C.M. McClung Historical Collection, Knox County Public Library
To use material or to order reproductions, contact DigitalCollections@knoxlib.org or phone 865 215-8808. Please provide a brief description of the material.
Full Text Search
UNIVERSITY PROFESSOR DEFENDED DOUBLE MORAL
CODE, SAYS MRS. FRENCH
Suffragist Leader Charges Instructor Schaeffer With Having
Said Woman is More to Blame in Delinquencies Than the
Man—Answers Resolution Published by Daily Papers That
Reflected on Veracity of Ladies Who Heard Educator Lecture in 1913.
Editor of The Voice of Labor:
When Dr. Stough was in Knoxville
he heard through a second party a
remark made by a lady that a certain
professor of the University of Tennessee had said that he, the professor,
believed in a double standard of morals. Whereupon Dr. Stough made an
attack upon the university. The executive committee demanded his authority. The lady whose remark was
the cause of the attack telephoned me
and asked me if I would stand by her
in her statement. I replied that I
would and I did, so did three other
When the trustees met a resolution
exonerating the professor and reflecting upon the ladies' veracity was passed and published in the daily papers.
I wrote a protest, stating the truth
of the whole case. The Journal and
Tribune and the Sentinel refused to
As your paper wears no muzzle, I
am taking the liberty of asking that
you will be so kind as to give us ladies the opportunity in your columns
to defend ourselves against this great
injustice that has been done us. I ask
you to publish my bill of complaint
addressed to the legislative educational committee which lately visited
the university, composed of the fol-
lowing members of the
general assembly: Messrs. Rooks,
Mathews, Cameron, Kittrell and De
Priest. L. CROZIER-FRENCH.
A Bill of Complaint.
Addressed to the committee appointed by the legislature to investigate the
eduactional institutions of the state.
By Mrs. L. Crozier-French, Knoxville,
Honorable Sirs:—At the last meeting of the board of trustees of the
University of Tennessee a resolution
was passed which reflects upon the
veracity and integrity of the conduct
of several ladies of Knoxville, myself
among the number. I copy the resolution from the Journal and Tribune
of a July, 1916, issue, as follows:
"Having examined the newspaper
report of the lecture of Prof. Schaeffer in the Knoxville Journal and Tribune of June 20, 1913, prepared by
Mrs. L. C. French, we feel warranted
in relying upon the latter written
when the lecture was fresh in mind,
rather than upon the former statements prepared three years later. We do not in the least suggest that the ladies' statements are not the result of an absolute desire to be fair to Prof. Schaeffer, but merely the report of Mrs. French being commendatory in tone is incompatible with the belief that that the statements now alleged were in fact in her mind when the article for the paper was written.When to this was added the denial of Prof. Schaeffer that he ever held or expressed such an opinion and the deniual of Prof. J.C. Pridmore, Miss Ruby Franklin and Mrs. J.C. Pridmore, who were present at the lecture, that any such statement was made, we feel the accusation of these ladies to have been disproved as conclusively as it is possible to disprove statements made after the lapse of three years. Besides, the statements are so enormous that we could not find any man of clean life guilty of them unless the evidence were conclusive and no one can claim this to be (missing).
Though the daily papers published
the resolution condemning the ladies,
the Journal and Tribune and the Sentinel refused to publish my statement
of the whole case.
Enclosed please find the following
papers which I submit to you for your
By Mrs. L. Crozier-French, letter to
the executive committee, a protest to
the special committee, letter to trustees, letter from M. E. church, South,
statement by Prof. Schae:er (sic.) before
trustees and letters from Dr. Ayres.
(Signed) L. CROZIER-FRENCH.
Knoxville, Tenn., Feb. 12, 1917.
Letter to Committee. '
To the special committee, appointed
by the trustees of the Unixersity (sic.) of
Tennessee to act upon the Stough case.
Messrs. Bolton Smith, H. Clay Evans
and W. P. Cooper.
Gentlemen:—In the Knoxville Journal and Tribune of July 25 is published a resolution signed by you that reflects upon the veracity of several ladies, myself among the number. The
implication is there made that we were
in part responsible for, and involved
with Dr. Stough in an attack made
upon the character of the teaching of
a Professor of the University of Tennessee, your statement in part is, "the
charges are so enormous that we
could not find any man of clean life
guilty of them unless the evidence
were conclusive and no one can claim
this to be true in this case." Mesdames
Knox, Dobson, McGrannahan, Graft
and myself are named as having given
this evidence, I am writing to you to
say that this is a base slander upon
these respectable women. We furnished absolutely no evidence upon which
Dr. Stough could be justified in making charges "so enormous that no man
of clean life could be guilty of them."
