AUGUST 19, 1947
HYDE PARK, Monday—Last week I acquired from my husband's estate about two-thirds of the land which he owned here in Hyde Park. My son Elliott and I have gone into partnership and we are going to farm the land on a commercial basis. We cannot afford to keep it just as a country place in the way that my husband's mother did. If he had lived, I doubt very much whether he could have continued doing that. We hope now to run the farm on a large enough scale to make it a real business.
My husband and I used to talk of doing this someday and of making our land useful to the other farmers in the vicinity by trying out certain experiments. Whether that is possible I have no idea, but Elliott and I feel strongly that one should not own land unless it produces.
Much of the land is rocks and woods, and that is why my husband planted trees on a good part of it. Where it seems wise, we shall continue the Christmas tree plantations which he started, and shall sell Christmas trees just as he did. We have good farm land, however, and some that can be made good farm land, and it is a challenge which both Elliott and I will enjoy.
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I remember well an old story about J. P. Morgan which may be completely untrue but which I always enjoyed—namely, that he once offered some of his guests either milk or champagne, stating that they both cost him about the same! This land cannot be, for either Elliott or me, a way to spend money. It must be a paying concern. Besides, I think it is more interesting to live where something creative is going on. There is a meaning to every activity which cannot exist where you do something purely for pleasure.
Perhaps the reason I enjoy this idea is that there always seems to be a certain stability about farming. And when the world is in an uncertain condition, as it is today, we cling to the things which seem more stable.
Some of my friends say that the uncertainty of world affairs makes them feel that they do not want to think or build for the future. That seems to me a very unhappy situation. I want to feel that I bend every effort toward making the world a safer place in which to live, and toward giving my children and grandchildren the confidence in themselves which will help them to meet the problems of their day. I want to create surroundings which they can feel are built in a belief that there is to be future.