FEBRUARY 15, 1938
WASHINGTON, Monday—Mr. Edward Bruce, who has been the inspiration for the whole Treasury Art Project, made a little speech in the East Room yesterday afternoon to nearly 200 people. They had gathered there to hear Mr. Forbes Watson's lecture and to see his slides depicting some of the work done on the Treasury Art Project. Many of the artists were present and I think they must have been amused if they heard the numbers of people who passed by me murmur: "I had no idea that such interesting work was going on in any department."
Today I lunched with Mrs. Homer Cummings, wife of the Attorney General, and I am still lost in admiration for a hostess who can make a guest feel at ease when that guest arrives one half hour late.
For some unknown reason I had it firmly fixed in my head that my lunch today was at 1:30, in spite of the fact that I had it down in my book for 1:00, and had even been reminded of the correct hour. I was ready to leave at 1:15 and the usher murmured: "Mrs. Cummings has telephoned to inquire if anything has happened."
Then, and then only, did it dawn upon me that I should have left at 12:45. I had to be honest and explain that the fault was all mine. Not only Mrs. Cummings, but all her guests, accepted my apologies with such kindness that coals of fire were heaped on my guilty head!
I must pass on to you the stirring tale of a struggle against illness and poverty which a woman has described to me. First she fought the battle with her husband, and then: "The day after his funeral I set the boys to work in the hay field little dreaming that then and there I was starting in farming. If I ever so much as thought it over, I never would have had the nerve, but as it was, I only felt the pain in my heart, so I picked up the fight where my husband left off. I ran the tractor myself one year during the depression. I was so hard up I could only afford to hire one hired man, so I took the tractor and fitted 90 acres for wheat and the hired man followed up with the drill.
"I have sent my children to high school and they are, at present, enjoying quite good health. I am the proud grandmother of four. I was 35 years old when my first grandson was born. If I lose the farm now, and if we have much more hard times I possibly will, I will always have the thought that the children have always been my first consideration."
Then, "I am only asking you one favor. I think it would help a lot if I could only know that the President and Mrs. Roosevelt wished me success."
With her letter she enclosed one dollar for the infantile paralysis campaign.