Letter of the Day: Letter from Schwimmer to Vira Whitehouse

June 1, 1928

Dear Mrs Whitehouse,

Four years ago Mr. Castle of the State Department, on whom I called in absence of Mr. Grew, advised me strongly to start a libel suit against my calumniators. He assured me that the State Department did not believe the libelous things circulated about me but in spite of that was not in the position to do me justice. On Mr. Castle’s urgent and friendly advice I started a libel suit against Fred R. Marvin, as the most characteristic figure of his ring. After all these years that libel suit has at last been put on the calendar of the New York Country Court.

My lawyer, Mr. Arthur Garfield Hays wished me to name witnesses to disprove Marvin’s assertions. The matter being of utmost importance to me for the rest of my terribly harassed life I hope you will realize that only this extreme need compels me to ask you for your testimony. You certainly will remember that my chief aim during these horrible Berne days was to prevent the outbreak of Bolshevism in Hungary, and if possible, elsewhere. Mr. Marvin and his “data sheets” from which the “black-lists” are compiled assert that I was “a Bolshevik minister of Hungary to Switzerland”. Your testimony in this matter would carry necessary weight.

Mr. Hays wants me also to have the character witnesses ready to testify for the case that Marvin should assail my character in Court. I am asking Mrs. Maud Nathan to be one of the character witnesses and wonder, whether for old suffrage fellowship’s sake you would not do me the favor to act as the other character witness? Mrs. Catt’s serious affliction (if you don’t know of it disregard my mentioning of it, please) prevents my asking her for this support.

I have many new friends in New York who would readily act as character witnesses but it would be more effective if persons [sic!] outside of my intimate circle, who however have known me for a long time would defend my character.

I do hope you will be able to oblige me with this friendly and so important service.

We are likely to be called Monday or Tuesday – June 4 or 5, latest Wednesday – to Court and Mr. Hays would arrange carefully not to have you lose more time than absolutely necessary.

Will you kindly let me know whether I can count on your co-operation, both as a matter of public justice and as a personal favour to me.

With best regards,


Rosika Schwimmer

New York Public Library Manuscripts and Archives Division. Rosika Schwimmer Papers, Box 179.

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