Letter of the Day#13: Letter from Rosika Schwimmer to Margit Lukács

March 1, 1928.

My dear Margit,

It is ages since I las wrote you. But somehow I cannot make up my mind to write to friends as long as there is nothing but unpleasant to tell. Since we are in New York, we have gone through some terrible experiences, but at the same time I must say I am very glad we moved here, because New York at least offered also some pleasant things strewn between the nasty experiences.

It was a great surprise to have your husband appear again on the American scene, and ever since he called, I meant to write to you, particularly about your marital affairs. Your husband told us his version and thinking it over, after having discussed matters repeatedly with him, I offered him to write to you.

Your husband feels that he loves you as ever and would never be happy without you. I believe him to be sincere, yet I do not feel like giving advice. I think in such intimate affairs no outsider can take the responsibility to influence people. I though however – that since American crudity had its share in you dislike to live here I can speak about that aspect without the impertinence of bucking into your private life.

Our own experience is that New York is as bearable as any European city. It has a palpitating artistic and mental life besides its material aspects. One can find sympathy and understanding amongst sympathetic people which was hardly possible in Chicago. Life is more expensive, but I think your husband found it far more easy to get satisfactory and well paying work than in Chicago.

Without touching on your inner conflicts I want to tell you only that New York is offering infinitely more of the things our kind cares for than any other city in the U.S.A. That Franzi and I would be delighted to have you here needs no special mention. We are as disgusted with the Hungarians here as we were in Chicago, and keep away from them.

Life is short that it is not worth while to fuss about trifles or minor grievances. Of course you may have the most serious reasons for dissolving your marriage. I can’t and would not want to judge the situation. I only want to make one point clear that affected your decision when you left: American life in New York can be very pleasant, contrary to Chicago.

About ourselves? Well, I just finished a book of Hungarian children’s stories!!!! Doubleday Dorans are publishing it. Willy Pogány illustrates it. Franzi begins to have some paying pupils. Last year she had only gratis pupils. The feminists and pacifists are as nasty to me as they ever were since I am living in America. Paula Pogány is worse than Lovas Renée. Since she is married the old rich man she does not come near us. During the six months of our beloved Mother’s illness she did not once come to our house, and did not take notice of her death at all. And how good Mother used to be to her and to her family. It is a terrible disappointment to know that Paulas and Renées feminism was only a fake.

The Hollos, Bertalan Vera and other former friends have all turned against us. Good riddance for us. But unpleasant experience.

But there are compensations in nice new contacts with American friends and a few decent Hungarians. Somló looks very well, and always a quatre epingle. I do hope you too keep well and level headed so that whatever decision you make will tend to make you happier than you are at present.

With best regards to your parents, as always

affectionately yours,


New York Public Library Manuscripts and Archives Division. Rosika Schwimmer Papers, Box 177.

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