Henry S. Metcalf to Jane Addams, January 18, 1912


Jan 18, 1912

Miss Jane Addams,

Hull House, Chicago: --

I have always admired the scientific spirit with which you study social problems, your sympathy for youth, and your courage. I am sure that your articles now appearing in McClure's must set a great many people to thinking seriously, and that they will do a great deal of good.

The country social problem is, of course, different from that of the city. The majority of <our> fathers and mothers wish to do right, and are anxious that their children should become good <clean> citizens. They are ignorant, however, and do not know how to educate their children in many subject. Half a dozen years ago I got much of the literature a physician could then obtain on the subject of Social Hygiene and asked the advice of several of my boy friends with whom [page 2] I was intimate socially and as their family doctor. We decided that Dr. [Willson's] University of Penn. address (I have sent you a copy) was the most easily understood <and> was the work of a man of high ideals, and that it would appeal to youth. The young men said, however, that it was too long; for most high school boys of eighteen would perhaps read from pages, but not twelve.

A boy sometimes is wiser than a man and I accepted their opinion, and made an abstract of the lecture which was posted in the covers of the pamphlets. I wrote Mr. [Willson?] of the opinion of the lads and suggested that in still simpler language he recast the article making a folder of four pages and that <he> make still stronger the appeal on page 8, and paragraph on Illegitimate Fatherhood on page 11. The latter deeply impresses even a careless <boy> [page 3] when it makes him realize, for the first time, the fact that young fellows like himself are the fathers of unknown and wretched children that will surely grow into criminals. A boy can never forget it!

These pamphlets are given every year to each boy of the High School graduating class. Sunday School teachers give them to the young men of the Bible classes and to clerks in stores. They are distributed yearly at our Chautauqua assemblies to men, and in many cases sent by mail to mothers and fathers. -- We feel that the people of our community are growing to think more seriously on these subjects.

Perhaps this record of an attempt to educate a little country community to clean living will have a suggestion for you and your friends in your great field.


Henry S. Metcalf.

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