APRIL 24, 1940
WASHINGTON, Tuesday—I happened to notice in the newspaper yesterday, that the Metropolitan Opera Guild in New York City is making its drive for the last $100,000 of the million dollars which they are collecting. This may seem a purely New York City interest, but if any of you have enjoyed the matinee radio broadcasts as I have, you will perhaps feel as I do that this is one in which everybody in the country has a stake.
Of course, opera is given at different times in different places all over the country. Just as in Europe, in certain cities, one thinks of the opera not as belonging to that city, but as being representative of the country and a world interest in music. So I think we can claim in New York City that the opera represents a national interest and even a world interest. At this time, when it is so hard to think of things which draw us together instead of splitting us apart, music and art seem to be the things where there still is an opportunity to have a common appreciation.
I was glad last evening to have the opportunity of meeting Dr. and Mrs. John Rothstein before they left this country. He is the director of the Tate Gallery in London, and has been in Canada and here looking after some of the works of art belonging to his nation, and in general getting a picture of the interest of people in painting. He encouraged me greatly by saying that he felt our government program had been remarkably good in this country and had awakened a far greater art consciousness.
I received this morning a group of high school girls from Coral Gables, Florida, who wear a most attractive Spanish costume. I think as they go sightseeing in Washington they will attract considerable attention. This is the season for young things to visit this city and I am glad that this is so, for it is a beautiful season here. There must be inspiration in just the physical beauty of the grounds and buildings which represent the government of this country. I was interested, also, to find how much impressed these young people are when they have an opportunity to see and talk with some of the men and women who are actually in government positions.
The group from Barnard College, which I told you was coming last night, was a very interesting group. Some of them are anxious to earn their livings in government service, others anxious to discover how they could be useful as citizens in their communities. All of them are becoming more conscious through their contacts here that government must rely on human beings for carrying out any plans or theories.