Rosika Schwimmer to Jane Addams, January 26, 1916

Grand Hotel, Stockholm, Sweden.
Jan. 26, 1916.
Miss Jane Addams,
Hull House,
Chicago, Ill.

Dear Miss Addams,

I do not want to bother you with questions you cannot settle in America. But I think I owe it to you and to myself to tell you that Dr. Jacobs not only reached the limit, but overstepped every boundary of decency by using and misusing you name and my name in connection with Ford.

Before we arrived in Kristiania, I got a telegram sent by several members of our Women's Committee, who met together in Copenhagen, in which they told me that the Ford Expedition would be doomed to failure unless I withdrew. I did not pay much attention to this telegram and considered it simply as an expression of their lack of faith in my judgment of how far I can connect myself with the [affair] for its own benefit, or how far I have to go without risking anything.

The second thing was that upon our arrival in Kristiania, I found besides Mrs. Ramondt, whom I had wired from New York to come and meet us in Kristiania, so that I might discuss with her the preparations for Holland, Miss Daugaard, Mrs. [Tybjerg], Baroness Palmstierna, and Miss Kleman. They, as well as the Norwegian members Dr. Gleditsch and others, said that they had a cable from you, forwarded by Dr. Jacobs, forbidding the members of the International Committee to cooperate with the Ford Expedition. They considered your sickness a "diplomatic disease", invented to protect you from open admission that you did not want to be connected with the affair. I [page 2] was so sure of you, Miss Addams, that I sent you the telegram with the request to answer care of Miss Daugaard, who was a most violent doubter of whatever I said.

On my part, I was lying in bed, very, very sick, and after having halfway explained the situation, the ladies left me saying they would return to hear the second part of the story. But they did not return. Instead of that, they called on different people of the Expedition, and without any recrimination told them all that my being with the party makes it impossible to make a success of the pilgrimage. As the party consisted mostly of people who were more than glad to hear accusations against me, and to use them, this information given by the members of the International Women's Committee fell on very fertile soil. I wish to remark here that it was only Miss Daugaard and some Norwegians who went amongst our people and filled them with doubt against you and me; because they told everywhere about the telegram which you had sent, and told everywhere that you didn't approve of the Ford Expedition.

After their informing visits, some of the people whom I considered my good friends, came to me and urged for the benefit of the cause that I should withdraw. I told them that I had offered Mr. Ford my withdrawal from the party earlier, but not because of arguments which they used for it, but because I saw that arrangements were completed for the Scandinavian countries and for Holland, and in such shape that I might withdraw without damaging the thing. But Mr. Ford very emphatically had declared that if I withdrew, he himself would not take care any longer of the Expedition.

Since Mr. Ford was very ill I didn't want to irritate him and dropped the question. So when they later put this request to me to withdraw for the reasons that our women from the International Committee [page 3] had given, I declared to them that I could not withdraw, because I didn't see any sense in the arguments they brought forth, and as Mr. Ford did not release me on the ground of my arguments, which were stronger than these, I did not see any possibility of meeting their request.

Nevertheless I took it up with Mr. Ford a few hours before he left. And though he was quite weak, lying exhausted on his back, he simply jumped up when I told him that I had been officially requested to withdraw, and emphatically declared that he would have not one penny more for the Expedition if I would lift a finger from it. That he sticks to it as long as I stick to it. And when I used the expression that I had been officially asked to withdraw, he declared: "There are no officials on this boat, but you and Mr. Plantiff, in so far as you manage and he pays. That is all." I had to sit until two o'clock in the morning in the room to wait until Mr. Plantiff came back, because Mr. Ford wanted to repeat this statement before him. It was a most embarrassing situation for me, since I knew that Mr. Ford had to go home and since he was so sick that it was impossible to argue things out with him.

We did not tell people that Mr. Ford is going to leave, because we were afraid all the journalists would hang on and go with him on the same boat and kill him with their inquisition. After we had left I looked over the situation and now that the people who had gone into a state of hatred against me [that] made me absolutely despair of the possibility of human understanding, knew they would never stick to the party if they knew what an important part I have in the affair. So I induced Mr. Plantiff, the financial representative of Mr. Ford, to [page 4] appoint a Committee of Administration, to represent Mr. Ford, with Lochner as General Secretary, Mr. Plantiff as Business Manager, and myself as Expert Advisor, the title being the only fun I got out of that affair.

While the Norwegian members of our Women's Committee haven't done anything for us, the Swedish members were sweet and good and understanding and as helpful as any one could be. And afterwards, Mrs. Ramondt had the whole burden of the whole arrangement alone, since the Anti-Oorlog Raad, refused to cooperate and simply wanted Mr. Ford's money to be put into their treasury.

