MAY 27, 1942
WASHINGTON, Tuesday—On Sunday the group who lunched with me had the pleasure after lunch of hearing recordings made by Mr. Robert Vincent. These recordings, which Yale University is preserving for the future, will be most interesting historical documents.
With the cooperation of USO, Mr. Vincent has visited many of our army camps. He has recorded letters for many of our boys and sent the records home so the recipients may hear the voices of the boys they love, even though they are separated from them for many months. I can well imagine that letter will be played over and over again by the mother, sweetheart or wife.
Mr. Vincent has also recorded songs and pieces of music written by the servicemen; some dedicated to the President, some to the outfit with which they are serving. He also played for me Earl Robinson's cantata, as sung over the air by Paul Robeson and the NBC chorus. He told us that he had begun to do these recordings at the age of twelve, and, from the early discs, found a way of transferring some of the voices which most of us had thought were lost to posterity.
He has something said by every President since Grover Cleveland, except President Harrison. I was very much interested to hear a speech by my uncle, President Theodore Roosevelt. It sounded absolutely natural. Another record made by my aunt, Mrs. Douglas Robinson, was equally good.
There is one boy in the service who does imitations of people and Mr. Vincent had several of these, among them an imitation of a speech by my own husband. Some of the tones were perfectly wonderful but on the whole I think the boy had not practiced long enough, so that a great deal of it did not sound entirely natural.
The commencement exercises at Washington College at Chestertown, Md., yesterday were serious as such exercises must be in these days, but very beautifully carried out. The Governor of Maryland gave the diplomas to the graduating class. Since they were celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of the admission of women to the college on an equal basis with men, it was fitting that the highest academic honors were won by a girl.
The last time I had been there was when President Mead was inducted and the President spoke at the ceremony and received a degree. Yesterday was a less crowded occasion, but afterwards we went to lunch with Colonel and Mrs. Brown as we had on the first occasion. It was a delightful end to the ceremonies. The view from their porch is restful and beautiful and I can think of nothing more delicious than their Maryland fried chicken!