Harold LeClair Ickes to Jane Addams, November 1, 1922


November 1, 1922.

Miss Jane Addams,
800 South Halsted Street,

My dear Miss Addams:

I have read carefully Miss Ovington’s letter to you which I return herewith.

So far as I have been able to find out there is really no such organization as the Chicago Branch of the National Advancement for the Colored People. I discovered this, much to my chagrin, some time after I had consented to take the presidency of the local branch. I had assumed that there was some sort of a going organization. I found, as a matter of fact, that only a paper organization existed. There haven’t been any meetings of the Executive Committee; there is no membership and apparently no effort has been made to build up or retain a membership. Such lists as have been turned in to me, in response to my requests, have been of practically no value. There is no money in the treasury and the woman who acted as Secretary of the Association has a claim for unpaid salary. The situation being as I have described I can sympathize with what Miss Ovington says in her letter. Mr. Bagnall is here now, a new Executive Committee has been selected and I am to have a conference with Mr. Bagnall and Doctor Bentley next Monday with a view to calling the New Executive Committee together in order to [cooperate] with Mr. Bagnall in his effort to build up the membership of the local branch and get it back on its feet.

Of course it was my own fault that when I consented to take the local presidency I made no investigation, but took it for granted there was some sort of an organization here. I don’t believe I could have convinced myself that it was my duty to accept this office if I had realized what lay ahead in the way of work and responsibility.

Sincerely yours,