107 adults and 94 children were in attendance when the first session of the Vassar College Summer Institute for Family and Child Care Services in Wartime opened on the campus.  New York’s Lieutenant Governor Charles Poletti, noting that families left behind had new and terrible concerns in the present war, framed this with an anecdote.  “Many months ago,” he said, “before American went to war, I saw a story in a newspaper about children in war-torn Britain.  I read that Mickey Mouse gas masks were being made for babies and young children….  That story brought home forcibly to me the fact that this war is different, that we in 1942 are engaged in a type of warfare in which there is no quarter given, not even to helpless children.”

Among the other speakers was motion-picture actor Melvyn Douglas, speaking on behalf of the Federal Office of Civilian Defense.  “Civilian defense as organized in America today,” Douglas said, “is a demonstration by the people themselves of their faith in themselves.  We must not permit our troops to be drawn back to our shores because of our fear of invasion.  The social meaning of total civilian effort is gradually dawning on us.”     The New York Times