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1909 \ 

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bt the macmillan company. 

Set up and electrotyped. Published February, 1906. 
Reprinted April, September, 1906; June, 1907 ; April, 
1908 ; July, 1909. 

NotiDooU 3Pr«5g 

J. S. Gushing & Co. — Berwick & Smith Co. 

Norwood, Mass., U.S.A. 



Fide et Amore 


I COUNT myself fortunate in having had a hand in 
bringing this remarkable and invaluable volume into 
existence. Quite incidentally in my book Poverty I 
made an estimate of the number of underfed children in 
New York City. If our experts or our general reading 
pubUc had been at all famiUar with the subject, my 
estimate would probably have passed without com- 
ment, and, in any case, it would not have been con- 
sidered unreasonable. But the pubHc did not seem 
to reaUze that this was merely another way of stating 
the volume of distress, and, consequently, for several 
days the newspapers throughout the country dis- 
cussed the statement and in some instances severely 
criticised it. One prominent charitable organiza- 
tion, thinking that my estimate referred to starving 
children, undertook, without delay, to provide meals 
for the children. In the midst of the excitement 
Mr. Spargo kindly volunteered to investigate the 
facts at first hand. His inquiry was so searching 
and impartial and the data he gathered so interesting 
and valuable that I urged him to put his material 
in some permanent form. The following admirable 
study of this problem is the result of that suggestion. 



I am safe in saying that this book is a truly power- 
ful one, destined, I believe, to become a mighty factor 
in awakening all classes of our people to the neces- 
sity of undertaking measures to remedy the condi- 
tions which exist. The appeal of adults in poverty 
is an old appeal, so old indeed that we have become 
in a measure hardened to its pathos and insensitive 
to its tragedy. But this book represents the cry of 
the child in distress, and it will touch every human 
heart and even arouse to action the stolid and apa- 
thetic. The originahty of the book Ues in the mass 
of proof which the author brings before the reader 
showing that it is not alone, as most of our charitable 
experts believe, the misery of the neglected or the 
actively maltreated child that should receive atten- 
tion. Even more important is the misery of that 
one whose whole future is darkened and perhaps 
blasted by reason of the fact that during his early 
years of helplessness he has not received those ele- 
ments of nutritious food which are necessary to a 
wholesome physical Ufe. 

Few of us sufficiently realize the powerful effect 
upon life of adequate nutritious food. Few of us 
ever think of how much it is responsible for our 
physical and mental advancement or what a force 
it has been in forwarding ou: civiHzed Hfe. Mr. 
Spargo does not attempt in this book to make us 
reahze how much the more favored classes owe to the 


fact that they have been able to obtain proper nu- 
trition. His effort here is to show the fearful devas- 
tating effect upon a certain portion of our population 
of an inadequate and improper food supply. He 
shows the relation of the lack of food to poverty. 
The child of poverty is brought before us. His 
weaknesses, his mental and physical inferiority, his 
failure, his sickness, his death, are shown in their 
relation to improper and inadequate food. He first 
proves to our satisfaction that this child of misery 
is born into the world with powerful potentiaUties, 
and he then shows, with tragic power, how the lack 
of proper food during infancy makes it inevitable 
that this child become, if he lives at all, an incom- 
petent, physical weakling. It is perhaps imneces- 
sary to point out that the problem of poverty is 
largely summed up in the fate of this child, and when 
the author deals with this subject he is in reality 
treating of poverty in the germ. 

There have been many books written about the 
children of the poor, but, in my opinion, none of them 
give us so impressive a statement as is contained 
here of the most important and powerful cause of 
poverty. Among many reasons which may be found 
for the existence of distress, the author has taken one 
which seems to be more fundamental than the others. 
But, while this is true, there is no dogmatic treat- 
ment of the problem, for the author realizes that the 


causes of poverty in this country of abundance are 
numerous. Indeed, wherever one looks, one may 
see conditions which are fertile in producing it. 
Students of the poor find some of these causes in the 
conditions surrounding the poor. Students of finance 
and of modern industry find causes of poverty in the 
methods and constitution of this portion of our 
society. The causes, therefore, of poverty cannot 
be gone into fully in any partial study of modern 
society. It is even maintained, and not without 
reason, that if all men were sober, competent, and in- 
dustrious, there would be no less poverty in the world. 
But however that may be, one thing is certain, and 
that is that as the race as a whole could not have 
advanced beyond savagery without a fortuitous 
provision of material necessities, so it is not possible 
for the children of the poor to overcome their poverty 
until they are assured in their childhood of the phys- 
ical necessities of fife. We should have no civili- 
zation to-day, our entire race would still be a wild 
horde of brutahzed savages, but for the meat and 
milk diet or the grain diet assured to our earUest 
forefathers. And it should not be forgotten that 
as this is true of the fife of the race, so is it true 
of that portion of our community which lives in 
poverty unable to procure proper food to give its 
children. This is the great fundamental fact which 
lies at the base of the problem of poverty and which 


is the theme of this book. It is a fact which should 
be best known to the men and women who work 
in the field of om* philanthropies, and yet it must be 
said that it is a fact which has heretofore been almost 
entirely ignored by this class of workers. 

For this reason I welcome this volume. I am con- 
vinced that it will mark the beginning of an epoch 
of deeper study and of sounder philanthropy. I look 
to see in the near future some effort made to estab- 
Ush a standard of physical well-being for the children. 
I expect to see the community insisting that some 
provision shall be made whereby every child born 
into the world will receive sufficient food to enable 
him to possess enough vitality to overcome unneces- 
sary and preventable disease and to grow into a 
manhood physically capable of satisfactorily com- 
peting in industrial or intellectual pursuits. I do 
not befieve that this is a dream impossible of reafiza- 
tion. About a hundred years ago our forefathers 
decided that there should be a universal standard 
of literacy. To bring this about the following gen- 
erations of men estabfished a free school system 
which was meant to assure to every child a certain 
minimum of education. If that can be done for the 
mind, the other thing can be done for the body. And 
when it is done for the body, we shall make another 
striking advance in civiUzation not unfike that re- 
corded in the history of mankind when the free 


people of this American continent established a sys- 
tem of free and miiversal education. 

If such a momentous thing should follow the pub- 
lication of this book, and similar studies which will 
without doubt subsequently be made, its publica- 
tion would indeed mark an epoch. But, of course, 
it must be said that before any far-reaching result 
can come, the general pubUc must be acquainted 
with the conditions which exist. It is for this reason 
that I hope Mr. Spargo's book will be read by hundreds 
of thousands of people, and that it will awaken in them 
a determination to respond wisely and justly to the 
bitter cry of the children of the poor. 



The purpose of this volume is to state the problem 
of poverty as it affects childhood. Years of careful 
study and investigation have convinced me that the 
evils inflicted upon children by poverty are respon- 
sible for many of the worst features of that hideous 
phantasmagoria of hunger, disease, vice, crime, 
and despair which we call the Social Problem. I 
have tried to visualize some of the principal phases 
of the problem — the measure in which poverty is 
responsible for the excessive infantile disease and 
mortality; the tragedy and folly of attempting to 
educate the hungry, ill-fed school child; the terrible 
burdens borne by the working child in our modern 
industrial system. 

In the main the book is frankly based upon per- 
sonal experience and observation. It is essentially 
a record of what I have myself felt and seen. But 
I have freely availed myself of the experience and 
writings of others, as reference to the book itself 
will show. I have tried to be impartial and un- 
biassed in my researches, and have not "winnowed 
the facts till only the pleasing ones remained. '' At 
times, indeed, I- have found it necessary, while writ- 



ing this book, to abandon ideas which I had held 
and promulgated for years. That is an experience 
not uncommon to those who submit opinions formed 
as a result of general observation to strict scientific 
scrutiny. I had long believed and had promulgated 
the opinion that the great mass of the children of 
the poor were blighted before they were born. The 
evidence given before the British Interdepartmental 
Committee, by recognized leaders of the medical pro- 
fession in England, pointed to a fundamentally differ- 
ent view. According to that evidence, the number of 
children born healthy and strong is not greater among 
the well-to-do classes than among the very poorest. 
The testimony seemed so conclusive, and the corrobo- 
ration received from many obstetrical experts in this 
country was so general, that I was forced to abandon 
as untenable the theory of antenatal degeneration. 

In view of the foregoing, I need hardly say that 
I do not claim any originaHty for the view that 
Nature starts all her children, rich and poor, physi- 
cally equal, and that each generation gets practically 
a fresh start, unhampered by the diseased and degen- 
erate past.* The tremendous sociological signifi- 
cance of this truth — if truth it be — will, I think, 
be generally recognized. Readers of Ruskin's Fors 
Clavigera will remember the story of the dressmaker 

* For the necessary qualifications of this broad generaliza- 
tion see the illustrative material in Appendix C, I. 



with a broken thigh, who was told by the doctors 
in St. Thomas's Hospital, London, that her bones 
were in all probabiUty brittle because her mother's 
grandfather had been employed in the manufacture 
of sulphur. If this theory of antenatal degenera- 
tion is wrong, and we have not to reckon with 
grandfathers and great-grandfathers, the solution 
of the problem of arresting and repairing the deterio- 
ration of the race is made so much easier. It may 
be thought by some readers that I have accepted 
the brighter, more hopeful view too readily, and 
with too much confidence. I can only say that I 
have read all the available evidence upon the other 
side, and found myself at last obliged to accept the 
brighter view. I cannot but feel that the actual 
experience of obstetricians deaUng with thousands 
of natural human births every year is far more valu- 
able and conclusive than any number of artificial 
experiments upon guinea pigs, mice, or other animals. 
The part of the book devoted to the discussion of 
remedial measures will probably attract more criti- 
cism than any other. I expect, and am prepared for, 
criticism from those, on the one hand, who will accuse 
me of being too radical and revolutionary, and, on 
the other hand, those who will say I have ignored 
almost all radical measures. I have purposely re- 
frained from considering any of the far-reaching 
speculations of the "schools," and confined myself 


entirely to those measures which have been tried 
in various places with sufficient success to warrant 
their general adoption, and which do not involve 
any revolutionary change in our social system. I 
have tried, in other words, to formulate a programme 
of practical measures, all of which have been sub- 
jected to the test of experience. 

A word of personal explanation may not be out 
of place here. I have been privileged to know some- 
thing of the leisure and luxury of wealth, and more 
of the toil and hardship of poverty. When I write 
of hunger I write of what I have experienced — not 
the enviable hunger of health, but the sickening 
himger of destitution. So, too, when I write of 
child labor. I know that nothing I have written 
of the toil of little boys and girls, terrible as it may 
seem to some readers, approaches the real truth in its 
horror. I have not tried to write a sensational book, 
but to present a careful and candid statement of facts 
which seem to me to be of vital social significance. 

As far as possible, I have freely acknowledged 
my indebtedness to other writers, either in the text 
or in the list of authorities at the end of the book. It 
was, however, impossible thus to acknowledge all 
the help received from so many wilUng friends in 
this and other countries. Hundreds of school prin- 
cipals and teachers, physicians, nurses, settlement 
workers, public officials, and others, in this country 


and in Europe, have aided me. It is impossible to 
name them all, and I can only hope that they will 
find themselves rewarded, in a measm-e, by the work 
to which they have contributed so much. 

I take this opportunity, however, of expressing 
my sincere thanks to Mr. Robert Hunter; to Mr. 
Owen R. Love joy, of the National Child Labor 
Committee; to Dr. George W. Goler, of Rochester, 
N.Y.; to Dr. S. E. Getty, of St. John's Riverside 
Hospital, Yonkers, N.Y. ; to Dr. Louis Lichtschein, of 
New York City; to Dr. George W. Galvin, of Boston, 
Mass. ; and to Professor G. Stanley Hall, of Clark Uni- 
versity, for many valuable suggestions and criticisms. 
To Mr. Fernando Linderberg, of Copenhagen ; to his 
Excellency, Baron Mayor des Planches, the ItaUan 
Ambassador at Washington ; and to Professor Emile 
Vinck, of Brussels, I am indebted for 'assistance in 
securing valuable reports which would otherwise 
have been inaccessible. I am also indebted to my 
colleague. Miss C. E. A. Carman, of Prospect House; 
and especially to Mr. W. J. Ghent for his expert 
assistance in preparing the book for the press. Fi- 
nally, I am indebted to my wife, whose practical 
knowledge of factory conditions, especially as they 
relate to women and children, has been of inmiense 

service to me. 

J. S. 

Prospect House, Yonkeks, N.Y. 
December, 1905. 


Intboduction Tii 

Pbbface xiii 

I. The Blighting of the Babies 1 

n. The School Child 67 

.in. The Woeking Child 126 

IV. Remedial Measubes 218 

V. Blossoms and Babies 263 

Appendices : 

A. How Foreign Municipalities Feed their School Chil- 

dren 271 

B. Report on the Vercelli System of School Meals . . 288 

C. Miscellaneous 291 

Notes and Authobities 307 

Index 325 



1. A Typical Scene Frontispiece 


2. Three " Little Mothers " and their Charges . . . 1 

3. Group of "Lung Block" Children 6 

4. Rachitic Types 12 

6. Babies whose Mothers Work 16 

6. Police Station used as a " Clean Milk" Depot . . 36 

7. Babies of a New York Day Nursery .... 39 

8. Group of Children whose Mothers are employed away 

from their Homes 42 

9. A Sample Report (facsimile letter) 46 

10. Babies whose Mothers work cared for in a Creche . . 63 

11. A " Lung Block " Child in a Tragically Suggestive Position 60 

12. A Typical " Little Mother " 72 

13. A Cosmopolitan Group of "Fresh Air Fund" Children . 94 

14. " Fresh Air Fund ' ' Children enjoying Life in the Country 1 17 

15. Communal School Kitchen, Christiania, Norway . . 124 

16. New York Cellar Prisoners 133 

17. Little Tenement Toilers 140 

18. Juvenile Textile Workers on Strike .... 147 

19. Night Shift in a Glass Factory 168 

20. Breaker Boys at Work 166 

21. Home " Finishers " : A Consumptive Mother and her 

Two Children at Work 172 

22. Silk Mill Girls after Two Years of Factory Life . . 184 

23. A "Kindergarten" Tobacco Factory in Philadelphia . 197 

24. A Glass Factory by Night 204 




25. A Free Infants' Milk Depot (Municipal), Brussels . . 225 

26. A Group of Working Mothers 231 

27. A "Clean Milk" Distribution Centre in a Baker's Shop 234 

28. Packing Bottles of " Clean Milk" in Ice . . . . 240 

29. "A Makeshift": Hammocks swung between the Cots 

in an Overcrowded Day Nursery .... 246 

30. Interior of the Communal School Kitchen, Christiania . 252 

31. Weighing Babies at the Gota de Leche, Madrid . . 257 

32. Five o' Clock Tea in the Country 261 

33. A Little Fisherman 268 

Note. — I am indebted to Miss Marjory Hall of New York for 
the pictures of day nurseries and creches ; to Dr. G. W. Goler of 
Rochester, N.Y., for permission to use several illustrations of his 
work ; to the Rev. Peter Roberts for the excellent illustration, 
"Breaker Boys at Work" ; and to the Pennsylvania Child Labor 
Committee for several other illustrations of working children. — J. S. 



1. Diagram showing Relative Death-rates per 100,000 Per- 

sons in Different Classes Q 

2. Table showing Number of Deaths in United States and 

England and Wales, at Different Ages ... 12 

3. Table* showing Infantile Mortality from Eleven Given 

Causes and the Estimated Influence of Poverty 
thereon ....=.... 21 

4. Diagram showing the Infantile Death-rate of Rochester, 

N.Y., and the Influence thereon of a Pure Milk 
Supply 22 

5. Schedule relating to Five Families in which the Mothers 

are employed away from their Homes . . 40-41 

6. Schedule showing Dietary of Children in Six Families . 93 

7. Table showing Comparative Height, Weight, and Chest 

Girth of English Boys according to Social Class . 97 

8. Occupations of Juvenile Delinquents in Six Large Cities 188 

9. Occupations of Juvenile Delinquents in Six Towns of 

less than 100,000 Inhabitants 189 

10. Table showing Reasons for the Employment of 213 

Children 212,213 



" Oh, room for the lamb in the meadow, 
And room for the bird on the tree 1 
But here, in stern poverty's shadow, 
No room, hapless baby 1 for thee." 

— E. M. Milne. 

The burden and blight of poverty fall most heavily 
upon the child. No more responsible for its poverty 
than for its birth, the helplessness and innocence 
of the victim add infinite horror to its suffering, 
for the centuries have not made tolerable the idea 
that the weakness or wrongdoing of its parents or 
others should be expiated by the suffering of the 
child. Poverty, the poverty of civilized man, which 
is everywhere coexistent with unbounded wealth 
and luxury, is always ugly, repellent, and terrible 
either to see or to experience; but when it assails 
the cradle it assumes its most hideous form. Under- 
fed, or badly fed, neglected, badly housed, and im- 
properly clad, the child of poverty is terribly handi- 
capped at the very start; it has not an even chance 

B 1 


to begin life with. While still in its cradle a yoke 
is laid upon its after years, and it is doomed either 
to die in infancy, or, worse still, to live and grow up 
puny, weak, both in body and in mind, inefficient 
and unfitted for the battle of life. And it is the 
consciousness of this, the knowledge that poverty 
in childhood blights the .whole of life, which makes 
it the most appalling of all the phases of the poverty 

Biologically, the first years of life are supremely 
important. They are the foundation years; and just 
as the stability of a building must depend largely 
upon the skill and care with which its foundations 
are laid, so life and character depend in large measure 
upon the years of childhood and the care bestowed 
upon them. For millions of children the whole of 
life is conditioned by the first few years. The period 
of infancy is a time of extreme plasticity. Proper 
care and nutrition at this period of life are of vital 
importance, for the evils arising from neglect, insuffi- 
cient food, or food that is unsuitable, can never be 
wholly remedied. "The problem of the child is 
the problem of the race," ^ and more and more em- 
phatically science declares that almost all the prob- 
lems of physical, mental, and moral degeneracy 
originate with the child. The physician traces the 
weakness and disease of the adult to defective nutri- 
tion in early childhood; the penologist traces moral 


perversion to the same cause; the pedagogue finds 
the same explanation for his failures. Thanks to 
the many notable investigations made in recent 
years, especially in European countries, sociological 
science is being revolutionized. Hitherto we have 
not studied the great and pressing problems of pau- 
perism and criminology from the child-end ; we have 
concerned ourselves almost entirely with results while 
ignoring causes. The new spirit aims at prevention. 
To the child as to the adult the principal evils of 
poverty are material ones, — lack of nourishing food, 
of suitable clothing, and of healthy home surround- 
ings. These are the fundamental evils from which 
all others arise. The younger children are spared the 
anxiety, shame, and despair felt by their parents and 
by their older brothers and sisters, but they suffer 
terribly from neglect when, as so often happens, their 
mothers are forced to abandon the most important 
functions of motherhood to become wage-earners. 
The cry of a child for food which its mother is power- 
less to give it is the most awful cry the ages have 
known. Even the sound of battle, the mingled 
shrieks of wounded man and beast, and the roar of 
guns, cannot vie with it in horror. Yet that cry 
goes up incessantly : in the world's richest cities the 
child's hunger-cry rises above the din of the mart. 
Fortunate indeed is the child whose lips have never 
uttered that cry, who has never gone breakfastless 


to play or supperless to bed. For periods of destitu- 
tion come sooner or later to a majority of the prole- 
tarian class. Practically all the unskilled laborers 
and hundreds of thousands engaged in the skilled 
trades are so entirely dependent upon their weekly 
wages, that a month's sickness or unemployment 
brings them to hunger and temporary dependence. 
Not long ago, in the course of an address before the 
members of a labor union, I asked all those present 
who had ever had to go hungry, or to see their chil- 
dren hungry, as a result of sickness, accident, or 
unemployment to raise their hands. No less than 
one hundred and eighty-four hands were raised out 
of a total attendance of two hundred and nineteen 
present, yet these were all skilled workers protected 
in a measure by their organization. 

It is not, however, the occasional hunger, the loss 
of a few meals now and then in such periods of dis- 
tress, that is of most importance ; it is the chronic under- 
feeding day after day, month after month, year after 
year. Even where lack of all food is rarely or never 
experienced, there is often chronic underfeeding. 
There may be food sufficient as to quantity, but 
qualitatively poor and almost wholly lacking in 
nutritive value, and such is the tragic fate of those 
dependent upon it that they do not even know that 
they are underfed in the most literal sense of the 
word. They live and struggle and go down to their 


graves without realizing the fact of their disinher- 
itance. A plant uprooted and left lying upon the 
ground withers quickly and dies; planted in dry, 
lifeless, arid soil it would wither and die, too, less 
quickly perhaps but as surely. It dies when there 
is no soil about its roots and it dies when there is 
soil in abundance, but no nourishing qualities in the 
soil. As the plant is, so is the life of a child; where 
there is no food, starvation is swift, mercifully swift, 
and complete; when there is only poor food lacking 
in nutritive qualities starvation is partial, slower, and 
less merciful. The thousands of rickety infants 
to be seen in all our large cities and towns, the anaemic, 
languid-looking children one sees everywhere in 
working-class districts, and the striking contrast 
presented by the appearance of the children of the 
well-to-do bear eloquent witness to the widespread 
prevalence of underfeeding. 

Poverty and Death are grim companions. Wher- 
ever there is much poverty the death-rate is high and 
rises higher with every rise of the tide of want and 
misery. In London, Bethnal Green's death-rate is 
nearly double that of Belgravia;^ in Paris, the poverty- 
stricken district of M^nilmontant has a death-rate 
twice as high as that of the Elys^e;^ in Chicago, the 
death-rate varies from about twelve per thousand in 
the wards where the well-to-do reside to thirty-seven 
per thousand in the tenement wards.* The ill- 


developed bodies of the poor, underfed and overbur- 
dened with toil, have not the powers of resistance to 
disease possessed by the bodies of the more fortunate. 
As fire rages most fiercely and with greatest devas- 
tation among the ill-built, crowded tenements, so 
do the fierce flames of disease consume most readily 
the ill-built, fragile bodies which the tenements 
shelter. As we ascend the social scale the span of 
life lengthens and the death-rate gradually diminishes, 
the death-rate of the poorest class of workers being 
three and a half times as great as that of the well-to-do. 
It is estimated that among 10,000,000 persons of the 
latter class the annual deaths do not number more 
than 100,000, among the best paid of the working- 
class the number is not less than 150,000, while among 
the poorest workers the number is at least 350,000.^ 
The following diagram illustrates these figures 
clearly and needs no further comment: — 

Showing Relative Death-rates per 100,000 Febsoks nr 

Different Classes. 

Well-to-Do Class 

Best Paid Workers 

WorsjL Paid Workers 



This difference in the death-rates of the varioua 
social classes is even more strongly marked in the 
case of infants. Mortality in the first year of life 
differs enormously according to the circumstances 
of the parents and the amount of intelligent care 
bestowed upon the infants. In Boston's "Back 
Bay" district the death-rate at all ages last year 
was 13.45 per thousand as compared with 18.45 in 
the Thirteenth Ward, which is a typical working- 
class district, and of the total number of deaths the 
percentage under one year was 9.44 in the former as 
against 25.21 in the latter. Wolf, in his classic 
studies based upon the vital statistics of Erfurt for 
a period of twenty years, found that for every 1000 
children born in working-class families 505 died in 
the first year; among the middle classes 173, and 
among the higher classes only 89. Of every 1000 
illegitimate children registered — almost entirely of 
the poorer classes — 352 died before the end of the 
first year." Dr. Charles R. Drysdale, Senior Phy- 
sician of the Metropolitan Free Hospital, London, 
declared some years ago that the death-rate of in- 
fants among the rich was not more than 8 per cent, 
while among the very poor it was often as high as 
40 per cent.^ Dr. Play fair says that 18 per cent 
of the children of the upper classes, 36 per cent of 
the tradesman class, and 55 per cent of those of the 
working-class die under the age of five years.* 


And yet the experts say that the baby of the tene- 
ment is born physically equal to the baby of the 
mansion.® For countless years men have sung of 
the Democracy of Death, but it is only recently 
that science has brought us the more inspiring mes- 
sage of the Democracy of Birth. It is not only in 
the tomb that we are equal, where there is neither 
rich nor poor, bond nor free, but also in the womb 
of our mothers. At birth class distinctions are 
unknown. For long the hope-crushing thought of 
prenatal hunger, the thought that the mother's 
hunger was shared by the unborn child, and that 
poverty began its blighting work on the child even 
before its birth, held us in its thrall. The thought 
that past generations have innocently conspired 
against the well-being of the child of to-day, and 
that this generation in its turn conspires against 
the child of the future, is surcharged with the pessi- 
mism which mocks every ideal and stifles every 
hope born in the soul. Nothing more horrible ever 
cast its shadow over the hearts of those who would 
labor for the world's redemption from poverty than 
this spectre of prenatal privation and inherited 
debility. But science comes to dispel the gloom 
and bid us hope. Over and over again it was stated 
before the Interdepartmental Committee by the 
leading obstetrical authorities of the EngUsh medical 
profession that the proportion of children born 


healthy and strong is not greater among the rich 
than among the poor.*® The differences appear after 
birth. Wise, patient Mother Nature provides with 
each succeeding generation opportunity to overcome 
the evils of ages of ignorance and wrong, with each 
generation the world starts afresh and unhampered, 
physically, at least, by the dead past. 

" The world's great age begins anew, 
The golden years return." 

And herein lies the greatest hope of the race; we 
are not handicapped from the start; we can begin 
with the child of to-day to make certain a brighter 
and nobler to-morrow as though there had never 
been a yesterday of woe and wrong.* 


In England the high infantile mortaUty has occa- 
sioned much alarm and called forth much agitation. 
There is a world of pathos and rebuke in the grim 
truth that the knowledge that it is becoming increas- 
ingly difficult to get suitable recruits for the army 
and navy has stirred the nation in a way that the 
fate of the children themselves and their inabiUty to 
become good and useful citizens could not do." 

* For a contrary view of this question, see Dr. Paton*s article on 
**The Influence of Diet in Pregnancy on the Weight of the Off- 
spring," Lancet, July 4, 1903; and Dr. Ballantyoe's "Antenatal 
Pathology and Hygiene." 


Alarmed by the decline of its industrial and commer- 
cial supremacy, and the physical inferiority of its sol- 
diers so manifest in the South African war, a most 
rigorous investigation of the causes of physical dete- 
rioration has been made, with the result that on all 
sides it is agreed that poverty in childhood is the 
main cause. Greater attention than ever before has 
been directed to the excessive mortality of infants 
and young children. Of a total of 587,830 deaths 
in England and Wales in 1900 no less than 142,912, 
or more than 24 per cent of the whole, were infants 
under one year, and 35.76 per cent were under five 
years of age. That this death-rate is excessive and 
that the excess is due to essentially preventable 
causes is admitted, many of the leading medical 
authorities contending that under proper social 
conditions it might be reduced by at least one-half. 
If that be true, and there is no good reason for doubt- 
ing it, the present death-rate means that more than 
70,000 little baby lives are needlessly sacrificed each 

No figures can adequately reprefSent the meaning 
of this phase of the problem which has been so pic- 
turesquely named "race suicide." Only by gathering 
them all into one vast throng would it be possible 
to conceive vividly the immensity of this annual 
slaughter of the babies of a Christian land. If some 
awful great child plague came and swept away every 


child under a year old in the states of Massachusetts, 
Idaho, and New Mexico, not a babe escaping, the 
loss would be less than those that are beUeved to be 
needlessly lost each year in England and Wales. Or, 
to put it in another form, the total number of these 
infants believed to have died from causes essentially 
preventable in the year 1900 was greater than the 
total number of infants of the same age living in the 
following six states, — Connecticut, Maine, Dela- 
ware, Florida, Colorado, and Idaho. Even if the 
estimate of the sacrifice be regarded as being exces- 
sive, and we reduce it by half, it still remains an 
awful sum. 

Unfortunately, there is no reason to suppose that 
the infantile death-rate in the United States is nearly 
so far below that of England as is generally supposed. 
The general death-rate is given in the census returns 
as 16.3 per thousand, or about two per thousand less 
than in England. But owing to a variety of causes, 
chief of which is the defective system of registration 
in several states, these figures are not very reliable, 
and it is generally agreed that the mortaUty for the 
whole country cannot be less than for the '' Regis- 
tration Area," 17.8 per thousand. Similarly, the 
difference in the infantile death-rate of the two 
countries is much less than the following crude 
figures contained in the census reports appear at first 
to indicate : — 



United States 

England and Wales 

Deaths at all ages, 1,039,094 
Deaths under 1 year, 199,325 
Deaths under 5 years, 317,532 

Deaths at all ages, 587,830 
Deaths under 1 year, 142,912 
Deaths under 5 years, 209,960 

In the English returns the death of every child 
having had a separate existence is counted, even 
though it Uved only a few seconds, but in this coun- 
try there is no uniform rule in this respect. In 
Chicago, for instance, ''no account is taken of deaths 
occurring within twenty-four hours after birth," *^ 
and in Philadelphia a similar custom prevailed until 
1904.^^ Such facts seriously vitiate comparisons of 
the infantile death-rates of the two countries which 
are based upon the crude statistics of census returns. 
But while the difference is much less than the 
figures given would indicate, it is still safe to assume 
that the infantile death-rate is lower in this country 
than in England. Such a condition might reason- 
ably be expected for numerous reasons. We have 
a larger rural population with a higher economic 
status; new virile blood is being constantly infused 
by the immigration of the strongest and most aggres- 
sive elements of the population of other lands; our 
people, especially our women, are more temperate. 
All these factors would tend naturally to a lower 
death-rate at all ages, but especially of infants. 




That with all these favorable conditions our infan- 
tile mortality should so nearly approximate that of 
England, that of every thousand deaths 307.8 should 
be of children under five years of age — according 
to the crude figures of the census, more if a correct 
registration upon the same basis as the EngUsh 
figures could be had — is a matter of grave national 
concern. If we make an arbitrary allowance of 20 
per cent, to account for the slight improvement 
shown by the death-rates and for other differences, 
and regard 30 per cent of the infantile death-rate as 
being due to socially preventable causes, instead of 
50 per cent, as in the case of England, we have an 
appalUng total of more than 95,000 unnecessary deaths 
in a single year. 

And of these "socially preventable" causes there 
can be no doubt that the various phases of poverty 
represent fully 85 per cent, giving an annual sacri- 
fice to poverty of practically 80,000 baby fives. If 
some modern Herod had caused the death of every 
male child under twelve months of age in the state 
of New York in the year 1900, not a single child 
escaping, the number thus brutally slaughtered would 
have been practically identical with this sacrifice. 
Poverty is the Herod of modern civilization, and 
Justice the warning angel calling upon society to 
"arise and take the young child" out of the reach of 
the monster's wrath. 



If our vital statistics were specially designed to 
that end, they could not hide the relation of poverty 
to disease and death more effectually than they do 
now. It is impossible to tell from any of the elaborate 
tables compiled by the census authorities what pro- 
portion of the total number of infant deaths were due 
to defective nutrition or other conditions primarily 
associated with poverty. No one who has studied the 
question doubts that the proportion is very great, but 
it is impossible to present the matter statistically, 
except in the form of a crude estimate. There is 
much of value in our great collections of statistics, 
but the most vital facts of all are rarely included 
in them. 

In the great dispensary a little girl of tender years 
stands holding up a baby not yet able to walk. She 
is a "little mother," that most pathetic of all pov- 
erty's victims, her childhood taken away and the 
burden of womanly cares thrust upon her. "Please, 
doctor, do somethin' fer baby!" she pleads. Baby 
is sick unto death, but she does not realize it. Its 
breath comes in short, wheezy gasps; its skin burns, 
and its little eyes glow with the brightness that 
doctors and nurses dread. One glance is all the 
doctor needs; in that brief glance he sees the ill- 
shaped head and the bent and twisted legs that tell 


of rickets. Helpless, with the pathetically per- 
functory manner long grown familiar to him he gives 
the child some soothing medicine for her tiny charge's 
bronchial trouble and enters another case of "bron- 
chitis" upon the register. "And if it wasn't bron- 
chitis, 'twould be something else, and death soon, 
anyhow," he says. Death does come soon, the 
white symbol of its presence hangs upon the street 
door of the crowded tenement, and to the long 
death-roll of the nation another victim of bronchitis 
is added — one of the eleven thousand so registered 
under five years of age. The record gives no hint 
that back of the bronchitis was rickets and back of 
the rickets poverty and hunger. But the doctor 
knows — he knows that little Tad's case is t5rpical 
of thousands who are statistically recorded as dying 
from bronchitis or some other specific disease when 
the real cause, the inducing cause of the disease, is 
malnutrition. Even as the Great White Plague 
recruits its victims from the haunts of poverty, so 
bronchitis preys there and gathers most of its victims 
from the ranks of the children whose lives are spent 
either in the foul and stuffy atmosphere of over- 
crowded and ill- ventilated homes, or on the streets, 
underfed, imperfectly clad, and exposed to all sorts 
of weather. 

For nearly half a century rachitis, or "rickets," 
has been known as the disease of the children of the 


poor. It has been so called ever since Sir William 
Jenner noticed that after the first two births, the 
children of the poor began to get rickety, and care- 
ful investigation showed that the cause was poverty, 
the mothers being generally too poor to get proper 
nourishment while nursing them." It is perhaps 
the commonest disease from which children of the 
working-classes suffer. A large proportion of the 
children in the public schools and on the streets of 
the poorest quarters of our cities, and a majority of 
those treated at the dispensaries or admitted into 
the children's hospitals, are unmistakably victims 
of this disease. One sees them everywhere in the 
poor neighborhoods. The misshapen heads and the 
legs bent and twisted awry are unmistakable signs, 
and the scanty clothing covers pitiful httle "pigeon- 
breasts.'' The small chests are narrowed and flat- 
tened from side to side, and the breast-bones are 
forced imnaturally forward and outward. Tens 
of thousands of children suffer from this disease, 
which is due almost wholly to poor and inadequate 
food. Here again statistical records hide and im- 
prison the soul of truth, failing to yield the faintest 
idea of the ravages of this disease. The number of 
deaths credited to it in 1900 was only 351 for the 
whole of the United States, whereas 10,000 would 
not have been too high a figure. 
Seldom, if ever, fatal by itself, rickets is indirectly 


responsible for a tremendous quota of the infantile 
death-rate.*^ In epidemics of such infectious dis- 
eases as measles, whooping-cough, and others, the 
rickety child falls an easy victim. In these diseases, 
as well as in bronchitis, pneumonia, convulsions, 
diarrhoea, and many other disorders, the mortality 
is far higher among rickety children than among 
others. Nor do the evils of rachitis cease with child- 
hood, but in later Ufe they are unquestionably impor- 
tant and severe. There is no escape for the victim 
even though the storms of childhood be successfully 
weathered, but like some cruel, relentless Nemesis 
the consequences pursue the adult. The weaken- 
ing of the constitution in infancy through poverty 
and underfeeding cannot be remedied, and epilepsy 
and tuberculosis find easy prey among those whose 
childhood had laid upon it the curse of poverty in 
the form of rickets. 

An epidemic of measles spreads over the great 
city. Silently and mysteriously it enters and, unseen, 
touches a single child in the street or the school, 
and the result is as the touch of the blazing torch 
to dry stubble and straw; only it is not stubble but 
the nation's heart, its future citizenry, that is at- 
tacked. From child to child, home to home, street 
to street, the epidemic spreads; mansion and tene- 
ment are aUke stricken, and the city is engaged in 
a fierce battle against the foe which assails its chil- 


dren. In the tenement districts doctors and nurses 
hurry through the sun-scorched streets and wearily 
cUmb the long flights of stairs hour after hour, day 
after day ; in the districts where the rich Hve, doctors 
drive in their carriages to the mansions, and nurses 
tread noiselessly in and out of the sick rooms. Rich 
and poor aUke struggle against the foe, but it is only 
in the homes of the poor that there is no hope in the 
struggle ; only there that the doctors can say no com- 
forting words of assurance. When the battle is over 
and the victims are numbered, there is rejoicing in 
the mansion and bitter, poignant sorrow in the tene- 
ment. For poor children are practically the only 
ones ever to die from measles. Nature starts all 
her children equally, rich and poor, but the evil con- 
ditions of poverty create and foster vast inequaUties 
of opportunity to Hve and flourish. 

Dr. Henry Ashby, an eminent authority upon 
children's diseases, says : ^' In healthy children among 
the well-to-do class the mortality (from measles) is 
practically nil, in the tubercular and wasted children 
to he found in workhouses, hospitals, and among the 
lower classes, the mortality is enormous, no disease 
more certainly being attended with a fatal result. Will- 
iam Squires places it in crowded wards at 20 to 
30 per cent of those attacked. Among dispensary 
patients the mortaUty generally amounts to 9 or 10 
per cent. In our own dispensary, during the six 


years, 1880-1885, 1395 cases were treated with 128 
deaths, making a mortality of 9 per cent. Of the 
fatal cases 73 per cent were under two years of age 
and 9 per cent under six months of age." " 

These are terrible words coming as they do from a 
great physician and teacher of physicians. Upon 
any less authority one would scarcely dare quote 
them, so terrible are they. They mean that prac- 
tically the whole 8645 infant deaths recorded from 
measles in the United States in the year 1900 were 
due to poverty — to the measureless inequaUty of 
opportunity to hve and grow which human ignorance 
and greed have made. Moreover, the full signifi- 
cance of this impressive statement will not be real- 
ized if we think only of its relation to one disease. 
The same might be said of many other diseases of 
childhood which blight and destroy the Uves of babies 
as mercilessly as the sharp frosts blight and kill the 
first tender blossoms of spring. The same writer 
says: "It may be taken for granted that no healthy 
infants suffer from convulsions; those who do are 
either rickety or the children of neurotic parents." " 
And there were no less than 14,288 infant deaths 
from convulsions in the United States in the census 
year. It would probably be a considerable under- 
estimate to regard 10,000 of these deaths, or 70 per 
cent of the whole, as due to poverty. 

It is not my intention to attempt the impossible 


task of sifting the death returns so as to measure the 
sum of infantile mortality due to poverty. These 
figures and the table which follows are not introduced 
for that purpose; I have taken only a few of the 
diseases more conspicuously associated with defec- 
tive nutrition and other conditions comprehended 
by the term poverty, and, supported by a strong 
body of medical testimony, made certain more or 
less arbitrary allowances for poverty's influence upon 
the sum of mortality from each cause. Some of the 
estimates may perhaps be criticised as being too high, 
— no man knows, — but I am convinced that upon the 
whole the table is a conservative one. No compe- 
tent judge will dispute the statement that some of 
the estimates are very low, and when it is remem- 
bered that only a few of the many causes of infantile 
mortality are included and that there are many 
others not enumerated in which poverty plays an 
important part, I think it can safely be said that in 
this country, the richest and greatest country in the 
world's history, poverty is responsible for at least 
80,000 infant Hves every year — more than two 
hundred every day in the year, more than eight 
lives each hour, day by day, night by night through- 
out the year. It is impossible for us to realize fully 
the immensity of this annual sacrifice of baby lives. 
Think what it means in five years — in a decade — in 
a quarter of a century. 



Table showing Infantile Mortality from Eleven 
Given Causes and the Estimated Influence of 
Poverty thereon 


No. OF Deaths 



Est. Pee Cent 
Due to Bad 

Est. No. of Deaths 
Due to Bad Con- 
ditions — POVEETT 

Measles . . 
Inanition . . 
Convulsions . 
Pneumonia . 
Bronchitis . 
Croup . . . 
Debility and Atrophy 
Cholera Infantum 
Diarrhoea . . . 
Cholera Morbus 














There are doubtless many persons, lay and medi- 
cal, who will think that the foregoing figures exag- 
gerate the evil. But I would remind them that I 
have only ascribed 30 per cent of the infantile death- 
rate to "socially preventable causes," and only 85 
per cent of that number to poverty in the broadest 
sense of that word.* I have purposely set my esti- 

♦ Drs. Baillestre and Gillette have estimated that three-fourths 
of the infantile death-rate of France are due to avoidable causes. 
Five years of ignorance, they say, has cost France 220,000 lives — 
equal to the loss of an army corps of 45,000 men annually. — Lancet^ 
February 2, 1901. 


mate much lower than I am convinced it should be. 
All the facts point irresistibly to the conclusion that 
even 50 per cent would be a conservative estimate. 

In connection with the New York Foundling Asy- 
lum on Randall's Island, it was decided some few 
years ago to introduce the Straus system of Pasteur- 
izing the milk given to the babies. The year before 
the system was introduced there were 1181 babies 
in the asylum, of which number 524, or 44.36 per 
cent, died. In the year following, during which 
the system was in operation, the number of children 
was 1284 and the number of deaths only 255, or 19.80 
per cent. In other words, there were 8.03 per cent 
more children and 48.66 per cent fewer deaths.^* 

Even more important is the testimony furnished 
by the Municipal ^^ Clean Milk" depots of Rochester, 
New York. Some years ago the Health Officer, Dr. 
George W. Goler, called the attention of the city 
authorities to the high infantile mortaUty occurring 
over a period of several years during the months of 
July and August. After thorough investigation it 
was fairly established that impure milk was one very 
important reason for this high death-rate among 
children imder five years of age. Accordingly the 
Pasteurization system was introduced. Depots were 
opened in the poorest parts of the city and placed in 
charge of trained nurses. After three years it was 
decided that instead of Pasteurizing the milk obtained 




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from all sorts of places, with all its contained bacteria 
and dirt, a central depot on a farm should be estab- 
lished and all energies should be devoted to the 
insuring of a pure, clean, and wholesome supply by 
keeping dirt and germs out of the milk and sterihzing 
all bottles and utensils. Strict control is also exer- 
cised in this way over the farmer with whom the 
contract for supplying the milk is made. 

Some idea of the important effects of this scientific 
attention by the Board of Health to the staple diet 
of the vast majority of children may be gathered 
from the following figures, which do not, however, 
tell the whole story. In the months of July and 
August during the eight years, 1889-1896, prior to 
the establishment of the Municipal Milk Stations, 
there were 1744 deaths under five years of age from 
all causes; in the same months during eight follow- 
ing years, 1897-1904, there were only 864 deaths under 
five years of age from all causes, a decrease of 50.46 
per cent, despite a progressive increase of popula- 
tion.*' It can hardly be questioned, I think, that 
these figures suggest that my estimate is altogether 

The yearly loss of these priceless baby lives does 
not, however, represent the full measure of the awful 
cost of the poverty which surrounds the cradle. It 
is not only that 75,000 or 80,000 die, but that as 
many more of those who survive are irreparably 


weakened and injured. Not graves alone but hos- 
pitals and prisons are filled with the victims of child- 
hood poverty. They who survive go to school, but 
are weak, nervous, dull, and backward in their studies. 
Discouraged, they become morose and defiant, and 
soon find their way into the ^'reformatories," for 
truancy or other juvenile dehnquencies. Later they 
fill the prisons, for the ranks of the vagrant and the 
criminal are recruited from the truant and juvenile 
offender. Or if happily they do not become vicious, 
they fail in the struggle for existence, the relentless 
competition of the crowded labor mart, and sink into 
the abysmal depths of pauperism. Weakened and im- 
paired by the privations of their early years, they 
cannot resist the attacks of disease, and constant 
sickness brings them to the lowest level of that con- 
dition which the French call la mishre. 

However interesting and sociologically valuable 
such an analysis might be, the separation of the 
different features of poverty so as to determine their 
relative influence upon the sum of mortahty and 
sickness is manifestly impossible. We cannot say 
that bad housing accounts for so many deaths, poor 
clothing for so many, and hunger for so many more. 
These and other evils are regularly associated in 
cases of poverty, the imderfed being almost invari- 


ably poorly clad, and housed in the least healthy 
homes. We cannot regard them as distinct prob- 
lems; they are only different phases of the same 
problem of poverty, — a problem which does not 
lend itself to dissection at the hands of the investi- 
gator. Still, notwithstanding that for many years 
all efforts to reduce the rate of mortality among 
infants have dealt only with questions of bad hous- 
ing and of unhygienic conditions in general, — on 
the assumption that these are the most important 
factors making for a high rate of infant mortality, — 
it is now generally admitted that, important as they are 
in themselves, these are relatively unimportant factors 
in the infant death-rate. "Sanitary conditions do 
not make any real difference at all," and "It is food 
and food alone," was the testimony of Dr. Vincent 
before the British Interdepartmental Committee,^® 
and he was supported by some of the most eminent 
of his colleagues in that position. That the evils 
of underfeeding are intensified when there is an un- 
hygienic environment is true, but it is equally true 
that defect in the diet is the prime and essential 
cause of an excessive prevalence of infantile diseases 
and of a high death-rate. 

Perhaps no part of the population of our great 
cities suffers so much upon the whole from over- 
crowding and bad housing as the poorest class of 
Jews, yet the mortality of infants among them is 


much less than among the poor of other nationaHties, 
as, for instance, among the Irish and the Italians. Dr. 
S. A. Knopf, one of our foremost authorities upon 
the subject of tuberculosis, places imderf ceding and 
improper feeding first, and bad housing and insani- 
tary conditions in general second as factors in the 
causation of children's diseases. In Birmingham, 
England, an elaborate study of the vital statistics 
of nineteen years showed that there had been a large 
decrease in the general death-rate, due, apparently, 
to no other cause than the extensive sanitary improve- 
ments made in that period, but the rate of infantile 
mortahty remained absolutely unchanged. The 
average general death-rate for the nine years, 
1873-1881, was 23.5 per thousand; in the ten years, 
1882-1891, it was only 20.6. But the infantile 
death-rate was not affected, and remained at 169 
per thousand during both periods. There had been 
a reduction of 12 per cent in the general death-rate, 
while that for infants showed no reduction. Had 
this been decreased in like degree, the infantile mor- 
tahty would have fallen from 169 to 148 per thousand.^* 
Extensive inquiries in the various children's hos- 
pitals and dispensaries in New York, and among 
physicians of large practice in the poorer quarters of 
several cities, point with striking unanimity to the 
same general conclusion. The Superintendents of 
six large dispensaries, at which more than 25,000 


children are treated annually, were asked what pro- 
portion of the cases treated could be ascribed, on a 
conservative estimate, primarily to inadequate nutri- 
tion, and the average of their replies was 45 per cent. 

In one case the Registrar in a cursory ex- 
amination of the register for a single day pointed 
out eleven cases out of a total of seventeen, due al- 
most beyond question entirely to under-nutrition. 

The Superintendent of the New York Babies' Hos- 
pital, Miss Marianna Wheeler, kindly copied from the 
admission book particulars of sixteen consecutive 
cases. The list shows malnutrition as the most 
prominent feature of 75 per cent of the cases. Miss 
Wheeler says : '^ The large majority of our cases are 
similar to these given; in fact, if I kept on right 
down the admission book, would find the same facts 
in case after case." 


As in all human problems, ignorance plays an im- 
portant role in this great problem of childhood's suf- 
fering and misery. The tragedy of the infant's 
position is its helplessness ; not only must it suffer on 
account of the misfortunes of its parents, but it must 
suffer from their vices and from their ignorance as 
well. Nurses, sick visitors, dispensary doctors, and 
those in charge of babies' hospitals tell pitiful stories 
of almost incredible ignorance of which babies are the 
victims. A child was given cabbage by its mother 


when it was three weeks old; another, seven weeks 
old, was fed for several days in succession on sausage 
and bread with pickles! Both died of gastritis, 
victims of ignorance. In another New York tene- 
ment home a baby less than nine weeks old was fed 
on sardines with vinegar and bread by its mother. 
Even more pathetic is the case of the baby, barely 
six weeks old, found by a district nurse in 
Boston in the family clothes-basket which formed 
its cradle, sucking a long strip of salt, greasy bacon 
and with a bottle containing beer by its side. Though 
rescued from immediate death, this child will probably 
never recover wholly from the severe intestinal dis- 
order induced by the ignorance of its mother. Yet, 
after all, it is doubtful whether the beer and bacon 
were worse for it than many of the patent "infant 
foods" of the cheaper kinds commonly given in good 
faith to the children of the poor. If medical opinion 
goes for anything, many of these "foods" are httle 
better than slow poisons.^^ Tennyson's awful 
charge is still true, that : — 

" The spirit of murder works in the very means of Me.** 

Nor is the work of this spirit of murder confined to 
the concoction of "patent foods" which are in reaUty 
patent poisons. The adulteration of milk with 
formaldehyde and other base adulterants is respon- 
sible for a great deal of infant mortality, and its 


ravages are chiefly confined to the poor. It is Httle 
short of alarming that in New York City, out of 3970 
samples of milk taken from dealers for analysis during 
1902, no less than 2095, or 52.77 per cent, should 
have been found to be adulterated.^' Mr. Nathan 
Straus, the philanthropist whose Pasteurized milk 
depots have saved many thousands of baby lives 
during the past twelve years, has not hesitated to 
call this adulteration by its proper name, child- 
mm'der. He says: — 

"If I should hire Madison Square Garden and 
announce that at eight o'clock on a certain evening 
I would publicly strangle a child, what excitement 
there would be! 

'^If I walked out into the ring to carry out my 
threat, a thousand men would stop me and kill me — 
and everybody would applaud them for doing so. 

"But every day children are actually murdered 
by neglect or by poisonous milk. The murders are 
as real as the murder would be if I should choke a 
child to death before the eyes of a crowd. 

"It is hard to interest the people in what they 
don't see."" 

Ignorance is indeed a grave and important phase 
of the problem, and the most difficult of all to deal 
with. Education is the remedy, of course, but how 
shall we accomplish it? It is not easy to educate 
after the natural days of education are passed. Mrs. 


Havelock Ellis has advocated "a noviciate for mar- 
riage," a period of probation and of preparation and 
equipment for marriage and maternity.^ But such a 
proposal is too far removed from the sphere of practi- 
cality to have more than an academic interest at pres- 
ent. Simply worded letters to mothers upon the care 
and feeding of their infants, supplemented by personal 
visits from well-trained women visitors, would help, 
as similar methods have helped, in the campaign 
against tuberculosis. Many foreign municipahties 
have adopted this plan, notably Huddersfield, Eng- 
land, and several American cities have followed 
their example with marked success. There should 
be no great difficulty about its adoption generally. 
One great obstacle to be overcome is the resentment 
of the mothers whom it is most necessary to reach, 
as many of those engaged in philanthropic work 
know all too well. One poor woman, whose little 
child was aiUng, became very irate when a lady vis- 
itor ventured to offer her some advice concerning 
the child's clothing and food, and soundly berated 
her would-be adviser. ''You talk to me about how 
to look after my baby!" she cried. "Why, I guess 
I know more about it than you do. I've buried 
nine already!" It is not the naive humor of the 
poor woman's wrath that is most significant, but the 
grim, tragic pathos back of it. Those four words, 
"IVe buried nine already!" tell more eloquently 


than could a hundred learned essays or polished 
orations the vastness of civiUzation's failure. For, 
surely, we may not regard it as anything but failure 
so long as women who have borne eleven children 
into the world, as had this one, can say, ''I've buried 
nine already!" 

But circular letters and lady visitors will not solve 
the problem of maternal ignorance; such methods 
can only skim the surface of the evil. This ignorance 
on the part of mothers, of which the babies are vic- 
tims, is deeply rooted in the soil of those economic 
conditions which constitute poverty in the broadest 
sense of the term, though there may be no destitution 
or absolute want. It is not poverty in the narrow 
sense of a lack of the material necessities of life, but 
rather a condition in which these are obtain- 
able only by the concentrated effort of all members 
of the family able to contribute anything and to the 
exclusion of all else in life. Young girls who go to 
work in shops and factories as soon as they are old 
enough to obtain employment frequently continue 
working up to within a few days of marriage, and not 
infrequently return to work for some time after 
marriage. Especially is this true of girls employed 
in mills and factories; their male acquaintances are 
for the most part fellow-workers, and marriages 
between them are numerous. Where many women 
are employed men's wages are, as a consequence^ 


almost invariably low, with the result that after 
marriage it is as necessary that the woman should 
work as it was before. 

When the years which under more favored condi- 
tions \yould have been spent at home in prepara- 
tion for the duties of wifehood and motherhood are 
spent behind the counter, at the bench, or amid the 
whirl of machinery in the factory, it is scarcely to 
be wondered at that the knowledge of domestic 
economy is scant among them, and that so many 
utterly fail as wives and mothers. Deprived of the 
opportunities of helping their mothers with the 
housework and cooking and the care of the younger 
children, marriage finds them ill-equipped ; too often 
they are slaves to the frying-pan, or to the stores 
where cooked food may be bought in small quantities. 
Bad cooking, extravagance, and mismanagement are 
incidental to our modern industrial conditions. 


