DECEMBER 14, 1937
Four of us drove down to Charlottesville, Virginia yesterday to see our son, Franklin Junior, and Ethel in their new home. This is the first time I have seen their house, which is very attractive. It is wonderful how much interested we all are in something which we create ourselves! I think this creative instinct is what really makes it necessary for every young couple to build up their own surroundings.
They were both very much engrossed in a new gift, a very large and somewhat gawky seven months old Great Dane. He looked to me a trifle thin, but they told me that was because I had not seen him on his arrival a few days before. Elliott and Ruth has sent him up, the trip had been a hard one, and he was certainly banged up and half starved. He seemed however, to be settling comfortably in his new home, and to feel a real affection for his new master and mistress. Everytime he dropped his head down on the floor, everything in the room shook which made me realize what a massive creature I was dealing with. One of my friends who owns a grown-up Great Dane said she hoped that we had created an endowment for his food as feeding them was more expensive than feeding a human being.
We all went up to Monticello in the afternoon and I was interested to see how many more things have been acquired for the house. There are drapes on some of the upstairs windows, put up according to the directions found in some old papers, I imagine, but they served the purpose of adding to the height of the window and make you forget that the window on the second floor was on a level with the floor and not at the usual height. This is necessitated I suppose by the outside architectural effect. These windows are very cleverly concealed. From the lawn you can hardly tell that there is more in the building than the first floor and the dome. The second floor is practically invisible.
A committee of five, Mrs. Emily Newell Blair; Mr. Christopher Morley; Mr. Harry Clemons, Mr. Frederic Melcher and Mr. Lewis Traver, representing publishers and authors who present the White House Library with two hundred books every other year, gathered in my husband's office a little before one o'clock to make their presentation. I never see a collection of books that I don't at once pick out the books that I would like to have for myself and my husband is made in much the same way with the result that both of us were looking at these books with envious eyes, and picking out what we would like to have for ourselves! Then I suddenly realized how foolish I was when my opportunities for reading are so few and far between nowadays, particularly during the social season.
Afterwards the committee lunched with me and Mr. Morley told me firmly that I should take more time to think and spend less time trying to do things which could really never be done and might be considered wasted effort.