FEBRUARY 18, 1939
ITHACA, N.Y., Friday—Again, I have to begin with yesterday's doings. On arrival at Cornell I went at once to the meeting of the heads of the various women's organizations. There, one of the city merchants, a grocer, a member of the credit organization and a producer, were discussing the consumer-producer-distributor problem from the point of view of its relation to the home and especially to the woman in her capacity as housewife and buyer for the family. The constantly reappearing question of pressure salesmanship and installment buying also came up for consideration.
Of particular interest to me were the various ways suggested by the merchants whereby the cost of purchasing could be reduced to the consumer. For instance, if the housewives gave their orders twice a week and deliveries only had to be made on those days, the cost of many articles could be greatly reduced. If cash were paid, if people returned things less frequently, the merchant's overhead, which is passed on in cost to the consumer, would be less. The housewife would have to be as well organized in her home as if she were running a business.
This same question has often come up in connection with the management of domestic workers in the home. The lack of any real pattern in many households has come to be a real problem which points to the fact that a housewife should be trained as well as a houseworker. There was no doubt about it that the merchants gave us the same impression in all their information.
I have seen two interesting exhibits this year, one a rearranged kitchen in a farm house which saves the mother of the family many steps, the other was an exhibit to teach people how to buy textiles of various kinds. An interesting exhibition of historical costumes was put on in the afternoon by Helen Virginia Meyer and we attended a tea given by the Home Economics Club girls and in the evening the Master Farmer Dinner. The citations for the farmers and their wives and the young people who received the 4-A award were, as usual, most inspiring.
This morning I started at 9:00 o'clock to visit an NYA resident project which is established in connection with the Biggs Memorial State Hospital for Tuberculosis. The youngsters work in every department on maintenance, even in the laboratory and X-ray department. They have related training in their resident center and it looks to me like one of the most interesting projects that I have ever seen anywhere. Three of the girls in the hospital had written to ask me to visit them, so I had an opportunity to see them also.
Back at the College, I heard a most interesting talk by Dorothy Lathrop, who has illustrated and written some very charming books. Later I met with one of Miss Rose's class for a short discussion period. More about this tomorrow.