FEBRUARY 12, 1940
WASHINGTON, Sunday—I told you the other day that something had happened on Wednesday which I had found very thrilling, and I must go back to tell you about it. I have always greatly admired Edna Ferber, but never had the opportunity to meet her. A mutual friend suggested bringing her to me, so I invited them to lunch. I confess I was a little nervous, for so often people you admire at a distance do not mean so much to you after you meet them. In this case, however, when Miss Ferber left, I felt that I had had the privilege of meeting a grand person and I shall look forward to every new thing from her pen with added interest and anticipation.
I am very much impressed to find myself occupying half a page in the Seventy-Fifth Anniversary edition of the "Nation." I have always had a great respect for anyone who was good enough to write for the "Nation," so perhaps I may be forgiven if I feel a little puffed up at being permitted to be a contributor to this important number. I enjoyed particularly some of the notes on volume No. 1 of the "Nation" published July 6,1865. One of the articles on "Critics and Criticism," by Charles Astor Bristed is quite delightful. One little item I took to heart:" We believe that our authors themselves would not be sorry for a little less butter and a little more pepper; we are certain it would do them good, whether they liked it or not."
I have been hearing from another field of activity where critics are numerous, in the past few days, and there is plenty of "pepper" in what they say. However, I am enjoying it very much.
Since Friday evening, I have spent considerable time observing the Citizenship Institute of the American Youth Congress. Instead of the 3000 young people they had expected, some 4600 have registered. They are a thoughtful and interested group drawn from schools, colleges, churches, farms and organizations of every kind which touch the interests of youth.
Some of the young people come with ease, but most of them have come at great personal sacrifice. A friend of mine said that this must seem to them a very happy adventure, but I think that it is not so, for a great number of them must have had difficulty persuading their families to allow them to leave crowded homes for the first time. Strange though it may seem, the poor homes with little to eat and little to offer in the way of shelter, gain their sense of security largely by being bound together as a family group. Any member of the group, who goes away, even for a few days, creates a matter of deep consideration and considerable trepidation.
I went to their inter-faith service this morning and felt that it was a beautiful thing, which I enjoyed being able to attend.