Letter from Elly Elliott to Barbara Hertz, August 10, 1971
Women’s Center Mrs. John Elliott, Jr. 1035 Fifth Avenue New York, N.Y. 10028 Dear Barbara: The enclosed is self-explanatory - though not self-solving alas! Iola was predictably very upset, and dammit, it was hard for me to try to calm her down. She said she wanted out of the brochure and I convinced her to let that go and say nothing to you about her feelings when she called you today. “Not Olympian to say [you’ll] withdraw your piece,” etc. etc. I hope she was o.k. It is a ticklish thing and if you (or Kate) don’t do something to calm her down, well and good. I CAN understand that. But I honestly do see how she feels
about it too, as I’ve written you before. Oh dear - Shall you + I go to some easy arena like the U.N.? Love, Elly
Dear Kate: I have just come from lunch with Iola. She showed me your letter about wanting to get together to discuss things about the Women's Center library-- but it said nothing, as I recall, about your asking her to consider taking over the collection in some sort of official way. I am afraid you have dropped the ball here, because discussion led to the brochure, and the various committees, and it fell to me to say that as far as I knew she was not on the Executive Committee. She is upset about this and, as you know, I think she has a right to be. I had hoped that she would be "given" the Collection and/or the task of collecting for the Women's Center. She knows alot about this and could fit the work in with her schedule and I think make a valuable contribution. Well, you know all that; I have said it before and predicted her reactions. I am just sitting here regretting that you didn't make your letter a real invitation to her, and also regretting that no one has discussed it with her and that I have to tell her upsetting news. Iola, as much as anyone, has put her heart and energy into this project since the beginning. She has also backed it with the only gift of money we have so far. If I were her, I am bound to say I would be miffed too. What now? well, I think you and Barbara better talk and (I have typed this so that Barbara will have a copy). Then I think you had better ask Iola to be on the Exec. Comm., or the Curator of the Collection, or something that recognizes her interest, the work she has done, and the work she might do. It occurs to me that I am the only non-employee (for lack of a better word) on the Committee. I could come off. The only reason that's a bad idea really, is that when I contact people for money, help, and round up the Eve Curies, it looks funny if I have no position. In the same way, I guess, that if Iola goes after books and book-money, it looks funny if she doesn't have an "official" part. [handwritten] But if I come off I don't think Iola would mind so much not being on. Well, over to you, as they say in outer space. Let me know if I can be of any help in this . Meanwhile , I am plugging away at my little lists and dying to see the thing on the launching pad. Love, Elly P.S. It occurs to me to add that a trustee is in a funny spot. Our attitude is in general, "anything for Barnard." Certainly it has been Iola's. And as I have so often said, recognition is the only reward to the volunteer. I don't [think] we can expect endless "anything for Barnard" from Iola unless she has some. August 10th 1035 5th Ave.