AUGUST 8, 1949
HYDE PARK, Sunday—The Westchester County Association of Postmasters came on a trip yesterday to see the Hyde Park Memorial and to lunch at the Vanderbilt Inn before going through the Mansion there. On their invitation, I went over and joined them for a few minutes, leaving a French journalist, Mme. Louise Weiss, and two young library research workers to see the Mansion while I went out to the lawn to chat with the postmasters.
I had expected they would have some questions to ask me, but instead one gentleman told me something most interesting. He said he thought he had been the first person to come out for a fourth term for my husband. Someone had sent him a questionnaire asking him how he felt about a third term, and in his answer he stated that he was in favor of it and also of a fourth term. He felt sure this was the first time such a thing had been mentioned!
I was particularly glad to learn from them that they found the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library building of deep interest. Some people, I think, believe that in going to the library they will see merely books and papers. They do not realize that the museum part is filled with many unusual things which may happen to hold special interest for them. One gentleman, who was interested in coins, asked me many questions about the collection which my husband gave to the library. On the other hand, young school-age children who visit the library are generally more interested in the collection of model ships than in anything else. My husband, himself, was curious about so many different things that it would be hard not to find something in his collections akin to the interests of almost any visitor.
I find that the Vanderbilt Mansion makes a curious impression on foreigners. My French journalist lady remarked that she had seen a number of houses in Europe which looked much the same nowadays, but that no one could afford to live in them any longer. I told her there were not many people in this country, either, who could afford to live in the type of house built in what the National Park Service, when they accepted the Vanderbilt Mansion, called the "millionaire period." The house is a perfect example of that period, being an oversized copy of the Petit Trianon, and was furnished by one of the best New York decorators. Certainly, however, it does not give one the impression that it bears the imprint of anybody's personality upon it; and, after all, the real thing that makes a house is the reflection shed by the people who live within its walls. Somehow a house should have an atmosphere, and you should be able, as you go into it, to tell something about the people who live in it.