APRIL 23, 1941
CHICAGO, Tuesday—The sun shone when we reached Peoria, Ill., yesterday. After a press conference, I went out to see one of the housing projects built under the U.S. Housing Authority. Everyone with whom I talked, had the highest praise for Mr. Nathan Straus and the work which has been accomplished under his leadership. The particular project which I saw was practically completed, except for the landscaping.
There are two types of buildings, three-story apartment houses and two-story small houses. The rents are remarkably reasonable, far below the average for substandard housing in Peoria. I am sure all the officials are very pleased with what has been accomplished.
Later, I met the staff of the WPA for the District. I was very much interested to hear an account of the Workers Service Project, which has just been operating during the past two months. They have set up centers of information for the workers, and they seem to have been able to make these centers very useful in the short time they have been open.
The man in charge of reeducation of workers and reemployment, told me that in Quincy, Ill., they had placed 92 percent of their men, who had had an opportunity for retraining. That is an excellent record and, though they still have plenty of people on the rolls waiting for training, it does show a heartening rise in private employment.
It was very pleasant to see Mrs. Kemp, and her father and sister again. They had been our hosts in Delavan, Ill., last year. When you stay with people, as we did with them, you cannot help feeling that you really know them. I have felt a real sense of friendship for the entire family ever since I went to speak there.
A number of the British Relief people, among them two small girls dressed in Scotch kilts, came at 5:00 o'clock to shake hands with me. I was glad to see Mrs. Johnson, who remembered having entertained the President and me in the 1920 campaign.
After the lecture in the evening, I attended a small reception. We boarded the train a little before midnight, arriving in Chicago early this morning. The sun is shining and we look out of our windows at a very calm lake with ships passing in the distance. I always enjoy this view and the sight of the gardens and the trees along the drive with the incessant stream of cars going past.
There is no green on the trees yet, and no flowers are in sight but there is a feel of spring in the air. The papers give front page space to the question of daylight saving, and we only think of that when we begin to long for the out-of-doors.
At noon, we start across the continent, bound for Los Angeles, California.