Eleanor Roosevelt -- My Day (1943)

March 29, 1943

Chicago, Illinois – (Sunday)
Since I arrived here Friday night, I have done nothing but see a few friends and feel as though I have been living the life of a lady of leisure. I have had a chance to read a few things, which, as usual, I have carried around in my briefcase too long.

I read and particularly liked John Dos Passos’ article on “Down Easterners Building Ships.” There is one little sentence at the end of Mary Heaton Vorse’s article on “The Girls of Elkton, Maryland” which can be applied, I think, to all our workers in factories, on farms and in the offices:

These girls are waiting for some voice to speak a message which will release all their energies for total war.

The headlines in the papers here underlined these last words, for it is not only the girls from the factories, but all of us who need to release our energies for total war. If we realized this, people wouldn’t, just before meat rationing starts, storm the butcher shops until the shelves are bare.

What is the matter with us all? There is enough food to go round, none of us are going hungry. If we can’t always have our choice, we can find substitutes. But we shall have to find them more readily and happily before we can say our whole energies as a nation, are released for total war.

I have been reading with great pleasure: “Come In,” and other poems by Robert Frost, with a commentary by Louis Untermeyer. I have always liked Robert Frost’s poems, but I think the running commentary makes them even more delightful. Do you remember the last lines of the poem “Wild Grapes”?

I had not taken the first step in knowledge;
I had not learned to let go with the hands,
As still I have not learned to with the heart,
And have no wish to with the heart – nor need,
That I can see. The mind – is not the heart.
I may yet live, as I know others live,
To wish in vain to let go with the mind –
Of cares, at night, to sleep; but nothing tells me
That I need learn to let go with the heart.

Let us hope that none of us will ever learn “to let go with the heart.” Not only in wartime, but in the days that follow the war, the heart that can feel and cannot let go will be much needed in this troubled world of ours.

March 30, 1943

Chicago, Illinois – (Monday)
This afternoon I am speaking for the War Savings Bond Committee. All I shall have to do is to congratulate them on the marvelous work they have accomplished. Selling only “E” bonds, they have managed to sell for the past 40 days, a million dollars’ worth of bonds a day. This is a record which does not seem to require any stimulus.

It seems as though good records are being made everywhere. Earlier this month, I heard of a speaking engagement in Syracuse, New York, which was arranged by a lecture manager late in February. The lecturer, Cecil Brown, gave three lectures before he came to this evening lecture, which climaxed a bond-selling week where tickets were only obtainable through the sale of war bonds.

By their admissions alone, they raised $187,000 that night, and after his lecture 11 autographed copies of his book, Suez to Singapore, were auctioned off and brought a total of $102,000 in war bonds. One single copy brought a total of $100,000 in bonds. I think this is a pretty good record for a speaker in one evening.

Perhaps one of the great factors in the comparative ease with which the bonds seem to sell, is the campaign carried on through very attractive posters which come out every month. I have just seen one for April, by Alexander Brook. It is called, “Remember Me? I was at Bataan.”

On Bataan Day at the Brooklyn, New York, Museum, there is to be an exhibition “Art for Bonds,” and the original painting for this particular poster will be the feature. April 9 will inaugurate a campaign for the selling of bonds in Brooklyn.

Many of you will probably feel with me the strength and beauty of this poster, but also its grim horror. Some, I fear, will never forget our unpreparedness at Bataan and the men who paid the price. This is certainly a poster which few people will forget and which will lead to much discussion. I am sure it will stimulate the buying of bonds.

Have you seen the little publication of the National Committee on the Housing Emergency called Tomorrow’s Town? I was much impressed in the summary of the British Uthwatt report. This report was made to the British Parliament by a committee called “the Expert Committee On Compensation And Betterment.” of which Sir Augustus Andrewes Uthwatt is chairman.

It is evident that no setup for the future development of land could be similar in the United States, but, nevertheless, the mere fact that a committee was appointed to consider the planning of the afterwar housing and the proper use of land is vastly encouraging.

March 31, 1943

Minneapolis, Minnesota – (Tuesday)
The Women’s War Bond Savings Staff of Chicago, which I addressed yesterday afternoon, featured particularly its booth workers. Cook County and the City of Chicago certainly are justifiably proud of these women workers in this particular service.

They stressed the fact that it was not in any way a glamorous service. It was something which women, who worked all day, were still doing in their free time in the evening. Women who had other jobs and could spare an hour here and there, were giving that hour whenever it could be found. They learned how to tell the story of the different bonds they sold and proved themselves highly successful.

I could not help thinking that, after the war, they might turn out to be very valuable saleswomen for some other product, having learned the art of mastering the value of the article they had for sale and the even subtler art of making the buyer want to possess it.

They had also completed the sale of “E” bonds to purchase a new Chicago for the Navy. Two boys who are survivors from the old Chicago came to the front of the stage and were loudly applauded. They were introduced to me and I found it hard to speak. Somehow, one cannot forget those who did not come back, and all I could do was to wish them good luck.

