Helen Marot to Jane Addams, January 23, 1916



Dear Miss Addams:

I received your letter this morning. I wrote you a second letter during the week of the meeting of the Peace Party, and after I discovered that I would not be able to attend, asking you if there was any chance of your coming to New York before you returned. So while I was glad to hear from you this morning I was disappointed to find that you had returned to Chicago and that I could not for the present have the opportunity of going over with you the many phases of my proposition to launch a new periodical for the development of political philosophy.

I told you in my first letter that Dewey, Boas, Loeb, Du Bois, Robinson (James Harvey), Walling, Max Eastman were those who were interested. Since then Mrs Ella Flagg Young wrote that she would be a member of an editorial board. We have had a meeting and at that time it seemed to be the sense of the professors that we should get our endowment on the strength of our idea and not on them. Well, as Dr Dewey, Boas, etc were our great asset and the idea of developing an American philosophy of internationalism without them seemed to fall to the ground we struck a compromise and they agreed that if we found people who were deeply interested in the idea that we could say to them that we thought that there was a good chance of getting such men to serve on an editorial board. Dr Dewey has since written a letter to Max Eastman saying that there is no question that not only those men I have mentioned would not only serve but do all they could to help in the development [page 2] of such a periodical and that there were many others whom we could get.

We all felt that The New Republic, or in fact any other established paper would have to retire its staff if the paper was to work out a political philosophy such as those whom I have interested want to do. The New Republic has been brought into existence by a group who feel that they have something to get over and while it is difficult to discover a philosophy emerging for foreign or domestic practice the point is that those who control it want to keep it. Moreover Willard Straight, whose money is back of The New Republic is engineering the Vanderlip scheme for foreign markets, to say nothing of the board of editors who are having the time of their lives working out their own ideas.

No I know of no paper whose policy we could change without dropping the staff and the supporters; I know of no paper which is ready, in other words, to sell out. I am on the look out for some possible deals, so that we would not have to build up out of the air a new subscription backing. But I am convinced that the sort of men and women we can get to serve the paper will draw support, especially if we see that the matter is presented in more or less popular journalistic shape. The purely scientific articles could be carried if the current editorial matter was presented in good idiomatic English and with imagination as well as integrity. As Professor Robinson said that there has perhaps never been a time in history since [Descartes] and his contemporaries when the world was so ready for new formulation; that we are just as fresh or rather free with <the breaking down of> old dogmas which have been holding back present day institutions as were the people of the earlier time. This is the only stimulating consciousness that has kept me going in the face of the [devastation]. [page 3]

It is such contributions as Dr Dewey and Professor Boas have made that give us ground for the feeling that the ground is clear, as Professor Robinson said, for the revolution in our own way of thinking; they give our thirst for realism some meaning and significance and a basis.

All this and much more I wanted to talk over with you. And then I wanted you to advise me, if my plan in detail appealed to you about seeing people for the financing. I do again want to find out from you if Henry Ford would not, or could not be induced to see the necessity for some constructive formulation of our political philosophy, of building up a constructive internationalism and interracialism out of our institutions and relations in the world of nations.

I wish that this were a face to face talk with you but it is less difficult to transfer ideas than it once was and I think my first letter indicated the line of thought and the substance of the proposition.

Faithfully yours

Helen Marot [signed]