My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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One citizen of these United States spent a most interesting hour and a quarter yesterday morning being educated on the cooperative movement in the United States. She went to The Cooperative League, at 167 West 12th Street and talked with Mr. Bowen, the general secretary and Mr. Wallace J. Campbell.

The conversation opened with the explanation of how little she knew of what was going on in the cooperatives of this country. She thought it best to admit this at once, knowing it would be found out in a very short time! Then on a map she was shown the location of the large wholesale cooperatives. They deal almost entirely in farm supplies, such as seed, feed, fertilizer and in gas and oil. Only a few of them have dealt from the beginning in groceries, but these are now expanding. This whole movement is in its infancy here in comparison with the way it has developed in Sweden and even in England, where it serves not only in meeting the needs of the lower income group, but as a balance wheel to the general price level.

After a short time Dr. James Peter Warbasse came in announcing that he had just been giving his examinations at the only medical college which required a knowledge of cooperative medicine, The Long Island College of Medicine and Surgery. He felt that this branch of medicine was still getting scant recognition but as forty percent of our people were either unable to avail themselves of medical services because of the cost, or lived where such services were impossible to obtain, it seemed obvious that something in the nature of cooperative medical and dental services would have to be furnished.

I would have liked to visit the Cooperative Institute on the upper floor but I was late and could only murmur that I hoped to return someday.

A dentist appointment kept creeping up on me in spite of my interest in the cooperatives and finally I had to dash off. Being late, of course I was held up in traffic several times and arrived at my destination literally feeling as though I were pushing the cab!

One taxicab driver today whom I urged to take "the shortest way," turned around at the first red light and said: "You are Mrs. Roosevelt, aren't you? My home is in Washington. I think your husband is doing a good job." For which kind words I thanked him and when I got out he remarked cheerfully: "Merry Christmas to you, and a Happy New Year."

I dressed a Christmas tree in the afternoon at the Women's Trade Union League; spoke for Mrs. Bethune at her meeting of the National Council of Negro Women, and motored up to Hyde Park.

A busy day here today with another Christmas tree and much tying up of parcels in preparation for it. This is the part of my Christmas away from Washington which has to be finished every year before the real rush begins there.

E.R.
TMsd 19 December 1937, AERP, FDRL