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Progressive women and their contributions

In the article ``A First Lady's First Priority'' April 29, the writer makes reference to Lady Bird Johnson. Her contributions were notable, but how could the incomparable accomplishments of Jacqueline Kennedy be passed over so whimsically? In the two years and 10 months she served the American people she produced Herculean feats. Mrs. Kennedy raised the cultural life of this country to a broad, national level -- ``A First Lady's Parting Gift.'' Sandra A. Merlini Marlborough, Mass.

This editorial effectively pointed out the valuable contribution toward combating drug abuse being made by First Lady Nancy Reagan. It also reminded us of contributions made by earlier First Ladies.

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However, the contributions made by Lou Henry Hoover were omitted. She was the first president's wife to entertain a black woman in the White House, the wife of Rep. Oscar DePriest of Chicago. She was sharply criticized in newspapers and accused of ``defiling'' the White House. Author Joan Holt Wilson includes the following paragraphs about Mrs. Hoover in ``Herbert Hoover, Forgotten Progressive.''

``She also urged women to use their newly won right to vote and to choose independent careers even if they were married, once telling a 1926 Girl Scout convention that the woman who used her children as an excuse for not pursuing professional interests was lazy . . . she was a national organizer of women and a positive model for them, always insisting that women could and should control their own lives.

Under her leadership for example, Girl Scout membership increased from 100,000 in 1921 to almost one million in 1933.'' Phyllis D. Levers Menlo Park, Calif.

The article ``Advice to today's Cinderellas: fit yourself for a job, not a slipper,'' [May 6] is an important message to young women today. But what about encouraging them to see that work can be integrated into one's being. Work can be viewed as a pleasurable aspect of life, which if planned for, can improve the quality of life and also the quality of relationships and family. I always find it astounding that our society places such little status on the occupation of ``motherhood.'' Do we provide educational training for such a role, do we provide encouragement and social status for such a role? C. M. LaFia San Francisco

Letters are welcome. Only a selection can be published and none individually acknowledged. All are subject to condensation. Please address letters to ``readers write.''

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