Stuttgart -- Degerloch
April 24th 1914
My dear Miss Addams,
Among my faults there is one that almost looks like a virtue. But it is a vicious little devil in its true nature. I always want to do things well -- and the amount of procrastination that leads to can hardly be conceived! When I got the books you sent me last summer, I wanted to read at least one of them before I wrote and I started at once. But then one evil befell me after the other -- my lady-help fell ill & I had to nurse her, the housemaid was called home, and at the same time the garden was full of fruit to be preserved, my chief yearly work had to be done for the Municipal Yearbook which comes out in the autumn, and elections went on for our large sick-funds, for which women have votes and eligibility. I do not remember a more horrid summer and autumn in all my life. In the east I broke down in health and the doctor sent me away the day before Christmas. I was so dead fixed that I had no feeling but pure relief at the thought that somebody else must do all my work for the Christmas festivities! I was away two months, and then at last I found time and strength to read "20 Years Hull House." I cannot tell you [page 2] how much I enjoyed it. The subject-matter of the book is most intensely interesting. It is interesting where your experience is the same as we have in the old world, and even more interesting where you are dealing with the problems special to your own country and even city. But far above all this I enjoyed meeting you yourself in your book! You have enlarged the word "American" for me. I know it is only my mistake and the slightness of my experience, but I did not know before there would be in America people of just your type. Everybody I think must love both you and your father in the early parts of the book; and during all the varied experience of the later times I still see the same little girl, wondering, observing; it has been a great delight to me to see how you have taken each new experience, gone through it to the very end, made the mistakes enthusiastic and believing minds must make, and come out of it -- having gained for yourself and your work what there was to be gained and leaving behind with some gentle irony at your own former self all that had proved illusory. I just marvel at the way you have kept free from any reactionary spirit! It seems to me that there is in you something of what we consider the very best in our German character -- the nature of the true student, who devoutly and reverently seeks truth and never himself. -- I have left my copy for a time in England, [page 3] to be read and studied by some of the nicest women in the world, the "Sisters of the People" in Katherine House, Fitzroy Square. It makes me quite glad to think how many thoughts will be going your way from that little corner, a home of very pure devotion to mankind. Since then, I have heard many people speak with admiration of your book and your work, I have read a number of reviews of the German edition. But I just want to tell you: they all admire you and think your work wonderful. But I feel glad and happy that I have met you and have now come to know you much better still by your own book (even its literary shortcomings have made me understand your nature still better!), and if I have to tell you the outcome of it all, it is that I have not troubled to stop at admiration, I have gone straight on to loving you, dear Miss Addams!
I hope you are well and living and working to the joy of all around you (we all are around you, you know!) and the better for your journey to Europe last year! Shall we see you at the Berlin Congress in 1915?
Mit herzlichen Grüßen