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Treasures from the Archives
When Eleanor Roosevelt came to town, Midwest met Mideast

and national headlines

Mrs. Roosevelt met with reporters in the Helman residence. These photographs
are by Jerry Durnbaugh, former editor of
The Wabash Plain Dealer

(Click for enlargement)
Related link:
Manchester College Archives


Jan. 17, 1957, was blustery in the old auditorium, radiators banging. On stage was perhaps the most famous woman in America, former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt. For her speech (“Is America Facing World Leadership?”) she lectured on economic aid, the United Nations, and peace.

As chair of the Public Programs Series, Professor Paul W. Keller ’35 negotiated the visit, paying a $1,000 fee to The Leigh Bureau of Lectures and Entertainments.

Roosevelt told the capacity audience she was unimpressed with the “Eisenhower Doctrine” for the Middle East, calling it an extension of the “Truman Doctrine” to meet Middle East armed aggression with force. She said that while channeling economic aid through the United Nations might bolster confidence in the recipient countries, Congress would not accept such an indirect route for American taxpayer money.

“The United States has supported the United Nations very well, but of course it’s practical to use our own diplomatic machinery when possible,” said Mrs. Roosevelt, who was a delegate to the U.N. General Assembly from 1945 to 1952.

Of course, she talked of peace at the home of the nation’s oldest peace studies program: “Our chances for peace are fairly good, if we use the United Nations and if the leadership in the U.N. is wise. Nobody wants war and when nobody wants war, it is a good thing.”

Shoulder-to-shoulder with northeast Indiana media was Mary Bitting ’59x
, reporter for The Oak Leaves.

While initially to stay in a new hotel in town, construction was delayed and Mrs. Roosevelt became the first “notable guest” at the home of new President A. Blair Helman and MC First Lady Pat Helman. (Tall Oaks did not open until 1970.)

“She arrived in a bedraggled state, sporting knee socks and tennis shoes …,” recalled Mrs. Helman. “I showed her to the guest bedroom up the long flight of stairs, and apologized because she would be sharing the bathroom with our two daughters.”

Alas, Mrs. Helman had forgotten to warn Mrs. Roosevelt that the bathroom
door was persnickety. “Pretty soon, I heard a frantic, high voice saying over and over, “Help me, somebody please help me!”

TREASURES: 260-982-5361

In this issue
With our Mission as our compass and many fine copilots
from the president

Manchester University
Manchester will become a University on July 1

Religion: It's academic
Study in religion is a tradition, today and in the beginning
123 years ago

Leadership by Mission
Moving faster and further than any in history

How to put Students First!
A giving opportunity for each and every alum

Alumni Authors
They rhyme and they research

Philanthropy 101
Linda Murbach ’62 remembers Manchester

Profiles of ability and conviction

1957: When First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt came to town

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