Collection I: Margaret Dreier Robins Papers, University of Florida Libraries; Raymond Robins' three-month hospitalization in Tampa (to which MDR makes daily automobile trips, fifty miles each way) and his slow recovery from his fall dominate this reel. There is continued correspondence from relatives and friends, among them Elizabeth Robins, Fred B. Smith, S.O. Levinson, Alex Gumberg, Graham Taylor, P.H. Callahan, Hermann Hagedorn, and, in single letters, Bessie Beatty (Sauter), William Hard, Howard A. Kelly, and Cornelia Bryce Pinchot. Eleanor Roosevelt inquires about Robins in a note to Mary Dreier. Since Mary is with her sister at Chinsegut until early March, there are no letters between them until the end of the reel. Three important government figures visit Chinsegut in March 1936: Robert Fechner, head of the Civilian Conservation Corps, John R. Mohler, chief of the Agriculture Department's Bureau of Animal Industry, and Rexford G. Tugwell, Under Secretary of Agriculture. MDR finds the first two friendly and helpful and Tugwell "one of the most disagreeable men imaginable and as conceited as ten asses" (to Mary Dreier, Mar. 30, 1936).There are some references to WTUL affairs in letters of Mary Anderson (ten), Elisabeth Christman (three), Agnes Nestor (four), and two other Chicagoans, Anne Mellen and Hazel Dugan. One of Nestor's letters (Feb. 15, 1936) notes with discouragement how few workers grasp the broader issues of the labor movement, but finds consolation in the organizational gains made since the early days of the WTUL. A letter from Christman to Mary Dreier (Feb. 26) tells of further developments in the struggle within the AF of L over industrial unionism, discusses the coming WTUL convention, and reports the unfavorable reactions of both Rose Schneiderman and Mary Winslow to the suggestion that Winslow become president. The reel also includes three letters from MDR to Christman.In other correspondence, Hamilton Holt of Rollins College attempts in several letters to restore friendly relations with MDR. Louise de Koven Bowen, lonely after the deaths of Jane Addams and Mary Rozet Smith and dismayed by a changing society, writes frequently to voice her dissatisfaction with the new head resident at Hull House, the difficulty of fund-raising, and her sense of alienation from the resident social workers, who seem to be "against capitalism" and the wealthy. Samuel Levin, manager of the Chicago Joint Board of the Amalgamated Clothing Workers, invites MDR (Dec. 30, 1935) to the Board's 25th anniversary celebration and pays warm tribute to her contributions at the time of its founding. Theodore Dreier's letters include some details about Black Mountain College, as does a letter from Ethel Dreier (Jan. 31). Other correspondents include Robert Fechner, Stella Franklin, Alice Henry, and E.W. Sheets, now at Mississippi State College.
Reel: 42 Robins, Margaret Dreier.
Margaret Dreier Robins Correspondence.
May 1936 - February 1937
Collection I: Margaret Dreier Robins Papers, University of Florida Libraries; MDR's letters record the slow improvement of Raymond Robins' health. He gains sufficient strength to get outside in a wheel chair and, after a Christmas visit from Dr. Richard C. Cabot, to begin brief periods of walking, supported by crutches and someone on either side, although his legs are still largely without sensation. MDR's own health gives way for a time: an attack of shingles in late May and ensuing neuritis keep her bedridden for six weeks, after which she goes north for a period of rest at her sister Mary's summer home in Maine. For the most part, however, she remains close to Chinsegut and to Robins. Her letters, perhaps reflecting the curtailment of her former activities, comment increasingly about books and articles she is reading. As the presidential campaign of 1936 approaches, Mary Dreier attends the Democratic National Convention as a guest of the Roosevelts and accompanies the family group back to Hyde Park. She is herself active in the Democratic party as a delegate to its state convention and worker at its New York headquarters. MDR, although originally pleased by the Republican candidate, Alfred Landon, is "outraged" by the "witch-hunting" attacks of the Republican national chairman, John D.M. Hamilton, on the labor leader David Dubinsky and others; despite considerable misgivings about specific aspects of the New Deal, she eventually decides to vote for Roosevelt, on the strength of his commitment to labor and "the battle for economic liberation" (to John Dreier, Oct. 12).Letters from Mary Anderson, Elisabeth Christman, and Agnes Nestor describe the national