Adela Isabel Coit to Jane Addams, October 14, 1912



Oct. 14. 12

My dear Miss Addams.

After reading this summer your "A New Conscience etc." I feel I must write to thank you in the name of women for your courageous book. It is very very Terrible what you have to say -- but you have done <said> it in such a way that I cannot imagine that the book will not prove a great & deep influence! You present your facts so straightforward & logically, so dispassionate is your accusation of society, & so passionate your accusation <pleading> for the "New Conscience" to stamp out this horrible & ancient evil, that you will surely succeed in rousing the better elements to fight. The stories of police corruption which one reads in the papers are too fearful almost to believe! How strong the element must be [page 2] that succeeds in corrupting whole communities of people! We hear a lot here at present of the "White Slave Traffic Bill" but here too unseen forces work against [making?] <[framing?]> this law [illegible] severe.

If it passes at all it will be weak & almost useless. Our Suffrage Movement too has been set back most ruthlessly through the W.S.P.U. outbreaks.-- I don't know whether Mrs Pankhurst has become quite obsessed by a monomania & cannot free herself from her distorted vision -- or whether the powers which she loosened in others control her now! We have little hope now of attaining anything for the present!-- A great many of the best women have left the W.S.P.U.-- yet it keeps a hold on popular imagination -- of at least a certain section of the community. I personally continue to work with the Nat. Union! [page 3]

Your part in the forming of the 3d Party in the U. States has been most thrilling to read in the papers! I wish I had been over there to live through this experience! & this brings me to a question I want to ask you -- or an advice I want to beg from you.--

My daughter Margaret (not the one you know, but the oldest one of 22 yrs) is studying political economy at Munich under Brentano & she is very eager to gain some practical insight into the conditions of the people before writing her thesis.-- The thought struck me to ask you whether you would advise her to come & stay at Hull House for a year or so, say after terms or next Easter? She wants to go to America anyhow and study at one of the great Wom. Colleges for a while & I am [page 4] very anxious that if she goes to America she should be somewhere near you! Do you think my plan possible? & could you take her?

Do you think it wise to get practical experience simultaneously with the abstract work? (I personally believe greatly in this plan!) or do you prefer girls to "finish" their College work first? It seems to me more likely to take real shape & form, if the book knowledge is supplemented from life & not only attacked, each separately! -- but I may be wrong never having had any college training myself. My experience is that whatever you learn only without putting it into some kind of practice remains more or less a dead letter & in my case this division of knowledge from action has been hampering me all my life [page 5]

You are the woman I believe in & admire more than any other I know & that is why I take the liberty of writing to you on this point, hoping you will find a moment in which to [advise] us. Margy is serious beyond her years & most anxious for "Social Service" work. She has a great longing for your country & I agree with her. I would bring her over myself probably if you will take her, but if you [advise] she naturally can wait still. She has been one year at Munich & is just returning there now!

I hope you are well! I always think with much pleasure of our meeting 2 years ago & with longing to repeat the experience. Stanton returns to America in January for a 3-4 months lecturing tour! -- [page 6]

I hope you will let me have a line some time or other -- but I know that in your very busy life this seems almost asking too much.--

Accept my warmest wishes for your welfare & the continuance of your wonderful work.--

Ever yours

Adela Coit