Belle Case La Follett to Jane Addams, January 2, 1912

1864 Wyoming Ave., N.W.,
Washington, D.C.,
Jan 2, 1912.

My Dear Miss Addams: --

After weighing the matter the best I could, it seemed to me wisest to get off the Board, and I have mailed my resignation to the Secretary. I enclose you a copy. It gives my two [reasons]. I could not stay on and keep my peace of mind without giving my time and thought to the work. It would have compelled me to give up the syndicate work I am doing. I may not be able to go on with it anyway, but I believe I can be of more [service] to suffrage through these daily themes than in anything I could do as an official.

Being right here in Washington, and because Mr. La Follette is in the Senate, it is natural that suffrage workers here and over the country should expect anyone holding a position on the Board to go before committees, give talks and aid in the general work of organization. You can understand better than I can explain how this operates. I ought to have foreseen the difficulties, but this phase of the question did not occur to me. The only inducement to me was that perhaps I might do more for Wisconsin if I accepted the position. I didn't realize how inseparable the responsibilities of such a Board must necessarily be. I see quite clearly now that I can be of quite as much service to Wisconsin off the Board as on, especially since I have talked with you and Miss Breckinridge and find that you feel about the state just as I do; and you really are in closer touch than I can be for the next few months. The advantage of holding the national convention in Milwaukee seemed very great to me. It would, of course, be lots of work, but it seems to me the big card to play. With the help of the Illinois women, who know the state, and with your own wise management and ever-helpful influence, I do not believe there is any great danger of roorbacks. Anyway that is a chance of politics. If we would accomplish anything, we must take some risk. It seems to me the convention would at once awaken state and municipal pride in Milwaukee, where we need it, and would help immensely in giving publicity to our cause. Just an announcement that it was going to be held made in all the local papers would fix the people's attention on the referendum. There would be a general belief that the Association had faith in the state, and has selected Wisconsin as a winner. We would get a great deal of the right sort of advertising from the day the announcement was made until the convention was held. It would create sentiment and good will, and would give all the workers and organizers a common ground of appeal. To have the best results, the invitation should appear to come spontaneously from the state itself, and the Milwaukee women ought to be back of it heartily. I feel, too, that it must have your genuine, inner approval. I am not writing this to persuade you, but simply to give you my point of view. If, after a full consideration, with your closer contact with the situation, you believe it unwise to undertake it, I would by no means urge [page 2] it; but if the Wisconsin women do seem to want it, and you, Miss Breckinridge and the other Illinois women who will have to share the work of it are for it, I am with you and will do all I can to contribute to carrying it out.

Yours with love,

Miss Jane Addams,
Hull House,
Chicago, Illinois.