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DENMARK: Pompadours, Helens, Ruths

2 minute read

While many a young career diplomat bites his nails and pines for a squib about himself which may catch the eye of President Roosevelt or Secretary Hull, grandmotherly Madam Minister Ruth Bryan Owen continues to beat all State Department records for sustained publicity in her minor post in Denmark. Peering inquisitively into Mrs. Roosevelt’s shrimp cocktail, Mrs. Owen lately achieved a pose of definite news-picture appeal (see cut). Last week “Big Ruth,” as her three grandchildren call her, returned to her post, and a Danish despatch revealed how thoroughly Madam Minister has the local correspondents in hand:

“Today is ‘Ruth Bryan Owen Day’ in Copenhagen as the Danish metropolis awaits the return of the most popular diplomat ever sent here. . . . A grand reception has been arranged. . . . The newspapers publish columns about her.”

In admiring tribute Fannie Hurst has written: “Gangplank for Madam Minister! . . . Diplomacy is as feminine as ships and cats and south wind and lipstick. Diplomacy rises in the female heart and becomes an underground river, running swiftly beneath the surface of the sex. . . . The greatest political diplomats of the world have been . . . Pompadours, De Staels, Helens. . . . The poised, experienced, gorgeously equipped Madam Minister of today is schooled to her finger tips.” At her arrival last week, Danish orchestras burst into ”Springtime in Denmark— Lilacs in Bloom,” the words by Madam Minister, music by her daughter, “Ruth the Second.” As the cracker for her arrival Madam Minister announced that bushy-bearded Premier Thorvald (“Greenland for the Eskimos”) Stauning of Denmark would accept an invitation to visit President Roosevelt in the White House next spring.

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