SEPTEMBER 28, 1939
EN ROUTE, Wednesday —Here we are on the train again, bound for Wilmington, Del., where we get off to drive to Reading, Pa., for a lecture tonight.
We reached the White House in time for lunch yesterday, and I went over immediately to the executive offices to see the President. Secretary Ickes was with him and reported beamingly on the newest Cabinet baby. I wish I had had time to see him, but that will have to wait until I am back for a longer stay.
I did get in this morning to see Diana Hopkins and her father, and was glad to find him in such good spirits. Diana is evidently a good companion.
I had a number of appointments yesterday, but most of the time in the afternoon was spent in a truly feminine and frivolous manner—getting my hair done. The time, however, was well spent in more than one way, for I picked up the September issue of Reader's Digest, which I had not had time to see before, and read with great interest Mr. William Hard's article.
With much of it I am in complete agreement and I was particularly interested in his account of the accomplishments of the Monsanto Chemical Company. He said they had reduced the cost of their products by about 75 percent and had raised the hourly wages of their employes about 50 percent, between the years of 1926 and 1937.
I had only one question in my mind—namely, whether this had been accomplished by putting in new machinery and reducing the number of employes or not. So I telephoned the Brookings Institution to find out, and they reported that during those years more men were employed. This being the case, it would seem to be possible for us to go farther and find out whether there are not comparable industries which might do the same thing and, also, whether by making careful studies of adjustment, other industries might not achieve these same desirable results.
Mr. Hard's article is by far the most cheering piece of literature on this subject that I have read in a long time.
Schools are beginning again and my young cousin, Elizabeth Henderson, arrived in Washington in the late afternoon preparatory to getting everything ready for real work, which begins on Friday. I think it is such a good idea for the Madeira School to have the opening day at the end of the week so the girls really have the weekend to do all their adjusting. It is so hard to come down to earth after a summer of play. If you can do it gradually, it certainly makes the transition easier.
The country everywhere is beginning to put on autumn colors, but the magnolia trees outside my sitting-room window in Washington have a new beauty which I never discovered before. Perhaps I have not been in Washington at the right time. Instead of the white flowers of early summer, they now have what looks like a red fruit, which is very pretty against the dark green leaves. The roses are still blooming beautifully in the rose garden, but our grass has suffered badly. Whether it is the drought or some kind of blight I cannot tell. But I grieve over the rust-colored patches, which I have never seen before on these lawns.