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

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NEW YORK, Wednesday—I came on from Washington yesterday afternoon and spent a quiet evening at the apartment, because today will be a busy day.

My most important engagement is to speak at the Federation of Jewish Women's Organizations, Inc., at the Hotel Astor. During the morning Mrs. Isaac Gilman, of the Red Cross home nursing section, will speak, and I hope she will be able to persuade many people to take the home nursing course—particularly, many young people.

When I was young I was fortunate enough to have a very wonderful nurse from St. Luke's Hospital, Miss Blanche Spring. She took me in hand when my first baby was born, and came back many times when we had serious illness in the family. Gradually she taught, me how to do most of the things that are necessary when you have a large family of children, who are apt to have most of the children's diseases and most of the accidents that fall to the lot of the active youngster. I learned what it is to be medically and surgically clean; how to make a bed and bathe a child in it; and to recognize certain symptoms and not to be frightened just because I didn't know what they meant.

At the present time, when hospitals are overcrowded and nurses are hard to get, this home nursing course gives us the answers to many problems, and makes it possible to do more for our own families than we might otherwise be able to do.

Miss Mildred McDonald, of the Children's Service Committee of Wisconsin, sent me a pamphlet written in 1900 by a pioneer in child welfare work. If you happen to feel weary, just read the following excerpt:

"The economy of time is a great study in this work. The district superintendent must be always saving time and money by making one journey accomplish several things. For instance: The writer this week, by previous arrangement, left home at 3:30 p.m. with a boy of two years. At a station 15 miles away, having 30 minutes to wait, visited and took papers of guardianship for a little girl of four years two blocks from the depot. At a station 40 miles away, during the wait for supper, visited a child previously placed in the family of the depot agent. At 60 miles, met a minister of the town at the station and fixed a date for the presentation of the Society's work in that town.

"At 85 miles, placed the two-year old boy in the arms of a foster mother, who had driven in from the country and was waiting to receive him. At 145 miles, reached the limit of the district and met a boy of eight, sent in on a midnight train; caught the return train at 1:00 a.m. and was home at 7:00 a.m. Meantime had written and mailed a letter to a family saying that the eight-year old boy would be sent them the next day, and prepared a page of notes for the Home Finder while on the train. Few people put more work, less sleep and greater variety of human talents into use in 17 hours of time. It requires careful study to do it."

E. R.


Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

  • Gilman, Blanche Pearl Goldfarb, 1886-1976 [ index ]
         American organizational leader
         [ Other source ]
  • McDonald, Mildred [ index ]
         American; member of the Children's Service Committee of Wisconsin
  • Spring, Blanche [ index ]
         American nurse
  • Children's Service Committee of Wisconsin [ index ]
  • Federation of Jewish Women's Organizations [ index ]
  • New York (N.Y., United States) [ index ]

About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, January 18, 1945

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.

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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.