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Eleanor Roosevelt Speeches

Address to the 25th Girl Scouts National Convention

October 23, 1939


Speech, ER addresses 25th Girl Scouts National Convention at Convention Hall Philadelphia, ER named Honorary President of Girl Scouts

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[unknown speaker:]

Raymond Gram Swing's analysis of news from abroad will be heard over most of these stations at 10:15pm, eastern standard time tonight. We take you now to Convention Hall in Philadelphia for an address by Mrs. Franklin D. Roosevelt.

[Fred Temple:]

This is Fred Temple, of the WFIL Special Features Division, greeting you from Convention Hall, Philadelphia. Everyone is aware that the Girl Scouts are holding their twenty-fifth national convention here in Philadelphia this week. In just [applause] a few moments the conclave will be officially opened with an address by Mrs. Franklin D. Roosevelt, honorary president. We now present Mrs. Frederick H. Brook, of Washington, DC., national president of the Girl Scouts, who will introduce Mrs. Roosevelt.

[Mrs. Frederick H. Brook:]

The radio waits for no man, and when we have a guest of honor, the First Lady of our land, we-we plan our program to have this lovely message that she will give us. We are so grateful for this opportunity to hear her and to have her speech broadcast. And now I present to you Mrs. Roosevelt who is-- [applause] [unclear term] and girls.


Thank you. It is a great pleasure to be here tonight, and to see so many Girl Scouts before me. But as I look at you I think of all the other Girl Scouts that I have met in every part of this country and in Puerto Rico. And think how wonderful it is that you should have that bond not only with girls all over your [cough] own country, but also with girls in the other countries whose flags are shown with ours here tonight. That, I think, forms a bond for you, which has a meaning in your program as future homemakers.


You know that the main thing you are trying to do is to make yourselves people who will be good mothers, good wives, good citizens in this country of ours, and at the same time good neighbors to all the other nations of the world. Now the program which you carry out stresses the fact that you are training yourselves to lead normal lives. This world is in a turmoil at present, but we here are fortunate enough to be at peace. We can think of the future; we can think of the kind of world that we want to build, and you have time to train yourselves to be useful citizens in a normal world. But this training which you are receiving also must train you to meet not only the emergencies which arise in daily life, but to meet the emergencies that arise in a world which is none too stable. You must be prepared for situations which will require [cough] from you courage and sacrifice. Of course you think first of your own people, but you must think too of what you can do to help the other people throughout the world - children, women, families just like yours - that are today living under conditions which perhaps they never dreamed they would come to see. Many of them probably felt [cough] just as you feel today: that they were fairly secure, fairly safe, they would lead normal lives, and things happened which upset all their expectations. Now when you are carrying out your program, when you are making of yourselves the kind of young people who will grow into really useful citizens, when you win all those badges that Mrs. Hoover was telling me about in one of the pictures tonight, you are becoming proficient in the arts, which make it possible for you to run a comfortable home. But never forget that one of the things which you must learn above everything else is a power of self-discipline and a power in yourself which will make you meet any emergency that arises, which will make you willing to do whatever you find you must do at any time. That, it seems to me, is perhaps the thing which we in this nation have to stress with the young people who are growing up today because we do not know what may lie before us - we- none of us know what may lie before us. But we do know that at the moment we live in a very wonderful country, and that we are very fortunate people, and that for that reason we carry a greater responsibility than almost any other people in the world today.


You are going to grow up to be future homemakers, and good ones I hope, but you are also going to grow up perhaps to be in some profession, to engage in some kind of work - that's something you don't know yet. But one thing you surely are going to grow up to be, that is a citizen [coughing] in a great democracy, and I want you to remember that that carries today a very tremendous obligation with it. It means that you have to understand what a democracy stands for, and that you have to guard jealously the democratic way of life. [applause starts] You have to be sure-- [applause] You have to be sure that you are worthy of the liberties which are yours. And you have to be sure that you are jealous of the liberties of all people, that you watch carefully so that all the people in your nation become free and stay free. That means that you really take an interest in the problems before your country. That you do not give lip service only to your citizenship, but that you give real work. That you perform duties, not just vote when the time comes, when you're able to vote, but that you begin now to understand what it means to be a responsible citizen in a democracy, to really try to understand different points of view, never to be content to know only one side of a question. Always to try to find out when you discover differences and difficulties what are the various points of view and how they might be worked out without the use of force in a democratic way. By doing that in your own country, by making sure that you make yourselves worthy of democracy, that you make yourselves worthy of peace, you will render a great service to the United States, and a great service to the world as a whole. Thank you.

[Fred Temple:]

During this quarter hour, ladies and gentlemen, Mutual has brought you an address by Mrs. Franklin D. Roosevelt, who spoke at the official opening of the twenty-fifth national convention of the Girl Scouts of America, this conclave convening in Philadelphia here this week. [speaking in the background] This program originated in Philadelphia and is a presentation of the WFIL Special features Division. This is Fred Temple speaking and returning you now to our studios.

Program Participants

  • : Roosevelt, Eleanor, 1884-1962
    Raycroft, Joseph, 1867-1955

Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced


About this document

Address to the 25th Girl Scouts National Convention

October 23, 1939


Eleanor Roosevelt

Project Editors
  • National Endowment for the Humanities

Eleanor Roosevelt Speeches is a project and publication of The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Project, The George Washington University, Academic Building, Post Hall, Room 312, 2100 Foxhall Road, NW, Washington, DC 20007

Transcript Editors
  • : Lewis, Britanny
  • : Goldman, Julia
  • : Wood, Caroline
  • : Alhambra, Christopher   [ ORCID: 0000-0002-6299-793X | VIAF ]

Transcribed and published by the Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Project, 2019-11-27

Transcription created from holdings at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library