APRIL 23, 1938
NEW YORK, Friday—I did not have space yesterday to tell you much about my Williamsburg visit. The "Palace" has been very much more completely furnished since I was last there. Only old fabrics are used in the draperies and it creates a much greater illusion of age in the rooms. The gardens have grown up very quickly and are very attractive.
We ended our visit by paying a call on "Old Mary" in the kitchen. The guide asked her if she was eighty and she indignantly claimed to be at least a hundred. Then she told me that Mr. Rockefeller gave her the kitchen and that, though one could not sit down anywhere else, we could sit down there. She invited us to do so while she explained the uses of the various utensils.
When I saw a machine for peeling apples, I decided that we are not so clever in our modern inventions. To be sure, these machines were run by hand-power, but inventors had ideas in those days.
Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller, Jr., happened to be in Williamsburg. They asked us to dine with them at the Inn and afterwards took us over to see the craft shop. They are having old pieces of furniture, pewter and silver, found in Williamsburg, reproduced and are selling them in the craft shop and other parts of the country. On the second floor of the craft shop, there is on exhibition a most interesting collection of tools which have been donated. They even have a complete set of shoemaker's tools.
We went to bed weary but filled with the beauty of the countryside and with the conviction that here was a marvelous way of learning American history. It lives all about you and I can think of nothing more educational for a youngster studying our Colonial days, than an opportunity to spend a day or two in Williamsburg.
Thursday morning we visited the Capitol, which has little that is modern in it. The jail has been made much more interesting by furnishings in the jailer's quarters, and last but not least, we saw Raleigh Tavern, which to me is the most delightful glimpse into past history. Then we paid Mr. and Mrs. Rockefeller a call in their perfectly charming, secluded and peaceful house, stopped for a glimpse at Carter's Grove and arrived at Hampton late.
Dr. and Mrs. Howe forgave us for being tardy and the ceremonies went forward in celebration of Hampton's 70th anniversary. Into the building of this institution has gone much courage and much vision. I do not think one could be there and look into the young faces and talk to the faculty and the trustees without being moved by the courageous meeting of problems and the hope for a better future.
Mrs. Morgenthau and I flew to New York from Richmond last night. Now I am off on a round of inconsequential errands.