Monday, February 18, 2013

Dudley Field Malone, 1: The Courage of His Convictions


      With the ratification of the 19th Amendment by the state of Tennessee on August 18, 1920, women gained the right to vote.
It was not only a right whose time had come; it was long overdue. Women could vote in elections in 27 other nations before suffrage became law in the United States.
Four Croton women profiled previously in these pages—Louise Bryant, Inez Milholland, Crystal Eastman and Doris Stevens--had actively participated in the struggle for women's suffrage.
It is now time to pay tribute to one man who played a significant role in the fight: Dudley Field Malone.
The presence of this fascinating individual in the pantheon of fighters for women's rights is now almost forgotten. Yet there was no louder voice anywhere on the subject of fairness and justice.
Dudley Field Malone was born on June 3, 1882, and grew up Manhattan’s West Side. His parents were William C. and Rose McKenny Malone. An 1880 directory shows a William C. Malone, whose occupation was "clerk," living at 402 West 42nd Street, an address in the heart of what was known as "Hell's Kitchen." William Malone had studied law in the office of eminent lawyer Dudley Field and named his son after him.
After graduating from the College of St. Francis Xavier in Chelsea, young Dudley earned a law degree from Fordham Law School in 1905. The politically powerful Tammany Hall organization arranged for his appointment following year as an assistant corporation counsel of New York City.
A friend and protégé of President Woodrow Wilson, Malone had known and supported him since the beginning of his political career. He campaigned for Wilsonfor the governorship of New Jersey and managed the campaign that led to Wilson's nomination in 1912 at the Democratic convention in Baltimore.
In 1913, the victorious Wilson appointed Malone Third Assistant Secretary of State under William Jennings Bryan, who would be his adversary a dozen years later in Tennessee in what would be called "The Scopes Monkey Trial." Two other political rising stars, Franklin D. Roosevelt as Assistant Secretary of the Navy and Joseph E. Davies as Commissioner of Corporations, were also appointed the same day.
In November of 1913, after a brief State Department service of only seven months, Malone was named by Wilson to the post of Collector of the Port of New York. This was a political plum paying $12,000 a year for supervising the collection of import duties. In this position he also led Wilson's victorious fight to winCalifornia and other Western states in the 1916 reelection campaign. 

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                                       Dudley Field Malone in 1913. He spoke truth to power.

