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The Booker T. Washington Papers
Volume 11: 1911-12
By Louis R. Harlan, Raymond W. Smock
UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS PRESSCopyright © 1981 The Board Of Trustees Of The University Of Illinois
All rights reserved.
From Emmett Jay Scott
Tuskegee Ala [Mar.] 20 1911
Garland Penn calls me from Atlanta on telephone early this morning to say that sensational article of column in length appears in Constitution this morning respecting yourself have requested him to telegraph character of article to you, and to urge that you see officials of associated press and have these harmful statements corrected in afternoon editions today and in tomorrow mornings papers. Shall do everything possible at this end to counteract effects. Shall send out dispatch today from here expressing confidence of teachers and officers if you think well of it please instruct me fully.
HWIr Con. 607 BTW Papers DLC.
Emmett Jay Scott to Nathan Hunt
Tuskegee Ala 3/20 1911
Telegraphed you this morning that Montclair friend is here despite strongest kind of pressure from all parts of Country neither he nor I have replied to any telegraphic messages.
Emmett J Scott
HWSr Con. 606 BTW Papers DLC.
Emmett Jay Scott to Nathan Hunt
Tuskegee Ala 3/20 1911
Your telegram reed unable to understand from it what Copies of letter you wish. Please telegraph me definitely today to Fearing so he can be advised by friends will meet you at Drew Wednesday.
HWIr Con. 606 BTW Papers DLC.
Nathan Hunt to Charles H. Fearing
New York Mch 20 
What I want was copies of letters written me by Scott since I left there — if he did not bring them let matter go you need not answer any paper Telegrams.
AWIr Con. 606 BTW Papers DLC.
From Henry E. Baker
Washington, D.C., March 20 
My dear Mr. Washington — I was greatly shocked to read this morning of the outrageous assault upon you last night in New York City, and I write to offer you my sincere sympathy. To be sure you will be sustained by the strongest public sentiment and sympathy in every effort you make to bring your assailant to swift and ample justice. Yours very truly,
Henry E. Baker
ALS Con. 434 BTW Papers DLC.
From Roscoe Conkling Bruce
Washington, D.C. March 20, 1911
My dear Dr. Washington: I make haste to send you the enclosed clippings from the Washington Post and the Washington Herald. This is certainly a classical instance of how the maudlin talk about the Negro for political purposes has affected the minds of some white people in various sections of the country making them commit acts of the grossest cruelty and injustice. But my purpose in writing to you is to urge upon you the importance of having some person like Seth Low give out to the press a statement of the facts in the case. I would also earnestly urge that this man Ulrich be punished to fullest extent of the law. I write hastily but I feel very deeply of this subject.
Believe me, Ever your obedient servant,
Roscoe C. Bruce
TLS Con. 434 BTW Papers DLC.
From Francis H. Hill
Tuskegee Institute, Ala., March 20th. 1911
My Dear Doctor Washington: I was simply horror struck when I learned of the dastardly assault made upon you.
The very thought of you, our Leader and Faithful Principal lying in a distant city bruised and bleeding fills me with a grief inexpressible.
Rather, a hundred times and more, would I have received those fearful blows upon my body and saved you than to have you stricken down in so violent a manner.
God is good. The cause of His servants He will plead. You are His servant. He will care for you. God bless and keep you. Sincerely and Fraternally yours,
F. H. Hill
TLS BTW Papers ATT.
From J. Douglas Wetmore
New York City March 20th, 1911
Dear Mr. Washington: I cannot tell you how shocked and grieved I was when I saw by this morning's paper an account of the cowardly assault made upon you last night, and I was very sorry that our relations of late had not been such that would have justified my immediately going to you and offering what advice and assistance I might be able to give under the circumstances. I have had at least twenty people speak to me about the occurrence to-day and regardless of race they have expressed themselves as believing entirely your version of the matter, and also expressed their sympathy for you.
In that street and in that particular block there are a great many dissolute men and women, and in my opinion there is no other block in the City of New York where colored men are worse hated and more liable to assault than 66th Street between Columbus Avenue and Central Park West. On the corner of Columbus Avenue and 66th St. there is a saloon and restaurant known as "Healy's" and it is notorious as a rendezvous of Negro haters, and a great many colored men have been assaulted and beaten up in or near said saloon. It was only a few weeks ago, certainly not more than a month, that a well known musical entertainer was brutally assaulted at this place. There are a great many women living in this neighborhood known as "street walkers" a considerable number of whom have what is commonly called "lovers" whom they support, and of course quite a number of this low type of men are colored, the result of which is most of the white men in that neighborhood (nearly all of whom are of the common, ordinary type) detest colored men and especially when they are well dressed, and whenever the opportunity offers itself on any kind of a pretext whatever, they proceed to assault any well appearing colored man who is caught in that vicinity, and they probably justify their actions in the belief that said colored man must certainly belong to the type known as "lovers." I realize as fully as you must that this occurrence may do you untold injury with white Southerners on account of the lie told by the wife of the man who assaulted you, so I think you ought to leave no stone unturned in trying to show to the world the true facts concerning the neighborhood and the class of people living there, and I also think you ought to have a thorough and rigid investigation made as to the character of the man who assaulted you and of the woman who claims to be his wife, for unless you can prove that they are both unworthy of belief, and that blind, unreasoning race prejudice was the cause of this unfair and unjust attack upon you physically, and upon your character, you and the race will suffer untold injury as the result of last night's occurrence.
