Day 26: Eleanor Roosevelt in India
In 1952 Eleanor made a significant trip to Asia – a month of which was spent in India. Having been invited by Indian prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru, Eleanor chronicled her trip through her “My Day” columns and later in her book India and the Awakening East. Through her writings she worked on educating Americans on what was a little-known country at the time.
Her “My Day” column from March 3, 1952 talks about her excitement at finally visiting India:
It is very exciting to be in India after reading my father’s letters of many years ago, which told of his trip under very different circumstances 89 years ago. Meeting people from here and reading books about it are not quite the same as seeing with one’s own eyes. It is really a joy to feel that I have accomplished something I have talked about and hoped for, but really did not ever expect to see. My impressions are becoming very well crystallized in my mind as I go forward on this trip, and it is certainly most interesting to see the difference that a landscape takes on when it is peopled by so many more inhabitants than one would see at home in the same area of space.
“This is the first time since I’ve been in the White House that we have received a woman Chief of State. Add to this the particular alchemy of the Nehru name and the size of the Indian country as an Asian democracy and you have a day alive with drama.”
— Lady Bird Johnson, in A White House Diary, New York: Dell Books, 1971, pg 411. Photo: LBJ Library C1563-6, public domain. This photo was taken on the North Portico of the White House, at the State Dinner for Prime Minister Indira Gandhi on 3/28/1966.
Letter from India
Lillian Carter, mother of President Jimmy Carter, wrote this letter to Mrs. Walter Spann while she was a Peace Corps volunteer in India. Mrs. Carter was 70 years old at the time.8/15/68.
Fifty years ago, Jacqueline Kennedy went on a goodwill trip to India and Pakistan. Here’s the First Lady at the Taj Mahal, Agra, India. March 15, 1962.
This is kind of, well, magical.
Magic Moments is a 1963 short motion picture on Jacqueline Kennedy’s visit to India. Highlights include the First Lady with her sister, Princess Lee Radziwill; atop an elephant; watching classical Indian dance; and stops in New Delhi, the Taj Majal, and Jaipur.
Produced by the Films Division of the Government of India, now part of the public domain.
Happy birthday to all who share this day with Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis!