Collection I: Margaret Dreier Robins Papers, University of Florida Libraries; Money matters are the principal concern in the WTUL correspondence on this reel. By the spring of 1921 office salaries are in arrears and the biennial convention scheduled for that year has to be put off to 1922 -- and with it MDR's planned resignation as national president. Fund-raising efforts, though constant, are hampered by the postwar depression. MDR entrusts these efforts largely to Mary Dreier and Cornelia Bryce Pinchot (Mrs. Gifford Pinchot); she herself is raising money for the League's offshoot, the International Congress of Working Women. These and other League matters are discussed in MDR's letters and in letters from Dreier and Pinchot, from Emma Steghagen, Alice Henry, and Agnes Nestor in Chicago, and from Ethel Smith, the League's Washington lobbyist. Smith in December 1920 reports overtures from the League of Women Voters that lead to the founding of the Women's Joint Congressional Committee. MDR in a draft fund-raising letter in July 1920 develops at some length her concept of the value of trade unions.Her political involvement reaches a high point on this reel. Letters in 1920 from Harriet Taylor Upton, Mary Garrett Hay, Helen Rogers Reid, Corinne Roosevelt Robinson, and William Allen White pertain to her membership in the Republican party's national executive committee and its policies and platform committee. A supporter of Hiram Johnson, MDR is "outraged" by the nomination of Harding (to Mary Dreier, June 16) but after a month decides to support him. Her reasons, as set forth in a letter to Louise de Koven Bowen (Aug. 18), are more negative than positive: to defeat the League of Nations (which contradicts "every honorable principle for which we fought in the War"); to redeem civil liberties from the ruthless attacks of Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer; and to ward off the corrupting influence of the liquor interests by supporting prohibition. Various letters touch upon her campaign activities: her presiding over a large group of women who meet with Harding at his Ohio home on October 1 to present a program of "social justice" measures and receive his blessing (the text of MDR's speech is on Reel 15); her speaking tours in Ohio and the West. Post-election letters from Harding and his wife thank her for her aid. MDR's support of Harding dismays some leaders in the women's movement; for thoughtful discussion of the issues and implications of the 1920 campaign see letters from Elizabeth J. Hauser, Jessie J. Hooper, Amy G. Maher, and Carrie Chapman Catt, and MDR's replies. Mary Dreier's letters reveal a lukewarmness toward Harding and note her concentration on the unsuccessful campaign in New York state to defeat Republican Senator James Wadsworth.MDR's Republican ties serve her well in defending the federal Women's Bureau against efforts to cut its appropriations, transfer it out of the Department of Labor, or replace its head, Mary Anderson, by a political appointee. (See letters of Will H. Hays, May 18, 1920; Mary Anderson, Mar. 8, 1921; Harriet Upton, Mar. 19, 31, 1921; and MDR's interchange in the same month with Secretary of Labor James J. Davis.) Other letters from Anderson, Mary Van Kleeck, and Ethel Smith touch on Bureau affairs.MDR's interest in international matters continues to grow. She receives periodic reports from Miriam G. Shepherd at the office of the International Congress of Working Women and attends its sessions at Geneva in October 1921, describing her experiences in lively letters to her WTUL associates. She also guides the League in sponsoring mass meetings in favor of disarmament on the eve of President Harding's Washington Arms Conference.Other topics on the reel include some discussion of the concept and leadership of the League of Women Voters, in letters from Marie Stewart Edwards (with MDR's replies) and Carrie Chapman Catt; and the founding of the Bryn Mawr Summer School for Women Workers, in letters from Susan M. Kingsbury, Alice Henry, and Mary Anderson. Other correspondents on the reel include Leonora O'Reilly, Pauline Newman, and, in single letters, Jane Addams, Margaret Bondfield, Herbert Croly, Stella Franklin, Harold Ickes, Mary McDowell, Lucy Randolph Mason, Julia O'Connor, and Graham Taylor.
