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The Industrial Condition
WOMEN AND GIRLS
A Social Study
(FORMERLY EXECUTIVE SECRETARY OF THE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION FOR
THE ADVANCEMENT OF COLORED PEOPLE, NEW YORK CITY.)
Special Investigator for the Board of Trustees of the
Kaiulani Home for Young Women and Girls
Honolulu Social Survey
HONOLULU, NOVEMBER, 1912
The Industrial Condition
WOMEN AND GIRLS
A Social Study
(FORMERLY EXECUTIVE SECRETARY OF THE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION FOR
THE ADVANCEMENT OF COLORED PEOPLE, NEW YORK CITY.)
Special Investigator for the Board of Trustees of the
Kaiulani Home for Young Women and Girls
Honolulu Social Survey
HONOLULU, NOVEMBER, 1912
i. GEO. W. SMITH, Hox. WM. L. WHITNEY,
Chairman of the Executive Committee. Secretary.
UNDER THE AUSPICES OF THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES OF TIIK
KAIULANI HOME FOR GIRLS.
Vol. I. Industrial Condition of Women and Girls.
Vol. II. Dependent Children Frances Blascoer
Vol. III. The Social Evil James A. Rath
Vol. IV. Housing Conditions James A. Rath
Vol. V. Family Budgets - James A. Rath
Mrs. Frances M. Swanzey
.Chairman Committee on Industrial Conditions
Mrs. Walter F. Dillingham
Committee on Dependent Children
Mr. John K. Gait The Social Evil
Mr. George R. Carter Housing Conditions
Miss Louise Gulick Family Budgets
]^OTE: Volumes Xos. I. and II. now ready. Xos. III., IV.,
and V. will appear later.
preparing to submit the results of the five-months' sur-
vey of Honolulu's industrial conditions as they affect women
and girls, the definition of a pessimist: one who has just met
an optimist, has more than once floated warningly through
In the face of such a warning it is perhaps with mixed feel-
ings one confesses to a conviction that much may be done to
solve the problems of the community.
Workrooms are not overcrowded; the air and light are al-
ways good ; there is no highspeed machinery ; no processes dan-
gerous to life and limb are unguarded ; fines and penalties are
unknown ; shop girls work only eight hours a day, have an
annual vacation with full pay for two w r eeks in most shops
and of at least one week in all; clerks, stenographers and
teachers may well feel that they have found here their earthly
paradise both as regards hours and salaries.
As in other tropical communities, the struggle for existence
is not agonizing. Even on kona days, throughout which all
Honolulu wilts, night brings relief. The meanest tenement
in Kakaako is swept by the cool trade winds that come down
over the cloud-capped heights of Tantalus during the greater
part of the year ; and there is no dread of the coming of winter.
Kamaainas say that the aloha of the spirits of departed Ha-
waiians who were in life gentle, generous to a fault, loving-
flowers and music, but caring most of all for their island home
forever guards their former haunts and exhorts all evil.
Honolulu itself tempts one: the Pacific ocean at the water-
front, changing from emerald to purple and sapphire, with the
violet glow over all which transfers itself at sunset to the slopes
of the grey-green hills backing the city; and between, the bun-
galow and cottage dotted city itself, most of its squares built
up solidly with tiny dwellings surrounded by scarlet and pink
flowered hibiscus hedges and shaded by feathery-leaved alga-
THE INDUSTRIAL CONDITION OF
robas, cocoanut and date palms and multi-colored flowering
trees; with ferns and vines everywhere.
One must look hard and often at the rectangular and unor-
namental tenement blocks which obtrude themselves indiscrim-
inately from Kalihi-kai to Waikiki, before one remembers the
law of supply and demand which is, alas, still in force al-
though increasingly hard-pressed by public opinion, minimum
wage-boards and the Industrial Workers of the World.
Before considering the supply and demand, however, I wish
to express to the Board of Trustees of the Kaiulani Home my
keen appreciation of the opportunity to make the survey; espe-
cially in view of the fact that this work involved a consider-
able enlargement of the plan they originally had in mind when
I was asked to come here. Conditions so clearly indicated the
necessity for a comprehensive constructive social program that
while a much more detailed piece of work might have been
done in the industrial field, I question whether such detail
would have developed anything more salient or pertinent than
has been shown.
Since progressive thinkers agree that preventive measures
make far more surely for social betterment than anything cor-
rective which has yet been evolved, I have endeavored to gather
together the measures which have been successfully placed in
operation in other communities and to present to you for con-
sideration such of them as fit your needs and conditions.
Three representative bodies engaged in social research : the
Bureau of Municipal Research, the Russell Sage Foundation,
and the Consumer's League, all of Xew York City cover
practically the entire field and are always at the service of
those who wish information or advice.
More personal service is needed everywhere in Honolulu.
The best program possible to formulate soon becomes useless
anywhere if carried on by unthinking, unprogressive, however
I wish to cordially thank the members of the Executive Com-
mittee and of the sub-committees of the Survey, and not the
\YOMEX AND GlELS IN HOXOLULU.
least the wage-earners of the community for the help and en-
couragement I have had. In spite of queries which briefness
of time allotted to the study made it necessary at times to make
directly of the latter, I have been received with the utmost good
will and helpfulness by workers of all nationalities.
I am especially indebted to the books of Miss Josephine Gold-
mark, Fatigue and Efficiency; and of Miss Elizabeth Beardsley
Butler, Women and the Trades, for valuable information and
suggestion. ^To one interested in the welfare of wage-earners
can fail to have his vision widened and clarified by these two
pieces of work, prepared with infinite devotion and infinite
care in the service of humanity both employing and employed.
TILE INDUSTRIAL CONDITION or 1
There is a world movement in uplift work for women. Along
with the rest of the world Hawaii is awaking to this call. In
all lines of endeavor there must be a working plan. But first
must be facts "writ large" and plain. In view of this interest
and the desire to do a vital work for the wage-earning girls
and women of Honolulu, the Trustees of Kaiulani Home se-
cured the services of a trained investigator, Miss Frances E.
Blascoer of New York City, to make a study of industrial con-
ditions among the working girls of Honolulu and to present
a plan for the organization of a Vocational Bureau here in the
With the coming of Miss Blascoer the vision grew; a social
survey was attempted, a survey which should be the means of
presenting to citizens and social workers the real state of in-
dustrial and housing conditions; the character of the amuse-
ments offered to our community; facts anent dependent chil-
dren ; facts concerning the devastation of the social evil.
Keligious, moral, intellectual, professional and vocational ed-
ucation; community hygiene; sanitary regulations; the beauti-
fying of Honolulu ; all these demand the concerted action of
women and men. And then, too, there is the "call of the chil-
dren" that comes with such strength of appeal from the find-
ings of the Juvenile Court. The dependent child must be con-
sidered. The crimes that imperil the virtue of unprotected
little girls must not be hidden. The fact must be faced of the
incursion of Hawaii by large numbers of unmarried men and
the accompanying menace to young women. Unquestionably,
the conditions under which girls and women work should be
known by the public.
Churches, associations, clubs, individual philanthropists,
should have accurate knowledge of social conditions; that pau-
perizing may be avoided and that the waste of duplication in
charitable work may be avoided. Undoubtedly more light is
WOMEX AXD GlBLS IN HoXOLULU.
needed for the conduct of benevolent enterprises, perhaps not
more giving, but more "efficient giving."
Miss Blascoer's report on the industrial conditions of women
and girls, it is believed, will prove a basis for the working out
of many programs for community betterment. May it prove
rich in suggestion to the women of Honolulu. May all put
shoulder to shoulder in the task of solving the industrial prob-
lem of the girls and women in our midst, and may it give to
those who earnestly seek, a mission, a vision of great oppor-
tunities. To those who give and to those who receive, may
there result a meeting, not at the "crossroads" of mistrust and
suspicion, but on the "main traveled thoroughfare" which leads
to mutual helpfulness. Hasten the day of its arriving !
