THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF GWENDOLEN M. CARTER
a. The Family Setting
b. College Days Toronto & Oxford
c. Widening Horizons Girl Guides, etc.
The A ciu~obicr ? op e ( rwcndoien M.Yc^t ^
S8-yr / t /147V I grew up in a big two-and-a-half story brick house on a busy
corner of Main and Park Streets near the center of Hamilton, Ontario,
Canada. My father was a doctor who had his office in the house.
He specialized, in the latter years of his practice, on children's
diseases and was in charge, on a voluntary basis, of the children's
wing of the local hospital. My mother was active in a number of
voluntary agencies and, in particular, the Y.W.C.A., whose well-
equipped building was only a couple of blocks from where we lived.
My brother, Charles, who was always called Charlie at home, was
three years older than I, and, during much of the time I was growing
up, he was away at boarding school, which he greatly disliked.
Although it was not until we had grown up that Charlie and
I developed a close relationship of mutual respect and affection, I
naturally tagged along while he was still at home, sometimes with
potentially hazardous results. He helped me to climb to the top of
the high board fence that surrounded much of our spacious lawn and
flower beds and then, as I was told later, pushed me off the top to
see if I could land safely, which I could not. One of Dad's spankings
for him and a slight lifetime hump on my nose were the results.
More hazardous was Charlie's fascination with fire. Although
Dad had a horse called Pat when I was very small, he soon bought one
of the early Ford cars for which a garage was built off the side
street and into the garden. There was a hole in the concrete floor
for surplus water, and Charlie built a small fire on top of it while
I watched from inside by the wall opposite the door. The fire
sputtered, so he went to the kitchen, brought back some gasoline and
poured it on with immediate and temporarily exciting results. As
the flames shot up, I can still remember moving around the wall to
the door with my well-stardhed white dress just out of reach of the
fire while Charlie rushed to the kitchen and came out with a scuttle
full of coal and threw it on the flames in an abortive effort to quell
them Not surprisingly, it took the firemen to do so, and the
inside of the garage had ultimately to have a completely new wooden
In the morning, Dad and mother and I had breakfast together as
Charlie would have left already for school. Dad always insisted that
I eat an egg, despite my protests. When I balked, he would urge me
to "fool mother." I would then gulp it down, turn the shell upside
down and offer it to her. She always took it with thanks and would
proceed to crack the top off the empty shell, whereupon there would be
shouts of glee from me! I don't know how long this charade continued,
but I think for quite a while before I learned to eat my egg without
such inducement. Old habits die hard, however, and I still have an
egg for breakfast if I possibly can.
Every morning, Dad would sit by the telephone in his office just
inside the front door and call his patients to see if they wanted him
to visit them that day. Mother urged him to go in any case, but he
always refused, although, not infrequently, they would rouse him in
the middle of the night when their symptoms became more alarming. He
always got out of bed, dressed, and went to them, usually to find they
could have waited until morning, but he never complained.*
The office and waiting room were forbidden ground when it was
time for patients to come. When there were epidemics, as there often
were of flu in stormy weather, they would pour into the house in a
stream. I have vivid memories of Dad coming from the office as the flow
lessened and sitting at the table with the rest of us, often shading
his eyes between courses, and falling asleep for a few minutes before
returning to the office. It was an ability I have always envied but
never managed to acquire.
In the summer, Charlie and I were usually sent out of town to a
farm belonging to the family of a wonderful maid of ours called Jennie.
It was she who had taught me to walk, she always boasted, while my
parents were in New York on one of their rare visits out of town.
We were at the farm the summer I became four and suddenly found I
could not make my legs work. I remember that I was sat on a table
and offered candies if I could walk across the room, but I could not.
Jennie telephoned my parents, who were well aware of the polio epidemic
in the area, and came out at once to fetch me by the big radial that
passed our house in the city every day. It was later that the pain came.
It was Christmas Day when I was first brought downstairs to be with the
rest of the family.
Even though I could not use my legs, I still wanted to be as ac-
tive as possible. In the winter, I had a sleigh and huge furnace gloves
to push myself along the slippery pavement. When I was quite a bit
older, I used to escort my playmates over the tracks they were for-
bidden-to cross by themselves. "No one ever told me not to cross
them," I'd say proudly. I would also get into the snow in our own
garden and make snowmen that were difficult to recognize but gave
me inordinate satisfaction. I was told later that one day when I
had dropped my tool in the snow I spent a vast amount of energy
trying to dig it out. Whether I did or not, it didn't occur to me
to ask for help because that would have spoiled my fun.
One of the many people who used to pass in front of our house
when I was out on my sleigh was the physical director of the Y.W.C.A.,
whom we came to know as Peter Cheswright. Dad was very keen that I
should learn to swim, or at least move around in the water, and the
Y had a splendid pool. I could always float.because my legs were so
light, and, ultimately, I swam well enough to get to the end of the
pool, which was a great triumph.
Gradually, a close relationship developed with Peter, which
bore fruit for all of us eventuAlly when she had so severe an attack
of appendicitis that she had to give up her job at the Y. It was about
the time that I needed daily exercises of different kinds, and she
came to live with us to supervise them.
Mother already had help in giving me massage and simple exercises
through a close friend of hers, whom I called Aunt Jo, who came for a
weekend and stayed seven years. She was a devout Catholic and strove
mightily to do something about my religious training, but with little
success. I was fascinated ., as she said, her beads", but created
dismay when I proposed she use her brooch instead I was more attracted
by the services at the small Anglican church nearby, particularly
because of the music. One Sunday, I crept inside in my very ordin-
ary play clothes and creaked up the aisle to where my parents were
sitting. I was never punished for such doings, however, and the only
time I can remember being slapped hard enough to hurt was for "being
rude to Aunt Jo."
Charlie was a great deal more sensitive than I was, and, when
anything unusual was suggested, his reaction was "what will the people
think." Unfortunately, he grew up in the period when boys went to
boarding school, and he was sent to Ridley College, which he never
liked. Moreover, Mother bought him an inappropriate kind of nightwear
on the ill advice of a salesman, and he suffered a lot of fun-making
at his expense. I would have fought back,- but he took the gibes and
suffered. Moreover, when he had a bad case of flu, he was sent back
to college before he was fully recovered. I suffered in a different
way during that flu epidemic by being sent to stay with Grandmother,
who was a fine person of whom-I became quite fond when I was old enough
to enjoy her Irish witticisms at everyone's expense, but who dressed
me in her most uncomfortable and unsuitable garments cut down to size.
I started school when I was eight or nine at a small private
establishment run by two elderly maiden ladies, Miss Virtue and Miss
Fitzgerald. One advantage I could have had from that school was to
learn German, but Dad vetoed it, since "we are fighting the Germans."
Though my close German friend of university and later years, Louise
Holborn, coached me as best she could, and I learned to love the great
woods and towns of Germany when I was with her, I never became at all
I found French easier, but, like do many of us growing up in Ontario,
took no advantage of our Quebec neighbors, and have remained largely
unilingual throughout my life, a great disadvantage on my many travels.
A year at the local public school to which I could walk with
crutches and braces on both legs prepared me for the more distant
Hamilton Collegiate Institute, where Dad drove me and a close friend,
Dorothy Hannon, and picked us up after his hospital duties were over.
It speaks much for him, not for us, that I received an award for punctu-
ality my first year! At least I found little difficulty in mastering
the long flights of stairs from the sidewalk and to the upper levels
inside the building and particularly delighted in swinging down
them again in a way I never dared to use again when I got older. In that
earlier time, I simply put my crutches on steps well below those I was
standing on and would swing down to their level. I can still vizualize
the startled faces of my classmates making room for my peculiar means
Dad had been in khaki from the day Canada entered the war against
Germany as part of the British Commonwealth, and, as a senior medical
officer in the army, was away from home for long stretches at a time.
Mother and he decided that summer by Lake Erie was appropriate for both
Charlie and me, and we loved it. In the early days, we travelled there
in a large kind of wagon called a Democrat once we had reached the end
of the rail line in Hagersville. Once we arrived at Hoover's Point, we
stayed there throughout the summer.' At first, our cottage was a rented
one, but, soon, we had our own. Mother displayed great skill as a
carpenter and fitted ceilings on the bedrooms, and, if I remember rightly,
also enclosed the area outside the kitchen so we had a screened porch.
She had a close friend whom we called Mimi stay with us most summers,
and she said much of their conversation started with "hand me the
One of the special features of the shoreline in front of the
cottages was a row of gas wells standing in the water that had to be
blown out once a week. The sound, as the man moved from one to
another well, always brought us out to watch. The gas was piped into
our cottage, and Charlie and a friend lost most of their hair when
they unplugged an outlet in a vacant one and put a match to it!
In addition to the wells, there was a reef a short distance from
shore, and, in any case, the water was shallow quite a long way out, so
it was safe to let us go in by ourselves. I finally graduated to a
boat of my own, which I used to paddle happily for hours, taking swims
from the side as the fancy took me. I also had a tent of my own in
due course, so I could feel completely independent.
When I was in my mid-teens and had gone fairly far with courses
at the Collegiate, Peter Cheswright came to live with us, and I con-
centrated in earnest on systematic physical exercises. They were care-
fully balanced so as to use whatever muscles I had in each leg and to
develop others where possible. My right leg, nicknamed Pete, had been
the most affected by the polio, and I never graduated from the long
brace that went up close to my hip. The left one, Jane, only needed
a short brace below the knee, which was a great help for going up
Although Peter was skillful in alternating different ways of
developing what muscles I had, the five hours a day which became our
ultimate goal, were pretty boring as well as tiring. Trying to develop
a previously unused muscle was particularly strenuous, as it was a matter
of mental concentration on what Peter described but I could not feel.
Standing with one crutch and finally without either of them required
another type of concentration. In between, I'd lie on my back and
kick madly at a ball which I'd try to send somewhere in the room out
of Peter's reach. That was really fun! So were the trips out of doors
on my tricycle with Peter riding beside me on her bicycle ready to
give me a necessary push over a curb or up a hill.
Dad found a speedometer for the tricycle, so I could measure
the distances I rode, and, in the end, I could go the five miles to
Dundurn Castle, one-time home of Sir Alan MacNab, a distant relative
whose life and work Charlie was to help to publicize in the future.
What particularly attracted me at Dundurn was the small zoo with two
bears, which I loved to feed with nuts thrown into their cages. I
became so popular with them that they would rear up at the front of
the cage when they saw my tricycle.
But my goal was college and, in order to finish my necessary
subjects, particularly in science, I was coached after school hours.
It was quite enjoyable, as I had a first-rate person to work with.
One day, he said to me, "You'll be a very good teacher." I was horrified
and reacted indignantly that "I'll never be a teacher." So much for
good or bad intentions, for, of course, a teacher was what I finally
Not all my life was involved in exercises and study. I became part
of a group of young people organized by one of Dad's particularly
gay young patients, and we went to parties, played bridge, and chatted
about everything and nothing. This was a welcome antidote to the long
hours of developing my muscles and my mind.
There were also some outstanding events like the visit of the
Prince of Wales when Dad was chosen to introduce the other officers to
him. The Prince had rather a rough time in Hamilton, as the current
mayor kept leaning out of their car to hail his friends! Years later,
when Dad, Mother and I went to England, when Uncle John was Mayor of
Oxford, and were presented to the Prince at a meeting of the Royal
Society of which he was honorary presidents he and Dad recalled the
experience. I shall never forget that as the Prince was leaving
the hall at the close of the conference, he went down a couple of
steps and then turned to salute the three of us as we stood at their
Hardly less thrilling was to serve as Mayoress for my celibate
uncle. As soon as I had a chance to slip the massive chain over my
head, I rushed off to the best photographer in town to have a perma-
nent record of how it looked! Then came the official banquet in the
great dining room of the City Hall. Naturally, I sat beside Uncle
John while the ancient ceremony went around the circle into which the
guests were grouped. A massive goblet of silver was passed, with
three of the guests involved each time. One held the goblet, one
faced him, and behind the recipient-to-be stood yet another with his
or her hands raised to shoulder height to ensure no danger could come
while he sipped the wine. As the goblet passed, the historic words
were uttered: "May God protect the King and Queen and cherish the City
of Oxford." The words still sing in my ears.
I B COLLEGE DAYS
We had always taken it for granted I,
that I would go
to Trinity College, the Anglican section of the University of Toronto,
when the appropriate time arrived, and that I would live at its St.
Hilda's residence. Dad had secured his basic medical degree from
Trinity Medical just before the turn of the century. Charlie had gone
to Trinity, and, less appropriately, to the School of Practical
Science (SPS), the latter because of urging by some friends, if I
remember rightly. Unfortunately, their advice was far from appropriate
for Charlie's very real capacities were in literature, and he
flunked out at the end of his first year and never returned. Had his
course fitted him, I was always convinced that he would have done well,
but, in any case, the Trinity connection always meant much to him, and,
characteristically, he made friends during his year there that he kept
all his life.
Because of my exercises, I stayed at home well past the normal
age for entering college, and I was more than ready psychologically
as well as academically when the time came. The first problem was the
very unwelcoming attitude of Miss Cartright, the head of St. Hilda's,
who immediately raised problems of accessibility within the residence
as well as throughout the university. Mother finally became so exas-
perated that she threatened to take me to the Methodist residence,
whose head she knew personally. Miss Cartright finally agreed, however,
and, of course, I managed. She put me in a room at the top of the
first flight of stairs in the central building, 99 St. George St., and
assigned me a roommate, Frances Turner, commonly known as Peggy, on
the grounds that we would be good for each other! After that first
year, I had a ground floor room at the extreme end of the two adjoining
buildings farther up St. George Street that made up the rest of the
residence. I gathered that the point of giving me that particular room4
which had a small side door that opened onto a low verandah and from
there to the street was because Carty, as we called her, felt that I
would never take advantage of that exit. She was quite right as far as
I was concerned, but I always left the door unlocked, and it became a
well-used nighttime passageway for many others.
Academically, all my courses were at the university except for
the boring requirement of Religious Knowledge at Trinity itself.
I took the honor course in history and found, to my delight, that
most of my classes were seminars, which meant papers and lots of dis-
cussion, as well as training by some of the best minds in the University.
One of the courses I took was by Lester (commonly known as Mike) Pearson,
who subsequently became a key member of the Cabinet and later Canadian
High Comissioner in London. One of the most brilliant lecturers I
have ever known, he also had a flow of witticisms that I long
remembered and envied. Others were George Glazabrook, who was also
moved to Ottawa during the war, and always remained a close friend;
Frank Underhill, who introduced me to constitutional issues; and
Professor Wallace, who trained me in academic decorum by force of
Baldwin House, where the history department was situated, was
two long blocks south of St. Hilda's. In good weather, I enjoyed the
walk, but, when the snow came and especially when it turned to ice, I
found myself slipping about uncomfortably. Once, I remember, I was
crossing from one corner of the campus to another through the snow
which had blown into deep drifts, and I slipped and fell. By great
good luck two St. Hildians were not far away, and I heard them
shouting "She's one of ours!: I do not know if I could have managed
to get up/by myself, but generally, I coped even with storms, and it
was a matter of pride not to ask for help except in extreme
circumstances. Some people wondered rather loudly why my family
did not provide taxis for me, and in between I took them or was
picked up by friends after concerts or evening lectures but I much
preferred to handle transport myself and almost always managed to do so.
St. Hilda's had plenty of parties, and I learned to get
my card filled so some of the visitors would sit with me while
the others were dancing. One of the advantages of the academic
atmosphere was that normally there was always something of mutual
interest to talk about, and I do not remember ever feeling left
out, probably thanks to the thoughtfulness of my classmates and
the friends I quickly made. I also was a member and sometimes
an officer of various college and university clubs, edited the St.
