My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

Text Size: Small Text Normal Text Large Text Larger Text

COLUMBUS, Ohio, Tuesday—We did not arrive in Columbus from Cincinnati until nearly 12:00 o'clock, so by the time the press conference was over and we had glanced through the important mail, we were ready for a very light lunch.

At 2:00 o'clock the NYA director and two of his assistants came in to tell me about their program. They have quite an important resident project for colored boys which is about the best thing being done for them in this state. They cooperate with the Junior Placement Service in the State Reemployment Bureau and are doing good work in placing their own young people, as well as some who are not actually on relief but who need advice and help to find the right work.

By 2:30 I started out with the WPA director and Miss Thrasher, the head of the Women's and Professional Project in this state. Our first stop was at the state hospital for the insane. This is the first project of this kind I have seen anywhere. They are using WPA workers to supervise occupational therapy and recreation for their patients. For the first time, some of the patients who have been much disturbed, have been able to go out and engage in normal occupations. One group took to gardening and in a few weeks all but two of them had been sent home. One of the wards which has always been locked may now be left open, for this program has given the women occupation for their hands and minds in the long hours when they otherwise would have been idle.

The material which is being gathered through the observation of all these cases is going to be a great value to the doctors. I find that Ohio, like so many other states, has insufficient funds for aftercare when they discharge their patients and yet, if they wish to save the state further expense, it would be well to give these patients supervision, for otherwise many of them will have to find their way back to the hospital. Perhaps WPA can develop a new project.

We proceeded from the hospital to a school for the blind, where another entirely new project is being developed. They have many children who have been blind from birth and the WPA workers are building models for them. For instance, they will no longer have to wonder what Lincoln's log cabin was like, or what the leaning Tower of Pisa looks like, and even what the outside of their own school building looks like, for they feel all over the model with their fingers, read the little markers in Braille which tell them the scale, and through those sensitive fingers see things which they never visualized before.

I must tell you about one more thing, but that must wait for tomorrow.

E.R.
TMs, AERP, FDRL