Speech to Trinity College, March 30, 1922 (excerpts)



Miss Jane Addams, of Chicago, Heard at Trinity College By Large Audience.


Famous Woman Social and Political Reformer Discusses League’s Working.


She Told of the Terrible Conditions In Europe That She Saw -- Annual Phi Beta Kappa Day Was Observed.

For economic and humanitarian reasons the United States should come to the aid of the starving, resource-depleted countries of Europe, was the theme of Jane Addams, of Hull House, Chicago, annual Phi Beta Kappa day speaker at Trinity College last evening. The address of Miss Addams came following the initiation of members in the afternoon and the annual dinner in Southgate Hall at 6 o’clock in the evening. Fifteen hundred people filled Craven Memorial Hall to hear the noted social and political reformer.

Personal experiences and observation while in Europe last year to attend the opening days of the League of Nations supplied Miss Addams with the most of the data used in her address. Miss Addams declared that present conditions among European nations, famine and lack of purchase power, presented a state that would make possible the United States coming to their aid and in so doing to [reestablish] herself as the friend to the down trodden. For two centuries America has been held as the “big brother” in European minds to the nations that need a big brother, declared Miss Addams. She asserted that our action with reference to the League of Nations and the apathy which we have shown in other instances since the war has tended to break down this conception.

Speaking of her experiences while attending the opening sessions of the League of Nations in Geneva last September, Miss Addams said that the [nonparticipation] of the United States in the League practically eliminated its efficiency. Eight agreements effected in the first 10 days of the sessions would not have been adopted if the United States had been a member of the League, the audience was told. Miss Addams enumerated several instances in which the League could have accomplished concrete results if we had been a member.

After attending several sessions of the League at Geneva, Miss Addams visited several of the countries which suffered most from the war. The audience was given the benefit of her observations. What she had seen was used as argument to show the dire necessary of the United States going to the aid of the ravaged countries. She declared that in northern France she saw children being examined for traces of tuberculosis. These children had been underfed and were mere skin and bone. Sixty [percent] of the number were found to have the dread disease. Miss Addams told of having seen women in Vienna who had suffered from frozen hands because they had not been able to secure fuel. “In one or two instances,” said Miss Addams, “women had to have their fingers amputated because they had been frozen.” Conditions in Russia and [Czechoslovakia] and Russia were cited. She spoke of a report which affirmed that 10,000,000 people in the Volga Valley would die of starvation if they did not receive relief. Governments should not be considered in an instance like that, affirmed Miss Addams, after she had shown that this condition was due more to a drought which had prevailed in the country than to the work of the Bolshevik government.

The European nations which are suffering so terribly have heard greatly exaggerated stories of the wealth and prosperity which exists in the United States at the present, declared Miss Addams. She told of common beliefs among some Europeans that America was burning surplus products of corn, and was greatly overstocked with wool and cotton. Miss Addams gave figures to prove that America did possess an over supply in several products, but not to the extent which the Europeans believe. “Something is wrong if we cannot arrange that our surplus shall reach the countries which are in such dire straights for the very things with which we are oversupplied,” it was said.

Miss Addams did not confine herself to the humanitarian aspects of the case. She showed that if the United States would give to the European countries the credit and support which they need at the present time, that the European countries must inevitably recover their power to purchase. This recovery, it was shown, would bring a revival of world trade in which the United States would be given precedence by virtue of having made it possible.

Much of the part which the United States is to play in the future political arrangements of the world powers of Europe will make or are making at present will depend upon the manner in which we act at the present time, it was said. Miss Addams pleaded for a public opinion that would express itself to the end that something might be done by our government.

Dr. W. T. Laprade, president of the Trinity chapter of Phi Beta Kappa, introduced Miss Addams to the audience as a member of the fraternity whose life had exemplified the principle of the society, employ philosophy as a guide of life.

The Annual Society Dinner

The annual dinner of the society was given in the dining hall of Southgate building at 6 o’clock. Six courses were served. After dinner talks were made by Rev. H. M. North, representing the Trinity alumni in general; L. I. Jaffee, representing the alumni members of the class of 1911; T. C. Kirkman, representing the senior initiates; Miss Jane Addams, the honor guest; Dr. E. C. Brooks, and Dr. W. P. Few. Dr. Brooks devoted himself to paying tribute to Governor Bickett, a member of the society who died during the year.