Much has to be sacrificed by all to the public interest and there is little or no personal compensation for the members of the family. But something of the personal relationship must be lost. It is the price paid for a life spent almost entirely in public service. My husband again became primarily a business man, l luwever, he could never devote himself solely to one undertaking.
Polities, us they affected him personally, receded into the background for a time, but there never was a moment when he was not interested in the American people and in every detail of the political situation. After leaving the law office of Caiter, Lcdynrd and Milburn in and up to the time of his illness in , Franklin had been more or less continuously in public life. He had been elected state senator from our rock-ribbed Republican district and bad been active in the Dem- ocratic National Convention which nominated Woodrow Wilson for his first term, attracting enough attention to be appointed Assistant Secretary of the Navy in the spring of The Navy having always been one of his main interests, he was well qualified for the job.
He and Secretary Josephus Daniels made a good team. Secretary Daniels was older and more experienced politically, and in relations with Con- gress could do what Franklin could never have done; while Franklin provided a background of naval knowledge that Secretary Daniels did not have. It would have been easy foi hnn to have become just a nice young socieLy man who, after his woilc in the department was over for the day, sat mound in the Metropolitan Club for a while and talked with his iiiends.
Louis, though gnomehke and frail always, was an indefatigable woiker. As a news- paperman in Albany, he had first noticed Fianklin in the legislature and had made up his mind that there was a young man with a future. From then on he watched him closely. Now he insisted that Fianklin find out something about labor conditions in the navy yards, which were his special province in the department, and come in contact with the men.
And he succeeded in getting him interested. Ccitainly it proved of value to him later, both as governor and as president. While he was still in the Navy Department, he at one point ran in the New York State primaries for LInited States senator and was defeated, and in , at die San Fiancisco convention he was nomi- nated for the vice-presidency, with Mr. Cox as the presidential candidate. That campaign was fought mainly over the League of Nations, which the Senate had voted down the year before.
When Edwaid Bok offered his peace award in , Franklin sub- mitted a paper on organization for peace. Esther Lape, who had been my friend since our return to New York City in , became mem- ber-in-charge of the Bok Foundation. Bok's request, I helped 24 This 1 Remember her to organize the committee and this woik. I should like to pay a tribute here to the long friendship I have enjoyed with both Elizabeth Read and Esther Lapc. Elizabeth Read was a very rare human being whose honesty and insight had been heightened by her legal training.
Though she was a very able person she was without intellectual arrogance or vanity and had an extraor- dinary gift for friendship. Her great intellectual integrity and courage will always be an inspiration to those who knew her.
In conversations with Esther Lapc in later years Eranklin often referred to the peace plan he submitted in the fust Bole competition, I think he never forgot the ideas that he set down then. The writing of this peace plan was proposed largely as something to keep alive his interest in outside matters during the fust years of adjustment to his illness, when it would have been easy for him Lo become a self centered invalid.
Llowever, it served an even more far-reaching purpose, since it was the basis on which he built other plans for world peace in later years. His original plan aimed at remedying the defects that had actually been revealed in the functioning of the League of Nations; later he brought this draft up to date with new thinking. However, from to , Eranklin devoted a good part of his time to finding out how far he could recover from infantile paralysis. The disease had attacked him in while we were at Campobello, and his hands and arms as well as his legs be- came partially paralyzed.
The first braces were heavy; later, lighter ones were made. How- ever, for the rest of his life he was unable to walk or stand without die braces and some help, though he could still swim and play water polo. The perfect naturalness with which the children accepted his limita- tions, though they had always known him as an active person, helped him tremendously, I think, in his own acceptance of them. He had so many outside interests that he was always busy, and boredom was something he never experienced in his whole life. Two things he could still enjoy— swimming and driving his own car.
His car had special hand controls, since he could not use his legs. He had to think out the fundamentals of living and learn the greatest of all lessons— infinite patience and never-ending persistence. People have often asked me how I myself felt about his illness. To tell the truth, I do not think I ever stopped to analyze my feelings. There was so much to do to manage the household and the children and to try to keep things running smoothly that I never had any time to think of my own reactions.
I simply lived from day to day and got through die best I could. In the winters, Franklin cruised off the coast of Florida in a house- boat, until a great storm wiped the boat out of existence. The only bitter remark I ever heard him make about his illness was in connection with the use of the houseboat, which was an expense that, in view of the considerable cost of bringing up a family of five children, we had to consider carefully.
One day he said: It was a diffi cult ordeal, but he passed it off with a smile and a joke. In the summers up to the time he decided to develop Warm Springs, he took treatments under Dr. McDonald m Maiion, Massachusetts. The summer of we had a house there, and I remember with some amusement how occasionally when my husband wished to escape visitors, and saw me sitting on the porch with someone when he drove up after a tieatmcnl, he would drive right on anil stay out until the visitor grew bored with me and left.
