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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Virginia Foster Durr, October 16, 1975. Interview G-0023-3. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Russia, World War II, Roosevelt, and Truman

When Roosevelt died, Durr believes, the attitude of the nation changed. She describes his death, funeral, and successor.

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Oral History Interview with Virginia Foster Durr, October 16, 1975. Interview G-0023-3. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

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And then during the war, you see, the relationships with Russia were pretty close. They'd have big concerts-Russian and American concerts to raise money for the wounded or the Red Cross. And people like Mrs. Daisy Harriman and Mrs. Eisenhower would be chairman. And you can imagine. They would have Constitution Hall draped with the Red flag and the US flag. The Russians would sing and dance, and the Americans would sing and dance. All these fashionable people. So during the war Russia was very popular and quite fashionable. And Mrs.-the one that was so rich and had so many husbands, you know, the Post Toasties lady; she was the heiress of the Post-Toasties. She had an enormous house and she'd been married a whole lot of times. Her husband got to be ambassador to Russia. Mrs. Margerie Post-Toast . . .Mrs. Margerie Post, she was. You never heard of her? Good God Almighty! She had a daughter who was an actress was very pretty, I can't remember her name either. But anyway she would open her house to Russian-American things. I was invited onee to be an aide or usher at some big Russian-American thing. Oh, Russia got to be very popular. I forget who the Ambassador was at that time. Maybe it was still Litviniv, but I doubt it. That was during the fighting, you know. And then you see the war was over, we had defeated Hitler. And then the Russians and the Americans met on the Elbe and shook hands. This was going to be a whole new day. Russia was going to become democratic, and American was going to become at least much more socialistic than it had been. But in the meantime, you see, the great moment of triumph came after Roosetier died. But it was his death that really marked the end of the New Deal, if you know what I mean. And I can remember the day of . . . Of course I went into town, we went into town to see the funeral cortege-took the children. People were just lining the streets by the thousands and thousands all of them just dissolved into tears. And then he lay in state as I remember at the capitol. And then he was buried up in Hyde Park. [Were you and Cliff personally destraught over his death?] Well we were as the President, but we were not destraught on a personal basis, because we'd never known him that well. In fact we'd only met him, you know, at big parties. We never were part of the White House entourage you see. We admired him as president. But he gave you a feeling of safety, which I've been trying to . . .You know as long as Roosevelt was there you felt like something was going to get done and things were going to be ok. You had a mighty champion on your side. So then Truman came in and Cliff had known Truman fairly well because Truman was investigating some of the war industries to see if they were making too much money or grafting at all. He thought Truman was a nice little fellow, and smart, pretty smart. But he got on with Truman very well you know. It was only the loyalty order that broke him up with Truman, because he thought Truman was a nice little fellow, and he liked him. Anyway the war was over. So then here we were.