Document 6: Hannah Kent Schoff to Cora Bussey Hillis, 11 January 1904, Cora Bussey Hillis Collection, Ms. 72, Box 1, State Historical Society of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa.


        This letter, like the one Hillis received from Schoff in 1902, shows one reformer explaining some lessons learned to another reformer. This advice is invaluable to reformers attempting to pass similar legislation. Schoff is very explicit about her experience with probation and houses of detention in her state.

Mrs. Frederic Schoff, President

Philadelphia, Jan. 11th, 1904

My dear Mrs. Hillis

I enclose our laws--they are made to conform to our State Constitution--these constitutions differ greatly. Therefore our state is little guide for another except in the main thought.

Our probation work is far better than where the positions are paid by the public.

We pay all our officers--we have ten now--I have raised the money. I believe the women should do this to secure the best service.  Volunteer officers are of no account.

Our law pertains to the whole state.  Our constitutions does not permit laws that relate to cities or towns.  All come under the same laws.

The House of Detention is a separate act.  We passed “No 297” in 1901 and in 1903 passed the law for all counties because the first one criticized as being class legislation.

Your first need is to have the lawyer who draws your bills especially conversant with you constitutional law.

I’m glad you are still working at this and hope you may succeed.


Cordially yours,

(signed) H.R. Schoff


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