MAY 3, 1938
WASHINGTON, Monday—I left New York City at midnight last night, after having sat out in the sun at Hyde Park doing nothing for the first time this year. These early spring days give one a tremendous urge to go to the country and dig in the earth and stay in one spot, if it is a spot where you own a little piece of ground and have something you can call your own in which to live.
It is very beautiful here also and the weather is at its best. At 10:00 I received a group of women who were on their way to Norway. It seems that this is the first organized tour of the year. Those taking it ranged from a little boy of 9 to a woman of seventy-seven! I can imagine what a joy it must be to go back to see families and friends, who perhaps felt when they were coming to this far-off land that they would never be reunited.
At lunchtime, I sat for a few minutes with Mr. Harry Hopkins and my son, Jimmy. They ate their lunch in the middle of the rose garden with the sun pouring down on them, which should have given them a good tan. Then I went over to the lunch at the Willard Hotel in celebration of Child Health Week. The first part of the program was devoted entirely to problems of child health in the District of Columbia, though Miss Katharine Lenroot also gave some figures of national significance.
In sections where there are foreign born or Negro populations in large numbers, it is interesting to see how much these areas in a city suffer from certain diseases. For instance, in childbirth and in the first year of life in Negro groups in the District of Columbia, the mortality far exceeds that of white groups. In New York City, the mortality from tuberculosis in Harlem, where the greatest number of colored people are to be found, far exceeds that of any other section.
You may be interested in the fact that during the month of April 1937, 3,860 people were received in the White House. This year 4,821 were received. That, of course, does not include the sightseers, who far exceed last year's numbers. It looks as though travellers were coming in ever-increasing numbers to their Capitol City.
In my column a short time ago, I said I was looking up the origin of the egg rollingcustom on Easter Monday and several people have asked me if I have made any discoveries. This morning, in my press conference, I gave most of the details, but you may be interested to know that in "Harper's Young People" for April 20, 1886, there are some illustrations showing the children on the lawn. The story accompanying the illustrations reveals the fact that this was a custom brought over from England.
Chamber's "Book of Days," reminds us that it was once almost a universal custom among Christians to distribute the "pace" or "paeche ege." The Capitol terraces, where egg rolling was first indulged in over here, suffered, so President Hayes invited the young people to the White House lawn and they came, as they do today, with hard-boiled eggs dyed many colors.