Allen Bartlit Pond to Helen Culver, April 18, 1906


April 18, 1906

Miss Helen Culver

31 Ashland Boulevard, Chicago.

My dear Miss Culver: -

I enclose herewith the form of deed suggestion by Mr. Horace Tenney, of Tenney, Coffeen, Harding, & Wilkerson. I will outline to you briefly the argument on which Mr. Tenney bases his judgement as to the terms desirable to be incorporated in the deed; but I think after you have looked it over it will be wise for you and me to see Mr. Tenney and have a more detailed talk over the grounds which lead him to recommend the suggested form of deed. Mr. Tenney's officers are in the Home Insurance Building, northeast corner of La Salle and Adams St. I will be glad to meet you there at you convenience.

Mr. Tenney argues that what you actually desire is that work of the character of that heretofore done and now being done by Hull House should continue to be done in the city of Chicago forever, and that your purpose will not be accomplished by having the property now deeded revert to your heirs and assigns at any time because of failure of the then Hull House corporation to carry out the spirit and letter of its purpose as set forth in its charter of incorporation,- in other words, that to have the property revert to your heirs and assigns will be merely a confession of the failure of your desire and purpose to be carried into effect.

Mr. Tenney takes the position that if at any time the trustees of Hull House Association should attempt in whole or in part to convert to other uses than those set forth in the charter any [page 2] property given to Hull House Association for the furtherance of the purpose set forth in such charter, the then trustees of Hull House Association will be guilty of an illegal act and will be subject to legal action by the Attorney General of the State on complaint of any citizen of Chicago conversant with the purposes of the Association and the terms of its charter, and that the trustees of the Association can be compelled by such action to rectify any wrong done by misuse of the funds of the Association and to cease the misusing or misapplying of funds or property of the Association and to cease the misusing of misapplying of funds or property of the Association,- in other words, may be compelled by action of the Attorney General to keep the purposes defined in the charter of the Association; and that this is really what in making the lease before this and in now making the deed you desire to have accomplished.

Mr. Tenney does not believe that it is necessary in order to accomplish this object on your part that there should be expressed in deed any such limitation as that "the premises should not be used for any purpose antagonistic to or subversive of the laws and institutions of the government or municipality" [etc.], on the ground that any such act is manifestly in contravention of the purpose for which Hull House was incorporated and is subject to be made a cause of complaint by any citizen, and ↑that Hull House Association↓ is subject to be compelled by the Attorney General to discontinue such unlawful acts and to devote itself to the purposes for which it was incorporated and for which funds were given to it. In other words, Mr. Tenney takes the ground that Hull House Association will stand on exactly the same footing as a large number, in fact the vast majority, of institutions and organizations charged with a specific trust and dependent at any given time upon the good faith of the parties in whom authority is [page 3] vested and subject at any time to be called back from any departure from its specific purpose on complaint of any citizen of the State; that any action to enforce the limitations expressed in the deed submitted by you would be of exactly the same type and from the same source as the action required to bring the trustees back to their duty without the existence of any such express form of limitation as is suggested by you.

Mr. Tenney raises the further objection to the inclusion of express limitations in the deed, that it not only does not give any additional guarantee of the proper performance of the trust by the Association but that it may and almost certainly will at some time in the future operate to defeat in a measure the very purpose for which the gift is made, in that it will certainly serve to cloud the title and to handicap the association in effecting the purpose for which the property is conveyed. Mr. Tenney states that it has been found exceedingly difficult, as is shown be frequent instances, to limit gifts by specific phraseology without impairing the value of the gift and defeating the purpose of the donor. He and his partner Mr. Coffeen are firmly of the opinion that the purpose which you desire to accomplish will therefore be better accomplished by a simple conveyance of the property to the Association for the purpose of assisting in the purposes for which the Association was organized and without further limitation.

After you consider the matter I will be glad to go with you to see Mr. Tenney and let him explain more in detail than I am able to the grounds on which he bases his judgement. I do not profess myself to have any ↑experience↓ in matters of this sort, but I acknowledge that I am profoundly influenced by the judgement of Mr. Tenney.

Sincerely your,

Allen B. Pond [signed]