IDA M. POPE,
President, Board of Trustees of Kaiulani Home.
10 THE INDUSTRIAL CONDITION OF
TO THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES OF KAIULANI
HOME FOR GIRLS
The Industrial Committee of the Social Survey is composed
of the following members :
Miss Ida M. Pope,
Dr. Dor emus Scudder,
Professor Edgar Wood,
Mrs. May Wilcox,
President A. F. Griffiths,
Miss Kemp (who takes Miss Boshers place),
Mrs. Walter F. Frear,
Mrs. Frederick J. Lowrey,
Miss Louise Gulick,
Miss Nora Sturgeon,
Mrs. Francis M. Swanzy, Chairman.
Its mission of inquiry into the condition of working girls
and women in Honolulu has been conducted by three sub-com-
(1) On Conditions in Homes.
(2) On Conditions of Work.
(3) On Conditions of Recreations and Amusements.
The first work done was in the way of inquiry into certain
individual cases presented by Miss Blascoer ; this brought help-
ful results. A seamstress inquiry was made by Mesdames
Frear, Low r rey, Wilcox and Swanzy, in which 250 circulars
were sent out. The various responses emphasize strongly the
need of a training school for unskilled workers in this line. A
stenographer and typewriter inquiry was conducted by Pro-
fessor Wood, assisted by Messrs. George R. Carter, Walter Dil-
lingham, A. F. Judd, G. P. Wilder and W. H. Baird, tempo-
rary members of the Sub-committee on Conditions of Work
and constituting a representative group of business men espe-
cially interested. Perhaps the most interesting as well as most
WOMEN AND GIRLS IN HONOLULU. 11
valuable inquiry was that into the social activities of the com-
munity, its Recreations and Amusements. President Griffiths
prepared a list of the Public Amusements and, assisted by some
twenty-six persons, undertook the investigation of the theatres,
moving picture shows, dance halls, and parks. Mrs. Frear per-
sonally made a most exhaustive inquiry into the social activi-
ties of the many Churches of Honolulu, and Misses Bosher
and Kemp did the same for the Schools; Miss Gulick did the
work for the Missions and Settlements, Mrs. Lowrey for the
several Miscellaneous Associations, while Mrs. Swanzy collected
information regarding the fifty-odd Lodges and Fraternal Or-
Meetings of the Committee and the Sub-committees were
held during the months of July, August, September, and Oc-
tober; the last, of the committee as a whole, was w r ell attended
and the discussion in connection with the outline of a construc-
tive program kindly given by Miss Blascoer proved highly
profitable. The reports of the sub-committees have been turned
in to Miss Blascoer, whose digest of conditions she presents to
your Board. A slight sketch of the reaction of this industrial
inquiry on the persons who took part in it may, however, be
of interest. Without exception the effect of this work has been
most stimulating and beneficial, so that it may safely be said
that whatever the final outcome to the community of the Social
Survey, each individual of this committee has been helped to
a better knowledge of existing conditions and to a broader out-
look on life. Especially for the lay members windows have
been opened in various directions. May I quote an opinion
or two? One says: "This inquiry has aroused interest. We
have learned how other people's work runs along the same lines
as ours ; there has been too much of 'going it alone. 7 " An-
other: "It has been a decided help and stirred interest and
work; it has promoted discussion and information generally."
The School inquiry, which elicited a very generous and valu-
able response, in several cases of. public school teachers proved
a direct stimulus and assistance in affording opportune sugges-
12 THE INDUSTRIAL CONDITION or
tion for ways of recreation and amusement ; while the fact that
an extensive work is done by the Lodges and Fraternal Organ-
izations was made evident by that inquiry a work that is
kindly as well rs charitable, a work that is conducive to the
development of friendly feeling and good will towards men.
The social activities of these societies also cover a large field.
The Church inquiry showed that an astonishing amount is done
among some of our Honolulu congregations for the welfare and
wholesome amusement of young people and adults ,and the
Church of Latter Day Saints may be cited as particularly
active in looking after its people on week-da^s as well as Sun-
One of our women members states that she finds her per-
sonal interest in the welfare of working girls greatly broad-
ened and now has a better idea of the needs of girl s from poor
homes, particularly those who have had few opportunities. Tn
connection with the work of the Industrial Committee several
Amusement Circles for girls have been started in different parts
of town by Miss Xora Sturgeon and a band of volunteer help-
ers, and interest in this line of effort has been directly incited
among others who Avere drawn into the detail of investigation.
Finally, Dr. Scudder says that he has been thinking along
these lines for twenty years and feels that this industrial in-
quiry will be of immense value in bringing to the notice of
many who are also interested, a tangible plan of action as the
result of knowledge of conditions. He intends sneaking on the
necessity for child labor laws, to be enacted by the next Legis-
lature, so that the deplorable conditions existing in other coun-
tries need never be known here, and he will endeavor to enlist
the sympathy and influence of his congregation. His own in-
terest has been quickened, and he believes that the Kaiulani
Home Board should be heartily congratulated on having been
the means of instigating an inquiry which it is hoped will crys-
tallize into some definite and concerted program for the bet-
terment of social and industrial conditions in Hawaii nei.
JrLJE JCDD SWANZY,
October 29, 191*2. Chairman.
WOMEX AXD GlRLS IX HoXOLULU. 13
To TIIK BOARD OF TRUSTEES OF THE KAIULAXI HOME,, AXD
MEMBERS OF THE CITIZENS' COMMITTEE OF THE HO-
NOLULU SOCIAL SURVEY.
In this crossroads community of Honolulu a community
where defying Kipling, not only the East and West, but also
the North and South meet (and like one another) there are
almost as many races and admixtures represented as a man
has fingers and toes.
A girl born of a mother Avhose blood is half-Hawaiian and
half-Chinese, and of a Norwegian father, works side by side
on the one hand with a Korean maiden and on the other with
a young woman who is negro-American through one parent
and German-Hawaiian through another. The daughter of a
Portuguese-Japanese mother and an American father school-
mates with the child of a Basuto woman and an Englishman;
while side by side Portuguese, Porto Rican, Japanese, Hawai-
ian, Filipino and Negro, with all these and other inter-racial
variations, eat their lunches side by side in the pineapple can-
neries and laundries. Schools, athletic teams and other ac-
tivities show the same racial composition.
And quite as assorted as the blood is apt to be the mode of
life, dress and thought of this polyglot population. One sees
a Chinese woman in her charming native costume of brocaded
silk, her 'hair carefully pomaded and profusely ornamented,
while her feet (not by any means the "golden-lilies" so rapidly
passing into oblivion) of the small-footed Chinese are encased
in silk hose and patent leather pumps. Furthermore, she leads
by the hand a small daughter in full American panoply, not
omitting the butterfly bow of ribbon in her hair. If followed
to her home she will be found eating her bowl of rice or stewed
mushrooms with a spoon, instead of the historic chop-sticks, her
children doing the same or more likely making their fingers
14 THE INDUSTRIAL CONDITION or
Or, one meets a Japanese man, smiling with affectionate
fatuity at the infant he carries in his arms; his own kimonoed
and sandalled person topped with a regulation Panama hat.
Or again, one attends a suffrage meeting with the audience
made up of Hawaiian, Chinese and women of other national-
ities, and listens to the familiar appeals for equal pay for
equal work; amendments to the property laws; reduction of
infant mortality; more schools. And so on, until one is per-
meated with a fine glow of wonder at the universality of it all,
the "getting together" which is the surest promise of world
peace, however much one may from an aesthetic standpoint
regret certain of the departures.
Then, too, the workrooms, public utilities, public amuse-
ments (and very generally acquaintances 'and friendships)
untrammeled by racial boundaries, cause one to wonder anew
not alone at the ease with which Honolulu has dispensed with
those boundaries but also at the fact that in this year of our
Lord they still prevail in the caste-ridden communities of the
mainland. One says prevail rather than exist advisedly, be-
cause race prejudice undoubtedly exists in Honolulu, and is
openly expressed. Thus far, however, the women and girls
of Honolulu are unhampered in their opportunities, and no
man's right to decent public courtesy is violated by race feel-
ing. An Hawaiian incompetent is equally liable to be replaced
with a Portuguese, a Chinese, a Japanese, or what not.
