December 20, 1917. Mr. Harris Hart, Roanoke, Va. My dear Hart:
I have very carefully noted your letter of December 15th. I shall not attempt to make a lengthy reply, but instead am mailing you some literature which has been very carefully prepared covering, I think, all of the points which seem to be at issue in your own mind. As a student of education and especially as the head of the educational system of the State, I am sure you will study these statements carefully in order that you may have the full facts before you before taking a final position in the matter.
I wish you to keep in mind constantly that whatever I may say or write to you on this subject will be done with a view of bringing before you facts and viewpoints which probably have not occurred to you, but not with any idea of influencing you to my way of thinking, unless the facts and arguments presented appeal to your judgment. In my opinion, they are so overwhelmingly in favor of a coordinate college at the University now that it is only necessary for you to have the arguments fully before you to see the wisdom of the measure which will be proposed for the consideration of the next Legislature. I beg of you, therefore, that you will review carefully the arguments contained in the literature sent.
Now just a few words in answer to several statements in your letter: 1. You state that you are in favor of opening the graduate school of the University to women on the same basis as to men. I think you are right in this, but if this alone is offered as a substitute for what the women ask, and, in my opinion, are entitled to, it is giving them only a crumb from the rich man's table. Last year, after nearly one hundred years' existence, the University had an enrollment in all departments of 1100. There were registered in the graduate department only fifty, and many of these were not pursuing complete graduate work. This year we have scarcely a dozen graduate students. Therefore, the mere opening of the graduate school to women would do little to meet the just demand for opportunities for higher education; and even if this privilege were granted, there is no State college to prepare them for such graduate work and they would be compelled to pursue a B.A. course in some private institution.
2. You state that you favor a college for women at such time when the State can afford to establish such an institution, etc., but you seem to think that this is not an opportune time. In my opinion, if there will ever be a time in the history of this State which is opportune for such purpose, it is the present time, and I can do no more than merely indicate the reasons:
(a) If this war has so far demonstrated anything it has clearly proven two things: First, the tremendous and efficient national service which women are capable of and willing to render; and second, the great value of college training for big and helpful service. I think it will be clearly shown that in all our industrial and economic efforts, as well as in military affairs, that college men have been the ones who have been able to render the greatest service; and if this is true, then the opportunity for such training should not be denied longer to women.