Document 23: Florence L. C. Kitchelt to Alice Paul, 17 July 1945, in National Woman's Party Papers, 1913-1974 (Glen Rock, N. J.: Microfilming Corporation of America, 1977-1978), Reel 87.


   Kitchelt's July 1945 letter to Alice Paul expressed her views more firmly and cogently than her previous letter to Paul of November 1944. (See Document 12)

38 Mansfield Street New Haven Connecticut Tel. 6-6417

July 17, 1945

Dear Alice Paul;

   It was both a pleasure and an honor to have that visit from you two days ago. I wish you might stop again when travelling between Vermont and New York. You know I am devoted to the winning of the Amendment, and therefore care deeply to understand it. But I am still puzzled about two things you said.

   (1) Your thesis that equal means identical. While identical things are equal, the reverse is not true, according to the dictionary, and any legal definitions explained to me. A pound of feathers and a pound of lead are not identical. Equality of rights is a status of full citizenship. All the ways in which that will affect and change our body politic and economic cannot be foretold with certainty. With faith in humanity, we know those changes will be for the better.

   (2) When I quoted Professor Borchard[A], that the Amendment puts no limit on laws that discriminate in favor of women, you replied that a law of that kind THEREFORE discriminates against men. But that isn't true! Whatever favors by helping one group in society helps all society. A bank failure in Vienna in 1929 helped to start the financial depression in the USA in 1930, and vice versa (I mean propitious events work the same way.)

   In the Congressional Record, July 3, our opponent, Marvin Harrison, atty, is quoted by Mrs. Woodhouse; "If the Constitution is so amended as to prohibit all discrimination in the law against women, it is plain that is will also prohibit all discrimination in their favor." Do you get his logic? Showing this to a lawyer, one of our friends, he replied "it does not follow that no privileges can be given any class of society merely because all classes are entitled to equal rights."

   If I interpret "equal rights" as the right of women, as well as men, to have advantageous legislation that suits their needs, this legal comment might be added to the (2nd) paragraph above. Also this comment seems to me to say, in another way, equality of rights is a status of full citizenship. It gives women the legal power that men now have. But it does not follow that women must use this power in identical ways with men.

[remainder is handwritten]

   As I said, when you generously presented that box of Candy, I hadn't had any since Xmas. I gave a piece today to a president of the L. Women Voters , and member A.A.U.W. [American Association of University Women], who is a recent convert (3 mos. ago!) to E.R.A.

Most Sincerely Yours- F.L.C. Kitchelt


A. Professor Edwin M. Borchard of the Yale University Law School was a noted expert on international law.
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