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


LOS ANGELES, Friday—On Wednesday evening we had a very interesting opportunity. Dr. Harry Friedgood invited my daughter, my grandson, Miss Thompson and myself to a seminar which is being held once a month among certain members of the medical faculty at the university of Southern California. When I was shown the question to be discussed it filled me with apprehension. It read: "How can the administration of a modern democracy, such as the United States, avoid developing methods of social, economic and political control which are in themselves quasi totalitarian?"

When presented to Dr. Robert Oppenheimer he remarked that briefly put it would be: "How are we to preserve our freedom?"

It seemed slightly presumptuous of me to start the ball rolling by expressing any ideas before so many specialists in human behavior who sat around the table. Having started the discussion, however, we proceeded to have the opportunity to hear all of them bring out certain points of view. I think I was most amused by the gentleman who said that what I had said sounded like the soliloquy of a person just before he had made up his mind to go to a psychiatrist!

I don't suppose I should mention the fact that there is such a thing in Los Angeles as fog. But it was so thick Wednesday night that we drove around in circles before we could find my son's house. And when I returned after my visit I found my hosts somewhat worried as to whether the fog would keep me out all night!

Yesterday, however, dawned a beautiful, sunny day, and Mrs. Clarence Dykstra came for us to go out to the University of California where I spoke at 11 o'clock to the students. Those who could tear themselves away from examinations that were going on and find a place to sit in the auditorium or the Chemistry Building where they could listen but not see the speaker were on hand.

The subject that Dr. Dykstra asked me to take was: "What do we want for the future?" I could not help wondering whether the wants of an old lady of 65 would find any answering chord in the breasts of the undergraduates.

The a capella choir sang two numbers, one of them a setting to music of my husband's words: "There is nothing to fear but fear itself," which was very stirringly given.

Dr. and Mrs. Dykstra invited some of the young people, heads of various student organizations to lunch and that was a pleasant interlude in an otherwise busy day. It is a wonderful campus with a wonderful view in every direction and a great sense of activity pervades it because it is growing so fast.

A little after 2 o'clock I started with my son, James, and several heads of unions for a place known as the City of Hope, which is a tuberculosis sanitarium about an hour's drive from Los Angeles. It was started by some of the foreign labor people who put up a tent in the desert for a patient. It grew to a bungalow, and today it is a wonderful sanitarium with over 300 beds.

Some of the buildings were put up by labor unions. Others were erected by industrialists and charitable people. It is not a local sanitarium but is given support from all over the country and accepts patients from far and near. The only qualification for entry for a patient is that he cannot get into a city, county or state sanitarium and that he cannot afford to pay.

Research is done in this institution, which has the best of surgical equipment and the finest medical care. It certainly is a city of hope and deserves the support it gets from labor and other individuals and organizations throughout the country.

E. R.


Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

  • Los Angeles (Calif., United States) [ index ]

About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, January 21, 1950

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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Available under licence from the Estate of Anna Eleanor Roosevelt.

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MEP edition publlished on June 30, 2008.

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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.