But there is a great deal of improper feeding of 
infants which, apparently due to ignorance, is in 
reality due to other causes, and the same is true of 
what appears to be neglect. In every large city 
there are hundreds of married women and mothers 
who must work to keep the family income up to the 
level of sufficiency for the maintenance of its members. 
According to the census of 1900 there were 769,477 


married women "gainfully employed" in the United 
States, but there is every reason to believe that the 
aetual number was much greater, for it is a well- 
known fact that married women, especially in fac- 
tories, often represent themselves as being single, 
for the reason, possibly, that it is considered more 
or less of a disgrace to have to continue working 
after marriage. Moreover, it is certain that many 
thousands of women who work irregularly, a day or 
two a week, or, as in many cases, only at intervals 
during the sickness or unemployment of their hus- 
bands, were omitted. A million would probably 
be well witliin the mark as an estimate of the num- 
ber of married women workers, the census figures 
notwithstanding. These working mothers may be 
conveniently divided into two classes, the home 
workers, such as dressmakers, "finishers'^ employed 
in the clothing trades, and many others; and the 
many thousands who are employed away from their 
homes in cigar-making, cap-making, the textile 
industries, laundry work, and a score of other occu- 
pations including domestic service. 

The proportion of married women having small 
children is probably larger among those employed 
in the home industries than in those which are 
carried on outside of the homes. Out of 748 female 
home "finishers" in New York, for instance, 658 
were married and 557 had from one to seven children 


each.^" The percentage could hardly equal that in 
the outside industries. While there are exceptional 
cases, as a rule no married woman, especially if she 
has young children, will go out to work unless forced 
to do so by sheer necessity. Dr. Annie S. Daniel, 
in a most interesting study of the conditions in 515 
famihes where the wives worked as finishers, found 
that no less than 448, or 86.78 per cent of the whole, 
were obliged to work by reason of poverty arising 
from low wages, frequent unemployment, or sick- 
ness of their husbands. Of the other 67 cases, 45 of 
the women were widows, 15 had been deserted, and 
7 had husbands who were intemperate and shiftless. 
Of all causes low wages was the most common, the 
average weekly income of the men being only $3.81. 
The average of the combined weekly earnings of 
man and wife was $4.85, and rent, which averaged 
$8.99 per month, absorbed almost one-half of this. 
In addition to the earnings of the men and women, 
there were other smaller sources of income, such as 
children's wages and money received from lodgers, 
which brought the average income per family of 
4J persons up to $5.69 per week.^^ 

Nothing could be further from the truth than the 
comfortable delusion under which so many excellent 
people live, that so long as the work is done at home 
the children will not be neglected nor suffer. While 
it is doubtless true that home employment of the 


mother is somewhat less disadvantageous to the 
child than if she were employed away from home, — 
though more injurious from the point of view of the 
mother herself, — the fact is that such employment 
is in every way prejudicial to the child. Even if 
the joint income of both parents raises the family 
above want, the conditions under which that income 
is earned must involve serious neglect of the child. 
The mother is taken away from her household duties 
and the care of her children; her time is given an 
economic value which makes it too precious to be 
spent upon anything but the most important thing 
of all, — provision for their material needs. She has 
no time for cooking and little for eating ; the children 
must shift for themselves. 

Thus the employment of the mother is responsible 
for numerous evils of underfeeding, improper feed- 
ing, and neglect. She works from early morn till 
night, pausing only twice or thrice a day to snatch 
a hasty meal of bread and coffee with the children. 
Her pay varies with the kind of work she does, from 
one-and-a-half to ten cents an hour. Ordinarily 
she will work from twelve to fourteen hours daily, 
but sometimes, when the work has to be finished and 
deUvered by a fixed time, she may work sixteen, 
eighteen, or even twenty hours at a stretch. And 
then there are the "waiting days" when work is 
slack, and hxmger, or the fear of hunger, weighs 


heavily upon her and crushes her down. Hard is 
her lot, for when she works there is food, but little 
time for eating and none for cooking or the care of 
her children; when there is no work there is time 
enough, but Uttle food. 

In Brooklyn, in a rear tenement in the heart of 
that huge labyrinth of bricks and mortar near the 
Great Bridge, such a mother lives and struggles 
against poverty and the Great White Plague. She 
is an American, born of American parents, and her 
husband is also native-born but of Scotch parentage. 
He is a laborer and when at work earns $1.75 per 
day, but partly owing to frequently recurring sick- 
ness and partly also to the difficulty of obtaining 
employment, it is doubtful whether his wages aver- 
age $6 a week the year through. Of six children 
born only two are living, their ages being seven 
years and two-and-a-half years respectively. Both 
are rickety and weak and stunted in appearance. 
As she sat upon her bed sewing, only pausing to cough 
when the plague seemed to choke her, she told her 
story: ''It's awful," she said, ''but I must work else 
we shall get nothing to eat and be turned into the 
street besides. I have no time for anything but 
work. I must work, work, work, and work. Often 
we go to our beds as we left them when I haven't 
time or strength to shake them up, and Joe, my 
husband, is too tired or sick to do it. Cooking? 


Oh, I cook nothing, for I haven't time ; I must work. 
I send the little girl out to the store across the way 
and she gets what she can, — crackers, cake, cheese, 
anything she can get — and I'm thankful if I can 
only make some fresh tea." Neither of this woman's 
two little children has ever known the experience 
of being decently fed, and their weak, rickety bodies 
tell the results. From a bare account of their diet it 
might be inferred that the mother must be ignorant 
or neglectful, but she is, on the contrary, a most in- 
telligent woman and devoted to her children. Under 
better conditions she would perhaps have been a 
model housewife and mother, but it is not within 
the possibihties of her toil-worn, hunger-wasted body 
to be these and at the same time a wage-earner. So, 
without attempting to minimize the part which 
ignorance plays, it is well to emphasize the fact, so 
often lost sight of and forgotten, that what appears 
to be ignorance or neglect is very frequently only 
poverty in one of its many disguises. 


As a contributory cause of excessive mortality 
and sickness among young children, the employment 
of mothers away from their homes is even more im- 
portant. There is no longer any serious dispute 
upon that point, though twenty-five years ago it 
was the subject of a good deal of vigorous contro- 


versy on both sides of the Atlantic.^^ Professor 
Jevons thoroughly established his claim that the 
employment of mothers and the ensuing neglect of 
their infants is a serious cause of infantile mortality 
and disease. So important did he consider the 
question to be that he strenuously advocated the 
enactment of legislation forbidding the employment 
of mothers until their youngest children were at least 
three years old.^® When one who is famihar with 
the facts considers all that the employment of mothers 
involves, it is difficult to imagine how its evil effects 
upon the children could ever have been questioned. 
In too many cases the toil continues through the 
most critical periods of pregnancy; the infants are 
weaned early in order that the mother may return 
to her employment, and placed in charge of some 
other person — often a mere child, inexperienced 
and ignorant. These ''Httle mothers" have been 
much praised and ideahzed until we have be- 
come prone to forget that their very existence is 
a great social menace and crime. It is true tha^ 
many of them show a wonderful amount of courage 
and precocity in dealing with the babies intrusted 
to their care. But in praising these qualities we 
must not forget that they are still children, neces- 
sarily unfitted for the responsibilities thus placed 
upon them. Moreover, they themselves are the 
victims of a great social crime when their childhood 



is taken away and the cares of life which belong to 
grown men and women are thrust upon them. 

In a personal letter to the writer, Mr. Roscoe 
Doble, Clerk to the Health Board of Lawrence, 
Massachusetts, says: "Relative to the high infan- 
tile mortality, I can only say that ignorance in the 
preparation of food, illy ventilated tenements, and, 
in many cases, unavoidable neglect occasioned by 
the mothers being obliged to work away from the 
homes, often leaving their babies in the care of other 
children, seem to be the prime factors in the high 
mortality among children." Similar testimony has 
been given by physicians and nurses wherever I have 
made inquiries, indicating a general consensus of 
opinion among experts upon the subject. A strik- 
ing instance of the ignorance of these little girls to 
whom infants are intrusted was observed in Hamil- 
ton Fish Park when one of them gave a baby, appar- 
ently not more than four or five months old, soda 
water, banana, ice cream, and chewed cracker — 
all inside of twenty minutes. 

In several factory towns I made careful investiga- 
tions of the home conditions of a number of families 
where the mothers were employed away from their 
homes, noting particularly the rates of infantile mor- 
tahty among them. The following typical schedule 
relates to five cases noted in the course of a single 
day in one of the small towns of New York : — 





All five died under 18 
months of age ; three of 
them under 6 months. 
All the children were 
cared for by other chil- 
dren while mother 
worked. Three died of 
convulsions, two of di- 

All five that died were 
under 12 months of age. 
Two of them died of con- 
vulsions, one of acute 
gastritis, two of mea- 
sles. The baby is a 
puny little thing. 



By girl, 

9 years. 




Irish ; 

American ; 


n»jpiniO JO -OK 



paiQ Su{ABq 
najpiiqo Jo "0^ 



ujog uajpiiqo 
JO jaqmnM mo J, 





Mill laborer. 
Wages 1$9.00 
week, but is 
often sick. 
Drinks heavily. 

Laborer. Often 
Average wage 
the year round 
not more than 
37.00 week. 

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It will be observed that out of a total of 32 children 
bom only 10 were alive at the time of the inquiry, 
and that of the number dead no less than 18 were 
under one year of age, the cause of death in most 
cases being associated with neglect and defective 
diet. Of the ten children surviving, six were de- 
cidedly weak, and the mothers said that they were 
''generally sick" and that somehow it seemed as if 
they "took" every sort of disease, a well-known 
condition of the undernourished child. 

In the same town the case of a poor Hungarian 
mother was brought to my attention by one perfectly 
familiar with all the details, a witness of unassailable 
veracity. This poor Hungarian child-wife and mother 
was barely fifteen when her baby was born, but she 
had been working fully three years in the mill. When 
the child was born the father disappeared. ''He 
was afraid he could never pay the cost," the wife 
said in his defence. On the ninth day after her 
confinement she returned to her work, leaving the 
baby in charge of a girl nine years old. 

Upon the day the baby was two weeks old, word 
came to the mother while at work that it had been 
taken suddenly ill and imploring her to return to it 
at once. Terrified, she sought the foreman of her 
department and begged to be allowed to go home. 
" Ma chil seek ! Ma chil die ! " she cried. But the 
foreman needed her and scowled; they were "rushed" 



in the winding-room. And so he refused to grant 
her the permission she sought — refused with foul 
objurgations. Heartbroken, she went to another, 
superior, foreman and in broken EngUsh begged to 
be allowed to go to her sick babe. *'Ma chil seek! 
Ma chil die!" she cried incessantly. This foreman 
also refused at first to let her go. Perhaps it was 
because he thought of his own daughter that he re- 
lented at last and gave her permission to go home 
— permission to give a mother's care to the child 
born of her travail ! Eye-witnesses say that she 
sank down upon her knees and, with hysterical grati- 
tude, kissed the foreman's rough, dirty hands. "You 
good man ! You good man !" she shrieked, then fled 
from the mill with frenzied haste. 

But when she reached her Uttle tenement home in 
''Hunk's town" the baby was already dead, and there 
was only a lifeless form for her to clasp in her arms. 
The hfe of an infant child is too frail a thing, and too 
uncertain, to permit us to say that a mother's care 
would have sufficed to save that babe. But the doc- 
tor said neglect was the cause of death, and the poor 
mother has moaned daily these many months, *'If I 
no work, ma chil die not. I work an' kill ma chil !" 

Thirty-five years ago Paris was besieged by Ger- 
many's vast army. For months the war raged with 
terrible cost to invader and invaded; industry was 
paralyzed and factories were closed down, with the 


result that there was the most frightful poverty due 
to unemployment. But, because the mothers were 
forced to stay at home, and were thus enabled to 
give their children their personal care and attention 
instead of trusting them to the ''little mothers," 
the mortality of infants decreased by 40 per cent. No 
other explanation of that striking fact, so far as I 
am aware, has ever been attempted.^® Very similar 
was the effect upon the infantile death-rate during 
the great cotton famine in Lancashire as a result of 
the prolonged unemployment of so many hundreds 
of mothers. Notwithstanding the immense increase 
in poverty, the fact that the mothers could personally 
care for their infants more than compensated for it 
and lowered the rate of mortahty in a most striking 
manner.^^ These examples of a profound social 
fact are sufficient for our present purpose, though, 
were it necessary, they might be indefinitely mul- 


Perhaps the employment of mothers too close to 
the time of childbirth, both before and after, is 
almost as important as the subsequent neglect and 
intrusting of children to the tender mercies of igno- 
rant and irresponsible caretakers. Efie Reclus tells 
us that among savages it is the universal custom to 
exempt their women from toil during stated periods 
prior to and following childbirth,^^ and in most 


countries legislation has been enacted forbidding 
the employment of women within a certain given 
period from the birth of a child. In Switzerland 
the employment of mothers is prohibited for two 
months before confinement and the same period 
afterwards.^ At present the English law forbids 
the employment of a mother within four weeks after 
she has given birth to a child, and the trend of public 
opinion seems to be in favor of the extension of the 
period of exemption to the standard set by the Swiss 
law." So far as I am aware there exists no legisla- 
tion of this kind in the United States, in which respect 
we stand alone among the great nations, and behind 
the savage of all lands and ages. 

Wherever women are employed in large numbers, 
as, for example, in the textile industries and in cigar- 
making, the need for such legislation has presented 
itself, and it is impossible, unfortunately, to think 
that the absence of it in this country indicates a like 
absence of need for it. Cases in which women endure 
the agony of parturition amid the roar and whirl of 
machinery, and the bed of childbirth is the factory 
floor, are by no means uncommon. From a large 
mill, less than twenty miles from New York City, 
four such cases were reported to me in less than 
three months. Careful personal investigation in 
each case revealed the fact that the unfortunate 
women had begged in vain that they might be al- 


lowed to go home. One such case occurred on the 
morning of June 27 of this year, and was reported 
to me that same evening by letter. The writer of 
the letter is well known to me and his testimony 

A poor Slav woman, little more than a child in 
years, begged for permission to go home because she 
felt ill and unable to stand. Notwithstanding that 
her condition was perfectly evident, her appeal was 
denied with most brutal oaths. Cowering with fear 
she shrank away back to her loom with tears of shame 
and physical agony. Soon afterward her shrieks 
were heard above the din of the mill and there, in 
the presence of scores of workers of both sexes, — 
many of whom were girls of fourteen years of age, 
— her child was born. Perhaps it is fortunate that 
the child did not Hve to be a constant reminder to the 
poor woman of that hour of unspeakable shame and 
suffering! The young daughter of my correspond- 
ent was one of the witnesses of this shameful, 
inhuman thing. Subsequently I secured ample cor- 
roboration of the story from the local Slav priest 
who knew the poor woman and visited her soon after 
the occurrence. When I showed the letter of my 
informant to a local physician, he acknowledged that 
he had heard of other similar cases occurring and 
begged me to see one of the principal owners of the 
mill and secure the discharge of the foreman whose 


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Careful investigation showed this report to be absohitely correct except 
for the fact that the birth was normal and not "premature." 


name was given. As if that could do any good! 
Wliat good would be accomplished by securing the 
discharge of the man, and possibly bringing him and 
his family to poverty ? That it would salve the con- 
science of the mill owner is probable. That it would 
be a well-deserved rebuke of the foreman's inhumanity 
is Ukewise true. But it would not contribute in 
any way to the solution of the problem of which the 
case in question was but one of many examples. 

Not long ago, in one of the largest cigar factories 
in New York, a woman left her bench with a cry of 
agony and sank down in a corner of the factory, 
where, in the presence of scores of workers of both 
sexes, whose gay laughter and chatter her shrieks had 
stilled, she became a mother. The poor woman 
afterwards confessed that she had feared that it 
might happen so, but said she ''wanted to get in 
another day so as to have a full week's pay and money 
for the doctor." Within two weeks she was back 
again at her trade, but in another shop, her baby 
being left in the care of an old woman of seventy 
who supports herself by caring for little children at 
a charge of five cents per day. In another factory 
a woman returned to work on the seventh day after 
her confinement, but was sent back by the foreman. 
This woman, a Bohemian, explained that she did not 
feel well enough to work but feared that she might 
lose her place if she remained longer away. The 


dread prospect of unemployment and hunger had 
forced her from her bed to face the awful perils at- 
tendant upon premature exertion and exposure. Had 
she been a ^^ savage heathen" in the kraal of some 
Kaffir tribe in Africa she would have been shielded, 
protected, and spared this peril, but she was in a 
civiUzed country, in the richest city of the world, and 
therefore unprotected! 

In many factories, probably a majority, women 
in whom the signs of approaching motherhood are 
conspicuous are discharged. "It don't take two 
people to run this loom," or "Two can't work at one 
job," are typically brutal examples of the language 
employed by bosses of a certain type upon such oc- 
casions. The fear of being discharged causes many 
a poor woman to adopt the most pitiful means to 
hide her condition from the boss. "It wouldn't be 
so bad if we were only laid off for a few weeks, but 
it's getting fired and the trouble of finding a new 
job that hurts," they say. But the consequences 
are too serious alike to mother and child, to justify 
legislative neglect or the dependence upon the wis- 
dom or humanity of employers or foremen. In 
many cases, doubtless, sympathy for the women 
themselves and the knowledge that discharge, or 
even suspension for a few weeks, would mean increased 
poverty and hardship, induces foremen to allow them 
to remain at work as long as they can stand. But 


in mai|y other instances the condition of business and 
the needs of the employer at the moment determine 
the question. If the mill or factory is busy and in 
need of hands, the pregnant woman is rarely dis- 
charged; if there is difficulty in obtaining workers 
in certain unpopular departments, like the winding- 
room of a textile mill, for instance, such a woman 
will frequently be given the option of ceasing work 
or going into the less popular department, generally 
at less wages. 

The evil is apparent, but the remedy is not so ob- 
vious. That no woman should be permitted to 
work during a period of six or eight weeks immediately 
before and after childbirth may be agreed, but then 
the necessity arises for some adequate means of 
securing her proper maintenance during her neces- 
sary and enforced idleness. To forbid her employ- 
ment without making provision for her needs would 
possibly be an even. greater evil than now cries for 
remedy. The question really resolves itself into 
this: Is civilized man equal to the task wliich the 
savage everywhere fulfils? Private philanthropy 
has occasionally grappled with this problem and the 
results have been highly significant of what might 
be accompUshed if what has been done as a matter 
of charity in a few cases could be done generally as a 
matter of justice and right. -Of these private ex- 
periments perhaps the most famous of all are those 


of the celebrated Alsatian manufacturer, M. Jean 
Dolphus, and the Messrs. Fox Brothers, of Welling 
ton, Somerset, England. 

M. Dolphus found that in his factory at Miilhausen, 
where a large number of married women were em- 
ployed, the mothers lost over 40 per cent of their 
babies in the first year, though the average at that 
age for the whole district was only 18 per cent. He 
noticed, moreover, that the mortahty was greatest 
in the first three months of Hf e, and that set him think- 
ing of a remedy. He decided therefore to require 
all mothers to remain away from their work for a 
period of six weeks after childbirth, during which 
time he undertook to pay them their wages in full. 
The results were astonishing, the decrease in infan- 
tile mortality in the first year being from more than 
40 to less than 18 per cent.^ Other employers fol- 
lowed with similarly beneficent results, among these 
being the firm of Fox Brothers, who employed con- 
siderably over one thousand persons, more than 
half of whom were women. They paid wages for 
three weeks only, but provided excellent creches 
with competent matrons in charge for the care of 
the infants whose mothers were at work. There, also, 
the infantile death-rate was very materially reduced, 
though, owing to the fact that no statistics showing 
the rate among children whose mothers were employed 
by the firm prior to the introduction of the plan exist, 


it cannot be statistically represented. Mr. Charles 
H. Fox, head of the firm, is authority for the state- 
ment that the reduction was extensive." The im- 
portance of these experiments, especially in con- 
junction with the experiences of Paris in the great 
siege and Lancashire in the cotton famine, cannot 
easily be overestimated. They clearly show that 
not only hunger, but that other aspect of poverty 
hardly less important, the neglect of infants through 
industrial conditions which force the mothers to 
neglect them, are responsible for an alarming sacri- 
fice of Ufe year by year, and that it is possible to 
reduce materially the rate of infant mortaUty by 
improving the economic circumstances of the parents. 

No study of this problem can be regarded as satis- 
factory which ignores the question of poverty and 
its relation to the number of still-births, yet we can 
only touch briefly upon it. • No brutal Malthusian 
cynicism, but a calm view of such facts as those cited, 
leaves the impression that, however it might be under 
other and more humane social conditions, still- 
birth means very often a child's escape from a life 
of suffering and misery. It is surely better that a 
babe should be strangled in the process of delivery 
from its mother's womb, never to utter a cry, than 
that it should live to cry of hunger which its mother 


cannot appease, or from the torture of food unsuited 
to its little stomach! When a mother suffers all 
the pain and anxiety caused by the struggling life 
within her, and in her travail goes down to the brink 
of the grave, only to be mocked at last by a Hfeless 
thing, she suffers the supreme anguish of her kind. 
Last year there were more than 6000 such tragedies 
in the city of New York alone, and the number in 
the whole country was probably not less than 80,000. 

Some of the best authorities upon the subject of 
vital statistics insist that still-births should be in- 
cluded in the death-rates, and in many foreign cities, 
notably Berhn,^^ they are so included. If such a 
method were adopted in this country, it is easy to 
see how important the effects would be upon the 
tables of mortality. Whatever opinions they may 
hold upon the moot question of regarding still-births 
as deaths in all enumerations, all authorities appear 
to agree that the circumstances of the mothers in- 
fluence the numbers of the still-born as surely as 
they do the actual infantile death-rates. Six phy- 
sicians of large obstetrical experience were asked to 
estimate what percentage of the still-born should 
be ascribed to the influence of poverty, and the aver- 
age of their replies was 60 per cent. 

That may be an overestimate, or it may be, and 
probably is, an underestimate. If we assume it to 
be fairly correct, it means that in one city something 


like 3700 mothers needlessly endured the supreme 
agony, and as many Uves were sacrificed to poverty. 
It means that to the 80,000 babies annually devoured 
by the wolf of poverty must be added another 45,000 
killed by the same cruel foe in the passage of the race 
from the womb of dependence to a ^parate existence. 
Whatever the number may be, it is certain that many 
are still-born because of the fatigue and overexertion 
of the mothers in the critical periods of pregnancy 
and that many more are suffocated in the passage 
from the womb because of the employment of un- 
trained and unskilled midwives — especially, as often 
is the case, when the "midwife" is only a kindly 
neighbor called in because of the poverty of the family 
to which the child comes. And it may be added, in- 
cidentally, that still-birth is not by any means the 
only danger from this source, nor the most lamentable. 
Many accidents of a non-fatal character occur at 
birth which seriously affect the whole of life. Care- 
lessness, inexperience, and ignorance may cause the 
suffocation of the child, or by pressure upon some 
delicate nerve centre irreparable injury may be 
caused to it, such as paralysis for Ufe or hopeless 


It is a strange fact of social psychology that people 
in the mass, whether nations or smaller communities, 
or crowds, have much less feeling and conscience 


than the same people have as individuals. People 
whose souls would cry out against such conditions 
as we have described coming under their notice in a 
specific case, en masse are immoved. As individuals 
we fully recognize that charity can never take the 
place of justice, but collectively, as citizens, we are 
prone to solace ourselves with the thought that 
charity, organized and unorganized, somehow meets 
the problem, and we blind ourselves to the contrary 
evidences which everywhere confront us. But it is 
only too true that charity — ''that damnably cold 
thing called charity" — fails utterly to meet the 
problem of poverty in general and childhood's pov- 
erty in particular. Nothing could be more pathetic 
than the method employed by so many charitable 
persons and societies of attempting to solve the latter 
problem by finding employment for the mother, as 
if that were not the worst phase of all from any sane 
view of the child's interest. Charity degrades and 
demoralizes, and there is little or no compensating 
effective help. In the vast majority of cases it fails 
to reach the suffering in time to save them from be- 
coming chronic dependents. More and more the 
heart and brain of the world are coming to a recog- 
nition of the fact that charity, however well organ- 
ized, cannot solve the problems which the gigantic 
and blind forces inhering in the laws of social devel- 
opment have called into being. 


While the causes of poverty remain active in the 
forces which govern their Uves, it is impossible to 
reclaim the victims. Were nothing but charity 
possible, consideration of this and other phases of 
our growing social misery might well plunge us into 
the deepest and blackest pessimism. But surely 
we may see in those experiments in the work of social 
reconstruction, which wise and enlightened munici- 
pahties have undertaken, a widening sense of social 
responsibihty and the rays of the hope-Ught for which 
men have waited through the years. Such social 
efforts as the municipal milk depots of Europe and this 
country, based upon the Gouttes de Lait of France;" 
the provision of free, well-regulated crkches*^ and 
the extension of free medical service at the public 
cost, have been attended with important beneficial 
results and point the way to further efforts in the 
same direction. Experience points clearly to the need 
of some provision to enable the mother to remain 
with her infant child instead of leaving it to the care 
of others while she joins the great machine, and 
becomes part of it, in the interests of that world- 
supremacy in commerce and industry which is our 
boast and dream, and for which we are paying too 
terrible a price. 

It is, of course, true that even these measures will 
not banish poverty from the world. They can only 
palliate the evils^ not eradicate them. Eradication 


can only be accomplished by greater, foundational 
changes which will make it possible for every child 
to flourish as befits the inheritors of the ages of strife 
and suffering which the world is slowly coming to 
regard as so many experiences and lessons in the art 
of life. Between the present wrong and that ideal 
there must come golden years of opportunity for 
enhghtened social statesmanship consecrated to the 
rescue of the nation's children from the cm-se and 
thrall of cruel and relentless poverty, which other- 
wise must be bequeathed again to the generations 
yet unborn to damn their lives. In the child's cry 
of to-day wisdom will hear the nation of to-morrow 
pleading that it may be saved from the bhght and 
decay of a poverty which our vast resources and 
treasuries of wealth declare to be as needless as it 
is shameful and wrong. 



***It is good when it happens,' say the children, 
* That we die before our time.' " 

— Mrs. Browning. 

In a New York kindergarten one winter's morn- 
ing a frail, dark-eyed girl stood by the radiator warm- 
ing her tiny blue and benumbed hands. She was 
poorly and scantily clad, and her wan, pinched face 
was unutterably sad with the sadness that shadows 
the children of poverty and comes from cares which 
only maturer years should know. When she had 
warmed her Uttle hands back to Ufe again, the child 
looked wistfully up into the teacher's face and 
asked : — 

"Teacher, do you love God?" 

"Why, yes, dearie, of course I love God," answered 
the wondering teacher. 

"Well, I don't — I hate Him!" was the fierce 
rejoinder. "He makes the wind blow, and I haven't 
any warm clothes — He makes it snow, and my 
shoes have holes in them — He makes it cold, and 
we haven't any fire at home — He makes us hungry, 



and mamma hadn't any bread for our breakfast — 
Oh, I hate Him!"^ 

This story, widely pubhshed in the newspapers 
two or three years ago and vouched for by the teacher, 
is remarkable no less for its graphic description of 
the thing called poverty than for the child's pas- 
sionate revolt against the supposed author of her 
misery. Poor, scanty clothing, cheerless homes, 
hunger day by day, — these are the main character- 
istics of that heritage of poverty to which so many 
thousands of children are born. Tens of thousands 
of baby lives are extinguished by its blasts every 
year as though they were so many candles swept by 
angry winds. But their fate is far more merciful 
and enviable than the fate of those who survive. 

For the children who survive the struggle with 
poverty in their infant years, and those who do not 
encounter that struggle until they have reached 
school age, not only feel the anguish and shame 
which comes with developed consciousness, but 
society imposes upon them the added burden of men- 
tal effort. Regarding education as the only safe 
anchorage for a Democracy, we make it compulsory 
and boast that it is one of the fundamental principles 
of our economy that every child shall be given a cer- 
tain amount of elementary instruction. This is our 
safeguard against those evils . which other genera- 
tions regarded as being inherent in popular, repre- 


sentative government. The modern public school, 
with its splendid equipment devised to promote the 
mental and physical development of our future 
citizens, is based upon motives and instincts of self- 
preservation as distinct and clearly defined as those 
underlying our systems of naval and miUtary defences 
against armed invasion, or the systems of public 
sanitation and hygiene through which we seek to 
protect ourselves from devastating plagues within. 
The past fifty or sixty years have been attended 
with a wonderful development of the science of edu- 
cation, as remarkable and important in its way as 
anything of which we may boast. We are proud, 
and justly so, of the admirable machinery of in- 
struction which we have created, the fine buildings, 
laboratories, curricula, highly trained teachers, and 
so on, but there is a growing conviction that all this 
represents only so much mechanical, rather than 
human, progress. We have created a vast network 
of means, there is no lack of equipment, but we have 
largely neglected the human and most important 
factor, the child.^ The futility of expecting efficient 
education when the teacher is handicapped by poor 
and inadequate means is generally recognized, but 
not so as yet the futility of expecting it when the 
teacher has poor material to work upon in the form 
of chronically underfed children, too weak in mind 
and body to do the work required of them. We are 


forever seeking the explanation of the large percentage 
of educational failures in the machinery of instruction 
rather than in the human material, the children 

The nervous, irritable, half-ill children to be found 
in such large nimibers in our public schools represent 
poor material. They are largely drawn from the 
homes of poverty, and constitute an overwhelming 
majority of those children for whom we have found 
it necessary to make special provision, — the back- 
ward, dull pupils found year after year in the same 
grades with much younger children. In a measure 
the relation of a child's educabiUty to its physical 
health and comfort has been recognized by the cor- 
relation of physical and mental exercises in most 
up-to-date schools, but its larger social and economic 
significance has been almost wholly ignored. And 
yet it is quite certain that poverty exercises the same 
retarding influences upon the physical training as 
upon mental education. There are certain condi- 
tions precedent to successful education, whether 
physical or mental. Chief of these are a reasonable 
amoimt of good, nourishing food and a healthy home. 
Deprived of these, physical or mental development 
must necessarily be hindered. And poverty means 
just that to the child. It denies its victim these 
very necessities with the inevitable result, physical 
and mental weakness and inefficiency. 



In a careful analysis of the principal data available, 
Mr. Robert Hunter has attempted the difficult task 
of estimating the measure of privation, and his con- 
clusion is that in normal times there are at least 
10,000,000 persons in the United States in poverty .' 
That is to say, there are so many persons underfed, 
poorly housed, underclad, and having no security 
in the means of Ufe. As an incidental condition he 
has observed that poverty's misery falls most heavily 
upon the children, and that there are probably not 
less than from 60,000 to 70,000 children in New 
York city alone *'who often arrive at school hun- 
gry and unfitted to do well the work required.'** 
By a section of the press that statement was gar- 
bled into something very different, that 70,000 
children in New York city go " breakf astless " to 
school every day. In that form the statement was 
naturally and very justly criticised, for, of course, 
nothing like that number of children go absolutely 
without breakfast. It is not, however, a question of 
children going without breakfast, but of children 
who are underfed, and the latter word would have 
been better fitted to express the real meaning of the 
original statement than the word "hungry." Many 
thousands of Uttle children go breakfastless to school 
at times, but the real problem is much more extensive 


than that and embraces that much more numerous 
class of children who are chronically underfed, either 
because their food is insufficient in quantity, or, what 
is the same thing in the end, poor in quahty and lack- 
ing in nutriment. 

It is noteworthy that no serious criticism of the 
estimate that there are 10,000,000 in poverty has 
been attempted. Some of the most experienced 
philanthropic workers in the country have indeed 
urged that it is altogether too low. I am myself 
convinced that the estimate is a most conservative one. 
It would be warranted alone by the figures of unem- 
ployment, which show that in 1900, a year of fairly 
normal industrial conditions, 2,000,000 male wage- 
earners were unemployed for from four to six months. 
But to these figures Mr. Hunter adds a mass of cor- 
roborative facts which suggest that the only just 
criticism which can be made of his estimate is 
that it is an understatement. And, if there are 
10,000,000 persons in poverty in the United States, 
there must be at least 3,300,000 of that number 
under fourteen years of age. 

To test the accuracy of the statistics of imemploy- 
ment, low wages, sickness, charitable rehef, etc., 
by detailed investigation would be an impossible task 
for any private investigator. No such test could be 
effectively carried out in a single great city by private 
agencies. But, while they are open to the criticisms 


which all such statistics are subject to, those given 
by Mr. Hunter represent the most reliable data 
available. They justify, I believe, the conclusion 
that in normal times there are not less than 3,300,000 
children under fourteen years of age in poverty, and 
a considerably greater number in periods of unusual 
depression. If we divide this number into two age 
groups, those under five and those from five to four- 
teen, we shall find that there are 1,455,000 in the 
former group and 1,845,000 in the latter. It is a 
well-known fact, however, that poverty is far more 
prevalent among children over five years of age than 
among younger children, and it is safe to assume that 
of the total number of children estimated to be in 
poverty, there are fully 2,000,000 between the ages 
of five and fourteen years, nearly 12 per cent of the 
total number of children hving in that age period. 
The importance of this from an educational point of 
view is apparent when it is remembered that from 
five to fourteen years is the principal period of school 



This problem of poverty in its relation to childhood 
and education is, to us in America, quite new. We 
have not studied it as it has been studied in England 
and other European countries where, for many years, 
it has been the subject of much investigation and ex- 
periment. When it was suggested that 60,000 or 70,000 


children go to school in our greatest city in an under- 
fed condition, and when Dr. W. H. Maxwell, super- 
intendent of the Board of Education of New York 
City, declared in a pubhc address that there are hun- 
dreds of thousands of children in the pubhc schools 
of the nation unable to study or learn because of their 
hunger,^ something of a sensation was caused from 
one end of the land to the other. But in England, 
where for more than twenty years investigators have 
been studying the problem and experimenting, 
and have built up a considerable literature upon the 
subject, which has become one of the most pressing 
political problems of the time, they have become so 
conversant with the facts that no fresh recital, how- 
ever eloquent, can create anything hke a sensation. 
And what is true of England is true of almost every 
other country in Europe. Only we in the United 
States have ignored this terrible problem of child 
hunger. We have so long been used to express our 
commiseration with the Old World on account of the 
heavy biu'den of pauperism beneath which it groans, 
and to boast of our greater prosperity and happiness, 
that we have hardly observed the ominous signs that 
similar causes at work among us are fast producing 
similar results. Now we have awakened to the fact 
that here, too, are two nations within the nation, — 
the nation of the rich and the nation of the poor, — and 
that Fourier's terrible prophecy of ''poverty through 


plethora," has found fulfilment in the land where he 
fondly dreamed that his Utopia might be reaUzed. 
The poverty problem is to-day the supreme challenge 
to our national conscience and instincts of self-preser- 
vation, and its saddest and most alarming feature is 
the suffering and doom it imposes upon the children. 

Such investigations as have been made by Mr. 
Hunter, myself, and others in New York and other 
large cities, meagre as they have been, tend to the 
conclusion that the extent of the evil of underfeeding 
has not been exaggerated. It is true that the Board 
of Education of New York City appointed a special 
committee to investigate the subject and that their 
report, based upon the testimony of a number of 
school principals and teachers, would indicate that 
only a very small number of children in our public 
schools suffer from underfeeding. Many persons 
who regarded that report as the conclusive answer of 
the expert were at once satisfied. In order that the 
reader may better understand the investigations 
herein summarized and view them without prejudice, 
it may be well to digress somewhat to discuss that 
very optimistic report. 

At a very early period of the agitation upon the 
subject, and before the Board of Education had dis- 
cussed it, I undertook a series of investigations with 
a view to testing as far as possible Mr. Hunter's 
estimate. My investigations included personal obser- 


vation and inquiry in a number of public schools in 
various parts of the city having a total attendance of 
something more than 28,000 children. When the 
Board of Education took action upon the matter 
and appointed its special committee, I was already 
far advanced in that work. ReaUzing that the value 
of such an inquiry as the Board of Education had 
decided upon must depend entirely upon the methods 
adopted, I turned my attention to the task of watch- 
ing carefully the ''investigation." It was a case of 
investigating an investigation. When the special 
committee met I laid before the members certain 
evidence of the utter worthlessness of the reports they 
had received from the schools, as well as some of the 
information I had gathered concerning the extent 
of the evil of underfeeding, in the hope that the com- 
mittee might be induced to undertake a careful and 
extensive investigation of the whole subject by a body 
of experts. 

In the first place, the official inquiry had been con- 
fined to the number of ''breakfastless" children, and, 
secondly, the principals had no instructions as to the 
manner in which their inquiries should be conducted. 
The various District Superintendents merely re- 
quested the principals to ''carefully investigate" 
and report the number of children attending school 
without breakfast, in some cases forty-eight hours 
being allowed and in many others only twenty- 


four hours. The result of this lack of method and 
system was most deplorable, many of the principals 
adopting methods of investigation which not only 
proved quite futile, but, what is more important, 
effectually destroyed all chances of proper investiga- 
tion for the time being. From the statements sub- 
mitted to the conunittee, I quote two examples as 
showing the character of the "evidence" upon which 

its report was based. 


The principal of a large school on the West Side 
reported that ''after careful inquiries" he had found 
only one Httle girl who came to school without break- 
fast, and she did so from choice, saying, "Because I 
never used to have any breakfast in Germany, sir, 
and didn't want any." There were also two boys, 
Syrians, who said that they had three meals each day 
but could never get enough to eat. The httle girl 
insisted that she "always had a good lunch." Here, 
then, was a big school with over two thousand pupils, 
representing twenty different nationalities, in which 
there were only three possible cases of underfeeding, 
the element of doubt being strong in each case! 
Every one who has had the least experience of work 
amongst the poor knows perfectly well that it would 
be absolutely impossible to gather together 2000 
children from the tenements of any city without 
including many more cases of undoubted hardship 


and suffering. And the neighborhood of this school 
is a particularly poor one. Close to the school are 
some of the foulest tenements to be found in the whole 
city. The crowding of two famihes in one room 
is common, and poverty and squalor are abundantly 
evidenced on every hand. 

After the principal had told me of his report I 
went over the district with the Captain of the neigh- 
boring Slum Post of the Salvation Army. The Cap- 
tain knew personally several children attending the 
school who were Hterally half starved. Out of 
26 children, boys and girls, at the free breakfast 
one morning there were 22 from the school, and their 
hunger and misery were beyond question. One 
Httle boy was barely seven years old, and a more 
woful appearance than he presented cannot well be 
imagined. He had come to the breakfast station two 
days before the date of our visit, the Captain said 
hterally famishing, filthy, and covered with sores. 
The good woman had fed and cleaned the poor little 
waif and bandaged his feet and legs. ''It was an 
awful job," she said, ''for he was so dirty. It took 
four changes of water to get him well cleaned. Then 
I bandaged him and got some old but clean clothes 
for him." Even so, after two days of such feeding 
and care as he had never known before, the poor 
child looked forlorn, weak, and inexpressibly miser- 
able. Little Mike's case was doubtless exceptionally 


bad, but it is not too much to say that the whole dis- 
trict is a wen of terrible poverty. Yet from the prin- 
cipal's report it would seem that the children bear no 
share of its hardships and privations. And this is 
impossible. It is the children who suffer most of all. 
To account for the principal's roseate and obviously 
misleading report, it is only necessary to understand 
how the inquiry was made upon which the report was 
based. Asked to explain how he had made his in- 
vestigation, the principal said, ''I went to every 
class and asked all those children who had had no 
breakfast to stand up." When it is remembered 
that children are naturally very sensitive about their 
poverty, regarding it as being something in the nature 
of a personal degradation, nothing need be said to 
show the futility of such a method of inquiry. I 
have frequently known children on the verge of 
exhaustion to deny that they were hungry, so keenly 
do they feel that poverty is a disgrace. I saw the 
little girl and the two Syrian boys in the presence of 
the principal upon the occasion of my second visit 
to the school and questioned them. The two boys 
said, through an interpreter, that they had bread and 
coffee for every meal and vigorously denied having 
had butter, jam, milk, eggs, or meat of any kind. 
They certainly looked anaemic, weak, and underfed. 
The little girl's story, which I could get only by dint 
of careful and sympathetic questioning, epitomizes 


the whole problem of underfeeding as it affects thou- 
sands of children. She gave at first practically the 
same answer as she had given the principal, saying 
that she did not have breakfast because she was not 
accustomed to it and didn't need it, and that she 
always had a good lunch. 

But her full story revealed a very different condition 
from what these innocent replies would indicate. 
Both her parents go out to work, leaving home 
soon after five o'clock in the morning. The father 
is a laborer employed at the docks, and the mother 
works in the kitchen of a cheap restaurant. They 
go away leaving the little girl in bed, and when she 
rises there is generally some cold coffee and bread 
for her. But there is no clock, and she does not 
know the time and is afraid of being late to school 
and does not stay to eat. "Sometimes, when papa 
has no work, there is no food left for me to eat," 
she said. Then she told of her "good lunch." Gen- 
erally there is five cents left upon the table for her 
to buy lunch with. "Only when papa is not working 
is there no money left." On the day of my interview 
with her she had spent her five cents for a cup of 
coffee with nothing at all to eat, as she had done for 
two or three successive days. Asked why she had not 
bought something to eat, or a glass of milk, instead 
of coffee, she answered, "Because coffee is hot, sir, 
and I was so cold." Her father returns home at 


six o^clock in the evening and sends her to the deli- 
catessen store to buy something — generally bologna 
sausage — for their evening meal. The mother, 
who eats at the restaurant, does not return until 
about two hours later. From this fuller story of the 
little girl's hfe it is seen that her "good lunch" day 
after day consists of a cup of coffee without a morsel 
of food, and that she fasts frequently, almost con- 
stantly, from the evening of one day to the evening 
of the next. 

Such tactlessness on the part of the principal of a 
great public school seems almost incredible. But 
it is a fact that most teachers seem to have no other 
method of finding out anything from their children 
than by caUing upon them to ''show hands," not- 
withstanding that experience proves it to be a most 
unreliable one. Children not only shrink from con- 
fessing their poverty and hunger, but they are also 
quick to give the answers desired by the teacher, 
even though the teacher's feelings are only mani- 
fested by a slight inflection of voice. Public exami- 
nation of the children is a useless as well as most 
cruel method to adopt. But it was generally adopted, 
and I could cite case after case from my notes. One 
other case, however, must suffice. The principal of 
one of the smallest schools in the city, situated on the 
East Side in a poor Italian district, assured me that 
there were practically no hungry or underfed children 


in the school. Asked to estimate the number of such 
children, she said that they were ''less than 1 per 
cent of the attendance." She had found 9 cases 
of destitution just previously as a result of an inquiry 
made through the teachers, which, as was pointed out 
to her, meant fully 2 per cent of the attendance. 
For the total enrolment in this school is less than 500 
and the average attendance not more than 450. 
Asked how the 9 cases had been discovered, the prin- 
cipal repUed, ''Why, I simply went to each class and 
asked, ' What little boy or girl did not have breakfast 
to-day, or not enough breakfast? Please show 
hands.'" There was, she said, no doubt whatever 
that the 9 children were the victims of great pov- 
erty. That as many as 2 per cent of the children 
should, under the circumstances, confess their pov- 
erty is undoubtedly a most serious fact and indicates 
a much larger number of actual victims. 

How such a method of examination intimidates the 
children and fails to elicit the truth, the following 
incident, related as nearly as possible in the princi- 
pal's own words, will show. It relates to a little 
boy whom we will call Tony : — 

"I went to a classroom and asked: 'How many 
children had no breakfast to-day? Show hands!' 
Not a single hand went up. Then the teacher said, 
'Why, I am sure that boy, Tony, looks as if he were 
half starved.' And he really did, so I told him to 



stand up and questioned him. 'Did you have any 
breakfast this morning, Tony?* I askdd. He hung 
his head for a minute and then said, 'No, mum.' 

"'Now, Tony, wouldn't you Uke to have a good 
breakfast every morning, — some hot coffee and nice 

'"Yes, mum.' 

'"Well, do you know the Salvation Army where 
they give breakfasts to little boys who need them?' 

'"Yes, mum.' 

"'Well, if I get you a ticket, won't you go there to- 
morrow and get your breakfast?' 

"The little fellow's eyes flashed and he looked 
straight at me and said, 'No, mum, I don't want it.' 
Really, I admired his spirit. Poor as he was, he did 
not want charity." 

Better than any argument the principal's own 
words show the cruel, inquisitorial method and its 
effectiveness in suppressing the truth. I repeat, 
that was the method of inquiry generally adopted, 
and it was upon reports based upon the results of such 
examinations that the special committee of the Board 
of Education based its report. 

Of course, not all teachers are so tactless. A very 
large number are merely unobservant, possibly be- 
cause they have become inured to the pitiful appear- 


ance of the children and their painfully low physical 
development. It is common to hear teachers in poor 
districts say: "When I first came to this school my 
heart used to ache with pity on account of the pov- 
erty-stricken appearance of many of the children 
and the sad tales they sometimes tell. But now I 
have grown used to it all." That, in many cases, 
tells the whole secret — they have grown accustomed 
to the sight of stunted bodies and wan, pinched faces. 
There are teachers, earnest men and women devoted 
to their profession, and consecrating it by an almost 
rehgious passion, who study the home Ufe and social 
environment of the children intrusted to their care; 
but they are, unhappily, exceptions. The number 
of teachers having no idea of how a healthy child 
should look is astonishingly large. The hectic flush 
of disease is often mistaken by teachers and princi- 
pals for the bloom of health. 

In one large school the principal, in the course of 
a personally conducted visit to the different class- 
rooms, singled out a Httle Italian girl, and asked 
with a note of pride in his voice: "Wouldn't you call 
this a healthy child ? I do. Look at her round, full 
face." There were a great many signs of ill health 
in that httle girl's appearance which the good prin- 
cipal did not recognize. I pointed out some of the 
signs of grave nervous disorder, due, as I afterward 
learned, almost beyond question, to malnutrition. 



Her cheeks were well rounded, but her pitifully 
thin arms indicated a very ill-developed body. I 
pointed out her nervous hand, the baggy fulness under 
her eyes, and the abrasions at the corners of her 
twitching mouth,'' and asked that the teacher might 
be consulted as to the girl's school record. ^'She is 
not a very bright child," said the teacher, "and what 
to do with her is a problem. She is very nervous, 
irritable, and excitable. She seems to get exhausted 
very soon, and it is impossible for her to apply her- 
self properly to her work. I think very hkely that 
she is imderfed, for she comes from a very poor home.'' 
Subsequent investigation at her home, on Mott 
Street, showed that her father, who is a consumptive, 
earns from sixty cents to a dollar a day peddling laces, 
needles, and other small articles, the rest of the in- 
come supporting the family of seven persons being 
derived from the mother's labor. They occupy one 
small room, and the only means of cooking they have 
is a small gas "ring" such as is sold for ten cents in 
the cheap stores. 

Where principals and teachers declined to assist, it 
was impossible to make inquiries in the schools, and 
it was useless to make them in schools where the 
children had already been openly questioned. Wher- 
ever it was possible to secure the cooperation of prin- 
cipals or teachers, I got them to question the children 
privately and sympathetically. In 16 schools, 12,800 


children were thus privately examined, and of that 
number 987, or 7.71 per cent, were reported as having 
had no breakfast upon the day of the inquiry, and 
1963, or 15.32 per cent, as having had altogether too 
little. Teachers were asked to exclude as far as pos- 
sible all cases of an obviously accidental nature from 
the returns, as, for instance, when a child known to 
be in fairly comfortable circumstances had come to 
school without breakfast merely because of lack of 
appetite. They were also requested to regard as 
having had inadequate breakfasts only children who 
had had bread only (with or without tea or coffee), 
or such things as crackers or crullers in place of 
bread, but without milk, cereals, cake, butter, jam, 
eggs, fruit, fish, or meat of any kind. That this 
standard was altogether too low will probably be 
admitted without question, but there was no way of 
examining the actual meals of the children, and some 
sort of arbitrary rule was necessary. The figures 
given are therefore based on a very low standard, 
and most certainly do not include all cases either of 
the unfed or underfed. It is more than probable 
that some children who had gone without breakfasts 
refused to admit the fact, and there were several 
instances in which children known to be desperately 
poor, and who, the teachers felt, were certainly under- 
fed, gave the most surprising accounts — which must 
have been drawn from their imaginations ^ — of 


elaborate breakfasts. Out of 12,800 children, then, 
2950, or more than 23 per cent, were found either 
wholly breakfastless or having had such miserably 
poor breakfasts as described. And that is certainly 
an imderstatement of the evil of underfeeding in those 

One of the most notable of these school investiga- 
tions was undertaken by the principal of a large school 
to "prove conclusively that really there is no such 
thing as a serious problem of underfeeding among 
our school children." The principal is a devoted 
believer in the theory of the survival of the fittest, 
and in the elimination of the weak by competition 
and struggle. "If you attempt to take hardship and 
suffering out of their Uves by smoothing the pathway 
of Ufe for these children, you weaken their character, 
and, by so doing, you sin against the children them- 
selves and, through them, against society," he 
said. With the view of Huxley and others that 
the real interest and duty of society is to make as 
many as possible fit to survive, he expressed himself 
as having no sympathy, on the ground that it con- 
flicts with nature's immutable law of struggle. But, 
as often happens, his deeds frequently run counter 
to his merciless creed, and he is one of the most gen- 
erous and compassionate of men. The children trust 
him, and the sense of an intimate friendship between 
him and them is the most delightful impression the 


visitor receives. There is no absence of real, effective 
discipline, but it is discipline based upon sympathy, 
friendship, and trust. The principal declared that 
he did not beUeve that 5 children could be found 
in the whole school of 1500 who could be described 
as badly underfed, or who came to school breakfast- 

The district in which this school is situated is one 
of the poorest in the city, the population consisting 
almost exclusively of Italians. Most of the men are 
unskilled laborers working for very low wages and 
irregularly employed. Many of them are recent 
immigrants and subject to the vicious padrone system. 
Every fresh batch of immigrants intensifies the al- 
ready keen and brutal competition, and to maintain 
even the low standard of Uving to which they are 
accustomed, the wives frequently work as wage- 
earners. The people are housed in vile tenements, and 
the crowding of two families into one small room is 
by no means uncommon. "Little mothers" and 
their rickety infant charges crowd the pavements. 
In the early morning, even during the winter months, 
groups of shivering children gather outside the school 
waiting for admission hours before the time of open- 
ing, and at lunch time instead of going to their homes 
they hasten away with their pennies and nickels 
to buy ice cream, pickles, peppers, or cream puffs 
for their midday meal. Knowing these to be the 



conditions existing in the neighborhood, it was im- 
possible to accept the optimistic views of the principal 
without serious questioning, and it was to convince 
me that he was right that he undertook to have the 
investigation made while we went over the school. 

The teachers were requested to examine every 
child privately, and to report the number of children 
having had no breakfast that morning and the num- 
ber having had inadequate breakfasts. Some of the 
teachers absolutely refused to ask the children ^'such 
questions," and two or three sent in obstinately 
stupid reports such as "nobody underfed but the 
teacher." Reports were received from 19 classes 
with an actual attendance of 865 children, of which 
number 104 were reported as having had no break- 
fast and 54 as having had too little. Not all the 
reports were of equal value, I afterward found, some 
of the teachers having ignored the rule and regarded 
coffee and bread as sufficient. In one case there were 
three children who declared that they had only cold 
coffee without any food. They should have been 
reported as breakfastless, but in fact they were not 
reported in either column. So that it is probable 
that in this case also the figures given are an under- 
statement of actual conditions. In one class of 43 
children 13 were reported as having had no breakfast 
and 12 as having had insufficient, and when the report 
was sent back with instructions that the teacher try 


to find out why the 13 children had no breakfast, it 
was returned with the postscript in the teacher's 
handwriting, ''There was no food for them to eat." 
In another class out of 65 children no less than 30 
were reported as having had no breakfast, but of these 

12 had had either tea or coffee. As they did not have 
food of any kind other than the tea or coffee, the 
teacher reported them as breakfastless. Making all 
allowances for discrepancies and differences of value 
in the teachers' reports, it is surely most serious that 
no less than 17.81 per cent of the children examined 
should be reported as either breakfastless or very 
inadequately fed that day. It should be said that 
this inquiry took place in the winter, the season when 
there is most unemployment among unskilled laborers, 
and it is not probable that the same amount of pov- 
erty would be found all the year round. 

One incident in connection with the investigation 
in this school is worthy of record. A lad of about 

13 or 14 years of age in one of the highest grades, 
who had been reported as having had no breakfast, 
was seen in the principal's office at noon. He seemed 
to be quite rugged and healthy, and the principal 
said that he was "the brightest boy in the school, 
and a good lad, too." He showed us his lunch — 
a roll of bread and two small pieces of almost trans- 
parent cheese. " Isn't that enough for a boy ? " asked 
the principal, laughingly. The boy responded : '' Yes, 


but I had no breakfast, and this has to do me all day. 
I don't have any breakfast most times, and sometimes 
no lunch or supper. You know that Mr. B-^ — used 
to give me some very often." And the principal con- 
firmed this part of the lad's story with a tender, 
"Yes, I know, sonny." The boy told us a saddening 
story of a mother cowed down by a brutal husband, 
and of the latter 's vice. He is a cook and has often 
beaten his wife, who works in an embroidery factory. 
A year or so ago he went to Italy, leaving his wife 
here. Soon afterward he wrote to her for money to 
pay his passage back. She was penniless, but, the 
lad quaintly said, "she made a debt of a hundred 
dollars " to send to him. " Then she had to pay every 
week, and there wasn't much food." The rest of his 
tale of shame — shame of a father's sin — need not 
be told. It is too horrible. "Why doesn't your 
mother leave him and just take you with her? You 
are the only child, aren't you?" asked the principal. 
"Yes, I'm the only one, but there are ten dead," was 
the boy's startling reply. It was, unconsciously, a 
significant comment upon the good principal's theory 
of the survival of the fittest. 