Certain of the minor industries employ no Japanese or
Chinese help, fearing that a knowledge of processes will lead
to "unfair competition" ; but on the other hand shops manned
by the Orientals in these very same industries are springing
up all over the city. And not only do they spring up, but one
finds they usually stay.
Honolulu, in its industrial development, will need to con-
sider the two-fold life, as it were, of the normal and the tourist
population. The small shop, along various lines described
more in detail under constructive suggestions, seems in fact
the best means of taking care of the workers who might be
WOMEX AXD GlELS IX HoXOLULU. 15
trained in the needle trades an dother kindred occupations,
and for whom there is no opportunity to secure stenographic
positions, or for clerical or shop work.
For the unskilled worker, Dr. E. V. Wilcox of the Federal
Agricultural Experiment Station, who is the sponsor for the
algaroba industry is said to see the same chance in a probable
kukui-nut industry. Dr. AVilcox is quoted in the morning
paper as follows :
"Hawaii once did a big business in the exportation of
kukui oil/ 7 he says, "the old customs records of the fifties
show r that as high as ten thousand gallons were exported
some years. Kukui oil is a valuable paint oil, being
better than the best linseed and worth here as a sub-
stitute for linseed at least a dollar a gallon. The cake,
after the oil has been expressed, is a valuable fertilizing
i% I am working now to see what percentage of oil can
be extracted from the nut commercially and also getting
figures on the cost of gathering, manufacturing and such.
To put the kukui industry on its feet, all it needs is for
someone to go into the business with capital enough to buy
the entire crop and to install machinery to crush and
press it. There are thousands of tons of kukui all over
the mountains and the gathering of these will give work
to the same class of poeple as have found the algaroba
bean picking such a godsend. In Hawaii alone we use a
great deal of paint oil and there should be ready market
here. Hawaii imported fifty thousand gallons of linseed
oil in the last fiscal year. If we could have substituted
kukui oil, the Territory would have fifty thousand dollars
more in circulation, for last year alone, much of it in
circulation among the very poor."
Various business men have suggested the need for a paper
box factory; and it does not seem unlikely that such an estab-
lishment will soon be added to the industries giving employ-
16 THE INDUSTRIAL CONDITION OF
ment to unskilled labor. A silk mill is rumored, but nothing
definite can be learned concerning the reality of the rumor.
There is no doubt of the healthy prosperity and progressive
spirit of the city; but those interested in the development of
Honolulu in its broader sense will find it necessary to consider
the questions of public health involved in long working hours
for women and girls, and in the labor of children; questions
of public intelligence and citizenship bound up with the estab-
lishment of night schools and public recreation centers of
public morals as related to more opportunity, better wages,
and better training to be wives and mothers, rather than sub-
jection by unemployment, less than a living wage, and neglect
to the temptations held forth by soldier, tourist and citizen.
AND (jrlKLS IN HONOLULU.
It is only five years ago since the Pittsburgh Survey com-
menced the investigation which was the first exhaustive at-
tempt to interpret an industrial community to employers oi
labor, as well as to the community at large; and since the
publication of Miss Butler's Women and the Trades in 1909
the first of the six volumes of the Survey to appear more
than one city has made inquiry into the conditions under
which the women and girls of the community were earning
their livelihood. Notable among these inquirers have been
those made by the Women's City Club of Chicago, under the
auspices of the Russell Sage Foundation; by the Kansas "City
Board of Public Welfare, which began in February, 1911,
and is still in process ; and by the Russell Sage Foundation for
Birmingham, Ala., the latter being a reportorial survey rather
than the intensive investigation made in Pittsburg.
Five years before any of these surveys were undertaken,
however, a committee composed of sociologists, economists,
philanthropists and educators not only made a special investi-
gation of the workrooms of New York City, but reached con-
clusions which concretely express at any rate the salient-points
brought out by every survey which has since been made: (1)
that wages of unskilled labor were declining and in most
cases insufficient to maintain the worker according to the mini-
mum community standard of living; (2) that while there
were in many directions good opportunities' for skilled labor,
the supply was inadequate; (3) that the condition of the
young, inexpert working girls must be ameliaroated by : the
opening of training classes for those who have reached the age
to obtain working papers; and later experience has shown,
(4) that a vocational bureau established in connection with
the public schools tends to help girls make the most of their
equipment and guides them away from the occupations which
do not offer the right sort of opportunity.
The survey in Honolulu confirms the conclusions reached
18 TlIE INDUSTRIAL CONDITION OF
in other communities only partially. Here the wages of un-
skilled labor are advancing, although they are still insufficient
to maintain the worker according to the minimum community
standard of living, for the reason that the only occupation in
which any number of unskilled girls and women are at present
employed, i. e. the canneries, affords them employment during
only four months of the year. The second finding, that while
there are in many directions good opportunity for skilled
labor the supply is inadequate, is true here only partially.
There are only two occupations, that of seamstress and that
of stenographer which offer opportunity to any number, and
in each there is every indication that at least fifty more ex-
perienced workers could be used without crowding the present
workers.. The third finding, that the condition of young, in-
expert working girls must be ameliorated by the opening of
training classes for those who have reached the age to obtain
working papers, applies unqualifiedly in Honolulu; but their
condition must be ameliorated in a number of other ways
as well. Honolulu is faced, in fact, with the unique problem
of evolving new enterprises to take care of its women and girl
workers, in addition to creating the machinery for dealing
with those now in existence according to the most progressive
methods in operation elsewhere.
Fortunately the survey has uncovered community needs un-
filled, as well as suggested avenues of employment which there
is every reason to believe could be made profitable with in-
telligent management ; and with this in mind, together with the
possibilities of creating other preventive and educational social
machinery, the following suggestions are made :
!MUSLIN UNDERWEAR FACTORY.
A factory for the manufacture of muslin underwear, sheets,
pillow cases, mosquito nets, starting with not more than ten
A canvass of the five leading dry-goods shops showed that
there is undoubtedly a market for a sufficient amount of under-
\YOMEX AXD GIRLS ix HONOLULU. 19
wear alone to keep a factory busy at least six months in the
year. This is especially true since the pake shops making these
articles are finding it difficult to obtain help, the Chinese boys
preferring to go into the mercantile shops and factories. A
number of small Japanese shops for the manufacture of shirts
and shirt-waists are finding their work profitable ; but the manu-
facture of underwear requires organizing and concentrating.
In addition to the dry-goods shops in the regular shopping
district, a cheaper grade of underwear could be sold to the
shops in the Oriental section of the city, which now carry a
regular line of American underwear at prices considerably
above those asked on the mainland. For instance, a night-
gown selling at $1.00 in San Francisco brings $1.35 or even
Such an establishment should be managed by two trained
people ; one combining the office detail and selling end with
the help of a stenographer and bookkeeper ; the other designing
and cutting, and in charge of employing and directing the
working force. For the latter position it might be possible
to secure a \voman ; but someone with training and practical
experience in the underwear business would be indispensable.
Managers of the dry-goods establishments in Honolulu say
that if the raw materials were purchased direct from the
factory, they believe the enterprise would be successful. A
few well-made, well-cut articles to start with would be more
desirable than a great variety, they say. A display room to
which the community might be invited, would be desirable, and
would tend to create a demand for the articles made.
It has also been suggested in connection with such a factory
that unfinished overalls in large quantities 10,000 dozen-
could be had for finishing from San Francisco, where there is
difficulty under the new eight-hour law in getting the work
done. This class of work is, however, usually the poorest paid
of any of the home industries, and the matter should be care-
fully looked into.
