< November 2020 >
26 27 28 29 30 31 1
2 3 4 5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20 21 22
23 24 25 26 27 28 29
30 1 2 3 4 5 6

'Dear Aunty Eleanor’: Eleanor Roosevelt, Anna Freud and the Emotional Lives of Refugee Children and Their Sponsors, 1938-1945

Date: Thursday 14 December 2017
Time: 6pm
Venue: Hughes 309, The University of Adelaide, North Terrace, Adelaide
Enquiries: Jacquie Bennett (jacquie.bennett@adelaide.edu.au)

Download event flyer


This paper explores the sponsorship of war refugee children by Eleanor Roosevelt during the Spanish Civil War and the Second World War. Under the auspices of the Foster Parents’ Plan for War Children (PLAN), which sought foster ‘parents’ to financially support war orphans, Roosevelt ‘adopted’ a number of children. By the 1940s, the relationship between children and their sponsors was perceived to be more than correspondence and a matter of financial donation. PLAN began to stress the emotional well-being of children describing the foster parent as offering emotional support and security, essential to the well being of the child. PLAN financially supported the work of Anna Freud and Dorothy Burlingham and their Hampstead Nurseries. Freud and Burlingham wrote reports about the emotional state of children in war, some of which specifically focused on the children Roosevelt sponsored. This paper examines these reports, as well as the letters written by the children themselves to Roosevelt to illuminate several themes. First is the role of emotion in the dynamic and inter-connected relationship between child and sponsor. Second, is the assessment of children’s experience in war and its impact on the emotional life of children. Finally, the perceived care appropriate for refugee children in times of violence, dislocation and crisis is explored at a time when the emotional life of the child is increasingly attracting attention from humanitarians around the world.

This free public lecture opens 'The Emotional Worlds of Children and Young People' Symposium at The University of Adelaide, 14–15 December 2017 (to register for the full symposium, email: dislocatedchildren@gmail.com with name, affiliation and dietary/access requirements).

Download the symposium program


Image: Portrait of Eleanor Roosevelt, painted in the New York studio of Douglas Chandor in 1949. Courtesy of the White House Historical Association.