February 18, 1905
The alumnae association of New York gathered at Delmonico’s for its annual meeting. President Taylor and John H. Finley, president of the College of the City of New York spoke, as did Colonel George Harvey, the editor of Harper’s Weekly. In his remarks, Col. Harvey spoke of the importance at the present time of women’s involvement with political matters. “I wish,” he told the alumnae, “that American women who have been trained to think, and who would really like to do something in the cause of progress and civilization, would take an interest in politics. The reasons why they have not done so in the past are well understood. The dominance of sordid and vulgar motives, the supremacy of the so-called professional politician, the instinctive repugnance of well-bred persons to distasteful associations, have constituted an impassable barrier.”
Still, Col. Harvey thought, women might—and should—direct useful thought to such issues as the sudden emergence of the United States as an international power. “Here, indeed,” he said, “is a situation demanding from duty most earnest thought. But withal how fascinating! How thrilling to trace the course and effect, here and there, and everywhere, of a changed policy as it embraces the globe! How interesting the study of the corollaries, which in moving times come to supplement, if not stultify, doctrines which formerly constituted the tenets of our National faith!”
In concluding his call to the Vassar alumnae, Col. Harvey, made an important distinction. “It is not,” he noted, “by the use of the ballot—the time for that has yet to come—but by the precedents and policies of the past and by the exercise of intuitive prescience in the future that this really noble work may be performed.
“Is not the ambition a worthy one? Is it not indeed inspiring? Is it not in very truth ideal? I ask you women of Vassar.” The New York Times