### Extracurricular Activities

During the Congress sessions in the first half of June, Frances took advantage of the opportunity to see Rome.

While Bob attended the Library Congress, I wandered about the town, finding the way to various monuments. The city is not appealing at first. It is much too warm for comfortable walking in the day time. The streets are narrow and crowded; the buildings are all painted with the same yellow wash. The oppressive number of ancient walls, churches and so forth deadens one’s appreciation. First impressions need to be corrected later.

Women do not go about very much alone here, which adds to the discomfort of the solitary female tourist. In the big park, nice girls are always accompanied by an elderly companion, and those who walk unaccompanied apparently do so for the purpose of picking up a man. (Note: Further study will be made of methods, social status of girls, etc.) This situation makes it very difficult to get rid of the men who follow one about. Even I, in my middle-aged and portly condition, found myself followed through the park for several hours by a puzzled young man, and on another occasion was followed to my very door by a swagger thing with a mustache and a walking stick. 1

She was entering her third trimester about the time they arrived in Rome, but was still, to her surprise, pinched in public.2 The heat and her advancing pregnancy made it hard to enjoy moving around the city. She wrote in October:

The distances that seemed so difficult to negotiate this summer are nothing at all now – so that whenever I go over any of our walks of this summer I have a curious feeling of fantasy, like floating in a dream.3

Once the Congress was finished, Bob and Frances started taking classes in Italian language and culture together at the Anglo-American Association.4 The lectures were in Italian and filled two hours each morning. There were also excursions to historical or archaeological sites in Rome and beyond.5 This gave them an opportunity to socialize with other English speakers. One of their friends from the class wrote later:

I often think of the fun we had together in Rome, and on the trips. Remember the evening we boldly sat on a bench in the Pincio eating the remains of our Viterbo lunch? Wasn’t it fun? And then the Ostia trip and the swimming. What good times we had!6

Their education in Italian culture included a survey of the local wines. Though alcohol was far from unavailable in the West Village under Prohibition (a crackdown in April had led to nothing more serious than a request from the waiter at Ticino’s to keep their bottle under the table),7 the variety and quality of the wines of Rome were a delight. Bob wrote to his former department chair at NYU:

Having just returned from a long cool afternoon spent under an arbor near the Milvian Bridge, drinking this glowing yellow Frascati, I am impressed with the thought that this would be just the life for you as well as for me. I am studying the wines, thus accumulating knowledge that will be as useless to me as the European History course is to the dry goods merchants. They still make Falernian wine, and sell it at about 10 or 12 lira the litre. We took some with us when we went down to examine the ruins of Ostia. I found that it gave me quite an archeological feeling, if you know what that means.8

Frances regretted that her condition prevented her from enjoying the opportunity as much as she would have liked.9

Though they corresponded with various people they had met for a few months after their return to the US, they seem not to have made any long-term friendships such as Bob had with the Alliod and Cheney families in Lyon. The longest was with the historian Alberto Maria Ghisalberti, who taught the Italian history course which Bob and Frances followed and with whom Bob shared an interest in the history of the Italian Risorgimento.10

Bob and Frances made a few excursions from Rome. The longest came during the intermission in the Congress in June, after the Rome sessions and before the final sessions in Venice, when they spent a few days in Naples. There was an exhibition there in connection with the Congress, but that was not the purpose of their trip. A Stanford friend and former roommate of Bob’s, K.G. Robertson, had written in April that the passenger ship on which he was serving as a seaman, the S.S. President Hayes, would call at Naples on June 22-23.11 K.G. had studied psychology, and he and his wife Sidney (the future Sidney Cowell, musicologist and wife of the composer Henry Cowell) had travelled to Europe in 1924, and spent some time in Zürich where K.G. studied with Jung. After their return to Stanford K.G. seems to have lost his sense of purpose, drifted away from psychology into a bank job, and then in Nov. 1928 thrown it all over and joined the Dollar Steamship Line, as a first step towards settling on a South Sea island. In 1929 Sidney was planning to divorce him.12 It was during their separation that Bob walked onto the deck of the President Hayes at Naples and surprised K.G. The trio spent the evening together in town, drank “the right amount of wine”, and ended up at an albergo on the hill with a view of the sea and of Vesuvius. The following morning they discussed K.G.’s marriage briefly: by way of marriage counseling Bob expounded his theory of the “completed incident” as the key to healthy resolution of domestic arguments.13

