APRIL 12, 1952
NEW YORK, Friday —Wednesday night I went to Washington and met my new granddaughter, Nancy. This very charming young lady, who is the daughter of Franklin Jr. and Sue, is now three months old. She had no use for me on first acquaintance but gradually decided I was not as terrifying as she thought and finally ended by being quite content on my lap.
Thursday I spent the whole day in Washington, arriving at the State Department at 9:15 a.m., and leaving during the morning to go and talk with the President for half an hour.
At three o'clock I went back to the White House and was given the privilege of seeing all the renovations.
The most interesting discovery I made was that there are two cellars below the kitchen floor now, which gives a great deal more room for storage space, servants' dining room, etc., and makes the lower floor quite spacious for receiving. The very old kitchen fireplace, which used to be in the servants' dining room, is now included in the room which the President uses for broadcasts. This is really a delightful room.
On the first floor I liked the painted paneling in the state dining room. The chandeliers in the East Room have been made lighter and higher, so that the whole room seems to be in better proportion. Two very lovely sofas have been added and I thought the room was much improved. The only room I do not quite like is the Green Room, where it seems to me the color in the walls is too deep a green and the rug is not really pretty. I am delighted with the way the main stairs turn and come down into a much more spacious entrance hall.
The third floor has been made delightful for guests. The lovely central hall and the bedrooms with little sitting rooms opening out of them make cozy suites.
The second floor has not been much changed except that the Lincoln furniture has been moved into the old Lincoln study, and the room is really in the Victorian style and all in keeping with that period.
Of course, bathrooms are modernized, and the second floor has been much improved by changing the windows at each end. I think guests staying there now would be far more comfortable than they were in the old days.
The old lift, in which the pony used to go up and down in President Theodore Roosevelt's day, has been renovated in the way of machinery and is somewhat smaller and well carpeted. Certainly, no one would dream of putting a pony in it today.
The servants' quarters on the third floor have been made much more comfortable, and much better arrangements for work and closet space now exist.
Altogether, I think the old house has lost none of its charm on the first floor and has gained greatly in comfort on the second and third floors. I also must mention the sun porch on the roof, which is attractive and comfortable now.
I stopped in to see Secretary of the Interior Chapman for a few minutes and then went back for a quiet chat with my friends, Mr. and Mrs. Adolph Miller with whom I always stay in Washington. Franklin Jr. came to say goodbye just before I started for the airport with Mrs. Anna Rosenberg and Miss Doris Fleeson who came to see me off.
Back in New York City I found my son, Elliott, and his wife waiting to have dinner with us, and that was the end of an interesting and pleasant day.