Memorial Address for Jenkin Lloyd Jones, November 28, 1918

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I think I like better that other introduction he used occasionally to give me when he called me "Chicago's maid-of-all-work," especially when there was some disagreeable task which we were undertaking -- something particularly obnoxious in this city which we thought ought to be changed.

I was asked to say a few words for the women, and of Mr. Jones's relation to women in the years through which so many of us knew him and were glad to work with him. Of course he was a suffragist, as has been said, because he was such a good democrat that he needed no argument and he could not think otherwise; but it was part of his courage that he invited Susan B. Anthony many years ago into his pulpit in Janesville when to invite a suffragist into anything so respectable and so sanctified as a pulpit was indeed a strange thing.

As you know well, he had a great deal to do with Frances Willard and her earlier work in temperance, and with that group of Unitarian women, represented by Anna Garlin Spencer and Celia Parker Woolley, with whom he worked in so many directions. Later I well remember Caroline Bartlett Crane and Eleanor Gordon and other of those Unitarian ministers who did not always have an easy time, and whom I have often heard speak of him as their big brother and always their helper and defender.

Standing out as a mere unit from a cloud of witnesses, I should like to say something also for those multitudes of women who have had help and inspiration from his classes, such as Mrs. Kent described. He respected woman's intelligence, and he gave them good stiff stuff when he talked to them or when he had them in his classes. He did not surround himself with an adoring circle of ladies, as some ministers as are wont to do, but he brought out the very best in them through inspiration and training, and expected them to do good, hard work, to which treatment, of course, they were able and proud to respond. I am sure he himself would be the first to wish to have acknowledged also his indebtedness to the women who were ready to help him. It was, after all, a woman who gathered together the Endowment Fund which lifted from him the horrible sense that there was a bill ahead to be paid every time that UNITY was published, and relieved him of that source of care. It was a woman, I believe, who was finally responsible for the splendid new gymnasium building which is to be attached to Abraham Lincoln [Center], which is so badly needed in this part of the city, as everywhere else! It was women who largely carried on the innumerable social and educational activities of the [Center] and at Tower Hill.

As I go back over the names connected with him in this city through so many years of comradeship, there comes very clearly to my mind the name David Swing and the name of Judge Tuley, with whom he often spoke upon the same platform; and later, of course, with Dr. Hirsch and William Salter.

He was on the State Board of Charities, you know, for many years. I can remember the causes with which we used to try to get the public familiar, so that when the time came to push them through the legislature or to present them to the electorate, the people would be ready. I remember one evening when Mr. Jones, Miss Lathrop and myself went to speak in a little town at the annual meeting of the State Conference of Charities and Corrections. It was a dull, rainy night, the streets were muddy, and there was no cab at at the station that evening, if indeed there ever had been a cab that station. The train was late, so late that there was no time for supper, and as we tramped through the mud to the church door, woe-be-gone and rather dubious as to the value of the undertaking, Mr. Jones turned to us and said: "Forward, March! Jenk and Jane and Jule. Charge once more for a lost cause!" It was indeed lost for a good while. I think Illinois did not secure the needed farm colony for epileptics until twenty years later, but who can say that that kind of propaganda, of holding out for the needs of the people at the bottom, the urgent claims of the oppressed, was not quite as characteristic as anything else he did, though it had to be done so often under uncomfortable and discouraging circumstances?

I should like to say one thing more, if I may, for I do not like to have this meeting go by without one reference to the Ford ship. I would like to say this about it: he exhibited then the same spirit of moral adventure with which he put through the Congress of Religion in 1893. That might also have been a cause of hilarity to the newspapers and everyone else, but he did pull it off and it stands out in men's minds as the fine thing that it was.

When Mr. Jones went to Europe in 1915, he went in the cause of a conference of neutral nations, a conference which was actually established at Stockholm, and later moved to The Hague. It has left its marks on the European situation and its many documents may yet be of value, it is hoped, in the great Peace Conference which is now about to take place. The ship itself was a mere incident to the Conference of Neutrals, although the ship at once became connected with some things that were unfortunate and which gave rise to that international hilarity which persistently followed it. But after all, wasn't it fine that Mr. Jones was willing to go and try once more for another embodiment of that international spirit in which he believed so truly? After all, the man who faces failure, the man who is not afraid to be laughed at, the man who does not shrink from ridicule, is the only man who wins, and whether his cause comes out well or whether it comes out ill, he must command our respect and our admiration. (Applause)

I think in this time this attempt will take its place with two others that were made during the great war to put forth a moral appeal. The first attempt was made at Christmas in 1914 by the Pope, when he issued that fine religious appeal, begging the world to consider the [page 2] ways of peace. Nothing apparently came of that. The second year -- the ship landed about Christmas, 1915 -- again an appeal was made, this time by a plain American citizen who voiced his love of humanity in almost slang phrases, and this also failed. Perhaps it deserved to fail, but it was a gallant attempt, and Mr. Jones's participation did much to clarify it. A year later, again near Christmas time, although the actual words were issued early in January, President Wilson gave his splendid proclamation embodying fourteen points as essential to permanent peace. These have been accepted as a basis upon which the official and final peace negotiations shall stand, but at the moment they also apparently failed. Here we have those three attempts: The appeal of the Pope, that of a plain American, and again that of the President himself which now holds the attention of the civilized world. And who shall say the one attempt took more moral courage than the other?

May I say but one word more? We are accustomed to deride brick and mortar and to say that such a monument does not endure; that after all it is only the spirit of the man that survives. But I am sure in this brick and mortar which surrounds us here we feel that there is a monument worthy of survival, for it embodies the spirit and aspiration of a great man. Chicago is grateful for this building standing here for many years to remind us of Jenkin Lloyd Jones, inseparably linked to the memory of Abraham Lincoln. I very well remember the day Mr. Jones took me through it for the first time when it was practically finished, although there were still some piles of refuse here and there in the halls and rooms; his almost boyish eagerness over this device and that convenience which he had worked out; sometimes, it is said, to the despair of the young architects, but always with the thought of the ultimate purpose firmly in his mind.

Some years ago when I was in Egypt in the midst of mastabas and pyramids, I had a curious feeling that the whole notion of immortality, all the hopes which mankind has fastened upon it, grew by this simple desire that the memory of the loved creature should not pass from earth. We respond to the impulse that our friend shall not be forgotten among the ways of living men; and there is something very natural, human and touching in this eager desire to keep our friend alive. We have this wonderful building here, filled with goodwill, filled with activity, filled with hopes of the future, which I am sure will stand in this materialistic Chicago of ours for many years, as a constant reminder of the gallant spirit who evolved it and who has so lately been called from it.