James H. Breasted to Jane Addams, February 5, 1914

The University of Chicago
Haskell Oriental Museum

Chicago, February 5, 1914

My dear Miss Addams:

May I thank you for your kind letter of January 31st, and especially your goodness in sending me a copy of your article in the February Atlantic! I have read it with unusual interest. It seems to me most sound and discerning. I think you have disengaged some fundamentally human things, especially in the realm of unconscious motives, not wholly discerned by us who are so encumbered by the huge bulk of materials that we suffer a loss of some natural reactions, and fail to see the town because of the houses. In the present stage of our studies we laborious Orientalists, unlike the Classicists, cannot yet turn to the swivel book-case at our elbow, containing a complete battery of [encyclopedic] handbooks. We have to make everything in the way of tools, including our own dictionaries. For example, the infinite labor involved in collecting various uses of a given word scattered through vast masses of texts in order to gain a closer definition of a term, -- from sheer weariness inevitably dulls the discernment and clogs the imagination. It is really helpful to receive the reactions of one who has not been so burdened, and I find it dissipates [page 2] to a very pleasant degree both the dust and the loneliness of such researches.

I am giving your article to members of one of my classes to read.

Very gratefully yours,

James H. Breasted [signed]

Miss Jane Addams,

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