Jane Addams to Henrietta Octavia Rowland Barnett, February 3, 1920


February 3rd, 1920

My dear Mrs. Barnett:

Miss McDowell and I had a consultation yesterday trying to make the very best decision in regard to your coming to America. We both feel very strongly that the Autumn would be a very much better time than the Spring. The various woman's clubs and other organizations make up their programs a long time in advance and it is rather difficult to put in new matter later. If we have, however, a statement of your lectures by April we could most easily promote it for the Autumn. We both feel that September is a trifle early, the last of October and November would be the best possible time. I am sure you would enjoy those months in America and if we had such a delightful "Indian Summer" as we had last Fall nothing could be better in the line of weather.

The Chautauqua Assemblies are all held in July and August. The weather is very hot at that time and the Assemblies are widely scattered. I should like nothing better than to have you speak at the original one in New York state which gathers [together] people from all over the United States but to do ↑address↓ many of them would mean long journeys in mid-Summer and on the whole the very substantial citizens of the towns most in need of better housing, would not be there.

One reason for my delayed reply has been that I was trying to make a satisfactory arrangement with one of the lecture agencies before I wrote you. I was in communication with Miss Mabel Ury of Boston who has placed a number of English speakers. Mr. Ratcliffe, however, advised against her contending that since her marriage she is less interested in her clients. But that as it may, no one has the reputation and standing in this line better than the [page 2] Pond Agency with whom, as I infer, you are already in communication. It would be much better for you to make your arrangements directly with him although if you wish me to do that for you and will cable me, I shall be glad to take it up at once and with vigor. Both Miss McDowell and I felt that the fee was rather large. I am afraid that lectures on semi-philanthropic topics have rather spoiled the market for big fees. I would suggest thirty pounds rather than fifty; however, upon matters of that sort the Pond Bureau would be the best advisor. All the other arrangements -- speaking but twice a week and resting between journeys -- could, of course, be very easily arranged for. Miss McDowell and I went over your arguments very carefully as to April or September. There is no doubt but that more people will have read your book by that time. I have been asked to review it for various magazines and have accepted The Atlantic and the Yale Review. It has had very favorable notices [throughout] the country and should, of course be "featured" in relation to your coming.

We are having the annual ↑National↓ Settlement meeting in April this year but I am suggesting that it be postponed or at least supplemented by another meeting in October in which you shall address the representatives of all the American settlements. Of course if Mr. Pond takes charge of you in regard your housing lectures he might still permit you to attend an occasional reception in a Settlement and say a few words outside of the subject of your lectures. The question of a varying fee to different organizations ↑is always rather difficult.↓ On the whole we need to be stirred up on the housing question in America more than anything else, I think, and we are counting a lot on your coming. Of course, we want you very much indeed. I am sure you can never doubt that even though I have not proved to be a "ready letter writer". It will be both stimulating and heart warming to have you come and you must let Miss Patterson know how glad we are that she is to be included in your plans. [page 3]

We sent you a cable [today] as follows: "Recommend Autumn. Approve Pond. Writing fully. Addams-McDowell." We are also writing to Mr. Thomas Adams so that there may be as much harmony as possible in our plans. If we do not hear from you at once may we assume that you are coming in late September or early October and that you are making your speaking engagements on Housing directly [through] Mr. Pond. Of course, in all the American cities you mention there are Settlements whose residents would be eager to [cooperate] in any local arrangements which are being made. I can surely say on behalf of all of them that they would be delighted to have the opportunity.

I have been doing a lot of speaking upon the European food situation ever since I returned last August and must offer my absorption in that as an apology for my long delayed reply. The various American agencies [through] Mr. Hoover's organization, are now spending about seven million dollars a month for the relief of the children in the various regions but, of course, unless large loans and commercial credits can be arranged, the outlook is still very dark.

Won't you plan when you come to Chicago to give a little time to Hull-House? We can give a bed room each to Miss Patterson and yourself connected by a bath. Nothing is easier than to serve meals upstairs owing to a willing Greek waiter who has been with us twelve years and knows all our ways. I am sure we can make it comfortable and at the same time give you the sense of an old time Settlement.

It seems impossible that I should never have written to thank you for all your hospitality to me last June. The day in Oxford was charming not only because of the place, however, but because of your companionship. I received a copy of the seal of Barnett House the other day which gives me great pleasure.

Always, dear friend, I am devotedly yours

Jane Addams [signed]