The Pittsburgh Press (January 8, 1941)
THE SMART SET
By Mrs. Walter Ferguson
“The smart set all do their bit as war Samaritans,” Cholly Knickerbocker informs us, with illustrations, in The New York Journal. The news irks me. Not that I have any hard feelings toward the smart set, as such, but they always seem to be about three jumps behind the times with their worthy endeavors.
Perhaps if the smart set had worked as hard years ago at being good citizens as they now work to carry charitable loads, there would have been less need for taking care of refugee children and staging fashionable teas and other benefits for down-and-outers of every sort.
Plainly speaking, the smart set, because it has the means to play, plays too much and at the wrong times. This is true of all localities, because, although Mr. Knickerbocker may not agree, every community has its smart set. Most of them in the interior of the country spend a great deal of thought and money imitating the one whose doings are regaled to us by Cholly and his writing pals.
It is a great pity that women who possess wealth and social prestige, and whose influence because of that is tremendous, are so little interested in humanitarian questions between wars. If they were, many of the conditions which contribute to domestic and international disharmony could be eliminated. 80% of the national wealth belongs to women. Think of the wonders they could work, if a sufficient number resolved to use their wealth to correct social evils.
In a way it seems to me the women of the smart set could actually being about a renaissance of hope in America. They could re-establish decent moral standards and awaken a desire for spiritual growth. A good many rich men in our country have come to see that they are merely custodians of their wealth. When will rich women begin to feel the same responsibility?