Hilda's Chronicle, and contributed to other publications. In
fact, life became a busy and satisfying round of writing essays
for my seminars often finished rather late at night and
participating in a series of other activities.
In the summers, there were trips, sometimes abroad as
before I started St. Hilda's. Mother and I went to Paris at that
time and, due to the chance encounter with a French woman who virtually
adopted us, I was bought an extraordinary wardrobetincluded beaded
dresses. They created a sensation when, on Mother's urging, I
appeared in one of them at the introductory session at St. Hilda's
where everyone/was in slacks or shorts. They were henceforth
relegated to the back of my closet, and were replaced by more
On another visit to England, Mother and I were in a London
taxi when it was struck by a private car from a cross street.
Mother's collarbone was broken, and I was pretty well shaken up.
At the hospital, physicians suggested that Mother only needed to
have her arm "put in rings," but when they learned that her
husband was himself, a physician, they quickly treated her properly.
I spent the night in the public ward of a huge hospital near the
center of London where one of my more lasting memories is of the
woman in the next bed saying "I sure miss my glass of stout of an
evening, dearie, don't you?" to which I replied as noncommitedly
as I could, not having the least idea of what stout was! Dad came
over to London soon after and gave us both a gay time but I remember
that he said he felt like putting a bandage around his head to
match Mother's arm in a sling and my crutches!
One of the great joys of England was my two uncles who lived
there, each as different as possible from the other. They had paid
us a quick visit to Hoover's Point in the summer of 1914 when,
characteristically, Uncle Will, who had a parish in Tollesbury., Kent,
had said breezily, "We'll lick the Germans before Xmas," while
Uncle John, who belonged to the Brothers of the Resurrection in
Oxford and served on that city's Council, replied tartly "Don't fool
yourself. It's going to be a long struggle." which, of course,
it was. They were fortunate to be able to return to England before
the worst began.
Having two uncles in England, and, particularly, having Uncle
John in Oxford were not the only reasons that I was determined to go
to Oxford University when I finished my degree at the University of
Toronto, but it helped to persuade my parents that it was a good idea
and it probably also aided my admission to Somerville College, on
which I had set my heart. "Intellectual, aesthetic, and dowdy" was
its stereotype. Particularly/ for me was that its Principal was the
redoubtable Margery Fry. She was a sister of Roger Fry, a renowned
artist, but far more important in my view was that she was a widely
recognized administrator and an outspoken critic of English local
I well remember that when I arrived at Somerville in September,
1929, I was welcomed to her private quarters along with other new
entrants and lectured on our duty to speak out on important issues of
the day from abortion to rearmament. Miss Fry became a close friend
as well as something of a role model, and future visits to England
after I graduated from Oxford were never complete without the chance
to have long talks with her on everything that seemed of special note
at that time.
My major tutor at Somerville was Miss Maude Clarke, a charming
thoughtful person who did much to make my time there both productive
and compatible. Her specialty was British history and within that vast
field she had specialized on Richard II on whom she discovered some
new material while I was in college which earned her special mention
in The Times. Miss Ady supervised my work in European history but
did not shine in my estimation in comparison with Miss Clarke.
What I liked best were my units in political science, the field in
which I was to specialize when I went to Harvard, and have remained
in ever since.
Oxford terms were short, eight weeks long with six weeks
between them, intended for preparatory reading for the coming term.
During my first year at Somerville, an American fellow student, Basile
Anglin and I and two other students, one Canadian and one American,
drove a rented Renault car to the south of France, easing our
conscience by shipping ahead many more books than we ever read once
we arrived. I was the navigator and, as it generally got dark while
we were still driving, eased my task by following tram tracks through
towns leading to an unfair outcry against the French for having so many!
We stopped in marvellous cities like Avignon, once center for a rival
Pope, and revelled in the architecture of great cathedrals, some of
which I had visited during earlier trips, but found as overwhelmingly
beautiful and uplifting as before. We also savoured a range of
small pensions, creating visible concern from time to time by their
owners over the "jeunes filles seule". Once at the coast, we settled
in for a couple of weeks. Basile and I were the restless ones who
used to take the car for long drives along the 'ote d'Ivor in the
moonlight which I shall never forget.
Coming back, we found the car ran heavier than before. Climbing
to the top of Les Baux on our way south, the lights had given out,
and we had driven down guided only by my pocket flashlight. The
same and more happened after we crossed the Channel and headed noisily
across what seemed wide open spaces towards London with only one day
to spare before we were due back in college. We managed to find a small
hotel for the night, but as we attempted to find our way through
London the next day by following a bus, it kept stopping when we did
not dare to do so. Anxiously asking directions of a policeman engaged
in conversation with a young woman, we were indignantly brushed off
with "Can't you see I'm talking to a lady!" We persevered and
finally found the road to Oxford, sped up it to within sight of
Magdalen Bridge and then stopped dead. The car took three weeks to
repair, but at least we had reached our destination on time.
Somerville from 1929 to 1931 when I was in residence had
attracted an outstanding group of students, many of whom have
remained my close friends. Sheila MacDonald's father had been
Prime Minister from 19 to 19 and, on his rare visits to the
college, we all kept behind half-drawn curtains. Eirene Lloyd
Jones's father had been the senior official for Lloyd George's
cabinet during World War I, and I relished hearing how they had
used their native Welsh to/- /information during the Paris Peace
Conference, confident with reason that it would defy the French
efforts at code-breaking.
Ane of n.y most vivfi memories is of spending my second
-aster vacation with :irene at Gregynor, a na-:ificent half
timbered man-iion in tales set in a spacious and Qeauti.fully
kt >-.rde!n. I not only met its gracious hostesses, the isses
nvies, ?,:t also was entranced by the "aster music in its great
hall, directed i-y -ir Adrian oult, one of the 7reat conductors
of hi.-s ti.e, and sung most beautifully by the local 'elsh choir.
speciall sections ,.re sun by visiting soloists with whom we shared
the top floor.
?othin r auite like it had ever happened to me or, indeed,
was to hadpcn again but during a small motor trin through Vales
in the sur-.er of 1938, I again visited ;jregynog with -.irene, whose
flat had been my London home while I spent much of July in that
city. .y that time she was Lady .-'hite continuing to take the
active role in the H-ouse of Lords that followed her experiences
as a journalist with the Mlancbheter Guardian and as a Labour
member of the iouse of Commons. The .i-ss Davies had died and
the mansion had been deeded to the University of Aberystwich
where Sirene's father's papers are held. I also visited the
universityy of .iales where Airene herself held an important post
and commnuted sontimes weekly from her London responsibilities.
Lot surprisingly, I linked my -regynog reunion to a splendid
motor trip. through much of 'ales's mamnificert scenery and historic
centers, tbfore returning, happily saturated with beauty, to attend
a iondon conference on Southern 'frica a; the Institute of
'oron.'- ,'eal th Affa ir:1.
aideleine C?,rI-hoir:er rcnd I shared adjoin 3 ;. room- durinr- my
econ.,d ",.r sat *o.-mrviU.e and often heated our owni .'.'.r ~tich
iche "'''.; fror;, the co'-" over our o sr co-l fi.re- that ecre
a. feature of the times. :adeleine belongi-ed to a: fa. .l that had con-
trollin- interests in .-,_.-.lo-.vaerica'3s old mii.ne 1 u frica.
through her I had an opportunity to meet her uncle, -ir
Oppenheiner when I first went to louth Africa in and to have
luncheon .with him on the verandah overlooking? his MaF-ificent
and beautifully desi.-ied gardens. :.hen I casually asked how nany
gardeners he had to keep it looking so beautiful he said va.guely
"fifty or si;-ty or so" so I r'uickly dropped that part of our con-
versatieni! :ore to iy interests he explained to me the importance
of the new gold fields in the Free State and the significance of
other recent economic developments in southh Africa.
;Althoughb I ai confident he would not reennber it, his son,
Ernest, and I shared soome political picnics when I was seekingr to
analyze the impact of the 1948 election that established the
-Afrikaner '.ationalists in their dominant position in South African
politics. It was confirmed by their ensuing victory in 19 3,
which I also studied at first hand. .y one and only detailed
election analysis was on t~at decisive election and it ultimately
became a section of THE POIITIC3 OP I UA-ITXY S;O H ARI:CA
.IC., 193:8, that, after it was turned down by the Harvard Univer-
sity Press, was published by Praeger in 195;8.
''he most stimulating of my classmates cat ..o.ervil., l '.uv
Rosemary (later known as Ray) Cochrane. -:y thinking was sharpened
throuFh the many long evenings we snent debating a ranwle of
practical and theoretical issues of the day. Ray was also very
generous. During my second ear at Somerville the powers-that-be
decided that with final exams impending so much walking to lectures
and other academic engagements through the constant and somewhat
erractic Oxford traffic was too tiring for me. Ray Cochrane
generously volunteered her car and she and Basile Anglin drove
me to them. When vacation came again, Basile and I took the
same car to Devon and to Ireland for my first visit there and
thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.
Returning to the college, we waited anxiously for the
official news on the results from the final round of examinations
that determined the rank of one's degree. We all hoped that
Rosemary Cochrane and Peggy Joseph would get firsts and both did.
There was a slight delay over returns for the former because the
examiners, not to our surprise, could not read her writing and
she had to type them all! I was well satisfied with my second
class honors, particularly since Miss Clark told me that all my
papers were B plus to B-plus and nothing below that level. On
my viva, I was asked by Kenneth Bell about the Puritans under
Elizabeth. As I wrote home, there "didn't seem much use in
inventing" so I simply said I didn't know much about them, as
was obvious. He was very nice and said he was sure I had concen-
trated on the other part of the period! I was quite satisfied for
these returns were good enough to admit me somewhat later to
Harvard with advanced standing which meant I could complete the
work for a PhD in two rather than the customary three years. I
wasn't "brilliant" as the Hamrilton Sectator headlined me but I
could make the grade.
What meant so much during my time at Oxford was not only my
new experiences there and abroad, but a new kind of conversation
about pressing issues. Hitler's shadow was extending both inside
and outside Germany, and my Jewish friends, in particular, were
apprehensive. Some of them castigated public opinion in general
less for its failure to recognize the dangers than to seek ways
of change that could provide a kind of insulation against them.
Although we had long discussions on many issues while I was at
St. Hilda's, they seemed shallow beside those in which I had
found myself involved at Somerville and elsewhere abroad.
WIDENING MY HORIZONS
Before I left for Oxford, I had had considerable
experience both with local Girl Guide Companies and those in
other parts of Canada, and had thrown myself wholeheartedly
into their activities. I liked the motto "Be Prepared," the
orderliness of their meetings and excursions, and perhaps
above all, the variety of backgrounds and interests of those
with whom I came in contact through the movement. It was so
easy/to have long discussions about other places and countries
with some of the more serious minded and experienced of senior
Guiders and commissioners, the leaders of companies or divisions,
who would come to Hamilton in connection with various Guiding
events. All of this added materially to my life, particularly
in vacation time, and whetted my appetite for similar oppor-
tunities. My mother also was attracted by the movement and
threw some of her great energy and administrative skills into
There were, of course, certain limitations on what I
could join in both physically and because of other commitments.
For the local paper, I.had long written up the weekly activities
of the Guides in and around Hamilton. I also ran by corres-
pondence my own Lone Guide company of isolated individuals.
During one summer while I was at St. Hilda's, I had organized
a camp for them at a conveniently located farm that was owned
by the parents of two of the Lone Guides. Fran Brigstock
from St. Hilda's, who also had had Guiding experience, came
along to help. We all set up our tents near a small stream
and spent a week emulating as best we could the kind of rituals
and activities that full-scale Girl Guide camps used. Fran
and I were, not surprisingly, exhausted by its end, and I
remember lying in the grass fast asleep for hours after the
affair was over. At least, everyone said it had been a great
An earlier Guiding event, going across Canada on our
own special train, stopping at major centers like Winnepeg,
Calgary and Banff, and camping for more than a week on Van-
couver Island had introduced me in a particularly attractive
manner to much of my own country. At each point, local guides
took us on tour to be sure we did not miss special points of
interest. What I remember most vividly was the Royal Canadian
Mounties who put on a dazzling display of horsemanship for our
benefit. I wrote a long jingle about it, but, unfortunately
or perhaps fortunately, it has disappeared, but the memories
Just prior to starting at Somerville, I attended
an international Guiders' camp in France and through it made
many new friendships that enriched my time at Oxford and there-
after. The most important new friend was Mary Hanson whose
friendship and introductions to her relatives living in a
magnificent estate near Oxford and to her parents living in
Exeter in Devon added much to my enjoyment and experiences.
The most important and lasting of these connections has been
Alethea Robson, her cousin, who came to Canada in October 1961
to stay with my father after Mother died and after he too
passed away in 1964 moved with me to Evanston as I took up my
new post at Northwestern University. Fortunately, she has
stayed as my companion and helpmate ever since.
A unique experience as I was ending my time at Oxford
came as a result of my earlier Guiding experience and contact
with those in England. An international camp was being organ-
ized in Finland, and I was eager to attend it not only to
visit a new country and its people, but also to experience
one that shared a frontier with the Soviet Union. Our group
from England went via Denmark and Sweden, giving us a brief
view of those tidy, self-respecting and intellectually stimu-
lating countries. Arriving by boat we stayed briefly in
Helsingfors (now Helsinki) where three of us were given the
dressing room to ourselves behind the stage of a huge auditorium!
Seeing the city by daylight we were impressed by its modern
yet distinctively Finnish architecture with buildings carefully
placed so as not to obstruct the view of the harbor. We also
admired what we learned of Finland's long experience of
The camp itself was in Keuruu, Parkoleiri, a relatively
isolated part of northern Finland. At night, we would lie
outside our tents and watch the North Star on the horizon
and spectacular Northern Lights.
There were large groups of Guides and Guiders at the
camp both from Finland and the three other Scandanavian
countries, Norway, Sweden, and Denmark. Among them, the
Norwegians appeared to be the most athletic, doing energetic
physical exercises in the nude every morning outside their
tents, before plunging into the icy water that bounded the
camp. The Scandanavians were also far less inhibited in
other aspects of their toilet, sitting in rows opposite
each other for their daily routines.
We sensitive visitors, Phyllis Kirkpatrick and I
from Canada, one from Australia, and several from England,
rigged up a more sheltered place for ourselves with our
knapsacks. Unfortunately, it became such a source of curiosity
as to give rise to inquisitive peeking to see what those odd
people were at! Gradually, we too joined in the steam baths,
beat each other with birch rods, or scrubbed with heavy brushes
and ended up, as I wrote home, feeling and probably being
"clean as we never were before."
Despite the differences of language and customs, we
all became close friends. Even our freckled Australian
colleague, Jess Boyes, who became my life-long friend,
ultimately laughed over the deathly silence that had greeted
her when she was introduced at the official opening ceremony
in Helsinki. "We thought she would be black!" explained
our embarrassed hosts.
The aftermath to the Finnish Guide camp was, if any-
thing even more thought-provoking. The train we fortunately
had to ourselves went very close to the Soviet border,
thereby combining superb sightseeing with some very unexpected
sights. One that I remember vividly because I found it so
startling was to find memorials in Finnish cemeteries thanking
the Germans for their help during World War I. It took
quite an adjustment in my thinking to realize that the Germans
had provided the Finnish army with help against a Russian
invasion at a time that the Allies and thus we in Canada had
been engaged in fighting Germany.
