Scope and arrangement
Rosika Schwimmer's papers, which constitute the bulk of the Schwimmer-Lloyd Collection, extensively document her professional life and personal interests, and the activities of prominent colleagues in the pacifist, suffragist, feminist and world government movements.
Spanning the 1890s through her death in 1948, the collection consists of correspondence; Schwimmer's literary and professional writings and speeches; subject files; documents stemming from organizations and movements in which she was active; legal, financial and real estate materials; printed matter, including extensive newspaper clippings; a small number of photographs; and personal miscellany, including juvenilia, appointment and telephone books, passports and identity papers, medical files, and artifacts.
Over half of the collection consists of Schwimmer's voluminous correspondence, maintained as a matter of business on a daily basis and with incoming and outgoing letters interfiled. The letters exchanged document every milestone in her personal and professional career, her relationships with her colleagues and friends, and her opinions on a wide variety of matters. Especially well-represented are the women's suffrage and reform movements in Europe prior to World War I; the Ford Peace Expedition; Schwimmer's continuing involvement with the American and European peace movements; her contribution to the protection of free speech in the U.S.; her battles with patrioteer organizations throughout the 1930s and 1940s; and her active lobbying for the formation of a world government.
Materials are predominantly in English, with significant holdings in Hungarian and German and a small number of items in other European languages.
Other series within the collection complement the general correspondence, focusing on Schwimmer's involvement with the Hungarian Feminists Association, the International Women Suffrage Alliance Congresses, the 1915 International Congress of Women at The Hague, and the Ford Peace Expedition and Neutral Conference for Continuing Mediation. There are also documents stemming from Schwimmer's Swiss diplomatic service, and from her activities "in exile" in the United States, including her crusade against personal libel, her attempts to obtain American citizenship and the resulting Supreme Court case, her efforts on behalf of other immigrants and displaced persons during World War II, and her activities founding the World Center for Women's Archives.
Researchers interested in Schwimmer's photographs will find occasional examples included here, but are instructed to view the separate finding aid for the Schwimmer-Lloyd Collection Photographs for the bulk of photographic materials. In addition, several boxes of images from the Schwimmer-Lloyd Collection Photographs are now available through the Digital Gallery of The New York Public Library, under the title "Woman Suffrage and Feminism Photographs in the Schwimmer-Lloyd Collection." See the collection guide for further information: http://digitalgallery.nypl.org/nypldigital/explore/dgexplore.cfm?col_id=542.
The Rosika Schwimmer papers are arranged in ten series:
- 1890-1948, n.d.465 boxes
The general correspondence is arranged chronologically by date of receipt, as it was received and logged by Schwimmer and her assistants. Researchers may find it difficult to identify and locate all letters exchanged with a particular person. There is a three-step process through which one may locate all correspondence related to an individual, which is explained in detail under Subseries IB.. Mailbooks.
There is a small amount of correspondence arranged within other series of the collection. In such instances, this fact will be noted in the series description for each section.
- 1896-1948, n.d.18 boxes
This series consists of manuscripts of Schwimmer's published and unpublished articles and books; notes and research files supporting these works; 6 index volumes providing citations to her journalistic publications, 1899-1940; texts and notes of her speeches; a small amount of correspondence; and materials related to Schwimmer's efforts as an informal book agent for friends and associates.
Additional examples of Schwimmer's publications and other works, spanning 1902 through 1945, can be found in newspaper clipping form in series VIII. Personal Press Clippings, in boxes 547 through 550.
In English, French, German and Hungarian.
- 1918-19491 box
Materials concerning her affairs as Hungarian Minister to Switzerland from late 1918 to 1919 consist of her credentials, financial records, correspondence, and maps and statistical materials on Hungary. Included are three folders of Hungarian Government Information Service releases, the majority of which are in German and were penned by Schwimmer herself.
Of interest within the correspondence are letters exchanged with President Count Michael Karolyi. Also of note are statements found in Schwimmer's wills (see series IX. Financial, Insurance and real estate records), noting that she never received payment for her diplomatic work. These documents indicate she was owed "20,000 Swiss Gold Francs" at November 1918 value. In her will she transferred her rights to these monies, should the sum ever be collected. Letters documenting Schwimmer's efforts to obtain these monies, written during the 1940s, are also present here.
In Hungarian, German, English and French.
- 1914-ca. 1945, n.d.3 boxes
Following the International Congress of Women at The Hague, Schwimmer joined with the Americans Jane Addams, Emily Greene Balch, and Julia Grace Wales; English suffragette Chrystal Macmillan; Dutch feminist Aletta Jacobs, and several others to travel to fourteen European countries, in order to meet with diplomats to discuss the possibility of armistice. Their success in obtaining signed statements agreeing to accept compromise if proposed by a neutral party encouraged Schwimmer in her plans for mediation. She used the statements to convince Henry Ford to finance the Ford Peace Expedition and the ensuing Neutral Conference for Continuous Mediation.