convention of the WTUL, held in Washington in May. Eleanor Roosevelt invites Mary Dreier and a group of the delegates to stay during the convention at the White House; the AF of L executive council, taken aback by this attention, hastily sends one of its members to address the gathering. Although the delegates elect MDR to the executive board, her letters to Mary Dreier indicate current coolness toward the League and toward Christman. She and Christman, however, continue to correspond: Christman's letters (five in all) comment on the sit-down strikes at General Motors and other labor events. The reel also includes eight letters from Agnes Nestor and one from Rose Schneiderman, besides Mary Anderson's regular reports from Washington.Affairs of Black Mountain College are touched upon in letters of Barbara Dreier (Oct. 15, 1936) and Theodore Dreier (Dec. 13). John Dreier's letters comment on the work of the Resettlement Administration and the New Deal's program of land-use planning, in both of which he is involved. Louise de Koven Bowen continues to voice her concerns about Hull House. (For another view of Hull House and Mrs. Bowen, see Anne M. Mellen to MDR, Jan. 12, 1937.) Other correspondents on the reel include Elizabeth Robins and, in one or two letters each, Ethel S. Dummer, Robert Fechner, Hermann Hagedorn, Anne Hard, Harold L. Ickes, Frances Kellor, S.O. Levinson, E.W. Sheets, Ethel M. Smith, Fred B. Smith, and Graham Taylor, along with William Green and Frank Morrison of the AF of L and John Fitzpatrick, Victor Olander, and Edward Nockels of the Chicago Federation of Labor.
Reel: 43 Robins, Margaret Dreier.
Margaret Dreier Robins Correspondence.
March 1937 - August 1938
Collection I: Margaret Dreier Robins Papers, University of Florida Libraries; Raymond Robins, gaining in strength, goes out on horseback and propels his "tricycle" around the grounds at Chinsegut. In the hope of further recovery in his legs, and with the encouragement of Dr. Richard C. Cabot, he travels to Boston in June 1937 for diagnosis and treatment. The results, however, prove disappointing, the hospital uncongenial, and the train journey tiring; Robins returns with relief to Chinsegut while MDR, her own health still shaky, takes a long vacation in Maine. During this period she forms friendships with several members of the Cabot family and particularly with Alice O'Gorman, Dr. Cabot's longtime secretary; her letters to O'Gorman on this and subsequent reels include some reminiscences of her childhood and earlier career. Affairs of the Brooksville bank lead to a new flurry of correspondence with S.O. Levinson, Harold Ickes, and others. Besides her own reading, MDR now takes much pleasure in sending books to friends and acquaintances.MDR's two faithful WTUL correspondents, Elisabeth Christman and Agnes Nestor, are represented here (each by five letters). Nestor reports in August 1937 the passage of the long-sought Illinois eight-hour law for women. She and Christman also discuss the move by the Amalgamated Clothing Workers to take in the Glove Workers, a move that Christman approves but Nestor strongly opposes. Mary Dreier reports on the executive board meeting of the national WTUL in May 1937. Rose Schneiderman's one letter on this reel (Mar. 3, 1937) pays warm tribute to Maud Swartz, who had just died. Mary Anderson's letters, as usual, recount current labor and legislative developments. MDR in a letter to Elisabeth Christman (May 14, 1937) sets forth her conception of the WTUL's basic mission as an "interpreter" of labor to the public. She herself writes a long letter to her niece Antoinette ("Nan") Stearly (Jan. 27, 1938) defending the labor movement, as against the nonunion Chicago printing firm of R.R. Donnelley which the Buchman movement is patronizing.Louise de Koven Bowen continues to confide in MDR; one of her letters (Nov. 29, 1937) laments that current social workers are "hard" and "full of red tape" and lack the "Christlike spirit" of early settlement days. Theodore Dreier's letter of June 29, 1938, touches on developments at Black Mountain College. Marion Talbot (Aug. 3, 1937) comments on Vida Scudder as she knew her. Other correspondents on the reel include the English labor leader Margaret Bondfield (who visits Chinsegut), Elizabeth Robins, Alice Henry, Jo Coffin, Hermann Hagedorn, President Florence M. Read of Spelman College, and, represented by one or two letters each, Bessie Beatty, Richard C. Cabot, George W. Coleman, Ethel S. Dummer, John Fitzpatrick, Stella Franklin, Frank P. Graham, Anne Hard, Sidney Hillman, Howard A. Kelly, Lucy Randolph Mason, Graham Taylor, and Katharine Taylor.