After K.G. sailed away, Bob and Frances stayed on in Naples for a couple of days. They visited the antiquities museum and spent a day at Pompeii, where Bob finally succeeded in throwing off the persistently intrusive guides by pretending to speak only Russian.14

On their return to Rome they moved into new lodgings. They rented a room from an Italian family, the Nannis, who lived in an apartment on an upper floor at 10 Via dei Cappuccini, near the Pincio. The rent was about $17/month,15 ant the arrangement seems to have included the service of the maid Cesarina both for cooking and housework and to help care for the baby when it came. They worked to bridge the language gap: Frances commented to her parents, “Our maid is a genius at understanding. For example one has but to draw a picture of an apple and mention the color purple, and she gives us fried eggplant for dinner.”16 The Binkleys observed the Nanni family as examples of Italian middle class life, something I’ll return to in the next installment. ### Writing and Research Bob had brought one major unfinished piece of work to Rome: his review article on the historiography of the Peace Conference for the new Journal of Modern History. It had expanded from a review of some recently published memoirs into a survey of the state of documentation on the Conference and a revisionist critique of the work of its interpreters over the decade since it ended. Bob aimed to wrest the Conference from the hands of journalists and claim it for historians. Comparing the state of Peace Conference studies to that of the War Guilt question a few years earlier, he wrote: [J]ust as there were writers who treated the international situation of 1914 as if it had been the stage of a conflict between such entities as “civilization” and “barbarism,” so there have been historians of the Peace Conference who have painted the world-scene of 1919 as if it had been a clearly drawn struggle between such things as Crime and Justice, or New and Old. … The study of the war-guilt question was admirable in the persistence with which all possible sources of information were explored, and deplorable in the naïveté with which the issues of the discussion were formulated. A review of the literature upon the Peace Conference indicates that it is tending to develop in a comparable way.17 The article lists the principal published sources on the Peace Conference and exposes the various nationalistic and other agendas that shaped them. The footnotes contain a comprehensive list of the published sources. Bob must have written from extensive bibliographic notes made in the Hoover War Library at Stanford and in the New York Public Library; no particular prominence is given to Italian sources he might have seen for the first time in Rome. He mentions in passing Prof. Adams’ work at the Conference collecting propaganda and memoranda from the various national delegations for the Hoover collection, without mentioning his own role in that work in the summer of 1919.18 He notes the location and prospects for access to some unpublished collections, for example the papers of Col. House, which were due to be opened when the new library at Yale was completed in 1930 or 1931.19 Bob had struggled to finish the article before leaving New York in May, and it would probably have been a very different and less ambitious work if he had. When he finally sent it off in mid-August, he wrote to the editor, Bernadotte Schmidt: I take great pleasure in enclosing the book review, which has grown to be a review article rather than a review of the most recent books alone. In order to give unity to the whole treatment it seemed worthwhile to cover the ground completely. And it is my hope that this article will be something of a starter’s gun for Peace conference study – especially as regards the beginning of research by Ph.D. candidates. I hope you do not find it too preachy or too long. … Possibly the title is too vague. The title “Accessible Source Materials on the Peace Conference of Paris” is one I had thought of, but it is too narrow; the title “Present Prospects in the History of the Paris Peace Conference” emphasises another point. Please make any changes you think worth while in the title.“20 As it turned out the article, which appeared as “Ten Years of Peace Conference History”21 in the Dec. 1929 issue, made Bob a “marked man”22 at the American Historical Association conference that Christmas, and led to his being headhunted away from Smith College to Western Reserve University in Cleveland the following spring. During the summer Bob and Frances also collaborated on a debate on romance in marriage, which was published in Forum as “Should We Leave Romance Out of Marriage? A Debate between Husband and Wife”.23 They had proposed the debate to the editor the previous February.24 Although it is presented as a debate (in the format used by Forum in every issue), the two sections do not really engage each other. Bob goes first with a conventional criticism of popular romantic notions of true love; Frances follows with a description of the New Innocents, who know all about sex and nothing about romance. The thinking was probably developed in the conversations that shaped What is Right with Marriage, but may have been influenced by their observation of Italian customs as outsiders. Frances questioned Cesarina closely about Italian wedding customs: … Frequently when the priest asks if everyone is content with the marriage a former fidanzato, victim of broken engagement, cries “No.” After the ceremony there is a pranza, & then the viaggia di nozze. The Nannis went to Florence. Food is very cheap there, they say. At some point in the festivities the sposi go from house to house, among their friends, and drink at each place, and sometimes become ubriacco. How shocking a wedding like ours must seem to people who feel so strongly that it is a family affair.25 With the end of the Congress, Bob plunged into the research opportunities presented by the libraries of Rome. Across the street [from the Anglo American Association] is the National Library, with unlimited newspaper files. A block away is the Library of the Risorgimento with a special collection on the war, including some very good material. And three blocks down the street is the library of the Chamber of Deputies, to which I expect to obtain access, with the best collection on Fascism in Italy. I find no difficulty in getting hold of Socialist newspapers in the National Library. For working, things couldn’t be more conveniently arranged.26 Those collections represent the areas of his research that summer: • listing newspapers, periodicals and government documents for the Hoover War Library’s acquisition policy • research on the Peace Conference and the European response to Wilson’s diplomacy, to fill out the Italian chapter of his dissertation, which he still hoped to publish • contemporary Fascism, which he intended to write about for places like the New Republic • nineteenth-century history, in connection with his teaching specialization in Europe after 1815; this research eventually found its outlet in the Italian chapter in Realism and Nationalism27 Of the three libraries mentioned he preferred the library of the Chamber of Deputies, where he found interesting company as well as the materials he needed: The library of the Chamber of Deputies is by far the best one in Rome for contemporary history, and the comfort and convenience of the place is increased by the liberty which the very few persons who are using it assume in talking freely with each other and discussing together whatever they are reading.28 He also used the Library of American Studies as a base, or so he said when he wrote a letter of support for the library to the American University Union, which was considering cutting its funding.29 Bob did not neglect his obligations to the Hoover War Library. In the spring he had written to the director, his old friend Ralph Lutz, about his plans for an Italian trip. As a result he had been appointed the Library’s special representative at the Congress, and also authorized to collect materials in Italy. Unfortunately the Library had already spent its book fund appropriation for the period to Sept. 1, so it was only able to appropriate$100 for Bob’s purchasing.30 The major wants were to fill the Library’s run of the Parliamentary Debates and Documents, to acquire a run of the periodical Avanti, and to collect materials on the origins of Fascism. The librarian Nina Almond sent more detailed want lists in particular areas, and letters of reference to the Hoover’s existing agents in Rome were also prepared.

