Women's Trade Union League and Its Leaders Reel Listing Anderson, Mary



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Reel: 50; 51
Robins, Margaret Dreier.

Correspondence between Margaret Dreier Robins and Raymond Robins.



April 1905 - September 1911

Collection I: Margaret Dreier Robins Papers, University of Florida Libraries; This first reel of the correspondence between MDR and her husband, Raymond Robins, begins with her courtship letters of April-June 1905. (His are in his papers at the State Historical Society of Wisconsin.) The correspondence then jumps to 1907, where it is concentrated in the months of October through December, and continues spottily through the next three years and the first nine months of 1911. RR's career during these years moves away from municipal reform in Chicago and into itinerant political campaigning and public speaking. The fall of 1907 finds him in Jersey City aiding the reelection campaign of the reform may or Mark Fagan. He spends the bulk of the next year, from March through November, working closely with William Jennings Bryan during the Nebraskan's final bid for the presidency. For the two following years RR dedicates his oratorical talents to the cause of labor; he aids striking steelworkers in Ohio and Pennsylvania and works to secure court approval of the Illinois ten-hour law for women achieved by the WTUL. By September 1911 he has decided to preach the gospel of labor as part of the evangelical Men and Religion Forward Movement.MDR during these years is approaching the peak of her leadership of the WTUL. Her letters of 1907-09 give insight into her expanding experiences, both within the League and beyond. In 1907 she organizes a WTUL luncheon for the visiting English suffragist Anne Cobden-Sanderson, secures an interview with President Samuel Gompers of the American Federation of Labor to urge the appointment of a woman organizer, and, that November, attends the AF of L convention at Norfolk. Her letters provide a running commentary on its proceedings and shrewd observations on some of its members. Although she finds Gompers and his executive council either hostile toward or fearful of the women's labor movement, she establishes a bond with Andrew Furuseth of the sailors' union and meets other sympathetic delegates. On her return she establishes a similar bond with John Fitzpatrick and Edward Nockels of the Chicago Federation of Labor, and is next year elected to its executive board. Her letters of 1909 report her attendance at the national boot and shoe workers' convention and her participation in the Sagamore Sociological Conference, an Eastern meeting place of reformers. Her comments on WTUL activities express impatience in 1908 with the inefficiency of her staff members, particularly the "allies," but better satisfaction with the League's operations by 1909. Two letters from Boston in 1909 touch upon trouble in the WTUL branch there and a shakeup of its officers, to the dismay of Mary Kenney O'Sullivan. MDR's trade-union commitment is too much for the Chicago Woman's Club, which blackballs her for membership late in 1907. She in turn finds fault with the timidity of some of the League's Hull House allies.Few MDR letters survive for 1910 and 1911. Among them are two items pertaining to her work with the striking shirtwaist workers in Philadelphia in January 1910. RR's letters of 1910-11 comment on this and other League activities, encourage MDR in her work, and coach her on strategy, with a particular eye to public relations.

Reel: 52
Robins, Margaret Dreier.

Correspondence between Margaret Dreier Robins and Raymond Robins.

October 1911 - March 1915

Collection I: Margaret Dreier Robins Papers, University of Florida Libraries; This reel contains more letters by RR than by MDR; some 40 additional MDR letters of these months are in the Raymond Robins Papers at the State Historical Society of Wisconsin. RR's letters on the reel mostly concern his own activities. His speaking tour with the Men and Religion Forward Movement ends in the spring of 1912. That summer he finds himself, apparently unexpectedly, drawn into the orbit of Theodore Roosevelt and the Progressive party when he is invited to join a group of leading social workers for a conference with T.R. at his Oyster Bay home (RR to MDR, July 20). There are no letters during the Progressive campaign itself, in which RR, MDR, and Mary Dreier participated, but RR on Nov. 9 reports a post-election visit to T.R. with Dreier and Frances Kellor. At the end of the year he rejoins the Men and Religion Forward Movement, this time as co-leader, with Fred B. Smith, of a seven-month world evangelical tour that takes them to Hawaii, Japan, China, the Philippines, Australia, and South Africa; his letters describe the tour at some length. By the fall of 1913 he is involved in high-level conferences of Progressive leaders, and during 1914 he is the party's state chairman in Illinois and its candidate for U.S. Senator; one of his September letters describes T.R.'s participation in his campaign. In February 1915 he begins an evangelistic tour of college campuses under YMCA auspices.MDR's letters of late 1911 and especially during 1912 include spirited accounts of her WTUL activities, including a visit from Elizabeth Glendower Evans of Boston. In March 1912 she defends the clothing workers' trade agreement with the Chicago firm of Hart, Schaffner & Marx by warding off a threatened wildcat strike. A year later, reluctantly tearing herself away from a sojourn at Chinsegut Hill, she helps negotiate a renewal of the agreement, gaining a preferential union shop. A long letter in May 1912 describes the summoning of herself and other officers and executive board members of the Chicago Federation of Labor before the Illinois House of Representatives because of a Federation resolution charging a House member with accepting a bribe. Her letters in 1914, her last on this reel, are of lesser consequence.



