MARCH 7, 1940
NEW YORK, Wednesday—I came to New York City yesterday morning in order to see my aunt, Mrs. David Gray, who is sailing this week with her husband, our new Minister to Ireland. I cannot say that I shall see them go very cheerfully, for I like to have them in this country. But Mr. Gray loves Ireland and I know will enjoy his time there very much.
I had a few engagements in the afternoon and then went to the dinner given by the "National Sharecroppers Week" and gave the prizes for essays written by high school students on the sharecropper situation. A few more appointments this morning and back to Washington, I shall go by this afternoon's plane. I must, however, tell you about a book which I finished on the plane last Sunday.
The book is called "Stricken Field" by Martha Gellhorn. Here is a foreign correspondent's story which could not perhaps be written for the daily newspapers, for the reason that the correspondent writing it would be thrown out of the foreign country and would cease to have a job. This is a picture of stark tragedy painted by the use of simple events in ordinary lives which are important to the individuals concerned, but which count for little in history. This book is a masterpiece as a vivid picture. It is not a novel; It is just daily life under the kind of circumstances which, thank God; we do not know in the United States.
It is important to us, every one of us, to understand what happens to the individual forced to live under such circumstances and to those other individuals, who through force and fear, rule people in such a manner. If we lack this knowledge, we cannot understand what is happening in Europe today. I strongly recommend the reading of "Stricken Field," not for pleasure, though it is very well written, but because you will know vividly the fear of the little people all over the world.
Yesterday I was unable to finish telling you about the other things which happened on Monday, so I must go back and say that in the afternoon, I visited the Crippled Children's Unit at Gallinger Hospital where the Twentieth Century Club has equipped a room for occupational therapy and has also installed a library.
On the way home, I stopped at an art exhibit which is being held at the Mayflower Hotel by Princess Gourielli for the benefit of the Polish Refugee Relief Fund. In the evening we had our annual dinner with the Cabinet.
They always have a delightful dinner for us, and Mr. Eddie Dowling again brought down the entertainers. Among them was the fine magician who did so many clever tricks at the Newspaper Women's Club party in New York City. As usual, when the party was over, they all came over to the White House for a very light supper and a glimpse of the house which, to some of them, was a new experience. Our guests at supper this year included: Mr. Eddie Dowling, Mr. Dean Murphy, Miss Laurette Taylor, Mr. Casper Reardon, Miss Dana Suesse, Miss Kitty Carlisle, Miss Patricia Bowman, Dr. Giovanni, Miss Stella Adler, Miss Muriel Hutchinson, Miss Sheila Barrett, Miss Milli Monti and Miss Barbara Frietchie.