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"It seems that a large proportion of working girls earn their living by sewing at various kinds of work. For, in addition to those classes already reported, a trip through four large shirt factories of Minneapolis reveals many more toiling at the same sort of work. As far as comfort or cleanliness were concerned, it seems to be 'six of one and half a dozen of the other;' two factories were clean and bright, and the other two dirty, damp and unhealthy. . ."
St. Paul Globe 1888-04-08
"On first entering, the air seemed so thick with dust and lint from the bags that I could scarcely see. . . ."
St. Paul Globe 1888-04-01
St. Louis Post-Dispatch 1896-11-26
"On arriving in Chicago I addressed myself to the ladies of Hull House, asking for a tenement family who would take a factory girl to board. ... Before the hour was up, I had found a clean room in one street, and board in another. This was inconvenient, but safe, and comparatively healthy ..."
Everybody's Magazine 1903-01-01
Everybody's Magazine 1909-03-01
Everybody's Magazine 1909-02-01
Everybody's Magazine 1909-01-01
"In the early morning the giant mill grows active. Hear it roar, shattering the stillness for half a mile! It is full now of flesh and blood, of human life and brain and fibre; it is content! Triumphantly during the long day it devours its tithe of body and soul . ... "
Everybody's Magazine 1902-12-01
"... it is evident that, in order to render practical aid to this class, we must live among them, discover and adopt their point of view, put ourselves in their surroundings, assume their burdens, unite with them in their daily efforts. In this way alone, and not by forcing upon them a preconceived ideal, can we do them real good, can we help them to find a moral, spiritual, aesthetic standard suited to their condition of life. Such an undertaking is impossible for most people. Sure of its utility, inspired by its practical importance, I determined to make the sacrifice it entailed, and to learn by experience and observation what these could teach. ... "
Everybody's Magazine 1902-11-01
" ... I laid aside all that pertained to the class in which I was educated and became for a time an American working woman. To live as she lived, work as she worked, see as she saw, and to be party to her ambitions, her pleasures, her privations as far as was, under the circumstances, possible. As I worked by her side, hour after hour, day after day, I hoped to become a mirror in which she should be reflected, to be afterward her mouth-piece to those who know so vastly little of the annals of continuous, unremitting, everlasting toil."
Everybody's Magazine 1902-10-01
From the Springfield Union: The New York Tribune hits upon a truth when it says, regarding the terrible poverty to which women are reduced by the competitions of trade, that it is in the power of the churches to furnish remedy for this agony of toil. When public sentiment is called to such abuses the first thought is some kind of an organization to fight them. But the churches are, or ought to be, already organized for just this kind of work, but their power has been frittered away by the formation of all sorts of outside associations for doing the work of benevolence. A church this is not organized for charitable for in the community is an abstraction.
The New York Tribune 1886-11-24
But the articles of Mrs. Campbell have also led to much discussion within the wide circle in which they have been read. Different theories are advanced as to the causes that produce the dark facts which these stories unfold. How far women themselves contribute to their own misery through their own individual pride and version to certain kinds of work for which they are especially fitted is a question freely debated. There are citizens prominently identified with philanthropic institutions who while they have the utmost sympathy with the sufferers, are balked at the threshold of their efforts to relieve them by the disinclination of women themselves to abandon over-crowded holds of labor in exchange for occupations less degrading and far more profitable.
The New York Tribune 1886-11-26
Sir: I have long rester under the impression that Mrs. Helen Campbell exaggerated the suffering among female works of New-York. I am forced to agree with the remark made by Dr. Howard Crosby in The Tribune of November 26th, to the effect that "all this hue and cry about so much destitution and misery and the unscrupulous greed of employers is groundless."
The New York Tribune 1886-12-22
Police Commissioner John McClave said he had read the articles on "Prisoners of Poverty" in The Tribune with much interest. "I think," he said, "every intelligent man who reads those papers must see that something ought to be done soon for the protection of these working women in this city. It is easier to see the need of protecting than to devise a plan for securing it. I have been thinking over the subject and am convinced that Legislature could furnish some relief, but not all that is needed. It is plain that the law at present does not prevent crafty and unscrupulous men from robbing women of their just wages."
The New York Tribune 1886-12-22
From "Women's Work" in The Brooklyn Eagle:The prescription of Mayor Hewitt and other people - "Go out to domestic service" - is hardly prepared after a thorough diagnosis of this particular social disease. Besides, if it were, the women would not take the medicine unless they chose. Here again facts run against theories, and millionaire publicists no more than other persons can escape the catastrophe. Cleaning and "upstairs work" are honorable employments - for good cooks and efficient chambermaids. So the position of bootblack or waiter is one in which a man may get through life creditably and respectfully. But if men who are not fitted for these occupations, or who think they can do better, are not forced into them, why should women be urged into corresponding employments as to which they hold like views?
