Emily Hubbard Roosevelt
Daughters of the American Revolution
TIME Magazine Gossip Column, 1942
Many Different Facets
Stamford Resident Busy
In Multitude Of ways
By Marie Updegraff
"The trouble with you, Emily, is you can't say no."
When Emily Hubbard Roosevelt's friends point this out to her, she agrees with them. But it doesn't seem to do any good.
Miss Roosevelt has five comfortable antique rocking chairs in her Shippan Point home and rarely has time to perch for a minute in any of them. Yet she says she hopes the day will come when she can just sit and rock and think for hours at a stretch.
It's unlikely this will happen, however. What happens is the phone rings. She has to preside at a meeting of a national organization (she is a member of more than 30 national, state and local organizations).
Or she has to go somewhere and sing "The Star Spangled Banner." Or she has to give a lecture on flying saucers. The phone rings, and so on.
"There are so many different facets to my life," she sighed, "that I'm torn to pieces."
Miss Roosevelt is a fifth cousin of both late presidents of the same name, Theodore and Franklin D. The first Roosevelt ancestor to come to America from Holland in 1649 was Claes Martenzen Van Rosenfelt. She is descended from his eldest son; Theodore was descended from the second son, and Franklin D., from the third.
On her mother's side, she comes from the historic Hubbard family of Stamford. Her grandfather, George McKay Hubbard, owned a Farm that included the present Hubbard Heights Golf Course and Hubbard Hill. He set out the beautiful trees along Hubbard Ave.
Some years ago, her grandfather's home was moved piece by I piece from the corner of Stillwater Ave. and West Broad St. and re-erected on Scofieldtown Rd.
The lady who can't say no has the Roosevelt energy, enthusiasm and drive. She possesses a magnetic presence that seats her at the head table.
Early in her career as a soprano concert soloist, music critics from coast to coast often commented about this quality of magnetism. They commented, too, on her vitality and beautiful, dramatic voice.
She began singing in the Stamford First Congregational Church choir in her teens. Leila Joel Hulse, her local voice teacher, recommended that she study with Florence Wessell in New York City, who was Miss Hulse's own teacher.
Then one day, Emily asked Mrs. Wessell, "Do you think I can really sing?" Her teacher wisely replied, "That's up to you."
Overnight, the young soprano changed her tack from amateur to professional. It meant giving up most of her social activities.
"The hardest thing of all," she recalled, "was convincing my friends I was serious. When I continued to turn down invitations, they finally realized I meant what I said."
She gave one of her first concerts in the '20s at the Stamford Woman's Club, then later at the Schubert Club here. She went on to Symphony Hall in Boston, Town Hall in New York and made her opera debut in the title role of "Aida" with the Festival Opera Company of Chicago.
After 30 years of performances all over the country in concerts and oratorios—she liked this type of work better than opera—illness ended her musical career. Although the illness was temporary, she decided it would be too difficult to go back after a year away from the concert stage.
Now, she said, "I seem to sing 'The Star Spangled Banner' wherever I go. Lucy Monroe and I have sung more national anthems than anyone else in the world."
When she gave up her professional career, Miss Roosevelt had no idea she would be running national women's patriotic organizations or be elected Woman of the Year by the Stamford Business and Professional Women. Undoubtedly, her "head table" personality made something like this inevitable.
She holds offices in five national organizations and active membership in 10 more. She is president of the New York City Colony of the National Society of New England Women, president of the New York State Council of the National Society of Patriotic Women of America, a director of the New York State Society of the National Society of the Daughters of the Union 1861-65 (they honor the Union side of the Civil War), and chaplain of the General U.S. Grant Chapter of the same national society.
Philanthropic activities of these non-profit patriotic organizations include providing scholarships, restoring and maintaining historic landmarks, and contributing to the operation of servicemen's clubs. Many members of the patriotic societies do special kinds of volunteer work in veterans' hospitals.
Miss Roosevelt is also a director of the American Women's Voluntary Service. During World War II, as AWVS placement chairman, she put some 5,000 women a week in volunteer jobs.
At least 15 local and other organizations claim her as a member, but we won't list them, except to mention that she is a past president of the Stamford Schubert Club.
