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

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NEW YORK, Wednesday—I have a most delightful letter from Jan Struther, in which she encloses a copy of the inscription which is on the statue of the Pioneer Woman, which stands on the campus of the Texas State College for Women, at Denton, Texas. It reads:

"Marking a trail in the pathless wilderness, pressing forward with unswerving courage, she met each untried situation with a resourcefulness equal to the needs: with a glad heart she brought to her frontier family her homeland's cultural heritage: with delicate spiritual sensitiveness she illumined the dullness of routine and the loneliness of isolation with beauty and with life abundant: and with all she lived with a casual unawareness of her value to civilization. Such was the pioneer woman, the unsung saint of the nation's immortals."

Now I want to quote you a comment from Jan Struther's letter on this inscription. She says:

"What I like particularly is 'with a glad heart she brought to her frontier family her homeland's cultural heritage.' It always seems to me that what the frontier woman had to do in space, the present day woman has got to do in time: that is, she has to preserve everything that was good and worthy of preserving in the prewar world, and manage to weave it into the texture of the simpler and more spartan world she and her children will have to build up in the future."

That seems to me an idea quite fascinating to think about. I want to add to it the line in the inscription which I like best: "And with all she lived with casual unawareness of her value to civilization."

There we have the secret which should be driven home to every woman. In countless homes in this country today, there are women who are "casually unaware" of the great accomplishments which are theirs. They will be recognized by history, but today we forget them because they do their daily tasks so casually that their heroism and the vital place which they fill in our world passes almost unnoticed, and certainly unsung in the present.

Miss Thompson and I left Hyde Park this morning early, since I am spending the day in New York City attending a summer session forum at Hunter College at 12:30.



Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

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

About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, August 13, 1942

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