FEBRUARY 17, 1941
WASHINGTON, Sunday—I spent all day yesterday in Boston. While only one hour was spent in the morning visiting NYA projects. I really found it a very exciting hour. Over in Charlestown, Mass., I visited the new worker center for foundry and machine work. Besides the boys who are being trained, I found the first ten girls being trained in the use of machines, which they conceivably might operate, not only on defense projects, but in times of peace. I watched with care and I could see nothing that they were doing which was over-taxing or not suited to women's abilities.
In the foundry, a boy who had made a name plate for me, explained the various processes and handed me the plate. I think I shall use it on my Hyde Park Cottage so no one will enter without knowing the owner. Then we went over to the "Shell" near the river, which the NYA has acquired as its offices and for use by the music project. Here we found the symphony orchestra practicing and they played Ravel's "Bolero" for me.
It was really a delight to watch and hear them. Surely with the young artists, who are receiving an opportunity to develop their art on NYA, and the older ones on WPA, who have an opportunity to bring music to more and more people in the country, we shall gradually develop into a music-loving people. We cannot all be artists, but we can all be familiar with music. We can join in community singing, can enjoy music together as part of our community activities, which we develop for our joint participation. In doing this, we will certainly be a happier and better nation.
I enjoyed my lunch with the Women's Trade Union League group very much. In the afternoon I went to Harvard to meet with a group of students, which included delegates from Radcliffe, Wellesley, and Boston University. There is much to be learned from the questions these groups ask. They show much thought and effort to solve many of the problems we older people face and try to think through for the present and the future. I am glad to find this interest from youth, for a fresh, young approach is certainly valuable.
After this meeting, I dined with a small group which included Representative and Mrs. Thomas H. Eliot and I flew back to New York City on the 8:30 plane. My hosts were most kind and thoughtful and took care of me till I entered the plane. Then, to my joy, I was met in New York City by our son, Franklin, Jr., who drove me home and spent an hour chatting before he went off to meet his wife and some friends.
A lazy pleasant morning today at the apartment and I caught the 12:00 o'clock plane back to Washington. We flew with the blueness of the sky above us, but a high wind made it a slightly bumpy trip. Now we await Mr. Harry Hopkins' arrival. I must say I look forward with great pleasure to welcoming him home and with intense interest to hearing what he has to say of his trip.