AUGUST 15, 1953
HYDE PARK, Friday—Yesterday noon Mr. Charles F. Palmer from Atlanta, Georgia, came to lunch with me to tell me about the national shrine which is to be erected on Pine Mountain. The State Commission that accepted my husband's bequest of land is donating 2,000 acres of this land, and then on the knob, which was a point from which the view was particularly beautiful, they will erect through public subscription the Hall of History. There will be gigantic columns in the front which will frame the entrance to an open court and on the walls around this court the history of the United States will be carved in high relief. These walls will be 90 feet high. At the other end of the court will be a room in which the great documents will be on exhibition. Eric Gugler dreamed this dream many years ago and showed me a model, but it seemed such a gigantic conception that I could not even hope that in our lifetimes people would see its great value in keeping before our children the history of their country's development.
Some of you may know a few of the things that Eric Gugler has done, for instance the Firestone Memorial in Akron, Ohio, a project dedicated to the Mayo Brothers at Rochester, Minnesota, and the famous World War II memorial now being completed on Anzio Beach in Italy.
This will not be just a Georgia undertaking, however, because it will tell the history of our country as a whole and it could never be carried through by a few individuals or a few states. All the states in the Union will have their share in this history carved in stone. It will make of this particular spot, however, a point to which people will come from all over the country to see spread before them "America's big story book."
They plan to place ear phones here and there so that visitors can put on the ear phones and listen to a lecture on the particular part of the history they are looking at on the wall, and they hope to put in a translating system so that foreigners can turn to one of five languages and hear the lecture in that language since, of course, foreigners would not be as familiar with the things depicted on the walls as Americans would be.
The court around which the history of our nation will be carved is designed to accommodate audiences of thousands of people who may gather there on patriotic occasions or on national holidays. There will be walks and fountains and landscaping and in front of the gigantic building there will be a reflecting pool so that one can see the reflections of the great carvings. Judge Learned Hand has written a very beautiful article on the subject of this whole conception and Mr. Henry Toombs who has always been associated with all the building at Warm Springs was a close friend of Mr. Gugler's and instrumental in choosing the site. In one way, of course, this great conception carries on into the future because no generation can record its own history, so it will be future generations who will continue the recording of our history, in whatever ways seem to them appropriate.