JULY 31, 1943
HYDE PARK, Friday—Before leaving Washington Monday, Mr. Frederick M. Davenport brought 55 of his internes from the National Institute of Public Affairs. Of course, the proportion of girls has greatly increased and most of the boys are there only until they are called into military service. One of them who came to Washington in March from the University of Washington, is already leaving this coming week for Florida and air force training. However these boys will know something about the Government which may be of value to them during the war period and on their return.
I wish we could greatly widen the scope of opportunity given young people to work in different branches of the Government. Many of these internes will go on in government work and probably will be some of our best civil service employees. Even if they do not, the experience will make them more conscious of the need for active participation in public affairs in their own communities. This younger generation will need to be alive to its public responsibilities to a greater extent than any of us have been in the past.
The seventh grade of the Central High School of the town of North Salem, New York, has published a little book on the history of the town. They call it, "When Our Town Was Young," and, as a subtitle, "Stories of North Salem Yesterday, By Girls and Boys of Today." There are many illustrations and it seems to me one of the best ways of teaching history which I have seen, though I imagine it is done as part of their social studies. History and social studies cannot very well be separated.
It would be interesting if, all over the country, our young people made similar studies and they were published for use in the schools. I am sure they would be popular. The value of history lies almost entirely in the insight which it gives to us as to what things in civilization have really had enduring value.
The object of all so-called improvement is that people in the world should be better off and happier. From history we learn what in government, in the sciences, in social development, has made people happier. Dates or facts of one kind or another do not matter. What is important is the knowledge from the past as to how best to proceed in the future for the greater happiness of mankind.