My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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ITHACA, N.Y., Thursday—Arriving in the late afternoon I was able to go to an alumni banquet yesterday evening with Miss Flora Rose. I anticipated with pleasure hearing the Glee Club sing, for I think the Glee Club here is particularly good, but I rather imagined the rest of the evening would be a succession of speeches much like every other public dinner. We had a pleasant surprise, however, when Sydney Landon, professor of dramatics at Ithaca College, gave us what he called two sketches of literary men. He made himself up while talking to us about the character of the man he was about to portray. For one minute he turned his back, put on his wig and the last touches of his makeup, still talking, and then turned around and addressed us in character. He actually looked and spoke like Rudyard Kipling and like Mark Twain. He had seen and met them both and was able to give a very realistic performance. The entire group not only enjoyed these sketches but appreciated every bit of humor and pathos that he put into them, and I could not help thinking what an addition this would be to the study of literature.

We breakfasted at eight this morning with the same group of men and women who so kindly come and talk with us every year, and the question propounded was, "Is it possible to prophesy the agricultural future of this country, say thirty or forty years from now?" This question is of course of deep interest to the College of Agriculture and the College of Home Economics, for they are training boys and girls today whose future is bound up with the agricultural future not only of this state but of many other states. How hard it is, however, to project oneself into the future! We are prone always to think of the conditions which are with us today as being permanent conditions. To have a vision or a dream one must be able to guess at what changing conditions may bring and prepare for them. I am wondering if our changes will be entirely economic or will be greater along mental and spiritual lines. Will it matter more for us in the future what we are, what we can appreciate, and what we can enjoy, or will the emphasis still be on what we have and what we can acquire?

Later in the morning, after a short talk with the Council of Women, we hurriedly visited a number of exhibits. The most interesting one to me was called the "Making of a County." It took the history of this county for the past 100 years, bringing together many things belonging to families in the county, and at one table putting in juxtaposition the implement used a hundred years ago and the implement used for the same purpose today. After a very pleasant lunch, we went over to Bailey Hall for the speeches and I listened with great interest to both Mrs. Morgenthau and Dr. Parran, Surgeon General of the United States. He has a special claim on this audience, however, having been head of the State Department of Health when my husband was Governor and then under Governor Lehman.

E.R.
TMsd 18 February 1937, AERP, FDRL