The exercises prescribed by Di. McDonald wo to strenuous, hut he had an extraordinary ability to give his patients confidence. Tmnklin, who always learned a gieat deal from those with whom he came in con- tact, never failed to give Dr. McDonald credit in his later work with other doctors and nurses at Warm Springs.
Franklin went to Warm Springs for the firsL time in the autumn of It was then a very run-down southern summer resort which had seen much better days. The old hotel with its piazzas called to mind the southern belles of Civil War days. The outdoor swimming pool was the one really fine thing about the place, and the water at once seemed to justify all the piaise which George Foster Peabody and Tom Loyless had poured forth.
Peabody was a financier and philan- thropist who came from Georgia, Me knew and liked my husband and hoped it would he possible to help him; also he was eager to rehabili- tate the old summer resort, in which he had a sentimental interest. Loyless was living there because his health had broken and he had had to give up his newspaper work permanently.
Loyless had told my husband he would find new hope once he began to swim in the "healing waters. My husband loved the place at once and described it enthusiastically in letters to his mother. Theodore Roosevelt, had come from Geor- gia. I never knew her, but her sister, Mis. James King Gracie, who was very kind to my brother and nre when we were children, had told us endless stoiies of plantation life in the South as she had lived it, and, through her, Brer Rabbit had become a familiar and beloved character.
She had made nrc feel that life m the South must be giacious and easy and charming. I had never lived there, howevei, until we went to Warm Springs. It was a disappointment to me to find that for many, many people life in the South was hard and poor and ugly, just as it is in pans of the Noi th. Even though I realized how gically many people benefited from the place, T never really enjoyed living in Warm Springs as much as my husband did.
I was grateful that he got so much joy and satis- faction out of it, but I never liked keeping house there. I lemember the first house we lived in and my surprise that I could look through the cracks and sec daylight. I can also remember driving with Miss Leblanc! In Warm Springs they ran around in our yard, until the cook wrung their necks amid much squawking and put them in the pot.
Nevertheless Warm Spnngs itself was a beautiful spot, and a won- derful spirit existed among the patients. My lasting impression is of the kindness of all our neighbors. Hardly a day passed that something was not brought to our door— wood for the fireplace, or a chicken, or flowers. Frequently the flowers came 2,8 This I Remember arranged in an old silver bowl or china vase that was a priceless family possession, and I would worry until the flowers failed ami the con- tainer was returned to its owner. For a number of years my husband went to Warm Springs every autumn, and I remember with a mixture of joy and.
Some of them were on stictchers, some in wheel chairs, some on crutches. Some hoped to get well, many faced permanent handicaps, but all were cheerful that one evening at least. They were always finding kind things to do. This was equally true of the secret- service men and the White blouse staff who went with Franklin to Warm Springs while he was president.
Earl Miller, who at that time was a New York State Trooper, thought that my husband should learn to ride horseback again, as many of the patients at Warm Springs had, and he insisted that it would be a good thing if Miss LeHand and I rode. She was young and pretty hut delicate, for she had had rheumatic fever as a child. While she could ride and drive and swim, the more strenuous forms of exercise were forbidden. Though she did not come to live with us until we went to Albany, she often stayed with us in Warm Springs and in Hyde Park, and was devoted to my husband and his work.
The roads through the woods and up and down the mountains were perfect for horseback riding, and Missy was a much better pupil than I, It took me a long time to gain enough confidence to learn to ride astride, for I had always ridden sidesaddle, Even though I did not have to start from scratch, I did have to acquire sufficient courage to feel Private Interlude: Finally, howevei, riding became a pleasure which I continued to enjoy both at Hyde Park and m Washington for several years.
When Earl Miller left us, he gave me his horse, Dot; I giew fond of her and rode her until she died. After that I gave up riding because I never again could find a horse in whom I had the slightest confidence. Also, I had fallen off Dot three times, and each time it had taken me longer to recover fiom the slight effects of the fall. My husband was not able to get any pleasure out of riding after he became paralyzed, though he had been a fine horseman. He rode with Earl Miller in Waim Springs and at Hyde Park, but never got over his sense of insecurity in the saddle, because he could not use the muscles necessary to balance himself on a hoise.
The effoit proved to be a detri- ment rather than a benefit to liis health, so lie abandoned it. The only real satisfaction for him in riding would have been to reach places in the woods that were inaccessible any other way. However, he was able to get to almost any place in the woods in his small car. I still had four children, Anna, Elliott, Fianklin, junior, and John, at home during the school year, either in our New York City house or at Hyde Pailt with my mothei-m-law.
Also I was carrying on a certain amount of political activity. However, the moment he learned how seriously ill Franklin was, he came all the way to Campobello and asked to be allowed to act as secretary. I le laid Ins plans accordingly, using everyone he felt could he ttselul. I some- times think he used even his own family, adjusting then plans to lit whatever work he had to do. I have always felt that hits.