In another school the principal told me that she 
had reported to the District Superintendent that of 
1000 children on the register at least 100 w^re badly 
underfed. She told of children fainting in school 
or in the yard from lack of food, and of others suffering 


from disorders of the bowels due to the same cause. 
Many of these children were pointed out in the course 
of several visits to the school. ''Ignorance plays 
a large part in the problem," said the principal, 
''but I think it is mostly poverty. When work is 
hard to get, or there is sickness in the family, or when 
there is a strike, then the children suffer most, and 
that shows that it is poverty in most cases." Upon 
one of my visits to this school, I encountered one of 
those pathetic incidents of which I have gathered 
so many in the course of these investigations. Little 
Patsey, the American-born child of Irish parents, 
had for some days been aihng and unable to attend 
properly to his lessons. The teacher suspected that 
improper food was the cause, and Patsey's account 
of his diet confirmed her in that opinion. So she 
advised Patsey to tell his mother that oatmeal would 
be better for him. "Get oatmeal, Patsey, it's better 
— and very cheap, too." There were tears in the 
principal's eyes as she told how, that very morning, 
the teacher had found what she supposed to be pow- 
dered chalk upon the floor and was about to scold 
the culprit, when she discovered that it was Patsey's 
oatmeal ! Poor little Patsey had for three days been 
spending his daily lunch allowance of three cents upon 
oatmeal and eating it dry. Teacher had said that it 
was better! Only the thought of the teacher's in- 
fluence, and the hope that through the medium of 



such influence as hers it may be possible to dispel 
much of the ignorance of which so many children are 
the victims, relieves the pathos of the incident and 
brightens it. 


Soon after the foregoing investigations were made, 
Dr. H. M. Lechstrecker, of the New York State 
Board of Charities, conducted an examination of 
10,707 children in the Industrial Schools of New York 
City. He found that 439, or 4.10 per cent, had had 
no breakfast on the date of the inquiry, while 998, 
or 9.32 per cent, exhibited anaemic conditions appar- 
ently due to lack of proper nourishment. Upon in- 
vestigation the teachers found that the breakfasts 
of each of the 998 consisted either of coffee only, or 
of coffee with bread only. Only 1855, or 17.32 per 
cent, started the day with what Dr. Lechstrecker 
considered to be an adequate meal.® Other inde- 
pendent inquiries in several cities show that the prob- 
lem is by no means peculiar to New York. 

In Buffalo the principal of one large school, Mr. 
Charles L. Ryan, is reported as saying that of the 
1500 children in his school at least one-tenth come to 
school in the morning without breakfast. In 8 
schools in Buffalo, having a total average attendance 
of 7500 pupils, the principals estimated that 350, 
or 4.46 per cent, have no breakfasts at all, and that 
800 more have too little to insure effective work. No 


less than 5105 of the 7500 children were reported as 
having tea or coffee with bread only.® It is rather 
difficult to analyze these figures satisfactorily, but 
it would appear that no less than 17.33 per cent of 
the total number of children in these 8 schools 
are believed by the principals and teachers to be 
appreciably handicapped by defective nutrition, and 
that only 16.80 per cent are adequately and satisfac- 
torily fed. 

In Chicago several independent investigations have 
been made. Mr. Wilham Hornbaker, principal of the 
Ohver Goldsmith school, says: "We have here 1100 
children in a district which is so crowded that all 
our pupils come from an area comprising only about 
twenty acres. When I began work here, I discovered 
that many of the pupils remained all day without 
food. A great majority of the parents in this dis- 
trict, as well as the older children, are at work from 
dawn to dusk, and have no time to care for the Uttle 
ones. Such children have no place to go when dis- 
missed at noon.'^^** At this school & lunch room has 
been established, and two meals a day are provided 
for about 50 of the most necessitous children. At 
first these meals were sold at a penny per meal, but 
it was found that even pennies were too hard to 
obtain. Mr. Hornbaker points out that the pride 
of the larger children restrains them, and it is most 
difficult to get them to admit their hunger, but the 




younger children are not so sensitive. He says that 
"unquestionably a majority of the children are im- 
properly fed, especially in the lower grades." Out 
of a total attendance of 5150 children in 5 Chicago 
schools 122 were reported as breakfastless, 1464 as 
having only bread with coffee or tea, a total of 30.79 
per cent." 

In Philadelphia several inquiries were made, with 
the result that of 4589 children 189 were reported as 
going generally or often without breakfast of any 
kind, while 2504 began the day on coffee or tea and 
bread, a total of 58.52 per cent.^^ In Cleveland, 
Boston, and Los Angeles, among many other cities, 
teachers and others declare that the evil is quite as 

Massing the figures given from New York, Phila- 
delphia, Buffalo, and Chicago, we get a total of 40,746 
children examined, of which number 14,121, or 
34.65 per cent, either went breakfastless to school or 
got miserably poor breakfasts of bread and tea or 
coffee. At least bread and tea must prove to be a 
poor diet, wholly insufficient to meet the demands of 
a growing human body, and the difficulty of obtaining 
good, wholesome bread in our cities intensifies the 
evil. The wholesale adulteration of food is indeed a 
most serious menace to life and health to which the 
poor are constantly subjected. 

These figures are not put forward as being in any 


sense a statistical measure of the problem. The 
investigations described, and others of a like nature, 
afford no adequate basis for scientific estimates. 
They are all confined to the one morning meal, and 
the standard adopted for judging of the adequateness 
of the meals given to the children is necessarily crude 
and lacking in scientific precision. It cannot be too 
strongly emphasized that it is not a question of 
whether so many children go without breakfast occa- 
sionally, but whether they are underfed, either through 
missing meals more or less frequently or through 
feeding day by day and week by week upon food that 
is poor in quality, unsuitable, and of small nutritive 
value, and whether in consequence the children suffer 
physically or mentally, or both. Only a comprehen- 
sive examination by experts of a large number of 
children in different parts of the country, a careful 
inquiry into their diet and their physical and mental 
development, would afford a satisfactory basis for 
any statistical measure of the problem which could 
be accepted as even approximately correct. Yet 
such inquiries as those described cannot be ignored; 
in the absence of more comprehensive and scientific 
investigations they are of great value, on account 
of the mass of observed facts which they give; and 
the results certainly tend to show that the estimate 
that fully 2,000,000 children of school age in the 
United States are badly underfed is not exaggerated. 



As stated, all the investigations described were con- 
fined to the breakfast meal. There has been prac- 
tically no effort made, so far as I am aware, to deter- 
mine how many children there are who go without 
lunches back to their lessons, or, what is quite as 
important, how many there are to whom are given 
small sums of money to procure lunches for them- 
selves ; and what kind of lunches they buy. Even in 
Europe most of the investigations made have been 
confined to the morning meal. Yet this lunch ques- 
tion is probably even more important than the other. 
There are doubtless many more children who go 
without lunch than without breakfast. Thousands 
of children who get some sort of breakfast, even if 
it is only coffee and bread, get nothing at all for lunch, 
and a still larger number — in some schools I have 
found as many as 20 per cent — get small sums of 
money, ranging from one to five cents, to buy lunches 
for themselves. And in most cases the condition of 
these is just as deplorable as if they had nothing at 
all, if not much worse. Their tragedy hes in the fact 
that in most cases the money they spend would be 
quite sufficient to provide decent, nourishing meals 
if it were wisely spent, instead of which they get 
what is positively injurious. 

When a child of eight or nine years of age whose 


breakfast consists of tea and bread lunches day after 
day upon pickles, its digestive system must of necessity 
be impaired. Wise discriminaticn cannot be ex- 
pected from young children, and the temptation of 
the candy stores and of the push carts laden with 
ice cream or fruit is great. Often the fact that chil- 
dren in the very poorest districts spend so many pence 
is urged as evidence that no serious problem of pov- 
erty exists, but that is' a wholly unwarranted assump- 
tion. There may not be absolute destitution; the 
family income may be sufficient to keep its members 
above the line of primary poverty, but the conditions 
under which it is earned, necessitating the employ- 
ment of the mother, involve the suffering of the chil- 
dren. The mother is taken away from her legitimate 
work, the care of her home and children, and they are 
left to their own resources. In the course of these 
investigations I have found hundreds of children going 
back to their lessons without having had any lunch, 
and hundreds more of the class just described. In 
one class of 40 in an East Side school I found 11 with 
pennies to buy their own lunches. These children were 
all between the ages of eight and ten years. In an- 
other school the principal said that there were 50 
such children known to her out of a total of less 
than 500. In 4 other schools, with an attendance 
of 4500, the principals' estimates of the number of 
such children aggregated 521, or 11.51 per cent. 


This phase of the problem of child hunger is not 
peculiar to New York. The reports of teachers in 
many cities and towns and my own observations 
show that this evil is invariably associated with pov- 
erty; and European investigations all support that 
view.^' It is probable that in some of the smaller 
manufacturing towns it prevails to a larger propor- 
tional extent than in cities like New York, Boston, 
Cleveland, Chicago, and St. Louis, but of that matter 
there are no data. The answers of teachers and others 
to inquiries as to what such children buy have been 
monotonously aUke. They buy candy, cream puffs, 
ice cream, fruit (very often damaged, decayed, or 
unripe), pickles, and other unwholesome things. 
One cold day last winter I visited the neighborhood 
of a large school with an idea that it might be possible 
to ascertain just exactly what a number of children 
would buy for lunch. Any one who has ever watched 
the outpouring of children from a large school will 
reaUze how utterly impossible it is to keep any con- 
siderable number of them under observation. Like 
a great river that has broken its banks the human 
torrent rushes through the streets and crowds them 
awhile, then spreads far and wide. I found 14 chil- 
dren in a delicatessen store, 8 boys and 6 girls. 
Seven of them bought pickles and bread; 4 bought 
pickles only; 2 bought bologna sausage and rye 
bread, and 1 bought pickled fish and bread. In a 


neighboring street I made similar observations one 
day during the summer. Out of 19 children 8 
bought pickles, 2 of them with bread, the others 
without; 6 bought ice cream, 2 bought bananas, 
and 3 others bought candy. For the children of the 
poor there seems to be some strange fascination about 
pickles. One lad of ten said that he always bought 
pickles with his three cents. ^^I must have pickles," 
he said. It would seem that the chronic underfeeding 
creates a nervous craving for some kind of a stimulant 
which the child finds in pickles. The adult resorts 
to whiskey very often for much the same reason. 
There is every reason to beheve that this malnutri- 
tion lays the foundation for inebriety in later years. 
The custom of giving the children money instead of 
prepared lunches is also responsible for a good deal 
of gambling, especially among the boys. Little Tony 
plays "craps" and loses his lunch, and the boy who 
wins gets a particularly big unwholesome ''blow 
out," or adds a packet of cigarettes to his meal of 
pickles or cream puffs. 

In one large school on the West Side the principal 
confidently declared that 10 per cent would be alto- 
gether too low an estimate of the number of badly 
underfed children in that school. ''If you mean only 
the breakfastless ones," she said, "why, it is too 
high, but if you include those whose breakfasts are 
totally inadequate, and those who have no lunches, 


those whose lunches at home are as inadequate as 
their breakfasts, and those who get only the bad things 
they buy for lunch — in a word, if you include all 
who suffer on account of defective, low nutrition, 
the estimate of 10 per cent is too low for this school. 
There are whole blocks in this district from which 
we scarcely get a child who is not, at some time or 
other in the course of a year, in want of food. The 
worst cases are in the primary grades, for many of 
the older children drop out. The boys find odd jobs 
to do, and the girls are needed at home to care for 
the smaller children." The population of this district 
is largely Irish and most of the men belong to that 
class of unskilled laborers which, more than any other 
industrial class, suffers from irregularity of employ- 
ment. Many are longshoremen, others are truck- 
men, builders' laborers, and so on. No other class 
of workers suffers so much from what may be called 
accidental causes as this. A war in some far-away 
land may for a while seriously divert the stream of 
commerce, and the longshoreman of New York 
suffers unemployment and its attendant poverty; 
a strike of bricklayers or carpenters will throw the 
laborers and their families into the maws of all-de- 
vouring misery, or a week of bad weather may cause 
inexpressible hardship. When employment is steady 
the wages they receive are in most cases only suffi- 
cient to keep their families just above the line of 


poverty; when there is sickness or unemployment, 
even for a couple of weeks, there is privation and the 
growth of a burden of debt which remains to crush 
them downward when wages begin to come in again. 
Want actually continues in such cases through what, 
judged by the wage standard, appears to be a time 
of normal prosperity. It is hardly to be wondered 
at that there is a good deal of intemperance and 
improvidence. These conditions are the economic 
soil in which intemperance, thriftlessness, and irre- 
sponsibility flourish. 

In this district, with the cooperation of a well- 
trained and experienced woman investigator, a care- 
ful investigation of the condition of 50 famiUes rep- 
resented in the school was made. The nuniber of 
children attending school from the 50 famiUes was 
79. Of that number there were 24 who had no break- 
fast of any kind on the days they were visited, while 
of the 55 more fortunate ones no less than 30 had only 
bread with tea or coffee. Only 35 of the children had 
any lunch, or money with which to procure any, 
44 missing that meal entirely. Terrible as they 
are, these figures do not tell the whole story. It 
is impossible to appreciate what going without lunch 
means to these children unless we take into account 
the fact that those who go without lunch, and those 
who -eat only the deleterious things they buy, are in 
most cases the same children who either go break- 



fastless or have only bread and coffee day after day. 
And their evening meal is very often a repetition of 
the morning meal, bread and coffee or tea. From 
the schedule showing the actual dietary of the chil- 
dren in question contained in the report of my co- 
investigator I give, in the following table, the particu- 
lars relating to 6 famiUes. They are perfectly typical 
cases and demonstrate very clearly the woful inade- 
quacy of diet common to children of the poor. 


No. of 








Bread and tea 


Bread and tea. 




Soup from 

Coffee and 



Coffee and rolls 
(no butter 
or jam). 

Coffee and 

Tea and bread. 



Bread and tea 


Bread and tea 




Soup with the 

Piece of bread. 



Bread and jam 
with coffee. 


Tea and bread 
with jam. 

It is a horrible fact that many of these children 
whose diet is so unwholesome cannot eat decent food, 
even when they are most hungry. It is not merely 
a question of appetite, but of stomachs too weak 
by reason of chronic hunger and malnutrition to 


stand good and nutritious food. This has been fre- 
quently observed in connection with Fresh Air Out- 
ings for poor children in the tenement districts. 
I have known scores of instances. Very often these 
children have to be patiently taught to eat. Some- 
times it takes several days to induce them to take 
milk and eggs. They crave for their accustomed 
food — coffee and bread, or pickles. The same fact 
has been observed in connection with adults in the 
hospitals. When the Salvation Army started its 
free breakfast stations in New York, the newspapers 
made a good deal of the fact that the children refused 
to eat the good soup and milk porridge at first pro- 
vided. That was regarded as conclusive evidence 
that they were not hungry, for a hungry child is 
supposed to eat almost anything. That is true in a 
measure of children who are merely hungry, but these 
children are more than hungry. They are weak and 
unhealthy as the result of chronic underfeeding. 
I myself saw many children at the Salvation Army 
free breakfast depots whose hunger was only too 
apparent try bravely to eat the soup until they actually 
vomited. They would beg for a piece of bread, and 
when it was given them eat it ravenously. In an 
uptown school a httle EngUsh boy fainted one morn- 
ing while at his lessons. He had fainted the day 
before in the school yard, but the teacher thought 
that it was due to overexertion while at play. When 


he fainted the second time she took him to the prin- 
cipal's office, and they discovered that he had not 
eaten anything that day, and only a piece of bread 
the day before. The principal sent for some milk, 
and when it was warmed in the school kitchen she 
gave it to the lad with a couple of dainty chicken 
sandwiches from her own lunch, expecting him to 
enjoy a rare treat. But he didn't. He took only 
a bite or two and a sup of milk, then began to vomit. 
He could not be induced to eat any more nor even 
to drink the milk. Presently, however, he said to 
the teacher, ''I think I could eat some bread, teacher," 
and when they sent out for some rolls and coffee he ate 
as though he had seen no food for a week. Very few 
people, it may be added, incidentally, realize how 
much the teachers and principals of schools in the 
poorest districts give out of their slender incomes 
to provide children with food, clothing, and shoes. 
But how Uttle it all amounts to in the way of solving 
the problem is best expressed in the words of one 
principal, ''What I can give in that way to the 
worst cases only lessens the evil in just the same 
degree as a handful of sands taken from the seashore 
lessens the number of grains." 


The physical effects of such underfeeding cannot 
be easily overestimated. No fact has been more 


thoroughly estabHshed than the physical superiority 
of the children of the well-to-do classes over their 
less fortunate fellows. In Moscow, N. V. Zark, a 
famous Russian authority, found that at all ages the 
boys attending the Real schools and the Classical 
Gymnasium are superior in height and weight to 
peasant boys.*'' In Leipzic, children paying 18 
marks school fees are superior in height and weight 
to those paying only 9, and gynmasium boys are 
superior to those of the lower Real and Burger 
schools.*^ Studies in Stockholm and Turin show 
the same general results, the poorer children being 
invariably shorter, lighter, and smaller of chest. 
The British Anthropometric Committee found that 
English boys at ten in the Industrial Schools were 
3.31 inches shorter and 10.64 pounds lighter than chil- 
dren of the well-to-do classes, while at fourteen years 
the differences in height and weight were 6.65 inches 
and 21.85 pounds, respectively.*® Dr. Charles W. 
Roberts gives some striking results of the examination 
of 19,846 EngHsh boys and men.*^ Of these, 5915 
belong to the non-laboring classes of the EngUsh 
population, namely, pubhc school boy^, naval and 
mihtary cadets, medical and university students. 
The remaining 13,931 belong to the artisan class. 
The difference in height, weight, and chest girth, 
from thirteen to sixteen years of age, is as fol- 
lows • — 

Average Height in Inches 







Non-laboriDg class .... 
Artisan class 










Average Weight in Pounds 






Non-laboring class .... 
Artisan class 










Average Chest 

? Girth 

in Inches 






Non-laboring class .... 
Artisan class 










It will be seen, therefore, that the children of the 
non-laboring class at thirteen years of age exceed those 
of the artisan class in height almost three inches, in 
weight almost ten and a half pounds, and in chest 
girth almost three and a quarter inches. And these 
figures by no means represent fully the contrast in 
physique which exists between the very poorest and 


well-to-do children. The difference between the 
children of the best-paid artisans and the poorest- 
paid of the same class is nearly as great. Mr. Rown- 
tree found that in York, England, the boys of the 
poorest section of the working-class were on an aver- 
age three and one-half inches shorter than the boys 
of the better-paid section of the working-class. As 
regards weight Mr. Rowntree found the difference to 
be eleven pounds in favor of the child of the best-paid 

Dr. W. W. Keen quotes the figures of Roberts with 
approval as applying almost equally to this country,^" 
and all the studies yet made by American investi- 
gators seem to justify that opinion. There exists 
a somewhat voluminous, but scattered, American 
literature tending to the same general conclusions as 
the European. The classic studies of Dr. Bowditch,^° 
in Boston, and Dr. Porter,^^ in St. Louis, showed very 
distinctly that the children of the poorer classes in 
those cities were decidedly behind those of the well- 
to-do classes in both height and weight. The more 
recent investigations of Dr. HrdUcka ^ fully bear 
out the results of these earlier studies. 

The Report on Physical Training (Scotland) calls 
attention once more to the fact that children in the 
pauper, reformatory, and industrial schools are 
superior in physique to the children in the ordinary 
elementary schools. Says the report : "The contrast 


between the condition of such children as are seen in 
the poor day schools and the children of parents who 
have altogether failed in their duty is both marked 
and painful." ^ Commenting upon which an English 
Sociahst writer says: ''The obvious deduction is that 
if you are doing your duty . . . and your children 
are brought up in the way they should go, they will 
not be half as well off as if they were truants or thieves. 
Therefore, . . . the best thing you can do for them 
... is to turn your children into little criminals." " 
Without accepting these cynical deductions, the fact 
remains that in a great many instances those children 
who, by reason of the criminality of their parents 
or their complete failure to provide for their offspring, 
tind their way into such institutions, are far better 
off, physically, than their fellows in the ordinary 
schools whose parents are careful and industrious. 
But for the taint of institutional life, and the crush- 
ing out of individuality which almost invariably 
accompanies it, they would be far better equipped 
for the battle of hfe. 

The real significance of this physical superiority 
is not so obvious as the writer quoted appears to 
assume. Tlie fact is that these children are generally 
below the average even of their own class when they 
are admitted to these institutions. Their superior 
physique shows the regeneration which proper food 
and hygienic conditions produce in the worst cases. 



More than two thousand years ago Aristotle pointed 
out that physical health was the basis of mental 
health, and the importance of a sound physical de- 
velopment as an essential condition of successful 
education. "First the body must be trained and 
then the understanding," declared the great Stagirite. 
The "new spirit" of modern education is admirably 
expressed in the AristoteUan maxim. This new spirit 
is a protest against the practice, futile from the stand- 
point of society, and brutal from the standpoint of 
the child, of attempting to educate hungry, physically 
weak, and ill-developed children who are unfitted 
to bear the strain and effort involved in the educa- 
tional process. No one who has studied the matter 
at all can doubt that the physical deterioration which 
accompanies the impoverishment of the workers is 
of tremendous significance educationally. All the 
evidence gathered upon the subject in Europe and 
this country tends to the conclusion that physical 
weakness and underdevelopment account for a very 
large percentage of our educational failures. The 
studies of Porter, in St. Louis, Smedley and Chris- 
topher, in Chicago, and of Professor Beyer, who is 
perhaps oiu- greatest authority, all tend to confirm 
the results of European investigations, that children 
of superior physique make the best pupils. Dull, 


backward pupils are generally inferior in physical 

The number of dull and backward children in our 
public schools is so great that a study from this 
physiological point of view would seem to be quite 
as desirable and important as the many exhaustive 
and valuable psychological studies with which the 
literature of Child Study abounds. For many years 
special tutorial methods and institutions have existed 
for idiot and feeble-minded children and such other 
classes of distinctly defective children as epileptics, 
the blind, the deaf, and the dumb. But it is only 
in recent years that any effort has been made to deal 
with that far larger class of children distinguished 
equally from these distinctly defective classes and 
from normal, typical children. These pseudo-atypical 
children, as Dr. Groszmann terms them, are much 
more numerous than is generally supposed. Professor 
Monroe, of Stanford University, gathered particulars 
relating to 10,000 children in the public schools of 
Cahfornia and found that 3 per cent of the children 
were feeble-minded and not less than 10 per cent 
backward and mentally dull, needing special care and 
attention.^ These children who "skirt the border- 
land of abnormity" cannot properly be dealt with in 
the ordinary classes, and it has been found necessary 
in most cities to estabUsh special classes for their 
benefit. While some of these classes have children 


whose backwardness is more apparent than real, 
the children of foreign immigrants, for example, 
whose difficulties with the language cause them to be 
placed in grades with much younger children, the 
problem is still serious when all possible allowance 
has been made for these. In districts where the 
number of foreign-born children is very small the 
percentage of backward children is very great. The 
percentage found in the schools of California by 
Professor Monroe is probably not too high for the 
country as a whole. In a general way it corroborates 
the findings of European investigators, and a number 
of educators to whom I submitted the question have 
given estimates based upon their personal observa- 
tions ranging from 10 to 15 per cent. 

If we accept the CaUfornia figures and apply them 
to the whole country, we get a total of about 1,500,000 
such children enrolled in the public schools, for not 
more than one-fourth of whom has any special pro- 
vision been made or attempted. The seriousness of 
this aspect of the problem will be apparent to teachers 
and others famihar with school work who know how 
seriously 1 or 2 such children in a class of 40 or 50 
will impair the efficiency of the teacher's efforts. 
By reason of their dulness and slow mental action 
such children absorb too much of the teacher's time, 
which might more profitably be spent upon other 
children, and thus act as a drag upon all the mem- 
bers of the class. 


Moreover, they become discouraged by their 
failures, and, hardened by constant rebuke and the 
taunts of their brighter companions, finally careless, 
defiant, and altogether incorrigible. In many cases 
they leave school before they are of the legal age, 
their leaving welcomed, and often suggested, by the 
teachers, who not unnaturally tire of the hindrance 
to their work. Yet they are the very children who 
can least of all afford to miss whatever education they 
are capable of. They, more than any others, need 
the training and development of their minds to fit 
them for the battle of Hfe. How can they otherwise 
be expected to earn their daily bread in the com- 
petitive labor market, where dulness of brain must 
inevitably prove a serious handicap? And unless 
they can stand the test of that competition, they must 
become paupers. Many of these children are taken 
away from school and sent to work, because, their 
parents say, ''they can't learn and are better helping 
to pay the rent than wasting their time in school." 
In connection with the movement for the prevention 
of child labor, we have come across hundreds of in- 
stances of this kind. Factory inspectors and physi- 
cians in industrial centres where child labor is preva- 
lent have frequently pointed out that a very large 
number of child workers are quite unfit for work. 
They were sick and backward in school, and instead 
of that special care being given them which their 


condition demanded in order that they might be 
equipped for the struggle for existence, they were 
removed altogether from the school's influences and 
subjected to conditions which tend to further deterio- 
ration, physical, mental, and moral." 

So that the problem is not merely one of economic 
waste represented by a fruitless and vain expenditure 
for the education of children who are not capable of 
benefiting by it. It is not merely a question of 
economic waste added to educational failure and the 
peril to society which that failure must involve in 
the crime which ignorance breeds and fosters. All 
these things are involved, and, in addition to them, 
is involved the terrible fact that we turn them adrift 
in the world, unfit for its service and unable to adjust 
themselves to its needs. In the very nature of things, 
because they are ill developed of body and mind, 
they must become industrially inefficient. They sink 
from depth to depth in the industrial abyss, 

" To endure wrongs darker than death or night." 

Where giant machines, inventors' brains, and ambi- 
tious immigrants in countless numbers all conspire 
to narrow the labor market, they are ruthlessly 
thrust aside. They are not only unemployed but 
unemployable. They become paupers, driven into 
the morass of pauperism by forces that are practi- 
cally, for them, irresistible. Thus is the problem of 


pauperism perpetuating itself. And to the economic 
waste represented by the expenditure upon them in 
the schools must be added the further cost of their 
support as dependants and paupers. It is a vicious 


That these same conditions are a fruitful source of 
criminality is unquestionable. All our studies of 
juvenile delinquency point to the fact that a very 
large proportion of the children who become truants, 
moral perverts, and criminals are drawn from this 
same class of physically degenerate children. It is 
commonplace nowadays to say that many of our 
criminals are not really criminals at all, but the vic- 
tims of physical or mental abnormalities, often directly 
traceable to low nutrition. In observing a number 
of juvenile delinquents the proportion of ill-developed 
children is generally noticeable. Professor G. Stan- 
ley Hall says, '' Juvenile criminals, as a class, are 
inferior in body and mind to normal children, and 
. . . their social environment is no less inferior." ^* 
Professor Dawson found among boys and girls in 
reformatory institutions a tendency to lighter weight, 
shorter stature, and less strength of grip; 16 per 
cent of them being "clearly sufferers from low nu- 
trition." ^® Professor Kline has shown the same gen- 
eral condition in a striking study, and concludes that 
"low nutrition breeds discontent and a tendency to 


run away." ^° A mass of very similar testimony 
might be cited from the records of the most competent 
investigators in this and other countries. It is the 
universal experience that a low standard of physical 
development is almost invariably associated with 
low mental and moral standards. 

It is no mere coincidence that inferiority of phy- 
sique should be thus universally and inseparably 
associated witl) inferiority of economic condition. It 
is not a mere coincidence that superiority of phy- 
sique should be generally associated with mental 
superiority. Nor will the suggestion of coincidence 
suffice to explain the universal association of low 
physical and mental development with criminal 
propensities. These facts possess a very definite, 
and very obvious, relation as cause and effect. The 
three main divisions of degeneracy, physical, mental, 
and moral, are inseparable and spring from the same 
causes. From the investigations which have been 
made in this country and from the voluminous litera- 
ture upon the subject which similar investigations 
in European countries have produced, I am satisfied 
that poor, defective nutrition lies at the root of the 
physical degeneration of the poor; and a priori 
reasoning would justify the conclusion that the mental 
degeneracy evidenced by the enormous number of 
backward children, educational failures, and the moral 
degeneracy evidenced by increasing juvenile delin- 


quency and crime, are due to the same fundamental 
cause. From those data alone we might, with ample 
justification, adopt the words of a famous authority 
and say, ''Defective nutrition lies at the base of all 
forms of degeneracy." ** We need not, however, 
rely upon this method, for there is no lack of direct 
testimony to show that low nutrition is the prime 
and most fruitful cause of mental dulness and its 
attendant evils. 

I do not wish to be understood as contending that 
physical, mental, or moral defects never exist except 
as a result of defective nutrition, or that malnutrition 
never exists except as a result of poverty. I know, 
for instance, that a great many children are back- 
ward in their studies because they are handicapped 
by defects of vision or hearing, adenoid growths, and 
the like. These are often easily curable, and the 
fitting of proper glasses, or the removal of adenoid 
growths by shght surgical operations, suffice to bring 
such children up to the standard of normality. In 
an examination of over 7000 children in New York 
public schools one- third were found to have ''defects 
of vision, interfering with the proper pursuit of their 
studies." ^ In such cases malnutrition may or may 
not be the initial cause. That defective vision is 
often attributable to low and improper nutrition is 
beyond question. My contention is that the vast 
majority of dull and backward children, whose nima- 


ber makes a serious pedagogical problem, and a still 
more serious social problem in that so many of them 
become either inefficient and dependent, or criminal, 
are dull and backward as a result of physical inferiority 
directly traceable to poor and inadequate feeding. 

A striking evidence of the association of under- 
feeding and mental dulness is afforded by the coin- 
cidence of numbers in the two classes wherever care- 
ful, expert investigations have been made. More 
than twenty years ago, as a result of some discussion 
upon the subject in the House of Commons, Dr. 
Crichton-Browne, the famous English authority upon 
mental diseases, prepared, at the request of the then 
vice-president of the Committee of Council on Educa- 
tion, Mr. Mundella, a report upon the physical and 
mental condition of the children in the elementary 
schools of London.^^ In that report Dr. Crichton- 
Browne pointed out that dulness, " sudden failure 
of intellect and languor of manner," so prevalent 
among poorer children, were generally associated 
with hunger and semi-starvation. Later, the British 
Medical Association appointed a committee consisting 
of Drs. Hack Tuke, D. E. Shuttleworth, Fletcher 
Beach, and Francis Warner. They visited 14 schools 
scattered over a wide area and having a total enrol- 
ment of about 5000 children. For the purposes of 
examination 809 children were selected, of which 
number 231 were classed in the report as being men- 


tally dull, and 184 as showing evident signs of defec- 
tive nutrition. The report adds, "We do not sup- 
pose that we noted defective nutrition in all cases in 
which it may have been present." Very often the 
conditions noted are coexistent, so a careful analysis 
of the figures was made, with the result that of the 
cases of mental dulness 28.50 per cent were found to 
be among those reported as suffering from defective 
nutrition, and the same proportion of mentally dull 
included in the cases of defective nutrition. ^^ In the 
examination of the 7000 New York public school 
children already referred to, Dr. Cronin found 650 
cases of ''bad mentality" and 632 cases of ''bad nutri- 
tion." Similar investigations in several European 
cities, notably Turin, Christiania, and Paris, show 
very similar results. 

More conclusive still is the testimony of experience 
in cases where school meals have been introduced. 
In 1883 Mr. Mimdella, M.P., introducing the educa- 
tion estimates in the House of Commons, described 
an experiment which was being carried on in the 
elementary schools at Rousden by Sir Henry Peek 
in the way of providing a cheap, wholesome, and nu- 
tritious midday meal for the children. The cost of 
the meals was, according to Mr. Mundella,who spoke 
from a statement furnished by Sir Henry Peek him- 
self, less than two and a half cents per meal, five meals 
costing twelve cents. The school inspectors testified 


that the results had been eminently satisfactory 
''both from a physical and educational point of view." 
The meals proved to be an incentive to more regular 
attendance and, by providing the children with 
the requisite stamina, increased their mental efficiency, 
the result being an increased average of passes in the 
government examination upon which the govern- 
mental grants-in-aid were based.^^ In the following 
year, 1884, Mr. Jonathan Taylor, a prominent mem- 
ber of the Social Democratic Federation, induced 
the Sheffield School Board to introduce a system of 
providing cheap school dinners. It was found that 
a good, substantial meal, which Mr. Taylor describes 
as ''sufficient in quantity and excellent in quality, and 
forming such a dinner as satisfies myself, and which 
the teachers in the schools are in the habit of partak- 
ing of along with the children," could be provided 
at a cost of less than two cents per capita, that sum 
including the cost of fuel, cook's wages, and other 
working expenses. While, as the committee in charge 
reported to the school board, it was soon found that 
there were a large number of children who could not 
afford even two cents for a meal, the results of the 
experiment speedily manifested themselves in a 
marked physical and mental improvement in the chil- 
dren. It was particularly demonstrated that chil- 
dren who were formerly dull and backward showed 
much improvement in their work after they had par- 


taken regularly of the school dinners for a short time.''' 
During the twenty years which have elapsed since 
these initial experiments were made, many similar 
schemes have been introduced in British schools, 
and in every case so far as I have been able to ascer- 
tain the facts, there has been a marked improvement 
in the physical and mental condition of the children 

Mrs. Humphry Ward has given a most interesting 
account of an experiment in a ''Special School for 
Defectives" at Tavistock Place, London, the pioneer 
school of its kind in London. That it is a special 
school for physically defective children does not de- 
tract from the importance of the results noted. 
For some time there had been an arrangement 
whereby the children were provided with a midday 
meal for which their parents were charged three cents 
a day, the deficit being met by the managers from the 
school fund. Complaint was made by some of the 
visitors interested in the experiment that the meals 
were not good enough, not sufficiently nourishing 
for children of that class, and the managers were pre- 
vailed upon to improve the dietary to a considerable 
extent. Mrs. Ward says: ''The experiment of a 
more liberal and varied diet was tried. More hot 
meat, more eggs, milk, cream, vegetables, and fruit 
were given. In consequence the children's appetites 
largely increased, and the expense naturally increased 


with them. The children's pence in May amounted 
to £3 13s. 6d. ($17.64), and the cost of the food was 
£4 7s. 2d. ($20.92) ; in June, after the more Uberal 
scale had been adopted, the children's payments were 
still £3 13s. lOd, ($17.72), but the expenses had 
risen to £5 7s. Sd. ($25.84). Meanwhile the physical 
and mental results of the increased expenditure are 
already unmistakable. Partially paralyzed children 
have been recovering strength in hands and limbs 
with greater rapidity than before. . . . The effect, 
indeed, is startling to those who have watched the 
experiment. Meanwhile, the teachers have entered 
in the log-book of the school their testimony to the 
increased power of work that the children have been 
showing since the new feeding has been adopted. 
Hardly any child now wants to lie down during school 
time, whereas apphcations to lie down used to be 
common; and the children both learn and remember 
better.'' " 

In Birmingham, England, a voluntary organiza- 
tion started by the chairman of the School Board, 
Mr. George Dixon, provides meals during the winter 
months for something like 2500 children. This 
committee provides a dinner, absolutely free of cost 
to the child, consisting principally of lentil soup and 
bread and jam. The cost to the organization, accord- 
ing to Dr. Airy, H.M.I. , who gave testimony before 
the Inter-Departmental Committee,^* is less than one 


cent per meal inclusive, the manager's present salary 
being $500 per year. Formerly it was $750, but he 
voluntarily accepted the reduction to $500 when sub- 
scriptions began to fall off. Dr. Airy explained to 
the committee that the 2500 children thus fed by 
this charity constitute about 2J per cent of the 
child population of the entire city. No attempt 
whatever is made to deal with any children except 
those who are known to be '* practically starving," 
the far larger number of children who, while being 
imderfed and seriously so, still get some sort of food, 
enough to keep them from absolute destitution, being 
in no way provided for. One reason for the low 
standard of meals given is the desire of the committee 
to make them as unattractive as possible, so that few 
children will eat the dinners except absolutely forced 
by sheer hunger. Another reason I give in full from 
the "minutes of evidence" because of its bearing 
upon a phase of the problem already noted. Dr. 
Airy was asked concerning the lentil soup, "Is there 
any animal stock in it ?" and repUed : "Yes, there is 
a certain amount, but not very much. It has been 
found by incessant experiment — because this is an 
experimental business year by, year — that lentil soup 
was the best. A starving child cannot take anything 
good; its stomach rejects it at once. We gave far too 
good soup at first. It had to be found out by experi- 
ment what they would stand." '" There is another 


charity in Birmingham which provides breakfasts 
of bread and cocoa and milk to practically the same 
class of destitute children. Several teachers and 
others connected with educational work in Birming- 
ham have, in response to my inquiries, assured me 
that notwithstanding the fact that the quality of 
meals given is so poor, and that only the very lowest 
class of children is touched by the charity, there has 
been a marked improvement in the mental capacity 
of the children. One of the teachers, in a personal 
letter, says: ''Of course, I have no means of proving 
it statistically for you ; our faciUties for child study 
do not include any system of individual record books, 
by which method alone, it seems to me, could statis- 
tical data be gathered. But I know personally sev- 
eral children who have been in my own class in whom 
the mental improvement consequent upon their 
improved diet has been most marked. If observa- 
tion coimts for anything at all, and I suppose it does, 
I have no hesitation in saying that the mental im- 
provement in a large number of children has been 
simply marvellous." 

In Norway it has been for several years the custom 
of the school authorities in several municipalities to 
provide, free of charge, a good dinner' for all school 
children who care to avail themselves of it. The 
dinners are prepared in a central kitchen-station and 
sent out in boxes to the various schools, special 


appliances being used to keep the meals hot. The 
dinners consist usually of soup, porridge, meat, 
vegetables, and bread for the ordinary children, and 
a special dietary for weak, sick, or defective children.*® 
This system of free dinners was introduced as a result 
of a series of experiments made in Christiania. It 
was found that the number of backward, dull chil- 
dren who came from the poorer districts was much 
higher than elsewhere, and that they were, as a rule, 
inferior in physical development. So great was the 
progress made by the children in several classes in 
which the experiment of giving them one good meal 
each day was tried that the school authorities were 
induced to introduce the system generally into the 
schools. A member of the Municipal Council of 
Trondhjem say ^speaking of the free school dinner 
system, '* Norway now interprets civilization to mean 
that society must conspire to save its children from 
the hostile forces of unequal economic conditions, 
and to secure for them equal opportunities and help- 
ful conditions for the development of their highest 
and best gifts." 

As a result of a careful study of the problem of 
how best to deal with the backward child, and a com- 
parison of her own observations with those of 
teachers and others in Norway and France (where 
the cantines scolaires have been attended with results 
very similar to those attained in Norway), a New 


York teacher in charge of a large class of such chil- 
dren decided to try the experiment of feeding them." 
''To build up their intellects is the task we have to 
accompUsh," she said to the writer, ''and I have 
found that that can best be done through building 
up their bodies first and so securing a decent physical 
basis to work upon." The children contribute a cent 
each per day to a fund administered by the teacher, 
who provides each child with a cup of warm milk 
every morning in the middle of the session. Should 
any child for any reason be xmable to contribute its 
share, it is not deprived of the milk on that account, 
the small deficit being made up out of the teacher's 
own purse. In addition to the milk the children 
get such of the products of the cooking classes as are 
suitable for them, three days a wee]^ It is a small 
experiment, too small indeed to justify any sweeping 
generalization from it, but it is nevertheless impor- 
tant in that it confirms fully the experience of foreign 
investigators that a very large proportion of the 
children who are mentally dull need only to be prop- 
erly fed in order to enable their minds to develop 

A somewhat similar method of feeding the children 
has been tried for three years at Speyer School, the 
practice and experimental school of Teachers Col- 
lege, Columbia University.'*^ The children of the 
lower grades are suppHed with milk and crackers at 



ten o'clock in the morning, and "the teachers are 
unanimous in the statement that the children are 
all happier and more able to work" in consequence 
of being fed. These various experiments demon- 
strate beyond question that underfeeding is respon- 
sible for much of the mental degeneracy among 
school children and the resulting failure of so many 
of them to profit by the education which we provide 
for them. More than that, they point unerringly 
to the remedy. 


Summarizing, briefly, the results of this investiga- 
tion, the problem of poverty as it affects school children 
may be stated in a few Unes. All the data available 
tend to show that not less than 2,000,000 children 
of school age in the United States are the victims 
of poverty which denies them common necessities, 
particularly adequate nourishment. As a result of 
this privation they are far inferior in physical devel- 
opment to their more fortunate fellows. This in- 
feriority of physique, in turn, is responsible for much 
mental and moral degeneration. Such children are 
in very many cases incapable of successful mental 
effort, and much of our national expeifditure for 
education is in consequence an absolute waste. With 
their enfeebled bodies and minds we turn these 
children adrift unfitted for the struggle of life, which 
tends to become keener with every advance in our 


industrial development, and because of their lack 
of physical and mental training they are found to 
be inefficient industrially and dangerous socially. 
They become dependent, paupers, and the procrea- 
tors of a pauper and dependent race. 

Here, then, is a problem of awful magnitude. In 
the richest country on earth himdreds of thousands 
of children are literally damned to Ufelong, helpless, 
and debasing poverty. They are plunged in the 
earUest and most important years of character forma- 
tion into that terrible maelstrom of poverty which 
casts so many thousands, ay, milhons, of physical, 
mental, and moral wrecks upon the shores of our 
social Hfe. For them there is Uttle or no hope of 
escape from the blight and curse of pauperism unless 
the nation, pursuing a policy of enlightened self- 
interest and protection, decides to save them. In the 
main, this vast sum of poverty is due to causes of 
a purely impersonal nature which the victims cannot 
control, such as sickness, accident, low wages, and 
unemployment. Personal causes, such as ignorance, 
thriftlessness, gambling, intemperance, indolence, 
wife-desertion, and other vices or weaknesses, are 
also responsible for a good deal of poverty, though 
by no means most of it as is sometimes urged by 
superficial observers. There are many thousands 
of temperate and industrious workers who are 
miserably poor, and many of those who are thriftless 



or intemperate are the victims of poverty's degen- 
erating influences.*^ But whether a child's hunger 
and privation is due to some fault of its parents or to 
causes beyond their control, the fact of its suffering 
remains, and its impaired physical and mental 
strength tends almost irresistibly to make it ineffi- 
cient as a citizen. Whatever the cause, therefore, 
of its privation, society must, as a measure of self- 
protection, take upon itself the responsibiUty of 
caring for the child. 

There can be no compromise upon this vital point. 
Those who say that society should refuse to do any- 
thing for those children who are the victims of their 
parents' vices or weaknesses adopt a singularly 
indefensible attitude. In the first place it is bar- 
barously unjust to allow the sins of the parents to 
bring punishment and suffering upon the child, to 
damn the innocent and unoffending. No more 
vicious doctrine than this, which so many excellent 
and well-intentioned persons are fond of preaching, 
has ever been formulated by human perversity. 
Carried to its logical end, it would destroy all legis- 
lation for the protection of children from cruel 
parents or guardians. It is strange that the doc- 
trinaire advocates of this brutal gospel should over- 
look its practical consequences. If discrimination 
were to be made at all, it should be in favor of, rather 
than against, the children of drunken and profligate 


parents. For these children have a special claim 
upon society for protection from wrongs in the shape 
of influences injurious to their physical and moral 
well-being, and tending to lead them into evil and 
degrading ways. The half-starved child of the in- 
ebriate is not less entitled to the protection of society 
than the victim of inhuman physical torture. 

Should these children be excluded from any sys- 
tem of feeding adopted by the state upon the ground 
that their parents have not fulfilled their parental 
responsibihties, society joins in a conspiracy against 
their very lives. And that conspiracy ultimately 
and inevitably involves retribution. In the interests 
and name of a beguiling economy, fearful that if it 
assumes responsibility for the care of the child of 
inebriate parents, it will foster and encourage their 
inebriety and neglect, society leaves the children 
surrounded by circumstances which practically force 
them to become drunkards, physical and moral 
wrecks, and procreators of a like degenerate progeny. 
Then it is forced to accept the responsibihty of their 
support, either as paupers or criminals. That is the 
stern Nemesis of retribution. Where an enlightened 
system of child saving has been followed, this prin- 
ciple has been clearly recognized. In Minnesota, 
for example, the state assumes the responsibility 
for the care of such children as a matter of self-pro- 
tection. To quote the language of a report of the 


State Public School at Owatonna: "It is for eco- 
nomic as well as for humane reasons that this work is 
done. The state is thus protecting itself from dangers 
to which it would be exposed in a very few years if 
these children were reared in the conditions which 
so injuriously affect them." ** Whatever steps may 
be taken to punish, or make responsible to the state, 
those parents who by their vice and neglect bring 
suffering and want upon their children, the children 
themselves should be saved. 

To the contention that society, having assumed 
the responsibility of insisting that every child shall 
be educated, and providing the means of education, 
is necessarily boimd to assume the responsibility of 
seeing that they are made fit to receive that education, 
so far as possible, there does not seem to be any con- 
vincing answer. It will be objected that for society 
to do this would mean the destruction of the respon- 
sibility of the parents. That is obviously true. But 
it is equally true of education itself, the responsi- 
bihty for which society has assumed. Some indi- 
vidualists there are who contend that society is 
wrong in doing this, and their opposition to the pro- 
posal that it should undertake to provide the children 
with food is far more logical than that of those who 
believe that society should assume the responsibility 
of educating the child, but not that of equipping it 
with the necessary physical basis for that education. 


The fact is that society insists upon the education 
of the children, not, primarily, in their interests nor 
in the interests of the parents, bwt in its own. All 
legislation upon child labor, education, child guar- 
dianship in general, is based upon a denial of pro- 
prietary rights to children by their parents. The 
child belongs to society rather than to its parents. 
Further, private charity, which is the only alter- 
native suggestion offered for the solution of this 
problem, equally removes responsibility from the 
parents and is open to other weightier objections. 
In the first place, where it succeeds, it is far more 
demoralizing than such a system of public support 
provided at the public cost, as the child's birthright, 
could possibly be. Still more important is the fact 
that private charity does not succeed in the vast 
majority of instances. To their credit, it must be 
remembered that the poor as a class refuse to beg or 
to parade their poverty. They suffer in silence and 
never seek alms. Pride and the shame of begging 
seal their lips. Here, too, the question of the children 
of inebriate, dissolute, worthless parents enters. 
Every one who has had the least experience of chari- 
table work knows that these are the persons who 
are most relieved by charity. They do not hesitate 
to plead for charity. ''I have not strength to dig; 
to beg I am ashamed," is the motto of the self- 
respecting, silent, suffering poor. The failure of 


charity is incontestable. As some witty Frenchman 
has well said, ''Charity creates one-half the misery 
she relieves, but cannot relieve one-half the misery 
she creates." 

It is impossible to enter here into a discussion of 
the question of cost, but the argument that society 
could not afford to undertake this further responsi- 
bility must be briefly considered. In view of our 
well-nigh boundless resources there is small reason 
for the behef that we cannot provide for the needs of 
all our children. If it were true that we could not 
provide for their necessities, then wholesale death 
would be merciful and desirable. At any rate, it 
would be far better to feed them first, neglecting 
their education altogether, than to waste our sub- 
stance in the brutally senseless endeavor to educate 
them while they starve and pine for bread. There 
can be little doubt that the economic waste involved 
in fruitless charity, and the still vaster waste in- 
volved in the maintenance of the dependent and 
criminal classes whose degeneracy is mainly attrib- 
utable to underfeeding in childhood, amount to a 
sum far exceeding the cost of providing adequate 
nutrition for every child. It is essentially a ques- 
tion of the proper adjustment of our means to our 
needs. Otherwise we must admit the utter failure 
of our civiUzation and confess that, in the language 
of Sophocles, it is 


" Happiest beyond compare 

Never to taste of life ; 
Happiest in order next, 

Being born, with quickest speed 
Thither again to turn 

From whence we came."* 

* CEdipus Coloneus. 



" In this boasted land of freedom there are bonded baby slaves, 
And the busy world goes by and does not heed. 
They are driven to the mill, just to glut and overfill 
Bursting coffers of the mighty monarch. Greed. 
When they perish we are told it is God's will, 
Oh, the roaring of the mill, of the mill ! " 

— Ella Whefxer Wilcox. 

It is a startling and suggestive fact that the very 
force which Aristotle, the profoundest thinker of 
antiquity, regarded as the only agency through which 
the aboUtion of slavery might be made possible, 
served, when at last it was evolved, not to destroy 
slavery, but to extend it; to enslave in a new form 
of bondage those who hitherto had been free. Aris- 
totle regarded slavery as a basic institution and saw 
no possible means whereby it might ever be dis- 
pensed with, ''except perhaps by the aid of machines." 
He said, "If every tool . . . could do the work 
that befits it, just as the creations of Daedalus 
moved of themselves, or the tripods of Hephsestos 
went of their own accord; if the weavers' shuttles 
were to weave of themselves, then there would be 



no need of apprentices for the master workers, or 
slaves for the lords." ^ When more than two thou- 
sand years had passed, a machine, a wonderful, com- 
plex tool, almost literally fulfilUng his conditions, 
was invented. 

We speak of the power-loom as Cartwright's in- 
vention, but in truth it was the joint production of 
numberless inventors, most of them unknown to 
history, and some of whom hved and labored long 
before Aristotle sat at Plato's feet in the great school 
at Athens. Looking at a modern power-loom in 
one of our great factories not long ago, I asked the 
name of the inventor, which was readily enough 
given. But as I watched the marvellous mechanism 
with its many wheels, levers, and springs, I wondered 
how much of it could be said to have had its origin 
in the brain of the inventor in question. Who in- 
vented the wheel, the lever, the spring? Who in- 
vented the first rude loom, reproduced, in principle, 
in the wonderful looms of the twentieth centmy? 
No man knows. We do not know the name of the 
inventor of the loom figured in all its details upon the 
tomb of the ancient Egyptian at Beni Hassan;' 
we do not know who invented the loom which the 
Greek vase of 400 B.C. depicts, — a loom which, so 
William Morris tells us, is in all respects Uke those in 
use in Iceland and the Faroe Islands in the latter 
half of the nineteenth century.^ Many thousands of 


years ago, in the simple tribal communism of primi- 
tive man, the great bed-rock inventions were evolved. 
Thousands of years of human experience led up to 
the ribbon-loom which, in the early part of the six- 
teenth century, brought sentence of death upon the 
poor inventor of Danzig * whose very name has been 
forgotten. This ribbon-loom was a near approach 
to the wonderful tool of which Aristotle dreamed 
as the Hberator of enslaved man. 

The work of improvement went on, and the power- 
loom came; "weavers' shuttles were to weave of 
themselves" in a well-nigh Uteral sense. The great 
machine tool became an accomplished fact. It had 
been forged upon the anvil of human necessity 
through countless centuries. But the revolution 
it wrought, or, rather, the revolution of which it 
was the expression, was not a revolution of liberation. 
A hundred and twenty years have elapsed since then, 
and still the prophecy of freedom has not been ful- 
filled; there are still '^ slaves for the lords.^' 

" Fast and faster, our iron master, 
The thing we made, for ever drives, 
Bids us grind treasure and fashion pleasure, 
For other hopes and other lives." 

Children have always worked, but it is only since 
the reign of the machine that their work has been 
synonymous with slavery. Under the old form 
of simple, domestic industry even the very young 


children were assigned their share of the work in the 
family. But this form of child labor was a good 
and wholesome thing. There may have been abuses ; 
children may have suffered from the ignorance, 
cupidity, and brutality of fathers and mothers, but 
in the main the child's share in the work of the fam- 
ily was a good thing. In the first place, the child 
was associated in its work with one or both of its 
parents, and thus kept under all those influences 
which we deem of most worth, the influences of home 
and parental care. Secondly, the work of the child 
constituted a major part of its education. And it 
was no mean education, either, which gave the world 
generation after generation of glorious craftsmen. 
The seventeenth-century glass-blower of Venice or 
Murano, for instance, learned his craft from his 
father in this manner, and in turn taught it to his 
son. There was a bond of interest between them; 
a parental pride and interest on the part of the father 
infinitely greater and more potent for good than any 
commercial relation would have allowed. On the 
part of the child, too, there was a fihal pride and 
devotion which found its expression in a spirit of 
emulation, the spirit out of which all the rich 
glory of that wonderfully rich craft was born. So, 
too, it was with the potters of ancient Greece, and 
with the tapestry weavers of fourteenth-century 
France. In the golden age of the craftsman, child 


labor was child training in the noblest and best sense. 
The training of hand and heart and brain was the 
end achieved, even where it was not the sole purpose 
of the child's labor. 

