SEPTEMBER 12, 1941
WASHINGTON, Thursday—When I reached Washington last night, I was surprised to find that my bedroom and sitting room were being painted, so temporarily I am occupying President Lincoln's bed! It is particularly large and ornate and I never realized before how awe-inspiring it must be to our guests.
However, I am glad to find that it is very comfortable, because long ago I can remember my grandmother telling me that one should always sleep in all of one's guests' beds, to make sure that they are comfortable.
Today is beautiful. The usual White House routine falls upon one like a mantle as soon as one returns. There are people to see, and one gentleman was here for luncheon on his way to New England from Chicago! Diana Hopkins and a little friend are spending the day, and my two daughters-in-law, Ruth and Rommie, were here for lunch.
They are the greatest joy to have with us. Elliott and Ruth are hoping to leave for Texas some time this evening by plane, but so far have not been able to get reservations. The airlines have to play second fiddle to some of the defense needs and people are traveling more constantly by air, with the result that reservations are hard to get.
I wonder if you have seen, in the October American magazine the article on the part the British women are playing in the armed forces of Great Britain? For the first time, they have been accepted in artillery units and are operating anti-aircraft batteries as well as fire control insturments. They are enlisted to fight overseas as well as in England for the duration of the war, and they receive the "danger pay of the combat line."
We have heard before of women in the Russian Army, but this is the first instance of women actually working side by side with the men in the armed forces of England. It shows that, when the need arises, there are few places where women can not work side by side with men.
I have also received an appeal for charity in which I think everyone in this country will be interested. Those who remember the hospitals in the last war will remember what seemed to be almost the beginning of plastic surgery on a great scale. There are today in England four famous plastic surgeons.
Under auspices of the British American Ambulance Corps, a committee has been formed and is anxious to raise $100,000 to help these surgeons acquire better conditions under which they can treat R.A.F. pilots, munitions workers, civilian defense workers and men, women and children who are maimed or disfigured by modern warfare.