Even though the trip to Finland had lengthened the time
that Dad was alone as Mother had come over for my end of term
and stayed on with Uncle Well, it seemed more than sensible
that before I went home to Hamilton I should continue with our
plans that I go to Strasbourg and get a solid grounding in French
as a written but, more particularly, as a spoken language. The
arrangements had already been made for a place there to live and
for the tutoring I would need and I slipped into them easily.
Moreover, I found Strasbourg itself proved to be a fascinating
place with scenic surroundings and, as I was to find to my
delight, fairly easy access to Belgium and even an odd bit of
Germany. It was intended as a work period and I used it as such
except for occasional small trips when my tutors were otherwise
engaged. I was especially encouraged to become fluent by an
amusing experience in the hotel where I was staying. A small
visiting Spaniard accosted an English woman in the lobby with
the question: "How many languages do you speak?", repeating
the question even more forcefully when she did not reply. The
woman finally said: "English and a little French." Whereupon
the young Spaniard said with great satisfaction: "I speak French
and English and German and Spanish, and all perfectly!" which
proved to be true. I never reached that standard either of
excellence or of number of languages but at least my French
became pretty good and ultimately my German, too, though they have
deteriorated through lack of use over the years.
When I returned home to Hamilton in 1931, life seemed
unbearably dull in comparison with what I had been immersed in
at Oxford and beyond. One new feature, however, was that McMaster
University, a predominately Baptist institution, had recently
established its main campus on the outskirts of the city. After
visits here and yon with old friends in Montreal, Ottawa, and
elsewhere, I finally sought some stimulation through reading in
the stacks at the University. It didn't help! One noon, I
suddenly could stand it no longer. I sped up two flights of stairs
on my crutches and knocked on the door of the Chancellor,
Dr. Howard Whidden. Surprisingly, he was still there. I remember
saying to him: "Dr. Whidden, I can't stand it any longer! I
have to have something to do." Whereupon, to my relief, he
replied that he and others, including Dr. Chester New, their
well-known historian, had been talking about me and could offer
me a small amount of teaching with an introductory history course.
I accepted on the spot!
It mattered little that within a few weeks, I with all
the others teaching at McMaster at that time were brought to a
meeting with the Board of Trustees and informed that, because of
the university's financial difficulties due to the prevailing
depression, all members of the staff had to take a fifteen percent
0a arectcw 1e, -is;rry
cut in salary. So my $350 a year salary/ was reduced before I had
had my first paycheck! At least I was better off than my young
colleague, Billy Wallace, with his University of Toronto honors
degree in hand, who had his $100 a year equally reduced! At
least he was provided free room and board in the dormitory but I,
of course, was living at home.
My new position involved meeting sections twice a week for the
lecture course in European history that was taught by Dr. New, and
also marking the essays and exams in his course. Thus, I was able to
gain some basic training in teaching through almost daily contact
with an experienced and most helpful master in the field. In between,
I was even permitted to give an occasional lecture in the course. To
the intense amazement of the class, I read my lecture as was done in
England but never, apparently, in Canada. It was a practice that did
not last long as I found myself with more and more opportunities to
give less stylized talks both at the University and outside.
With time. and energy still unused, I established a lecture course
on current events at the Y.W.C.A. to which many of the older ladies
in Hamilton used to come. Events were moving all too quickly in Europe,
and I wouldFhave just described the Austrian Anschluss when Hitler
would take still more threatening moves in Central Europe. It must
have been an amusing sight to any outsider to see the rows of earnest
faces of women of Mother's age and interests bent over their notepads,
scribbling away as I did my best to make current events intelligible
to them, let alone to myself!
By this time, I had a car that I could drive by myself, the one
great essential for feeling independent. I had tried lightening the
clutch on a Ford, but I did not feel safe. One well-remembered day,
I was in Toronto window shopping by myself while my parents were other-
wise engaged. Suddenly, on a garage window beside me I saw "The new
Plymouth with an automatic clutch." I hurried inside to make sure it
was really the case, then rushed to tell my parents about it, and had
bought one for myself before the end of the week. It was dark green and,
in my view, the most beautiful car in the world- I promptly named
it 'Shanghai Lily' after Marlene Dietrich's new film. It was
to take me hundreds of miles on holidays, as well as on more
mundane trips, and ultimately down to the States when I went
to Radcliffe. Since then, I have never been without a car that
I could drive by myself.
Despite varied activities at McMaster and elsewhere,
I was still restless. My old friend Peter Cheswright and others
convinced me that I should go to Radcliffe College, Harvard
University, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and take a graduate
degree. It was almost four years since I had left Somerville
and the idea of further study taken at an advanced level was
attractive. So it happened that after a delightful motor trip
in Shang during which I visited briefly with several old friends,
I arrived in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and settled myself in
Trowbridge House which was set aside for the graduate students.
On September 24, 1935, Miss Ada Comstock and others greeted us
on the university's opening day and a very short time later
I had confirmed my earner decision to work for my PhD
in political science and there was an impressive group of
professors with whom to begin my studies. George Grafton Wilson
was a well known specialist in international law which I was to
find particularly interesting. I even took to rather labored
verse (appended) to summarize some of its lessons. He introduced
me to the project of a clipping thesis through which current
events were analysed in terms of their handling nationally and
internationally, and it became a favorite project of mine for my
GOVERNMENT 23. 1935/36
Has proved to be
A course full of variety
To ships at sea,
Commissions of inquiry.
We've met Renault
And learned to know
Decisions good or rated low!
As judgments flow
All in a row
So sometimes wish they would go
The law we find
Is kept in mind
By illustrations well designed
To show the kind
Of margin line
Where extradition treaties bind.
Not a fiction
Nor a sovereignty restriction.
That's a fact
Most people lack
Viz.: Turner's servitude conviction!
The court mondiale
Must without fail
Yearly consider Roland's wail;
In things postal
It tries to make its will prevail.
Sissors we snip
And papers clip
As in the newest facts we dip
Your comments real
Have made us feel
(Etc.) That round the world we've had a trip.
No one hurting
Automatic sanctions working
They can be bold
Against all told
Without discrimination lurking.
So now the legal forms we read
Have meaning and a life, indeed,
And through it all, we've learned to feel
For values that are true and real
To test the logic of a case
To meet the problems face to face.
We, too, I hope, have learned to seek:
Convictions formulate and speak.
To stand for justice in the nations
To understand their situations
And find between ourselves and them
The bond of being fellow men,
Which, coupled with the world ideal
Could bring the synthesis you feel
Of nationalism's vital force
And internationalism's course.
What particularly fascinated me, however, was political
theory taught with great skill and subtlety- by Professor McIlwain.
William Yandell Elliot, with whom I subsequently wrote my thesis
on British Commonwealth relations, was offering a course on
modern political thought which I also took but it seemed to me
to lack the insights and provocativeness of earlier writers
like Plato and Aristotle.
It was at Radcliffe that I met Louise Holborn, who became my
lifelong friend and colleague in thought and often in action, if not
always in employment. We had our own rooms in /rather small residence
at Radcliffe College, and my first impression of her was rushing down-
stairs with her arms full of books en route to one or another of the
coaching engagements with which she was trying to meet her expenses.
Her English left / to be Tesired (as my German also did) but her
energy and enthusiasm for whatever she was engaged in was contageous.
Moreover, Louise had a much better background in international
law, political analysis and much of academia, not to mention much
wider experience in earning her living than any of the rest of us.
She had trained in Germany as a social worker, worked in East Germany
as its forced massive transfer of population took place at the end of
World War I, studied at the highly regarded Hochscule fur Politique
in Berlin, and had enormous energy.
She and I developed a mutually useful exchange of capacities.
I could and did correct her papers and help to interpret her flow of
ideas that were sometimes overwhelming. Academically, however, she was
far more sophisticated and, in some respects, better trained than I
was. Moreover, her brilliant historian brother, Hajo Holborn, with
a post at nearby Yale, would always help in a crisis.
In addition, Louise performed all kinds of physical tasks that
made life much easier for me. In turn, I taught her to drive at least
passably well, though she was always so eager to get ahead that we got
involved in somepharrow squeaks!
After a tough year of lectures, seminars, and what
seemed like endless papers to write and present in all our academic
fields, Louise and I were more than ready for a summer vacation.
I wanted to combine visits to my Somerville friends in England
with appointments with specialists particularly useful for my
projected dissertation on the British Commonwealth and inter-
national organization. Louise had to go to Germany where her
mother had not been very well and where she also had business
affairs to look after. Both of us were interested in contacts
in Geneva which would be an essential center for Louise's study
of international aid for refugees, and mine on British Common-
wealth and international security which was ultimately to become
the title of my first book. My parents agreed to my glowing
picture of what was in store for us and we started off by ship
for Europe in June after handing over Shan, my car, to keep for
me for the summer.
Ray Cochrane was a willing host for me at Fresden Farm
in the Cotswords where she was most comfortably settled with
her friend, Enid. Coming down to London in early July, I
revelled in a welcome series of engagements with friends like
Sheila MacDonald, Phyllis Goodhart, Clarisse Goldschmidt who
was to marry Nicky Kaldor, Mary Hanson and her friend Noel
Woodward, and Madeleine Oppenheimer, soon to be Mrs. Patrick
But I also had more serious arrangements to make. I had
never met Harold Laski of the London School of Economics but
Emerson from Toronto days had written to him about me and despite
his alarming reputation I found him charming and most helpful in
regard to people I should see in Geneva. My friend, Miss
Westley of the Institute of International Affairs, to whom
George Glazebrook had given me a letter to deliver personally,
introduced me to the secretary of its discussion groups who
led me to their Investigation Department which prepares answers
to significant questions sent in to them. I also visited their
press cutting service which left me "completely thrilled" as I
reported to my family! Perhaps it was that experience that has
made me an inveterate filer of newspaper clippings ever since.
Other visits were to Canada House to see Pearson, by then High
Commissioner and to the League of Nations Union office for
further Geneva contacts. There Mr. Jones wrote out several
introductions for me and on one of them put "tell her the truth
and if you can't, get your wife to do so."
Finally, we decided that we must make our way to Germany
where Louise's mother was awaiting us in the Black Forest. We
crossed the Channel on a very calm sea with the fog just lifting.
A porter found us comfortable seats on the train in a compart-
ment shared by what I described in my letter home as "a little
man with a Cockney accent" who, I later discovered, was travelling.
on a document issued to persons "who cannot obtain a Passport."
He became increasingly nervous as the train neared Cologne, asking
about changing money, etc. Louise and I rearranged our papers,
destroyed some that were unnecessary, and attempted to enjoy
the scenery! At one point, as we were nearing the border, the
man commented rather loudly "The Germans must have had a hard
time coming through here" but my recollection was that they had
come through so much more quickly than had been expected that
they were through the most difficult part before effective
resistance could be mounted.
German trainmen took over from the Belgians to bring
the train into and across Germany. Explosive bursts of conver-
sation in French from nearby compartments heightened the tension.
In a short time, the train drew up at Aachen for the frontier
crossing. People started to jump out onto the platform and
hurried to change money, or show documents to officials outside
our windows. A man suddenly asked at the door of our compartment
whether anyone spoke German to which Louise replied that she did
to his great relief. At that moment, however, a French girl
rushed down the corridor and poured out a flood of French
which neither of the German officials could understand. I
managed to tell them that she wanted to know where to declare
her money, and suggested she return to her compartment and
eventually she withdrew with much waving of hands! The German
official was obviously very relieved and went through our boxes
very quickly. He seemed helpless, however, about my decision
not to go out on the platform and was very relieved when Louise
offered to go out for me. She told me afterwards that there
was vast confusion there with people shouting and an Englishman
shaking his fist with frustration! She managed to get my money
changed at the appropriate wicket with the customs man helping
her, and, of course, had none of he-r wn to bother with.
While she was out of the carriage, a man in a grey-
brown suit came into my compartment and asked for passports. I
answered in English which he obviously did not understand but
the man produced his certificate which was stamped. He also
apparently explained about Louise getting things done for me outside
whereupon the official left and never came back. Louise returned
with myAcertificate saying I could take in my letter of credit
and remaining English money. She went off to have her trunk
examined and came back saying they had crushed her dresses in
feeling around them but that was all.
Suddenly the train moved off. An official came in
to check our tickets and announced that we would be in Cologne
in twenty minutes. We were inside Germany and no one had
even seen Louise's passport. It was a great relief to her as
she had feared some trouble, or even being held by the police
because of her long absence from the country. Not surprisingly,
Louise and I were both exhausted by the experience but also
exhilirated. By mere chance, we had escaped an ordeal that
might have been serious for Louise and came through astonishingly
My first experience of Nazi Germany was of its symbols
everywhere. The swastika was whitewashed on the hillsides, and
the Nazi flag was on every public building, and almost all
private ones. I relished hearing how Louise's mother had
refused to have one hung outside the window of her Berlin
apartment by maintaining that as an old lady the draught would
be dangerous! In the Black Forest where we joined her I asked
who some black uniformed soldiers were, and she replied loudly
"the SS, the murderers." It was quite clear that Louise's
own defiant attitudes ran in the family.
SEEKING MY WAY IN ACADEMIA AND RESEARCH
a. Washington, Geneva and Wellesley
b. Smith College, Major Foreign Powers, England and Ireland
S- seeking My Way in Academia and Research
Chapter Two a WASHINGTON, GENEVA AND WELLESLEY
What could have been more exailirating than living in
Washington ih January 1937 when Franklin Delano Roosevelt was
inaugurated once more as President of the United States. I
had a prize seat for the ceremony in the window of a library
strategically situated on a corner just beyond where he reviewed
the procession and I cheered wildly as the Army band and the
Army and Navy cadets and a host of dignatories paraded in
his honor. Roosevelt was such a splendid person that I almost
decided at that moment to become an American citizen. In fact,
however, I waited until the United States had entered World
Wt n tLnlJ It-1'sW
War II and,.I had made up my mind that this country was the place
where I would work and spend the rest of my life, as it has
proved to be.
While I had settled myself in Washington because of its
splendid library collections of which I was to take full
advantage, the need to apply for another grant to travel
abroad was also omnipresent. I had been vastly encouraged
before I went to Europe to have had a letter frnm Miss Overacker
of Wellesley College saying she was going on leave and that my
international law professor, George Grafton Wilson, had written
her about me. While fortunately she found someone more suitable
for that rather advanced post, I deeply appreciated his
reconmendation andthe knowledge that he, and apparently
others among my professors, including Professor McIlwain, thought
sufficiently well of my potential to make such a suggestion.
While I could hardly have turned down such a splendid oppor-
tunity, I knew that I really needed much more reading for my
dissertatiorand, if possible, a wider experience abroad, before
I undertook even a temporary teaching job.
So the need to apply for fellowships became omnipresent.
I was overwhelmed at how many there were and all of them had
"highly original questions and require a great deal of thought
and an amazing amount of paper" I wrote home. Moreover, they
all had to be applied for before February 1, 1937, with innumerable
copies of my application and photographs of me! I added happily
in my letter home that it was such fun to know that so many
people would have an "opportunity to gaze on my charming
physiognomy" but from experience later gained I doubt if the
photographs made much difference except to show that I was "not
yet old and haggard."
What was important, of course, was the support I got
from those withwhom I had worked at Radcliffe. G. G. Wilson
had written me to say he "would re~ormnnd me without reservation
for any position which Ifelt myself that I could carry."
McIlwain wrote that I was one of the "best people he had had
in recent years." Elliott had also written "a nice letter"
but was "tremendously keen that I should go abroad again to get
more material." So was I! Hajo Holborn went over my most
recent grant proposal for study abroad and also wrote in support
of it to the Royal Society and other foundations so I was not
lacking in support.
