FEBRUARY 3, 1949
HYDE PARK, Wednesday—The other day Senor Orlando Oyarzun Garces, a Chilean journalist with a letter of introduction from his embassy, appeared at my apartment in New York City wanting me to sign a book which he cherished so dearly that he would not leave it overnight. I was not at home but I sent word when I would be, and he reappeared bearing the treasured volume. This is a most interesting book on whose parchment pages many of the important leaders in all the American republics have signed their names. Senor Garces has carried out this work in the interest of American solidarity and is presenting it to the Pan-American Union in a formal ceremony.
In 1941 my husband signed the book, as did all his Cabinet, and there is room also for President Truman and his cabinet to inscribe their names. The United States is well represented. There are many other signatures that were gathered in this country—Governor Thomas E. Dewey, Alfred E. Smith, Herbert H. Lehman, Fiorello La Guardia, Mayor William O'Dwyer, Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower and others. The pages are illuminated in various colors and the cover is done by a Chilean artist in Chilean copper. I enjoyed seeing it and marvelled at the time and thought that has been put into collecting these signatures, which will be of permanent, historic value.
I had what was to me an amusing request today to fill out my biography for "Who's Who in Democratic Politics." It would be a little difficult to answer the questions since I hold no Democratic office and even during the very short term which I spent in Civilian Defense I was hardly working as a Democrat. All I could say was "Widow of Franklin D. Roosevelt and for many years servant of the party in domestic affairs, as well as in a few minor voluntary jobs, such as assisting Mrs. Daniel O'Day in New York State."
I am, however, very much interested in the real organization of the Democratic party and I feel that the women's division both in the national and state committees has an opportunity now to do a really good organizing job during the next four years.
The women counted in the last election and can strengthen the party. In addition, I think there should be a concerted effort to help the young Democratic groups throughout the country to organize and do valid, political work and to be representative of the youth in our party.
In New York State the Young Democratic Club has announced a "legislative contest," which seems to me a novel and interesting idea. They are inviting citizens of the state to submit their ideas for new laws and as a prize they dangle the promise that one of these ideas will be embodied in a bill written by a committee of five club members and introduced in the legislature by one of them, now serving in the State Senate. The writer of the suggestion also will be given a trip to Albany to see the bill introduced.
It is a good idea to stir the interest of the people of any state in legislation and it should give them a sense of participation because, in writing, they can emphasize the importance of their special interest.