If You Ask Me by Eleanor Roosevelt

If You Ask Me
by Eleanor Roosevelt

February 1957


You always criticize the Republicans for their connections with big business. I wonder where you think Adlai Stevenson, Averell Harriman, Herbert Lehman or your own husband's family got their money—heaven?

There is no criticism of a connection with big business. There is criticism of being too subservient to it. I don't think my husband's family ever had much connection with big business, and I would rather doubt how much Adlai Stevenson has. I am quite sure in any case that both my husband and Adlai Stevenson and Governor Harriman and Herbert Lehman would want the government to be stronger than big business—not big business to control the government, which is the point at issue. I suppose everything is granted us, even life itself, by heaven!


Did you ever have a weight problem with any of your children? If you did, would you tell me how you handled it?

My children were always likely to be underweight. When they were I handled it by trying to feed them as well as I possibly could. If they had been overweight, I would have seen to it that they went on a diet prescribed by a doctor. Naturally I would have had them examined by a doctor to find out if there was any medical reason for this condition.


Do you wear the same rings you wore when your husband was alive? Is there any way to indicate by rings that you are a widow?

Yes, I wear the same rings I wore when my husband was alive, except that I don't wear as many because arthritis has deformed some of my joints and I can't get some of the rings over these joints. There is no way that I know of to indicate widowhood by rings. There was a time when people wore mourning rings, but that is a custom of the past, I think.


I've heard Mrs. Eisenhower described as "the best-dressed woman in the White House." Do you agree with that description? I'd also like to know what you think her greatest assets are as First Lady.

I am sorry, but I don't think I know enough about Mrs. Eisenhower's clothes to be able to pass an opinion. I have not seen Mrs. Eisenhower since she went into the White House, except in photographs. I have no doubt that one of Mrs. Eisenhower's assets is her charm and friendly approach to people.


I'm having an argument with my children which you can settle (negatively, I hope!) by telling us whether you let your dog sit on the couch with you ordinarily or just when you're having your picture taken?

I'm afraid I let him do whatever he prefers to do, but ordinarily he prefers the floor. I have to coax him onto the couch for pictures.


Have you favored the union of Ireland, being such an advocate of freedom and national rights for every nation? If so, then what have you done to bolster this cause in behalf of the approximately twenty million Irish-Americans in Continental U.S.A.?

I can't possibly see what we as Americans have to do with the decision made in Ireland as to Irish union. They are the people who have to decide and they are free to do so. Therefore I don't think there is any action whatsoever required of us.


To whom do you plan to leave your house and property?

Most of my property, including my house, is already in my husband's estate, and so I have practically no decisions to make except for the very small amount which I have earned and saved that remains for me to decide on for the future.


What was your husband's favorite car?

He loved the little Ford that he used to drive himself in Hyde Park and Warm Springs, Georgia. It was open and he managed it with special controls by hand and could drive it almost everywhere.


Do you think it is proper to have a formal wedding for a couple still in their teens?

If they can get married, it is certainly proper for them to have a formal wedding. I never saw much difference between a formal and an informal wedding. Once married you are married, and that is the important fact to be considered.


I read about your plea for desegregation in the big cities and would like to know have you ever lived in the same neighborhood or in the same block with Negroes in New York City?

I suppose you are referring to my plea for desegregation of housing in the big cities. I have lived in a neighborhood (I don't know whether it was in the same block) with Negroes and have never found it any different from any other neighborhood.

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About this document

If You Ask Me, February 1957

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

McCall's, volume 84, February 1957

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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