Eleanor Roosevelt Speaks on ‘Peace’ at the University of Idaho

First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt traveled to the University of Idaho campus in 1938 at the invitation of U of I’s William E. Borah Foundation to speak on the subject of peace.

Eleanor Roosevelt at Press Conference
Eleanor Roosevelt at Press Conference

Roosevelt’s history as an advocate for peace and human rights made her a fitting speaker for what would be the first ever Borah Symposium, a program that continues to this day. A March 29th, 1938 Argonaut newspaper article describes her speech and other details of her visit to Moscow and the University of Idaho campus:

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Argonaut Issue March 29th, 1938, "Lady Eleanor"

Like her uncle, former president Theodore Roosevelt, Eleanor Roosevelt planted a commemorative Douglas Fir tree in the lawn in front of the University of Idaho Administration Building during her visit. The tree can be seen today across from the main entrance to the building.

Eleanor Roosevelt Plants Tree
Eleanor Roosevelt Plants Tree

Eleanor Roosevelt wrote a nationally syndicated newspaper column called “My Day” from 1935 to 1962. The collection is held and made available by the Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Project at George Washington University in Washington, D.C. In her column, Roosevelt described aspects of her daily life, from the books she read to her public appearances. In the March 29, 1938 entry, she briefly describes her visit to the Palouse as a “revelation.”

Eleanor Roosevelt Touring U of I Campus
Eleanor Roosevelt Touring U of I Campus

This exhibit is composed of photos curated from the University of Idaho Historical Photos Collection and Ott Historical Photographs Collection, and newspaper articles from The Argonaut Student Newspaper Digital Collection.

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