MAY 8, 1940
WASHINGTON, Tuesday—Yesterday afternoon I visited the Florence Crittenton Home here. This is an institution which receives a grant from Congress and also has a board of visitors which provides some extra help from private resources. The grounds and building are very pleasant, the surroundings cheerful and the care good, but they acknowledge that they cannot begin to meet the need which exists in the District of Columbia, and there is no provision whatsoever for colored girls, who certainly need help as much as the white girls.
I returned to the White House for a departmental reception for women executives. At this reception the ladies of the Cabinet receive with me, and we had nearly 2000 guests. I was very grateful for beautiful weather which made it very enjoyable for everyone. The newspapers warned us that today we would have bad weather and I have been dreading possible rain, but the sun shines and soft breezes blow. More people are to be on the White House lawn today than we have had since the Easter egg rolling!
Between two and three thousand members of the American Red Cross, attending their convention, came over from 2:30 to 3:30. I did not arrive to speak to them until 3:00 because a hospital was being dedicated at Laurel, Md., where the District of Columbia Home For Feeble-Minded is located. They told me I could drive the distance in half an hour, but it took much longer. However, I was glad to be able to be there and say a word at the dedication and to see the new building which ought to add greatly to the service which can be rendered to the inmates of this institution. They have some 600 feeble-minded varying in age from 6 to 40 years.
I hope everyone last evening had as pleasant an evening as I had at the dinner party and musical which was held here. Miss Jean Christian, the daughter of our old friends, Dr. and Mrs. Frank Christian of Elmira, New York, played the harp after dinner, and Mr. Todd Duncan, the Howard University Glee Club and Miss Caterina Jarboro, all sang for us. It has been a long time since we have had any music which all of us enjoyed from beginning to end.
Now let me tell you of a poet who has just come to my attention. A great friend of mine sent me a volume entitled: "Against The Sun," by Ada Jackson. There are two poems which seem to fit the thoughts which many of us have been struggling to express in these disturbing times. One is called: "Two Headed Penny," and the other "Pacifist 1939." Many other poems will appeal more, I am sure, for other reasons, but these two made me hold my breath. In some way they seem to say some of the things which pass through one's mind and pull one this way and that in this confusing world.
Now, I must leave you to go down to greet 2000 more guests on our lawn and tonight the midnight train will take me to New York City for a brief stay.