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"Correspondence, October-December 1920", Item 016

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[letterhead] VIRGINIA LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS AFFILIATED WITH THE NATIONAL LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS HONORARY CHAIRMAN MRS. B.B. VALENTINE, RICHMOND, VA HONORARY VICE-CHAIRMAN, MRS. JOHN H. [Elizabeth Langhorne Dabney] LEWIS LYNCHBURG, VA CHAIRMAN MISS. ADELE CLARK, RICHMOND, VA

VICE-CHAIRMEN MRS. B.B [Mary-Cooke Branch] MUNFORD, RICHMOND, VA MISS LUCINDA LEE TERRY, ROANOKE, VA MISS ELIZABETH V. GAINES, SAXE, VA. RECORDING SECRETARY MRS. JOHN T. LEWIS, CLARKSVILLE, VA TREASURER MRS. E.G. KIDD, RICHMOND, VA AUDITOR MISS NELLIE LEE STEWARD, PETERSBURG, VA

FIELD DIRECTOR MISS ROBERTA WELLFORD, UNIVERSITY, VA EXECUTIVE AND PRESS SECRETARY MRS. EDITH CLARK COWLES RICHMOND, VA TELEPHONE, RANDOLPH 2572-W 100 N. 4th STREET, RICHMOND, VA [seal]

610 Redgate Ave, Norfolk, VA Dec. 20, 1920 Mrs. C.E. [Jessie E.] Townsend Norfolk, VA

My dear Chairman: The political atmosphere of Washington is tense with expectancy both as to Congressional action in the short session just opened and also the future re-organization of the Executive Department now in discussion. In a recent communication from Mrs. F.P. Bagley, Chairman American Citizenship Committee National League of Women Voters, I have been informed that a new danger threatens the Smith-Towner Bill and the establishment of Education under own department in the Government as follows: Several new departments of the Government are being pressed in Washington, among others, is one to be called Social Welfare. Report says that if it is established, EDUCATION WILL BE ONE OF ITS DIVISIONS. Of course, our organization would not oppose a Social Welfare department, if it is needed to care for various human interests not included elsewhere, but EDUCATION SHOULD NOT BE placed under a Social Welfare OR ANY OTHER DEPARTMENT It should have a department by itself. The time is critical. Our Committee must take a strong stand immediately in favor of supporting the Department of Education, for which the Smith-Towner Bill provides, and in which Federal aid is to be given to the promotion of education WITH THE EXPRESS PROVISION THAT THE MANAGEMENT OF THE PUBLIC SCHOOL SHALL REMAIN EXCLUSIVELY UNDER STATE CONTROL. Education which is the keystone of the better citizenship for which our Committee exists must stand in the front rank as a National issue, second to none. The United States is practically the only Nation which has no such department and the time has now come when Education must either progress or go backward. The Smith-Towner Bill was officially endorsed at our national convention in Chicago and that endorsement holds until the next convention in Cleveland in April. The PRESENT STATUS of the Bill is that it is in the Committee in both Senate and House, but an aggressive effort will be made by the friends of the Bill to have it reported out and placed on the Calendar in both Houses during the present short session. Please let your Representatives know that what is wanted is a DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION with a Secretary having equal power with those of other Federal departments. Neither politics nor sex have anything to do with the person chosen as Secretary. We want an expert in Education in the new and larger sense which makes it the chief medium for human welfare and National unity in the United States. Faithfully yours, Ellie Marcus Marx Chairman American Citizenship Committee Virginia League of Women Voters.