Reel: 44 Robins, Margaret Dreier.
Margaret Dreier Robins Correspondence.
September 1938 - December 1939
Collection I: Margaret Dreier Robins Papers, University of Florida Libraries; A curtailment of MDR's activities is suggested by both the lesser quantity and the content of her correspondence on this reel, which covers a span of sixteen months. Now seventy, she returns to Chinsegut in October 1938 from her sojourn in the North with her health much restored. But a fall on the stairs in the following March keeps her in bed for nearly three months, and for some time thereafter she walks with a cane and is unable to climb stairs. Raymond Robins, now more self-sufficient, propels himself around Chinsegut Hill in a "walk wagon," resumes pruning trees and shrubs, and does some swimming at their Gulf Coast retreat. MDR's letters, although fewer in number, show no lessening of intellectual vigor. In a long letter to her lifetime friend Emily Ford Skeel (Aug. 29, 1939, here in draft form) she presents a broad-ranging defense of the labor movement and of the New Deal.Among incoming letters, the substantial number from Elisabeth Christman (eighteen in all) suggest a warming of relations between them, perhaps the result of a visit when MDR stopped off in Washington on her way back to Chinsegut. Christman in September 1938 turns down a proffered appointment by the Amalgamated Clothing Workers as head of its Glove Department. In a letter of Apr. 7, 1939, she comments frankly on the state of the Boston WTUL and its leadership after a visit there. Letters of Christman and others in the fall of 1938 concern the newly formed Southern Conference for Human Welfare, of which Mollie Dowd of the WTUL is one of the founders and to which MDR lends her support. The reel also includes two letters from Agnes Nestor, one from Rose Schneiderman, and one from Mary N. Winslow, national legislative representative of the WTUL. Mary Anderson continues to write regularly; one of her letters (June 10, 1939) encloses an account of her conversation with the King and Queen of England during their visit at the White House. A letter from Mary Dreier (Mar. 15, 1939) describes a dinner with her sister Katherine and a Mrs. Hanfstaengel of Germany and the latter's defense of the Hitler regime. Annie Breuer Springer writes a dramatic account (Oct. 12, 1939) of how she and her husband and child managed to escape from Germany where they were traveling when the war broke out. The reel also includes three letters from S.O. Levinson (about the Brooksville bank), three from Alice Henry, and one or two each from Margaret Bondfield, Mary M. Borah, Louise de Koven Bowen, Richard C. Cabot, P.H. Callahan, Carrie Chapman Catt, Ethel S. Dummer, Stella Franklin, John Haynes Holmes, Hamilton Holt, Lucy Randolph Mason, Florence M. Read, Elizabeth Robins, Katharine Taylor, Lea D. Taylor, and Mary Van Kleeck.
Reel: 45 Robins, Margaret Dreier.
Margaret Dreier Robins Correspondence.
