JANUARY 27, 1959
NEW YORK—The press conference last week at which Senator Herbert H. Lehman read the statement which he and Thomas K. Finletter and I agreed on was to me a moment of real importance. I am hopeful that all over the State of New York there will be people who really want the reactivation of the Democratic party on a democratic basis.
I feel very strongly that our party has not had the participation of vast numbers of people who should be active citizens and should use their party to express their citizenship.
I am grateful to Herbert Lehman and Tom Finletter for the leadership they are giving to what we hope will be a grass roots movement to bring the Democratic party back into the hands of the people in New York State.
I went to dine one night last week at the National Arts Club. It was a real occasion—the 61st Artists' Annual Dinner. The members' exhibition, which has been hung every year for 61 years, met our eyes as we went into the dining room and we sat surrounded by charming pictures. The sculpture had been relegated for safety to another room, but after the dinner there was still an opportunity to see many beautiful pieces.
Albert Dorne, who is president of the Famous Artists School, which teaches through correspondence, made a very amusing speech. Also, both Frederick B. Robinson, director of the Springfield Museum of Fine Arts, and Frederick Whittaker, M.A., one of our distinguished American painters, spoke interestingly on different questions of concern not only to the artists but to the American public.
Last week I also saw a film put out by the Federation of Jewish Charities, which describes all the activities carried on by the federation.
It has always been astonishing to me the amount of work in various [unclear term marked] for children and old people, that is very largely financed by the federation. The organization has 116 projects in the New York metropolitan area alone, and this film gives little glimpses of many important pieces of work.
I was already familiar with the work the federation is doing for the crippled children in the Blythdale Hospital in Westchester County, because I have been there with Dr. David Gurewitsch on a number of occasions. This is a rehabilitation hospital for children and I feel quite sure that the level of remarkable efficiency and care given these children, with the addition of real concern, are the basis of the success of many of the charitable undertakings that I watched on the screen.
On another night last week I went to see "La Plume de Ma Tante," which is described as the most perfect play "for the tired businessman."
It is certainly American a la Paris, and reminded me of the old type of variety show we used to go to years ago. I think its great popularity is because a good many people feel it is rather wicked to be there! But it is amusing and I think anyone attending will get an evening of laughter.