APRIL 30, 1938
BOSTON, Friday—While I was dressing on the train this morning, I wondered whether or not I would find my son, John, waiting for me on the platform, for I could not remember at what hour I told him we would arrive. He was there, however, towering above the gentlemen with cameras and flashlight bulbs, and we proceeded to the Hotel Statler where he ate a second breakfast with us.
There is one great advantage in getting off a night train early. You can unpack and have everything laid out, so that if the rest of the day is busy, it takes you the least possible time to change or get ready for whatever engagements you may have.
As usual, we ate our breakfast with frequent interruptions from the telephone bell. But as there were three of us to answer it, each of us succeeded in having some time to eat in peace.
Today is not as warm as yesterday and it looks somewhat cloudy. I always hope for a good evening when I give a lecture, for the weather has some effect on the audience, though it matters less in a big city where people are not driving in from some distance.
Yesterday my attention was drawn to a speech by Mrs. Shepard Krech, president of the Maternity Center Association of New York City. She referred to the fact that 8 years ago that association began a nation-wide campaign to make Mother's Day have a real bearing on the better care needed by our mothers and babies in the first year of infancy. It seems to me, that if we could link the celebration of Mother's Day with this educational campaign, much could be accomplished.
If every individual felt that on Mother's Day something should be done for an organization working in the maternity and infancy fields in their community, or for some individual needing care, we would soon find a great change in the conditions which now prevail. Many of us understand the difficulties which have brought about our low rating as a nation in the care of our mothers and babies. Now that we understand what our difficulties are, we are in a better position to overcome them. We certainly cannot rest when our nation has the third highest death rate for mothers in childbirth.
The statistics published in Washington a few days ago, show that only about 7 percent of our people are properly nourished, about 43 percent are more or less adequately fed and almost 50 percent are under-nourished. This, of course, has a bearing on the question of the maternity and infancy death rate. Under-nourishment is probably largely due to an economic situation, but also in part to lack of education. Mothers and babies need to be well-fed and the mother must know about food values. We do not sufficiently stress in our schools the type of preparation for living which the average family requires to feed itself properly, especially on a limited income.
With my cousin, Mrs. Alexander Grant, I visited two hospitals this morning, the House of the Good Samaritan and the Deaconess Hospital; one of the Federal Emergency Schools. I am now waiting for Johnny and Anne, my niece, Eleanor Roosevelt, and her mother, Mrs. John Cutter, all of whom are lunching with me.