But with the coming of the machine age all this 
was changed. The craftsman was supplanted by 
the tireless, soulless machine. The child still worked, 
but in a great factory throbbing with the vibration 
of swift, intricate machines. In place of parental 
interest and affection there was the harsh, pitiless 
authority of an employer or his agent, looking, not 
to the child's well-being and skill as an artificer, but 
to the supplying of a great, ever widening market 
for cash gain. 

It is not without its significance that the ribbon- 
loom which in the latter part of the seventeenth 
century caused the workmen of England to riot, the 
same machine which, later, was pubUcly burnt in 
Hamburg by order of the Senate, should have been 
described as "enabUng a totally inexperienced boy" 
to set the whole loom with all its shuttles in motion, 
''by simply moving a rod backwards and forwards. '"* 
It was as though the new mechanical invention had 
been designed with the express purpose of laying 
the burden of the world's work upon child shoulders ; 
as though some evil genius had deUberately contrived 
that the nation of progress should 

** — Stand, to move the world, on a child's heart." 



There is no more terrible page in history than that 
which records the enslavement of mere babies by 
the industrial revolution of the eighteenth century 
in England. Not even the crucifixion of twenty 
thousand slaves along the highways by Scipio excels 
it in horror. 

Writing in 1795, Dr. Aikin gives a vivid account 
of the evils which had already been introduced in 
the factory districts by the new system of manufac- 
ture.® He mentions the destruction of the best 
features of home life, the spread of filth, thriftless- 
ness, poverty, and disease, and says that the demand 
for '' children for the cotton mills" had become 
very great. To get children for the cotton mills 
was not easy at first. Parental love and pride were 
ranged against the new system, denying its demands. 
Accustomed to the old domestic system, the associa- 
tion of all the members of the family in manufacture 
as part of the domestic fife, they regarded the new 
industrial forms with repugnance. It was considered 
a degradation for a child to be sent into the factories, 
especially for a girl, whose whole fife would be blasted 
thereby. The term ^'factory girl" was an insulting 
epithet, and the young woman who bore it could not 
hope for other, better employment, nor yet for 
marriage with any but the very lowest and despised 


of men. Not till they were forced by sheer hunger 
and misery, through the reduction of wages to the 
level of starvation, could the respectable workers be 
induced to send their children into the factories. In 
the meantime they made war upon the ''iron men," 
as the machines were called, but of course in vain. To 
such a conflict there could be only one end, — human 
beings of flesh and blood could not prevail against 
the iron monsters, their competitors. 

But the manufacturers wanted children, and they 
got them from the workhouses. It was not diffi- 
cult to persuade Bumbledom to get rid of its pauper 
children, especially when its conscience was salved 
by the specious pretext that the children were to be 
taught new trades, as apprentices. ''Alfred," the 
anonymous author of the History of the Factory 
Movement j"^ gives a thrilling description of the hor- 
rible inhumanity and wickedness of this practice of 
sending parish apprentices, "without remorse or 
inquiry, to be icsed up as the cheapest raw material 
in the market." The mill owners would first com- 
municate with the overseers of the poor, and the 
latter would fix suitable dates for the manufacturers 
or their agents to examine the children. Those 
chosen were then conveyed to their destination, 
closely packed in wagons or canal-boats. Thence- 
forth they were doomed to the most miserable sla- 
very. A class of "traffickers" in child slaves arose. 


These men made a profitable business of suppl3dng 
children to the manufacturers. They deposited 
their victims in dark, dank cellars, where the sales 
to the manufacturers or their agents were made. 
'^The mill owners, by the light of lanterns being able 
to examine the children, their limbs and stature 
having undergone the necessary scrutiny, the bar- 
gain was struck, and these poor innocents were 
conveyed to the mills." Their pUght was appalling. 
They received no wages, and they were so cheap, 
their places so easily filled, that the mill owners did 
not even take the trouble to give them decent food 
or clothing. ''In stench, in heated rooms, amid the 
whirUng of a thousand wheels, Httle fingers and Httle 
feet were kept in ceaseless action, forced into unnat- 
ural activity by blows from the heavy hands and 
feet of the merciless overlooker, and the infliction 
of bodily pain by instruments of punishment invented 
by the sharpened ingenuity of insatiable selfishness." 
Robert BHncoe, himself an apprentice who, at 
seven years of age, was sent from a London work- 
house to a cotton mill near Nottingham, gives a 
harrowing but well-authenticated account of actual 
experience.® He tells how the apprentices used to 
be fed upon the same coarse food as that given to 
the master's pigs, and how he and his fellow-victims 
used joyfully to say when they saw the swine being 
fed, "The pigs are served; it will be our turn next/' 


5f S3 

hH OS 


O o ^ 



. . . "When the swine were hungry," he says, 
"they used to grunt so loud, they obtained the wash 
first to quiet them. The apprentices could be intimi- 
dated, and made to keep still." Blincoe describes 
how, for fattening, the pigs were often given meat 
balls, or dumphngs, in their wash, and how he and 
the other apprentices who were, kept near the pig- 
sties used to shp away and slyly steal as many of 
these dumphngs from the pigs as possible, hastening 
away with them to a hiding-place, where they were 
greedily devoured. "The pigs . . . learned from 
experience to guard their food by various expedients. 
Made wise by repeated losses, they kept a sharp 
lookout, and the moment they ascertained the ap- 
proach of the half-famished apprentices, they set 
up so loud a chorus of snorts and grunts, it was heard 
in the kitchen, when out rushed the swineherd, armed 
with a whip, from which combined means of protec- 
tion for the swine this accidental source of obtaining 
a good dinner was soon lost. Such was the contest 
carried on for some time at Litton Mill between the 
half-famished apprentices and the well-fed swine." 
The children were worked sixteen hours at a stretch, 
by day and by night. They slept by turns and relays 
in beds that were never allowed to cool, one set being 
sent to bed as soon as the others had gone to their 
toil. Children of both sexes and all ages, from five 
years upward, were indiscriminately herded together, 


with the result that vice and disease flourished. 
Sometimes the unfortunate victims would try to run 
away, and to prevent this all who were suspected of 
such a tendency had irons riveted on their ankles 
with long links reaching up to their hips. In these 
chains they were compelled to work and sleep, young 
women and girls as well as boys. Many children 
contrived to commit suicide, some were unquestion- 
ably beaten to death; the death-rate became so 
great that it became the custom to bury the bodies 
at night, secretly, lest a popular uprising be provoked.® 

Worse still, the cupidity of British Bumbledom 
was aroused, and it became the custom for overseers 
of the poor to insist that one imbecile child at least 
should be taken by the mill owner, or the trafficker, 
with every batch of twenty children. In this manner 
the parish got rid of the expense of maintaining its 
idiot children. What became of these unhappy 
idiots will probably never be known, but from the 
cruel fate of the children who were sane, we may judge 
how awful that of the poor imbeciles must have 

Even in the one factory of the time which was 
heralded as a model for the manufacturers to copy, 
the mill at New Lanark, Scotland, owned by Mr. 
David Dale and afterward made famous by the great 
and good Robert Owen, his son-in-law, conditions 
were, from a twentieth-century point of view, simply 


shocking, despite the fact that it was the subject of 
glowing praise in the Annual Register for 1792, and 
that, Uke some of our modern factories, it had be- 
come generally regarded as a semi-philanthropic 
establishment. Robert Owen tells us in his auto- 
biography that ''children were received as early as 
six years old, the pauper authorities decUning to send 
them at any later age." These little children worked 
from six in the morning till seven in the evening, and 
after that they were supposed to he educated! "The 
poor children hated their slavery ; many absconded ; 
... at tliirteen or fifteen years old, when their ap- 
prenticeship expired, they commonly went off to 
Edinburgh or Glasgow, . . . altogether admirably 
trained for swelling the mass of vice and misery in 
the towns."*" And all this while British philan- 
thropists were agitating the question of negro eman- 
cipation, and raising funds for that object! 

Thanks, mainly, to the agitation of Owen, a move- 
ment was begun to endeavor to improve the lot of 
these little child slaves. This movement received 
a tremendous impetus from the fearful epidemic 
which, in 1799-1800, spread through the factory 
districts of Manchester and the surrounding country. 
An inquiry into the causes of this epidemic ascribed 
it to overwork, scant and poor food, wretched cloth- 
ing, bad ventilation, and overcrowding, especially 
among the children." As a result the first act for 


the protection of child workers was passed through 
the parUamentary exertions of Sir Robert Peel, 
himself a master manufacturer. It was a very small 
measure of reUef which this act afforded, but it is 
nevertheless a most important statute to students of 
industrial legislation as the "first definitely in re- 
straint of modern factory labor and in general oppo- 
sition to the laissez-faire poUcy in industry." ^^ It 
was the first factory act ever passed by the British 
Parhament. It placed no limit upon the age at which 
children might be employed; it apphed only to 
apprentices, and not to children "under the super- 
vision of their parents;" it reduced the hours of 
labor to twelve per day, and provided for the cloth- 
ing, instruction, and religious training of the children. 
These provisions were clearly a survival of an indus- 
trial system based upon paternal interest and au- 

One immediate effect of the act of 1802 was the 
practical break-up of the pauper apprentice system. 
But it must be remembered that this system was 
already outworn, and it is extremely improbable 
that it would have continued to any great extent, 
even if the act of 1802 had not been passed. It had 
served its purpose, but was no longer essential to the 
manufacturers.^^ Notwithstanding that it intro- 
duced a revolutionary principle, as we have seen, 
the act excited no opposition from the manufacturers. 


The reason for this is not difficult to determine. 
Wages had been forced down to the starvation level 
through the competition of the pauper apprentices 
with free, adult labor, with the result that poverty 
abounded. Parents were ready now to send their 
children into the mills. Hunger had conquered their 
prejudices — the iron man had triumphed over 
human flesh and blood. 

It is not my purpose to trace the growth of English 
legislation against child labor. This brief historical 
sketch is introduced for quite another purpose, to 
wit, to show the origin of our modern problem of 
child slavery and degradation. Suffice it to say, 
then, that the ^'free" children who went into the mills 
by their parents' ^'consent" were almost as badly 
off as the pauper apprentices had been. They were 
treated just as brutally. Even in 1830, before a 
meeting of philanthropists and clergy in Bradford, 
Richard Oastler, the ''King of the Factory Children," 
could hold up an overseer's whip, saying, ^'This 
was hard at work in this town last week." " And 
on the 16th of March, 1832, Michael Sadler, M.P., 
in moving the second reading of his Ten Hours 
Bill in the House of Commons, could say: ''Sir, 
children are beaten with thongs prepared for the 
purpose. Yes, the females of this country, no matter 
whether children or grown up, I hardly know which 
is the more disgusting outrage, are beaten upon the 


arms, face, and bosom — beaten in your 'free mar- 
ket' of labom*, as you term it, like slaves. . . . 
These are the instruments ! " (Here, says the report 
in Hansard's Parliamentary Debates, the honorable 
member exhibited some black, heavy leathern thongs, 
one of them fixed in a sort of handle, the smack of 
which, when struck upon the table, resounded through 
the House.) ''They are quite equal to breaking an 
arm, but the bones of the young . . . are phant. The 
marks, however, are long visible, and the poor wretch 
is flogged, I say, hke a dog, by the tyrant overlooker. 
We speak mth execration of the cart-whip of the 
West Indies, but let us see this night an equal feehng 
against the factory thong of England." ^^ In some 
memorable verses this noble parhamentary leader 
of the movement for factory legislation has described 
such a whipping scene. The poem is too long to 
quote in its entirety: — 

" * Father, I'm up, but weary, 
I scarce can reach the door, 
And long the way and dreary — 
Oh, carry me once more 1 ' 

"Her wasted form seemed nothing— 
The load was at his heart. 
The sufferer he kept soothing 
Till at the mill they part. 
The overlooker met her, 
As to her frame she crept, 
And with his thong he beat her 
And cursed her as she wept. 


** All night with tortured feeling, 
He watched his speechless child, 
While, close beside her kneeling, 
She knew him not, nor smiled. 
Again the factory's ringing 
Her last perceptions tried ; 
When, from her straw bed springing, 
* 'Tis time I ' she shrieked, and died I ** *• 

A Committee of the House of Commons was ap- 
pointed to investigate the gromids of Sadler's demand 
for the Ten Hours Bill. From the mass of evidence 
of almost unspeakable cruelty, I quote only one brief 
passage from the testimony of one Jonathan Downe, 
himself a mill hand: "Provided a child should be 
drowsy (there were plenty working at six years of 
age), the overlooker walks around the room with a 
stick in his hand, and he touches the child on the 
shoulder, and says, 'Come here!' In the corner of 
the room is an iron cistern; it is filled with water; 
he takes this boy, and holding him up by his legs, 
dips him overhead in the cistern, and sends him to 
his task for the remainder of the day ; and that boy 
is to stand dripping as he is at his work — he has no 
chance of drying himself." " 

Such, then, was child labor at its worst; such the 
immediate effects of the introduction of great me- 
chanical inventions which the wisest of the ancients 
believed would Hberate men from all forms of bondage 
and destroy every vestige of slavery, — a hope which 


for many of us has not been shattered, even by a 
century and a quarter of disappointment. Hap- 
pily, we in the United States have been practically 
free from some of the worst evils of England's ex- 
perience, yet it is only too true that we have to-day 
a child-labor problem of terrible magnitude, chal- 
lenging the heart and brain of the nation to find a 
solution. We, too, are permitting the giant ^4ron 
men" to enslave our babies. The machine is our 
modern Moloch, and we feed it with precious child 



I am not unmindful of the fact that the presenta- 
tion of the darkest side of England's experience may 
have the effect of inducing in some minds a certain 
spirit of content, — a pharisaical thanksgiving that 
we are "not as other men" have been in a past that 
is not very remote. I accept, gladly, the issue 
imphed in that attitude. It is no part of my purpose 
to discount the social and ethical gains which have 
resulted from the struggle against child labor, or to 
paint in unduly dark colors the problem as it presents 
itself to us in the United States to-day. No good 
purpose is served by exaggeration; progress is not 
quickened by denying the progress that has been 

The inferno of child torture which the records of 
nineteenth-century England picture so vividly has 


more than historical interest for us. It was the 
result of a policy of laissez faire on the part of the 
government, and that policy has its advocates in 
the United States to-day. In our legislative assem- 
blies, and through the press, able and earnest men — 
some of them earnest only in their devotion to Mam- 
mon — are advocating that poUcy and forever crying 
out, in the words of the old physiocrats, '^Let alone; 
the world revolves of itself." When that cry of 
laissez faire is raised, despite the fact that children 
of four years are found at work in the canning fac- 
tories of New York State," and little girls of five 
and six years are found working by night in Southern 
cotton mills,^® it is not too much to assume that only 
a vigilant and constantly protesting pubHc conscience 
protects us from conditions as revolting as any of 
those experienced in the black night of England's 
orgy of greed. Capital has neither morals nor ideals ; 
its interests are always and everjrwhere expressible 
in terms of cash profits. Capital in the United States 
in the twentieth century calls for children as loudly 
as it called in England a century ago. 

Whatever advance has been made in the direction 
of the legislative protection of children from the 
awful consequences of premature exploitation, has 
been made in the face of bitter opposition from the 
exploiters. In the New York Legislature, during 
the session of 1903, the owners of the canning fac- 


tories of the state used their utmost power to have 
their industry exempted from the humane but inad- 
equate provisions of the Child Labor Law, notwith- 
standing that babies four years old were known to 
be working in their factories. The Northern owners 
of Alabama cotton mills secured the re'peal of the 
law passed in that state in 1887 prohibiting the em- 
ployment of children under fourteen years of age for 
more than eight hours in a day ; and when, later, the 
Alabama Child Labor Committee sought to secure 
legislative protection for children up to twelve years 
of age, paid agents of the mill owners appeared before 
the legislature and persistently opposed their efforts.^^ 
Similar testimony might be given from practically 
every state where any attempt has been made to 
legislate against the evil of child labor. Even such 
a responsible organ of capitalist opinion as the Manu- 
facturers^ Record editorially denounces all child-labor 
legislation as wrong and immoral ! ^* There are, of 
course, honorable exceptions, but as a class the em- 
ployers of labor are persistent in their opposition to 
all such legislation. 

According to the census of 1900 there were, in the 
United States in that year, 1,752,187 children under 
sixteen years of age employed in gainful occupations. 
Of itself that is a terrible sum, but all authorities are 
agreed that it does not fully represent the magnitude 
of the child-labor problem. It is well known that 


many thousands of children are working under the 
protection of certificates in which they are falsely 
represented as being of the legal age for employment. 
When a child of twelve gets a certificate declaring 
its age to be fifteen, it needs only to work a year, to 
be in reality thirteen years old, in order to be classed 
as an adult over sixteen years of age. Such certifi- 
cates have been, and in many cases still are, ridicu- 
lously easy to obtain, it being only necessary for one 
of the parents or guardians of a child to swear before 
a notary that the child has reached the minimum age 
required by law. The result has been the promotion 
of child slavery and ilUteracy through the wholesale 
perjury of parents and guardians.^^ I have known 
scores of instances in which children ten or eleven 
years old were employed through the possession of 
certificates stating that they were thirteen or four- 
teen. I remember asking one Uttle lad his age, in 
Pittston, Pennsylvania, during the anthracite coal 
strike of 1902. He certainly did not look more than 
ten years old, but he answered boldly, ''I'm thirteen, 
sir." When I asked him how long he had been at 
work, he replied, "More'n a year gone, sir." After- 
ward I met his father at one of the strikers' meetings, 
and he told me that the lad was only a few days over 
eleven years of age, and that he went to work as a 
"breaker boy" before he was ten. "We'm a big 
fam'ly," he said in excuse. ''There's six kids an' 


th' missis an' me. Wi' me pay so small, I was glad 
to give a quarter to have the papers (certificate) 
filled out so's he could bring in a trifle hke other boys." 
Afterward I came across several similar cases. 

That is only one of many reasons for supposing 
that the census figures do not adequately represent 
the extent to which child labor prevails. Another 
is the tremendous number of children of school 
age, and below the age at which they may be 
legally employed, who do not attend school. In 
New York State, for instance, there were more than 
76,000 children between the ages of ten and four- 
teen years who were out of school during the 
whole of the twelve months covered by the census 
of 1900, and nearly 16,000 more in the same age 
period who attended school less than five months 
in the year.^^ Careful investigation in Phila- 
delphia showed that in one year, ^' after deduct- 
ing those physically unable to attend school, 16,100 
children, between the ages of eight and thirteen/' 
were out of school, and a similar condition is reported 
to exist throughout the whole of Pennsylvania.^ 
The Child Labor Committee of Pennsylvania gives 
a list of nearly one hundred different kinds of work 
at which children between the ages of eight and 
thirteen were found to be employed in Philadelphia 
alone. In practically every industrial centre this 
margin of children of school age and below the 


legal age for employment, who do not attend school, 
exists. It is impossible for any one who is at all 
conversant with the facts to resist the conclusion 
that, after making all possible allowances for other 
causes, by far the larger part of these absentees 
are at work. Thousands find employment in fac- 
tories and stores; others find employment in some 
of the many street trades, selUng newspapers, ped- 
dling, running errands for small storekeepers, and the 
like. Many others are not *' employed" in the 
strict sense of the word at all, because they work 
in their homes, assisting their parents. Their con- 
dition ie generally much worse than that of the 
children regularly employed in factories and work- 
shops. In excluding them the census figures omit 
a very large class of child workers who are the vic- 
tims of the worst conditions of all. I am convinced 
that the number of children under fifteen years of 
age who work is much larger than the official figures 
give, notwithstanding that these are supposed to 
give the number of all workers under sixteen years 
of age. It would, I think, be quite within the mark 
to say that the number of child workers under fifteen 
is at least 2,250,000. 

From the point of view of the sociologist an accu- 
rate statistical measure of the child-labor problem 
would be a most valuable gain, but to most people 
such figures mean very little. If they could only 


see the human units represented by the figures, it 
would be different. If they could only see in one 
vast, suffering throng as many children as there 
are men, women, and children in the state of New 
Jersey, they would be able to appreciate some of 
the meaning of the census figures. Even so, they 
would have only a vivid sense of the magnitude of 
such a number as 1,752,000 ; they would still have 
no idea of the awful physical, mental, and moral 
wreckage hidden in the Ufeless and dumb figures. 
If it were only possible to take the consumptive 
cough of one child textile worker with Hnt-clogged 
lungs, and to multiply its volume by tens of thou- 
sands; to gather into one single compass the fevers 
that burn in thousands of child toilers' bodies, so 
that we might visuaUze the Great White Plague's 
relation to child labor, the nation would surely rise 
as one man and put an end to the destruction of 
children for profit. If all the people of this great 
repubUc could see little Anetta Fachini, four years 
old, working with her mother making artificial flow- 
ers, as I saw her in her squalid tenement home at 
eleven o'clock at night, I think the impression upon 
their hearts and minds would be far deeper and 
more lasting than any that whole pages of figures 
could make. The frail Uttle thing was winding green 
paper around wires to make stems for artificial 
flowers to decorate ladies' hats. Every few minutes 


her head would droop and her weary eyelids close, 
but her Uttle fingers still kept moving — uselessly, 
helplessly, mechanically moving. Tlien the mother 
would shake her gently, saying: '^ Non dormire, 
Anetta ! Solamente pochi altri — solamente pochi altri.^ ' 
("Sleep not, Anetta! Only a few more — only a 
few more.") 

And the little eyes would open slowly and the 
tired fingers once more move with intelHgent direc- 
tion and purpose. 

Some years ago, in one of the mean streets of 
Paris, I saw, in a dingy window, a picture that 
stamped itself indelibly upon my memory. It was 
not, judged by artistic canons, a great picture; on 
the contrary, it was crude and ill drawn and might 
almost have been the work of a child. Torn, I think, 
from the pages of the Anarchist paper La Revolts, 
it was, perchance, a protest drawn from the very 
soul of some indignant worker. A woman, haggard 
and fierce of visage, representing France, was seated 
upon a heap of child skulls and bones. In her 
gnarled and knotted hands she held the writhing 
form of a helpless babe whose flesh she was gnawing 
with her teeth. Underneath, in red ink, was written 
in rude characters, "The wretch! She devours her 
own children !" My mind goes back to that picture: 
it is Hterally true to-day, that this great nation in 
its commercial madness devours its babes. 



The textile industries rank first in the enslave- 
ment of children. In the cotton trade, for example, 
13.3 per cent of all persons employed throughout 
the United States are under sixteen years of age.^ 
In the Southern states, where the evil appears at 
its worst, so far as the textile trades are concerned, 
the proportion of employees under sixteen years 
of age in 1900 was 25.1 per cent, in Alabama the 
proportion was nearly 30 per cent. A careful esti- 
mate made in 1902 placed the number of cotton- 
mill operatives under sixteen years of age in the 
Southern states at 50,000. At the beginning of 
1903 a very conservative estimate placed the number 
of children under fourteen employed in the cotton 
mills of the South at 30,000, no less than 20,000 of 
them being under twelve.^* If this latter estimate 
of 20,000 children under twelve is to be relied upon, 
it is evident that the total number under fourteen 
must have been much larger than 30,000. Accord- 
ing to Mr. McKelway, one of the most competent 
authorities in the country, there are at the present 
time not less than 60,000 children under fourteen 
employed in the cotton mills of the Southern states.^^ 
Miss Jane Addams tells of finding a child of five 
years working by night in a South Carolina mill ; ^® 
Mr. Edward Gardner Murphy has photographed little 


children of six and seven years who were at work 
for twelve and thirteen hours a day in Alabama 
mills.^® In Columbia, S.C., and Montgomery, Ala., 
I have seen hundreds of children, who did not appear 
to be more than nine or ten years of age, at work 
in the mills, by night as well as by day. 

The industrial revival in the South from the stag- 
nation consequent upon the Civil War has been 
attended by the growth of a system of child slavery 
almost as bad as that which attended the indus- 
trial revolution in England a century ago. From 
1880 to 1900 the value of the products of Southern 
manufactures increased from less than $458,000,000 
to $1,463,000,000 — an increase of 220 per cent. 
Many factors contributed to that immense industrial 
development of the South, but, according to a well- 
known expert,^'' it is due ''chiefly to her suppUes 
of tractable and cheap labor." During the same 
period of twenty years in the cotton mills outside 
of the South, the proportion of workers under six- 
teen years of age decreased from 15.6 per cent to 
7.7 per cent, but in the South it remained at approxi- 
mately 25 per cent. It is true that the terrible 
pauper apprentice system which forms such a tragic 
chapter in the history of the English factory move- 
ment has not been introduced; yet the fate of the 
children of the poor families from the hill districts 
who have been drawn into the vortex of this indus- 


trial development is almost as bad as that of the 
EngUsh pauper children. These ^'poor whites/^ 
as they are expressively called, even by their negro 
neighbors, have for many years eked out a scanty 
Hving upon their farms, all the members of the family 
uniting in the struggle against niggardly nature. 
Drawn into the current of the new industrial order, 
they do not realize that, even though the children 
worked harder upon the farms than they do in the 
mills, there is an immense difference between the 
dust-laden air of a factory and the pure air of a farm ; 
between the varied tasks of farm Ufe with the end- 
less opportunities for change and individual initia- 
tive, and the strained attention and monotonous 
tasks of mill life. The lot of the pauper children 
driven into the mills by the ignorance and avarice 
of British Bumbledom was httle worse than that 
of these poor children, who work while their fathers 
loaf. During the long, weary nights many children 
have to be kept awake by having cold water dashed 
on their faces, and when morning comes they throw 
themselves upon their beds — often still warm from 
the bodies of their brothers and sisters — without 
taking off their clothing. ''When I works nights, 
I'se too tired to undress when I gits home, an' so 
I goes to bed wif me clo's on me," Hsped one little 
girl in Augusta, Ga. 

There are more than 80,000 children employed 


in the textile industries of the United States, ac- 
cording to the very incomplete census returns, 
most of them being little girls. In these indus- 
tries conditions are undoubtedly worse in the 
Southern states than elsewhere, though I have 
witnessed many pitiable cases of child slavery in 
Northern mills which equalled almost anything I 
have ever seen in the South. During the Philadel- 
phia textile workers' strike in 1903, I saw at least a 
score of children ranging from eight to ten years of 
age who had been working in the mills prior to the 
strike. One little girl of nine I saw in the Kensing- 
ton Labor Lyceum. She had been working for 
almost a year before the strike began, she said, and 
careful inquiry proved her story to be true. When 
*' Mother" Mary Jones started with her httle "army" 
of child toilers to march to Oyster Bay, in order 
that the President of the United States might see 
for himself some of the little ones who had actually 
been employed in the mills of Philadelphia, I hap- 
pened to be engaged in assisting the strikers. For 
two days I accompanied the little "army" on its 
march, and thus had an excellent opportunity of 
studying the children. Amongst them were several 
from eight to eleven years of age, and I remember 
one little girl who was not quite eleven telling me 
with pride that she had "worked two years and 
never missed a day." 


One evening, not long ago, I stood outside of a 
large flax mill in Paterson, N.J., while it disgorged 
its crowd of men, women, and children employees. 
All the afternoon, as I lingered in the tenement 
district near the mills, the comparative silence of 
the streets oppressed me. There were many babies 
and very small children, but the older children, whose 
boisterous play one expects in such streets, were 
wanting. ^'If thow'lt bide till th' mills shut for th' 
day, thow'lt see plenty on 'em — big kids as plenty 
as small taties," said one old woman to whom I 
spoke about it. She was right. At six o'clock the 
whistles shrieked, and the streets were suddenly 
filled with people, many of them mere children. Of 
all the crowd of tired, palhd, and languid-looking 
children I could only get speech with one, a little 
girl who claimed thirteen years, though she was 
smaller than many a child of ten. Indeed, as I 
think of her now, I doubt whether she would have 
come up to the standard of normal physical develop- 
ment either in weight or stature for a child of ten. 
One learns, however, not to judge the ages of working 
children by their physical appearance, for they are 
usually behind other children in height, weight, and 
girth of chest, — often as much as two or three 
years. If my little Paterson friend was thirteen, 
perhaps the nature of her employment will explain 
her puny, stunted body. She works in the "steam- 


ing room" of the flax mill. All day long, in a room 
filled with clouds of steam, she has to stand bare- 
footed in pools of water twisting coils of wet hemp. 
When I saw her she was dripping wet, though she 
said that she had worn a rubber apron all day. In 
the coldest evenings of winter Uttle Marie, and hun- 
dreds of other Uttle girls, must go out from the super- 
heated steaming rooms into the bitter cold in just 
that condition. No wonder that such children are 
stunted and underdeveloped ! 

In textile mill towns like Biddeford, Me., Man- 
chester, N.H., Fall River and Lawrence, Mass., 
I have seen many such children, who, if they were 
twelve or fourteen according to their certificates 
and the companies' registers, were not more than 
ten or twelve in reality. I have watched them hurry- 
ing into and away from the mills, "those recep- 
tacles, in too many instances, for living human 
skeletons, almost disrobed of intellect," as Robert 
Owen's burning phrase describes them.^^ I do not 
doubt that, upon the whole, conditions in the tex- 
tile industries are better in the North than in the 
South, but they are nevertheless too bad to permit 
of self-righteous boasting and complacency. And 
in several other departments of industry condi- 
tions are no whit better in the North than in the 
South. The child-labor problem is not sectional, 
but national. 


Of the fifteen divisions of the manufacturing 
industries, the glass factories rank next to the tex- 
tile factories in the number of children they employ. 
In the year 1900, according to the census returns, 
the average number of workers employed in glass 
manufacture was 52,818, of which number 3529, 
or 6.88 per cent, were women, and 7116, or 13.45 
per cent, were children under sixteen years of age. 
It will be noticed that the percentage of children 
employed is about the same as in the textile trades. 
There are glass factories in many states, but the 
bulk of the industry is centred in Pennsylvania, 
Indiana, New Jersey, and Ohio. The total value 
of the products of the glass industry in the United 
States in 1900 was $56,539,712, of which amount 
the four states named contributed $46,209,918, or 
82.91 per cent of the entire value.^^ After careful 
investigation in a majority of the places where glass 
is manufactured in these four states, I am confident 
that the number of children employed is much larger 
than the census figm-es indicate. 

Perhaps in none of the great industries is the 
failure to enforce the child-labor laws more general 
or complete than in the glass trade. There are 
several reasons for this, the most important, per- 
haps, being the distribution of the factories in small 


towns and rural districts, and the shifting nature 
of the industry itself. Fuel is the most important 
item in the cost of materials in the manufacture of 
glass, and the aim of the manufacturers is always 
to locate in districts where fuel is cheap and abun- 
dant. For this reason Pennsylvania has always 
ranked first in the Ust of glass-manufacturing states. 
Owing, mainly, to the discoveries of new supphes 
of natural gas in Indiana, the glass products of that 
state increased fourfold in value from 1890 to 
1900.^ When the supply of gas in a certain locaUty 
becomes exhausted, it is customary to remove the 
factories to more favorable places. A few rough 
wooden sheds are hastily built in the neighborhood 
of some good gas supplies, only to be torn down 
again as soon as these fail. Hence it happens that 
glass factories bring new industrial life into small 
towns and villages, which soon become to a very 
large extent dependent upon them. Almost uncon- 
sciously a feeling is developed that, ^'for the good 
of the town," it will scarcely do to antagonize the 
glass manufacturers. I have heard this sentiment 
voiced by business men and others in several places. 
On the other hand, the manufacturers feel the 
strength of their position and constantly threaten 
to remove their plants if they are interfered with 
and prevented from getting boys. 
I shall never forget my first visit to a glass factory 


at night. It was a big wooden structure, so loosely 
built that it afforded little protection from draughts, 
surrounded by a high fence with several rows of 
barbed wire stretched across the top. I went with 
the foreman of the factory and he explained to me 
the reason for the stockade-like fence. ''It keeps 
the young imps inside once we've got 'em for the 
night shift," he said. The ''young imps" were, 
of course, the boys employed, about forty in number, 
at least ten of whom were less than twelve years of 
age. It was a cheap bottle factory, and the pro- 
portion of boys to men was larger than is usual in 
the higher grades of manufacture. Cheapness and 
child labor go together, — the cheaper the grade of 
manufacture, as a rule, the cheaper the labor em- 
ployed. The hours of labor for the "night shift" 
were from 5.30 p.m. to 3.30 a.m. I stayed and 
watched the boys at their work for several hours, 
and when their tasks were done saw them disappear 
into the darkness and storm of the night. That 
night, for the first time, I realized the tragic signifi- 
cance of cheap bottles. One might well paraphrase 
Hood's lines and say: — 

" They are not bottles you idly break, 
But human creatures' lives ! " 

In the middle of the room was a large round fur- 
nace with a number of small doors, three or four 
feet from the ground, forming a sort of belt around 


the furnace. In front of these doors the glass- 
blowers were working. With long wrought-iron 
blowpipes the blowers deftly took from the furnace 
little wads of waxlike molten "metal'' which they 
blew into balls and then rolled on their rolling boards. 
These elongated rolls they dropped into moulds 
and then blew again, harder than before, to force 
the half-shaped mass into its proper form. With 
a sharp, clicking sound they broke their pipes away 
and repeated the whole process. There was not, 
of course, the fascination about their work that the 
more artistic forms of glass-blowing possess. There 
was none of that twirling of the blowpipes till they 
looked like so many magic wands which for centuries 
has made the glass-blower's art a deUghtful, half- 
mysterious thing to watch. But it was still wonder- 
ful to see the exactness of each man's "dip," and 
the deftness with which they manipulated the balls 
before casting them into the moulds. 

Then began the work of the boys. By the side 
of each mould sat a "take-out boy," who, with tongs, 
took the half-finished bottles — not yet provided 
with necks* — out of the moulds. Then other boys, 
called "snapper-ups," took these bodies of bottles 
in their tongs and put the small ends into gas-heated 
moulds till they were red hot. Then the boys took 
them out with almost incredible quickness and 
passed them to other men, "finishers," who shaped 


the necks of the bottles into their final form. Then 
the ^^ carry ing-in boys/' sometimes called "carrier 
pigeons," took the red-hot bottles from the benches, 
three or four at a time, upon big asbestos shovels 
to the annealing oven, where they are gradually 
cooled off to insure even contraction and to pre- 
vent breaking in consequence of too rapid cooling. 
The work of these "carrying-in boys," several of 
whom were less than twelve years old, was by far 
the hardest of all. They were kept on a slow run all 
the time from the benches to the annealing oven 
and back again. I can readily beheve what many 
manufacturers assert, that it is difficult to get men 
to do this work, because men cannot stand the pace 
and get tired too quickly. It is a fact, however, 
that in many factories men are employed to do this 
work, especially at night. In other, more up-to- 
date factories it is done by automatic machinery. 
I did not measure the distance from the benches 
to the anneaUng oven, nor did I count the mmaber 
of trips made by the boys, but my friend, Mr. Owen 
R. Lovejoy, has done so in a typical factory and 
very kindly furnished me with the results of 
his calculation.^^ The distance to the annealing 
oven in the factory in question was one hundred 
feet, and the boys made seventy-two trips per hour, 
making the distance travelled in eight hours nearly 
twenty-two miles. Over half of this distance the 


boys were carrying their hot loads to the oven. The 
pay of these boys varies from sixty cents to a dollar 
for eight hours' work. About a year ago I gathered 
particulars of the pay of 257 boys in New Jersey 
and Pennsylvania; the lowest pay was forty cents 
per night and the highest a dollar and ten cents, 
while the average was seventy-two cents. 

In New Jersey, since 1903, the -employment of 
boys under fourteen years of age is forbidden, but 
there is no restriction as to night work for boys 
of that age. In Pennsylvania boys of fourteen 
may work by night. In Ohio night work is pro- 
hibited for all under sixteen years of age, but so 
far as my personal observations, and the testimony 
of competent and reUable observers, enable me to 
•judge, the law is not very effectively enforced in 
this respect in the glass factories. In Indiana 
the employment of children under fourteen in fac- 
tories is forbidden. Women and girls are not per- 
mitted to work between the hours of 10 p.m. and 
6 A.M., but there is no restriction placed upon the 
employment of boys fourteen years of age or over 
by night.^^ 

The effects of the employment of young boys in 
glass factories, especially by night, are injurious 
from every possible point of view. The constant 
facing of the glare of the furnaces and the red-hot 
bottles causes serious injury to the sight; minor 


accidents from burning are common. "Severe burns 
and the loss of sight are regular risks of the trade 
in glass-bottle making," says Mrs. Florence Kelley.^ 
Even more serious than the accidents are those 
physical disorders induced by the conditions of em- 
ployment. Boys who work at night do not as a 
rule get sufficient or satisfactory rest by day. Very 
often they cannot sleep because of the noises made 
by younger children in and around the house; more 
often, perhaps, they prefer to play rather than to 
sleep. Indeed, most boys seem to prefer night work, 
for the reason that it gives them the chance to play 
during the daytime. Even where the mothers are 
careful and sohcitous, they find it practically impos- 
sible to control boys who are wage-earners and feel 
themselves to be independent. This lack of proper 
rest, added to the heat and strain of their work, 
produces nervous dyspepsia. From working in 
draughty sheds where they are often, as one boy 
said to me in Zanesville, 0., "burning on the side 
against the furnace and pretty near freezing on the 
other," they are frequently subject to rheumatism. 
Going from the heated factories to their homes, 
often a mile or so distant, perspiring and improperly 
clad, with their vitality at its lowest ebb, they fall 
ready victims to pneumonia and to its heir, the 
Great White Plague. In almost every instance 
when I have asked local physicians for their experi- 


ence, they have named these as the commonest 
physical results. Of the fearful moral consequences 
there can be no question. The glass-blowers them- 
selves reaUze this and, even more than the physical 
deterioration, it prevents them from taking their 
own children into the glass houses. One practically 
never finds the son of a glass-blower employed as 
a "snapper-up," or "carrying-in boy," unless the 
father is dead or incapacitated by reason of sickness. 
''I'd sooner see my boy- dead than working here. 
You might as well give a boy to the devil at once as 
send him to a glass factory," said one blower to me 
in Glassborough, N.J.; and that is the spirit in 
which most of the men regard the matter. 

So great is the demand for boys that it is pos- 
sible at almost any time for a boy to get employment 
for a single night. Indeed, ''one shifters" are so 
conmion in some districts that the employers have 
found it necessary to institute a system of bonuses 
for those boys who work every night in a week. 
Out of this readiness to employ boys for a single 
night has grown a terrible evil, — boys attending 
school all day and then working in the factories by 
night. Many such cases have been reported to me, 
and Mrs. Van Der Vaart declares that "it is cus- 
tomary in Indiana for the school boys to work 
Thursday and Friday nights and attend school 
during the day." '' Mr. Lovejoy found the same 


practice in Steuben ville, 0., and other places.^' 
Teachers in glass-manufacturing centres have re- 
peatedly told me that among the older boys were 
some who, because of their employment by night 
in the factories, were drowsy and unable to receive 
any benefits from their attendance at school. 

In some districts, especially in New Jersey, it has 
long been the custom to import boys from certain 
orphan asylums and "reformatories" to supply the 
demand of the manufacturers. These boys are 
placed in laborers' families, and their board paid 
for by the employers, who deduct it from the boys' 
wages. Thus a veritable system of child slavery 
has developed, remarkably hke the old EngUsh 
pauper-apprentice system. "These imported boys 
are imder no restraint by day or night," says Mrs. 
Kelley, "and are wholly without control during 
the idle hours. They are in the streets in gangs, 
in and out of the police courts and the jails, a burden 
to themselves and to the community imposed ^ by 
the demand of this boy-destroying industry." ^® 
It is perhaps only indicative of the universal readi- 
ness of men to concern themselves with the mote 
in their brothers' eyes without considering the 
beam in their own, that I should have attended a 
meeting in New Jersey where the child labor of the 
South was bitterly condemned, but no word was 
said of the appalling nature of the problem in the 
state of New Jersey itself. 



According to the census of 1900, there were 25,000 
boys under sixteen years of age employed in and 
around the mines and quarries of the United States. 
In the state of Pennsylvania alone, — the state which 
enslaves more children than any other, — there are 
thousands of Uttle "breaker boys " employed, many of 
them not more than nine or ten years old. The law 
forbids the employment of children under fourteen, 
and the records of the mines generally show that the 
law is "obeyed.'^ Yet in May, 1905, an investigation 
by the National Child Labor Committee showed that 
in one small borough of 7000 population, among the 
boys employed in breakers 35 were nine years old, 40 
were ten, 45 were eleven, and 45 were twelve — over 
150 boys illegally employed in one section of boy 
labor in one small town ! During the anthracite coal 
strike of 1902, I attended the Labor Day demonstra- 
tion at Pittston and witnessed the parade of another 
at Wilkesbarre. In each case there were hundreds of 
boys marching, all of them wearing their ''working 
buttons," testifying to the fact that they were bona 
fide workers. Scores of them were less than ten 
years of age, others were eleven or twelve. 

Work in the coal breakers is exceedingly hard and 
dangerous. Crouched over the chutes, the boys sit 
hour after hour, picking out the pieces of slate and 


other refuse from the coal as it rushes past to the 
washers. From the cramped position they have to 
assume, most of them become more or less deformed 
and bent-backed like old men. When a boy has been 
working for some time and begins to get round- 
shouldered, his fellows say that ''He's got his boy to 
carry round wherever he goes." The coal is hard, 
and accidents to the hands, such as cut, broken, or 
crushed fingers, are common among the boys. Some- 
times there is a worse accident : a terrified shriek is 
heard, and a boy is mangled and torn in the machin- 
ery, or disappears in the chute to be picked out later 
smothered and dead.^° Clouds of dust fill the break- 
ers and are inhaled by the boys, la5dng the founda- 
tions for asthma and miners' consumption. I once 
stood in a breaker for half an hour and tried to do 
the work a twelve-year-old boy was doing day after 
day, for ten hours at a stretch, for sixty cents a day. 
The gloom of the breaker appalled me. Outside the 
sun shone brightly, the air was pellucid, and the birds 
sang in chorus with the trees and the rivers. Within 
the breaker there was blackness, clouds of deadly 
dust enfolded everything, the harsh, grinding roar 
of the machinery and the ceaseless rushing of coal 
through the chutes filled the ears. I tried to pick 
out the pieces of slate from the hurrying stream of 
coal, often missing them ; my hands were bruised and 
cut in a few minutes; I was covered from head to 



foot with coal dust, and for many hours afterwards 
I was expectorating some of the small particles of 
anthracite I had swallowed. 

I could not do that work and live, but there were 
boys of ten and twelve years of age doing it for fifty 
and sixty cents a day. Some of them had never been 
inside of a school ; few of them could read a child's 
primer. True, some of them attended the night 
schools, but after working ten hours in the breaker 
the educational results from attending school were 
practically mZ. '^We goes fer a good time, an' we 
keeps de guys wots dere hoppin' all de time," said 
little Owen Jones, whose work I had been trying to 
do. How strange that barbaric patois sounded to 
me as I remembered the rich, musical language I had 
so often heard other little Owen Joneses speak in far- 
away Wales. As I stood in that breaker I thought 
of the reply of the small boy to Robert Owen. Visit- 
ing an English coal-mine one day, Owen asked a 
twelve-year-old lad if he knew God. The boy stared 
vacantly at his questioner: "God?" he said, "God? 
No, I don't. He must work in some other mine." 
It was hard to realize amid the danger and din and 
blackness of that Pennsylvania breaker that such a 
thing as belief in a great All-good God existed. 

From the breakers the boys graduate to the mine 
depths, where they become door tenders, switch- 
boys, or mule-drivers. Here, far below the surface, 


work is still more dangerous. At fourteen or fifteen 
the boys assume the same risks as the men, and are 
surroimded by the same perils. Nor is it in Penn- 
sylvania only that these conditions exist. In the bi- 
tuminous mines of West Virginia, boys of nine or ten 
are frequently employed. I met one little fellow ten 
years old in Mt. Carbon, W. Va., last year, who was 
employed as a ^'trap boy." Think of what it means 
to be a trap boy at ten years of age. It means to sit 
alone in a dark mine passage hour after hour, with no 
himaan soul near ; to see no living creature except the 
mules as they pass with their loads, or a rat or two 
seeking to share one's meal; to stand in water or 
mud that covers the ankles, chilled to the marrow 
by the cold draughts that rush in when you open the 
trap-door for the mules to pass through; to work 
for fourteen hours — waiting — opening and shutting a 
door — then waiting again — for sixty cents ; to reach 
the surface when all is wrapped in the mantle of night, 
and to fall to the earth exhausted and have to be 
carried away to the nearest '^ shack" to be revived 
before it is possible to walk to the farther shack 
called ''home." 

Boys twelve years of age may be legally employed in 
the mines of West Virginia, by day or by night, and 
for as many hours as the employers care to make 
them toil or their bodies will stand the strain. Where 
the disregard of child life is such that this may be 


done openly and with legal sanction, it is easy to 
believe what miners have again and again told me — 
that there are hundreds of little boys of nine and ten 
years of age employed in the coal-mines of this state. 


It is not my purpose to deal specifically with all 
the various forms of child labor. That would re- 
quire a much larger volume than this to be devoted 
exclusively to the subject. Children are employed 
at a tender age in hundreds of occupations. In addi- 
tion to those already enumerated, there were in 1900, 
according to the census, nearly 12,000 workers under 
sixteen years of age employed in the manufacture of 
tobacco and cigars, and it is certain that the number 
actually employed in that most unhealthful occupa- 
tion was much greater. In New Jersey and Penn- 
sylvania, I have seen hundreds of children, boys and 
girls, between the ages of ten and twelve years, at 
work in the factories belonging to the "Cigar Trust." 
Some of these factories are known as "kindergartens" 
on account of the large number of small children 
employed in them." It is by no means a rare occur- 
rence for children in these factories to faint or to fall 
asleep over their work, and I have heard a foreman 
in one of them say that it was "enough for one man 
to do just to keep the kids awake." In the domes- 
tic manufacture of cheap cigars, many very young 


children are employed. Often the "factories" are 
poorly lighted, ill-ventilated tenements in which 
work, whether for children or adults, ought to be 
absolutely prohibited. Children work often as many 
as fourteen or even sixteen hours in these little "home 
factories," and in cities like Pittsburg, Pa., it is not 
unusual for them, after attending school all day, to 
work from 4 p.m. to 12.30 a.m., making "tobies" or 
"stogies," for which they receive from eight to ten 
cents per hundred. 

In the wood- working industries, more than 10,000 
children were reported to be employed in the census 
year, almost half of them in saw-mills, where acci- 
dents are of almost daily occurrence, and where clouds 
of fine sawdust fill the lungs of the workers. Of the 
remaining 50 per cent, it is probable that more than 
half were working at or near dangerous machines, 
such as steam planers and lathes. Over 7000 chil- 
dren, mostly girls, were employed in laundries; 2000 
in bakeries; 138,000 as servants and waiters in res- 
taurants and hotels ; 42,000 boys as messengers ; and 
20,000 boys and girls in stores. In all these instances 
there is every reason to suppose that the actual num- 
ber employed was much larger than the official fig- 
ures show. 

In the canning and preservation of fish, fruit, and 
vegetables mere babies are employed during the busy 
season. In more than one canning factory in New 


York State, I have seen children of six and seven years 
of age working at two o'clock in the morning. In 
Oneida, Mr. William English Walling, formerly a fac- 
tory inspector of Illinois, found one child four years 
old, who earned nineteen cents in an afternoon string- 
ing beans, and other children from seven to ten years 
of age." There are over 500 canning factories in New 
York State, but the census of 1900 gives the number of 
children employed under^ sixteen years of age as 219. 
This is merely another illustration of the deceptive- 
ness of the statistics which are gathered at so much 
expense. The agent of the New York Child Labor 
Committee was told by the foreman of one factory 
that there were 300 children under fourteen years of 
age in that one factory ! In Syracuse it was a matter 
of complaint, in the season of 1904, on the part of 
the children, that ''The factories will not take you 
unless you are eight years oldJ^ ^ 

In Maryland there are absolutely no restrictions 
placed upon the employment of children in canner- 
ies. They may be employed at any age, by day or 
night, for as many hours as the employers choose, 
or the children can stand and keep awake. In Ox- 
ford, Md., I saw a tiny girl, seven years old, who had 
worked for twelve hours in an oyster-canning factory, 
and I was told that such cases were common. There 
were 290 canning establishments in the state of Mary- 
land in 1900, all of them employing young children 


absolutely without legal restriction. And I fear that 
it must be added with Uttle or no moral restriction 
either. Where regard for child Ufe does not express 
itself in humane laws for its preservation, it may 
generally be presumed to be non-existent. 

In Maine the age hmit for employment is twelve 
years. Children of that age may be employed by day 
or night, provided that girls under eighteen and boys 
under sixteen are not permitted to work more than ten 
hours in the twenty-four or sixty hours in a week. In 
1900 there were 117 estabhshments engaged in the 
preservation and canning of fish. Small herrings are 
canned and placed upon the market as '^sardines." ** 
This industry is principally confined to the Atlantic 
coast towns, — Lubec and Eastport, in Washington 
County, being the main centres. I cannot speak of 
this industry from personal investigation, but informa- 
tion received from competent and trustworthy sources 
gives me the impression that child slavery nowhere as- 
sumes a worse form than in the ''sardine" canneries of 
Maine. Says one of my correspondents in a private 
letter: ''In the rush season, fathers, mothers, older 
children, and babies work from early morn till night 
— from dawn till dark, in fact. You will scarcely be- 
lieve me, perhaps, when I say 'and babies,' but it is 
literally true. I've seen them in the present season, 
no more than four or five years old, working hard and 
beaten when they lagged. As you may suppose, being 


out here, far away from the centre of the state, we 
are not much troubled by factory inspection. I have 
read about the conditions in the Southern mills, but 
nothing I have read equals for sheer brutality what 
I see right here in Washington County." 

In the sweatshops and, more particularly, the 
poorly paid home industries, the kindergartens are 
robbed to provide baby slaves. I am perfectly well 
aware that many persons will smile incredulously at 
the thought of infants from three to five years old 
working. ^'What can such Uttle babies do?" they 
ask. Well, take the case of little Anetta Fachini, for 
example. The work she was doing when I saw her, 
wrapping paper around pieces of wire, was very simi- 
lar to the play of better-favored children. As play, 
to be put aside whenever her childish fancy wandered 
to something else, it would have been a very good 
thing for little Anetta to do. She was compelled, 
however, to do it from early morning till late at 
night and even denied the right to sleep. For her, 
therefore, what might be play for some other child 
became the most awful bondage and cruelty. What 
can four-year-old babies do? Go into the nursery 
and watch the rich man's four-year-old child, seated 
upon the rug, sorting many-colored beads and fasci- 
nated by the occupation for half an hour or so. That 
is play — good and wholesome for the child. In the 
pubUc kindergarten, other four-year-old children are 


doing the same thing with zest and laughing delight. 
But go into the dim tenement yonder ; another four- 
year-old child is sorting beads, but not in play. 
Her eyes do not sparkle with childish glee ; she does 
not shout with delight at finding a prize among the 
beads. With tragic seriousness she picks out the 
beads and lays them before her mother, who is a 
slipper-beader — that is, she sews the beaded designs 
upon ladies' fancy slippers. She works from morn 
till night, and all the while the child is seated by her 
side, straining her little eyes in the dim light, sort- 
ing the beads or stringing them on pieces of thread. 

In the ''Help Wanted'' columns of the morning 
papers, advertisements frequently appear such as the 
following, taken from one of the leading New York 
dailies : — 

WANTED. — Beaders on slippers ; good pay ; steady home 
work. M. B , West Street. 