One Fateful Day
On July 16, 1917, Malone was present at the trial of sixteen women pickets who had been arrested in front of the White House and charged with obstructing traffic. Although this was their first brush with any law and because they refused to pay a $25 fine, they were sentenced to sixty days in jail. He immediately went to the women's counsel and offered to act as attorney on appeal of the case.
Outraged at the Wilson Administration's ill-advised actions in arresting the peaceful women pickets, Malone asked for an interview with Wilson. They met that same afternoon.
He began by reminding Wilson of the more than seven years of close personal association they had enjoyed. Wilson acknowledged Malone's unswerving loyalty to him.
Malone then dropped a bombshell: He could not remain a member of any administration that imprisoned American women for demanding the right to vote. He recounted for Wilson everything he had witnessed from the time the women were arrested in front of the White House to their sentencing in police court.
"If the situation is as you describe it, " Wilson said, "it is shocking."
"The manhandling of the women by the police was outrageous and the entire trial--before a judge of your appointment--was a perversion of justice," Malone told him.
Malone's directness upset the patrician president, a Virginian and former college professor.
"Why have you come to me in this indignant fashion for things that have been done by the police officials of Washington?
"Mr. President," Malone replied, "the treatment of these women is the result of carefully laid plans made by district commissioners, who were appointed to office by you. Newspapermen of unquestioned integrity have told me the commissioners have been in consultation with your private secretary, Mr. Tumulty. The Secretary of the Treasury, Mr. McAdoo, sat in at a conference when the policy of these arrests was being determined."
Wilson denied any knowledge of this, although Tumulty and McAdoo were both very close to him. Joseph P. Tumulty, a New Jersey attorney, had served as an adviser to Wilson in his run for the New Jersey governorship in 1910; Wilson had made the 32-year-old Tumulty his private secretary and confidant in 1911.
William G. McAdoo, only seven years younger than Wilson, was Wilson's son-in-law. After the death of McAdoo's wife, he had married Wilson's youngest daughter, Eleanor, in a White House ceremony. She was 26 years his junior. It was indeed a tightly knit official family.
"Do you mean to tell me," Wilson demanded, "you intend to resign, to repudiate me and my administration and sacrifice me for your views on this suffrage question?"
Malone's Irish temper flared at this. "If there is any sacrifice in this unhappy circumstance, I am the one who is making the sacrifice," he said. He reminded Wilsonhe had promised women voters in Western states that if they chose Wilson over pro-suffrage Republican candidate Charles Evans Hughes, he would do everything in his power to get the Wilson administration to pass the suffrage amendment.
He added that suffrage was an urgent war measure and a necessary part of America's program for world democracy. "The enfranchisement of women is not at all necessary to a program of democracy," Wilson responded, "and I see nothing in the argument that it is a war measure." He asked Malone whether he was suggesting that American women would not loyally support the war unless they were given the vote.
Malone rejected Wilson's inference and again urged him to persuade his administration to pass the amendment. "You will release from the suffrage fight the energies of thousands of women to the support of your program for international justice with redoubled zeal."
Wilson refused to admit the validity of Malone's argument. Yet, some months later, when Wilson finally insisted that the Senate pass the suffrage amendment, he called it a "war measure."
"You are the president now, reelected to office," Malone went on. "You ask whether I am going to sacrifice you. You sacrifice nothing by my resignation. But I lose much. I quit a political career. I give up a powerful office in my state. I, who have no money, sacrifice a lucrative salary, and go back to revive my law practice.
"Most of all I sever a personal association with you of the deepest affection that you know has meant much to me. But I cannot and will not remain in office and see women thrown in jail because they demand their political freedom."
Wilson countered by suggesting there was no reason Malone could not become counsel for the women without resigning from the administration. Malone pointed out that such a course would be impossible. "These women would not want me as their counsel if I were a member of your administration. This would make it appear that your administration was not responsible for the indignities to which they have been subjected.
"And, it may be necessary during the appeal to criticize and condemn members of your cabinet and others close to you, and I could not do this while remaining in office under you."
Wilson made a final appeal to Malone. "If you consider my personal request and do not resign, please do not leave Washington without coming to see me."
Dudley Field Malone left Wilson's office and never consulted with him again. He immediately began working on the women's appeal. Before it could be filed,Wilson pardoned the women. What stung Malone was Wilson's failure to say it had been done to correct a grave injustice.
Malone withheld his resignation and returned to New York. In September, another group of women arrested under the same false charges were given identical sentences of 60 days in the workhouse.
That was the last straw. Malone had been willing to concede that Wilson may have been innocent of responsibility for the first arrests, but the president could not deny being personally and politically responsible for further arrests. Dudley Field Malone tendered his resignation, dated September 7, 1917, to Wilson.
Wilson responded from the presidential yacht Mayflower on September 12, accepting the resignation. Malone was flooded with letters from suffragists and legislators congratulating him on his brave and generous action.

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Dudley Field Malone, 2: From Croton to Paris to Hollywood


      Internationally famous lawyer Dudley Field Malone played a prominent role in spectacular human rights causes early in the 20th century. 
       When women whowere lawfully picketing the White House and Capitol were arrested and jailed for obstructing the sidewalk, he defended them in court. And when the administration of Woodrow Wilson continued to harass and jail peaceful women pickets, he quit a lucrative and highly visible government post to protest the President's failure to act on women's suffrage. 
       To replace Malone as Collector of the Port of New York, Wilson appointed Undersecretary of the Treasury Byron R. Newton. As a newspaperman, Newton had watched the Wright Brothers' first experimental flight at Kitty Hawk in 1903. He is today remembered for a biting verse he wrote about New York City:   

                           Vulgar of manner, overfed,
                           Overdressed and underbred;
                           Heartless, Godless, Hell's delight,
                           Rude by day and lewd by night,
                           Bedwarfed the man and large the brute,
                           Ruled by Jew and prostitute,
                           Purple robed and pauper clad,
                           Rotten, raving, money-mad;
                           A squirming herd in money's mesh,
                           A wilderness of human flesh;
                           Crazed by avarice, lust and rum -- 
                           "New York" thy name's Delirium.

      Dutifully, Newton's first public statement was a bitter denunciation of women's suffrage, whether granted by state or national action.
      Following his widely publicized resignation as collector of customs and free to aid the cause of women's suffrage, Malone threw himself into legal activity on the movement's behalf. He masterfully proved to a Virginia jurist that the warden of the District of Columbia Jail had no authority to transfer the women prisoners to a workhouse in Virginia and forced their return to Washington.
      Faced with Malone's formidable adversarial talents, the Wilson Administration capitulated and unconditionally freed all women prisoners in November.
      He was identified with many liberal movements, helping to defend Max Eastman, Floyd Dell and the other Masses defendants. Outspoken in his defense of five Socialist lawmakers in Albany who were expelled from the Republican-led legislature after their election in 1919, Malone accepted Socialist backing when he ran independently on the Farmer-Labor ticket in 1920. Morris Hillquit and other prominent Socialists praised him. He led a delegation of lawyers to Bell County, Kentucky, in support of striking coal miners there.

