Mary Eliza McDowell to Edward Scott Beck, December 22, 1921



My Dear Mr. Editor:

When "The world's greatest newspaper" misunderstands Chicago's best known citizen, the time for explaining is not past. And since I know Chicago rather well, I dare to suggest that your editorial of December 21 on "Women and Children First" is [neither] ↑not quite↓ fair to Chicago nor to Jane Addams. Even now when Jane Addams states a fact, Chicago knows she is right, even if the Press suggests she is wrong. They have not changed their mind on that point. They may differ with her, but they know she is never "sucking publicity" for herself but for the ideal she has in mind.

Jane Addams is no more a politician today than she was when she stirred the ↑imagination of this↓ city by taking the civic duty of Alley Inspector and raising it for the time to the high plane of civic privilege. When she nominated Theodore Roosevelt, she did it, not because she was a politician, but because at last a party had given political expression to her social and industrial ideals. Months before politicians made the Armament Conference fashionable, Jane Addams was urging ↑the↓ public to ask for this conference. I have heard her, [and] others have heard her, speak ↑give↓ publicly her approval of the Conference and the "Four Nation Pact", and yet always she held that it was only the beginning of a mere far-reaching program for World Peace, another step that a large public is now urging. Before Keynes or [Vanderlip] or Churchill of England sounded the warning that unless the United States acknowledged its economic interdependence with Central Europe and Russia chaos would follow, she had spoken her warning. She did not come to these conclusions because she was an "indifferent statesman" or because she was a politician; but because she was what she has always been -- a Great Neighbor.

Her neighborhood could not be held within the confines of the 19th ward, where her international relations began. She had soon and [page 2] felt the suffering of the women and children in the war-stricken countries of Central Europe, as she visited them very soon after the Armistice was signed. Indeed all through the War she was arresting public thinking by her appeal on "Food and International Relations" ↑at↓ Mr. Hoover's request, of ↑for↓ he recognized as did Mr. Roosevelt that her words were far-reaching, ↑-- and her method of personal contact, made them [illegible]↓

Jane Addams is a Great Neighbor, who has responded for thirty-five years to the appeals for sympathy and understanding from Halsted Street to the North Shore, and on to Russia and Austria. She is doing today exactly what she has always done -- responding to human needs. If it carries her to Congress because it is too enormous a burden for our own City Council to carry, then she enters ↑if you will↓ the political field, because her sympathetic imagination brings ↑now as always↓ to our door-step the far-away suffering of Europe, ↑or Chicago.↓

The world is Jane Addams' neighborhood, and her neighbors those that may be geographically close to Polk and Halsted, or in the Ural Mountains. For the welfare of Chicago and for the world there is a tragic need of her kind of [neighborship] [illegible] "publicity: or "politics", and are unafraid. If there is a need she responds. If necessary she seeks publicity or politics, or dares to be a statesman that has arrived before her time.

↑If in↓ this Christmas of 1921 the Christ is still misunderstood, and his humblest followers must still explain Him, then why not explain our  the Great [Neighborliness] ↑of↓ Jane Addams?

↑with pride I sign myself as one of her neighbors,↓

Mary E McDowell. [signed]

↑Dec. 22/21.↓