JULY 25, 1940
HYDE PARK, Wednesday—Ever since he came home, the President has been busy coping with cases of books and ship models. Someday, I imagine, they will find their proper places in the new library, but at present nobody knows just where to unpack them.
I was much interested in rummaging through the library basement the other day to come across an ice-boat, which had been to me a legend. It still has the name "Icicle" on the bow, and it is easy to see from its lines why my husband could tell me of its racing success on the Hudson River in winter.
When I think of all the work which has to be done before anything is on exhibition, I wonder if the library will be open next spring, as they now plan. I have had some interesting talks with Ambassador Bullitt and I hope that he will find ways of telling other people as vividly as he has told me some of the recent history which he has lived through.
My husband says that, on hearing of Mrs. Forbes' death the other day, the Ambassador said: "I wonder if there will be in the next generation any women as great as those produced in Mrs. Forbes' generation. She talked to me one evening at dinner about the origin and roots of words in the Turkish language and turned to her neighbor on the other side and discussed the conformation and points of polo ponies."
Mrs. Forbes knew more about history than most historians. She had met people from all parts of the world and, at ninety kept her interest in everything that was going on. She maintained a serenity of spirit which made her remain in Paris, in the face of possible bombing, with complete calm until she had completed her arrangements and could leave without any fuss or hurry.
There are remarkable characters, these women of that older generation. I am afraid the rest of us are going to seem somewhat uninteresting in comparison, but, then, most of us have lived through a less interesting period. There may be situations ahead of us, however, which will develop what latent powers we may have and make us more interesting in retrospect to our grandchildren.
Ethel and little Franklin III, left today to visit her mother in Maine. Everyone here will miss the interest which a small child always lends to his surroundings.
Miss Helen Ferris, of the Junior Literary Guild, had luncheon with us yesterday and gave me a most interesting account of the successes and problems encountered in choosing and distributing books for the various age groups of young people. I think the most valuable thing accomplished by the Guild is awakening in young people the desire to own books of their own and frequently to read books because they come addressed to them. The children might not read them under any other circumstances.
I am off for New York for a meeting today and hope for cooler weather.