May 7, 1928
“Jass it, don’t be chronological” was the advice of Mr. Dillon gave me for writing to the American taste. I remember this now when I am starting to write to you, certainly not in chronological order, which of course doesn’t mean that it will be to you taste. Just let’s jump into the start: The Marivn trial which since last June was to come up “any moment” has been delayed on and off by the Marvin side and sometimes by Mr. Hays. Last March it was put on the April calendar and Mr. Hays was so sure that it would get to court that I went out on Saturday to buy a blouse and a hay to impress the jury. On Monday I was informed that Mr. Marvin succeeded in getting another postponement. Some of the Kossuth pilgrims have volunteered information about me to Marvin (shows what connections these pilgrims had here.) Mr. Marvin asserted that he needs information from the Hungarian government and the judge granted him another month’s stay. In the meantime, Mr. Hays loaded we with digging out new material, new only in the sense that it is a new task to dig it out. I only wonder how he would have gone to court earlier without this material for which he had never asked before. I had these last weeks to go around to see people who are to testify. It is strange how reluctant people are to do you this service. Or better, of what one knows of court proceedings it is perhaps not strange. I have spent many hours for several days in the effort to locate Mrs. Berger when she was supposed to be here. By the time we could reach Mr. Berger she had left for Washington.
Since I last write you I attended a number of public dinners at which the following things are funny: At the very pompous affair of the Political Science Academy my neighbors on the right were full babbitts; on my left sat a very Jewish looking woman terribly over-dressed and over-jeweled with those over roughed finger-nails which I always find nauseating. Next to her the equally Jewish looking husband in a smoking jacket plainly showing that he is not accustomed to wear it. The neighborhood on both sides didn’t interest me enough to make advances particularly because I was very tired, so I spent all the long dinner without talking to anyone. During the speeches, my lady neighbor and I left for the ladies’ room and walking out we started to talk, exchanging our names, she exclaimed “Oh, how much we were talking about you during the Ford trial”. It turned out that she has been all the time with her husband during the Ford trial. Her husband covered it for a Jewish paper. She said both judges and lawyers talked a good deal about me, all asserting that I was the cause of Ford’s anti-Semitism. You can imagine how mad I was at myself for having missed all the time of the lengthy dinner, when I could have had so much interesting inside information of the trial.
At the Indian dinner the other day, it was a peace dinner on Budda’s birthday, Samuel Gompers’ widow was my neighbor. She looks quite young with snow-white hair however; she said she has had more than her share of persecution through the press; she seems to be out of her husband’s party. At the Moron’s dinner, the second I attended, they put me at the speaker’s table, second to Mr. Velard who was a speaker, of the evening. I did not make any gesture of recognition but he leaned forward and greeted me “how do you do, Madame Schwimmer”. Later in the evening, the Chairman called on me to say a few words and I used the clipping you sent me from a San Antonio paper which had a reference of the Chicago Tribune editorial. This led to my giving the editorial to Mr. Veland and you may see something about it in The Nation. It was very funny to get into a personal contact after Mr. Velard had passed me way back in Berne and here in New York at several occasions without recognizing me. At another dinner, Mrs. Thomas Seltzer came to speak to me, they are now separating, yet on friendly terms she told me. I don’t remember having met her before but she certainly poured out intimacies as if we had been life-long friends. It was very funny. She told me that her oldest sister, the famous Henrietta Szold, did not know anything about the physiological facts of life up to her 48th year. Later in the conversation however, it turned out that Mrs. Seltzer herself knows not much beyond her own personal sex experiences. She pulled a very long face when it turned out that in her own matters she was as ignorant as her spinster sister used to be.
The W.I.L. evening at the Ethical Culture hall brought 35 people together. The presiding woman, whose name I don’t know, had also recently returned from China and contradicted most of what the W.I.L. delegated told about the peace-mindness of the Chinese. Miss Pye made a neat little report, after which she had to leave for her boat. Madame Dravet was surprising by her excellent English. Her report about China however, consisted chiefly of school experiences. I found that very wrong because their business was peace. Her own pacifist attitude is undoubtedly sound. I invited her for an evening at our house and she asked me to make arrangements for the time of her return from Washington with a lady living in Gramercy Park to whom she introduced me there. When I later rang up I had to spell my name five times and the lady “didn’t know me” and couldn’t make arrangements and so on. So I pressed her to tell me which evening will be free before Madame Dravet leaves. It will be Thursday, but I am not going to invite anyone before Dravet rings me up. If she isn’t anxious I will take no further steps. Of course, for your sake I would have liked to have her intimately to ask all kinds of questions.