Reel: 26 Robins, Margaret Dreier.
Margaret Dreier Robins Correspondence.
November 1921 - May 1923
Collection I: Margaret Dreier Robins Papers, University of Florida Libraries; Fund-raising efforts for the WTUL continue during the period of this reel, although a letter from Elisabeth Christman, Feb. 23, 1923, indicates that financial pressures have eased. One venture that proves successful is an address in Philadelphia by Nancy Astor, the titled American-born member of the English parliament, who draws a large paying audience. (MDR in a letter of May 18 describes Lord and Lady Astor's visit to Chicago and her favorable impressions of them.) There are not many Mary Dreier letters on this reel, but one or two touch on affairs of the New York WTUL, as do one letter from Maud Swartz and three from Rose Schneiderman. Several letters from Agnes Nestor report on the Chicago League, including its renewed attempt to obtain a state eight-hour law for women. Letters in May 1922 and later in the year deal with discord in the Philadelphia League between the current leaders, Pauline Newman and Frieda S. Miller, and some of the members; the situation is still unresolved a year later according to Miriam G. Shepherd, Apr. 5, 1923. MDR during her ever-longer absences in Florida receives frequent reports on National League matters from Elisabeth Christman, Miriam Shepherd (who by late 1922 has assumed charge of fund-raising), and Alice Henry (mostly on the League training school). Some League events are not recorded here: the national convention in 1922, MDR's stepping down as president and the ceremony in her honor, and her participation in meetings of the executive board.MDR continues to keep in touch with what has now become the International Federation of Working Women. Besides letters from its secretary, Marion Phillips of England, and copies of some of MDR's replies, there is discussion of the Federation, and especially of complications regarding plans for its 1923 Congress, in letters from Maud Swartz, Miriam Shepherd, Elisabeth Christman, and others.The Equal Rights Amendment first becomes an issue in December 1921 (see Ethel M. Smith to Alice Paul, Dec. 10); the National WTUL calls a Legislative Conference of Trade Unionists in February to discuss it. In April 1923 the League seeks to ward off passage of any resolution unfavorable to protective legislation at a forthcoming meeting of the International Woman Suffrage Alliance. MDR's membership (1922-23) as a League representative on the Committee on Public Relations of the Motion Picture Producers and Distributors of America is reflected in correspondence with Will Hays, the industry "czar," Lee Hanmer, the committee chairman, and others. Her protest against Hays' handling of the Fatty Arbuckle case presages her withdrawal. (There is related material on Reel 16.)MDR's growing attachment to her Florida estate is evident in enthusiastic letters to her sisters in early 1923 about her plantings of trees and shrubs, the agricultural exhibits at the South Florida Fair, the guests she is entertaining, and the effort of Aunt Jane, a venerable former slave, to learn to write.Mary Anderson continues to write regularly to MDR from her Women's Bureau post. Other correspondents on the reel include Cornelia Pinchot and, in single letters, Margaret Bondfield, Anna Wilmarth Ickes, Betzy Kjelsberg of Norway, and Catharine Waugh McCulloch.
Reel: 27 Robins, Margaret Dreier.
Margaret Dreier Robins Correspondence.
