Henrietta Roelofs to Jane Addams, January 23, 1917



National Board
The Young Womens Christian Associations
600 Lexington Avenue
New York City

January 23, 1917

Miss Jane Addams
Hull House
Chicago, Illinois

My dear Miss Addams:

During the last three years while I have been working for our Commission on Household Employment, I have often had the desire to write to you. One of the first articles which I read in my research work was the one which you wrote many years ago called “A Belated Industry”. The conditions which you mention as prevailing that day are almost identical with the conditions of the present time and I feel sure that your interest in the subject has not lagged.

I am writing at this time because it seems to me the moment has arrived when all thinking people who are interested in this subject can use their influence to the best advantage in making a beginning in putting this occupation on a more sound economic basis. The Jones-Casey bill will probably pass and the [Women’s] Division will be created. Ought we not make a request to the [Women’s] Division as soon as it is in operation to make a thorough investigation or survey of domestic service?

I believe that the public is in an attitude of mind now to welcome such an investigation. During the last year I have noticed great progress in the willingness of householders to consider the subject as a labor problem pure and simple, removed from all the personalities which have hitherto surrounded the problem.

Our Commission is hard at work with its educational propaganda talking limitation of hours, living away from the place of work, etc. The printed material which we have put out is being mailed to you, so that you may know the trend of our thought.

With all your other interests, I realize it is asking a great deal for you to take time to write to me and give me your opinion of the situation regarding this problem. I shall deeply appreciate anything that you may suggest or advise me to do in order to secure the investigation which I am sure you think we need as much as our Commission does.

Sincerely yours,

Henrietta Roelofs [signed]