MARCH 19, 1941
WASHINGTON, Tuesday—Dr. Harriet Elliott came to my press conference yesterday morning and gave us all a great deal of interesting information. The thing that stood out in my mind was the fact that she felt so strongly that what we should all try to do is to increase production of consumer goods as well as of defense goods, so that we could meet the demands of increased buying power, which probably lie ahead of us. Profits in this emergency should not come from higher prices paid for goods, but should come through increased sales.
Dr. Elliott pointed out that when sacrifices are demanded of us they should be made willingly, but they would not prevent expansion in the production of consumer goods where there was no interference with inevitable and valuable defense work.
Last night we all attended the opening of the National Gallery of Art, given by the late Mr. Andrew Mellon, to which Mr. Samuel H. Kress has also given a wonderful collection of paintings. I think it is good for us all to realize at this time that art and beauty are necessary for the preservation of the finest things in life.
Education comes to all of us through contact with things of beauty, wherever they may be. As we develop appreciation and understanding of new forms of beauty, we become rounded and educated human beings. These things are being suppressed in other countries today. In every democracy, we must insist on the development of every avenue for increasing the enjoyment of beauty.
The Flower Show is on in New York City this week and I have been told that a new white cattleya orchid has been named for Lady Halifax. She moves with such grace and dignity, and white orchids are so lovely and graceful, that I think the growers made a very happy choice in this name. I hope I shall see the Flower Show if I am in New York City for a day the end of this week, though I fear the flowers may then have begun to fade.
I have just read two different things, both of which I want to mention. One of them is a short story in "Liberty" called: "A Man Only Half Dies," by Clark McMeekin with George Madden Martin. If you have not read it, I think you will find it worth the few minutes it takes because of the lesson it teaches, that sacrifice and love are not the prerogatives of any one race.
Next, the Commissioner of Education, Dr. John W. Studebaker, has issued a service bulletin on defense training in vocational schools, which deals with the legal rights and obligations of workers. He has suggested that this bulletin be used in classes, forums and small discussion groups by the students. I can think of no information which will prove more valuable to them.