William Draper Lewis to Jane Addams, January 16, 1913


NEW YORK, January 16, 1913.

Miss Jane Addams,
Hull House, Chicago, Ill.

Dear Miss Addams: --

I enclose a copy of the Minutes of the meeting of the Legislative Reference Committee, held in New York on January 9th. I also desire to make the following report in regard to the result of the application of the Committee to the Executive Committee.

When I appeared before the Executive Committee I found that the financial situation was not exactly what the Legislative Reference Committee thought. There is apparently a good prospect of securing, under the supervision of the National Committee, $100,000. or even $150,000., but amounts definitely promised to date do not exceed $40,000, and a good deal of this has already, of necessity, been appropriated in other directions. The Executive Committee felt that work should not be definitely undertaken for which we had not the money in hand or promised in legal binding subscriptions. They have voted to our Committee, the sum of $1,000, which can be expended in the next two months.

In view of this action of the Executive Committee I have secured Mr. Bernard S. Van Rensselsaer, who has done considerable executive work with success for H. K. Smith, to take charge here of the work in the accompanying outline designated as A, B, and C. With the exception of the analysis under C., Mr. Van Rensselsaer will take up this work at once. He will also do what he can towards D, E and F. The arrangement is temporary on both sides, to last for a month, and I hope until March first when there is another meeting of the Executive Committee and when the financial condition may be such as to enable us to assume greater expense.

I have also written to Dr. McCarthy, who has been answering such correspondence as should be answered by the Committee, and who has two typewriters assisting him, giving him a full account of what has been done and asking him to continue his assistance if possible until February first, and telling him that Mr. Van Rensselsaer will go to Wisconsin just as soon as he gets matters started here, I hope within ten days. [page 2] 

On my own account, but after consultation with a few persons here who realize the importance to the movement in general of securing the services of such a person as Dr. McCarthy, I have included in my letter to him the following paragraph:

"My Committee, with the funds which will probably be at its disposal, can do a certain piece of work which may be creditably and reasonably effective. With your help I feel certain we could produce a result which would be more than creditable. By your help, I mean the help of your whole time. The situation appeals to me about as follows: If you could let me know whether under any condition, and if so what condition, you would withdraw from your work in Wisconsin and come with us so that you and I together, with the help of the other members of the Committee could work this great problem out, I think I could start an effort to obtain special donations for the necessary financial foundation. Of course no plan could be worked out until you and I have a personal conversation."

I am asking Mr. Van Rensselsaer to enclose with this letter, which will go out in a few days, copies of the letter I am having sent out in my name to the various Progressive members of State Legislatures and State Legislative Committees.

Very truly yours,

W. Draper Lewis [signed]