Day 85: April 6
Artifact Highlight: Eleanor Roosevelt’s typewriter, circa 1904-1905. Mrs. Roosevelt used this L.C. Smith Super Speed typewriter when working on books, articles, and newspaper columns at her Val-Kill home.
Oh! Hi! Hey there! Come on in! You look pretty today. Are you hungry? I made a casserole. Sit on my couch! Let’s catch up! What’s new with you? … Oh. Wait. Did you come here for a reason that is NOT casserole related? Well now I just feel ridiculous! I made all this food and you guys are clearly only here to FIND OUT WHO WON THE ENTIRE OVAL HOTNESS 2013 CHAMPIONSHIP. Fiiiiiiine, I guess I can share this bit of news.
My dears, it’s been TWO MONTHS since we officially announced this year’s tournament. Since the announcement, we introduced you to all 50 First Ladies our great country has ever had with our Meet the Contenders series, we slashed 18 hopeful Flotii in the elimination round, and have been picking them off ever since. All in all, this year’s competition has been surprising (I mean, has anyone recovered yet from Rose Cleveland taking out Jackie Kennedy in the first round??), stressful, sometimes heartbreaking, and, hopefully most of all, uplifting as hell. Did you expect to have your heart won by Lou Hoover? Did you expect to maybe actually shed a tear or two about a certain Mrs. Roosevelt? It’s all come down to this, though. The TITLE. The CROWN. The honor of joining last year’s champ Teddy Roosevelt in the Official Oval Hotness Hall of Champions. Are you ready?? I don’t think you are. You should probably eat first. Have a few bites of casserole! No? FINE.
And now, without further ado (and attempts to feed you), I present the CHAMPION of Oval Hotness 2013…………………
She did it! SHE DID IT! Our darling Michelle, the lucky lady currently serving our country as First Lady, was chosen by YOU VOTERS as the FLOTUS with the MOST-US. After a hard, very close battle all week, Michelle came out victorious over Eleanor Roosevelt, winning 56% of your votes. Interestingly, our final match this year almost exactly mirrored LAST year’s finals (a Roosevelt versus an Obama) with the exact opposite results. Go on with your bad self, Michelle! You EARNED those technicolor shutter shades!
Now, this last paragraph is normally where I, your fearless narrator, would thank all of you profusely for participating in the tournament this year (seriously, thank you) and for being just as excited about learning about First Ladies as we are. And then I’d promise to see you next year for Oval Hotness 2014 (which duhhhhhhhh is obviously going to happen). BUT. BUT. BUT. We’re not done with you yet. We’ve got more exciting things in the works THIS CALENDAR YEAR. Maybe even THIS CALENDAR MONTH. So raise your glasses and give THREE CHEERS to Michelle for her well-deserved win and then COME BACK HERE. And finally eat your goddamn casserole. It’s getting cold!
IT’S THE FINAL COUNTDOWN.
Guys! You officially have less than 12 hours to cast your vote in the Oval Hotness 2013 CHAMPIONSHIP ROUND. Eleanor Roosevelt and Michelle Obama are fighting hard, and they need YOU to vote them into the winner’s circle.
Click the mesmerizing glittery graphic below (or here, in case you are anti-sparkle. But if you’re anti-sparkle WHAT ARE YOU DOING HERE?!) to cast your vote.
The First Lady of the United States, Michelle Obama, for Vogue US April 2013
Well HELLO, Michelle!
Today in History — Marian Anderson Concert at the Lincoln Memorial
On April 9,1939, 75,000 people attended Marian Anderson’s concert at the Lincoln Memorial. Hundreds of thousands more heard the concert over the radio.
The operatic first half of the program concluded with Ave Maria. After a short intermission, she then sang a selection of spirituals familiar to the African American members of her audience. And with tears in her eyes, Marian Anderson closed the concert with an encore, Nobody Knows the Trouble I’ve Seen.
The DAR’s refusal to grant Marian Anderson the use of Constitution Hall, Eleanor Roosevelt’s resignation from the DAR in protest, and the resulting concert at the Lincoln Memorial combined into a watershed moment in civil rights history, bringing national attention to the country’s color barrier as no other event had previously done.
