George Platt Brett Sr. to Jane Addams, November 16, 1916


November 16/1916

Dear Miss Addams,

I don't suppose that you happen to know of the fact that we publish a very large number of classics in a small pocket edition selling at 25¢, these books being published for the use of, and finding their entire sale to, schools, and especially to the high schools of the country, whose pupils are required to read in the four year's high school course at least two classics a year, and sometimes more. Indeed, while the requirement is for I think not less than two, they are recommended to read a great many more in each year of the high school course.

The Committee which has had charge of the selection of books for the reading of these students has always objected to the inclusion in the list of any American book still remaining in copyright because of the high prices at which such books are sold which makes it impossible, so the Committee says, for the students to buy them. This seems to me to be a great mistake on the part of the Committee and I have constantly urged them to include American still copyrighted books in their lists of required reading, believing that the students of the country would, in many cases, get better material and better preparation for their [page 2] work if some of the modern books were chosen.

Now the Committee tells me they are disposed to put TWENTY YEARS AT HULL HOUSE on such a list of required reading for the high school students, provided we can arrange to put the book in the Pocket Classics Series, selling it at the same price as the hundred or more volumes of the Series (a volume being sent you herewith wherein you will find a list of the books published in this Series).

We sell these books to the schools for 18¢ and they cost, including expenses, about 16¢, so that there is practically 2¢ profit on the transaction.

The question is will you allow me to publish an edition of TWENTY YEARS AT HULL HOUSE without illustrations in this series at 25¢, paying you one cent a copy for all copies of the book sold, which, as you will see from the above figures, is just one-half of the profit on the transaction.

I hope that you may be willing to let me try this experiment. I don't believe that the sale of this edition will hurt the sale of the regular $1.50 edition at all as it goes to a class entirely different from those usually buying books of this character and it will, in my opinion, do much good, bringing the message of this book, which to me is an extremely valuable one, before the rising generation, i.e., the many thousands of high school students throughout the country. [page 3]

You have always been so good as to say that you would be willing to follow my judgment in such matters that I am taking the liberty of enclosing you a supplementary agreement permitting the publication of the proposed edition and I hope that you may see fit to sign this. Believe me I should not recommend the step to you unless I thoroughly believed that it was wise and not likely to be in any way prejudicial to your interests.

I am,

Yours very truly,

Miss Jane Addams.

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