Reel: 53
Robins, Margaret Dreier.

Correspondence between Margaret Dreier Robins and Raymond Robins.

April 1915 - August 1916

Collection I: Margaret Dreier Robins Papers, University of Florida Libraries; RR's letters again predominate on this reel. Many of them concern the college evangelistic campaign in which he was engaged in the spring of 1915 and during the months from September 1915 through April 1916. He also describes his travels with Fielder Harris, his black friend of childhood and supervisor of the Chinsegut estate, whom he takes north in August 1915 for a sightseeing tour of New York, Boston, and Washington, with a side trip to Oyster Bay to call on Theodore Roosevelt. Early in 1916 RR buys additional acreage for Chinsegut. His letters of June 1916, after the Progressive party's collapse, record his painful uncertainty about his next step, as he confers with supporters of both Hughes and Wilson; he finally casts his lot with Hughes in August. Though evidence here is scant, MDR seems to have reached the same decision more easily.Her letters of August 1915 give details of her leadership in mobilizing Chicago civic groups to urge a federal investigation of the Eastland disaster, in which an overloaded passenger ship capsized at a Chicago dock, carrying hundreds to their death. She also mentions Samuel Gompers' agreement to appoint Mary Anderson as an AF of L organizer, and her own current effort to raise $25,000 for the National WTUL. (RR on Nov. 22 hails her achievement of that goal.) Her letters during the first four months of 1916 mention a strike of ladies' garment workers and the arrest of Mary Anderson and other pickets, comment on friction within the New York WTUL, and note with pleasure the engagement of Sidney Hillman and Bessie Abramowitz. MDR spends much of March and April on the road, speaking at colleges and elsewhere and visiting WTUL branches. Her letters of May and June suggest impatience with League affairs, in contrast to her former enthusiasm.



Reel: 54
Robins, Margaret Dreier.

Correspondence between Margaret Dreier Robins and Raymond Robins.

September 1916 - April 1920

Collection I: Margaret Dreier Robins Papers, University of Florida Libraries; The correspondence on this reel, which extends over a period of three and a half years, gives only spotty coverage of the activities of MDR and RR. It begins in the fall of 1916 when both are campaigning for Hughes; a number of RR's letters are here but none of MDR's. RR returns to "social evangelism," but when the United States enters the war he casts about restlessly for a wartime role. His first hope, to serve in Theodore Roosevelt's proposed volunteer brigade, is balked, but T.R.'s influence wins RR a place on a Red Cross mission to Russia (July 1917-June 1918). There he witnesses the Bolshevik revolution and becomes well acquainted with its leaders; fascinated by social and political dynamics, he comes back deeply stirred by the experience. Only one of his letters from Russia is here (a dozen or more are in his papers at the State Historical Society of Wisconsin); excerpts from several others are in MDR's correspondence on Reel 24, and a contemporary assessment, presumably by RR, is on Reel 5. At odds with President Wilson's Russian policy, frustrated in his attempts to see Wilson, and for a time even barred from speaking about Russia, RR forms the firm resolve to win recognition of the Soviet regime that remains one of his political objectives for a decade and a half. In his political work, beginning in 1919, he has the close friendship and financial support of the wealthy mineowner William B. Thompson, his former superior in Russia. He also maintains ties with former Progressives. In a letter of Jan. 19, 1917, he describes the conflict within the Progressive group over the role of George W. Perkins and his own mission as intermediary. Subsequent letters note occasional strategy discussions with other Progressives. RR pins his own hopes on Hiram Johnson, for whom he campaigns in presidential primaries in the spring of 1920.MDR's letters give only occasional impressions of her activities. Only two letters refer to her war work. On RR's advice, she accepts an appointment to the Republican Women's National Executive Committee (September 1918). She notes in April 1918 that Cornelia Bryce Pinchot, wife of Gifford Pinchot, is heading a new local committee of the WTUL in Washington. Several letters describe with enthusiasm the Chicago Stockyards Council, an interunion body organized by John Fitzpatrick. There are passing references to her plans for the International Congress of Working Women. The most persistent theme of her letters on this reel, however, is the desire to spend more time at Chinsegut Hill, the Florida estate to which she and RR now plan to retire after the 1920 presidential campaign.



