Miles Othneil Perkins to Jane Addams, April 17, 1908


BEAUMONT, TEXAS, April 17, 1908

Miss Jane Adams

Ever since I first noticed your name in connection with "Hull House" I have been inclined, involuntarily, to connect it also with the following incident of my experience.

About Twenty years ago -- maybe 21 or even twenty two years ago. I was in Houston Texas, engaged in selling, or soliciting orders for a literary work, and made my quarters at the Hutchings [Hotel], where I met a gentleman whose home and head quarters for business -- principally Real Estate, was in Chicago. The weather, at that time was cold and very disagreeable and this Gentleman and myself (as well as others) were consequently much together, of evenings, sitting around the big stove in the hotel lobby.

This gentleman, who, I believe was named Hull, told me among other things, that he had quite an office force in [page 2] Chicago and that his Chief Clerk was a lady, that he was worth probably $8,000,000.00, that he was not married that his will was made, and that Miss Adams, -- I think he said his Chief Clerk's name was Adams, -- was, especially mentioned as a legatee, that he looked upon his employees as his wards or members of a common family, that most of them he had taken when quite young and they were trained in his office, and that he had only good people there. He issued a circular, "A Boy Wanted" and said if he found a lad in Houston or vicinity who suited him and wanted to go with him he would install him in his Chicago office [etc].

He hinted that my humble self was in his eye as a suitable candidate for a position there. Said he had bought land in Houston about fifteen years prior to that ↑the↓ time of our conversation and was now ↑then↓ here to dispose of it, offered a lot to any respectable white person who [page 3] would build a good residence on it. That was, to enhanced the value of the adjourning property. Said that was a way he had made much of his money. Said he had relatives who hadn't much go, but that most of them too were named in his will. He was a very nice plain gentleman, very much inclined to be a father or advisor to the young. He asked me on what floor I roomed. The rooms ↑prices↓ were graded as to the floor. I told him the second floor, "Now see here" said he, "You room on the second floor and must pay more than I do, and yet I am rich and you say you are poor". He then gave me a good lecture on economy. He then asked me where I took my meals. (The Hutchins or Hutchings house was only a rooming house.) I told him. He then again told me I was extravagant. Said he ate 25¢ meals [etc.] etc [etc].

Well I always have thought that his extremely economical habits and disposition led him to contract a severe cold, resulting in pneumonia and death! His confidential clerk, his [page 4] ↑most↓ faithful one, came from Chicago and took his remains back there.

Miss Addams, was that you?

Please answer this, and you will greatly oblige one who kindly remembers that noble man.


Miles O. Perkins

[written sideways at top of first page]
Miss [Addams],  I hesitated sending this, and so I filed it away to think over. Have concluded there could be no harm done and thus I forward it.
M. O. P.
May 7″ & 8'

Item Relations


Allowed tags: <p>, <a>, <em>, <strong>, <ul>, <ol>, <li>