Eleanor Roosevelt – My Day: March 1-7

March 3, 1938

“NEW YORK, Wednesday—…Do you ever find that something you hear about today, puts you in close touch with some entirely unexpected person tomorrow? I walked into the Steinway Building the other morning and was taken up to see the members of the firm and our friend Mr. Junge. After the first greetings, Mr. Steinway said to me:

“I have a boy at Bard College near your home, and we are so much interested in it because of his interest and pleasure in his work there.”

Only last week, at Hyde Park, one of my country friends, Mrs. Hamm, who has a marvelous roadside stand on the Albany Post Road, came to see me and begged me to help them keep this small college open because it meant so much to their community. I confess I had never thought of it from the community point of view.

She explained that up as far as Hudson and down as far as Poughkeepsie, this college served the people of the countryside. The professors made speeches at local club meetings. The people Bard College brought from the outside world for lectures or for music, created opportunities of interest to everyone. The college gave work to people nearby and trade to the shops, but it was really the loss it would mean in cultural opportunities which stirred the whole rural community. One thing the College music department has done, for instance, is to draw numbers of people in to sing in a neighborhood chorus. This has brought pleasure to the participants and an increased appreciation of music.

It seems to me that when a small college means enough to its people and the countryside, for them to go out and raise money to keep it open, as Mr. Steinway tells me his boy and other pupils and people are doing, it is fulfilling its educational function so well it deserves the interest of the public. I hope the college will also receive a measure of outside support.”