MARCH 11, 1940
WASHINGTON, Sunday—On Friday morning the newspapers carried the news of the death of Mr. Edwin Markham, the poet. He was a very old man. Many people have enjoyed his gift of poetry and his passing must bring a sense of loss to them.
However, I feel a greater sense of personal loss in the death of Dr. John H. Finley, editor emeritus of the New York Times. All who came in contact with Dr. Finley felt in him a fine spirit. He had great abilities, he used them in the service of mankind, and he gave of himself unstintingly for the sake of his ideals and the good of his fellow human beings. I always liked to go to a dinner where he was going to preside or make a speech, for I inevitably came away with something stimulating about which to think. In his passing, many of us have lost a little bit of courage, for he was one of the people you could always be sure would stand up for the things in which he believed.
Mrs. Finley has worked so closely with him that she will carry on many of his interests. But, when two people work together, burdens are easy to carry, when one must work alone everything seems more difficult of accomplishment. All of us realize how much more than a personal loss this means to Mrs. Finley. There is a great pride in the achievements of a man like Dr. Finley, or like Mr. Raymond Ingersoll, President of the Borough of Brooklyn, New York City, who passed away a short time ago. There is also gratitude, that women like Mrs. Finley and Mrs. Ingersoll are still with us to carry on the ideals and work of their husbands.
Friday evening we saw two rather interesting short films. One of them on the shelter belt planting, is so good that I hope it may be shown as a short in many commercial theatres. Through it, people everywhere who are not familiar with this particular bit of conservation work, will better understand what it has meant to human beings like themselves on farms in the wind-swept prairie region of the United States. The other film shows the lead and zinc mines in the area of our country where Kansas, Oklahoma and Colorado meet. This is designed to bring home to us the danger to the workers in those mines from the dust which eventually give them silicosis and a predisposition to tuberculosis, from which they die at an early age.
These people live in the shadow of great piles of waste which disintegrates and blows around in dust, so that the children are affected in precisely the same way as the workers in the mines. There must be ways of discovering methods of keeping this dust down in the mines. The living quarters of those families should be moved from the dangerous area. I hope this picture will also be commercially shown and that it will awaken the interest of the people of the United States to make it easier for the unions to obtain proper working and living conditions.