If You Ask Me by Eleanor Roosevelt

If You Ask Me
by Eleanor Roosevelt

October 1954


Would you prefer to see Adlai Stevenson or Senator Symington as the Democratic nominee for President in 1956?

I have admiration and respect for both of these gentlemen, but I feel very strongly that Adlai Stevenson is the person I would like to see as our next Democratic President. He has a knowledge of the whole world, which was made even more personal by his recent trip. He also has an intellectual capacity and a sense of humor, without which no President can survive, and I believe his integrity and ability are such that he would surround himself with people of the same caliber.


Could you tell me where you purchased the beautiful blouse you were shown wearing in the June issue of McCall's? I wear size 38, and a long-sleeved blouse like that is very hard for me to find.

The blouse was bought at Arnold Constable in New York City, and I am sure if you ask for Miss Mahoney on the third floor she would help you to find one.


I am a principal of a small Southern high school. In theory I have always been opposed to segregation, but I wonder whether you realize, Mrs. Roosevelt, the terrible problems this antisegregation law confronts us with down here. It is all very well to pass the law, but who is going to help us make it work?

I think the Southerners themselves will gradually make the antisegregation law work, with the aid of their deep religious feeling as well as with their real understanding of how you may eventually achieve a good relationship on an equal basis between peoples of different races. Segregation in itself means discrimination, and therefore it must go, but I think the South can show us better than any other area of this country how good relationships can be achieved.


Have you ever had any close contact with Christian Science? I'd like to know what you think of it.

No, I have never had any contact with Christian Science. There are certain things about Christian Science teaching which I have always thought might be helpful, since there is undoubtedly a connection between one's mental and spiritual attitude and one's physical well-being. I have never, however, really studied Christian Science.


What do you feel you learned from the McCarthy-Army investigation that you didn't know before?

Very little, though there were some details of Senator McCarthy's evident belief that he is above all laws which I had not quite realized.


If the Catholic Church is really playing such a great part in the fight against Communism, why are the Communists so powerful in Catholic countries like France and Italy?

The Catholic Church is undoubtedly playing a great part in the fight against Communism. I sometimes wish they would be a little more suspicious of ex-Communists, but they have done much all over the world to prevent the spread of Communism.

Communism spreads usually not so much from the failure of religious influence but primarily because of bad economic conditions. That is the case for many of the people in both France and Italy, and that is why it seems to me that Communism has a greater advantage there than in the United States.


Would you mind telling me your age?

I will be seventy on October 11 this year.


At what age were your children first allowed to smoke or drink?

I don't think we set any special age. My husband tried to keep the children from smoking till after they were eighteen. I am not sure he didn't even offer a bribe now and then to lengthen the time. As far as drinking was concerned, they were allowed to taste wine when they were quite young, and most of them disliked it. We did not set any special time when they were allowed to begin to have a glass of wine. I don't suppose that the boys ever had liquor to drink till they went to college. Certainly Anna did not drink until long after she was eighteen or nineteen years old.

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About this document

If You Ask Me, October 1954

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

McCall's, volume 82, October 1954

Digital edition created by The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Project

Digital edition published 2014, 2016 by
The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Project
The George Washington University
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