If You Ask Me by Eleanor Roosevelt

If You Ask Me
by Eleanor Roosevelt

October 1957


Did you vote for Al Smith when he ran for President?

I most certainly did! He stood for things which I believed in, and I was outraged at the campaign of religious bigotry waged against him.


I'm wondering whom of all the dear departed in your life you miss most, besides your wonderful husband, of course.

I think one constantly misses for different reasons people who pass out of one's life. I shall always miss Miss Thompson, who was my secretary for so many years and who lived with me the last years of her life, probably more than I shall miss anyone except my family and dearest friends. It is not necessary, however, for people to die to miss them deeply. I think one misses people from whom one is separated for long periods of time just as one misses people if they die.


Which American president did your husband have the highest regard for?

I would say that his three favorite presidents were Jefferson, Jackson and Lincoln. He had a very high regard for Woodrow Wilson, but I suppose you have to be further away from a president to evaluate him historically the way my husband did the first three.


Are you willing to admit that President Eisenhower has done a much better job in both foreign and domestic affairs than you Democrats predicted he would before the last election?

No, I'm afraid I am not willing to admit that; but then, I am really seriously troubled about both our foreign and domestic situation at the present time.


Are you in favor of socialized medicine?

I don't think I know exactly what socialized medicine is. I am, however, in favor of obtaining the best possible medical care for all the people of our country regardless of their economic condition. How this is to be achieved is something I think the doctors will have to work out, but I certainly think it should be done.


Would you say you get more friendly or more critical mail from strangers who write to you?

My secretaries and I agree that on the whole I get much more friendly mail than critical mail.


You say you believe more three-day weekends would contribute to the well-being of this country. Do you know that a hundred more people get killed over a three-day weekend than on a two-day weekend?

I don't know that these statistics need continue forever. I hope that we can educate people to a point where they will have some sense about the way they drive cars, realizing that the speed on holiday weekends should be slower than at other times. Three consecutive days give people a chance to relax and accomplish something, and I think the occasional three-day weekend is of value from a health point of view.


Have you ever been present in a social gathering where people talked against Jews or Negroes? If so, what did you do?

Yes, I have been present in social gatherings where this has happened, but very rarely because my own feelings are too well-known for people to do this sort of thing before me. When it has happened, what I did depended on the circumstances. If I was in a position where it was easier to leave than to argue, I left. If I had to say something, I said it as calmly and as reasonably as possible. One is always put to it to know what is a wise attitude under such circumstances and no one can be really comfortable.

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About this document

If You Ask Me, October 1957

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

McCall's, volume 85, October 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
Old Main Building, Suite 406
1951 F Street, NW
Washington, DC