If You Ask Me by Eleanor Roosevelt

If You Ask Me
by Eleanor Roosevelt

August 1958


Just what do you think any president could have done (outside of plunging us into war) that would have kept this country from having a recession?

Any president might, several years ago, have asked the economic leaders of our country—in cooperation with the UN—to plan for the development of markets in other areas of the world and to make a survey of things which could be produced for these markets. The fact that we were helping develop these countries and could buy from their natural resources (as could other developed nations) would mean that they in turn could buy from us. This would have brought the United States increased trade as well as good will.

Also I think we could have had a much more imaginative agricultural policy. Instead of keeping land out of production, we could, by cooperating with the UN specialized agency of food and agriculture have found ways of developing our resources and using the surpluses for the good of mankind.


Do you like the looks of these new sack dresses?

No, I don't like the looks of these dresses at all!


Is it true that your branch and your husband's branch of the family pronounce the name Roosevelt differently? Do you prefer Rose-velt or Roose-velt?

I have never heard it pronounced in either my husband's family or in my family in any way but "Rose-velt."


Do you regard Sir Winston Churchill's paintings as art?

I am not an art critic. I like some of Sir Winston's paintings very much, but I doubt that he is really a professional artist. Amateurs can be good too and contribute to the appreciation of art.


How do you explain the fact that you've grown much better-looking as you've grown older?

I thank you for the compliment. It simply means that as you grow older, people don't expect you to be as good-looking as they expect a young person to be, so they are kinder in their judgments.


I am a member of the D.A.R., but I am shocked and outraged at their recent stand against the United Nations. If you were in my place, Mrs. Roosevelt, would you resign or would you stay in the organization and try to fight for what you believe?

I would stay in and fight for what I believe. Eventually I think you will win out. There were at least seventy-five people who objected to the stand taken by the D.A.R. and if all of you stay in and add to your numbers, you ultimately will win out.

I think the D.A.R. stand showed clearly how unaware it is of the world as it exists today; and I hope you will be successful in keeping up the courage of those members who are fighting for a saner attitude on the part of such a very important organization.


In a recent McCall's you said: "I do not happen to have come in contact with the ‘religious bigotry' of the Catholic Church." Wouldn't you call Cardinal Spellman's attack on you some years back a good example of just such bigotry?

That is past history. The Cardinal changed his mind, and I don't think we should bring the matter up again. There may well be bigotry in all of our churches, but I don't happen to have come in contact with it.


I wonder if you deplore as much as I do the tendency of most magazines today to publish so much material about sex?

I really haven't noticed that this is done. I am afraid I read only such things in magazines as I feel compelled to read because of the author or of a particular point of view that I want to understand. This does not happen to be a subject which has drawn my attention often.


Would you tell me which one of your sons reminds you most of his father? In what way?

All my sons have something that reminds me of their father, but I don't think any one more than the others. Their voices, all of them, when they speak on radio or TV or over the telephone, are often strikingly like their father's; but none of them looks exactly like him.

< Previous Column 1958 Next Column >

About this document

If You Ask Me, August 1958

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

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