Document 26: Florence Kitchelt to Alice Hamilton, 6 August 1945, Florence Ledyard Cross Kitchelt Papers, 1885-1961, A-61, Box 6, Folder 151, Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass. 2 pp.


   Emboldened by the Charter of the United Nations (See Document 21), Kitchelt urged Hamilton to consider, "are we going to question that simple fundamental principle of human rights?" This letter survives as an unsigned carbon copy in Florence Kitchelt's papers.

[p. 1]

August 6, 1945

Dr. Alice Hamilton,
Hadlyme Ferry
Hadlyme, Connecticut

Dear Dr. Hamilton:

    Years ago I met you and I have always followed at a distance your career with the deepest interest. I am glad indeed to have your letter this morning.

    When I realized my conversion to the Amendment, in all loyalty I joined at once the National Woman's Party. But although I have asked many questions I have never received from them the legal opinion of any lawyer or judge to the effect that protective legislation would be wiped out by the Amendment. So in the name of common sense as well as truth I have started a kind of one-man campaign.

    In my letter of a week or more ago I spoke of the Charter of the United Nations. In almost the first paragraph of the Preamble it states. "We the peoples of the United Nations determined . . . to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights . . . in the equal rights of men and women . . ." Are we going to question that simple fundamental principle of human rights and ask that reservations be made to the Charter so that we can be sure that women in Bulgaria may have seats in factories?

    The facts that stand out in my mind are that women have always been a subject class, that it is now high time for the leading democracy of the world to give to women the only kind of equality it has the power to give, equality under the law. I accept the Equal Rights Amendment as the statement of a principle, let the chips fall where they may. I believe that if we sow the seeds of justice we shall reap the fruits of justice as far as is possible in an imperfect world.

    We should never have had any of the principles set forth in the Bill of Rights if the forefathers had insisted on knowing exactly how they were to be applied. Don't you think we must put our faith in the good sense of the community, the law and the courts?

[p. 2]

Dr. Alice Hamilton

August 6, 1945

    You see I am rooting for the Amendment as necessary to give full and equal citizenship to women, to shatter the final legal handcuffs that bind them to the old status of legal inferiority. I feel sure that you are as interested as I am in seeing womankind come to full maturity. That process will be helped by realization of this new dignity, [handwritten:] 'equality under the law'.

Very sincerely yours,


[handwritten:] How else would you achieve it?

back to top