Afterwards, we stopped at the Servicemen’s Club, where Mrs. Edward J. Kelly, wife of the Mayor, is in charge. It seems to be a popular place with the many soldiers who are now stationed in Chicago attending school. Mrs. Kelly is opening some new rooms for young officers, since they had come to her complaining that they were forgotten men with no place provided to which they could go.

Most of the women I saw working there are volunteers. It can be no light work, for the cafeteria was crowded with soldiers. Mrs. Kelly says that their favorite food is hot dogs, coffee and cake. These cakes are baked and brought in by the schools and citizens of the community and all the food is donated.

In the evening, I spoke for Bethune-Cookman College, and then we boarded the train for Minneapolis. We were able to get our breakfast on board this morning, and Mrs. Thomas J. Dillon met us on arrival and took us straight to the hotel for a press conference and from there to her home for lunch. After this, we went to the rally for the Victory Aides. These Victory Aides are part of the Civilian Defense organization and have been well organized in this state. I shall tell you more about them tomorrow.

April 1, 1943

Seattle, Washington – (Thursday)
The Victory Aides in the State of Minnesota are organized to cover every block in the cities and fixed areas in the rural districts. Their first duty is the dissemination of information. They are expected to distribute any literature that comes out. They are the ones who tell their neighbors any information about the various war drives, whether it is the gathering of scrap, paper or fats. They explain the need, how it is going to be satisfied and pave the way for the actual workers in the drives.

They may be asked to do anything at a moment’s notice. The work is never glamorous. It has to be done in free time snatched here and there, since these women are all housewives, just neighbors in the block. Nevertheless, the aggregate of the work accomplished is tremendous and the organization is strong when each Victory Aide does her job.

Late yesterday afternoon, after I left Mrs. Thomas Dillon and the City of Minneapolis, I drove with Miss Adelaide Enright over to St. Paul and stopped at the house of one of my husband’s cousins, Mrs. Norris Jackson, who has given part of her house for work in British War Relief. They had on exhibition many of the garments they have been making. I must say it was interesting to see the boxes all packed ready to go out, because in my mind’s eye, I could see what they would mean to the people of Great Britain when they had made their perilous journey across the ocean.

After a quiet dinner with Miss Enright and her two friends, we went to the auditorium for the meeting honoring the St. Paul Victory Aides. They filled the hall and I was astounded at the number – some four thousand.

Governor Stassen was present and introduced me. In both Minneapolis and St. Paul, a group of WAACs were inducted. This was the first time I had seen these girls take their oath and I thought the ceremony very nice. It gave an opportunity for the people of both cities to show their appreciation of the girls from their own city and state, who are entering this particular branch of war service.

I could not help thinking how different it was for a girl in Great Britain to enter a service of this kind. In all probability, unless she went far overseas, she would never be more than a night’s journey away from home. Our girls will travel more than that distance to their first training center, and may, even if they are within the United States, be a really long journey from home.

April 2, 1943

Seattle, Washington – (Thursday)
We took the plane last night from Minneapolis, Minnesota, and were relieved to find that at no time along the way were all the seats taken. It was a comfortable trip and when we got out at Billings, Montana, for our first whiff of morning air, the whole sky was a brilliant red.

I have a very soft spot in my heart for the view from the municipal airport there. I always look at the statue of the horse with his scout rider, and think what this country must have been like when the scouts first rode over these wide plains. I do not know that I would have liked to be one of the discoverers of these broad spaces, but I always think that it would be wonderful to gaze over such a panorama and feel that you were perhaps the first human being ever to look upon this particular scene.

I hope that a great many people are reading a summary, at least, of the report of the National Resources Planning Board, which the President has submitted to Congress. It is too long a report for many to read it all, but a summary should be familiar to every citizen of our democracy.

The report is divided in two parts. One develops our Social Security program, so that there will be a real economic level of security, below which no human being in our nation shall ever be allowed to live. The other part is the really exciting part, because it deals specifically with new economic factors that will have to be considered if the promise made to the boys now in the services that they shall return to real jobs, is to become a reality.

It gives you glimpses of the possibilities of world planning and it seems to accept for us all the very obvious fact that this future planning must be for the good of all people and not just for the good of the United States, or for any group of people in any country.

It is obvious that there will be many opponents to this plan, just as there are in Great Britain to the Beveridge Plan, and they will be both from the Right and from the Left. We may hear one side say that this is socialism, and the other say that we have only considered the capitalists.

Nevertheless, this is a plan, concrete and definite, now before Congress, which reflects the thought of some of the best and most respectable people in the country, who have no personal interests involved. It is not of interest alone to Congress. It is of interest to the whole people, and they are the ones who will ultimately have to decide whether they want action along some such lines or not.

We were a little late in arriving at Seattle, but Anna and my eldest grandson met us. He is enjoying his Easter holiday. I learned very quickly how much he has grown, for he took over my baggage checks and attended to all the usual paraphernalia on arrival.

