AUGUST 22, 1947
NEW YORK, Thursday—I have been receiving more and more letters with suggestions as to what I should do with the farm and other property in Tennessee which was left to me by the Rev. A. B. Starnes. Yesterday I received a copy of the will and a note from the lawyer. He told me that the estate would amount to less than $10,000, and he wanted to know whether I wished to claim it or not.
Under the provisions of the will, I was to keep up a church and a graveyard established by Mr. Starnes; his niece was to live in the house free of rent; and a monument to cost no more than $200 was to be erected to Mr. Starnes in the churchyard. My husband was named executor of this will, which was written before his death.
I realize that it is highly improbable that I could possibly make a wise choice as to the way in which this property should be used during the niece's lifetime and thereafter. There must be members of the family familiar with that part of the country who could use it to greater advantage than I could. I am deeply appreciative, of course, of the esteem which Mr. Starnes had for my husband and of his kind thought of me; but I think that it will more nearly accomplish the ends he had in mind if those who were near to him, like his niece, have the final say as to the disposal of the property.
That episode is closed. I never realized before how many people had plans into which a farm in the Tennessee mountains would fit. However, they will now have to plan on some other farm, and I can only say that I hope they will find it and will be able to carry out any good plan they have in mind.
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We held the last of our Wiltwyck School picnics yesterday at Hyde Park. Thirty boys ate hot dogs and ice cream until they could eat no more. Some friends of my son's from California and our minister, Mr. Kidd, were with us, and I was extremely grateful for their interest and help.
Everyone who sees these boys becomes interested in the Wiltwyck School methods and wants to know how they succeed in the long run—whether the boys show complete rehabilitation when they leave. It would be impossible, in less than five to ten years, to tell how complete this rehabilitation is. Finding that out is one of the aims of the school. If we do prove that our methods are highly successful, it should make a great change in the treatment of juvenile delinquents.
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This morning we started out from Hyde Park very early, leaving Fala behind. I must say that I felt a little regretful about leaving him, since I think he may resent it as much as he did on the occasion when my husband refused to let him go to one of the inaugurations. Soon thereafter, he ran away and went to a movie house in Washington, and my husband always said that, not being allowed to attend the inauguration, he went to see the newsreel of it!
We have come to New York to see "The Roosevelt Story" tonight—the documentary film which won an international prize in Brussels as the film which would do the most for peace this year. With all my heart I hope that this is so, and if it is so, let us hope that every person in the United States will see the film.