DECEMBER 12, 1938
WASHINGTON, Sunday—I must go back to tell you something of what has been going on the last few days, for they have indeed been typically busy days of the Washington season.
Friday night I presided at the dinner of the American Public Welfare Association. The last time I had been with them was in Montreal three years ago. This dinner seems to me rather a family affair, for many of those who attended have worked together a great many years. The heads of various government agencies spoke briefly and Mr. Frank Bane, who recently resigned from the Social Security Board to take a position as Executive Director of the Council of State Governments, gave a most interesting address which brought out the point that public welfare along every line is only achieved through cooperation.
Saturday morning was filled with personal engagements, but at 1:00 o'clock I attended the luncheon given by the Women's Auxilary of the Metropolitan Police Boys Clubs. They showed some very interesting movies of the camp activities. I was glad to find that a gentleman from Detroit had come to investigate what is being done here, for I think that Major Brown and his colleagues in the Police Department are doing a very remarkable piece of work which would be helpful in other communities.
From there we went to the Procurement Division of the Treasury Department to look at the sketches made for the murals in the Bethesda, Maryland, post office. The competition was won by Robert Gates whose sketch is charming. I think these post offices are making the country more and more conscious of decorative, artistic values.
From there I went to the District of Columbia PWA art rooms, where they have a loan exhibit of the work done by the children of Mexico, as well as paintings done by District of Columbia artists.
Finally I went back to the White House for the presentation of the new White House piano. Mr. Theodore Steinway recalled that they had presented the first piano in Theodore Roosevelt's administration. They are now presenting the second one to the nation in gratitude for what the United States has meant to them. It is a full size concert grand made of the finest Honduras mahogany. Mr. Eric Gugler, a distinguished New York architect, is responsible for the general design and coordination of the entire project, which is a collaboration of many arts and crafts. The President, with his usual eye for ornithology, remarked that Mr. Albert Stewart, the well-known sculptor, had modelled eagles which really were eagles.
The ceremony was very charming and had an emotional quality, for everybody felt that this was in some way symbolic of the increased interest in music in this country. Mr. Josef Hofmann christened the piano by playing beautifully for the pleasure of all those present.