Schwimmer's involvement with the 1915 Ford Peace Expedition and 1916 Neutral Conference for Continuous Mediation is documented within this series. Materials consist of Schwimmer's own papers as well as materials she collected in the years following the events.
The records include correspondence, notes, minutes, press releases, daily bulletins, lists of participants and their biographies, and miscellaneous items generated by the Peace Expedition and Neutral Conference. Materials collected at a later date are labeled "Ford Peace Expedition aftermath," and consist of newspaper clippings and printed matter, correspondence, Peace Ship reminiscences written by the Lloyd children and other expedition participants, and Ford Peace Expedition anniversary materials.
While the Ford Peace Expedition materials do not document the pre-voyage preparation in great detail, they do represent daily discussions and resolutions taken during the expedition and conference; disagreements and the subsequent development of opposing camps; and Schwimmer's role in each of these events. Anniversary files on the expedition include "then and now" biographical data on many participants.
Researchers are advised that the best source for detailed information on the operations and finances of the Ford Peace Expedition and Neutral Conference may be Lewis Maverick's records in the Ford Peace Expedition Participants' Papers. For documentation of the numerous speeches and statements made on the excursion, as well as lists of journalists onboard, see Ellis O. Jones's records in the same collection.
Previously, Schwimmer's Ford Peace Expedition records were arranged with the related papers of other participants. The papers of these other participants have been removed and are accessible in the following collections:
--Ford Peace Expedition Participants' Papers, NYPL Manuscripts and Archives (Emily Greene Balch, Ellis O. Jones, Lewis Lochner, Lewis Maverick, Naima Sahlbom)
--Katherine Leckie Papers, NYPL, Manuscripts and Archives
--Ernest Mandel Papers, NYPL, Manuscripts and Archives.
- 1922-1942, n.d.6 boxes
Rosika Schwimmer collected materials documenting what she perceived as defamation of her character. These papers cover a range of incidents from petty conflicts to full-fledged lawsuits. Her concern also extended to libelous statements against her colleagues in the peace movement, Albert Einstein and Frederick J. Libby, among others.
During the reactionary period of the first "Red Scare" (1917-1921), Schwimmer was publicly accused of being, alternately, a Communist, a German sympathizer, an anarchist, and the cause of Henry Ford's anti-Semitism. These materials represent her reactions to the anti-immigrant, anti-Communist and anti-leftist hysteria pervading America during this period, and document her attempts to defend her name and reclaim her public image. In particular, Schwimmer felt she had suffered a real financial loss due to the attacks against her, as her lecture contracts went from netting her an average of $3,000 in 1915 (as noted in the June 14, 1922 "Notes of a Spy's Interview with Me"), to a mere trickle in the 1920s.
A large section of this series focuses on Schwimmer's relationship with Henry Ford. In the years following the Ford Peace Expedition, many in the American media blamed Schwimmer for Henry Ford's increasingly vocal anti-Semitism. The materials she collected on Ford largely focus on her attempts to contact him in later years, requesting that he publicly exonerate her of any responsibility for his views. Arranged in this series are publications which examine his anti-Semitism. Also included are materials collected and produced by Schwimmer in an apparent attempt to prove Ford's involvement in anti-Semitic organizations, through his association with W.J. Cameron of the Anglo-Saxon Federation of America.
Researchers are advised that the name "Elaine G. Sanders," featured in the files on Edith Wynner and Georgia Lloyd's attempts to contact Ford, is a pseudonym for Edith Wynner. The papers related to Fred Marvin, Executive Director of the anti-Communist patriotic society Key Men of America, and editor-in-chief of the New York Commercial, pertain to a pamphlet he published in 1926, "Ye Shall Know the Truth." The publication attacked pacifists, socialists and other "radicals," labeling them as anti-American. Publication of the pamphlet, which was particularly scathing about Schwimmer, led her to sue for libel, primarily based on her assertion that the charges of Communism were patently false. The verdict was found in her favor.
Schwimmer's case against Upton Sinclair and William Fox was based on their portrayal of her in the book Upton Sinclair Presents William Fox. In the book, for which Sinclair interviewed Fox regarding his interactions with Henry Ford, Fox claimed the Ford Peace Expedition was an advertising gimmick to sell more cars. Incensed at Fox's insinuation that she had reported this fact to him, Schwimmer wrote to Sinclair. Despite several exchanges in which she requested he retract his statements, the book remained in its original state and she filed suit. In an ironic twist, correspondence in this series indicates that during the Marvin case, Sinclair himself referred Schwimmer to the attorney whom she would later hire to sue him as well. Her suit, however, was not successful.
