NOVEMBER 12, 1936
MILWAUKEE, Wednesday—We arrived this morning in Milwaukee, getting off the train at eight o'clock to be greeted by quite a delegation. This always troubles me because while some people may enjoy standing around on a station platform at eight a.m. in the morning, I doubt if many of them do. However, even the Mayor was present this morning and we were very well taken care of.
We found that instead of going to the hotel in the heart of the City as we expected, we were being taken to a very lovely spot from which the view of the Lake is one of the loveliest things I have seen in any city.
We saw a number of people this morning, but the real point of interest of the day was a visit to the NYA sewing project for girls. Wisconsin has a varied program for youth and it has had the interest and cooperation of the various communities. This particular sewing room has space in the Court House and one hundred and ten girls work in three shifts at the machines and rug weaving looms. These youngsters on NYA projects in Wisconsin have the benefit of vocational guidance. Each case is studied as an individual case and the background and experience of the individual is taken into account as well as the ambitions and desires of the boy or girl. An effort is then made to give them work along the lines which will help then to fit into some kind of useful activity and at the same time, they are given school instruction in such things as they may need to supplement what they can learn at work. This guidance work is rather exceptional I think and must be a great help.
I was particularly interested in the rug weaving because the rugs I saw were not only well executed but the designs and colors were very pleasing. So often in WPA handwork projects the skill is there but the taste, which is after all an important part, both in beautifying and in making a saleable article is entirely absent. In this case skill and taste are combined and the teachers are doing an exceptionally good piece of work.
I can hardly believe that this is Armstice Day for I have heard no martial music and have seen no parades. But tonight I shall take part in an Armstice Day program and feel again no doubt the thrill of that day eighteen years ago when we finally realized that the horrors of the war were coming to an end. I have been quoting in my lectures a verse which expresses well the futile feeling that some of us have about all our efforts to bring about greater real security for the children of the future:
That rules in the kingdoms of men;
The hopelessness, horror and sadness
That preludes world slaughter again:
My nights are undone with pursuing
Dream-ways where I labor for naught;
My days were beginnings of doing,
Where hardly beginnings are wrought.
I wonder when we will be able to feel that at least we are doing something, not just talking of what might be done?