If You Ask Me by Eleanor Roosevelt

If You Ask Me
by Eleanor Roosevelt

December 1953


Recently you spent some time with Queen Elizabeth. Did you find her much changed since becoming Queen? Also would you mind telling me what you talked about?

I found the Queen more poised, more serious and more at home in talking about international questions than when I talked with her last. Then she was still a young girl, and now she is a woman in a high position with very heavy responsibilities. We talked about the Asian world, the differences in the conception and meaning of certain words in our world and in the Asian world, and many things she had been through since I met her last.


Do you think that a book like the Kinsey report should be available to everyone in this country?

Certainly. It should be available to the people who can understand it and use it properly. Others will probably not read it.


I would like to ask you on behalf of a group of Australian high-school students why the United States, which claims to believe in freedom of thought, outlawed Communism?

I don't think Communism has been outlawed throughout our country, as it is only states that can remove the Communist party as a legal party from the ballot. A number of the states, however, have removed it from the ballot on the ground that it is impossible to be a Communist and a loyal American citizen, since one of the basic principles of Communism is to spread their beliefs throughout the world, even using force where necessary. Since our laws do not permit advocating overthrow of the government by force, the states have considered that we cannot have a Communist party in this country.


I am twelve, and I live in the South, and this is my problem: My mother says I am too friendly with the colored girl who keeps my brothers and me. I think being nice toward her is the best way to return the helpful things she does for me and her niceness too. And how can I stop being friendly without maybe hurting her feelings? I hope my problem is not too disgusting and I have made myself clear.

My dear child, your mother is probably better able to tell you how to behave than I am. She certainly does not want you to hurt the feelings of anyone who is in her employ, but she may feel you are not quite wise in showing your desire to be helpful. Take your problem to your mother. She is far better able to help you than I am.


If the hemline goes back to the old short length, do you imagine you'll follow the fashion?

I think I will do what I have always done—wear the clothes I think look best on me.


Would you be willing to tell me how you handled jealousies among your children?

I can't remember that there were many jealousies. I can remember Anna as a very little girl pushing her brother over, which we thought showed she was jealous. But it did not last long, and she got over it without any effort on our part. As the children grew older I do not remember their showing any signs of jealousy of each other.


Who pays for the guard at your husband's grave?

All the property, my husband's house, his library and the grave belong to the U.S. Government. The National Park Service has charge of the house and grounds and the physical condition of the library. The National Archives and Records Service controls the library itself. Therefore, the park service pays for any guards that are on the place.


Did you pick out your husband's clothes or did he?

I never chose my husband's clothes. He much preferred to order his own, though he often asked my advice when he was ordering them.

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About this document

If You Ask Me, December 1953

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

McCall's, volume 81, December 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