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

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NEW YORK, Sunday—There are one or two things about the days in Pittsburgh that I would like to add to my earlier account.

In the university, which is a beautiful, cathedral-like structure, there are rooms representing different nations. These have been furnished by committees composed of citizens from countries overseas. Raising the money was a difficult job, for many of them were immigrants newly arrived in this country. But their desire for a little bit of their homeland in the University of Pittsburgh would not rest. Little by little they raised the money and provided the furnishings that made these rooms representative of the countries from which they came. They were helped sometimes by groups in the old country; but most of the money came, I believe, from the efforts of people now living in the United States, many of them having become American citizens.

The Czechoslovak room has a particular poignancy. Everyone remembers the words of Jan Masaryk, son of Thomas G. Masaryk, when he spoke to the Chancellor of the University on the 89th anniversary of the birth of his father, who had been the President-liberator of Czechoslovakia. The words were almost prophetic when he said: "May I thank you that you have given this safe corner to the memory of the first President of Czechoslovakia, that the principles he lived for are safe in your gentle, firm hands."

Better than anyone else I have heard of, Mr. Masaryk expressed the feeling these nationality rooms must give all who visit them.

"How proud I was," said Mr. Masaryk, "to walk into this cathedral of learning where I have seen rooms belonging to many nations and where I saw proud American children of parentage of these countries imbibing the free, unbiased truth of learning. I am going to pray to God tonight that Europe someday will be like that—that we shall be men and women of this or that nationality, or parentage, or race, or creed, but working together for the common good of ourselves and those who come after us."

The list of countries that have rooms in the university includes Sweden, Germany, Scotland, Russia, China, Czechoslovakia, England, France, Romania, Hungary, Italy, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, Greece, Syria-Lebanon and Yugoslavia. Natives of all these countries live in this cosmopolitan city of Pittsburgh. As I talked of the U.N., people from all these lands listened and perhaps responded better because they did have this background of many nations with which to understand the value of an organization that is trying to bring understanding and cooperation between its member nations.

E. R.


Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

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

About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, October 12, 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 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.