Alexander Jeffrey McKelway to Jane Addams, October 5, 1912

National Child Labor Committee

Washington, D.C., Oct. 5, 1912.

Miss Jane Addams,
Hull House,
Chicago, Ills.

Dear Miss Addams:

I have been glad to see your activity in behalf of the Progressive Party, though I am myself an advocate of Governor Wilson's election. As you can readily believe, I am in full sympathy with the Progressive platform, but from my interviews with Governor Wilson, I am sure that the most of its principles will be carried out in his administration, if he is elected, so far as the Federal Government has the power to do so. I also hope that through a Constitutional Convention the Federal Government will be given much more power in the direction of social reforms than it now has, but I should not like to see such a Convention called until Progressive ideas have more thoroughly permeated the mass of our people, especially in the southern states. This by way of preliminary.

In spite of my being a Democrat, I am very anxious to see Senator Borah return to the Senate from Idaho. The Senator's position has been a very delicate one. He was a candidate, as you know, for the Senate on the Republican ticket before the third party movement was launched and was nominated on that ticket. I happen to know of a little personal jealousy between him and Senator Dixon, who failed of such renomination, and I fear that this has somewhat injured his chances for re-election. I know also something of the forces that are against him in Idaho. The lumber interests are trying to punish him for his attitude toward Senator Lorimer, the reactionary Republicans, under the lead of Senator Heyburn, would much [prefer] to see a Democrat come to the Senate from Idaho than to see Senator Borah, and of course the Democrats who are not above partisan constraint, are anxious to elect one of their own number. I know that Senator Borah is in full sympathy with the Progressive movement and the whole country knows of the valiant service he did for Mr. Roosevelt at the Chicago Convention. [page 2]

From my point of view, interested first of all in social reforms, Senator Borah is the most valuable man we have in the Senate. The creation of the Children's Bureau is due to him more than to any other man in either House. He has been on the right side, and a powerful ally of, progressive labor legislation. As chairman of the Committee on Education and Labor he is in a position to do great service for the cause of social welfare in the future, and I believe that his defeat would be a national calamity. It seems to me also that our Committee, so far as they can as individuals, should do all in their power to secure his re-election, and, fortunately, as the women vote in Idaho, the fact of his sponsorship of the Children's Bureau should make a strong appeal to their suffrage. So I am writing to ask if you cannot consistently write to some friends in Idaho, especially among the women, indicating how important it is that members of the legislature friendly to Senator Borah's candidacy should be elected in November. I have not seen Senator Borah for several weeks and am writing this without his knowledge, but with a pretty thorough understanding of the facts which my intimacy with him has enabled me to discover.

You may be interested to know that Mr. Lovejoy and I with Mr. Kinglsey and other friends of the children actually met in the offices of the Children's Bureau last week and had a conference with its beloved chief. I think I can assure the friends of the Bureau that if Governor Wilson should be elected there is no danger of disturbing the present organization of the Bureau or of lowering it from the high plane of public service on which Miss Lathrop has placed it. I hope the third party will become the second party after the November election and the closer second it is, the better it would please.

Yours cordially,

A. J. McKelway. [signed]