JANUARY 6, 1940
WASHINGTON, D C—Last night we held the judicial reception, and it was one of the smallest receptions of the year. It was good to see the Chief Justice in such good health and spirits. He told me that he had begun to read Carl Sandburg's four volumes on Lincoln and found them as fascinating as any fiction. I had set my volumes aside, thinking that I could not possibly begin reading them until summer, but I think I shall take the first volume and put it by my bed in the hope that by reading a little at a time every night, I may find that I get through considerable reading.
We sat around in the President's study and talked after the reception was over. We had three guests who are Hudson River neighbors staying in the house—Judge John Mack of Poughkeepsie, and Mr. and Mrs. Lydig Hoyt of Staatsburgh.
It amused me to see two story tellers vie with each other, for the President would tell a story which would remind the Judge of a story. I think they would have kept on all night! They really make a grand team as story tellers.
I had a delightful lunch today with Mrs. Wallace, wife of the Secretary of Agriculture, and have several appointments this afternoon. However, on the whole, these days are comparatively free, which is unusual at this season of the year.
Some of the family is returning today. John and Anna will be back for over the weekend, and Ethel is returning after a session with the dentist. I feel a little like a railroad junction at times when the family begins to come and go, but even a railroad junction has its advantages, for one can snatch hours here and there with people while they linger between trains.
For the New Year I received two delightful gifts of poems. Miss Hilda Smith sent me some of her own verses and one of them, from a poem called: "Frontiers of Freedom," I must quote to you:
Laid by those who others blazed the first trail,
Let us rebuild now our pioneer nation
Where living freedom for all shall prevail."
A nice thought to carry with us through 1940.
Another friend sent me: "The True Ballad of the Glorious Harriet Tubman "by Sarah N. Cleghorn. It should be read aloud, for it gives a wonderful picture of a time which I am thankful to say is past for all of us in this country.