My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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WASHINGTON, Wednesday—Yesterday I lunched with Representative Mary Norton in the Speaker's Dining Room in the House, to honor some of the Democratic women who have been appointed to key executive positions during the past few years. It was interesting to see how many there were, and what important places they fill, even though some of the most important women had to be away, doing their various jobs in other places. The Speaker gave a little speech which was very thought provoking, and we were all very much flattered that he took the trouble to come to see us.

I arrived a few minutes late at the Smithsonian Institution where at three o'clock Vice President Wallace was to present a portrait of George Washington Carver by Mrs. Betsy Graves Reyneau to the Smithsonian Institution. This portrait will be added to the national collection of fine arts and will permanently hang in the Smithsonian. But now it is part of a special exhibition of portraits of leading American Negro citizens painted by Laura Wheeler Waring of Philadelphia and Mrs. Reyneau of Washington, D. C.

Many of them are not only interesting portraits, but the achievements of the men themselves are interesting. Dr. Herbert Putnam, who is the Librarian Emeritus of the Library of Congress, sent me a sonnet which appeared in the New York Times, Sunday, February 13, 1944. It was written by Graziella Maggio, 16, of 1935 Andrews Avenue, the Bronx, who is a student of the Washington Irving High School. It won the first prize, a $100 war bond, in the essay contest sponsored by Grand Street Boys Association on the life of Dr. George Washington Carver. I think you will enjoy her sonnet.

For George Washington Carver "He took the warm, brown earth into his hand,
The warm, brown earth which matched his own dark skin.
He closed his fist and felt the heat expand,
The heat a southern sun had put therein.
He took the pure bright colors of the earth
And to the world he made a gift of them.
He took a plant man said had little worth
And found a use for fruit and leaves and stem. But though he did these things and many more,
He did not take the praise, instead disclosed
That it had been the hand of God that tore
The lock which keeps the book of knowledge closed.
Good fertile fields he made from useless sod—
This man with willing hands and faith in God."

From the Smithsonian I went to the exhibition and sale of children's painting at the Whyte Galleries. These were all done by children attending the Children's Art Center on K Street, where without expense, any child can attend classes in art.

E. R.


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About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, May 4, 1944

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
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MEP edition publlished on 2008-06-30

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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.