June 1923 - February 1924
Collection I: Margaret Dreier Robins Papers, University of Florida Libraries; Preparations for the 1923 Congress of the International Federation of Working Women and concern about its prospects dominate the first part of this reel (through the end of 1923). There is correspondence on this topic between MDR and Marion Phillips, Miriam Shepherd, and Maud Swartz and letters from Mary Anderson, Ethel Smith, Frieda Miller, and others, including two of the foreign delegates. MDR describes the Congress itself, which meets in Vienna, in letters of Aug. 19 and 20 and discusses its outcome -- the decision, despite the firm opposition of the American delegation, to seek an affiliation with the International Federation of Trade Unions -- in several subsequent letters of that month. (See also related material on Reel 12.) The WTUL is represented in the first part of the reel only by a few letters from Alice Henry and Miriam Shepherd. It bulks somewhat larger, however, in the 1924 portion, in which Shepherd reports on her continued fundraising and Elisabeth Christman on other aspects of the national office. Letters from Mary Anderson and Agnes Nestor describe warmly the Chicago League's 20th anniversary dinner in January 1924. Other topics touched upon in the reel are the current campaign for the outlawry of war, which MDR and her husband were strongly supporting and which the National WTUL had endorsed; the prohibition movement, in which MDR had first become involved as a member of the Citizenship Conference (see her description of the Conference in her letter of Nov. 22, 1923, to Nancy Astor); and the Equal Rights Amendment. The Woman's Party's aggressive advocacy of the amendment for a time puts the WTUL on the defensive, but the League rests more easily after a successful hearing before a Senate committee in February 1924. Several letters near the end of the reel mark the beginning of matters that find fuller development on the next: a new initiative by Samuel Gompers and the AF of L with regard to organizing women workers, and tension between Maud Swartz, MDR's successor as national president of the WTUL, and Elisabeth Christman, the national secretary.Very little correspondence between MDR and her sister Mary turns up in this reel, but the personal side of MDR's life is represented in letters to her ailing sister, Dorothea. One in June 1923 mentions a dinner with two leaders of the outlawry of war movement, S.O. Levinson and Senator William E. Borah, and describes in detail the household and background of Mayor William E. Dever of Chicago, an old friend. A series of letters during her trip abroad in July and August record vividly her impressions of England and the Continent. Her letters from London, where she meets a number of prominent political and literary figures, exemplify her skill at picturing people and occasions and her reactions to them. Her visit to Germany renews ties with relatives and friends there, as reflected in subsequent letters from them and her replies (in German). Dorothea Dreier dies in New York while MDR is on her way back from Europe. A group of letters of sympathy sent to MDR and Mary Dreier is included on this reel following the regular correspondence for 1923; among those writing are Lillian Wald, Leonora O'Reilly, Rabbi Stephen S. Wise, and Rebekah Kohut. Other correspondents on the reel include Nancy Astor, Margaret Bondfield, Carrie Chapman Catt, and Cornelia Pinchot (two letters each), and, in single letters, Jane Addams, Mary A. Dingman of the YWCA, Stella Franklin, Mary G. Hay, Anna Ickes, Abbie O'Connor (labor organizer and graduate of the WTUL training school), Victor Olander, and two of MDR's new English aquaintances, Maude Royden and Charles Trevelyan, the latter soon to become Minister of Education in the Labour government.
Reel: 28 Robins, Margaret Dreier.
Margaret Dreier Robins Correspondence.
March 1924 - June 1925