Materials in this series include correspondence, research notes, case filings and briefs, copies of Marvin's and Sinclair's publications (including evidence of their published attacks), texts of lectures and "daily data sheets" of the Key Men of America, newspaper clippings, and other printed matter. Prominent correspondents include Roger Baldwin, Carrie Chapman Catt, Freda Kirchwey, Arthur Garfield Hays, Olive Rabe, Lola Maverick Lloyd, Fred Marvin, Alice Park, Romain Rolland, and Upton Sinclair.
- 1919-1981, n.d.4 boxes
Compiled by Edith Wynner, this series documents Schwimmer's naturalization attempts, the U.S. Supreme Court case United States v Schwimmer, her interest in the naturalization cases of others, and her efforts on behalf of European refugees from World War II. Records related to the case United States v Schwimmer document her application and rejection for citizenship, subsequent court case and appeal, and her ongoing conceptualization of the issue up until the time of her death.
Materials consist of correspondence; annotated copies of transcripts, briefs and other documents relevant to her case; naturalization petitions and related documents; Schwimmer's own trial notes; papers related to her compliance with alien registration requirements in the early 1940s; and one folder of letters exchanged with Justices Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. and Felix Frankfurter. Also present are copies of printed matter citing the Schwimmer case as precedent or mentioning Rosika Schwimmer, miscellaneous newspaper clippings, and a subject file on Justice Holmes. A fair amount of the correspondence in this series appears to be duplicate copies of letters housed in Series I. Correspondence, although the Holmes letters are present in the original.
Papers related to the questions of naturalization and the citizenship difficulties of others include a file on Rebecca Shelley, and a miscellaneous file containing correspondence on several other cases, many of which are related to conscientious objectors and citizenship.
The papers of Olive Rabe and the Griffin-O'Day Bill Committee, originally arranged with these materials, were deemed to constitute distinct collections and have been removed from Rosika Schwimmer's papers. For further information on these and other Schwimmer-Lloyd collections, please see the Schwimmer-Lloyd Collection finding aid.
Finally, the series ends with a box of letters recording Schwimmer's attempts, between 1939 and 1942, to locate sponsors and immigration affidavits for European Jews, Catholics, suffragists, pacifists, and others likely to be persecuted under fascist regimes. Her project was complicated by the fact that resident aliens were not permitted to vouch for immigrants. Schwimmer, therefore, engaged in a letter-writing campaign to cultivate American sponsors for the friends, family, colleagues, and even strangers she was hoping to rescue. These refugees hailed from Austria, Czechoslovakia, Germany, Hungary, Romania, Spain, and Yugoslavia. Many of the letters from refugees included resumes and photographs. Documentation present in this section indicates Schwimmer was able to obtain an affidavit for the feminist Eugenie Miskolczy Meller.
From 1944 through 1946, Schwimmer directed her efforts toward providing food and monetary relief to those contacts still remaining in Europe. The papers collected here contain correspondence with possible sponsors, as well as aid recipients in France, Germany, Hungary, Italy and Romania. Also included are itemized lists of packages sent to particular individuals, including Camille Drevet, Michael Karolyi and Ignazio Silone.
The refugee relief materials are in German, Hungarian, English and French.
- 1910-1983, n.d.5 boxes
Schwimmer's experiences as an office worker in Budapest inspired her to organize in defense of women's' vocational rights. Her interest in this cause soon expanded to include larger feminist and pacifist issues, in Hungary and on the international stage. Schwimmer became an advocate for woman suffrage, birth control, and dress reform. She participated in founding the National Organization of Hungarian Women Office Workers, the Hungarian Association of Working Women, the Hungarian Feminist Association, and the Hungarian National Council of Women. From 1907 to 1919 she was editor to the Hungarian Feminist Association's journal A Nö (The Woman).
Compiled by Schwimmer and Edith Wynner under the rubric "Women and Peace Organizations," this series contains documents pertaining to her participation in the pacifist and woman suffrage movements in Europe and the United States. Among the groups and events represented are the Hungarian Feminists Association, the International Woman Suffrage Alliance, the World Center for Women's Archives, and several other societies.
Materials include correspondence; organizational records such as meeting minutes, speeches and resolutions; congress documents; Schwimmer's handwritten notes; memorabilia; newspaper clippings and other printed matter.
Materials in Dutch, English, French, German, Hungarian, Italian, Norwegian, and Swedish.
