Anna Howard Shaw to Jane Addams, August 16, 1912



August 16th.  1912.

Miss Jane Addams,
Hull House,
Chicago, Ills.

My dear Miss Addams: --

Before I had received your letter I had prepared a short article for the Woman's Journal, stating the position of the National Suffrage Association in regard to partisan political action, also what I consider the rights of individual members of the Association. But I was very glad to receive your letter and get your own statement of your position. I was also glad to know that, in answering questions which had been asked me, I had stated your position just about as you yourself had stated it. In every case I had called the attention of those making the inquiry, to your address, as reported in the papers, which, to my mind, was perfectly clear and simple, and in no way confused the work of the suffrage association, or any other organization, with your personal attitude in regard to either Mr. Roosevelt or the Progressive Party.

I want to say, personally, that I rejoiced in your address. I consider it the best one I ever heard in nominating a candidate for political office, and so different from those wearisome and [fulsome] addresses to which I have listened over and over again. You stated principles and gave reasons which must appeal to all progressive thinkers and those who are interested in progressive political movements, and I agreed with every word you said, except what you said of Mr. Roosevelt and I am sorry to say that I cannot agree with you in your opinion of that man. I wish I could believe in him. I wish I could believe he intended to do a single honest thing, or that he would carry out a single plank in the platform if he were to be elected. My assurance is that he will not be elected, but that the agitation will establish a new progressive [page 2] movement, which will find a leader worthy of it, and how I wish conditions were such that you could be that leader. A movement which must appeal to the American people and which will gain their support, and I believe four years hence will come into power.

I rejoice in this progressive movement more than I can express and, personally, I am very glad of the position which you have taken. I do not think it involves, in the least, the National Association, or even the Hull House and its work, except as in the progressive party you stand for the measures for which both the association and Hull House stand.

As to your attitude in Chicago being a reason for not attending the National Convention, it has nothing to do with it whatever. The National Association never needed you more than it needs you now. You never can do more for it than you can now and are now doing, and no matter what criticism comes, I think you will notice, as I have, I think it is always made by persons strongly partisan in some other way, and they are led to criticize you because of their own extreme partisanship.

I am very grateful that you are to speak for us on the Sunday of the National Convention. I would give a great deal to see and talk with you and I hope before I leave Wisconsin for the West, I shall have an opportunity of doing so. I have never yet had a chance to talk with you. We have only met at our Official Board meetings, when things have not been so pleasant and when it has been quite impossible for us to understand each other's position because of things which came up which made it impossible for us to be perfectly frank and state out opinions.

I want to say that I am very grateful to you for the help you have been to me, personally, during the year, so far, and to our National work.

I do not know whether or not Miss Breckinridge has told you anything about the disagreeable situation in Wisconsin, but I am going to send to different members of the Official Board, to [those] who may have heard about it, a copy of a letter which I have just received from Miss James, which makes things look so much brighter and I think will clear up the entire situation. I am glad I am going there and I wish I had gone before. I think we have made too much of Miss Wagner's position and that it would have been better to have met it and brushed it out of the way in the beginning rather than to have allowed it to go on as it has. [page 3]

I hope you are getting a little rest. Yesterday's newspaper brought us Miss Boardman's and your letters, which does not look like rest, but I was very glad to read the letter. Miss Boardman, who did so much to make the last years of Clara Barton's life unhappy, and who is a rigid partisan of President Taft and anti-suffragist, rather amuses me in her letter. It shows she has no more grasp of political affairs than she has of democracy.

With sincere regards,

Faithfully yours,

Anna H. Shaw [signed]