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Eleanor Roosevelt and the University at Albany


Eleanor Roosevelt's last appearance at the just renamed State University College at Albany occurred in October 19, 1961 at the "Forum on Politics." Eleanor Roosevelt spoke on the topic "How the United States Can Best Influence the World Against Communism." While the speech does not survive, her 1954 book, It Seems To Me, acquired for the Two Millionth volume celebration, gives us good evidence of her attitude toward Communism. Far from being a bitter anti-Communist, Roosevelt defended the right of the Communist Party of America to exist and for Communists to publically advocate their beliefs in a free country, as long as they did not advocate the violent overthrow of the government (It Seems To Me, p. 138-39). Mrs. Roosevelt even took the unpopular position, in 1954, that students should be taught about Communism and Socialism, and that we could learn from those doctrines (It Seems To Me, p. 133). What she also made plain, was her absolute opposition to the Stalinist brand of police state Communism (It Seems To Me, p. 133-34). The following images are from the University Archives collections. (State College News, October 13, 1961.) Below photo of Mrs. Roosevelt, October 19, 1961, addressing the Forum on Politics at Page Hall. Seated on the stage, left to right, Dean Oscar E. Lanford, NYSCT President Evan R. Collins, Professor Mathew Ellson (University Archives photo).

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State College News, October 13, 1961

Eleanor Roosevelt at Page Hall, October 19, 1961

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Exhibit curated by Geoffrey Williams, University Archivist
Digital Exhibit by Brian Keough, Curator of Manuscripts & Lynn Dorwaldt, Graduate Assistant
M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections & Archives
Comments to the M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections & Archives Staff

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