Ruth Churchyard Williams to Jane Addams, January 26, 1918


Buffalo, N.Y. January 26th, 1918.

Miss Jane Addams,
Chairman, National Woman's Peace Party,
Hull House,
Chicago, Ill.,

Dear Miss Addams: --

Friday, January 25th, I received a printed call to a State Convention to be held February 1st, in New York, to organize a New York State Branch of the National Woman's Peace Party. A tentative program with speakers was outlined, the whole signed by Crystal Eastman, Chairman Woman's Peace Party, New York City. A letter at the same time from Miss Eastman asked me to speak five minutes at the Convention.

Although Chairman of New York State Woman's Peace Party, I have had no communication with Miss Eastman in regard to this Convention. On the contrary, I and my State Committee had been laying plans since the Philadelphia Convention to have a State Convention the latter part of February if possible, when Mrs. Mead's telegram of January 10th, as follows, reached me.

"1918, Jan. 10, PM 10 20. Brookline Mass.

Mrs. Frank Williams, 54 Irving Place, Buffalo, N.Y.

New York Branch wants to call State Convention last of January in New York organizing some large cities beforehand. A Miss Addams said your appointment [temporary] Convention to be called later preferred to have me broach matter I advise telegraphing Miss [page 2] Eastman to call Convention. Will write and explain delay. L. A. Mead."

I replied:

"Arrangements for State Convention in the near future were begun by State Committee immediately after Philadelphia Convention. Details follow. Mrs. Frank F. Williams."

As you know, Mrs. Mead suggested that Miss Eastman and I have a joint hearing in Philadelphia in your presence. I acquiesced and asked that she set the time, but heard nothing further, although there was ample opportunity for Miss Eastman to see me and confer if she had been anxious to do so.

Of course I know that the State branches are autonomous, (that fact attached paragraph emphasizes), but so also are the local branches. I have never interfered with the management in New York City, simply offering my [cooperation], thinking there was plenty for them to do there. But I certainly object to their assuming the right to supersede my Committee in calling a State Convention. If any action was taken in regard to this State by the National Board at its recent meeting I should like to know about it at once.

Dear Miss Addams I so firmly believe that good statesmanship consists largely in seizing adverse situations and turning them into blessings, that I suggest this Convention now might easily be utilized for the purpose of a formal separation of the State and the City Woman's Peace Party. I feel sure my Committee will be there if possible and represent the State. It has been considered and a letter from Miss [page 3] Burritt only last week said she wanted to go to New York for the purpose of proposing to the New York City board, of which she is also a member, that this be done. This should be the happy solution of a very difficult situation. The National Society will lose nothing by sustaining its own resolutions and constitution.

↑Believe me Very Sincerely

Ruth C. Williams