Alice Hamilton to Mary Rozet Smith, May 5, 1915


J. A. had two splendid letters from Mrs. Bowen but I have not [heard] <heard> of one from you.

May 5th


Dear Mary,

I am sitting in the parlor of this very pleasant hotel, surrounded by a crowd of Dutch people, whose language is guttural but whose voices are full and agreeable. J. A. is lecturing in Amsterdam, with Mrs. Schwimmer and Mrs. Lawrence and Fräulein Heymann. I could not go to hear her because Miss Kittredge and I are making a desperate and probably quite futile effort to get into Belgium, and we had to stop car in Rotterdam to see the German consul instead of going on to Amsterdam. We have already wasted three precious days in the pursuit of this wild plan and though today the consul was very sanguine we do not really believe we can get in. Even the wives of German officers may not, and our consul in Brussels who was returning to his post was held up eight days before they let him enter. [page 2]

The Congress is over and since Sunday Miss Addams has been in sessions of the Resolutions Committee, making the final draft. I wonder how much has been reported to you in the American papers. The Dutch papers are mostly contemptuous, the English sometimes quite nasty. To me it was intensely interesting and sometimes very moving. People are saying now that the German [vote] predominated, that it was a pro-German Congress, but that is true only in the sense that the German women were there in goodly numbers and were an unusually fine lot of women, so able and so fair and so full of warmth and generosity. I wish Miss Hannig could hear them talk, not only the real Germans, but the Hungarians and Austrians. The English were only three, and not even a united three for Mrs. Pethick Lawrence was [page 3] ignored by the two legitimate suffragists, Miss Courtney and Miss MacMillan. There was a fine Canadian girl there, a niece of Sam Hughes, the Major-General of the Canadian forces. We expected the English delegation to welcome her with joy as an addition to their small numbers, but they were very thoroughly English and evinced no enthusiasm over a Colonial. The Norwegian and Swedish women impressed [me] very well, but they were the most cautious of all, being in fear all the time lest they do something to violate the neutrality of their countries. Finally there were the Poles and Belgians who were very moving and yet seldom over-emotional. Indeed what I felt all the time was the deep undercurrent of emotion, but an admirable self-control. Only Madam Schwimmer could sweep the Congress off its [page 4] feet and she did it several times, notably at the end when she succeeded in having them pass the resolutions which filled most of us with dismay and which you will have seen in the papers, that the resolutions proposed the Congress was presented by a committee to the various Powers. As you will have seen, J. A. is one of the delegates to visit all the countries except Russia and Scandinavia. She wants me to go with her and of course I will. To me it seems a singularly fool performance, but I realize that the world is not all Anglo-Saxon and that other people feel very differently.

J. A. was simply wonderful as president. She could not have been better. And Grace Abbott and Miss Breckinridge helped her as nobody else could have. I was really lost in admiration of their ability, their dearness and quickness. They are with her in Amsterdam tonight.

I have quantities more to talk about, but I must go to bed, after a long day. Love to Mrs. Bowen

Yours ever A. H.