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I Unvc and their children deserved special recognition for enabling I ouis to carry out his plans, for it often meant drat he had a scant amount of time to spend with them. However, the fact that they all had similar intel- lectual interests and many outside intciests probably made it possible for them to share and enjoy Louis' varied activities. She had a warm heart and strung convictions which she lived up to even in the face of severe criticism.
My main job was to raise money for our work. I have found that sometimes work which must be done with women does not seem im- portant to the men who head up the state committee. Besides, being vice-chairman of the committee under Mrs. I lenry Private Interlude: Henry Mor- genlhau, junior, and many others. Flad Elinor Moigcnthau and I not been tlnown together by our common interests, the miles that separated us in Dutchess County might have remained a bamer lor a long time. Plowever, thiough work- mg closely together, as we did throughout all the years I was on the committee, we became warm friends.
She is a sensitive and generous person whose qualities I recognized and appreciated and our relation- ship developed with the years. Her wide knowledge of the theatre and music and literature made it possible for her to help with the art groups in every campaign; and long after I ceased to work at cither the state or national headquarters, she continued to work hard throughout every election. Elinor is also an excellent organize! A short time ago at Lake Success, a young woman lawyer told me she first became interested in the political world through win- ning 11 contest for school children which Mrs.
Morgenthau and I oiganized under the auspices of the Demociatic State Committee. The puze was a visit to New York City, and we airanged some very active days for the young winnois. Evidently they have remembered it, for Elinor Morgenthau has heard fioin some of them since, as I have, loo. We all worked hard in those state campaigns. For instance, in the campaign of Alfred E, Smith was running against my cousin, Theodore Roosevelt, junior, who had previously been Assistant Secre- tary of the Navy in the Harding administration.
The recent Teapot Dome scandal— with which Theodore Roosevelt, junior, had had noth- ing to do— had created much excitement, so capitalizing on this, we had a framework resembling a teapot, which spouted steam, built on top of an automobile; and it led the procession of cars which toured the state, following the Republican candidate for governor wherever he went! In the thick of political fights one always feels that all methods of campaigning that are honest are fair, but I do think now that this was 32 This I Remember a rough stunt Lin cl I never Illumed my cousin when lu nlaliattd in later campaigns against my husband.
Louis also insisted that I learn to make speeches; he even went and sat in the back row when I was speaking and told me about my mis- takes afterwards. Once he asked me why I had laughed at a certain point in my speech. Now I can see that Louis felt that unless I learned to be useful to the party in this way, I would not get much consideration fiom any of the leaders.
It was during these years too that I became engaged in two enter- prises with Nancy Cook and Marion Diekoi man, whom I had met in my political work. Franklin was particularly interested in one of our undertakings. He helped to design and build a stone cottage beside, a brook where we often went to picnic during the first ycats after he was paralyzed. The brook was called Vnl Kill so wo called the cottage Val-Kill cottage.
Franklin was the contractor and the builder and, though Mr. Henry Toombs was the architect, he liked to talk over every detail. We built not only the cottage, hut a swimming pool in which the children and occasionally Franklin enjoyed much sport. The cottage was not an end in itself. It was the place in which Nancy Cook and Marion Dickerman lived and from which Miss Cook directed a furniture factory, Nancy Cook was an attractive woman who had distinct artistic ability and could do almost anything with her hands.
She had long wanted to make reproductions of early American Private Interlude: We obtained help and cooperation from the Metropolitan Museum, the Hartford Museum and fiom many individuals. We pro- cured drawings and went to look at famous pieces of old furniture. Miss Cook had no desire to leproduce woim-eatcn antiques, she wanted to use methods employed by our ancestors, and see whether she could find a market for furnitme which, though the fiist processes were done by machinery, would be largely handmade and therefore expensive.
Because the finishing was all done by hand, the wood looked and felt as though it had been used and polished for years. My husband had very little interest in the production of furniture but he was greatly interested in finding some industry that could be developed in countiy areas such as oms, and that could peihaps furnish occupation for some of the younger men who would otherwise leave the farms.
By giving them work in an industry which would yield them a fairly good income during the slack pciiod on the faims, he thought one could keep the piogrcssive, moic active gioup of young people working steadily and so raise the standard of farm development in our area. Franklin had heard the story of a small community in Vermont where the people loved their homes and Lhe countryside, but could not quite make a living on the farms.
One cnteiprising ciLizen went away for a time and on his return suggested using certain kinds of wood which could be found in that neighborhood for some industry. They put up a small factory in which, during the winter months, they made wooden handles and wooden saucepan knobs, finding an outlet through one of the large manufacturers. By producing large quantities of the little wooden knobs and handles, they raised their standard of living and held on to the farms and homes they loved.
