FEBRUARY 14, 1949
NEW YORK, Sunday—Friday was the first day I have spent in New York City for some time without having to make a single speech! I did some work in the morning at the broadcasting station and at home, but I actually was able to lunch with a friend and to have friends dine with me in the evening.
At luncheon I was invited to go abroad next July and speak to a large church group, an invitation which I had to decline. I found that my hostess, who had been asking me for a long time if a friend of hers could come to my apartment to take a photograph, had arranged everything right in her own home, so that within five minutes after lunch a photo had been taken and I felt properly reproved for having ignored her request for so long. The photographer, Miss Clara E. Sipprell, has taken remarkable photos of many people. She showed us some of them, and she also had some wonderful photographs of various places she has visited in this country, among them Eastport, Maine, which I had not realized before could look quite so picturesque.
In the afternoon, Mme. Boisevassin came with Mrs. William Dick Sporborg. Mme. Boisevassin is a Dutch lady who spent two years in a German concentration camp and who lost her husband and two sons in the war. For Queen Wilhelmina's Jubilee she conceived a unique idea, setting the women of Holland to work making remarkable patchwork skirts which they wore when marching in procession. The skirts represented the spiritual concept of woman as a constructive force, drawing many separate pieces together into one unified whole. They symbolized the faith that, no matter what the destruction in the world, women will begin to create something out of the broken pieces.
Mme. Boisevassin is over here to promote the idea of unity among the women of the world, and I must say her beautiful, sensitive face, which bears the signs of suffering, commands attention and respect.
In the evening I went with some of my musical friends to hear Joan Hammond's concert at Town Hall. Lady Gowrie, whose husband was Governor General of Australia when I was there in the summer of 1943, had written me to be sure to hear Miss Hammond, now making her first visit to the United States.
Coming from Australia as a recognized prima donna, Miss Hammond has appeared in Europe and England during the past ten years. She is at her best, I think, in Italian opera arias, but I have seldom heard a more perfect diction in all the languages in which she sang. She is a finished artist and her program was beautifully chosen, and I think she must have felt the warmth of her audience and their enthusiasm.