In the tenement districts women may be seen stag- 
gering along with sack loads of slippers to be trimmed 
with beadwork, and children of four years of age and 
upward are pressed into service to provide cheap, 
dainty slippers for dainty ladies. What can four- 
year-old babies do? A hundred things, when they 
are driven to it. "They are pulling basting threads 
so that you and I may wear cheap garments; they 
are arranging the petals of artificial flowers; they 
are sorting beads; they are pasting boxes. They do 


more than that. I know of a room where a dozen or 
more little children are seated on the floor, surrounded 
by barrels, and in those barrels is found human hair, 
matted, tangled, and blood-stained — you can imag- 
ine the condition, for it is not my hair or yours that 
is cut off in the hour of death." *^ 

There are more than 23,000 licensed "home facto- 
ries" in New York City alone, 23,000 groups of 
workers in the tenements licensed to manufacture 
goods. How difficult it is to protect children em- 
ployed in these tenement factories can best be judged 
by the following incident: Two small Italian chil- 
dren, a boy of five and his sister aged four, left a 
West-side kindergarten and were promptly followed up 
by their kindergartner, who found that the children 
were working and could not, in the opinion of their 
mother, be spared to attend the kindergarten. They 
were both helping to make artificial flowers. The 
truant officer was first applied to and asked whether 
the compulsory education law could not be used to 
free them, part of the time at least, from their un- 
natural toil. But attendance at school is not com- 
pulsory before the eighth year, so that w^s a useless 
appeal. Then the factory inspector was applied to, 
and he showed that the work of the children was en- 
tirely legal ; they received no wages and were, there- 
fore, not "employed" in the technical sense of that 
term. They were working in their own family. The 


room was not dirty or excessively overcrowded. 
No law was broken, and there was no legal means 
whereby the enslavement of those little children 
might be prevented.*® 

This kind of child labor, be it remembered, is very 
different from that wholesome employment of chil- 
dren in the domestic industry which preceded the 
advent of the system of machine production. Then 
there was hope in the work and joy in the leisure 
which followed the work. Then competition was 
based on human quaHties; man against man, hand 
against hand, eye against eye, brain against brain. 
To-day the competition is between man and the ma- 
chine, the child and the man, — and even the child 
and the machine. Children are employed in the tex- 
tile mills because their labor is cheaper than that of 
adults; boys are employed in the glass factories at 
night because their labor is cheaper to buy than ma- 
chinery; children in the tenements paste the fancy 
boxes in which we get our candies and chocolate 
bonbons for the same reason. Such child labor has 
no other objective than the increase of employers' 
profits; itihas nothing to do with training the child 
for the work of Hfe. On the contrary, it saps the 
constitution of the child, robs it of hope, and unfits it 
for life's struggle. Such child labor is not educative 
or wholesome, but blighting to body, mind, and 



There has been no extensive, systematic investi- 
gation in this country of the physical condition of 
working children. In 1893-1894 volunteer physicians 
examined and made measurements of some 200 chil- 
dren, taken from the factories and workshops of 
Chicago/' These records show a startling propor- 
tion of undersized, rachitic, and consumptive chil- 
dren, but they are too Umited to be of more than sug- 
gestive value. So far as they go, however, they bear 
out the results obtained in more extensive investiga- 
tions in European countries. It is the consensus of 
opinion among those having the best opportunities 
for careful observation that physical deterioration 
quickly follows a child's employment in a factory or 

It is a sorry but indisputable fact that where chil- 
dren are employed, the most unhealthful work is gen- 
erally given them."** In the spinning and carding 
rooms of cotton and woollen mills, where large num- 
bers of children are employed, clouds of lint-dust fill 
the lungs and menace the health. The children have 
often a distressing cough, caused by the irritation of 
the throat, and many are hoarse from the same 
cause. In bottle factories and other branches of 
glass manufacture, the atmosphere is constantly 
charged with microscopic particles of glass. In the 


wood-working industries, such as the manufacture of 
cheap furniture and wooden boxes, and packing cases, 
the air is laden with fine sawdust. Children em- 
ployed in soap and soap-powder factories work, many 
of them, in clouds of alkaline dust which inflames 
the eyehds and nostrils. Boys employed in filling 
boxes of soap-powder work all day long with hand- 
kerchiefs tied over their mouths. In the coal-mines 
the breaker boys breathe air that is heavy and thick 
with particles of coal, and their lungs become black 
in consequence. In the manufacture of felt hats, 
little girls are often employed at the machines which 
tear the fur from the skins of rabbits and other 
animals. Recently, I stood and watched a yoimg 
girl working at such a machine; she wore a news- 
paper pinned over her head and a handkerchief tied 
over her mouth. She was white with dust from head 
to feet, and when she stooped to pick anything from 
the floor the dust would fall from her paper head-cov- 
ering in little heaps. About seven feet from the 
mouth of the machine was a window through which 
poured thick volumes of dust as it was belched out 
from the machine. I placed a sheet of paper on the 
inner sill of the window and in twenty minutes it 
was covered with a layer of fine dust, half an inch 
deep. Yet that girl works midway between the win- 
dow and the machine, in the very centre of the vol- 
ume of dust, sixty hours a week. These are a few of 


the occupations in which the dangers arise from the 
forced inhalation of dust. 

In some occupations, such as silk-winding, flax- 
spinning, and various processes in the manufacture 
of felt hats, it is necessary, or believed to be necessary, 
to keep the atmosphere quite moist. The result of 
working in a close, heated factory, where the air is 
artificially moistened, in summer time, can be better 
imagined than described. So long as enough girls 
can be kept working, and only a few of them faint, 
the mills are kept going; but when fain tings are so 
many and so frequent that it does not pay to keep 
going, the mills are closed. The children who work 
in the dye rooms and print-shops of textile factories, 
and the color rooms of factories where the materials 
for making artificial flowers are manufactured, are 
subject to contact with poisonous dyes, and the re- 
sults are often terrible. Very frequently they are 
dyed in parts of their bodies as Uterally as the fabrics 
are dyed. One Httle fellow, who was employed in a 
Pennsylvania carpet factory, opened his shirt one 
day and showed me his chest and stomach dyed a 
deep, rich crimson. I mentioned the incident to a 
local physician, and was told that such cases were 
common. " They are simply saturated with the dye," 
he said. "The results are extremely severe, though 
very often slow and, for a long time, almost imper- 
ceptible. If they should cut or scratch themselves 


where they are so thoroughly dyed, it might mean 
death." In Yonkers, N.Y., are some of the largest 
carpet factories in the United States, and many 
children are employed in them. Some of the small- 
est children are employed in the ^'drum room," or 
print-shop, where the yarns are 'Sprinted" or dyed. 
Small boys, mostly Slavs and Hungarians, push the 
trucks containing boxes of Hquid dye from place to 
place, and get it all over their clothing. They can 
be seen coming out of the mills at night literally 
soaked to the skin with dye of various colors. In the 
winter time, after a fall of snow, it is possible to track 
them to their homes, not only by their colored foot- 
prints, but by the drippings from their clothing. 
The snow becomes dotted with red, blue, and green, 
as though some one had sprinkled the colors for the 
sake of the variegated effect. 

Children employed as varnishers in cheap furni- 
ture factories inhale poisonous fumes all day long 
and suffer from a variety of intestinal troubles in 
consequence. The gilding of picture frames pro- 
duces a stiffening of the fingers. The children who 
are employed in the manufacture of wall papers and 
poisonous paints suffer from slow poisoning. The 
naphtha fumes in the manufacture of rubber goods 
produce paralysis and premature decay. Children 
employed in morocco leather works are often nau- 
seated and fall easy victims to consumption. The 


little boys who make matches, and the little girls 
who pack them in boxes, suffer from phosphorous 
necrosis, or ''phossy-jaw," a gangrene of the lower 
jaw due to phosphor poisoning. Boys employed in 
type foundries and stereotyping establishments are 
employed on the most dangerous part of the work, 
namely, rubbing the type and the plates, and lead 
poisoning is excessively prevalent among them as a 
result. Little girls who work in the hosiery mills 
and carry heavy baskets from one floor to another, 
and their sisters who run machines by foot-power, 
suffer all through their after Ufe as a result of their 
employment. Girls who work in factories where 
caramels and other kinds of candies are made are 
constantly passing from the refrigerating depart- 
ment, where the temperature is perhaps 20 degrees 
Fahr., to other departments with temperatures as 
high as 80 or 90 degrees. As a result, they suffer 
from bronchial troubles. 

These are only a few of the many occupations of 
children that are inherently unhealthful and should be 
prohibited entirely for children and all young persons 
under eighteen years of age. In a few instances it 
might be sufficient to fix the minimum age for employ- 
ment at sixteen, if certain improvements in the con- 
ditions of employment were insisted upon. Other 
dangers to health, such as the quick transition from 
the heat of the factory to the cold outside air, have 


already been noted. They are highly important 
causes of disease, though not inherent in the occupa- 
tion itself in most cases. A careful study of the child- 
labor problem from this largely neglected point of view 
would be most valuable. When to the many dangers 
to health are added the dangers to Ufe and hmb from 
accidents, far more numerous among child workers 
than adults,^® the price we pay for the altogether un- 
necessary and uneconomic service of children would, 
in the Boer patriot's phrase, ^'stagger humanity," if 
it could be comprehended. 

No combination of figures can give any idea of that 
price. Statistics cannot express the withering of 
child lips in the poisoned air of factories; the tired, 
strained look of child eyes that never dance to the 
glad music of souls tuned to Nature's symphonies; 
the binding to wheels of industry the little bodies and 
souls that should be free, as the stars are free to shine 
and the flowers are free to drink the evening dews. 
Statistics may be perfected to the extent of giving the 
number of child workers with accuracy, the number 
maimed by dangerous machines, and the number who 
die year by year, but they can never give the spiritual 
loss, if I may use that word in its secular, scientific 
sense. Who shall tally the deaths of childhood's 
hopes, ambitions, and dreams? How shall figures 
show the silent atrophy of potential genius, the bru- 
taUzing of potential love, the corruption of potential 


purity? In what arithmetical terms shall we state 
the loss of shame, and the development of that less 
than brute view of life, which enables us to watch 
with unconcern the toil of infants side by side with 
the idleness of men ? 


The moral ills resulting from child labor are numer- 
ous and far-reaching. When children become wage- 
earners and are thrown into constant association with 
adult workers, they develop prematurely an adult 
consciousness and view of life. About the first con- 
sequence of their employment is that they cease 
almost at once to be children. They lose their re- 
spect for parental authority, in many cases, and 
become arrogant, wayward, and defiant. There is 
always a tendency in their homes to regard them as 
men and women as soon as they become wage-earners. 
Discipline is at once relaxed, at the very time when it 
is most necessary. When children who have just en- 
tered upon that most critical period of Ufe, adoles- 
cence, are associated with adults in factories, are 
driven to their tasks with curses, and hear continu- 
ally the unrestrained conversation, often coarse and 
foul, of the adults, the psychological effect cannot be 
other than bad. The mothers and fathers who read 
this book need only to know that children, httle boys 
and girls, in mills and factories where men and women 
are employed, must frequently see women at work in 


whom the signs of a developing Hfe within are evident, 
and hear them made the butt of the coarsest taunts 
and jests, to realize how great the moral peril to the 
adolescent boy or girl must be. 

No writer dare write, and no publisher dare pub- 
lish, a truthful description of the moral atmosphere of 
himdreds of places where children are employed, — a 
description truthful in the sense of telling the whole 
truth. No publisher would dare print the language 
current in an average factory. Our most ^'reahstic'^ 
writers must exercise stern artistic reticence, and tone 
down or evade the truth. No normal boy or girl 
would think of repeating to father or mother the lan- 
guage heard in the mill — language which the chil- 
dren begin before long to use occasionally, to think 
oftener still. I have known a girl of thirteen or four- 
teen, just an average American girl, whose parents, 
intelligent and honest folk, had given her a moral 
training above rather than below the average, mock 
a pregnant woman worker and unblushingly attempt 
to caricature her condition by stuffing rags beneath 
her apron. I do not make any charge against the 
tens of thousands of women who have worked and 
are working in factories. Heaven forbid that I 
should seek to brand as impure these women of my 
own class! But I do say that for the plastic and 
impressionable mind of a child the moral atmosphere 
of the average factory is exceedingly bad, and I know 


that none will more readily agree with me than the 
men and women who work, or who have worked, in 
mills and factories. 

I know a woman, and she is one of many, who has 
worked in textile factories for more than thirty years. 
She began to work as a child before she was ten years 
old, and is now past forty. She has never married, 
though many men have sought her in marriage. 
She is not an abnormal woman, indifferent to mar- 
riage, but just a normal, healthy, intelligent woman 
who has yearned hundreds of times for a man's affec- 
tion and companionship. To her more intimate 
friends she confesses that she chose to remain lonely 
and unwed, chose to stifle her longings for affection, 
rather than to marry and bring children into the 
world and live to see them enter the mills for employ- 
ment before they became men and women. When I 
say that the moral atmosphere of factory life is con- 
taminated and bad, and that the employment of chil- 
dren in mills and factories subjects them to grave 
moral perils, I am confident that I shall be supported, 
not, perhaps, by the owners of the mills and factories, 
but by the vast majority of intelligent men and women 
employed in them. 

In a report upon the physical conditions of child 
workers in Pennsylvania, the Rev. Peter Roberts has 
discussed at some length the moral dangers of factory 
employment for children. He quotes an Allentown 


physician as saying, ''No vice was unknown to many 
of the girls of fifteen working in the factories of the 
city;" and another physician in the same city said, 
''There are more unhappy homes, ruined lives, blasted 
hopes, and diseased bodies in Allentown than any 
other city of its size, because of the factories there." 
Another physician, in Lancaster, is quoted as saying 
that he had "treated boys of ten years old and up- 
wards for venereal affections which they had con- 
tracted." ^^ In upwards of a score of factory towns 
I have had very similar testimony given to me by 
physicians and others. The proprietor of a large 
drug store in a New England factory town told me 
that he had never known a place where the demand 
for cheap remedies for venereal diseases was so great, 
and that many of those who bought them were hoys 
under fifteen. 

Nor is it only in factories that these grosser forms 
of immorality flourish. They are even more preva- 
lent among the children of the street trades, news- 
boys, bootblacks, messengers, and the like. The 
proportion of newsboys who suffer from venereal 
diseases is alarmingly great. The Superintendent of 
the John Worthy School of Chicago, Mr. Sloan, as- 
serts that "One-third of all the newsboys who come 
to the John Worthy School have venereal disease, 
and that 10 per cent of the remaining newsboys at 
present in the Bridewell are, according to the physi- 




cians' diagnosis, suffering from similar diseases." ** 
The newsboys who come to the school are, according 
to Mr. Sloan, on an average one-third below the ordi- 
nary standard of physical development, a condition 
which will be readily understood by those who know 
the ways of the newsboys of our great cities — their 
irregular habits, scant feeding, sexual excesses, secret 
vices, sleeping in hallways, basements, stables, and 
quiet corners. With such a low physical standard 
the ravages of venereal diseases are tremendously 

The messenger boys and the American District 
Telegraph boys are frequently foimd in the worst 
resorts of the "red-light" districts of our cities. In 
New York there are hundreds of such boys, ranging 
in age from' twelve to fifteen, who know many of the 
prostitutes of the Tenderloin by name. Sad to relate, 
boys Uke to be employed in the "red-light" districts. 
They like it, not because they are bad or depraved, 
but for the very natural reason that they make more 
money there, receiving larger and more numerous 
tips. They are called upon for many services by the 
habitues of these haunts of the vicious and the profli- 
gate. They are sent out to place bets ; to take notes 
to and from houses of ill-fame; or to buy liquor, 
cigarettes, candy, and even gloves, shoes, corsets, 
and other articles of wearing apparel for the "ladies." 
Not only are tips abundant, but there are many oppor- 


tunities for graft of which the boys avail themselves. 
A lad is sent, for instance, for a bottle of whiskey. 
He is told to get a certain brand at a neighboring 
hotel, but he knows where he can get the same brand 
for 50 per cent of the hotel price, and, naturally, he 
goes there for it and pockets the difference in price. 
That is one form of messengers' graft. Another is 
overcharging for his services and pocketing the sur- 
plus, or keeping the change from a 'Hen-spot" or a 
''fiver," when, as often happens, the "sports" are 
either too reckless to bother about such trifles or too 
drunk to remember. From sources such as these 
the messenger boy in a district like the Tenderloin 
will often make several dollars a day.^^ 

A whole series of temptations confronts the mes- 
senger boy. He smokes, drinks, gambles, and, very 
often, patronizes the lowest class of cheap brothels. 
In answering calls from houses of ill-repute messen- 
gers cannot avoid being witnesses of scenes of Ucen- 
tiousness more or less frequently. By presents of 
money, fruit, candy, cigarettes, and even Uquor, the 
women make friends of the boys, who quickly learn 
all the foul slang of the brothels.^^ The conversa- 
tion of a group of messengers in such a district will 
often reveal the most astounding intimacy with the 
grossest things of the underworld. That in their 
adolescence, the transition from boyhood to man- 
hood, fraught as it is with its own inherent perils, 


they should be thrown into such an environment and 
exposed to such temptations is an evil which cannot 
possibly be overemphasized. The penal code of New 
York declares the sending of minors to carry messages 
to or from a house of ill-fame to be a misdemeanor, 
but the law is a dead letter. It cannot possibly be 
enforced, and its repeal would probably be a good 
thing. While it may be urged that the mere exist- 
ence of such a law has a certain moral value as a con- 
demnation of such a dangerous employment for boys, 
it is exceedingly doubtful if that good is sufficient to 
counterbalance the harm which comes from the non- 
enforcement of the law. 

I have dwelt mainly upon the grosser vices asso- 
ciated with street employment, as with employment 
in factories and mines, because it is a phase of the 
subject about which too little is known. I need 
scarcely say, however, that these vices are not the 
only ones to which serious attention should be given. 
Crime naturally results from such conditions. Of 600 
boys committed to the New York Juvenile Asylum by 
the courts, 125 were newsboys who had been com- 
mitted for various offences ranging from ungovern- 
ableness and disorderly conduct to grand larceny." 
Mr. Nibecker, Superintendent of the House of Refuge 
at Glen Mills, near Philadelphia, was asked, ''Have 
you, in disproportionate numbers, boys who formerly 
were engaged in some one particular occupation?^' 



He replied promptly, "Yes, district messengers."^® 
It seems to be the almost imanimous opinion of pro- 
bation officers and other competent authorities in 
our large cities that messenger boys and newsboys 
furnish an exceedingly large proportion of cases of 
juvenile deUnquency. I wrote to six probation offi- 
cers in as many large cities asking them to give me 
their opinions as to the classes of occupation which 
seem to have the largest number of juvenile delin- 
quents. Their repUes are summarized in the follow- 
ing schedule : — 

Occupations of Juvenile Delinquents in Six Large 
Cities, showing the Relative Number of Each 








Messenger boys 
Messenger boys 
Messenger boys 
Factory boys 

Messenger boys' 
Messenger boys 
Factory boys 

Factory boys 
Factory boys 
Messenger boys 



Factory boys 




In six smaller cities, where the number of factory 
workers is much larger in proportion than in the great 
cities, and the number of newsboys and messengers 
is much smaller, the results were somewhat different. 
The following schedule is interesting as a summary 
of the replies received from these towns : — 



Occupations of Juvenile Delinquents in Six Towns of 
Less than 100,000 Inhabitants, showing the Rela- 
tive Number of Each Occupation* 










Mine boys 

Mill boys 
Mill boys 
Mill boys 
Mine boys 

Other factory 

Messenger boys 
Mine boys 
Messenger boys 

Messenger boys 




These facts, and other facts of a like nature, are 
only indicative of the ill effects of child labor upon 
the morals of the children. In some cases the moral 
peril lies in the nature of the work itself, while in 
others it Hes, not in the work, but in the conditions 
by which it is surrounded. In the Chicago Stock 
Yards, for example, judging by what I saw there, 
I should say that in most, if not all, of the depart- 
ments the work itself is degrading and brutalizing, 
and that no person under eighteen years of age 
ought to be permitted to work in them. In large 
laundries little girls are very commonly employed 
as ''sorters.'' Their work is to sort out the soiled 
clothes as they come in and to classify them. While 
such work must be disagreeable and unwholesome 
for a young girl, there is nothing necessarily demoraliz- 

* " Messenger boys " includes errand boys in stores. 


ing about it. But when such little girls are com- 
pelled to work with men and women of the coarsest 
and most ilUterate type, as they frequently are, and 
to listen to constant conversation charged with foul 
suggestions, it becomes a soul-destroying occupation. 
At its best, even when all possible efforts are made to 
keep the place of employment pure and above re- 
proach — and I know that there are many such 
places — still the whole tendency of child labor is 
in the direction of a lower moral standard. The 
feeling of independence caused by the ability to earn 
wages, the relaxation of parental authority, with 
the result that the children roam the streets at night 
or frequent places of amusement of questionable 
character; the ruthless destruction of the bloom of 
youthful innocence and the forced consciousness of 
life properly belonging to adult years — these are 
inevitably associated with child labor. 


These are some of the ills which child labor inflicts 
upon the children themselves, ills which do not end 
with their childhood days but curse and bhght all 
their after years. The child who is forced to be a 
man too soon, forced too early to enter the industrial 
strife of the world, ceases to he a man too soon, ceases 
to be fit for the industrial strife. When the strength 
IS sapped in childhood there is an absence of strength 


in manhood and womanhood; Ruskin^s words are 
profoundly true, that 'Ho be a man too soon is to 
be a small man." We are to-day using up the vitality 
of children ; soon they will be men and women, with- 
out the vitaUty and strength necessary to maintain 
themselves and their dependants. When We exploit 
the immature strength of Uttle children, we prepare 
recruits for the miserable army of the imfit and un- 
employable, whose lot is a shameful and debasing 

This wrong to helpless childhood carries with it, 
therefore, a certain and dreadful retribution. It 
is not possible to injure a child without injuring 
society. Whatever burden society lays, or permits 
to be laid, upon the shoulders of its children, it must 
ultimately bear upon its own. Society's interest 
in the child may be well expressed in a sUght para- 
phrase of the words of Jesus, "Whatsoever is done 
to one of the least of these little ones is done unto 
me." It is in that spirit that the advocates of child- 
labor legislation would have the nation forbid the 
exploitation, literally the exhaustion, of children 
by self-interested employers. For the abuse of child- 
hood by individual antisocial interests, society as a 
whole must pay the penalty. If we neglect the chil- 
dren of to-day, and sap their strength so that they 
become weaklings, we must bear the burden of their 
failures when they fail and fall : — 


" There is a sacred Something on all ways — 
Something that watches through the Universe ; 
One that remembers, reckons and repays, 
Giving us love for love, and curse for curse.** 

It is a well-known fact that the competition of 
children with their elders entails serious consequences 
of a twofold nature, — first, in the displacement of 
adults, and, second, in the lowering of their wage 
standards. There are few things more tragic in the 
modern industrial system than the sight of children 
working while their fathers can find no other employ- 
ment than to carry dinners to them. I know that 
many persons are always ready to suggest that the 
fathers Hke this imnatural arrangement, that they 
prefer to live upon the earnings of their Httle ones, 
and there are, no doubt, cases in which this is true. 
But in the majority of cases it is not true. Every 
one who is at all famihar with the fives of the workers 
must reafize that when appfied indiscriminately to 
the mass of those who find themselves in that condi- 
tion of dependence upon their children's labor, this 
view is a gross fibel. Some months ago, I stood out- 
side of a large clothing factory in Rochester, N.Y. 
Upon the front of the building, as upon several others 
in the street, there hung a painted sign, such as I 
have seen there many times, bearing the inscription, 
"Small Girls Wanted." While I stood there two men 
passed by and I heard one of them say to the other ; 



"That's fourteen places we've seen they want kids 
to-day, Bill, but we've tramped round all week an' 
never got sight of a job." I have known many 
earnest, industrious men to be weeks at a time seeking 
employment while their children could get places 
without difficulty. The displacement of adult 
workers by their children is a stern and sad feature 
of the competition of the labor market, which no 
amount of cynicism can dispose of. 

A brief study of the returns published in the bulle- 
tins and reports of the various bureaus of labor and 
the labor unions will show that child labor tends to 
lower the wages of adult workers. Where the com- 
petition of children is a factor wages are invariably 
lowest. Two or three years ago I was associated in 
a small way with an agitation carried on by the 
members of the Cigarmakers' Union in Pennsylvania 
against the "Cigar Trust." One of the principal 
issues in that agitation was the employment of young 
children. The labor unions have always opposed child 
labor, for the reason that they know from experience 
how its employment tends to displace adult labor 
and to reduce wages. In the case of the cigarmakers' 
agitation the chief grievance was the fact that chil- 
dren were making for $2 and $2.50 per thousand the 
same class of cigars as the men were paid from $7.50 
to $8 per thousand for making." The men worked 
under fairly decent, human conditions, but the condi- 


tions under which the children worked were positively 
inhuman. That such competition as that, if exten- 
sive, must result in the gradual displacement of men 
and the employment of children, accompanied by the 
reduction of the wages of the men fortunate enough 
to be allowed to remain at work, is, I think, self- 
evident. In their turn the unemployment of adults 
and the lowering of wages are fruitful sources of pov- 
erty, and force the employment of many children. 
These are some of the most obvious immediate 
economic consequences of child labor, simple facts 
which we can readily grasp. But there are other, 
subtler and less obvious, economic consequences of 
even greater importance, so vast that their magnitude 
cannot be measured nor even guessed. It is impos- 
sible to conceive how much we lose through the 
lessened productive capacity of those who have been 
prematurely exploited, and even if that were possible, 
we should still have to face the stupendous problem 
of determining how much of our expenditure for the 
reUef of poverty, caring for the diseased and crippled, 
and the expensive maintenance of a large criminal 
class in prisons and reformatories, has been rendered 
necessary by that same fundamental cause. It is 
an awful, bewildering problem, this ultimate economic 
cost of child labor to society. If it were proposed to 
saddle the bulk of these expenditures for the relief 
of the necessitous and the maintenance of the dis- 


eased, maimed, and criminal classes upon the indus- 
tries in which their energies were used up, their bodies 
maimed, or their moral natures perverted and de- 
stroyed, there would be a great outcry. Yet, it 
would be much more reasonable and just than the 
present system, which permits the physical, mental, 
and moral ruin to be carried on in the selfish and sordid 
interests of a class, and the imposition of the resulting 
burden of misery and failure upon the shoulders of 
society as a whole. 


What are the reasons for the employment of chil- 
dren ? It is almost needless to argue that child labor 
is socially unnecessary, that the labor of Httle boys 
and girls is not required in order that wealth sufficient 
for the needs of society may be produced. If such 
a claim were made, it would be an all-sufficing reply 
to point to the great army of unemployed men in our 
midst, and to say that the last man must be employed 
before the employment of the first child can be jus- 
tified. When there is not an unemployed man, when 
there is not a man employed in useless, unproductive, 
and wasteful labor, if there is then a shortage of the 
things necessary for social maintenance, child labor 
may be necessary and justifiable. Under any other 
conditions than these it is unjustifiable and brutally 
wrong. In the primitive struggle with the hostile 
forces of nature, such struggles as pioneers have had 


in all lands before the deserts could be made to yield 
harvests of fruit and grain, the labor of wives and chil- 
dren has been necessary to supplement that of hus- 
bands and fathers. But what would be thought of 
the men, under such conditions, if they forced their 
wives and children to work while they idled, ate, 
and slept? Yet that is, essentially, the practice of 
modern industrial society. Here is a great country 
with natural resources unparalleled in human experi- 
ence for their richness and variety; here labor is so 
productive, and inventive genius so highly developed, 
that wealth overflows our granaries and warehouses, 
and forces us to seek foreign markets for its disposal. 
The children employed in our factories are not em- 
ployed because it would otherwise be impossible to 
produce the necessities of life for the nation. The 
little five-year-old girl seen by Miss Addams working 
at night in a Southern cotton mill was not so em- 
ployed because it was necessary in order that the 
American people might have enough cotton goods to 
supply their needs. On the contrary, she was making 
sheeting for the Chinese Army ! ^' Not that she or 
those by whom she was employed had any interest 
in the Chinese Army, but because there was a prospec- 
tive profit for the manufacturer in the making of 
sheeting for sale to China for the use of her soldiers. 
The manufacturer would just as readily have sacri- 
ficed little American girls in the manufacture of beads 


for Hottentots, or gilt idols for poor Hindoo ryots, 
if the profit were equal. 

That is the root of the child-labor evil ; it has no 
social justification and exists only for the sordid gain 
of profit-seekers. It is not difficult, therefore, to 
understand the manufacturers' interest in child labor, 
or their opposition to all efforts to legislate against 
it. Cheap production is the maxim of success in 
industry, and a plentiful supply of cheap labor is a 
powerful contributor to that end. The principal 
items in productive cost are the raw material and the 
labor necessary, the relative importance of each de- 
pending upon the nature of the industry itself. Now, 
it is obviously to the interest of the manufacturer, 
as manufacturer, to get both raw material and labor- 
power as cheaply as possible, whether the industry 
in which he is interested is governed by competitive, 
or monopolistic, or any intermediate conditions. 
If competition rules, cheapness is vitally important 
to him, since if he can get an advantage over his com- 
petitors in that respect he can undersell them, while 
if he fails to get his supplies of labor and raw material 
as cheaply as his competitors, he will be undersold. 
If, on the other hand, monopoly conditions prevail, 
it is still an important interest to secure them as 
cheaply as possible, thereby increasing his profit. 

It is an axiom of commercial economy that supply 
follows demand, and it is certain that the constant 


demand for the cheap, tractable labor of children has 
had much to do with the creation of the supply. At 
bottom the employers, or, rather, the system of pro- 
duction for profit, must be held responsible for child 
labor. There are evidences of this on every hand. 
We see manufacturers in New Jersey and Pennsyl- 
vania getting children from orphan asylums, regard- 
less of their physical, mental, and moral ruin, merely 
because it pays them. When the glass-blowers of 
Minotola, N.J., went on strike, in 1902, the child-labor 
question was one of their most important issues. 
The exposures made of the frightful enslavement of 
little children attracted widespread attention. There 
is very little in the history of the EngUsh factory sys- 
tem which excels in horror the conditions which ex- 
isted in that Uttle South Jersey town at the beginning 
of the twentieth century.^^ When the proprietor of 
the factory was asked about the employment of young 
boys ten and eleven years of age, many of whom 
often fell asleep and were awakened by the men pour- 
ing water over them, and at least two of whom died 
from overexhaustion, he said: ^'If two men apply 
to me for work and one has one or two or three chil- 
dren and the other has none, I take the man with 
children. I need the boys." In actual practice 
this meant that no man could get work as a glass- 
blower unless he was able to bring boys with him. 
A regular padrone system was developed in conse- 


quence of this : the glass-blowers, determined to keep 
their own boys out of the factories if possible, secured 
children from orphan asylums, or took the little boys 
of Italian immigrants, boarded them, and paid the 
parents a regular weekly sum. 

In the mills of the South it is frequently made a 
condition of the employment of married men or 
women that all their children shall be bound to work 
in the same mills. The following is one of the rules 
posted in a South Carolina cotton mill : — 

" All children, members of a family, above twelve years of 
age, shall work regularly in the mill, and shall not be excused 
from service therein without the consent of the superintendent 
for good cause." ^ 

Many times I have heard fathers and mothers — in 
the North as well as in the South — say that they did 
not want their children to work, that they could have 
done without the children's wages and kept them at 
school a little longer, or apprenticed them to better 
employment, but that they were compelled to send 
them into the mills to work, or lose their own places. 
Even more eloquent as evidencing the keen demand of 
the manufacturers for child labor is the fact to which 
Mr. McKelway calls attention, that, in response to 
their demand, cotton-mill machinery is being made 
with adjustable legs to suit small child workers. 
Mr. McKelway rightly contrasts this with the experi- 
ence in India when the first cotton mills were erected 


there. Then, for the first time, it was found neces- 
sary to manufacture spinning frames high enough 
from the floor to accommodate adult workers."® 

With such facts as these before us, it is easy to see 
that the urgency of the employers' demands for child 
labor is an important factor in the problem. Under- 
lying all other causes is the fundamental fact that 
the exploitation of the children is in the interests of 
the employing class. It may be urged that it is 
necessary for children to begin work at an early age 
because the work they do cannot be done by men or 
women, but the contention is wholly unsupported by 
facts. There is no work done by boys in the glass 
factories which men could not do ; no skill or training 
is required to enable one to do the work done by 
breaker boys in the coal-mines ; the work done by chil- 
dren in the textile mills could be done equally well 
by adults. The fact that in some cases adults are 
employed to do the work which in other cases is done 
by children, is sufficient proof that child labor is not 
resorted to because it is inevitable and necessary, but 
on account of its cheapness. 

It does not, of course, necessarily follow that low- 
priced labor is really cheap labor; it may prove to be 
just as uneconomical to employ such labor as to buy 
poor raw materials merely because they are low- 
priced. The quantitative measure is no more satis- 
factory as a standard of value when appHed to labor 


than when applied to other things. Thomas Brassey, 
the famous EngUsh engineer and contractor, used to 
declare that the cost of carrying out great works 
in different countries did not vary according to the 
wages paid, and that his experience had been that in 
countries where wages were highest the rate of profit 
was also highest. Very similar testimony has been 
given by many large employers of labor, and the point 
seems to be fairly well established. It is said, for 
instance, that the cost of erecting large buildings 
does not differ very much in the great capitals of the 
world, though the rate of wages differs enormously, 
and that in America, where wages in the building 
trades are much higher than anywhere else in the 
world, the labor cost is really less than elsewhere.*^ 
In view of this economic fact, it has been urged that 
child labor is not cheap labor, except in a false and 
uneconomic sense, that it is inefficient, and that it 
would be to the interest of the employers themselves 
to employ adult labor instead. 

Doubtless this argument has been used in the true 
propagandist spirit of appealing to as many interests 
as possible, and proving the sweet reasonableness of 
the demand for the abolition of child labor, but I 
am inclined to doubt its value. We may, I think, 
trust the employers to look after their own interests. 
It is true that if you put an underpaid and underfed 
ItaUan laborer at a dollar a day to work, and along- 


side put a decently fed American laborer at double 
that wage, you will probably find the labor of the lat- 
ter the more profitable; just as cheap, miserably paid 
coolie labor is the most expensive of all. But I do 
not think it follows that adult labor would be cheaper 
than child labor to the employer. Most child labor 
is made possible by machinery and conditioned by it, 
and adult labor would be conditioned by it in the same 
manner. There is very little scope for individual 
differences to manifest themselves where the machine 
is the controUing power. In other industries, such 
as glass manufactiu-e, where machinery plays a 
relatively unimportant part as yet, the labor of the 
boys is conditioned by the speed of the men they 
serve. The men, urged on by the piecework system, 
work at their utmost limit of speed, and the boys 
must keep pace with them. It is unhkely that if 
men were employed to do the work now done by the 
" snappers-up, " they would be able to increase the 
speed of the glass-blowers, the only way in which their 
labor could prove cheaper. On the contrary, there 
is every reason to suppose that men would not con- 
sent to be driven as boys are driven. I have gathered 
from glass-blowers themselves that they are very 
often as much opposed to the introduction of adult 
helpers as are their employers, for the reason that they 
beUeve adults would not serve them with the same 
speed as boys. For these reasons, and many others 


into which it is impossible to enter here, I am con- 
vinced that httle good will result from a propaganda 
aiming to show the employers that their economic 
interests would be best served by the aboUtion of 
child labor. 

In a similar way it has been urged, with ample 
evidence of its truth, that the employment of children 
retards the introduction of mechanical devices and 
their fullest development.®^ This is perfectly true, 
not only of child labor, but of almost all forms of 
labor that are unheal thful or degrading. There is 
absolutely no need of human street sweepers, exposed 
in all weathers and constantly inhaUng foul, disease- 
laden dust, any more than there is need of little boys 
working in the glass factories, carrying red-hot bottles 
to the ovens. In each case machinery has been 
invented to do the work, and it is used to a small 
extent. If these occupations, and scores of others, 
were absolutely prohibited, and the prohibitory law 
rigidly enforced, streets would still be swept, but by 
mechanical sweepers, and bottles would still be taken 
to the annealing ovens, but by mechanical means. 
The world will probably, let us hope, never become 
the paradise dreamed of by the German dreamer, 
Etzler, who believed that all the work of the world 
would be done by machinery in the future, and human 
labor become altogether unnecessary.'^ But there 
is no doubt that much of the work which to-day 


degrades body, brain, and soul could be done just 
as well by mechanical agents. Not, however, through 
sermonizing or appealing to the employers will these 
mechanical devices be generally adopted to take 
the place of the life-destroying labor of boys and girls ; 
but by making it increasingly difficult, and finally 
impossible, for them to employ child labor at all. 

Not long ago I was in a glass factory where the 
"carrying-in boys" had been displaced by automatic 
machinery. As I watched the machine doing the 
work I had been accustomed to seeing little boys per- 
form, I asked the manager of the factory why it 
had been introduced. His answer was simple and 
direct, ''Why, because it had become too difficult 
to get boys." A few days later I went into another 
factory where boys were, as usual, employed in doing 
the work. I asked the owner of the factory why 
he did not use machinery instead of employing boys. 
"Because it is not practicable," he rephed. "We 
must have boys and can't do without them." When 
I told him that I had seen the work done by machinery 
with perfect satisfaction, he laughed. "Yes, that is 
true, but I still say that it is not a practicable pro- 
posal," he rejoined. "I mean that it is not a practi- 
cal business proposition. I am not interested in 
machinery, as machinery, and if I can get all the boys 
I want, at wages making their labor no more expensive 
than the cost of running machinery, why should I 


tie up two or three thousand dollars of my capital 
to install machines? So long as I can get boys 
enough, I don't want to bother with machines." 
Then I asked : "What would you do if you could not 
get boys — if their employment was forbidden, and 
the law strictly enforced ? " His reply was suggestive. 
"Why, then machinery would be the only thing; then 
it would be a practical business proposition," he said. 
I have given this manufacturer's opinion, as nearly 
as possible in his own words, because it is an ad- 
mirably clear statement of what I beUeve to be the 
natural attitude of the employing class upon a grave 
question. All that stands in the way of a general 
use of machinery to do the work now performed at 
such an enormous cost in human life and happiness, 
is the temporary inconvenience of the employers 
from having to tie up some of their capital. Just 
as the woollen manufacturers in England, as soon as 
they were debarred from employing children, adopted 
the piecing machine,®^ so the employers of America 
to-day would have no difficulty about securing ma- 
chinery, much of it already invented, if the employ- 
ment of children should be forbidden. But, generally 
speaking, they will not of themselves make the change. 


It is less easy to understand the problem of child 
labor in its relation to parental responsibiUty. It is 


continually asked: "Why do parents send their 
little ones to work at such an early age ? Is it possi- 
ble that there are so many parents who are so in- 
different to the welfare of their children that they send 
them to work, and surround them with perils and evil 
influences, or are there other, deeper reasons? Are 
the parents helpless to save their Httle ones ?" These 
are questions which have never yet been satisfactorily 
answered; they deal with a phase of the problem 
which has never been fully investigated, notwith- 
standing that it is of vital importance. 

As already noted, when the manufacturers of Eng- 
land sought first to get child workers for the cotton 
and woollen mills, they found the parents arrayed 
again^st them, defending their children. For a long 
time no self-respecting father or mother would allow 
a child to go to the factories to work, and it remained 
for many years a brand of social disgrace to have one's 
children so employed. Not until their pride was con- 
quered by poverty, not until they were subjugated 
by hunger and compelled to surrender and accept 
the inevitable, did the parents send their children 
into the factories. It was poverty, bitter poverty, 
which led the first "free" child into the mills to 
economic servitude, and I am disposed to think that 
poverty is still the main reason why parents send their 
children to body-and-soul-destroying toil. 

Many of those whose work for the enactment of 


legislation to protect the children from the ills of pre- 
mature labor entitles them to lasting honor and grati- 
tude, have shown an incUnation to minimize the extent 
to which poverty is responsible for child labor. The 
opponents of child-labor legislation have so strongly 
insisted upon the hardships which would follow if 
parents were deprived of their children's earnings, 
and have so eloquently pleaded the cause of the " poor 
widowed mothers," as almost to make the employ- 
ment of children appear as a philanthropic enter- 
prise. Very often, it seems to me, the advocates of 
child-labor legislation, in their eagerness to refute 
their critics, have resorted to arguments which rest 
upon exceedingly sHght foundations of fact, and, in 
this case especially, laid insufficient stress upon the 
logical answer. The more closely the problem is 
scrutinized and investigated, the larger the influence 
of poverty will appear, I think. At the same time, 
it is well to remember that poverty is not the only 
cause by any means. There are many other causes, 
some closely associated with poverty, others only 
remotely or not at all. Ignorance, cupidity, indiffer- 
ence, feverish ambition to ''get on," — these are a 
few of the many other causes which might be named. 
It is declared, then, that actual inquiry has shown 
that the claim that the earnings of the children are 
necessary to the support of the family, and that wid- 
ows and others would suffer serious poverty if their 


children under fifteen were not permitted to work, 
is ^'rarely if ever justified." Mrs. Frederick Nathan, 
of the Consumers' League of the City of New York, 
whose splendid devotion to the cause of social right- 
eousness lends weight to her words, expresses this 
view with admirable clearness. She says: "When- 
ever preventive measures for child labor are enacted 
or enforced, there is always a wail heard to the effect 
that the child's labor is absolutely requisite for the 
Uving expenses of the family. Yet, upon investiga- 
tion, this statement is rarely corroborated. In 
Illinois, there was recently enacted a law prohibiting 
children under sixteen from working more than eight 
hours a day, or after 7 p.m. Thousands of diminu- 
tive toilers were discharged. Then a cry of hardship 
went up in behalf of hundreds of families. Philan- 
thropic women undertook an investigation, supposing 
they would find a number of cases in which the wages 
of the working child were absolutely necessary to the 
family income. To their amazement they found only 
three famihes in Chicago, and five in the remainder 
of the state, where this was true. In every other 
case it was discovered that either the parent or older 
children could support the family, or some relative 
was willing to assist until the child reached the legal 
age." ^ 

Where there are so many cooperating causes, it 
would be easy to overestimate the importance of any 


one, and correspondingly easy to underestimate it. 
How the investigations in Illinois were conducted, 
what standards were adopted by the investigators, 
I do not know, and cannot, therefore, in the ab- 
sence of specified data, express an opinion upon 
the validity of the conclusions drawn. Frankly, how- 
ever, I distrust them. Not long since I heard of 
a case in which a "philanthropic lady investigator" 
decided that the wages of a child of thirteen were not 
necessary to the maintenance of the family, because 
she "had a father in regular employment." It did 
not, apparently, occur to her that $9 a week was too 
Uttle to support decently a family of six persons. 
Whatever the nature of the Illinois investiga- 
tion, I am certain that in my own experience the pro- 
portion of cases in which there is actual dependence 
upon what the children earn is very much larger. 
It must not be forgotten in discussing this question 
that although a child may earn only $1.50 a week, 
that sum may mean a great deal to the family. It 
may mean the difference between living in a compara- 
tively good house on a decent street and going to a 
foul tenement in a bad neighborhood. It may 
mean the difference between coal and no coal in 
winter, or ice and no ice in summer. As a poor woman 
said to me quite recently, "Joe only earns thirty 
cents a day, but that thirty cents means supper 
for all five in the family." The investigations of 


Mr. Nichols in the coal-mining and textile-manufactur- 
ing towns/® of Mr. Kellogg Durland/^and, particularly, 
the inquiries made in New Jersey concerning the 
immediate effects of the Child Labor Law of 1904/' 
all tend to show that the dependence of families upon 
children's earnings is much greater than the Illinois 
figures would indicate. I venture the opinion that 
there is not a Settlement worker in America who has 
studied this problem whose experience would confirm 
the optimism of the Ilhnois investigators. I am cer- 
tain that within a radius of three blocks from the 
little Settlement in which this is written, and with 
which I am at present most familiar, there are more 
families known to be absolutely dependent upon the 
earnings of young children than were found in the 
whole State of Illinois, according to the report quoted. 
I know of at least twice as many such families as 
were found in Illinois living in this little city with its 
population of about sixty thousand as against the 
nearly 5,000,000 in Illinois. Settlement workers in 
various parts of the country have, without exception, 
declared the Illinois report to be absolutely at vari- 
ance with their experience. 

In the hope that I might be able to gather sufficient 
accurate data to warrant some fairly definite conclu- 
sions upon this point, I spent several weeks making 
careful personal investigations into the matter in 
four states, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, 


and Massachusetts. I made inquiries into 213 cases, 
first getting the children's stories and then carefully 
investigating them. The results are clearly set forth 
in the accompanying schedule, but explanation of a 
few points may be helpful to the reader. 

In choosing a wage standard to represent the pri- 
mary poverty line, I somewhat arbitrarily fixed upon 
$10 per week. In either of the four states named, 
such a wage must mean poverty and lead to the em- 
ployment of children at the earhest possible mo- 
ment. Intemperance appears in four cases, but 
that does not mean that it did not enter into other 
cases at all. In the four cases noted the fathers were 
earning from $12 to $18 per week, and while it is pos- 
sible that with such wages they might be honestly 
and honorably poor, since even $18 is not a very 
princely wage, it is a fact that their expenditures 
upon drink constituted the real cause of the poverty 
which forced their children to work. On the other 
hand, I do not suppose that all the cases of child labor 
due to the primary poverty of their famihes are noted. 
In the last column several cases are given of children 
who were "sick when attending school," or who 
''could not get on at school." For reasons given in 
an earUer chapter, I am incUned to believe that these 
cases would have to be transferred to the other 
column if it were only possible to investigate them 
more fully. 



Table showing Reasons for the Employment of 
213 Children 

No. of 

Boys, 34. 

Occupations * 

Glass factory 
workers, t 

Eeasons given which 
indicate Primary- 

Wages of father 
less than $10 
per week . . . 

Father sick or 
injured .... 

Father dead . . 

Father unem- 

Father in prison 

Reasons given Other than 
Apparent Primary Poverty 

Parents saving money 
to buy their homes, 
etc 8 

Children working to 
keep father who is 
able to work but 
won't 2 

Not determined .... 6 

Boys, 23. 
Girls, 57. 

mill workers. 

Wages of father 
less than $10 
per week . . . 

Father unem- 

Father dead . . 

Father sick or 
injured .... 

Father deserted 

Father drunkard 

Tired of school .... 13 
Discouraged by being 
" put back " at school 
every time family 

moved 6 

Parents saving the 

money 5 

Because companions 

went to work .... 9 
To get better clothes . 4 
Not determined .... 9 

Boys, 33. 
Girls. 22. 

cigar, and 

Father's wage 
less than $10 
per week ... 14 

Father dead . . 3 

Father sick or 
injured .... 4 

Father unem- 
ployed 4 

Father drunkard 3 

Because friends worked 6 
Tired of school .... 5 
Parents saving money 4 
To get better clothes . 3 
Sick while at school . 2 
Not determined .... 7 

Boys, 18. 
Girls, 26. 

Delivery wag- 
on boys . . 

Match pack- 
ers ... . 1 

Candy fac- 
tory girls . 1 

Wire factory 
workers . . 

Rubber fac- 
t'y workers 11 

Wages of father 
less than $10 
per week . . . 

Father dead . . 

Father sick or 
injured .... 

Father unem- 

Father deserted 

Couldn't get on at 

school 6 

To get better clothes . 4 
Because friends went 

to work 3 

Sick while at school . 3 

Not determined .... 3 

* No inquiry was made among mine workers because, on account 
of the large number of boys whose fathers have been killed or perma- 
nently disabled, the data would be less representative. (See Roberts' 
Anthracite Coal Communities, p. 176.) 

t Mostly foreign born or the children of foreign-born parents, Slavs 
and Italians. The entire absence of reference to school matters is sug- 
gestive. Most of them never entered a school. 



Total No. 
of Children 


Summary of Causes 

in Primary 

Poverty Group 

Summary of Causes 

Other than 

Primary Poverty 

Low wages .... 52 

School difficulties . 30 

Unemployment . . 13 

Because friends 

Father's death . . 12 

went to work . . 18 

Father's sickness . 19 

To get better clothes 11 

Boys, 108 

Father's desertion 

To enable parents to 

Girls, 105 

of family .... 4 

save 17 

Father's intemper- 

Sickness of child 

ance 4 

while at school . 6 

Father in prison . 1 

Father's laziness . . 2 
Not determined . . 25 

Total, 213 

Total, 105 = 49.30% 

Total, 108 = 50.70% 

I do not offer this table as conclusive testimony 
upon the point under discussion. The number of 
cases investigated is too small to give the results 
more than suggestive value. Personally, I believe 
that the cases given are fairly typical, and that is 
the opinion also of some of the leading authorities 
upon the subject to whom I have submitted the table. 
No private investigator can ever hope to investigate 
a sufficient number of cases to establish anything 
conclusively in this connection. What is needed most 
of all is a cooperative investigation under the direc- 
tion of the leading sociological students of the country 
until such extensive returns are gathered as will 
justify more positive conclusions. In the meantime 
such tables as this can at best only serve to call atten- 
tion to what may be a general fact. 

The table shows more than mere poverty. First 


of all there is the senseless, feverish, natural ambition 
of the immigrant to save money, to be rich. "Ma 
boy getta much mona — I get richa man," said one 
of the Italians included in the first line of the fourth 
column of the foregoing table. How often I have 
heard that speech ! Not always in the broken music 
of ItaHan-English, but in the many- toned, curious 
English of Bohemian, Lithuanian, Scandinavian, 
Russian, Pole, and Greek — all drawn by the same 
powerful magnet of wealth — all sacrificing, igno- 
rantly and bhndly, the lives of themselves and their 
children in their fevered quest. In this, as in so 
many other problems of the repubhc, the immigra- 
tion of hundreds of thousands of people of ahen races, 
customs, and speech enters. Whether their admission 
is wise or unwise is a subject outside the scope of this 
discussion, but one thing is certain, and as vital as 
it is true, namely, that hospitality has its obhgations 
and duties. If the nation is to receive these immi- 
grants, the nation must accept the responsibility 
of protecting them and itself. It must protect the 
immigrants from the dangers w^hich their ignorance 
does not permit them to see, and protect itself 
from having to bear in the near future an Atlantean 
load; an economic burden which must come to it 
if these "strangers within the gates" in their igno- 
rance are allowed to barter the manhood of their sons 
and the womanhood of their daughters for gold. 


The virtual breakdown of our school system is one 
of the gravest problems indicated by the table and 
enforced by general observation. The children who 
go to work in factories and mines because they are 
"tired of school," or ''because they could not learn," 
are, it is to be feared, not always but too often, the 
victims of imdernutrition. The school spends all 
its energies in the vain attempt to educate wasting 
minds in starving bodies, and then the child, already 
physically and mentally ruined, goes to the mine or 
the factory, there to Unger on as half-starved plants 
in arid soil sometimes linger, or to fade away as a 
summer flower fades in a day. Poverty began the 
ruin of the child by denying it proper nourishment, 
and ignorance and greed combine to complete the ruin 
by sending the child in its weakness forth to labor. 

The other reasons for the employment of children 
shown in the table cannot be discussed separately. 
The moral contagion of poverty and ignorance, 
evidenced by the number of those who work, not from 
necessity, but because their friends work, is not new 
to those who have studied this and kindred problems. 
The influence of a single family in lowering the moral 
and economic standards of a whole street, especially 
in our smaller towns, is notorious. The pathos of 
the mothers of families who are worse than widows, 
with their drunken, dissolute husbands, and the trag- 
edy of little child lives crushed by brutal, selfish. 


indolent fathers who place the responsibility of main- 
taining the family upon their young shoulders, are 
familiar phases of the problem of child labor. 

It is a solemn responsibility which the presence of 
this menacing evil of child labor places upon the 
nation. It is not only the interests of the children 
themselves that are menaced; even more important 
and terrible is the thought that civihzation itself is 
imperilled when children are dwarfed physically, 
mentally, and morally by hunger, heavy toil, and un- 
wholesome surroundings. If one of the forts along 
our far-stretching coasts were attacked by an enemy, 
or if a single square mile of our immense territory 
were invaded, the nation would rise in patriotic unison, 
and there would be no lack either of men or money 
for the defence. Surely, it is not too much to hope 
that, before long, the nation will realize in the destruc- 
tion of its future citizens by greed and ignorance a far 
more serious attack upon the republic than any that 
could be made by fleets or armed legions. To sap 
the strength and weaken the moral fibres of the 
children is to grind the seed corn, to wreck the future 
for to-day's fleeting gain. 

A great Frenchman once said of the alphabet, 
"These twenty-six letters contain all the good things 
that ever were, or ever can be, said, — only they 
need to be arranged." To complete the truth of 
this aphorism, he should have included all the bad 


things as well. And so it is with the children of a 
nation. Capable of expressing all the good or evil 
the world has known or may know, it is essentially 
a matter of arrangement, opportunity, environment. 
Whether the children of to-day become physical, 
mental, and moral cretins, or strong men and women, 
fathers and mothers of virile sons and daughters, 
depends upon the decision of the nation. If the 
responsibihty of this is fully recognized, and the 
employment of children under fifteen years of age 
is forbidden throughout the length and breadth 
of this great country; if the nation reahzes that 
the demand for the protection of the children is the 
highest patriotism, and enfolds every child within 
its strong, protecting arms, then and not till then 
will it be possible to look with confidence toward 
the future, unashamed and unafraid. 



"But pity will not right the wrong, 
Nor doles return the stolen youth ; 
When tasks are done without a song 
And bargains wrung at cost of truth, 
Tis mockery to talk of ruth." 

— David Lowe. 


Having stated the problem of poverty, as it 
bears upon the child, as plainly and comprehensively 
as possible, I would fain leave it without further 
comment, feeUng with Whewell that, ''Rightly to 
propose a problem is no inconsiderable step towards 
its solution," and beUeving that once the facts are 
known, and their significance understood, reform 
cannot be long delayed. Beyond the measures 
briefly suggested in the preceding pages, I would 
gladly leave the whole subject of remedial action 
untouched, regarding the purpose of this book as 
fulfilled in the statement of the problem itself. But 
when I have submitted the substance of the evi- 
dence herein presented to those whose knowledge 
and experience entitle them to be regarded as ex- 
perts, or to popular audiences in the form of lectures, 



they have, with scarcely an exception, expressed the 
view that the statement of such a problem should 
be accompanied by some suggestions as to its solu- 
tion; some indication of social and individual duty, 
lest the result be heaviness of heart and blackness 
of despair. 