This experiment made my husband eager to find out whether in our neighborhood something of the same kind could be done. He had a great love for the soil and wanted to see it developed; but he realized that many of the farmers around us had a difficult time holding their young sons on the land, because the return for hard and strenuous work was meager.
ITis interest in our enterprise was therefore in the training 24 Thit 1 Remember and the employment of young men in the vicinity. Nancy Cook ran the cnteipri. Some have suc- ceeded but few have returned much of the original investment, Nevet theless, in the crisis they took people off idiot' and gave them luck self- respect and a sense of security— a consumable achievement.
We found in our shop that as soon as a young nun learned a trade in which he could make more money than he could on a fat m he did not care enough about farm life to want to give up for the summer the good wages and regular hours lie enjoyed m his mule, It is tute that during the depression years, when work was hard to lincl, many work- ers from the town and cities returned to the farms; hut as soon as woik in a factory or at a trade was available, the young men sought the easier life with largei financial return.
In this they weie usually uiged on by their wives, who felt that life on the farm was haul I'm them as well as for their husbands. Tire truth seems to be that if you farm in paits of the country where financial returns are small, you must love the life and prize the sense of security you get from knowing that you me mote self-sufficient than any city dweller and less vulnerable to vicissitudes beyond your con- trol. A farmer with a mortgage on his farm, however, docs not always find this to be true, since he has to make a cash income.
Although this cxpeiiinent was a disappointment to Franklin, lie accepted Lhe failuie philosophically both in our own case and later in the case of the countiy-wide cxpeiiinent. I think he felt lcgrct, but, with the same acceptance of the inevitable which he showed in so many othei malteis, having tried the cxpeiiment and become satisfied that it did not work, he gave it up and sought othei solutions He hoped that some day it might woik out. He always accepted things as they were and set such expcncnccs aside as something to lemembei and per- haps use m the future.
I ncvei made any money out of this fuinituie-making venture. In fact, I think f was piohahly one of Lhc best customers the shop had, I2eau1. During the depression 1 took over die factoiy building and was able, tluough my earnings, to turn it into a faiily eomfoitahle if somewhat odd house. Though I did not have any aichileetuial advice, I did have the help of a fiiend, Henry Oslhagen, who is an engineer. We used local labor entirely. Employ- ing people seemed the host way to spend some of the money I was able to earn duiing those ycais.
Part of the shop we made into an apartment for my sccietary, Malvina Thompson, and I frequently went there to work quietly with her; the rest of the building became a guest cottage, which we used when the big house was overcrowded— something that often happened during the years when my husband was piesident. Since turning the old Idydc Paik house over to the government, I have made the converted shop building my year-round home, though I keep an office in a small apartment in New York City.
Though Miss Thompson and I live in the same house in Idyde Park— she has had her apartment there since — our arrangements can be entirely separate when we want them to he. She has been with me on most of my lups-and they have been m. At the same time she has a sense of humoi and real wit and has pulled us though many difficult situations by liei ability to see the funny side of things and her determination not to be ova whelmed by situations of any kind.
During the early years of my acquaintance with Nancy look and Marion Dickerman, I became associated in the Tndlumtei School with Miss Dickerman, who was fust the assistant piiiu tp. It was a private school foi gills limn the piiinaiy grades through high school, Miss Todhunler, who was lhitisli, finally sold the school to Marion Dickeiman, Nancy Cook and myself and went back to England. I began teaching them in tgay. I taught only the older girls because I considered that it took less training to leach them than to teach the younger cliildicn.
I gave courses in American history and in English and American literature and later we hied some coin set in current events which I hope wcie more piaelieal than are many of the courses given to sixteen- ancl seventeen-year old gills. Those whom their parents allowed to go I took to see the dilfcrent kinds of tenements that exist in a city like New York, as well as the big mar- kets and various other places.
All this made the government of the city something teal and alive, rather than just so many wouls in a text hook. In spite of my political activities and having to uin the Executive Mansion in Albany, after my husband was elected governor I contin- ued to teach for two and a half days a week, leaving Albany on Sunday Vilvalc. For a while, after we went to Washington, l conducted a class for graduates and their friends, first on a weekly and then on a monthly basis.
That June my husband went with out sou, l'. To my relief, my husband stood the Texas heat te- markably well and came home to Hyde Paik completely happy, feeling that he had had a great part in bunging about the nomination of Alfred E. Franklin and I had long supported Governor Smith politically be- cause of his social program, we believed that lie wanted the welfare of the average man and woman.
Franklin rcmembciod how after the Tri- angle Fne in 1 91 1 in New Yoik City Govcinoi Smith had worked for better factory laws in our state. This fire had been a shocking disaster, in which a great many girls and women had been bui nod to death ow- ing to the lack of fire exits and fire protection in the factory. Because Governor Smith had spent the greater part of his life in one 38 Back lo Politics: In the early autumn of that yeai Franklin spent considerable time at Wann Spimgs, hut he was glad to have me continue to help in the campaign, and pleased that I could work under Mrs.