Facilities for my research in Washington were also
forthcoming. The libraries at the Library of Congress provided
both Louise and me with "large desks side by side in the corner
of the stacks" and lamps and "comfortable chairs," all of which,
I wrote home happily, "made me feel like a full blown professor!"
I carried on quite an extensive correspondence with the Secretary
of the New Zealand Institute of International Affairs, among
many others, and successfully arranged to get copies of papers
they had prepared.and thereby also established contacts that I
was able to build upon during the summer when I was in London
and Geneva collecting ever more Commonwealth material.
Finally, as it seemed to me, I received a most welcome
hand written letter from Lawrence Burpee of the International
Joint Commission dated April 19, 1937, to say that I had been
awarded a Voyal society fellowship. Moreover, he added that
the committee that decided on the award had put my application
first among the thirty-five who had entered that particular
section of their scholarship competition. The great thing, of
course, was that I had my grant for work overseas, and the
fact that it was the one for which I had most wished gave the
news even more meaning. I quickly wrote to the many other
organizations from which I had been seeking funds, at least
two of which were on the point of turning me down, and was
able to tell them I was already looked after!
Washington in the spring was intoxicating in its beauty.
Louise and I joined the many thousands worshipping the beauty
of the cherry blossoms, paid our respects to the Lincoln
Memorial, and behaved like all the other tourists! We found
a small cottage outside of town, however, and spent quiet
nights there in between the spells buried in the library stacks,
sa writing feverishly lest our new found knowledge should
disappear. There was so much to absorb and add to our bulging
notebooks but summer was approaching and as usual, we had plans
After a brief visit to Ottawa to speak with my sponsors:,
at the Royal Society, and a slightly longer one at home where
fortunately all was going well, Louise and I left for London
by ship once more. Cunard took charge of our surplus luggage,
trunks and my bulging suitcase, and promised them for our
Channel crossing a week later. It became rather a rush to fit
in all the places and people I wanted to visit both for personal
and professional reasons. Mike Pearson at Canada House generously
offered to let me read some of his personal papers on my return,
Chatham House, the Royal Institute of International Affairs
promised to collect material for me and, in particular,
the relevant debates on international affairs in Dominion
parliaments and keep them for my return. Since I couldn't get
extra copies of the Manchurian debates, I settled myself down
with a typewriter and tried to make sense of that extremely
complicated issue before I left.
London was full of the Edward and Wally affair which I
naturally saw as "a great tragedy." As I commented in my letter
home, "whatever happensja bond of trust in a man'.who symbolized
the Crown is broken." Uncle John had earlier commented wisely
that 'they drove him too hard when he was only a boy" but few
people were remembering that. My own view which I had put in
an article sent to The Saturday Evening Post was that "the
spontaneous reaction all through the Commonwealth and feeling for
Baldwi and the constitutional issue are the best things and in
some way may have forged their own bond," but the article was
rejected so I d4nbt know whether it was because they disagreed
or did not think it was written well enough. I suggested to
Charlie that he rewrite it and try again but I ddnbt think
And so off to Germany once more so that Louise could
handle tve complicated business affairs prior to her formal
emigration to the United States. Threats to Germans abroad
of the death penalty for those who had taken out funds to
other countries without official authorization had been
publicized in Washington while we were working there. Louise
felt naturally that it would also be safer for her mother if
all -eq official formalities prior to emigration had been
As usual, we met with her mother when we arrived in
Germany, and we were travelling together from Dusseldorf on
July 28, 1937, while Louise stopped off in the afternoon for
a day in Heidelberg. Her mother and I were still in the station
when she had a sudden heart attack. A doctor was called immedi-
ately but she had died even before he could get there. I
reached Louise by phone and she arrived early in the morning
to take charge. We went, of course, to Berlin where the
funeral was held.
In a way, we all knew that it was the easiest way for
Mrs. Holborn as she would soon have realized that it would
become increasingly difficult if not impossible for Louise to
return to Germany even though we could not guess that the
following year Hitler would launch his putsch in Austria. As
it was, Louise was able to wind up all her affairs in Berlin
in early August and we left for the Black Forest and a splendid
holiday there. One of the last things that Mrs. Holborn had
said to me was; "It means so much to me to know that Isi (Louise's
pet name) has Gwen and Gwen has Isi." I was grateful that I
could be with Louise while she made her final arrangements to
leave Germany forever or at least until the Nazi menace was over.
By the end of August, we were in Geneva having had a
remarkably easy crossing of'the border the day before. We were
in a crowded compartment with two families of Scandinavians
who were openly hostile to the official who came to look at
our passports and money and bags and he seemed somewhat
intimidated! On the platform, scores of Germans were being
harassed and some were not allowed back on the train so it was
well that Louise was the only one in our compartment.
Once in Geneva, we went on Peggy Joseph's advice to the
student hostel in Campaign Rigot, a large park next to the League
of Nations, and only a short distance from the International
Labour Office. The accommodation, especially on the ground
floor for me was pretty primative, but/outweighed by the advantages
of location and helpfulness of the local staff. Although there
was a large student group housed there when we arrived, they
left soon and, in any case, we had our meals with four older
people. As I wrote home, "it is all very like camping but it
is quite fun to do it together and Louise is a good sport. It
also is extremely cheap!"
Our Geneva period consisted largely of calling on officials
like Mr. Riddell at the Canadian Embassy whom I had talked with
before, other Commonwealth personnel, United Nations officials
and anyone else recommended who could help me secure information
on what attitudes had been taken by Commonwealth members on
important security issues. There was also much reading and
making copious notes from documents difficult to secure elsewhere.
Louise was pursuing similar lines of inquiry on her own refugee
topics. We used to meet in the evenings and pr the gems of
information we had secured and made notes on before writing
them down in proper form in our large notebooks which grew and
grew. No one thought of using a tape recorder in those days,
nor do I believe it would have been acceptable if we had tried
to do so. Thus, the scribbled notes had to be carefully
elaborated with such details as we could remember. In fact,
they were very considerable as I happily found out when I came
to write the dissertation and ultimately the book afterwards.
From Geneva,% we went to Paris where we combined our many
interviews with attending magnificent operas and other musical
delights. And so to London to build on the arrangements I had
made when I was there earlier and use my ever expanding contacts
to find out more about the inside stories of what had really
gone on during Commonwealth and League meetings. Whether or not
I would ever be able to use them in print, they provided me with
the atmosphere of the time which was so essential for an overall
understanding of what lay behind the documents I had so faith-
Back to Cambridge with Louise after a splendid Christmas
vacation at home. I had written my report for the Royal Society
detailing the use I had made with their fellowship in Geneva and
elsewhere and received an appreciative letter from Mr. Burpee
in January, 1938, saying that I would receive the rest of the
grant when they got a report on my research overseas from Mike
Pearson in London. It came along in the nick of time! Louise
and I had found a conveniently placed flat and were very pleased
with the necessary second hand furniture we had bought. We were
both busy writing our dissertations with frequent visits to the
libraries to check on salient facts. It marked the beginning of
the end of a very long process but, as we both knew, it was
the end result which was all important.
In between writing, I paid a visit to Radcliffe to make
sure that Miss Stedman and Mrs. Cronkhite would keep me in mind
for a job for the next year. Surveying possibilities, I com-
mented sagely if sadly "that introductions and personal contacts
seem essential in this job hunting game." We had welcome visits
from Hajo Holborn and Felix Gilbert (whom I assured my family
I did not plan to marry, nor he me!) which enabled us to draw
on their experience of writing dissertations though we knew, of
course, that we were responsible for their final forms. On a
return visit to Yale, I threw loyalty to the winds and decided
"it was more like a university to me than dear old Harvard, even
if it is all pseudo-Gothic!" Plugging away at the dissertation,
I had completed the second chapter and was wrestling with the
introduction "on which would depend the whole tone of the study".,
I wrote home. My plan was to finish it all by the end of March
to which Elliott reacted by saying he didn't see how it was
possible but that it would certainly "simplify a great many
problems," as it did.
March, in fact, also brought the offer of a job at
Wellesley College with courses both in history and political
science. My work in both fields had been a major factor in
the appointment, and also Radcliffe's assurance of my teaching
skills and my health. In mid-March at Wellesley Professor
Curtis took me to meet Miss McAfee, the President, and she
stressed the variety of my training and experience, which pleased
me very much. I had not realized before I went to see her that
they had already made up their minds and was delighted to learn
they were starting me at $2200 a year, although instructors
were usually started at $1800.
Mr. Curtis, the chairman of the history department, had
rearranged my schedule so that I would teach five, instead of
six days a week with a twelve hour program: two three hour
courses in Modern European history for freshmen, 1648 to the end
of the World War, and for sophomores an equal number in modern
governments: the United States, France, Germany, Italy and
Russia, and their fundamental principles. I foresaw that with
four hours teaching on Friday, I'd be ready for the weekend!
Several faculty members from the two departments,
including Louise Overacker and Peggy Ball from political science,
came to see me while I was there which made me feel very welcome.
A former friend, Judith Williamson in history, had me to dinner
and answered the myriad of questions in my mind. One special touch
was that someone in the registrars office told me she had put
all my classes in the same ground floor room which she thought
quite rightly would be convenient for me. I have vivid recol-
lections of it and of the students, some of whom, like Mary
Gardiner Jones, became close friends I still cherish, Cr-A >eyet'V
With these incentives, I tidied up the thesis and it was
accepted although with the necessary warning that it would need
more material and much more shaping before I could even consider
publication. I also had my viva which spent too much attention
on international law for my taste so I told them I had concen-
trated on international relations and they helpfully switched
their questions. Louise and I both received honorable mention
so we were happily ready for the Baccalaureate.
We had to spend all Sunday morning to practice going
in and out of the cathedral, sitting down in our proper seats
and getting up again, and singing "Jerusalem," which seemed the
appropriate hymn for the occasion although no one explained why!
But when the Baccalaureate itself began, it was magnificent.
Louise and I had had our PhD gowns made in Germany with
broad blue velvet lapels facing the opening at the front. No
one else had such elegant gowns and there were quiet murmurs
of appreciation as I led the procession across the platform
where one by one, and with all due ceremony, each of us received
our accolade and had the Harvard hood decked around our neck
and shoulders. Mrs. Cronkhite gave a magnificent Commencement
speech saying that many throughout the country were speaking
of the impending disaster of war but that she had an abiding
faith that whatever happened character and intelligence were
goods in themselves and provided an external legacy for mankind.
Even before the ceremony took place, Louise and I had
been offered the use for the summer of the Elliott's big old
rambling farmhouse in Belmont which lies somewhat higher than
Cambridge. It had a huge room built on outside which housed a
piano that delighted Louise's heart, and also, of course, a
radio. It was surrounded by five acres of rough land and lots
of trees. There were also coups of chickens with little fluffy
chicks which Elliott himself brought into the house to show us.
Of course, we accepted the offer on the spot. It would be a
wonderful base for our own work and also gave us an opportunity
to provide hospitality for lots of good friends like Dietrich
Herhart and, of course, Felix Gilbert.
When we went out to lunch one day to discuss the property
Elliott was ready to spend time also on my dissertation. He
suggested breaking it up into articles and combining them later
into a book but I think I decided at that time to try for publi-
cation after having put a lot more work into it. It finally
appeared in 1947 as The British Commonwealth and International
Security: The Role of the Dominions, _1919-193, published by
the Ryerson Press for the Canadian Institute of International
Affairs, by that time I had already made use of some of the
material in a Foreign Policy Reports, the first of several I was
to write under the expert editorship of Vera MichaelJDean.
The move to Wellesley that fall only immediately pre-
ceded the holocaust there and other places near enough to the
ocean to catch the brunt of New England's first hurricane.
Louise and I were driving to ta~k- ty in Shang as the sky grew
darker and the wind stronger and the rain more incessant. I
remember that I managed to squeeze the car through the near entry
of the garage next door which already had more than its usual
complement of vehicles. Louise and I walked hastily through
the rain across the back garden of the house where I had tem-
porarily rented a couple of rooms and the trees were already
swaying menacingly. We were fascinated to watch from my room
at the top of the house as branches began falling or spinning
through the air. Suddenly, Louise said "We must tell the land-
lady her tree has turned up side down" and then we both roared
with laughter that we should think the poor old lady could do
anything about it! Mr. Curtis phoned the authorities next
morning to tell them that one of his trees had lost a branch
and was greeted with scorn for his street was one of the few in
the city that did not have all its trees down and blocking any
kind of movement by car.
The saddest place was the once beautiful Wellesley
_-o 4_^ 1-
campus where there was a virtual holocaust. Iss Overacker
said to me afterwards that "I am only happy that you have known
Wellesley before this happened." Miss MacAfee, the President,
was seen walking distractedly on the campus agonizing over the
fact that the tower on the main administration had blown over
and crashed into the room below and onlyAshortly before her
thrifty spirit had led her to refuse to buy building insurance
against hurricane damage. By great good fortune, the bursar
had disobeyed her and taken it out while the cost was relatively
low. He must have felt very good when he was able to give her
the news that they were fully covered for the repairs were, of
course, very costly.
Wellesley classes started early in September 1938 and
I was eager to see my students and presumably they were equally
curious to see their new teacher. I had well prepared syllabi
for both courses and some suggestions for an optional current
events session on one of my two "free" afternoons. The weather
was fine, the air crisp and I think all the students, too, were
impatient to get started. So start we did, and it was most
satisfying. They were a lively group for the most part,
especially the ones taking political science. They had obviously
been reading the papers over the summer and hearing discussions
of what the darkening clouds over Europe might lead to. For me,
of course, the situation abroad had special meaning for I knew
that if war came, Canada would be involved as part of the British
Commonwealth of Nations.
I found a small but conveniently placed apartment near
to where many graduate students had their own places and it
proved both compatible and suitable for my needs. The '.Wellesley
library was adequate for the kind of basic reading the students
would be doing and quite well stocked with up to date periodicals
and enough specialized material for the papers I anticipated
my students would be writing. I had most of my own books with
me making the apartment cozy though a bit crowded in places.
There was room for Louise to stay over night when she could
spare the time, and by dint of using the two or three quite
large cupboards as temporary storage space, I could also do a
small amount of entertaining for tea or drinks. Altogether I
was very satisfied with my setting and opportunities which had
to include, of course, as much attention to getting the disser-
tation into shape for ultimate publication as was possible.
By great good fortune, we discovered that a temporary
vacancy had opened up in one of the dormitories for which Louise's
training in Germany as a social worker well fitted her. She was
highly successful in streamlining the basic work of running the
building, got on well with the maids,and had an extraordinary
gift for anticipating problems before they actually appeared
and thereby forestalling them. The Wellesley administration was
delighted with her. Having made her niche in the college, it
seemed not too difficult to secure an increasing number of
teaching responsibilities and By, she became very
much a part of the Wellesley scene.
It certainly made it much easier for us to see a good
deal of each other without the strain for Louise of a long
motor trip from Cambridge or the necessity of making dates
much ahead of time. It also opened possibilities of taking
advantage of concerts outside of Wellesley as well as those
held there for neither of us much enjoyed going by ourselves
and we were only gradually developing the kind of knowledge
about our colleagues tastes to know whether our interests
would coincide with theirs or not. Gradually also, we found
ourselves included in parties and making new contacts.
I had a good vacation at home at Christmastime, 1938,
and was relieved to see for myself that Dad's illness or over
strain seemed not to have left any permanent mark or greatly
changed the character of his habits. He still went to the
Hamilton Club each afternoon for his game of bridge and seemed
to play just as well as ever which said a lot as he was
acknowledged to be one of the best players in Canada. Mother
had obviously been through a lot of strain but her spirit was
highland he had returned to the ever busy round of meetings
at the YWCA and elsewhere, making plans for the YWCA summer
camp for which she had been the real promoters she was also"%l
for the East End branch of the Y which had had such an important
effect in that community. They had taken up again the ever
helpful practice of keeping and mounting clippings for me and
offered once more to do some typing for either Louise or me if
we got into a jam, an offer we only took advantage of when we
were in very particular need.
