My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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PHOENIX, Thursday—There is one institution in Phoenix that I have heard about for many, many years—St. Luke's Sanitarium. All over this country and even in Europe, there are people who will remember the man who founded it—the late Bishop Julius W. Atwood. He had friends of every age and in every station of society. He was equally at home in an old castle in Great Britain or in a ranch house out in the desert of Arizona, where perhaps the mother of the family not only cared for her own children, but for all "the boys" on the ranch as well.

When he retired as Bishop of Arizona, I think his greatest interest in life was gone. But today St. Luke's Sanitarium, which his efforts built, stands as a monument to him. He used to tell me stories of people with tuberculosis arriving in this health-giving climate who had no place to live and no place to receive proper medical care. That was the problem of hundreds of people and it became his greatest preoccupation.

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St. Luke's is a private institution, but it is under the special supervision of the Episcopal Church. There is another hospital here under the supervision of the Catholic Church. Yesterday my daughter, Miss Thompson and I visited St. Luke's. As I went through the main building and saw the cheerful rooms, I could not help feeling what a blessing it was for the patients to have such bright surroundings, since tuberculosis is a disease in which a cheerful spirit helps recovery.

I stopped to speak to an Army nurse back from overseas and many other patients, but my main objective was to see the son of an old friend. He did not, however, look much like a patient, having gained 10 pounds. He will be allowed to leave the hospital next week, though he must still spend some time in recuperation.

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They told me that his bed will be the first vacancy they have had in weeks and that they have a long waiting list. The same is true of the state hospital and of the veterans' hospital, which have every bed filled. This means that the conditions which used to exist, where tubercular patients were obliged to stay at home, thereby running the risk of spreading the disease, now exist again. This state's climate holds out to so many people the hope for a complete cure and to others the chance to live and to work for many years. But facilities for their care must be increased.

It strikes me there is a need here for the development of small industries—industries in which people do not have to work under pressure and in which individual consideration can be given to the workers. In this age when the tendency in most places is to bigger and bigger units of production, I feel that we lost sight of small industries which may not bring in high returns on the capital invested, but which can give the workers a decent living and more satisfaction, because they can often see an operation through from beginning to end. In a state where so many people come in search of health, this seems especially important.

E. R.


Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

  • Phoenix (Ariz., United States) [ index ]
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About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, March 21, 1947

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.