John F. Kennedy photo

Remarks Upon Signing Bill Incorporating the Eleanor Roosevelt Foundation

April 23, 1963


We have this morning signed into law the bill which makes permanent the Eleanor Roosevelt Foundation. I think we are all particularly indebted to Governor Stevenson for his willingness to assume a central responsibility in making this foundation a reality and also to Ambassador Klutznick who served with distinction, the United States, at the United Nations, who has relinquished a good many other responsibilities in order to take over the chairmanship of the fundraising drive.

We have here members of Mrs. Roosevelt's family, a good many of her oldest friends in the labor movement, Mr. Reuther, Mr. Meany, Mr. Dubinsky and others, Members of Congress, the Speaker of the House, Congressman Celler, who was the author of the bill, and a good many friends of Mrs. Roosevelt who worked with her in the United Nations and in other causes which so starred her life.

Mrs. Roosevelt lived in the White House longer than any other woman. She also made her experience in the White House a vivid one in that her influence spread far beyond its walls to all parts of the country and her identification was constant, her concern was permanent, for the great causes which were identified with her husband's life and which we identify with the best of America, concern for her fellow citizens, particularly those less fortunate.

So we are delighted to have this opportunity to welcome these old friends to this part of the house which she knew well and also to wish them every success. When they have completed their task, they will not only have memorialized Mrs. Roosevelt, who in the largest sense needs no memorial, but will also be contributing directly to those causes for which she marked her life. We are delighted, Governor, to participate in this kick-off.

We hope the American people will join in giving not only large gifts but also very small ones as a mark of the universal appreciation for her long work.

Note: The President spoke at 10 a.m. in the Flower Garden at the White House. Franklin D. Roosevelt, Jr., on behalf of the family, thanked the President for initiating the Foundation and expressed gratitude to the life-long friends of his mother who had agreed to serve as founders and trustees.

Preceding the President's remarks Adlai Stevenson, U.S. Representative to the United Nations, former Governor of Illinois, and Chairman of the Foundation, spoke briefly. Mr. Stevenson served earlier as chairman of a committee, established shortly after Mrs. Roosevelt's death, to study methods of perpetuating the major interests to which Mrs. Roosevelt had dedicated her life (see 1962 volume, this series, Item 505). The text of Mr. Roosevelt's and Mr. Stevenson's remarks was also released.

Among those attending the ceremony were three of Mrs. Roosevelt's sons, Franklin, Elliott, and John; Philip Klutznick, former U.S. Representative to the United Nations on the Economic and Social Council; Waiter Reuther, President of the Automobile Workers, AFL-CIO, George Meany, President of the AFL-CIO, and David Dubinsky, President of the International Ladies Garment Workers Union, three of the trustees of the Foundation; and Representative Emanuel Celler of New York.

In the act "to incorporate the Eleanor Roosevelt Memorial Foundation" (Public Law 88-11; 77 Stat. 8) are listed 26 members of the Board of Trustees, designated by the President. The appointment of 6 additional members was announced by the White House on August 19.

John F. Kennedy, Remarks Upon Signing Bill Incorporating the Eleanor Roosevelt Foundation Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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