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

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GENEVA, Thursday—On Tuesday the Human Rights Commission did not meet in general session, but eight countries, including the United States, started work at 9 a.m, to try to find an agreed text on implementation for the economic, social and cultural rights. I left them drafting for a short time in the morning and got into town about 12 o'clock, hoping to do a little shopping. I had forgotten that every store closes from 12 to 2, so instead I walked up into the old city and around the cathedral. Mr. and Mrs. Robert E. Read of the consulate came to lunch with me.

After lunch I went to see H. Wilsdorf, the celebrated watchmaker. Now in his 70th year, he is marking his 50th year in the watch business and the 25th anniversary of his self-winding watch.

Mr. Wilsdorf showed me his beautiful collection of watches and clocks and explained to me the enameling process that makes some of the old pieces so beautiful in color and which the modern workmen have never succeeded in reproducing. Today's craftsmen are constantly experimenting but have not yet found the old process.

He also showed me some very interesting letters. One was from former Prime Minister Churchill, one from General Montgomery, as well as several others, telling him how much they have appreciated the watches that he sent them.

During the war he provided the English, American and Canadian prisoners of war with watches and soon they began to write and ask him for other articles of merchandise and for food. They always promised to pay at a later date and he told me at least 85 percent of the boys have repaid him what they asked him to spend for them. He kept two secretaries busy all during the war filling these requests from the prisoner of war camps.

We did not close our Tuesday afternoon meeting until nearly 7 o'clock.

I stopped for a minute at the Israel consulate for the celebration of that nation's third anniversary, then I drove to the other side of the lake to a party given by Mr. and Mrs. Pinkney Tuck in their beautiful house.

If I hadn't been in such a hurry I would have loved to have more than a glimpse of the garden and the view. The last few days, however, have not been good days for admiring the view. Mt. Blanc has been constantly hidden. I am told that this bad weather is associated with the Saints of the Ice, who always bring three cold, wet days ending on May 15. After that date the Swiss plant their geraniums.

I was 20 minutes late for a dinner given for me in our hotel by the Cercle de la Presse et des Amities Etrangeres. As the name indicates, there were quite a few journalists present, and, as usual, the Swiss people were kindness itself. They forgave me for my tardiness, welcomed me warmly and were kind about my impromptu speech in French, which I felt was very halting in spots.

E. R.


Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

  • Churchill, Winston, Sir, 1874-1965 [ index ]
         British politician; UK Prime Minister, 1940-1945 and 1951-1955
         [ LC | ISNI | VIAF | Wikidata | SNAC | FAST | US Nat. Archives | NPG-UK ]
  • Read, Robert E. [ index ]
         US Foreign Service economic analyst
  • Tuck, Katherine Whitney Demme Douglas, 1897-1971 [ index ]
         American philanthropist; spouse of of Somerville Pinkney Tuck
         [ Other source ]
  • Tuck, S. Pinkney (Somerville Pinkney), 1891-1967 [ index ]
         Amerrican diplomat; Director of the Suez Canal Company
         [ LC | VIAF | Wikidata | SNAC | US Nat. Archives ]
  • Geneva (Switzerland) [ index ]

About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, May 18, 1951

Roosevelt, Eleanor, 1884-1962
[ ERPP bio | LC | VIAF | WorldCat | DPLA | Wikidata | SNAC ]

Digital edition created by The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Project The George Washington University 312 Academic Building 2100 Foxhall Road, NW Washington, DC 20007

  • Brick, Christopher (Editor)
    [ VIAF | ORCID ]
  • Regenhardt, Christy (Associate Editor)
    [ ISNI ]
  • Black, Allida M. (Editor)
    [ VIAF | ISNI ]
  • Binker, Mary Jo (Associate Editor)
    [ VIAF | ORCID ]
  • Alhambra, Christopher C. (Electronic Text Editor)
    [ VIAF | ORCID ]

Digital edition published 2008, 2017 by
The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Project

Available under licence from the Estate of Anna Eleanor Roosevelt.

Published with permission from the Estate of Anna Eleanor Roosevelt.

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.