What we were all rather apprehensive about was Charlie's
growing determination that he should take an active role in the
was effort if it came since, as he put it, "Quebec will drag its
feet because it won't accept that it is "their own." When he
finally enlistedA after Canada had entered the war, it was in
the Signal Corps and at least he never went overseas. Dad had
had, of course, a long and significant role in the local 13th
Regiment of which we were very proud but he was of a much more
martial type. Being a doctor, he would have a self-assigned
role but at least neither he nor Charlie ever went overseas
which saved Mother and me a great deal of anxiety.
Back to Wellesley which had come to feel like home. The
students had much to tell about their Christmas and New Years
experiences but settled down nicely and worked quite hard.
They were a good lot with some outstanding members in each
class with whom I wish I could have kept in touch. The one
with whom I did keep in touch and who is still a much treasured friend
was Mary Gardiner Zones whose keen legal mind and concern for
consumer interests and much besides have made our relationship
both stimulating and rewarding these many years. I was amused
to fead in a recent letter her recollections of me at Wellesley
in her freshman history class "lecturing us about Frederick the Great
and his battle and having a marvellous time gesticulating with
your black board pointer the lines of battle and how everyone
moved." MyAspecial recollections of her were sitting on the floor
in our apartment making neat newspaper clippings for my ever
growing collection. She also wrote later of my Northwestern home
and college agendas "Work was your fun and four iife and I guess
now that I think of it, that is also a model I have unconsciously
followedI which gave me a special feeling of satisfaction .
During my Christmas vacation in 1938, the war had been
only an impending danger on the horizon but during my 1939
summer vacation with the family, which had been dedicated to
working on my dissertation, it became all too real. The final
break in diplomatic relations came just before I left for
Wellesley. The Canadian Expeditionary Force had already
sailed from Halifax for Great Britain under the tightest security
possible. Everyone's favorite story, which I took back to campus
with me, was that the Bishop of Nova Scotia had prayed on a
nationwide broadcast "for the safety of our gallant troops on
the water" on the Sunday after they had left but were still at
The "phony war" went on through the fall but we held out
breaths because we knew that sooner or later it would turn into
a raging tornado. I was actually crossing my neighbor's garden
in mid 1940 as I hurried to class when she lent out of the
window to say "They are on their way" that is, that the invasion
of Normandy had begun. Louise's brother, Hajo, who had been
enlisted by the Office of Strategic Services, was at a cocktail
party, he told us later, when a colleague said casually "So
they'll be on their way tomorrow," but he had not caught the
implication. For the overwhelming majority of us, the news
came like a thunder clap and from that moment on we could hardly
tear ourselves away from our radios.
Among those who crossed the Channel ahead of the troops
was young David Ambrose, the second son of Mother's brother
Howard. David was dropped near the coast with radio equipment
so he could keep in touch with what was happening in England
itself and transmit anything of special importance to those who
crossed by ship or barges. He spent a week in his field with
the troops going past him when they landed but he came through
without any injuries, thank goodness.
Some time in 1959, I made what turned out in the end
to have been a serious strategic mistake. A great deal of
discussion was going on in the college about the fact that so
many of the senior members of the history department would be
retiring in or around 1941 which was the date on which my re-
appointment would have its final consideration. Despite the
fact that my PhD was in Political Science, I felt increasingly
at home in history, and particularly in modern and, of course,
contemporary history. Diplomatic history was, of course, what
I was writing about in my book, although from another point of
view I was involved in the politics too in the same issues4there
was nothing theoretical about them. So when Hodder and a few
others suggested I move entirely into the history department
instead of continuing in my hybrid history-political science
role, I was easily convinced. All it seemed to involve was a
shift in the sections I was teaching and that was made easily
It was not, in fact until 1940, that my move from being
in two departments to concentrating on one had any significance
as far as I could tell. I was not senior enough to attend
important department meetings and, in any case, we got any
information that seemed relevant to our interests from Hodder.
Suddenly, however, there was a great deal of discussions about
the future of the history department. Curtis, who was again
chairman, called me in for a talk in February 1940 and asked
in some detail about what had been the circumstances under
which I had made the decision to go fully into history the
year before. No one had made me any promises when I did so,
of course, but I had never thought it would be important.
Apparently my PhD in political science was worrying some
members of the history department though Radcliffe backed me
up with an emphasis on the breadth of my training and experience
there. So did Hajo, though more surreptitiously. Louise, of
course, had always been in history and Hajo quietly steered
potential applicants from Yale away from the Wellesley scene.
There was one rather odd situation in 1940 involving a
Viennese woman, Frau Pazalt, who had come recently to the
United States and was given a temporary teaching position in
the history department. Hodder was suspicious of her and
although Louise and I tried to keep out of the situation, Louise
did look up some reviews in German of her publications to add
to those that Hodder found. All the reviews seemed half hearted
and some were openly critical so it was not difficult to build
a strong case against what was rumored to be the possibility
of a high salary and a five year contract that the president had
indicated she might be willing to provide, and some faculty
members had been keen to secure. A crucial late finding was
that Pazalt had been a member of a group in Vienna with strong
ties to the Nazis and the danger of her appointment evaporated.
There seemed little doubt, however, that there was very con-
siderable disappointment on the part of some members in the
department at this development and despite our minor role in
the matter, there seemed good reason to assume that it was an
additional objection held against us.
I remember all too vividly that after all the students
had left my classroom one day late in the autumn of 1940, two
members of the department came in and sat themselves in the
small chairs two rows below me as I was still sitting behind
the desk. After a considerable silence, they said very quietly:
"We think you should know that neither of us will vote for
your reappointment in the history department when the question
comes up. We are sure you are a splendid political scientist
and that should be your only teaching field." When I began to
say something about my background and experience in the field of
history, they simply said "We don't want to hear anything about
it. We have made up our minds and that is all there is to it."
And, of course, when the final decision was made in the depart-
ment, their decision was more than sufficient to block my
reappointment even if everyone else had voted for it which I am
confident was not the case though Hodder put up a good battle.
The final word naturally came from the President and I
had a short mater of fact appointment with her although she did
say that she was very sorry I would no longer be with them as I
had made genuine contributions to Wellesley. Louise had more
success for when Miss McAfee started by saying that as a former
administrator, Louise would realize that it was the department
rather than the individual who counted, Louise with her most
effective torrent of words challenged that assumption and
maintained quite rightly that it was the duty of an administrator
to consider the whole situation and the significance of indivi-
duals as well as of the group. In the end, to my great satis-
faction, McAfee approved an additional year for Louise at
Wellesley which made arrangements for both of us much easier.
The department was molified when McIlwain maintained that he
had no one on hand who was as good as Louise, and they took
refuge behind the fact that Louise had a European orientation
to her work which, of course, I could neither claim nor wanted
to do so.
In fact, hard as it was for me to accept the termination
of my appointment, the only time in my life such a thing happened
to me, it was on balance clearly essential for my career. I
was and am a political scientist, and a good one, and it was time
I accepted that specialization openly as I have during the rest
of my career. Obviously word of what was happening to me per-
colated quickly through the academic profession and already in
May, 1941, I received a letter from Bryn Mawr College offering
me the Mary Paul Collins Scholarship which had been assigned to
the Department of Economics and Politics for the year 1941-42.
Although I did not, in fact, accept it though why I am not
quite sure, it did a lot to as age the blow at Wellesley and
made quite clear that it was as a political scientist that I
was known in the academic community.
What was very heartwarming was the series of letters
I received both before I left and afterwards expressing what
was obviously very genuine regret that I was going. A senior
member of the economics department, Miss Elizabeth Donnan,
wrote us both on January 11, 1941, "It isn't only a loss to
the department, it's a loss to all Wellesley, to faculty and
students alike, both those now here and those to come, one
that many of us will never cease to regret. I am ashamed
for the institution for which I have worked for twenty years,
asham-ed that they have two teachers of your qualityhaven't
appreciated it. It is Wellesley that has been measured and
found wanting." Others wrote in anger or regret and I have
kept the letters because they did much to ease the pain of
leaving a place where I had temporarily sunk my roots and cared
for very much.
SMITH COLLEGE, MAJOR FOREIGN POWERS, ENGLAND AND IRELAND
Although the nineteen forties had begun with a disappointment,
as described in the last chapter, they proved thereafter to be full
of enriching experiences both in teaching and in travel. Both also
provided landmarks on my way to becoming a recognized specialist
in my chosen fields of Commonwealth studies, and comparative
European governments. Basic to both and to my opportunities
within them were the academic posts I secured relatively quickly
after leaving Wellesley: Tufts College for a year from Septem-
ber 1, 1942, and from 1944 on Smith College, for, as it turned out,
the next twenty years. Only the invitation in 1964 to become
Melville J. Herskovits Professor African Studies and Director of
the Program of African Studies at Northwestern University led me
to leave my long and rewarding activities at Smith College.
Word of the Tuft, College post came in a letter from its
Vice-President, George S. Miller, dated August 20, 1942, and my
appointment began already on September 1 of that year. The program
was attractive with a course in political theory, open to juniors
and seniors, in the first semester as well as sections in American
government mainly for freshmen and sophomores. The second semester
included a course in international law, to my great pleasure, one
in comparative government, and sections in the government of
American cities. After my solid dose of young women at Wellesley
except for their weekend boyfriends, I enjoyed the boys at Tufts
very much, finding them more argumentative than my Wellesley girls
had been with rare exceptions, although often less well prepared.
Side by side with this teaching, I found myself drafted
again to work with the personnel students at Radcliffe College
in a series of ten to twelve seminars during the winter as I
had during the previous two years. I liked the professionalism
of that group and apparently their director was satisfied with
my performance as she commented that "you compress more into
a short time than anyone we know"!
One of the particular advantages of the time at Tufts
was the opportunity to renew my association with Professor
George Grafton Wilson who had remained connected with the
Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, and had also kept his
office at the Harvard Law School. He wrote immediately on
hearing I had received the post at Tufts and evinced his
continuing concern for both Louise and me by referring to
the complications she had been encountering in her naturali-
zation process which fortunately seemed to be resolving
themselves. He had been, and remained a source of advice and
support throughout both our careers and provided a model of
an ideal academic relationship, never interfering but always
ready with encouragement and support when needed.
Smith college, in turn, proved to be everything that I had
hoped for when I joined its faculty in 1944. The relations
both with other faculty members and with the students were
mature, stimulating and rewarding. I grew very fond of the
campus with its great trees and spaciousness and liked the
town itself which seemed to me neither two large nor too
small. I quickly acquired a comfortable place to live where
I could bring my outside friends as well as those from the
college itself. If there were cliques in the faculty, they
never affected me. On the professional side, my department
was all I could ask for, stimulating, good comradship, and
providing what support I needed without interference. On
balance in light of other experiences I hai had, Smith seemed
to me as close to being ideal as one could ever hope!
My closest colleague at Smith college became Jack Ranney
who had joined the faculty a year before I did. He had
already acquired a substantial reputation for his lectures, I
found, and his seminars were becoming increasingly popular.
We used to meet on campus going to or from our classes, but I
do not remember any particularly important conversations
together although we did find mutual interests. It was obvious,
of course, that he was keenly interested in politics and knew
a great deal about those in Europe.
Jack and I became increasingly involved with each other,
however, over a proposal to prepare a textbook on European
governments for college use. It was made to me by Professor
Benjamin F. Wright of Harvard University on behalf of Harcourt
Brace and Company, an outstanding New York Publishing company.
I can still see Ben Wright, who was to become President of
Smith College in 1949, tilting back in his Harvard office chair
and saying, "There's gold in them thar hills!" which frankly I,
at least, did not believe, although the future was to prove it
accurate. The preparation of such a work was obviously going
to be a mammoth task but Jack was immediately attracted by the
possibilities, probably even more than I was.
Once we had agreed in principle to undertake so monumental
a task as analyzing the government and politics and character-
istic activities of what we agreed should be called The Major
Foreign Powers, questions arose as to which countries we would
select for what we determined should be a detailed examination
of all their relevant aspects, and how we should divide what
would obviously be huge responsibilities. Great Britain and
France offered obvious opportunities for detailed comparisons
with each other of structures and aims and both also offered
contrasts and comparisons with the United States which from
the first we agreed were particularly important for our students
as well as for ourselves.
The Soviet Union offered innumerable comparisons to
Great Britain and to France as well as to the United States
in structure, purpose and policies but we also looked for a
fourth country for our book that appeared to share its objectives
and probably its functioning. For these reasons, we decided on
China. Never again was Major Foreign Powers to attempt what
many considered so rash a venture but there were other reasons
for this change and, interestingly enough, the section on China
led to contacts for me years later with Chinese scholars who
knew and had used it but in what ways 1-: never learned.
The division of labor for the preparation of the book was
settled logically, although not entirely to my liking, in terms
of Jack's and my current teaching assignments. His very popular
courses dealt with the evolution of Britain's and France's
governments, their party structures and elections, parliaments
and executives. Mine dealt with what remained: the national
administration, local government, and law and the courts, none
of which excited me very much. What I thoroughly enjoyed
teaching and writing about were what I called for Britain
"A New Society?" and for France "French Society in Change" as
they dealt with education, social security and nationalization.
Particularly compatible for me were the foreign policy chapters
where I could deal with the Commonwealth in the British one.
The Soviet Union and China were similarly divided to the best
of our knowledge and understanding.
In addition to preparing my chapters for The Major Foreign
Powers, I helped to meet our very considerable expenses by
turning out on the mimeograph machine, with the essential aid
of several students, advance copies of the British section for
a California college. Moreover, I was already publishing
articles on Canadian and Commonwealth foreigh policies as noted
below. Thus the amount of my time and effort going into my
sections of the comparative government book was inevitably
considerably less than that which Jack Ranney was expending on
his. One of his colleagues, Dan Aaron, suggested aptly that
since Jack seemed to be doing more proportionately on the tet
book than I was, the names should be reversed on the title page
and despite a twinge of regret I agreed to its justice.
Jack was in England on sabbatical leave with a well deserved
Guggenheim fellowship when Harcourt Brace announced the astounding
news on January 5, 1949, that "105 colleges within 45 days of
publication" had adopted Major Foreign Powers for their courses
in comparative government. I was confident, however, that he
must have learned of the book's unprecedented success before
his sudden and untimely death in London on January 4, 1950.
He had long suffered from acute diabetes, as I learned later,
and may have failed to take adequate treatment for it, if it
existed at that time, since he apparently always tried to hide
his illness from his widowed Christian Science mother.
Jack was only 34 when he died. As Dean Helen Randall
wrote subsequently, "He moved under a compelling sense of the
shortness of time." His last words to a close friend in
London were, characteristically, "It was fun while it lasted."
Though Jack Ranney had gone, there could be no question
of letting Major Foreign Powers end with one edition. My
partner in the subsequent five editions, all of which did
extremely well, was Professor John Herz, of City University,
New York, who had long been a specialist on West Germany. That
country fitted neatly into the volume in place of China.
What John Herz and I agreed on was that he would assume
responsibility for the whole section on Vest Germany and that I
would be responsible, in turn, for updating the three other
countries: Britain, France and the Soviet Union. Louise Holborn
took on the responsibility for the bibliography which became a
significant part of the volume. Moreover, over the years, Louise
collected material for me on each of the three countries for
which I was responsible so that when I came to undertake the
writing, I had neatly organized new material for each chapter.
