OCTOBER 17, 1944
WASHINGTON, Monday—Yesterday I went to the National Gallery of Art to see the exhibition of paintings done by army air force painters. I was very much impressed by the collection. I hope there will be many more such paintings for us to see in the future, because there are still many activities that are not covered and have never been covered, as far as I know, in paintings.
Photographs and movies will never be quite the same as paintings done by men who have lived with their subjects, who have seen the country and who know at first hand how the men working and fighting there actually feel.
The series of paintings done in the Aleutians are wonderful studies of rain, gray skies, and snow and shadows. They have the feel of cold and gloom which so many men write about from there. You could not have more interesting subjects than are portrayed in the many portraits, and they are treated with evident sympathy and interest by the artists. Planes have been used in this war for such a variety of activities, however, that I think to have a really valuable historical record, much more will have to be covered than can be achieved in one exhibition.
General and Mrs. Henry Arnold were there, and a great many other people who are familiar with the officers and men in the portrait gallery, and as you made your way through the crowd, you had the feeling that there were many people who had a personal interest in the exhibition.
Later in the afternoon I attended the dedication of the house at 1318 Vermont Avenue, which is to be the headquarters of the National Council of Negro Women. Eugene Meyer was there, and also A. E. Lichtman, who helped to raise the money which enabled the Council to make the needed payments for acquisition of the house. In the days preceding this dedication, women of the Council have been meeting there from all over the United States, and have contributed or pledged a total of $9,200. This has meant hard work for them and for their local organizations, and shows how much this house means as a symbol. Their hope is to have a center where women of all creeds and nationalities can meet and plan for work which they can do together in the future.
Sunday evening, Rear Admiral Richard Byrd brought over his movie of his last expedition to the Antarctic, and it was a very thrilling account of adventure and of scientific achievements. I will never be able to understand how he lived through the months entirely alone; and yet today he looks young and strong and entirely recovered from an experience which not only physically, but mentally must have been extremely difficult and hazardous.