One of the first things I did was to form what is called a Land Cabinet, made up of the Assistant Secretaries, the Commissioner of the Land Office, and the Director of the Geological Survey. We meet every Monday afternoon and go over our problems together. The Reclamation Commission is another organization of a similar sort, and we have constant conferences between the heads of bureaus which have to do with different branches of Indian work, lands, irrigation, and pensions.
Some time ago in order to develop greater good feeling between the heads of the bureaus we organized a noonday mess, at which all the chiefs of bureaus and most of their assistants take their luncheon ...
But the largest work, I think, in the way of promoting the right kind of spirit within the Department was the organization of the Home Club. This is a purely social institution, which the members themselves maintain. We have now some seventeen hundred members, all pay the same initiation fee and the same dues, and all meet upon a common ground in the club. Our club house is one of the finest old mansions in this city, formerly the residence of Schuyler Colfax ... It is a four-story building in LaFayette Square, within a half a block of the White House. This house we have furnished ourselves in very comfortable shape without the help of a dollar from the outside, and we maintain it upon dues of fifty cents a month. Each night during the week we have some form of entertainment in the club—moving pictures, or a lecture, or a dance, or a musicale.
I organized this club for the purpose of showing to these people of moderate salaries what could be done by cooperation. It is managed entirely by the members of the Department. There is no caste line or snobbery in the institution, and for the first time the people in the different bureaus are becoming acquainted with each other, and enjoy the opportunities of club life. The idea should be extended. We should have in the city of Washington a great service club, covering a block of land, containing fifteen or twenty thousand members, in which for a trifle per month we could get all of the advantages of the finest social and athletic club that New York contains. In the Home Club we have a billiard room, card rooms, a library, and a suite of rooms especially set aside for the ladies. We are fitting up one of the larger rooms as a gymnasium for the young men and boys, and expect to have bowling alleys, and possible tennis courts on a near-by lot. In this way I meet many of those who work with me, whom I never would see otherwise, and from the amount of work that the Department is doing, which is increasing, I am quite satisfied that it has helped to make the Department more efficient. Cordially yours,
To Charles K. Field Sunset Magazine
Washington, April 18, 1914
My bear Charles,— ... My picture on the cover of the May Sunset is altogether the best one I have had taken for some time, and the Democratic donkey is encouragingly fat.