OCTOBER 25, 1949
NEW YORK, Monday—On Sunday I drove over from Hyde Park with my niece and her husband, Mr. and Mrs. Edward P. Elliott, to lunch with my cousin, Stanley Mortimer and his wife at Litchfield, Conn. It could not have been a more perfect autumn day and we enjoyed the drive through that rolling country which still is brilliantly colorful.
After lunch I went to the Housatonic Valley Regional High School, of which Dr. Paul W. Stoddard is the principal, for their 10th anniversary ceremonies. I think the nicest part of the program was the rededication of the school in which William Worthington, vice-chairman of the Regional High School Board, was the leader and in which the people responded.
It was dark by the time we got home and we had to eat our supper hurriedly and then my niece and her husband left for Detroit and I left for New York City with Miss Thompson. The beauty of the day still stays in my mind and I think we shall long enjoy it in retrospect.
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Have you seen a book called "Greenwich Village, Today and Yesterday" with photographs by Berenice Abbott and the text by Henry W. Lanier?
Anyone who lives or has even known the Village will welcome this book and will recognize the flavor of this part of New York City, which is well portrayed in the pictures. I hope that we will never lose all that the Village brings us of a different atmosphere today, even though some changes must occur. I am always glad that a number of years ago I took my little apartment in what seems to be one of the quietest and most colorful parts of New York City.
To jump from the Village to a far-off spot, I have a letter today from the librarian of a small high school in Deer, Newton County, Arkansas. She tells a story which, I am sure, can be duplicated in many parts of our country. Here it is:
"We have 500 pupils in this school. Our buses go over very rough dirt roads, not one foot is paved or black topped. Our families are poor, but hard-working, people. We have a very intelligent group of boys and girls, but you might say no library at all."
That, I think, is something that should give us all pause. How are our boys and girls in the country to have an equal opportunity for education if some of them have no access to good libraries and some of them practically no books at all to help them? They do have textbooks but even these often are in poor condition and may not be very up-to-date.
It must be frustrating for a librarian or for a teacher who has good training and really cares about the opportunities for young people not to have the tools to work with. It is a constant struggle for them to help to prepare their students to be ready to compete with other youngsters whom they will meet in the world of business or college or the professions.
Perhaps this is a field which some of the foundations should cover. Years ago the Carnegie libraries made Andrew Carnegie's name well known in many places throughout this country. Perhaps no one man today should attempt to cover this need, but certainly some of the foundations should begin to do it on a national scale.