Martha Carey Thomas to Jane Addams, November 13, 1906


November 13, 1906.

Dear Miss Addams,

Mrs. Quincy Shaw, Mrs. David P. Kimball and Mrs. James T. Fields of Boston have been appointed by the Massachusetts Woman Suffrage Association a special committee on college lectures to be known as the College Equal Suffrage Committee, with the thought that if the authorities of the different colleges for women will [cooperate] by serving ↑with them↓ as an honorary college committee they can arrange to have the subject of woman suffrage presented at the different colleges for women in the East and also before the women students of coeducational colleges in the West, not only this year, but during a succession of years. I have undertaken to organize the Honorary College Committee, and I have already received answers from President Woolley of Mount Holyoke and Dean Pendleton of Wellesley (who is this year the acting president of Wellesley), saying that they will join me in serving on such an honorary committee. I shall write on the subject this week to President Taylor of Vassar, Dean Irwin of Radcliffe, Dean Van Meter of the Woman's College in Baltimore, and  President Swain of Swarthmore.

We have selected four speakers who we think will best appeal to college women: yourself, Mrs. Florence Kelley, Miss Anna Shaw, and Mrs. Park. We thought that if you were willing you could present better than anyone else in the United States the need of equal suffrage to enable the workingwoman to make a living and also to ameliorate the condition of both the workingwoman and the workingman; that Mrs. Kelley could present the need of equal suffrage from the side of the children of the United States; that Miss Shaw would speak on the general question; and Mrs. Park from the side of the college woman and could also organize the college women into equal suffrage leagues. [page 2]

It is our unanimous opinion that you would be by far the best person to speak first in the eastern colleges, where there is so much prejudice among the students. President Woolley and Dean Pendleton think that one lecture each year would be more effective than four. At Bryn Mawr, however, I should like to arrange for two--your lecture to arouse interest in the subject, followed in the second half of the year by a lecture by Mrs. Park to organize the sentiment into a permanent club or league; but the number of the lectures to be given at any college will be left to the choice of the college. On you we are all agreed. I hear that you are to be in Boston on the 30th of this month. Would it not be possible for you to arrange at that time to lecture at Mount Holyoke, Wellesley, Smith and Radcliffe, and if possible, at Bryn Mawr, Swarthmore and Baltimore? Our Committee will guarantee you $50. a lecture, and you can repeat exactly the same lecture at each college. It ought not to take less than one hour, and it seems to me it would add to its effectiveness if there could be a brief opportunity for the students, say, half an hour, afterward to ask questions.

Miss Garrett, who is in New York for the day, asked me to say to you that as this scheme was largely her and my idea, she greatly hopes that you will be able to open the campaign by just such a splended address as you delivered in Baltimore, which, however, I had not the pleasure of hearing.

Please do not say no.  If we can get the ear of the girls now in college we shall, I believe, do a great deal to advance the cause of equal suffrage--more, perhaps, than can be accomplished in any other way.

I ought to add that Mrs. Kelley, Miss Shaw and Mrs. Park have agreed to speak for the Committee. We shall be greatly obliged if you will let us know your decision at the earliest possible moment. If it is not convenient for you to speak on this trip to the East, we could arrange the lectures for any time that would be [page 3] convenient for you. The main thing is to have you.

Very sincerely yours,

M Carey Thomas [signed]

Miss Jane Addams.