Friday, April 21, 1995


Norman Thomas and Other Ghosts

A charming letter from Norman Thomas surfaced the other day, dated 195x, in which he apologized for not answering one of mine. A friend of mine, whith whom he was in a public debate, had charged him, and he was now naking amends.
This was in the days when a lot of us worried about Communism taking over the world. I had a lot of respect for Thomas, and was bothered by some remarks. The friend who accosted him was a strong anti-Communist activist, who eventually ran the campaign of Barry Farber, for the Mayor of New York, in 196x.
These were the years of strife. Charlie belonged to AWARE, an organization run by Archibald Roosevelt, the youngest son of Theodore Roosevelt, a Wall Street banker. I knew Archie, who was known as "Good-o," a patrician expression of approval, among us youngsters. All four sons of TR had volunteered for service in WWI and one died. Another, Theodore Jr, died in WWII, walking ahead of his troops in an attack against the German lines. These were the kind of American leaders we had. Whatever we think of their politics today, they put their lives on the line for their country.
At AWARE We met John T. Flynn, the arch-enemy of Franklyn D. Roosevelt, a deep-thinking critic who anticipated problems of social reform. There was much condemnation of Alger Hiss, who lived at 156 East 18th Street until 1994, when both Mr and Mrs Hiss , both in their 90s, had to move to a place where they could have a live-in attendant.
Anyway, Norman Thomas, owned the house at 206 East 18th Sreet from 1923 to 1939, and lived ther until their five children grew up, 1939. When the kids moved out, in 1941 they move dto 20 Gramercy Place South, until 1945, After the death of his wife Violet, NT moved to 39-a Gramercy Ppark North (1949-early 50s). Ran for President 6 times betwen 1928-48.

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