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On January 31st, 1910, a meeting was held at the Central Y. M. C. A. Building, Chicago, by the Church Federation composed of Clergy representing six hundred congregations in Chicago. The topic for discussion was the Social Evil Problem in Chicago, and Dean Sumner was invited to read a paper on the subject. At its conclusion he presented the following resolution:

“Resolved, that the Mayor of the City of Chicago be asked to appoint a Commission made up of men and women who command the respect and confidence of the public at large, this Commission to investigate thoroughly the conditions as they exist. With this knowledge obtained, let it map out such a course, as in its judgment, will bring about some relief from the frightful conditions which surround us. Taking this report as a basis, let us enlist the support of every civic, protective, philanthropic, social, commercial and religious body in the city to carry out the plans suggested. If the present administration feels that it cannot subscribe to such a plan, make the report the basis of a pledge from the political parties at the next election and make it the basis for an election issue. But first get the plan. The city press will be back of any sane movement to improve present conditions. The Church certainly is. Social settlements have been agitating and endeavoring to reach some decision. The general public is in a mood to listen to such conclusions as such Commission would reach."

This resolution was unanimously adopted and a committee from the Federation of Churches was appointed to call upon the Mayor, and present it to him for his consideration. This committee was composed of the following named gentlemen:

Prof. Herbert L. Willett, University of Chicago;
Rev. J. A. Vance, Pastor of the Hyde Park Presbyterian Church;
Rev. Smith T. Ford, Pastor of the Englewood Baptist Church,

and President of the Church Federation Council;
Rev. Frank D. Burhans, Pastor of the Washington Park Congre-

gational Church, and Vice-President of the Church Federation

Prof. Benjamin L. Hobson, Secretary of The McCormick Theo-

logical Seminary. As a result of a conference with this Committee, the Mayor, through his Secretary, transmitted the following letter to Dean Walter T. Sumner, under date of March 5, 1910:


I am directed by the Mayor to say that he has appointed you a member and temporary chairman of the so-called Vice Commission which he has been asked to appoint, and with the purpose of which you are, of course, familiar. As Chairman of said Commission it will be incumbent upon you, of course, to issue the call for the first meeting of said Committee.

The members are as follows: Baum, Dr. W. L., Chicago Medical Society; Blaustein, David, Superintendent, Chicago Hebrew Institute; Callaghan, Rev. James F., Pastor, Saint Malachy's Roman Cath

olic Church; Dwyer, Dr. Anna, President, Mary Thompson Hospital; Evans, Dr. W. A., Health Commissioner; Evers, Rev. Albert, Pastor, Saint Boniface's Roman Catholic

Church; Gunsaulus, Dr. Frank W., President, Armour Institute; Hallam, W. W., Corresponding Secretary, Chicago Society of

Social Hygiene; Harris, Dr. Abram W., President, Northwestern University; Healy, Dr. William, President, Psychopathic Institute; Hyde, Dr. James M., Professor, Rush Medical College; Henrotin, Mrs. Ellen M., Federation of Women's Clubs; Hirschberg, Rev. Abram, Rabbi, North Chicago Hebrew Con

Kelly, Rev. E. A., Pastor, Saint Anne's Roman Catholic Church;
Kircher, Rev. John G., Pastor, German Evangelical Church;
Kohtz, Louis O., Agent, Aetna Fire Insurance Company;
O'Keeffe, P. J., Lawyer.
Olson, Judge Harry, Chief Justice, Municipal Courts;
Pinckney, Judge Merritt W., Judge, Juvenile Court;
Robertson, Alexander, Vice-President, Continental National Bank;
Rosenwald, Julius, President, Sears, Roebuck & Company;
Schmidt, Dr. Louis E., Professor, Northwestern Medical College;
Shaffer, Bishop C. T., African Methodist Episcopal Church;
Sims, Edwin W., United States District Attorney;
Skinner, Edward M., Association of Commerce;
Sumner, The Very Reverend Walter T., Dean, Episcopal Cathe-

dral SS. Peter and Paul;
Taylor, Professor Graham, President, Chicago Commons;
Thomas, Professor William I., University of Chicago;
Willett, Professor Herbert L., University of Chicago;
Whitman, John L., Superintendent, House of Correction.

