Dorothea Boettcher to Jane Addams, June 1, 1910

Schwerin /M. June 1. 1910.
42. Friedrich Franzstr.

Dear Miss Addams.

Pardon me, a stranger to you, for taking the liberty of writing to you. I am reading your Autobiographical Notes in "The American" with the greatest interest, for I have always been an enthusiastic admirer of you and your admirable work in the so-called slums.

Having lived in Chicago for about 25 years, and worked there as an editor and a contributor for the German papers of that city, I know a good deal about Hull House, its rise and growth and accomplishments. Having ↑been↓ acquainted with the late Mr. & Mrs. Henry D. Lloyd, Mrs. [Kelley] and others interested in settlement work, I was furnished with information & being shown around the house and the buildings connected with it, at different periods of [its] existence, and thus enabled to write a number of articles about it in German. Before that, nothing was known of Hull House work among the Chicago population of German descent, though [page 2] their number is more than 500,000.

I never was so fortunate as to meet you personally. Miss Starr I have met once. She happened to be engaged in the book binding department, but that's years ago, as I left Chicago in 1902 to settle down in my old home in Germany.

My interest in America, especially in Chicago, my second home, has always been kept wide awake, even this side of the Atlantic. Reading American papers and periodicals, and keeping up a correspondence with a number of friends, I am pretty well informed about American affairs, and particularly about Chicago, the city whose growth I watched from 1876 to 1902, with short trips to Europe interceding.

While now reading your "Notes" and [interpreting] their contents to those of my German friend not familiar with the Engl. language I feel a strong desire to express to you my admiration and my thanks for ↑the↓ heroic deed you have performed in giving up your life to the poor and humble, uplifting them to a higher standard in life. I remember what the Hull House ward used to be 25 years ago, and what you and [page 3] your friends and assistances have made of it. I need not enter into details, because you know them better than I do. I simply wanted to show you, that, in distant Germany, there are people living who have seen your noble work with their own eyes, who have tried to learn from you, and will recommend your system whenever and wherever there is an opportunity.

But, being a friend & admirer of you & your work, dear Miss Addams, I hope you will forgive me, if I, uncalled for, wish to call your attention to an error in your "Notes", that might easily happen to a non-German. In the June issue of the "American," page 193, first column, you relate ↑your experience↓ in a so-called anarchist Sunday school. The children there sang one of Koerner's poems. When the "newspaper man" asked you "what abominable stuff they were singing," you replied, "that Koerner was a well-known German author of the period of '48, when all young poets sang of freedom" etc. This statement has to be corrected, for, some day, your "Notes" might be translated into German, and every halfway educated German knows [page 4] that the German poet Theodor Koerner, born 1791, fought, as a volunteer, against the invader Napoleon I, and was killed in a battle, fought Aug. 26. 1813, only 22 years old. His battle-songs were all directed against the foreign invader. In spite of his youth, he wrote a number of fine poems, several dramas, and some prose-works. Theodor Koerner, the poet as well as the patriot, are in high favor in Germany especially among the young people, his works being read in every school.

I hope you will forgive me for calling your attention to this disagreeable error and will correct it before you publish your autobiography in book form.

I am looking forward with interest to the next issue of The American, in which I hope to find the continuation of your "notes."

Very sincerely and respectfully [yours]

Dorothea Boettcher