The present demand (yearly) in the five establishments
canvassed is as follows:
THE INDUSTRIAL CONDITION OF
N rrj Q)
O o t>>
LO O O
eg o o
CO C<1 OO
2 > <w
d o c
S 02 la
WOMEN AND GIKLS IN HONOLULU. 21
AN HAWAIIAN SHOP
A tour of the local curio and art shops discloses many choice
articles typically Hawaiian in their manufacture or character.
There are to be found everywhere quantities of tapas, lauhala
mats, calabashes and leis, but in so heterogeneous a mass and
so mixed with other things that their appeal is apt to miscarry.
Tourists find it difficult to select mementos to carry away
with them, and so much valuable patronage is lost.
There are infinite possibilities in an establishment of this
kind if managed by a person of good judgment and artistic
taste. A careful assemblage of the above articles, groups of
the really artistic photographs of native types to be found in
some of the shops, framed in the beautiful koa or kou woods ;
together with other wares which might be easily evolved, would
make an attractive showing. Home-made candy specialties
and other delicacies characteristic of the islands creamed
cocoanuts; pineapple candies; home-made guava jelly; mango
jam; chutney all are in demand. A tea room, with a young
woman to check packages for shoppers, has also been suggested
by a number of people. A poi luncheon (which is nowhere
available at present) on steamer days would be a novelty.
An article in the Sunday Advertiser called attention to the
fact that no fruit shop in Honolulu made a specialty of Ha-
waiian fruits; and suggested that lauhala baskets filled with
choice mangoes, Hawaiian oranges, bananas, strawberry guavas,
mountain apples, figs and papaias wrapped in ti leaves, would
be acceptable gifts to departing friends. Any plan of this
kind, however, would depend on the extermination of the
Mediterranean fruit-fly whose depredations have caused an
embargo to be laid on all fruits and vegetables from the Island
Hawaiian shop attendants, with Chinese and Japanese girls
serving tea, would be added attractions.
These features should furnish material for advertisements
22 THE INDUSTRIAL CONDITION OF
to be placed on steamers and in the literature of the promo-
It would be difficult to give the regulation store building
the distinctively Hawaiian atmosphere which ought to go far
toward making a success of such an enterprise: and an at-
tractive cottage with a certain amount of ground space would
furnish a most appropriate setting.
WOMEN AND GIRLS IN HONOLULU. 23
PROPOSED TRADE SCHOOL
The investigation into the condition of working women and
girls in Honolulu was made primarily with a view r to estab-
lishing a trade school and special attention was therefore paid
to community needs ; for in organizing a school of this kind,
it is of first importance to suit the course of training to those
needs. The ideal of the present day vocational school is more-
over not only to train a worker to become self-supporting in
her environment, but to give her training in a sufficient variety
of allied occupations to enable her to shift from one to another
in case of need. In a large city, for instance, she is taught
the use of electric power machine operating, which enables
her in their respective seasons to work on women's underwear,
ready-made dresses, straw-sewing of men's and women's hats,
and a variety of other occupations.
She is taught her right relation to her employer, to her
fellow-worker, and to her work; to value health and how to
keep it; to make use of whatever previous education she may
have had: in general, to develop into a better woman as well
as a better worker.
These were the ideals formulated by the founders of the
Manhattan Trade School for Girls in Xew York City the
first trade school to be established in America, and with a
curriculum applied to local needs, they will serve quite as ad-
mirably for Honolulu.
The situation seems to call more than anything else for the
tying up of the threads connecting a vocational and employ-
ment 'bureau, a trade school and a place for marketing the
product of the workers; and a curriculum which would seem
to make for the greatest success alon.o* all three lines is about
1. Courses in the Needle Trades:
Shirtwaists and Underwear.
24 THE INDUSTRIAL CONDITION OF
Household articles: Sheets, Pillow Cases, etc.
Care of clothing (darning and mending).
Handwork: Hemstitching, Embroidery, Lace-making.
2. Fancy articles :
Tapas, leis of seeds, shells, etc.
3. Lauhala weaving.
4. Hat weaving.
6. Flower cultivation and lei-making.
7. Fruit and vegetable gardening.
8. Cooking :
Family cooking for girls who wish to enter domestic
Jellies and Preserves.
9. Housekeeping :
Care of bedrooms.
Cleaning and exterminating vermin.
10. Cleaning gloves and laces.
If these courses could be arranged for the morning, after-
noon and evening they would be available for school girls and
working girls, as well as for pupils who were otherwise un-
occupied. Courses N"os. 5 to 10 inclusive, might be offered
morning and afternoon, and Nos. 1 to 4 inclusive, in the after-
noon and evening. The two sets of courses would of course" re-
quire separate staffs of instructors ; I should say two instructors
for each course.
An arrangement could no doubt be made with the various
churches, settlements, etc., now giving elemental' y sewing to
send to the school the girls who wish to make sewing their
Practically all the trade schools include hygiene, physical
training, and most of them have a basketball team. Local
WOMEN AND GIRLS IN HONOLULU. 25
physicians would no doubt be glad to give a course of lectures
at the school and an arrangement might be made with one of
the Settlements whereby its advance sewing course would be
taken over in exchange for physical training by the Settlement
Trade schools have found it both desirable and profitable to
market their output; not only because it gives the pupils an
immediate earning power, but also because it encourages them
to put their best efforts into their work when they know it is
to have a place in the scheme of things.
If an Hawaiian shop, as suggested elsewhere, were estab-
lished, it would afford a market for certain of the articles
made by the pupils of the school lauhala mats, leis, flowers,
candy, preserves, cake, etc. Other articles might be disposed
of at the school. This is done "at both the New York and Bos-
ton Trade Schools, where sales are held periodically.
The successful establishment of an underwear factory would
as time goes on, naturally offer a market for girls taking the
course in Domestic Art; while a clientele for fine home-made
candies could undoubtedly be built up after the manner of the
Martha Washington and Mary Elizabeth shops in New York,
which have developed from small beginnings with a few cus-
tomers into extensive and profitable enterprises.
It would be desirable to have pupils take the entire course,
both for wage-earning purposes and for their own development.
The course in cultivation of flowers, fruits and vegetables
ought to be of special value, for there is much space around
the cottages, especially in the poorer districts, of which no
use is made. Records kept by one of the schools which has
done some work in home gardening show that the usual fate
of the sprouting seeds was to feed the chickens. No instruc-
tion was given, however, in methods of protection against either
chickens or insects. The Federal Experiment Station would
help in this matter.
Roger W. Babson, statistician, economist and the last author-
ity on the high cost of living declares that "our real need is
26 THE INDUSTRIAL CONDITION OF
for more farmers and fewer politicians. When every man
makes use of his own back yard, the cost of living will be
reduced and the ideals talked of by the progressive will be
actually accomplished but not until then." 1
The course outlined is somewhat similar to the scheme of
education given so successfully in Hampton Institute, Va.,
which is at once the pioneer and the ranking institution for
the vocational training of primitive people. Their girls, while
given very thorough industrial training are not given this
training, however, with the idea of putting them into the
trades. "The aim and purpose is primarily to develop home-
makers, women who can go back to their homes in the rural
districts and teach their people how T to keep their homes clean
and sanitary, how to care for their children and for the sick
and aged, how to make and keep in repair their own clothing,
and how to do the innumerable other things that should be
done in a well-regulated home," says the Commissioner of
Labor in his report on Industrial Education. 2
In this connection it is interesting to note that General Arm-
strong, the founder of Hampton, was the son of Hawaii's first
Commissioner of Education, whose reports advocated this same
training for Hawaiians in the early missionary days.
1 Current Literature, August, 1912, p. 166.
2 Twenty-fifth annual report of the Commissioner of Labor,
1910, p. 321.
