DECEMBER 31, 1938
WASHINGTON, Friday—Yesterday I did not have space enough to tell you of an interesting evening which was brought to us through a kind friend. Mr. Julian Bryan, who as a rule spends his summers travelling to obtain new and interesting moving pictures and material for lectures he gives during the rest of the year, came on Wednesday night with his wife and showed us pictures he had taken in Germany last summer. The physical improvements there are remarkable, there are miles of new roads and the people look well fed and in excellent condition.
Mr. Bryan lectures when he is showing these pictures to the public, but it was not necessary to lecture to us, for the pictures, themselves, point very clearly to the difference between a democracy and a dictatorship. The quotations flashed on the screen from Hitler's own book were enormously interesting in connection with a twenty minute movie which was given us afterward called: "Lincoln In The White House." In this movie the part of Lincoln was well played and the closing words are those of the speech at Gettysburg, a remarkably interesting contrast with those from Hitler's book.
I have just returned this morning from witnessing the swearing in to office of Mrs. Ellen Woodward as one of the Commissioners on the Social Security Board. She follows Miss Mary W. Dewson one of my old friends for whom I have the greatest admiration. Miss Dewson began as a young woman to work in various fields of social service and her experience has been varied, representing very intensive hard work over a long period of years. For a few years before joining the Social Security Board she became very much interested in the Democratic Party, particularly the education of women who were working for the party. I think the women owe a debt of gratitude to Miss Dewson for having developed the women's organization of our party along these lines.
Since Miss Dewson had to give up her work with the Social Security Board, I am more than grateful that she could be followed by Mrs. Woodward. Through the years that Mrs. Woodward has headed the women's and professional projects in the Works Progress Administration, I have come to admire her greatly. She has executive ability, tact, the faculty to give in and see the other person's point of view, and yet she can be adamant when it is necessary. This is a wonderful combination and one rarely found in men or women. My good wishes are with her in this new work which offers a more permanent and wider field for her abilities.
The rest of the day is going to be taken up in conferences. As I look at the schedule, I realize that the walk from the White House to "G" Street and back is going to be the only time spent out of the house the rest of this day.
When I walked in from the gate, a very sweet-faced woman stopped and greeted me with true Southern spontaneity. "My husband and I come from Louisville, Kentucky. We know some of your friends and we had to stop and shake hands." A gesture of friendliness is such a pleasant thing!