Monday, August 19, 2019

A Tale of Etiquette and Diplomacy

A pink granite bench honors J. J. Jusserand in Washington, D.C. The semicircular bench, dedicated by Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1936, holds the distinction of being the first memorial erected on U.S. federal property to a foreign diplomat. Jean Jules Jusserand served as French Ambassador to the United States from 1902-1925. Soon after he arrived in D.C., Jusserand earned the confidence of President Theodore Roosevelt. Roosevelt and Jusserand shared a love for the outdoors and spent many long hours hiking in Rock Creek Park. Besides significant contributions to diplomacy between France and the U.S. (serving under 5 presidential administrations and all of WWI), Jusserand’s writings earned worldwide recognition. He won the first Pulitzer Prize in History for “With Americans of Past and Present Days,” a book recounting key contributions of Frenchmen to U.S. history. For his efforts in Franco-American relations, Jusserand also received the “Grand Croix” of the French Legion of Honor, the highest French distinction. Promoting friendship between the two countries led him to create the American Society of the Legion of Honor, recognizing Americans who make significant contributions to France.– photo source, Wikipedia 

Ever the Gentleman, He Could Not Dispense With Hat or Gloves

Roosevelt’s fondness for long walks in Rock Creek Park during his Presidency is well known. Nothing pleased him so much as to drop companions along the road unable to keep up with him. If he thought anyone was too well dressed for an outing, he would swim across a deep pool and everybody was compelled to follow. He was a great sport. Walking one day with a party among whom was J.J. Jusserand, French ambassador, President Roosevelt proposed that they all go bathing in Rock Creek, without bathing suits, out far off the public highway (says General Scott). Jusserand waded in without any clothes, except a pair of white kid gloves and a high silk hat. Roosevelt looked at him with astonishment for some time, but finally curiosity became too great and he had to ask the reason for the ambassador’s costume. “Oh, Mr. President...” Jusserand replied, “suppose some ladies should go by!” – Kansas City Times, 1929

Etiquette Enthusiast, Maura J Graber, is the Site Editor for the Etiquipedia© Etiquette Encyclopedia 

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