Collection I: Margaret Dreier Robins Papers, University of Florida Libraries; During the spring of 1924, as MDR moves to disengage herself from WTUL affairs, two developments exert a countering influence: discord within the League, and a new overture from the AF of L. Both matters are recorded at some length in letters from Mary Anderson, Agnes Nestor, and Elisabeth Christman, along with others from Alice Henry, Mary Van Kleeck, and Mary Dreier. The letters report rising discontent with Maud Swartz, MDR's successor as national president, severe friction between Swartz and Elisabeth Christman, the national secretary, and an accompanying sectional rivalry as Swartz and other New York leaders press for moving the national office from Chicago to the East. At the same time, President Gompers proposes that the AF of L set up a women's department to take over organizing work and supplant the WTUL. Both of these developments lead to urgent calls to MDR for her aid and participation. Both, in the end, come to little. As the national WTUL convention approaches, there is talk of an alternative presidential candidate, with apparent consensus on Rose Schneiderman, but Maud Swartz is reelected. (The correspondence throws no light on how this came about.) The Gompers proposal is discussed in a series of conferences in which League and union representatives participate, but is eventually blocked by opposition from some of the national unions. During the negotiations Florence Thorne, Gompers' editorial and research assistant, plays a significant role as backstage intermediary.More routine affairs of the WTUL are discussed in letters from Nestor and Christman in Chicago, two letters from Rose Schneiderman in New York, and a series of reports from Miriam Shepherd and others on the perennial effort to raise funds. Financial affairs reach something of a crisis in the winter of 1924-25 but are eased by the gift (anonymously) of $5,000 from Abby Aldrich Rockefeller. The International Federation of Working Women becomes affiliated with the International Federation of Trade Unions, a move favored by Maud Swartz and Rose Schneiderman but firmly opposed by MDR. Following MDR's view, the WTUL at its 1924 convention severs its connection with the IFWW. In legislative matters, Elisabeth Christman and Ethel Smith report on the National WTUL's aid to the hard-fought and unsuccessful campaign in the fall of 1924 to secure ratification of the federal Child Labor Amendment in Massachusetts, and Mary Dreier and Agnes Nestor describe new efforts for maximum-hour laws in Illinois and New York. During the 1924 presidential campaign the League's trade union members enthusiastically support Robert La Follette, as does Mary Dreier; MDR remains aloof and apparently retains her Republican ties.A reorientation of MDR's other interests is suggested by the material on this reel. She leaves the executive board of the WTUL at its 1924 convention (her sister Mary takes her place) and thereafter devotes her primary attention to its Committee on International Relations, with particular emphasis on the Far East. Now spending most of the year in Florida, she becomes increasingly involved in affairs there: her estate and its crops, state child welfare work, and in particular the founding of a YWCA branch in the nearby town of Brooksville. Indeed, her previous links with the YWCA seem to converge and strengthen at this point. Her interest in China, first stirred by YWCA acquaintances, finds expression here in correspondence with two YWCA secretaries currently concerned with that country, Mary A. Dingman and Agatha Harrison. She recalls her friendship with Florence Simms, the YWCA's first industrial secretary, and Simms' assistance to the WTUL in a long letter to Simms' biographer (Apr. 3, 1925) and joins a committee for a Florence Simms Memorial Scholarship.In other letters on the reel, Mary Dreier reports on a project to get Leonora O'Reilly a lectureship at the New School for Social Research and describes (June 27, 1925) a conference in which she takes part between outlawry of war and World Court advocates seeking a common ground. Carrie Chapman Catt comments light-heartedly on the behavior of men in politics and confides to MDR how she will vote in the 1924 election. Other correspondents briefly represented include Grace Abbott, Sophonisba Breckinridge, William Jennings Bryan, Zona Gale, Sidney Howard, Anna Ickes, Dr. Howard A. Kelly of, Johns Hopkins, Mary McDowell, the Chicago labor leader Victor Olander, Margaret Sanger, and Lenna Lowe Yost of the WCTU.
Reel: 29 Robins, Margaret Dreier.
Margaret Dreier Robins Correspondence.
