Paul Underwood Kellogg to Jane Addams, September 11, 1914



September 11, 1914.

Dear Miss Addams:

My feeling is that while the extremely negative attitude taken by the Administration at Washington is probably right for a neutral government, so much is at stake in this European conflict which is bone of our bone in America, that our people ought to express themselves voluntarily and privately in some great affirmative way.

The first of the Governors' conferences really made the conservation issue articulate. Why could not a gathering of the first men and women of the United States –- even above the clash of arms –- make known that the New World had a message for men which the old world could take to heart, a message which would breathe the spirit of democracy; would challenge, as Dr. John Haynes Holmes has put it, dynasties, armaments and commercialism; which would enunciate a world policy, <to> take the place of the commercial exploitation which goes under the name of colonization; which would set forth a social conception for the reconstruction of Europe as broadly as Lincoln in his Gettysburg address set forth the conception of liberty and self-government.

Such a presentment would, of course, lack the personal note of Gettysburg address, and probably its transcendent charm as a masterpiece of English; but it might have an epic quality due to the fact that it was the voice of one people to another.

Neither from the government, nor from the more conservative peace people, nor from any other group that has commanded a national hearing has, so far as I know, come such a message, instinct with the youth and vision of America.

After all, insofar as others have not ventured it, could not those who deal with the social fabric in their everyday work take the step which would lead to such a crystallization of sentiment? And who is there, so well as you, who could set the project going? [page 2]

Perhaps such a plan is far-fetched; but I do not think so. At all events, I should be very glad to go on to Boston on the 17th or 18th of September if I could be of any use. Professor Taylor, who has been here today, thought Mr. [Mead] was still, or had gone back to, the other side. I talked with Mr. Lovejoy just before writing this. He feels that it would be impossible for him to go on to Boston, but is a well-wisher of your plan of getting joint action by social workers and the peace people. Dr. [Lindsey] tells me that men like President Butler, who are identified with the Carnegie Foundation, are reluctant to do anything because of the President's desire that we shall not be involved. But for the very reason that those in the seats of the mighty cannot act -- and also perhaps for the very reason that we are not of that sort -- it would seem to me that humbler folk, by joining our voices together, could make these tidings heard by the common people of the world.

Professor Taylor thinks there is a chance that we can get Mr. Victor Lawson of the Chicago Daily News to give the [cooperation] of his European staff to The Survey, in getting at the social aspects of the war. Professor Taylor will endeavor to arrange it on getting back west at the end of next week, and in view of the fact that he got the sense of the thing there and is in touch with men in different walks of life abroad, we have urged him to act as war editor of The Survey during the fall and winter.

Perhaps we could make Chicago the headquarters of our strategy board. I am eager to see your editorial. Won't you make it the beginning of a series in which you will briefly [as as] you react against this or that phase of the struggle, put down how you feel about it for Survey readers? To think of its taking a world war to unloosen your editorial pen!

We are forwarding copies of the Surveys you asked for. With articles by Professor Taylor, Dr. Hamilton and Mr. Pullman, our new Washington correspondent, on social aspects of the war, I am very proud of the <Sept. magazine> issue from the staff standpoint; especially as I was away when it was brought out.

Paul Kellogg [signed]


Miss Jane Addams,
Bar Harbor, Maine.

<May I have the Editorial by the middle of next week. No fears you will duplicate.>