MARCH 12, 1940
ST. LOUIS, Monday—I had no space yesterday to tell you about the party given on Saturday night by the Women's National Press Club. There were a great number of distinguished guests, ranging from Gracie Allen, the first lady to throw her hat into the ring as a Presidential candidate; to the wives of Cabinet members; Miss Frances Perkins, the Secretary of Labor; and various representatives from the halls of Congress and of the Government.
Miss Rosa Ponselle opened the evening by singing "The Star-Spangled Banner" with the Marine Band. Then we sat down to a delightful dinner at tables decorated with the gayest red tulips. The arrangement of the tables this year was excellent, for no one had to move in order to see the show that followed.
It seemed to me that the show moved faster and more smoothly than ever before. The lines were clever and I spent an entertaining and delightful evening. The spirit behind the show seemed kindlier than ever before and it left me rather little to combat when, at the end, I had the opportunity to speak the last word. So, as often happens, soft words were followed by soft words and we parted in a most amiable mood.
As always happens when I start out on a short trip like this, I find myself very hurried on the last day. However, I managed to spend an hour in the morning yesterday walking around the Basin. The only sign of spring was a great number of young people hiring bicycles to go off into the country. There wasn't a bud on the cherry trees, for I walked along under them and gazed at each one hopefully.
A good many people came to lunch, among them Mr. Leopold Stokowsk, who came to tell us of his prospective trip with an orchestra drawn from the ranks of N.Y.A. youth. He says it is going to be a fine orchestra and he is about to begin his tour around the country to make his final choices of those who are to go with him. He envisions this as a musical awakening for the United States, and an international force for goodwill throughout the world. Our interest and good wishes are with him in one of the most interesting projects carried on by any individual in the country today.
While we are talking about art, I want to tell you about something new that has come to my attention, a new form of art developed by a young American, Floyd M. Nichols, born in Brooklyn, but growing up in David City, Nebraska. A devotee from boyhood of Western life, he became first a commercial welder, but now has developed an art of his own. It is a new medium of sculpture and uses welding tools and many types of metals in the making of diminutive statuettes dealing with the life of the Old West. When I return, I hope to see them.