FEBRUARY 23, 1943
WASHINGTON, Monday—Yesterday was a nice, peaceful day, with with guests at luncheon and at supper in the evening. After supper, we saw two brief newsreels, including the President's last speech and Madame Chiang's speech in Congress.
I did not have space yesterday fully to tell you how much interested I was in the play "Harriet," written by Florence Ryerson and Colin Clements. Miss Hayes does a very remarkable piece of acting in bringing out the charm of Harriet Beecher, and at the same time leaves you in no doubt as to her emotional motivation.
When Harriet Beecher Stowe wrote "Uncle Tom's Cabin," she evidently had no idea she was stirring other people emotionally to the point where she, herself, would see her own son go to war, because he felt she had been a factor in bringing about the war. She had no feeling for Lincoln until she meet him and he stirred her emotions.
I love the scene where she is talking with Henry Ward Beecher and explains to him that his church, in which he holds dramatized auction sales of beautiful slave girls, is nothing more than a theatre and he is putting on a play. Harriet Beecher was nobody's fool and had a sense of humor. Perhaps it isn't such a bad thing when your emotions are stirred in the right direction, to have them become a well-spring of action. In any case, much of this play is applicable to the problems of today and I enjoyed it very much.
I have a letter from a woman in Michigan, who tells me they have a problem in their YWCA. A good many of the women are working on the late shift, from 3:00 p.m. to midnight, and so they are trying to hold dances from 1:00 a.m. to 4:30 a.m. Otherwise, these women, who are either young girls or young married women, have no opportunity for social life. They find that a good time and social contacts are essential, even when you work on a rather outlandish shift.
Some of the town's people feel that they should go without entertainment, and so she asks my opinion. It seems to me that I have heard of a good many people who seek social contacts and good times at any hour of the day and night, and who often stayed up until these early morning hours.
If these youngsters have to work from 3:00 until midnight, they probably have enough vitality to dance for another hour or two, and they get accustomed to sleeping well into the daytime. I should think that the Y was the best possible assurance to their parents that the dances were well supervised and that the girls would be well looked after. On the whole, it seems to me better that they should dance in the YWCA than that the youngsters should go to a nightclub, which is the place to which they probably would go if the Y was not open to them.