Henry Ware Read to Jane Addams, April 9, 1917


April 9 -- 1917.

Dear Miss Addams:

I have recently been rereading "Twenty Years at Hull House," in which I am deeply interested. I feel impelled to write you because of a personal interest I take in the matters you speak of.

I was on the reception committee at Knox College at the time of contest you speak of, & remember quite distinctly how you looked on the platform that night; also the tall, slim lad with the scholarly face, who represented Ill. College.

I remember, too, how scared we boys were for fear the judges would award you the prize "just because you were a girl." [page 2]

I graduated the next year at Knox, entered the faculty & remained there until 1907, when I left the chair of Greek to come to Calif. I was one of a committee of three Knox men who organized, for better or worse, the first [intercollegiate] & interstate contests in oratory.

During my day we of the Knox faculty were early beset by the question, what to do about the girls in declamation contests. They were taking all the prizes & the boys were calling loudly, "unfair!" Hence separate contests for girls were established.

Another matter in "Hull House" in which I was greatly interested was your early religious [page 3] experience & your refusal to "be converted." I recall how at first the churches [criticized] the Hull House movement because it was "not religious." Whether they have changed their mind as to what is religious I do not know, but at all events they have generally joined the chorus of praise.

Perhaps they have concluded that to live in the spirit of the sermon on the mount, to regard the weightier matters of the law, judgment & mercy to be a Good Samaritan & to live by the golden rule -- this is the essence of true religion. I should be pleased to learn from you whether in your mature years you have changed materially your religious views. [page 4]

As for myself I was born into the orthodox faith but with growing years & what seems to me clearer thinking I find myself ready for the church Mr. Lincoln said he was waiting for, viz, the church that would accept as the law of its faith & practice, the fatherhood of God & the brotherhood of man.

Allow me to subscribe myself, with the deepest respect & the kindest regard,

Very truly yours

Henry W. Read
544 S. Plumas St
Willows --

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