While in Rome Bob compiled extensive lists of Italian periodicals, government publications and war materials in the various libraries, and drafted an acquisition policy for the Italian collection.31 In it he evaluated the effectiveness of the three agents: one was too involved with his own library to do anything for the Hoover collection, another was good but his prices were too high, the third was completely ineffectual. Bob visited bookstores and purchased some serials, and arranged for exchanges of duplicates between the Hoover collection and some Roman collections.

At five went to tea with Count Michalowski at his Polish Library in Rome; he showed me his list of duplicates, which was about half suitable for Hoover War Library. I made the selections, showed him my commission, and arranged for purchase by the Hoover War Library after a check of the list.32

The deal Bob worked out was that the Hoover would evaluate the list of Michalowski’s duplicates, and pay for them by acquiring and sending American books on Michalowski’s want list.33

Though socialist newspapers were available in the National Library, there were no backruns to be bought. He wrote to Nina Almond at the Hoover:

As to Socialist materials, no one in Rome will touch them. But I happened upon a man in Florence who may. If circumstances should arise in which it will be possible to secure a collection of real value, I would like to have some money available in Italy. Could you send some sixty dollars of the hundred voted for the purchases? If circumstances should require it, I should like to be authorized to spend not more than ten dollars of this sixty to go to Florence. You will understand, of course, that materials of this kind require careful handling. I may have to bring them down myself and transmit them to you by way of the Commercial Attache’s office.34

This Florentine contact was a language teacher who engaged in bookdealing on the side; Bob met him while apartment-hunting during a day he spent in Florence on his way back to Rome from Venice. Here, as on many other occasions, Bob’s easily-overwhelmed memory got him into trouble. He described the situation to the Norwegian librarian Kristine Lomsdal, whom he had met in Venice:

I raised the question of finding Socialist books, and he thought it might possibly be done. But it is very dangerous. He is the only person I have found who would be willing to touch it with a ten foot pole. I do not even dare to write to him about it, for fear of scaring him off with the fear that the police may have opened his mail. I nevertheless worked out a plan, and then found that I had lost his address.

