Correspondence between Margaret Dreier Robins and Raymond Robins.
October 1931 - March 1933
Collection I: Margaret Dreier Robins Papers, University of Florida Libraries; From the start of this reel, in October 1931, until early June of 1932, RR is constantly on the road as part of a speaking team of the Allied Forces for Prohibition. His letters give a running account of the team's engagements, fund-raising, and occasional personality clashes. Here and later, his letters also include scattered references to his personal finances, including the forced sale of his remaining stock holdings after a further market collapse in late May 1932. (An Aug. 31 letter mentions three stocks still owned by MDR.) A letter of Mar. 22, 1932, casts light on Harold Ickes' current political moves.A call to Washington late in May to confer with President Hoover plunges RR into the bitter conflict then raging between Republican wets and drys over the party's platform for the coming presidential campaign. His letters of the next four weeks describe the backstage struggle, in Washington and at the Republican national convention, during which he and his dry associates succeed in overturning an agreement to endorse "resubmission" of the 18th Amendment to the states and substitute a plank, partly drafted by RR, that most drys find acceptable. RR makes a similar effort in August to modify the wording of Hoover's acceptance speech. Satisfied with Hoover's stand, he plans to campaign for him, although privately convinced he will lose. In a letter of July 2 he urges MDR to stay out of the campaign and to encourage Mary Dreier in her support of Franklin D. Roosevelt; this will keep her "free from Roosevelt's active hostility" and assure "a friend at court" for the Robins estate.MDR's letters continue to chronicle events at Chinsegut. She frets during the long waiting period, chiefly taken up with searching and perfecting land titles, between the government's acceptance of the estate and the formal deed of transfer, which is completed on Apr. 9, 1932. A highlight of this period is the visit to Chinsegut of Jane Addams (late February - early March), about which MDR and RR exchange a few comments. MDR also follows with interest the local political campaign that spring which results in the defeat of the county sheriff, who had shown a ruthless disregard of life in several shooting scrapes and was believed to be linked with a bootleg gang.RR had helped stir community sentiment against Sheriff Cobb in a speech given in Brooksville while he was home over Christmas. One of Cobb's shooting victims was the local city attorney, who had apparently been providing information to federal prohibition agents. RR, as his letters of February and March reveal, secretly enlisted the aid of the federal Prohibition Bureau and its head, Amos Woodcock, in investigating the case. (See also items on Reels 64 and 65.) As an apparent result, he received telephone threats in several cities during his speaking tour. In a letter to MDR dated April 1932 he tells of these threats and leaves detailed instructions in case he should be killed. Knowing this background, MDR and other relatives naturally assumed when RR disappeared in September 1932 that he was the victim of bootleg gangsters. His letters to MDR, which continue up to the afternoon when he left the City Club of New York and dropped from sight, convey no hint of strain or disturbance. On the other hand, a memorandum to MDR that he typed at the City Club (Reel 5, frames 388-391) implies that he will be out of touch with her for a time. See Reels 5, 37, and 38 for more on RR's disappearance, eventual discovery, and convalescence at Chinsegut.Correspondence on this reel resumes in late February 1933 when RR returns to public affairs. In association with Alexander Gumberg, his friend from the days of the Russian Revolution, Senator Borah, and others, he works in New York and Washington to build up support for recognition of Russia. He also makes plans for a trip to the Soviet Union, which he sees as "the best bait for my return to the lecture platform" (Mar. 27). With a letter of Mar. 1 he encloses letters from several of his friends, including Jane Addams and Harold Ickes, the latter newly appointed to Franklin Roosevelt's cabinet. MDR's letters of March tell of her activities in the First National Bank of Brooksville, of which she has just been made vice president.
Reel: 61 Robins, Margaret Dreier.
Correspondence between Margaret Dreier Robins and Raymond Robins.
