NOVEMBER 10, 1939
WASHINGTON, D. C.—Yesterday I went to my first real party, a lunch with Mrs. Hull which had all the zest of an adventure. At noon I shook hands with the Dagenham English Girl Pipers. They have been at the World's Fair in the British Pavilion during the summer and are now down here for a short while. They look grand in their Scottish costumes, although they apparently come from a small place not far from London. A minister started off six girls as pipers as a recreation and it has finally developed into a means for making a livelihood for quite a big group. They have been all over the Continent and were well received in Germany two months before the war. How curious it is that one can be friendly one day and at war the next.
After they had gone, I saw a representative of a homesteaders' group in Tennessee. I must say that I have a great admiration for the energy with which these groups are trying to find ways of adding to their agricultural income. These Tennessee mountaineers have a great deal of folk talent among them and still know a great many of the old-time songs and dances of the mountains.
With better roads and numerous parks, I feel that a revival of these mountain entertainments, plus the sale of some of their craftwork, might prove an interesting summer occupation for many of them and add considerably to their income. I know that I would be much interested in taking a trip, if I knew I would have an opportunity to hear different festivals in various communities which had folk music and dancing.
In the afternoon, a large group of people came to talk to me about plans which Miss Hilda Smith, under WPA, is making for a really worthwhile program in workers' education. I hope to be able to tell you more about it later on, for I feel this program should develop into a helpful thing for the employers as well as the employees. It seems obvious that many people in the future will have to be re-educated in new skills and this type of education could frequently be useful in the transition period.
Later in the afternoon I planned a little friend's birthday party and arranged for several guests, who are going to be here while I am away this coming week. Then a few visitors came to tea, one of them Mr. Harry Slattery of the Rural Electrification Administration had so many human interest stories to tell that I have decided on my next trip to see some of the farms which have lately acquired electricity and to tell you more about it.
The rest of my time, except for a delightful dinner with some friends, has been spent on mail. I thought we had done a great deal while we were away, but I find I was mistaken and we have any amount here still to do.
The President arrived here this morning and I think he hated to leave the country as much as I always dislike leaving it. The Cabinet ladies are lunching with me and I have a number of foreign visitors this afternoon.