Browse Reports

Creator is exactly Bessie (Mrs. John) van Vorst
Image of Marie van Vorst posing undercover for the exposing series, "The Woman That Toils."

"The Woman Who Toils" - Bessie and Marie van Vorst - Everybody's

The sisters-in-law van Vorst made the circuit as ostensible factory girls from the pickle factories of Pittsburgh to the shoe factories of Lynn, Massachuetts and on to the cotton mills of North Carolina. Originally published in a series in Everybody's Magazine in 1902, it became a book, published by Doubleday, the following year. Their starting point was an unapologetic sense of superiority over the wage earners they spent months impersonating, living and working among. Reviewers were quick to point to this approach as both a plus and a minus. As for revelations, they reported on the surprising number of young women whose only reason for working in the factories was near folly -- to earn pocket money for clothes and leisure -- and how that had depressed wages and opportunity for women who needed the jobs to support themselves or their families.