Edward Lincoln Smith to Jane Addams, March 27, 1912


March 27th, 1912.

Miss Jane Addams,
Hull House,
Chicago, Illinois.

My dear Miss Addams: --

In the regular course of my pastoral work, a bright boy of sixteen from our local high school was talking with me last Saturday on the subject of his Christian life and the question of uniting with the church. Perhaps you will be interested in one thing he said. It was that he desired to live a life of which he could be proud himself, and of which his friends could be proud; that Jane Addams' work in Chicago seemed as helpful as could be, that she had furnished a substitute for the saloon, and the dance hall, and brought much happiness into lives otherwise unhappy. "But," he said, "she does not say anything about the church, and I do not believe that it is in any way necessary or helpful in her work, and I do not believe I need it."

I asked him where he got his impression, and he replied in one of the popular magazines in which he had been reading your articles about your work. I told him that I thought he must not judge from your silence on the matter that you had ceased to follow <value> the Christian life, but rather that your work was the expression of your idea of the Christian life; and that if the question were asked, you would probably endorse the church as most important in upholding the teaching and influence of Christ in the world, and the greatest possible promoter of the spirit which you desire all men to possess. I have not been able to read your articles, but if they are not yet completed it occurs to me that a rather plain and strong statement in the matter will be helpful to a vast number of chivalrous young people through the country who are devoted admirers of your life, and on that account the more ready to heed your word as to the essential importance of Christ and the church in the life of the world. It would be helpful to me also if I could have a personal note from you on this point to show to my own young people.

I had the pleasure some years ago of dining at Hull House, and of being introduced to you by my friend, Mr. G. E. Hooker.

Very sincerely yours,

Edward Lincoln Smith
Pastor Pilgrim Church. [signed]

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