"My Day" Editorial Method

All transcriptions, unless noted, are based on the text the United Features Syndicate wired its member/newspapers now preserved at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library. When no wire service copy could be located for a particular column, the editors searched newspapers which carried the column and compared their transcriptions of "My Day." Since each newspaper had the authority to edit the column, the editors printed the most complete column they could locate.

Publishing "My Day" was a three-step process. First, Eleanor Roosevelt dictated the column to her secretary, who transcribed the dictation and forwarded the transcribed text to the syndicate's copy desk via telegraph. Roosevelt expected the copy editors to correct their spelling and grammatical errors. Syndicate copy editors did not always correct these errors before distributing "My Day" to subscribers. When rushed, syndicate copy editors expected local newspaper copy editors to check the column before publishing it.

The "My Day" texts preserved in Eleanor Roosevelt's papers reflect this inconsistency. The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Project has decided to copy edit the columns. We corrected the un-proofed wire service copy. We did not, however, change her grammar, the length of the column or the subjects she addressed. Instead, to facilitate reading "My Day," the editors:

  • Corrected the spelling of all proper names (people, places and programs) where necessary
  • Corrected all other misspelled words
  • Standardized the spellings of foreign places; in cases where the spelling of a foreign place has changed, the editors retained the spellings Roosevelt's contemporaries would have used (e.g. Peiping for Beijing, China)
  • Standardized the spelling of such words as "today," which Roosevelt spelled as "to-day" in her early columns
  • Deleted periods in New Deal program abbreviations
  • Capitalized the word "negro" wherever it appeared (e.g. negro to Negro)
  • Lowercased the word "cottage" when it referred to ER's home at Val-Kill
  • Lowercased the word "state" when it stood alone reference state or nation (e.g. the State decided)
  • Standardized the random placement and capitalization of datelines
  • Standardized ER's closing signature to E. R.