The young Batley man who married niece of American President Roosevelt

Batley made international headlines when a young man from the town married the niece of the American President.

By Staff Reporter
Tuesday, 18th January 2022, 4:30 pm
Eleanor Roosevelt and Batley’s Edward Procter Elliott
Eleanor Roosevelt and Batley’s Edward Procter Elliott

Edward Procter Elliott was a former pupil of Batley Grammar School who frequently stayed at the White House, and the Batley News was proud to report this fascinating news to its readers.

Indeed, it was the first newspaper in Europe to announce his marriage to Miss Eleanor Roosevelt, niece of President Franklin Roosevelt, and later they gave the full story of their marriage, which took place in 1939.

It was war-time and the wedding took place in the bride’s hometown in Massachusetts, but sadly because of the war, the family were unable to cross the Atlantic to attend the wedding.

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Newspaper coverage of the wedding

The following is the romantic story of the young couple as it appeared in the Batley News following their wedding in America.

We have much pleasure in presenting our readers with this delightful photograph of Mr Edward Procter Elliott, the young Batley architect, who was married to Miss Eleanor Roosevelt, niece of President Roosevelt.

When their romantic engagement was announced last Christmas, the “News” was the first newspaper in Europe to give their portraits and this is the first picture of Mr and Mrs Proctor Elliott taken since their wedding day.

It is a happy snapshot made by a friend and sent to Mr Elliott’s mother, who is now residing at Brierley, near Barnsley.

We are now in a position to state that when the young couple left Dedham, Massachusetts, USA, for a honeymoon in Mexico, they made a call at Washington, and, at Mr Roosevelt’s invitation, dined with him at the White House.

It was a very intimate little dinner party – just the President and his two young guests.

Twice before their engagement, the Chief Citizen of the United States had entertained them at his home and when the wedding day was fixed, Mr Roosevelt took steps to assure Edward’s mother that if she and her daughter accepted the invitation to the ceremony, no war-time restrictions would be allowed to bar the way.

But even the President could not ensure them a safe Atlantic passage and very reluctantly they decided to defer the trip until the war is over.

Their thanks to Mr Roosevelt for his kindly thought and good offices were transmitted to the White House by the American Ambassador in London.

The Reverend Huntington Chappell, Rector of St Paul’s Church Dedham, Mass., has sent to Mrs Elliott a photograph of the interior of his church, showing the altar at which her son and his bride were married, and the picture is accompanied by the following gracious note.

“It was delightful to meet Edward and I know that he and Eleanor will be very happy together. I wish they were to stay here in Dedham.

“There were hundreds of friends of Eleanor’s at the Church and I know that they took Edward into their hearts and tried to represent to him all his friends in England who could not be here.

“This was the generous spirit in which Mr Procter Elliott has been received by his wife’s people and their large circle of influential friends.”

It will be remembered that after the death of his father, who had been Director of Education for Batley, Edward won scholarships at Batley Grammar School which enabled him to go to Liverpool University.

After a brilliant career there he was awarded a Travelling Exhibition tenable in the United States.

It was there where he met Miss Roosevelt, who was taking a course in art and sculpture.

On completing his studies, Mr Procter Elliott, accepted a post as architect with a large firm of Government contractors in Virginia, and his friends will be delighted to learn that he has already been offered a much more responsible engagement in Philadelphia.

This he has accepted and he is busy now on important war-time schemes.

This week he will have received the gratifying news that his sister, Miss Rosalind Elliott, has received the Diploma of Art awarded by King’s College School of Art at Newcastle-on-Tyne, which is affiliated with Durham University.

Her success will give infinite pleasure at Batley Girls’ Grammar School, where she was a pupil before going on to Newcastle.