JANUARY 11, 1940
WASHINGTON, Wednesday—We had a charming program yesterday afternoon at the musical here. Mr. Webster Aitken played, among other things, a group by Schubert which delighted my soul. Miss Angna Enters, did four character sketches which were clever and gave everybody a great deal of pleasure.
In the evening, I went to see: "Three After Three," a new musical comedy which boasts a number of movie stars in the cast. All of them are charming and I had a thoroughly enjoyable evening.
This morning I went up to the Children's Hospital to see their infantile paralysis clinic. There is something remarkable about the philosophy which these children develop in the face of pain. Even when they are nearly well, they have to show so much character to finally overcome their handicap. One little boy, who looked entirely normal, told me he had to do exercises with his arm every day because he couldn't throw a ball. I told him that if he kept at it steadily, someday he would find that the power was there, but what I didn't tell him was that the character he would develop by sticking to those daily exercises would serve him better in afterlife than almost anything acquired in school.
Yesterday, I was sent some of the work being done in California on the "American Book Of Design." The drawings are among the most beautiful I have seen. When this work is complete, it will be, for student in many lines, one of the most valuable pieces of work which the WPA has accomplished.
In addition to this, a full-blooded Kiowa Indian woman from Oklahoma, working in the Indian arts and crafts project, made and sent me a most beautiful bag. She tanned the white buckskin and did the beading, and the design and colors are authentic in her tribe. I shall use it with the greatest of pleasure.
It is interesting that this tanning should have been one of the early Indian arts, for a gentleman in New York City wrote me the other day that one of the lacks in his trade was young men who would take a practical course in tanning. There were plenty of openings and the need for young men with that skill could not at present be filled.
Since I am telling you about the interesting things which have come to me within the last few days, I should mention that two of my correspondents have sent me a book for children which they hope to get published in this country. They were natives of Czechoslovakia and are now becoming American citizens. One of them has done the illustrations, and both story and pictures are delightful. It will, I think, prove very interesting to young readers, besides giving them a picture of life in a Czechslovakian village. In their letter, they ask me to return their manuscript, for it is the only typewritten one they have. I imagine the illustrations, being done by hand, are also not produced in quantity. I cannot help hoping that before long this book will be in print and available to many children.