May 12, 1922.
Dear Miss Addams:
I am writing you as a Chicago member of our Board to give us a bit of a lift in the matter of Survey memberships in Chicago. This is the 10th year of Survey Associates. It's the first year we are trying to bridge through without a subsidy from the Sage Foundation. It's a year when the [Survey] in common with all periodicals has been hard hit by the depression. It has been touch and go, but we can weather it if we can bring our membership of $10, $25 and $100 contributors which last year numbered 1600, to 2000 -- and so place The Survey at the end of ten years on a stable cooperative basis.
Not only is that desirable as long range planning, but it's emergent. We have had to cut something like $14,000 out of our budget this second half year. Last fall we cut to the bone, and now to the marrow.
Detroit is experiencing the first tremors of her business revival and I am to be there on the 22nd and 23rd in connection with a circulation drive we are planning. Chicago is not so favorably placed, of course, so far as business conditions go, but the fact is that we have done almost no work there for four or five years and our clientele of contributors is far less than it was five years ago and very much less than it was ten years ago. In this situation it seemed to us that there must be some few people locally, who as in Boston and Philadelphia and elsewhere would respond; and that very possibly those people are already readers and members of The Survey, if we only knew them and if we put our case before them.
So I am planning to join Mrs. Brenner in Chicago the end of this month and see if we can muster some reserves of strength. We do not want to attempt anything so ambitious [page 2] as a general meeting of Survey Associates such as we has here in New York last month. That is a pretty large undertaking and the times are not ripe for it.
What we should like to do would be to meet with perhaps six or at most a dozen convinced friends of The Survey, say at luncheon, on May 31; go over with them our list of readers and members and get them to suggest whom we might call upon in the interests of The Survey. I am attaching a list of names which we made up after talking with Mr. Graham R. Taylor. They are merely suggestions.
We do not want to impose upon you by asking you to invite them to Hull House. Indeed, that would be very gracious, but I fancy a downtown meeting would be less of a tax on their time and certainly on your hospitality. Rather, would you not ask Mr. Reynolds or Mr. Hunter to cooperate with us to the extent of arranging for such a luncheon meeting on a Dutch treat basis (The Survey is cooperative) to meet with us and plan what can be done to bring up Chicago's quota of memberships in this tenth year and canvass what can be done to make the new Survey Graphic count in the Middle West.
I am leaving on an editorial and financial trip so that I should appreciate it if you would answer to Mrs. Brenner, who will be arranging our end of it. I realize that all the social agencies in Chicago are hard pressed and Hull House with the rest; I can only plead that we have not been a strident knocker at the doors of your city in recent years -- and just now there is a very lean wolf barking at our heels. At the same time the Graphic has opened out the most promising lead we have had in the decade.
You will be interested to know that the second edition of our Coal Number is practically exhausted.