- 1897-197248 boxes
The bulk of the materials in this series are Schwimmer's personal press clippings and scrapbooks, spanning 1897 to 1972. The extended date is accounted for by the fact that Edith Wynner continued to expand the holdings of the series following Schwimmer's death in 1948. The entire series has been microfilmed, although Edith Wynner's additions were added post-microfilming. Wynner was also responsible for the detailed descriptive summaries in the container list to this finding aid.
The subject matter of the newspaper clippings and articles covers Schwimmer herself and Hungarian periodicals she edited or wrote for, such as A Nö és a Társadalom. Also included as subjects are the Ford Peace Expedition and Neutral Conference, feminist and suffragist causes in Hungary, and numerous organizations, people and themes in which she cultivated an interest.
For Rosika Schwimmer's own writings and publications in this series, see boxes 547-550.
In Dutch, English, French, German, and Hungarian.
- 1911-1948, n.d.3 boxes
The materials in this series document the personal finances of Rosika Schwimmer and her sister Franciska, and offer a small glimpse into the personal circumstances of the two women.
From the 1920s through her death Schwimmer shared an apartment with her sister Franciska and their friend and personal secretary, Edith Wynner. Lola Maverick Lloyd appears to have provided a significant amount of the income shared by the three women (as is evidenced in Ms. Lloyd's papers), in addition to the funds produced by Rosika's publications and Franciska's music lessons. A small number of canceled checks not maintained within the collection indicate that Rosika managed their communal finances until 1933, at which point her sister and Wynner took over the triumvirate's financial affairs. At the time of Franciska's death, Edith Wynner continued to be supported by their estates.
In addition to personal finances, there are account books related to the Campaign for World Government, wills, and funeral and legal expenses surrounding the deaths of Schwimmer's mother Berta Katscher Schwimmer, her niece Vilma Schwimmer, and Franciska Schwimmer. Schwimmer's will, in which she leaves any unpaid monies recouped from her Hungarian diplomatic service to Edith Wynner and Georgia Lloyd, is included, as is a small amount of real estate information and other miscellaneous financial materials.
- 1883-1957, n.d.39 boxes
Rosika Schwimmer's personal miscellany contains of juvenilia, passports and identity documents, appointment books, address books and calling cards, telephone logbooks, selected medical records, artifacts, and other miscellaneous materials.
The juvenilia consists of school reports, essays, drawings, autograph and commonplace books, and other miscellany. In Hungarian.
Her passports, spanning 1918-1921, are accompanied by membership cards and alien registration documents from the United States. Of interest are the falsified passports, dated 1920, which she used to escape Hungary under an alias, and the Austrian emergency passport, dated 1921, which allowed her to travel to the United States. Also notable is the document stating that Schwimmer registered to vote in Hungary--the only time in her life in which she was able to do so--in November of 1919. In English, German and Hungarian.
The appointment books, previously labeled as "diaries," are primarily in Hungarian. They document Schwimmer's daily activities during the period of 1901 to 1948, often containing notes on topics discussed during appointments.
Schwimmer's address books and calling cards are arranged chronologically, with overlapping dates. Many of the address books and packets of loose addresses and cards were grouped by geographic region (for example, "Chicago" or "Europe"), in addition to the section of calling cards originally labeled "IWSA calling cards, 1904-1906."
Her telephone log books record over thirty years of telephone calls, frequently listing contact, telephone number, subject discussed, and some notes on details of the conversation.
The small amount of medical records in the collection consist of selections from Schwimmer's "medical notebooks" containing daily charts on her medicines, diets, tests and experimental diabetes treatments; medical correspondence; hospital records, including billing; and information on her last illness, death and post-mortem report. Also included is a small amount of information on the health of her mother Berta Katscher Schwimmer.
Additional materials include job reference letters, the list of books in her home library prior to its shipment to the U.S., a list of books she read between 1921 and 1933, and assorted family and personal artifacts.
Among the artifacts is her "famous black bag" of documents from the Ford Peace Expedition, sans documents; a leather portfolio and pencils from the Neutral Conference; a 1915 Kodak Vest Pocket Autographic Special camera; pacifist, suffragist and woman suffrage pins and ribbons and calendars; and other miscellany. The Kodak Vest Pocket camera, the model popularly known as "the Soldier's Camera," is accompanied by a note from Edith Wynner. Wynner wrote that the camera was temporarily confiscated by German authorities in 1915. It was also given into her own safekeeping in 1940 when Schwimmer, considered an enemy alien in the U.S., was forbidden to own a camera. The suffragist pins and ribbons represent the woman suffrage movement in several countries, among them Hungary, Germany, Denmark, the Netherlands, and the United States. Of note is the January 1915 pin from the founding of the Woman's Peace Party in the U.S.
Additional artifacts having belonged to Rosika Schwimmer can be found in the Schwimmer Family Papers.
All artifacts are available only by advance permission of the Curator of Manuscripts.