Lawrence F. Abbott to Jane Addams, February 27, 1914

The Outlook Company
Two-Eighty-Seven Fourth Avenue

February 27, 1914.

My dear Miss Addams:

Let me thank you most warmly for your prompt and illuminating response to my telegram sent in the name of The Outlook for information regarding the recent primary election in Chicago. We are printing it together with one from Mrs. Kretzinger, the anti-suffrage advocate, in next week's Outlook.

The suffrage question is the one important public question upon which there is a decided difference of opinion in our editorial staff. Some of us are anti-suffragists, some of us pro-suffragists. I belong to the latter group but I endeavor to, and believe I do, loyally support in the pages of The Outlook its policy which is determined by my father as Editor-in-Chief. That policy may be stated briefly, as follows:

In a democracy a Legislature ought not to impose by law on the majority the wishes of the minority. No State should adopt woman suffrage by legislative enactment until the women have had an opportunity to express their desire by some form of ballot. While my father is philosophically an anti-suffragist and I am philosophically a pro-suffragist we can both work together on the platform thus stated. If that platform is, at least as far as it goes, a practical and logical one, it follows that it is the duty of all [page 2] suffragists to take such part as they can in a campaign of education. That, The Outlook is always glad to do and we have evolved the following plan by which The Outlook can do its share. We propose that you, representing the suffragists, and Miss Ida Tarbell, representing the anti-suffragists, should carry on a discussion or debate by a series of letters and that when that correspondence is finished that we should print it in The Outlook. We have written to Miss Tarbell and I now write to ask if you will consider such plan. The details can perhaps be worked out later, but a simple way of doing it would be for Miss Tarbell to write you a letter regarding your telegram which appears in The Outlook, for you to reply to her letter and for her to reply to your letter, and so on. You might, for example, each write five letters of a thousand words a piece. That would make the total contribution ten thousand words in length. We could print this in two instalments in The Outlook. If such a plan commends itself to you we should be glad to send you our [check] for two hundred and fifty dollars for your contribution to the correspondence. If the plan does not command itself, can you suggest a better one. I think an essential would be for you and Miss Tarbell to act as the representatives of the respective contending groups of women.

Eagerly hoping that you will [cooperate] with us [page 3] in this matter and with renewed thanks for your interpretation of the Chicago selection, which I may tell you privately seems to me to make Mrs. Kretzinger's attitude almost hopeless, I am

Yours sincerely,

Lawrence F. Abbott [signed]

Miss Jane Addams,
Hull House,
Chicago, Ill.

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