Opening of the Exhibit, May 11, 1911

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I am sure, fellow citizens, that you will all agree with me that this is the time and place in which a woman should "keep quiet in meeting," for I fear that, try as I may to make myself heard, it will be utterly impossible to raise my voice above this cheerful din. I am therefore only going to put on record the statement that the committee responsible for presenting this Exhibit, which has been made possible through the generosity of Mrs. McCormick, ardently hopes that the opening of this great Exhibit will prove to be the opening of a new era for the children of Chicago. (Applause.)

It is most fitting that the Exhibit should have been opened with a chorus of school children; and every voice in that chorus called out, "I am the spirit of youth; with me all things are possible." And it is because all things are possible to youth, that it has seemed worth the greatest effort that Chicago could put forth, to assemble under one roof those things that will teach us how best to develop the children. May I draw your attention to the fact that the most valuable things being done for the children of Chicago at present are done by the city itself?

As you go around this Exhibit you will find the activities of philanthropic associations displayed on one side and the activities of the city on the other. You will see that the city with its schools, its libraries, its health department, its playgrounds, is taking over and absorbing into itself the manifold activities which were formerly under philanthropic management. These are gradually being recognized as civic obligations, and just as soon as the voters [page 2] are ready, the philanthropists will be only too eager to hand over to the city all the rest of the things which they are now carrying on.

There is one thing to which I should especially like to draw your attention; that is that the youth of Chicago have been brought together from all parts of the world into one splendid cosmopolitan community, into one melting pot, as it were. And if I may end this speech which is not yet begun, because my voice is giving out, I would like if possible to quote those beautiful lines of Swinburne's, as appropriate to Chicago's youth. Let us imagine their young voice chanting together

"We mix from many lands,
We march for very far;
In hearts, and lips and hands
Our staffs and weapons are;
The light we walk in darkens sun and moon and star."

When this wondrous light, which ever surrounds the swift feet of youth, shall at last be shed over this great ugly community of ours, it will be ugly no more but transfigured into comeliness; when their faculties, free and trained, take hold of our vexed civic problems, then may we secure social order as well as beauty and find ourselves living within a new city.

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