JANUARY 9, 1950
HYDE PARK, Sunday—Apart from attending a delightful performance of Shaw's comedy, "Caesar and Cleopatra," excellently acted by Sir Cedric Hardwicke, Lilli Palmer and a splendid cast and as good today as when it was first produced, I have spent the past few days mostly in traveling to various engagements.
In Fitchburg, Mass. on Thursday morning, I visited a wing of the library which is being built for the young people of the town, who themselves have contributed to its erection. The children came together, earned money and contributed their pennies to make this library a reality. It is of a most modern design, with the idea being that the children should feel as much of the out-of-doors around them as possible. There is a courtyard planned as a garden, a big fire-place and glass everywhere, even to having skylights. The reading room, with space around the fire-place for the story hour, and the auditorium, which can be divided in two, if necessary, but which has an ample stage at one end, should be a source of great pleasure and many hours of recreation to the children of the town. I was interested in the statistics given me of the number of children using the library. Of the 5,100 children attending Fitchburg's grade schools, 3,068 are registered library borrowers.
Something you have worked for is always more precious than a handout. The children did baby-sitting, salvaged paper, attended to many unwelcome chores and gave up comics and bubble gum to add to the fund for building the library. Without question, they will use the library, treasure the books and value their recreation there as they might never have done had it simply been a matter in which the grown-ups of the town were interested.
In Worcester, on Thursday, when I spoke under the auspices of the Union Agricultural Meeting women's program for the home demonstration agents, I had the pleasure of watching some delightful Swedish folk dances put on by the Swedish Folk Dance Club of Worcester, whose director is John C. Swanson. I am always interested in the fact that all folk dances seem to have similar fundamental rhythms and steps. I could see in these Swedish dances, for example, the roots of our own Virginia Reel, which came to us from Great Britain.
In Washington, on Friday, I enjoyed the authors' luncheon given under the auspices of the Washington Post, and in the evening Miss Thompson and I had dinner with some of our old newspaper women friends. A group of us—Miss Katharine Lenroot, Mrs. David Levy, Chauncey McCormack and I—had a short talk with the President on the Mid-Century White House Conference for Children. In the afternoon, a fairly comprehensive discussion took place in John Hickerson's office in the State Department on certain aspects of our United Nations work.
I took the midnight train down Thursday and the midnight train back on Friday, but I find this is not a really desirable way of traveling. However, I had better get accustomed to it, as we start out next Wednesday on a lecture tour which will mean a succession of these night trips!