If You Ask Me by Eleanor Roosevelt

If You Ask Me
by Eleanor Roosevelt

November 1959


Why do political candidates announce in advance that they are not seeking nomination, that they do not want to run, but that if "drafted," they will accede to the will of the people?

The moment a candidate announces his candidacy, he is under attack from the other side. If he does not announce too soon, he can develop a following or express his views without having them under the same kind of attack as they would be if he were an avowed candidate. Anyone can say that, if unanimously named or drafted, he will have to take the nomination; but it is only in the case of a very few people that this is really a possibility. At the present time, the only person in the Democratic Party who might be appealed to if there were a real stalemate is Mr. Stevenson. Since the Republican Party has only two likely candidates, it has little chance of such a stalemate.


When you learn someone hates you, how does it affect you?

If it is someone I do not know, it has no effect on me. If it is someone I am fond of or respect, I am deeply sad.


Do you believe that exhibitions like the one the United States staged in Moscow and the one the Russians sent to New York last summer make any real contribution to our hopes of peace? Specifically, what do you think they accomplish?

Yes, I think exhibitions such as these two probably make a real contribution and increase the understanding of people about conditions of life and the hopes and aspirations in both countries. They will not give us peace, but perhaps they will give us some of the knowledge we need to help us in working for peace.


Today it is popular to blame all the problems and misbehavior of young people on broken homes. Do you believe divorce is solely or largely responsible for juvenile delinquency?

Divorce certainly is not solely responsible for juvenile delinquency. There are many other considerations. A happy, united home is obviously the best place for a child to grow up; but often, even in happy homes, there have been failures in the upbringing of children—sometimes because of lack of discipline or lack of understanding of a particular child's needs. I think if a father and mother can stay together happily, even though they may have to make certain compromises, it is better for the child. But a child is not better off if the home is going to be an unhappy one.


What, in the eyes of the world, do you think is our most serious national fault?

Complacency and a lack of recognition of the contributions made by other nations in the areas in which they have something to offer.


A good deal of doubt seems to exist today about the community-fund idea as opposed to the collection efforts of individual charities. What is your opinion? And don't you ever get tired of being approached for contributions?

I did not know anyone doubted the wisdom of the community-fund idea. I think it has great merit; but when certain organizations cannot get sufficient allocations through a community fund, they are forced to try to get more money on their own, and I think this should not be forbidden them. No, I never get tired of being approached for contributions. I am just sorry I never have quite enough money to make all the contributions I would like to make.


How large is your wardrobe? Do you ever find that you have nothing appropriate to wear for a particular occasion?

My wardrobe is, I suppose, what most older women have in the way of clothes. We usually have fewer kinds than a younger woman, because it does not matter much what one wears so long as one looks neat and tidy. I have frequently been in the position of not having what might be considered proper for a special occasion, but I usually find that if I wear something very simple and inconspicuous, I can get by.


Do you ever travel abroad without a secretary?

Yes, but I have rarely traveled all by myself. I think a trip is far pleasanter with a companion or companions I enjoy being with.

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About this document

If You Ask Me, November 1959

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

McCall's, volume 87, November 1959

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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Washington, DC