MAY 15, 1940
WASHINGTON, Tuesday—I spent from 12:00 o'clock to 3:00 o'clock yesterday at The City College in New York City. They showed me their first house plan. Of course, for them a house does not really mean a building, it means a group of young people who have banded together as members of a house and the space given to them allows them the use of a house only a specified number of times during the month. The two houses I saw yesterday are certainly used and, if the value of any project is the amount that it is actually used, then this one must be good.
A portrait of Mr. Adolph Lewisohn, an alumnus in whose memory the house was given, faced me as I went into the living room. Then the house itself faded from my eyes, when I looked at the crowds and crowds of young faces before me. Every single one of these boys really studies while he is in college. The scholastic standing is high because these boys know that not only they but often their families, make sacrifices to obtain an education which they hope will bring them happier and more satisfying lives.
It must be a most exhilarating thing to teach in a college of this kind. One of the faculty told me that there never was any dearth of conversation. I can well imagine that, for I am sure that every type of thinking is present because every type of background is there. Even though it was the hour when the lectures were going on, the library was crowded and I could well understand why the Dean told me that they were much grieved when the Mayor felt obliged to cut out their new library building. That they need it is unquestionable, and I hope before long they can have it, for you couldn't be long with these young people without feeling that they deserve the best which can be given them.
Some of them called out as I went by: "Tell Frank the Yanks aren't coming." My heart sank. Poor youngsters, they have the same desire we all have to live in a civilized world and yet are obliged to face, as we all must, the impact of circumstances arising from an opposing desire to wipe out what we have called civilization.
I left my apartment in New York City at 5:45 to drive out with Mrs. Robert Haydock to Hewlett, Long Island, where we dined with Mrs. William Shippen Davis before going to the annual meeting of the Council of Social Agencies. They have been carrying on an experimental survey of youth conditions and the reports were read at last night's meeting. This same type of survey should be made in every community, but it cannot stop there. It has to go on to a survey of what the community can do, so one can know what one must call on the State and Federal Governments to do.
I took the midnight train back to Washington and my first morning appointment was three-quarters of an hour spent listening to the testimony of unemployed women given before a jury of women drawn from various Washington groups. Sad stories were told. I could have duplicated them all, but I think they were new to some of the people present.