Eleanor Roosevelt – My Day: May 1-7

May 2, 1947

“HYDE PARK, Thursday—…The other day, I received from Sir Carl Berendsen a most beautiful wooden case made by disabled veterans of New Zealand. Of every variety of New Zealand wood, it contains three drawers. In one of them there was a bound collection of photographs taken during my visit to New Zealand a few years ago. In the second drawer, there was a bound collection of newspaper clippings, and in the third, a volume of clippings which appeared at the time of my husband’s death.

I spent quite a little while looking over the photographs and remembering the very beautiful New Zealand countryside. How courageous and independent her people are, and how well her men and women alike stood up under the sacrifices of the war!

New Zealand is largely an agricultural country. I remember how amused I was to see cows wearing coats in the fields. Women left alone during the war ran these large dairy and sheep farms without any help, for men were just not to be found. There is very little great wealth in New Zealand but, as far as I could see, no great poverty, either.

Hunting and fishing are popular sports. I was amused to have it pointed out to me that, though some of their trout had come from the United States, the transplanting had done wonders and the trout were now many times larger than they were in their original habitat.

There must be hundreds of young American men who spent some time in New Zealand during the war. And I am sure that none of them will ever forget the kindness and hospitality shown them by people who were harassed by troubles but who nevertheless found time to show their gratitude to us by being kind to our men stationed there.

It was Prime Minister Peter Fraser’s kind thought in sending me the wooden cabinet that has led to all of these reminiscences. I hope he will be pleased that, because of their historical value, I am putting the cabinet and the bound volumes it contains into the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library, where future students can examine them.”

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