My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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NEW YORK CITY, Monday—For many years one of the things I look forward to before Christmas is the portfolio of Christmas cards sent me by the American Artists group. Nineteen years ago this group was founded and in the course of these years at Christmastime 5,834 different works by over 500 leading, living American artists have travelled, via the Christmas cards they get out each year, from the sacred precincts of the galleries and museums where the paintings are housed into millions of American homes.

With my collection of this year's Christmas cards they sent me a letter and I was so interested that I want to pass along certain paragraphs to you. It reads as follows:

"Of late, we often hear expressions of concern for the safety of American individualism in an age of impersonal industrial design and mass-production of many things once handicrafted and made to order. We understand this concern but do not fully share it. Our own Christmas cards are NOT mass-produced by the millions but published in small editions like fine books. No artist is ever called upon to alter coloring or detail to reduce printing or engraving costs, or to try to please 'everybody.'

"We believe that a basic American freedom is the freedom to exercise individuality of choice. That the people who buy artistic Christmas cards are still exercising this choice in the year 1953, is, we think, already evident. In a vote taken among the salespeople in the better stores throughout the nation to predict which of our hundreds of new Christmas cards their customers would like best, not a single answer received so far comes close to being right, according to our records of sales to date.

"When even the sales person who should know their tastes best cannot do the American peoples' choosing for them, that is a good sign! We plan to continue for another 19 years (and more) to encourage individualism in at least one field of popular aesthetic expression."

I hope that all those who get these cards will enjoy them as much as I have over the past years.