Now, as to her lecture on flying saucers. She has given it "hundreds of times all over the country" to audiences as large as 500. Titled "New Lights in the Firmament," it is understandably more popular than "bits and Pieces of Everyday Living," her psychological lecture.
Miss Roosevelt makes no pretense of being a scientist. She became interested in interplanetary space ships through reading about them in newspapers and magazines. Then she read about them in books and eventually acquired her own flying saucer library of some 100 volumes.
She says she has sighted what she believes to be flying saucers but beyond that will not divulge details of her lecture. Her next flying saucer talk is scheduled March 1 in Scarsdale before the New York Branch of the National League of American Penwomen.
"Ninety-five per cent of the people in my audiences believe what I tell them," she said. "I recommend to the skeptical five percent that they see me afterwards."
If any groups in the Stamford area would like to hear her talk on "New Lights in the Firmament," this dynamic, talented woman who can't say no won't say no.
EMILY HUBBARD ROOSEVELT
by Patricia Urevith, March 1, 1994
Emily Hubbard Roosevelt was an opera singer, a writer, a poet and a lecturer. Her father, George Washington Rosevelt was a direct descendent of Claes Martenszen van [Rosenfelt]. Van Rosenfelt arrived in the colonies from the Netherlands in 1649. Depending upon which source you read, she was the second cousin of Teddy Roosevelt (LEADER, 4/25/28) or the fifth cousin to both Teddy and Eleanor Roosevelt (NEW YORK TIMES, 9/16/76). She was also related to the Hubbard family of Connecticut. The [Hubbards] originated in England, but settled in Watertown, Massachusetts in 1633. They came to Connecticut and settled shortly before the Revolutionary War broke out. The Hubbard homestead in Stamford/Greenwich welcomed such luminaries as George Washington and the Marquis de Lafayette. (MUSICAL AMERICA 4/14/28).
Hubbard Rosevelt was born on December 19, 1893 in Stamford, Connecticut. When she was nine months old her father died. His will stipulated that most of his wealth be equally divided between his wife Sally Hubbard and his daughter Emily Hubbard. George Washington Rosevelt left two hundred dollars to an adopted son from his previous marriage. He amassed his wealth by being a merchant in New York City. At the time of his death his estate was valued at several million dollars.
Hubbard Rosevelt loved opera. According to the MUSICAL OBSERVER, May 1928 "her life placed an emphasis on social pleasure. Yet despite her wealth Hubbard Rosevelt says convincing her friends that she was serious (in music) was the hardest part of becoming an opera singer." Hubbard Rosevelt performed extensively throughout Europe and North America. Her favorite role was AIDA. Her performances were well viewed, critics calling her voice rich and her personality pleasing. In 1922, her passion for singing caused her to be dropped from the Social Register, she quipped, "Music means more to be than society." (NEW YORK TIMES, 1922).
Her outspokenness earned her the nickname of Teddy, a reference to her famous second cousin Teddy Roosevelt. In an interview with the LEADER on April 25, 1928 Rosevelt mentions her enjoyment with the nickname and adds that she "collects elephants but it has nothing to do with the GOP it's merely a coincidence."
On October 9, 1912, Hubbard Rosevelt secretly married a bank clerk from Darien named Chadderton. The ceremony took place in New York City. Chadderton was the son of a barber, and was beneath her in social prestige. Hubbard Rosevelt changed her name to Rosevelt Chadderton. What happened to Chadderton is a mystery, but she did marry again, this time to Archibald McIntyre Cook of New York Society. She never took Cook as a stage name but reverted back to Hubbard Rosevelt for all opera engagements. What happened to her marriage to Cook is also not answered.
During World War II, Hubbard Rosevelt was involved with the war effort. She enlisted five thousand women per week to work as volunteers. Her accomplishments were indicated in several newspaper clippings. She also added the extra '0' in her name because she was tired of everyone asking, is she related to Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt.
In 1954, Hubbard Roosevelt began her lectures on UFO's called NEW LIGHTS IN THE FIRMAMENT. She also becomes a devout believer in Spiritualism, joining the Albertson Memorial Church in Greenwich, Connecticut. She eventually becomes a board member of the church. Hubbard Roosevelt lectured across the nation on the topic of UFO's. When her health began to fail she limited her lectures to the Stamford area.
