- December 20, 1929 – Peabody to Julius Rosenwald, Chicago re: Rosenwald Schools and the Georgia Warm Springs Foundation…(Extraordinary letter!!!)
Dear Mr. Rosenwald:
One of the bright lights of my trip to Detroit in October was that after much too long a period I met you again, alas only for brief opportunity for a few words. I often recall those good talks we had when we met with our dear friend, Frank Trumbull. His love and admiration for you were always a joy to me.
Again, I am continually grateful to you as I think of the deep-reaching and far-reaching influence and service of the Rosenwald Schools. In some respects the most interesting and satisfactory exhibit of simple unobtrusive desire to help and yet wise planning for the most efficient cooperation. I wish indeed that your multi-millionaire compatriots could have a realizing sense of what personal thought and careful inspection, such as you and Mrs. Rosenwald have given these many years, can accomplish in true service. Your many-sidedness of response to so many angles of approach makes me think of you as a personal manifestation of what has seemed to me one of the best definitions of an educated homo sapiens “One who has the greatest number of real pointes of contact with the largest number of people.”
A letter from the Superintendent of Schools, R. B. Daniel, L.L.D., in my native city of Columbus, Georgia, which I find upon my return from New York, tells me of the advice that the Rosenwald Fund will provide twenty percent additional on the cost of building and equipment for the first Negro High School in that fifth city of Georgia, also the first city of the South to initiate public schools following the war and to begin to give the Negro an opportunity for education; but being a mill town, it has alas lagged behind in the latter particular due to the “fear” complex as to irritating those unfortunate unprivileged Whites of our Southland.
I am personally very grateful to you this morning because the influence of this high school at Columbia will, I am sure, prove notably helpful in many ways. It is , also , near Tuskegee and will, I think, develop closer relationship with that great institution which owes so much to you, who so promptly realized the great genius and wisdom of your friend, Booker T. Washington.
I am also moved to write you upon returning from New York, respecting another opportunity in my native state of Georgia. We held a meeting of the trustees of the Georgia Warm Springs Foundation while I was there. I was glad to learn of the reaching of the half million point in the effort to secure a million and a quarter of dollars for the Health Foundation which has been established there through the devotion of my friend, Governor Roosevelt. The Health Foundation is unique, to my mind, in the sense that it enables men and women strong of mind and purpose to recover facility of movement so that they can become again factors in the life of the country. It is not a mere relief from suffering and surcease of pain but it brings again the hopefulness and cheerful quality of life which is such a real factor in accomplishment.
My friends, whom I have taken to Warm Springs with me, were astonished to find the group of patients there under-going the treatment from Physio-therapists in and out of the pool with medical direction, so eager and joyous in their returning physical activity and hopeful outlook on life. It so chances that a figure of national value, as well as prominence, gives such point to this aspect of the work in that New York State now has a Governor of notable qualities of character and devotion and service which I am confident Franklin Roosevelt could never have accepted the nomination for had it not been for the way out for him physically which Warm Springs provided. He made his campaign with ease and efficiency as he now helps to educate the people as to the great human functions of government by doing a quite extraordinary amount of going and coming among the people.
I have a special personal interest in the Warm Springs project in that being only forty miles from Columbus. Georgia, on Pine Mountain the Southernmost end of the Allegheny range which begins at Quebec in Canada, I was led to first look over the wonderful Warm Springs twenty-five years ago by the then Governor of Georgia and less than ten years ago acquired the property solely to prevent its being commercially exploited without proper reference to its great therapeutic value. After acquiring it, I learned of its peculiar adaptation to the recovery of locomotive power to sufferers from infantile Paralysis. I immediately urged my friend, Franklin Roosevelt, to try it out and he fortunately promptly did so with the excellent results which we all realize.
His plans for utilizing this by turning it over to a Health Foundation, of which I am honored to be a Trustee, are wise and simple and democratic. I am f=glad to see that men of position like our friend Leffingwell of J. P. Morgan & Company – Mr. Woodin, Owen D. Yong and Vincent Astor and others are of the company who are providing this fund.
I do hope that you may be able to plan to look over the ground when you are next in Georgia, if possible, for I know it will cheer your heart. At any rate, I trust that you may think it well to have a art in this work which is completely national in scope and because of its aid to men and women of power and potentially of service.
George Foster Peabody