APRIL 29, 1942
NEW YORK, Tuesday —This morning I went over to the Naval Hospital and returned in time to meet Mrs. Myron Taylor, who came to see me about the USO campaign. She also spoke to me of several other charities, the School for Applied Design, The Purple Box (where crippled workers have for many years been doing the daintiest kind of sewing) and the New York Association for the Blind. These charities are either giving up in despair, or curtailing their programs, because it is so difficult to raise money for anything but war work.
Our National Symphony Orchestra in Washington has had this same experience. The big gifts have come in, but it is largely supported by small gifts, and this year these gifts seem to be flowing into defense bonds or war charities. I think it is time we consider what we really intend to do about the type of cultural community service rendered by a symphony orchestra.
The School for Applied Design has trained many women for commercial art. The Purple Box has trained cripples so that they have been able to support themselves. It is possible that women now being trained in the School for Applied Design might go into munition factories for the duration of the war. Perhaps it is one of the organizations which can be shut down, but it will be hard to build up again once disbanded.
Certainly there is no place in industry for the cripples in the workrooms of the Purple Box. There is comparatively little opportunity for those who are trained by the New York Association for the Blind to get work of any kind until trained.
My own feeling is that we need cultural things like music and painting during these times even more than in peace. Those who give small contributions should keep on giving them. Where charities are concerned, we should weigh very carefully the public responsibility as against private effort.
Defense bonds and stamps should be bought, if possible out of money saved from our actual needs, since we can do without many things without affecting the cultural standards of our community or reducing our standard of living alarmingly.