Charles N. Cox to Jane Addams, Novemebr 23, 1911


Nov 23, 1911.

Miss Jane Addams,
Hull House -- Chicago.

My dear Miss Addams:-

On reflection over a recent article of yours in a magazine, I am sure I ought give you my experience in prevention and cure, of women about to enter, and of those already in houses of ill-fame.

This work began in 1895, and has continued, to some extent, mostly on the prevention side, ever since. No statistics have been kept, but I should say 90% of all girls and women susceptible to good influence, that is, ones who repeatedly think and hope to leave the life, are divorced women, and girls who have gone astray under the age of 18 years. [page 2] Therefore any one can see the first move to be made, (unless my experience in a dozen states is by some wonderful means exceptional) are first, pass uniform laws of age of consent, and legal marriage, never have the age of consent less than the legal age of marriage, and use all effort to raise all these ages to 18 years.

2nd, as to divorce, that is so complicated I do not care to enter that discussion.

The Salvation Army, with their Homes of Refuge, is the only means I have adopted to restore women who have not done wage-earning work. It has been necessary to never approach the Salvation Army people, but suggest to the woman to write the captain a letter. [page 3] 

Then sometimes he has published in a daily paper an article calling for money, worded so that the woman knows it refers to her, and that partially or comletely ruins everything.

I find the organized work for Homes of Refuge, in places very good; but methods generally superficial, too much pity work.

Mrs. S. B. Cheek of Alameda <Calif> does good work.

There is, of course, no intention to [criticize] sincere effort, except to those who have studied, worked and sacrificed for this branch of human endeavor.

The only other man I know in such work, is married, but as good as any who ever lived, has [page 4] strength, good looks, and tact, and does great work.

I would say that well used compliment, and courtly manners, -- always, -- and a consistent steady appeal, by suggestion, -- mostly -- to the imagination -- are the methods of success.

Thanking you,

I am

Truly Yours

Chas. N. Cox.

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