April 3, 1943

Seattle, Washington – (Friday)
Yesterday we took the early morning ferry over to Bremerton and went through the Naval Hospital. We saw primarily wards of sick men back from active service. One boy, recommended for a medal of honor, because of his courageous behavior at Dutch Harbor, looked well on the way to full recovery.

He could tell me little of what happened to him, because one minute he had been conscious and the next he had been apparently completely knocked out. Another boy, a bos’n’s mate, also recommended for bravery, had been in charge of a gun crew on a merchant ship. There were boys from many ships which will never sail again, but which will never be forgotten in the annals of our Navy.

A good many boys are back from distant parts with ulcers of the stomach, which is partly due to the fact that they have served in parts of the world in which it is difficult to get the kind of food to which they are accustomed. It is also perhaps due to the fact that service today puts men under the kind of nervous tension which is apt to bring on ulcers. I sometimes wonder if we should give our children better preparation in their early years for our modern world.

I was interested to meet one boy whose father, Dr. Mason, I have long known in Washington. So, I shall be able to tell Dr. Mason how his son is progressing.

I saw the officers’ quarters this time, which I had not seen on my previous visit. On my way back to the ferry, I stopped at the high school to speak to their assembly for a few minutes. This school, composed so largely of the children of officers and men working in the Navy Yard, naturally has a very high record in war savings drives. They were just starting a new one, and I am sure from the spirit they showed, it will be a great success.

The trip on the ferry is always a beautiful one and the scenery along this coast reminds me of the scenery along the Maine coast, the same wooded promontories and rocky shores. The climate is milder here, for already in my daughter’s garden, the daffodils are all in bloom. Years ago, I remember seeing roses in bloom in February in Bremerton Navy Yard.

Anna and John met us on our return. John has been East on business and had seen everyone in Washington nearly a week after I had left home. We spent a few quiet hours together and in the evening the commanders of the Army and Navy forces in this area, VAdm. Frank J. Fletcher and Maj. Gen. Robert L. Lewis, their wives, and Mr. Stanley Donogh, head of Civilian Defense, and Mrs. Donogh, came to dine.

April 5, 1943

Seattle, Washington – (Sunday)
Friday was a busy day. We started off in the morning to visit a factory which was created to meet a war need. It will probably disappear when the war is over, unless we develop the same kind of affection for the “Pacific Hut,” that some of the soldiers I saw in Great Britain had for their Nissen Huts.

This plant, known as the “Pacific Hut,” employs about 500 men and ships as many wooden huts to Alaska as transportation will allow. It is an interesting factory because everything has had to be improvised. The machinery is simple and very rough, but easy to use, so that they can give jobs to men on their way through to Alaska, who have a few days to spare in Seattle, or to men who are waiting induction into the services and need to work, but cannot be taken when long preparation is needed for the job.

The turnover in labor is great, but their processes have been so simplified it takes only a short time for a man to learn his particular job. If he has a skill, he can often learn to adapt it. For instance, an apple boxer, whose work, of course, would be seasonal, was driving nails in grand style in one particular operation. Fishermen, lumbermen, migratory farm labor, all of them find jobs available here.

From such transient workers one would not expect the kind of spirit which evidently prevails. Everybody seemed to be working, and working hard. There was a sense of speed which I often miss in other factories, so I asked what the labor policy was. I was told that a few supervisors had been carefully chosen for their leadership qualities and that the men worked as teams. While a man is working, he has a feeling of being necessary to his group and they have less absenteeism than some other factories.

The hut itself, as used by our soldiers in Alaska, is made almost entirely of wood products. Packed in sections, it can be set up by five inexperienced soldiers in an eight-hour day. Insulated for a temperature of 35 below zero, it is strong wind-resistant and easy to camouflage. The assembly line style of production produces a finished hut every fifteen minutes.

In the afternoon we visited the Seattle Naval Hospital, which has grown in the most astonishing way. It is just over a year since it was started and can take as many as 900 or more patients now, and is still expanding. I was interested to find four boys who had been with our son James out in the Pacific, some of them wounded in the Makin Island raid.

April 6, 1943

Portland, Oregon – (Monday)
Friday evening, I attended the Women’s War Savings League Bond Rally and spoke to a crowded house. They presented certificates of merit to about 75 women, who represented their industrial plants which had agreed to the 10% payroll deduction. Some plants had 100% of contributors, but all of them at least 90%.

A reception was held afterwards, to which I think most of the audience came. The very charming wife of the Governor, Mrs. Arthur Langlie, introduced me and, with the other members of the committee, stood in line to receive the guests at the reception.

In the states of Washington and Oregon, they are carrying on classes to acquaint people with the value of buying bonds, and the reasons why people should be saving at the present time, but I am wondering whether talks are also being given to women on other subjects which might be helpful to them.

I have had a report from New York City which tells me that, at Hunter College, they are giving a series of six lectures at which they have speakers from the War Manpower Commission, the Vocational Department of the Board of Education, the U.S. Employment Service, the New York State Board of Mediation and the State Department of Labor.

