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

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NEW YORK, Thursday—In my own little sitting room here the other night, I was given the privilege of hearing some really delightful songs. John Golden, the playwright and producer, won't like it but I am going to let you in on a secret. When he is with a few intimate friends and they bedevil him enough, as a very great favor he will occasionally play and sing one or two of his own compositions. They are songs of long ago but they are just as good as they ever were, and he won great applause when he consented to give a few numbers for our little company.

Then Todd Duncan, who has been on a tour of the country, sang some beautiful songs which he has been singing in many cities. The words by Joseph Auslander, the poet, and the music by Dr. Foch are very fine. They are serious songs, dealing with the things which we have been through in the last few years. Strains of horror and sadness come into them but, sung by Mr. Duncan, they are very beautiful.

* * *

The songs, however, which I think may have great significance for the future are some compositions by Irving Caesar which he sang for us. You may be familiar with his "Songs of Safety" for school children. These songs, which are easy for children to learn and sing, teach them the everyday precautions they must observe in a big city, where trucks and fire engines and crowded conditions cast many hazards around their lives.

Mr. Caesar's new songs, which really were given for the first time on this evening, might be called a "Series on Friendship." They explain why the nations of the world must be friends and they do it in terms that even a small child will understand. Above everything else, they are easy to sing, and we soon found ourselves joining in the choruses. I noticed that even Mr. Duncan was adding his voice to those of the untutored masses.

* * *

I was glad to find that those among us who had a special interest in the United Nations felt that these songs might possibly have a real meaning for future understanding. Mr. Caesar told us that they were already translated into a goodly number of languages, and if children all over the world start to sing the same songs, that will help our friendly relations.

I have always noticed that, at the Girl Scouts' international encampment, music seems to be the first medium through which the girls develop a bond of understanding. I have heard among them not only Spanish and Portuguese songs but many in other languages, and I have seen the costumes and the dances of many lands. I realized that here was growing an appreciation of the culture of many nations which would be valuable to every one of these girls as they grew up.

E. R.


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About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, April 19, 1946

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.