NOVEMBER 20, 1958
ALLENTOWN, Pa.—This is the first opportunity I have had to mention the sense of loss I felt when I read of the death of Dorothy Canfield Fisher.
I had never known Mrs. Fisher intimately, but I read her books with constant interest and pleasure. There is one volume in particular which I often read aloud to many groups of young people because of the wonderful lessons it teaches. It illustrates so well how blind we can be in our relationships with one another.
Mrs. Fisher was a woman of great spiritual perception, and for many years it has given me comfort if I found myself on the same side of a controversial question with her. We might discover ourselves to be unpopular at the moment, but in the end our position would probably prove to be the best one, I felt, if she believed in it.
She had been ill for a number of years and had retired to a point where even her close friends had not always been able to see her. And if I, who knew her so slightly, feel such a sense of personal loss, I realize how sad those who had the privilege of knowing her so well must feel.
To all her friends and to her family I would like to extend my warm sympathy. May her influence be kept alive among us for a very long time.
There was another loss recently to our New York community—that of Dr. Kenneth D. Johnson, who for some years was president of the Citizens Committee for Children. His loss will be deeply felt in New York's efforts to make life better for our young people.
A memorial service was held in his memory on last Monday night and I wish I could have attended, but some time ago I had accepted to attend a dinner given by B'nai B'rith in honor of Mr. Bernard Baruch. Dr. Johnson would, I think, have been the first to feel that it is important to give those who are still with us a sense of our appreciation of their value. If we wait till death comes to express our admiration, we know that we cannot add to their pleasure. We are only relieving our own feeling by giving them outward expression.
[unclear term marked] Hyde Park on Saturday last and showed his pictures of a trip to Russia, from which he has recently returned, and they gave much pleasure to my neighbors as well as to me. The movie he made has some beautiful shots of scenery and it tells very objectively the story of Russian conditions.
I am told that the Soviets have been somewhat critical of the picture, because Mr. Bryan shows that some of the old conditions still exist. It is hardly possible, however, to transform a country and have it reach the same level of mechanization everywhere at the same time. I think any movie that tried to show only the latest and best would not be very convincing as to the general improvement, which all of us know must be uneven. On the whole, therefore, I feel Mr. Bryan's contribution is a helpful addition, in pictures, to mutual understanding.