These talks are designed to acquaint women with the needs and opportunities for them in industry, with the background of the labor union and its place in the plant; with the importance of safety measures, proper clothing, diet and health habits under new responsibilities. They also give them the information on community facilities available to women on meeting their childcare and household problems, and they tell them of the state and national labor laws affecting women in industry.

Of course, this is primarily valuable for women who have not worked before, or who are changing their present employment for employment more essential to the war effort. It seems to me a very helpful service. I should like to see added to it some discussion of the underlying reasons for fighting the war and the post-war problems we face together.

Saturday, we visited some of the soldiers manning defense stations in the Seattle area, and later the naval clinic where many Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guardsmen receive care for minor ailments and where their families can also be given medical attention.

A young friend, who is studying at the college at Pullman, Washington, arrived in the afternoon to spend the night. Early this morning we left for Portland, Oregon.

April 7, 1943

San Francisco, California – (Tuesday)
I did not tell you of a ceremony in Seattle on Saturday afternoon which I thought was beautifully carried out and very impressive. I was particularly happy to play a small part in it.

The ceremony was in honor of a young corporal and four soldiers. They had been on their way to a boxing match, when they suddenly noticed a bomber plane overhead in difficulty. They stopped their truck and got out as the plane crashed on a neighboring factory. The corporal ordered his men to go over immediately to see what help they could render. He found a telephone, notified the fire department and the police, and dashed over himself to help. These boys were able to save a number of lives and acted with great heroism. Their citations were very moving and I was glad to pin on the Soldier’s medal, which was given to them all.

A little after 9:00 Monday morning we were met in Portland, Oregon, by Mr. Henry J. Kaiser and his son Mr. Edgar Kaiser. A group of young Democrats presented me with a lovely bunch of red roses at the airport and then we were whisked off for a busy day.

Our first tour was in the Kaiser shipyard itself. It is certainly busy and businesslike. Everything seems to be in place and moving as quickly as possible along a regular line of production. I was particularly interested in the housing, so I was shown the dormitories and then the hospital, which is run on a species of health cooperative basis costing the employees 7¢ a day. It looked to me very well equipped and much used, but I was told there were few accidents in the shipyards owing to safety devices. The men come in for medical care and some surgery and their families are also cared for.

Then we saw the large housing developments, which are as yet only partially finished and have no landscaping, so it is hard to judge what they will be like when paths are laid and grass is growing around them. This defense housing is built to last from five to seven years, and there is a clause which says it shall be removed at the end of a stated time.

I think it will be entirely adequate for the emergency and I was glad to know that schools and hospitals are being built in connection with the whole development, because with such an influx of people it would be quite impossible to handle them in any other way.

The ship went safely down the ways at the appointed time and was duly christened. It was interesting and impressive to see all the workers and their families gathered together for the occasion and I felt there was a spirit of good workmanship in this yard.

April 8, 1943

San Francisco, California – (Wednesday)
After a cafeteria lunch at the Kaiser shipyards on Monday, in which I was proudly told no rationed food was used, Miss Thompson and I went off with Mayor Riley of Portland, and Mrs. David Honeyman. We visited the Red Cross blood donors’ station, the Red Cross workrooms, the induction center – which is one of the most complete setups of its kind in the country – and, finally, a servicemen’s club where I cut a large and beautifully decorated cake.

We were at the airport a little ahead of time for our plane and I had a chance to talk to a young friend who had been going around with us all day, but to whom I had barely had a chance to say five words. He is in the Army and now happens to be stationed in the recruiting station in Portland.

When we reached San Francisco, my son, John, and his wife were at the airport and drove us to the hotel. They stayed and talked for a while and my friend Miss Mayris Chaney came in also, so I felt my San Francisco visit began well.

Adm. Woods called for me yesterday morning at 10:00, just as I was finishing a half-hour’s press conference. We started off promptly for Oak Knoll Hospital in Oakland. This naval hospital was only begun last year and, since I was there in the autumn, it has already doubled in size.

I wonder if many people realize how many boys are coming home from this war and facing cheerfully the loss of arms or legs, or other physical handicaps. I saw boys suffering from concussion, burns and innumerable other ailments. As I went through each ward, I thought what wonderful spirit young America has. There is one boy who is going around making speeches to help sell bonds. He has lost both arms and one leg. The other day he was fitted to a new leg, and as he walked into the ward a cheer went up from every one of the other boys, which shows that indomitable courage wins respect.

I lunched with the doctors’ mess and they told me we had exactly the same lunch which the boys were having. It was extremely good, but I certainly ate more than I ordinarily eat. So, it is just as well that I don’t walk through so many hospital wards every morning.

After lunch, we visited the Treasure Island Hospital, which has likewise grown by leaps and bounds. I used to think it was a shame not to take time enough to go through every ward in these hospitals. I realize now that that is out of the question, because it would take many days really to go through all the wards and to stop and speak to each man. We ended by going to tea with VAdm. J. W. Greenslade, and then I spent the evening with my sons and daughter-in-law and saw the newest grandchild in the family for the first time.