I also enclose a copy of the statement sent by Mayor Busse to the press in connection with appointment of the Commission.

Yours very truly,


Secretary to the Mayor."


"A short time ago I received a communication from representatives of the Federated Protestant Churches, calling my attention to vice in Chicago, and requesting that a Commission be appointed to study the subject, with a view to determining a plan of control as well as considering the moral and physical harm which results from vice.

These are the most perplexing questions with which modern civilization is confronted. Since Chicago has been a city, we have drifted as regards this question. In this we have not differed from other American cities.

I think we can fairly assume that our vice problem is exactly like that of any American city. To exploit publicly the details of it, can serve no useful end and such exploitation is not the purpose of this commission proposition. On the other hand exploitation may do much harm by leading the uninformed to believe that conditions exist here which are of recent origin or which are worse than exist in other American cities.

As a matter of fact, the conditions incident to the vice problem in Chicago,-a problem as old as the city itself—are better than they have ever been within present day memory. This I think will be conceded by all who are fully acquainted with the facts. But we all want still better conditions if they can be had.

Many years ago, the authorities of the city attempted to localize vice in certain districts of the city. From time to time, property holders and heads of families have objected to their neighbors, thereupon these establishments have been widely scattered over town. The various neighborhoods into which they have moved have speedily secured enough of influence to drive them back into the neighborhoods from which they have been driven.

Executives have acted, in doing this, with the best of motives and often times with the advice of Ministers of the Gospel, and other men of character. The only criticism that can be offered is that none of these moves was based on careful investigation and far-seeing planning. Our statute books—State and Municipalare crowded with laws on the subject. Quite generally such laws have been ignored, since every one knew that they were not based on careful thought, either by trained students or investigators, or men closely in touch with the situation; rather have they grown out of temporary outbursts of sentiment.

I was informed that Detroit, Michigan, and New York City have experimented along certain lines. Many European cities have tried certain plans. The Japanese government has proceeded along certain lines. Investigation will probably discover many other attempts at a solution of these questions.

We can as a basis agree, I believe, that the practices as to vice in Chicago have been of long continuance; and that in this respect we are no better and no worse than other American or European

cities. These conditions are with us. To pretend that they do not exist is hypocrisy, far-reaching in its harmful effects.

These premises being accepted, we find there are many questions springing from them to which thinking men and women, careful students of society and government, are giving deepest thought. Such questions are:

Should the existence of the "social evil” and of the men and women connected with it, be ignored ?

Should vice be segregated ? If so, what would be the method of maintaining control of segregation districts ?

What is the best method of controlling, as to communicable disease, those who make practice of vice their trade, and preventing spread of disease amongst innocent men, women and children as well as among practitioners of vice?

What treatment of vice as a disease of society is best as a protection against crimes other than vice?

What treatment of vice as a disease of society, is best for all concerned?

I am sure that we have men and women amongst us who can help us in finding a slow and partial solution for these questions, pending perfection in the men and women who make up society. We will welcome such help. I am sure that all over the world governments will welcome the results of these deliberations. I therefore respectfully appoint the following as a commission on the problems of vice, requesting them to deliberate on the question and to present the results of their deliberations for the consideration of this community and the guidance of those charged with

administration of the municipal government." On March 14, 1910, the Mayor appointed Bishop C. T. Shaffer, of the African M. E. Church, as a member of the Commission.


During the regular meeting of the Commission on March 15, 1910, held in the Public Library Building, the temporary officers, Chairman, Dean Walter T. Sumner, Secretary, Edwin W. Sims, were made permanent officers of the Commission. At this meeting the following resolution was submitted:

“RESOLVED, That there be an Executive Committee, consisting of nine members, seven of whom shall be appointed by the Chairman of the Commission, the Chairman and the Secretary to be ex-officio members of the Executive Committee;

"That it shall be the duty of the Executive Committee to arrange a program of study and investigation, divide the Commission into committees, assign to each committee the subject to be investigated by it, and from time to time consider and make recom

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