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WASHINGTON, Friday—Last night we had a rather large gathering of various family groups at Christmas dinner. The number of cousins was really quite amusing. I think the complications of family relationships, as regards my husband and myself, became completely baffling to our English guests. I tried to explain to Lord Beaverbrook,1 what relation my husband is to Mrs. Theodore Douglas Robinson,2 and I think at the end he was as mystified as if I had never attempted an explanation!

When you tell some one, that the lovely lady sitting opposite him is your husband's half-niece, that she married your first cousin, and that he was her sixth cousin, whereas you are married to your fifth cousin once removed, and are also her sixth cousin and that her children, in order to simplify life, say "Uncle Franklin and Auntie Eleanor," when the relationship is really only that of a half great—uncle;3 you may well imagine that you have led anyone, no matter how great his interest in genealogy through a maze from which there is no emerging!

Field Marshal Sir John Dill,4 celebrated his birthday as well as Christmas here last night. I wish I had known sooner, for I would certainly have provided him with a birthday cake.

A few old friends were here with us as usual, and we drank the usual toasts to absent family and friends, adding one toast in tribute to our British guests. After dinner, we had newsreels, featuring both the Prime Minister5 and the President, and then sang some Christmas carols together before saying goodnight and letting the President, the Prime Minister and Lord Beaverbrook go back to work again.

I was a little late at the office this morning on purpose. My office force, however, was all there ahead of me. So many people left Washington for the weekend, that there was comparatively little to do.

After clearing up the mail and seeing one or two members of the staff, I listened on the radio to the Prime Minister's speech in the Senate, and then came home to a late luncheon. I am planning to devote the afternoon to telling some of the kind people who sent me Christmas gifts how much I am enjoying them.

It will be quite impossible for me, of course, to thank the many people who have sent the President and me Christmas cards and telegrams, but I want to say here how grateful we are for their thoughts & the confidence and affection which so many of them expressed.


Copyright, 1941, by United Feature Syndicate, Inc.

Footnotes & Resources

  1. Baron Max Aitken Beaverbrook, 1879-1964, British newspaper publisher, Minister for Aircraft Production (1940-41) Minister of Supply (1941-42), Minister of War Production (1942) and Lord Privy Seal (1943-45) in the British Cabinet; accompanied British Prime Minister Winston Churchill to Washington in December 1941
  2. Helen Roosevelt Robinson, 1881-1962, Half-Niece of Franklin D. Roosevelt
  3. James Roosevelt Roosevelt, 1854-1927, Half-brother of Franklin Delano Roosevelt
  4. Sir John Dill, 1881-1944, British Field Marshal and British military representative in Washington, D.C. during WWII
  5. Sir Winston Churchill, 1874-1965, Statesman, orator and author, British prime minister (1940-1945)

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