OCTOBER 17, 1939
HYDE PARK, Monday—It is grand to have such perfect October weather for these few days in the country. I took another ride this morning through the lower wood. The air had just enough chill in it to make the horses want to go, so I enjoyed every minute of it. I lunched at Vassar Alumni House and took with me Mrs. Elizabeth von Hesse, who has had no opportunity to give me a voice lesson for nearly five months and never before heard me speak in public. I asked her to concentrate on all my failings in order to help me improve.
Mrs. Henry Morgenthau met us at the luncheon and we found a great many Poughkeepsie friends, as well as women of other sections of the county and from across the river. This lunch was the interlude in a day's conference. This nonpartisan institute was run under the auspices of the Democratic County Committee to study the various social agencies of government.
I did not attend the morning session, but I understand the National Youth Administration work in this district was well described and that Vassar College was called upon to produce an expert on taxes. Mrs. Saltford, the Republican County Vice-Chairman, remarked in her few words of greeting in the afternoon, that she realized with a shock how we were always asking our representative to cut down on taxes and at the same time insisting that they do numberless things which required more tax money. She added that she wished all young people could have the benefits of the NYA and CCC camps when they were out of school and without jobs. I think we should all study our government set-ups with a view to cutting down the cost of administration in the hope of carrying on work which we all want done.
After lunch, Dean Thompson of Vassar, spoke on a general subject and then Mrs. Anna Rosenberg told of the amendments to the Social Security law. My subject was to deal with youth in general in this country, particularly with what youth is doing in an organized way. It always seems to me dangerous for an older person to try to interpret what youth may think or feel on any subject, but I find myself having to do this frequently. I always do it with a prayer that I am not misrepresenting youth or leaving out something which would be vital to it.
On our way out, a Frenchwoman spoke to me saying that she had been in Germany during the rise of the youth movement there and it had given her a fear of all organized youth. She did not fear Fascism among our youth, but she did fear Communism. Of course, it is easy to understand this fear in France, where their reforms were so long delayed that the Communist Party became strong. Undoubtedly this has had a great effect upon the youth of the country, but I do not feel that we are in the same general situation. I can only say that I trust our young people whom I have come to know well and believe they are working for the good of the whole people.