Letter from J. Passmore Elkinton to L. Hollingworth Wood


Letter from J. Passmore Elkinton to L. Hollingworth Wood


The letter written by J. Passmore Elkinton, the chairman of the AFSC Spain Committee, is addressed to L. Hollingworth Wood, an active member of the Spanish Child Welfare Association (SCWA) in New York. In discussing the benefits of Quaker aid in Spain, Elkinton references the Book of Exodus, comparing the mission of the Friends to the exodus of the Jews from Egypt. In this Biblical passage, God’s partiality towards the Israelites leads Him to intervene on their behalf to deliver them from slavery. Elkinton implies that the difficulties of work in Spain were to be overcome through divine guidance. The letter demonstrates that relief work of the Friends in the 1930s was informed and strongly influenced by religious rhetoric and grounded in Christian faith. The desire to act out of moral and spiritual responsibility directed the Friends towards humanitarian aid, resulting in the distribution of the funds the SCWA raised for Spanish relief. In thanking Wood on behalf of the “Divine Master,” Elkinton makes clear his conviction in the correctness and support of his committee’s mission due to the gravitas which accompanies invoking divinity.




L. Hollingsworth Wood Papers


Dec. 8, 1938


EMILY DOMBROVSKAYA, “Letter from J. Passmore Elkinton to L. Hollingworth Wood,” Testimonies in Art & Action: Igniting Pacifism in the Face of Total War, accessed July 15, 2020, https://ds-omeka.haverford.edu/peacetestimonies/items/show/228.

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