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

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EN ROUTE TO PARIS, Wednesday—When books such as the one just written by Mr. Jesse Jones appear, I cannot help being glad to have at the same time available to the public a book such as the one Mr. Donald Day has just published, called, "Franklin D. Roosevelt's Own Story."

I believe, of course, in the right of everyone to express his opinion. I think, however, when a man is dead and unable to contradict certain statements, that writers should be somewhat careful as to what they say about the deceased. After all, they are merely expressing private opinion and if they formerly held government positions the impression is that such expressions are official.

Mr. Jones worked for my husband for thirteen years. It seems odd that it took him so long to discover so many faults in his President and, having discovered them, it seems odd that he should have been willing to go on serving under him until he was asked to retire. Mr. Jones was not dependent for his living on holding a job.

My own opinion of one of Mr. Jones's "opinions," namely his statement that my husband brought on World War II in order that he might be re-elected, is that this could not possibly be true.

The most elementary thing in human nature is the desire to protect one's children. Mr. Jones may not be aware of this, because he had no sons who would inevitably have to go to war. My husband knew full well that if war came all of our four sons would not only get into the conflict but would ask to have many of the physical defects, which kept others out of the war, waived so that they might go into more dangerous places.

At the request of their own father these deficiencies were waived and all the boys served in the most dangerous zones, just as did many other boys.

This the President knew must happen, and Mr. Jones thinks that he would have wanted to bring on World War II for political reasons!

I submit that this would be against human nature. Therefore, I welcome a book that is primarily told in the words of Franklin D. Roosevelt himself, taken from his private and public papers and selected by Donald Day.

In the prologue Mr. Day states: "I not only did not vote for Franklin D. Roosevelt. I actively and vigorously opposed him." Mr. Day nevertheless kept an open mind as he watched events and read and studied what Franklin D. Roosevelt had written.

Mr. Day does not claim always to have chosen wisely and I hope that many people, whether they like or dislike his choices, will be moved to go to the sources from which he drew and perhaps find things he has overlooked. The material is in the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library at Hyde Park. There are still a few papers that are not open to the public for security reasons, but the great mass of personal and public letters is now available.

Also, there is much material from other sources that will shed great light on Franklin D. Roosevelt's own material and on the man who was the leader during some very important years of American history.

That he endeared himself to many people, particularly the "little" people of the world, can be attested to by anyone who will bother to read the letters that are available in the library which came at the time of Franklin D. Roosevelt's death.

That he had violent enemies can be seen in such books as have been published by Mr. James Farley with the aid of Mr. Walter Trohan of the Chicago Tribune; by Mr. John Flynn; by Mr. Jesse Jones; or in articles written by Mr. Westbrook Pegler, or Mr. John O'Donnell, or Mr. William Bullitt.

Theirs are statements of opinion. In the long run, history will weigh the truth in the light of world events.

In the meantime, however, Mr. Day's "Franklin D. Roosevelt's Own Story" is a first contribution that should be read at the same time that one reads the books of his enemies. It is the only way that a dead man can speak in his own defense.

E. R.


Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

  • Paris (France) [ index ]

About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, November 1, 1951

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

  • Brick, Christopher (Editor)
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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.

Published with permission from the Estate of Anna Eleanor Roosevelt.

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.