Lucy Biddle Lewis to Jane Addams, November 24, 1919



Lansdowne, Pa.

11. 24. 1919.

Dear Miss Addams.

I have not answered your letters before, because I have been in such confusion as to what I was to be able to do. We have had unsettled domestic conditions, illness in the house and various complications, till I told Mrs. Spencer when she was here that I saw no course open to me but to give up the Chairmanship of the Fight The Famine Committee, and so have not done anything definite in that direction till our meeting in New York next week. With Mother as frail in some ways as she is and my sister subject to her severe headaches there seems nothing for me to do but hold myself ready to help out when the home complications arise which have been very frequent of late. I only bother you with all this so you can see my position and realize it is not indifference to the cause I have so at heart and would like to give my whole time and thought to if it [illegible] ↑were↓ right. Now we have been able to make some home plans that seem relatively certain of lasting for some weeks and perhaps months, so I am going start out on that supposition and form plans for work outside. I will try the Chairmanship and endeavor to find a vice Chairman who can assist me and fall in if I must fall out later, if you all approve of my so doing. Have you any suggestions for someone in that capacity? Also have you suggestions for members of the Committee? I am planning to ask Dr Hamilton to serve, and had Miss Grace Abbott and Miss Rankin in mind. I want to get in touch with Miss Cumming and know what she is doing. The work in this direction should be coordinated as much as possible. The question of whether the W.I.L. should tie up with the Am. Friends Service Com. is not clear to me. Of ↑course↓ the latter is glad of all help and cooperation possible, for our problems are immense, but whether this [page 2] would best serve our ends is a question. I have talked somewhat to Wilbur Thomas and he feels as uncertain as do I. We would be only too glad to serve as a medium [through] which help could be sent where we have work going on, and as to German relief, as we are to act as Mr. Hoover's agents there, it is certain that the W.I.L. could best send these funds [though] us. But it would be hard to explain to many people why the W.I.L., an independent organization, and representative of a widely scattered and varied group, should send all funds [through] a religious body, like ours. As Chairman of the W.I.L. Com. I could not ask it, as a Friend. I think it is a serious question to be determined how we shall make our appeal, what for and how to be administered. I should be most grateful for any advice or help you can give me in these many ways that are bothering me. You will be interested to know that none of those elected to the National Board have so far declined, though, six I think it is, are still to be heard from, (except as you know Mrs. Villard).

I hope to spend two or three days in N.Y. next week when our Board meets, and the end of the week I am to go south of Washington to speak, and plan a day in Washington on my way [through], when I will try to see some of our members there.

It now seems likely that it will be more feasible to open office in Phila. than elsewhere and of course we will do all we can to make it go right, though we were opposed on principle to the plan. I can see objections to other places which are greater than those to Phila. so we submit like good children.

Please excuse poor typing I am far from expert and this has been done mid many interruptions. Affectionately your friend,

Lucy Biddle Lewis [signed]