April 9, 1943

San Francisco, California – (Thursday)
At 10:00 yesterday morning, Gen. Weed called for me. We went directly to Letterman Hospital. This is an old establishment and one which cannot expand very greatly, therefore, while they receive a good many patients from overseas every month, they pass them on as fast as they can to other hospitals in other areas, keeping only those it would not be safe to move. This means, of course, that they have a number of serious cases here.

The grounds are attractive and many flowers are already blooming. There was the same atmosphere of cheerfulness and hope in this hospital as there has been in all the naval hospitals I have visited on this trip. Yet, there are a great many boys facing disabilities for the rest their lives as a result of their war service.

Losing an arm or a leg seems to be a minor calamity nowadays, as one boy said to me with a grin: “It might have been much worse.” He had stubbed his toe while carrying a shell and fallen. The shell in going off, had only injured his arm and forearm. This seems to be the general attitude – as long as you are alive, it might have been worse.

As I asked boy after boy in what action he had been injured, I began to think that Guadalcanal will be, for a long time, the place of tragic memories to many of our boys.

One extremely interesting thing is going on in this hospital – an experiment in the treatment of a tropical disease. This may be of great value to a great many people and the boys are cheerful guinea pigs and seem most grateful for the relief which has come to them so far.

After my return to the hotel around noon, Miss Thompson, Miss Chaney and I went on a short shopping expedition. After lunch, our old friends, Judge and Mrs. William Denman, came to see me at the hotel. At 3:30, I visited the Stage Door Canteen, which will open this month and which I think will have a delightful setting. At 4:00, I attended and spoke at the tea and bond rally of the Women’s Division of the War Savings Staff. In San Francisco, the American Women’s Voluntary Services have done a great deal of the work in the drive to sell bonds, manning the booths and doing many of the jobs which take time and devotion.

At 5:15, I went to the broadcasting station and took part in a 15-minute broadcast for the Red Cross. From there, I went to a servicemen’s center, going first to the fourth floor, which is devoted to the WAVES, WAACs and the auxiliary military services generally. I saw a group of WAVES and SPARS take their oath of office, and then visited all the other floors, which are devoted to the men in the services. I found this as popular as a similar place in Washington.

April 10, 1943

New York – (Friday)
Here we are back in New York City, and my last column has not told you about Wednesday evening in San Francisco! Johnny and Anne, joined Miss Thompson and me, and we went to a well-known restaurant called the Omar Khayyam. This is noted for Armenian food, and the owner and chef came out to tell us he was going to serve us a real Armenian dinner.

We had two kinds of Armenian bread and liked everything and ate everything which was put before us. The chef thinks rationing is not only easy to live up to, but will be extremely good for us as housewives. We shall, he believes, use our ingenuity and find a truly American cuisine by combining all the different cuisines which have come to us from all the different nationalities of the world. It will be developed not by chefs, but by housewives who will grow to love and prefer their kitchens and own creations to the tin can and can opener of the past.

Afterwards, we went to see Miss Mayris Chaney and her two partners dance, and heard the leader of the band, Mr. Hershey Martin, do a most remarkable drum solo.

Yesterday morning, Mr. Duffy, the warden of San Quentin prison, came with Mrs. Duffy to call for me. I was given an opportunity to see some of the war industries carried on in that prison, which was one of the first in the country to obtain government work.

The prison has developed an interest in this work among the prisoners and is achieving an enviable record of production. The inmates receive no pay in California, but out of the money sent them by friends and relatives for tobacco and extra food, they have bought $130,000 worth of war bonds.

Back at the naval base, Johnny and his chief, Capt. Arthur H. Mayo, showed us over the storage of supplies for the Navy at this particular point. They have a coffee roasting plant and everything needed on ship or shore. We lunched with Capt. and Mrs. Mayo and left by plane in the afternoon and arrived in New York City in time for a rest before we tackled some of our neglected work in the shape of a small mountain of mail.

I have a letter from Philadelphia, calling my attention to one of the activities of the Women’s Division of the War Savings Staff, which permits a particular organization the privilege of naming either a medium-size bomber or a Flying Fortress, if they succeed in selling a sufficient number of Series E Bonds during their campaign.

The students, faculty, staff and alumni of Girard College are conducting such a campaign at the present time and expect to name a bomber Stephen Girard. Born in France, he was a very patriotic American who gave much of his own money to the government in 1814 and endowed this college.

April 12, 1943

Washington – (Sunday)
In spite of our long trip across the continent, I could not resist going to the theatre Friday night in New York City. Mrs. Henry Morgenthau Jr. had been attending a bond meeting at the Brooklyn Museum, which was apparently highly successful. We both enjoyed seeing Oklahoma, with its tuneful songs, charming setting, good dancing and excellent cast.

I thinks it speaks well for the play that I was not in the least sleepy, in spite of the fact that I had been up 36 hours straight. As you doubtless know, berths in planes are out for the duration, so one sleeps comfortably in a seat that is tilted back according to one’s preference.

