SEPTEMBER 21, 1939
ST. PAUL, Minn., Wednesday—Always before, when I have been in different parts of the country and have had a full day in any one spot, I have tried to spend part of it visiting either NYA or WPA projects. A number of times Mrs. Ellen Woodward has suggested that I see some of the regional and state offices administering the Social Security program. Today is the first day that I started out to do this.
We got into St. Paul after 10:30 yesterday evening, and were met by a very kind group of ladies. I was particularly glad to see two old friends, Miss Adelaide Enright, who lives here, and Mrs. June Hamilton Rhodes, who is running one part of the Women's Institute program on which I am speaking tonight. We were soon settled in the penthouse in the Lowry Hotel and glad to find the weather cool and invigorating here. I awoke this morning feeling able to cope with anything.
First was a press conference, at 9 o'clock, and then a little over two hours with the regional director of the Social Security program. This region comprises five states—Minnesota, North and South Dakota, Iowa and Nebraska. The regional office is in Minneapolis. Some of the states do not cooperate on the Dependent Children program, but there is general cooperation on the Old Age Assistance, on Crippled Children and Care of the Blind.
I stopped at one of the refreshment stands run by a blind man, in the Federal Office building, and he seemed very happy in his work. Under the new law, blind people may have stands in public buildings, but no appropriation has been passed to arrange for a revolving fund from which these stands can be set up and gradually amortized. Those set up by private funds seem to be most successful where supervision can be provided and the blind people can be trained in their work.
Of course, the Dependent Children program is always of great interest to me and it is satisfying to see how much Miss Lenroot and the Children's Bureau have been able to do to make the work of this section more valuable.
Unemployment Compensation is also of great interest to me, and I was delighted to find how closely this part of the Social Security program is working in with the United States Employment Service. They are setting up in this region the Junior Placement service working closely with the NYA, and that also should mean a step forward in the whole picture of employment. After seeing the regional office, we came back to St. Paul and saw the State Administrator's office and the Employment service.
This program, as a whole, means so much to all the people of the country that I am deeply interested to see development of high standards of personnel, so that in the counties as well as at headquarters the choice of people who work on the program can be made on a basis of ability, regardless of any other consideration.
Mrs. Anna Dickie Oleson came in to pay me a short visit on my return to the hotel.
I will tell you about the rest of the day tomorrow.