January - December 1940
Collection I: Margaret Dreier Robins Papers, University of Florida Libraries; Both MDR and Raymond Robins suffer setbacks in health during 1940. Robins receives skin burns on his feet while warming them by the fire during a January freeze and in April is operated on for a ruptured appendix. But he resumes walking in June and by December is again spending his mornings outdoors in his "walk wagon" pruning and cutting vistas. MDR in May finds herself lacking in "the strength ... to carry out my plans" (to Alice O'Gorman, May 20), and her recovery that summer in Maine is offset by a heel injury there and by a fall from her bed in November. She retains, however, her interest in literature and in current events, particularly after the European war enters a new phase with the fall of France and the bombing of Britain. The lively letters she dictated to family and friends in October, November, and December, preserved here in carbon copies, offer a good sampling of both her current interests and her correspondents. Among them at this point are several members of Dr. Richard C. Cabot's circle: Alice O'Gorman, his longtime secretary, Faith Cabot Pigors, and Isabel, wife of Sidney Cabot. Letters on this reel and the preceding one touch on problems in the settlement of Richard Cabot's estate. One result of the German bombing raids on England is the return to the United States of Elizabeth Robins, on a "Flying Clipper" reservation secured by Raymond Robins through his old friend Harold Ickes.References to the WTUL on this reel are sparse, even among letters from MDR's usual correspondents, Mary Anderson, Elisabeth Christman (four letters), and Agnes Nestor (two letters). Mary Dreier (June 14) reports that Abby Aldrich Rockefeller is cutting down her annual contribution to the WTUL, which has lately been $2,500 and earlier was $5,000. There is scattered correspondence during the year about the Woman's Centennial Congress called by Carrie Chapman Catt; MDR raises funds for it in Florida, and Mary Dreier describes the sessions themselves in a letter of Dec. 5. In the fall elections, both Dreier and MDR are strongly for Roosevelt; Mary Dreier aids the New York Labor party's campaign on his behalf. Her letters during the year also refer to her efforts, eventually successful, to persuade her fellow members of the YWCA National Board to accept unionization of its secretaries and staff. A letter (Apr. 13) from Jane D. Ickes, second wife of Harold Ickes, describes his health and state of morale. Other correspondents include Elizabeth Robins, Louise de Koven Bowen, and, in single letters, Edith Abbott, William H. Danforth, Stella Franklin, and Mary Van Kleeck.
Reel: 46 Robins, Margaret Dreier.
Margaret Dreier Robins Correspondence.
January 1941 - May 1942
Collection I: Margaret Dreier Robins Papers, University of Florida Libraries; The health of both MDR and Raymond Robins seems to have remained stable during the period of this reel. In June 1941 Raymond receives an honorary degree from the University of Florida, in ceremonies held at Chinsegut, but otherwise their lives follow familiar patterns. MDR continues a busy program of entertaining visitors and guests, reads current books, follows the progress of the war, gives occasional attention to the local YWCA and its bookshop, and, both at Chinsegut and during her summer in Maine, carries on an extensive correspondence.The WTUL enters on hard times as wartime causes take precedence among the League's benefactors; even the usually well-supported New York League feels the pinch. (See MDR to Elisabeth Christman, Jan. 9, 1941, and Mary Dreier to MDR, Feb. 26 and May 25, 1942.) Mary Dreier discusses the state of the League at some length in a letter of Feb. 21, 1941, occasioned by a proposal that Elisabeth Christman take a Labor Department post doing field work with women in defense industries; Mary Anderson is strongly in favor of the appointment, Christman reluctant, and Rose Schneiderman opposed, fearing this would mean the collapse of the WTUL. The appointment is finally made a year later, and Christman, on six months' leave from the WTUL (later extended to a year), joins the Women's Bureau staff at the beginning of April. (Mary Anderson, Mar. 4, 1942; Mary Dreier, Mar. 1; Rose Schneiderman, Mar. 23.) Christman's own letters on this reel (ten in all) are less informative about League affairs. Agnes Nestor sends four letters from Chicago. Letters of Mary Anderson and Mary Dreier (Jan. 29, 1941) describe the New York WTUL's highly successful dinner for Eleanor Roosevelt, which Dreier organized. A letter from Mollie Dowd (January? 1942) comments on labor and political matters in Alabama.Elizabeth Robins, moving restlessly from place to place in the Northeast and in uncertain health, writes frequent letters to MDR on this reel and the next. Two letters from Theodore Dreier (June 16, 1941, and Apr. 3, 1942) touch upon Black Mountain College. A different view of the Rollins College crisis from which Black Mountain emerged is given in a letter from Sherwood Eddy (January? 1942). The reel also includes two letters from Josephus Daniels and one each from Carrie Chapman Catt, George W. Coleman, Stella Franklin, and Sallie A. and William Allen White.
Reel: 47 Robins, Margaret Dreier.
Margaret Dreier Robins Correspondence.
