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


HYDE PARK, Friday—I left Hyde Park early Wednesday morning for Cornell University. In Syracuse I was met by some of the staff of the World Youth Assembly and after a pleasant drive through the beautiful Finger Lake countryside, we arrived at the Inn at Cornell, which is run as part of the hotel management course.

The World Youth Assembly is an interesting group of young people who came together some years ago in opposition to an international youth movement that seemed at that time completely controlled by the Communist group.

These young people all get on extremely well and are doing a good job in trying to understand one another. For that reason, however, there seems to be less real outspoken divergence on any subject. You feel perhaps it would be well for these youngsters to forget that they might hurt one another's feelings and to speak more frankly and openly on a number of things.

Some very plain questions were asked after my talk but each delegate who asked a controversial question said he hoped his colleagues from this country or that would not be offended. As a matter of fact, no one should be offended by honest questions or honest differences of opinion. I think the question period and the chance to talk with a few of the young people afterwards was the most interesting part of the time I spent with the World Youth Assembly.

I was up early Thursday morning in order not to keep the officers from the Sampson Air Force Base waiting, but they were ahead of me at the desk when I went down at 10 minutes before nine, and we left at once for the air base.

I was very much interested in talking with one of the trainees who came over in the car with one of the officers to get me. This young man came from Westfield, N.J., and had been attending Lehigh University. One summer he bicycled in Europe with a group of students and I was impressed by how much he had learned during that trip. If all of us learned as much and observed as much, the various exchanges of students and various groups now going on would show even more tangible results than they do.

I spent an hour at Sampson and then went to visit the George Junior Republic. Here I lunched with Mr. Urquhart and some of the students, after which the students took me around and showed me how the Republic is run.

A third of the students are sent by juvenile courts, one-third are referred by various welfare organizations, and the remainder are attracted to the Junior Republic by the type of education they can receive there.

It is certainly good training for future citizenship. They hold town meetings once a month, and all the citizens attend. They elect their officers and these, in turn, appoint minor officials. They do a tremendous amount of work around the place, have their own currency and manage their own money. Having passed the laws, they enforce them and have their own court where they mete out punishment to offenders.

They told me quite frankly that they have made mistakes but that they have learned through their mistakes.

They have built their own swimming pool, they are reshingling their chapel, they keep the grounds in order. In fact, there is no job that they cannot tackle. I was much impressed by the girls and the boys who took me around and their great interest in the institution.

E. R.


Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

  • Hyde Park (Dutchess County, N.Y., United States) [ index ]

About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, August 11, 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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Transcription created from a photocopy of a UFS wire copy of a My Day column instance archived at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library.