I find it quite amusing to watch other people trying to make themselves comfortable for the night. One particularly tall boy in uniform right in front of us, reminded me of the dog who tries to curl up around his own tail. He tried hard to find a way of getting his head down on the arm of the seat, but he finally gave it up as impossible for the seat was too narrow.

Yesterday we left New York City by train quite early and did what we thought was a good job of catching up on the mail, but I surmised plenty had been held up for us in Washington. I was right.

In the afternoon, I went to a tea given by the Democratic Women’s National Council. There was a discussion, during which some of the government workers and I talked about conditions of government work in the District of Columbia.

In the evening, the President gave his second Congressional party, at which I was allowed to receive the guests, but was then dismissed, since only members of Congress are allowed, neither their wives nor husbands being included.

This may sound like a sad tale and you may picture a lonely figure with nothing to do, sitting upstairs waiting for the party to be over, but I assure you nothing of that kind happened. I went gleefully to my desk with the knowledge that working would give me at least one or two more hours in which to sleep.

In an article which I read in The Standard, a magazine issued by the American Ethical Union, one little sentence struck me as something we might remember in our everyday contacts:

If all of us would just be steadily and bravely well mannered, our folkways would soon catch up with our creed.

The creed referred to is our democracy as set forth in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. While I never thought of it before, I think, perhaps, good manners, which really mean true kindness of heart, would help a great deal in living in a democratic way.

April 13, 1943

Washington – (Monday)
We are again observing “Be Kind To Animals Week” from April 11 to April 17. Though it may seem to a good many people that a time when the world is hardly a kind world is not a time to emphasize, kindness to animals, and that we should think primarily of our attitude toward human beings, I believe there is great value in continuing to train children in the proper attitude toward their pets.

This is the way that they learn to be imaginative enough not to wait for someone to tell them what is the matter, but to try to understand the appealing eyes of a dumb animal. I hope that even during war, children will not have to give up their pets, but will be allowed to make personal sacrifices to keep them and to look after them.

We shall need plenty of imagination in the coming years to realize how differently people feel and how they react to various situations. I doubt if men or women, no matter what they go through, are going to want pity, but they all need understanding and help to face whatever situations may come to them.

A great sacrifice calls for admiration and, perhaps, for just a little envy that the great majority of people can only sacrifice a little, the one unbearable thing would be to feel that people pitied you.

I have been watching with interest the Todd-Murray Bill in New York State, which the Governor has just signed. It redefines war work and says it is:

Non-combatant service performed in connection with the manufacture, production and distribution of articles, materials and supplies for war, or non-combatant service performed in connection with any other work related thereto, or non-combatant service performed in connection with any occupation, activity or employment essential to the effective prosecution of the war, or necessary to promote and protect the public health and welfare, the safety and security of the country and the state.

It is the redefinition of war work that is important, for the bill allows the employment of minors between the ages of 16 and 18 in this type of war work, which seems to cover a pretty broad field. Of course, in Great Britain, the manpower situation has forced the employment of minors from the age of 14 up.

If the War Council watches carefully the type of dispensation which is given to industries under this bill, there is probably no great harm done, though I cannot help regretting the need for the employment of minors here.

Sometimes, being a messenger at night is not such safe work, and this bill will allow 16- to 18-year-old youths to be used for that type of service. It is real need that must be the conditioning factor and we must wait to see what happens all over the country.

April 14, 1943

Washington – (Tuesday)
I attended a party for the Thrift Shop here, an old charity in the District of Columbia, which supports some of the work done for underprivileged children. I was very much impressed by a short speech made by Capt. Thomas L. Gatch, USN, whose ship has a most distinguished record.

He is recovering from wounds received in action and paid a tribute to the blue jackets and youth fighting the war. It must make all of us proud to be American citizens and have our country defended by men such as he pictured.

Afterwards I went to see an exhibition of paintings by Jere Wickwire. The portraits are really excellent. There was a charming one of a little girl of three, and one of his mother that gave to age all the attributes we would like to have.

Mr. Wickwire has done a crucifixion and, instead of the conventional head of Christ, he has used the head of a young athlete. I thought at once that what he was trying to do was to show the crucifixion of this generation of youth all over the world.

Christ’s Crucifixion has come to be the symbol of the ultimate gift which love for one’s fellow may exact from an individual, for Christ gave up His divinity in order that He might suffer and redeem the human race. Through the ages, that has been the symbol of the greatest love of mankind.

In his paintings, Mr. Wickwire shows that the youth of today is again paying the ultimate price for the good of mankind. They are giving up their lives so that the rest of the world may have a chance again to redeem itself and build a better world.

In the evening we attended a mass memorial in Constitution Hall dedicated to the two million Jewish dead of Europe. It was called We Shall Never Die. Flags of all the nations occupied by Germany came on the stage.

