JANUARY 8, 1938
WASHINGTON, Friday—I enjoyed the dinner to the Vice President last night even though my partner on my left said such kind things to me that I began to worry about being able to keep my head!
I had a delightful time with the Vice President talking about the Rural Arts Exhibit. I was glad to have Senator La Follette uphold me in my statement, that it was really well worth a visit and that all those who missed seeing it must look forward to advising the Secretary of Agriculture to hold another next year.
The Vice President grows lyrical on the subject of nature, trees, fields and animals. He wants rural life made so attractive that boys brought up in the city will long for the opportunity to make their lives in a rural district. I agree with him wholeheartedly but I think we must have greater development along the lines which the Rural Arts Exhibit pointed out.
In talking to Dr. Orie Latham Hatcher and the two young people with whom she was broadcasting today, I was interested in her statement that not more than one quarter of the young people born in rural districts could make an adequate living purely out of agriculture. The cities, she said, would need a certain percentage of rural youth to build up their constantly decreasing population. At least another quarter of the young people living in the country will have to combine farming or gardening with some other occupation to earn an adequate livelihood.
The statement has also been made that agriculture as a profession, as well as a way of life, has not been adequately studied from the point of view of the training of youth. I think this is absolutely true and I hope it means we are going to study our rural education and a great many other phases of rural life far more carefully than we have in the past.
After dinner last night we enjoyed a delightful concert. Mr. Percy Grainger, at the piano, played many of my favorites—especially Brahms' "Cradle Song" arranged by Mr. Grainger. Madame Elizabeth Schumann sang beautifully. The President and Vice President seemed particularly appreciative of some of her songs.
There has just reappeared on my desk a most delightful book of songs, "Sing A Song Of Safety" by Irving Caesar. It has been accepted in the public schools of Greater New York, I believe, for use by the children. I hope it will be used so constantly that the children of this generation will think of it as we think of many of our nursery rhymes. It covers many of the childish activities which may lead to danger. I think this is a way in which a difficult lesson may be easily learned and remembered.