Lucy Biddle Lewis to Jane Addams, September 18, 1922

Lansdowne, Pa

Dear Miss Addams,

I am so glad that date suits you & I will tell Mrs. Post and later have the notices sent out. I talked to Miss Dudley at the F.O.R. Conference to which I went with my brother for a bit, about Miss Woods & am inclined to hope that the reason she seems difficult is that she has decided ideas & is forceful in putting them [through]. Having been in such close touch with Miss Balch she will probably bring a vision to us that we need in our Exec Sec'y and have not had.

The clippings you send make one sick with discouragement and disgust. I have had a [page 2] trying time this summer, and feel I must explain some to you now though I hate to write about people. At our Board meeting the end of May a minute was passed that our energies should be put into helping to "elect" those to Congress whose records showed sympathy with our views. I do not remember wording. Mrs. Brown was chairman of Com. on research. She had no Exec Sec'y. I secured Mrs. DuBois & was to go down & get her started, then met with my accident & have been in a rather serious state since. Mrs. DuBois was "helped" by Mrs. Brown & Mrs. Haines & collected data from Searchlight records, & some of this material was released to the press without my knowledge & absolutely without my approval. [page 3] The questionnaire I altered and am responsible for. When some of it got to me, I had Mrs. DuBois come see me & I told her I was not willing more should go out till I saw it, & when the Reed article went out under Mrs. Brown's name as chairman of Research Com. but on our letterhead by Mrs. Brown's orders, [too] late to consult me, & Mrs. DuBois felt it questionable but did not feel she could refuse to let it go when a Com. chairman directed it & took responsibility. I felt hopeless & helpless. Our funds were so low it gave me an excuse & I had the office closed part of the time, & told Mrs. DuBois I could see no good [to] come from further political work and to not send out any more news items. Mrs. Brown, Mrs. Haines & Mrs. Odell are enthusiastic over this type of work & see it in a different [page 4] light from what I do and are our Washington representatives. Mrs. Post was so busy she was not able to be at the office or advise Mrs. DuBois & so all this got done. We are not doing any political work now & I hope can keep out of it for the present, on basis of past summer's work. Now I do not want this to sound as if I was trying to brush responsibility onto others shoulders, it is not in that spirit, all our Washington group are intensely interested and ready to do what they can and it is a peculiar situation. Mrs. Brown is most devoted, but her [studies] have carried her with certain directions & I feel she does not take a big view of things -- & she "thinks I am too much of a Quaker to believe there is so much bad in people as she knows there is living in Washington as she does," and we are excellent friends but disagree. I have absolutely refused to have [page 5] certain things done that were suggested & had to be firm. Mrs. DuBois has tried to do what I told her and at times been between two fires. We have no executive committee & I do not approve of having our Washington members compose one as was suggested, for reasons you will approve.

It is very difficult having the office in Washington and the chairman away (especially when the chairman is ill). The Phila. members would be in sympathy with the Wash. group, especially since Mrs. Hull was left off, & they are those who go to Washington to Board meetings, & could serve on Exec. Com. so I am puzzled what to suggest. So I am hoping Miss Woods will come to us [page 6] full of plans that all can approve & join in, & she will be forceful enough to carry them [through].

One thing I regretted very much and that was attaching your name to our publicity matter, beyond the fact your name was on the letter head -- it emphasized it and drew more attention than would have occurred otherwise.

For two weeks during the summer I was in serious [state] & not able to do anything, even think, with a poisoning from bladder trouble -- some kidney inflammation that they are not even yet quite sure how serious it is, so I had to let things go on without me, and thus it got away from me, and has caused me much anxiety.

However I do hope we can get [page 7] on a more substantial basis and at our next meeting of the Board have Miss Woods & formulate plans that are worth while. I hope this long epistle does not bore you too much -- I simply had to write it, but am done now, & please do not think I am trying to be disagreeable & lay blame on others, it is a thing I so despise, but I want you to know I think such statements as have been sent to you in clippings represent unfortunate work & such as I hope will be avoided in future. There is a splendid work that W.I.L. should do and we must be at it.

Always affectionately yours,

Lucy Biddle Lewis