Ida Minerva Tarbell to Jane Addams, October 17, 1908

Bethel, Conn R. F. [D?] 25
October 17--'08


My Dear Miss Addams:-- When I remember that it is three months since I left Hull House and that in all that time I have never written back, I am disgusted with myself. It is the more ungracious because in a way I've been living on Hull House -- and you ever since. I got a lot out of you my dear Lady.

But my three months here have been complicated. On my way east I stopped to see my mother and found her very very ill, a sudden attack while I was en route and ↑had↓ brought her close to death. My sister was prostrated by the anxiety. They had to be put [into] retreats where they could pick up again -- well you know how it takes it out of you when your dearest are low. They're themselves again and I've begun to pick up neglected [threads?], chiefly my [page 2] correspondence. Will you accept this as a bread-and-butter letter very belated?

Of course I've been [illegible] that [Mandel?] traction problem has been torturing me but I've got it off at last and am at other things. So far I have been able to do my work mainly here in the country six miles from a locomotive and [ten] from a beefsteak. I like it. I fear you wouldn't and yet I don't know. There are plenty of opportunities for service even here. Within six days I've had one case of hysterics--two wounds--one bad cold-- one moral overthrow & two sick horses to doctor and I've [illegible] all things! As for social problems-- Why, I've got the most wonderful cases of the Absorption of Foreigners you ever saw. People without a word of English getting on their feet and the things they're teaching this neck-of-the-woods. They're redeeming our farming here or are going to. I came out here to escape things. I never felt more in the thick of them! But I go back to town next [page 3] week for the winter's campaign.

I hope if you are in New York or are coming you'll let me know. It would give me such pleasure to take care of you while there. Of course that means [having?] you perfectly free. I think we're going to have a lively woman's winter.  Society in New York has determined to intellectualize itself! Of course the women must do it. The first efforts may be amusing but it's a good thing and something will come of it. I believe Woman's Suffrage is going to get a substantial lift this winter from efforts that are now underway. Mrs Mackay is planning like a statesman for a campaign of education and though I'm so lukewarm on suffrage I am rejoicing over the effort.[page 4]

Pardon this long letter.

By the way, I am sending a sample of one of our chief products. We raise three things up here--socks, [battened] mahongany and stained pewter. I'm sending a specimen of the last and I shall be proud if you will include it in the Hull House collection.

With warmest regards to the Group, to Julia Lathrop, and your dearself.

Believe me

Cordially yours

Ida M. Tarbell