Hubbard Roosevelt died at [a] convalescent home in Connecticut in 1976. Before her death she won the Heritage Poetry contest sponsored by the Daughters of the American Revolution (Emily Hubbard Rosevelt was a member of the D.A.R.). The poem which won Hubbard Roosevelt the prize was read at her funeral service by Reverend Dorothy Smith of the Albertson Memorial Church. It reads:
Formed in the mind of God
Brought forth in Labor
Held in the Heart of God Mightiest Nation
Led by the Will of God
Hubbard Roosevelt's history lives on in her many opera recordings, her poetry, her prose and her clippings, but an oral history of her life could never be made as she had no surviving family members. Hubbard Roosevelt was the only child, and despite two marriages, she bore no children. Hubbard Roosevelt did have many friends, and I attempted to track them down to present an oral history on her life.
"[Today's] oral historian is the beneficiary of some very sophisticated recording equipment - more durable, mobile, inexpensive and reproductively faithful than ever before." (p 36). Unfortunately, my faithful Marantz was great on one interview, but on the other two, I accidentally pushed the recording device to slow speed and caused the speech patterns to be grossly off speed.
"One effective way to avoid time consuming squabbles is to head for the archives immediately." (p 41). I did that, enjoying the luxury of looking through Emily Hubbard Roosevelt's personal documents and clippings at THE STAMFORD HISTORICAL SOCIETY. However, Hubbard Roosevelt was an opera singer and not a historian. She neglected to place the full citations on many of her clippings. That is why much of the information quoted does not have a volume number, date or author.
Every newspaper story, article and clipping I read on the life of Emily Hubbard Roosevelt had one common thread that despite her enormous wealth and prestige, she was witty intelligent and kind to all people. In conducting my three interviews: one with her minister Reverend Melvin Smith, the other with Ron Marcus, Librarian at the Stamford Historical Society, and finally one with Wilbur Miller, honorary chairman of the Forum for World Affairs, they all agree she was great to all people. All three individuals confirm what was in print, that Hubbard Roosevelt loved all people, and believed in liberty for all.
I was very curious about her two failed marriages. Smith knew her very well but refused to comment. Marcus knew of one marriage that being to Chadderton but not to Cook. He was not aware of what was the cause of the break up. And, Miller says he was not familiar enough on the subject.
All correspondence, articles and clippings indicated that Hubbard Roosevelt loved her home on Shippan Point in Stamford. I discovered that she maintained a house on 57th Street in New York City but it was always to Shippan Point that Hubbard Roosevelt discussed. It was from this home that she claims to have sighted the UFO's. Smith stated that she loved her home, and when she was in the nursing home she occasionally asked Smith to drive her to Shippan.
"The historian's purpose, of course, is to try to construct as accurate and as complete an interpretation of the past as he can, in light of the evidence he creates and uses." [9p 460] It was carefully documented in newspaper clippings in the files of Emily Hubbard Roosevelt that she was a believer in Spiritualism. I was fortunate to contact her reverend and to attend church service. After the service, I had the opportunity to interview him on tape but only for a short period of time. "Even those historians by now the great majority who have not relied on too few informants have found it useful to interview some informants more than once, in some cases many times." (p 53). I wished I had had the opportunity with Reverend Smith. He knew her the last years of her life, and the questions I asked were more about her personality, merely re-enforcing what was already published in papers. I would have liked to ask him more questions about her health and her faith.
Conducting an oral history is certainly not as easy as it appears. After reviewing my tape, I wished I had had the opportunity to fine tune my questions, and allowed more time for follow up questions. "like any other scholar, the oral historian must inhibit his own will to believe by testing most often and carefully that which he would most like to accept." (p 53) Since there are so many facets to Hubbard Roosevelt's personality that I find appealing, I needed to view this project objectively. I did ask all three interviewees if they ever saw Hubbard Roosevelt lose her temper or become impatient. However, all three said she was just a lovely woman and never prone to be rude to anyone.
After finishing the taped interviews, I did call all three interviewees to thank them. We chatted more about Hubbard Roosevelt. I am not giving up my pursuit of Emily Hubbard Roosevelt.
Henige, David Oral Historiography, Longman, London 1982.
