Harriet Burton Laidlaw to Rhinelander Waldo, May 19, [1912]



Commissioner R. Waldo,
Police Headquarters,
240 Centre St.,

Dear Sir: --

The latest developments in the case of the assault upon Miss Livingston by a "Chinatown" cadet from whom she had rescued a young girl -- the case was brought to your attention recently; are that the blow in her face evidently splintered her jaw bone and she has had to have three good teeth pulled out to allow drainage. Her injuries are so monstrous and the official indifference to them and the conditions that lie back of them so gross, that hundreds and thousands of people are being roused. We realize that these complaints come at a time when you are very much occupied with other excellent, much needed, and believe me, much appreciated investigations. Your work is arduous, but I am sure you will respond to the call for an investigation of "Chinatown" conditions. If Inspector Daly does not know about these things, Captain Tierney and Officer Sullivan must; not to mention two plain-clothes men whom we will not now mention. The names of these men are in the minds of hundreds of people who are suspending [judgment] temporarily; -- certain that these estimable members of the force being answerable to you, will on your suggestion, and doubtless of their own initiative perform their duties of protection of good citizens and suppression of vice, -- To many people who have expressed themselves forcibly, not to say violently on this subject, I have advised at least -- temporary tolerance and advised a suppression of the wide newspaper publicity which through many avenues we are able to give. This temperance, this restraint, is not due to a lack of concrete material, of a rich abundance of facts, upon which to work, but with this attitude goes the desire to approach the thing in a seemly and official way, through a dignified appeal to you and the Mayor, trusting to the action of our chief municipal executives.

With full confidence, I am,
Yours sincerely,

Harriet B. Laidlaw.

Sunday, May 19th.