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

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NEW YORK, Friday—On Wednesday morning I started bright and early by having a lady breakfast with me at 7:45 a.m. She is deeply troubled over the possibility of the effects of all experiments in the area of atomic development. I feel this must be one of the things taken up by the United Nations in their studies and there is very little which we as individuals can do about it, though I am conscious of the dangers of this whole situation.

I caught the 9 o'clock train to Philadelphia and participated in a luncheon session which had been planned and arranged by Mrs. Lewis Thompson. My own part was insignificant except as it served to introduce the people who could really talk with authority on how we should meet the growing problems in the field of delinquency.

We are building more and more institutions as our population grows—prisons, insane asylums, hospitals. Bricks and mortar increase but we do not put enough money into research and training of doctors, attendants and nurses. Our main objective should be to reduce our institutional population and that is why more and more money should go into research and training. The Menningers are doing a wonderful work in Kansas but it is not enough.

At the Philadelphia meeting, we were told by Dr. Ralph Brancale, a psychiatrist and superintendent of the New Jersey Diagnostic Center at Menlo Park, that if a child was not close to its mother and did not feel love in its home during the first five years of life, this might be the strongest factor in producing psychopathic personality. Dr. Miriam Van Waters, superintendent of the Reformatory for Women at Framingham, Mass., had real courage, I thought, for she stated, "I have come to one conclusion, the prison must go." The prison cannot go, however, until we somehow have brought about better conditions in our whole civilization and found new ways of caring for people to prevent the need for so many institutions.

Dr. Howard Rusk, of the N.Y. Times and Bellevue Hospital Rehabilitation Center, spoke on the children born in Korea. He said we did not win the war but if we followed the example of our troops in their effort to help the children of Korea we might at long last have a chance to win the peace. He said we should remember that the peoples of the world watch the way we handle old people, crippled children and other handicapped persons, and that this might be one of the most important ways of demonstrating what our democracy really means.

There was no barrier of race, language or religion to keep people from understanding what we actually did for these people in our midst, Dr. Rusk pointed out.



Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

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

About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, October 30, 1954

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
The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Project

Available under licence from the Estate of Anna Eleanor Roosevelt.

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MEP edition publlished on June 30, 2008.

TEI-P5 edition published on April 28, 2017.

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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.