She was a challenge to all of us at headquarters, because she really knew whether we wcie working hard and achieving results. She was completely devoted to Governor Smith and Lo the social progtam which he had developed as governor of the state— and which many of us felt she. Indeed, Governor Smith himself al- ways gave ciediL to her for the intelligent way in which much of the welfare program was planned and carried out.
Moslcowitz and I worked together in full haimony from Apiil to the end of the cam- paign in November, and I have always been grateful to her for the opportunity. During dial campaign, we all worked hard at what was obviously a losing fight, though none of us acknowledged it and most of us, I think, did the kind of work that usually hiings success. It was not until I began to see the full alignment against us that I became doubtful of success. Governor Smith was a Roman Catholic, and the kind of propa- ganda that some of the lehgious groups, aided and abetted by the oppo- sition, put forth in drat campaign utterly disgusted me.
I think by na- ture I am a fairly liberal person, without intense prejudice, but if I needed anything to show me what prejudice can do to the intelligence of human beings, that campaign was the best lesson I could have had. The questions cm the subject of the Roman Catholic church particularly stand out in my memory. Fiank- lm had learned how little the southern fanner knew about the Catholic church when he brought to Warm Spiings a very lcmtukable nurse, Miss Helena Mahoney. She went down with Di.
Both of them had had some experience with polio. Hubbard was letucd and glad to devote his time to a new experiment. Miss Mahoney was also inter- ested in the new venture, and I hope she had no idea of the comments that were made when the people in Warm Spiings discovered that she was a Roman Catholic. Aftei she had been tbeic for some time, and had traveled miles to a Roman Catholic chuicli in a city for occasional Sun- day worship, one of the Gcoigians rcmaikod to my husband that Miss Mahoney was really a fine woman in spite of hei religion! It could hardly be expected that these Georgians should look with much favor on a candidate for the presidency who was a Roman Catholic.
One of them asked my husband in all seriousness if it wcie true that, should Governor Smith be elected president, his children would be illegitimate, since his marriage of many years would he de- clared invalid. My husband burst into roars of laughter and remarked that he considered himself safely married even though he lived in New York State where Alfred E. Smith was the goveinor; hut he never was sure how convincing he had been. In I was still fairly young and could put in prodigious hours of work, hut I sometimes wonder how any of us, particularly Miss Thompson, and Miss Tully, lived through that campaign.
It proved that woik is easier to cany if your heart is involved. Grace Tully was young and very pretty, and had been extremely Back lo Politics: Out wodc was somewhat different fiom that to which she had been accustomed, hut it was good prepara- tion lor her luture woik with my husband and Miss LeHand.
My mother-in-law went to Europe that summer, and my husband and I so divided our time at I Iyde Park as not to leave the two younger boys long without one ol us. When I was in Hyde Park for week ends I devoted my days lo the boys and in the evenings played cards with them or lead to them until then bedtime. Then Miss Thompson and I started to work, often continurng until the early morning hours.
In the fall, after school began, I did not go into the office until noon on the days I taught, but 1 stayed until the work was finished at night, ohen well after midnight. Then I went home to do my school papers and was at school the next morning at half-past eight. We did have some divmion. Twice a week wc invited visiting Demoaals to a tea in one of the large rooms in the Geneial Motors building, where we had the campaign headquarters. Our working group was very congenial: Alice Disbrow, who later became Mis. It was during tins campaign that I induced Mary W.
Dewson to come in and work with us in the Democratic party. She went to take charge of the St. Louis headquarters Her work there was so good that we knew that no fuluie campaign should be conducted without her; nor was it, as long as she was well enough to take part. Speaking was still something of an ordeal for me, so it was always understood lhaL my part of the work involved simply organizing the office, handling the mail, gieetmg women visitors, consulting on re- quests for speakers— -in fact, just being generally useful.
Then, in the latter part ol the sum- mer of , the vice-chairman of the Democratic National Commit- tee, Mis. Ross had seived as Governor of Wyoming after the death ol her husband, who had been the previous governor. Her arrival at headquarters meant that we started at once to make plans for an extensive speaking trip for her, and of course, she was always in demand for many of the activities at headquarters.
I am afraid we kept her pretty busy. I remember one day I had Miss Tully scunymg everywhere to find Mis. Ross while a tea ptu ty waited to greet her. She finally was found completely exhausted, lying on the floor of our diminutive rest room, trying to regain enough energy to face shaking hands with several hundred people. We often were quite inhuman in the schedules that wc planned for her, expecting her to make a speech, and write the next one while on the train hot warn en- gagements.
