AUGUST 25, 1938
HYDE PARK, Wednesday—The President, Sir Thomas Hohler and I drove up to my old home in Tivoli yesterday afternoon. My aunt, Mrs. Gray, tried to persuade the President to take some of the furniture from there for his new "retreat" and he dutifully took a number of pieces. Then she urged upon him the acceptance of one of the first safes ever made in this country by the Herring Company. It is beautifully painted and decorated, much more pleasing to the eye than the modern "safer" variety, but he looked it over critically and decided that anyone could open it with a hairpin and that it took up too much room, so it was rejected.
It amused me to see how our taste has changed, for in looking at some of the old bookcases which have some rather ornate carving appliqued on very nice wood, he calmly remarked:" If you don't think it vandalism, I am going to have all that trimming taken off. The carving in the moulding which is actually part of the wood, is quite charming." Of course, he is right according to our modern standards and we will enjoy these pieces much more the plainer they are, but my grandfather who built the house and furnished it would probably not understand us.
Most of the old paintings were bought by my great-grandfather, Mr. Edward H. Ludlow. Only one of them seems to be signed, so all we can do is to decide whether we like them regardless of any possible value. One old gentleman, a three-quarter portrait, with a delightful white wig looks as though he might be an ancestor. However, Mrs. Gray says she was told that the painting was bought just because the family thought he had some faint resemblance to Chancellor Livingston.
After dinner last night, we were sitting out on the porch talking, when one of the men came out and told us the sad news of Frank Hawkes' death. The President couldn't believe it at first because he had seen him on Sunday at Lowell Thomas' baseball game. When I went in to say good-morning it was still uppermost in his mind and he said: "What a shame for such an accident to happen to Frank Hawks."
Late last night my nephew, Danny Roosevelt, arrived to spend a few days and write up some of his experiences in Spain. At breakfast this morning, Sir Thomas Hohler, who was leaving to catch his boat for England this afternoon, came in and I introduced my young nephew. He looked at him and said: "This is a most remarkable household, young Roosevelts seem to keep dropping in and out. They are all tall and I think it very pleasant, but a little confusing."
I must say that I agree with him about the dropping in and out, for Franklin, Jr., lunched with us yesterday on his way to Maine, and Betsey, Jimmy's wife, arrived yesterday afternoon. They do seem to drop in and out.