It is only by the exercise of great selfcontrol that I have been able to keep away from your hotel to-day, as I wanted so much to tell you the things I have just written, but I feared my motives might have been misunderstood so would not call but decided to take a chance and write you anyhow. If I can be of any assistance to you in any way whatever, you have only to command me. Please understand that I am not seeking employment as an attorney, but offering my services to a man for whom I have the highest respect and the kindliest feeling, said services to be rendered gratis.
When I think of the pleasant hours we have spent together and the friendship that once existed between us, and then think that differences of opinion as to public affairs had so far estranged us, that when you were in trouble last night you did not telephone me, and that after I found out about your trouble I did not feel at liberty to call on you, I cannot but think how foolish after all, men are to allow differences of opinions to keep them from being good friends otherwise.
With best wishes for your speedy recovery, and for the best outcome for you of this whole unfortunate affair, I am, Very sincerely yours,
J. Douglas Wetmore
TLS BTW Papers ATT.
George Livingston Peabody to Seth Low
New York, 20 March, 1911
My dear Seth: I was a witness of the case in which Mr. Washington was a victim last night after the arrival of the policeman. There was only a small group of people, and I had an opportunity of talking with the chief assailant. I am entirely convinced of the integrity of his belief that he was chasing a marauder: he was very much in earnest — an earnestness which, under the circumstances, I do not believe he could have simulated. On the other hand Mr. Washington, (whom I did not recognize) presented a picture of dignity and reserve force in spite of his excitement and his bleeding face. I left the scene sorely puzzled; and I want to say to you that I have no doubt that it is all the result of a very unfortunate mistake. I do not know the aggressor. I never saw him before, and shall never see him again, and I feel that the whole affair is very deplorable. But I do not believe that he was doing anything beyond what he thought the protection of his rights justified. I am taking my daughter to Lakewood for a week to-morrow; otherwise I should be glad to call upon you. Yours sincerely,
George L. Peabody
TLSr Copy Seth Low Papers NNC.
Augustus W. Abbott to Edward Thomas Devine
Orange, N.J. March 20, 1911
My dear Dr. Devine: This Society is interested in the family of a man named Henry Adam [Albert] Ulrich. His wife, Mrs. Mary J. Ulrich, resides at No. 224 High St., Orange, N.J. with her two children: Estelle, born July 8th, 1901, and Dorothy H., born May 10th, 1909.
On Feb. 21, 1911, at our request Mrs. Ulrich appeared against her husband in the Domestic Relations Court, New York City, at which time she made a charge against her husband for desertion and nonsupport, as a result of which she informs us that the Magistrate ordered Mr. Ulrich to pay $5. per week for her support and also to pay the rent of $23. per month. He is sending his wife $5. per week by postal money order, but he is paying no attention to the matter of the rent. We have written him twice with regard to this matter, but have received no response.
Mr. Ulrich is a carpenter by trade and is also proprietor of the West Side Dog Exchange, No. 779 — 11th Avenue, near 54th St., New York City, and his wife reports to us that she has every reason to believe her husband is making lots of money, and is living with another woman at No. 11½ West 63rd St., N.Y.C. This woman's maiden name is reported to us as being Laura Page and she was married to a Spaniard named Alvarez, by whom she has one daughter, Dolores, about ten years old. Mrs. Alvarez is said not be living with her own husband at this time.
Our object in calling your attention to this matter is because of the fact that today newspaper articles have appeared with regard to an assault upon Dr. Booker T. Washington and this man Ulrich is said to be the one who committed the assault, on which I understand a hearing took place in the West Side Police Court today. The newspaper articles state emphatically that Mr. Ulrich's wife and daughter were in court, but Mrs. Ulrich was at our office this afternoon with regard to these newspaper stories to ask what action could be taken against her husband for living with this [wo] man and having her and her daughter pass off as his wife and child. Surely there must be some law in New York prohibiting this kind of living and we shall be glad if you will advise us as to what we should say to Mrs. Ulrich and advise her as to what action she could bring against her husband for living with Mrs. Alvarez as man and wife.