The New York Tribune 1887-01-07
Will the piety and intelligence of New-York, seeing Christ, as he told us to do, in these His suffering ones, do for them what they have neither time nor knowledge to do for themselves?
The New York Tribune 1887-01-13
From the Cloak, Suit and Ladies' wear Review: "A few Sundays ago the "Evolution of a Jacket" was narrated - a tale of the direst poverty and the hardest kind of a struggle for existence. How the conditions of the people described is to be ameliorated we do not know; it is a question that deserves the attention of philanthropists and political economists. It is only fair, however, that the side of the manufacturers should be given against whom a feeling seems to be entertained that they really are to blame for all the poverty and distress of the people employed to make the garments.
The New York Tribune 1887-02-02
A certain Mrs. H who is engaged as a teacher during several hours of each week, after suffering martyrdom from the dirt and carelessness of different servants, decided to try "lady-help." She sound a Norwegian widow who wished to try living out. Mrs. H. explained to this widow that she could pay $16 a month, would give the helper a pleasant home and treat her as one of the family.
The New York Tribune 1887-02-05
XVII-"Prisoners of Poverty: Women wage-workers, their trades and their lives" - Helen Campbell - New York Tribune
Something crept forward as the bundle slid to the floor, and busied itself with the string that bound it." Here you, Jinny," said the woman, " don't you be foolin'. What do you want anyhow ?" The something shook back a mat of thick hair and rose to its feet, — a tiny child who in size seemed no more than three, but whose countenance indicated the experience of three hundred. "It's the string I want," the small voice said. " Me an' Mame was goin' to play with it." "There's small time for play," said the mother; " there 'll be two pair more in a minute or two, an' you're to see how Maine does one an' do it good too, or I 'll find out why not." Mame had come forward and stood holding to the one thin garment which but partly covered Jinny's little bones. She too looked out from a wild thatch of black hair, and with the same expression of deep experience, the pallid, hungry little faces lighting suddenly as some cheap cakes were produced. Both of them sat down on the floor and ate their portion silently.
The New York Tribune 1887-02-13
XVI-"Prisoners of Poverty: Women wage-workers, their trades and their lives" - Helen Campbell - New York Tribune
"Competition makes honesty impossible. A man would admit it to me without hesitation, but would end: ' There's no other way. Don't be a fool. You can't stand out against a system.'"'I will stand out if it starves me,' I said. ' I will not sell my soul for any man's hire. The time is coming when this rottenness must end. Make one more to fight it now.'
The New York Tribune 1887-02-06
XV-"Prisoners of Poverty: Women wage-workers, their trades and their lives" - Helen Campbell - New York Tribune
"We don't want men," he said. "We would n't have them even if they came at the same price. Of course cheapness has something to do with it, and will have, but for my part give me a woman to deal with every time. Now there's an illustration over at that hat-counter. We were short of hands to-day, and I had to send for three girls that had applied for places, but were green — did n't know the business. It did n't take them ten minutes to get the hang of doing things, and there they are, and you 'd never know which was old and which was new hand. Of course they don't know all about qualities and so on, but the head of the department looks out for that. No, give me women every time. I 've been a manager thirteen years, and we never had but four dishonest girls, and we 've had to discharge over forty boys in the same time. Boys smoke and lose at cards, and do a hundred things that women don't, and they get worse instead of better. I go in for women.""How good is their chance of promotion ?" "We never lose sight of a woman that shows any business capacity, but of course that's only as a rule in heads of departments. A saleswoman gets about the same right along. Two thirds of the girls here are public-school girls and live at home. You see that makes things pretty easy, for the family pool their earnings and they dress well and live well. We don't take from the poorer class at all. These girls earn from four and a half to eight dollars a week. A few get ten dollars, and they 're not likely to do better than that. Forty dollars a month is a fortune to a woman. A man must have his little fling, you know. Women manage better."
The New York Tribune 1887-01-30
XIV-"Prisoners of Poverty: Women wage-workers, their trades and their lives" - Helen Campbell - New York Tribune
And if the reader, like various recent correspondents, is disposed to believe that I am merely "making up a case," using a little experience and a great deal of imagination, I refer him or her to the forty-third annual report of the New York Association for the Improvement of the Condition of the Poor. There, in detail to a degree impossible here, will be found the official report of the inspector appointed to examine the conditions of life in the building known as "The Big Flat," in Mulberry Street. There are smaller houses that are worse in construction and condition, but there is none controlled by one management where so many are gathered under one roof. The first floor has rooms for fourteen families, the remaining five for sixteen each; and the census of 1880 gave the number of inhabitants as 478, a sufficient number to make up the population of the average village. The formal inspection and the report upon it were made in September, 1886, and the report is now accessible to all who desire information on these phases of city life. It is Mrs. Maloney herself whose methods best give us the heart of the matter, and who, having several callings, is the owner of an experience which appears to hold as much surprise for herself as for the hearer."Shure I foind things that interestin' that I 'm in no haste to be through wid 'em, an' on for me taste o' purgatory, not hintin' that there might n't be more 'n a taste," Mrs. Maloney said, on a day in which she unfolded to me her views of life in general, her small gray eyes twinkling, her arms akimbo on her mighty hips, and her cap-border flapping about a face weather-beaten and highcolored to a degree not warranted even by her present profession as apple-woman. Whether whiskey or stale beer is more responsible is unknown.
