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

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NEW YORKC.L. Sulzberger, in one of a series of articles on foreign affairs in the New York Times, dared to say certain things which few people would have had the courage to say a few years ago.

“During the past few years," Mr. Sulzberger wrote, "as a consequence of internal political pressure, our government cruelly dismissed some of its ablest envoys. Others were demoted in importance and in circumstances not yet generally known.”

The writer went on to stress the fact that "ability and experience should be an ambassador's only qualifications." Then he pointed out that wise people have been saying to our Congress for years that we should provide our representatives abroad with adequate salaries and allowances so we do not have to choose persons for those positions because of their wealth.

Mr. Sulzberger deplored the fact that we still find some remnants of the McCarthyism hysteria, though it is growing less, and even now our representatives in some cases are very careful not to express any definite opinions which someday may be proved wrong, for you cannot always be sure of being right, and yet under McCarthyism a mistake was a crime.

Many persons must have read with regret the news of the death of Francis Henry Taylor, director of the Worcester, Mass., Art Museum and former director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.

He died much too young, but he already had accomplished miracles in making every museum he touched more delightful to the public. He had the gift of convincing the public to look upon museums as places of pleasure.

Mr. Taylor had remarkable taste and showmanship. When asked how he attracted people to his museums, he was quoted: "Showmanship should never show, but if you haven't got it, you have the kiss of death." This was something my old friend John Golden, the late playwright and producer, would have enjoyed and agreed with.

People like Mr. Taylor are much needed in our art circles, and it was a loss to the country to have his death come while he still was a young man.

At a time when people are so interested in education in the Soviet Union, there was a letter in the New York Times by William B. Edgerton, an associate professor of Slavic languages at Columbia University, on the side of education called humanities. These studies, the professor feels, may not be as neglected in the Soviet Union as its emphasis on science and engineering may lead us to believe.

Professor Edgerton gives as an example an examination paper for entrance into the Soviet university on the completion of 10-year school. This examination was in Russian language and literature and was given in 1955. It contained questions on Shakespeare's "Hamlet" and Part 1 of Goethe's "Faust" which, he said, would have required a Russian student to have read both of these works.

The professor tried questions on these two classics on some of our own high school graduates and found complete ignorance in some cases and great uncertainty in others. So perhaps we should not feel that the Soviets are so far behind us even in the humanities.


(Copyright, 1957, by United Feature Syndicate, Inc.)

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About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, November 27, 1957

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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Transcription created from a photocopy of a UFS wire copy of a My Day column instance archived at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library.