If You Ask Me by Eleanor Roosevelt

If You Ask Me
by Eleanor Roosevelt

April 1950


1. Do you think your husband had any premonition that he might not live to complete his last term in the White House? If he did, can you explain why he did not select a man as his successor who had some background?

No, I do not think my husband had any premonition that he would not live to finish his term in the White House. Four years previously I think he had a feeling that any man well might not live through a third term. But, having lived through the third term, he believed, I think, that if it was right for him to run he would be able to win and he would live as long as he was needed to do his work.

As far as the choice of a successor goes, I think he felt he could not choose the Vice-President, that that should be left to his advisers in the Democratic party. President Truman has served with distinction in the Senate and certainly has a good American background.


2. What steps can individual parents take to raise teaching standards and modernize school curricula in their community?

Parents can work to have higher salaries paid to teachers so that teachers may be given better training and an opportunity to take advantage of continuing educational opportunities. It is essential that a teacher should have, during her holiday period, a certain amount of travel or further opportunity to study. Something should be done to make it possible for him or her not only to have a period of rest and leisure but to continue intellectual growth, since any teacher gives out so much that she must have a period in which she renews her strength and interests.

There will always be different opinions as to different methods of teaching, since new experiments must be tried out. If parents take real interest in finding out what is needed to give their children the maximum opportunities in different fields, however, they will be able to help obtain the kind of education that is needed in the modern world.


3. I live in a town where many of the old historic landmarks are being torn down to make way for commercial buildings. From your observation of Washington Square in New York City, what do you think a citizen can do to help preserve these old houses?

A group of interested people in New York City is now trying to obtain some re-zoning laws to help preserve some of the old houses, but when historic landmarks exist I think an effort should be made to obtain the interest of the historical association and architects of the area. This could be the first step in arousing interest in the community as a whole.


4. Do you think the late President Roosevelt intended the wartime luxury tax on purses, furs and cosmetics to continue after the end of the war?

I have no idea what my husband intended. Whatever was done was, of course, done for the purpose of winning the war. At the present time, I think, our tax structure should be examined from a different viewpoint—namely, how can we help new enterprises and keep maximum employment? Only the economists can decide what is the best way to obtain the needed revenue and still encourage new enterprise and greater employment.


5. Where do you plan to bury Fala when he dies?

I have not really thought about this. Fala is still alive, and I hope he will live for a number of years before this question has to be met. Ordinarily I would bury him at his master's feet, but that may not be possible, since my husband's grave is on government property. In that case I shall bury Fala near his present home, where some of the other members of his family will in time join him.


6. The other day my friend and I were having an argument. She insisted that it was impossible for a woman to become an agent of the FBI or any other federal law-enforcement agency. Is this true?

I do not know, and I have never asked the Department of Justice about this. I have always supposed that women could be useful for special work in this field—though I do not think there were any women, as far as I can remember, being trained by the FBI in their regular course when I last went through the school. You could find out by writing the Department of Justice, Washington, D.C.


7. If you had your choice, would you prefer being a hostess or a guest?

I am afraid I prefer being hostess. It is so much easier to have people visit you than to go to them. But that is selfish, I suppose—and it is also true that I have enjoyed being a guest a great many times.

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About this document

If You Ask Me, April 1950

Roosevelt, Eleanor, 1884-1962
[ ERPP bio | VIAF | WorldCat | DPLA | SNAC ]

McCall's, volume 77, April 1950

Digital edition created by The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Project

Digital edition published 2014, 2016 by
The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Project
The George Washington University
Old Main Building, Suite 406
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