Search transcripts:    Advanced Search
Notable New     Yorkers
Select     Notable New Yorker

Frances PerkinsFrances Perkins
Photo Gallery

Part:         Session:         Page of 564

told the press that was what they were to call me and that there was nothing I could do about it. It was proper parliamentary usage and would have been all right if people had been more parliamentary in their writing style. In this article on Mrs. Hobby, they did not use one word of my interview. Miss Mehrtens sent me the article saying that she was sorry she had taken my time that evening, because “although I wrote quite a good lot stuff that would have been appropriate in this article, they didn't use it. I see that they have repeated the lie about your name.”

When they said that Mrs. Hobby had announced that she would be called Mrs. Secretary, there was a footnote that said, “Frances Perkins from the first day that she was in office as Secretary of Labor said to the press ‘Call me Madam,’ and she lived to regret it.”

This is Time Magazine making this misstatement, but they are only printing what they think they've seen somewhere else. “Call me Madam” is now a joke because of Ethel Merman's musical comedy, which was not a take-off on me, but a take- off on Mrs. Mesta, and such an obvious one that I should have thought that Mrs. Mesta would have resented it terribly, but I'm told she didn't. I don't know whether she's just a good sport or not, and took it because she had to take it.

Since I've been asked, I just don't give Time Magazine

© 2006 Columbia University Libraries | Oral History Research Office | Rights and Permissions | Help