WOMEX AXD GIRLS ix HONOLULU. 27
VOCATIONAL AND EMPLOYMENT BUREAU
The establishment and intelligent conduct of a vocational
employment bureau goes far to help a community secure a com-
prehensive grasp of its industrial situation. Such a bureau
is most efficient when officially connected with the department
of public instruction. It may, however, be conducted by an
unofficial body, as in Cincinnati, where it is under the manage-
ment of the Charlotte Schmidlapp Foundation, and in Boston,
where it had its inception, and is still philanthropically man-
aged. There must, however, be a sound Compulsory Attendance
School Law on which to base it. Hawaii's Law requiring
school attendance of all children from six to seventeen years
of age is admirable; but it is weakened by the proviso: "If
when a child has reached the age of twelve years and has not
completed the fourth grade of the primary school he shall be
eligible for instruction ONLY in an industrial school/'
While it is safe to assume that the child who has attended
school from his sixth year until his twelfth, without reaching
a higher grade than the fourth primary, should undoubtedly be
trained for an industrial occupation; yet on the other hand the
exemption from compulsory school attendance "if there is no
school within four miles of a child's home," together with the
known insufficient school accommodation in parts of the Ha-
waiian Islands makes it easily possible for hundreds of children
to be prevented from entering school until their seventh or
eighth year. In families Avho have come to Honolulu from
rural districts, children have reached the age of ten without
having been entered at school. It is obviously unfair, there-
fore, to deprive the child of an opportunity to receive an
education because through no fault of his he may have been
retarded in his studies.
Wherever there is large foreign element, or where for other
reasons the normal rate of progress is likely to be departed
from by any large number of pupils, the course favored gen-
28 THE INDUSTRIAL CONDITION OF
erally by educators is the establishment of vacation schools,
in which a child who fails of promotion may have instruction
in the studies needed to bring him up with his class.
Study rooms in charge of teachers, in the evening, or after
school, have also been opened in districts where non-English-
speaking parents are unable to assist their children in pre-
Matters of retardation and the remedies therefor are at
present receiving the most careful attention of progressive
educators. The Kussell Sage Foundation and the Bureau of
Municipal Research in ISTew York, two social investigating
bodies, are seeking the best means for removing disabilities
which may prevent a child from advancing in school and so
of having an opportunity in life.
No sociological investigation of rural conditions has been
made in Hawaii for the purpose of learning the exact extent
to which children of the rural communities are prevented from
attending school, and what actual bearing this has on planta-
tion labor. It has been demonstrated beyond a doubt, however,
that the negroes in the southern states have left the plantations
mainly because their children either did not have any educa-
tional facilities, or because the schools they might or could
attend were not up to the standard. In a number of instances
they built and equipped their own schoolhouses.
A people that cannot see a bettering of conditions not
alone economic, but individually broadening for their children
is always prone to be dissatisfied.
The above clause in the Hawaiian School Law might be
changed to one permitting a child who has failed to make a
certain grade after attending school a given number of years,
to take industrial training plus a certain number of days of
school attendance, as this is undoubtedly its intent.
The clause permitting a child to leave school at the age of
fifteen and go to work, regardless of what grade has been
reached, is also not in accordance with the most progressive
laws in force elsewhere.
AXD GlRLS IN HONOLULU. 29
Cincinnati has approached the German continuation school
plan by passing a law making it compulsory for a child to be
either in school or at work after fifteen, a day's attendance
at school each week being required until the eighteenth year
if the child goes to work at the age of fifteen. A certain
grade rating must have been reached, however, before working-
papers can be obtained on this basis ; and the child must also
pass a medical examination which proves him to be in fit phy-
sical condition to become a wage-earner.
Before working papers are issued, moreover, a position must
be obtained,, a signed card from the prospective employer be-
ing the basis on which permission to work is given. Each
time a position is changed these papers are re-issued, and no
employer is permitted by law to engage a boy or girl under
eighteen on papers issued to any other employer. A physical
examination is made each time the working papers are re-
issued in order that it may be noted what effect if any an occu-
pation is having on a child's health.
A careful record is kept of the ^child's family history, as
well as of the occupation in which he is engaged; and his
working history if more than one position is held. This latter
gives the reason for changing, and helps in the study of a
At the time of graduation parents of each child are sent a
circular by the Board of Education in which are described the
further educational advantages offered by the city or state
high schools, trade schools, etc. and the time necessary to be
spent in each; also the probable advantages accruing from
each course. The parents are asked to consult with the voca-
tional bureau, which receives also the report of the teacher
in charge of vocational matters in each school.
With the help of such a bureau boys and girls have been
prevented from entering occupations offering no chance for
advancement, and have been placed in line to earn an adequate
livelihood. Where mental equipment justifies it, children who
30 THE INDUSTRIAL CONDITION OF
would otherwise be obliged to become wage-earners are granted
scholarships enabling them either to take training in a trade
school or to continue their studies in high school. This aid is
given in Cincinnati in the form of a loan granted by the Char-
lottee Schmidlapp Foundation. In Xew York the scholar-
ships are supported by a philanthropic committee, connected
with the Henry Street Settlement.
Dean Herman Schneider, of the School of Engineering in
the University of Cincinnati, has been working out a continua-
tion school plan whereby instead of a trade school with ex-
pensive equipment the students in the School of ^Engineering
are given their shop training in the factories, their instructors
giving part time to factory work and part time in the Uni-
versity. In this way not the least valuable lesson learned is
the knowledge gained by the University itself of what methods
of instruction are actually of value as applied to business
Mr. Schneider is also giving much attention to the question
of temperaments suited to various occupations. A highly
organized nervous temperament cannot permanently engage?
in enervating work i. e. work done over and over again by
each worker in the smallest number of cubic feet of space
without making for the breakdown of the individual unless
the period of work is shortened sufficiently to permit this
worker to engage in some other form of activity which will
counteract the effect of his daily occupation. This prescrip-
tion of vocation and avocation Mr. Schneider conceives to be
the real function of vocational guidance; and he freely con-
fesses that he is as yet far from a solution of the problem.
In his analysis of work he says: "It is fundamental that
mankind must do stimulating work or retrogress. This is the
bed-rock upon w r hich our constructive programs of education,
industry, sociology of living, must rest . . . One may safely
propose as a thesis that only that civilization will prevail whose
laws and life conform most nearly of Natural Law. The worth
of our education, our laws, our scientific management will
X AXD GIRLS ix HONOLULU.
lined by the extent to which they will make clear, con-
form with and supplement the laws of work. Their test will
lie in the degree to which they are useful in leading us safely
forward to better, brighter condition of work and their basic
idea must be service to the mass."
32 THE INDUSTBIAL CONDITION OF
The questionnaire sent to the public schools, asking how
many pupils in the classes belong to clubs or other groups for
recreational purposes, in the settlements and elsewhere, brings
out the fact that, with only one school report missing, 597
children out of the 6,031 attending school in Honolulu this
vear are in such ways provided with socializing influence once
a week. Of course many have home surroundings which make
outside influence unnecessary. The public playground, how-
ever, has an attendance of over two hundred a day, an indica-
tion of what might be expected in attendance if the school
yards were equipped with playground apparatus and placed
2sTo social activities are reported by the public schools them-
selves excepting a picnic given annually or semi-annually.
On the other hand, a similar questionnaire sent to the private
schools, including those philanthropically supported brought
forth the following list of activities for bovs and girls:
House and Table Games,
Orchestra under Trained Leader,
Society to Develop Thoughtfulness for other peoples (races),
Travel Talks, illustrated,
AYOMEX AXD GlRLS IA T HoXOLULU. 33
Thanksgiving Offering to Poor,
Flowers for Decorating Soldiers' Graves.
Christian Endeavor Societies,
Junior Auxiliary to Board of Missions,
This very full and comprehensive program throws into strong-
relief the barrenness of the lives of the students after they
graduate or leave these institutions, as well as the lack of
any like opportunity for development offered by the com-
munity to its young people not in private schools. These pro-
grams will, it is hoped, be used by any committee taking up
the question of public recreation.
I have talked with graduates of Kamehameha, who for-
tunately have an alumnae association, and with Normal and
Punahou girls, w r ho found no substitute for their basketball,
tennis, and social life generally as they lived it while at school.
