If You Ask Me by Eleanor Roosevelt

If You Ask Me
by Eleanor Roosevelt

June 1953


My future father-in-law has given my bride-to-be and myself the choice of a big wedding or a cash payment of $2,000, which he says is about what the wedding would cost. We badly need cash

My dear young man, you and your bride-to-be must discuss this question together. No outsider should interfere in anything so personal. If you need the $2,000 for a down payment on a house, you and she should talk it over. It may be that she wants this day to remain with her as a wonderful day and hasn't given much thought to the future and the need to own a home.


An editorial in the Tulsa Tribune says that your husband "declared frankly" when he took us into the United Nations "that he didn't see how it would work." Is there any truth in this?

I cannot imagine that my husband ever said anything of the kind. He had a great belief that the United Nations could work. I would like to point out to you that my husband did not take the United States into the U.N. He appointed representatives to go to San Francisco, but he was dead before the meeting was held. They drew up a charter, and our Senate ratified it, so you can hardly say that my husband took us into the U.N.


Is it true that you are the only President's widow who has not been voted a pension by Congress? If so will you please tell me why this is the case?

I haven't the remotest idea whether all Presidents' widows have been voted a pension. I haven't been voted one, and I do not know why that is the case; but perhaps one is expected to ask, and I have never asked. Also I have worked for the government on the United Nations, and I believe it is impossible to receive a pension when the government employs you.


You said recently in McCall's that nothing had ever happened to you which made you believe in miracles. I would like to know, regardless of personal miracles, do you or do you not believe in the great miracles reported in religious history?

Yes, I believe in the miracles reported in religious history, but I think some of them are to be interpreted more as parables than in exactly the way they are written.


Can you give me advice about getting a specially built auto for my husband, who has lost the use of his legs?

Any good manufacturer of cars will so arrange a car that your husband will be able to drive.


Has President Eisenhower offered you any job or suggested any work you might do for the new administration here or abroad?

No, and there is absolutely no reason why he should. I am a Democrat.


If you were going to be a U.S. ambassador, is there any particular country you'd prefer?

I cannot imagine being an ambassador, so I have never given any thought to liking one country better than another. Actually, I would be a poor ambassador because after having been away from home for a short time I cannot wait to get back.


I have just read F.D.R.: His Personal Letters. In one or two letters he refers to his engagement to you but says nothing about how or when you became engaged. If this isn't too intimate a subject, I'd like to know a little more about how and where this happened.

I became engaged to my husband on a weekend which we spent at Groton School, where we were visiting my young brother. I imagine, since my husband was writing personal numbers, he thought that anyone concerned would probably know when we became engaged.

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About this document

If You Ask Me, June 1953

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

McCall's, volume 80, June 1953

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
1951 F Street, NW
Washington, DC