Felix Adler to Anna Garlin Spencer, May 11, 1921

The Society for Ethical Culture of New York
Central Park West and 64th Street

May 11, 1921

Dear Mrs. Spencer,

Your few words to me on Sunday morning are among the memorabilia of the Anniversary celebration. Thank your also for you lines. I shall be here, perhaps with weekend interruptions, for several weeks longer, and we can make an appointment to discuss the International Club any day by telephone.

This letter of Foerster's, addressed to Prof. Herron, and that comes to me in a roundabout way, instead of directly from Foerster, who has been in correspondence with me on other matters, is significant in many ways. He is what the Germans call ein Feuergeist, vehement by nature, and almost monkishly ascetic by conviction, He is shrewdly practical in many ways, and also visionary. He stated to one of his friends that he had seen Christ actually sitting at his bedside. Having been brought up a Freethinker, he has changed into a near-Catholic, but yet not near enough to suit the Roman Catholics. One almost surmises that he declines to identify himself with any of the Christian denominations in order to have them all more or less at his feet. He is as entirely convinced of his prophetic mission as any of his predecessors of the same type.

Whether it would be wise to endow the kind of institution which he describes, to be supremely governed by this one personality, requires careful reflection. He does not even propose that a Committee be in charge. He is to be himself the head, and others are to act under his direction. He also combines in a dreamy sort of way the notion of a Platonic Academy with that of a headquarters for the Pacifist Movement. I say Pacifist, although in effect his plan is the larger [page 2] one of initiating a Renaissance of the older, more idealistic German culture.

Despite the drawbacks which are implied in Foerster's personality, I am disposed to believe that considerable can be accomplished by a movement under his leadership. My gravest doubt is whether it is wise to subsidize a movement of this kind ↑from the outside↓, especially from foreign sources.

Yours sincerely,

Felix Adler [signed]