We are writing Dr. Washington by this mail, informing him of our knowledge of Mr. Ulrich and perhaps you might be able to take this matter up with him personally, as we see by the paper that he is at The Armstrong Association, No. 39 East 42nd Street, N.Y.C. (Phone number, Murray Hill 1786). Something really ought to be done we think to bring such a man as this to justice and we only regret that because of the fact that he is living out of the State of New Jersey we cannot reach him here.
We shall appreciate your kindness if you will let us hear from you about this matter at an early date. Yours very truly,
A. W. Abbott
To Booker Taliaferro Washington, Jr.
[New York City] March 21, 1911
Trial held this afternoon. Defendant afraid to go to trial and waived examination which means practical guilt. Whole thing lasted about three minutes. Judges, lawyers and everybody else most kind.
TWcIr Con. 446 BTW Papers DLC. Addressed to BTVV, Jr., at Fisk University.
From William Howard Taft
[Washington, D.C.] March 21, 1911
My dear Doctor Washington: I am greatly distressed at your misfortune and I hasten to write you of my sympathy, my hope that you will soon recover from the wounds inflicted by insane suspicion or viciousness, and of my confidence in you, in your integrity and morality of character, and in your highest usefulness to your race and to all the people of this country.
It would be a nation's loss if this untoward incident in any way impaired your great power for good in the solution of one of the most difficult problems before us.
I want you to know that your friends are standing by you in every trial and that I am proud to subscribe myself as one,
Wm. H. Taft
TLSr Copy William Howard Taft Papers DLC. Docketed: "Sent in the President's handwriting." The letter was widely reprinted in the newspapers.
Nathan Hunt to Charles H. Fearing
New York Mch 21 
If Montclair not left Tuskegee ask him leave on next train for here Stopping Payton's House thirteen West one thirty first St Telephone me soon as reaching here Telegraph answer.
AWIr Con.606 BTW Papers DLC
Charles H. Fearing to Daniel Cranford Smith
[Tuskegee, Ala.] March 21, 1911
N. H. requests you go direct to Payton's, thirteen West One Hundred Thirty first Street Telephone N. H. as soon as you get there.
TWpIr Con. 55 BTW Papers DLC. Addressed to Smith on a Southern Railway train en route at Greensboro, N.C.
From Philip J. Allston
Boston, Mass., March 21st, 1911
Dear Dr. Washington: Reading yesterday and today of the unfortunate and sad accident to you — I am writing, both as the President of our League, and one interested in you, to extend my sympathy and best wishes that nothing may seriously develop from the contact with the club.
Mrs. Albert Ulrich when she says you called her in these terms: "Hello, sweetheart!" tells the story of what a plain citizen like myself would be up against in such a case.
When I note the interest of the honorable men back of you, like Mr. Andrew Carnegie, Mr. W. J. Schieffelin, Mr. G. F. Peabody, and Hon. Seth Low, I quite understand that the intelligent citizens of this country and abroad will see what we have to contend against, and I thank our Heavenly Father that we have such friends, and that they are with you.
No one man in these United States would or could be placed in your position to serve us better at this time as yourself and we thank God for the Mother that gave you to us.
Mrs. Allston and my boys, as well as myself, join in best wishes for your hasty recovery to your normal condition. Yours sincerely,
Philip J Allston
TLS Con. 434 BTW Papers DLC. Written on stationery of the Boston Negro Business League No. i.
From Edgar Starr Barney
New York March 21, 1911
Dear Dr. Washington, The Instructors of the Hebrew Technical Institute have read with indignation of the assault upon you and beg to extend to you their heartfelt sympathy.
We recall with pleasant memories your visit to our Institute and your inspiring address to the students, which together with the similarity to our own of the noble work in which you are engaged, makes our feeling doubly strong against the outrage upon a visitor to our city from a distant state.
Trusting that soon you may be restored to vigor and assuring you that you will stand all the higher in the minds of the right thinking people of this city; and hoping, too, that we may again entertain you at our school, believe us, Sincerely your friends
Edgar S. Barney
ALS Con. 434 BTW Papers DLC.
From Risden Tyler Bennett
Wadesboro N C. March 21 1911
Hon. Booker Washington, I wish you to know how keenly gentlemen South resent the murderous assault upon you.
Tis a regretable incident I am Sir Your admirer
Risden T Bennett Ex Congressman
ALS Con. 434 BTW Papers DLC.
Excerpted from The Booker T. Washington Papers by Louis R. Harlan, Raymond W. Smock. Copyright © 1981 The Board Of Trustees Of The University Of Illinois. Excerpted by permission of UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS PRESS.
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