June 1942 - September 1943
Collection I: Margaret Dreier Robins Papers, University of Florida Libraries; MDR's health declines during the period of this reel, as two attacks of what she calls intestinal flu, one of them prolonged, cause her to lose weight and leave her too weak to make her usual summer trip to Maine. A curtailment of her correspondence is suggested by the fact that letters from members of the family predominate on this reel. Her letters to Mary Dreier, however, show no slackening of her intellectual curiosity as she comments on world events, the strategy of the war, and current books and magazines. Mary Dreier's letters, while mostly family-centered, touch occasionally upon her work in the WTUL, the YWCA, and wartime committees, including a Commission on Women in War Work headed by Frieda Miller. In a letter of July 18, 1942, she discusses the future of the WTUL and relays a report from Rose Schneiderman that Elisabeth Christman is unhappy in her work for the Women's Bureau and wants to return to the League. Christman's three letters about her Bureau work convey no discontent and tell something about her achievements, particularly in a test case, at General Motors, for equal pay for women. Mary Anderson's letters describe this and other aspects of the Bureau's wartime program. Christman, after leaving the Bureau in early April, reports in several letters on her fund-raising for the League, in which she enlists Eleanor Roosevelt's aid in approaching labor leaders; in July the CIO and the Steel Workers each give $1,000. (There are no letters on the reel from Agnes Nestor or Rose Schneiderman.) Elizabeth Robins continues to write frequent letters to MDR. Theodore Dreier's letters during 1943 include several about Black Mountain College. A letter from Alice Newsham (Mar. 5, 1943) reports the death of Alice Henry in Australia. Others represented on the reel by one or two letters include Louise de Koven Bowen, George W. Coleman, Hamilton Holt, Alice Thacher Post, and Katharine Taylor.
Reel: 48 Robins, Margaret Dreier.
Margaret Dreier Robins Correspondence.
October 1943 - June 1945
Collection I: Margaret Dreier Robins Papers, University of Florida Libraries; MDR's declining health is the predominant note in this reel, which covers the final seventeen months of her life. An apparent heart attack in December 1943 is followed by others in July and August 1944 before her final illness of February 1945. Although weakened, she continues to write letters to her sister Mary, sometimes in pencil from her bed, sometimes dictated, but still occasionally on the typewriter, even as late as January 1945. In March 1944, judging that there is no longer sufficient community interest to support it, she arranges for the disbanding of the Brooksville YWCA and its bookshop. Her gift that spring of $1,000 to the YWCA National Board to be used for their work "in bettering race relationships" (Ethel Dreier to MDR, June 12) reflects the rising consciousness of racial injustice then taking place among Americans of good will. Mary Dreier's letters offer further evidence of this trend, including her mixed reaction to Lillian Smith's Strange Fruit and her unqualified enthusiasm for Smith herself after hearing her speak (April 1944). In other letters, Dreier describes a weekend with Nancy Cook in Hyde Park and a conversation with President Roosevelt (Oct. 12, 1943), her lobbying in defense of the state's Women's Bureau (March 1944), and the split in the New York Labor party, which she leaves to help found the Liberal party (Mar. 30, May 22, 1944).Letters from Mary Anderson, before and after her retirement as head of the federal Women's Bureau, suggest her lack of rapport with Secretary of Labor Frances Perkins (Feb. 29, July 6, 1944). Mary Dreier (June 25) notes the appointment of Frieda Miller to succeed Anderson and recalls that Anderson had wanted Elisabeth Christman as her successor had Christman been willing. Dreier's letters of that fall report the formation of the National Committee to Defeat the Un-Equal Rights Amendment, to offset a new Woman's Party drive for the E.R.A., which had been endorsed that summer in both party platforms; Anderson is one of the committee's leaders. She and Elisabeth Christman (Feb. 29, 1944) are pleased by the effective testimony given against the amendment by a group of young CIO women at a Congressional hearing. References to the WTUL are relatively few. Mary Dreier comments on Rose Schneiderman's overlong tenure as president of the New York League (Mar. 11, 1944) and reports policy differences within the national board on how best to oppose the E.R.A. (Oct. 6). Agnes Nestor's seven letters report on the Chicago League and especially the dramatized account of its history presented to celebrate its fortieth anniversary. Elisabeth Christman's five letters deal mostly with current labor and Congressional developments.In other correspondence, Theodore Dreier gives a long report on the state of Black Mountain College in a letter of Jan. 15, 1944, and briefer bulletins during the following summer and fall. The reel includes ten letters from Elizabeth Robins (there are also frequent references to her in Mary Dreier's letters) and single letters from Louise de Koven Bowen, Jane D. Ickes (Feb. 17, 1945, describing Harold's temperament and his current state of gloom), Mildred Webster Pepper (wife of Senator Claude Pepper), and Anna Willard Timens (?), a former leader of the Chicago waitresses.A special note about the correspondence on the latter part of the reel. Beginning in September 1944, it includes occasional letters from Lisa von Borowsky to Mary Dreier reporting on the state of MDR's health. From mid-February onward it consists mainly of letters addressed to Mary Dreier by family members and friends while she is at Chinsegut to share her sister's final days. The last nine letters on the reel, written after MDR's death, should more properly be on Reel 3, among the large groups of sympathy letters assembled there.