Reel: 55
Robins, Margaret Dreier.

Correspondence between Margaret Dreier Robins and Raymond Robins.

May 1920 - August 1922

Collection I: Margaret Dreier Robins Papers, University of Florida Libraries; Both MDR and RR become further involved in Republican politics during 1920, although only a few letters touch on MDR's role. Her letter of May 1 gives a lively account of a conference of the Progressive contingent at the Ickes home near Chicago. RR, although distressed by the nomination of Harding rather than Johnson, accepts appointment to the party's executive committee. MDR takes longer to come around, but both of them campaign for Harding that fall. There are a number of RR's letters from the campaign trail but only one of MDR's. Soon after the election, Harding offers RR a high post, presumably that of Secretary of Labor. RR out of loyalty to his friend William B. Thompson, who had been finance chairman of the campaign, conditions his acceptance on Thompson also being given a suitable appointment, a condition that is not met. He makes the same stipulation again in May 1921.MDR's letters of 1921 touch occasionally upon WTUL and other urban matters, but with little enthusiasm. One exception is her trip to Geneva for the second International Congress of Working Women. Her letters in October describe labor and other leaders she meets in Holland and Belgium on her way to Geneva and tell something of the congress itself, although not as fully as in her letters to WTUL associates on Reel 26.Plans for their Florida estate are uppermost in the Robinses' correspondence of 1922. RR, feeling the pinch of postwar depression, has qualms about the cost of remodeling their home for year-round use and about the possibility of supporting themselves by farming. To finance the transition, he signs on as a professional lecturer, at first for one season and them for several more. With her husband on the road, MDR takes full responsibility for Chinsegut, from the repairing and remodeling of the house to hiring a new superintendent for the farm operations. RR by mid-1922 has become involved with Salmon O. Levinson in the movement for the outlawry of war, which he now makes the subject of many of his lectures.



Reel: 56
Robins, Margaret Dreier.

Correspondence between Margaret Dreier Robins and Raymond Robins.

September 1922 - March 1923

Collection I: Margaret Dreier Robins Papers, University of Florida Libraries; The lives of MDR and RR assume during the period of this reel the basic patterns they will follow for nearly a decade. RR spends most of each year on the lecture circuit, with occasional time out for political maneuvering, now mostly backstage. MDR happily devotes herself to their Florida estate. In the fall of 1922 she is directing the work of carpenters, painters, groundsmen, and fruit pickers and "really having a grand time" (Nov. 21). Her letters of early 1923 describe the trees and shrubs she is planting, the local townspeople she is getting to know, and the guests she is entertaining. (For related correspondence, see Reel 6.) On one brief trip north she speaks at a Women's Bureau conference on protective legislation for women which she describes in a letter of Jan. 15, 1923.RR during these months continues to worry about their finances, as Chinsegut expenses mount. To save funds on his travels, he takes to riding day coach and eating in cafeterias. Scattered through his letters are details about his income from lectures and from investments and about expenditures at Chinsegut. In political matters, he gives up lecturing for several weeks in the spring of 1923 to aid the campaign of their old friend and ally from municipal reform days, William E. Dever, the Democratic candidate for mayor of Chicago. MDR sends a strong statement for Dever, which is widely publicized, and Dever wins. RR in national politics finds himself increasingly at odds with President Harding's policies. Committed to the cause of outlawry of war and unalterably opposed to the League of Nations, he has no use for the World Court-- "the fake Court of the League of Nations" -- which Harding proposes to have the United States enter (Feb. 25). With S.O. Levinson, he seeks a political leader who can support his twin causes of outlawry of war and recognition of Russia. By March 1923 he believes he has found one in Senator William E. Borah, with whom he prepares to cast his lot.



