Letter from Dudley Wooten and John Burke, October 29, 1920 and Reply, November 5, 1920


Dudley G. Wooten, ca. 1899
Courtesy of the Texas State Preservation Board

In 1920, an article in a local paper caught the eye of Dudley Wooten (1860-1929), a lawyer in Seattle who had formerly served as a Congressman from Texas. The article, which he mentions in this letter, suggested that Ellis Island arrivals were coming under the influence of Protestant organizations. Wooten immediately wrote to John J. Burke, the General Secretary of the National Catholic Welfare Council, to protest the measure, and to implore the new NCWC organization to resist "these un-American movements." Wooten's letter and Burke's response are reproduced here.




As you read the document, reflect on the following questions:

  • Why does Wooten object to the YMCA handling new immigrants? Why does he say that it is "un-American?"
  • How do you think U.S. involvement in World War I affected national opinion on immigration?
  • What does Burke say he will do in response to Wooten's letter?