Emily Greene Balch to Jane Addams, December 25, 1919



Bureau International:
GENÉVE, 19, Boulevard Geroges-Favon

Dec 25/19

Christmas Day and I am with 2 of our office friends -- Miss [Moore] and Dr. de Bordes -- in a little mountain place for a 3 days' holiday. But We have struck such bad weather that we are going home today instead of tomorrow but as I write the mist is lifting off the snow-covered slopes and it is very beautiful.

Your dear letter of Nov. 27 was forwarded to me here and was a great pleasure. I hate to think of your [not] being American National President any more and I think it is in a way a pity [page 2] that the chance did not fall our new Am. president was not at Zurich. As you [know] I greatly hoped Miss Rankin would be chosen. Is there any chance of her being asked and agreeing to act as Ex. Secy. I do hope we shall have someone active and with insight and power to gather and organize.

I know the insuferable difficulties -- the war psychosis the apathy, the bad impression of one group left over from war days, the feeling about pacifism which even the New Republic uses as a "cuss word" but one must [suffer] the insuperable so to [page 3] speak. We must use the type represented by Mrs. Forbes and the type represented by Elinor Byrnes or Crystal Eastman. There is a different way of service open to each and our National and International formula must be wide enough to include them all without hampering them.

I am immensely struck by the recurrence of the same note over & over in the letters that reach me [from the] all the corners of the earth. If you have time to read the last news sheet you will feel it and not only in the columns of [page 4] extracts from letters. Miss Mrs. Cederfeld of Denmark and others feel our chief aim is [illegible] to preface the anti-war strike. I think we should not talk much about this but should get a vast body of pacifist women in touch with one another and used to common action. This is Chap. 7.

Please always send me the frankest criticism of my doings or non-doings, as well as suggestions. I need all the wisdom I can beg borrow or steal.

Miss Wald has written me a letter just rec'd -- the first since Zurich -- and she speaks [page 5] of an approaching meeting at Henry St of our clan. I wish I could be with you. It is too late to send my greetings and my gratitude to all who are supporting this outpost. Miss Nichols seems wonderfully active. She and Mrs. Mead both write occasionally.

My love to Mrs. Karsten -- no, I shan't hold that rumored remark against her. But indeed it is hard to exaggerate the need -- for the sake of America herself -- of American activity in the field of ideals in the world today. [page 6]

Frau Hertzka has been in Scandanavia and is now in London on behalf of the Siberian prisoners and may see me here on her way back. She would like me to join her & Mme. Duchêne in France but I don't dare.

We have a good office force now with 3 volunteers -- 1 Dutch (Dr. de Bordes whose tearful advent I described but who turns out to be quite a Trojan and very nice), 1 German dear Frau Nettelbeck wistful and not very effective and a trumpy little Miss Thornton who says nothing & just does what college girls call "the dirty work". [page 7]

She is coming to live with me when Miss Moore goes. Alas a S.S. has turned up for her & she lease leaves us Jan 8. The Zurich spirit will be still on limbs when she goes. [Mlle] I arranged that the office force was entitled to 2 weeks paid vacation in a year and as we took no holidays in the summer Mlle Gobat & Fr. Wössner are taking 10 days or so now with their families and I have on hand the German Edition of the last news sheet, the new Pax et Libertas & the supplement [page 8] which I should like to bring out at once, so I have enough to do.

Meanwhile there is an <International> Congress of Socialist Students Dec 26-29 inclusive. An English delegation is coming over Ellen Wilkinson one of them I think. They have telegraphed me to asking me to serve as their interpreter. Also Harry Laidler wants me to act as paternal delegate for the I.S.S. & report it.

This is one aspect of the constantly recurring problem of how far I should let my name appear in any connection but our own org'n. I let Dr. [Ruisecka] have it for her U.D.C. Con in Berne and signed her appeal for help for Vienna & I think for [page 9] the prisoners in Siberia but she like other propagandists is rather inclined to make an ell out of an inch in such matters & I see how conservative one must be.

I need to attend the Socialists Students & if possible to avoid any attendant publicity.

[Optimism?] here as elsewhere is of many shades. Madame [Claparéde] while getting spasms of humidity is tolerant to radicalism if not radical and her [illegible] University student son is quite radical & [page 10] and pacifist and Christian and there seems to be a strong current of this color among the student body. Then there are circles to whom all Socialism is a terror.

I have joined the Lyceum club here -- very respectable average age about one ninety or something less, average number at a meeting 7 2/3 persons. I aim to speak to the Sociological Section on Jan 13 (!) about our League -- in French! Also I am to speak about it to the Y.W.C.A. here (the French ↑Geneva↓ local group, not American at all). "Few, few the bird builds [her] nest as the Portuguese phrase [page 11] book had it.

Miss Helen Cheevers not coming was the result of a complicated fluke that I won't waste your time explaining -- a letter from me intended to be read only if I had been obliged to cable her that she ought not to come and [received] because her boat was delayed by the strike.

But I think after all it is perhaps best so though I am getting on finely, very free from colds and in good shape. I hope in she will come in March. [page 12]

I am eager to hear what you think so to a meeting of the Exec. Com and as to the idea of arranging a summer school.

If you get so far as this in this interminable letter you must know that I send you most loving good wishes for 1920 and that I am always yours affectionately,

Emily Balch