Finally she told me that that was not the way in which she could do her best work and that her schedule would have to he revised. Ross has continued in active government work and is now the Director of the Mint m the Treasury Department. There was one occasion, however, on which she must have been overawed by her host. Governor Smith told me of a visit she made to him in Albany while she was Governor of Wyoming.
Since Governor Smith did not really feel that a woman should be the governor of a state, he gloated over the fact that he had asked her some questions which from his point of view required exact figures for a proper an- swer, Mrs. Ross could not give them to him, and told him as casually as I should have that she would have the figures sent to him after she went hack to her home state, where they were available.
To Gov- ernor Smith, who could reel off every figure that had to do with the Rack lo Politics: Once 01 twice, when speakers failed at the last minute, I had to make shoit tups ouL ol the olllee to take then places, I lemcmber one tiip I took with Mis. Guides Dana Gibson to New Hampshire. I was to give the facts and ligiucs and she was to chaim the audience.
Gibson carried ouL hci part oi the progiam. As everybody knows, she is one of the celebrated Langhoine sisters from Vngmia, whose beauty and wit are famous not only in the United States but in many othei countiies. She had married the artist, Charles Dana Gibson, who used her as a model for his many drawings of the Gibson girl. She has al- ways been a loyal Democrat and has taken parL in neaily all the cam- paigns, but I do not think she found overnight jaunts as easy as I did.
She rose to the occasion, however, telling southern stories aptly and well to illustrate the political points she wished to make. Eveiyone ap- plauded loudly and whatever shortcomings were mine, she made up for them, In September of that year f niotoied to Gioton with our youngest son, John, lo put him m boauling school.
I had by then come to feel that once a child went to hoaidiny school there never again could be the strong ties with and the dependence on the family that had existed up to that time f had nevci been a convinced advocate of boarding school foi the twelve-year-old, but n was a tradition. My husband, who had not gone to hoarding school until he was fourteen, always felt that the loss of those two years were a hardship, because by the time he entered the school the other hoys had alieady formed their friendships and he remained always a little the outsider.
Our boys all went at the age of twelve, 01 soon thereafter. I still believe it is too early an age and a loss both to the paients and to the childien. The day I took each boy to school, unpacked his clothes and settled him was always a terrible day foi me, and when it came to the last child, it was particularly hard.
I think I resented taking out youngest son more than the others because there was then no child left at home. My daughter, Anna, had been married to Curtis Dali, so she was already full of hei own affairs. The afLernoon betoie the nominations were finally nude, John J. Raskob, then chairman of the National Democratic Committee, and Governoi Smith asked me to come to talk with them.
This was no sur- prise foi I had heaid that GovcmoL Smith wanted my husband to run. However, I knew Fianklm felt he should continue his treatment at Waim Springs, where lie was at the lime. They told me how much they wanted him to run, and asked me it 1 thought it. I said I did not know; that 1 had been told the doctors felt that if he continued with his exeicises and swimming at Waim Springs he might improve.
My husband himself once laughingly said that if he lived long enough he might lie able to walk again, hut ptog- ress was slow and I sometimes wondoicd how much more could he achieved. Both Governor Smith and Mr. If, how- ever, it was not simply Ins health, but other reasons which kept him from consenting, they would like to know it.
I said I did not think any other reasons were paramount, and that I felt he thought the pos- sibility of making further improvement in his health was woilli a try. Also, having undertaken a heavy financial responsibility in Warm Springs, he felt an obligation to try to make it a success. Raskob and the Ford family.
Raslcob and Gov- ernoi Smith questioned me closely about this and Mr. I told him I was sure it would not. Raslcob talked to Franklin, he offered to lend him for a year a veiy large sum of money if that would relieve him and make it possible for him to lun for governor. My husband did not consider this loan, but in October of that year Mr.
Fie had visited some friends there, Mr. Lynn Pierson, who evidently succeeded in interesting him. Many othei people gave large and small amounts in those early days, but the list before me gives only the sums donated generously by Mr. Raslcob and I talked over the situation, they asked me if I would be willing to try to get my husband on the telephone and ask him to run for governor.
They had been try- ing all clay to reach lnm and had not been able to. I answered that I would not ask him to do anything he felt he should noL do, let alone run for office. I nevci felt it was right to tiy to influence decisions of this kind, I told them, and I certainly did not feel it was right at that time. I insisted that he must make his own decisions, but I said I would he willing to try to get him on the telephone.
We parted for a few hours. They put in a call to my husband for me early in the evening and found that he had gone to Manchester, Geor- gia, to make a speech and could not he reached until he returned to Warm Springs. Time wore on, and it looked as though I would not get him on the telephone before I had to take a train to New York City with Miss Dickerman, She had come up to the convention with Miss Cook to help with any work the women's division of the state committee might have, hut we both had to be at the school teaching our classes the next morning.
