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

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NEW YORK—I was told the other day about an interesting study being made by Dr. E. Cuyler Hammond, head of statistical research in the American Cancer Society. This group is distributing questionnaires through their large number of volunteers which they hope will give them information that will be helpful in discovering how to prevent cancer.

There is need for a great deal more research, and I am hopeful that the Institute for Cancer Research, which is to bear my name and which will be established in connection with the American Medical Center in Denver, Colo., will be able to do some particularly good work in this area. This institute's project for establishing scholarships for exchange between our country and other countries seems to me to have special value. I hope it will be possible to bring together people who might otherwise not have an opportunity to exchange views.

During the past few days in Miami, Fla., there have been meetings of the National Federation of Temple Sisterhoods. This group has been working very hard for the advancement of world peace through cooperation with all other groups that have a similar interest.

They are engaged, of course, in many charitable undertakings, but I think this willingness to work with other groups like the American Association for the United Nations on better understanding throughout the world is one of the most valuable pieces of work that they undertake.

The other night I saw "The Gang's All Here," in which Melvyn Douglas stars and is well supported by a number of very good performers, including Jean Dixon, who has come back to the stage to play the "President's wife."

It is the shameful story of the Harding Administration, and it points up the fact that inefficiency can bring about just as sad results as can dishonesty.

Here was a personally honest man who wanted to do his job well. He was intelligent enough to know that he really had no fitness for the job but he was persuaded into doing it. He counted on his friends, believed in them, and was happy when with them. It never occurred to him that they were vulnerable people and that he was giving them opportunities that would draw out all that was worst in them. You felt sorry for him and you knew his suffering was genuine when he found how he had been fooled.

It is unpleasant to see the seamy side of democracy and to have it driven home by as good acting as there is in "The Gang's All Here." I think I came away with a keener sense than ever of how dependent democracy is on its citizens, who must do their job from the precincts up to the very top. You get poor people at the top if you have poor people all the way up the ladder. If you really expect democracy to work, everyone must do a conscientious job, no matter what rung on the ladder he occupies.


(Copyright, 1959, by United Feature Syndicate, Inc.)

Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

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About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, November 17, 1959

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.