Response to Mabel Thorp Boardman, August 15, 1912

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Says Red Cross Work Prevents Her Working for Taft

MANCHESTER DEPOT, Mass., Aug. 14. -- Miss Mabel T. Boardman, President of the National Red Cross, announced today that she could not act as Chairman of the Advisory Committee selected by the Republican National Committee to conduct the woman's work for the reelection of President Taft. Miss Boardman said she did not believe that any one whose name had been closely associated with any great non-political work should permit the use of his or her name when such use would carry more or less the influence of the organization he or she was identified with.

Miss Boardman frankly stated that for this reason she held that Miss Jane Addams of Hull House had no right to identify herself with any political party. Miss Addams seconded the nomination of Col. Roosevelt at the Progressive Convention in Chicago.

Miss Boardman authorized a statement [today], in the course of which she said:

"I believe in the midst of world-wide unrest President Taft has made a wise and great President, that he has accomplished by quiet, persistent effort more true progress than any other President, that he has stood for the equal rights of all men, and against attacks upon our Constitution and our institutions that safeguard the liberties of our people, that he has stood for progress by evolution and not revolution.

"President Taft, as President of the American Red Cross, would be the first to resent any political use of this association or the officers connected with it. As an officer of the Red Cross I cannot honorably permit my name to be publicly used as actively associated with political matters when such use must carry with it the power of an influence that is not mine to give."

BAR HARBOR, Me., Aug. 14. -- Miss Jane Addams, who is in Bar Harbor as the guest of Mrs. Joseph T. Bowen of Chicago, authorized the following [tonight] after learning of the statement of Miss Boardman:

"I quite agree with much of which Miss Mabel Boardman says concerning President Taft. I have never criticized his Administration and have no wish to do so now. Nevertheless, I claim the right as an individual to sit as a delegates in a convention whose platform embodies the measures for which I have worked many years.

"I imagine Miss Boardman refers to Hull House when she says that I am using unfairly the influence of an institution, but those who know Hull House realize that it has little value to the community save as it has been able to express certain principles, and thus it has always stood for freedom of speech. Much of my time has been given to the prevention of child labor, to bettering the condition of working girls, to securing suffrage for women and similar causes.

"At times these measures have been matters for political action in the Illinois Legislature and Congress itself. They are now taken up systematically by the Progressive Party. It seems to me quite as consistent that I should advocate them there as that I should have appeared before Congressional committees. In doing this I have followed my best judgement and conscience and cannot agree with Miss Boardman that I have violated any obligations to Hull House or any other associations with which I may be connected. It is a question whether any society or institution has a right to stultify its officers. On the contrary an institution reveals its own weakness when it cares more for its position and influence than for the very cause itself."