While in Kristiania I got a letter from Miss Macmillan, in which she told me that as soon as my cable, announcing Mr. Ford's intention to give money to the International Women's Committee arrived, Miss Manus warned Dr. Jacobs not to accept money from Ford, whom she suspected to be pro-German. The committee therefore resolved to scrutinize Mr. Ford, and to keep the thing quiet until they had got, I do not know through whom, sufficient information. I thought that this was just the limit for an insult against me, showing that I was not enough of a reference. That something that came through me had first to be suspected and controlled by more reliable people. This, together with the [behavior] of the Women's Committee, made me feel what I felt also in the case of Mr. Villard. Mr. Ford, being far too big a personality as to be considered a mere money-giving machine which can be kicked about, despised, and [criticized], and good for nothing but for having people kindly accept his despised money, I felt that I should drop the whole matter until you arrived, and brought these women to their senses. This is why I did not speak to Mr. Ford in Kristiania about the twenty thousand dollars which I [page 5] meant to ask him to give right away. While, for the other part of the money, I thought to call for it after thorough discussion with you about what to do with it.

As soon as I got your telegram, through Miss Daugaard, I sent it on to the women of the three Scandinavian countries and Holland, to their great relief. May I assure you that I had never thought of asking our International Committee to cooperate officially, because I was fully aware (we talked about it in Bar Harbor) that we cannot act officially in movements for unofficial action, before a formal vote is taken.

The arrangements in Sweden, Denmark and Holland, were perfect and we got out as much good as we expected, [illegible] <though> we did not foresee the criminal ambition of some journalists and people like Ines Boissevain, S. S. McClure, and a few others, to create not only discord, but whatever mean sensation they could manage to make.

You will have seen in the American papers that they prophesized first that the boat never would start; then that it never would arrive in Kristiania; later that the party would dissolve in Kristiania; further, that it certainly would not go beyond Stockholm, and after all that Copenhagen is the last possibility. When, after all these prophesies, they found themselves in The Hague, having gone all along exactly as it had been planned in the McAlpin in New York, they did not know how to manage a final scandal, and like manna from heaven fell Dr. Jacobs' invitation to headquarters with the story of the money I had announced and which was not sent because of my wickedness, and the story of your telegram forbidding the International Women's Committee to do any work in connection with the Ford Expedition. It warmed the heart of every journalist to get these beautiful stories. [page 6]

I do not want to tell you details, Miss Addams, but this rough sketch will show you that the committee is in an impossible state. Dr. Jacobs cannot remain at the head of it, Miss Manus is too naive to see that letters, like the German letters which she passed on to me and of which I told you, should not be handled at all. A lack of judgment on the part of Miss [Heymann] to send that letter and request at all is also perfectly alarming, and the British Committee's attitude towards the question of belligerents in the administration of the International Women's Committee is perfectly absurd. The cooperation of the belligerents is the greatest asset the Committee has. So you see, Miss Addams, that your presence is more than needed and with all affectionate regards for your health, I venture to ask whether you do not think that while Europe might have places just as good or far better for your health than California, you might do untold good to the Women's movement by your mere presence in Europe. People could go and see you wherever you would be, the Committee could meet, wherever the doctors would order you to stay.

I, personally, am so disgusted and sick at heart about all these things that I have resolved even to go out from the Hungarian representation on our Committee, and not to have anything to do with it. I do not intend to take up the question of the money with Mr. Ford, unless I have talked it over with you, Miss Addams.

I hope very much that your doctors will see the possibility of sending you over to some health resort in Europe, so that we might have the great benefit of your help and advice. As to the Neutral Conference I am happy to say that the Scandinavian and the Dutch people have quite a splendid list of candidates. We are not at liberty yet to give our full lists. The enclosed letter to [page 7] [Kirchwey] will give you just a little information.

It was very [embarrassing] that Mrs. Fels, who was slated as an alternate, electioneered herself into becoming a regular Member. While Barry, who wasn't a candidate at all, managed to become an alternate. I hope that you will persuade Miss Balch to come and take her place. Mrs. Fels has promised to leave the Conference as soon as any of you women arrive. At the present, she isn't here, because she wanted to see to her factories in England first.

About our friend Jenkin Lloyd Jones, it would be better not to say a word. [The] key to his attitude in a nut-shell is, that he doesn't believe that women have any ideas at all about such important things, and intended to make the Neutral Conference an organization according to his imagination, and not to the plans approved by so many personalities, of organizations, and Congresses and governments, as our plan has been.

Mrs. Lloyd and Kliefoth will have given you already their reports so I do not need to trouble you with more information.

With the fond hope to see you here very soon, I am,

Affectionately yours,

Rosika Scwhimmer [signed]

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