My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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NEW YORK, Thursday—After lunch at Haverford College on Monday I went to see the school library in which there is a Quaker section. This room has a very full collection of books written by Quakers and about Quakers.

They showed me some of the William Penn pamphlets and certainly in those early days our forefathers spoke and wrote exactly what they thought in no uncertain terms. I am not quite sure that we could get away with some of the things they said about one another and about their neighbors. The Quakers were under attack in those days because they did not conform to some of the beliefs and customs of other religious groups.

There is one pamphlet that was written about the refusal of the Quakers to take certain oaths. You see, back in William Penn's day, to some people it was a matter of principle not to swear their allegiance in certain ways and about certain things. History seems to be repeating itself in our country today. We again have people going to jail because, on principle, they will not swear to certain things.

There is also a collection of signatures in the library covering all but one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. I was interested to have Gilbert F. White, president of the college, tell me that he had no disciplinary problems. The college is governed almost entirely by the student council and functions under the honor system.

Sometimes, Dr. White said, the council would report to him that a student had been suspended for a year. Such action apparently is the council's right, but there are certain things the council does not approve of, and in those cases they refuse to enforce those particular regulations. At such times disciplinary measures must be taken by the college.

As I said goodbye to my friends, Mr. and Mrs. Pickett, in these lovely, quiet surroundings, I could not help remembering that I had read the other day that Louis Budenz, the reformed ex-Communist, had recently named Mr. Pickett and Earl Harrison, among others, as Communists.

I have often felt in similar incidents where other persons were concerned that because I did not actually know them I could not say what I thought of such accusations. But in this case I have known Mr. Harrison for some time through his work and I have worked closely with Mr. Pickett for many years and have felt privileged to have had a little part during the depression years in the type of welfare work that his group, the American Friends Service Committee, accomplished so efficiently and so well.

Mr. Pickett not only is not a Communist, but he is one of the best and the finest type of citizens that any country could possibly have. If we are going to begin to smear the type of people we should look up to and be proud of, then I think the time has come for those of us who love our country to state what we know in the hope that there will be greater care exercised by those people who are prone to make such rash statements.



Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

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

About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, January 9, 1953

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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MEP edition publlished on 2008-06-30

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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.