"My Day" by Eleanor Roosevelt
April 11, 1939
[download as PDF]
WASHINGTON, Monday—We came down to Washington yesterday evening to find the trees in bud, the fountains playing outside the White House and the daffodils all in bloom along Pennsylvania Avenue and in the little garden on which my window looks down. One magnolia tree is completely out and everything looks as though spring has arrived. Yet, in Hyde Park, we had snow Sunday morning, and they tell me they even had a flurry of it here.
I had everything tidied up and put to rights in my room before I went to bed last night and found it quite exciting to look into the few pacakages containing things which I had bought in San Francisco. It was like discovering something entirely new.
This morning dawned clear and sunny, much to my joy, for it means a much happier time for the children and their parents who are on the South Lawn for the egg rolling. At 9:15 the Easter lilies flown from Bermuda, as a gift from the Governor of Bermuda, were presented to me and they are now making the West Hall on the second floor beautiful.
Eleanor Roosevelt at the 1939 Easter Egg Roll. Library of Congress
At 9:30 I went out on the South Portico steps and found a group of children from Friendship House, a small settlement house here in Washington, waiting to be photographed with me. They carried their baskets with eggs to roll on the lawn. One child had a large and substantial cookie out of which she had already taken one bite. Being photographed had very little interest for them, but they submitted to it with good grace. Have you ever noticed how often the undernourished children of the poor seem particularly docile? They do as they are told, they sit wherever you put them, and the paler and frailer they are the more quiet they are. This group was then removed from the steps and taken out on the lawn. Another group, from the House of the Good Samaritans, came up with a large basket of flowers and sat with me on the steps and had their photographs taken.
Little Diana Hopkins
is still our guest until after the children's party this afternoon, so she went out with me and we made our way through the small early morning crowd down to the bandstand where a group of boys from the Montgomery County High School were playing for the crowd.
I had a press conference at 11:00 o'clock, and everyone went out on the lawn when the President returned from Warm Springs and greeted the crowd from the South Portico. This time it looked as though we were going to break all records for attendance at these egg-rollings.
When the President's greeting was over, I went down to the bandstand again and thanked the Metropolitan Police Boys Band, which had just begun to play after the Loew's Capitol Cadet Band had finished. We had an opportunity, too, to thank Mr. Harry Baker
and Mr. J. Leonard Reh
, who provided entertainment for the children. Mr. Reh knew President Theodore Roosevelt
, so he has been bringing happiness to Easter Monday groups for a long time.
Then the Minister from Finland
and the representatives for the fund which is being raised for the Olympic Games were photographed with me and the orgy of photographing ended.
Copyright, 1939, by United Feature Syndicate, Inc.
The White House Historical Association | White House History