Address to Baltimore Society of Friends, October 30, 1919 (summary)



She Tells Friends How American Women Can Aid Reconstruction Abroad -- Reports on Overseas Tour At Yearly Meeting.

Miss Jane Addams, head of Hull House, Chicago, who returned recently from a tour of observation and inspection through Allied and belligerent countries of Europe, spoke of her tour last night before the yearly meeting of Friends, and she gave but one important impression of it, the crying need of thousands of malnourished children in Europe.

Miss Addams came to Baltimore to address the Friends, for it was with the Friends' service committee that she made her German investigation, and she stayed at the home of Doctor and Mrs. O. Edward Janney. Asked what might be the best way for women and women's organizations to help in reconstruction, Miss Addams said: "By studying conditions in Europe, trying to inform themselves of the facts and by sending food, clothes and means of shelter to the children of Europe."

"Women know the meaning of malnutrition among children," she explained. "We have been studying it for years, and for centuries women's work has been the feeding of children. The only difference now is that what they do is on a large scale. It is international. Splendid refugee work is being done in France, but it is not enough -- the need is vast in devastated sections of France and Belgium and in the Central European states. Mr. Hoover is feeding school children in nine Central European countries, and under him the European Children's Relief fund has been organized, with headquarters in New York."

After food Miss Addams seemed to find housing the most serious problem and in England much more serious than the food question, for there it was rationed so fairly that many of the poor received better food than they had ever had and their food standard was raised. But, she said, it is estimated that 1,000,000 workingmen's families are without homes.

Miss Addams spoke at Friends' Meeting House to an audience that filled the auditorium and the vestibule, and again she dwelt on the need for food and homes. Her speech was in the way of a report on her observation in Europe in general and her investigation in Germany in particular, for that happened to be the section to which she was assigned. No more illuminating talk on this subject has been heard in Baltimore probably, for Miss Addams speaks simply but with such a clear presentation of facts that she brought conditions vividly before her audience. She said that at the Peace Conference practically every country and conflicting elements of these countries sent representatives to present their political and social problem and demands, but through it all there came out the wail for food, the great fear of starvation gripping the lands they represented, whether from Armenia, Egypt, Russia, Palestine, Albania or any of the greater powers whose devastation may have been considered greater.

Miss Addams studied the children particularly and she told last night of seeing them, as many as 600 who had been brought into to Switzerland, too listless to be stirred by any promises of comfort or play and so weary that they seemed about ready to sink to the ground. She went into detail as to German conditions showing that numbers of children are suffering from rickets and tuberculosis, the result of malnutrition.