Reel: 57
Robins, Margaret Dreier.

Correspondence between Margaret Dreier Robins and Raymond Robins.

April 1923 - February 1925

Collection I: Margaret Dreier Robins Papers, University of Florida Libraries; Continuing to combine lecturing with backstage political work, RR at the beginning of the reel helps the newly elected mayor of Chicago, William E. Dever, beat back a challenge by the city council. A year later, however, confessing a loss of enthusiasm for municipal reform, RR resists becoming involved in a new city school crisis, in which Margaret Haley, leader of the Chicago teachers' union, breaks with Dever over the policies of his school superintendent. RR's main cause continues to be the outlawry of war. Backed by S.O. Levinson and working closely with Senator Borah, RR conducts a long campaign, beginning in the fall of 1923, to press President Coolidge into endorsing outlawry as the price of RR's support in the 1924 election. Coolidge and his aides offer hope but defer action. RR, frustrated by the sense that he is being outmaneuvered, in June contemplates supporting La Follette or even returning to the Democrats, on the improbable hope that Mayor Dever may become their dark-horse candidate. But in August Coolidge makes the desired statement and RR with relief settles into his familiar role as a Republican. So too does MDR, although he has encouraged her to feel free to support La Follette, as her sister Mary Dreier is doing. RR's letters on this reel end in August 1924. Throughout, they contain scattered impressions and judgments of such political figures as Borah, Bryan, Harold and Anna Ickes, Hiram Johnson, Medill and Ruth McCormick, and Gifford Pinchot.MDR's letters include several from her trip abroad in the summer of 1923 to attend the congress of the International Federation of Working Women. One letter gives a vivid account of her conversation with Alexander Garbai, former president of the short-lived Soviet Republic of Hungary. Two letters in October record her participation in a Citizenship Conference to mobilize support for prohibition, a cause to which both she and RR become increasingly sympathetic over the next few years. Several of her letters in April 1924 discuss the proposal by President Gompers of the American Federation of Labor to set up its own women's department and take over the work of the WTUL. The plan, to which RR is favorably inclined, falls through, and an October letter finds MDR in Ohio seeking to strengthen the Midwestern element of the WTUL and its leaders, Elisabeth Christman and Agnes Nestor, by organizing new locals in Cleveland and Toledo. For the most part, however, MDR's letters concern affairs at Chinsegut Hill and the people and families of the nearby town of Brooksville, as she becomes more and more part of the community. One letter (May 7, 1924) describes at length the visit of William Jennings Bryan to Chinsegut and Brooksville and comments thoughtfully on the aging Commoner.



Reel: 58
Robins, Margaret Dreier.

Correspondence between Margaret Dreier Robins and Raymond Robins.