The music, singing, narration, and actors all served to make it one of the most impressive and moving pageants I have ever seen. No one who heard each group come forward and give the story of what had happened to it at the hands of a ruthless German military, will ever forget those haunting words, “Remember us.”

All the way through, I thought how important it is in this country that we do not for a moment allow intolerance and cruelty to creep into our dealings with any of our own people, or with any people who have taken refuge among us. Even with our enemies, I hope we shall always remember that cruelty is a double-edged sword, destroying not only the victim, but the person who indulges in it.

April 15, 1943

Washington – (Wednesday)
Yesterday morning we attended the dedication of the Jefferson Memorial. It is beginning to look very beautiful and someday, when the cherry trees around it bloom in great profusion, people will forget that we were ever afraid of spoiling the landscape around the Basin. It was my first glimpse of the statue, because the day that I had walked over and read the inscriptions on the inside walls of the building, the statue was not in place.

Today it was silhouetted against the skyline and the effect was very impressive. I like very much the President’s emphasis on the fact, that it was Jefferson and his generation which could be easily understood by this generation. Both loved peace and freedom and found they had to fight to preserve the freedom they loved.

It is not only in war, however, that we fight for freedom. One fights for freedom in personal contacts and in many phases of civilian life. When the war is over, the four freedoms will not have been won, we shall simply have dominated their more aggressive enemies. At all times, day by day, we have to continue fighting for freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom from fear, and freedom from want – for these are things that must be gained in peace as well as in war.

We are very far in this country from actually facing what the four freedoms mean in our day-by-day actions. If we really live up to them, there are many little habits and customs that we have allowed to grow up among us, which will have to go by the board.

In the afternoon, I went up to the Library of Congress to see a book in which some 5,600 Polish women of Detroit had signed their names in protest against the atrocities committed in Poland by the Germans. I presented this book to the Librarian of Congress, Mr. Archibald MacLeish, so that it may bear witness in the future to the fact that these women, most of them mothers of boys in our own service, were deeply stirred by the suffering of their sisters in Poland.

While there, I stood before the Declaration of Independence at the request of a gentleman whose paper had conducted a nationwide essay contest for college and high school students on Thomas Jefferson. The two winners were photographed with me and told me that they had attended the ceremonies in the morning and were much impressed by them. They will not be among the youngsters who do not know the difference between Thomas Jefferson and Jefferson Davis in historical quizzes of the future.

April 16, 1943

Washington – (Thursday)
On Tuesday night I went to the dinner given in Washington by the Friends of German Freedom. This dinner had as its main object, the strengthening of the labor movements of the occupied countries, particularly in Germany.

In many of these countries, the only non-Fascist organization that will exist when the war comes to an end, will be whatever leaders or organizations have been kept alive within the labor group. I think it is important that we, in this country, do all we possibly can to recognize these groups and to strengthen them now and in the future.

In every Axis country, there will undoubtedly be people awaiting the United Nations at the end of the war, who have experience in running industry and large-scale agriculture, and who have been active during the past few years because of their willingness not to protest against Fascist control. They may sometimes seem to be the only available material for organization, unless we make it a point to look for those who have led labor in the past.

Since this is to be the century of the common man, there must be a partnership between those who work with their hands and those who work with their heads. They must all insist on their common interest because they are the workers of the world. They are the mass of people who must control their governments in order to have a chance to build a better life throughout the world.

There is no real cleavage between the intellectual and manual contribution, if in both cases the dignity of labor well done is the badge of glory. There is no reason why the workers as a whole cannot join hands in every nation and understand each other and make the future a time of greater opportunity.

On the 13th, there opened in New York City, a film called Desert Victory, shortly to be released all over the country. This is an extraordinary picture which was shown to the President here some time ago. It is the actual picture of the battle of El Alamein and no one who sees it will lack an understanding of what war is like in the North African sector. Terrible as I found it in spots, I still hope that everybody will go to see it, and come away wanting to do all they possibly can to back up the men who are doing such magnificent fighting.

Two young men from our son Elliott’s unit have turned up here in the last two days. I was very happy to see them, for it does give one a sense of being not quite so far away when they tell you that just a week ago they have seen your son.

April 17, 1943

Washington – (Friday)
When I was in New York City yesterday afternoon, I bought the first ticket for the “Page One Award” Ball. I hope that it will be a great success, for the proceeds of this ball will be turned over to war relief agencies.

I am convinced that we shall need more and better training schools for a number of different occupations. I do not think there are enough occupational therapists in the country to meet the needs of the service hospitals. I feel sure that our juvenile delinquency problem would not be so great if we were not losing so many Boy Scout leaders and physical education people, who would ordinarily handle the supervised recreation in the schools.

It is right that they should go into service if they are young men, but young women and older men and women could be trained to do a great deal of this work. I know many men and women who, up to the age of 60 can keep up with the youngsters in camping operations, even if they cannot run and play games quite as well.

I always hear from older women that, because of age, they have been rejected for a specific job they feel qualified to fill. Forty-five seems to be the magic age at which you become incapacitated for many types of work. Perhaps, because of my own age, I wish very much that people between 45 and 65 could be given a more careful physical examination.