July 1925 - February 1927
Collection I: Margaret Dreier Robins Papers, University of Florida Libraries; MDR's identification with Florida becomes complete in the fall of 1925 when she and her husband close out the Chicago tenement apartment they have maintained for twenty years and ship their belongings to Chinsegut. Her life now assumes the characteristic pattern of her later Florida years: frequent house guests and entertainments at their hilltop home; occasional reunions with Raymond Robins, whose lecture tours and work for political causes keep him mostly on the road; and community leadership in nearby Brooksville, particularly through the local YWCA. Her letters on this reel mention two of her YWCA projects: staging a pageant of Florida history and opening a bookshop. The latter soon came to function also as a lending library and remained one of her favorite enterprises. There is a good deal of correspondence with Henrietta Roelofs and other national YWCA officials about securing a secretary for the Brooksville branch and other matters. MDR's letters also suggest the warm bond already established between the Robinses and Lisa von Borowsky, the young German who first came to help MDR at Chinsegut in the fall of 1924 and became a permanent member of the household.Correspondence relating to the WTUL diminishes. MDR now stays pretty much out of its affairs. Despite appeals from Elisabeth Christman, Agnes Nestor (who continues to send periodic reports on Chicago affairs), and others, she does not attend the 1926 national convention. Mary Anderson voices renewed concern about the presidency, but Maud Swartz decides not to stand for reelection and Rose Schneiderman takes her place. Letters from Christman and Sarah Green report on the convention; Green's letter expresses the strong dependence upon MDR felt by some League members. MDR is much disappointed by the convention's decision to discontinue the League's training school for organizers. She does remain active in the League's Committee on Oriental Relations (as it is now called). Letters about the committee from Elisabeth Christman and others in the fall of 1925 concern efforts in Shanghai to regulate child labor and the plan, subsequently dropped, to send two WTUL delegates to China to look into labor conditions.MDR's own interest in China leads her to become a trustee of the Tsung Hua School in Soochow, with whose head, C.N. Wang, she corresponds in mid-1926. (Reel 16 includes a few related items.) Three incoming letters relate to her membership on the prohibitionist Woman's National Committee for Law Enforcement (Lucy W. Peabody, Mar. 8, 1926) and the Standing Committee on Trades and Professions of the International Council of Women (Ethel M. Zimmern and Dr. Alice Salomon, April 1926). A separate group of letters at the end of 1926 acknowledges gifts made from the estate of MDR's sister Dorothea to the New York WTUL, the New York Child Labor Committee, and several local charities. Katherine Dreier tells MDR about a traveling exhibit she has assembled of Dorothea Dreier's paintings and of the favorable reviews it has received. Mary Anderson's letters of 1926 give some details of her dealings with the Woman's Party, which demands an equal voice, along with proponents of protective legislation for women, in the advisory committee for a Women's Bureau investigation into the effects of such legislation. Other correspondents on the reel include Alice Henry (one letter describes a meeting of women trade unionists in Australia sparked by her visit there), and, in single letters, Jane Addams, Will W. Alexander of the Commission on Interracial Cooperation, Ethel S. Dummer, Anna W. Ickes, and Leonora O'Reilly.
Reel: 30 Robins, Margaret Dreier.
Margaret Dreier Robins Correspondence.
March 1927 - April 1928
Collection I: Margaret Dreier Robins Papers, University of Florida Libraries; MDR's letters on this reel reflect her continued involvement with the YWCA: with her local branch and its bookshop, with other branches in West Coast Florida, and, through correspondence, with such national officers as Henrietta Roelofs and Agatha Harrison. Harrison is among her guests at Chinsegut during the early months of 1928, as are three Chicago friends, Mary McDowell, Anna Ickes, and Harriet Monroe of Poetry magazine.She continues to receive reports on WTUL activities from Elisabeth Christman and Agnes Nestor; two of Nestor's 1928 letters describe her unsuccessful campaign in the Democratic primary for a seat in the Illinois legislature. Letters from Ethel Smith and Mary Anderson report anti-red attacks on the WTUL and other progressive women's groups, some aired through the DAR. Finding enough money to meet League expenses continues to require steady effort, with Elisabeth Christman now adding this to her other responsibilities; she does, however, take time to aid a strike in Indiana of her own union, the glove workers. MDR's involvement with the WTUL during the period of this reel is confined mostly to its "Southern project": an effort, based in Richmond, Virginia, to organize women workers in Southern textile mills. Letters from Christman and from Matilda Lindsay, head of the Richmond office, deal with the project, and MDR twice speaks in Richmond on its behalf.Letters from Mary Dreier indicate that she too is now more remote from everyday affairs of the WTUL. She still gives occasional aid to lobbying work at Albany. In March 1927 she has the satisfaction of seeing the long-sought 48-hour-week law for women enacted. The New York WTUL pays her a surprise tribute at its annual meeting, the Women's City Club honors her at a party celebrating passage of the law, and Governor Alfred Smith, her former colleague in the Factory Investigating Commission, sends her a warm note of congratulation. Should Smith be nominated for the presidency, she tells MDR (Mar. 31), she will be for him, "wet or not wet." In another letter of that same month she mentions taking Eleanor Roosevelt, Marion Dickerman, and Nancy Cook to the theater. Her letters also report on the illness and death (April 1927) of Leonora O'Reilly. In April 1928 Mary Dreier attends the national convention of the YWCA.The reel contains several letters from Anna Ickes, Harriet Monroe, and Mary McDowell (one of December 1927 discusses the need for whites to readjust to the "New Negro") and individual ones from Jane Addams, Carrie Chapman Catt, Stella Franklin, Belle Case La Follette, Louise Leonard of the new Southern Summer School for Women Workers in Industry, and William Draper Lewis. A letter from Katherine Dreier (Mar. 10, 1927) reports on the activities of her Société Anonyme, devoted to the understanding of modern art.
