SEPTEMBER 13, 1941
NEW YORK, Friday—I am here in New York City today, doing a number of errands, and seeing several people. I want to mention a testimonial luncheon here today at the Hotel Astor, which is to be held under the auspices of the Town Hall and the Economic Club of New York, in honor of Mr. Robert Erskine Ely, who will be 80 years old tomorrow.
For 40 years he has directed the Town Hall and, in 1907, he founded the Economic Club. He has probably known as many of the great figures in the world of art, music, politics, science, international affairs and literature as any other one person now living in this great city.
Mr. Ely has been witty, but rarely caustic, always gentle and gracious. He was one of a group of Harvard professors whom many of the noted men of today remember with admiration and joy, for they spent many profitable and entertaining hours in their company.
I know that all my readers will want to wish Robert Erskine Ely a happy birthday. May we continue to appreciate what he and others like him have given us!
Next Monday there will be launched, by Benjamin H. Namm, a plan in the interests of national defense. The American retailer is asking: "In what special way can we, the retail craft, be of service at this time to our country?" The answer is contained in the 1941 National Retail Demonstration, and here are the points stressed:
1. To practice and to preach the doctrine of "our country first and foremost."
2. To act as "purchasing agent for the public," and, in that connection, avoid even the semblance of profiteering.
3. To prevent, as far as possible, any unwarranted increase in the price of merchandise, both wholesale and retail.
4. To eliminate any and all unfair trade practices which may injure the public.
5. To maintain retail employment at the highest possible level.
6. To give every possible encouragement to employees who wish to serve their country.
7. To disseminate to consumers such defense literature and information as the Government desires to have distributed.
8. To urge upon manufacturers that merchandise be informatively labeled.
9. To eliminate all "scare" advertising, particularly that which says or implies "buy now because prices are rising."
Last but not least, to help unify the people of our country through our advertising, display and consumer appeal—in support of our defense program.