MAY 20, 1939
WASHINGTON, Friday—I have discovered a new organization called the Women Organization for the American Merchant Marine. For a long time I have been familiar with the American Merchant Marine Library Association, which sends books and periodicals to our lighthouses and coast-guard ships, as well as to merchant ships.
This new association, started by women whose husbands are interested in shipping, has grown and is making people more conscious of American owned ships and American sailors. They have a plan called "adopt a ship," which they promote in schools. The classroom teacher interests her young people by taking some specific ship and fostering a correspondence between the captain and seamen of the ship and the children, who may ask questions on anything pertaining to that ship, passengers, cargoes, engines, equipment, etc. Then the children follow the ship in its travels, which ought to be a great help in the study of history and geography. At the same time, it ought to add a great interest in the lives of our seamen and increase our interest in conditions aboard ship and the value of our shipping and trade.
Yesterday afternoon we held the garden party which is given annually for the disabled veterans. The weather was perfect, which was a great relief to all of us, for this is one occasion when we cannot move indoors because of the difficulty of manipulating stretchers and wheelchairs. The glee club from Dillard High School, of Goldsboro, N.C., sang and the program was much enjoyed. Not only the men, but the nurses and various Red Cross attendants seemed to enjoy sitting around the lawn eating ice cream and cake.
In the evening, I went over to a dinner given by the American Youth Commission in honor of Dr. Homer Rainey. Dr. Rainey is handing over the work of the Youth Commission, which he has so ably directed, to Dr. Reeves who headed the President's Advisory Committee on Education. After the dinner, a panel discussion was held in which the audience participated.
At noon today, 150 farm women, accompanied by a few men, gathered in the East Room. They were all much interested in world peace, which shows how greatly the interest in the Middle West has grown in international questions. They are bound for Rural Women's Day at the New York World's Fair and one lady, at least, is bound for the conference of the Rural Women of the World in London. After they had gone, a group of people who have already begun to arrange for a meeting in May, 1940, came to see me. Then five of us had luncheon for the first time this year on the South Portico. I love eating our meals out there. One gets a view of the fountain beyond the green South Lawn and the shaft of the Washington Monument. It is good for the soul, no matter how busy one's day may be!