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A handsome Dudley Field Malone in 1913 when he entered 
government service.

Many Marriages
      In 1908, Dudley Field Malone married Mary Patricia O'Gorman, daughter of Judge and U.S. Senator James A. O'Gorman [D-N.Y.] Their marriage would end in a Paris divorce in 1921 that attracted considerable attention because he and his wife were both Roman Catholics. Until the day she died in 1961, his former wife would call herself "Mrs. Dudley Field Malone."
      Malone and his second wife, Doris Stevens, drove to Peekskill from Croton on December 5, 1921. Justice of the Peace Edward J. Wilson left customers at his hardware store to perform the marriage ceremony in the village clerk’s office at 10 a.m. Doris insisted on retaining her maiden name.
      During the Twenties, Malone became a successful international divorce lawyer. So many wealthy Americans were traveling to Paris to Paris to shed their marital bonds quickly, he opened an office in the French capital. He later claimed that he had arranged more reconciliations than divorces for those who sought his help with their domestic problems.
His conciliatory skills were of no avail to save his marriage to Doris Stevens, however. She obtained a Paris divorce in 1929 on grounds of abandonment. Doris retained the Croton house at the corner of North Highland Place and Mt. Airy Road.
      Malone married his third wife, Minnesota-born actress Edna Louise Johnson, in London on January 29, 1930. A son, also named Dudley Field Malone, was born at the Harkness Pavilion of Columbia Presbyterian Hospital on January 1, 1931, the first arrival of the new year in New York.
Gloria Swanson, who had been Malone's neighbor when she lived at Longue Vue Farm on Mt. Airy Road in Croton as the Marquise de la Falaise de la Coudray, was impatient to divorce her French nobleman husband. Her new love was Michael Farmer, a handsome 30-year-old Irish playboy. Unhappy with the slow progress of her divorce, she wired Malone from California asking him to speed up her divorce so she and Farmer could be married on their arrival in New York.
In her 1980 autobiography, Swanson on Swanson, she wrote, "I don't know how he arranged it, but we drove to Elmsford, gave him our passports, and were married by the mayor there in Dudley Malone's parlor on August 6, 1931."
      It was a secret marriage, and the couple traveled back to Hollywood by train as Mr. and Mrs. Martin Forster. Gloria and Michael next eloped to Yuma, Arizona, for a much publicized wedding. Controversy, which the publicity-conscious movie industry dearly loves, erupted when the upstaged mayor of Elmsford pointed out he had already married Swanson and Farmer in the ceremony arranged by Dudley Field Malone.
Malone had an earlier association with Gloria Swanson and the movie industry as corporate secretary of her movie production company called Gloria Productions. The company had been organized and bankrolled by her longtime lover Joseph P. Kennedy, whose trysts with her in Croton had been conveniently timed to coincide with periods when the Marquis was away.
      Proposed as a wartime grain-saving measure in 1917, the 18th Amendment prohibiting the manufacture and sale of alcoholic beverages did not go into effect until 1920, long after the war had ended. During the so-called Roaring Twenties, the country was divided into “Drys” (supporters of Prohibition) and “Wets” (for repeal).
      In June of 1924, the Ku Klux Klan and Drys under the leadership of William Jennings Bryan had made religion an issue in the Democratic convention at New York City's Madison Square Garden, preventing the nomination of Governor Al Smith, a Wet and a Catholic. On the 103rd ballot, an all-time record, the convention nominated the lackluster and uninspiring John W. Davis for president and Bryan's brother, Charles, for vice president.
      Always a political nonconformist, Malone made many unpredictable choices in his career. He supported Smith for re-election as governor in New York but refused to support the national ticket. Instead, he toured the country speaking for Senators Robert M. La Follette of Wisconsin and Burton K. Wheeler of Montana as candidates of the Progressive Party.
      He not only opposed the investigation into the Tammany Hall machine's participation in municipal corruption conducted by retired Judge Samuel Seabury but helped his friend, the popular bon vivant mayor Jimmy Walker, prepare his defense to the charges. Malone and comedian George Jessel had campaigned with Walker when he first ran for mayor in 1925.
      Seabury, who had presidential ambitions, had dumped the report of his investigations in the lap of Governor Franklin D. Roosevelt. Roosevelt called a hearing in Albany to look into Seabury's charges against Walker. In the face of mounting evidence that the jaunty mayor and his administration had been for sale, the mayor resigned.

