APRIL 18, 1958
BOSTON—No one who has enjoyed pleasant hours in New York's Museum of Modern Art heard the news of the fire there on Tuesday without a sinking of the heart.
Many, many people who had seen the wonderful Seurat exhibition and knew the regular exhibits well immediately wondered what would happen to irreplaceable works of art. Insurance can make certain that slightly damaged paintings will be replaced, but it cannot return to us a completely destroyed picture.
It did not occur to many of us at first that there also might be a loss of life, but one man died and many firemen were injured in what seems to have been an heroic struggle, for which the museum authorities praised both the firemen and its own dedicated staff.
It is fortunate that only two Monet paintings were badly damaged. Nearly all of the Seurat paintings, except the big one under glass, were removed.
It was good to hear from Nelson Rockefeller that it will only be a matter of days before repairs are made and the museum is again open to the public.
I see that Robert Moses, chairman of the New York State Power Authority, is apparently claiming some land that belongs to our Indian tribes in the area around Niagara.
I hope that any action to take land away from these Indians will be carefully watched. If the Power Authority must have it, the Indians should be fully compensated or given the opportunity to have an equivalent amount of land of equal value somewhere else if they so desire. Things happen to the government's wards, the Indians, because most of us are not aware of what is being done to them.
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I have an amusing letter from a gentleman in New York City who is disturbed about our difficulties in attracting good personnel to the teaching profession. He says:
"All agree more and better teachers we must have. The answer is really simple: Give the teaching profession more money, more respect, more prestige."
He makes one novel suggestion, and I turn it over to our tax experts for consideration. He says that Congress should amend the income tax law to read, "No income tax shall be collected on any teaching salary."
He adds that this probably would raise a cry of favoritism, but he points out that the Soviet Union is showing us that education is important and that we need it for survival, so perhaps we had better show a little favoritism towards this important profession.