JANUARY 13, 1947
NEW YORK, Sunday—Thursday night I went to the dinner in honor of Mrs. Carrie Chapman Catt, given under the auspices of the American Association for the United Nations. Clark Eichelberger welcomed us and Mrs. William Dick Sporborg presided. Professor Shotwell, Thomas J. Watson and I all tried to pay adequate tribute to a woman who, on her eighty-eighth birthday, can look back with a sense of achievement such as comes to few human beings in their lifetime. Mrs. Catt can see the women whom she led in what once seemed a hopeless fight now carrying their full responsibility of citizenship. In addition, she can feel that she has actually laid the foundations in the thinking of women, both here and in many other countries, which has helped bring about such widespread support for the United Nations and which therefore gives us hope for the future.
Mrs. Catt told us an amusing story which, though the papers did not carry it, is one that American women would do well to remember. At the age of about 23, Mrs. Catt and some of her friends decided they would hold a meeting and convert their county to women's suffrage. They obtained the use of the church in a neighboring town, but only on the condition that the minister could open and close the meeting with prayer. At the end of the meeting—at which, I imagine, Mrs. Catt had made an impassioned speech—the minister arose and said: "Oh, Lord, we pray that what this woman has said will be forgotten, and she will be forgiven." Mrs. Catt went home trembling, realizing that to be prayed over was probably not going to bring her favor in the eyes of her family!
* * *
My one concession to pure pleasure this winter has been to attend the Philadelphia Symphony concerts with Mrs. Henry Morgenthau Jr. Last week we both particularly enjoyed the orchestra's performance of two Wagnerian selections under George Szell, who was conducting.
Friday night I went to a concert given by Paul Robeson at the Hunter College auditorium for the benefit of Camp Wo-Chi-Ca. This camp was founded during the depression years by a group of workers who saw their children suffering from the hardships of a reduced family income, with both parents away from home whenever work was available. It is founded for all races and creeds, and for ten years has demonstrated that true democracy can work. Paul Robeson, who knows the camp well, was at his best Friday night, giving generously of himself and his voice in many encores.
Much to my sorrow, I had to leave at the intermission because I had been asked to attend the dedication of the Franklin D. Roosevelt Memorial Hall for the Brooklyn Free Music School. I believe some of my husband's associates in Albany interested him in this school while he was Governor, and he was an honorary member of their board for many years.