MAY 7, 1947
HYDE PARK, Tuesday—The other night, I went to the Golden Jubilee of the Parent-Teacher Association of Dutchess County. They had a dinner at the Nelson House in Poughkeepsie, and it was astonishingly well attended.
Dr. Henry MacCracken presided and told us of a speech he made at one of the early meetings of the group, when he had just become president of Vassar College. In his youth and brashness, he chose as his subject: "The Learned Profession of Motherhood." He added that nowadays he had learned to talk on things he knew something about.
Dr. MacCracken told us another story which made many of us laugh, but also made us remember similar things which we ourselves had done. Recounting an interview with a student who was having a hard time adjusting herself to life at Vassar, he said he remarked to her: "I know how it is—I was a country minister's daughter too." She looked a little puzzled and said nothing, but the next day he received an amusing cartoon in the mail.
Such are the difficulties which a man running a woman's college must occasionally run into. Miss Sarah Blanding, who is now president of Vassar, may not have the same difficulties, but she will certainly have others.
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There was great good feeling at this Parent-Teachers meeting. The representation from all over the county and from one or two neighboring counties was excellent. And I felt that probably here was potentially one of the most influential organizations not only in the state but in the nation. What group can exercise greater influence on the shape of the future than the parents and the teachers? Politically also, they have a quite unique opportunity for moulding public opinion.
It was amusing to hear Mrs. Saltford tell of the early days when the organization started out under the name of "Mothers' Clubs." Women have certainly branched out and learned to use their strength in many ways in the last fifty years.
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I told you that I was going to the Castle Point hospital, near Fishkill, N. Y., last Sunday afternoon. That has become a hospital for tuberculosis patients only, and 60 percent of them are veterans of World War II. Some of them look very young. I asked the doctor about the percentage of cures. He said they were doing very well if they got the boys in the early stages.
The view of the river is lovely from many of the rooms, and even on a gloomy day there is light everywhere. But it certainly is not a locality of high, dry air, and I was a little worried for fear the percentage of cures would not be so good. Apparently, however, that theory about the air is antiquated. Men come to the hospital from the whole Eastern seaboard and the deciding factor is to get there in the early days of the disease.
I hope every city in this country is carrying on a campaign to get every young person examined and fluoroscoped, for that is the only sure way to cut down the number of deaths from tuberculosis.