Willy Pogens illustrations for the Hungarian book are beautiful; it really will be a magnificent book and I hope Georgie will enjoy it Doubleday’s were very made with Pogens just as I was but they say the illustrations surpassed even their expectations. You know they commissioned Francie without even asking some sample chapters; she had showed them her old articles and told them what she wanted to write about and on that they gave her the commission. They told her many authors had offered stuff in this line but none of the manuscripts satisfied them. They liked Francie’s outline and the old articles well enough to trust her with the work. This is another thing we owe to Margaret Dumont who first had mentioned it to the Dounbledays. It is fortunate that they need the book only next year so that Francie will be able to read up material during the Summer. She had asked Béla to dig up matters in the musical libraries in Vienna.
What do you think of Ford hobnobbing with royalty? I sent you the clippings quoting his peace talk, wasn’t it interesting that for the sake of the wife of an employee the whole municipal and national authority were jumping just because Ford telegram had asked attention for her. There is not the slightest difference between the privileges, the aristocracy has in foreign countries and the multi. millionaires have in plutocratic democracies. I sent the copies of New Yorker for June because I wanted to suggest the sending them stuff if he has things to suit them.
Among the Kossuth pilgrims only one called on us. Professor Balassa for a long time member of our board and also a personal friend. He had called previously on P.P. who must have stuffed him some of her fanciful stories because he expressed his regret that we have broken with her. The finny thing about P.P. is that she tells everyone a different story: another friend of ours for instance said that P.P. husband had forbidden her to see us because several friends had reported to him that I have said Paula should divorce him, which I have never said to anyone.
Mr. Hays said that since the health department and the tenement department have reported our flat in insanitary condition, we can walk out any time. Our plans for the summer being so utterly vague, we cannot plan ahead anything. At present the situation is: all of Franzi’s advertisements and her visits to schools have brought not a single pupil, in fact even non-paying ones have not turned up. This means that Miss Brady who has an empty house for rent, her own apartment and the $600 a month apartment where the child now is, on hand. With all that, it seemed too hard to rent a cottage and pay all the expenses for a whole group of children and the whole personnel needed for it. Franzi suggested to her to drop the plan of the summer cottage unless pupils turn up who would pay enough to cover the expenses for the cottage rent. Otherwise, to remain in town. The child’s flat is on Fifth Avenue opposite Central Park, with a roof garden, with a perfectly magnificent view over the Jersey coast and over the East River. They can go out weekly twice or three times to the beautiful Brighton Beach in Brooklyn, so that the children can have all the air, sunshine, sand and water necessary. This solution led to the attempt of organizing a summer day school. Several people who know about such things gave Franzi the same advice to this effect. They said the day schools close in May and many people don’t know what to do with their children during part, or the whole of summer. So, she has now started on that. We hope that by June first it will be clear, whether the whole bunch can move out to the seashore, or whether the day groups promise anything. If Franzi stays in town, we might store our things in June and go out for a month or two, using the rent there. It is a most difficult thing [sic!] to plan without one fixed crystallization point. Franzi’s terribly overworked, but very pleased with her job. She hopes that a permanent day school, both for normal and defective children will grow out of this start. The fact that the weekly $250 are assured till October first, makes it possible to plan something. Up till now, Miss Brady has been paying the advertisements. Next week, Franzi is to discuss with the Principal of the Waverly School a plan to join forces in starting the Summer School. Miss Brady’s flat would be ideal for it, if they could get the permission to use it for school purposes. They will try to find out.
