FEBRUARY 12, 1948
HYDE PARK, Wednesday—Yesterday, in New York, I went to see an exhibition of the British women's needlework which Lady Reading brought over to this country. It is being shown in the English Room at the Plaza Hotel, and the representatives of various interested shops are coming in to place orders.
I was particularly interested in six chair-seats embroidered by Queen Mary. They are remarkably well done and are signed, as she would sign a letter, in the corner of each piece of embroidery. Historically these are so interesting that I feel they should be bought by some museum.
She offered them when she heard of the plan to export the handwork done at home by the women of Great Britain in order to help the economy of the country. I am told that, as she works, one of her ladies-in-waiting reads aloud to her. When you look at the fine tapestry work, you marvel that she has good enough eyes to spend several hours a day doing it.
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Also in the exhibition are some rather striking designs for carpets, done in cross-stitch. But I was especially entranced by the smocking on dresses for little girls. I have always loved smocking and I remember that, when my daughter was small, I loved the smocked Liberty silk dresses which she wore to parties.
Most of the dresses I saw in this collection of Lady Reading's are cotton. She tells me that we use cotton more than they do in Great Britain, probably because our houses are warmer on the whole. (This may seem a cruel joke at present, for two of my friends told me yesterday that their houses were entirely without heat of any kind on one of the coldest days on record! Nevertheless our houses are ordinarily warmer than those in Great Britain).
The knitted articles on display are varied and very well done. The quilting is expensive but very beautiful—and hand quilting of this kind is frankly a luxury product.
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Yesterday afternoon, I also went to a meeting held in the interests of the Wiltwyck School for Boys. I saw many old friends—Mrs. Mary McLeod Bethune, Canada Lee, Judge Delaney, Roi Ottley, and many others—who I hope will help us to interest new groups in raising the funds we need for Wiltwyck this year.
Before the meeting had come to an end, I slipped out to catch my train for Hyde Park. It was a joy to find myself home again, even though I think it is several degrees colder here than in the city.