The Lives of Anna Rochester and Grace Hutchins
Publication Year: 2013
Published by: State University of New York Press
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Title Page, Copyright Page
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Passionate Commitments recovers two life stories that, as told here, emphasize intersec-tions between histories that are not often treated together—the history of the American Left, women’s histories, and queer histories. Grace Hutchins and Anna Rochester, born into wealthy nineteenth-century East Coast families, spent the first half of the twentieth century in love with one another and at work agitating for social and economic justice. ...
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One of the particular gifts of this project has been the friendships I have made in the course of the research. Anna Rochester and Grace Hutchins have led me into circles of especially kind and interesting people. To all of the people whom I have met during this process: you have enriched my life immeasurably, and I am most grateful.Research support for this book has been provided by the Episcopal Women’s History ...
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Your stuff is grand. I am, however, still working on a couple of pages of background. Really hopeful, however, of cleaning the subject up by Friday. You won’t mind if I use chunks out of your memo, but not many whole pages as such. . . . Oh, so very glad, that you are coming back so soon. Very eager to hear all the news you will have to Wish we’d had time for you to tell me more about your work on “The Nature of Capi-...
Part One: Beginnings
Chapter One: 1919
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...—Revelation 3:4 (quoted in Emily Malbone Morgan’s Adelyn’s Story, p. 12)I take wings through the night and pass through all the wildernesses of the worlds, and the old dark holds of tears and death—and return with laughter, laughter, laughter:Sailing through the starlit spaces on outspread wings, we two—O laughter! laughter! Grace Hutchins and Anna Rochester first met in August 1919 at the annual conference ...
Chapter Two: Anna Rochester
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Anna Rochester was born on March 30, 1880, in New York City, into a family tracing itself back to the founding of Rochester, New York.1 Anna’s father, Roswell Hart Rochester, went to work for the Western Union Telegraph Company in 1865. Six years later, at age 32, he was appointed treasurer of the company. He was, according to a historian of the telegraph industry, “a man of marked character, direct, outspoken, brusque. . . . No officer ...
Chapter Three: Grace Hutchins
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Although Susan Hutchins was as devoted to her children as Anna Rochester’s mother was to Anna, she did not leave us a narrative of Grace’s early life. Instead, she chronicled the deaths of Grace’s two older sisters, ages six and three, from diphtheria, just before and after the Christmas of 1887. Grace, two years old, survived, and she continued to com-memorate these dates decades later, sending her mother flowers each year. This pattern of ...
Chapter Four: Community Consciousness
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They tell us the chief characteristic of women is the instinct of nurture. The whole trend of thought is leading us to apply this instinct to all suffering and neglected people. But by nothing so much as work, is our pity cleansed of sentimentality. We learn to discriminate between the good and the bad in the present social order. We realize, as we never could from the narrower world of home, how the coming of justice depends on ...
Chapter Five: Into the World
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A new type of evangelism which would result in a person’s giving his whole self to Community House allowed Hutchins and Rochester to cement their partnership as they moved away from charitable work and into the world. Yet Community House could not last. There would be no rings, no lasting commitments to a community of women. Eco-nomically, the household was not viable. What’s more, the Episcopal Church, at the core ...
Part Two: Love and Work
Chapter Six: Love Requires a New Form
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Love will always be love . . . , but it requires a new form. Everything will come through and attain new forms, and then we shall know how to forge new links.The trip would provide the most significant conversion of Rochester’s and Hutchins’s lives, although both had experienced several reorientations before this. Their 1927 conversion was not an epiphany, nor was it the result of a planned incongruity; rather, it was dialecti-...
Chapter Seven: Worker Journalists
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...“Purtiest singin’ I ever heard,” said one woman, who stood throughout a meeting at —Jessie Lloyd O’Connor, Harvey O’Connor, and Susan M. Bowler We will devote all of our energy and all our work efforts so that American workers will walk hand in hand with the other proletariat of the world in the class struggle.Hutchins and Rochester set sail for the United States from Southampton on the Cunard ...
Chapter Eight: Love and Work
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A Communist must understand what is happening about him in the world. He must understand the mechanism of the existing regime, must know the history of the growth of human society, the history of economic development, of the growth of property, the division of classes, the growth of state forms. He must clearly picture whither society is developing. Communism must appear to him not only a desirable regime but exactly that ...
Chapter Nine: Revolutionary Change
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...“It is because the Communist Party alone is entirely devoted to the interests of the working class. The party leads day-by-day struggles for immediate needs and at the same time prepares for a revolutionary change from a profit system to a workers’ and Hutchins and Rochester had, by now, established a rhythm of research, writing, and review-ing, with syncopation provided by demonstrations, meetings, and elections, all working ...
Chapter Ten: Twentieth-Century Americanism
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Life comes to us but once and it should be possible to live one’s life in such a way that looking back one would feel no regret for years lived pointlessly; no shame for a petty worthless past—so that as one died one could say “All my life and all my strength has been given to the most beautiful thing in the world—the struggle for the freedom of mankind.”—Nicholas Ostrovski in The Making of Hero (quotation copied by ...
Part Three: Legacies
Chapter Eleven: War against Fascism
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Money has everywhere become the ruling power. All the goods produced by the labour of man can be exchanged for money. Money can even buy men, that is to say, it can force a man who owns nothing to work for another who has money. In former times, under serfdom, land used to be the ruling power; whoever possessed land possessed power and authority. Now it is money, capital, that has become the ruling power....
Chapter Twelve: Love and Loyalty
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The basic principle of this country as embodied in the Bill of Rights of the U.S. Consti-tution was violated during 1947–1948 as never before in the past 150 years of its history.—Grace Hutchins (Labor Research Association, Labor Fact Book 9, 71)Anna Rochester and Grace Hutchins had committed themselves to intervening rhetorically at the point of struggle, but as the war progressed and capitalist and socialist countries ...
Chapter Thirteen: Cold War at Home
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Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me; I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and ...
Chapter Fourteen: "Purpose: Keep the Group Going"
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Are the powers that be in the United States feeling so uncertain of the future that they can tolerate no analysis of the source of their wealth, no honest study of classes in the capitalist world? They have forgotten the great struggles for liberty which brought many of the earliest settlers to these shores. To them our Bill of Rights seems to have —Anna Rochester (“Can Capitalism Take Criticism?” in Publisher on Trial, 47)...
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History will record her great contributions to the cause of peace and justice.“Dear dear Grace,” wrote Eleanor Stevenson and Ruth Erickson, upon learning of Roches-ter’s death, “We were shocked and saddened when we read in The Worker today that our dear Anna left us on Wednesday. In a sense we two felt we had ‘lost’ her when she no longer remembered us—but the loss to you must be great, and we are deeply concerned ...
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Page Count: 378
Publication Year: 2013