Washington Press Club Foundation
The Eleanor Roosevelt Press Conferences
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Meeting Minutes, December 18, 1962

Report on the first meeting of the Women's National Press Club Eleanor Roosevelt Memorial Committee on December 17, 1962 in the WNPC office.

Present at the meeting: Josephine Ripley, chairman; Bess Furman, May Craig, Jackie Martin, Lillian Levy, Ann Free. Esther Tufty was absent.

The Committee accepted with some alterations:
The proposal set forth by Ann Free to establish a WNPC Eleanor Roosevelt award, in the form of a golden candlestick, to be given to the person whose contribution to life has been carried on in the selfless tradition of Eleanor Roosevelt.

Though no binding votes were taken it was the consensus that the award should be given to an American woman. It could be given annually or less often. It would be given at one of the large Club dinners, possibly the Editor's or Diplomatic dinner. The American Ambassador to the United Nations would be invited as a special guest each year. Adlai Stevenson would be present each year to light the candle or to take part in the ceremony. A Women's National Press Club Eleanor Roosevelt Memorial Commission would be established to handle the mechanics of the award and all problems attendant thereto. The Commission's membership of seven would begin with the one sitting as of December 18, 1962. Varying terms of office would be worked out so that it would have continuity of viewpoint and new viewpoints as well. It recommended that Ann Free, having proposed the idea of the golden candlestick award, be made a permanent member. The Commission would select the jury of five distinguished individuals, preferably residing in Washington. The Jury would have terms of office of different lengths so as to maintain continuity yet to bring in new faces.

The Chairman was asked to notify Patty Cavin the WNPC president and with her make arrangements for presentation of the proposal to the Board of Governors. It was also proposed that the Commission and the President meet with Adlai Stevenson, acquaint him with the idea and receive his suggestions.

It was recommended that the committee become a Commission.

The Commission members were asked not to divulge the proposal.

Mrs. Free was instructed to send her proposal or a memorandum to Miss Ripley and to herself registered mail the next day in order that a common law copyright could be taken on the proposal and more particularly the idea of the award being in the form of a golden candlestick. The idea of the candlestick was inspired by Adlai Stevenson's tribute to Eleanor Roosevelt the day of her death November 7, 1962: "She would rather light candles than curse the darkness and her glow has warmed the world."

News Release from the Women's National Press Club, Washington, DC

Hold for Release, Friday AMs, April 19, 1963

Creation of an Eleanor Roosevelt Memorial Award by the Women's National Press Club was announced by W.N.P.C. President Patty Cavin at the Club's annual dinner on Apri1 18.

This award will be given annually to an American woman whose contribution to humanity has been carried out in the selfless tradition of Mrs. Roosevelt.

It will be in the form of a golden candlestick, symbolic of Ambassador Adlai Stevenson's tribute to Mrs. Roosevelt at the time of her death, November 7, 1962, when he said:
"She would rather light candles than curse the darkness and her glow has warmed the world."

Arrangements for design of this candlestick are in the hands of Galt & Brother, Inc., Washington jewelers since 1802.

Winner of the Eleanor Roosevelt Award will be selected by a distinguished panel of five judges: United Nations Ambassador Stevenson; singer Marian Anderson; Mrs. Edison Dick, U.S. Representative on the Social Commission of the United Nations Economic and Social Council; Mrs. Esther Peterson, Assistant Secretary of Labor, and Abba Schwartz, Administrator of the Bureau of Security and Consular Affairs of the Department of State.

Nominations for this award will be made by members of the Women's National Press Club to the Eleanor Roosevelt memorial Commission.

Members of the W.N.P.C. composing the Commission are: Josephine Ripley, The Christian Science Monitor, chairman; Ann Cottrell Free, North American Newspaper Alliance, assistant chairman; May Craig of the Portland (Me.) Press Herald; Esther Van Wagoner Tufty, Tufty News Bureau; Jackie Martin, Creative Communications; Bess Furman Armstrong, National Institutes of Health, and Lillian Levy, National Jewish Post.

The first award will be made next fall.

Mrs. Roosevelt was admired by newspaper women. Her press conferences, the first to be held on a regular basis by a First Lady, were a source of news and contributed during the depression days to job opportunities for women reporters.

She became a member of the Women's National Press Club in 1938, as author of a syndicated newspaper column.


Cover of the program from the March 4, 1964
Eleanor Roosevelt Golden Candlestick Award.

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