Calumet, Mich., January 5 1910
My dear Miss Addams:
I wonder if every one else is feeling impelled and compelled to write you how much they are delighting in your new book. I know how crowded your mail must be, but I can't refrain from adding this bit to the postman's burden.
Ever since I worked in the factories in Milwaukee to learn more about both factory conditions and the general subject of "Women in Industry" I have longed to hear some <one> speak to the world about the natural longings and impulses of the girls who work all day. Mrs Van Vorst tried it and failed miserably (I think) because after all she didn't feel the "Spirit of Youth." I know what it means to toil from seven in the morning until five-thirty at night in a dirty, hot, sticky, nauseating candy factory, with a half hour off at night noon to eat one's newspaper wrapped lunch at the same work table where the rest of the day is spent. I know what it is to crawl home at night -- two, three, or four [page 2] miles -- partly because riding is costly on a $1.75 to $3.50 weekly wage and partly because the cars at the supper hour won't hold any more. The first few nights I tried to rest by reading or by lying down and trying to relax at every muscle in the most approved physical culture style. It didn't work. Every muscle, cord and tendon persisted either in standing out straight and indignant at the way in which it had been abused or else in trying itself into so hard a knot that morning found it still tight. It was some time before I gave in that the other girls were right, after all, in their belief that dancing was the only thing to set one right. I found that if I danced for perhaps half an hour after dinner, I was "good" for almost anything else during the rest of the evening. I was fortunate in having a decent place to dance as I was in residence at the University Settlement at the time. Knowing what that recreation meant to me, I didn't blame the less fortunate girls after that for dancing, whenever opportunity offered. Please don't think me impertinent in thanking you from the bottom of my heart for not only knowing the hunger and thirst of the boys and girls but [page 3] for being able to tell people about it in such a way as to make the most [blasé] find your book more interesting than a novel.
For a small city -- Calumet's juvenile problem is a big one, and much of the trouble is caused by the people who ought to be most helpful having absolutely forgotten how they felt when they were young. However we have a splendid Juvenile judge now and I'm looking for better things.