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August 26, 1933

“Vassar was the scene of Dutchess County’s official welcome to President and Mrs. Franklin D. Roosevelt, part of a county-wide ‘Neighbors Day’ celebration. Mr. Roosevelt spoke from the porch of the President’s House, talking informally on Dutchess County history to some 6,000 guests in what was reportedly an early use of a public address system.

Welcoming the President, President MacCracken recalled rumors at the time of Roosevelt’s nomination: ‘he was thought to be timid. He was rumored to be weak. Worst of all, we heard he was aristocratic. [Vassar] had never known such a man, and we wondered whom they had considered.’ But now, he said, ‘a great chorus of praise and pride has filled our ears. A man stands out whom everybody knows…. He has taught us to be strong. He has kindled his courage in our own hearts. He has drawn for us a clear and definite plan by which, through sacrifice and cooperation, American democracy may survive. And best of all, he has placed human values first, and has affirmed that the state exists for the welfare of all, and not least for the common men and women like his neighbors.’”

After sharing his boyhood recollections of Dutchess County, Roosevelt turned to the current situation. A full minute’s cheering followed his declaration that ‘It is…true that the people, through government, are extending as a permanent part of American life—and not for one year or two years—they are extending their insistence that individuals and associations of individuals shall cease doing many things that have been hurting their neighbors in bygone days.’ ”

Elizabeth A. Daniels, Bridges to the World: Henry Noble MacCracken and Vassar College

The Years