I finally succeeded in getting Franklin on the telephone at the Foundation after his return. I chd not know until the following morning when I bought a newspaper that my hus- band had been persuaded finally to accept the nomination. I never heard him say later whether he regretted his decision oi not. Having decided, he put any other possibility out of his mind. I sometimes wonder whether I really wanted Franklin to run.
I im- agine I accepted his nomination and latei his election as I had accepted most of the things that had happened in life thus far: It seemed a routine matter, and at first they thought it would not affect their own lives very greatly. He always thought in terms of the future, and he had planned that Franklin should he a candidate four or eight years thence.
Louis feared that if Governor Smith lost nationally, it might not he possible for Franklin to cany the state for the governorship, which might spoil any chance he had for future political office. I used to laugh at Louis and say one could not plan every move in this woild; one had to accept circumstances as they developed. That was one thing that Louis hated to do.
Fie liked to feel that he domi- nated circumstances and, so far as it was humanly possible, he often did. Since l had started to work in the national office, Franklin Celt I was obligated to continue theie, and that took the gicaler pait of my time. I think he did not expect to cany the state if Govemoi Smith lost the presidency, and when we left the state headquarters at a veiy late hour on election night, we wcic still unceitain of the outcome The next morning, when the final figuies wcie in, my husband was governor-elect by a very nanow margin.
I think he had a feeling that it was a great tribute to him to have been elected when Governor Smith, who had such a laige following in the state, had been defeated. On that election night I visited the national as well as the state campaign headquai teis and I thought that Governor Smith accepted his defeat very gallantly It must have been haul Tor him to have had Franklin elected, while lie himself was defeated, hut he nevei showed it in any way.
I doubt very much whether that was true. I think he fell, as most men do when they are running for office, that he was going to win, and he could not have expected to watch very closely what went on in the state if he were in Washington. Elowever, after his defeat I think he may have expected to remain in close touch. One of the ways in which he undoubtedly expected to keep his hold on the state government was through Mrs. He suggested a number of times to my husband that she would he invaluable to him, and each time Franklin replied that while he had great respect for Mrs.
He thought it impossible for anyone to transfer loyalty after woiking so long and so closely with someone else. Governor Smith, had asked Fianklin to nominate him for the presidency and to run on the state ticket as governor because of the fact that Franklin would bring him needed strength. However, I 48 The Governorship Years: There aie two kinds of snobbishness.
That of the man who has had a good many opportunities and looks down on those who lack them is usually recognized by all. The other kind of snobbishness is rarely understood, yet it is real. It is that of the self-made man, who glories in his success in overcoming difficulties and admiies greatly people who have achieved the things he considers of importance. Governor Smith, for instance, had a great deal of respect for material success. He ad- mired men who, like John Raskob, had made a success in business through their own elfoi ts or who in some other way had made a name in the world in spite of modest beginnings.
But he tended to look down on a man who had not met and conquered the situations he himself had— a man like Franklin, who was content not to make a great deal of money so long as he had enough to live comfortably. The fact that Franklin would spend money on a picture or on the first edition of a book but would economize on food and clothes and entertainment was hard for him to understand.
Governor SmiLh always wore expen- sive clothes, because they indicated material success; he liked to eat in well-known restaurants; he liked good food and specially prepared dishes. When we went to Albany, the domestic staff in the Mansion was troubled because they felt they could not cater adequately for us. For instance, they had always had to make monumental desserts for the Smiths, and thought we would expect even grander dishes.
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They were greatly relieved when they learned that we ate very simple food- like our traditional scrambled eggs for Sunday-night suppers. Franklin could see no sense in spending money in a restaurant when he had a home to eat in, and he had a lot of little economies. When we vveie fust mairicd, he ashed me one day what I had done with a pair of his shoes, and 1 said 1 had sent them to he soled, hie thought I meant sold and was veiy angiy. In those days I think that in some ways I understood Governor Smith better than Franklin did, because during my intensive work with the Democratic State Committee while Franklin was ill 1 had had more opportunity to observe him from different points ol view.
While he and Franklin had known each other I or a long lime, they were never really intimate. Franklin thought only of his ability as an administrator, as a campaigner, as a statesman and as governor, and he had the greatest admiration for his knowledge of government. I agreed that he had an extraordinary flair for government and that his memory and his knowledge of New York state were phenomenal. In- deed, I believed in him and considered him a great man in many ways, and I worked for him.
I thought that had he been elected president, he would have chosen his cabinet well, even though his knowledge of the country as a whole was slight and his advisers in the state knew little of the nation. However, I never felt he could have handled our foreign relations or gauged what was happening in the world as a whole. Also, I thought him less of a humanitarian than most people did, crediting Mrs.