Mrs. Roosevelt and Marian Anderson remained friends for the rest of Mrs. Roosevelt’s life. Marian Anderson continued to sing in venues around the world, including singing the National Anthem at President Kennedy’s inauguration in 1961. She died in 1993 at the age of 96.
Photo: 75,000 People Gather to Hear Singer Marian Anderson in Potomac Park, 4/9/39.
-from the FDR Library
Eleanor Roosevelt, ladies and gentlemen.
Man oh man, can you believe we’re already in the finals for Oval Hotness this year? It was only just over a month ago that we introduced you to all fifty women who had the honor to serve as First Lady in our Meet the Contenders posts (still a fun read — I encourage you to go back and read those if you haven’t gotten a chance). But then one mega elimination followed by four rounds of fierce bracket warfare leads us HERE. Only ONE of the ladies below will have the honor to walk away as the Oval Hotness 2013 CHAMPION. Only ONE FLOTUS will have her glittery, animated portrait join Teddy’s in the Oval Hotness winner’s circle. Are you ready to decide? Let’s go!
Oh, did you think choosing a winning FLOTUS in the previous rounds was hard? Guys we have two unbelievable powerhouses going HEAD TO HEAD here in the championship. In one corner, we have Eleanor Roosevelt, one of the most legendary women in modern history, not to mention one of the most well-known First Ladies ever. In the other corner we have Michelle Obama, our current reigning FLOTUS, an intelligent, bad ass, and hella stylish lady in her own right. To say both of these women are incredible is an understatement; frankly, it will be an honor to have either of these ladies as our champion.
Eleanor came from the top of the top, the swells of New York high society, from a well-known family name. Her uncle Theodore (you might recognize him — check one of the rotating banners at the top of the page) may or may not have been a president and a past OH champ. While she came from privilege and received a stellar education (finishing school outside London? A swanky New York debut? Yes ma’am!), Ellie’s early life was a struggle: she lost both parents and a sibling before she was 10, her handsome new husband’s mother was a controlling nightmare, and said husband also ended up to be screwing around on her. She stayed, she rose above, she pushed forward, and LOOK AT WHAT SHE ACCOMPLISHED. First FLOTUS to hold press conferences? Check! Made a salary that matched her husband’s his first year in office IN 1933? Check! Wrote a syndicated newspaper column? Check! Launched an experimental community in WV for the families of unemployed miners? Check! Became one of the first delegates to the United Nations AFTER her time in the White House? Check! She also wasn’t afraid to disagree publicly with her husband’s policies (*ahem* Japanese internment camps during World War II), and advocated for expanded roles for women in the workplace, civil rights, and the rights of war refugees. Eleanor, you are truly a treasure.
But Michelle! Our darling Michelle! On the flipside of Eleanor, Michelle grew up in an apartment in Chicago’s South Shore neighborhood. And holy hell, scrolling through Michelle’s academic achievements makes me feel like a stone-cold dumdum. I mean, she only attended Chicago’s first magnet school for high school (and was salutatorian, no big), attended Princeton for undergrad (graduating cum laude, no sweat), and then got her law degree from Harvard. After moving back to Chicago (and meeting some dude named Barack), Michelle also worked for former mayor Richard M. Daley and the University of Chicago Medical Center. And she sits on the board of directors for about nine zillion organizations currently. As a Senator’s wife and as First Lady, she helped campaign for Barack, spoke at both the 2008 and 2012 Democratic National Conventions, and is an advocate for, among another things, poverty awareness, nutrition, and healthy eating. And you know what else? She’s a bona fide FASHION ICON. What’s so captivating about Michelle (aside from, you know, everything), is that her legacy is STILL BEING WRITTEN. The Obamas are less than a year into their second term in the White House, and Michelle, like the bad ass former-Flotii before her, isn’t going to stop being the rock star she is once she doesn’t live at 1600 Penn anymore. Eleanor and Hillary both did bigger and better things AFTER being First Lady, so it’s going to be fun to see where Michelle goes next.
This is it, guys! This is THE BIG ONE. Which First Lady is our champion?
The poll for the championship round is open A WHOLE WEEK. You have until MIDNIGHT CST on April 15th to cast your vote in the Oval Hotness finals. So turn your taxes in, cast your vote, and pat yourself on the back.