanor was a fierce, vocal and influential advocate for human rights, civil rights and democracy.
  • Her work lives on today inspiring a new generation to use their voice to protect and advance the rights of those who have been marginalized and oppressed.
  • Eleanor Roosvelt was a prolific author in her own right, authoring 27 books in her lifetime.

How will the Award Help?

  • We are working with libraries, free speech organizations, educational institutions, and advocates to ensure that our award helps add more oversight in the censorship battle.
  • As a household name, the Eleanor Roosevelt seal, will help notify would be challengers that these authors are not alone in the fight to protect freedom of expression and these works in particular

The Award Show

Authors will be invited to attend the award ceremony at the Fisher Center at Bard to receive their awards, with authors’ reflections and lively Q&A.

At ERVK we are finally picking up speed after a long pandemic-related pause. We extend a big ‘thank you’ to all of supporters and champions for your patience.

We have an exciting set of programs lined up for the end of 2023 and you’ll see them land on this page as they are finalized. We are also busy reconsidering how our historical in-person leadership programs might best be redesigned for this new era.

We hope you’ll get involved and join us in rebuilding ERVK!

Eleanor Roosevelt: Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Article 20 (1) Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association.
(2) No one may be compelled to belong to an association.