It is true that Palama and Kalihi Settlements have basketball,
dancing and gymnasium classes; but these institutions owe a
duty to the economically handicapped portion of the community
which they are taxed to their capacity in discharging. I
question very strongly if it is advisable to call on philanthropy
for the provision of cultural and social activities for wage-
earners. Is it not rather philanthropy's best service to
stimulate those who are as yet unawakened to the possibilities
of life, and then pass them on to the normal community for
the development of those possibilities ?
An inquiry made by the sub-committee on public and quasi-
public amusements settlements, churches, benevolent societies,
lodges, etc. brought out the usual social equipment of a city
of this size. But there is an element which finds its social
expression rather in independent groups made up of congenial
persons ; and where these groups can be brought into the public
school recreation center with its library, gymnasium, piano and
other activities, all under intelligent guidance, a broad social
34 THE INDUSTRIAL COXDITIOX OF
development is possible. The church clubs, settlement clubs
and benevolent societies have their normal membership; but it
is more difficult than can be realized by those who have never
tried, to bring the other group into this environment. It is
a group that needs to be provided for in the community social
scheme, and other communities have found that the school-
house recreation center best cares for it.
Evening recreation centers for adults have been established
in other cities at little expense. Once the work of organizing
and equipping them is accomplished, their work goes on almost
Wherever evening schools, recreation centers, playgrounds,
vacation schools and other activities connected with the public
school system have been established it is becoming more and
more apparent that measures making for social betterment are
nowhere else so effectively applied as in the public schools.
Here is the most democratic of all our institutions the place
where, with a compulsory education law carefully enforced,
100 per cent, of the coming generation of citizens may be
The result of the sub-committee's investigation of parks
showed that all were inadequately lighted, with an occasional
concert forming the only entertainment offered. Open pavilions
in the parks, with public dances under proper supervision ought
to be an ideal means of fighting the dance hall evil in Hono-
lulu. Since the recent passing of an ordinance regulating
dance halls there has been little activity among them, the
most notorious remaining closed. It is thought that they will
soon reopen, and the volunteer supervisors which the ordinance
provides will, it is to be feared, find themselves faced with a
difficult problem. A dance hall ordinance cannot be made
really effective unless an argus-eyed person is on the premises
continuously every ni^ht until it is learned which managers
are to be trusted to abide by the law. This has been the in-
variable experience elsewhere.
The Settlements, Missions and other organizations are assist-
WOMEN AND GIKLS IN HONOLULU. 35
ing several hundred men and a few women to learn English in
classes conducted for the most part in crowded quarters, and
taught by workers who have many other duties which are in
The large number in attendance at these classes, the fact
that several Japanese classes are self-supporting and that Ha-
waiians are attending a class intended for Chinese only, proves
a healthy demand for instruction.
Hawaii owes a peculiar debt to its foreign element to its
Portuguese, Spanish, Porto Rican and Filipino population es-
pecially, who are brought from their native land to perform
the work of the country, but have no opportunity to Jearii its
language. Their children sometimes grow up to working age
with only the slightest knowledge of English.
If it is necessary for private philanthropy to aid in establish-
ing night classes in English, there are surely few better ways
in which money could be expended. In New York the first
classes in English for immigrants were started on the lower
East Side thirteen years ago, by private philanthropy, and six
years later were taken over by the Board of Education. Day
classes were also maintained for immigrant children, who
were thus enabled to enter school with a working knowledge of
Afternoon classes which household servants might be able to
attend, and to which could also be sent the children who were
backward in their studies because of lack of English, should
prove valuable in Honolulu.
The Department of Education should not, however, be urged
to undertake any of this work until every child in the Territory
has been provided with school accommodations.
A study made under the auspices of the Bureau of Municipal
Research in the recent Xew York School Inquiry of the Board
of Estimate and Apportionment of that city, brought out the
fact that there were 76 agencies offering "direct, continuous and
gratuitous co-operation" to the public schools. These agencies
included the Public Schools Athletic League, teaching the folk-
36 THE INDUSTRIAL CONDITION OF
dancing to the children at the recreation centers; visiting-
teachers the friendly visitor from the school to the home sup-
plied by the Public Education Association, church societies, etc. ;
vacation schools for backward children started by the Associa-
tion for Improving the Condition of the Poor and later taken
over by the Board of Education ; and numerous other activities,
supprted by independent agencies.
"Helping School Children," by Miss Elsa Denison, published
by Harper & Brother, and Perry's "Wider Use of the School
Plant" published by the Russell Sage Foundation, describes the
successful ways in which communities have used the school
plant, and in this manner filled their needs without erecting ex-
pensive and unnecessary buildings.
WO.MKX AXD GIRLS i^ HONOLULU. 37
IWILEI AND THE WORKERS
(Observations made at visits during the lunch hour and in the
evening, to the stockades immediately adjoining the can-
neries, where the social evil has its generally recognized
being in Honolulu.)
Up the long lane from the railroad station and past the peni-
tentiary; then some tumbledown sheds in the last stages of
decay but occupied by human beings ; next a few cottages, reas-
onably well-kept and attractive, all of them rented for immoral
purposes. Then the canneries themselves. But up this road,
almost half a mile long, must come the women and girls who
work in the three establishments offering practically all the
work obtainable in Honolulu by unskilled workers. The only
alternative to this route is the unsafe one across the railroad
tracks. Not only must the workers come this way, but they
must return home either through this district meeting and
being accosted by soldiers and citizens on their way to the
dives or else they must cross the railroad tracks, almost always
after dark, with dim light down the alley and no light at all
across the tracks.
Immediately beyond the canneries lies the remainder of the
Iwilei district running up almost to the cannery gates. In
this section are the only lunch rooms available for the cannnery
employes. The girls and women must either come here, or
must bring their lunch, or purchase the sweet rolls, cakes,
candy and soda water which are the only refreshments sold by
the Japanese who bring their lunch wagons to the cannery
premises at noon and in the evening. Either course means a
cold meal after five hours of work, with no place to sit down
and eat it.
The restaurants of the district are surprisingly clean and
all owned by Chinese. They fill to their capacity a few mo-
ments after 12 o'clock with men and women, boys and girls,
of all nationalities. The bill of fare varies from coffee and
38 TJIE INDUSTRIAL CONDITION OF
rolls for five cents to a dinner : a bowl of soup with bread, ac-
companied by an egg or a plate of stew, for fifteen cents. A
( liinese woman and a child a girl about ten years old shared
a ten cent plate of rice and stew. Men and girls chaffed one
A tall, bony Korean made his lunch of coffee and sweet
rolls. He said he had had the same thing for breakfast, before
starting work at 7 o'clock, but sometimes varied this menu
with a bowl of milk. He got his dinner at a restaurant in town
for ten cents. He said he was working his way through school.
In another restaurant a Porto Rican woman sat in the corner
smoking a cigarette. She spoke no English. Her neighbor at
table was a young Hawaiian woman an ex-teacher who told
us she had married and given up her school; but her husband
earned only $35 a month driving a baker's wagon, so she
worked during the canning season. This particular restaurant
stands between two of the most notorious resorts in the district.
As we left, a small, thin Hawaiian girl was about to enter the
shop to buy a sweet to finish lunch. She and her grandmother
worked together in one of the canneries. She had earned $.50
the week previous. She said she was sixteen years old, but
she did not look fourteen. Her grandmother, between canning
seasons, earns $3 a week packing coffee. The grandfather has
asthma and cannot work. The girl said they had only poi for
each of their three meals, sometimes with a little dried fish
or an onion for flavoring.
The women of the district, when asked about the cannery girls'
presence in the district, spontaneously expressed the opinion
that "it was wrong for the little ones to come here." They said
keepers of houses in the district frequently accosted the girls in
the restaurants; but they had not seen any of the girls go into
One of the women told us of a little Filipino wife, only
fifteen years old, who worked in the cannery with her husband ;
but he had been sick and when the baby came they had no furni-
ture and there was no money to provide the necessaries for
o^IEX AXD GlKLS IN HONOLULU.
either mother or child. "And so" said M - "we women just
got together and made the baby clothes, and got her a bed and
some things. Why," she added shamefacedly, "you'd have
thought it was a sewing circle, to look at us."