Musical Observer, May 1928
Leader, April 25, 1928
Musical America, April 14, 1928
New York Times, November 30, 1928
From Stamford Chapter, NSDAR
Sent by: Edna Marie (Mrs. F.J.) Hoffman
For publication in the DAR Magazine, "Newsworthy Daughters"
Our Newsworthy Daughter Miss Emily Hubbard Roosevelt
Miss Emily Hubbard Roosevelt, fifth cousin of both the late Presidents Roosevelt, and member of the Stamford Chapter, Stamford, Connecticut, made her opera debut in the title role of "Aida" with the Festival Opera Company of Chicago. After thirty years of performances all over the country in concerts and oratorios—she liked this type of work better than opera—she retired, following a year's illness. Now, she said, "I seem to sing 'The Star Spangled Banner' wherever I go."
Since giving up her professional career, Miss Roosevelt has spent her time running the national women's patriotic organizations, doubtless due to the "head table" personality. She holds offices in five national organizations and active membership in ten more. he is president of the New York City Colony of the National Society of New England Women, president of the New York State Council of the National Society of Patriotic Women of America, a director of the New York State Society of the National Society of the Daughters of the Union 1861-1865 and chaplain of the General U.S. Grant Chapter of the same national society.
Philanthropic activities of the non-profit patriotic organizations include providing scholarship, restoring and maintaining historic landmarks, and contributing to the operation of servicemen's clubs. Many members of patriotic societies do special kinds of volunteer work in veterans' hospitals. Miss Roosevelt is also a director of the American Women's Voluntary Service. During World War II as AWVS placement chairman, she put some 5,000 women a week in volunteer jobs.
Though making no pretence of being a scientist, Miss Roosevelt became interested in interplanetary space ships and had acquired her own flying saucer library of more than one hundred volumes. Her lecture, titled "New Lights in the Firmament" has been given to large audiences all over the country. Never too busy to be gracious, this dynamic, talented woman of great personal charm has also written a volume of poetry which is awaiting publication.
Club memberships and activities:
N.Y. State Society, Dames of the Loyal Legion
Connecticut State Society, U.S. Daughter's of 1812
N.Y. State Society, Daughters of Founders and Patriots of America
Stamford, Conn. Chapter NSDAR, and associate member of Manhattan Chapter, NSDAR
Angell Husted Chapter, Daughters of the American Colonists
Past President, Conn. State Council, National League of American Pen Women
Past President, Past Recording Secretary, Past Chaplain, Pioneer Branch, National League of American Pen Women, presently a member of New York City Branch, ALAPW
Past President of Schubert Club of Stamford
Woman of the Year 1960, Stamford Business and Professional Women's Clubs
Member, Stamford Woman's Club
Member, Stamford Historical Society
Member, Stamford Museum and Nature Center
Member, Stamford Hospital Auxiliary
Member, Stamford Women's Republican Club
Member, Stamford YWCA
Low Heywood Alumnae Association
Friday Morning Music Club, Washington, D.C.
N.Y. Browning Society
Poetry Society of America
Academy of American Poets
Episcopal Actor's Guild
Metropolitan Opera Guild
Women's National Republican Club
American Coalition of Patriotic Societies
Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Association
Washington Headquarters Memorial Associations
Women's Aid Society for Relief of Widows and Orphans, NYC
EMILY HUBBARD ROOSEVELT
A direct descendent of Claes Martenszen van Rosenfelt, progenitor of the Roosevelt family and of George Hubbard, progenitor of the Hubbard family in America. The Hubbards, George and his wife, Mary Bishop, coming to Watertown, Mass., from England in 1633, and Claes van Rosenfelt with his wife, Jennettje Samuel-Thomas, coming to New Amsterdam (now New York) from Holland in 1649.
William Hubbard, fifth great great-grandfather of Emily Hubbard Roosevelt, was one of twenty-seven proprietors of Greenwich, Connecticut. Miss Roosevelt's grand-father, George McKay Hubbard, together with several brothers, owned the Hubbard Farm in Stamford, which is still known as Hubbard's Hill (W. Broad St.), Hubbard Avenue, Hubbard Heights, etc. St. George and Rachelle Avenues were named for her grand-father, George and Rachel Hubbard.
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