SEPTEMBER 17, 1954
NEW YORK, Thursday—On Wednesday Mrs. John Alden Carpenter of Chicago, who is planning a very wonderful concert for the United Nations November 22 in Chicago, lunched with me after talking with the Secretary General of the U.N. I hope that Mrs. Carpenter will be completely successful in her efforts, and have a well-received entertainment in which the music will speak of the unity of nations. It is possible to meet on the level of music even more understandingly than on the level of words.
I motored to Hyde Park in order to dine Wednesday evening with President Case, of Bard College, and begin a series of readings which I am planning with some of the students there in connection with the literature department. This first evening was really an exploratory one. We wanted to find out whether the group would prefer to read primarily in the works of one author, or to read poetry or prose or dramas, and mix our literary explorations. We will, of course, have discussion of whatever we read. I feel sure that together we are going to find it possible to develop some interesting and pleasurable evenings.
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When I was talking on the air the other day about "Politics 1954," a book gotten out by the Americans for Democratic Action, mention was made of Herman Hagedorn's book, "The Roosevelt Family of Sagamore Hill." I have been reading this book with a great deal of interest. In the first place it is charmingly written, and in the second place the subject is of interest to any Roosevelt! But this delightful Roosevelt family could not help but have a great appeal to all, I am sure. The author is so sympathetic with his subjects that they seem to live. I am particularly struck by the fact that it seems to be the inevitable trait of all Roosevelts to have stormy careers in politics. And they seem able to take victory or defeat in their stride.
From Theodore Roosevelt through the others I know, they seem to prepare themselves for any eventuality they may have to face. In writing to one of his boys during a campaign Theodore Roosevelt said: "It was a great thing for all of us to have the experience here (in the White House) so we are ahead of the game, whatever comes." In reporting an overwhelming victory the author quotes: "'But I tell you, Kermit,' the President ended, 'it was a great comfort to feel, all during the last days when affairs looked doubtful, that, no matter how things came out, the really important thing was the lovely life I had with mother and with you children, and that, compared to this home life, everything else was of very small importance from the standpoint of happiness."'
I loved also the description of the house at Sagamore given by the visiting Chinese mandarin. He said it was "feng shui" and he explained how the location of a house is chosen in China, and why. Then he ended by saying: "So when you find the spot where everything for the good spirits is most convenient, and most inconvenient for the bad spirits, then that is good feng shui such as you have here."
Anyone who remembers Sagamore as a child will agree with this description, and I hope that everyone who reads this book enjoys it and appreciates the delightful people they will consort with.