Carrie Chapman Catt to Jane Addams, December 29, 1914


Int. Alliance of Women



Dec 29, 1914.

My dear Miss Addams:

I received your letter and the call yesterday. I was much disconcerted to discover that it read as [though] I had been chiefly instrumental in calling the meeting, whereas I wished only to support your effort in an inconspicuous way. It only proves that telegrams are a poor way of arriving at conclusions and that a conference is necessary.

I waited to have a conference with Mrs. Spencer before replying. She has been a "live wire" ever since she made her escape from Meadville for the holidays and has a well thought out plan which might be made a part of the discussion in Washington, or carried out quite alone. It is the series of mass meetings of which I wrote you, held to protest against increase of armament [page 2]

Mrs. Spencer who is usually very sweet and moderate is much stirred over this proposed meeting. 1. She doesn't like the appearance of the necessity of foreign women being use to awake American women to their duty and is quite incensed over what she believes to be Mrs. Lawrence's arrogance. 2. She is suspicious that the "Washington group" is the Congressional Union. The fact that Mrs White is a conspicuous member made her think of it I believe. Not being a very suspicious nature, I had had no such thought, but this mornings paper make the announcement <that> the Congressional Union [will] hold its annual meeting on Jan 10! That is a suspicious coincidence. The well known habit of all militants to make [everyone] a tail of their kite adds to the suspicion.

Of course, as Chairman of the suffrage campaign in NY. I must not be caught in any connection with the Congressional Union, not on account of any Washington conditions, nor the feud between them and the National but on account of their anti-democratic policy

Meanwhile I have written Mrs. White asking her some plain questions and also to Mrs. Gardner who is on the other side. Between them I hope to learn the truth

Whatever may be the outcome of the Washington [page 3] Conference, the movement must not emanate from them.

3. I surmise that Mrs Spencer, and probably other peace makers, rather resent outsiders from taking their work out of their hands. They will not resent you doing it, but they do resent suffragists like me doing it. Of course Mrs Spencer did not say this, but I could plainly read it between the lines. This added to my embarrassment in finding my name so conspicuous in the call. But do not trouble over it. "Alls well that ends well."

In case I find this Washington <conference> is confused with the C. Union, I must niggle out. I shall let you know what I learn.


Carrie Chapman Catt