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Eleanor Roosevelt Speeches

ER Interview on the Eleanor Hoff Show

April 4, 1945


ER interviewed by Eleanor Hoff on Hoff's radio program. ER discusses the importance of the Red Cross and the upcoming Red Cross drive.

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[unknown speaker:]

Good morning, it's 9:30 and time to listen, ladies, to Eleanor Hoff. Good morning, Eleanor.

[Eleanor Hoff:]

Good morning, good morning ladies and gentlemen. We've just ended another successful drive for funds for the American Red Cross. [Introduction music fades out] But the drive and the great need for American Red Cross service can't end until every American man and woman is home again. The battle won, the victory done. So for the week of April 9th, I've invited five guests from five branches of the Washington Red Cross volunteer services to speak to us here. They will not ask for money, they're going to tell us rather how our d-donations are used and explain to us the many ways in which we can augment that money with personal use. Our guest today who is going to open the discussion forum for us is our gracious and generous First Lady. Mrs. Roosevelt has seen the American Cross at work throughout the old vast country of ours and in many of the actual fighting areas of the war. I don't think there is any other one woman who can tell us better from experience what the American Red Cross means to fighting men and women throughout the world. Your fighting men and women, and mine, and hers. I'm most proud today to be able to introduce to you, Mrs. Franklin D. Roosevelt.


Good morning ladies and gentlemen. It is hard really to choose what I will tell you about the Red Cross because my contacts with Red Cross people are very frequent and in very varied fields. The other day, for instance, twelve people who'd come home to speak during the drive from the far corners of the Earth, came to tell me about their work in different parts of the world. And it was really very exciting to hear about what happened in India, what had happened since I left uh so long ago in Great Britain, in France, almost into Germany and way out in the Pacific. I get letters every now and then from a friend of mine who is in the Red Cross who was in the Pacific when I was there and who now is out in China. I see the people who bring the men from the hospitals here once or twice a week to the White House and it is through the Red Cross that I really hear about individual people that they get interested in, that they want have things done for. I don't think I could ever say how really extraordinary I think the services are that they come to do not just as representatives in an uniform doing a job that is planned for them, but as individuals meeting other individuals who need help and finding ways to do whatever needs to be done in all parts of the world.

[Eleanor Hoff:]

Mrs. Roosevelt, we're putting on a drive here for the American Red Cross now in Washington for more volunteer help. They're going to need more motor corps drivers, they're going to need more Red Cross ladies, gray ladies, they're going to need, and always will need, I guess, more first aid ladies, that is nurses aid ladies. You've seen these women, these volunteer women, working in the hospitals. You have probably I am sure, undoubtedly, a better idea of how valuable their services are than anybody. The boys speak of them, don't they, to you?


Oh the boys speak of them all the time! Their services are greatly needed because they do bring into the hospitals um that touch from the outside, that connection with the world that the boys are going back to, which is very necessary, because many a boy, who's been badly wounded, perhaps crippled, with something that he's going to have to fight all his life, is [recording skips] worried primarily about how the people outside are going to accept him. And the Red Cross people coming in are the ones who bridge that gap. And I think there is no service which should demand our aid and what time we can give more quickly than the Red Cross.

[Eleanor Hoff:]

And from the other standpoint, Mrs. Roosevelt, certainly the women who give are gaining tremendously. I don't believe any one of them who's ever done the work hasn't come out feeling she's gotten more than she has given, isn't that true?


Oh I don't think that there's any question about that. I've never asked a Red Cross worker who contacts the men in the services or-or the uh people in the civilian hospitals who are not in the services um who doesn't feel that they have broadened their vision and their knowledge of human beings to an extent which repays them many times for the hours of work that they give.

[Eleanor Hoff:]

And so, next Monday we're going to start a series of five talks from five heads of the volunteer services here in Washington who are going to ask you not for money, but for help. You start listening in Monday, would you? And remember, please, when you listen, what Mrs. Roosevelt has just said to you about the Red Cross, that it's work really--you're not giving so much as you're getting. Thank you, Mrs. Roosevelt.


Thank you--

[Eleanor Hoff:]

You know, Mrs. Roosevelt, the WBP [War Production Board] has asked me to ask you to say a word about the paper drive. We've started here, the first city drive to conserve paper. It's going to be, we hope, an example for all the big cities throughout the country, so that all the women will understand what we're doing. I know you understand thoroughly because you've seen paper conservation in other countries, haven't you?


Yes, I've seen it as far back as '42 in Great Britain. I hope that we won't uh have to conserve quite as strictly as they were conserving there, because there if you had a piece of paper and you ah were going to buy something that you really felt uh needed to be wrapped up, you took your paper with you [Eleanor Hoff and ER laugh] and I told them coming in that I remembered seeing people go into a fish store to buy a fish and if they didn't have any paper, they tried to find something to put it in so they could carry it home. [ER laughs]

[Eleanor Hoff:]

In other words, if they didn't find anything, they'd carry their fish raw!


They had to!

[Eleanor Hoff:]

Well, I don't think we're ever going to get to that point, but there's a tremendous need now for paper, I think they need something more than twice as much as they have ever needed before. And our drive here, which the WPB is sponsoring, is to ask, ladies, not to ask for wrapping paper when they buy parcels. It's quite simple, because there is still a great many, a great deal of boxes and a good many things are boxed to take away. Uh, you know some of the generals' wives this week pledged themselves, as I have done and I'm sure as you have done, Mrs. Roosevelt, not to ask for paper wrapping.


Oh, I-I think that that will be a very easy thing to do. I think there won't be any difficulty about um doing without wrappings for most of the things that we buy.

[Eleanor Hoff:]

Well, they were thanking you for that, too, because I'm sure everyone knowing that you are going to carry your packages unwrapped will be- feel a little bit more proud to carry her own package unwrapped. Mrs. Roosevelt, thank you very, very much for coming. You know, last week, at the press conference, someone asked you what your favorite music was, and you said you didn't have any favorite piece-but among the things you liked, you did mention the "Ballad for Americans." And so, in gracious thanks to you for your coming here this morning, we are going to play Paul Robeson singing the "Ballad for Americans."

[Beginning of Paul Robeson's Ballad for Americans]
[unknown speaker:]

For a complete recording of this selection, see Mrs. Roosevelt's music collection.


Program Participants

  • : Roosevelt, Eleanor, 1884-1962

Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced


About this document

ER Interview on the Eleanor Hoff Show

April 4, 1945


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
  • : Hall, Natalie
  • : Albrecht, Vikram
  • : 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