Tuesday, June 10, 2014

July 26, 1939: Martin to Cherry


McMaster University
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.
July 26, 1939.

Charlotte Salmon
20 S. 12th St.
Philadelphia, PA

Dear "Cherry" Salmon - 
      The four Martins are here, combining a bit of rest with house hunting and preparations for the coming academic year. This will be our address for the future. Of course, Anne and I shall be glad to help out on cases where we have already become quite involved or have a deep personal interest, but in general we feel we are too far away to be of any service in general.
     Today I come to ask you about a young man whom we knew in the Berlin Quaker group, and whom we would like to help all we can, Thomas Doeppner. Before I left Scattergood I recommended him for a refugee scholarship at McPherson College in McPherson, Kansas. I enclose their last letter to me, just received. I believe you have his papers and know where he is. I am not sure where he is now and cannot contact him. Will you kindly let me know whether you know where he is at present and if you do, please carry on the cast further? I am writing the college that we will try to have an answer from him soon. My second recommendation was Jerry Schroeder, who is at Scattergood. 

With kindest regards.
Yours truly,
Albert P. Martin

I started singing the Four Season’s song “Sherry baby” when I saw Dr. Martin’s little nickname for Charlotte: “Cherry.” Then I stopped myself. You’re welcome. It seems that Dr. Martin is on friendly terms with Charlotte, and we shouldn’t be surprised, the Quaker world is pretty small and connected. We mentioned this briefly in other blogs, (especially this Spotlight on the Martin’s) but Dr. Martin was a professor of German who volunteered at the Berlin Quaker meeting for two years. When he went back to the states, his wife spent some time working for the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC). This is likely how he was more personally connected with “Cherry.” After their stint near the AFSC headquarters, the Martins were at Scattergood (the refugee hostel run by the Quakers), and at the time of this letter, Dr. Martin was making a transition back to a teaching job in Canada.

After receiving the letter from McPherson, Dr. Martin writes immediately to Charlotte, unaware that she has been the one working diligently on Opa’s case all this time. Martin was likely aware that the AFSC was involved in Opa’s case, but he wouldn’t have known that he had essentially completed a communication circle between the AFSC, McPherson College, and himself. Martin seems to have lost Opa’s contact information and is telling Charlotte of the opportunity from McPherson should Opa accept the terms. Martin may have been out of the loop due to his transition to a new school and home.

You may remember the terms McPherson outlined earlier from this letter, but just in case, Opa had to sign off drinking, dancing, and tobacco among other things. He had already told Charlotte he was fine with that. Dr. Martin mentions in this letter that my Opa is his first choice, and mentions his second recommendation.

So it seems with all these contextual clues- that it is unofficially official that Opa has been accepted to McPherson! Don’t pop open the champagne yet, we haven’t gotten official word from McPherson- but things are looking really good! (And don’t tell McPherson about the champagne.) Plus there is that whole pesky business of getting a student visa. But for now- good news!

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