Just here I wish to emphasize the
fact that no one could possibly disapprove more of the public attack of Dr.
Stough against the professor and the
university than I do. Hence it seems
most unjust that I should be put conspicuously forward as either his aider,
abettor or informer. Yet my alleged
action is made the basis upon which
your decision is given which exonerates the professor and reflects upon
the veracity, intelligence and discression of myself and others.
Your honorable committee will note
that the basis upon which Prof.
Schaeffer is acquitted and the five la-
dies accused of propogating an enor-
mous charge against an innocent man
is the statement that Mrs. French
wrote a complimentary article about
Prof. Schaefter's lecture in the Journal and Tribune. I pronounce this
statement utterly false. I have never
written at any time any complimentary article of Prof. Schae:er (sic.) or his
lecture. When I saw this statement in the paper I telephoned to Dr. Ayres
to know upon what authority the com-
mittee made the assertion that I had
written a complimentary article of
the lecture of Prof. Schaeffer. He re-
plied upon the authority of Prof.
Schaeffer, and he added, "We thought
you had done it because it was so well expressed." Upon this flimsy testimony the committee based their decision without attempting to prove the truth of the assertion.
Denial of "Compliment-"
Your resolution states that Mrs. L
Crozier-French wrote a complimentary
article of a lecture of the professor
delivered on June 19, 1913, and in 1916
she made contrary statements. The
evidence upon which you make this
charge against me was furnished you
by said Professor. I pronounce this
evidence false. I wrote no article complimentary of the lecture and I did
verbally condemn in no uncertain
terms that part of the lecture treating of prostitution. I took issue with
the professor himself during the delivery of the lecture in order to give
him a hint that he was touching on
dangerous ground. For he was ad-
dressing an anti-vice league composed
of women organized for the purpose
of helping the churches to do away
with the segregated district and to
furnish homes for the inmates of
houses to be closed. He said during
his lecture it was useless to work for
the breaking up of prostitution, that
as far back as any record of peoples
existed this institution had been maintained in all countries of the world
and that it always would continue.
That the prostitute was such because
of her heredity and that she could not
escape from that destiny. I interrupted the professor here to ask if he
did not think many young girls
through ignorance or innocence or because of violence were reduced to so
low a social position that they could
not rise, and in consequence were
forced to join the professional class
of unfortunates? He said no doubt
there were some such, but very few.
I had been so accustomed during
thirty years of public work to hear
men claim that man's necessities caused this condition of a permanent class
of women to be sacrificed, that I could
not help but suspect that the professor
held with many of these the necessity
of a double standard of morals, but
not being willing to place him in that
class without confirmation of my conclusions, at the close of his lecture I
went up to him and said: "From
things you have said in this lecture
I am forced to certain conclusions and
I wish to put to you a direct question,
'Do you believe in a double standard
of morals?'" His reply was, "Yes, I
do." I said with indignation: "Then I
have nothing more to say to you," and
left the room. Other ladies remonstrated with him upon his position and
were confirmed in the opinions they
had formed that he believed in a double standard of morals along sex lines.
You see here, the professor shows
that he believes the girl should be
judged more strictly than the boy.
This is what is called the double standard of morals. I replied that I did
not believe the girl should be held to
stricter accountability than the boy. I
tried to show him that the laws of nature, those of our civil codes and ethical laws all demand alike chastity on
the part of both man and woman, and
that custom must be made to conform
to these demands.
Having no assurance that I had in
any way succeeded in changing the
professor's views, I deemed it my duty
to inform the president of the university concerning the position of the
professor on the double standard. I
therefore had a long interview with
Dr. Ayres on the matter. I took him
two books on the subject of the necessity of chastity for men, to place in
the university library.
Dr. Ayres said he believed the professor was a moral man, that he would
not do anything to injure the students. To this I replied that I made
no charges against the man's moral
conduct, never having heard of him
until a few days before his lecture,
but that I thought that any teacher of
biology was dangerous for the young
who excused the double standard of
morals because a number of people
condoned sexual immorality in men.
I considered that my responsibility
ended with my report to the president
of the university.
Three years later, and several days after Dr. Stough's criticism against the professor, I was asked by Mrs. Knox if I would add my testimony to hers and others that the professor had said he believed in a double standard of morals. I said that I would and I did so by signing my name to the fol-
lowing statement: "At the close of
Prof. Schaeffer's lecture I put to him
this direct question, 'Do you believe in
a double standard of morals?' His reply was, 'Yes, I do.'"