We saw what I was told is a very rare thing indeed a pure-
blooded Hawaiian girl in one of the resorts. We SDoke to her,
and the Humane Officer, who was with me, and who spoke her
native tongue, said the girl appeared to be Aveakrninded.
The suggestion was offered by the foreman at one of the can-
neries that if a serious effort were made the district might be
turned into a community of workingmen's cottages. This seems
a much more likely way of cleaning up the industrial district
at any rate, than any process of law would be likely to lead to.
If this could be done, and a club house established where hot
luncheons would be served and a rest-room provided, it would
indeed be replacing figs for thistles. Xo more promising place
for establishing a basis for relationship with the girls who work
in the canneries could be wished for than would be afforded by
such a center.
40 THE IXDUSTEIAL CONDITION or
The wage-earning Hawaiian has, as the kindly French saying
goes, the faults of his qualities. Naturally gay and pleasure-
loving he has worked, fished, swam, sang and feasted his way
through life as he listed, and it is only a generation since he
took his rest with equal ease on the shores of his beloved ocean
or beneath the boughs of the hau tree. Luaus and hulas were
frequent and Hawaiian hospitality is still proverbial. He has
never learned to say "no" to whomsoever may be the latest
Each man had the grant of his own kuleana, with a taro-field
on the mountainside or up in the valley where the showers are
frequent and a place to fish on the seashore. The newly pre-
pared taro-field yielded first its wild crop of popolo ; and cocoa-
nuts, guavas, yams, mountain apples, water lemons and bread-
fruit were his for the gathering.
Large numbers of the natives have now, however, almost
wantonly mortgaged, sold or given away their property. The
temptation has been great to lease the acre or acre and a half
constituting their little domain, to the Japanese or Chinese
gardeners at $40 or $50 annually, and then borrow small sums
from their tenants, until some morning they wake and find
themselves no longer in possession.
Hundreds of families, too, still live on the lands of their old
chiefs or of the kamaaina families, who pay the taxes. So
long as they live they may remain there, raising their taro,
flowers, chickens and pigs. The fishing of commerce has passed
into the hands of the Japanese but a man's own "catch" is suf-
ficient for himself and family.
This "family" is apt to be made up of all his unattached
friends and relatives, male and female, less well-off than him-
self, who sometimes pay for at any rate their food by a donation
of a proportion of the family necessities in poi or canned meats
WOMEX AND GlKLS IX HONOLULU. 41
or fish. Others, however, pay nothing at all. The thrifty, hard-
working man is, therefore, often heavily handicapped. The
more thoughtful of the older Hawaiians say that the next ten
years must bring a change : mortgages contracted with no thought
of repayment (sometimes the money has been borrowed to give
a luau) will fall due; competition for work will increase; and
while the head of the house may at the present time be earning
a comfortable living as a carpenter, a blacksmith, a painter, or
a longshoreman, etc., a man in the next generation, with his rent
to pay, will find that his hospitality and even his ability to care
for his immediate family may be curtailed. This of course in
the event of his pursuing his present improvident way.
The Hawaiian home the wage-earner's home varies so that
it is difficult to form any judgment of the economic status of
the occupant. A tenement room ,by its bareness, is apt to
give an impression of extreme poverty which the facts in the
case do not warrant. Cottages of well-to-do natives frequently
have no furnishings but a lauhala mat on the floor and portraits
of departed kings and queens on the wall. On the other hand,
one happens on a heavily upholstered, gilt-picture-framed-
center-table-with-the-family-Bible house which brings one back
to the East Side of New York City with scarcely a jar.
The native menu is simple ; one full meal a day is the rule ;
coffee and bread or simply a bowl of poi constituting the other
two. The omission of a meal or two now and then troubles the
Hawaiian not at all. Poi, fish, fruit, with an occasional indul-
gence in yams, taro-top-greens and pork or chicken, forms the
usual bill of fare.
The holoku is still the almost universal dress of the native
women. The missionary who "had this sartorial inspiration was
a true artist, for no other garment could give the touch of
stateliness and dignity to the almost invariably full Hawaiian
figure that in American attire might well be awkward and un-
The native girl of pure Hawaiian blood is generally large-
boned, but slender even to daintiness when there is a mixture
42 THE INDUSTRIAL CONDITION OF
of some other blood with flashing eyes and a profusion of long,
black hair, almost always with threads of grey before the
twentieth year is reached. Her teeth are even and white and
she laughs a great deal, particularly when she tells you that
father or mother has joined the Mormons not father and
mother a procedure w r hich is becoming more and more com-
mon, and which for some reason not yet made apparent , always
affords the other members of the family much amusement.
Employers say generally that Hawaiian girls, while amiable
and amenable, have not the energy and push necessary to make
them thoroughly efficient. There is a general impression that
they are irresponsible, and that good fishing weather, a family
luau or a fancied offense are each one by itself or collectively
sufficient reason for discontinuing business relations. An ex-
amination, however, which was made of the time books in three
distinct occupations a cannery, a laundrv and a wholesale
house, showed an almost clean record for married women and
girls alike, so far as absences were concerned. With the excep-
tion of a day here and there far less than the average of ab-
sences elsewhere the four months covered showed steady work.
The girls are prompt, employers say, in coming to work in the
morning, but are apt to dawdle before settling down to their
occupation both in the morning and after the lunch period.
In a number of instances, it was found that work had been
given up and employment changed because pay envelopes had
been short several hours' time, in spite of the fact that in every
case the mistake had been corrected when called to the fore-
Xone of the women or girls spoken with had any complaints
to make concerning their work. Although limping painfully
after a week of standing from seven in the morning until seven
or eight o'clock at night often their first experience with any
sort of occupation they stoutly maintained that they were not
Managers of both canneries and laundries say that they have
no difficulty in securing Hawaiian girls. An advertisement for
WOMKX AND GIRLS IN HONOLULU. 43
help always brings more applicants than there are positions,
except during the few heaviest weeks of the canning season.
One tender-hearted proprietor said he never . advertised be-
cause he couldn't bear to disappoint the girls ; but always secured
new workers through those he already employed. Boarding-
house keepers tell of girls who waited on the table and did
chambermaid's work during the summer to pay for their books
at formal school.
Among the most ubiquitous and characteristic of the native
workers the lei-makers and vendors one finds few young-
girls. Perhaps this is because of the problem peculiar to the
Hawaiian girl in Honolulu, which is created for the most part
by her inheritance. The echo of the old Hawaiian traditions of
hospitality, or perhaps a phase of that same hospitality which
now finds expression in welcoming the stranger to her native
land, tends to give the less carefully trained native girl an un-
reserve that, combined with a genuinely sweet and friendly na-
ture, too often causes her to fall an easy victim to men who re-
gard her as legitimate prey. The large transient element and
especially the numbers of soldiers quartered on the island, make
it actually unsafe for a girl to go about her business unmolested
unless she is possessed of unusual force of character.
But in spite of this, and in spite too of the fact that the
problem of subsistence has not yet become acute for the Ha-
waiians in Honolulu, a large number of the native women and
girls, with the awakening of new desires whether for more
wearing apparel more amusement more education or more op-
portunitv are becoming serious workers.
There is no question but that a large factor in the reason for
Hawaiian girls entering the wage-earning field will be found
in the fact that numbers of them are the illegitimate daughters
of white men who have made no provision for either them or
their mothers. Unmarried mothers are almost, without excep-
tion, taken care of with their babies by their own families, and
it is difficult to make them think seriously of the future of the
fatherless little one, since they are themselves still so close to
44 THE INDUSTRIAL CONDITION OF
the promiscuity in sex relations of the early Hawaiian days.
