“People I Have Known:
Alice Goldmark Brandeis”
[handwritten] July 26, ‘30
PEOPLE i HAVE KNOWN
ALICE GOLDMARK BRANDEIS
By Elizabeth Glendower Evans
It is hard for me to speak to the public of Alice Brandeis because she is so very near to me. Her Husband, Mr. Justice Brandeis was a friend of my husband’s far back in the 8-s, and when he died in 1886, Mr. Brandeis quietly constituted himself as my Big Brother. I cannot think what my life would have been without his guidance and his inspiration and when he told me he was engaged to be married to Alice Goldmark--a far away cousin of his own and a sister-in-law to Felix Adler--I took her into my heart before ever I had seen her winning face.
She stayed at my house for many weeks that winter of her engagement, and my home became more than ever dear to me from having given shelter to those ardent and altogether engaging lovers.
Before he was married he bought a little house at 114 Mt. Vernon st., near mine, to which he took his wife in the early spring of 1901. They sent me the door key so that I might unpack her trunks and get all ready when they should arrive. Oh, that dear little house! It became a second home to me. Later as the children made the need of larger space in sistent they rented a house near mine on Otis Place and more than ever we became like members of one family. They had a summer home in Dedham, where their week-ends throughout the winter were likewise passed, and there I would go paddling with them on Sunday mornings or play tennis with the children, or like in the sun.
When I first knew Mr. Brandeis always rode horseback late afternoon. After he was married he acquired a buggy in which he and his wife would drive, she wearing a red shaker cloak in which she looked like a joyous school girl. That cloak is now in Chatham among wraps which hang in the entry. And always it has for me the aroma of those long past days.
“Long married lovers,” I call Mr. Brandeis and his wife. They take all their pleasures together, except that, as their two girls grew beyond babyhood, they were included. Now the children are both married; they come to Chatham in the summer with their husbands and their children, and the grandchildren bring a new joy to the grandparents’ hearts. But always those grandparents walk apart, finding their unique joy in each other.
She is her children’s best friend--always they prefer her for a companion to walk with, or to take for a paddle or sail. She leaves them a freedom that has not even a suggestion of control. “They are grown women. It is natural that they should have their own ways.”
Mrs. Brandeis’ success as a wife has been so supreme that it seems to fill the whole frame of the picture. But her marriage is more than emotional. She has an admirable mind and she is conversant with all that her husband thinks and does. When they were engaged to be married she gladly shared his ideal of living far within what his professional income would warrant leaving a wide margin to spend for things really worth while. Her husband has learned to love his semi-ascetic ways. She laughs playfully at the old knickers and sweaters to which he has come to cling for his summer wear as if they were his very skin; but except for occasions which demand good clothes, her own apparel is not far dissimilar. They dine every night as they dine when they have company-- always well, never lavishly. There is no end to their hospitality, but always she has kept it to a modest scale.
Mrs. Brandeis is sensitively organized and not overstrong. It is only by the exercise of care and self-control that she is able to live in the great world and give freely and unselfishly of her strength to others. She is democratic in spirit, yet discriminating; she never has one word to say which is unkind. She never speaks beyond the occasion; no need for revision or self-correction. Her letters are little more than scraps, often on post cards. But always they say in the least possible space the things she desires to express. That self-restraint becomes a fault in my eyes in her literary work in which her English is very felicitous but which lacks in emotional tang. But literature has been among her minor activities. Her translation of her uncle, Karl Goldmark’s autobiography called “Notes of a Viennese Composer” has been her only published work,--that and occasional smalls articles on woodland conservation. She has done her [Missing text]
-chusetts Civic League of whose executive board she was a member. She was a charter member of the Woman’s City Club of Boston and served as the first chairman of its Committee on Civic Affairs. But the work which enlisted her deepest interest and to which she gave most of her time and thought, in close association with Miss Mary Follett, was careful detailed planning for the wider use of the public school--a movement only in embryo when Mrs. Brandeis and Miss Follett first worked out its application in Boston. Gradually this effort to educate the community developed into the National Community Center Association. Mrs. Brandeis has for years been a member of its Executive Board and is now the chairman.
Another public activity which began in Boston and still continues is the work Peace. Mrs. Brandeis was a charter member of the Massachusetts League for Peace and Freedom, and is now Vice-President of the National Council for the Preservation of Peace. In local affairs of Washington she has been a director of the Consumers’ League and active in furthering laws for the protection of the women and children of the Distract, such as that regulating child labor and providing for compulsory education. She has participated effectively in many other activities of public importance, but [missing text].
|Elizabeth Glendower Evans
|Published in the Springfield Daily Republican
|Louis Dembitz Brandeis Collection
|Copyright restrictions may apply. For permission to copy or use this image, contact the Robert D. Farber University Archives & Special Collections Department, Brandeis University Library