April 1933 - August 1936
Collection I: Margaret Dreier Robins Papers, University of Florida Libraries; RR revisits Russia in the spring of 1933; his letters of May and June record his travels and his impressions of the society he had last seen fifteen years before. Upon his return in July he heads for Washington, where he consults Harold Ickes, Frances Perkins, Henry Wallace, and other officials of the new administration with a dual purpose: to urge recognition of Russia and to build up "lines of influence" for the government project at Chinsegut. In October he confers with President Roosevelt and Secretary of State Cordell Hull about negotiations with the Soviet regime; the long-awaited recognition takes place in November. (A letter from Anna Ickes to MDR, enclosed with RR's letter of Nov. 27, describes her new life as the wife of a cabinet member.)RR now resumes the earlier pattern of his career: public lecturing combined with periodic backstage negotiations in Washington. The timeliness of his Russian topic brings him good bookings during his first year back on the platform, but by the fall of 1934 his engagements have begun to fall off, and he spends most of the spring and summer of 1935 at Chinsegut. His Washington wire-pulling also encounters setbacks. Dr. E.W. Sheets of the Agriculture Department, whom he has identified and cultivated as the most influential person for Chinsegut affairs, is charged with mismanagement of a major Department project, demoted (October 1934) to superintendent at Chinsegut, and then (early 1935) removed from that post as well, despite RR's strong efforts on his behalf. (A copy of Sheets' own lengthy account of his demotion is on Reel 6.) On other matters, RR's letters note his generally favorable response to the spirit, if not always the practice, of Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal. A few references also indicate that he is once again receiving income from stock holdings, although he economizes on his lecture tours by traveling by bus.MDR's letters -- extensive for 1933, more sparse for 1934 and 1935 -- deal as before mostly with events at Chinsegut and nearby Brooksville. They record her continuing adjustment to the new government regime at Chinsegut, which brings the hilltop electricity, new landscaping, and a new water system but elsewhere sacrifices much-loved trees to the needs of cattle-grazing. The letters describe the local impact of several early New Deal relief programs. They mention two public speeches by MDR, her continuing involvement in the Brooksville bank, her presidency of the local Red Cross, and her chairmanship (January 1934) of the local President's Birthday Ball, which strengthens community spirit. Other letters touch upon the unrest at Rollins College, including a key trustees' meeting which she attends in July 1933, and give her reactions (and those of RR) to the founding of Black Mountain College. (See also Reel 39.)RR's near-fatal fall from a tree at Chinsegut in September 1935 (see Reel 41) ends his travels and changes the pattern of correspondence between him and MDR. With rare exceptions, they now exchange letters only during MDR's summer sojourns in the North. The present reel includes one such exception, a period in May and June of 1936 when RR is bedridden downstairs at Chinsegut and MDR is upstairs with a severe attack of shingles. In July she goes north for a prolonged period of recuperation, first at her brother Edward's Long Island home and then with Mary Dreier in Maine. Her letters from Maine describe visits with Dr. Richard C. Cabot and Louise de Koven Bowen and record her reactions to her current reading in newspapers, magazines, and books. RR comments with enthusiasm on Sidney and Beatrice Webb's Soviet Communism and passes judgment on the Soviet charges against Trotsky, Kamenev, and Zinoviev. As the presidential campaign takes shape, he moves from an initial enthusiasm for Alfred Landon toward support of Roosevelt. MDR in late August still leans toward Landon.
Reel: 62 Robins, Margaret Dreier.
Correspondence between Margaret Dreier Robins and Raymond Robins.
September 1936 - December 1944 and undated
Collection I: Margaret Dreier Robins Papers, University of Florida Libraries; This reel, which completes the correspondence between MDR and RR, begins in September 1936 during MDR's summer stay in Southwest Harbor, Maine, and continues through five succeeding summers. Except for two periods when RR is hospitalized -- in the early summer of 1937, when he travels to Boston for observation and treatment, and in May 1940 following a ruptured appendix -- he writes from Chinsegut, where he is at ease in a familiar setting, cared for by the household staff and a congenial medical aide, Fletcher Weston. MDR's letters describe the summer world of her sister Mary in the Mount Desert area and the friends she sees each season. Among them are her old Chicago associate Louise de Koven Bowen, the journalist Bessie Beatty and her actor husband Bill Sauter, William Draper Lewis, judicial scholar and former Progressive, and, on a more formal basis, the junior John D. Rockefellers and the Morgenthaus. MDR in the summer of 1937 establishes a particularly close bond with Dr. Richard C. Cabot of Harvard, his long-time secretary, Alice O'Gorman, and his niece Faith Cabot Pigors. Her letters of this and the next two summers tell much about Cabot and his circle, both before and after his death.MDR and RR in their letters also discuss current events: President Roosevelt's court-packing plan (which RR approves), the controversial appointment of Hugo Black to the Supreme Court, the split between the AF of L and the CIO. On her trips north MDR regularly stops off in Washington and catches up on labor news from Mary Anderson and Elisabeth Christman. The letters also comment on events abroad: the rising menace of Hitler, the Munich crisis, the Hitler-Stalin Pact, and the outbreak of war. MDR is deeply hurt in 1938 when her sister Katherine defends Hitler's treatment of the Jews, and RR in 1941 assists the anti-fascist efforts of Harold Ickes and Senator Claude Pepper. In the 1940 elections, both MDR and RR are unreservedly for Roosevelt. There is considerable material in the summer of 1940 about Elizabeth Robins, who returns from England to escape the German bombing attack and recuperates at Southwest Harbor and then in New York. MDR sets forth her religious beliefs in a letter to Harold Ickes' second wife, Jane (copy enclosed with her letter to RR of Aug. 20, 1939).In 1941 RR's letters are present but not MDR's. This is her last summer in Maine; there-after declining health confines her to Chinsegut. Six letters of 1942-44, mostly for special occasions, are the only representation here of her final years. In the last letter, undated but probably written in 1944, she gives directions for the disposition of her remains after her death. Echoing similar instructions by RR (see his letter of May 17, 1939), she specifies that there be no service or show, but simple cremation and the scattering of her ashes beneath the Altar Oak near their Chinsegut home. Small groups of undated letters and fragments by MDR and RR end the reel.
