Jane Addams to Robert Underwood Johnson, October 19, 1912


Oct. 19, 1912

My dear Mr. Johnson: --

I thank you very much for your kind offer to write an article for The Century, and am sorry to be obliged to decline owing to the press of other work which I have already promised.

May I say in regard to the editorial that it repeats the usual American mistake in that it considers the settlement as a "Benevolent institution", although in England where the settlement movement originated, such a mistake is seldom made. The first settlements as you know were started by Oxford men who were most anxious to study the lives of the poor without the handicap of emotionalism or even of charitable intent.

Almost all of the measures for industrial amelioration advocated by the Progressive Party are matters of legislative [page 2] enactment in Germany and more than half of them are in actual operation in England. In America such measures are perforce in the realm of "benevolence" or philanthropy with whatever emotionalism this implies, because America has been so slow to regard them as matters for political action.

I have written an article for the American Magazine, also one for McClure's, <to be> published in November which may perhaps make this position more clear. Would it be in line with the purposes of The Century to publish an open letter in which I might give my point of view a little more completely and carefully? I should be glad for the opportunity.

Very sincerely yours,

Jane Addams. [signed]

Robert Underwood Johnson, Esq.,
New York City.