AUGUST 15, 1940
HYDE PARK, Wednesday—The mail again has brought me something of real interest because it is an original idea. In Long Island City, N.Y. a new organization has been formed. It's called the Self-employed Actors Association. The Long Island Star Journal gives a picture of the success of this group's first performance in a vacant lot. The actors also sent me a book covering, in entertaining fashion, many of their problems. I must say they have been very ingenious in finding answers to their various problems as they arose.
Their president is Claude Marsan. They apparently intend to be not only actors of successful plays, but to produce and sell a drink which will add to their revenue. They already have procured a truck and are giving their plays in different sections so as to have a daily audience. I can only say that I hope this novel idea, which includes a serial play and various original acts, prospers and brings great success to those who have conceived it and are working on it.
In these days we want people of initiative to find new things to do to meet unusual situations, and certainly this is a good example of the type of thing which can be done.
I also have a letter from a young man who has been attending medical school in Nebraska. He is going to give up his studies because of lack of funds, but he does not make a personal appeal. He simply states that he thinks medical students are as important to the defense program as any other group of workers and that they should be developed by assistance from the Government. He adds that such students as these do not want something for nothing, but are willing to work, now or in the future, to pay for whatever assistance they may be given.
I cannot help feeling that he has put his finger on something which may have been forgotten, namely, that defense extends to so many different lines that we cannot just produce soldiers and mechanics for the Army or for defense industries. We will need doctors, musicians, painters, carpenters, cooks and any number of people who will carry on their professions in peacetime as well as in war, but who will form the reservoir from which we draw when need comes. Hence we cannot ignore them in any general defense program.
We had a little rain yesterday which was very welcome, but it lasted only a short time. Miss Julia Parker, one of our neighbors, came to lunch and in the evening we sallied forth to dine with Mrs. George Huntington, who lives about 15 miles up the Hudson River.
Today I am driving to New York City for a busy day.