NOVEMBER 18, 1940
CANTON, Ohio, Sunday—Our drive to Princeton, Ill., on Friday night was uneventful until we reached the city itself. There we wandered down a few streets and came to dead ends before we actually found the remarkably fine high school building of which the city is justly proud.
Princeton is in the heart of a very productive agricultural area and depends largely for its prosperity on agricultural conditions. There are mines in this vicinity, but they have been closed down, apparently long enough for the labor to be absorbed in other occupations and not to be a real problem at present.
I inquired as to whether their young people were finding it hard to obtain jobs and was told that one big industry absorbed most of them. However, they have made use of NYA help in their schools, but on the whole they reported a remarkably fortunate condition for their neighborhood. Since I had the whole day free in Chicago yesterday, I was able to see several people who had written me.
First of all, Dr. Ernest Schwartz of the Central YMCA College came to tell me of the work they are doing to promote the good neighbor policy through contacts with people in some of the countries to the south of us. They are particularly interested in the schools, both urban and rural, to which they send books and pictures. They establish forums and encourage the interchange of scholarships on a college level.
After one of my lectures the other night, I was asked if I did not think that a universal language would be a prelude to world peace. I confess that it would be a great help. Until it exists, I hope that we, who are so greatly concerned with better understanding of our neighbors to the south of us, will make every effort to learn the Spanish language so that we may talk with our neighbors and not have to trust to an interpreter, which at present I have to do.
At lunch yesterday, Mr. Jarka Bures, who illustrated the charming Czechslovakian book for children which captivated me last year, told me of some of the work which he is trying to do. He brought me some delicious little cakes and beautiful embroideries made by his mother and showed me his own delightful designs which could be used in textiles or wall papers.
He is making some Czechoslovakian dolls and told me something of the origin of their colorful costumes. I think we are fortunate indeed, that so many of our new citizens are bringing us gifts which will increase our knowledge of arts and crafts, which are only gradually coming into their own in this country.
After lunch I went to look at some of the work which will be shown at the WPA art week exhibits in Chicago. They have some wonderful materials. Most striking were the names of the various artists and craftsmen, for they denoted a variety of nationalities and proved that in this great city of Chicago we are indeed a union of many people.