FEBRUARY 2, 1939
WASHINGTON, Wednesday—Yesterday afternoon I had a really exciting experience. I came home at 3:00 o'clock to keep an appointment with Mr. Raymond E. Krape. He had written and told me of his retirement to the country after years of active business life and his discovery that he could not settle down to inactivity. He then started some handicraft work, gave employment to some of his neighbors and found a ready market for what he produced. What he needed was not an outlet for his work, nor money, but help in training people who were unemployed and on relief, and very modestly he said that he felt he needed help to improve his designs.
Judging from his orders, he has been pretty successful so far as his ideas are concerned. It is so unusual to find anyone who is offering employment to people people even after they are trained, that I was quite excited. I liked Mr. Krape tremendously because of his modesty and his evident sincerity of purpose. He tells me that he gets up every morning at 4:00 and works until 10:00 or 11:00 o'clock every night because he does want to make his venture successful. Of course, I do not know enough about the whole situation to make any final decisions, but I turned him over to people who might be of assistance to him. He happens to come from a part of the country where, if he can take any people off relief rolls, everybody will be very grateful to him. I wish we had more citizens of his type.
Then an old friend came whom I had not seen for a long time. He asked me to do something in September, which is a long way off. I had a real sense of satisfaction in just seeing him, for he always reminds me of Louis Howe, whom he knew very well in the old days.
Then there followed a group of people with a cause. They wanted the President to do something not unusual, but it brought up the question which I think needs to be brought up over and over again. Leadership is important, but unless you are Mr. Hitler, you must not lead where your responsible following is not ready to uphold you. Democracy requires not the action of one man, but the conviction and courage of many.
Our last state dinner, the one to the Speaker of the House and Mrs. Bankhead, was given last night. The Speaker, who sat next to me, is always a delightful companion. On my other side sat Senator Shipstead. I always find we have much in common. Last night we discovered that an interest in woods and wood-working was one we have never before really explored.
Our program of music after dinner last night was given by Mr. Ernest Schelling, Miss Margaret Speaks, and Mr. Rene Le Roy, all of them finished artists who made the evening a memorable one.