FEBRUARY 13, 1947
NEW YORK, Wednesday—I want to thank the many kind people who wrote me letters on my husband's birthday and sent money for the March of Dimes. I would like to write to each one and tell them how much their very fine letters are appreciated. I realize more today than even when my husband was alive how closely he was a part of the people of this country; and how many of them felt that he was a friend who understood their aspirations and needs. He had a gift of projecting his feeling for people into the homes of many who never had an opportunity even to see him. I thank you all collectively, since it is not possible to do so individually.
It is becoming physically impossible for me to keep up with the mail that comes in day by day. I cannot afford to keep a large enough office staff, and since I left Washington, I have had no facilities for doing many of the things which the letters take it for granted I will be able to do. As far as possible from now on, when subjects come up in the letters about which I have information, I will try to give that information in my column, hoping that it will be generally useful.
But I am not going to be able to answer the mail, as I have tried to do up to now. It takes me on an average of three hours a day and, since I have not that much time free in the daytime, I have had to do it at night. In addition, it requires more secretaries than I can justify for the amount of good I can accomplish through answering much of this mail.
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It is not that I am not interested in people's problems. I am as keenly interested as I ever was, but when I was in Washington, there was something I could do about almost any problem that was placed before me. That is no longer possible, and it is not fair to let people count on help from a source from which it cannot come.
I have been hoping that people would gradually realize the change which must come when one leaves the White House and returns to life in one's own home. As the wife of a President, I had certain facilities at hand which have not been available since I returned to a private and inconspicuous existence!
However, there are great advantages, one of the greatest being the added privacy and the realization that you have a right to a life of your own. You do not have to judge everything you do in the light of whether you have an obligation first to the people who placed your husband in office. To really reap the full benefit of the change, however, some activities must be given up, and one of them is the answering of mail. From now on, my column alone will be the medium through which I will try to give my correspondents any information I may have on a given subject.