May 22, 1946
The American delegate to the United Nations, Eleanor Roosevelt, called for a balanced recognition of all nations’ needs in the seventh Helen Kenyon Lecture, "The United Nations and You." The only woman among the six-member American delegation, led by Secretary of State James Byrnes, Mrs. Roosevelt told a large audience in the Students' Building that "this period in history is one of fluidity.... We must make up our minds whether we really want to build up the UNO...so that internaionalization and a lot of things good for both the United States and Russia will be possible.... It is in the balance which you do—build up your own strength, or look fairly at the needs of all and try though an international organization to give them what they really need."
A frequent visitor to the college from the early 1920s, when her late husband was a Vassar trustee, and a UN delegate from 1945 until 1952, Eleanor Roosevelt chaired the organization's Commission on Human Rights, presenting its Universal Declaration of Human Rights to the General Assembly in 1948. "The Russians," she reminded her Vassar audience, "are an able, self-reliant, pioneering people.... They have both the vitality and the insecurity of our early days."
The Helen Kenyon Lectureship Fund was established June 7, 1939 by the Associate Alumnae, the Class of 1905 and other friends of Helen Kenyon, '05, as a contribution to the 75thanniversary fund. Miss Kenyon was an alumnae trustee from 1923 until 1928 and Chairman of the Board from 1929 until 1939. The Miscellany News