Reel: 63 Robins, Margaret Dreier.
Raymond Robins Correspondence.
Collection I: Margaret Dreier Robins Papers, University of Florida Libraries; Scattered letters to or by Raymond Robins are included in the general Margaret Dreier Robins Correspondence (Part 2 of Series 3), letters which relate closely to MDR's activities or to the Robinses' Florida estate. All other RR correspondence in the collection has been assembled on these two reels, which comprise Part 4 of Series 3.Although fairly comprehensive in chronology, this is a random set of letters, touching upon some aspects of RR's career, skipping over others, and providing coverage of any depth for only one undertaking, his college evangelistic tour of 1915-16. Some are family letters: from his foster mother, Elizabeth Bodine McKay, from Edward Dreier and his children, from Mary Dreier, and especially from Elizabeth Robins. The majority are from friends and associates of his public career. At only a few points does the correspondence concern MDR or matters with which she was involved: the affairs of the First National Bank in Brooksville, Florida, 1929-35; the state of MDR's health, in two letters from Mary Dreier in the summer of 1939; the gathering of material for Mary Dreier's biography of MDR in 1946-47.On Reel 64, letters of the early years (1903-08) touch upon Chicago's Municipal Lodging House, of which RR was superintendent, on the single tax movement, on the Chicago School Board fight and other aspects of municipal reform, and on the Bryan campaign of 1908 (in two letters by Frances Kellor). Among the correspondents of this period are Jane Addams (five letters in 1903), James Mullenbach, and, in single letters, Harold L. Ickes, Robert M. La Follette, Ben L. Reitman, and George A. Schilling. RR's round-the-world speaking tour for the Men and Religion Forward Movement figures in several letters, and there is a large group of letters and testimonials to the effectiveness of his college evangelistic tour. A few letters in April 1916, one from George W. Perkins, concern Theodore Roosevelt and the Progressive party.In the postwar period, RR's involvement in Republican politics is reflected in several telegrams (1919 and early 1921) from the party chairman, Will H. Hays, and others. Beginning in 1922, there is material on the outlawry of war movement in letters and telegrams from Salmon O. Levinson, along with a telegram and letter from Senator William E. Borah. Later correspondence from Fred B. Smith, Daniel A. Poling, and others touches upon the movement to defend prohibition. Two letters in December 1931 and several on the next reel relate to RR's efforts to mobilize local sentiment and federal action against a county "liquor ring" in Florida after the murder of a Brooksville city attorney. Some measure of the impact of the depression in December 1931 can be found in a letter from James Mullenbach and one from William Allen White. Other correspondents of the period 1920-31 include two close friends from RR's Russian days, Colonel William B. Thompson and Alex Gumberg (several letters each), Herbert Hoover (three letters), and, in one or two letters each, Clarence A. Barbour, Hermann Hagedorn, William Hard, and Frances Kellor.Scattered throughout the reel are letters relating to Chinsegut Hill, the Robinses' Florida estate, including two letters dictated in 1923 by RR's black caretaker and warm friend, Fielder Harris. There is also correspondence pertaining to RR's lecture engagements.Reel 65, which starts with 1932, includes a few references in that year to the cross-country campaign of the Allied Forces for Prohibition and its internal tensions. Thereafter the correspondence is meager and miscellaneous. The one exception is the period following RR's severe injury in September 1935; correspondence for the rest of that year and for 1936 comprises nearly half of the reel. The reel includes a number of letters from S.O. Levinson and Alex Gumberg. (In a telegram to Floyd Odlum, June 1, 1939, after Gumberg's death, RR sums up his career and personal qualities.) A letter from Mary Van Kleeck (Mar. 15, 1940) disagrees with RR's judgment that Stalin has become an imperialist. Harold Ickes (Nov. 5, 1940) describes his experiences in that year's presidential campaign. A letter from an old Illinois Progressive (Verne E. Joy, Mar. 10, 1945) reminisces eloquently about Bull Moose days. Letters from Agnes Nestor (Feb. 8, 1946) and Elisabeth Christman (July 8, 1947) pertain to the writing of Mary Dreier's biography of MDR. Other correspondents on the reel include P.H. Callahan, Kentucky prohibitionist, George W. Coleman, Fred B. Smith, and, in one or two letters each, Bessie Beatty, Richard C. Cabot, Sherwood Eddy, Hermann Hagedorn, President Ernest M. Hopkins of Dartmouth, Paul Kellogg, Senator Claude Pepper, Daniel A. Poling, Charles Stelzle, Graham Taylor, and William Allen White. Undated correspondence at the end of the reel includes an early letter from Frances Kellor expressing a poor opinion of the social investigating techniques of Sophonisba Breckinridge.
