Milestones, Jun. 28, 1937

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(See front cover)

In tiny Christ Church at Christiana Hundred, Del. next week, retired Powder-maker Eugene du Pont will give in marriage his eldest daughter Ethel to Franklin Delano Roosevelt Jr., third son and namesake of the U. S. President. To hundreds of thousands of U. S. citizens for whom the Duke & Duchess of Windsor's nuptials were more notorious than romantic, the union of Ethel du Pont and Franklin Roosevelt is Wedding-of-the-Year. No two families figure more prominently in the nation's industrial and political history. And no handsomer couple is likely to exchange vows anywhere on earth this June than the tall (6 ft. 4 in.), slim, Harvard oarsman and the lissome sportswoman who becomes his bride. But position and pulchritude were not so responsible for the Roosevelt-Du Pont wedding's capturing public imagination as the fact that it culminated as bang-up a love story as Kathleen Norris ever turned out, complete with secret trysts, irreconcilable families, desperate illnesses and a happy ending.

Love Story. The U. S. Public, which followed with unanimous interest (and mixed emotions) the two divorces and two remarriages (Anna's and Elliott's) in which the President's children participated during his first term, became aware in April 1934 that Franklin and Ethel du Pont were companions. The discovery was inescapable because the pair was attending a wrestling match in Philadelphia and Franklin, objecting to being photographed at the ringside, made a flying tackle at the Ledger's photographer and smashed his camera. "This man was taking a photograph of me," explained Franklin, "and I don't like to have my photograph taken." A member of his family has since revealed that a good part of Franklin's dislike of being photographed at Philadelphia may well have been due to his anxiety lest another, and at the time steadier, girl friend find out that he was having a date with Ethel. However, Franklin and Ethel were already old friends, having met, they now dimly recall, at a Groton dance several years before. And he was subsequently her guest at a dance at swank Ethel Walker School (Simsbury, Conn.).

Two months after the Philadelphia wrestling match episode, Franklin was a guest at Ethel's debut at Owls Nest, the Du Ponts' Greenville, Del. home. He subsequently visited her there and at a summer place at North Harbor, Me. When they appeared together at other debuts in Boston and Philadelphia the same year, society columnists began to predict a match. "Absolutely untrue," snapped Father du Pont. Nevertheless, Franklin bought a roadster in Wilmington and gave his address as Owls Nest Road.

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