SEPTEMBER 30, 1938
NEW YORK, Thursday—I never thought that New York state political conventions could be going on and that I would be almost completely oblivious of the local situation. Yet, when I opened the paper this morning and saw the headline: "Republicans To Pick Dewey And Hear Him Accept Today," and below it: "Barton in Keynote Condemns New Deal," I didn't even read the account beneath, but turned at once to the wider headline and the stories under it which told of the European situation. There was a long speech on the radio last night which dealt, except for opening sentences, entirely with national issues and I found my attention wavering several times.
Strange how a crisis affecting really fundamental things, will wipe out all less important matters and leave you completely indifferent to interests which in ordinary times you considered fairly absorbing.
The first paper I opened this morning, had on the front page, pictures of the men in whose hands the future of Europe and, perhaps, the world, lies at this moment. The group of photographs was extremely interesting placed in this way, side by side, and I hope many people the world over will study them. Photographs are revealing records of men's lives and their characters. Something comes into the faces of all of us, whether we like it or not, which tells the story of the kind of soul we have built within us through the years.
Talking of photographs, yesterday a book was published by the Museum of Modern Art called "American Photographs" by Walker Evans. It shows us contemporary America and I think all of us who care about our country will be deeply interested in this record.
Yesterday afternoon, I read through three articles which analyze our own particular branch of the Roosevelt family. They were a kindly interpretation and, on the whole, correct except for details which no one could be expected to know.
It always amuses me when all is said and done, and the tales are told, and the analyses are made, that the conclusion reached is that our family is like any other American family and can be duplicated all over the United States. If only people would accept this fact, not only in the case of the President, but in the case of all public officials and their families, how much easier it would be!
One other little item should be remembered in a democracy, namely, that people in public offices come from private life and return to it. That is the reason why they must be allowed lives of their own and cannot be like royal families, set apart from the world in which they live.
We left Washington on the midnight after a family dinner and a quiet evening. We are doing a few errands in New York City this morning before leaving for a lecture in Springfield, Massachusetts.