If they are proved sound physically and mentally, and still able to do the things required for some particular occupation, I think exceptions should be made and they should not be ruled out from an active and useful life. This is important for both men and women, because in some cases it means that they are barred from earning a living and become a burden either to the community or to their immediate families, and I know of no people who enjoy that situation.

I reached home this morning and met our daughter and small grandson on their arrival. They are on their way to spend the last few weeks with our son-in-law, while he is in training before he is sent overseas.

Four years is a fascinating age because the world is such an interesting place. Johnny Boettiger was thrilled at travelling on a “streamliner.” He could hardly wait to walk the length of the train to see the station, and once in the White House, a glimpse of the soldiers somewhere beyond the trees made it impossible to keep him indoors – he had to talk to them at once! It took real persuasion and a piece of toast with marmalade to get him back into the house for a bath and a nap before luncheon and a continuation of his trip.

April 19, 1943

Newton, Kansas – (Sunday)
I left Washington Friday afternoon by train and reached Chicago Saturday morning practically on time. I went immediately to the Julius Rosenwald Fund meeting, which I had come to attend, and spent the whole day at their office.

These meetings are very interesting. The executive committee usually has gone over all the recommendations first, but that does not prevent the recommendations from being carefully discussed by the trustees and members present. The men and women on the board all seem to take an interest in the general questions which have to be considered before the allocation of the money – namely, what are the things which will be most valuable to do in the field for which the Rosenwald Fund was set up.

Many years ago, the emphasis was almost entirely on building rural schools for colored children in the South. Today the focus is greater on adequately training teachers. This interests me because I think this is where our weakness lies in our whole educational system. We need better-trained teachers, better-paid teachers, teachers who can take a more active part in community life and who are given complete freedom in the expression of their opinions.

I paid one call after the meeting and then barely had time to get ready to catch our evening train for Fort Worth, Texas. From the train window today, it really looks as though spring were on the march. A short time ago, we passed a field filled with calves and lambs and little pigs. Many trees are budding. In fact, early this morning I saw a whole orchard of apple blossoms in full bloom.

One of the letters which I received lately, concerns me very greatly. It comes from a woman who has held a clerical position in the same office for over fifteen years. A short time ago her office was merged with six others. She was retained, so evidently her work was good. She is the assistant to a man who had other work besides the work in this particular office, so in practice she does a major part of the work, but the man receives more than double her salary.

It seems to me that this is an example of the curious lag between what a man receives and what a woman receives for doing any kind of work. In some parts of the country, and in some types of work, the principle of equal pay for equal work has been recognized, but in other places it is practically ignored. I think that in this respect, office work suffers more than factory work.

I know all the old arguments that a woman is supposed to be dependent on some man and that the man must be paid more because of the people he supports. But it has been proved over and over again that single women not only support themselves, but often other members of their families as well, so I think we should revise our schedules and come more nearly to equality of payment when the same work is performed.

April 20, 1943

Fort Worth, Texas – (Monday)
We reached Fort Worth, Texas, in the very early morning hours, and found someone at the station to drive us out to the ranch. Everyone there had given up waiting for us, and so all the lights were out. However, we got in and found a light, and my daughter-in-law, Ruth, suddenly realized that we had arrived and came to greet us. From all accounts, she thought there would be no train arriving last night.

We passed a good many trainloads of boys yesterday, going from one camp to another for training purposes mostly. I was particularly interested in one group. They were aerial gunners and looked a very competent, vigorous group of young men, who would give the young lieutenant in charge of them plenty of work if he tried to keep up with them.

Just before their train started, some of them dashed on board ours to get an autograph from me. I signed one on the platform and then refused to sign a dozen more, in order to get them back on their train, for it was about to start.

Our little granddaughter, Chandler, was off to school before I rose this morning, but the two little boys, Elliott Jr. and David, were on hand to greet us. David has learned to walk since I was here last, and it is amusing to see his older brother guiding his rather uncertain footsteps.

This is a lovely restful home atmosphere but there is little time wasted by its mistress just at present, since she not only runs the ranch, but has taken a nurse’s aide course and does her required numbers of hours of service.

Everywhere you turn in the house there are reminders of the father, who is so far away. Photographs, books, saddles, and pictures all speak of his interests. The older children, of course, have such a vivid memory of his presence, that I think they will be able to make him a real person even to little David.

How many men there are today whose little children will have to learn to know them after their babyhood is over! This is just another sacrifice made in this war. It may seem insignificant, and yet robs both father and child of something never to be recaptured.

There are certain things in this house which have associations for me. Most of the things which belonged to my father. Because his name was Elliott too, they have come into the possession of our second son. As I write, I look at a small oil painting of my father on a big, old hunting horse, which I remember very well. They stand in a Long Island field with dogs around them, and you feel that the man, his horse, the dogs and the countryside were all on friendly terms. The horse’s name was “Mohawk.” He could jump anything and was never weary.