Document 2: "The Great Convention of the National Congress of Mothers To be Held at Des Moines, Iowa, From May 23rd to May 28th, 1900," 23-28 May 1900, Cora Bussey Hillis Collection, Ms. 72, Box 1, Scrapbooks, State Historical Society of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa.

Inroduction

       This pamphlet was distributed during the National Convention of the National Congress of Mothers held in Des Moines in May 1900. The pamphlet advertised the work and philosophy of the National Congress of Mothers.

       Hillis was influenced by the National Congress and it was through her efforts that the National Convention came to Des Moines that year. The presence of the convention gave Hillis and other Iowa Congress members the opportunity to announce to the Iowa public what the goals of the National Congress of Mothers were and attract more women to their ranks. The convention was well attended and covered by local newspapers, offering Hillis and the national reformers an opportunity to publicize the work they performed on behalf of women and children in the United States.

THE GREAT CONVENTION

-OF THE-

NATIONAL CONGRESS OF MOTHERS

TO BE HELD AT

DES MOINES, IOWA,

FROM MAY 23rd TO MAY 28th, 1900.
______

"The most important educational factor in our modern life."-
Dr. M.V. O'Shea

Des Moines, Iowa, has been honored by the National Congress of Mothers, as the city in which will be held the fourth annual session of the great National Congress of Mothers, an organization which numbers many thousands of members among the most cultured and progressive people of the nation. Delegates will come from the Atlantic coast and from the Pacific slopes, from the North, the South and from every state of the great middle-West, among them many notable men and women whom you may never have an opportunity to see again.

THE PROGRAMME.

       Commencing Monday evening of the week of the congress, will be given what the committee promises shall "be the finest programme ever given in this or any other country." There will be three sessions daily. The speakers will be men and women of national and international reputation. Each one is an authority, a specialist in his or her particular department. There will be authors and educators, psychologists and physicians, reformers and philanthropists, and practical workers in every line of effort having to do with the culture and training of the child from the cradle to the college.

       There will be in addition to the forty of fifty addresses many helpful suggestions and discussions. There will be good music by the Iowa State Band. There will be choruses of trained voices and solos by well-known artists.

SOCIAL FEATURES

       The ladies of Des Moines, noted for their hospitality, will open their homes to entertain the delegates to the Congress. Iowa Teachers will also be handsomely provided for. Good boarding places will be secured for $1.00 to $2.00 per day. In addition the regular hotels and boarding houses have ample accomadations for all who come. A grand reception will be given in Iowa's magnificent Capitol. The governor of the State and many prominent persons will assist in receiving the guests. Numerous other social functions in honor of the distinguished visitors will be given. Elaborate decorations, illuminations, etc., etc., will make the week of the Congress a memorable occasion. Nothing will be left undone to make the time spent in Des Moines pleasant and profitable to all.

THE WORK OF THE CONGRESS

       A glance at the social conditions in the world reveals the fact that more money is spent annually in prosecuting and caring for criminals in expensive jails and penitentiaries, in caring for delinquents and defectives in reformatories, hospitals and asylums than is spent in education.

       Scientists tell us that the majority of blind children are born with normal vision, but lack of intelligent care during the first hours of life sacrificed the blessed gift of sight.

       Feeble-minded and deaf and dumb children and children of criminal tendencies are too often the result of improper care of the parents, both before and after birth.

       The history of criminology teaches us that the age of greatest criminality is about 18 years.  Therefore a burden of responsibility rests on parents and teachers.

       To reduce the growing demand for more courts of justice, jails and judges, more hospitals, reformatories and asylums, the supply must be cut off.  How shall it be done?  Through the children.  Through the education and training of the child of today to be the parent and citizen of tomorrow. This, briefly stated, is the work of the National Congress of Mothers.  To improve the child’s environments, to ennoble character, and to create a higher type of citizenship through and enlightened parenthood and an intelligent co-operation between home and school.

HOW THE WORK IS DONE BY MOTHERS' CLUBS AND PARENTS' UNION

       It is the hope of the National Congress of Mothers eventually to reach every school in every town in the United States, to reach the home and environments of every child, whether the petted darling of wealth, the outcast in an institution, or “that lost waif” in the slums.

       To accomplish this Mothers’ Clubs and Parents’ Unions should be formed in every community, where papers can be read, addresses delivered, helpful advice and suggestions given by competent persons, and discussions promoted on all subjects pertaining to the moral, physical, intellectual and spiritual life of the child.

WORKERS WANTED

       All persons wishing to co-operate with us in this progressive and patriotic work, will kindly communicate with the undersigned for full authority and instructions. Capable, earnest and energetic women are wanted in every county to act as County Regents, and in every town to act as Sub-Regents to organize Mothers' Clubs and Parents' Unions. School superintendents, church workers and club women will be especially active in this work.

       The public schools of the state will probably close during Congress week to enable the large number of teacher to avail themselves of this rare opportunity offered by the Congress in Des Moines. Membership in the Congress is only two cents a month or twenty-five cents a year.

TRAVELING LIBRARIES.

       There is such a demand for books helpful to mothers and teachers that a fund is being raised to put one or more traveling libraries in every county in Iowa. A beautiful button, representing a mother and child, copied from the classic Madonna of the Chair, will be sold to help this library fund. We also have

A MEMORIAL FUND

       A memorial fund is being raised to which all are asked to contribute. There is scarcely a home in the land which has not been visited by the Angel of Death, and any sum however small, sent in memory of a deceased loved one will be gratefully recieved, and duly recorded, with the name of the donor and of the one in whose memory it is sent. Such contributions will enable the Congress to continue and enlarge the scope of its work for childhood:

HELPS IN FORMING CLUBS

       Much literature helpful to the Mothers' Club worker can be had for a nominal price on application to the Publishers of the National Congress of Mothers, Washington D.C., or to the State Regent. In addition, as an immediate and sure way to reach large numbers of teachers and parents, we have arranged to edit a Child-Cultural Department in Midland Schools, the Educational Journal published in Des Moines. Every month will appear a programme ready for use in clubs, subjects for discussion, brief articles from best authorities, outlines for study, lists of books and latest Congress news. There will also be a Question Box and cases submitted will be answered to the best of our ability.

       To promote the success of the coming meeting these folders are gratuitously furnished by the Homestead, Des Moines, Iowa.

       For further particulars about the great convention, the National Congress of Mothers, or its work, address

       MRS. ISAAC LEA HILLIS, State Regent for Iowa,
              1629 Oakland Avenue, Des Moines, Iowa.

       All letters requiring a reply must be accompanied by a two cent stamp.

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