      With his divorce practice in decline during the Depression, Malone was forced to declare bankruptcy in 1935. Turning his attention to Broadway, he appeared in several plays, mostly in bit parts. In 1941, he left New York for California and a job as general counsel for Twentieth Century-Fox studios.
      His physical resemblance to Winston Churchill earned him a role as the British prime minister in the 1943 Warner Brothers film Mission to Moscow. Recounting the experience of Joseph E. Davies as ambassador to the Soviet Union, the movie glossed over the brutal repressions of the Stalin regime in a thinly disguised attempt to keep public opinion favorable to Russia as an ally in the war.
      He also supplied Churchill’s voice in the film Edge of Darkness about the Norwegian underground and played Churchill again in An American in Paris. His acceptance of an actor's role toward the end of a long law career surprised some of his friends. He explained it by reminding them that "all lawyers and politicians are actors at heart."

      Troubled with a heart condition for about a dozen years, he was admitted to Culver City Hospital on October 4, 1950, and died of a heart attack the following day at the age of 68.
      Of all his public actions, Dudley Field Malone was proudest of having sacrificed a prestigious appointment on the altar of principle. His selfless gesture was a significant milestone in the bitter struggle that finally won the vote for American women.
      His son, also named Dudley Field Malone, had a long career as a theatrical talent agent and manager. Among his clients were singer Jane Froman and actor and screenwriter Emlyn Williams. He died of lung cancer in Bellport, Long Island, on January 1, 1990, his 59th birthday. There were no immediate survivors.

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Monday, February 04, 2013

Doris Stevens: Jailed for Freedom


      A militant feminist and leader in the women's suffrage movement, Doris Stevens was a keen eyewitness to the historic events that led up to the passage of the 19th Amendment. While the experiences were still fresh in her mind, she recorded them.
Her 1920 book, Jailed for Freedom, captures in minute detail the cruelties suffragists endured during the fight to achieve the vote. More than 500 women were arrested during the demonstrations. Her book performs an invaluable service by recording in an appendix the names of the 168 women who actually served prison sentences, with a brief biography of each. Their names deserve to be remembered.
Doris Stevens was born in OmahaNeb., on October 26, 1892, the daughter of Henry Hendebourck Stevens and Caroline Koopman Stevens. She graduated from Oberlin College in Ohio in the class of 1911. Oberlin was the first American institution of higher education to open its doors to women, and one of the first to admit blacks. Mary Jane Patterson, who was graduated from Oberlin in 1862, became the first black woman to receive a bachelor's degree in the United States.

      Doris Stevens joined with Doris Paul, Lucy Burns, Crystal Eastman and Dorothy Day to form the Congressional Union for Woman Suffrage, forerunner of the National Woman's Party (NWP), in 1913. She began to work as an organizer in NewportR.I.Denver and California. With journalistic experience and ample reserves of sheer nerve, she was noted in suffrage circles both for her radical views and her attractive appearance. Later, she organized the first national convention of women voters at the 1915 Panama-Pacific Exposition in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park.
Women's suffrage was gaining momentum. By 1915, a dozen states, all in the West, had given women the right to vote. The reason for this tilt toward equality was understandable: Western states had fewer women than men. Any state in which women had the right to vote would attract women to settle there and rectify the imbalance.
During the 1916 presidential campaign, Woodrow Wilson, running for a second term as president, promised peace but not suffrage. Charles Evans Hughes, his Republican challenger, promised suffrage but not peace. Doris was the California campaign manager for the NWP, which supported Hughes.
Active in demonstrating for women's suffrage, she was arrested in WashingtonD.C., on July 14, 1917, for picketing at the White House. Sentenced to 60 days in the infamous Occoquan Workhouse, she was pardoned by President Wilson after three days. The government was finally beginning to realize that repressive actions and harsh sentences were generating increasing sympathy for the suffragists from the public.
She was among the protesters arrested in New York City at a postwar suffragist demonstration outside the Metropolitan Opera House in March 1919. After living together in Croton, Doris married colorful attorney Dudley Field Malone in Peekskill in 1921 but kept her maiden name. Their house still stands on Highland Place in Croton. He was an outspoken and effective defender of women arrested during Wilson's mindless attempt to halt the women's suffrage juggernaut.
In 1918, Malone’s appeal had won the release of a group of suffrage demonstrators who had been jailed for “obstructing the sidewalk” in front of the White House.
Later, Malone was invited to be co-counsel, with Clarence Darrow, in the defense of John T. Scopes, in the famous 1925 Tennessee “Monkey Trial.” He gave what is widely regarded as the finest speech of the trial in defense of academic freedom.