Now here is where you come in. I want you to find out his name, but to do so without in any way giving him to think that you are connected with me. Go to 108 viale del Mille, say that you are looking for a Dottore Salucci or something like that, you have not remembered the name, and then if you find you have struck the right place, pretend that you are interested in taking lessons for yourself, or in arranging for your grandmother or sister to take them, but get his name, that is all I want. If he asks you who recommended him, give him the name of a Columbia University Professor. He thinks everyone in America knows him.35

Lomsdal accepted the assignment and soon wrote back:

I must say I rather enjoyed my job as Sherlock Holmes. Having suspected two perfectly innocent creatures, smelling muggy socialist books over the whole block, I dashed on this man who cannot help but be the right one. … We had a very nice chat, and I was all in tears over his going away so soon, so that my sister would loose his valuable help. (I used your hint.) He is perfectly ignorant about my knowing you.36

She enclosed two of the dealer’s cards. He was Dr. Gabriele Scarafia, and he corresponded with Bob later in the summer from 78 Viale delle Mille in Florence.37 Although he identified some materials for the Hoover, I don’t know whether anything came of the connection. Bob could not visit Florence again before his departure, so he wrote to Scarafia in early September, explaining the Hoover’s needs. He included pointed hints about the sort of thing they were after: “In the period 1922-1925 any political books are of interest to us.”38 He asked for collections of papers of wartime figures. He included a wishlist not of socialist but of Florentine periodicals:

• Difesa
• Guerra di Classe
• Martinella
• Resistenza
• Volonta Italiana
• Leonardo

• Bollettino statistico: commune di Firenze
• Nuova scuola Italiana
• Agricoltura Coloniale
• Rivista geografica Italiana
• Bollettino delle pubblicazioni Italiani
• Bollettino mensile del costo della vita

The list includes at least one dangerous title: the syndicalist paper Guerra di Classe,39 which was prominent enough to be declared a prohibited publication in Australia in 1918.40 Any follow-up would have gone directly to the Hoover War Library rather than through Bob; the Hoover collection does not now include the Florence Guerra di Classe.

### Preparations for the Baby

When Bob and Frances first arrived in Rome they were considering having the baby in Bologna, where their doctor in New York had referred them to people he knew, or even at the American hospital at Neuilly.41 An English-speaking doctor recommended by a New York friend, however, told them they could do no better than the Anglo-American Nursing Home in Rome.42 At this point, in June, they had still not decided where to spend the summer once the Congress ended. On his way back to Rome from Venice at the end of June Bob stopped for a day in Florence to explore the possibilities.

So I went to look into the possibility of getting hospital accommodations for the Binkley heir. I found that they have a fine hospital, but the doctor told me that they never use the anaesthetic technique. Nevertheless he thought it could be arranged. They have three kinds of confinement in the hospital, first class, second class and third class. The first class confinement costs 1000 lira. What an idea! The children of the poor must come into the world third class, ride third class all their lives, and go to their graves in a third class funeral. It was strange, also, that I had such difficulty in explaining to him why I wanted the anaesthetic technique used. He had told me that when an operation was necessary, they always used it, but otherwise they had only “accouchement naturelle”. At last the idea dawned on him. The anaesthetic technique was desired “so that she may not suffer so much”. A new idea indeed to him.43

Once they had decided to stay in Rome, Bob visited the Anglo-American Nursing Home at 311 Via Nomentana (now the Casa di Cura “Assunzione di Maria Santissima”) in early July to arrange for the baby to be born there. Frances followed up with a letter asking advice on the choice of baby clothes and information on how the Italian style worked – what they referred to as “swaddling clothes”. At this point Frances expected the baby to arrive after Bob’s departure: “I am particularly anxious to see that everything is properly provided for because I am to be alone in Rome when the baby is born, since my husband must return to America.”44 G.O. Pine, the nurse who had been assigned to her, advised her to use the Italian clothes and clarified their usage.45 For Bob and Frances the great advantage of the Italian clothes was that they would enable the maid Cesarina to help with the baby. They tried to shop for them by putting Frances’ handbag on the counter and saying “Now this is a baby; how do you dress it?”46 Eventually signora Nanni took Frances in hand and helped her buy what was necessary.