Reel: 31 Robins, Margaret Dreier.
Margaret Dreier Robins Correspondence.
May 1928 - May 1929
Collection I: Margaret Dreier Robins Papers, University of Florida Libraries; Save for the fall presidential campaign, the pattern of MDR's activities continues on this reel with little change. The YWCA remains her central focus, with emphasis on her local branch and its bookshop, but her correspondence reveals a widening circle of friends within the state, both in and out of YWCA circles, mostly women with constructive community interests similar to her own. Her delight in the beauties of her hilltop home and its surrounding woodlands persists, as does the flow of visitors she entertains, among them, on this reel, Thomas A. Edison and the noted missionary Dr. Ida S. Scudder.MDR maintains contact with the WTUL through letters from Elisabeth Christman, Agnes Nestor, Mary Anderson, and Matilda Lindsay, and she retains her interest in the League's Southern program, attending the League's national convention in 1929 to give an address on "The Human Side of the New Industrial South." In advance of the convention, Mary Anderson proposes Mary Dreier for the national presidency, but MDR in a letter to her sister (Apr. 8) discourages the idea, suggesting instead a YWCA post as "more inclusive in fellowship and friendship."An appointment as director of work among industrial women for Herbert Hoover's presidential campaign takes MDR to Republican headquarters at Washington, where she remains from early September through election day. Much of her official correspondence seems to be here, including two letters from Hoover. (A personal note after the election thanks her for her work.) In letters to Helen Garrett and Alice Henry (Sept. 27 and 29) MDR gives her impressions of Hoover as a person and her reasons for supporting him (his mastery of economic matters, the prohibition question) and describes how her experience of the effects of saloons in Chicago's 17th ward made her "a passionate 'dry'." Other comments are in letters to Mary Dreier. A letter from Eleanor Roosevelt suggests that the cause of protective legislation for women would be served if Hoover's stand on that issue were made clear; the Woman's Party, she says, is claiming that he is opposed to such legislation and is supporting him on that basis. The mixed sentiments of two of MDR's labor friends about the election are expressed in letters from Elisabeth Christman and Victor Olander. Following Hoover's election, the Hearst columnist Arthur Brisbane reports with approval the rumor (apparently without substance) that MDR will be Hoover's Secretary of Labor. A letter from Hoover in May mentions his wish to consult with her about plans for White House conferences on housing and child welfare.In other letters, Mary Dreier describes in some detail (Mar. 18, 1929) the struggle of the Colorado progressive Josephine Roche to maintain control of her coal mine, which she is operating under union contract. Several letters from Alice Henry, in her California retirement, give her lively reflections on current literature and events, as does a letter from Stella Franklin in Australia. Other correspondents include Lucy W. Peabody of the Woman's National Committee for Law Enforcement, Harold L. Ickes and his wife Anna, Carrie Chapman Catt, and, in single letters, Arthur Brisbane, Robert M. La Follette, Jr., Abby Aldrich Rockefeller, Ida Scudder, and Harriet Taylor Upton.