503 E. Grace St., December 1, 1917. Mrs. J. W. C. Johnson, 910 Orchard Hill, Roanoke, Va.
My dear Mrs. Johnson:
After seeing you yesterday I had a call from Mr. Willis. He expressed himself as thinking it probable that our bill for the Co-ordinate College would pass the Legislature. He seemed interested, and I put before him as strongly as I could our wish to have him take charge of this measure in the House of Delegates. I know of no one in the House of Delegates, whose general point of view with reference to legislation, or whose ability to get things done, makes him as appropriate as Mr. Willis to lead in this fight. I tried to point out to Mr. Willis the epoch marking character of this legislation in the Educational History of Virginia, not only as it concerns the opening of the University to women, but as touching upon the larger development at that Institution of a more Democratic attitude towards life. Since next year is the one hundredth anniversary of the founding of the University and a celebration of this event will be had, it seems altogether appropriate that the opening of the Institution to the girls of the State, thus completing the original idea of its being the head and leader of the Public School system in Virginia, should crown and mark this anniversary year. I think it would be helpful if you women in Roanoke could follow up my talk with Mr. Willis, and impress upon him how proud you would feel to have this notable event accomplished through the efforts of the Roanoke Representative. Mr. Willis' reply to me was that he would take the matter under consideration, since it was too serious a one about which to give a definite answer on a few moments' consideration. Do not delay following this matter up, since Mr. Willis is likely to reply to me promptly. I felt as if I made some impression on him, and think it possible he may agree.
I spoke to Mrs. Willis about this matter, and I think it would be well for you to ask her to do all she can to secure Mr. Willis' consent. He indicated that it would appeal to her.