I could not have coped otherwise with the major task of updating
three major countries but our partnership stood the test and
made the new editions possible.
In more attractive binding than the first edition had
had, and also with paperback editions for the separate countries,
Carter and Herz continued to dominate the comparative government
market for many years and to reap a rich return for both John
Herzand myself in reputation and in monetary terms. It also
pleased me that the preface and special parts of the British
section continued to include some of Jack Ranney's thoughtful and
beautifully expressed phrases, and I always nourished a secret
hope that he would somehow know that they were there.
Side by side, and often overshadowing my comparative govern-
ment concerns and writing, was my deep interest in Canadian
foreign policy and in the contemporary Commonwealth and my
desire to increase my knowledge and publications in these
specialized fields. My article on "Canada and Sanctions in the
Italo-Ethiopean Campaign" had been printed in the 1940 Annual
Report of the Canadian Historical Association, while I was still
at Wellesley College. Another study of Canadian policies was
"Consider the Record: .Canada and the League of Nations," one
of the Behind The Record Series (Vol. 2, No. 6) published
May 1, 1942, by the Canadian Institute of International Affairs.
In June 1944, my article on "Canada and Foreign Affairs: A
Review of the Recent Literature" had appeared in The Canadian
Historical Review, and was followed in December 1945 in the same
periodical by "Canada and Foreign Affairs," also a review of
recent publications. A broader study had been a Foreign Policy
Report for the New York Foreign Policy Association entitled
"The Dominions Look to the Future," published December 1, 1943.
It noted that I was one of the contributors to William Yandell
Elliott's massive work The Eritish Commonwealth at War which
was published that same year. Finally, in 1947, my own book,
The British Commonwealth and International Security: The Role of
the Dominions, 1919--1939, appeared through the Canadian Institute
of International Affairs and the Ryerson Press.
Although I had tried through these studies to keep in touch
with developments throughout the Commonwealth, I was eager to
visit England again and even more to make my first trip to the
overseas Dominions, especially South Africa, India, Pakistan,
Ceylon, Australia and New Zealand. What I sought, therefore, was
a year long study tour of the Commonwealth's widely scattered
members. Fortunately, Smith College, which had advanced my rank
to that of associate professor, was open to my proposal for a
year's leave for 1948-49 even though it predated by twelve months
when my sabbatical leave would normally have come due. Fortun-
ately I also secured an adequate number of grants, in particular
from the Canadian Institute of International Affairs and the
Social Science Research Council of New York to finance what was
obviously to be a very expensive operation.
I left Canada by ship in July 1948, and my grand tour began
in the United Kingdom with most of the next three months alter-
nating visits to college friends who shared my interests with
carefully focused research visits to London and elsewhere. Of
prime significance were the several days and a rich harvest of
interviews in Ireland before it left the Commonwealth which
will be described in detail below.
Thereafter I visited Malta and Cairo briefly en route
to Nairobi and other parts of East and Central Africa before
making an extended stay in South Africa where I had rich
research and personal opportunities. From there I went to
the\Dominions, Ceylon, Pakistan and India, in all of which I
had extensive interviews to be detailed later. The grand tour
ended with Australia and New Zealand wrapping up what I was to
call "The New British Commonwealth."
A particularly meaningful letter about my Commonwealth
book had come to me in March 1947 from the former Canadian
Prime Minister, 'W. L. Mackenzie King, to whom Mother's and
my close Hamilton friend, Mrs. Hendrie, had sent a copy
of The British Commonwealth and International Security on my
behalf. Mr. King pleased me greatly by saying he had been
"impressed by the careful documentation of the several chapters,
and by the reasoned judgment which seems to me to make the
whole of the book." He also wrote of the "undoubted character
of authority which this volume will have in a field you have
made so especially your own," and also suggested- that it will
"commend itself to all who are concerned with problems of
security in the modern world, and in particular with the part
which the nations of the British Commonwealth have played in
the search for security." To my special pleasure, Mr. King
asked for "a slip bearing my autograph" which he could place
in the front of the book "which I value highly."
Not only did his letter give me the greatest satisfaction
and pleasure but it also led in November 1949 after my return
from my Commonwealth tour to a dinner with him at Laurier
House for my mother and myself during a visit we were making
to Ottawa at that time. Moreover, either afterwards, or more
probably on another evening during that visit, he arranged for
me to have an extended personal conversation with him in his
study. I still have a vivid recollection of sitting next.
-to him nd facing the fire while he showed me a personal
diary and other records of events about which I had written.
Nothing could have touched me more than his warm outgoing
comments at that time about the article I had published on
"The Evolving Commonwealth", in International Journal's
summer issue, which supplemented those he had already made
in his letter about the book. Subsequently Mother wrote to
ask him for an autographed photograph for my study and it
remains one of my most prized possessions as, indeed, are
the memories of that quiet conversation together in his study.
M.y Commonwealth study had begun naturally in England, as
noted above, after a long but thoroughly enjoyable sea voyage
with Louise accompanying me. Somehow, I had not been prepared
for the differences I was to find in England due to the war
and the impact of the bombing and the difficulties of rationing.
My first adjustments, therefore, were to a country which was
basically.very familiar and yet marked as I had hardly envisaged
it would be by the strains through which it had gone, and the
efforts to pull back to what to me would be normal conditions.
Writing home two weeks after my arrival in London I
described England as "grim and gaunt but with its old sense
of humor and steady doggedness underneath. It is strained but
steady. There is a great deal of complaining but a rather
high .proportion of the people I have met prefer the equali-
tarianism of English rationing to either the continental black
market or American inflation. Almost no one is completely
satisfied with anything but almost everyone looks back on the
war record with great pride and on the present efforts as
thoroughly worth while."
Other vivid impressions were that the "older people looked
tired, almost drained of energy" and "as if their feet were
aching" but that the "young people walked well---with their arms
swinging" while the children were "round and rosy, very friendly
and a bit pert." I also noticed that people talked with each
other as if "chatting" had become more part of every day life
than used to be the case. Another feature that struck me was
that women were doing jobs like announcing trains that would
be less likely at home. I also saw "a number of smart girls in
uniform including an M.P." All in all, there were obvious new
features to post war England to which I must become familiar.
The contrast I found in Ireland, or more accurately Eire,
when I flew to Dublin in mid August, 1948, was hardly surprising
in the light of its neutrality throughout the war. It seemed
remote from the activities that had made Britain worn and
battered but at the same time vibrant.
Eire's decision to remain neutral when war broke out in
September 1939 had been no surprise in the light of its recent
history and the speeches of its then Prime Minister Eamonn de
Valera, Born in New York, son of a Spanish father and an Irish
mother, de Valera acquired an early prominence as a leader of
the abortive Irish Easter Rebellion in 1916, and a bitter
opponent of the Anglo-Irish Treaty of 1921. The Treaty
implicitly acknowledged the political division of the island
between predominantly Protestant Northern Ireland, known as
Ulster and the Catholic rest of the island. By so doing, it
ended a bitter conflict with Britain. It also led to the
recognition of the Irish Free State as a Dominion of the
Eritish Commonwealth of Nations. The conservative elements
of the country, represented by William T. Cosgrave's Fine Gail
(United Ireland Party) which supported the Treaty, helped to
develop the British Commonwealth into the association of states
"equal in status, in no way subordinate one to another," the
classic statement of their relationship.
In 1932, de Valera's party Fianna Fail (Soldiers of Ireland
Party) came into power by securing a majority which called for
a united Ireland. In 1938, a new Constitution, accepted by a
bare majority of votes, established an internal republic called
Eire which was subsequently declared to be in external association
with the British Commonwealth. The meaning of this terminology
was that the name of the King would be used in external relations
but not in internal affairs.
Under the 1938 arrangements, the Irish government also
obtained unconditional control of its bases, which had previously
been used, if needed, by the British Navy. At the same time,
however, de Valera pledged that no enemy would be allowed to
use its territory as a base of attack on Britain. The Battle
of Britain and the difficulty of maintaining supply lines
brought the issue of the Irish ports subsequently to the fore,
and strained relations. So did the subsequent establishment
of American troops in Northern Ireland after the United States
entered the wary Eire's neutrality was firmly supported by its
people, however, and its government maintained the strictest
censorship of any European neutral.
To my great pleasure but considerable surprise, I found
myself with an impressive range of appointments in Dublin soon
after my arrival there. Not only did I see the Mrinister of
Foreign Affairs, Mr. l.icBride, at noon on August 18, 1948, and
found him "very urbane, smooth, sure of himself and pro-Canada,"
but also Prime Minister John A. Costello at 5:30 p.m. on the
same day, whose "incisiveness and qualities of leadership" were
no less apparent.
His Inter-Party government had ended de Valera's
sixteen year long span of office on February 18, 1948. It
linked an extraordinarily diverse group of parties ranging
from Fine Gail, which had supported the 1921 treaty with
Great Britain under which the Irish Free State had become
a Dominion with status similar to that of Canada,"
to the new Republican Party, two Labor parties, and the
national Agricultural Party. It was also supported by a
well known Independent, rMr. Dillon, the Minister of Agriculture
with whom I also 'had an appointment, Jk. wrote later that
he "has a flow of eloquence on all imaginable subjects and a
dynamic belief in the need to build a united 'citadel' against
While these conversations, and others during my time in
Dublin, considerably broadened my understanding of what the
relatively new government planned to do as far as the Common-
wealth was concerned, I was naturally not provided with a full
understanding of what the Prime 1Minister planned to announce
during his ensuing visit to Canada in September 1948.
a press conference in Ottawa early in that month, he declared
that it was the intention of his government to renounce Eire's
External Relations Act of 1936 and thereby sever his country's
last ties with the British Crown.
What that meant, I speculated in an article for Saturday
Night, dated September 18, 1948. It seemed to me that it might
lead to "two kinds of Commonwealth membership an "inner family"
of Dominions like Canada and Australia, still linked by
recognition' of the King, and others like Pakistan and Eire
1Jnot so formally associated." At that point in my Commonwealth
k'trip, I was in no position to make any categorical statement
on the subject but it seemed of particular significance to me
that I had talked with Prime Minister Costello so shortly
before he made his announcement in Ottawa of what his government
planned to do. Yt was also very fortunate that I had learned
of his comments in Ottava before I would have my discussions
with other important Cooimonwealth figures in South Africa,
India Pakistan and Ceylon, who might well be attracted by
what he planned to doA
a. Africa, Especially South Africas Love At First Sight
b. White Politics In South Africa, At The End of the 1940s
a .I a
Chapter Three a.
AFRICA. ESPECIALLY SOUTH AFRICAs LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT
I left England on October 23, 1948, and reached South Africa
on November 9. In between, I visited Malta, Cairo, Mairobi (Kenya),
Kampala (Uganda), and the Victoria Falls.-' As I wrote at the times
"Each of the visits brought me into new surroundings, different
from each other and largely different from anything I had known
before." Although I did not guess it at the time, I was to come
back over and over again during jhe ensuing years, partly for
pleasure but also, fortunately, also for professional reasons,
both writing and administration, the latterxmost notably during
my ten years as Director of African Studies at Northwestern
University between 1964 and 1974. While my first impressions
were surface ones, I could build on them. I have always been grateful
that I made them so early because they formed a personal base on
which I could build as both Africa and I developed in our own
"I loved Malta with its sun-drenched stones and tiny, hand-
cultivated plots of land," I wrote to a close friend at home.
"The Maltese still plow with primitive hand instruments, often
no more than a bent piece of wood, fashioned as were the ploughs
of Biblical days. The roads are lined with stone walls ("the best
collection of stones I've ever seen!" George Bernard Shaw is
reported to have said) and down them come hugh families with their
goats running beside them. Often "mother" stops to milk a goat
to quench the thirst of one of the youngsters. But the quaintness
of such scenes is more than matched by the sense of history
..-."''* '*' .
everywhere. People speak naturally of the Phoenicians, and of
the time when the Hypogeum, an underground series of chambers,
was built, probably contemporary with Stonehenge. Earliest of
all are the cart ruts that run straight off the cliffs but are
said to mark the roads that once joined Malta to Africa.
Whether this was the case of not, I also saw moments of the
Knights of St. John, "suits of gold mail and magnificent portraits
of early Grand Masters." I ended by saying that one of the nice
things about Malta was that it could be seen "adequately" in a
few days "even if that means scrambling over the roughest tracks,"
as I obviously did.
I was less pleased with Cairo which I found "dirty, grasping and
tense" but I went to "an extraordinarily wide range of places" led
by an official guide: the City of the Dead, El Azhar, the early
Coptic Churches and much besides on which I confessed "I had
no business going to because of the state of anti-foreign feeling!"
But I also added "Fortunately I didn't know of the ban until after
I had been to them!" But "what I liked best" I wrote, "was
driving through the country to the old villages ... watching
the peasants planting their seeds under water in their flooded
fields, and the women walking to and fro with huge bundles on
their heads, or riding donkeys by the canals so like the picture
one has of the Virgin Mary that I was carried back centuries and
forgot the qualor around me.
At least I entered into the scene "as I turned away from the
Spinx and my camel plodded slowly through the sand towards the
Pyramids." That I actually did ride the camel was documented to
my skeptical or concerned family by my detailed description in a
letter homes "By the way the camel was easy. When it bends its
legs, it gets quite low so all I had to do was sit down on the
pad over the hump. It was when it got up that it was tricky as
it raises first one set of legs almost sending you off on your
nose and then suddenly the front ones so you nearly fall off
backwards! Then they move off in a swaying gait that was slightly
alarming. However I insisted it should not go too fast. Its
name was Queen Mary!
In Uganda, I visited Makerere College, which provided the
only post-secondary education in East Africa at that time. I
noted how very few girls were enrolled there and was told that
there was a prejudice against educating them even though there
was considerable realization that they were "the key to improving
conditions on the reserves and in the towns." One very special
opportunity while there was to drive to the source of the White
Nile at one corner of Lake Victoria, the spot for which Livingstone,
I was told, searched fruitlessly all his life. I was particularly
fortunate to be there when I was for a hydroelectric scheme was
about to be developed near the start of that river which winds
its way through the Sudan and Egypt (joined at Khartoum by the
Blue Nile from Ethiopia so I was told) to make the marvelous
fertility of the Nile Basin. It was described to me as a miracle
of green in the midst of otherwise barren desert. When the power
scheme was completed, they said, it would provide Uganda and
possibly Kenya with a badly needed source of power, and also
make possible more efficient control of the Nile waters.
My last stop there was at the Victoria Falls where the
waters of the Zambezi drop into a gorge along a ledge a mile
and a quarter long. It is so narrow that as I stood just opposite
the cataract of the middle falls, I could hardly see the water at
first for the mist that was enveloping me. Suddenly to come
on the Falls out of a dense tropical forest gave me the feeling
I had discovered them myself and was completely alone.
Nairobi, I described, as somewhat of "a miniature South
Africa" for I was shocked at the insolence of whites to local
Africans and Indians. I also saw it accurately as "all life and
problems!" Happily, I was met in Nairobi by two close friends,
Cora Hochstein, a former Radcliffe classmate based there in the
Foreign Service, and Ed Mulcahy, formerly at Tufts and also in
the Foreign Service but at Mombasa, with whom I had been in touch
earlier about my trip. Ed immediately set off by car for Nairobi
once he had settled arrangements at his post. He arrived full of an
amusing story about the eclipse that had happened during his
journey and how the friend with whom he had spent the night en
route had used it to threaten his African workers of a repetition
unless they worked harder. I wondered how often that trick had
Ed, Cora and I drove through the coffee and sisal plantations
north of Nairobi next morning to Thika to visit the East African
School for the Blind operated for the government by the Salvation
Army. We found that their handful of teachers had accomplished
almost unbelievable results in training the students in typing,
weaving, and furniture making. Most amazing to me was that they
had learned to touch type in English although three years before
they could neither read nor write.
