Emily Greene Balch to Jane Addams, November 17, 1922

Nov. 17/22

Dearest Miss Addams

You may suppose that I was thrilled to learn that you are actually coming over to The Hague meeting and that Mrs. Lewis is coming with you. And here am I going off to Egypt with Helen Cheever. It seems too absurd.

But it seems to me that I ought to continue with the plan for the two reasons that, having undertaken it and got everything rearranged for the sake of trying to rejuvenate my energies, and to change now and go to The Hague to meet you would undo the business of resting and make all the sacrifice for the sake of it go for let nothing (for I am not yet after 5 weeks really rested) and further for the reason that having suggested to Helen her joining me for ↑a↓ 4 months vacation and all her plans having been made with this idea I can't hardly drop her now companionless with the cold weather coming on. Though she is not actually ill she is for the time being more or less invalided.

I wonder if by any chance you are coming over earlier enough to meet Mrs. Catt and Lady Aberdeen at the proposed London conference. I presume you have seen, or are now seeing, Lady Aberdeen's letter.

The policy that may now be struck out among us is of course very important. Our own group will be divided. [page 2] The personalities that count most will be for a minimum of cooperation and compromise. Others might like a larger measure of fusion.

The question of whether we can go on supporting our work on the scales of hitherto and with a margin for normal and healthy growth is one element, obviously, and it becomes more & more difficult to get financial support in Europe, and notably in England and impossible of course to get any appreciable sums from Germany, Austria and Hungary. {By the way I think I have been tactless twice in Com. meeting and made Fraülein Heymann feel that I did not appreciate the effort they have made to give financial support, small as the financial value of that support may be at world rates. Perhaps you can rectify this impression}

The question of being purely a woman's organization; being so bourgeois that we are not acceptable to the working people and so to the left that we are not acceptable to the bourgeois groups; being so [absolutist] [illegible] and with a war record of such a kind (thank God) that we alarm the Peace bureau type while we have not made ourselves intelligible to Mrs. Villard, Miss Brynes [etc.] [page 3] and by refusing the policy of the war pledge have come to seem indefinite to one whole set of people; being so political that those who are interested only in individual and ethical action (good-will, education, conscientious objection) do not accept us and too remote from the political organi organized politics to hold, for instance, in England those who have gone into the Labour Party and who feel that the W.I.L. does not count enough to spend time or money on.

All these questions are ones that we are bound to consider when we seriously study the question of our future. I might add one more:

The difficulties inherent in the different status and timber of different our groups in different countries. We want, on the one hand, to draw in women from countries politically less advanced and then we are bound to find them either the few extremists -- "come-outers", anarchists, eccentrics -- or else still largely immersed in nationalism (as in present Polish and Greek groups are, I believe).

If we are to consider alliances, cooperation, affiliation ↑we ought draw closer to↓ this might bring us nearer to women's groups as such, or it might be wiser to cultivate our relations with men-and-women's groups of pacifists, such as the No More Movement in England and elsewhere. [page 4]

I feel very happy over the springing up of new movements and types of movements against war. I always think there is an illusion as to the advantages of bringing such movements under one hat. For a petition, delegation, manifestation of any kind 5 [organizations] of 100 each are more than one of 500. And the same is true of their educational and propaganda work, as each [organization] strikes a certain line of [charge] in the social structure through which its influence percolates. The literature that interests one kind of reader is naïve or [illegible] florid or banal to another, and what attracts a third type is arid meaningless and remote to others & so on.

On the other hand, ↑with the policy of many separate bodies↓ there is waste in overhead expenses and [organization] efforts, there is overlapping and there is the annoyance of the good people ↑who say↓ "This is the sixth appeal from a peace society this week. Why can't they get together."

I believe the solution, so far as there is one solution, is in the federal idea but it will take much time, patience and good will obviously to create objective federal solutions. It is most encouraging to me that we have these [illegible] the other two international bodies of women, older than we, are making these approaches to us. [page 5]

And of course also the very position which as suggested above often makes us seem [to] fall between two stools is also in many way just what gives us significance and strength. [page 6]

Ex. Com. Meeting.

I have just mailed a letter to Miss Marshall (copy sent to Geneva to V G) suggesting that the Agenda for the meeting of the Ex. Com. (which at Freiberg we agreed to hold at The Hague (before and after the conference)) should be sent out promptly.

I suppose that it would include questions as to:

next Congress,

Summer school,

Headquarters [organization],


There are other topics, I [know?] not what.

Now as to [illegible] the staff. I often wonder if Miss Marshall & Miss Glücklich would not make a team. I am not sure the time might not come when the former might spend a good part of her [time] in Geneva but this may be moonshine. Her father's death makes one less home claim but makes her more indispensable to her mother. Her mother is however not [immobilized] like her crippled father. Financially she is freer though her income is not enormous.

