Naomi Block Manners Stern collection of Eleanor Roosevelt correspondence undated, 1941-1962, 1972, 1974, 1976, 1984, 2003


This collection is mainly composed of correspondence between Ms. Stern and Mrs. Roosevelt, spanning the years from their first acquaintance in 1941 to Mrs. Roosevelt's decease in 1962. Letters that hold particular interest concern Ms. Stern's experience at the Summer Student Leadership Institute, and the White House. Additional material in the collection encompasses articles, newsclippings, programs, press releases, and photographs. The articles and newsclippings folder contains information pertaining to Ms. Stern's college career, the first Summer Student Leadership Institute, Mrs. Roosevelt's talk at Community Day, National Youth Association, and a donation of an ambulance to the war effort by Hunter college students. Naomi Block Manners Stern personal folder contains an article Naomi Block wrote in her college magazine, "Echo," describing her perceptions of President Roosevelt and Prime Minister Winston Churchill during her first visit at the White House. Also included is her graduation program, listing Mrs. Roosevelt as the main speaker, a commemoration of President Roosevelt in 1972 in which Ms. Stern took part, an article and press release describing Ms. Stern's career at Revlon, and a 2003 written summary of Ms. Stern's relationship with Mrs. Roosevelt. Photographs were taken by Naomi Block and others at the Summer Leadership Institute in 1941 portray identified fellow students, Mrs. Roosevelt, James Roosevelt, the Roosevelt home in Campobello, and Felix Frankfurter.Naomi SternNaomi Block first met Eleanor Roosevelt in the summer of 1941, when she attended the first Summer Student Leadership Institutes held at the Roosevelts' home in Campobello, New Brunswick, Canada. Selected to attend the Institute by the President of Hunter College, Naomi Block was one of five Student Government Associations Presidents attending the Institute that was sponsored by the International Student Service. The Institute was held for two years at the Roosevelt's home before it ended at the outbreak of the war. A total of 29 student leaders, composed of Student Government Association Presidents, college newspaper editors, and leaders of various student organizations assembled to take part in the five week session of lectures and discussions concerning the role of students in world affairs and campus policies. In addition to lectures conducted by Mrs. Roosevelt, visiting lecturers included Justice Felix Frankfurter, Archibald MacLeish, Walter White, and Louis Fischer. Ms. Stern writes;"...Mrs. Roosevelt not only lectured to us, but also spent time in workshops, evening discussions, and generally getting to know us..." Naomi Block's relationship with Mrs. Roosevelt continued after the first Summer Student Leadership Institute finished. In October 1941, Mrs. Roosevelt accepted her invitation to be the featured speaker at a Community Day at Hunter College. Later that year, at Naomi Block's request for advice concerning lobbying in Washington D.C. for college student's financial aid from the National Youth Administration (NYA), Mrs. Roosevelt invited her to stay at the White House. Naomi Block met the President and Winston Churchill, and talked to Senator Harry Truman regarding the NYA. In April 1942, Mrs. Roosevelt spoke at Hunter College's graduation, again in response to Naomi Block's request.Naomi Block's interest in government service was assisted by a second invitation to stay at the White House by Mrs. Roosevelt in September 1942. Mrs. Roosevelt supplied her with a letter of introduction to a government agency. Although Naomi Block was interviewed, she decided to withdraw her application to remain close to her family and her boyfriend. During this visit to the White House, Naomi Block again met the President, and Princess Martha of Norway. Later, Mrs. Roosevelt met Naomi and her fiancee at her home and sent the couple a generous wedding gift, being unable to actually attend the ceremony. Ms. Stern became a successful executive in the cosmetic industry, working at Revlon for twenty-eight years. She rose to become Vice-President of Revlon's retail services and training, becoming the second women to serve as Vice-President for the company. Ms. Stern was elected to the Hunter College Alumni Hall of Fame. She co-authored "Successful Cosmetic Selling" with Joan Degenshein and later retired to become a freelance consultant in her industry. Ms. Stern remained in contact with Mrs. Roosevelt throughout the former first lady's life, keeping in touch through holiday cards and gifts, and visiting her at Valkill in Hyde Park, later at 29 Washington Square West, and at 55 East 74th Street in New York. Ms. Stern summarizes her experiences with Mrs. Roosevelt; "Her presence does not leave my thoughts. So much of what I try to be. Impossible to achieve what well worth trying, I highly treasure my relationship with Mrs. Roosevelt."Related Materials: Phillips family Papers (of New York City and Philadelphia), Justine Wise Polier Papers and Shad Polier Papers.far0315NHPRCCAT - r

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