C. H. Harris to Jane Addams, December 18, 1911


Dec 18-1911

412 [So] Broad st. Phila. Pa.

Miss Jane Addams
Hull House. Chicago.

Dear Madam:-

Like all broad-minded and thinking humane people I have often read of your great and noble work, but never read any thing written by you until I saw your article in "McClure's," entitled "A New Conscience And An Ancient Evil". Because of it I wish to ask your advice concerning a project I have in view. 

Owing to my father's conduct, financial reverses and general indifference I was, when quite young, sent out in to the world without means, experience advice or influence to earn my own living. I was a timid, refined and cultured boy, reared in [comparative] luxury, and in many respects disqualified and unfitted for success. Because of those conditions, mother's death, and other [features] I found it essential [page 2] to follow various vocations to earn a living. My experiences were those that do not fall to the lot of ordinary men. I became adaptable, flexible and practical, and being fond of adventure, studying human nature, and literary work I absorbed it all. Not satisfied with that I began to delve deeper into sociological subjects, and sought new fields of labor. 

I resigned my retail position, and secured employment as a bar cashier, where I learned considerable about that most insane, nauseating and effective of all masculine follies -- intemperance. I was a traveling salesman, and also an actor for a short period. I obtained work as an attendant in lunatic asylums and sanitariums, in which I saw boys, men and women who had become lower and more beastly than dogs -– all because of vices –- created and often sustained by the ignorance, credulity and stupidity of parents. In New York I studied those who frequent the parks as loafers.,Missions Broad Lines and Mills Hotels.  I made a trip with some [page 3] tramps and hobos. I think the former are mostly insane, or at least feeble minded -- and many of the latter -- hobos -- are to be greatly pitied, and rarely censured. At present I am nursing alcoholic cases for Phila physicians.

At first I had intended utilizing all this material for realistic and sensational novels I had outlined. But I am not in a condition to do so at present. I would like to arrange and deliver lectures (with stereopticon views of what I have seen in and adjacent to New York) in halls and churches. I could make them intensely interesting, instructive, and I believe beneficial. There is as much vice, suffering, poverty and misery because of credulity, ignorance and indifference to the recruits of rash rearing of children –- and an unsolicitous attitude toward them later. 

Do you believe such lectures (if given some effective title regards Vices) would be appreciated, patronized and beneficial? -- and would support me? Do you believe W.C.T.U. or Prohibition societies would be interested in such a project? I hope to hear from you. –- Truly yours --  C. H. Harris

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