My landlady went out with me to buy things for the baby – she is brava for bargains, and very pratica. Some of the things I bought I cannot imagine how they will be used, but since she assures me that I have a complete layette, there is nothing to do but wait and see how it works. Imagine having a baby without diapers!47

While Frances seems to avoid the subject in letters to her parents, Bob wrote jaunty reassurances about the care Frances was receiving:

… Frances is having a good time, is in perfect health, and in the care of better doctors than we could afford to have in America. … If too many people find out about these advantages of having a child born abroad, it will be just like the Republican Congress to put a tariff on them.48

Mysteriously, for a few days in early August Bob’s letters say that they are expecting twins: “We shall call them Romulus and Remus: Romulus after Rome, and Remus after Uncle Remus of the brer rabbit epic, a great favorite of ours.”49 Up to this time they had referred to one baby. In two letters of Aug. 15 to two of his mentors at Stanford, Bob mentions “twins” in one and “an heir” in the other.50 There are no more reference to the number of expected babies between this time and the birth.

On Aug. 20, the night of the full moon, thinking the birth was still at least a couple of weeks away, Bob and Frances walked the Appian Way for the second time with the professors (including Ghisalberti) and students from their courses at the Interuniversity Union. It was a very vigorous outing, by Bob’s description:

[T]he company was of the best. We climbed over and into everything, and when we could not climb, we ran and danced along the road and sang. Ghisalberti had a way of skipping down the road like a great giraffe running in the moonlight.51

They seem to have been determined to enjoy their last period of freedom. A couple of days later Frances’ worry that the baby would not arrive until after Bob’s departure in early September proved unnecessary. She wrote to her mother later:

[W]e had dinner at the home of an American, Osborne, who is one of the Embassy officials – we stayed until a little after twelve – and I was awakened at six in the morning by a pain. I hadn’t expected the baby for two weeks yet – so was slow to believe it was on the way – but by nine o’clock there it was. The Osbornes had lots of very good cocktails and wine, and if I had been willing to drink all that was offered me, your grandson would have been born intoxicated probably. … He came very easily – only three hours after the first pain. He was almost born in the taxi, but I got to the hospital in time, altho’ the doctor didn’t arrive until after he was all born and washed and dressed.52

What with celebrations put on by the Osbornes and the Nannis, accompanied by many brindisi, the high life did not stop for Bob for a couple of days after the birth, at least in Frances’ jealous account (“After dinner the men went off together in search of more wine, and drank all evening – they had all the best wines: lacrimae Christi, frascati, moscata, aleatico, and so on. … It seemed scarcely fair that I, who had had all the trouble of producing him, should have no share in these festivities.”)53 This situation perhaps influenced the style of the description of the birth that Bob wrote to a friend in New York the following day:

and soon there appeared comma floating upon a tiny white cloud comma a small male child comma having a nose like kid mccoy and a chin like herbert hoover period and an angel of the lord appeared comma saying comma this is thy child comma take it and cherish it and be glad you got it comma for they are no small matter period and thereupon i did examine the child first as to its body and then as to its principles period its body i found to be in true and just proportions and its principles i also found to be true and just period upon most of the problems of the moment an inquiry revealed that it was republican in sentiment for it had no ideas at all and yet its behaviour was very much like a democrat for it was wont to lift up its voice loudly over nothing period54

