The Eleanor Roosevelt National Historic Site, in the Hudson Valley area of New York state, includes the Val-Kill Cottage where Eleanor Roosevelt lived after the death of her husband, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, in 1945. She lived in the cottage for 17 years, but maintained a politically active lifestyle, never fully retiring as she had planned. Some of the most important world leaders of the time met with Eleanor at Val-Kill, where she took the opportunity to discuss humanitarian issues with these influential men. By the time of her death, Eleanor Roosevelt earned the title, in the words of President Harry S. Truman, "First Lady of the World."
After Franklin’s death, Eleanor looked forward to a quiet retirement at Val-Kill Cottage, where she planned to devote time to her large family. However, in 1946, President Truman encouraged her back into public life as a delegate to the United Nations General Assembly. After resigning in 1952, she resumed her career as a world traveler, acting as a "good will ambassador." She remained politically active until illness finally slowed her down. Eleanor Roosevelt died on November 7, 1962.
After Eleanor’s death, her house was made into four rental units. In 1970 the property was sold to private developers who planned to build on the land. Worried that the development would damage a valuable historic asset, concerned citizens organized a drive to preserve the site, which in turn sparked interest in establishing a national memorial. In May 1977 President Jimmy Carter signed the bill creating the Eleanor Roosevelt National Historic Site.