Evelyn Pearl to Jane Addams, January 7, 1912

Avery College Training School
Avery, Nelson, and Liberty Streets.

N.S. Pittsburgh, Pa. Jan 7 1912

Miss Jane Addams

Kind miss: —

There is so much I would say to you, so very much I would ask you about, that I ask of you, kindly bear with me, and give me some encouragement, that I may partially fulfill a portion of the great work which you have eulogized.

To begin with, you no doubt would like to know something of the writers history. I am a colored woman, after completing my education in the [Grammar] Schools, and finishing in The Erie High School, an opportunity presented itself to me to realize my highest ambition -- to become a nurse, I entered the Frederick Douglass Memorial [page 2] Hospital, after completing my course in May 1905. I started out in the world to pursue my [profession]. After about 3 years nursing, I began to study. Am I doing all the good that God meant for me? The [thought] came to me, get nearer your people, a down-trodden race with so few advantages, do some good that they can share; and since then I am firm in my belief that in a city like Pittsburgh where the negro population is so [vast], and their morals with exceptions, are of such a low standard, is this not an ideal spot for Settlement work among them to be begun? Yet I am handicapped, for how shall I begin? To whom shall I apply? I might say there are many many obstacles confronting me, and I ask of you how may I remove them? [page 3] There are three Settlement Houses here, Soho, Kingsley, Irene Kaufmann yet the colored youth, man or woman would not be made to feel at home in there. The Irene Kaufmann is more hospitalble toward them than the rest, yet the women classes who attend these Settlements would refuse to mingle with them, thus the need for a colored Settlement Home. For the year past I have eagerly devoured at my leisure moments aside from my duty as head nurse, all of the articles to be had on the work. Yet out of them all you are my devotee. I am now reading for the fifth time your book on Philanthropy and Social Progress. Now a matter of very great progress  importance I would ask of you would it be <the> proper method to get some persons or person of wealth interested [page 4] and solicit a contribution large enough to carry the work on in a small way for a year over. Because there would be no earthly need of my attempting to get my own race interested first. In the first place they would not have the money to contribute, secondly would be unable to get them interested to the intent I am, it is only after a project is well on foot, do they very readily respond not withstanding the fact there is a crying need for such an Institution. Possibly if I, not having had the actual experience of Settlement work save the theory, you could have a worker to establish the "House" for me. I have done slum work both here and in Phila. and have also assisted in the out-patient department of Irene Kaughmann House, and have assisted the masses at the Home in demonstrating "Care and Cleanliness" of the little [page 5] babies, in the homes of the little mob of [jewess]. Alas, a Romanian who came to the Home daily and bring the youngest of the family with them.

Now [Miss] Addams I trust I have not bored you, and that you will become interested in what I am anxious to establish, and at your earliest convenience you may favor me with a reply with some encouragement or suggestion.

Anxiously awaiting

I remain

humbly yours

Mrs. Evelyn Pearl

Item Relations


David Kaminski

Page 2: consider [vast] for "vaste"

Page 2: consider "remove" for [illegible]

David Kaminski

I am very interested in this college. The Wikipedia article looks to be only a stub, and incorrect? Here, the letterhead suggests the same starting date as the college listed in Wikipedia.


I see also a mention in a newspaper about the connection this college had to the Andrew Carnegie Hospital. It looks like paid training?


Cathy Moran Hajo

Good catches! Thanks!

David Kaminski

1. "Avery" (use the "A" twice at the top)

2. In the original, she writes "Grammer," so [Grammar] would be better?

3. nurse; (remove the dash, as the transcriber was seeing a stroke of the letter "I")

4. In the original, she writes "proffession," so [profession] would be better?

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