Reel: 49 Robins, Margaret Dreier.
Margaret Dreier Robins Correspondence.
Undated (A-L); Undated (M-Z) and Addenda
Collection I: Margaret Dreier Robins Papers, University of Florida Libraries; These two reels, which complete the Margaret Dreier Robins correspondence, consist primarily of undated letters and fragments of letters. The letters are arranged alphabetically by author, with title sheets for a few of the larger groups. Reel 50 runs from A through L, Reel 51 from M through Z, followed by a small group of letters and fragments of unknown authorship and a group of thank-you notes from Brooksville students to whom MDR had given books. The last portion of Reel 51, beginning with frame 441, is an Addenda containing dated letters which came to light, either out of place or in other portions of the collection, after the reels for those particular years had been filmed.In the undated letters, correspondents include Dreier and other relatives, among them Elizabeth Robins, Elizabeth Bodine McKay ("Cousin Lizzie"), Raymond Robins' foster mother, and Mary Buck Robins, wife of Raymond's brother Vernon. Several of the letters of Katherine Dreier touch upon the work of her Société Anonyme. Mary Dreier's letters, although large in number (more than 200 frames), are mostly general in content. Included under the R's is a small group of letters and fragments by MDR, two relating to Chicago WTUL and labor matters. There are also letters from such lifelong friends as Elisabeth Frothingham, Alice Smyth, and Emily Ford -- for Ford, one group under her maiden name and a second under her married name of Skeel. Other correspondents, represented by one or two letters each unless otherwise noted, include: Grace Abbott (four letters, two concerned with strategy for obtaining federal child welfare legislation), Jane Addams, Nancy Astor, Anita McCormick Blaine (3 letters), Mary M. Borah, Emma Brace Donaldson, Zelie D. Emerson (a Chicago WTUL ally), Stella Franklin, Alex Gumberg, Agatha Harrison, Alice Henry, Frances Kellor (13 letters), Dora Lipschitz (a student in the WTUL school), Helen Barrett Montgomery, Leonora O'Reilly (5 letters or fragments), Mildred Rankin (WTUL), Laura Riding, Jacob H. Schiff (page 2 of a letter concerning a telegraphers' strike), Mary Rozet Smith, Anna Louise Strong, Anne Withington (on factionalism within the Boston WTUL), and Alfred E. Zimmern.The Addenda, chronological in order, begins with two letters whose content suggests a date of 1904 or earlier; the first seems to pertain to MDR's investigation of hospitals for the State Charities Aid Association. A letter from Katherine Dreier (May 1907) describes Elizabeth Robins' suffrage play, Votes for Women, and its reception in London. Vera Cushman of the YWCA speaks warmly (Jan. 24, 1919) of a recent address by MDR. Other letters are from Hamilton Holt, Harold Ickes, Matilda Lindsay of the WTUL, Mary McDowell (4 letters), Archibald MacLeish, Elizabeth Robins (4 letters), Mary Rozet Smith, and Graham Taylor. There are a few letters from MDR to Mary Dreier and from Dreier to MDR, none of special significance.