Whoever has seriously contemplated the misery 
and suffering which, like a poisonous cloud, encom- 
passes modern society, must have experienced 
doubts and fears for the future, and, like the chastened 
patriarch of Uz, felt his hope '' plucked up like a 
tree." So many of the beacons that have shone 
out over the rough, perilous path of Humanity's 
pilgrimage have turned out to be false lights, like 
the swinging lantern-lights of the old Cornubian 
wreckers, which lured trusting mariners to head 
their vessels to destruction upon the rocks, that we 
sometimes lose faith and despair of the visions of 
world-ecstasy, the " passionate prefigurings of a 
world revivified," with which the seers of the race 
have beckoned us onward. And such despair blights 
and starves the soul of progress. When men cease 
to yearn for, 'and to believe in, justice, when they 
no longer aspire to social perfection, when old men 
cease to dream dreams, and young men to see visions 
of a nobler world than this economic anarchy, there 
can be no progress. Beautiful ideals seem to mock 
us at times, but it is doubtful if ever a beautiful 


ideal found lodgment in the heart of the humblest 
man without enriching the world. 

If I were asked wherein the hope of the future 
lies, I should adopt for answer the message of a great 
rock. Travelling along the Yellowstone River, in 
the autumn of 1904, I saw an immense rock column, 
a veritable landmark for many miles, upon which 
some enthusiast had painted in large red letters, 
''Socialism is the Hope of the World.'' Doubtless 
some ranchman, dreaming of a future world-righteous- 
ness, had conceived the idea of making that great 
natural obehsk a missionary for the faith he held, 
just as other enthusiasts had pasted the similar 
legends I had seen along the trails of the North Da- 
kota prairies. I share that faith and hope, and 
believe that nothing short of the sociaHzation of 
the means of hfe will ever fully and finally solve the 
problems inhering in our present industrial system, 
resulting in strife, bitterness, and the denial of human 
brotherhood. But long, weary years of suffering 
and struggle stretch between the present and that 
ideal state of the future. Socialism will, it is to be 
devoutly hoped, save the world from red ruin and 
anarchy and make possible a sweeter, nobler heri- 
tage for the generations yet unborn. But the most 
sanguine Sociahst must see that it is Httle short of 
mockery to talk of the future triumph of his ideal 
in connection with the problem of relieving present 


misery and distress, to answer the hunger-cry of 
to-day with the promise of a cooperative common- 
wealth in far-off years. All the Socialist parties 
of the world, with the exception of a few minor 
and unimportant factions, frankly recognize this and 
have formulated programmes of palliative measures 
for the amelioration of present evils. So far as I 
am aware, no non-Socialist poUtical party has ever 
included in its programme demands for such measures 
as the aboUtion of child labor, the feeding of school 
children by the municipality, and the maintenance 
of municipal creches — demands which are included 
in practically all Socialist programmes. In suggest- 
ing only such remedial measures as may be taken by 
society or individuals within the present social 
state, and involving no fundamental change in the 
social structure, I do so, therefore, as one believing 
in the ultimate necessity of such change, and the 
right of every child born into the world to equal 
opportunity and equal share in all the gifts and 
resources of civilization. 

In view of all the difficulties by which the problem 
is surroimded, the uncertain results which have at- 
tended some of the most intelligent and sincere 
efforts in that direction, he would be foolish indeed 
who ventured to dogmatize upon the reduction of 


the infantile death-rate, or the best methods to be 
adopted toward that end. There are, however, 
certain well-established facts, certain verities, upon 
which I would insist. It is perfectly obvious, for 
instance, that every child should be ushered into 
the world with loving tenderness, and with all the 
skill and care possible. The slightest blunder of 
an incompetent, unskilled midwife may involve 
fatal consequences to mother or child, or such in- 
juries as are irreparable.* So that the very first 
principle upon which everybody agrees, theoretically 
at least, involves the need of important legislative 
reform providing for the supervision of midwives, 
and the establishment of a system of training and 
education without which no midwife should be 
allowed to practise. That such a law would have 
the effect of materially lowering the rate of infant 
mortality, as well as that of mothers, no one who 
has ever given the matter serious consideration 
can doubt. From personal observation, and the 
testimony of gynecologists and obstetricians of 
large experience, I am satisfied that this reform alone 
would save many hundreds of lives each year, aHke 
of mothers and infants. It is appaUing to think of 
the large number of ignorant women who are prac- 
tising as midwives. Many of them have no concep- 
tion of the importance of their work; they are often 
dirty and careless, as well as ignorant of the first 


principles of obstetrical science. Knowing nothing 
of the need or value of antiseptic precautions, they 
are responsible for thousands of cases of blood-poison- 
ing every year, and because they are ignorant of the 
methods of restoring asphyxiated infants they kill 
thousands of babes in the passage from the wombs 
of their suffering mothers.^ 

In most states there is very little supervision of 
midwives; in some cases practically none at all. 
New York, always rather prone to take pride in its 
record upon such matters, has regulations which 
are wofully inadequate. All that is necessary to 
enable a woman to practise as a midwife is: (1) a 
certificate or diploma from some school of midwifery, 
native or foreign, or (2) signed statements as to 
her fitness and character from two physicians. No 
inquiry whatever is made into the bona fides or 
character of the school granting the certificate, nor 
are the physicians held responsible in any way for 
the women they recommend.^ So long as the appli- 
cant meets either of the foregoing sUght requirements, 
the authorities must issue her a permit to practise 
as a midwife. She becomes a '' registered midwife," 
and the title creates an altogether unwarranted con- 
fidence in the minds of the people. It is not only 
the poor, illiterate immigrants who are thus deceived, 
but many very intelligent citizens are under the 
impression that a '^registered midwife" has had 


some sort of training. Immigrants coming from 
countries like Germany, where all midwives have to 
undergo a thorough training, are naturally unsus- 
picious of the fact that here we have nothing of the 
kind. It is impossible to present the evil results 
of the employment of untrained and incompetent 
midwives statistically, or even to estimate them. 
Some idea may be gathered from the fact that, 
while the physicians of the New York Lying-in 
Hospital, in 1904, attended over four thousand 
confinements, 2766 of them in the tenement districts 
among the very poor, with only three deaths* one mid- 
wife, in a very similar tenement district, showed me 
a list of sixty-two cases she had attended with five 
deaths. And she spoke proudly of her ''good record" ! 
In Germany for some years midwives have had to 
pass a regular examination. In England, imder the 
Midwife Act of 1902, they are placed under a much 
stricter supervision than ever before, and are made 
responsible for the cleanliness and care of mother 
and child during the lying-in period of ten days. 
While it is felt that this law is inadequate, it is be- 
lieved that its enforcement tends to improve condi- 
tions materially. For years the New York County 
Medical Association and other medical societies of 
standing, supported by Boards of Health and the 
leaders of the medical profession, have tried to get 
legislation enacted providing for the establishment 



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of a standard of education and training for mid- 
wives. In every state legislation of a uniform char- 
acter should be enacted providing that no person 
shall practise as a midwife or accoucheur without 
having first undergone a thorough training and 
passed an examination set by the State Board of 
Regents or some similar authority. They should 
be held responsible for malpractice, incompetence, 
or neglect, just as physicians are held responsible. 
While it is true that such a reform would inflict a 
certain amount of hardship and suffering upon 
many women, on the other hand, it would raise 
midwifery to the dignity of a profession, and pro- 
vide lucrative avocations for many other women. 
In any case, it is a most tragic folly to set the hard- 
ship involved against the enormous gain to society. 
It is probable that such trained midwives would 
command a much higher rate of remuneration for 
their services than many of the incompetent women 
who now act in that capacity, and that many poor 
mothers would be unable to afford to employ them. 
Even now there are thousands of women who cannot 
afford attendance of any kind at their lying-in, and 
doctors tell of children, little girls ten years old,* 
for instance, caring for their mothers through the 
pain and peril of parturition and for the newly 
born children. The remedy for such a condition 
lies, not in the employment of incompetent mid- 


wives licensed to destroy life because they are will- 
ing to do it ^'cheaply/' but in the extension of free 
medical service, maternity hospitals, and properly 
trained midwives as part of our district nursing 
services. This subject of the extension of our public 
medical service is a most important one. There 
is a tendency in some quarters to decry everything 
of this nature, and to magnify unduly the extent 
to which such services are abused. That they are 
sometimes abused, if by that term is understood 
their use by those who could afford to pay for such 
services, is undoubtedly true, though it would be 
easy to overestimate the extent of such abuses. On 
the other hand, it is certain that in many of our 
cities we have scarcely begun to make provision 
for the needs of the suffering poor. It is astonishing 
to find a manufacturing city of more than sixty 
thousand inhabitants, with a tenement-house prob- 
lem as distressing as that of New York City, and 
with the most appalUng poverty, having no city 
physician upon whom the suffering poor can call by 
right. I do not know if there are many other cities 
in the United States so utterly indifferent to the claims 
of the sick poor as Yonkers, the "city of beautiful 
homes and great industries" upon the Hudson, but 
I do know that there are many cities in which there 
is a sad and shameful failure to provide proper 
medical care and attention for the needy. 



In order that the child may be surrounded at its 
birth with all possible care and skill, it must be born 
somewhere else than upon the floor of a factory. 
Notwithstanding all that may be said in its favor, 
it is Httle hkely that the Jevonian proposal to forbid 
the employment of any mother within a period of 
three years from the date of the birth of her youngest 
child will be adopted for many years to come, if 
ever at all. Among the foremost opponents of such 
a proposal would be many of the advocates and 
defenders of "women's rights," begging the whole 
question of children's rights, and ignoring the ques- 
tion whether it can ever be " right " for mothers to 
leave their babies and enter the factory, displacing 
men, or, what is finally the same thing, lowering 
their wages. It would be difficult, however, to 
imagine any such opposition to the proposal that 
the employment of women should be forbidden 
within a period of six weeks or two months prior 
to and following childbirth. Decency and humanity 
alike suggest that such a law should be embodied 
in the factory legislation of every industrial state, 
as is the case in most countries at the present time. 

With our cosmopolitan population it is certain 
that the enforcement of such a law would be no easy 
matter.* Little difficulty would seem to be neces- 


sarily involved in the enforcement of the period 
of rest after confinement ; all that would be necessary 
would be to insist upon a copy of the birth certifi- 
cate of the youngest child, accompanied by the 
sworn statement of the mother. If the whole onus 
of responsibiUty were placed upon the employer, 
and penalties were imposed in a few cases, there 
is no reason to suppose that the law in this respect 
would be less effective than other laws relating to 
employment. That it would not be perfectly success- 
ful is no more an argument against its enactment than 
the partial failure of child-labor laws, for example, 
is an argument for their repeal. But the period of 
exemption prior to childbirth is a much more delicate 
and difficult matter. It has not, I believe, been 
found possible in European countries to enforce the 
law in this direction with as much success as in the 
other, but the results have been sufficiently success- 
ful, nevertheless, to warrant continued effort. In 
actual practice such a law would have a tendency, 
doubtless, to discourage the employment of married 
women in factories, since employers as a rule would 
not care to take the trouble, or to assume the risks, 
thus involved in their employment. 

But, as already noted, if working mothers are to 
be forced into prolonged periods of idleness, in the 
interests of their offspring and the future of society, 
some means must be provided whereby they may 


be maintained and secured against want. The 
philanthropic experiments noted in an earUer chap- 
ter owed all their success to such provisions. While 
it would perhaps be too Utopian to advocate as a 
measure for immediate adoption state pensions for 
childhood and youth as well as old age, as Mr. C. 
Hanford Henderson does in his wonderfully sug- 
gestive and stimulating book, Education and the 
Larger Life, it is not, it seems to me, too much to 
demand that the state shall (1) allow no mother 
to imperil her own life and that of her offspring 
by working too close to the period of parturition, 
nor (2) allow any mother to suffer want because she 
is prevented from, or of her own free will and intelli- 
gence avoids, such work. If the right of the child 
to be well born, to be ushered into the world with 
loving care and all the skill possible, is to be anything 
but a mere cant phrase, the safeguards thus briefly 
sketched cannot, it seems to me, be hghtly denied. 
Recently I visited the stables of a friend interested 
in the breeding of horses. I saw that he had taken 
great care and pains to secure a well-trained veteri- 
nary surgeon, that the brood mares were patiently 
and lovingly cared for and tended, both before and 
after foaUng. No humane and intelhgent breeder 
of animals would deny them the protection and care 
here suggested for human beings. Until the state 
is willing to care for its children, at least as well 


as enlightened individuals care for their horses, or 
their dogs, it is mockery to speak of it as being 


The foregoing proposals relate only to the con- 
ditions surrounding the child at birth, but it is equally 
the duty of society to safeguard the whole period 
of childhood. In its own interest, no less than in 
the interest of the child, the state should protect 
every child from all that menaces its life and well- 
being. Before the British Interdepartmental Com- 
mittee many witnesses, some of them factory sur- 
geons of long experience, testified to the harm 
resulting from the employment of mothers and the 
leaving of infants in the care of children or old per- 
sons utterly incompetent to care for them. It was 
proposed that the employment of married women 
in factories should be forbidden, except in cases 
where there are children "absolutely dependent 
on their wages." In all such cases "the munici- 
pality must make provision for the care of the child 
while the mother is at work." ^ As a minimum, 
this is a good and practicable proposal, though it 
falls far short of the ideal. Much more commendable 
for its humane good sense is the method adopted 
in some of the SociaHst municipalities of France. 
In the case of widows and others with children abso- 
lutely dependent upon their earnings, these munici- 

> 5^ o 


palities pay the mothers a weekly or monthly pen- 
sion, thus enabling them to stay at home with their 
children.® With characteristic good sense and cour- 
age, Mr. Homer Folks has proposed a similar system 
of pensions to widows and others dependent upon 
the wages of children, on the principle that the pov- 
erty of its parents ought not to be allowed to despoil 
a child's life and rob it of opportunities of healthful 
physical and mental development.** That is a per- 
fectly sound principle, it seems to me, which applies 
with equal force to the working mother; for it is 
surely just as important to insist that poverty shall 
.not be allowed to rob the child of its mother's 

Wherever possible, then, I believe that the effort 
of society should be to keep the mother in the home 
with her children, and where pensions are necessary 
in order that this result may be attained, they should 
be given, not as a charity, but as a right. It would 
be a very good investment for society, much more 
profitable than many things upon which immense 
sums are lavished year by year. In the meantime, 
much good might be accomplished by the estab- 
lishment of municipal creches or day nurseries in 
all our industrial centres, so that babies and young 
children could be properly cared for during the 
absence of their mothers at work. Something is 
already being done in this direction by private phi- 


lanthropy in many cities, but it is exceedingly little 
when compared with the magnitude of the need. 
In saying that these institutions should be pro- 
vided by the municipality, or by the state, I do not 
mean that any attempt should be made to prohibit 
private philanthropic effort in this direction, nor 
that such effort should be in any way lessened; but 
that the municipality or the state should accept 
final responsibility in the matter, and provide them 
wherever the failure of philanthropy makes such a 
course necessary. In all our great cities, as well 
as in many of the smaller manufacturing towns, 
there should be such a creche or nursery in the neigh- * 
borhood of almost every primary school, until it 
is found possible to enable the mothers to remain 
with their little ones instead of going to work. With 
trained nurses in charge of sucli institutions, it would 
be easy to control the dietary of the infants and to 
see that they were not given pickles, candy, or other 
im wholesome things. Yet such a system, no matter 
how perfected, can only be regarded as a makeshift, 
a rather uneconomical substitute for the humane 
system of keeping the mother with her child. 

The heavy death-rate in most foundhng hospitals, 
despite all scientific care and the most elaborate 
equipment, have been accounted for by the lack 
of maternal interest and affection. In the splendidly 
appointed Infants' Hospital on Randall's Island- 


New York City, little lonely, mother-sick found- 
lings pined away at an alarming rate and died like 
flies imtil the Joint Committee of the Association 
for Improving the Condition of the Poor, and the 
State Charity Aid Association, investigated the 
matter. The Joint Committee wisely decided that 
every one of the bits of hmnan driftwood was entitled 
to one pair of mother's arms, and that no institutional 
ingenuity could ever take the place of the maternal 
instinct. They instituted a system of placing-out 
the children with foster mothers, and the results 
have been highly gratifying." That is the human 
way, answering to the universal child-instinct for 
a mother's love and presence. The same objection 
applies to creches as to foundling hospitals; the 
difference is only one of degree. These institutions 
are far better for the children than the neglect or 
the ignorant handling of ''Httle mothers" from which 
they now suffer, but they can never compare in 
efficiency with the personal attention of the mother. 
There are few mothers, be they ever so ignorant, 
who would not attend their own children with greater 
efficiency than any institution nurses could do. In 
the ultimate result I am convinced that the pen- 
sioning of mothers to care for their children adopted 
by the French municipalities where the SociaUsts 
have obtained control is much more economical 
and effective. 


The importance of impure milk as a contributing 
cause of infant mortality is now pretty generally 
recognized. The splendid work of Mr. Nathan 
Straus has done much more, perhaps, than anything 
else, to emphasize this fact. In view of some rather 
caustic criticisms of charity in the preceding pages, 
it may be well if I embrace this opportunity to ex- 
plain my position somewhat more fully. No one, 
I think, recognizes more fully than I do the important 
experimental work which has been done by philan- 
thropic enterprise. Such work, of which that of 
Mr. Straus is a conspicuous example, has blazed 
the path for much municipal and state enterprise. 
It would be impossible to overestimate the value 
of the work done by social settlements and such 
bodies. For the charity which denies justice and 
seeks to fill its place, I have no sympathy, but for 
the charity which adopts as its motto the fine phrase 
adopted by the ablest journal of philanthropy in 
America,* — ''Charity to-day may be Justice to- 
morrow," — I have nothing but praise. 

I have long held the opinion that the milk 
supply of every city should be made a matter of 
municipal responsibihty. Some ten years ago, while 
residing in England, where the subject was then be- 

* Charities, 


ginning to be discussed and agitated, I devoted a 
good deal of time to the propaganda of the move- 
ment for the municipaUzation of the milk supply. 
In view of the splendid achievement of the gouttes de 
lait in France, it was natural that we should have 
attached much importance to the sterilization of 
the milk, and I remember with what enthusiasm 
some of us hailed the introduction of the system 
into St. Helen's, Lancashire, the first English city 
to adopt it. I am convinced now that steriHzation 
is unnecessary and a grave mistake. Undoubtedly 
it is well that dirty or impure milk should be ster- 
iUzed, but it would be still better to have clean, pure 
milk which needed no sterilization. The testimony 
of Dr. Ralph M. Vincent before the British Interde- 
partmental Committee " and, more emphatically 
still, the splendid results of the Rochester experi- 
ment under the leadership of Dr. Goler^^ show that 
this can be attained. Every municipality in America 
could adopt, and should adopt, the plan. "Now 
that the way has been shown, upon 'city fathers' 
indifferent to the childhood of their cities, upon 
health officers and departments warped into un- 
budgable routine, upon near-sighted charity workers 
and unknowing givers who care for the suffering, 
but do not get at causes, will rest the responsibility 
for the continuance of a part of that fearful tally 
of dead babies which each summer's week jots down 


on a town's death-roll — your town and ours." In 
these direct, unequivocal words Charities sums up 
the whole question of responsibiUty. 

The purely experimental work of such philan- 
thropic efforts as that of Mr. Straus has been done. 
The practicability and value of mimicipal control 
of the milk supply has been abundantly proven, 
and there is no longer need of private charitable 
effort and experiment. There lurks a danger in 
leaving this important public service to philanthropy, 
a danger well-nigh as great as in leaving it to private 
commercial enterprise. The dangers arising from 
the amateurish meddling of ^'near-sighted charity 
workers and unknowing givers" is much greater 
than is generally recognized. Many of these chari- 
table societies drag out a precarious existence, their 
usefulness and success depending upon the measure 
of success attending the efforts of the '' begging 
committees." Generally speaking, they are less 
economical, and, what is more important, less effec- 
tive, than municipal enterprises, besides being based 
upon a fatally unsound and demorahzing principle. 
I know of one large city in which a number of pubhc- 
spirited citizens have for some years interested them- 
selves in the supply of steriUzed milk for infants. 
Notwithstanding that they receive each year in sub- 
scriptions a much larger amoimt of money, in pro- 
portion to the milk suppUed, than Rochester's deficit, 


they charge the parents more than twice as much as 
the latter city for the milk. 

Nor is this all ; there are other, weightier objections 
than this. There are no regular depots for the dis- 
tribution of the milk, imder the direct supervision 
of the Committee, but it is handled by drug-store 
keepers and others. No sort of control is exercised 
over the sale. Any child can go into the store and 
buy a bottle of milk. This is what happens: small 
children, sometimes not more than four or five years 
old, are sent by their parents to buy the milk. These 
little children are, naturally, ignorant of the impor- 
tance which the medical advisers of the charity attach 
to the subject of modifications of the milk to suit 
the age of the child to whom it is to be given, with 
the result that babies less than three months old 
are given milk intended for babies eighteen months 
old, while the latter are half starved upon the modi- 
fied milk intended for the former. Another evil, not, 
I am told, peculiar to this particular charitable so- 
ciety, is the selUng of milk irregularly and in single 
bottles. When the mothers have the money, or when 
they are not too busy to go for the Pasteurized milk, 
they buy a single bottle, but at other times they send 
out to the grocery store for cheaper milk, or else feed 
the babies upon ordinary table foods. Of course, 
there should be a system of registration adopted; 
every child's name should be enrolled, together with 


the date of its birth, and no less than a full day's 
supply should be sold. That is the custom where the 
matter has been taken up by the mimicipal authori- 
ties. The result is that the children can be weighed 
and examined more or less regularly; facihties are 
offered for the periodical visiting of the homes of the 
infants and their inspection; mothers can be taught 
how to care for their little ones; and, instead of 
leaving it to chance, or depending upon the word of 
an ignorant mother, or a child, the attendants in 
charge are able to regulate the supply so that at the 
proper time each child gets milk of the proper 
strength and richness. How far the abuses I have 
named are prevalent in philanthropic experiments 
of this kind, I do not know, but I am convinced that 
there should be no room for such well-intentioned 
but disastrous muddling. The whole milk supply of 
every city should be the subject of municipal man- 
agement and control, and special arrangements should 
be made for deaUng with the milk intended for in- 
fant consumption. Personally, I should like to see 
the principles of the Rochester system extended to 
cover the entire milk supply of the city, and, in some 
one of our great cities, the further experiment of a 
municipal farm dairy for the supply of all milk nec- 
essary for hospitals and similar institutions upon 
the most hygienic principles possible. This has been 
done to some extent in Europe with success. 



It is a delightful and scientifically correct prin- 
ciple which those Utopia builders have embodied 
in their schemes of world-making who have advocated 
the restriction of matrimony to those women who 
have undergone a thorough course of education 
and training in eugenics and household economy. 
Most persons will agree that such a system of educa- 
tion for maternal and wifely duties would be a great 
boon, if practicable. But so long as hearts are swayed 
by passion, and the subtle currents of human love 
remain uncontrolled by law, such proposals must 
remain dreams. Even the modest suggestion of 
Mrs. Parsons that a "matrimonial white list" be 
created by establishing continuation schools for 
training young women in the domestic arts and the 
principles of child-rearing and giving them certifi- 
cates or diplomas, as well as certificates of health," 
is so far in advance of anything yet attempted that 
it sounds almost Utopian. Still, there is nothing 
fanciful or impossible in the proposal itself. 

The preservation of child life must depend largely 
upon the dissipation of maternal ignorance. Until 
mothers are enlightened, the infantile death-rate 
must remain needlessly and unnaturally heavy. And 
so long as industrial occupations absorb our young 
girls in the very years which should be spent at home 


in practical training for the responsibilities of wife^ 
hood and motherhood, there must continue to be a 
very large number of marriages productive of poverty, 
misery, and disease, because of the ignorance and in- 
efficiency of the wives. So the fight against maternal 
ignorance, the ignorance which breeds disease and 
poverty, appears as an almost Sisyphean task. So 
long as such industrial conditions prevail, ignorance 
will continue to sap the foundations of family hfe and 
mock our efforts at reform. In such important mat- 
ters of domestic economy as knowledge of food values 
and how to spend the family income to the best ad- 
vantage, what but failure can be expected when a 
young woman worker graduates from mill labor to 
wifehood ? Even where such a young woman, or girl 
growing into womanhood, feels the need of training 
in these important matters of domestic economy, she 
is prevented by the fact that the family cooking and 
buying are necessarily done during the hours she is 
at work. By the time she returns home after her 
day's labor, httle or nothing remains to be done ex- 
cept washing the dishes. Even were it otherwise, 
she would in most cases be too tired to help. After 
confinement in a shop or factory for ten or twelve 
hours, at monotonous tasks entirely devoid of inter- 
est or attractiveness, it is natural and right that she 
should seek recreation and pleasure. Further con- 
finement, either in the home or a school, is extremely 
hable to prove injurious. 






O . 

W ?^ 
W « 



For these reasons, and others obvious to the reader, 
I am not very sanguine that much can ever be accom- 
plished by evening classes for working girls. The 
British Interdepartmental Committee suggests that 
" continuation classes for domestic instruction" should 
be formed, and attendance at them, twice each week 
during certain months of the year, made obUgatory, 
only those employed in domestic service being ex- 
empted from compulsory attendance. Realizing that 
it would be an injury to the girls to impose this at- 
tendance and study upon them in addition to their 
already too long hours of employment, the committee 
very properly suggests that some modification of the 
hours of work would have to be introduced, so that 
in fact the hours of instruction would have to be taken 
out of their ordinary working time." With such a 
provision as this, a system of compulsory instruction 
in domestic science might very well be adopted. It 
is probable, however, that the principal effect would 
be a considerable diminishing of the employment of 
girls and young women within the ages prescribed for 
compulsory attendance at the continuation classes. 

The suggested curriculum for such classes is inter- 
esting. "The courses of instruction at such classes 
should cover every branch of domestic hygiene, in- 
cluding the preparation of food, the practice of house- 
hold cleanliness, the tendance and feeding of young 
children, the proper requirements of a family as to 


clothing — everything, in short, that would equip a 
young girl for the duties of a housewife." ^^ The 
further suggestion is made that the members of these 
continuation classes should visit from time to time 
the municipal creches — the estabUshment of which 
is strongly recommended — and receive there prac- 
tical instruction in the management of infants. This 
is such a comprehensive and courageous proposal 
that one would like to see it given a fair trial. 


The efficient work done by the school nurses in 
New York City, and elsewhere, though sadly restricted 
in its scope, suggests far wider possibilities. If nurses 
were appointed in far greater numbers, at least one 
to each large school, their functions might be enlarged. 
If, as has been suggested, they were to receive special 
social training, possibly at the expense of part of their 
present medical training, they might attend to the 
needs of those below school age as well as of those 
enrolled at school. Above all, they might be made a 
potent means of educating the mothers. It has been 
found that visiting nurses attached to the schools 
receive cordial welcome as a rule, are not viewed with 
suspicion as other officials or philanthropic visitors 
are, and have a correspondingly greater influence. 
The weak point in such a proposal Ues in the fact 
that the school nurse would not, if her work wab 


based upon the school registration, reach those fami- 
lies not represented in the schools. Thus the most 
important cases of all, educationally, young mothers 
with their first babies, would not be reached. 

Elsewhere I have referred to the efforts made in 
some cities to educate mothers by the distribution of 
leaflets and pamphlets upon the subject of infant 
feeding and general care. Some of these leaflets and 
pamphlets which I have seen are models of concise 
lucidity, and their wide distribution among mothers 
intelUgent enough to profit by them would be of 
great value. One of the first difficulties presented 
when this plan is attempted upon a large scale is the 
efficient distribution of the literature. To accom- 
plish anything at all, the literature must be printed 
in the various languages represented in the city's in- 
dustrial population, and it is no easy matter to see 
that each mother gets literature in her own language. 
Quite recently, I heard of a tenement in which there 
were f amihes representing no less than fourteen nation- 
alities, and in which lived Mrs. O'Hara, a German, 
speaking Uttle English ! Added to this difficulty is 
the expense of distribution. If sent by mail, — and 
in large cities no other method seems possible, — the 
cost is enormous. To send a single circular to the 
registered voters of New York City, for instance, re- 
quires an expenditure of upwards of $60,000 for post- 
age alone." There would seem to be no good reason 


why the Federal Government should not authorize 
the Health Boards to send all such educational mat- 
ter through the mails free of cost. Why should the 
Health Department of a city not have the privilege 
of a local frank ? Nothing could well be more f ooUsh 
than the system under which the city, while perform- 
ing a national service, must pay the national post- 
office for doing its share of the work. 

Many of the mothers, especially of our immigrant 
population, are quite unable to read, and literature is 
wasted upon them. It will be seen, therefore, that the 
propaganda of health by literature is subject to sev- 
eral important restrictions. While admirably adapted 
to simple, homogeneous communities in which there 
is a small percentage of ilHteracy, it fails to meet 
the needs of our great cosmopolitan cities. If it 
were possible to have all births reported at once to 
the Health Department by telephone, in order that 
each case might be visited by special maternity nurses, 
it would be comparatively easy to give special, per- 
sonal attention to those cases in which hterature would 
be worthless. This plan has been adopted in Aus- 
tralia with conspicuous success. The State Children's 
Department appoints women inspectors to visit the 
children of the poor. These nurse inspectors have to 
report, not only upon the condition of the homes, but 
of the children. The mothers are furnished with 
printed instructions as to the kind of food to be given, 


the proper quantities, methods of preparation, and 
times of feeding. If the child does not thrive satis- 
factorily, the nurse inspector calls in one of the physi- 
cians of the department. If milk cannot be properly 
assimilated, something else is tried. In short, all 
that skill and care can do to protect the Uves of the 
infants is done, with the result that the infantile 
death-rate has been reduced from 15 per cent to 8 per 


I would not leave this subject without insisting 
upon the urgent need of State or Federal supervision 
of the manufacture and sale of patent infant foods. 
The mortaUty from this one cause alone is enormous. 
There has been no satisfactory or comprehensive in- 
quiry into this important matter in this country, and 
it is therefore impossible to get reliable figures. In 
Germany, where the law requires that the death cer- 
tificate of an infant under one year of age must state 
what the mode of feeding has been as well as the cause 
of death, — a wise provision which might with ad- 
vantage be adopted in this country, — it is possible 
to ascertain approximately the extent of the evil. 
The records show that of children fed on artificial 
food 51 per cent die during the first year, while only 
8 per cent of the children exclusively nursed by their 
mothers die during the same period.*® No one famil- 
iar with the work of our infants' hospitals can fail to 


be impressed by the large number of cases of illness 
and death in which artificial feeding appears as a 
primary or contributing cause. I have gone over the 
record books of many such hospitals in different parts 
of the country, with the almost invariable result that 
artificial foods appeared to be the source of trouble in 
many cases. Most of the patent foods, one might 
almost go farther and say all of them," are unheal th- 
ful because of the starch they contain, which the 
little infant stomachs cannot digest. Many of the 
cheaper kinds of patent infant foods upon the market 
are, as previously stated, little better than poisons. 
The testimony of the greatest authorities upon the 
subject of infant feeding, backed by the grim elo- 
quence of hospital records and the death-rates, points 
irresistibly to the need of some strict supervision of 
the production and sale of artificial foods for children. 
Whether this should be done by the estabhshment of 
certain standard formulae, or by compeUing the mak- 
ers to submit certified samples for official analysis, is 
a question which only a body of experts should decide. 
The question of reducing the rate of infant mor- 
tality is, it will be seen from the foregoing, most com- 
pHcated. It is not without reluctance and misgiving 
that I have ventured upon this detailed discussion of 
measures to that end, and in doing so I have kept 
from speculation and theory, confining myself almost 
entirely to those measures which have been tested 


by experience and found beneficial. If Berlin has 
been able to reduce its infantile death-rate from 200 
per thousand to 80 per thousand, Australia to reduce 
its rate from 15 per cent to 8 per cent; if Rochester 
can reduce its summer death-rate of infants by 50 per 
cent, it is surely evident that, given the determination 
to do so, we can at least hope to save one-half of the 
babies who, under present conditions, are perishing 
each year. In other words, it is possible to save 
almost 100,000 babies annually from perishing in the 
first year of fife. No greater, worthier task than 
this ever challenged the attention of a great nation. 


When all the evidence is piled up, we are irresistibly 
driven to the conclusion that no attempt to educate 
hungry, ill-fed children can be successful or ought to 
be attempted. Danton's fine phrase rings eternally 
true, ^^ After hready education is the first need of a 
people." That education is a social necessity is no 
longer seriously questioned. But the other idea of 
Danton's saying, that education must come after 
bread, — that it is ahke fooHsh and cruel to attempt 
to educate a hungry child, — is often lost sight of. 
In the early days of the public agitation for free and 
compulsory education, it was not infrequently urged 
that before the state should undertake to compel a 
child to attend its schools and receive its instruction, 


it ought to provide for the adequate feeding of the 
child. That argument, happily, did not prevent the 
establishment and development of pubUc education, 
but now that the latter system has been firmly rooted 
in the soil of our social system, there is an increasing 
beHef in the inherent wisdom and justice of the claim 
that the state has no right to attempt to educate an 
unfed or underfed child.^" 

There is something attractive about such elemental 
simplicity as that of the Czar who drew a straight 
Une across the map from St. Petersburg to Moscow, 
when his counsellors asked him what course he wished 
a railroad between the two cities to follow, and said, 
''Let it be straight, hke that." I suppose that every 
worker for social improvement has felt oppressed at 
times by the complexity of our social problems, and 
wished that they could be solved in some such simple 
and direct manner. But social progress is not made 
along straight Unes in general. What seems to the 
agitator axiomatic, simple, and easy, appears to the 
constructive statesman doubtful, complex, and diffi- 
cult. There is at least one European municipality, 
however, which has solved this problem of the feed- 
ing of school children in a delightfully direct and 
simple way. The city of Vercelli, Italy, has made 
feeding as compulsory as education ! * Every child, 
rich or poor, is compelled to attend the school dinners 
* See Appendices A and B. 


provided by the municipality, just as it is compelled 
to attend the school lessons. Not only food, but 
medical care and attention, are provided for every 
child, as a right, on the principle that it is absurd and 
wrong to attempt to develop the mind of a child while 
neglecting its body. It is a mocking judgment of 
our civilization that such a natural, intelligent solu- 
tion of a pressing problem shotild be impossible for 
our greatest and richest cities, though attained by a 
little Italian city Uke Vercelli. 

I do not suppose that it will be found possible to 
apply such a principle generally until many years 
have passed and our social system has been modified 
considerably. In the meantime, some less thorough 
and comprehensive system, Uke that of the French 
Cantines ScolaireSj for instance, will probably be 
adopted. It is not, however, my intention here to 
advocate any particular scheme. I can only reit- 
erate that the feeding of school children is an impera- 
tive, urgent, and vital necessity, and emphasize cer- 
tain principles. Elsewhere I have given a r^sum^ of 
the methods adopted in several other countries,* and 
I need not, therefore, go over that ground. What- 
ever is done should be free from the taint of charity. 
There must be no resorting to the pernicious principle, 
sometimes advocated by our so-called "practical 
reformers," of subsidizing charitable societies to un- 
• Appendix A. 


dertake the work. There must be no discrimination 
against the child whose parents have failed to do their 
duty.y The child of the inebriate, the idler, or the 
criminal must not be made to suffer for his parent's 
sin. The state has no right to join with the sins of 
the fathers in a conspiracy to damn the children's 
lives, and only a perverted sense of the relation of the 
child to the state could have made it possible for 
such a proposal to be made. Upon the principle that 
every child born into the world has a right to a full 
and free supply of the necessities of life during the 
whole period of its helplessness and training for the 
work of the world, so far as the resources of the world 
make that possible, the state should proceed until in 
all schools where children attend compulsorily, free, 
wholesome, and nutritious meals are provided for all 
children as a common right. 

Of course, the cry will be raised that such a system 
would result in wholesale pauperization. I am not 
afraid of that cry — it has become too familiar. 
When I first went to school in the West of England, 
I used to carry my school fees — six cents a week — 
each Monday morning. Under that system it was 
necessary for the school authorities to employ officers 
to see that the fees were paid, and frequently default- 
ing parents were summoned. The children of poor 
parents were exempted from paying the school fees, 
but they had to present big cards to be marked by the 


teacher, and were thus made conspicuous. I remem- 
b<er very well that when it was proposed to make the 
schools free to all, the same bogey of pauperization 
was raised.^* The school fees were abohshed, how- 
ever, and the objection was heard no more. In the 
early days of the Free Libraries movement, a similar 
outcry was heard, but one never hears it nowadays, 
nor does anybody consider that he is pauperized when 
he takes home a book from the city library to read. 
And so one might go on, through a long list of things 
which were opposed upon the same grounds by many 
earnest people, but are now commonly enjoyed. If, 
moreover, the alternative to pauperization is slow 
starvation and suffering, I unhesitatingly prefer pau- 


Next to the feeding of school children in impor- 
tance is the need of a much more efficient and thorough 
system of medical inspections in all our schools. In 
most of our cities something is already done in this 
direction, but it is very little. As a rule, the medical 
inspections now made are most perfunctory and su- 
perficial. With a few honorable exceptions, the prac- 
tice is to look only for cases of contagious and infec- 
tious disease or verminous heads. The excessive 
prevalence of "granular Uds," or trachoma, which is 
an acquired disease," has led to a good deal of atten- 
tion being given of late to the whole subject of defec- 


tive vision. But practically no effort at all has been 
made to combine remedial treatment with inspection. 
Children suffering from infectious diseases are simply 
excluded from the schools, and those found to be 
suffering from defective vision are given notes asking 
their parents to provide them with suitable glasses. 
In a very large proportion of cases, probably a major- 
ity, the requests are ignored. I have had children 
pointed out to me who were suffering from such seri- 
ous defects of vision as materially to handicap them in 
their school work, whose parents had taken no notice 
whatever of repeated notices and warnings from the 
school doctors. Many parents are too poor to buy 
glasses, many more are too ignorant to understand 
the importance of complying with the request. I 
know many parents of this type. On the other hand, 
I know many cases in which it would be just as rea- 
sonable to ask the parents to make glasses for their 
children as to buy them. For instance, I know of 
one public school in which the teachers have repeat- 
edly reported upon the number of children with de- 
fective vision, but without appreciable effect. I 
spoke to the priest to whose church a majority of the 
children's parents belong about it, and he repUed: 
''What can they do? They cannot afford to buy 
glasses. Of the 300 famiUes belonging to my church, 
I am in a position to say that there are not more 
than 10 in which the father earns more than $9 a 



week. Many of them earn only six or seven. They 
have all they can do to get food ; glasses are impos- 
sible." Now, while it is true that in many of these 
families there will be supplementary wages from the 
children or the mothers, it is perfectly obvious that 
there must be many unable to procure glasses for 
their children. 

Little or no attention has been given as yet to the 
ears, teeth, nervous and respiratory systems, and the 
general health of our school children. The inspec- 
tions conducted by Dr. Cronin and his assistants in 
New York City are by far the most important yet 
made in the United States, and show the importance 
of this largely neglected subject. When I have stood 
in some of our American pubUc schools and observed 
the way in which the medical inspections were made, 
— as many as 2000 children being "inspected" in 
ten or twelve minutes, — I have with shame contrasted 
the farcical proceeding with the thorough, systematic 
work done in several European countries. In this, 
as in so many other matters, the United States and 
England are far behind countries hke Belgixmi, France, 
Germany, Italy, Norway, and Switzerland.^ 

In Brussels every child in the public elementary 
schools is medically examined once every ten days. 
"Its eyes, teeth, ears, and general physical condition 
are overhauled. If it looks weak and puny, they 
give it cod-liver oil or some suitable tonic. At mid- 


day it gets a square meal . . . and the greatest care is 
taken to see that no child goes ill shod, ill clad, or 
ill fed." ^ In Norway there is a very similar system. 
Sickly children are put upon a special dietary and 
given special individual medical care. There are 
sanatoria and convalescent homes in connection with 
the schools.^^ In Switzerland again poor children are 
fed and frequently clothed or shod at the public ex- 
pense. Day homes are provided for the very young 
children. Every child is medically examined before 
being admitted to the schools, and periodically there- 
after. Sick children are sent to the school sanatoria 
and convalescent homes for treatment. ^'HoUday 
Colonies" are provided, to which hundreds of children 
are sent each year for a period of twenty-five days 
each. The cost of this is partly borne by the city, 
out of the " Alcoholzehntel " ; partly by private con- 
tributions to the "school fund," and partly by the pay- 
ments received from parents. The " Alcoholzehntel " is 
perhaps worthy of explanation. It originates in this 
manner, — the manufacture of spirits is a federal 
monopoly, and jdelds a handsome profit. This is 
divided among the various cantons, which are bound 
to spend one-tenth of the sum so received to combat 
the effects of alcohol.^ 

Very similar to the Swiss Holiday Colonies are the 
Colonies Scolaires of France. These "School Colo- 
nies" take two forms. In one case the arrondissement 


hires or borrows a boarding-school in the country for 
the summer months, to which it sends several hundred 
children. In the other case, it acquires a former 
chateau in the country, to which it despatches relays 
of children during the year. The ordinary stay for 
each child is three weeks, and the effect upon the 
physique of the children is remarkable." BerHn and, 
I believe, several other German cities, not only pro- 
vide for the regular, thorough medical examination 
of every child, but weak, sickly children, especially 
those who are predisposed to tuberculosis, are sent 
to school homes in the country, not far from the city, 
where, amid the most healthful surroundings, they 
are given special medical and tutorial care until they 
are entirely well and strong.^^ 

In view of such facts as these, which might be mul- 
tiplied almost indefinitely, it will be seen that there 
is nothing impracticable or Utopian in the proposal 
that there should be a regular medical examination 
of every child, both before its admission to the school, 
and at stated, frequent periods during the whole of 
its school life. In fact, there should be two inspec- 
tions, one medical, the other dental.^" Every school 
should have a well-equipped dispensary connected 
with it, and a dental laboratory, so that the children 
could get prompt treatment. Provision should also 
be made to remove physically weak and sick children 
from the crowded city schools to more favorable sur- 


roundings with a view to preventing their degenera- 
tion, and restoring them to health and vigor. While 
the responsibility for these things should rest upon 
and be accepted by the municipality, with, possibly, 
some subvention from the state, there seems to be no 
good reason why some of our puzzled millionnaires, 
who find the wise bestowal of their wealth an increas- 
ingly difficult problem, should not contribute to the 
city treasuries for that special purpose. 


When we come to deal with the child-labor prob- 
lem, or, rather, with the problem of its repression by 
legislative enactment, we are at once confronted with 
a great difficulty that arises out of our political sys- 
tem rather than out of industrial conditions. The 
child-labor problem is a national one, but when we 
face the question of its solution, we are handicapped 
by the division of the country into forty odd states, a 
division which makes it almost impossible to deal 
with any of our great social and industrial problems 
nationally upon uniform principles. The same diffi- 
culty exists, of course, in connection with all our 
social and industrial problems. We have legislation 
in the various states of a confficting character, add- 
ing to the complexity of the problem the legislators 
meant to solve. But because this is conspicuously 
so in the case of child-labor legislation, — every ad- 


vance made in the Northern states serving as a 
premium upon reaction and delay in the Southern 
states, — I have chosen to deal with it in this 

Up to the present time, the advocates of child-labor 
legislation have, apparently, shrunk from making any 
definite proposals upon this important question, while 
fully recognizing its tremendous importance. Sooner 
or later, if ever our greatest social problems are to be 
intelligently dealt with, the question of state rights 
will have to be fought out and the paramountcy of 
the nation in all such matters established, and I can 
imagine no better issue for raising that question than 
the legislative protection of children. Here, again, 
we must turn for guidance and suggestion to the Old 
World. In Germany they have had to face a similar 
problem, the difference being one of degree only, and 
they have found a solution which might well be 
adopted in the United States. Child labor in Ger- 
many is regulated partly by the ordinances of the 
federal council and partly by the legislation of the 
different states of the Empire. The federal enact- 
ments estabUsh a minimum standard for the whole 
Empire, and it is specifically provided that each state 
may enact more stringent measures as it may desire.®" 
It is difficult to see why this principle could not be 
appUed to the problem here in the United States, 
giving us a uniform minimum standard of legislation 


throughout the whole country. Such a law should 
prohibit the employment of any child under fifteen 
years of age at any employment whatsoever, and the 
employment of any child or young person under eigh- 
teen years of age in all "dangerous occupations" speci- 
fied by a federal commission. It would be well, also, to 
insist upon a certain educational test up to eighteen 
years, the test to be made in all cases by the school 

Coming to details for legislation within the states, 
it is perfectly obvious that legislation necessary for, 
and suited to, big cities would be useless and unsuited 
to the small towns and rural communities. In the 
case of messengers and newsboys, for example, in a 
town of 10,000 inhabitants, conditions are entirely 
different from those existing in a city of 50,000 or 
100,000. What would be a perfectly harmless and 
unobjectionable occupation in the former city be- 
comes in the latter a serious menace to health and 
morals. In the smaller community, the boy is under 
the supervision of his parents, his employers, and 
many of the citizens who know him personally. His 
paper business is not of the kind which takes him out 
upon the streets as early as four or five o'clock in the 
morning and as late as midnight, or after. The New 
York legislature, in April, 1903, amended the law 
relating to children employed in the streets and pub- 
lic places in cities of the first class, of which there are 


two — New York and Buffalo. The amendment 
provided " that no male child under ten and no girl 
imder sixteen shall, in any city of the first class, sell 
or expose for sale newspapers in any street or public 
place. No male child actually or apparently under 
fourteen years of age shall sell or expose for sale unless 
provided with a permit and a badge. No child to 
whom such a permit and badge are issued shall sell 
papers after ten o'clock at night.'' Such a law as that 
might, I think, be applied to the smallest town in the 
country without injustice to any one, but it is almost 
ridiculously inadequate to a great city. The city ordi- 
nance of Boston is a good deal better, though it is also 
inadequate to the needs of a great city. The ordinance 
provides that no child shall work as a bootblack or 
newsboy unless he is over ten years of age, nor sell any 
other article unless he is over twelve years of age. No 
minor imder fourteen years of age is allowed to sell or 
expose for sale, in any street or public place, any 
books, newspapers, pamphlets, fuel, fruit, or provi- 
sions, unless he has a minor's license. These minors' 
licenses are only granted upon the recommendation 
of the principal of the school, or school district to 
which the child belongs. Of this law, again, I should 
say that it might very well be adopted as applying 
to all towns and villages in the United States up to 
a certain size, but that, in view of the terrible men- 
ace to the health and morals accompanying these 


occupations in our great cities, they should be abso- 
lutely forbidden for children or young persons under 
eighteen years of age. It should be borne in mind 
that the usual objection urged against child-labor 
legislation — that it would inflict hardship upon the 
parents — scarcely applies at all to these boys of the 
streets in our large cities. Most of them, it has been 
shown over and over again, are not at all subject to 
parental control, and contribute little or nothing at 
all to the support of their families.^^ 

It seems to me important also that, in the larger 
cities at least, and perhaps generally, the present 
system of allowing boys and girls to work during the 
vacation period should be abolished. The system 
not only robs the child of the rest the vacation was 
intended to give it, but it is a fruitful source of child 
labor. Many of those who go to work during the 
vacation periods never return to school again. The 
parents become dependent upon the extra earnings 
of the children in a surprisingly short time, and the 
children themselves are naturally unwilHng to lose 
their newly acquired freedom and the extra pocket 
money which their labor entitles them to. The ideal 
system would be to establish summer school camps, 
something Uke the school colonies of Europe, in the 
country, where recreation amid healthful surround- 
ings could be combined with a certain amount of 



In this brief sketch of suggested remedial meas- 
ures, I have confined myself entirely to those meas- 
ures which have been successfully tried elsewhere. 
I have simply tried to correlate the constructive 
work in child saving which has thus far been accom- 
plished into something Hke a definite and compre- 
hensive policy. Discussion by earnest men and 
women who have given the matters dealt with care- 
ful and patient study will, doubtless, show the need 
of many changes, both in the direction of modification 
and of extension. The important thing at the pres- 
ent time is to secure an inteUigent discussion of the 
whole problem of the duty of society to the child, 
and I venture to hope that the foregoing may help 
in that direction. While I have insisted mainly upon 
the legislative aspect of the problem, I am not insen- 
sible of the importance of individual responsibility 
and effort. Much of the child labor of to-day, for 
example, is due to the carelessness and indifference of 
purchasers* forever demanding "cheap" goods; and 
a recognition on their part of all the monstrous 
wrong and tragedy hidden in that word " cheap*' 
would do much to diminish the evil. 

We need in our modern fife something of that spirit 
which prompted David to pour out upon the groimd 
the precious cooling draught his brave followers, at 


the risk of their lives, brought him from the well by 
Bethlehem's gate. The water had been obtained at 
too great a cost, the risking of human lives, and 
David could not drink it.^ We need that spirit to 
be appUed to our social relations. Those things 
which are cheap only by reason of the sacrifice, or 
risk of sacrifice, of human Ufe and happiness are too 
costly for human use. While it is to a large extent 
true that there is no problem which depends more 
completely upon collective action, through the chan- 
nels of government, it is also true that there is abun- 
dant room for well-directed private effort. The co- 
operation of all the constructive forces in society, 
private and public, is necessary if the children are to 
be saved from the evils by which they are surrounded, 
and the futiire well-being of the race made possible 
and certain. Here is the real reconstruction of so- 
ciety — the building of healthy bodies and brains to 
insure a citizenship free from physical and moral 
decay, worthy of liberty and aspiring to brother- 



There is an affinity between children and flowers. 
To me the sight of a blossom often suggests a baby, 
and the sight of a baby often suggests a favorite 

Many a mother singing lullabies to the baby at her 
breast calls it her ''blossom." 

And children, healthy children, are fond of flowers. 

I once saw a boy of ten who didn't know what a 
flower was. He knew what each card in a pack was, 
and he wasn't afraid of a poUceman. But he was 
afraid of a grassy and daisy-spangled field. London 
had destroyed for him all sense of kinship with Na- 

But most children, even city children, love flowers. 
The country child loves famiUarly as it loves its own 
mother, but the city child loves and worships. Yes- 
terday I saw a group of little girls with their noses 
pressed flat against a florist's window. "My, ain't 
they sweet !" they cried in chorus. 

// only the flowers could know! 


Some sympathetic and leisured ladies have formed 
themselves into a guild to give such children as I saw 
at the florist's window growing flowers to tend and 
love. I do not know the ladies. We live in the same 
city, but in a different world. 

And yet we have some things in common, these 
good ladies and I. Perhaps many things, but chief 
of all a love for children and flowers. In our differ- 
ent worlds, so little ahke, this love flourishes with 
equal freedom. My wife loves blossoms and babies, 
too, but she is not a member of the guild. Its meet- 
ings are not held in our world. 

The guild got together 10,000 Httle children from 
the tenements of this great city of New York. To 
each child a potted plant was given, in the hope that 
its presence would brighten the home, and its care 
"refine" and '^spirituahze" the child. 

Good, generous ladies of the guild ! 

And from each child was exacted the promise that 
upon a given date at the end of a full year, the plant 
should be brought back and placed upon exhibition. 
Ribbons were promised as prizes to those children 
whose plants should be in the most flourishing con- 

The year passed. The day of the exhibition ar- 
rived. Richly gowned women, calling themselves 
"patronesses," were there. They went in luxuri- 
ously equipped automobiles to smile and be conde- 


scending toward children who went in rags and were 

But not all the children to whom the year before 
they had given flowers were there. Some of them 
had drooped during the summer and died like flowers 
in parched ground. 

And many of the plants were withered and dead, too. 

What an exhibition, to be sure ! Geraniums with- 
out fragrance. Geraniums which a year ago bore 
deep, rich, green leaves and bright scarlet blossoms, 
were now straggUng and wretched, with pale-green 
— almost white — stems, with poor, sickly-looking 
Uttle leaves and with no flowers. And many a pot 
containing only a withered and rotted stick, with 
maybe a little note, "Please, ma'am, it died because 
our rooms is dark.'* 

Some of the richly gowned women wept as they 
looked at the long rows of pitiful flowers, and at the 
long rows of withered and dead flowers. 

Wept ? I wonder why. 

I wonder if they wept because they began to appre- 
ciate faintly how poverty wdthers and oppresses all 
life; or only because the sight of so many dead 
flowers, and flowers worse than dead, overwhelmed 
them? Or had they heard the flowers tell their sad 
little histories ? 

For every one of the flowers had a story to tell to 
understanding hearts. 


Yes, madam, that tall, withered geranium stick, 
which made you weep as you remembered how beau- 
tiful its scarlet blossoms had looked the year before, 
when you gave it to little crippled Polly with the 
flaxen hair, could unfold a story, if you could but 
understand it. But it is a story of the tenement, 
not of your world. And you cannot understand. 

But Uttle Polly (who doesn't imderstand either) 
can tell you enough to give you cause for tears. 
Real tears. Human tears. 

I could tell you, for I know the tenement. It is in 
my world. But let Polly tell. 

" When youse gived us th' prutty flow'r, leddy, I 
put 'er in our winder so's all th' kids 'ud see from 
th' street. An' mamma wus so proud ! An' me Uttle 
baby bruver jes' went wild, leddy. An' when mamma 
wus washin', he'd stay so good and call out, so pert- 
like, 'Putty! putty!' An' mamma said 'twus a 
blessin', 'cause she wus able to do th' washin' when 
baby wus playin'. 

