Document 15: Florence Ledyard Cross Kitchelt to Rachael Nason, 5 January 1945, Florence Ledyard Cross Kitchelt Papers, 1885-1961, A-61, Box 6, Folder 168, Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.


   Kitchelt's letter to Nason rejected her friend's suggestion (see Document 14) of a moratorium on campaigning for the ERA. She referred to her work on the legal status of women as having the same goal of "peace and progress" as Nason's work on the founding of the United Nations.

Jan. 5, 1945

Dear Rachel;

   Someone is coming soon to look over LNA [League of Nations Association] records to select some for the Yale Library—-so I am going to answer your letter briefly. Thank you for writing. Please supply the links between my stark remarks.

   1. The bondage of war is human bondage. I doubt if war penalizes women more tragically than men. Every report of the objective of the solider says "I want home and children, in security". Constructive world organization is not going to be accomplished by women alone. They have got to work with men, and men will respect them and their opinions more when women are equal, not inferior, citizens.

   There isn't the slightest chance for a moratorium on the E.R.A. Such suggestions were made during World War I concerning the fight for the vote. And imagine where we would be now without even a vote! In the midst of crisis France has given the vote to its women -- and perhaps equal rights –- I don't know. The Elas of Greece believe this war to be for human freedom—-and they WILL NOT GO BACK TO THE STATUS QUO. No more should women. LWV and the Winston Churchill are both grand people, but sometimes too much on the conservative side. (How is that for a little quip!)

   2. Research? On a simple question of right and wrong, equal status under the law for ALL American citizens? Why did it take 72 years to win the vote for women? Because there was need of 72 years of research? The adolescence [sic] of women, the ingrained habits of men had to be overcome, but the moral issue was always clear.

   As for a code of legislation which meets women's problems; dissect these problems and they become simply human problems, health (including maternity), problems of children and minors, etc. An Englishman remarked about American soldiers in Great Britain, "they are over-paid, over-dressed, and over-sexed, and over here". From movies and advertising, fashions and cosmetics, down to curling pins on girl babies, many Americans are over-sexed. I like words like people, citizens, companionship, community, and I believe our evolution tends toward our common interests rather than our sex differences. Who ever heard about a code of legislation to meet men's problems? The phrase is so funny, I think you as well as I can laugh at it!

   You work on Dumbarton Oaks as I have worked for the league for 20 years,[A] and on [raising] the legal status of women, [remainder is handwritten] and together we shall have formed the same objective -- peace and progress.


[Florence L.C. Kitchelt]


A. The references here are to Dumbarton Oaks, a Washington, D.C. mansion that hosted an international conference in 1944 that completed the preliminary diplomatic work that led to the founding of the United Nations in San Francisco a year later. The "league" here refers to the Connecticut League of Nations Association, for which organization Kitchelt worked as secretary and director for two decades.
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