Alice Thacher Post to Jane Addams, March 6, 1918


March 6, 1918.

Dear Miss Addams:

Yours of February 26th was rather slow in reaching me. I am afraid my reply will not reach Chicago before you go West. I will send it in duplicate so that Mrs. Karsten can send one copy after you. I will also send copies to Mrs. Spencer and Mrs. Mead.

I am glad you liked Mrs. Kent's suggestion about insignia for farm workers assigned to that work. We are to have a meeting of the Leg. Com. tomorrow to discuss that, and the Dent Bill, referred to us by Mrs. Karsten on the request of the Secretary of the New York Bureau of Legal First Aid.

If a meeting of the Board should be held in June the early part of the month would probably suit me best; and I would naturally prefer Washington, New York or Boston, to Chicago; but I would probably go to any one of the cities named if the meeting were called there.

In regard to the New York Convention business my sympathies are rather with Miss Eastman. But of course Mrs. Williams may have the technical rights on her side.

I would like to call the attention of the members of the Board who may see this, to the fact that it is not only true that at Philadelphia last December we took the position, according to the official minutes that "the Board, as such, had no authority to take any action after the appointment of the State Chairman, made the first year," but we also took the position that "the State Chairman and Chairman of the City Branch should confer." Now Mrs. Williams does not seem to have conferred with Miss Eastman, any more than Mrs. Eastman conferred with Mrs. Williams, and as far as our notes are concerned she should have done so. Were they both informed of what passed at the Board meeting?

Moreover, this was no new attitude for the Board to take -- as to the cessation of our authority in the matter. We were more definite on Dec. 10 of the previous year, at the 11th session of the Board, when, according to the official minutes --

"The Board discussed various problems connected with the New York City Branch and the New York State Chairman. Mrs. Thomas was asked to write to Mrs. Williams and to state the customary procedure when the preliminary period had passed and the National Board was no longer responsible for the Chairmanship."

On February 24 I wrote to Mrs. Mead in regard to this matter substantially as follows, and I still feel the same way:

"I am sorry that Miss Eastman did not consult with Mrs. Williams, but I must say that I think Mrs. Williams' inaction and delay, after she had been requested by the Board to act, has been trying. She ignores the fact that the Board more than a year ago, if I have not misunderstood the facts, asked her to call a convention. She did not consult them about the decision of her committee not to call it because of the declaration of war. I do not think that they had any right to indefinitely postpone without consulting the Board, and also without consulting members of local organizations in New York State who were known to be anxious for a convention. Her statement does not take any account of this....She may have had a technical right to hold the whole matter up, but I don't think she had a moral right. Moreover, I don't think that her [insistence] on her technical rights is a proper, living, vital contribution to the troubled life of this time...We must have a care for reasonable order...but we must not be petty."

[written in left margin] ↑I approve an Arbitration B'd, as suggested, of Mrs Mead & Miss Balch. Faithfully,↓ Alice Thacher Post [signed]