My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

Text Size: Small Text Normal Text Large Text Larger Text

HYDE PARK, Friday—It was raining when we arrived yesterday afternoon. This morning the sky showed signs of clearing. Some guests who had spent the night, left us soon after breakfast and I went out for a short ride, but the ground was still so muddy that it was not much fun. Perhaps it was just as well for I might have been tempted to stay out longer. As it was I reached the cottage just before two bus loads of people arrived. They were the State Directors of the National Youth Administration and the great majority of them are men, but we have a sprinkling of women among them. When they finally all gathered in the living room, I thought as I looked around what a remarkably interesting group of people they were.

Each state has its special problems, and each state has met these problems in its own way, but a meeting such as this one is extremely exhilarating, giving one so much food for thought as it reveals different conditions and the ingenuity with which those conditions have been met.

I left the group at a quarter before one to drive over to the big house, and talk for a few minutes with the Prime Minister from Norway and the Norwegian Minister and his wife. They were lunching with the President and his mother. The Prime Minister told me that when he had been in municipal positions before he had been in the national government, he had come in very close contact with the questions of unemployed youth. They had found just as we have, young people who had never had an opportunity to find out what work was like, and had finally had to do much as we have done in creating work projects, so that these young people might get their work experience and form habits of industry.

Sometimes I wish that our country was as small and homogeneous as Norway or Denmark, but then again I realize how much we would lose that is really valuable to our civilization.

For instance, Southern California has a project where they have developed a real pottery industry and their designs and decorations are largely influenced by the proximity to the Mexican border. The fact that New Mexico has a large Mexican population has produced there also some skills which the rest of the population might not have developed. And here in New York State we are developing a school for camp counselors amongst our young Indians.

The group left us at four-thirty after having a chance to talk to the President. Mrs. Henry Morgenthau who has come up for the day and the night, then went over with me to meet our old friends, Mr. and Mrs. Charles Fayerweather who were bringing Lady Glasgow and her American friend, Mrs. Griffin, for tea.

A busy day, but an interesting one.

E.R.
TMsd 29 October 1937, AERP, FDRL