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First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt
Visits Mount Holyoke College

Above, Eleanor Roosevelt accompanied by Capt. Herbert Underwood (left) and Major Hurst (right).Courtesy of MHC Archives (85)
On the steps of Mary Wooley Hall from left to rightt: Cmdr. Mildred McAfee, Mrs. Roosevelt, President Ham, and Captain Underwood. Courtesy of MHC Archives (86)

Mrs. Roosevelt with President Ham and Captain Underwood after viewing the marching cadets, March, 1943.Courtesy of MHC Archives (87)


First Lady Visits Mt. Holyoke
Eleanor Roosevelt made multiple visits to the Mount Holyoke campus before, during and after her husband's presidency. She became acquainted with the college in 1930, when she was invited to the Mount Holyoke Forum, a monthly event held to address the pressing issues of the day. She returned in April, 1931, to appear again at the Forum, this time to articulate the policies of the Democratic party against those of liberal progressive and journalist Heywood Broun.(88)

The photos above were taken during her third visit to South Hadley in March of 1943. The purpose of her visit was to promote the inauguration of the training facilities for women officers here and at Smith. She was very enthusiastic about the opportunity for women to participate in the armed forces.

The First Lady viewed the cadets while they marched down College Street to Mary Woolley Hall. She was joined for the occasion by Republican Governor Leverett Saltonstall, the two U.S. Senators from Massachusetts and other local dignataries. After inspecting the military activities, she addressed a joint group of Marines, students and WAVES in Chapin Auditorium. She congratulated the cadets on having the opportunity to learn "self discipline you would never have learned any other way." She reminded the audience that "human values count, not materials" and that their good fortune required they "face problems squarely and fulfill their responsibilities as women."(89)

Indicative of the times, as an added note, the First Lady was described as wearing a black dress with a white lace collar, a black hat and a corsage of gardenias.(91)

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