FEBRUARY 10, 1940
WASHINGTON—Yesterday was a most interesting day, but my first pleasant surprise was to be met in Boston at 7:30 a.m. by our son, John, who had driven in from Nahant. It even made up for the cameras and the two poor newspapermen who tried to ask me questions. I am never very chatty when I get off a night train, but Johnny and I went over to the hotel and had breakfast, which gave us a chance for a good talk before he went to work and I went out to Dr. and Mrs. Conant's house in Cambridge.
The executive committee of the Harvard Dames had a small luncheon for me at the Faculty Club, and then we went over to their meeting in Phillips-Brooks House. I thought that the Harvard Dames must be the wives of faculty members, so I was somewhat surprised to find that they are the wives of graduate students who have returned to do some special piece of work. Many of these women hold jobs while their husbands take this extra bit of education. Others profit by this year at Harvard in many different ways. Mrs. Conant said that their ability to do a great deal, both educational and social, on limited funds was a lesson to everyone with whom they came in contact.
Their guests for the afternoon were the Dames of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. After a program of music, which was beautifully rendered by a young Mrs. Flanders, I gave a short talk which was followed by questions. Later we stood and received the group as they went down for tea.
Johnny and Anne arrived at Mrs. Conant's a little before 7:00 and were at dinner with the journalists who held the Nieman Fellowships. A sum of money was left to Harvard with rather broad instructions, the wording used was: "The income to be used to elevate the standards of journalism."
Dr. Conant decided that these instructions could best be carried out by fellowships to men already in the newspaper profession, who would be specially chosen by the committee and then be allowed to educate themselves in their chosen fields in any way that seemed to them advantageous. At their dinners they have a variety of guests, newspaper editors, columnists, writers, everyone is grist to their mill. I felt that there was little I could contribute, but it proved of great interest to me and I hope I learned something.
One amusing little incident was the fact that at the opening of the dinner the United Feature Syndicate called up from New York City to tell me my column had not been received. It was finally discovered in the wrong basket at the Cambridge telegraph office and apologies seemed to be in order to Dr. Conant's secretary, who had filed it for me at about one o'clock. The newspaper men appreciated my dilemma greatly.
Just as dinner ended, six freshmen came to the door and bore a valentine which proved to be a heart-shaped box of candy. I asked them what difference their political party labels made to them, and the prompt reply was: "None."
I returned to New York City on the midnight train and flew to Washington this morning.