Day 67 - Eleanor’s Childhood Trips to Switzerland
Between 1899 and 1902, Eleanor spent three years at Allenswood, an elite boarding school for girls near London. During holidays she frequently travelled throughout England and continental Europe visiting friends and relatives, including a trip in 1900 to St. Moritz, Switzerland.
From Eleanor’s autobiography:
As the summer holidays came nearer my excitement grew for I was to travel to Saint-Moritz in Switzerland to spend my holiday with the Mortimers.
My first view of these beautiful mountains was breath-taking, for I had never seen any high mountains. I lived opposite the Catskill Mountains in summer and loved them, but how much more majestic were these great snow-capped peaks all around us as we drove into the Engadine. The little Swiss chalets, built into the sides of the hills and with places under them for all the livestock that did not actually wander into the kitchen, were picturesque, but strange to my eyes with their fretwork decoration…
The hotels [in Saint-Moritz] all bordered the lake, and the thing that I remember best about my time there was the fact that Tissie and I got up every morning early enough to walk to a little café that perched out above the lake on a promontory at one end. There we drank coffee or cocoa and ate rolls with fresh butter and honey, the sun just peeping out over the mountains and touching us with its warm rays. I can still remember how utterly contented I was!
Jacqueline Kennedy was born on this day in 1929, in Southhampton, New York. She was named Jacqueline Lee Bouvier. Her father, John, was a stockbroker on Wall Street whose family had come from France in the early 1800s. Her mother, Janet, had ancestors from Ireland and England.
As a child, Jackie loved to read. Before she started school, she had read all the children’s books on her bookshelves. Her heroes were Mowgli from Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book, Robin Hood, Little Lord Fauntleroy’s grandfather, Scarlett O’Hara from Gone With the Wind, and the poet Byron.
Photo: Jacqueline Bouvier, 1935. Photograph by David Berne in the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston.
Betty Ford Fields Questions on Women’s Rights, Premarital Sex, Breast Cancer, Drugs, and Anything Controversial — Today in 1975.
Morley Safer’s interviewed Betty Ford for the CBS news program “60 Minutes.” They taped the interview in the White House Solarium on July 21, 1975.
The “60 Minutes” segment marked Mrs. Ford’s first extensive, exclusive TV interview. Safer questioned her on a number of topics including her experiences as a politician’s wife, openness about her breast cancer, and support for women’s rights, particularly the Equal Rights Amendment.
Safer noted that unlike many political wives, for Betty Ford “the higher your husband’s gotten, the more really controversial things have been said.” This interview would be no exception. She called the Supreme Court’s ruling to legalize abortion “a great, great decision,” and discussed premarital sex and the possibility of her children using drugs.
After the segment aired on August 10 the White House received a deluge of negative comments regarding Mrs. Ford’s position on these issues. Public mail ran 2 to 1 against Mrs. Ford, although more positive comments came in over time. In the long run her approval rating increased after the controversy died down.
According to Sheila Weidenfeld, Mrs. Ford’s press secretary, the First Lady later sent Safer an autographed picture inscribed, “If there are any questions you forgot to ask – I’m grateful.”
-from the Ford Library
July 17, 1940: Eleanor Roosevelt Addresses the Democratic National Convention on Behalf of FDR
On this day in 1940, Eleanor Roosevelt addressed delegates at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago on behalf of her husband, making her the first candidate’s spouse ever to do so. After her husband gained the nomination for an unprecedented third term, he asked Eleanor to ease the delegates’ concerns over his choice of controversial vice presidential candidate, Henry Wallace. In her speech, she called for unified action during a time of war.
Eleanor remained a Democratic Party figure after her husband’s death and was the first former First Lady to address national political conventions (1948, 1956 and 1960).
Photo: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division
On this day, July 8, 1975, Ford Officially Announced his Candidacy. During the primaries, President Ford faced a strong challenge by Ronald Reagan for the Republican nomination. He prevailed, and chose Senator Robert Dole of Kansas as his running mate.
Democratic candidate Jimmy Carter presented another tough contest in the general election.
As November 2 neared polls showed that President Ford had succeeded in narrowing Carter’s large lead. The race had been neck and neck throughout the campaign but the election returns revealed that Carter pulled ahead to win with 297 electoral votes to Ford’s 241.
President Ford called his opponent to offer his congratulations and, since his voice was nearly gone, Betty Ford read his concession statement to the nation.
During the balance of his administration President Ford worked on the 1978 budget, delivered his final State of the Union speech, and strove to facilitate a smooth transition.
On January 20, 1977, President Carter began his inaugural address with a special recognition: “For myself and for our nation I want to thank my predecessor for all he has done to heal our land.”
Pictured: President and Mrs. Ford wave to the crowd at the Republican National Convention in Kansas City, Missouri, on August 19, 1976.
-from the Ford Library
“Love Will Keep Us Together”
The Grammy Award-winning duo of Daryl Dragon and Toni Tennille performed at a state dinner honoring Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip of Great Britain on July 7, 1976.
Although the couple was invited to the dinner they did not attend as Dragon was feeling under the weather. They nevertheless kept their after dinner engagement, although they drew some negative comments from the press for performing “Muskrat Love” for Her Majesty.
The Fords were pleased by the evening’s entertainment. “Mrs. Ford and I want you to know how much we, and our guests, enjoyed ‘The Captain and Tennille,’” President Ford wrote in a thank you letter to Dragon. “We were particularly concerned because you were not feeling well, but, in keeping with the great tradition of show business, you managed to give a fine performance despite your illness.”
-from the Ford Library
First Lady Flags
After noticing the national flags flying on diplomats’ cars as they arrived at the White House as well as the American and Presidential flags displayed on the President’s car, Betty Ford had a question: “If the President gets flags, why shouldn’t the First Lady?”
In answer Dick Hartwig, then the head of Mrs. Ford’s Secret Service detail, and Rick Sardo, the White House Marine Corps aide, presented her with this specially designed flag on June 24, 1975. Sarah Brinkerhoff, a friend of Hartwig, handmade the pennant for the First Lady’s limousine.
Made of blue satin and trimmed in white lace with blue and red stars, the flag features a pair of red and white bloomers in the center as a play on Mrs. Ford’s maiden name, Bloomer. White text above the bloomers reads, “Don’t Tread on Me.” The letters “E.R.A.” below stand for the Equal Rights Amendment, an indication of Mrs. Ford’s strong support for the proposed amendment that would have given women equality under law through the United States Constitution.
Although it had been designed for her car Mrs. Ford kept the flag on display on her desk in the East Wing.
-from the Ford Library
First Lady Pat Nixon and President Richard Nixon reviewing supplies bound for Peru, June 28, 1970.
Mrs. Nixon organized a relief effort for Peru after a 7.9 “Great Peruvian Earthquake” occurred on May 31, 1970. She flew with a cargo plane loaded with aid supplies, and visited the hospitals, relief centers and hardest hit disaster areas. She was later awarded The Grand Cross of the Order of the Sun by the President of Peru, the highest honor and oldest historic medal Peru (and South America) bestows for valor. Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum Identifier: C3777-11A.
-from the Nixon Library