Kenyon Cox to Woodrow Wilson
President Wilson,I am reluctant to intrude upon your too short vacation with a matter of business, but having been deeply interested for thirty years or more in the attempt to secure the abolition of all import duties on works of art, I should greatly appreciate the opportunity of a short talk with you on that subject if you could give me a few minutes sometime during your stay here.
I know that you are fully in sympathy with the efforts of the artists to secure the free importation of works of art, and I do not wish to take up your time with arguments to convince you of what you already believe. The Tariff Bill being now in conference the chances for free art must depend upon the action of the Conference Committee. I understand that the members of that Committee are nearly equally divided on the subject of free art, but that Senator Simmons, who has been opposed to us, is now thought to be wavering. If this is true any part of your very great influence that you could see your way to exert might be decisive on the matter.
I am aware that the tariff on works of art is only one of many issues involved in this bill, and perhaps, to all but artists the least important of them; but it seems vastly important to us, and this must be my excuse for troubling you. If, however, you do not feel like talking of the matter with me at this time I shall thoroughly understand that there are very good reasons for your declining to do so. I am not a very persistant “lobbyist” even on a matter so important to art and artists as this.
Yours with deep respect,