My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

Text Size: Small Text Normal Text Large Text Larger Text

HYDE PARK—Some one was talking to me a little while ago about the art projects and remarked that only by starvation were great artists developed. Van Gogh would never have been Van Gogh unless he had starved most of his life. Perhaps, but this morning I had a pathetic letter from a young man begging for a job on the music project and for a chance to have his composition orchestrated and it set me wondering whether this theory is really correct. Our greatest works of art it seems to me, were produced under the patronage of the great nobles of the past.

Florence's greatest period from the artistic standpoint was certainly under the patronage of the rich men of the day. I question somewhat whether an empty stomach does not retard inspiration. And perhaps we are awakening to the realization that if individuals can no longer patronize the arts in the way they did in the old days, we may come to a time where the public will undertake to do this for its own pleasure and profit.

We spent a long time over our breakfast coffee cups this morning, for Mr. Donald Stephens and Mr. Francis Goodale are interesting men to talk to. They finally started on their way to Nantucket. Before I left the house to retreat to the cottage the usual stream of visitors had begun and never less than three people were sitting on the front steps waiting to go in and see my husband. After I went to bed last night, I started marking my mail but I always end up by allowing myself a time to read something that I really enjoy and I found myself deeply engrossed for an hour with the trials which the women lived through in Georgia during the Civil War. "Gone With the Wind" is a book you would like to read straight through, but since there are so many things that have to be done, I am reading it rather more slowly and perhaps enjoying it all the more on this account. If you have not read it, I can assure you that you will find Scarlett O'Hara an interesting character. For pure selfishness and ruthlessness she seems to be almost incredible. But circumstances mould even the little wild animal which she seems to be. So far the remark of old Granny Fontaine that one should always keep something to fear and something to love in this world is perhaps the wisest piece of psychology in the book.

Mr. and Mrs. James Cromwell came to lunch, and now I am leaving for New York in a very short time.

E.R.
TMsd 19 August 1936, AERP, FDRL