As I had learned from Cora the day before, there were 100,000
Indians in Kenya, 4 million Africans, 61iy a small percentage of
them in town, and 27,000 Europeans. Nairobi itself, I felt, was
a dull and rather ugly town not at all the way Cora and I had
imagined it. The flowers and flowering trees were the most lovely
sights to be found. The Africans wore European clothes for the
most part but looked much better in the long white robes with broad
belt and turbans which I had seen so continuously in Egypt. The
Indians mostly wore European clothes though women occasionally had
gorgeousr- $ris. I was particularly intrigued by the way the babie:
were carried on their backs by the African women.
Cora and I had hired a car before Ed arrived and driven out
to where the Nyong Hills dominated the horison and when we reached
the Westwood Hotel, they were before us with a..broad valley between.
It was so like the description in Out of Africa by Isek Dinesen
that I remarked on it to the proprLtor of the hotel and to our
amazement we learned that part of it was the original home in which
Baroness von Blixen had lived. Isek Dinesen's descriptions of the
place had been so vivid that it seemed almost like coming home.
Later I was with people who had known her and had nothing but good
to say of her but felt she had a sad:-life; husband was a bit of a
neer-do-well, the place had been too high for growing coffee and so
she had lost it. One thought she was in a mental institution in
Denmark, another that she had died. At least people had lost touch
with her. But she has left a wonderful memorial in her book.
We lunched/at the Blue Post Inn at Thika from where we could
see the famous Thika Falls, a lovely sight. Returning by a very
rough road to Kiambu to meet the District Commissioner with whom
Ed had made an appointment, we made a tour of the Kiambu reserve
with him, learning to our amazement that there were only ten
Europeans trying to develop facilities for the 200,000 Africans
in that particular district.
Years later when I returned to Kenya with my Smith College
J students in 1957, as I describe in a chapter of a small recent
publication, Continuity and Change in Southern Africa, (Crossroads
Press, 1986) the atmosphere was tense and divisions apparent
following MauMau terrorism. Fortunately, I was also able to
describe in the same piece my presence at Kenya independence in
1963. I cannot forebear to add that during all these and subse- I
\ quent visits to Kenya, the game reserves and close encounters with
deer, elephants and above all lions are among my most viviA memories.
Flying sout4,I wrote "What a huge and barren continent this is!
Yesterday we flew hundreds of miles over Tanganyika, hardly seeing signs
of life. We would cross no more than two or three roads in an hour
(flying at 190 miles an hour) and perhaps one railway in three or four
hours. Surprisingly to me, much of that part of Central Africa is well
wooded with deciduous trees and is rather attractive also to the tsets
fly, it appears! Then there are the lakes, Victoria and Tanganyika, which
are beautifully situated and huge; we flew over Victoria nearly an hour
and lost sight of the further shore most of the time. One cannot help
thinking that ultimately much of this will be irrigated and cleared
but that it will be a mammoth undertaking. If only the nations could get
together on a project like this it would tax their energies and imagins-
tions just as much to far better purpose than all the interna-ional
_________!,T-, -471-11f% f.li' iot r rhn nnw-"
Continuing'.~b6ut'.the tri:: I wrote "It was exciting to cross
into South Africa today and see the bare and rather beautiful red crags
of the northern Transvaal. So much of what we have traversed has been
flat, at least since leaving Uganda. Altogether, I made up my mind
very quickly that I like the Union and want to learn all I can about it.
There were beautiful farms out on the veldt, lovely plowed fields
near the crags; Pretoria in the distance as we came towards Jo-burg;
then the white mounds of waste from the gold mines looking for all the
world like flattened pyramids of the new Pharoahs."
I also decided that the-long drive through the countryside
after landing at Vaaldam was "not unlike parts of Ontario, the less
developed parts, with long flat fields with cattle grazing and horse
drawn carts on the mud roads." but I added hastily "you could never
mistake it for Canada though for the roads were lined with black faces
... most of them grinning broadly and some waving to us." I also
noted that most were better dressed than in East Africa and the houses
in much better shape.
And so I arrived in South Africa on November 9, 1948,
and somewhat exhausted from the journey and affected by the unfamiliar
height, determined to bury myself in my most.comfortable bed in the
hotel.in the heart of Johannesburg. But it was not to be! At 8.30 a.m.
I found myself being interviewed by The Star, which I soon learned was
Johannesburg's best paper. Mrs. Kraft, my interviewer, was a
charming person, South African born, and the sister of the helpful
companion with whom I had done much of my sightseeing in Kampala.
Her husband, who is Belgian,t;Ws the Director of the Institute of
International Affairs and I quickly found out that I was due to
address a private session of the Institute the following week,
November 17, on "Will Western Union Strengthen or Weaken the
Commonwealth?" Obviously no time is wasted in this up and coming
country to which I had just come. I was also to speak on the
same subject at their branches in Cape Town, Port Elizabeth,
and Durban. The University Women want me to do some speaking
as well, I gather,:sb J -9_Q in touch with its President, Mrs.
Kirkwood, who was to become a great friend and her husband too.
While I was attempting to think my way through these plans,
I found myself living in a veritable "bower of flowers" coming,
no doubt from Mrs. Kraft. There were four vases full of mauve
petunias with flame colored daisies, yellow and pink snapdragons,
larkspur, and a giant rose with little bells. To add to the
unfamiliar surroundings, my breakfast, served in the room on
request, consisted to my considerable concern of porridge, meat
cakes in tomato sauce, two eggs and bacon, toast, marmalade and
coffee .- As I attempted gamely to do it justice, I read a
two column account of myself in The Star of November 11, 1948,
headed by a very solemn photograph as befitted "a Canadian
educationist and writer of books and articles on political science,"
who plans to "bring up to date the subject dealt with in her "The
British Commonwealth and International Security." The article
also mentioned the "Major Foreign Powers," and said the publishers
expected to sell 15,000 copies by June! It also maintained that I
was not "the kind of visitor who makes ex cathedra' pronouncements
about our country after a brief visit." So with that gentle
warning, I was welcomed to the land of eternal sunshine and apartheid.
Fortunately very soon afterwards came my meeting with
Phyllis Gardner, always known thereafter as Phyl, which changed
both my life and hers. The first thing she did was to insist
that I should move and stay with them and I agreed. My initial
reaction to her was that "she is a delightful, cheery person."
I naturally had no premonition that our lives were to become
inextricably intertwined first to a degree in South Africa itself
but subsequently for many good years in the United States. When I
look up from my Orange City study window where I am typing at
this moment to the big grey house barely hidden behind the trees,
a wh4 myriad of images flood my mind of how our lives intersected
over those fortunate years.
I moved to the Gardners on Sunday after a most lovely day with
the Kirkwoods. Mrs. K. picked me up at .the hotel about 10, packed
my luggage into the back of her car and took me on a tour of the
lovely garden suburbs of Johannesburg. We went to the country
club for tea (an 11 o'clock institution) and I could hardly tear
myself away from the lovely gardens, waving willows and brilliant
flowers and trees (the mauve jacarandas9 ''o in full bloom). After
the drive, we lunched at their home and then off to the mine
dance at the State Mines about 14 miles outside Johannesburg.
For three hours, we watched an assortment of traditional dances
and impromptu stunts by groups of A& l,"obviously organized
by themselves and executed with verve and joy. It was quite
breathtaking and interesting to a degree. Thousands of other
S mine workers, stood about and the play of emotion on
their very expressive faces was quite an experience. Then they
took me to the Gardners and so began my very, very happy visit there.
Both were.artists easy, full of interest and so warmly human.
I think I have never made a close friend so quickly.
Conveniently sited in a Johannesburg suburb, the Gardner
establishment, whose size and varied aspects require such a
designation, fronted on a quiet street which "my" room looked
out on. It was spacious like all the rooms in the house,
especially the long living room with its ever present fire.
Phyl and Jim's bedroom was at one end and the kitchen at the other
end. Matty, the cook, and other helpers lived outside or in the
African township but came in early and often left late. There
were at least two dogs, one very large, a watch dogwho took his
responsibilities very seriously whether on the property or
escorting me on evening walks near home. The Gardners- were
less apprehensive cd. break-ins than most South African city
dwellers but took no chances, it was clear. Behind the house
the sloping garden with its profusion of flowers led to the key
building: Jimmy's huge studio for his sculpture with a place on
the side for Phyl's painting of which the results, happily,
were in every room as well. The vegetable garden was to the
left side, and in the front there were always flowering bushes.
No wonder I settled down so quickly and comfortably, adopted
the dogs and stray cats, and pounded away on my little typewriter
reporting the extraordinarily useful interviews I was able to have.
The Gardners were not political in my sense of its meaning but
through their many and varied friends I also gathered perspectives
that were different from those of officials and politicians and
this helped to broaden my understanding of an almost unique
society and country which both fascinated and repelled me at the
same time. It still does.
Jim, as I called him, was Director of the Art School and
always left early to take up his responsibilities there which he
did with great and sometimes almost overpowering seriousness.
Phyl was in charge of the senior painting and had the delightful
knack of being encouraging at the same moment as being perceptive
and transmitting it. Even I did a little dabbling with a brush
though the typewriter has always remained my chief medium. But
I loved going down town with one or the other of them and seeing
quite different aspects of Johannesburg through their reactions,
sometimes explosive from Jimmy, always perceptive from Phyl with
her very special knack of seeing a story in every situation.
Comfortable and happy as I was at the Gardners, the urge to
explore Southern Africa and the need to make the most productive
contacts possible led me soon to follow up the excellent contacts
with which I was being provided at the South African Institute of
International Affairs, and through the governmentI had a Brittish
introduction to Eric Louw, the Minister of External Affairs, and
he put me in touch with the Minister of Railways, Mr. Sauer, who
seemed the key to all kinds of transport in the Union. To my
amusement but satisfaction, after we had worked out my travel
arrangements, I overheard his secretary say over the telephone
that I was a V.I.P. which apparently smoothed out whatever difficul-
ties there were.
This first of several trips I was to make during my three
months in Southern Africa opened my eyes to the rich variety of
scenery and activities throughout that area. I began appropriately
with four days in Pretoria, the capital, with, visits with Forsyth,
Permanent Secretary of External Affairs, Malan's secretary, du Plessis,
and Ealan himself who was very cordial, and extremely frank and thus
revealing. I also saw Hofmeyr with whom I had a good general talk.
Inthe afternoon, I was taken to the Premier Diamond.mine where the
Cullinan diamond, the world's largest, was discovered in 1903. The
highlight of my visit, however, was a talk with General Smuts who was
both cordial and .surprisingly open.with information and views, which
I greatly appreciated, --
I had expected my next visit, which was to Salisbury,
Southern Rhodesia, to be very -formal and-with'distirntly British
overtones but tp my surprise when I reached the hotel I found a
letter from the Governor's secretary saying that "His Excellency" would
be very pleased if I would stay at Government House once they
returned after the weekend. That gave me a chance to explore on
Sunday and I visited the Park where an excellent African band
was playing Gilbert and Sullivan one of those extraordinary
contrasts which I found everywhere and where a miniature Victoria
Falls and Zambesi River gave me a good chance to study the unusual
contours of the area there. The river winds back and forth at
right angles for nearly a dozen times, the falls themselves and
subsequent zigzags being due to a fault in the basalt. There
were peacocks with marvelous tails which they paraded before our
view and lovely flowering trees jacarandas (mauve) and flamboyants
(crimson-orange) which almost took my breath away.
Monday, I spent part of the morning with Sir Alan Welsh,
the speaker of the House of Assembly and an hour and a half in
the afternoon with Sir Godfrey Huggins, the Prime Minister, who
was a most delightful person with a great sense of humanity which
was a relief after the Nationalists in Pretoria. Huggins is a
surgeon which explains a good deal; unfortunately extremely deaf
as well. I watched the House in action for a while and had tea
on the lawn of the House in the recess and then rushed back to
the hotel to move to Government House!
The Kennedy arranged the most extraordinarily full program
and in additiongbecame fast friends. It was a most interesting
experience living with His Excellency, dressing for dinner and
jumping to my feet to drink the toast to the King. I had a
lady's maid who washed and pressed my clothes every dayll and a
lovely room with private bath the room was on a long verandah
flanking the garden in the Duke of York wing! which I had all to
The Kennedys invited 'Sir Ernest Guest & Lady Guest to
dine the first night so I could talk defense with him; and with
a Father Victor the second night (when they had to be out) who
turned out to know Uncle John since he is in the order of the
Brothers of the Resurrection. At lunch one day there was a Mrs.
Maasdorp who knew- all about native conditions and toUk me on a
tour of native schools and areas on my last morning in Salisbury.
Another day, Mr. Minors,the Secretary of the Bank of England, *
lunched beside me and was most interesting about Rhodesian
economic conditions. I went also to the Central African Council
which coordinates some activities of N. and S. Rhodesia and
Myasaland and learned a lot.
All this I owed to Sir Eric Machtig, Permanent Secretary of
the Commonwealth Relations Office who is a friend of the Kennedys and
wired them of my visit here. To my amusement, they hadn't the
foggiest notion who I was when I arrived but greeted me with the
utmost effusiveness, running out of the study and across the
flower beds to shake my hand and say how glad they were to see me!
Actually it was quite wonderful to have this luxury and attention
for this is one of those places where there are no ordinary means
of transportation and the taxis start at 3/6! Moreover, it was
a lovely, low white house, Dutch style with rounded decorations
at the end of every pointed roof. I was in a somewhat separated
part but with the same style of verandahs flanking the rooms on
the inner side of the garden and overlooking a most charming garden.
My visit to Cape Town was no less rewarding. I left
Johannesburg on December 9 after a brief visit with the Gardners on
my return from Salisbury and Phyl came out to the airport with me
to watch the planes come in and out. My plane was a Skymaster
which is bigger than any except the Flying Boat that I had been
We lifted heavily off the ground, soared along quite low
for a while, then gradually took our height of about 6-8000.
The visibility was good and I loved seeing the high veld from
the air, miles and miles of smooth, rolling country, grey green
and brown, stretching apparently forever, with scarcely a tree to
break the expanse. We flew over the Vaal at first (which is to the
Transvaal what the Nile is to Egypt) and then the Orange River,
saw Kimberley briefly though not the "big Hole" (where they
excavated for diamonds; actually the hole I saw at the Premier
Mines outside Pretoria is larger but not so deep) then on into
the Great Karroo, desert land of extraordinary beauty Particularly
at the latter end in the Eastern Cape district, the beauty was
almost staggering: great grey mountains on the horison, constantly
changing in form, and below us the red sands, washed into fantastic
shapes by sudden downfalls. Suddenly they sloped away in great
concentric circles as the land dipped down to the fertile valleys
of the Cape, startlingly green and brown, with gigantic hills
towering over them on either side. We passed over some famous
Passes (in South Africa the passes go down, not up, because the
land is so old and worn away) and in almost no time were in sight
of the Cape Peninsula, Table Mountain and the Lions Head. The
pilot obligingly turned the plane around so all of us had a good
glimpse at the famous outlines and then we went down to a perfect
landing, just three and a half hours after leaving Palmietfontein,
the Johannesburg airport for land planes.
