I have made a thorough and conscientious attempt to write the address on Mr. Hutchins and to adequately use the wealth of material with which you supplied. I am thoroughly convinced that it is an impossible undertaking; that someone who did not know the man should take the testimony of other people who did know him, warm it over, as it were, and present it in an address to his old friends and neighbors. I reproach myself very seriously with having consented to do it in the first place, but I am sure it is not too late to rectify that mistake. Please let me come as the "out-side" speaker, as it were, giving in fifteen or twenty minutes some of the general principles and more modern developments exemplified by Mr. Hutchins. This is the very best that I can do, and my brief address should be followed by testimonies from other people most conversant with different aspects of his work. It is absurd that Miss Stern, Mr. McCarthy, and others should tell me about him and that I should then hand the material back to them in an address.
I myself have no cut of a portrait, but am sending you several photographs from which to select, but I shall have to make it quite clear that I can only give a short, impersonal speech. I am sorry to be so firm, but it is [page 2] better to make the situation clear now than to have a failure of what should be a very wonderful occasion.
I was unable to go to Memphis, owing to <the> severe illness of my mother. I have been called to my old home twice during the last few weeks, and shall probably spend much time there in the immediate future. That of course makes it more difficult to find time for writing, but while it is a complication, the essential situation in itself is what I find impossible.
I have read all of the letters and memorial addresses. Could I not send them back to Madison, so that some one there, librarian, preferably, could make a resume of them, presenting digests of the most illuminating ones of the meeting.
The finest memorial meeting I ever attended was that to Henry D. Lloyd, where no one spoke who had not known and loved Mr. Lloyd. Anything less warm and less personal than that would be impossible for Mr. Hutchins in Madison.
I can only repeat my sincere regret over the blunder I made in the beginning, but I will say for myself that while did expect to give the main address <I did not know> until your letter the other day that I was expected to give the only address. At the present moment, I can only [find] myself to fifteen minutes, put anywhere into the [program] that you think best.
Hoping that I am not throwing an impossible amount of work upon you at this late date, I am,