Guide to the Naomi Block Manners Stern, Collection of Eleanor Roosevelt Correspondence, undated, 1941-1962, 1972, 1974, 1976, 1984, 2003
 
*P-715

Processed by Adina Anflick (August 2, 2002)

American Jewish Historical Society

Center for Jewish History

15 West 16th Street

New York, N.Y. 10011

Phone: (212) 294-6160

Fax: (212) 294-6161

Email: reference@ajhs.org

URL: http://www.ajhs.org

© 2014, American Jewish Historical Society, Boston, MA and New York, NY. All Rights Reserved.
Finding aid was encoded by Marvin Rusinek on December 01, 2006. Description is in English.

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Naomi Block Manners Stern, 1921-
Title: Collection of Eleanor Roosevelt correspondence
Dates:undated, 1941-1962, 1972, 1974, 1976, 1984, 2003
Abstract: This collection is mainly composed of correspondence between Ms. Stern and Mrs. Roosevelt, spanning the years from their first acquaintance in 1941 to Mrs. Roosevelt's decease in 1962. Letters that hold particular interest concern Ms. Stern's experience at the Summer Student Leadership Institute, and the White House.
Languages: The collection is in English.
Quantity: 0.25 linear feet (1 manuscript box) and 2 oversized folders
Identification: P-715
Repository: American Jewish Historical Society
Return to the Top of Page

Biographical Note

Naomi Block Manners Stern1
(1921-)

Naomi Block first met Eleanor Roosevelt in the summer of 1941, when she attended the first Summer Student Leadership Institutes held at the Roosevelts' home in Campobello, New Brunswick, Canada. Selected to attend the Institute by the President of Hunter College, Naomi Block was one of five Student Government Associations Presidents attending the Institute that was sponsored by the International Student Service. The Institute was held for a two years at the Roosevelt's home before it ended at the outbreak of the war.2 A total of 29 student leaders, composed of Student Government Association Presidents, college newspaper editors, and leaders of various student organizations assembled to take part in the five week session of lectures and discussions concerning the role of students in world affairs and campus policies. In addition to lectures conducted by Mrs. Roosevelt, visiting lecturers included Justice Felix Frankfurter, Archibald MacLeish, Walter White, and Louis Fischer. Ms. Stern writes; "…Mrs Roosevelt not only lectured to us, but also spent time in workshops, evening discussions, and generally getting to know us…"

Naomi Block's relationship with Mrs. Roosevelt continued after the first Summer Student Leadership Institute finished. In October 1941, Mrs. Roosevelt accepted her invitation to be the featured speaker at a Community Day at Hunter College. Later that year, at Naomi Block's request for advice concerning lobbying in Washington D.C. for college students' financial aid from the National Youth Administration (NYA), Mrs. Roosevelt invited her to stay at the White House. Naomi Block met the President and Winston Churchill, and talked to Senator Harry Truman regarding the NYA. In April 1942, Mrs. Roosevelt spoke at Hunter College's graduation, again in response to Naomi Block's request. Naomi Block's interest in government service was assisted by a second invitation to stay at the White House by Mrs. Roosevelt in September 1942. Mrs. Roosevelt supplied her with a letter of introduction to a government agency. Although Naomi Block was interviewed, she decided to withdraw her application to remain close to her family and her boyfriend. During this visit to the White House, Naomi Block again met the President, and Princess Martha of Norway. Later, Mrs. Roosevelt met Naomi and her fiancée at her home and sent the couple a generous wedding gift, being unable to actually attend the ceremony.

Ms. Stern became a successful executive in the cosmetic industry, working at Revlon for twenty-eight years. She rose to become Vice-President of Revlon's retail services and training, becoming the second woman to serve as Vice-President for the company.3 Ms. Stern was elected to the Hunter College Alumni Hall of Fame. She co-authored Successful Cosmetic Selling with Joan Degenshein and later retired to become a freelance consultant in her industry.

Ms. Stern remained in contact with Mrs. Roosevelt throughout the former first lady's life, keeping in touch through holiday cards and gifts, and visiting her at Valkill in Hyde Park, later at 29 Washington Square West and at 55 East 74th Street in New York. Ms. Stern summarizes her experiences with Mrs. Roosevelt; "Her presence does not leave my thoughts. So much of what she was I try to be. Impossible to achieve what well worth trying, I highly treasure my relationship with Mrs. Roosevelt."

Return to the Top of Page

Scope and Content Note

This collection is mainly composed of correspondence between Ms. Stern and Mrs. Roosevelt, spanning the years from their first acquaintance in 1941 to Mrs. Roosevelt's decease in 1962. Letters that hold particular interest concern Ms. Stern's experiences at the Summer Student Leadership Institute, and the White House. Additional material in the collection encompasses articles, newsclippings, programs, press releases, and photographs. The articles and newsclippings folder contains information pertaining to Ms. Stern's college career, the first Summer Student Leadership Institute, Mrs. Roosevelt's talk at Community Day, National Youth Association, and a donation of an ambulance to the war effort by Hunter college students. Naomi Block Manners Stern personal folder contains an article Naomi Block wrote in her college magazine, Echo, describing her perceptions of President Roosevelt and Prime Minister Winston Churchill during her first visit at the White House. Also included is her graduation program, listing Mrs. Roosevelt as the main speaker, a commemoration of President Roosevelt in 1972 in which Ms. Stern took part, an article and press release describing Ms. Stern's career at Revlon, and a 2003 written summary of Ms. Stern's relationship with Mrs. Roosevelt. Photographs taken by Naomi Block and others at the Summer Leadership Institute in 1941 portray identified fellow students, Mrs. Roosevelt, James Roosevelt, the Roosevelt home in Campobello, and Felix Frankfurter.

Return to the Top of Page

Access and Use

Access Restrictions

The collection is open to all researchers by permission of the Director of Library and Archives of the American Jewish Historical Society, except items that are restricted due to their fragility.

Use Restrictions

Information concerning the literary rights may be obtained from the Executive Director of the American Jewish Historical Society. Users must apply in writing for permission to quote, reproduce or otherwise publish manuscript materials found in this collection. For more information contact:
American Jewish Historical Society, Center for Jewish History, 15 West 16th Street, New York, NY, 10011
email: reference@ajhs.org

Return to the Top of Page

Related Material:

Phillips family Papers (of New York City and Philadelphia)

Justine Wise Polier Papers

Shad Polier Papers.

Return to the Top of Page

Provenance

Naomi Stern donated her collection to the American Jewish Historical Society in August 2002 (Accession #2002.011).

Return to the Top of Page

Preferred Citation

Published citations should take the following form:
Identification of item, date (if known); Collection of Eleanor Roosevelt correspondence; P-715; box number; folder number; American Jewish Historical Society, New York, NY, and Boston, MA.

Return to the Top of Page

Access Points:

Click on a subject to search that term in the Center's catalog. Return to the Top of Page

Container List

The following section contains a detailed listing of the materials in the collection.

 

Papers of Naomi Block Manners Stern, undated, 1941-1962, 1972, 1974, 1976, 1984, 2003

The collection is in English.
0.25 linear feet (1 manuscript box) and 2 oversized folders.
Arrangement:

The folders are arranged by topic.

Scope and Content:

See the collection Scope and Content note.

BoxFolderTitleDate
11Articles and newsclippings (2 Oversize folders)undated, 1941-1942
12Correspondence1941
13Correspondence1942
14Correspondence1943-1945
15Correspondence1946-1949
16Correspondence1950-1962, 1974
17Naomi Block Manners Stern, personal1942, 1972, 1976, 1984, 2003
18Photographscirca 1941
Return to the Top of Page