OCTOBER 31, 1939
MEMPHIS, Tenn., Monday—We left Birmingham, Ala., last night, escorted to the train by Mrs. Luke, who is one of the most meticulous of lecture managers in seeing that everything is done for your comfort. In one way, lecturing in the afternoon is rather nice, for it gives you a sense of freedom about your dinner and evening hours.
I invited two old friends to join us, Judge Louise Charlton and Miss Mollie Dowd, and we talked over many things. I am particularly interested in the plans for the next conference on human welfare which will be held in Chattanooga, Tenn., in March. It seems to me that this conference is most important to the South, because it will so much in changing social condition and in improving economic conditions, if the plans which they make can be carried through.
Here, in Tennessee, we are spending the day in Memphis before proceeding to Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. In Tennessee, which I always think of as the home of marvelous forests, I would like to tell you about a little book I have just finished. It is "The Story of a Thousand Year Pine," by Enos A. Mills and particularly interesting because of the rather new idea it conveyed to me of the possible study of history contained in old trees when they are cut down. Here is the record of what happened in this particular countryside around the old pine over a period of a thousand years. I can imagine how exciting it must have been to delve into these secrets of the past.
There are several things which I have not had space to mention in the last few days which have interested me greatly. In the Youngstown, Ohio, public library I saw the first "mother's room" established in any library in this country, or for that matter, in the world. It is planned to aid parents from the time their children are little until they are grown. It has been extensively used by the Parent-Teachers Association and mothers' clubs.
I can see innumerable ways in which it would be of great value to the mothers of growing children. Here is a place to find books which may answer questions coming up in daily life at home, to obtain information on the books which children should read, to gather material for the stories which children are constantly asking, and here are trained consultants ready to talk over individual problems or to lead discussion groups. I wish there were such a room in every library.