If You Ask Me by Eleanor Roosevelt

If You Ask Me
by Eleanor Roosevelt

May 1958


Do you agree with Ralph Bellamy, who acts the part of your husband in Sunrise at Campobello, that Mr. Roosevelt had a Harvard-Groton accent rather than a New York accent? What sort of accent would you say you have?

I really don't know what a Harvard-Groton accent is, nor a New York accent. I would say that my husband spoke like an educated man. As for myself, I think I might have acquired a little English accent because as a young girl I went to school for three years in England, but that may easily have worn off and I don't think that I speak with any very distinctive accent.


Would you please try to name me a newspaper that isn't slanted politically? If you don't know one that is completely unslanted, perhaps you would tell me which you consider the least slanted. I am nineteen and will vote in the next election.

I would say that for objectivity the best newspaper is The Christian Science Monitor. Nearly all good metropolitan newspapers, such as The New York Times and the New York Herald Tribune, are unslanted in their news coverage. When you read editorial pages or columns, you are getting the opinions of certain individuals; and therefore you have to judge for yourself whether you agree with them or not.


President Eisenhower seems to feel that leaders in other countries respect and admire Secretary of State Dulles. What is your impression?

No foreign leader would express himself to me about the Secretary of State of my country in any but respectful terms, so one must judge by what is not said. My impression is that perhaps Secretary Dulles does not inspire much feeling of warmth or understanding in the people with whom he has had contact.


Shouldn't the March of Dimes be turned to some other purpose now that the Salk vaccine has about licked the polio problem?

Certainly not. There are large numbers of people already crippled by polio who will have to depend on the March of Dimes for years to come. Also, three shots of Salk vaccine are necessary for it to be 99 per cent effective, and we do not yet know how long the effectiveness will last. More research should go on and a campaign must be financed to get people to take all their shots.


If it became possible to travel to another planet in your lifetime, would you go?

Of course, if there was anything really to be gained by doing so.


Your newspaper and magazine columns sometimes seem a bit trivial and personal for one of your distinction. Why don't you become an all-out serious political columnist?

I do not consider that, living in New York, I have an opportunity to gather the material which is necessary if you are going to devote yourself only to political comment. Besides, I have a great many interests which I like to write about, and I find that people are interested in personal things every now and then. In writing about these subjects I am frequently answering inquiries which have come to me in letters and which I do not have the time to answer personally.


Do you think there is much to be gained from giving children a shorter summer vacation and longer school year as some educators are now suggesting?

Yes. Our present summer vacations are so very long that most children lose a good many of their school habits. If we do this, however, it might be advisable to lengthen the Easter or the Christmas holidays and in these periods to give young people some assignment, such as outside reading, which is difficult to do when schoolwork has to be done as well.

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About this document

If You Ask Me, May 1958

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

McCall's, volume 85, May 1958

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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