From Hiram House to Warsaw: Evelina Belden Paulson’s Internationalist Extension of Social Work

Document 1: 22 August 1921     |     Document 2: 8 September 1921
Document 3: 22 September 1921     |     Document 4: 1 October 1921
Document 5: 4 October 1921     |     Document 6: 2 December 1921

Author: Evelina Belden
Recipient: Ruth Spencer
Date: 2 December 1921
Document Type: Typed Document
Location: Evelina Belden Paulson Papers, RG 30/406, Series II, Box 3, Letter No. 2249, O. C. A.


The following letter, Ruth Spencer, who worked extensively for the Junior Red Cross in Poland, wrote Belden. There is no consistent record of Spencer’s service in Poland, but from 1939 to 1940 she was Executive Secretary for The Red Cross delegation in Poland.[1] As seen in Document 3, individuals who worked for social service for the Red Cross were excited about their work. This letter shows consistency with Belden’s care for and dedication to the state of the children in the programs that she worked for, as well as the Red Cross itself.

Original                       Both                    Transcription



[Letterhead: American Red Cross

Amerykanski Czerwony Krzyz

Ul Szopena No. 13

Telephone 3821-3842             Warsaw, Poland

Telefon                                    Warszawa, Polska]


December 2, 1921

Junior Red Cross


My dear Miss Belden:

It seems as if I could write reams about what the school children of Lubelski district are doing in Junior Red Cross work and what they are saying about it but instead I must confine it all to a few paragraphs and try to tell you just the most interesting things.  I can not begin to express on paper one half their enthusiasm or readiness to accept the ideas and suggestions but perhaps you can gather somewhat from the narrative that they are truly in sympathy and already feel much nearer to American children.  The plan is of course new to them and they are just organizing but before long they will be fullfledged Juniors.

If American children could only take one peep into this particular school I have in mind I am sure they would be delighted beyond words.  It has been very difficult to find enough lodgings to establish schools and some of the children had to stay at home.  One very fine and capable teacher realized what it would mean to these children in future years to have lost so much time out of school that she made up her mind to help in some way.  A way was found because she gave up three rooms of her five room apartment for a school! She had very little money, because the Bolsheviks had taken it away from her during the war, but she used what she had and with the help of two of her friends opened a model school.  She would give anything she has to make her school an ideal place for children.  Her school equipment is simple but harmonious.  She is now selling a fur coat in order that she may plan for the future a little.  Before the war she had a splendid gymnasium for boys and girls in Petrograd but it was all destroyed during the war.  Her spirit has not been crushed, quite the contrary: She plans and thinks each day how she can make her school a better one and in what manner she can best install the finest principles.

She has presented the Junior idea to her children in such a beautiful manner! They have organized their little circle and assume the responsibility eagerly.  The first thing they wanted to do was to help the “Kropla Kleka”[2] which is just across the street. They see the mothers with their babies coming every day for milk.  They made a tour of inspection to the station and decided that the doctor needed a waste paper basket badly, so at once bought one from marks they had saved.  They were delighted with the milk station and asked many questions about every thing they saw.  Another day several “delegates” from the school came to the station to count and prepare the white and red tape for weaving rugs.  It was a perfect picture to see them sitting on the floor, amid rows of red and white bells, working and looking as curious and as business-like as grown ups.  Both boys and girls are going to knit sweaters for the milk station babies.  They are also writing stories for American Juniors and letters. They have nice songs which they sing about being clean and healthy.  Oh yes I must tell you that they all have plain soft slippers to put on as soon as they leave their street shoes in the outer hall! They new benches must not be too quickly scratched and marred.  None of the children in thisschool [sic] are more than ten years of age.

Every day they are thinking of American children and hope to send their own personal greetings soon.

Ruth V. Spencer, Social Worker,

Lublin District.

[1] “Garment Shipment Goes to Refugees: Red Cross Starts 29 Cases to Poland,” The Reading Eagle, 16 January 1940, accessed 22 August 2016, Source.

[2] unclear.