Unknown to Jane Addams, November 20, 1911


Nov. 20, 1911.

My dear Miss Addams:

As you have probably seen, the resignation of President Harris and the choice of his successor, which will take place before very long, leaves all arrangements as to the future in Amherst, which change current conditions, in doubt. I was not willing to bring the matter up until I was certain, both of what you were willing to do and the policy likely to appeal to the next President.

What Mr. Woods and I had in mind is this: great benefit has been found in Amherst in the presence there, for several years, of a lecturer each year on Economics, she comes for six weeks, lectures two or four times a week on some current subject, is in residence most of the time, meets such students as desire to confer with him, and as all those in Economics are required to attend his lectures and pass an examination on them, constitutes a bona fide part of the teaching phase of the college.

Next April, as you probably know, beginning the first of April and lasting four weeks, Professor Gilbert Murray of Oxford comes to Amherst. He declined to lecture alone. In these four weeks he will deliver a course of lectures and he will also take the men, about forty in number, who are taking Greek, in the upper classes, over a course of study which he has already laid out and for which they are now making preparation. It is expected, in addition, to make the occasion one when a conference will be called on the 28th and 29th of April, for the purpose of discussing the study and teaching of Greek, to which a representative of the Greek Department of [page 2] some 300 colleges will be asked and from all the high schools which still give Greek.

A very strong movement exists in Amherst for social work. It appeals to the students more, I think, than in most institutions, and is consonant with the traditions of the college. Mr. Wood and I both felt, and all with whom I have consulted, that if you could come for four weeks at some time in the college year 1912-13, deliver a longer or shorter course, and be in residences for any who wish to consult with you in regard to social work, great good would come to the students and to the institution in focalizing effort in regard to social work. Attendance would be required at your lectures by all those taking Sociology during the college year, and they would be examined on it as part of their college work. The personal contact and converse which would come would, of course, be voluntary, as would, of course, such contact as would necessarily come with both professors and pupils. As you know, both Smith College and Mt. Holyoke, with in all nearly 3,000 young women at study, are each within half an hour of Amherst and you would, undoubtedly, be wanted there. My own purpose, let me say frankly, is to bring to my own college a woman like yourself and to establish a precedent that women ought to have their part in the education of young men. I believe that Amherst would be giving a better education to the young men in it if there were two or three of the right women on its faculty, just as I think that women's colleges are better for having some men on their faculty. This is advanced ground and one which it would be idle to urge, but while I do not in the least ask you to reach a decision or accept an invitation until it actually comes before you in proper shape from the college, and you are to feel perfectly free as to the [page 3] many factors which must necessarily work in reaching a conclusion, when the actual plea is laid before you, I am entering into all these details so that you may understand exactly what is wanted and would be able now to say that you could not come at all, if, after those details are brought out, you look favorably on the plan.

I was sorry not to see you when here, but there is ample time before a final decision would be taken, as our trustees do not meet until April. The successor to President [Harris] will then be elected and matters be in shape where final action can be taken.

Sincerely yours,

Miss Jane Addams,
Hull House,
800 So. Halsted St.,
Chicago, Ill.

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