MARCH 22, 1943
WASHINGTON, Sunday—On Saturday the wives of the Cabinet members met at lunch to discuss one of or two joint activities which we usually undertake in the spring, and to fix May dates for these.
Then, a little after 3:00 o'clock, I went to the Corcoran Art Gallery for the opening of the exhibition of oil paintings by contemporary artists. I enjoyed it very much because I have had no chance to wander through a gallery and to look at pictures for some time, and these were very interesting paintings.
The first prize, which Mr. Minnegerode asked me to present, went to Mr. Raphael Soyer for a painting of the waiting room in the 125th Street New York Central Station in New York City. The types of people were extraordinarily well done and I felt as though I were passing through that waiting room, which I have done so many times, and looking at the people myself.
Sometimes it is hard for me, who knows so little about art, to understand all the decisions of a jury on awards, but yesterday I felt in entire agreement in most cases. I think it must be very hard to be on a jury of this kind, because so many pictures are so nearly equal and so much has to be considered that the choice must be a very difficult one.
Afterwards, my young cousin, Miss Mara di Zoppola, and I walked up to the Greek Relief Headquarters, where they have a very beautiful group of Greek embroideries, some of them old and some of them fairly modern. We reached home just in time to greet Mrs. Bates-Batcheller, who had known my mother-in-law in Paris, and who is now back in her own country and has a most interesting story to tell of her own experiences and observations before finally leaving France in May, 1941.
Today there are people coming for luncheon and supper. In the afternoon, a group of Red Cross workers, preparing for overseas work, come in to be received. After that, a small group of young people, attending a conference here on stabilization and prevention of inflation, which is being held under the auspices of the United States Student Assembly Committee, will come in to see some government films.
I have just received some advance copies of a book entitled "As You Were." The subtitle reads: "A portable library of prose and poetry assembled for the Armed Forces and the Merchant Marine." It is just the right size to put in a man's pocket and is the last piece of editing done by Alexander Woollcott.
The paper is thin, but the print is clear and good, and the choices will gladden any man who has a habit of reading and rereading the things he really enjoys. One can never collect in one volume material to satisfy every taste, but as nearly as such a thing can be done, it has for American literature in this small book.