''But when winter comed, leddy, yer flow'r an' th' 
leaves wus all dead like, an' comed off. An' me 
mamma said 'twus th' cold. An' when I put 'er by 
th' airshaft she said 'twus too dark. An' so yer 
flow'r jes' died like, an' mamma wus so cut up washin' 
days, for me bruver wus teethin' an' there warn't no 


'^But mamma said yer flow'r 'ud come up in th' 
summer. So I jes' kep' waterin', an' when th' fine 
days comed I put 'er in our winder again. An' it 
growed a bit, leddy, an' mamma an' me wus so glad ! 
But 'twus alius growin' a bit an' then d5dn' like, 
'cause, mamma said, we didn't git no sun- in our 
rooms. An' I used to cry in th' nights 'bout that 
flow'r, leddy! 

"An' when summer comed an' folks wus sleepin' 
'pon their fire-'scapes, I put yer flow'r outside an' 
watered 'er ev'ry day. But when me little bruver 
wus sick, an' th' doctor said he mus' go to th' country 
somewheres, yer flow'r jes' died an' dried up like a 
stick, leddy. Me Httle bruver died, too, an' th' doctor 
said he'd 'a' lived if he'd gone into th' country. 

''I'm sorry, leddy, fur yer flow'r. P'raps 'twus 
'cause it never went to no country place. I tried me 
best, leddy, but — " 

No, don't reproach yourself, madam. You didn't 
know. How could you know, Hving in another 
world? It was really good of you to think of the 
tenement children, and to give them your flowers. 

Poor little children of the tenements ! It was good 
of you to think of them. Their homes are squalid, 
and flowers do make the home brighter. And their 
little lives do need the refining and spirituaUzing in- 
fluence of flowers. 


But neither the babies nor the blossoms can flourish 
there. They pine and droop and die together. True, 
some of them live — babies and blossoms — but how f 

You are a woman and you love children and 
flowers. Tell me, did not the pale, sickly children 
and the pale, sickly plants impress you as even more 
saddening than the dead plants — the constant 
reminders of dead children? 

Their slow, prolonged dying is more terrible than 
death to me. And I love them both, children and 

I honor your tears. They proclaim you to be pos- 
sessed of a human heart. But you are a misfit in 
your sphere. Your place is in our world. 

You mean well, but your guild is only a toy. The 
problem is not to be solved so easily. If you would 
help solve it, you must give something more than 
plants. You must give yourself. 

And this is the work which calls for your service and 
sacrifice : — 

To bring blossoms and babies together where both 
can thrive. To restore the child-sense of kinship 
with Nature, that to every child may come the joy of 
understanding Nature's eternal harmonies. To bring 
the freedom and beauty and companionship of beast 
and bird, flower and tree, mountain and ocean, stream 
and star, into the fife of every child. 

It is a big task, madam; flower shows and ribbons 





P^ S 

-- © 

'^. T3 

- ^ 

5 § 

22 «8 
Pm g 


and tears will not fulfil it. If you are serious, you will 
find more serviceable things to do. 

Some there are, the despised builders of Humanity^s 
temples, who are laboring to give this vast heritage to the 
children of all the world. They build patiently, for they 
have faith in their work. 

And this is their faith — that the power of the world 
springs from the common labor and strife and conquest 
of the countless ages of human life and struggle; that not 
for a few was that labor and that struggle, but for all. 
And the common labor of the race for the common good 
and the common joy will give blossoms and babies the 
fulness of life which sordid greed with its blight makes 

Are you of the faith of the builders? Are you a 
builder f 



The problem of the underfeeding of children and its 
relation to the many and complex problems of health, 
education, and morality has long been the subject of 
careful study and experiment on the part of the most 
progressive municipalities of several European countries. 

At the present time it is one of the most vital issues 
in English politics. When, in the early eighties, Mr. 
H. M. Hyndman and his few Social-Democratic col- 
leagues advocated the enactment of legislation com- 
pelling the municipal authorities to undertake the 
feeding of the many thousands of children in the public 
schools, the proposal was derided as "visionary.'' 
To-day, however, it has the earnest support of some 
of the ablest and most influential members of the House 
of Commons. Men like Sir John Gorst, ex-cabinet 
minister, on the Conservative side, and Mr. Herbert 
Gladstone, on the Liberal side, are united in the ad- 
vocacy of the Socialistic proposal. 

Inquiries made by a Royal Commission, a Special 
Inter-Departmental Committee, and several local in- 
vestigating committees in cities like London, Birming- 



ham, Glasgow, Dundee, and Aberdeen, have revealed 
a most alarming state of affairs. In London, it has 
been estimated by the, leading authority. Dr. Eichholz, 
there are over 100,000 children of school age who are 
chronically underfed. The reports from the other 
cities named are equally serious. Public sentiment 
has been aroused to such an extent that there seems 
to be little room for doubting that in the very near 
future, Parliament will be compelled to enact some 
measure providing for the feeding of children in the 
public schools. In the meantime, many thousands 
of children are being fed by charitable organizations, 
working in conjunction with the school authorities. 
In most cases the meals are sold to the children at one 
cent per meal, with the understanding that if they are 
too poor to pay, the meals will be given free of charge. 
It is astonishing to learn that many thousands of the 
children are found, after careful investigation, to be 
too poor to raise even one cent. 

The experiment which has for some time been tried 
in Birmingham has attracted widespread attention in 
sociological circles, not only in England, but through- 
out Europe. This charity makes no effort whatever 
to deal with any but the most destitute children, those 
that, in the words of the Committee, are "practically 
starving." The meals are kept scanty and unattractive 
in order that no child will accept them unless compelled 
to by sheer hunger. In addition to this safeguard, 
careful investigations of the circumstances of the 
children are from time to time made. The meals are 


given free of charge to the children, and the cost to 
the committee is less than one cent per meal, — in- 
cluding the manager's salary of $500 a year. Yet, 
despite all the restrictions by which it is surrounded, 
his charity is to-day feeding 2^ per cent of the total 
child population of the city. 

The results of this feeding, poor and insufficient as 
it is, have been most beneficial, both from a physical 
and mental point of view. Educationally, I am informed 
by experienced teachers, the results have been most 
inspiring. The children both learn and remember 
better than before. But it is felt upon all sides, that 
this charity, admirable as it is in many ways, only 
touches the fringe of the problem, and the demand is 
made for definite municipal action, upon a much more 
generous basis, to take the place of private philanthropy. 
It is difficult, in fact, practically impossible, to form 
any idea of the extent of such private philanthropy 
throughout the country. Almost every industrial 
centre has its " Free Dinner Association," and in almost 
every case the authorities find that private effort is 
inadequate, and that there are many children who 
cannot afford to pay even one cent for a meal. If the 
cent is insisted upon, they must go hungry. This is 
important to us in America, because it has been the 
experience wherever similar experiments have been 
tried here. In Chicago, for instance, at the Oliver 
Goldsmith School, free dinners have been provided 
for a large number of children for some time past. 
Here, as in England, it was found that a number of 



children could no more afford a penny for a meal than 
they could afford to dine at the Auditorium Hotel. 

In Berlin, and several other German cities, children 
are fed in the public schools upon a plan which pro- 
vides that those must pay who can, while those who 
cannot are given their meals free of charge at the public 
expense. As a rule, however, these German experi- 
ments are confined to schools situated in the poorest 
districts. As yet, the German authorities have not gone 
so far as to provide meals for all children, irrespective 
of their circumstances. 

Much the same plan is followed in Reggia Emilia, 
San Remo, and some other Italian cities, though the 
movement is more widespread in Italy than in Germany. 
There is one Italian city, however, which has for some 
time past gone very much farther than any other city 
that I know of, though his Excellency, the Italian Am- 
bassador at Washington, informs me that there are 
other Italian cities which have adopted the same plan. 
Vercelli is a city of about 25,000 inhabitants in the 
province of Novara, Piedmont. Its fame chiefly rests 
upon its fine library, which contains a wonderful collec- 
tion of ancient manuscripts, some of them of fabulous 
value. In this little municipality, then, the city fathers 
have for a long time provided free meals for every child 
attending the public schools, and made attendance at 
the meals ahsolviely compulsory as to the school itself! 
Every child must attend school and partake of the 
meals, unless provided with a doctor's certificate to 
the effect that to attend the classes, or to partake of 


the school meals, would be injurious to its health. 
Further, medical inspection is also compulsory, and is 
accompanied by free medical attendance. The results 
appear to have been most beneficial physically, and 
the educational gains resulting from this intelligent, 
ordered, and regular feeding have been enormous. 
It is unlikely, however, that such a system will be 
adopted in the United States for many years to come, 
notwithstanding its many undoubted advantages. 

In Christiania, Trondhjem, and a number of other 
Norwegian cities, the municipality provides all children 
who desire to avail themselves of it with a nutritious 
midday meal, irrespective of their ability to pay. The 
entire cost of the system is met by taxation. This has 
been felt by the Norwegian authorities to be the sim- 
plest and best method of dealing with a grave problem. 
It avoids the difficulties which inevitably arise when 
there is a distinct class of beneficiaries created. " Where 
all are equally welcome none are paupers," they say. 
With its simple, homogeneous population, this direct 
method is admirably adapted to Norway, however 
little suited it might be to the needs of a cosmo- 
politan nation like ours. The free dinner is a part of 
Norway's admirable educational system, which abounds 
with features well worthy of being copied. One of these 
is an arrangement whereby the school children from 
the cities are taken, twice a month in winter, and 
three or four times a month in the summer, on excur- 
sions into the country. The children from the country 
districts are, in the same manner, taken into the cities. 


The railroads have to carry the children at a purely 
nominal cost, which is also met out of the public 

When I applied to one of the members of the Mu- 
nicipal Council of Trondhjem for information as to the 
working of the school-meals system, he replied: "You 
can best judge that, perhaps, from the fact that al- 
though the scheme was bitterly opposed when first 
it was proposed by a small group of radicals and Social- 
ists, it is now unanimously supported by all sections. 
There is now no demand whatever for its curtailment 
or abandonment. Educationally, we have found that 
it pays. It is possible now to educate children 
who before could not be educated because they were 
undernourished. The percentage of 'backward chil- 
dren' has been greatly reduced, notwithstanding that 
the test is more severe and searching. Economically, 
we believe that we can see in the system the gradual 
conquest of pauperism made possible." 

In Brussels, and other Belgian cities, good midday 
meals are provided for all children who care to par- 
take of them. A small fee, equal to about two cents, 
is charged for each meal, but those children who cannot 
afford to pay are given their meals just the same. 
There is also an excellent system of medical inspection 
in connection with the schools. Every child is medically 
examined at least once every ten days. Its eyes, 
ears, and general physical condition are overhauled. 
If it looks weak and puny, they give it doses of cod- 
liver oil, or some suitable tonic. The greatest care 


is taken to see that no child goes ill shod, ill clad, or 
ill fed. There is also a regular dental examination in 
connection with every school at regular periods. 

In several Swiss towns the authorities for a long time 
granted substantial subsidies to private philanthropic 
bodies, leaving to them the organization of systems 
for providing school meals and the whole administra- 
tion of the funds. But this method proved to be very 
unsatisfactory. It led to abuses of various kinds, and 
sectarian jealousies were aroused. Moreover, it proved 
to be a most extravagant method, the cost being dis- 
proportionate to the results. Consequently, the prac- 
tice has been very generally abandoned, and most of 
the municipalities have adopted the direct manage- 
ment of the school meals as a distinct part of the school 
system. The plan generally followed is that of Ger- 
many. Those who can must pay, but those who can- 
not pay must be fed. 

But it is to France that we must turn for the most 
extensive and successful system of school meals. Those 
who, particularly since the publication of Mr. Robert 
Hunter's book, Poverty, have advocated the intro- 
duction of some system of school dinners in this country, 
have with practical unanimity pointed to the French 
Cantines Scolaires as the model to be copied. For that 
reason, and not less for its own interest, it may be 
worth while giving a somewhat fuller account of the 
French system and its history. 

The school-canteen idea is a development of an old 
and interesting custom, borrowed by the French from 


Switzerland, the little land of so many valuable ex- 
periments and ideals. The custom still obtains in 
Switzerland to some extent, though not so extensively 
as formerly, of newly married couples giving a small 
gift of money, immediately after the wedding cere- 
mony, to the school funds as a sort of thanksgiving for 
their education. These funds are used to provide 
shoes and clothing for poor scholars who would other- 
wise be unable to attend school. 

In 1849, the time of the Second Republic, the mayor 
of the second Arrondissement of Paris conceived the 
idea of introducing this Swiss custom into Paris. Ac- 
cordingly a fund was created, called the Swiss Benevo- 
lent Fund. Before long the name fell into disuse, and 
we find the caisse des Scales, or school funds, spoken 
of with no reference to their Swiss origin or to their 
benevolent purpose. In the latter days of the Second 
Empire, in April, 1867, the Chamber of Deputies passed 
a Primary Instruction Law, which was drafted by M. 
Duruy, the Minister of Public Instruction, providing 
that any municipal council might, subject to the ap- 
proval of the Prefect, create in the school districts 
under its jurisdiction a "school fund." The object 
of these school funds was to be the encouragement of 
regular attendance at school, either by a system of 
rewards to successful students, or material help in the 
shape of food, clothing, or shoes to necessitous ones. 
These funds were to be raised by (1) voluntary con- 
tributions; (2) subventions by the school authorities, 
the city, or the state. Where deemed advisable, 


several school districts might unite in the creation of 
a joint fund for their common benefit. 

But the law of 1867, so far at least as the school 
funds were concerned, was little more than a pious 
expression of opinion in favor of an idea. Three years 
later the Franco-Prussian war broke out with its fury 
and devastation, and, as war always does, set back 
all reforms. Not till 1874, three years after the terrible 
bloodshed of the Paris Commune, was anything done. 
Then the district of Montmartre and one or two others 
raised funds. Montmartre is a district of some 200,000 
inhabitants, which has always been characterized by 
a strong radical or socialistic sentiment. From a pam- 
phlet issued by the managers of the school fund in that 
district, soon after its establishment in 1874, it appears 
that they paid little attention to the subject of giving 
prizes, deeming it of more importance to provide good 
strong shoes and warm clothing for the poorer children. 
Next, it seems, they undertook to provide outfits for 
some girls who had won scholarships at the Ecole Nor- 
male (Normal School), but were too poor to dress them- 
selves well enough to attend that institution. So, 
from the very first, the idea of using the school funds 
to provide children with the necessities of life prevailed. 
As a result there was soon developed a nucleus of bodies 
dealing with poverty as it presented itself in the area 
of educational effort, and, what is equally important, 
public opinion was being educated and accustomed to 
the idea. It was, therefore, an easy transition to com- 
pulsory provision for the feeding of children. In 1882 


a law was passed compelling the establishment of school 
funds in all parts of France, but leaving the applica- 
tion of such funds still at the discretion of the authori- 
ties. So it happens that the caisse des icoles are univer- 
sal in France, but the cantines scolaires are by no means 
so. The latter are, however, quite common through- 
out France, and by no means confined to Paris. There 
is no official record of the number of districts in which 
canteens have been established, because the districts 
are not obliged to make returns showing how their 
school funds are expended. 

Since the state now makes education compulsory, 
and itself provides the means of enforcing the law, 
the managers of the school funds do not have to devise 
schemes to induce a regular attendance at school. 
They are therefore free to use their funds in such manner 
as seems to them best calculated to promote the health 
of the children. This they do mainly by the following 
means: (1) Free meals, or meals provided at cost; 

(2) provision of shoes and clothing where necessary; 

(3) free medical attendance; (4) sending weak, de- 
bilitated, and sick children to the sea-side or the 
country, homes being maintained, or in some cases 
subsidized for the purpose. 

This last-mentioned feature of the French plan is 
most interesting. It appears to have been adopted 
as a result of favorable reports upon the working of 
a similar plan in Switzerland. The managers of the 
Montmartre fund, for instance, purchased a great man- 
sion with a magnificent park, and to this delightful 


spot, not many miles from Paris, the children are sent 
in batches and kept for two or three weeks at a time, 
much to their physical betterment. There are several 
of these "school colonies" maintained by the various 
school funds of Paris, and the City Government sub- 
sidizes them to the extent of about $40,000 a year. 
The custom of providing a special grant, or subsidy, 
in aid of these colonies is quite common throughout 
the whole of France. The importance of these health- 
building institutions and the provisions made for the 
medical care of sick children cannot be overestimated. 
To give an idea of what is meant by medical care 
alone, it is only necessary to refer to a recent inspec- 
tion in the New York public schools. Out of 7000 
children examined, fully one-third were found to be 
suffering from defective eyesight, while more than 
17 per cent suffered from defects so serious as to 
interfere with their chances of ever earning a living, 
as well as with their general health. A similar investi- 
gation in the public schools of Minnesota recently 
showed that there were 70,000 children with defective 
vision of the most serious nature, less than 10 per 
cent of whom were provided with glasses. In a very 
large number of cases the parents are simply too poor 
to buy glasses. Such children would, in Paris, be 
provided with the necessary glasses and oculist's 
care out of the school funds. And there would be no 
suggestion of pauperism about it, no humiliation; it 
is the child's right. Medical inspection is thorough, 
and the American witnessing it is very apt to feel 


ashamed of the farcical "inspections" so common in 
his great and wealthy country. 

For a long time, whenever food was given the managers 
of the school funds simply issued coupons, or orders 
upon some restaurant, entitling the holder to so many 
meals at a given cost. Usually some teacher or chari- 
table worker was deputed to accompany the child to 
see that it actually got what it was intended to get. 
There was no system. But in 1877 the Prefect of the 
Seine appointed a commission to study the question, 
raised by some Socialists, of how good a warm meal 
might be provided in the schools at a low cost. Most 
of the managers of the school funds treated the matter 
ixi a very lukewarm, indifferent sort of way, and the 
commissioners reported that all they had been able 
to ascertain was that good meals could be provided 
at an average cost of twenty-five centimes (five cents) 
each. So the matter dropped and was not again heard of 
until the trying winter of 1881. Then it was suggested 
that, purely as an experiment, the children of school 
age whose parents were receiving poor relief should be 
fed. The managers of the Montmartre school fund at 
once volunteered to undertake the experiment, and 
their example was soon followed by others. They 
did not long confine the meals to the children of pauper 
parents, but at an early stage of the experiment ex- 
tended it so as to include all children. The example 
of Montmartre was very soon followed, and within a 
year there were fifteen canteens which had served 
between them 1,110,827 "portions." One-third of 


these "portions** were meat, each weighing twenty 
grammes, one-third were bowls of soup, and the other 
third portions of vegetables, these varying with the 
season. The number of portions paid for by the chil- 
dren was 736,526, and the number given to children 
too poor to pay, 374,301. It should be said, perhaps, 
that a most searching investigation was made to make 
sure of the inability of children's parents to pay. The 
total cost of the meals was 59,264 francs, of which amount 
the children paid 36,776 francs. After a while, when 
they had gathered experience in the management of 
the canteens, the managers found that it was possible 
to increase the size of the portions of meat and, at the 
same time, to cut down expenses by nearly 50 per 

Nowadays the cost of a meal, consisting of a bowl 
of good soup, a plate of meat, two kinds of vegetables, 
and bread ad libitum, is fifteen centimes (three 
cents). That is the sum paid by the children, and I 
have been assured over and over again by those in 
charge of various canteens that it is more than suffi- 
cient to pay the cost. There would be a not inconsider- 
able profit if all children paid for their meals, but that 
is not by any means the case. When a child's parents 
are too poor to pay the full price, and that fact has been 
ascertained by the investigators, they are permitted 
to pay less, even as little as two and a half centimes, 
or half a cent. The policy is to encourage as many as 
possible to pay the full price, or such sums as they can 
muster. But the very poor are never turned away, 


and in the poorer quarters thousands of children are 
fed gratuitously, especially in winter, when in Paris, 
as elsewhere, there is more distress due to sickness and 
interrupted employment. In the poor quarter of 
Eppinette the children's fees amount to only about 
20 per cent of the cost, while in the wealthier quarters 
they amount to 75 or even 85 per cent. In an ordinary 
industrial district, like Batignolles, the children pay 
about 45 per cent on a yearly average. 

The Municipal Council of Paris makes an annual 
subsidy to cover the natural deficit of the canteens. 
These deficits vary from year to year, but the total 
subsidies required for the three years, 1901-1903, 
amounted to $200,000. In connection with this ques- 
tion of financial management there are two items worth 
noticing. One is the fact that private subscriptions 
to the school funds show a great falling off now that in 
practice they have become incorporated in the munici- 
pal government. It has not been found that citizens 
are willing to contribute to the funds now that the city 
has assumed responsibility for them. The other fact 
is that the expenditure in poor relief on account of 
children is very much less. Children have always 
served as the best of all reasons why poor relief should 
be given. Now, when that plea is made by an appli- 
cant for relief, he or she is referred to the school can- 
teens, where the children are sure of being fed. 

I fancy that I can hear some good reader's mocking 
sneer at the idea of being fed at a "common, social- 
istic trough." Well, I can only say that, having eaten 


meals in two or three of the schools, I much preferred 
them to an average American restaurant ''Regular 
Dinner" at twenty-five cents. Everything is as neat 
and clean as it could possibly be, and the cooking — 
well, it bears out the reputation of the French as the 
master-cooks of the world. There is, apparently, no 
"graft," and that is probably due in large part to the 
fact that the meals are not confined to pauper children, 
who might, alas ! be badly served with impunity. From 
the first it has been one of the chief aims of the authori- 
ties to keep the canteens free from the taint of pauper- 
ism. The children of the well-to-do are encouraged 
to attend — not, indeed, by direct solicitation, but by 
making the meals and the surroundings as attractive 
as possible. And the plan succeeds very well. No 
child knows whether the child next it has paid for its 
dinner or not. Small tickets are issued, each child 
going through a little box-ofiice, which only permits of 
one being in at a time. If a little boy or girl claims to 
be too poor to pay for a meal ticket, no questions are 
asked, the ticket is issued, and the child's name and 
address noted. By next day, or at most in two days, 
inquiries have been made. If it is found that the 
parents can afford it, they are compelled to pay the 
full price and to refund whatever sum may be due to 
the canteen for the meals their child has had. If they 
are found to be really too poor to pa}*, tickets are issued 
to the child for as long as it may be necessary. In 
such cases the account is not charged against the 
parents. No distinction is made between the tickets 


of those who pay and those who do not, and it is thus 
practically impossible for the child who has paid for 
its meal to jeer at its less fortunate, dependent com- 
rade. Thus the self-respect of the poorest children 
is preserved, — a most important fact, as every one who 
has studied the problems of charitable relief knows. 

Another highly important factor is the presence of 
the teachers at the meals. Fully 90 per cent of 
the teachers use the canteens more or less regularly, 
though there is absolutely no compulsion in the matter. 
They prefer to do so on account of the cheapness and 
wholesome character of the meals. I have myself 
sat down to a three-cent dinner in the company of a 
well-known member of the Chamber of Deputies, a 
Professor of Languages, and several teachers, each one 
of us having gone through the little box-office and 
bought his ticket in exactly the same manner as the most 
ragged urchin. All the children are provided with 
cheap paper napkins, and the presence of the teachers 
is a sort of practical education in table manners. The 
canteen serves, therefore, as a great educational and 
ethical force as well as a remedy for one of the worst 
evils arising out of the national poverty problem. The 
cantine scolaire is a great institution, well worthy of 
careful study. 

If, as the evidence gathered by Mr. Hunter seems to 
show, we have at least two million underfed children 
in the public schools of the United States, victims of 
physical and mental deterioration, the time must come, 
and the sooner the better, when we must deal with the 


problem. Some of the Utopians among us would 
doubtless like to see the all-embracing compulsory 
system of Vercelli adopted, but it is most likely that 
we shall find the French methods better suited to our 

Note. — I am indebted to the publishers of my Underfed School 
Children — The Problem and the Remedy, Charles H. Kerr and 
Company, of Chicago, for permission to reproduce the foregoing 
paper in this volume. 



Note. — I am indebted to the Italian Ambassador at Washington, 
his Excellency Mayor des Planches, for permission to use the fol- 
lowing letter. The translation was made for me by Mr. Teofilo 
Petriella, of Cleveland, Ohio, an Italian journalist. — J. S. 

Vbkcblli, September 13, 1905. 

The school year, 190^1905, just over, was the fifth 
since the school lunch (refezione scolastica) was intro- 
duced in our City Elementary Schools, at the complete 
expense of the Municipality. 

The school lunch is distributed every day during the 
whole school year. Limited, at the beginning, only to 
the city schools, it has been extended, since the school 
year 1901-1902, to the suburban and rural schools. 

To-day, therefore, all the male and female pupils of 
all the classes of all the elementary schools, in both city 
and suburbs, take part in the lunch. There are 65 
schools with 91 classes, attended by an average of 2500 
boys and girls. 

The lunch consists of bread with another victual {pane 
€ companatico) . Each pupil gets a very good loaf of 



first quality wheat bread, weighing 140 grammes for the 
IV and V classes; * 120 grammes for the III class; and 
100 grammes for the first two classes. 

The victuals served with the bread are : On meat days, 
raw salt meat (salame crudo) in rations of 14 grammes, 
alternated with cooked salt meat (salame cotto) in rations 
of 20 grammes. t On fish days, cheese (either Bernesa 
or Fontina alternated) in rations of 20 grammes. All is 
of first quality, and this is daily ascertained by an inspec- 
tion on the part of the Steward and the Officer of the 
Board of Health. 

Each ration costs from seven to eight cents of a 
franc, t 

Every school morning each teacher, within 15 minutes 
of the commencement of school (from 9 to 9.15), ascer- 
tains the number present by roll-call, fills out an order 
in three copies, keeping for himself the one attached to 
the stub and sending, by the ushers, the other two to 
the City Steward. 

The Steward keeps one of these duplicate copies for 
the office accounts and registrations, while sending the 
other back to the teacher, along with the requested 
rations in a closed basket. 

The office of the Steward, after having received all the 

* Twenty-eight grammes equal one ounce avoirdupois. The 
children in classes IV and V get loaves, therefore, weighing live 
ounces each. 

t SalamCy here translated " salt meat," is really the best kind of 
salted dry sausage made of pork sirloin. 

t One U. S. dollar equals about 492 francs; 100 Italian cents 
equal one franc, so that one cent of a franc equals about one-fifth 
of an American cent. 


requests from all the teachers, as above said, and after 
having classified same by degree, locality, and number, 
sends the orders of purchase to the different supply- 

At 10 o'clock, in a suitable place, under the direction 
and supervision of the City Steward, the baskets are 
made up, one for each class. The baskets, once ready, 
are automatically padlocked — the teacher having the 
necessary key — and forwarded by proper servants to 
the several suburbs, while others take the rest, on push- 
carts, to the city school buildings. 

The School Trustees of the respective boroughs, the 
Principal and the Steward in the City School, visit the 
different classes to make sure of the regular and exact 
proceeding of the beneficent institutions. 

So much, answering your favor of August 15th. 
Truly yours. 
The Mayor, per the Chief of the Board of 
Education, Cero Lucca. 



In his testimony before the British Interdepartmental 
Conmiittee on Physical Deterioration, Dr. Alfred Eich- 
holz, one of H. M. Inspectors of Schools, a Doctor of 
Medicine, and formerly Fellow and Lecturer of Emman- 
uel College, Cambridge, said : — 

"I have drawn a broad distinction between physical 
degeneracy and hereditary deterioration. The object of 
my evidence is to demonstrate the range and the depth 
of degeneracy among the poorer population, and to show 
that it is capable of great improvement — I say improve- 
ment purposely even within the areas of the towns — 
and to show that there is a lack of any real evidence of any 
hereditary taint or strain of deterioration even among the 
poor populations of our cities. The point which I desire 
to emphasize is that our physical degeneracy is produced 
afresh by each generation,' and that there is every chance 
under reasonable measures of amelioration of restoring 
our poorest population to a condition of normal physique. 

" I draw a clear distinction between physical degener- 
acy on the one hand and inherited retrogressive deterio- 
ration on the other. With regard to physical degeneracy, 



the children frequenting the poorer schools of London 
and the large towns betray a most serious condition of 
affairs, calling for ameliorative and arrestive measures, 
the most impressive features being the apathy of parents 
as regards the school, the lack of parental care of chil- 
dren, the poor physique, powers of endurance, and 
educational attainments of the children. . . . While 
there are, unfortunately, very abundant signs of physical 
defect traceable to neglect, poverty, and ignorance, it is not 
possible to obtain any satisfactory or conclusive evidence of 
hereditary physical deterioration — that is to say, deterio- 
ration of a gradual retrogressive permanent nature^ 
affecting one generation more acutely than the previous. 
There is little, if anything, in fact, to justify the con- 
clusion that neglect, poverty, and parental ignorance, 
serious as their results are, possess any marked heredi- 
tary effect, or that heredity plays any significant part 
in establishing the physical degeneracy of the poorer 
population. In every case of alleged progressive heredi- 
tary deterioration among the children frequenting an 
elementary school, it is found that the neighborhood 
has suffered by the migration of the better artisan class, 
or by the influx of worse population from elsewhere. 
Other than the well-known specifically hereditary diseases 
which affect poor and well-to-do alike, there appears to be 
very little real evidence on the prenatal side to account 
for the widespread physical degeneracy among the poorer 
population. There is, accordingly, every reason to 
anticipate rapid amelioration of physique so soon as 
improvement occurs in external conditions, particularly 


as regards food, clothing, overcrowding, cleanliness, 
drunkenness, and the spread of common practical knowl- 
edge of home management. In fact, all evidence points 
to active, rapid improvement, bodily and mental, in the 
worst districts, so soon as they are exposed to better cir- 
cimistances, even the weaker children recovering at a 
later age from the evil effects of infant life. (P. 20.) 

" To discuss more closely the question of heredity may 
I in the first instance recall a medical factor of the great- 
est importance: the small percentage of unhealthy 
births among the poor — even down to the very poorest. 
The number of children born healthy is even in the worst 
districts very great. The exact number has never been 
the subject of investigation, owing largely to the cer- 
tainty which exists on the point in the minds of medical 
men — but it would seem to be not less than 90 per 

" I have sought confirmation of my view with medical 
colleagues in public work, e.g. public health, poor law, 
factory acts, education, and in private practice in poor 
areas, and I have also consulted large maternity chari- 
ties and have always been strengthened in this view. 
In no single case has it ever been asserted that ill-nourished 
or unhealthy babies are more frequent at the time of birth 
among the poor than among the rich, or thai hereditary dis- 
eases affect the new-born of the rich and the poor unequally. 
The poorest and most ill-nurtured women bring forth 
as hale and strong-looking babies as those in the very 
best conditions. In fact, it almost appears as though 
the unborn child fights strenuously for its own health 


at the expense of the mother, and arrives in the world 
with a full chance of living a normal physical existence. 
. . . The interpretation would seem to be that Nature 
gives every generation a fresh start." 

[Q. 558. There is a fresh chance of getting rid of 
rickets with every generation?] 

"Yes; rickets, malnutrition, low height, poor weight, 
anaemia, and all the other circumstances of neglected 
existence. It is from the moment of birth that the sad 
history begins, — the large infant mortality, the syste- 
matic neglect, the impoverishment of the constitution, 
— the resulting puny material which is handed over to 
the school to be educated. 

"... It seems clear that every generation receives its 
chance of living a good physical life, and when to the 
fact of the large proportion of healthy new births we 
couple the evidence of improving health and physique 
in children who pass up the poorer elementary schools, 
it seems clear that we are not dealing with a hereditary con- 
dition at all, hvt with a systematic postnatal neglect by igno- 
rant parents, and that heredity, if it makes for anything, 
makes for recuperation, and so do the other social forces 
which are brought into play in dealing with the poorer 
population.'^ (P. 31.) — Report of the Committee, 
Vol. 11. 

Dr. Edward Malins, M.D., President of the Obstetri- 
cal Society of London and Professor of Midwifery in the 
University of Birmingham, was examined upon the same 
subject. From the Report of the Committee (Vol. II, 
p. 136), the following extracts are taken: — 


"3124. You have been good enough to attend here 
in consequence of certain evidence that we received the 
other day in which it was stated by Dr. Eichholz, on 
the authority of other medical men, that if people are 
going to have children, they will have healthy children 
as though Nature were giving every generation a fresh 
start, and he went on to say that healthy births were 
about 90 per cent in the poor neighborhoods, and he 
suggested that we should go to the London Obstetrical 
Societies to ascertain how far their experience bore out 
this statement. What are you able to say on this 
point? — What I have to say at the present time is 
more a matter of observation and of opinion. We have 
not the -figures at present to prove the accuracy of it, hut I 
think the testimony of experienced observers would be in 
accordance with the views expressed by Dr. Eichholz, though 
perhaps not to such a large extent. I should say that 
from 80 to 85 per cent of children are born physically 

"3125. Whatever the condition of the parents may 
be? Whatever the condition of the mother may be 

" 3126. And you think the deterioration sets in later ? 
— I do, materially so. The weight of children ai birth a>s 
far as I know — and I have weighed a great many — is 
generally not below the average; the average keeps up very 
miu^h no m^iMer what the physical condition of the mother 
may be for the time. Since receiving this information 
we have instituted at the Obstetrical Society of London, 
in connection with Lying-in Charities and Hospitals in 


London, a tabulated form for ascertaining these facts — 
what the weight of children is at birth; their physical 
condition, and whether there is an increase or otherwise 
during the time a woman is under observation. That 
time is not very long, not more than 10 days or a fort- 
night generally. 

"3127. Will you be able to furnish us with these 
facts when collected ? — Certainly. I will give the in- 
formation later on, but I think there is a general con- 
sensus of opinion, at all events irrespective of figures, 
which I am not able to give, that the average is kept up 
no matter what the condition of the mother may be. 

" 3128. That proves what you say in your precis, — 
that Nature intends all to have a fair start ? — Yes." 



"One of the most striking things about children suffer- 
ing from malnutrition is their vulnerability. They 
Hake' everything. Catarrhal processes in the nose 
(adenoids), pharynx, and bronchi are readily excited, 
and, once begun, tend to run a protracted course. There 
is but little resistance to any acute infectious disease 
which the child may contract. One illness often fol- 
lows another, so that these children are frequently sick 
for almost an entire season. Their muscular develop- 
ment is poor, they tire readily, are able to take but little 
exercise, and their circulation is sluggish. Mentally, 
they are usually bright, often precocious. Many would 


be called nervous children." — The Diseases of Infancy 
and Childhood, by L. Emmet Holt, M.D., LL.D., 
p. 231. 

"General malnutrition is the commonest pathological 
feature of infant life. Probably 50 per cent of all in- 
fants in this country (England) suffer from a greater or 
less degree, and this large proportion is caused undoubt- 
edly by the extremely unsatisfactory methods of substi- 
tute feeding at present in vogue. Illness, in the usually 
accepted sense of the word, is not present. No specific 
disease can be diagnosed, and unless the indications are 
realized, the degeneration is allowed to proceed until 
marasmus or some acute disorder supervenes. . . . 

"Marasmus represents the extreme result of gradual 
and long-continued malnutrition. Extreme wasting is 
the cardinal, and indeed only, specific symptom. The 
term is not applicable to those cases where the wasting 
is the result of exhaustion due to the incidence of spe- 
cific disease, such, for instance, as tuberculosis. . . . 

" The most striking and perhaps the commonest result 
of impaired nutrition is the disease generally known by 
the name of rickets. Though some of its most obvious 
features are those associated with changes in the osseous 
system, those are by no means the only effects of the 
disease. Rachitis is the expression of profound patho- 
logical changes occurring in practically all the tissues of 
the body. 

" No other disease illustrates so completely the effects 
of inadequate nutrition. An infant nursed by its 
mother and receiving from her a sufficient supply of ade- 


quate food, never contracts the disease, however disad- 
vantageous its environment may be in other respects. 

"Defect in the diet is the prime and essential cause 
of rachitis; while, as might be expected, the most ad- 
vanced forms of the disease are to be seen when the 
effects of inadequate food are intensified by unhygienic 
environment. . . . 

" The effects of rachitis on the general constitution are 
extremely severe. The relationship between the nutri- 
tion of the infant and the condition of the child and 
adult has received but little attention. But there can 
be no doubt that the defects of nutrition occurring in 
infancy are of paramount importance in regard to the 
development of the adult. The cases of retarded physi- 
cal and mental development in the child and the adult 
are numerous at the present time, and it is probable that 
their chief cause lies in defective nutrition during the 
period of infancy. 

" Rachitis is a disease attended with a high mortality 
with which it is never credited, for the disease itself is 
seldom, if ever, fatal. In consequence of the cachectic 
condition and the extreme debility associated with ad- 
vanced rachitis, the specific infectious diseases, such as 
measles, pertussis, and others, are associated with a 
much higher mortality in these cases than in others. 
Associated more or less closely with rachitis is a large 
class of disorders, such as bronchitis, diarrhoea, laryn- 
gismus stridulus, convulsions; these are attended with 
many fatal issues." — The Nutrition of the Infant, by 
Ralph M. Vincent, M.D., pp. 226 et seq. 




Dr. Thomas Darlington, President of the New York 
Board of Health, says: Any movement for a proper 
regulation of midwives has my earnest support. Under 
the laws of New York as they now exist there is no ade- 
quate regulation. It is very easy for a woman to be- 
come a midwife in this city. She is required, it is true, 
to come to the department of health with a certificate 
from some school of midwifery, here or abroad, or to 
present statements from two physicians as to her fitness 
and character, but the status of the school does not enter 
into the consideration, and that it is not difficult to ob- 
tain the indorsement from the two doctors is indicated 
by the great degree of incompetency and carelessness to 
be found in the ranks of the 800 midwives of New York 
City. Under the laws now existing we have no right to 
demand further proof of qualification. If the applicant 
meets the slight requirements, we must put her down as 
a "registered midwife." She brings this phrase promi- 
nently into use in her solicitations for business in her 
neighborhood, and it inspires confidence — a good deal 
more confidence than it should. Thus are the people 
deceived by the laxity of the law. A measure was intro- 
duced in the legislature, providing for a much stricter 
supervision of midwives than is now the case. The bill 
had the support of this department and of the medical 
societies of standing, and yet, because of ignorance and 
indifference concerning the evils of the practice, it failed 


to reach a place on the statute books. My own opinion 
is that the midwife should, before being allowed to prac- 
tise, undergo a schooling at least as long and as careful 
as that of the trained nurse. 

Dr. Henry C. Coe, Professor of Gynecology at Bellevue 
Hospital, New York, and Chief Surgeon of Gynecology 
and Obstetrics at the General Memorial Hospital, New 
York, says: Midwives are responsible for the majority 
of cases sent to public hospitals. It is a sad commentary 
on the mediaeval customs of obstetrics that such facts, 
known to all doctors, should be ignored by coroners. 
The remedy is plain, — to have educated midwives, as 
in Germany. 

Dr. J. Clarence Webster, of the Rush Medical College, 
Chicago, says: The midwives are, as a class, unedu- 
cated and untrained. They are responsible for the great 
majority of maternal deaths. Every gynecologist who 
works in a large charity hospital can give evidence of the 
morbidity among poor women resulting from infection 
where the attendant was a midwife. The splendid re- 
sults obtained by the lying-in hospitals and dispensaries, 
where women are attended by skilled physicians and 
trained nurses, are chiefly due to a rigid technique, the 
essential feature of which is cleanliness. It is a disgrace 
to every city that the benefits of such institutions can- 
not be extended to all poor women. Any surgeon who 
would dare to operate under the conditions observed by 
midwives would be denounced not only by the medical 
profession, but also by the enlightened laity. Yet the 
latter are apparently indifferent to the work of the mid- 


wife, and allow her to carry on her dangerous career 
uncensured. The extension of the benefits of scientific 
obstetrics is chiefly due to the persistence and self-sac- 
rifice of the medical profession, but the doctors are 
unable, unaided, to do what remains to be done. 

Dr. Francis Quinlin, President of the New York 
County Medical Association, says: All reputable 
physicians who have given the matter the slightest 
consideration are of one mind in regard to the menace 
to life in the ignorant work of the great majority of 
midwives. The New York County Medical Associa- 
tion has let slip no opportunity to throw the weight of 
its influence on the side of remedial measures. That 
little has been accomplished so far is due to the fact 
that the midwife, as she exists to-day, is a time-honored 
institution, difficult to uproot. Most midwives have 
apparently no conception of the scientific cleanliness 
which is rightly regarded by physicians as being of prime 
importance. The most ordinary antiseptic precautions 
are ignored, with the result that, every day, women who 
have been attended by midwives are brought to hos- 
pitals suffering from blood-poisoning. In their habits of 
carelessness the midwives also carry from one house to 
another the germs of infectious diseases. In the inter- 
est of a host of poor mothers and of children whose lives 
are valuable to the nation, I say that the practice of 
midwifery should come under a much closer scrutiny of 
the law than is now the case. 

Dr. Eleanor B. Kilham, Head of the Maternity De- 
partment of the Women's Infirmary, New York City, 


says: That much injury results to mothers and chil- 
dren from the unrestrained practice of midwives there 
can be no doubt in the mind of any physician who has 
been brought in contact with the conditions. There is 
an opportunity here for an important reform, and I am 
very glad to know that something is being done in this 

(These letters are quoted from Success, April, 1905.) 



*' The real solution of the milk problem is not the sup- 
ply of sterilized milk of doubtful purity, but rather the 
supply of clean milk from sources above all suspicion. 
The transport of milk from long distances under present 
conditions, as to cooling, transit, etc., may render sterili- 
zation all important, but the necessity for sterilization 
indicates the presence of avoidable organic impurity, 
and to obtain a naturally pure milk supply is the really 
important thing. . . . 

"If we municipalize water because the public health 
aspect is of such vital importance, then from the same 
standpoint we should municipalize the milk supply. 
We nearly all need milk — many live on it exclusively ; 
its supply is as regular as the water supply, and its dis- 
tribution demands even greater care for a longer time. 
The milkman calls more regularly than the postman 
and the milk bill comes in as regularly as the rate card. 


Like the liquor trade, the milk trade is a simple one, and 
the dividends of modern dairy companies show that it 
is profitable. . . . 

"We should bear in mind that, although under pres- 
ent conditions of supply any stringent enforcement of 
the most thorough sanitary regulations on farmers, or 
any distinct raising of the legal minimum of fat in milk, 
would certainly tend to raise the price of milk to the 
consumer, and any rise in price would be most un- 
fortunate, yet a high standard of production and dis- 
tribution is essential. The only way to get both low 
price and a better article is by means of the enormous 
economies in distribution, cartage, etc., which would 
at once result from municipal ownership. . . . 

"Finally, it has been shown that all successful at- 
tempts to solve the question have been those in which 
the aim has been other than the ordinary commercial 
one, and those organizing the supply have been inter- 
ested in the public health, and in which there has been 
thorough organization on a large scale both in supply 
and distribution. These facts alone show that the only 
solution possible under modern conditions is that sug- 
gested by the municipal ownership and control of the 
milk supply." — F. Lawson Dodd, M.R.C.S., L.R.C.P., 
L.D.S., Eng., D.P.H., London, in The Problem of the 
Milk Supply. 

Sir Richard Douglas Powell, in his lecture to the Con- 
gress of the Sanitary Institute at Glasgow, in July, 1904, 
said: "There can be no doubt that scientifically con- 
ducted dairy farms on a large scale, with urban depots 


for the reception and dispensing of pure milk in clean 
bottles at a fair price to the poor, would pay, and would 
be a most laudable employment of the municipal enter- 
prise that is often devoted to matters of much less 
urgent public interest and importance. Apart from the 
primary benefit of affording a pure milk supply at a 
fair price, the object lesson to mothers and families in 
food cleanliness would be beyond price." 

Mrs. Watt Smith, an expert employed by the British 
Medical Journal, author of The Milk Supply in Large 
Towns, in her evidence before the Interdepartmental 
Committee on Physical Deterioration, condemned the 
policy of the English Infants' Milk Depots, saying: 
"The milk comes from an uninspected source; they get 
it from a local dealer. . . . Then they sterilize that milk 
to make it safe. It is like purifying sewage to make it 
into clean water. It is not right." Dr. Ralph M. Vin- 
cent also condemned the sterilization process for the 
same reason, and, in addition, insisted that sterilization 
impaired the nutritive value of the milk, causing at least 
one specific disease, scorbutus. — Report of the Com- 
mittee, Vol. II, Minutes of Evidence. 

Dr. George W. Goler, whose work in Rochester has 
been so much referred to, says: "For two more years 
the milk was Pasteurized, though considerable trouble 
was had with sour milk and in finding a man to furnish 
reasonably clean milk. After the first year four sta- 
tions in all were required for the needs of four quarters 
of the city. Then, in 1899, we established our central 
station on a farm, and instead of Pasteurizing milk, with 


all its contained filth and bacteria, we strove to keep dirt 
and germs out of the milk, and began to sterilize all of the 
utensils, bottles, etc., and to put out milk that was clean. 
Clean milk, or milk approximately clean, having no 
more than 20,000 bacteria per cubic centimeter needs 
no application of heat to render it fit food for babies. 
Heat applied to milk alters it, makes its curd tougher and 
more difficult to digest, often gives rise to indigestion, 
diarrhoea, or constipation in the infant, and, further, the 
application of heat to milk in the operation of Pasteur- 
izing or sterilizing leads people to think they may cure 
a condition that is more easily prevented by care in 
the handling of milk used for food." — "But a Thou- 
sand a Year," reprinted from Charities^ August 5, 1905. 


"The objection that is offered most frequently, and 
perhaps with most effect, to further restriction of child 
labor, is the alleged fact that in a great many instances 
the earnings of these little children are needed to supple- 
merU the incomes of widows, of families in which the hus- 
band and wage-earner may be either temporarily or per- 
manently or partially disabled, and that without the 
small addition which the earnings of these little boys 
and girls can bring in, there would be suffering and dis- 
tress. It would be easy, I think, to overestimate the 
extent to which that is true. ... So we should not 



admit that that side is more serious than it is, but do let 
us cheerfully, frankly, gladly add that there would be 
many cases in which the proposed legislation (for the 
restriction of child labor) would deprive many families 
of earnings from their children, and that we propose our- 
selves to step into the breach and provide that relief in good 
hard cash that passes in the market. ... If larger means 
are necessary to support these children so that they need 
not depend on their own labor, by all means let us put 
up the money and not push the children for a part of 
their support before the time when they should natu- 
rally furnish a part of their support. ... In the long run 
it is never cheap to be cruel or hard. It is never wise to 
drive a hard bargain with childhood." — Extract from an 
address by Homer Folks, Commissioner of Charities, 
New York. 


I. The Blighting of the Babies 

1. The Theory and Practice of Infant Feeding, by 

Henry Dwight Chapin, A.M., M.D. 

2. Registrar General's Report, 1886, pp. 32-126. 

3. Population Fran^aise, Levasseur, vol. ii, p. 403. 

4. Tenement Conditions in Chicago, by Robert Hun- 

ter, pp. 154-157. 

5. Poverty, by Robert Hunter, p. 144. 

6. The Diseases of Children, by Henry Ashby, M.D., 

Lond., and G. A. Wright, B.A., M.B., Oxon., 
p. 12. 

7. Transactions of the National Association for the 

Promotion of Social Science, 1882, p. 388. 

8. Mulhall's Dictionary of Statistics, p. 133. 

9. Report of the Interdepartmental Committee on 

Physical Deterioration. Evidence. 

10. Idem. Evidence of Dr. Eichholz and Others. 

11. Parliamentary Paper [Cd. 1501] containing a 

Memorandum by Sir William Taylor, the Direc- 
tor-General, Army Medical Service. 
See also a letter to the London Times, February 2, 
1903, by General F. Maurice. 

12. Tenement Conditions in Chicago, p. 157. 



13. Information received from the Commissioner of 


14. Trans. Nat. Ass'n for the Promotion of Social 

Science, 1882, p. 387. 

15. The Nutrition of the Infant, by Ralph M. Vincent, 

M.D., p. 246. 

16. Diseases of Children, Ashby and Wright, p. 228. 

17. Idem., pp. 44-45. 

18. Figures quoted from a newspaper report of an 

interview with Mr. Straus. 

19. See the Article, But a Thousand a Year, in Chari- 

ties, August 5, 1905; Infants' Milk Depots and 
Infant Mortality, by Dr. G. F. McCleary; The 
Problem of the Milk Supply, by Dr. Lawson 
Dodd, etc. 

20. Report Interdepartmental Committee, vol. ii, p. 

442; Vincent, op. dt., pp. 268 et seq. 

21. Report of the Health of the City of Birmingham, 

1902, by Dr. Alfred Hill. Quoted by Vincent, 
op. dt., p. 272. 

22. Vincent, op. dt. Also Testimony before the Inter- 

departmental Committee contained in the Re- 
port Evidence. 

23. Mass and Class, by W. J. Ghent, p. 182. 

24. From the newspaper report of an interview re- 

ferred to above. 

25. A Noviciate for Marriage, by Mrs. H. Ellis. 

26. Twentieth Annual Report of the N. Y. Bureau 

of Labor Statistics, p. 61. 

27. Chanties, April 1, 1905. 


28. See, e.g., the Fortnightly Review for 1876, the Corv- 

temporary Review for 1882, and the various 
Transactions of the National Society for the 
Promotion of Social Science. 

29. Methods of Social Reform, by W. S. Jevons. 

30. Report of the Proceedings of the Third Interna- 

tional Congress for the Welfare and Protection 
of Children, — Speech of Mr. Hartley, B. N. 
Mothersole, M.A., LL.D., p. 166. 

31. Idem. 

Also the Transactions of the Nat. Soc. for the 
Promotion of Social Science, p. 384. 

32. Primitive Folk, by t[iQ Reclus, p. 35. 

33. See the Comparative Sunmiary of Legislation upon 

this Subject in Dangerous Trades, edited by 
Prof. T. Oliver, pp. 53, 54. 

34. Vide Report of the Interdepartmental Committee 

on Physical Deterioration and the frequent dis- 
cussions in the British Press. 

35. Transactions of the National Society for the Pro- 

motion of Social Science, 1882, p. 363. 

36. Idem., p. 382. 

37. Statistisches Jahrbuch fiir das Deutsche Reich, 1904. 

38. Diseases of Children, by Ashby and Wright, pp. 

14 el seq. 

39. See, e.g., Infants' Milk Depots and Infant Mor- 

tality, by G. F. McCleary. 

40. Report on Les Creches, by Dr. Eugene Deschamps, 

Congr^s International d'Hygiene et de Demo- 
graphic k Paris, 1900. 


Other works consulted include: How the Other 
Half Lives, by Jacob A. Riis; The Battle 
with the Slum, by the same author; The 
Diseases of Infancy and Childhood, by L. 
Emmet Holt, M.D., LL.D. 

System of Medicine, edited by Clifford Allbutt. 

Antenatal Pathology, by J. W. Ballantyne, M.D. 

The Study of Children, by Francis Warner, 
M.D., London, F.R.C.S., F.R.C.P. 

The Nervous System of the Child, by the same 

In the preparation of the text free use has also 
been made of the files of the following journals: 
British Journal of Children's Diseases; Brit- 
ish Medical Journal; New York Medical 
Journal, Archives of Pediatrics; Lancet, Jour- 
nal of the American Medical Association, etc. 

II. The School Child 

1. The Handwriting on the Wall, by J. C. Cooper, 

p. 222. 

2. Education and the Larger Life, by C. Hanford 

Henderson, p. 85. 

3. Poverty, by Robert Hunter, p. 11. 

4. Hunter, op. cit., p. 216. 

See also Mr. Hunter's article. The Heritage of 
the Hungry, in the Reader Magazine, Septem- 
ber, 1905. 
6. Address to the National Educational Association, 


September 24, 1904, as reported in the news- 

6. See Dr. Warner's excellent little books, Mental 

Faculty; The Study of Children; The Nervous 
System of the Child, for a discussion of nervous 
signs and the whole subject of child health. 

7. The tendency of children to give such answers has 

been frequently noted and pointed out by foreign 
investigators. In general, I think it can safely 
be said that children are prone to hide their pov- 
erty and to exaggerate in an opposite direction. 

8. Report to State Board of Charities. 

R. Hunter, The Heritage of the Hungry. 

9. The Hunger Problem in the Public Schools — 

What the Canvass of Six Big Cities Reveals. 
Special correspondence in the Philadelphia North 
American, May 21, 1905. 

10. Idem, 

11. Idem, 

12. Idem. 

13. Testimony before the Interdepartmental Com- 

mittee on Physical Deterioration, the Royal 
Commission on Physical Training (Scotland), 
Reports of the London School Board on Under- 
fed Children, etc. 

14. Quoted by G. Stanley Hall, in Adolescence. 

15. Idem. 

16. Fmal Report (1882-1883) of the Anthropometric 

Committee appointed by the British Associa- 
tion in 1875. 


17. The figures quoted are taken from an excellent 

little pamphlet, The Cost of Child Labor, — A 
Study of Diseased and Disabled Children, pub- 
lished by the Child Labor Committee of 

18. Poverty, — A Town Study, by B. S. Rowntree. 

19. In the pamphlet, The Cost of Child Labor, above 

referred to. 

20. Annual Report of the Massachusetts State Board 

of Health, 1877. 