As to myself I do not know what to think or say. I feel very [uncertain] how far I am useful. I do not feel that I am needed at home and if I can go back to the ↑U.S.↓ without too long an interval to see my family I think that I could stay on for the present if [illegible] that seemed really the best thing for the League. [page 7]

As to finances I think a different arrangement should be made. Mlle Gobat & I had together 1300 francs (1000 E G B 300 (half time) M G). Now Miss Glücklich is receiving ½ of this total, that is she has 650. I think this ought also to be enough for me but [this] would not be ↑a clear saving as it would↓ mean provision outside that amount on travel and [various] expenditures not really personal that I have met would have to be met from the League funds. Now, while so much of the activity is at The Hague, the Geneva office is being carried on more economically by far. [illegible]

Monthly Salary List Formerly Now
E. G. B. 1000. V. G. 650.
M G 300. Bookkeeping done outside [illegible] 60.
Wössner or Eichenberger account bookkeeper & stenograph 450. Mrs Tunas 400.
Mrs Tunas 400. Errand girl (telephone & [some?] copying 50.
2150. 1160.

saving 990

[illegible words]

[page 8]

I suppose Madame Tunas does the filing and the work in connection with the library which is considerable.

This means that Miss Glücklich is filling both my place and Mlle Gobats and dispensing with stenographic assistance altogether. [illegible]

At Freiberg the idea was to give her a first-class colleague but Miss Rinder could not come and Miss Glücklich prepared to go on for the time being at least with the arrangement as at present.

In considering the future the work in connection with the press, our own editorial work such as it is [illegible] must be considered in the routine plan, and [organization] work in [connections?] where we are not (and where we already are) represented and work in connection with congresses and summer schools must be provided for as occasion arises. I think it was a bad thing that I allowed the Geneva office to get so absorbed in the work of the Vienna and the Varese-Lugano meetings but I at least did not see how to avoid it either time. I do not hope the S.S. of next summer can be [organized] quite apart. [page 9]


I think that in discussing these [illegible] questions of personnel it is just as well that I am not to be there. I think it will be easier to discuss fully & at length. It is no question of whether people have friendly feelings for me -- the only question is what will best serve our common purpose. The thing I should consider an real recognition would be taking me at my words and disposing of me with this sole question in mind and believing that that is what I want. I consider the Committee free to make any plan. I mean that it is there is no contract ↑understanding running as↓ from Congress to Congress; but that the that it is a question of a [illegible] decision de novo to be made in December.

You telegraphed Helen that you hoped that I would extend my vacation through the winter and that you would write. We have not received any letter but I imagine that one will reach us and then I shall know your mind more fully. I understand some people wrote you about me. I don't know who nor to what effect.

As to my health it is hard to know just what to say. [page 10] I am not in the least ill. I have not much nervous endurance and little sense of energy or initiative. It may be because I am nearly 56 and not 30. It may be I have a sort of mental and moral fog from too much thinking & feeling about one set of things ↑which will soon pass completely↓. It may be just that I allowed the war to upset me. I certainly have not overworked for the League; I have not worked nearly as hard as it [illegible] though with more nervous strain at certain times. It has been a new kind of work for me and I was used to a long holiday in Maine from June to September during which I studied but had no care. I don't know any more about it [illegible]. It is far more a moral than a physical failure. [illegible] I mean that if I had been wise enough and strong enough to manage myself rightly I don't believe I need have needed to [break] off my work like this. But I waste no good energy on blaming myself or [repining?]. The thing now as to [illegible] this wonderful holiday & help Helen to enjoy it and come back made over.

I am hoping, that oh so much, that I am [page 11] I am going to see you. I will come to any place at any time that you may think well. In your telegram to Helen you spoke of meeting in Europe in May. This was, I suppose before you decided to come over. As to places to be visited for [organization] purposes I think Spain is one, Finland another, and Baltic one is one field, Poland and her neighbors another, Finland and Baltic countries another. Miss Marshall has very special openings in Poland and the Ukraine and I wish we might send her there. It would be a great happiness to me to travel with you [illegible] on League business if that were what you liked. But unhappily the question of money comes in. I am taking what should be [capital] for this journey with Helen and letting her pay the extra costs of a kind of travel I should not afford alone. A winter in Italy I could have financed for myself but as we go to Egypt for her health I we make this arrangement. That is League travel would have to come out of League funds.

I am sorry to bore you with this long letter -- That is the worst of idle people they think others [have] as much time to read as they to write -- Anyway I won't add any unnecessary verbiage.

I send much love to Mrs Lewis and most affectionate greetings to the many friends who will [page 12] soon be gathering at The Hague.

Your devoted E G B