MAY 25, 1959
WASHINGTON—A few days ago I was visited by a representative of the Society of Brothers. This society has settlements in several areas of the world, including this country and South America. They have established a hospital in Paraguay which they are supporting, and during the summer they usually have young people in work camps who settle down for a number of weeks and build some improvement for the village where they decide to spend their time.
This summer they would like to devote their energies to the flooded areas in Uruguay. We have heard rather little about these floods, but I understand they assumed great proportions and brought about food shortages, ruined homes and many hardships for the whole population of the area. Uruguay is a proud and very progressive country, and it is trying to meet the situation without outside help. But since the Society of Brothers have settlements there, they are probably conscious of the needs to be met, and the gentlemen who called on me seemed very willing to accept any help from people in this country especially interested in that part of the world.
Among other problems coming to me in the mail, there is a letter from a woman who is a Seventh Day Adventist. The Seventh Day Adventists observe Saturday as the Sabbath; and this lady is disturbed because in Pennsylvania, where she lives, a bill has been introduced in the legislature to force the Adventists to observe Sunday as well as Saturday.
As a matter of fact, increasingly in this country half of Saturday is being considered as a normal holiday for a large part of our working force. My correspondent feels that it is an interference with religious freedom to force those who do not work on Saturday to give up work on Sunday also. I am inclined to think that there should be no laws about this. Both days are gradually becoming more or less days of rest, but it seems to me desireable to have the possibility of some differences. Certainly it does seem undesireable to pass laws to force people to do anything which they might consider intereference with religious freedom or, in this case, to prevent them from doing something which they think is part of their free right.
Recently I stopped in at the Steuben Company's gallery and saw some French paintings in glass called Gemmaux. This is a new art taught by Mr. R. Malherbe-Navarre and practiced by a number of young French artists who are now at work developing these pictures in glass. The blues and reds, deep in tone, seemed to me particularly beautiful. I am not enough of a critic to know how good a medium this is for an artist's expression, but it certainly seemed to me to have possibilities of development. It has been used in the subway station in Paris which is named for my husband, and is at present being used to decorate a church in Brooklyn. I think many of us here will be interested to see this new form of expression.
The warm days last week gave me a feeling of midsummer. I was driven by Dr. Herbert Prentice to his home on Long Island for dinner on one of those days, and it proved to be a pleasant evening in a delightful environment. I must say that when these warm days come and the moon shines, to drive in an open car with the top down is one of the real luxuries of life.