Moskowitz with the social welfare plans for which he was generally acclaimed, and which he carried out, I thought, largely because he knew they were politically wise. I think he always felt that since he had risen from modest beginnings, others could be expected to The Governorship Years: Nevei ihelcss, he had fine qualities; he was loyal, and completely devoted to his chinch, his family and his friends, and he fieicely resented any atticism of those he loved. Once, I recall, when someone asked Mis Smith to take off a few strands of peads for a campaign photogneph, he turned swiftly and commanded: It would not work; and he soon discovcied that it would not work and left Albany for New York City.
He was disappointed and piobably felt that he was not being treated fauly by the man he had biought into office— an emotional reaction which he could not control. Franklin himself, howcvei, felt that his success stemmed from his own action in accepting. The request to run had been made to help Governor Smith, not Franklin D. Roose- velt, and it was on that basis and that basis alone that the appeal had been considered. In many ways Governor Smith did not know my husband. It never occuned to Franklin that he was not going to be the Governor of New York with all the responsibility and work which that position carried.
That ended the close relation- ship between my husband and Governor Smith, though there was no open break, so far as I ever knew. Fianklin had some very clear ideas about state government. He studied the reorganization plans that had been initiated under Gov- ernor Smith and I think he approved practically everything that he had done. His attitude toward the objectives that later were developed on a national scale was apparent in his appioach to questions in the state.
This I Remember He pushed old-age pensions, for instance. I can remember one letter, similar to many others which came to me while 1 was in Albany, which started: You told me then that the Legis- lature had not made its final decisions. Will you please tell me what I am entitled to now? Franklin has been accused of giving labor too much power, but bis effort was simply to equalize the power of labor and capital.
FIis particular personal inteicst was in soil conservation and foioslry. However, his interest in the development of water power, in the Indian problem, transportation problems generally, education, and finally in relief and general welfare was also stimulated by bis expot ience in the first place as the administrator of a state. All these objectives, as well as his understanding of them, were expanded during the presidential years. And because he had tiaveled so extensively even before he was president, he knew how different the problems were in different areas of the country.
All this was excellent preparation for the years ahead. I am sure that when he found he could again play an active part in politics he took a satisfaction in the purely political side of the struggle, rn achieving new office. It rs hard to disassociate his ambition and enjoyment of the science of politics for its own sake from his desire to achieve through political action real gains for the people, first of the state and then of the nation, and finally of the world.
The objectives grew as circumstances developed the need for The Governorship Years: The woilc in Albany was, of course, invaluable as background for the work that was to come. Later, in Washington, I often wished thaL it were possible for him to carry out with the Democratic representatives there— even though the paity was in the majonty— the kind of educational work he had done in Albany with the Democratic legislators.
Judge Rosenman was his counsel and sat in with him, and there were occasional meetings when all the legislation backed by the administration was talked over and explained and the entire campaign mapped out. I spoke of ibis a number of times after we got to Washington, but my husband always said the group in Gongiess was too large and lie did not sec how it was possible to hold the same type of meeting.
The yeais in Albany cast their shadow before them. Thomas Parran was Com- missioner of Public Health, Henry Morgenthau, junior, was Conserva- tion Commissioner, Many experiments that were later to be incor- porated into a national program were being tried out in the state. Another gieat and learned man who also had his influence on Franklin was Justice Holmes. Franklin had known him quite well when he, Franklin, was Assistant Secretary This I Remember 54 of the Navy, and he often joined the Sunday-aftcrnoon meetings that Justice Holmes held with some of the young men in Washington at thaL time.
Franklin admiiccl him greatly, I know, and believed deeply in his ideas and ideals. Fie realized thaL Wilson had certain weaknesses— fox instance, an inability to put him- self across with people as an individual— but he also realized how well Wilson gauged public opinion and how far reaching was the influence of what he wrote and said in his public speeches. There is no question in my mind but that all thiee of these great men had an effect on Franklin that was evident in his actions both as governor and as pres- ident. My own life during those governorship years was a full one. In my teaching I really had for the first time a job that I did noL wish to give up.
This had led to my planning to spend a few days every week in New York City, except during school vacations. I realize now that it was a foolish thing for me to have done, since while I probably fulfilled all the obligations that went wiLh my position as the wife of the governor and hostess in the Executive Mansion, I did not have much time to make real friends or to see much of the Albany people outside of Lire official routine. I did see some old friends. Charles Fayerweather became close friends. Mary Hun now Mrs. Latei Walter Brown became secietary to Gov- ernor Lehman.
James Kieran was also in the Albany group, but he chd not go to Washington.
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James Mahoney, who was chief clerk at the Executive Offices under Governor Smrth, stayed on with my husband and we often saw him with his wrfe and children at the Mansion. Lieutenant Governor and Mrs. Would you like to report poor quality or formatting in this book? Click here Would you like to report this content as inappropriate? Click here Do you believe that this item violates a copyright?
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