MAY 27, 1937
WASHINGTON, Wednesday—At ten a.m. we all went to the factory in Arthurdale. The General Electric Vacuum Cleaner Assembly Plant is apparently doing very satisfactorily. They were the first to be willing to make the experiment of putting a small factory in a rural community. Now, thanks to the efforts of Mr. Allie S. Freed, who is chairman of the Business Advisory Committee, another factory has been opened which is already employing twenty five girls and young married women whose services are not needed in the home.
In the opening ceremonies yesterday Mr. A. S. Phillips of the Phillips-Jones Corporation said: in part: "We are going to make a success of this undertaking; a true success—one that will not only meet the purpose of employing the young women here, but will meet it on a basis that is economic—a basis that will justify its existence both in wages paid and in capital invested. We hope to see it not only justify itself, but to be so successful as to attract and inspire other employers to adopt it as a pattern for their efforts."
This new factory is a shirt factory and the women already employed were at their machines. A trailer was outside the door arranged to tour the country and show samples of Van Heusen shirts. The room was filled with sunshine and the spirit that prevailed was one of cooperation. The people are grateful beyond words that another leader in industry has thought it possible to make an experiment of this kind.
It seems to me that we owe a debt of gratitude to the leaders in both these industries who have been interested enough in the welfare of the people to try and build up on a real business basis these small factories.
We have had certain patterns in the past, we are heading for new patterns today. Pioneering is never over and the American spirit loves adventure. This is perhaps our newest adventure in industry.
If you are interested any of you to go and visit Arthurdale I think you will be interested to go and see these people at work and then to see their homes and their gardens and get an idea of what this may mean to many people if it spreads throughout the country.
Later we all attended commencement exercises at the school and the final graduation of the senior class. This school is successfully serving the community and preparing its young people to be useful citizens.
We motored home and got into Washington at ten thirty last night. Today as usual we are catching up with neglected work and at noon the Senate Ladies are coming for their annual picnic with the Cabinet Ladies in the White House Garden.