Prospects of Mankind (1959–61)

From David Michaelis — 2000

WGBH was the alpha and omega of my mother’s career. … In 1959, to be a young woman and an associate producer and writer on a monthly television program moderated by Eleanor Roosevelt, the universally respected “First Lady of the World,” was to be truly present at the creation of the postwar cosmos.

And though I was too young to have actual memories of her work (my brother, however, vividly remembers the fire that destroyed WGBH in November 1961), Diana spoke so often in later life about the people and ideas on “Prospects of Mankind,” I seem to remember her pre-interviewing everyone from the aged Bertrand Russell to the young Henry Kissinger to the impossibly young-looking Senator John F. Kennedy

From Paul Noble

Preparing for a taping of “Prospects of Mankind.”

Left to right, Bob Moscone, Dave Davis, Virginia Kassel (behind Dave), Paul Noble, and Eleanor Roosevelt, at Slosberg Music Center, Brandeis University, fall 1959.

Mrs. Roosevelt and her staff. Henry Morgenthau, Eleanor Roosevelt, Paul Noble, and Diana Tead Michaelis, fall 1959.

Edward R. Murrow, new director of the United States Information Agency, appeared on “Prospects of Mankind,” along with (from left) Roscoe Drummond, Herald-Tribune columnist; Professor Arthur Schlesinger, Jr.; Mrs. Roosevelt; Mr. Murrow; and Chanchal Sarkar, associate editor of an Indian newspaper.

On January 2, 1960, Senator John F. Kennedy flew to Boston to appear on Prospects of Mankind, right after putting his hat into the ring in the presidential race in Washington.

In this historic photo, Mrs. Roosevelt and JFK stand together facing a battery of newsreel cameras and reporters in Slosberg Music Center at Brandeis after the taping of a “Prospects of Mankind” discussion on the future of NATO.

John F. Kennedy appeared twice more on “Prospects of Mankind,” once to announce the formation of the Peace Corps (February, 1961, soon after his inauguration), and again in the spring of 1962 for a program on the Status of Women.

Mrs. Roosevelt died that fall, and this photo is one of the final ones of her with President Kennedy. Henry Morgenthau is at the left.

From Dan Beach — 7/2/2007

Roosevelt and Murrow

Eleanor Roosevelt joined by Edward R. Murrow on “Prospects of Mankind” — shot at Brandeis where the show was located after the fire.

In: 1950s, 1960s, Photos | , ,


  1. Katherine Ward
    Posted September 16, 2015 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

    Is the television series “Prospects of Mankind” with Eleanor Roosevelt (1959 – 1961)available for purchase?
    Thank you

    • Posted September 21, 2015 at 1:53 pm | Permalink


      Here’s what we’ve learned about that program from WGBH:

      “I don’t believe it is available for purchase. We are currently trying to clear the rights to put the entire series online, but I do not think that includes download.”

      I’ll report when I hear if the series is available to view online.


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