The New York Tribune 1887-01-23
XIII-"Prisoners of Poverty: Women wage-workers, their trades and their lives" - Helen Campbell - New York Tribune
A small manufacturer, fighting his way against monopoly, he is determinately honest in every thread put into his goods, in every method of his trade; his face shrewd yet gentle and wise, — a face that child or woman would trust, and the business man be certain he could impose upon until some sudden turn brought out the shrewdness and the calm assurance of absolute knowledge in his own lines. For thirty years and more his work has held its own, and he has made for himself a place in the trade that no crisis can affect. His own view of the situation is distinctly serious, but even for him there was a flickering smile as he recalled some passages of the experience given here in part. His English limps slightly at moments of excitement, but his mastery of its shades of meaning never, and this is his version of the present relation between employer and employed.
The New York Tribune 1887-01-16
XII-"Prisoners of Poverty: Women wage-workers, their trades and their lives" - Helen Campbell - New York Tribune
"My heart sunk then, for I 'd always had a place that was comfortable all my life, but it sunk deeper when I went up there. A hall bedroom, with a single bed an' a small table, with a washbowl an' small pitcher, one chair an' some nails in the door for hanging' things; that was all except a torn shade at the window. I looked at the bed. The two ragged comfortables were foul with long use. I thought of my nice bed down at Spring Street, my own good sheets an' blankets an' all, an' I began to cry." You don't look as if you was used to the likes of it,' Bridget said. 'There's another room the same as this but betther. Why not ax for it?' "I started down the stairs an' came right upon Mrs. Melrose, who smiled as if she thought I had been enjoying myself. "'I 'm perfectly willing to try an' do your work as well as I know how,' I said, ' but I must have a place to myself an' clean things in it.' "'Highty-tighty!' says she. 'What impudence is this? You 'll take what I give you and be thankful to get it. Plenty as good as you have slept in that room and never complained.' "'Then it's time some one did,' I said. 'I don't ask anything but decency, an' if you can't give it I must try elsewhere.' "'Then you 'd better set about it at once,' she says, an' with that I bid her good-afternoon an' walked out.
The New York Tribune 1887-01-09
XI-"Prisoners of Poverty: Women wage-workers, their trades and their lives" - Helen Campbell - New York Tribune
Under the great Bridge, whose piers have taken the place of much that was foulest in the Fourth Ward, stands a tenement-house so shadowed by the structure that, save at midday, natural light barely penetrates it. The inhabitants are of all grades and all nationalities. The men are chiefly 'longshoremen, working intermittently on the wharves, varying this occupation by long seasons of drinking, during which every pawnable article vanishes, to be gradually redeemed or altogether lost, according to the energy with which work is resumed. The women scrub offices, peddle fruit or small office necessities, take in washing, share, many of them, in the drinking bouts, and are, as a whole, content with brutishness, only vaguely conscious of a wretchedness that, so long as it is intermittent, is no spur to reform of methods. The same roof covers many who yield to none of these temptations, but are working patiently; some of them widows with children that must be fed; a few solitary, but banding with neighbors in cloak or pantaloon making, or the many forms of slop-work in the hands of sweaters. Sunshine has no place in these rooms which no enforced laws have made decent, and where occasional individual effort has small power against the unspeakable filth ruling in tangible and intangible forms, sink and sewer and closet uniting in a common and all-pervading stench.
The New York Tribune 1887-01-02
X-"Prisoners of Poverty: Women wage-workers, their trades and their lives" - Helen Campbell - New York Tribune
The professional political economist of the old school, the school to which all but a handful belong, takes refuge in the census returns as the one reply to any arraignment of the present. Blind as a bat to any figures save his own, he answers all complaint with the formula: "In 1860 the property of this country, equally divided, would have given every man, woman, and child $514 each. In 1870 the share would have been $624; in 1880, $814. In 1886 returns are not in, but $900 and more would be the division per capita. What madness to talk of suffering when this flood of wealth pours through the land. Admitting that the lowest class suffer, it is chiefly crime, drunkenness, etc., that bring suffering. The majority are perfectly comfortable."Having read this statement in many letters and heard it in interviews as well, it seems plain that the conviction embodied in both has fastened itself upon that portion of the public whose thinking is done for them, and who range themselves by choice with that order who would not be convinced "even though one rose from the dead." "The majority are perfectly comfortable." Let us see how comfortable.
The New York Tribune 1886-12-26