FEBRUARY 3, 1938
WASHINGTON, Wednesday—I had a very delightful luncheon yesterday with Mrs. Henry Morgenthau, Jr., wife of the Secretary of the Treasury. Her house always has charm and the present one offers her delightful material with which to work, for the rooms are well planned and the outlook is lovely.
Today, at a luncheon with a group of women from the foreign service, one of them told me that living all over the world in different kinds of houses is a challenge to the creative instinct. Your home has to be arranged to meet your family's needs, and your way of doing it affects the opinion other nationalities have of the American people. So, if you are able to take a cold and unattractive house and make it charming, you have really done more than make a home for your family.
This is not only true, but it also gives a new slant on the responsibilities of the wives of our representatives in foreign lands.
Last night I had my first ride in a horse show and it went off very easily, thanks to Johnny's horse, "Badger." He woke up just enough to look better than he does when he is bored with the world and yet, he was not too wide awake to cause me trouble. He went about his business with perfect obedience, trotted, cantered and turned in very good form.
When the judges began to call the numbers of those who were to line up in the middle of the ring, I realized someone had put a number on my back and I had not looked at it. I had to take it off, look at it, and then grope for my coat collar to fasten it on again. "Badger" was a little disappointed that the red roses which were presented to me were not meant as a meal for him. Since he had done all the work, I think he was justified in feeling that whatever was handed out was his. He had to wait until we left the ring before he received his two lumps of sugar.
I went to see the Federal Reserve Building with Mr. Adolph Miller, yesterday. He is largely responsible for the supervision of the building during its construction and is justifiably proud of the result.
I think the building's exterior is very beautiful and have admired it often, but I was equally impressed by the interior. I was assured, rather apologetically, that the space taken up by the very fine staircase could not have been utilized in any other way. I gathered they had, perhaps, been criticized for thinking too much about beauty and too little about utility. Surely, this country has learned that we must meet both needs in public buildings.
Unless we satisfy our sense of beauty in a public building, we have failed in one of its most important functions. We may not be able to live in houses which give us pleasure, but we certainly should be able to visit our government buildings and feel an esthetic satisfaction. I received that satisfaction from the Federal Reserve Building. The plan, the color, the detail and all the decorations are delightful. When Mr. Miller told me he felt there was a fine esprit de corps among the people who worked in the building, I was not at all surprised, for I think our surroundings have a great deal to do with our mental attitudes and I believe they affect our characters and dispositions more than we think.