Out great difficulty is that Miss Brady lets you hang around terribly long for money. Her household employees and the chauffeur have been with her for years, which speaks well for her, but they all complain that she is always back with their wages. So Franzi’s check of $1000 is overdue ten days, and heaven knows when it will come. She left her Rolls Royce at Franzi’s disposal, but when Franzi wanted to send the child with Miss Werner, his nurse, the second time to Brighton Beach, he said he did not dare to risk such a long ride, as the tires are flat and the money for new tires had not arrived. The cook says household bills are overdue, and so on, and so on; but they all say the money is safe, and everyone who knows Miss Brady things very highly of her. She handed Franzi visiting cards of hers and permitted Franzi to use her name wherever it is useful and necessary. You can’t imagine. Lola, how people funny are [sic!] before the glamorous name of an actress!
Franzi hardly can keep up with the appointments which she has to attend to personally. But it is very aggravating that everything is kept hanging in the air. Meantime, the child progresses wonderfully. To assure for him the companionship she was not able yet to organize for him, Franzi managed to get a permission for him to attend a Kindergarten for normal children. The nurse said that all the former teachers and the psychiatrist who have tried to achieve that, couldn’t get it. Franzi’s magic formula was: to offer her free services of musical training in the Kindergarten which had known of her because the owner had also worked with Dr. Wile. So little Donny goes now two or three times a week with Franzi and Miss Werner to the Kindergarten and plays in the yard while Franzi teaches three groups of children each. Where there is a will there Is a way seems not always justified as you and I know, but in this little matter, it worked.
Corinne Brown and Mrs. Baker, the Irish woman, as well as many other friends, are very nice and helpful with suggestions and advice.
As we have to have household help, we thought of getting out Lisae Goldmann. We sent her an affidavit, but are stuck at the point of the amount she asked as an advance. We told her that we would advance passage and what she needs to fix her little girl. But she wants to bring over things to sell here, like every Central European who thinks that America is just waiting for their goods. If we agree on the amount of advance, she will start on the first June from Cherbourg. Is there anything that you might want from Vienna?
We have got at last estimate of what my Brother needs to go to Budapest for a passport. It turned out that Miss Goldmann’s former relations through whom she managed to get passport is not longer at his post in Vienna, and Bela’s lawyer friend, as well as our own lawyer, reported that without Bela’s personal visit to Budapest the passport cannot be arranged for. The turn in Franzi’s fortunes permits her now to attend to this matter.
But because she is to send $105 to Bela for travel, stay in Budapest, passports and visas, and because she has to reserve at least $400 for for Miss Goldmann (she asked for $600), I mus beg you to let me have this month’s, once more, your check.
We fervently hope that it will be the last time you will have to carry us on your much-maltreated back, and that in reasonable time we will be able to start paying off debts.
I don’t need to say that even if we could pour into your lap all the money that we owe you with compound interest, there will be not a moment as long as well live that we will not feel that we owe you a debt that never can be paid by any amount of money.
We hope your dear Mother is well enough to plan some of the things she usually enjoys during the summer. Isn’t she coming East, or don’t you know yet? Did you write to Mrs. Rabe in the matter of your tenant? There is some new gratis work for her. Mr. Hays wants her to get a deposition from Col. Stone and Mrs. Palmer, President of the Federation of Women’s Club in Illinois.
Thank you for your suggestion to read the Bridge of San Luis Rey. What a surprise? You to advise reading a book. But the more tantalizing that I can’t get it from the Public Library where there is a waiting list of about twenty people for it. It would be awfully nice of you, or Mrs. Green, to call the attention of your bookseller to the fact that Doubleday- Doran’s salesman brings Tisza Tales by Rosika Schwimmer, illustrated by Willy Pogany. They order more copies ahead if they know that there is some interest. The Williams in Cleveland will talk to their bookseller and I wrote to Mr. Kruch about it.
I think it is like adding insult injury, first not to write such a long time, and then to write so much at one time. Yet, I cannot seem to be able to stop. What do you think of Mrs. Catt’s last letter? I suppose she got a very pathetic letter from the Feminists in Budapest; or may be growing blind wakens her conscience. Whatever it is, it is funny. That’s the only sensation I got out of it. Miss Bird is awfully disappointed the she couldn’t visit you, but I will stop now, and hope that quieter times will permit me to be again more regular in my writing. I suppose you have no summer plans yet, and wish only they would bring us together.
With all love, and best regards to your Mother, Martha, and the others around you, As ever,
New York Public Library Manuscripts and Archives Division. Rosika Schwimmer Papers, Box 178.