March 1925 - March 1930

Collection I: Margaret Dreier Robins Papers, University of Florida Libraries; The correspondence on the first half of this reel is spotty and incomplete. Many of RR's letters are missing and some of MDR's as well, and the total number of letters for each of the years 1925 through 1928 is relatively small. There are only random references to RR's activities during these years: lectures and backstage negotiations on behalf of the outlawry of war, a cause which moves from the reform fringe to public policy in the Kellogg-Briand Pact of 1928; opposition to the World Court; assistance in the spring of 1927 to Mayor Dever's unsuccessful campaign for reelection in Chicago. Scattered references also indicate an improvement in RR's personal finances, as he recasts his and MDR's investments under the guidance of William B. Thompson. MDR's letters of these years are mostly about affairs at Chinsegut Hill, which becomes their permanent residence in the fall of 1925. She writes of her household, now augmented by Lisa von Borowsky, who rapidly assumes the place of a daughter in their affections; of the estate and its staff and the marketing of eggs, milk, and citrus fruit; and of people and events in the town of Brooksville. Her letters of November-December 1925 record how the Florida land boom was reaching even this quiet backwater.The presidential campaign of 1928 draws both RR and MDR into its affairs. RR by January has established a link with the prohibitionist Citizens Committee of One Thousand, and a letter of May 15 indicates that he will be pressuring the platform committees of both party conventions for suitable dry and peace planks. Although cool to Hoover before his nomination, both RR and MDR rally to his support on the prohibition issue, and, as several letters record, both take part in his campaign, MDR at Republican headquarters in Washington, RR on the campaign trail.RR's life -- now more fully recorded -- enters a new pattern in 1929 and early 1930. Although still doing some public speaking, he devotes most of his time to political matters and to stock market speculation. President Hoover soon after taking office calls on RR for advice on prohibition enforcement and gives him several related missions; indeed, RR seems to have functioned as Hoover's liaison with the dry leadership. He also maintains close contact with Senator Borah on foreign policy matters, including a modified proposal for U.S. entry into the World Court which RR and S.O. Levinson are now backing. RR's letters also include details of his stock speculations from December 1928, when he begins buying on margin, through the crash of 1929, from which he emerges with reduced but still substantial holdings and with an overall profit for the year. There are scattered references (April 1929 and later) to his efforts to shore up the shaky and poorly managed First National Bank of Brooksville.



Reel: 59
Robins, Margaret Dreier.

Correspondence between Margaret Dreier Robins and Raymond Robins.



April 1930 - September 1931

Collection I: Margaret Dreier Robins Papers, University of Florida Libraries; As his correspondence records, RR continues through the spring of 1931 to confer periodically with both President Hoover and Senator Borah, despite the fact that these two are increasingly at odds. By May 1930 his own regard for Hoover has been undercut by a sense of Hoover's political ineptitude and loss of nerve in the face of the country's deepening economic collapse. He tries on occasion to press the President on the World Court issue and on easing current federal restrictions on trade with Russia, but finds him unresponsive. By February 1931 he has concluded that were it not for the dry cause their political relationship would be at an end. That cause increasingly engrosses RR's attention and becomes the topic of most of his public lectures. In April 1930 he seeks, unsuccessfully, to dissuade Dwight Morrow from coming out for repeal of prohibition in his campaign for the U.S. Senate. He attends the annual meeting of the Citizens Committee of One Thousand (its annual report is enclosed with his letter of Jan. 14, 1931), takes part in several strategy conferences of dry leaders, and agrees to join a ten-month speaking tour of the Allied Forces for Prohibition (letters of May 17 and 19, 1931, the latter enclosing a 6-page news release). His letters in September describe the start of the tour. Concern over his stock holdings, still shadowed by debts to his brokers for his purchases on margin, is a continuing thread throughout this period. Sharp market declines in November 1930 and the following April and November force him to sell more and more of his holdings to cover his debts. Two letters in 1931 (Feb. 7 and July 23) comment on the current discouraged state of his old friend Harold Ickes.MDR's letters are intermittent during the first part of this reel, with a number apparently not preserved. Throughout the reel, they deal mostly with affairs at Chinsegut and in central Florida. She describes a meeting of the Florida Health Council (Jan. 11, 1931) and the ceremonies at Rollins College when she receives an honorary degree and is one of the speakers in the college's "Animated Magazine" (Feb. 24, 26, 1931). A quest for funds to build a county hospital takes her to New York in the summer of 1931; her letters describe visits to the philanthropist Charles R. Crane and to various foundations. She also reflects on the current vexing problem of unemployment relief. The future of their estate and their own hilltop home becomes a vital concern to both MDR and RR as stock losses threaten to wipe out their financial base. The solution they envisage is to donate the estate to a responsible institution while retaining lifetime use of the house and grounds. They first offer the estate to Rollins College, which declines. RR then (late July 1931) turns to the federal government. His letters over the next six weeks record his careful campaign in Washington as he wins the approval first of Hoover and then of Secretary of Agriculture Arthur Hyde and other department officials to the proposal to make the estate an agricultural experiment station and wildlife refuge. (For other aspects of the negotiations see Reel 36.).
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