My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

Text Size: Small Text Normal Text Large Text Larger Text

TEL AVIV, Israel—Last Thursday evening Mrs. David Gurewitsch, Miss Maureen Corr and I flew in from London in what seemed a very quick and comfortable flight. We were welcomed by a large group headed by Mr. Moshe Kol of Youth Aliyah and, to our joy, we found that Mr. Gideon Tadmor was to be with us during our stay here. I also find that our chauffeur drove my daughter Anna and my granddaughter when they were here two years ago.

After a night's rest we motored to Degania for lunch on Friday, stopping on the way at a college for physical education. Here we saw a most interesting group of Africans and Asians going through the same course that the Israelis do to prepare themselves as teachers of physical education in their own countries.

Then we stopped at Beith-Shean to see the high school which is being built and named after my husband.

In the afternoon we drove into Safad, high on a mountain. These are beautiful mountain roads and remind one of Colorado, though the mountains here are not so high. The mayor of Safad was kindness itself, and since his town is an art center we saw some very interesting work the following morning. It seems to me our Museum of Modern Art in New York City might be inspired to put on an exhibit by some of the modern painters of Safad. I believe it has been a long time since we've had such an exhibit there.

While we were in London an appeal was brought to my attention which, I am sure, has not been circulated broadly among the printers' unions in the United States nor among publishing firms.

At any rate, to begin at the beginning, it seems that Benjamin Franklin, during a period of 18 months spent in England in 1725 and '26, when he was 19 years old, was employed as a pressman by a printer named Watts of Lincolns Inn Field. The pamphlet says that when Franklin returned to England in 1768 as an agent of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Georgia and Massachusetts he visited his earlier place of employment, recognized the press at which he worked and, in celebration of the occasion, he sent out for a gallon of porter, which he drank with the printers working there. The press finally found its way to the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.

Now, the appeal being made by the British printers to us in America is to help them rebuild their ancient almshouse, which originally was designed to house the printers who, because of bad working conditions during the early days, were subject to tuberculosis, serious eye troubles and paralysis of the hands.

This home was established by the Printers' Pension Society and, besides modernizing it, they want to add to it and name one wing as a memorial ot Benjamin Franklin. The appeal for funds goes out to us in America and to Americans living in Great Britain. I am sure entirely by accident this appeal has never reached the mass of people in the U.S. who are interested in printers and printing.

Mr. John Hay Whitney, when he was Ambassador in London I am told, generously donated 200 pounds to the fund but, by and large, it has remained more or less of an unknown appeal and an unknown fund to the many who might contribute to it.

I cannot help believing that this is something many Americans would be interested in, so I mention it here in order that those who are interested may get in touch with Mr. Roy Thomson, 61 Doughty Street, London W.C. 1, England. Mr. Thomson is the president of the printers' pension corporation and a proprietor of newspapers throughout the world.

Those who remember Mr. J. H. Choate, who was one of our most brilliant ambassadors to Great Britain, may be interested to know that he was president of the printers' pension corporation in 1904.

So, in the name of Benjamin Franklin, who to me will always remain one of the most interesting men in our early history, I hope many of my readers will respond to this worthy effort.

I had the pleasure of seeing a ceremony in the House of Lords while I was in London during which the Queen's assent was given by her representatives to a bill passed by the House of Lords and the House of Commons. One cannot help being interested in the way old-time customs and ways of dress are observed in these rituals, even to wigs, gowns and old Norman phraseology. We have nothing so colorful in the U.S.

I also was happy to have been able to see Lady Churchill and to have found her very well.

E.R.
TMs, AERP, FDRL