FEBRUARY 16, 1942
NEW YORK, Sunday—Lincoln's Birthday is a day I always like especially to celebrate in spirit, for to me Lincoln was not only one of our great Presidents, but a very great man. It seemed very fitting to be, for that day, in Cornell at Farm and Home Week, for Lincoln was of the earth, earthy, close to the soil and his spirit was akin to that of the rural people of our nation.
I am always interested in the exhibits at Farm and Home Week and found, as usual, ingenuity and initiative displayed in various ways. The blackout room for the farm home was very well arranged, but that is one thing the farmers can feel fairly sure will not often be used by them, for it is too costly to waste a bomb on isolated farms.
The thing which appealed to me was the converted truck, equipped in a way for which any farm family could provide. They had large milk cans placed in barrels, one surrounded by excelsior, and the other surrounded by newspapers. I was told they could keep food hot in the can surrounded by newspapers for 17 hours in zero weather.
They had also arranged compartments on the fireless cooker principle, in which they could put large cans, drawers which could pull out and hold supplies, cooking and eating utensils, and a portable canned gas stove which could heat a large quantity of food. This truck could feed 150 people at an emergency meal in a very short time.
The book fair, the art exhibit by Ithaca artists, and the craftwork done primarily by women, were all interesting exhibits. I could have spent much more time seeing them than I was able to give to any one thing.
We drove to Syracuse in the afternoon, and were grateful for the clear weather. In spite of the cold, there was comparatively little snow and ice on the road.
We met with the defense council in the morning, and saw the volunteer bureau, established under the local defense council. They are getting on very well with their work and Mrs. Pennock, who heads the voluntary participation part of the civilian defense program for the state, has done a very fine job.
The same difficulties arise in every community, of course. Some volunteers do not take their duties seriously enough and fail in meeting professional standards. Some agencies are hesitant about taking on the training and placing of volunteers. By and large it seemed to me that if Syracuse and Schnectady, which I visited in the afternoon, are good examples of what is happening in the state, then we can be proud of the organization here.
The Youth Council in Schnectadyis composed of a group of young people who are anxious to play their part in the life of their city. They held a most successful meeting.
I reached New York City late Friday night and kept a number of personal engagements yesterday and today.