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

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NEW YORK, Thursday—After watching the red fezzes and costumes of the Shriners now in convention here, I have come to the conclusion that somewhere in the male make-up there is a desire to make their costumes a little more interesting and to allow them to express themselves better through their clothes.

I never have understood why every member of the male sex had to dress in the same way. I always liked to look at pictures from the era when our gentlemen wore breeches of beautiful materials and colors, long silk stockings and beautiful shoes with a variety of buckles. Coats and waistcoats rivalled any lady's finery and, even if they so wished, men wore powdered wigs tied with gorgeous ribbons.

How they came to be so restrained later on I don't know, unless the difficulty of obtaining this finery in the early days of this country was too great. Perhaps the Quakers and some of the other religious sects had a quieting effect.

I'd like to see our gentlemen follow the rules of nature that govern our animal friends. Almost always the male animal is the showoff while the female remains demure and is less startlingly clad. Perhaps someday we will have the courage to strike a good medium and let the men have a little self-expression in their clothes.

I have just had a very tragic letter from a woman who has had an extremely sad experience. She seems to have misunderstood my column the other day on the subject of the displaced persons held at Ellis Island for such a long time because of suspected tuberculosis. I did not intend to convey that they should not be examined and released unconditionally.

What I meant to plead for was that these people, who had been through so much, should receive treatment here and be on parole until the final decision of whether they could be cured had been reached.

I understand now that that is what has been done and they are now free only for the purpose of getting treatment. They will be reexamined and, if necessary, sent back if they are not really well.

My correspondent had the sad experience of employing a young woman who had contracted the disease while waiting in a camp for a ship after her examinations abroad. When it was discovered that the young woman was ill, her employer had every kind of difficulty getting her into a hospital because she was not a citizen and under the laws of the state in which she lived she was not eligible for hospital care. The tragic part of the whole thing was that the only child in the home contracted tb and died. Of course, such tragedies must be prevented.

This one sad case, however, should not stop us from doing kind and just and proper things for the displaced people who come to our shores. If they are declared healthy they should be free to work in any proper occupation, and no one should be afraid after such an examination has been passed in this country.

We are gathering in Dutchess County a larger and larger family contingent and we are particularly happy this week because my daughter and her younger son have arrived from San Francisco. Now there will be five grandchildren on the place and soon there will be seven.

E. R.


Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

  • New York (N.Y., United States) [ index ]

About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, July 13, 1951

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.

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.