OCTOBER 28, 1939
YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio, Friday—Yesterday afternoon, Mrs. Ruthven, who is the perfect hostess, took me to see a number of the Ann Arbor buildings on the campus of the University of Michigan. The graduate students building is really beautiful and the dormitories we visited were liveable and charming. Much of the work has been done either by PWA or WPA, and I feel a great pride in what has been accomplished through cooperation with the Federal Government.
We went to see Mrs. Alexander Dow and enjoyed the lovely view from her house over the treetops to the lake below. Then we stopped in for tea and at a girls' dormitory on the way back. President and Mrs. Ruthven were so kind that I left with great reluctance after my lecture and wished I could have had a longer stay in Ann Arbor really to appreciate all the work carried on there.
The State press association was meeting in Ann Arbor and I was happy to see some old friends, Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Traenor, for a few minutes after my lecture.
We arrived in Youngstown this morning to find so many things of interest which could be done during the day, that it has been difficult to plan what we would do. Of course, the press conference came first and then I went to see my first steel mill, the Youngstown Sheet and Tube Company. It is a very modern plant and looks extremely efficient. They pointed out to me that the modern machinery made the work for the men lighter than it had been in the old days. They said that though fewer men were needed for certain operations, this did not mean that fewer men were actually used in the mill, because in the finishing processes more labor was required and steel is used in many new ways today.
Youngstown has always been a one industry city and the whole valley is dependent on the steel business for a livlihood. There is a big problem before them at present because their cost of production is higher than it is in places where they have water transportation as well as rail transportation. By good management they have been able to compete so far, but they feel that unless a certain canal is built which will give them access to the river and the Great Lakes, this competition may become impossible to meet in the future. It is a serious situation and one which can be duplicated in other areas where there are other interests.
I am beginning to think that we need not only a National Resources Board, to look into what the nation's resources are and report on them, but a group made up of industrialists and labor leaders to do research work in all these different problems which affect different areas throughout the country. They should be looked at from the point of view of the eventual development of the country as a whole and planned on a wide basis. I can think of many objections to this plan, among others, the difficulty of making people think on a national instead of a local basis where their personal interests are involved. I have an idea, however, that this is something which we ought to be thinking about for the future.