Document 9: Ben Lindsey to Albert Cummins, 3 February 1904, Cora Bussey Hillis Collection, Ms. 72, Box 1, State Historical Society of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa.


       Cora Hillis and Judge Ben Lindsey not only corresponded with one another, but Lindsey also corresponded with Iowa Governor Cummins. In this example the judge from Colorado writes to Governor Cummins with information regarding the law. He also discusses some aspects of the Colorado law that he finds particularly apt to the movement's philosophy as a whole.

       This letter demonstrates once again the importance of networking for the movement to be successful. Hillis was not the one going to Governor Cummins in this case, a judge from another state who had a national reputation as an expert in this area writes the governor to enlist his support. In this, as in so many other areas of progressive legislation, state reformers worked together to pass similar laws in each state.

Judge’s Chambers

County Court

Denver, Colo.

Ben B. Lindsey,Judge

Hon. Albert B. Cummins,

Governor of Iowa,

Des Moines, Iowa.

Dear Sir:

I have had the honor to receive some communications from Mrs. Cora B. Hillis of Des Moines in regard to the Juvenile Court of Denver.  Mrs.Hillis has requested that I might attend a meeting in Des Moines in behalf of similar legislation proposed in your state.  I should be only too glad to assist in such excellent legislation.

We have really had the Juvenile Court in Denver for something over three years and I think its practical working has been more than demonstrated and it meets with the almost unanimous approval of our people.

The work of the Court here was referred to by our former Governor and our present Governor in their public addresses to the legislature.  Under separate cover I have the honor to send you some information regarding the Juvenile Court of Denver and sincerely hope that your present legislature will adopt similar laws to our own and those of some other states.  I prefer the Colorado juvenile system because it holds parents and others to a rigid accountability for the moral welfare of their children.  I enclose in this letter one of a series of articles I have been writing for the Denver Republican and the Rocky Mountain News upon the juvenile problem in the cities of this country. If you could find the time and, because of the unfortunate length of the article, I am compelled to say the patience to read the enclosed, I believe it will give you a fair idea of the importance of our laws holding parents responsible.  There is no similar law anywhere in this country, and a Juvenile Court law is two-thirds lacking, in my opinion, without the feature here referred to.

Very respectfully,

(Signed) Ben B. Lindsey


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