THE PRESIDENCY: Farthest North

  • Share
  • Read Later

(2 of 2)

¶The President constantly received State Department bulletins on the war temperature of Europe, repeatedly assured newshawks following him on the destroyer Lang that he knew no more than what was in the newspapers.

¶ Mrs. Roosevelt received a letter, Mr. Roosevelt a telegram, from Rev. Major J. Divine ("Better Known as Father Divine") asking if they had any objection to his followers' buying the 700-acre old Frederick W. Vanderbilt place hard by the Roosevelt estate at Hyde Park, "as a private residence for me and my staff, and as a place where I can receive distinguished guests." Mrs. Roosevelt replied: "There can be no reason against any citizen of our country buying such property as he wishes to acquire." Secretary Steve Early echoed this thought and explained to Father Divine that the President had hoped whoever bought the Vanderbilt place would preserve it as an arboretum, which it has been since it was first laid out and planted by Dr. John Bard, physician to George Washington. Delighted, Father Divine wrote back that the arboretum idea should most certainly be carried out: he and his staff would occupy only a suite in the main building, make the lower floor a public museum. Father Divine closed with his usual benediction: ". . . This leaves me well, healthy, joyful, peaceful, lively, loving, successful, prosperous and happy in spirit, body and mind and in every organ, muscle, sinew, joint, limb, vein and bone and even in every atom, fiber and cell of my bodily form. . . ."

When she learned who it was that had been negotiating for the estate, Mrs. James Laurens Van Alen, the Vanderbilt heiress, indignantly announced: "No sale!"

¶ "I have completed the period of service contemplated when I became United States Minister to Canada last May and have resigned effective August 20." So wrote Daniel Calhoun ("Uncle Dan") Roper, with plenty of flourishes, last week. Mr. Roosevelt thanked him, cogitated sending to Canada another Cabinet member: Secretary of War Harry Woodring.

  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. Next Page