If You Ask Me by Eleanor Roosevelt

If You Ask Me
by Eleanor Roosevelt

October 1956


I am curious to know when and why your son John became a Republican. What were the circumstances that made him change his mind?

I do not know that he was ever formally a Democrat, but I'm sure he would not have differed from his father during his father's lifetime. His wife was brought up a Republican, and after his father died it was natural, I think, that he should tend to accept Republican doctrines, since most of his friends were Republicans, being largely in big business. But I think his active participation for a candidate came about because of his enthusiasm for General Eisenhower as a Presidential candidate.


Have you or your family ever made any bets about the outcome of a Presidential election? If so, who won?

I don't know what members of the family may have done, so I cannot answer for them. As far as I am concerned, I have never made a bet on the elections. I am very unlucky in games of chance, and as far as I can remember have never won anything I did bet on. I tend in elections always to look on the gloomy side and to wait until I am quite sure that the people I am interested in are elected before I dare to say they even have a good chance!


When a new family moves into the White House, do they bring any household supplies of their own, like linen, or is it all provided for them?

Linen and silver are all in the White House; so is furniture, but a family moving in would naturally want to bring some of its own furniture to make the family rooms seem more familiar and homelike. We brought many pictures from my husband's collection and, of course, a considerable number of books. Mr. Hoover had, I am told, a very large library of his own during his years at the White House. We brought many small things simply to feel that the White House was our home and not a hotel.


What was Mr. Roosevelt planning to do after he left the Presidency? Did the idea of retirement frighten him?

I do not think retirement ever occurred to my husband. He simply thought of leaving the Presidency and going on with other activities. He had any number of plans. He loved the sea, and he wanted to get on a tramp merchantman and go around the world, stopping in at all kinds of stray ports. He wanted to write and already had agreed to do some regular editorials. He wanted desperately to help develop the productivity of places like the desert areas in the Near East and North Africa. Above all, I think, he wanted to work on his papers at the library in Hyde Park.


Do you agree with Adlai Stevenson that we should outlaw the testing of hydrogen bombs?

Yes. I think it would be a courageous thing to do. It would mean that we could make a constructive international gesture. If we knew that the Soviets were carrying on tests (which is not difficult to find out), we could always resume tests if we wished to. It seems to me it would be a good idea if we tried Mr. Stevenson's suggestion.


During your visits with the Dutch royal family, did you ever meet the faith healer Greet Hofmans? Did you hear if her faith healing really worked?

No, as far as I know I never met Miss Hofmans. She has evidently not been successful in curing the little Dutch princess of her blindness.


When you pray, do you ever ask for specific things for yourself or others?

Not that I can remember. One's prayers, I think, are usually for guidance and strength, both when one prays for oneself and those that one loves. It would seem incongruous to pray for some specific thing.

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About this document

If You Ask Me, October 1956

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

McCall's, volume 84, October 1956

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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