Eleanor Roosevelt (ER) wrote 2336 letters to Lorena Hickok, the most famous woman journalist of her day. The romance between the patrician First Lady and the charming, hard-living butch reporter changed both their lives. Their friendship only ended with ER’s death, 30 years later.
When HICK: A Love Story opened in San Francisco in July 2014, few people had ever heard of Eleanor Roosevelt’s “First Friend,” as Lorena Hickok was labeled by the press. That changed in October with Ken Burns’ television documentary, “The Roosevelts.” Burns acknowledged their friendship but ignored the evidence in their letters of a lesbian relationship. Terry Baum says, “Why would Eleanor write ‘I ache to hold you close’ if they weren’t lovers? I love my women friends, but I’ve never ached to hold them close!” Baum, a pioneer lesbian playwright, has toured internationally as a solo performer. She read everything published by and about Hick, interviewed people who knew her, and pored over original documents in files at the FDR Library in Hyde Park, NY in order to reconstruct the truth of the relationship.
HICK: A Love Story