When one speaks to the average modern woman she is generally discovered to be very voluble in discussing feminism. She insists that women must play a leading role in the civic and national political life if, indeed, she does not demand for them a place in international affairs. But when one inquires as to what she is actually doing, what are her accomplishments, how far she has transmuted her principles of feminism into vital facts, then there is often very little to record.
Thus the average modern womanâ€”but the unusual type is, of course, quite different. Such a type we present on this page today in the personality of Mrs. Peter J. Schweitzer. Mrs. Schweitzer is not voluble but rather shy and hesitant about speaking of herself.
INDIFFERENT ON SUFFRAGE
Pressed as to her views, she confesses that the suffrage movement has not appealed to her very deeply; that she believes women can exert their most potent influence in the home, particularly if they have children who need a mother’s constant care and supervision. Of course, if leisure time is left it should be used in philanthropic work for worthy causes, but as to feminism as a battlecryâ€”she expressively shrugs her shoulders.
Those are her views. What are her accomplishments? Thirty-one years ago she came to this country, the wife of Peter J. Schweitzer, brilliant Zionist leader and the head of an important business: a manufacturer of fine papers. She worked with him hand-in-hand for the Zionist cause, was a tender and understanding mother to her five childrenâ€”three sons and two daughtersâ€”and when he died she quietly and calmly assumed the management of the business he left and continued his outstanding success.
HAS FACTORY IN FRANCE
Her firm has a factory in France where the costly French papers are made. Simply and unassumingly Mrs. Schweitzer did so much for the benefit of the workmen there, showed such sympathy and understanding for their welfare, that the French government decorated her in 1920 with the Legion of Honor. The city of Malaucene, where the factory is located, made her an honorary citizen. She was received by the President of the French Republic and thanked for the splendid work she has done for the French workingman and his family. For a home woman who never has done militant suffrage work this is by no means a bad record.
But this record is not complete, for in addition to her business work and the care of her children Mrs. Schweitzer somehow found time and energy to also work for the benefit of the ailing, the aged, the destitute. When ten years ago the Home of the Daughters of Jacob was in a precarious condition and was faced with an actual crisis in Its existence, Mrs. Schweitzer was prevailed upon to accept the presidency and she is its president today.
In these ten years the Home has become, thanks to her work, her kindness, her never-failing enthusiasm, one of the city’s most prosperous institutions, doing wonderful work and providing for the indigent aged a true home, a home that is guided in a spirit of loving kindness. When some years ago she went to Palestine she founded there the Peter J. Schweitzer Memorial Hospital, a hospital that fills a vital need and is a beautiful tribute to her generosity.
Yet with all this, if one asks her for a message to the woman of today she says smilingly: “I think a woman should give her best efforts to her home and her children.”
In a gallery of Jewish womanhood Mrs. Peter J. Schweitzer surely presents a most unusual picture and a very attractive one. Conservative in her views, she is ultra-modern in her achievements.