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Children Turn to the President and the First Lady for Help

During the Great Depression, many children wrote to the president and the first lady for support and guidance.

Eleanor Roosevelt had spoken often of her concern for the country's children.

"I have moments of real terror when I think we might be losing this generation. We have got to bring these young people into the active life of the community and make them feel that they are necessary."
--New York Times, 5/34

During her first year in the White House, Mrs. Roosevelt received 300,000 pieces of mail from adults and children. She continued to receive hundreds of thousands of letters in the years that followed.

The First Lady had a secretary who was in charge of the mail. Her secretary would read the mail and either reply to it or send it to another department for action. She would also select about 50 letters a day for Mrs. Roosevelt to read. The First Lady would sometime dictate replies to those letters.

A number of their letters follow.

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