Eleanor Roosevelt? Addie Philko? Thomas Malory? Apocryphal? Anonymous?
Dear Quote Investigator: A popular motivational statement has been attributed to the social activist and former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt:
The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.
I have been unable to find a solid citation. What do you think?
The earliest strong match located by QI occurred in 1978 within a classified advertisement published in “The Surrey Leader” of Surrey, British Columbia, Canada. Emphasis added to excerpts by QI: 4
Do your dreams for the future get put off year after year? Let us show you our exciting business you run from your home to give you the income to make these dreams a reality. The future belongs to those who have the courage to believe in the beauty of their dreams.
The expression above mentioned “courage” and was slightly more complicated than the target quotation. The ad copy writer was unidentified, and QI hypothesizes that the statement was already in circulation in 1978 without attribution. The modern saying was credited to Eleanor Roosevelt by 1986 as shown in the citation listed further below.
Here are additional selected citations in chronological order.
- 2006, The Quote Verifier by Ralph Keyes, Quote Page 97-98 and 298, St Martin’s Griffin, New York. (Verified on paper) ↩
- 2006, The Yale Book of Quotations by Fred R. Shapiro, Section: Eleanor Roosevelt, Quote Page 644, Yale University Press, New Haven. (Verified with hardcopy) ↩
- Website: The Big Apple, Article title: “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams”, Date on website: December 04, 2012, Website description: Etymological dictionary with more than 10,000 entries. (Accessed barrypopik.com on February 10, 2018) link ↩
- 1978 March 15, The Surrey Leader, Classified Ads: Help Wanted, Quote Page 10, Column 5, Surrey, British Columbia, Canada. (Newspapers_com) ↩