1. Minority Report 1, p.7.

2. Doc. 745: Sidney Cowell to John Binkley, 1982-03-16, p.6.

3. Doc. 810: FWB to RCB, 1929-10-12.

4. Report, p.8.

5. Doc. 148: FWB to her parents, 1929-07-25.

6. Doc. 1281: Marie Davis to FWB and RCB, 1929-11-26.

7. Doc. 102: FWB to her mother, [1929-04-08].

8. Doc. 1624: RCB to John Musser, 1929-08-11.

9. Doc. 10: FWB to HGWW, 1929-09-27.

10. Fisch, “Robert Cedric Binkley”, p.17.

11. Doc. 1172: 1929-04-25.

12. Doc. 1823: Sidney Robertson Cowell to RCB and FWB, 1929-05-29.

13. Doc. 1825: RCB to Sidney Robertson Cowell, 1929-07-03.

14. Report, p.4.

15. Doc. 1381: RCB to Ross (a colleague at NYU), 1929-07-07.

16. Minority Report 1, p.7.

17. “Ten Years of Peace Conference History,” The Journal of Modern History 1, no. 4 (December 1929), p.607.

18. “Ten Years”, p.627

19. “Ten Years”, p.627.

20. Doc. 1885: RCB to Bernadotte E. Schmidt, 1929-08-18.

21. Whether the final title was Bob’s choice or Schmidt’s I do not know.

22. Fisch, “Robert Cedric Binkley”, p.18.

23. Forum 83 (Feb. 1930) 72-79.

24. Doc. 1335: RCB to Forum, 1929-02-22. In a letter to his parents at Christmas Bob refers to it as “the article we wrote in Rome”: Doc. 768: RCB to CKB and MBB, 1929-12-23.

25. Doc. 820: FWB to RCB, 1929-10-01.

26. Report, p.8.

27. Fisch, “Robert Cedric Binkley”, p.17.

28. Doc. 772: RCB to Sarah Brindley, 1929-08-13.

29. Doc. 1277: RCB to American University Union, 1929-07-22.

30. Doc. 2438: Ralph Lutz to RCB, 1929-05-16.

31. Doc. 2417: RCB, “Memorandum on the Italian Collection for the Hoover War Library, with Suggestions for an Italian Policy”, Sept. 1929.

32. Doc. 2563: RCB diary entry, 1929-08-04

33. Doc. 2431: RCB to Nina Almond, 1929-08-04.

34. Doc. 2434: RCB to Nina Almond, 1929-07-12.

35. Doc. 1519: RCB to Kristine Lomsdal, 1929-07-11.

36. Doc. 1521: Kristine Lomsdal to RCB, 1929-07-16.

37. Doc. 1874: Scarafia to RCB, 1929-09-01.

38. Doc. 2421: RCB to Scarafia, 1929-09-05.

39. Ralph Darlington, Syndicalism and the transition to communism: an international comparative analysis (Ashgate, 2008), p.101.

40. “Federal Gazette Notices”, Sunday Times (Perth), 31 March 1918, p.1. Not to be confused with the anarchist paper of the same name published in Barcelona during the Spanish Civil War. Today the Hoover collection includes some holdings of the latter, but not of the Florentine paper.

41. Doc. 2405: RCB to A.G. Welsford, 1929-06-18.

42. Doc. 2404: A.G. Welsford, 1929-06-19.

43. Report, p. 7.

44. Doc. 296: FWB to Anglo American Nursing Home, 1929-07-10.

45. Doc. 361: G.O. Pine to FWB, 1929-07-12.

46. Report, p.8.

47. Doc. 148: FWB to her parents, 1929-07-25.

48. Doc. 11: RCB to William Irvin Williams, 1929-07-15.

49. Doc. 1191: RCB to Bill Adams, undated but must be early August.

50. Doc. 1522: RCB to Ralph Lutz, and Doc. 1039: RCB to Robert T. Crane.

51. Doc. 2654: RCB’s diary notes, 1929-08-20.

52. Doc. 10: FWB to HGWW, 1929-09-27 (I’ve rearranged the order of the extracts).

53. Doc. 10.

54. Doc. 1500: RCB to Fran Klein, 1929-08-26. The saccharine style was prompted by a comment in Kate Beswick’s recent letter that “the slightly Rabelaisian tone of your epistles has been a little hard on Fran – but that she’s taking it like a lady. It will tonic her up a bit.” (Doc. 757, Kate Beswick to RCB and FWB, 1929-08-15; no doubt referring to the Kotex incident), Bob protested that “nothing has been further from my thought than to bring the blush of shame to a maiden cheek” and promised to avoid further offense in this letter.