SI had barely settled myself in Ay:-Cape:Town. hotel.and 'begun,2
unpack, when the telephone rang, and a pleasant voice said "This is
Sir Herbert Stanley: do you remember me from the meeting you addressed
in Johannesburg." Of course, I did for he had moved one of the nicest
votes of thanks that I had ever heard." So then he said "I've just
heard you are here and the hotel is no place for someone like you to
stay." I want you to move out and stay with us as long as you can."
The upshot was, of course, that I left the hotel as soon at oild
to stay with them at Papenboom, Newlands Avenue, Newlands,which is out
Bear the University and right by the sea. Since I' had an appointment
with the President of the University in the morning and luncheon with
the Hon Mr. Justice de Villiers to be followed by a drive, it was next
day before I could move.sEven then, I had already arranged a number
of appointments: Sunday with Peter Charles and his wife, Peter being
the brother of Wendy who was at Somerville with me; Monday with a
friend of Mrs. Kirkwood of the Jo'brg University Club to whose annual
meeting I had spoken on Monday before I left; and Wednesday with
Professor Rollo, an interesting rather explosive person, for lunch and
a drive, while in the evening I was speaking at the local branch of
the South African Institute of International Affairs. In between, I
attended the Graduation ceremony of the University of Cape Town with
Jack Brock, Truda's brother, since she couldn't go.
It was, however, sheer joy to be with the Stanleys
in Newlands. For one thing, it is about eight miles outside of the
town and the drive is along a lovely bluff, the Vaal Drive, with
great views over the city and Table Bay on one side and up the
mountains of the Peninsula on the other. The Rhodes Memorial,
the University and the Hospital are all on the slopes and in
between magnificent pine forests reaching up to the great peaks.
The Stanley's garden stretches to the pine woods and foot of
Devil's Peak, one of the more spectacular of a magnificent range.
Driving home at night from the city was particularly lovely for
the lights twinkled all over the city and the long flat stretches
of land at the foot of the Bay so that it looked like fairyland.
The Stanleys were not only extraordinarily kind and hospitable
but also interesting. She is a Cloete, descendant of an original
Cape Dutch family and one afternoon we went to her old home,
Alphen, where her nephew, a Bairnfather (no relation to the
cartoonist!) is now host, his wife, a nice girl and granddaughter
of Sir Thomas Cullinan of diamond fame. The house and buildings
enclosed three sides of a great square (lovely white Dutch archi-
tecture) with great elms shading them and huge pots of hydrangeas
between them. In the center of the square was a blazing mass of
flowers! We went into the old house, and I loved its spacious
rooms, old family portraits (to which the Cullinan heiress is now
adding some old masters!) and an air of distinction and graciousness.
Then we had tea in the little cottage next door and later visited
the wine cellars and saw where the wine presses are all part
of the square of buildings. Alphen wine is famous, and it was
most interesting to see the huge casks with maturing wine, and
to look out from the door onto the vineyards which stretch for
miles on all sides of the estate. All this was in the Valley of
Other memorable experiences at the Cape were drives by Hoek
Bay and Chapmans Peak where the road has been cut into the side
of the hill and one looks straight down into the green-blue water
of the Atlantic, rolling in below, and up to the peaks soaring
over our heads. Then-we cut across to Simonstown, the naval base
for the British. The high point, howevertwas the ascent to Table
Mountain where I walked over the smooth grey boulders to see the
magnificent views, to one side down the whole length of the Cape 7i-
Peninsula, and to the other over Cape Town, Table Bay, and the Cape Flat-
By an extraordinary coincidence, I was taken by a Professor Rollo who
turned out to be the son of old Canon Rollo who used to teach me
religious knowledge at Trinity.
Thereafter, I boarded a luxury bus (made in Canada, I was
proud to learn), for a quick early December trip around the coast
whose spectacular scenery kept me in a constant state of excitement.
We stopped in Mossel Bay on December 13, and Port Elizabeth the
following day, so I had a quick visit to each of them. I had only
planned to have lunch in Grahamstown but found out to my delight
that a long time friend, Truda Brock, was the head there of a
training-college for the Anglican sisterhood so I stayed with her
for a week learning much from my conversations with her and others
at the college, and interspercing them with my explorations of
the town and its surroundings. I then again boarded my luxury bus
through to Maritzburg where I was met by the Pope Ellis' on Christmas <
Eve and taken to stay with them "for as long as you like; to be with us."
Christmas with the Pope-Ellis family was a delight. Leslie
and Cormac, my host and hostess, were most cordial and easy. Grand-
mother was "quite amazing," though she kept asking the same questions
over and over again. The two girls with their husbands and two children
each were friendly and gay. Happily everyone was left to do just what
each wanted in this rambling old house with trees and jacarandas on
In the late afternoon of Christmas,there was s special
ceremony at which the Africans who work on the property got their :'
presents. Cormac made a little speech in Zulu and the men grouped in a
semi-circle kept raising their hands high above their heads with their
palms out in approval and chanting "Baas" in their deep voices. One of
the two headmen made a little speech of thanks, and then the presents
were doled out. The eldest grandson aged about four ran to and fro
bringing the shirts from a big box on the porch; the men came from the
right and were shooed over to the left after they got their present.
Some of them bowed quite low and one did a little jog dance, partly
because he was tight and partly to cover up on odd walk from on old
leg injury. Then another speech by -P.E. wishing them good luck with
their crops, and a great roar of approval and "chant by the Zulus of
all his virtues." Almost all of them were dressed in khaki clothes
but one man wore the traditional mouchie (loincloth) made of beads and
animal tails and nothing else except a shirt slipped lightly over but
the rest were more Europeanized. I would have enjoyed seeing more of
their bead work worn by them but to my delight received five necklaces
as my own Christmas presents, all of which had been made in the tradi-
tional way andworn.
Before I left Johannesburg for Cape Town, I had heard from
patriCla Anderson about the possibility of spending some-time
with her and her husband on their big farm at Colchester, Cedar-
ville, East Griqualand. Ruth Dean ofJOt. Holypke had put us in touch
andkwas much taken by the idea. So after a few more days with the
Pope Ellis', I took to the road again since there still seemed
time before my eratic Inchanga turned up in Durban. It proved a
marvellous experience and we all became bosum friends, a bond that
still lasts to today.
I was reluctant to return to Durban but feared quite rightly
that if I did not do so, something might go wrong with my sailinro
It became a most tiresome affair with one announcement after
another, and each cancelled at almost the last moment. Finally, i:
I wrote home on January 18, 1999,to say'iwe would sail the next
day. i. We were due to stop at Lourence Marques, Dar-es-salaam,
Mombasa, and then cut across to Ceylon. After that, I planned tc
go to India: Madras, Bombay, Karachi, Lahore, New Delhi, and
Calcutta, all by air, much of which I did eventually. But before
thatfurther complications developed with the trip.
I spent the night-i:of the 18th with Mrs. Dick, the
Secretary of the South African Association of University,Womeni.::h..
husband and small boy of nine. At dinner, was Dr. Palmer who
had done much to build up the non-REropean side of Durban Univers'.::
and afterwards met with a number of other university teachers
including a man who taught in the big Indian High School and had
some excellent suggestions for me. Their house had a splendid
view of the harbor and I could see the Inchanggfrom my room,
glistening white in the lights as befitted a passenger-cargo boat.
We drove down to the harbor the next day, and I cleared my bage
at a small table set in the middle of a huge shed which was largely
filled with bags of tea. My cabin was rather nice, not a bit too small,
and on the hurricane deck so only the Captain's bridge was above. It had
a bed with good springs, and a ledge for my books. The window was a good
size with either glass or slats as the weather made appropriate. There
was hot and cold running water, a big mirror above the basin and a chest
with three drawers.
So far, so good, but I was dismayed to see on the deck many
bales marked for Beira which we had been promised we would not go to for
it is the steamiest port on the 6ast African coast. Discussion ran to and
fro and the possibility of a long stay there became evident. Lourenco
Marques was hot enough so when we got there I went anxiously to the
Captain and fortunately found also the representative of the shipping
company. He acknowledged it was unlikely we would get to Mombasa before:
February/and maybe later, and not to Colombo before February 20! So I
asked what would they think if I got off in Beira and went back to Johannes
burg and flew to Mombasa to meet the ship, and the Captain said I wish
I could do it!" But how was I to do it? The train was already booked but
there was a plane leaving at seven next morning.
The agent found a little Portuguese boy named Jimmie who took
me in rapid succession to the South African consul to get another visa, tc
the bank that was closed but could tell Jimmie the value of my American
travellers checks so we went back to Rennie's office where my air ticket
was waiting, they cashed my checks and gave me the rest in Soith African
money, Then I went to the Portuguese immigration authorities for an exit
permit, and so back to the ship where I made all the other passengers very
envious over avoiding those two ports! "JUmi=ei plua~.wIlfl turned up at the
ship j .:;, before six next morning ust in time to stop the deckhands from
taking down the gangplank to move to a new billet. And so "home" again!
The Gardners adjusted easily to my unexpected return and
as I wrote home on January 27, 1949,"I'm having the most glorious time,
resting, reading, possessing my soul in peace, and loving the out of
doors." I was also putting the finishing pieces toi'e reorganization
of my notes, grouping them under three main heading; politics and race
relations; land and people; and "Which way SouthuAjria01949nfi.j-n., "
The latter piece I had already sent off to Saturday Night early in
January and I was delighted to learn/that stig- yediTe it iwas..i n t
issue of February 1, 1o49, under the heading of South African Stress
Is Intensified by the Nationalists' Policies.
My new set of plans involved leaving Johannesburg on
February 9, and flying right through to Nairobi on a plane that left
als g n nte morning
at 2 a.m.yut got there at 11.40. From there, I took the train, happily
accompanied once more by Cora Hochstein, to get tb-Mombasa where as I
wrote Ed Mulcahy, I would sleep on the Inchanga if it had arrived -
hich it hadn't) or otherwise. in any place he could arrange, either
the hotel or his cottage on the beach. Of course, he had everything in
hand when we arrived and plans for a splendid trip to Zanzibar, which
turned out toAone of mv most noteworthy experiences . nedi.ael,
Tfrd wasLso s fro -homei'hfcas" always -t~ugh'i xi up to dat'-there.
S The most splendid news awaiting me, of course, was of Charlie's engageme
on March 3
and marriage/to Catherine Counsell. How I would have loved to be there
but I sent my congratulations and love over the airwaves with confident
they must arrive.
To return to Mombasa. which, incidently, is on an island,
while the hotel was on the mainland to the north. Each time we go into
town, we go over a rickety 6Woden bridge which spans the end of the
old harbor, where the Arabian dhows lie at thf ,de of the old wharf.
They sail down from the Persian Gulf -several times a year, bringing rng~
and spices etc. There were many in the harbor when we were there, looking
for all the world like the ships Columbus took across the Atlantic except
that the sides were probably lower. They have sharp prows, much riggin-,
and when they are under sail one, two, three, or even five sails.-i.th;y
make a lovely picture on the blue water. The sails are always white,
however, not red or blue as in France.
Wednesday afternoon, we went to old Fort Jesus (now a military
prison) and sow the doors studded with spikes to keep the elephants fror
battering them in! Then down old Vasco da Gama street with its round:. i';
pointed:.Portuguese tower at the end, past the bazaars where Indians sell
gorgeous saris, and the Hindu Crematorium(where they refuse to cremate
Europeans, a fitting color bar) and the African location which is very
well built and makes a.- striking contrast to the crowded, dirty African
houses on its outskirts.
When we got down to the Old Port, we saw a hugh black car dri"
up and who should get out but the Governor, Sir Philip Mitchell. I nearly;
went over to him but suddenly realized he was receiving a deputation of
Arab sheiks and right afterwards he went down the long causeways to the
water, embarked in a long boatt rowed by about a dozen Arabs and undertoc
a tour of the hundred or more dhows in the harbor before going on board'
one of them for traditional drinks, presents and sprinkling of rose water
Before we follGtWhe4oi tbwn Arabs on two similar low boats danced, most
dangerously, in the narrow quarters, swinging back and forward to hauntiL
chants, not unlike those of the Cossacks.
The day before, Cora and I had done a tour of the schools
Ed had arranged for us to have dinner the night before with the Chief
Education Officer who arranged for his deputy to take as around. We went
to the Arab Girls School, the Indian Girls School (mostly Hindu) and
the Goan High School. The Goans come from Portuguese India but most
of them have been born here and athothoroughly.~Ahglicdzed. They are
said to be the most satisfactory of clerks!
The most interesting of them was the Arab:Girls-School.
According to the Koran, every man may have four wives and the children
of these wives are considered Arab if the father is so ranked. He
may also have certain other wives for convenience but their children
are considered African if the wife is Africani One consequence is
that there is every shade of color from pale brown to jet black in
the Arab School. Another feature is the veils: the youngest wear none;
the middle aged group eight to eleven or twelve wear bright colored
veils over their heads; and the older girls who have reached maturity
wear black veils. We asked the senior class (doing the equivalent
of nine year olds said the English headmistress) to sing for us and
they did it beautifully, improvising a welcome for us by name to the
music of some traditionalcchant. We were told that the Arabs: did not
have much use for education for girls who mature early and are often
married at thirteen and "quite ready for it" said the headmistress.
We thought they had beautiful faces and lovely brown liquid eyes, and
wished them well.
The high point of my time with Ed and Cora wa ou trip to,
Zanzibar, We took off early Sunday morning by a Rapide carrying only one other
passenger besides the three of us. We had a glorious view of Mombasa harbor,
both the Old Harbor with its Arab dhows and the new Kilindini Harbor with many
ships lying at anchor but no Inchanga! The we flew along the coast of Kenya
until we crossed into Tanganyika and soon began to head out to sea to avoid the
clouds. The sea was fascinating: crisscrossed like an elephant hide, sometimes
grey, sometimes a brilliant blue with coral, and in between streaked with green
from sand bars.
We flew past Tembatu on our way to Zanaibar and I learned that the Afrikans
Ar2- '14!.Zt -*' --.reS
some Arab mixture) who live there keep to themselves and do not let people from
the mainland come on shore without a great deal of prior arrangements. They
administer their own laws and justice and apparently with great effect, and since
no one there or on the island of Zanzibar pays a tax, except the Europeans and
a very few Indians, there is no reason for government officials to disturn them.
The Resident told us that he had talked about their great need for water on one
of his infrequent visits and thought they might come to him about it but in the
meantime was prepared to wait.
Another, this time tragic sight as we flew down the island which was
larger than we had expected was the signs of the tragic blight which is attacking
the clove trees which have long provided Zanzibar's chief export. Apparently the
"sudden death," as they call it is really endemic or latent and has been for a lon-
time but on Zanzibar has only recently been very destructive. It could be a tragc'
for Zanzibar produces magnificent cloves. They are sold mainly to the East: 530 t;:
the Dutch East Indies before the war to be shaved into their tobacco, and 25% to
India to be used as spices. Canada and the U.S. apparently buy their from
Madagascar which grows iess good quality but no one explained why. In any case, we
decided the palm was the most romantic of trees and I for one as I saw them
silhouetted against the full moon while we were there felt in the midst of a
" romantic, magic scene far away from tiresome reality."
We had rashly gone to Zamzibar without settled reservations but our
luck held as the priests at the Mission persuaded Mrs. Alford, the wife of the
Financial Secretay to take us in and we soon became fast friends. The Mission itself.
was eternally hospitable and provided splendid meals while, as I wrote, "Life here
is just one round of drinks after another."
Monday we lunched at the Residency with Sir Vincent Glenday and his wif-
and learned quite a lot about the island. As I wrote later "He was quite amusing
about the Sultan. At first he, insisted the Sultan was really the ruler; that
Zanzibar was "a Protected State" rather than a protectorate and that he was in no
sense a Governor but the Resident "merely giving advice." But as our talk continued