April 8, 1924
Dear Cousin Will and the Rest of the Campbell Family:
The letter from Cousin George Buck forwarded me by my Mother and another from Cousin Will Selph received last evening, reminded me that I was not keeping the faith,- that I was not assisting the realization of Cousin Will's dream.
Now what shall I talk about, --myself, the family, France or all three?
In the Spring of 1922, I had my plans completed for a trip to Germany, the steamship reservation made to Hamburg and arrangements settled for the study of German Opera. Shorty, before sailing, I received word that Germany was not making warm welcome for American Opera singers. Just at that time I became interested in the Conservatoire Americain, a summer school of music held in the Royal Palace at Fontainebleau, France. Thus instead of Germany, I turned my sights toward France.
The school was so interesting, I came again in June, 1923, bringing my family to stay for an indefinite period, and making Paris my headquarters. To do this, I was obliged to resign my position as soloist in the Marble Collegiate Church1 in New York, a position I had held for fourteen years.
At present, I am studying the Wagnerian Operas in French2 and doing a bit of vocal teaching. Instead of working in our apartment, I go to a studio in the building of the "Elan Spirituel" meaning spiritual start or outburst,- a social services center established by the Methodist Church. Here I come to work each day, away from the noise and confusion necessarily attendant to housekeeping and upbringing of two very lively daughters.
Our little girls, Catharine, aged nine, and Jane, aged seven, go to a private French school near by [sic]. All of their lessons are in French. You would be surprised at French system and thoroughness. What my child of nine
1. Established 1628. Current building built 1854. Later the pulpit of Rev. Norman Vincent Peale--- wbt.
2. I have a really hard time imagining much demand for that--- wbt.
has to prepare would have staggered me at twelve. Instead of having Saturday off, here Thursday is the weekly day of vacation.
France is a wonderful country, and we Americans should stand back of her in her struggles. It would be a most laudable act and an attempt for dong good, if every Campbell who reads this letter would impress on his or her congressman the folly of trying to catch German votes by voting for relief for Germany, while the latter is now preparing to strike France and and repudiate the Versailles Treaty, purchased with the blood of our own citizens. Congress should express a voice of confidence in France's occupation of the Ruhr, and the Campbell family would do itself credit should it help to accomplish this.
For some time I have had a desire to do one definite thing towards rebuilding the devastated regions of France. If I can bring it about in my forthcoming trip to America, I shall try to get to gether [sic] the funds necessary to place a bell in one of the stricken churches. It would be just great if we as a family unit, could raise the money for a church bell, which for all time to come would toll our tribute to France and be a recognition of the duty we shall always owe Lafayette.
Catharine and I are sailing for America on April 25th to be there a month. We shall leave the children with their governess in Paris, one whom we can trust since she's been with us for years.
During my stay in America I shall visit Mother at 524 W. Gray Street, Elmira, N. Y. Should any of you be interested in my church bell project drop me a line at that address.
During January we had the pleasure of Roswell Young's company at dinner. It hardly seems possible that "Ross" is old enough to hold a position whereby he goes abroad to purchase goods for his firm. Many of you no doubt remember what a cute youngster he was at four years of age. He has less hair now than he did then. That's a bald remark, rather personal, I'll agree.
Speaking of hair, my own commences to show a touch of "silver," -- half a dozen or so on each temple, just reminding me that time flies.
We should not put off writing our letters as I have done, for no one knows whom we shall be neglecting. My own negligence brought this to mind when I heard of Cousin Hattie Campbell's death.
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