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

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PARIS, Thursday —It was with great regret that I read of Mary Simkhovitch's death—and yet a life such as hers can only be considered a triumph.

She conquered so much in her world, meeting poverty and disease and crime, and making a record in her neighborhood of creating a better place in which to live. Through the young people who came to Greenwich House and who have gone on often to fill important places in the world, her influence has extended far and wide.

Because she felt that housing was the root of many social evils, she worked in her city and state and in the nation for improved housing. She always carried weight in any group with which she served because her sincerity and her enthusiasm left no question as to her honest convictions.

I feel it has been one of the privileges of my life to have watched her grow in influence, both through the success of her work and through the recognition of her ability and quality by men and women in high places. There will be many friends in her neighborhood and in faraway places who will grieve that they can no longer see her. However, they will know that she cannot die, for what she was will never be forgotten. And it is through such constant remembering that we can best show our devotion to her and her ideals.

To her family we extend our deepest sympathy. Still, there must be in their sorrow a great pride for a valiant soul has earned her rest.

There was a cartoon in the Paris Herald Tribune a few days ago which, when I first looked at it and read the big print over it, I thought was handing the Soviets some pretty good ammunition.

It showed a harbor with great activity and every kind of "know how" being exported to the nations of the world. The big print above it stated: "Let 'em eat know-how."

Finally, I came to read the little print, however, and I found the cartoon was really making fun of Senator Smith of New Jersey, who says, "we cannot afford endless 'handouts' to the world. I suggest we send an abundance of 'know how' instead."

It was a little unwise of Senator Smith not to speak more warily for, of course, "know how" can give no immediate help. In fact, it may well be necessary to furnish for a time three good meals a day, or a campaign against malaria before "know how" will be any good at all. But, in the end, "know how" is the only permanent answer.

There are not enough things in the world to meet all the peoples' needs and only by showing people how to meet their own needs and giving them the proper instruments for use in their localities can we hope to meet these needs and create an economy on a firm foundation.

Senator Smith is right; we not only cannot but we should not go on giving "hand-outs," but with "know how" must go such things as are necessary until the "know how" can do its work alone.

Some people have told me that in certain areas of the world it would be sufficient for people to know that what they produced would find a market and they would not need "know how" from us. That may be true, and wherever it is we should let them develop their "know how." But there are areas of the world where not only "know how" but the creation of conditions where "know how" can be used are essential.

E. R.


Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

  • Paris (France) [ index ]

About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, November 23, 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
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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.