Advanced Search

Addams, Jane.

LETTERS: 5 Autograph letters signed, to Mrs. Lillian Silk Holt.


Addams, Jane. Five autograph letters signed, "Jane Addams," to Mrs. Lillian Silk Holt, 1916-1929.
Five leaves; 8vo.; rectos only; two letters in pencil; three in black ink; three on Hull House stationery; one on Queen's Hotel stationery; one listing the address 1430 Astor Street, Chicago; together with one original mailing envelope, addressed in Addams' hand. All letters fine, with creases where folded for mailing; envelope in good condition, with some stains and age-toning. In a specially made cloth slipcase.
A set of brief letters from Addams to Mrs. Lillian Silk Holt (1869-1949), a fellow philanthropist and advocate of women's suffrage. Addams had a close relationship with Holt and her husband, Frederick Detroit industrialist Holford Holt (1867-1929, manager and treasurer of F.A. Goodrich Iron and Steel Company), and visited them often. The Holts lived next door to Henry Ford who invited them, and Addams, in 1915, to join the Ford Peace Expedition, to help bring about a swift conclusion to the war. Addams and Holt were both members of the Women's Peace Party and in these letters, Addams writes of her travels to India and her plans to expand the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, which she was instrumental in founding. Addams also makes personal inquiries about Holt and her family, indicating the level of intimacy between the two women.
The earliest letter, dated May 18, 1916, makes reference to a project that both the Holts and Addams were involved with, most likely the Ford Peace Expedition. The letter, written in pencil on stationery with the Astor Street address, reads in full:
 My dear Mrs. Holt-
Thank you very much for the enclosed material; how difficult and complicated it all is!  We're quite sympathetic with Mr. Child's desire to cut through it. Doubtless Mr. Holt is pursuing the wiser policy and I am sure something is coming out of it. Faithfully yours, Jane Addams.     
The November 17, 1919 letter, written on Hull House stationery in ink, was sent along with a request that Addams instructed Holt to pass on to Ford. The request was from Gertrude Woker (1878-1968), a Swiss chemist and member of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom.  Addams writes:
 Dear Mrs. Holt-
Here is another of those absurd requests to Mr. Ford and as usual I am sending it on to you. Gertrude Woker who wrote me at the same time is all right, but the request is rather far afield. Knotting Packard was here on Sunday afternoon, very happy over her Detroit girl. May I congratulate you on the entrance into the family; she is the nicest kind of a girl.  I want so much to see you about many things. Always affectionately yours, Jane Addams.
In the letter dated November 29, 1920, again on Hull House stationery but written in pencil, Addams expresses her gratitude for the Holts' hospitality towards her on her last visit to Detroit.  The letter reads in full:
 Dear Mrs. Holt-
I slept very comfortably in my upper bunk and arrived safely in Chicago this morning.  You are always so good to me when I come that I feel under many obligations and most grateful for your friendship.  With greetings to your household, I am always affectionately yours, Jane Addams.
The most compelling letter in this collection is dated March 24, 1923, and was written in pen on Queen's Hotel stationery. Addams stayed briefly at the Queens Hotel in Kandy, located on the island of Ceylon, during her 1923 world tour.  Addams writes of her recent trip to India, and conveys her passion for enfranchising women all over the world. It reads in full:
 My dear Mrs. Holt-
We are spending a few days in this beautiful island of Ceylon before we sail next Tuesday for Hong Kong & feel that we are [almost?] home, although we will not actually arrive until Aug. We have been very much interested in India with the voting women, there are [?] many of them, and its an interesting nationalist movement. Our groups there are as yet represented by only two chapters, although I hope that next year we can send someone to organize many other groups who are on the rise. I hope that the second grandchild has arrived and that all goes well with you. Affectionately yours, Jane Addams.    
The final letter in the series, dated July 16, 1929, is written on Hull House stationery, but the design of the stationery had been redesigned since the earlier letters. This letter was written right after the death of Mrs. Holt's husband and Addams expresses her condolences.  She writes in part:
 My dear Mrs. Holt-
I have just heard of your husband's death and feel as if I have lost a real friend. He was always so hospitable and kindly those dark days when I stayed so often at your house in Detroit and so understanding of our point of view. I am sure you know that you have my sympathy and deepest affection and that I do not need to add how grateful I should be if there was anything I could do for you. I am just recovering from a stupid attack of bronchitis and I am being sent to Arizona for convalescenceā€¦.With affectionate sympathy to you and to your children, I am always devotedly yours, Jane Addams.
Lillian Silk Holt does not look up in the standard sources and little is known about her life, beyond her marriage to Frederick Holford Holt and her involvement in the Women's Peace Party.

© 2011-2019 Glenn Horowitz Bookseller, Inc. All Rights Reserved.