Charles P. Neill to Sophonisba Breckinridge, January 29, 1906

Department of Commerce and Labor

January 29, 1906.

Miss Sophonisba P. Breckinridge,
The University of Chicago,
Chicago, Illinois.

My dear Miss Breckinridge:

I have delayed replying to your kind letter of the 23d, hoping I could give you some definite information in regard to the matter.

I have taken up the question of the investigation of the condition of women workers with the Secretary and have asked him to recommend an increase in the appropriation of this Bureau to enable it to make such investigation. I am in hopes this request for the appropriation will go forward today or tomorrow, and will be in the hands of the Committee in another day or two.

So far as I can gather, the prospect at present is that the appropriation measure for this Bureau will be taken up by the Committee very soon, and that they will come to this consideration of this item within a week or ten days.

I think it will be important for Miss Addams and some of the others interested in the investigation to appear before the Committee, and I suggest that she write at once to Mr. Tawney, the Chairman of the Committee on Appropriations, stating that when the Committee reaches the appropriation [page 2] for the Department of Commerce and Labor, she would like to have a hearing to discuss an item of an appropriation for investigation into the conditions of working women. She can add that such investigation was urged by the President in his Message, and that she understands that the Secretary of Commerce and Labor will ask for an appropriation to carry out this recommendation. She had better write at once in order to get information as early as possible as to the date for such hearing. In the meantime, I will try to keep track of the progress of matters here, and will let you hear from me at once if I get any definite information.

If the appropriation passes the House, it will then go to the Senate and be in the hands of a Senate Committee, but this will probably be sometime after the House Committee has considered it. A letter ought then to be written to Mr. Allison regarding the item. There would be no use in bringing the matter up to the Senate until after the House has taken action.

I am very sorry to have missed you and Miss McDowell the last day you were here, but I was called to the Capitol on another matter and was unable to get back downtown until after the time for you to go.

I am writing Miss Addams by this mail, and saying to her just about what I have said to you here.

I trust you will keep me informed of what is going on in regard to the matter. The President is very much in earnest in this matter and has said to me since you were here that he quite anxious to do anything he can to help secure the investigation.

Yours sincerely,

Chas. P. Neill [signed]