Reel: 64; 65 Robins, Margaret Dreier.
Mary E. Dreier Correspondence, Dorothea A. Dreier Correspondence, Leonora O'Reilly Correspondence, Other Third-Party Correspondence.
Collection I: Margaret Dreier Robins Papers, University of Florida Libraries; This final reel of the Margaret Dreier Robins Papers contains four smaller segments of Series 3. The first and largest, Part 5 of the series (frames 1-587), contains correspondence of Mary Dreier. These are mostly letters to her, with a few copies or drafts of her own letters. They range in date from 1906 to 1953 but are mainly from 1924 onward. Much of the correspondence is from members of the family, including several letters from Raymond Robins and from Elizabeth Robins and some forty from Katherine Dreier. Among these last, two letters (1931, 1932) touch upon her sponsorship of the dancer Ted Shawn; one (1935) contrasts the attitude toward women of American and European men. Relatively few of the letters deal with Mary Dreier's public activities. One of April 1917 notifies her of her appointment to the "Committee of Women as an auxiliary to the Mayor's Committee on National Defense." Several in 1925-26 relate to the affairs of the National and New York Women's Trade Union Leagues; in one, Ethel M. Smith reports efforts of the Woman's Party to "bore from within" and thus gain influence in the National Council of Jewish Women and other organizations opposed to the Equal Rights Amendment. A letter in 1945 from Ada Rose of the International Ladies Garment Workers Union gives her personal recollections of Margaret Dreier Robins. Other correspondents in this segment include Elisabeth Christman, Frances Kellor, Eleanor Roosevelt (three letters), Rose Schneiderman (two), and, in single letters, Alice Henry, Rebekah Kohut, Mabel Leslie, Agnes Nestor, Leonora O'Reilly, Paul Robeson, and Mary Schenck Woolman.Part 6 (frames 588-862) contains correspondence of Dorothea A. Dreier, artist and sister of Margaret, Mary, and Katherine; it spans the years from 1912 until her death in 1923. Most of the early letters (1912-15) are from Florence M. Shirlaw, widow of Walter Shirlaw, the painter under whom Dorothea Dreier had studied, and from her sister, Mrs. Horace Williston. Thereafter nearly all of the letters are from Dreier relatives. One from Katherine, Feb. 19, 1921, gives a detailed account of the career and collapse (1917-21) of the Cooperative Mural Workshop, in which the two Dreiers and other New York artists took part; others touch upon the Société Anonyme. Several letters pertain to a family charity in Brooklyn, the German Home for Recreation for Women and Children. There are two letters from Leonora O'Reilly.Part 7 (frames 863-891) is a small but significant group of correspondence of Leonora O'Reilly. Dating from the years 1903-05, it relates to the founding and early meetings of the National Women's Trade Union League and its New York branch. The letters are mostly from William English Walling, co-founder of the National League, prime mover in the founding of the New York League, and its first secretary. Two letters from Lillian Wald reflect her participation in getting the New York League established. Walling's letters cast light on the election of the first national officers, on the role of Gertrude Barnum in 1904-05, on the shaky condition of the New York League during its first year, and on its initial contacts with trade unions.Part 8 (frames 892-947) is a final group of miscellaneous third-party correspondence. The items are arranged alphabetically by the name of the recipient or, in the case of carbon copies, the sender. The first item is a letter to Jane Addams, which she may have passed along to Margaret Dreier Robins. There are two letters to Frances Kellor, one of them from Theodore Roosevelt. A small group of letters to Elizabeth Robins includes one each from two of her English suffrage associates, Emmeline Pethick-Lawrence and E. Sylvia Pankhurst.