The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers, Digital Edition > My Day
My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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NEW YORK, Monday—This morning I was presented with my piece of blue material from England. My chief interest was to make sure that it was very thin, for one can never tell what the weather may be like on the 8th of June in Washington, D. C.!

I meant to tell you the other day that I had a talk with Miss Antonia Brico, the one woman orchestra leader I know. She came to tell me of a curious situation. Our music schools take in women and train them until they are as good artists as men in the same field, but those who plan the personnel of orchestras tell her that the public has an aversion to women conductors and women members of symphony orchestras, and it is almost impossible for a young woman to be chosen on merit.

This seems to be a particular occupation in which sex counts primarily. I was rather interested, for I had always thought that where the arts were concerned, there was less of this particular kind of prejudice to overcome. I wonder if Dr. Gallup could help these young artists by taking a poll as to whether the public has a desire to choose its musicians according to their ability or according to their sex. We decide so many things today on polls, this might really be a rather useful bit of information.

I have been reading quite a little the last few days about the machinery through which we deal with our foreign relations. One gentleman, who is very well informed, feels there is a serious lack in this machinery because, in theory, our government in both the legilative and executive branch must work closely together on these questions. Some things are by law the duty of Congress. These things, of course, were arranged as checks on the executive power.

This gentleman feels that all the members of Congress should have access to all the information which is in the hands of officials in the executive branch who deal with foreign affairs. He states that this is so in England and France. I think the gentleman must be mistaken, for it would be "agin" human nature for so many people to know a secret and keep it!

There was an eminent diplomat who once remarked that if you had to ask anyone not to repeat a thing, you had better not tell it. Certainly there is nothing in our recent experience in this country to make us believe that this eminent gentleman was wrong, though he lived a number of years ago. Much of the information which comes to officials dealing with foreign affairs is uncorroborated, but valuable as background material. The sources of this information would soon dry up if it became the property of too many people. It seems to me that in foreign affairs, as in all matters of government, one must deal with reality, recognize human nature as it is and set up machinery to deal with real situations, not those which we wish existed.


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Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

  • New York (N.Y., United States) [ index ]

About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, May 9, 1939

Roosevelt, Eleanor, 1884-1962
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Digital edition created by The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Project The George Washington University 312 Academic Building 2100 Foxhall Road, NW Washington, DC 20007

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Digital edition published 2008, 2017 by
The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Project

Available under licence from the Estate of Anna Eleanor Roosevelt.

Published with permission from the Estate of Anna Eleanor Roosevelt.

MEP edition publlished on June 30, 2008.

TEI-P5 edition published on April 28, 2017.

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Transcription created from a photocopy of a UFS wire copy of a My Day column instance archived at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library.