Frances S. Dillingham Plummer to Jane Addams, April 21, 1907

Naples, Maine
Apr. 21st '07
Miss Jane Addams--
Head of Hull House
Chicago, Ill.

Dear Madam--

Will you kindly pardon me for writing to you? Many times, I have read of you, but never thought of writing to you, till this evening. I know I've no right to do ↑so↓, but just now I read the enclosed clipping--in the "Chi. Evening American," and, it seems to me that I must write. [page 2] It will help me, rest me, to tell you about myself--and perhaps you can help me, in some way. Please don't think I am selfish, and mean, because I say this, for surely, I am not. I am only a struggler, in need of kindness, and sympathy.

I am 75 years old, and live quite alone, in a small, shabby cottage, that stands in an orchard, of my neighbor's farm. Circumstances, which I could not avoid, "set me down", in this lonely place, and I have lived here, fifteen years, learning--as the days, and weeks, and months, have braided [page 3] themselves into years, many bitter life-lessons, of Pain and Poverty. But I love Life so much--this earth is so beautiful to one, and I have so poorly fulfilled my mission--so greatly failed to live out my inner life, my better, finer nature, that it seems to me that I cannot die, till I have done something nobler, higher, more congenial to my tastes, and ambitions.

I am quite alone in the world. I am thirty miles from a city, and four miles from a village. On every side I see forest-trees. Scattered here and there are a few farm-houses. I am very lonely indeed, and too poor to go to a city to live. My neighbors [page 4] are very kind to me, and I like them, but they cannot understrand my hopes, and aspirations at all. It would be folly for me to try to make them understand. I live on day after day, always hoping, wishing, trying to "be myself"--at my best, some times. I cannot do hard work, because my health is not good, and I am old, in years (but not in heart.) If I could find some sort of work, that I could do, I could earn money to enable me to go away, where, at least, I could see people, could hear people talk, could enjoy beautiful pictures, and lectures, [etc. etc.], but unless I can find some employment, [page 5] to help me along, I must stay here. There is no one that I can confide in, concerning all this, neither is there any employment anywhere, within my knowledge, that I could obtain. Such work as I could do, would not be cared for here. I can do silk embroidery--and can paint flowers, a little.

O, if I have wearied, and annoyed you, do please pardon me! It seemed to me that you might, possibly, be able to send me information, concerning some sort of sewing, that I can do in my home.

Perhaps among your many friends, there may be some lady, who will kindly send me work. Hoping to be forgiven, for trespassing on your time, and [page 6] patience,--and hoping for a reply--I will close, by saying that my gratitude will be very great, if you help me--so that my life may reach a higher plane, a more congenial atmosphere.

Most Sincerely,--

(Mrs.) F. S. Plummer,
Naples, Me.


Please let this be strictly confidential.


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