My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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NEW YORK, Monday—With the passing of Henry Morgenthau, Sr., New York City lost one of its real personalities. I think he felt that, in some ways, he had grown up with the city and that the drive and strength and competition of a great city had had its influence on his own character. He liked to tell of his early days and struggles.

In a curious way, Mr. Morgenthau, even in his 80s, was still a young man. He would often allude to people younger than himself as being old, because he had no sense of age in himself. Once he came to see my husband at Hyde Park when my mother-in-law, who also kept her sense of youth, was in bed with some minor ailment. Mr. Morgenthau asked how the "old lady" was, and the remark was repeated to her. She was much annoyed and said: "How could that old man have talked of me as an old lady?" He impressed his vigor and strong personality on those around him very nearly up to the time of his death.

There was also a warmth and friendliness in his approach to anyone whom he liked. Dr. Raymond Fosdick, in his funeral eulogy, spoke of how Mr. Morgenthau became "Uncle Henry" to him many years ago, and both my husband and I always spoke of him as "Uncle Henry."

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He was a loyal friend and a good citizen. He gave his support to many good causes, but always without ostentation. And he performed extremely well many duties as a representative of his country. There are many people to this day who are thankful to him for saving their lives after the first World War.

Mr. Morgenthau was one of Woodrow Wilson's trusted advisers. By the time my husband came into office, he could claim to be an elder statesman, but he still was an adviser and actively undertook any mission entrusted to him.

He will be truly missed by his children and grandchildren. Though, when fourscore years are well past, we know we live on borrowed time, his added years allowed him to share his wisdom and enjoyment of life more fully with those around him. His grandchildren's association with him cannot help but give them a sense of how important an understanding of the real values of life can be in the personal contribution which any individual makes to his particular period of history.

E. R.
TMs, AERP, FDRL