Tribute to Alfred Kenyon Maynard, January 11, 1925


Miss Jane Addams:

I suppose we have all been trying to say that Mr. Maynard lived a spiritual life. I have very little to add. What a wonderful thing a spiritual life is!

I knew him somewhat in his first coming to Chicago as a trustee and friend of the School of Civics when it had no money, and things seemed to go all wrong because of it, and how fine he always was in so many things. He used to teach manual training at Hull House and when I saw him there, it was suggestive of that other great Workman who was called a carpenter, powerful, gentle, wise.

I counted it a great day when we had time for some conversation. I knew him best during the war. We have a great many conversations then because we felt alike and found ourselves quite alone. And then when he became a Quaker I had a long letter from him. A letter came the other day from Mrs. Maynard. She had seen in the Quaker papers that there was to be an anniversary occasion for George Fox at Hull House and she was very eager to know about it. She expressed her appreciation of the fact that at Hull House there was to be celebrated the 300th anniversary of the founder of the Friends' Communion. Mr. Maynard was seeking a spiritual home in all simplicity, and when he found it he was bringing to it a great deal and you feel grief for the loyal circle with whom he had so recently allied himself.

Mrs. Pelham always saw the Maynards when she went to England. Her amusement over English customs, and the experiences of the parties she conducted were always a source of enjoyment to them. They used to say they anticipated her coming as a curious instance of Americanism abroad and it made them feel how American they had become and how essentially English they were.

A reception was given me at Toynbee Hall, when I was in London two years ago, and among all the people I did not know I saw two very kind faces whom I knew and loved so dearly. Mr. Maynard said some very fine things that night and among the many other splendid things that were said that time, I came away feeling that the one [illegible] who spoke most sweetly and most wisely was the one I knew best. I imagine that is what we all feel about him. [page 2] That is why we are all so deeply grieved over his loss. Mrs. Maynard wrote me several times during his illness and the last check he signed was one sent for Mrs. Pelham's memorial, with a note from Mrs. Maynard saying that it would probably be the last check he would sign. It was the signature of a weak hand. We are all grateful that Katharine Taylor was there at the end.

He lived so largely in the spiritual world all the time that the change could not have been very great and he must scarcely have known when he crossed the border. It is always a comfort to get together the friends of those we mourn, to pool our memories and affections and so if we can comfort each other, that is what memorials are for.


Piano -- Death and the Maiden (Schubert) -- Miss Eleanor Smith