21. Growth of St. Louis School Children, by "William 

T. Porter. Report of the Academy of Science 
of St. Louis, vol. vi, pp. 263-380. 

22. Special Report of Anthropological Investigation of 

1000 white and colored Children of the New 
York Juvenile Asylum, by Dr. Hrdlicka. 

23. Report of the Royal Commission on Physical 

Training (Scotland), p. 30. 

24. State Maintenance, by J. Hunter Watts, p. 10. 

25. Adolescence, by G. Stanley Hall. 

26. Feeble-minded Children in the Public Schools, 

by Will S. Monroe. 

27. The Cost of Child Labor, pamphlet quoted above. 

28. G. Stanley Hall, op. ciL, vol. i, p. 401. 

29. A Study in Youthful Degeneracy, by George E. 

Dawson, in the Pedagogical Seminary, iv, 2. 

30. American Journal of Psychology, October, 1898. 

31. Dr. Eichholz, Evidence before the Interdepart- 

mental Committee on Physical Deterioration. 

32. Reported in the New York Times, May 10, 1905. 


33. Overpressure in Elementary Schools, by James 

Crichton-Browne, M.D., LL.D., F.R.S., printed 
by Order of the House of Commons. 

34. See Journal of the Royal Statistical Society, Feb- 

ruary, 1893. 

35. Hansard's Debates, 1883. 

36. Justice, Organ of the Social Democratic Federa- 

tion, vol. i. No. 35, September 13, 1884. 

37. Letter to the London Times, September 26, 1901. 

38. Report of the Committee; Evidence, p. 484. 

39. Idem. 

40. Beretning om Kristiania f olkeskolevaesen, — various 

yearly reports. 

41. School Luncheons in the Special Classes of the 

Public Schools — A Suggestive Experiment, by 
EUzabeth Farrell, in Charities, March 11, 1905. 
Undernourished School Children, by Lillian Wald, 
a letter in Charities, March 25, 1905. 

42. Hungry Children in New York Public Schools, 

by E. Stagg Whitin, in the Commons, May, 
Hungry Children are Poor Scholars, an unsigned 
article in the Official Journal of the Brotherhood 
of Painters, Decorators, and Paperhangers of 
America, May, 1905. 

43. See American Charities, by Professor Warner, 

for a careful statement of this point. 

44. Sixth Biennial Report of the Board of Control and 

Superintendent of the Minnesota State Public 
School for Dependent and Neglected Children. 


Other works consulted include: Mentally De- 
ficient Children: Their Care and Training, by 
George E. Shuttleworth ; The History of the 
Treatment of the Feeble-minded, by Walter 
E. Fernald; After Bread, Education, by Hubert 
Bland, 1905; Official Report of the National 
Labor Conference on the State Maintenance of 
Children, held at the Guildhall, London, Friday, 
January 20, 1905, Sir John Gorst, M.P., Presiding; 
Report of Investigations into Social Conditions 
in Dundee, Scotland — The Medical Inspection 
of School Children; Report to the Municipal 
Council of Paris on the Annual Expenditures 
in Connection with the Cantines Scolaires; Vari- 
ous Reports of the U. S. Commissioner of Educa- 
tion; Reports of the Department of Education 
in many American and Foreign Cities. 

The Pedagogical Seminary. 

Special Reports on Educational Subjects, issued 
by the Board of Education (England). 

III. The Working Child 

1. Politics, by Aristotle, A. IV, 4. 
■ 2. Architecture, Industry, and Wealth, by William 
Morris, p. 138. 

3. Idem. 

4. Farfolloni de gli Antichi Historic!, by Abb. Lan- 

cellotti (Venice, 1636), quoted by Karl Marx 
in Capital, English edition, p. 427. 


5. Marx, op. cit., p. 428. 

6. A Description of the Country from Thirty to Forty 

Miles round Manchester, by Dr. Aikin. Quoted 
by R. W. Cooke-Taylor, The Factory System 
and the Factory Acts, p. 17. 

7. Cooke-Taylor, op. cit., gives the real name of 

"Alfred" as Samuel Kydd, a barrister-at-law. 

8. Memoirs of Robert Blincoe, N.D. 
Cooke-Taylor, Modern Factory System, pp. 

Annals of Toil, by J. Morrison Davidson, p. 262. 
Industrial History of England, H. de B. Gibbins. 

9. H. de B. Gibbins, op. cit, pp. 178-181. 

10. Life of Robert Owen, Written by Himself, vol. i, 

xxvi, pp. 57 et seq. 

11. H. de B. Gibbins, op. cit, p. 181. 

12. Cooke-Taylor, The Factory System and the Fac- 

tory Acts, p. 55. 

13. Idem, 

14. H. de B. Gibbins, op. cit., p. 181. 

15. Hansard, 1832. 

16. The whole poem is given in Mr. H. S. Salt's little 

anthology, Songs of Freedom, p. 81. 

17. Report on the Ten Hours Bill. J. Morrison David- 

son, op. cit., p. 268. 

18. Robert Hunter, Child Labor in New York, Being 

a Report to the Governor of New York. 

19. Child Labor Legislation — A Requisite for Indus- 

trial Efficiency, by Jane Addams, in the Annals 
of the American Academy, May, 1905, p. 131. 


20. Problems of the Present South, by Edgar Gardnei 

Murphy, p. 313. 

21. Quoted in CJuirities, August 26, 1905. 

22. lUiteracy Promoted by Perjury. A pamphlet 

issued by the Pennsylvania Child Labor Com- 

23. U. S. Census, vol. ii. 

24. Illiteracy Promoted by Perjury, p. 3. 

25. U. S. Census, Occupations. 

26. E. G. Murphy, op. ciL, p. 110. 

27. Annals of the American Academy, May, 1905, p. 21. 

28. Jane Addams, op. ciL, p. 131. 

29. E. G. Murphy, op. ciL, p. 143. 

30. Idem., p. 103. 

31. An address to the Manufacturers of Cotton, de- 

livered at Glasgow, by Robert Owen, 1815. 

32. U. S. Census, vol. ix. 

33. Idem. 

34. Report (unpublished) to the Child Labor Com- 

mittee, by Owen R. Lovejoy. 

35. Child Labor Legislation. Schedules of Existing 

Legislation. Handbook of National Consumers' 
League, compiled by J. C. Goldmark and Made- 
line Wallin Sikes. 

36. The Needless Destruction of Boys, by Florence 

Kelley, Charities, June 3, 1905. 

37. Boys in the Glass Industry, by Harriet M. Van 

Der Vaart, the Churchman, May 6, 1905. 

38. Owen R. Lovejoy, report quoted. 

39. Florence Kelley, op. dt. 


40. The Anthracite Coal Communities, by Peter 

Roberts, Ph.D., p. 177. 
Poverty, by Robert Hunter, p. 237. 

41. Working Children in Pennsylvania — Pamphlet 

issued by the Child Labor Committee of Penn* 

42. Child Labor in New York, by Robert Hunter, p. 5. 

43. Idem. 

44. U. S. Census, vol. viii. Manufactures, Part II. 

45. From a press report of a lecture at Plymouth 

Church, Brooklyn, N.Y., by Margaret Dreier 
(Mrs. Raymond Robins). 

46. From an address by Mrs. Florence Kelley, delivered 

at the Annual Meeting of the Consumers' League, 
January, 1904. Published in the Report of 
the Consumers' League of New York for the 
year ending December, 1903. 

47. Transactions Illinois Child Study Association, 

vol. i. No. 1. 

48. Labor Problems, by Thomas Sewall Adams, Ph.D., 

and Helen L. Sumner, A.B., pp. 62 et seq. 

49. "In a recent investigation made by the Minnesota 

Bureau of Labor, it was found that, of the few 
wage-earners considered, the boys under sixteen 
had twice as many accidents as the adults, and 
the girls under sixteen thirty-three times as many 
accidents as the women." — Adams and Sum- 
ner, op. dt.j p. 63. 

50. The Cost of Child Labor — pamphlet issued by 

the Child Labor Committee of Pennsylvania, p. 31. 


51. Children in American Street Trades, by Myron 

E. Adams, in the Annals of the American Acad- 
emy, May, 1905. 

52. Child Labor — The Street, by Emest Poole. 
Child Labor — Factories and Stores, by Ernest Poole. 
Myron E. Adams, op. dt, 

53. Ernest Poole, op. dt. 

54. Idem. 

55. Unprotected Children — pamphlet issued by the 

Child Labor Committee of Pennsylvania. 

56. See also Child Labor in New Jersey, by Hugh F. 

Fox, in Annals of the American Academy, July, 

57. Jane Addams, op. dt, p. 131. 

58. The Minotola Strike, by the Hon. John W. West- 

cott, in Wilshire's Magazine, September, 1903. 

59. Hannah R. Sewall, op. dt., p. 491. 

60. Child Labor in Southern Industry, by A. J. McKel- 

way, in Annals of the American Academy, May, 
1905, p. 433. 

61. The Economics of Socialism, by Henry M. Hynd- 

man, p. 80. 

62. See, for instance. Poverty, by Robert Hunter, 

p. 244; Mrs. Sidney Webb, in The Case for the 
Factory Acts, etc. 

63. History of Cooperation, by George Jacob Hol- 

yoake, vol. i, p. 213. 

64. Mrs. Sidney Webb, op. dt. 

65. Report of the Consumers' League of the City of 

New York, 1903, p. 21. 


66. The Children of the Coal Shadow, McClure^s Maga- 

zine, 1902. 

67. The Churchman, August 5, 1905. 

68. The Operation of the New Child Labor Law in 

New Jersey, by Hugh F. Fox, in Annals of the 
American Academy, May, 1905. 

Other works consulted include: — 

Report of the Royal Commission on Labor (Eng- 
land); Report of the Interdepartmental Com- 
mittee on Physical Deterioration. 

Hull House Maps and Papers. 

Reports of the Industrial Commission (especially 
vol. xix). 

Dangerous Trades, edited by Professor T. Oliver. 

The Effects of the Factory System, by Allen Clarke. 

Various Reports of the Different Bureaus of 
Labor, etc. 

IV. Remedial Measures 

1. The Diseases of Children, by Henry Ashby, M.D., 

and G. A. Wright, B.A., pp. 14 et seq. 

2. Idem. 

See also the article on The Shameful Misuse of 
Wealth, by Cleveland Moffett, in Success, March, 

3. See, e.g., the letters from several leading physicians 

on this subject inSuccess, April, 1905 (Appendix C). 

4. Cleveland Moffett, op. dt. 

5. Idem, 


6. Hygiene de la Femme Enciente. De la Pueri- 

culture Intrauterine, par Dr. A. Pinard. X® 
Congres International d'Hygiene, etc., Paris, 
1900, p. 417. 

Factory Employment and Childbirth, by Ade- 
laide M. Anderson, in Dangerous Trades, edited 
by Professor Thomas Oliver. 

Is the High Infantile Death-rate due to the Occupa- 
tion of Married Women? by Mrs. F. J. Green- 
wood, Sanitary Inspector for Sheffield. Reprinted 
from the Englishwoman's Review, 1901. 

In Germany, it is worth remembering, the work- 
ing woman who is compelled to cease work owing 
to the birth of a child receives a sum equal to 
half her weekly wage. — See Infant Mortality and 
Factory Labor, by Dr. George Reid, in Dangerous 
Trades, p. 89. 

7. Report of the Interdepartmental Committee on 

Physical Deterioration. 

8. The Social Unrest, by John Graham Brooks, p. 292. 

9. Vide leaflet issued by the Child Labor Committee 

of New York. 

10. How to Save the Babies of the Tenements, by 

Virginia M. Walker, in Charities, August 5, 1905. 

11. Report of the Interdepartmental Committee on 

Physical Deterioration, vol. ii, pp. 442-450. 

The Nutrition of the Infant, by Ralph M. Vin- 
cent, M.D. 

The Problem of the Milk Supply, by F. Lawson 
Dodd, M.R.C.S. 


Infantile Mortality and Infants' Milk Depots, by 
G. F. McCleary, M.D. 

12. Projet pour le Contrdle Hygidnique de I'Appro- 

visionnement du Lait Municipal, by George W. 
Goler, M.D. 
But a Thousand a Year, by George W. Goler, 
M.D., reprinted from Charities. 

13. The School Child, the School Nurse, and the Local 

School Board, by Elsie Clews Parsons, Charities f 
September 23, 1905. 

14. Report of the Interdepartmental Committee on 

Physical Deterioration, vol. i, p. 47. 

15. Idem. 

16. The figures are quoted from a speech by Mr. Homer 

Folks, at the first annual meeting of the Associa- 
tion for the Study and Prevention of Tubercu- 
losis, held at Washington, D.C., May 18-19, 1905. 

17. Virginia M. Walker, op. cit. 

18. Idem. 

19. Ralph M. Vincent, M.D., op. cit., also evidence 

given before the Interdepartmental Committee 
on Physical Deterioration. 
Virginia M. Walker, op. cit. 

20. This paragraph is taken, with slight changes, from 

my paper on The Problem of the Underfed 
Children in our Public Schools, in the Indepen- 
dent, May 11, 1905. 

21. See the Official Report of the National Labor 

Conference on the State Maintenance of Chil- 
dren, Held at the Guildhall, London, etc. 


22. See, for instance, the evidence given by Mr. John 

Tweedy, F.R.C.S. and L.R.C.P., President of 
the Royal College of Surgeons and of the Oph- 
thalmological Society of the United Kingdom, 
before the Interdepartmental Committee. 

23. Physical Efficiency in Children, by Sir James 

Crichton Browne, in the Report of the Inter- 
national Congress for the Welfare and Protec- 
tion of Children, London, 1902. 

See also the Reports of the Interdepartmental 
Committee and the Royal Commission on Physi- 
cal Training (Scotland), for descriptions of the 
systems adopted in various European cities. 

The Medical Inspection of School Children, by W. 
L. Mackenzie, M.A., M.D. 

For a very suggestive, but technical, account of 
a system of medical inspection adopted in Dun- 
dee, Scotland, see the Report of Investigation 
into Social Conditions, published by the Dundee 
Social Union, — Part I, The Medical Inspection 
of School Children. 

24. The Heritage of the Hungry, by Robert Hunter. 

25. Special Reports on Educational Subjects, issued 

by the (English) Board of Education. 

26. Royal Commission on Physical Training (Scotland), 


27. Idem. 

28. Poverty, by Robert Hunter, p. 259. 

29. The importance of attending to the teeth of school 

children has been sadly overlooked in the United 


States. In some of our cities, notably Rochester, 
N.Y., the attention of the medical inspectors 
of the schools has been specially directed to the 
teeth, with important results. See, for instance, 
the paper by Dr. Goler on Some General Tuber- 
culosis Problems, in the New York State Journal 
of Medicine, August, 1905. 

30. Bulletin of the U. S. Bureau of Labor, No. 59, p. 309. 

31. The Field before the National Child Labor Com- 

mittee, by Homer Folks, in Charities, October 1, 

Child Labor and the Schools, by Florence Lucas 

Sanville, in Charities, August 26, 1905. 
Illiterate Children in the Great Industrial States, 

by Florence Kelley, reprinted from Charities. 

32. Child Labor. — The Street, by Ernest Poole. 
Children in American Street Trades, by Myron 

E. Adams, in the Annals of the American Acad- 
emy, May, 1905. 

The Employment of Children, with Special Refer- 
ence to Street Trading, by Robert Peacock, 
Chief Constable of Manchester (England). A 
Paper read at the Third International Congress 
for the Welfare and Protection of Children, 
London, 1902. — Report, pp. 191-202. 

See also the evidence given by various witnesses 
before the Royal Commission on Physical Train- 
ing (Scotland). 

33. Education and the Larger Life, by C. Hanford 

Henderson, p. 142. 


Aberdeen , underfed school children 

in, 272. 
Addams, Jane, 148, 196. 
Adenoids, 107, 296. 
Adulteration of Food, 85. 
Aikin, Dr., 130. 
Airy, Dr., H.M.I., 112, 113. 
Alabama : 

Child Labor Committee, 142. 

Child Labor in, 148, 149. 
Alcoholzehntel (Switzerland), 264. 
"Alfred," History of the Factory 

Movement, 131. 
Allentown, Pennsylvania, 183, 184. 
Anaemia, 5, 83, 294. 
Annual Register, 1792, 135. 
Apprentices, pauper, 131-140. 
Aristotle, 100, 125, 126, 127. 
Artificial flower making, 146, 172, 

173, 177. 
Ashby, Dr. Henry, 18. 
Association for Improving the Con- 
dition of the Poor, 233. 
Asthma, 164. 
Asylums : 
, New York Foundling, 22. 

New York Juvenile, 187. 

Furnishing Child Labor, 198. 
Atrophy, 21. 
Augusta, Georgia, 150. 


Death-rate reduced in, 245, 247. 
Women nurse inspectors in, 244. 

Back Bay, Boston, 7. 
Backward Children: 
Become child laborers, 103. 
Condition traceable to poor nu- 
trition, 108, 278. 
Experiments in feeding, 116-116. 

Improvement of, when properly 

fed, 276. 
Injurious influence of, on other 

children, 102. 
Investigation of, in California, 

Number of, in United States, 

estimated, 102. 
Poor physique of, 100-101. 
Results of feeding in England, 

111, 273. 

Results of feeding in France, 115. 

Results of feeding in Norway, 
115, 276. 

Special classes for, 101. 

Tend to become criminals and 
paupers, 104, 105. 
Baillestre, Dr., 21 n. 
Ballantyne, Dr., 9n. 
Beach, Dr. Fletcher, 108. 
Beading slippers, 172. 

Meals for school children in, 276. 

Medical inspection in schools, 
253, 276, 277. 

(See also Brussels.) 
Belgravia, London, 5. 
Berlin : 

Infant death-rate reduced in, 247. 

School meals in, 274. 

School sanatoria in, 255. 

Still-births registered in, 62. 
Bethnal Green, London, 6. 
Beyer, Professor, 100. 
Biddeford, Maine, 153. 
Birmingham, Englakd : 

Board of Education, 112. 

Feeding of school children in, 

112, 113, 272, 273. 
Infant mortality in, 26. 
Blincoe, Robert, quoted, 132. 
Blood poisoning, 223. 




Board of Charities, New York, 83. 
Board of Education, Birmingham, 

England, 112, 113. 
Board of Education, New York, 

65, 66, 73. 
Board of Education, Sheffield, 

England, 110. 
Board of Health : 
As educational agency, 244. 
Lawrence, Massachusetts, 39. 
New York City, 299. 
Rochester, New York, 23. 
Board of Regents, 225. 
Bootblacks, 184. 
Boston : 
Child-labor legislation in, 259. 
Death-rate in, 7. 

Physical condition of poor chil- 
dren in, 98. 
Underfed school children in, 85, 
Bowditch, Dr., 98. 
Bowel disorders caused by malnu- 
trition, 82. 
Brassey, Thomas, 201. 
British Anthropometric Com- 
mittee, 96. 
British Interdepartmental 
Committee : 
Continuation classes recom- 
mended by, 241. 
Dr. Airy's evidence before, 112- 

Da Vincent's evidence before, 

Heredity considered, 291-294. 
Obstetrical statistics, 8-9. 
Regulations concerning the em- 
ployment of married women, 
British Medical Association, 108. 
Bronchitis : 
Candy making predisposing to, 

Infant mortality from, 21. 
Rachitis predisposing to, 15, 17, 
Browning, Mrs., 57. 

Medical examination of school 

children, 253, 254, 277. 
School dinners in, 276. 
Buffalo, New York : 
Child-labor legislation in, 259. 
Underfed school children in, 83, 
84, 85. 
Bumbledom, British, 131, 134, 150. 

Caisse des ^coles, 278-286. 
California, backward school chil- 
dren in, 101, 102. 
Canning Factories : 
In Maine, 170. 
Maryland, 169, 170. 
New York, 169. 
Cantines Scolaires, 115, 249, 277- 

280, 282-287. 
Cartwright's invention, 126. 
Charities, 234 n. 
Charity : 
Dangers arising from, 236. 
Failure of, 54. 

Important experimental work 
done by, 234. 
Chicago : 
Child-labor investigation in, 208. 
Comparative death-rates, 5. 
Physical condition of working 

children, 175. 
School meals in, 273. 
Still-births in, non-registration 

of, 12. 
Stock yards, child labor in, 189. 
Studies of Smedley and Chris- 
topher in, 100. 
Underfed school children in, 84, 
85, 89, 273-274. 
Child Labor : 
Backward children and, 103. 
Census figures of, inadequate, 

Cheap goods and, 261. 
Cost to society of, 194. 
Dangerous conditions surround- 
ing, 168, 175-181. 



Domestic industry and, 127-129. 

German legislation on, 257. 

Immigration and, 214. 

In Alabama, 142, 149. 

In canning factories, 168, 169, 

In cigar and tobacco factories, 

In England and Scotland, 130- 

In Greorgia, 150. 
In glass factories, 154-162. 
In Illinois, 208. 
in Indiana, 154, 155, 161. 
In laundries, 168. 
In Maine, 153. 
In ISIaryland, 169-170. 
In Massachusetts, 153. 
In mines and quarries, 163, 167. 
In New Hampshire, 153. 
In New Jersey, 152, 154, 198. 
In New Lanark, 134-135. 
In New York, 141, 144. 
In Ohio, 154, 159, 160, 162. 
In Pennsylvania, 143, 144, 151, 

154, 155, 16:3-164, 165, 166, 167, 

168, 183. 
In restaurants and hotels, 168. 
In South Carolina, 148, 149. 
In Southern states, 141, 142, 148, 

149, 150, 151, 199. 
In stores, 168. 

In textile industries, 148-154. 
In United States, 142, 143, 146. 
In West Virginia, 166. 
In wood - working industries, 

Industrial revolution and, 130- 

Introduction of machinery re- 
tarded by, 203. 
Machine age and, 129. 
Machinery and, 202. 
Moral ills of, 181-ltX). 
Parental responsibility for, 205, 

Reasons for, 195-217, 305-306. 
Synonymous with slavery, 127. 

Unions opposed to, 193. 
Unnecessary, 200. 
Wages of adults affected by, 192, 
Child Labor Committbk : 
Alabama Child Labor Com- 
mittee, 142. 
National Child Labor Com- 
mittee, 163. 
New York Child Labor Com- 
mittee, 169. 
Pennsylvania Child Labor Com- 
mittee, 144. 
Cholera infantum, 21. 
Cholera morbus, 21. 
Christiania, school meals in, 115, 

Christopher, Professor, 100. 
Cleveland, Ohio, underfed school 

children in, 85, 89. 
Coe, Dr. Henry C, 300. 
Colonies Scolaires, 254, 256. * 
Columbia University, 116. 
Committee of House of Commons, 

Competition of children with 

elders, 192. 
Consumers' League of New York, 

Consumption : 
Among children, 175. 
Infantile mortality from, 21. 
Leather work predisposing to, 

Miners', 164. 
(See also Tuberculosis.) 
Continuation classes, 241, 242. 
Convulsions : 
Infantile mortality from, 19, 

Rachitis predisposing to, 17, 
Cotton manufacture, see Textile 

Creches, 50, 55, 221, 231-233, 242. 
Crich ton-Browne, Dr., 108. 
Cronin, Dr. John, 109, 253. 
Croup, infant mortality from, 21. 



Dale, David, 134. 

Dangerous occupations, 175-181. 

Daniel, Dr. Annie S., quoted, 34. 

Danton, quoted, 247. 

Darlington, Dr. Thomas, quoted, 

Dawson, Professor, 195. 
Death-bates : 
Among English pauper appren- 
tices, 134. 
Birmingham, England, 26. 
Comparative general, 6, 7. 
Comparative infantile, 7. 
England and Wales, 10, 11, 12, 

France, infantile, 21 n. 
In Foundling Asylums, 232. 
Of infants from specified causes, 

Of infants in Metropolitan Free 

Hospital, London, 7. 
Of United States compared with 

England and Wales, 11-13. 
Poverty's effect upon, 5-7, 14-21. 
Debility, infant mortality from, 

Defective children, 101, 111. 
Defective hearing among school 

children, 107, 253. 
Defective vision among school chil- 
dren, 107, 251-253, 281. 
Democracy : 
Education as safeguard of, 58. 
Of birth and death, 8, 293, 294, 
295, 296. 
Dental examination of school chil- 
dren, 253, 255, 277. 
Dependence of families on chil- 
dren's wages, 207-210, 
Infant mortality from, 21. 
Infant mortality from, among 
rachitic children, 17, 298. 
Dixon, George, 112. 
Doble, Mr. Roscoe, quoted, 39. 
Dodd, Dr. F. Lawson, quoted, 303. 
Dolphus, Jean, 50. 

Domestic industry, children in, 127, 

Downe, Jonathan, quoted, 139. 
Drysdale, Dr. Charles R., 7. 
Dundee, underfed children in, 272. 
Durland, Kellogg, 210. 
Duruy, M., Minister of Public In- 
struction, Paris, 278. 
Dyspepsia among glass workers, 

Eastport, Maine, 170. 
Education : 
Compulsory, 58, 280. 
Improvement in, means of, 59. 
Of backward children in special 

classes, 101, 102. 
Of girls in continuation classes, 

241, 242. 
Of idiots and feeble-minded chil- 
dren, 101. 
Of mothers by literature, 243, 

Of mothers by literature, cost 

of, 243. 
Of mothers by school nurses, 542. 
Of physically defective children, 

101, 111. 
Poor material for, 59-60, 276, 
Eichholz, Dr., 272, 291, 295. 
Ellis, Mrs. Havelock, 30. 
Elysee, Paris, 5. 
England : 
Alarm caused by infant mortality 

in, 9-10. 
Comparison of physical develop- 
ment of children in, 96-98. 
Feeding of children in schools, 

109, 117, 272. 
Infant mortality in, 9-10. 
Laws regulating employment of 

married women in, 45. 
Pasteurization of milk intro- 
duced in, 235. 
Problem of poverty in, 63-64. 
Regulation of midwives in, 224. 
Underfeeding in, 297. 



Epilepsy, 17. 

Erfurt, vital statistics of, 7. 

Etzler, J. A., 203. 


Factory Act, first English, 136. 

(See also Legislation.) 
Fall River, Massachusetts, child 

labor in, 153. 
Fancy-box making, 172, 174. 
Fancy-slipper making, 172. 
Felt^hat manufacture, dangers 

from, 176, 177. 
Folks, Homer, 231, 306. 
Fourier, Charles, 64. 
Fox, Charles H., and Fox Bros., 60, 

France : 
Caisse des €coles and their use, 

Cantines Scolaires, 115, 249. 
Cost of school meals in, 283-286. 
Creches, 50, 55, 221, 231-233, 242. 
Fresh-air outings in, 94. 
Gouttes de Lait, 55, 235. 
Infant death-rate in, 21 n. 
Medical inspection in schools, 

253, 256, 281. 
Pensions to mothers, 229. 
School colonies, 280, 281. 
School funds, see Caisse des 

School meals in. 277-280, 282-286. 

Germany : 
Child-labor legislation in, 257. 
Death certificates in, 245. 
Medical inspection in schools, 

253, 255. 
Midwives, regulation of, in, 224, 

School meals in, 274. 
Gillette, Dr., 21 n. 
Gladstone, Herbert, M.P., 271. 
Glasgow, Scotland, underfed chil- 
dren in, 272. 
Glassborough, New Jersey, 161. 

Glass Manufacture: 

Child labor unnecessary in, 200. 

Children employed in, 154-162. 

In United States, 154. 

In Venice and Murano, seven- 
teenth century, 128. 

Machinery used in, 204. 
Goler, Dr. George W., 22, 235, 304. 
Gorst, Sir John, 27. 
Gouttes de Lalt, 55, 235. 
Groszmann, Dr., 101. 

Hall, Professor G. Stanley, 101. 
Hansard's Parliamentary De- 
bates, 138. 
Henderson, C. Hanford, 229. 
Heredity, 8, 9, 291-296. 
History of the Factory Movement, 

Holiday Colonies (Switzerland), 

Holt, Dr. L. Emmet, 296-297. 
Home employment of mothers, 33. 
Home industries, children em- 
ployed in, 171-174. 
Hood, Thomas, 156. 
Hornbaker, William, principal 

Chicago school, 84. 
Hospitals : 
Bellevue, New York City, 300. 
Death-rate in Foundling, 232. 
Filled by victims of childhood 

poverty, 24. 
General Memorial, New York 

City, 300. 
Infants', Randall's Island, New 

York City, 232. 
Metropolitan Free, London, 7. 
New York Babies', inquiry in, 

New York Lying-in, 224, 
Housing : 
Among Ita'.ians, 78. 
Among Jews, 25. 
Infantile death-rate not lowered 

by improvement in, 26. 
Relation of, to tuberculosis, 26. 



Hrdlicka, Dr., 98. 

Huddersfield, England, campaign 

of education in, 30. 
Hungarians in carpet works, 178. 
Hunter, Robert, 61, 62, 63, 65, 277, 

Huxley, Professor T. H., 77. 
Hyndman, H. M., 271. 

Iceland, loom used in, 126. 
Ignorance : 
A cause of malnutrition, 82. 
Among factory girls, 31, 32. 
Babies victims of, 27, 28, 29-32, 

37, 39, 239. 
Campaign against maternal, 30, 

Often only one of poverty's dis- 
guises, 37. 
Remedial measures for, 30, 239- 

Social need of protection against, 
Dlegitimate children, death-rate 

among, 7. 
Illinois : 
Child-labor investigation in, 208, 

209, 210. 
Child-labor law, 208. 
(See also Chicago.) 
Illiteracy in the United States, 

Imbeciles in English cotton mills, 

Inanition, infant mortality from, 

Indiana : 
Child labor in, 154, 155, 161. 
Children working by night in, 

Glass manufacture in, 154, 155, 
159, 161. 
Industrial revolution in England, 

130, 149. 
Industrial Schools, England, 96. 
Industrial Schools, New York City, 

Infantile Mortality : 
Among Irish and Italians, 25, 26. 
Among Jews, 25, 26. 
Effect of improved milk supply 

on, 22, 23, 247. 
Employment of mothers a cause 

of, 37, 38-44, 50. 
From eleven given causes, 21. 
Ignorance of mothers a cause of, 

27, 28, 29-32, 37, 39, 239. 
In England and Wales, 9-12. 
In United States, 11-13. 
Lowered in siege of Paris and 

Lancashire cotton famine, 43, 

Malnutrition principal cause of, 

Not affected by sanitary im- 
provements, 26. 
Proportion of, due to poverty, 20. 
Proportion of, due to socially 

preventable causes, 13, 21. 
Reduced in Australia, Berlin, 

and Rochester, 247. 
Relative, among rich and poor, 7. 
Still-births and, 52. 
Intemperance : 
As a cause of child labor, 210, 211. 
Employment of married women 

due to, 34. 
Malnutrition as a cause of, 90. 
Inter-Departmental Committee, see 

British Interdepartmental 

Infantile mortality among, 26. 
Underfed school children among^ 

Italians : 
Child labor among, 199. 
Housing among, 78. 
Infant mortality among, 26. 
Underfed children among, 71, 78. 
Italy : 
Feeding of school children in, 

248, 249, 274, 287-290. 
Medical attendance free in, 275. 
Medical inspection inschools,253. 



Jenner, Sir William, 16. 
Jevons, Professor W. S., 38. 

Bad housing among, 25. 

Mortality of infants among, 25. 
Juvenile delinquents, 187-189. 

Keen, Dr. W. W., 98. 
Kelley, Mrs. Florence, 160, 162. 
Kensington Labor Lyceum, Phila- 
delphia, 151. 
Kilham, Dr. Eleanor B., 301, 302. 
Klline, Professor, 105. 
Knopf, Dr. S. A., 26. 

Laissez/aire, 136, 141. 
Lancashire, England, cotton fam- 
ine, 44, 51. 
Lancaster, Pennsylvania, 184. 
La Revolts, 147. 
Laryngismus Stridulus, 298. 
Lawrence, Massachusetts, child 

labor in, 153. 
Lead poisoning, 179. 
Lechstrecker, Dr. H. M., 83. 
Lbgislation : 
Alabama Child Labor Committee 

and, 142. 
Artificial infant foods should be 

subject to, 245-246. 
Child labor, suggested, 256-260. 

(See also Child Labor.) 
Factory acts, first British, 136. 
Feeding of school children matter 

for, 271, 272, 279, 280. 
Gterman child labor, 257. 
Interest of society to protect 

children by, 191, 305-306. 
Manufacturers^ Record on child 

labor, 142. 
Midwifery, regulation of, by, 222, 

226, 299, 300, 301. 
Relating to employr/ient of 
mothers near childbirth, 44, 
45, 49, 227, 230. 

Relating to street trades, 258, 

Ten Hours' Bill in England, 137, 

United States in need of further, 
Leipzic, physique of school chil- 
dren in, 96. 
Little Mothers : 
Among Italians, 78. 
A social menace, 38. 
Responsible for much infant 
mortality, 38, 39, 44. 
Litton Mill, 133. 
London : 
Death-rate of infants in, 7. 
Death-rates of Belgravia and 

Bethnal Green, 5. 
Obstetrical Society of, 294, 295. 
Physical degeneration among 

school children in, 291-293. 
Special school for defective chil- 
dren, 111. 
Underfeeding of children in, 272. 
Los Angeles, California, underfed 

schoolchildren in, 85. 
Love joy, Owen R., 158, 161. 
Lowe, David, 218. 
Lubec, Maine, 170. 

McKelway, Dr., 148, 199. 
Maine, canning factories, 170. 
Malins, Dr. Edward, 294. 
Manchester, England, epidemic in, 

Manchester, New Hampshire, 153. 
Manufacturers* Record on child- 
labor legislation, 142. 
Marasmus, 297. 

Married Women, Employment 
OF : 
Away from homes, 33, 34, 37- 

Census returns of, inadequate, 

32, .33. 
Daniel, Dr. Annie S., on, 34. 
Evil results of, 32, 35-51. 



Infantile mortality caused by, 

37, 38-44, 50. 
In home industries, 33, 34-37. 
Jevons, Professor W. S., on, 38. 
Legislation relating to, 44, 45, 

49, 227, 230. 
Wages of married women 
workers, 31, 32, 34. 
Maryland, 169. 
Maxwell, Dr.W. H.,64. 
Measles, 17-21, 298. 
Medical Inspection in Schools ; 
In Belgium, 253, 276, 277. 
In England, 253. 
In France, 109, 253, 280, 281. 
In Germany, 253, 255. 
In Italy, 109, 253, 275. 
In London, 198. 
In Minnesota, 281. 
In New York City, 107, 109, 253, 

In Norway, 109, 253, 254. 
In Switzerland, 253. 
In United States, need of, 251- 
253, 255-256, 281, 282. 
Menilmontant, Paris, death-rate 

in, 5. 
Messengers, 184, 185, 186, 187, 188, 

MiDwivES : 
Inefficiency of, 63, 300. 
Maternal deaths due to, 300. 
Still-births due to ignorance of, 

Supervision of, needed, 222-226, 
299, 300, 301. 
Milk : 
Adulteration of, 28, 29. 
High death-rate due to impure, 

SteriUzation of, 235, 304-305. 
Straus system of Pasteurization 

of, 22, 29, 234-2:36. 
(See also Municipal Milk Depots.) 
Minnesota, investigation of school 

children in, 281. 
Minnesota State Riblic School, at 
Owatonna, 120, 121. 

Minotola, New Jersey, strike of 

glass-blowers in, 198. 
Monroe, Professor W. S., 101, 102. 
Montgomery, Alabama, 149. 
Montmartre, Paris, 279, 280, 282. 
Morris, William, 126. 
Moscow, 96. 

"Mother " Mary Jones, 151. 
Mt. Carbon, West Virginia, 166. 
Mundella, Mr., M.P., 108, 109. 
Municipal Milk Depots: 

Advantages of, 2-34-238, 302-305, 

Dodd, Lawson, on, 303. 

French, see Gouttes de Lait. 

In England, 234, 235. 

In Europe, 238. 

Powell, Sir Richard Douglas, on, 

Rochester, New York, 22, 23, 
235, 236, 238, 304-305. 

St. Helen's, Lancashire, England, 
Murphy, Edward Grardner, 148. 

Nathan, Mrs. Frederick, 208. 
National Child Labor Committee, 

New Jersey : 
Child-labor investigation in, 210. 
Child-labor law, 1904, 210. 
Glass manufacture, 154. 
Glass manufacture, children em- 
ployed in, 154, 159, 161, 162. 
Orphan Asylum children em- 
ployed in, 198. 
New Lanark, Scotland, 134. 
Newsboys, 184, 185, 187, 188, 258. 
New York City : 
Child-labor legislation in, 258. 
Estimated number of children 

in, 61. 
Foundling Asylum in, 22. 
Home factories in, 33-37, 173. 
Medical inspection in schools of, 

107, 109, 253, 281. 
School nurses in, 242. 
Still-births in, 52. 



Underfed school children in, 61, 
t)4-83, 90-95. 
New York Child Labor Committee, 

New York County Medical Asso- 
ciation, 224. 
New York Foundling Asylum, 22. 
New York State : 
Canning factories in, 169. 
Carpet factories in, 178. 
Child labor in, 141. 
Child-labor investigation in, 

Child-labor legislation in, 268. 
Midwives, regulation of, 223, 

Number of children of school age 
not attending school in, 144. 
Nibecker, Mr., Supt. House of 

Refuge, Pennsylvania, 187. 
Nichols, Mr. Francis H., 210. 
Norway : 
Backward children in, 115, 276. 
Excursions for school children, 

Meals for school children, 114, 

115, 275, 276. 
Medical inspection of school chil- 
dren in, IW), 253, 254. 
School sanatoria, 254. 
Special dietary for weak chil- 
dren, 115, 254. 
Notes and authorities, 307-323. 
Nottingham, England, 132. 


Oastler, Richard, M.P., 137. 
Obstetrical Society of London, 294, 

Ohio, child labor in, 164, 169, 160, 

Glass manufacture in, 164. 
Oneida, New York, 169. 
Orphan children compelled to work, 

162, 198. 
Owatonna, Minnesota, 120, 121. 
Owen, Robert, 1.*^. IXi, 163, 165. 
Oxford, Maryland, 169. 

Paralysis, 178. 
Paris : 
Caisse des 4cole8, 278-282, 283, 

Cantines Scolaires, 116, 249, 277- 

Death-rates in Elys^e and M^ 

nilmontant, 5. 
Infant mortality during siege of, 

43, 44, 51. 
Medical inspection in schools of, 

Underfeeding and dulness, 109. 
Parsons, Mrs. Elsie Clews, 239. 
Pasteurization of Milk : 
In New York City, 29, 234, 

In New York Foundling Asylum, 

In Rochester, New York, 22, 23, 

235, 236, 238. 
In St. Helen's, Lancashire, Eng- 
land, 235. 
Renders digestion difficult, 306. 
Scorbutus caused by, 304. 
Unnecessary, 235. 
Patent Infant Foods : 
Dangers arising from, 28. 
•Federal supervision of manufac- 
ture and sale of, 246. 
Paterson, New Jersey, 152. 
Paton, Dr. Noel, 9 n. 
Pauper apprentices in England, 

131-136, 150, 162. 
Peek, Sir Henry, 109. 
Peel, Sir Robert, 136. 
Cigarmakers' Union and child 

labor in, 193. 
Employment of children in cigar 

factories in, 167, 168. 
Employment of children in glass 

factories, 164, 155, 159. 
Employmentofchildren in mines, 

Investigation by Child Label 
Commissioner of, 144. 



Investigation of reasons for em- 
ployment of children, 210. 
Orphan children employed m,198. 
Pertussis, 298. 
Philadelphia : 
Employment of children in, 144, 

Still-births formerly not regis- 
tered, 12. 
Underfed children in, 85. 
Phosphor poisoning, 179. 
Physical Condition of Poor 
Children : 
Accountable for educational fail- 
ures, 100. 
Inferior to richer children, 96-98. 
Investigations in Chicago of, 175. 
Investigations in England of, 10, 

108, 291. 

Malnutrition responsible for, 106. 

Report of Royal Commission on 

Physical Training (Scotland) 

on, 98, 99. 

Responsible for criminality, 105- 

(See also Underfeeding and 
Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, 168. 
Pittston, Pennsylvania, 143, 163. 
Playfair, Dr., 7. 
Pneumonia : 
Infant mortality from, 21. 
Porter, Dr., 98, 100, 
Rachitis predisposing to, 17. 
Poverty, 277. 
Poverty : 
Children in United States victims 

of, 61, 63, 117-124. 
Cost to society of, 23, 24. 
Educational failures largely due 

to, 60, 100-105, 279. 
Effect upon infantile mortality 

of, 13, 19, 20, 21, 23. 
Estimated number of persons in 
' United States in, 61, 63. 
Mortality from convulsions, 
measles, and rickets increased 
by, 17-19. I 

Most heavily felt by children, 1- 

Proportion of still-births due to, 

Reason for child labor, 206-213. 
Relation to death and disease, 

Prisons : 
And child labor, 194. 
Filled by victims of poverty, 24. 

Quarries, child labor in, 163. 
Quinlin, Dr. Francis, 301. 

Rachitis, 5, 15-18, 78, 175, 294, 297, 

Reclus, :6lie, 44. 

Reformatories and child labor, 162, 

Reformatories filled by victims of 
poverty, 24. 

Reggia Emilia, Italy, 274. 

Report on Physical Training (Scot- 
land), 98, 99. 

Rickets, see Rachitis. 

Roberts, Dr. Charles W., 96, 98. 

Roberts, Rev. Peter, 183. 

Rochester, New York: 
Death-rate reduced in, 23, 247. 
Employment of children in, 192. 
Milk supply in, 22, 23, 235, 236, 
238, 304-305. 

Rousden, England, 109. 

Rowntree, B. S., 98. 

Ruskin, John, 191. 

Ryan, Charles L., School Principal, 
Buffalo, New York, 83. 

Sadler, Michael, M.P., 137, 138. 
Salvation Army, 68, 73, 94. 
San Remo, Italy, 274. 
School Children ; 
Defective hearing among, 107. 
Defective vision among, 107, 251- 
253, 281. 



Meals furnished to, in Belgium, 

Meals furnished to, in Chicago, 

84, 85, 273. 
Meals furnished to, in England, 

109-115, 272-273. 
Meals furnished to, in France, 

115, 249, 277-280, 282-28G. 
Meals furnished to, in Germany, 

Meals furnished to, in Italy, 248, 

274, 287-290. 
Meals furnished to, in New York, 

116, 117. 

Meals furnished to, in Norway, 

114, 115, 254, 275. 
Meals furnished to, in Switzer- 
land, 254, 277, 278. 
Medical inspection of, 107-110, 
198, 253-2^, 275-277, 280- 
Physical condition of, investi- 
gated, 96-101, 107-110. 
Physical deterioration of, in 

England, 292-296. 
Underfeeding of, see Underfeed- 
Venereal diseases among indus- 
trial, 18t, 185. 
School colonies, 254, 255, 281. 
School funds, see Caisse des ^coles. 
School Sanatoria, 254. 
Schools, see School Children. 
Scorbutus, 304. 
Scotland, Report on Physical 

Trainuig in, 98, 99. 
Sheffield School Board, 110. 
Shuttle worth, Dr. D. E., 108. 
Slavs ill carpet factories, 178. 
Slavs in child labor, 212. 
Sloan, Mr., Supt. John Worthy 

School, Chicago, 18i. 
Smedley, Professor, 100. 
Smith, Mrs. Watt, 304. 
Soap manufacture, dangers of, 

Social Democratic Federation, 110. 
Socialism, 220, 221. 

Socialist control of French mnnici* 

palities, 2S3. 
Socialist programmes, 221, 271, 276. 
Sophocles, quoted, 123. 
South Carolina, child labor in, 

148, 149, 199. 
Southern States: 
Child labor in, 141, 148-161. 
Industrial revival in, 149. 
Speyer School, Columbia Uni 

versity, 116. 
State Chari ties Aid Association, 233. 
Steubenville, Ohio, 162. 
Still-births, 12, 51, 52, 53, 225. 
St. Helen's, Lancashire, England, 

St. Louis, Missouri : 
Studies by Dr. Porter in, 98, 100. 
Underfed school children in, 89. 
Stockholm, physique of school 

children in, 96. 
Straus milk depots, see Milk. 
Straus, Nathan, 29, 2^, 236. 
Street Trades: 
legislation for, 258-259. 
Perils to children in, 184-188. 
Venereal diseases among chil- 
dren in, 184, 185. 
Sweat shops, 171. 
Switzerland : 
Alcoholzehntel, 254. 
Country homes for school chil- 

dren in, 280. 
Holiday colonies for school chil- 
dren in, 254. 
Legislation upon employment of 

married women in, 45. 
Meals for school children in, 277. 
Medical inspection of school chil- 
dren in, 253-254. 
School Sanatoria in, 254. 

Tavistock Place School, London, 

Taylor, Jonathan, 110. 
Teachers College, Columbia UnJ< 

versity, 116. 



Teeth of school children, inspec- 
tion of, 253, 255, 277. 
Ten Hours' Bill, England, 137, 139. 
Tennyson, Alfred, quoted, 28. 
Textile Industries: 

Child labor in, 148-154. 

Dangers to health in, 177. 
Trachoma, 251. 

Trondhjem, Norway, 115, 275, 276. 

Among bottle makers, 160. 

And poverty, 15. 

Campaign against, 30. 

Germany, treatment of children 
predisposed to, 255. 

Rachitis predisposing to, 17. 

Relation of child labor to, 146. 
Tuke, Dr. Hack, 108. 
Turin, Italy, 96, 109. 

Underfeeding : 
Among Italians, 78-81. 
Defective vision due to, 107. 
Due to ignorance, 27, 28, 29. 
Effects of, not hereditary, 294. 
Employment of mothers and, 35, 

In Aberdeen, 272. 
In Birmingham, 113, 114, 272. 
In Boston, 85, 89. 
In Buffalo, 8.^84. 
In Chicago, 84-85, 89, 27^-274. 
In Cleveland, 85. 
In Dundee, 272. 
In Glasgow, 272. 
In London, 109, 272. 
In Los Angeles, 85. 
In New York, 61, 64, 83, 85, 109. 
In Philadelphia, 85. 
In United States, 61, 64, 85, 86, 

117, 118. 
Mental effects of, 108-112, 276. 
Physical effects of, 95-105. 
Predisposing to disease, 26, 42, 

Prime cause of infant mortality, 


Proportion of hospital cases due 
to, 26, 27. 

Proportion of infant deaths due 
to, 14. 

Source of crime, 105-108. 

Worst effect of poverty upon 
children, 2-5, 27, 61-65. 
Unemployment : 

Among Irish laborers, 91. 

Among male wage-earners, 62. 
United States : 

Child labor in, 140, 141, 167, 168. 

Infantile death-rate in, 11, 12, 13. 

Legislation regulating employ- 
ment of married women 
needed, 45-49, 227-233. 

Legislation regulating street 
trades required, 258-259. 

Number of children employed in, 
142, 145. 

Still-births in, 52. 

Underfed children in, 61, 64, 85, 
86, 117, 118. 

Value of glass manufactures, 

Victims of poverty in, 61, 62, 
Utopia, 65, 239. 

Van der Vaart, Mrs., 161. 
Varnishers, 178. 
Venereal diseases, 184. 
Vercelli (Italy), 248, 249, 274, 275, 

287, 288-290. 
Vincent, Dr. Ralph M., 25, 235, 298, 


Wales, death-rate of, 10. 
Walling, William English, 169. 
Ward, Mrs. Humphry, quoted, 

Warner, Dr. Francis, 108. 
Webster, Dr. J. Clarence, 300. 
Wellington, England, 50. 
West Virginia, 166. 
Wheeler, Miss M. (Supt. New 

York Babies' Hospital), quoted, 




Whooping-cough, 17. 

Wilcox, Ella Wheeler, 125. 

Wilkesbarre, Pennsylvania, 163. 

Wolf, Dr., 7. 

Wood-working, industries coi 

nected with, 168, 176. 
Workhouses, 131. 

Yonkers, New York, 178, 226. 
York, England, 98. 

Zanesville, Ohio, 160. 
Zark, N. V., 96. 

Races and Immigrants in America 


Professor of Political Economy in the Unwersity of Wisconsin 

Clothy xiii + 242 pp.j with index, illus., $i.SO net; mail^ $i.6s 

The characteristics of the various races and nationalities which the 
United States are assimilating, their capacity for self-government, their 
effect on wealth and its distribution, the forces at work for and against 
their Americanization; all of these topics are so discussed that a high pub- 
lic authority on immigration matters says of the book : " My impression 
is that it is the fullest, most painstaking, and fairest presentation of the 
race question as it enters into the immigration problems that I have seen. 
The book is most suggestive and is a most valuable one." 

The Development of Thrift 


Secretary of the /Jenry Watson Children's Aid Society, Baltimore 

16 mo, clothy $1.00 
** An excelle;?«: little manual; a study of various agencies, their scope and 
their educating influences for thrift. It abounds in suggestions of value." 
— Chicago Inter- Ocean. 

Friendly Visiting among the Poor : A Handbook 
for Qiarity Workers 


General Secretary of the Charity OrganizaHon Society of Baltimore 

i6mOf clothy $1.00 
A small book, full of inspiration, yet intensely practical. Miss Richmond 
has brought together from careful reading and successful personal experi- 
ence a body of instruction of the highest value. 

The Battle with the Slum 


I2m0, doth, illus.f $2.00 net 

** The clearest presentation of the slum problem ever written." — Balti- 
more Sun. 



The Principles of Relief 


General Secretary of the Charity Organization Society of New York Cifyt 
Director of the School of Philanthropy 

I2m0y cloth, with illustrations, $2,00 net 

" Students and thoughtful workers in charity owe Dr. Devine a large 
debt for his new book on * Principles of Relief.' Its name is very signifi- 
cant. A leader among social workers here lays down general principles to 
govern enlightened practice in the important field of relief of need. This 
book will rouse charity workers to test their actions with renewed interest 
and greater intelligence. Whether or not all will agree with all that Dr. 
Devine says, there will be unanimity of feeling of the debt due him for the 
stress laid on the principle which is the keynote of all — the adequacy of 
relief." — Jeffrey R. Brackett, Director School for Social Service^ 

" I have carefully read the proof sheets of *'The Principles of Relief/ and 
in my judgment it is a noteworthy contribution to the literature of philan- 
thropy. The discussion is not biassed; the tone is judicial; the arguments 
clear and strongly stated. In an illuminating way Dr. Devine has set forth 
the manifold problems of modern charity and has shown not merely their 
interrelation but has considered them in a larger way as integral elements 
of the social structure. ... 

** I expect to use the book in my classroom during the coming year." — 
Carl Kelsey, Associate Professor of Sociology^ University of Pennsylvania. 

" No one who is interested either historically or practically in the subject 
of charity can afford to neglect this volume." — The Atlantic Monthly, 



Modem Methods of Charity 

An Account of the Systems of Relief, Public and Private, in the 
Principal Countries having Modern Methods 


Professor of Sociology, Chicago University ; President of the National 
Conference of Charities and Correction in i8gg ; President of the National 
Prison Association in igo2 ; President of the National Children's Home 
Society ; Member of the international committee for the International 
Congress of Charity in Milan, rgo^ 

Cloth J 8vo, 7 JO pages J $3-5o net; by mail, $3.70 

" The attempt has been made to present facts without bias, yet with 
careful selection of phenomena which seem to be really significant and 
decisive. In each chapter will be found, in very condensed form of state- 
ment, the facts relating to the extent of each kind of social need, the law 
governing state activity on behalf of the classes of dependants, the methods 
of public organization and administration, the cooperation of public and 
voluntary agencies, the provision made for defectives, helpless children, 
and misguided youth, and the recent ministrant functions of governments 
which have a tendency to diminish appeals to charity. Quite as important 
are the facts relating to the judgments of experts in each country, and 
considerable space has been given to these." — From the Author's Preface. 





** A book that should be read by every one who has the promotion of 
social betterment at heart." — Milwaukee Sentinel. 

"A most interesting, a most startling, and a most instructive book."' 

— Los Angeles itmes. 

" His book is largely a result of personal experience, and the aid of such 
Vi^orks as his observation has led him to believe are approximately accurate 
and worthy of credence. * Poverty ' seeks to define its subject, estimate 
its extent, describe some of its effects, and point out the necessary remedial 
action, as seen by a settlement worker. The result is a collection of data 
of considerable value." — New York Daily People. 

"This is in many ways a noteworthy book. The author has long livteJ 
face to face with the almost incredible conditions which he here portray*. 
He has extended his work and observations from the crowded tenement 
districts of the great cities to the smaller industrial towns, and what he 
finds reveals conditions in this country — even in times of industrial pros- 
perity — very similar to those found in England by Booth and other inves- 
tigators ; namely, that a percentage of poverty exists in the smaller 
industrial centres not far below that of the great industrial places, and 
that this percentage is extraordinarily high." — Springfield Republican. 

"The book is written with earnestness, but without exaggeration. Every ^ 
one familiar with the facts knows that conditions are even more cruel and 
brutal than as here described. And yet, no one of the great industrial 
nations is so backward as our own in devising and employing the legis- 
lative and other necessary remedies. Mr. Hunter's presentation of the 
situation is of the greatest value, and deserves the widest consideration." 
— The Congregationalism 

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