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Dinner With Eleanor

The saga of two strong women who built lives in America—culminating in a fateful dinner with Eleanor Roosevelt.

Dinner With Eleanor is the story of Helen Niemtzow Pratt. In the early part of the twentieth century, Helen’s grandmother, Hannah, is disgraced after a divorce. She leaves the comfort of her family in Russia to build a new life in Philadelphia. Two generations later, her granddaughter, Helen, is the first women in her architecture school class. Her beauty and intellect attract a scion from one of America’s prominent families. But, before they can wed, history’s most influential first lady must approve the union.

While the title refers to a pivotal moment in Helen’s young life, the book details how Helen came to have dinner with America’s beloved first lady, Eleanor Roosevelt.

Helen Niemtzow Pratt was born in Philadelphia in 1938, and raised in Freehold, NJ. Helen was celebrated in high school for having the highest math aptitude in Monmouth County. She attended Bryn Mawr College, where she received a BA in Archaeology. She was the first woman to graduate from University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Architecture in 1964, where she studied under Louis Kahn and Romaldo Giurgola. She married fellow architecture student, Roger Sherman Pratt, in 1962. They had two daughters, but the marriage ended in 1973. Helen raised her girls in Philadelphia, practiced architecture, and went on to write several other books, including Helen’s Odyssey and Aristotle and Alexander. She married Eli Pritzker in 1988, and they live in Philadelphia with their cat, Thomas.