Emily Greene Balch to Alice Hamilton, November 2, 1920


November 2, 1920.

Dr. Alice Hamilton,
227 Beacon Street,

Dear Dr. Hamilton,

Your letter of October 15 has just come and I am very glad to hear from you. Your letter crosses one from me to Mrs. Cothren enquiring about the same matter of which you write -- the Nobel Prize petition. I think that the effort to get it will be made mainly by our European members, but of course we want the cooperation of Miss Addams' friends in the United States. The decision to apply for it cannot be changed (or not without the formalities of a demand for reconsideration by a [member] of the Executive Committee and a vote by correspondence). Certainly I am bound to carry out the formal vote of the Executive Committee especially as every member was present and voted except Miss Addams herself and Mrs. Larsen of Norway and Miss Addams had given her expressed permission for an application in (the enclosed copy) of her letter.

I do not think that it is necessary to have a campaign of publicity. What I understand is that distinguished people should be asked to sustain the candidacy and surely from Mr. Hoover up and down there will be plenty of people in the United States to back such an application on behalf of Miss Addams. -- It does not seem to me that our application should rest merely on The Hague and Zürich Congresses and the [organization] ↑growing↓ out of them. Miss Addams' book notably Newer Ideals of Peace and the whole work of Hull House and the way in which she has been educating the American people to regard the European famine as our problem as well as that of Europe and as a part of the whole problem of an [organized] and peaceful and cooperative world. These are the things which it seem to me constitute her strongest claim and I am not at all sure that we shall not be successful. If we were successful would it not strengthen Miss Addams' hands in the United States as well as help our League and its work?

In regard to the other matters spoken of in your letter, for instance Frau Hertzka's impression of our section and Mrs. Villard's Society, it is the case as I see it that [page 2] the latter has more in common with many of our Sections than has the W.I.L. The United States' Section included perhaps our most [extreme] conservatives and our most expressed ↑extreme↓ radicals. Its [polarization] and subdivision has left us, as I judge, mainly with the more conservative group. I think that our Dutch, Swedish and perhaps other Scandinavian groups are in temper more nearly allied with the present American group. I wish that we might be able to work out a plan by which both groups in America might be with us. Of course, I cannot interfere in the American situation even if I understood it well enough to dare to want to. I should like very much to know further what you think about all this.

Now to return to the matter of the Nobel Prize, it seems to me essential that some one should make a business of immediately collecting and making available the material and secondly securing the strongest possible letters from American notabilities to be centralized here in this Office. Of course you cannot give time to the matter now that the College year has begun, but I hope that you will support my request for help and cooperate just as far as may be practicable.

I am enjoying seeing Mr. and Mrs. Meeker. She has not been well nor has she found it easy to adjust herself to new conditions, but she seems happier than she was at first. I have done what I could, but it has not been very much.

Yours always cordially,