MAY 7, 1938
HYDE PARK, Friday—I hardly know where to begin in telling you about our trip into Connecticut yesterday. I think I will just record the fact that I saw an old book containing the minutes of what, I suppose, was a meeting of a woman's village improvement society. The book states that they were addressed by a woman landscape architect and that she advised them on the beautification of the town. She later became a famous landscape architect of the neighborhood.
I imagine she was a pioneer and these ladies felt they were very bold in having her talk to them. The result of her work, some 40 years later, is an avenue of pink and white dogwood on Greenfield Hill such as I have never seen anywhere else in this country. They tell me next Sunday will be Dogwood Sunday and every road will be blocked with cars bringing people from far and near to enjoy the beauty of the road and of others near the hill.
Our hosts, Mr. and Mrs. George Waldo, have inherited a house which belonged to Mr. and Mrs. Shackleton, who were among the first collectors of American antiques and whose books have guided many others along that pleasant path. The house is charming and what the Waldos have added is in keeping with the old part of it. There are extremely beautiful and valuable old pieces of furniture. Where they have had to supplement it, they have done so with reproductions made in Connecticut by a craftsman whose designs are beautiful.
Many pieces of furniture are written up in the Shackleton's books. Other pieces, not included in the books, have little historical notes left with them, written by Mrs. Shackleton, which add greatly to the interest of the present owners in their possessions. Without these notes, they could never have known where and how certain things have been acquired and what the history of any particular piece might be.
The garden is charming, too. At lunch, I could hardly take my eyes off the old fruit trees, which were shedding their blossoms on the grass below and making it look like a snowstorm surrounded with spring green. The tulips were gay on the terrace and a most gorgeous old tulip tree shaded the house.
Mr. and Mrs. Waldo are just the people to live here, for it is a place which should be loved and they love it and have imparted their appreciation to both of their daughters, who seem really to have a sense of the beauty they have in their keeping.
Mrs. Scheider and I drove to Hyde Park from there, dined with my sister-in-law and went down to a meeting in a Poughkeepsie high school, where I spoke on peace for the benefit of Bard College. I have tremendous respect for the people who are trying to raise the fund to keep Bard College running. They are certainly working very hard despite the fact that it is difficult to interest the general public in Poughkeepsie in anything educational which is further away from Vassar.