"Prisoners of Poverty" - Helen Campbell - The New York Tribune

New York Tribune article titled, "Worker and Trade." Written by Helen Campbell as part of her "Prisoners of Poverty" series.

Media History

The reporting was intended for these media types: Newspaper, Book

V-"Prisoners of Poverty: Women wage-workers, their trades and their lives" - Helen Campbell - New York Tribune

"A Fashionable Dressmaker"


"Have you come to answer Madame M 's advertisement ?" the little woman said, as she rose from the steps and laid her hand detainingly on the hurrying figure."Yes," the girl answered hesitatingly, pulling away from the hand that held. "Then, unless you 've got anything else to do and like to give your time and strength for naught, keep away. You'll get no wages, no matter what's promised. I've been there six months, kept on by fair promises, and I know. I 'll let no girl go in there without warning." "It's a good-looking place," the girl said doubtfully. "It's a den of thieves all the same. If you don't believe me, come down to the Woman's Protective Union on Clinton Place, and you 'll see my case on the book there, and judgment against this woman, that's no more mercy than a Hottentot and lies that smoothly that she 'd humbug an angel of light. Ah! That's good!" she added, for the girl had shaken off her hand and sped away as swiftly as she had come. " That's seven since yesterday, and I wish it were seven hundred. It's time somebody turned watchdog.

IV-"Prisoners of Poverty: Women wage-workers, their trades and their lives" - Helen Campbell - New York Tribune

"The Bargain Counter"


There is at present on Third Avenue a Mrs. F, who for eleven years has conducted a successful business built upon continuous fraud. She is a manufacturer of underwear, and the singular fact is that she has certain regular employees who have been with her from the beginning, and who, while apparently unconscious of her methods, are practically partners in the fraud. She is a woman of good presence and address, and one to whom girls submit unquestioningly, contending, even in court, that she never meant to cheat them; and it is still an open question with those who know her best how far she herself recognizes the fraud in her system. The old hands deny that it is her custom to cheat, and though innumerable complaints stand against her, she has usually paid on compulsion, and insisted that she always meant to. Her machines never lack operators, and the grade of work turned out is of the best quality. Her advertisement appears at irregular intervals, is answered by swarms of applicants, and there are always numbers waiting their turn.

III-"Prisoners of Poverty: Women wage-workers, their trades and their lives" - Helen Campbell - New York Tribune

"Some Methods of a Prosperous Firm"


Believing very ardently that the right of every woman born includes not only " life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness," but beauty also, it being one chief end of woman to include in her own personality all beauty attainable by reasonable means, I am in heartiest agreement with one side of the views quoted. But in this quest we have undertaken, and from which, once begun, there is no retreat, strange questions arise; and in this new dawn of larger liberty and wider outlook is seen the little cloud which, if no larger than a man's hand, holds the seed of as wild a storm as has ever swept over humanity.For emancipation on the one side has meant no corresponding emancipation for the other; and as one woman selects, well pleased, garment after garment, daintily tucked and trimmed and finished beyond any capacity of ordinary home sewing, marvelling a little that a few dollars can give such lavish return, there arises, from narrow attic and dark, foul basement, and crowded factory, the cry of the women whose lifeblood is on these garments. Through burning, scorching days of summer; through marrow-piercing cold of winter, in hunger and rags, with white-faced children at their knees, crying for more bread, or, silent from long weakness, looking with blank eyes at the flying needle, these women toil on, twelve, fourteen, sixteen hours even, before the fixed task is done.

II-"Prisoners of Poverty: Women wage-workers, their trades and their lives" - Helen Campbell - New York Tribune

"The Case of Rose Haggerty"


Rose earned the first month ten dollars, or two and a half a week, but being exceptionally quick, was promoted in the second to four dollars weekly. The rent was six dollars a month; and during the first one the old shoemaker came to the rescue, had an occasional eye to the children, and himself paid the rent, telling Rose to return it when she could. When the ten hours' labor ended, the child, barely fourteen, rushed home to cook something warm for supper, and when the children were comforted and tucked away in the wretched old bed, that still was clean and decent, washed and mended their rags of clothes, and brought such order as she could into the forlorn room.

I-"Prisoners of Poverty: Women wage-workers, their trades and their lives" - Helen Campbell - New York Tribune

"Worker and Trade"


The difficulties to be faced by the woman whose only way of self-support is limited to the needle, whether in machine or hand work, are fourfold. (1) Her own incompetency must very often head the list and prevent her from securing first-class work; (2) middle-men or sweaters lower the price to starvation point; (3) contract work done in prisons or reformatories brings about the same result; and (4) she is underbid from still another quarter, that of the country woman who takes the work at any price offered.