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

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DENVER —It was good to be reminded of Oliver Wendell Holmes when a centennial celebration was held this week in the Hotel Chicago under the sponsorship of the Adult Council of Greater Chicago. It marked the 100th year since Holmes was admitted to Harvard University.

Justice Holmes was one of those people who never grow old despite their years. At an advanced age he still enjoyed meeting with young people and did so when my husband was first in Washington in 1913.

At that time my husband was a young Assistant Secretary of the Navy and occasionally he would meet with Justice Holmes and the young members of foreign embassy staffs as well as our own. They would discuss many things that affected the world in those days.

Justice Holmes served on the Supreme Court bench until he was 90 and was the first person my husband and I visited after my husband's inauguration in 1932. Mrs. Holmes and I left the two men alone, and as they talked, my husband said:

“Mr. Justice, we face grave times. What is your advice to me?”

Justice Holmes noted that after each war this country usually experienced a financial panic and then a recession, usually some years later so that it seemed as though there was no connection. So it was not strange that he felt that these recessions should be handled much like a war. He replied:

“Form your ranks and fight!”

I think this probably reinforced the decisions my husband had made some time before. It is always good to have the backing of someone whom you admire as a man of wisdom, and Oliver Wendell Holmes was a man of great wisdom.

The question of what to do to prevent juvenile crimes that are filling our prisons with young people is a serious one that was discussed recently in a television symposium orginating in Newark, N.J., under the auspices of the State of New Jersey Youth Study Commission.

Patrolman Ed Gray of the Elizabeth, N.J., Youth Athletic League outlined 12 points on "What parents should do to prevent juvenile delinquency" which I feel should be obtained by everyone from the league.

Because it was brought out that so many young people in the House of Detention had been lacking in their home and school backgrounds, one point seemed particularly important to me. Here it is:

“Keep the lines of communication open. Give your child an opportunity to put his problem into words. A `warm ear' can prevent little troubles from becoming big pressures.”


(Copyright, 1958, by United Feature Syndicate, Inc.)

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About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, May 19, 1958

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.