JANUARY 20, 1941
WASHINGTON, Sunday—There is no doubt about it that a time like this brings one a great variety of ideas. Friday morning a young woman came to see me with a plan which I think very good. She wants to offer her knowledge and experience to commercial and government agencies in the hope that women may be trained for ground aviation work as well as men. She thinks they should also learn to handle the insides of trucks and automobiles.
Many women are as mechanically-minded as men, and sometimes their hands are even easier to train. While it may not seem necessary at the moment to use them in these fields, it may become so and there is no reason why we should not be prepared.
In the afternoon, I attended a very interesting exhibition of El Greco paintings at the Knoedler Galleries. Some of these canvases have never been shown in this country before, and are now lent for the benefit of the Greek War Relief Association. I was enormously grateful to the gentleman who prepared the very beautiful catalogue and who accompanied me from picture to picture, explaining their meanings and the changes in the artist's technique.
One thing he says is very interesting, namely, that the hands in these paintings were carefully done to express certain ideas and feelings. This was so because, while expressions of the face may be controlled, the hands never lie. I have always liked to watch people's hands and have always thought them expressive of character. This corroboration of my feeling by a great artist was interesting.
In the late afternoon, I heard the stories of some young men who are anxious to obtain mechanical training. All of them have been through our high schools in New York City. One of them remarked that, while he had expressed an interest in mechanics, his teachers had discouraged him. So, finally, he took an academic course with the idea that he might go to college, though he never had any real plan for the accomplishment of this hope.
He is now obliged to support himself and to obtain training at the same time, a situation which I fear faces many of our eighteen-year-old boys and girls. I sometimes wonder if the people who frame our educational policies might not profit by some frank and free interchange of thought with the younger generation a few months out of school.
I dined that night with Mr. and Mrs. Dave Hennen Morris and learned a great deal on the subject of a universal language. At 10:45 I joined my daughter and son-in-law at the Plaza Hotel for a very pleasant hour.
Saturday afternoon I attended a tea given for the patrons and patronesses of the Committee for the Preservation of Austrian Art and Culture in the United States. They gave us a short musical program, which was a delightful forecast of what their concert on February 12th will be.