MAY 27, 1947
CHICAGO, Monday—Travelling around this country is good for us all, because we find so many places that we know little or nothing about, and that not only have an interesting place in our history but are today making history.
Yesterday morning, Miss Thompson and I stepped off the train in Springfield, III., and later were taken by car to Jacksonville, Ill. I always like to see the Lincoln statue below the Capitol in Springfield, and I think the old Governor's Mansion has great charm. But it was Jacksonville which was new to me.
I think the greatest charm of that small city is its trees. It is apparently a spot where New England and the South met, for the elms arching over the streets remind one of a New England village. Illinois College, the oldest in the State, is located there. Edward Beecher, one of the college's early presidents, was a brother of Henry Ward Beecher and Harriet Beecher Stowe, and was one of the liberals who left his mark on the city.
MacMurray College, also located in Jacksonville, was once the Illinois state college for women. It has grown very rapidly under a plan formulated by its president, Dr. Clarence P. McClelland, who has laid out the plan for the next twenty years. This is one of the few colleges for women in the Middle West which is comparable to our Eastern colleges for women.
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I attended the Baccalaureate Service in the morning and heard a young Methodist minister, Rev. Charles Floyd Murphy of Cincinnati, preach a very good baccalaureate sermon on "What Are We Going to Do with Our World?" He was a chaplain with the U.S. Navy in the Pacific during the war, and perhaps that is why he is so concerned with "where do we go from here." Both of us were given honorary degrees at the commencement exercises—which we both deeply appreciated.
Members of the Junior Chamber of Commerce drove me to the large state mental hospital, but unfortunately I was only able to pay a very hurried visit. Jacksonville also has a school for the deaf which, I understand, is the largest in the world, and a very large school for the blind. All of these institutions have delightful grounds, which must add greatly to the happiness of the handicapped patients. A good many of the MacMurray College graduates are going in for social work with handicapped people, so the influence of the institutions and the fact that they can provide practical experience to students seem to have an effect on the choice of vocation.
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It is interesting to see by the Illinois papers that a controversy is going on over a proposed cut which the economy-minded Republican State Legislature is advocating in the appropriation for the care of dependent children. One would think that the lesson of the Centralia mine disaster would impress on government officials that the well-being of people is as important as economy. However, I imagine the effect of the federal example is what spurs the Republicans in power in the states to economize not always wisely but too well.