Second Marriage 
      Doris was divorced from Malone in Paris in 1929. In 1935 in Portland, Maine, she married Jonathan Mitchell, a writer on the staff of the magazine The NewRepublic. Mitchell was the author of Goose Steps to Peace, published in 1931, a thoughtful study of peace efforts after the First World War. The couple planned to live in Croton-on-Hudson.
Always a firebrand and a fighter, after helping to win the battle for women's suffrage in the United StatesDoris turned her attention to the widespread discrimination against women in other countries.
In 1928, Doris and members of the NWP asked to be allowed to present a proposed Equal Rights Treaty at an international conference in France. The women's aim was to get the delegates to add such an understanding to the pact being negotiated. It was known both as the Pact of Paris and as the Kellogg-Briand Treaty for its authors, Frank B. Kellogg, American secretary of state, and Aristide Briand, French foreign minister. Signatory nations agreed not to resort to force in resolving disputes.
Doris managed to make headlines by getting herself arrested at the gate of the home of French president, Gaston Doumergue in Rambouillet. Members of theNWP carried a banner reading, "We demand a treaty giving women their rights." French police arrested ten demonstrators, including Doris, for refusing to leave the area and for not having identity cards.
Exhibiting bruises on her arms and wrists, she told reporters later, "It was a splendid battle, and we are proud of it."
Denying that they had planned to disrupt the conference, she explained that women were amateurs in diplomatic affairs.
"We see only the forthright, common-sense way to proceed," she added. "That, I think, is often an asset."
The next month in London, she defended her militant actions at Rambouillet. "Of course, we lacked tact," she conceded. "We are in revolt."
The Kellogg-Briand Treaty was eventually ratified by the U.S. Senate with only one dissenting vote. As it turned out, the pact never made a meaningful contribution to international order in the face of several undeclared wars of the 1930s--the Japanese invasion of Manchuria in 1931, the Italian invasion of Ethiopia in 1935 and the German occupation of Austria in 1938.
When the 6th Pan American Congress met in Havana in 1928, Doris was there. She succeeded in getting six Western Hemisphere countries to sponsor the inclusion of an Equal Rights Treaty on the agenda of the 7th Pan American Congress to be held in 1933 at MontevideoUruguay.
An even more significant accomplishment was the 7th Congress's creation of an Inter-American Commission of Women (IACW) to study the status of women, with Doris as its head. She would continue in this role until 1939.
Her efforts in directing the IACW resulted in the adoption of two equality treaties. Nineteen republics signed the Equal Nationality Convention, and four signed an Equal Rights Treaty--the first international agreements in history to equalize the status of men and women.
Like suffrage, the international equal rights movement was fraught with squabbles. In 1939, the NWP's rival, the League of Women Voters, succeeded in getting Doris ousted from the IACW. Instrumental in accomplishing this was Mollie Dewson, of the Democratic National Committee, who had influence with the State Department. A Democratic administration was in power, and Doris was a registered Republican. She was also accused of having been too cozy with some of the Latin American delegates.
In her place, the State Department announced the appointment to the ICAW of Mary Winslow, of the Women's Trade Union League. The excuse was that Stevens had not been chosen by the United States but by the 7th Pan American Conference.
League of Women Voters president Marguerite Wells was also instrumental in getting the IACW reorganized in 1940, with a Latin American woman appointed as chairman.
Doris Stevens was a member of the national council of the NWP from 1924 to 1948.
In addition to having written Jailed for Freedom, she designed the book, Paintings and Drawings of Jeannette Scott, 1863-1937. She also wrote a biographical sketch for this limited edition of 500 copies, privately printed in New Rochelle for James Brown Scott in 1940. Jeannette Scott had taught at Syracuse University.
The Mitchells continued to live in Croton, where she also pursued song writing. Five of her songs were premiered on New York radio station WINS, and introduced in concerts at Constitution Hall in Washington in 1952 and 1953. She died on March 22, 1963, at the age of 70, in Columbia Presbyterian Hospital in New York City after suffering a stroke. Survived by her husband and a brother, Ralph Stevens, of McCookNeb., she is buried in Evergreen Cemetery in Portland,Maine, as Doris Stevens Mitchell. Her husband, Jonathan Mitchell,  died in FairfieldConn., in October 1983 and is buried beside her.
Doris Stevens’ papers were deposited in the Schlesinger Library at Radcliffe College. To honor her efforts for women, Princeton University established a Doris Stevens Professorship in Women's Studies in 1985 with the gift from a foundation established by  Jonathan Mitchell in his wife’s name.

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