MAY 14, 1954
NEW YORK, Thursday—I had a busy day in Washington on Tuesday. First thing on my schedule was to do a radio recording with Miss Lorena Hickok on "Ladies of Courage," which Putnam's brings out next week. Miss Hickok and I wrote this book together.
Primarily, it tells the story of women—from precinct committeewomen to Ambassadors—who have held positions in and under both the Republican and Democratic parties. The idea behind the book, however, is to encourage women to feel that there is work of a political nature they can do even if they cannot run for high office or arrange to leave their home surroundings.
I found that the research on women in politics was revealing and exciting. Women are participating in greater numbers as time goes by, but it cannot be denied that politics is still a man's world to a very great extent on the policy-making level.
There have been some changes of late, though, in both the Democratic National Committee and the Republican National Committee. When the Democratic National chairman told me about them he said they were designed to bring the women in and integrate them with the work of men. I was hopeful that this would work out to give them real equality, but from what I am told it really means less participation. This may be the fault of the women as well as of the men, for in order to make our presence felt in any field of endeavor we must really want to do things and enjoy doing them. In politics, this goes for those taking part on the lowest rung of the political ladder and those who might aspire to be President of our country.
I hope this book, in which I can frankly say Miss Hickok has done by far the largest share of work, will prove of interest and value. I hope it appeals not only to women but to men who may want to understand the motivation of women in politics.
I want to say that the chapter about me in the book was written entirely by Miss Hickok, and I have not even as yet read it. I did not want to be in any way responsible for it!
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Following our recording I attended a luncheon of the National Issues Committee. There I was very happy to see old and new friends who are genuinely interested in the opportunities now opening up to that committee.
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In the afternoon I was a guest at a delightful tea at the Women's Democratic Club, in honor of the publication of Mrs. James M. Helm's book, "The Captains and the Kings," also published by Putnam's. The tea was given by two newspaperwomen, Bess Furman and Martha Strayer.
Mrs. Helm served as social secretary through three Democratic administrations. And in her honor were present, besides myself, Mrs. Woodrow Wilson and Mrs. Harry Truman. I think it was the first time that three former First Ladies had been photographed together, and there was considerable interest on the part of the press and photographers.
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Finally, in the evening, I attended the first dinner of the America-Israel Society. This was a very distinguished gathering, and I think the organization will be valuable because it aims to develop cultural and artistic interests between our two nations.