JUNE 5, 1944
WASHINGTON, Sunday—Friday afternoon I went out to St. Elizabeth's Hospital to see the work which the Arts and Skills Corps of the American Red Cross is carrying on with the patients there. There are men and women from all the various services at St. Elizabeth's, as well as their regular patients. I was particularly interested in seeing the Red Cross building because the first Red Cross building was erected during the last war, when the Navy sent its first men to St. Elizabeth's Hospital. This hospital, as you may know, is the only Federal hospital for mental cases and therefore I have always felt that it should be a model for all the state hospitals throughout the nation.
Over the years it has made great strides, but some of its buildings are old, and I was interested to see that the Hobby Shop, which is in the basement of one of the old buildings, is planning to decorate the outside as well as the inside. Many patients work in the grounds, which are now lovely. The work with clay and with paints everywhere was most interesting, and some of the weaving and embroidery, as well as the sewing and block printing which the women patients are doing, is outstanding. I am very glad that the Red Cross is carrying on this work and hope that the program will be developed in all mental hospitals.
At five o'clock, a group of Chinese students came in to see the White House and were photographed at the same spot on the south lawn where Madame Chiang Kai-shek was photographed. Friday evening I had the great pleasure of dining and sitting peacefully in the garden back of Secretary and Mrs. Morgenthau's house while we talked of many things.
At ten o'clock on Saturday morning, I went to the Navy Relief Society office which is now in the Navy Building, and I was pleasantly surprised to see how much the work has expanded. When my husband was Assistant Secretary of the Navy, I served on the board and we barely had money enough to help a little in cases in which widows and children were left without sufficient funds to carry on. Now, nearly all the workers in the office are volunteers. Many wives of officers whose husbands are away at sea or stationed in Washington give practically full-time service. The amount of activities which are carried on seem amazing to me. Navy Relief will meet almost any emergency which happens to a sailor or his family—and they also include officers in this service.
On my return, I struggled for an hour over a radio talk which I am going to give in Spanish. When I heard of Mr. Wallace landing in Siberia and giving a speech in Russian, I felt that I am a poor student to have accomplished so little with my Spanish.
Some men from Walter Reed Hospital came to lunch, and also Mr. Joseph Robinson, head engineer of the War Production Board; and Mrs. Hendrik Willem van Loon, who is here for a christening.