This type of girl, however, is by no means to be considered rep-
resentative of that portion of the race which has had oppor-
tunity and careful training ; and the mother of numerous illegiti-
mate children is likely to be most careful of her daughter's up-
bringing and conduct.
The kimonoed figures of the Japanese women and girls
shambling gaily along form an attractive Dart of Honolulu's
street life. Here they enjoy a social libertv undreamed of in
their native land, and the taste of it may be said to have gone
to their heads. Few young women even of the economically in-
dependent families are held to the rigid regime which Japanese
custom prescribes; and while here and there a girl comes
through her school course with the same ideals of freedom
which the American girl has come to accept as a matter of
course, on the majority of Japanese girls it has had a much
more violent reaction.
They are the fighters among the women wage earners of the
city, as are the men among those of their own sex, although ably
seconded in this respect by the Spanish. The latter, however,
are present in such small numbers that they do not play an
important part in the life of the city. The Japanese who come
to Hawaii are almost entirely peasants and speak a patois. As
wage-earners they have bettered themselves immeasurably.
Those with whom I have spoken are enthusiastic about the
opportunity here. They are slowly drawing away from the
plantations and are concentrating in the pineapple fields and
small truck farms near the city. A number of them told me
that the discrepancy between the cost of living and wages in
Japan was rapidly bringing about an acute condition of affairs
that women and girls were being ground up like chaff in the
industrial enterprises of their native land.
One finds few Japanese families in the tenements, the ma-
jority of small shop-keepers living in the cottages back of their
AYOMEX AXD GlKLS IX HoXOLULU. 45
stores. The tenements have their quota of Japanese, of course,
but this is almost entirely made up of single men or of couples
The generation which has been educated in the public schools
as well as in their own Japanese schools for the children at-
tend both is highly spoken of by both instructors and em-
ployers. Their privilege to vote will make their dual citi-
zenship a matter which will soon require final adjustment.
The women who are entering now come as picture brides ;
and whereas a generation ago few Japanese children were born
in Hawaii, abortionists abounded among them, the past five
years has brought a change and families of at least moderate
size are now the rule and are found in every part of the com-
munity, characteristically assimilating everything educational
In the Japanese, as in the Chinese home, one fails to find
the supposed rice and tea diet of the Oriental family. Unlike
the Chinese wage-earners' families who eat no vegetables but
rice and the dried mushrooms from the Orient, the Japanese are
very fond of cabbage, turnips, and all kinds of beans, and
eat a great deal of all, as well as of rice. Fish, fresh or dried.,
is also a favorite article of food.
The women are not strong physically, but perform hard and
exhausting work, keeping up through sheer force of spirit the
national philosophy : Bushido.
Only since the breaking up of the old dvnasty and the estab-
lishment of the republic with its votes for women have
Chinese girls and women become wage-earners outside of the
home. Their entrance into the occupations has been effected
by a phalanx of women and girls of all ages, from the grand-
mother of fifty or more down to seven and eight year old
The wives and daughters of the merchant class are still at
home, many of them being "shut in" on reaching their four-
46 THE INDUSTRIAL CONDITION OF
teenth year until their marriage to an unknown man the emi-
nently practical Chinese way of dealing with the "silly age."
Even these shut-in girls, however, are coming to sewing classes
at the Mission schools to learn English and sewing. But why
teach them to make Irish crochet bags and embroidered linen
center pieces when their own beautiful Chinese embroideries
are so much asked for in the Chinese shops by tourists ?
The wives and daughters of the skilled and unskilled working
men are finding their way into every sort of occupation, and
everywhere they are making enviable records for themselves for
ability, intelligence and reliability. Within the next five years
the Japanese woman will have a strong competitor one who by
her training and inheritance will perhaps bring about a higher
standard of stability as well as habits of work.
The Chinese employer finds it more economical to pay his
men $20 a month and to feed them well himself, rather than
pay him a somewhat more advanced wage and take the risk of
his being sufficiently well fed at home to maintain his working
efficiency. Clerks in the smaller Chinese shops, carpenters em-
ployed by Chinese builders, painters, etc., are therefore paid
in this manner, and their families must bear the resulting hard-
ships. Four or five children mean that the wife must also be a
wage-earner, and the children too as soon as they are old
enough often before. But although a rice and tea diet is
popularly supposed to prevail among the Chinese of this class,
the only family I found subsisting on such a diet was doing so
because the father had had a long illness and was paying* off
a debt he had contracted.
A trip through the tenements at dinner time revealed nothing
more simple than a bowl of rice crowned by a plump portion of
fish, which was being absorbed by a group of children in one of
the alleys. Other kitchens showed pots of stewed mushrooms,
soy, green salad, or fish ; but always accompanied by a bowl of
rice, and of course, a pot of tea.
The tenement rooms of the Chinese families are the most at-
WOMEN AND GIELS IN HONOLULU. 47
tractive of any seen. The furnishings are simple, and there
are always pots of flowers and ferns at the door. The women
are friendly, and chat freely of their affairs so far as vocabulary
w r ill permit. J^ext door, however, one may find a bare room
occupied by two or three men who have no families; and two
or three hours later they will be there gambling and opium-
smoking, breaking up the cheerful homelike aspect of the place.
In the cottages, which were often occupied by two families,
the women were watering their garden patches, complaining the
while that their "men too much long work, no home." These
are the wives of the clerks in the larger shops, or of merchants.
Women from the adjoining cottages came to their doors and
nodded a smiling greeting. All of them are much interested in
the suffrage movement which under the leadership of prominent
Hawaiian women is agitating Honolulu, and all vehemently
say that they "laik work."
The girls and women for the most part still wear their com-
fortable, becoming native costume of blue or lavender cotton;
and the former especially are exceedingly attractive, with their
bright faces, slender bodies and long thick braids of black hair.
Prostitution and sex immorality is almost unknown and even
the polygamous household is falling into disfavor , especially
with the second wives.
It will be interesting to note what their emancipation will
bring to the coming generation.
The Portuguese form quite a distinct element in the com-
munity. It is curious, in discussing races in Hawaii, to hear
" Portuguese and White" written and spoken of. The fact thrit
there are a number of families of the Cape Verde or black
Portguese type in Hawaii has tended to differentiate the Por-
tuguese as a whole.
Their presence here is wholly artificial, brought aboui by ti.e
assisted immigration program of the Sugar Planters' Associa-
48 THE INDUSTRIAL CONDITION OF
tion; and they are the favorite workers on the best plantations.
Once a Portuguese decides to remain in the country he loses no
time in acquiring literally his own "vine and fig tree."
This nationality shows the strongest contrasts of any in
Honolulu, being at once the most thrifty, the largest alms-
asking, the most efficient working and most hopelessly offend-
ing child laboring and school evading element in the population.
A logical explanation is offered by their Consul who lays the
blame for the mendicacy on the Portuguese nabobs who became
millionaires by exploiting the natives in Brazil, and then re-
turned to their own country and made their peace with God by
endowing Portugal with every sort of eleemosynary institution
possible to create.
Their thrift is the result of the habit of work centuries old,
while the ingrained habit which fathers of all civilized nations
have of raising large families and retiring from work to live on
their children's earnings at the earliest feasible time is one
of the principal factors everywhere in making child labor laws
a necessity. Xot until there is sufficient school accommodations
in Honolulu will the truant officer have an adequate basis for
enforcing the compulsory school attendance law.
The girls and women are well liked by employers. They are
reserved and have a hint of melancholy in their temperament
which is quite foreign to other workers in Honolulu.
Portuguese families are almost a rarity in the tenement
houses. The meanest sort of cottage is preferred by them,
w r here they may cultivate their own vegetables and raise their
While the majority of the immigrants cam.3 from the same
social class, many nice distinctions have sprung up with the
passing of years and the acquiring of new standards, and it
is therefore impossible to characterize the Portuguese population
or even the Portuguese wage-earners in Honolulu as a whole,
with anything like the definiteness distinguishing the workers
of other races.
WOMEN AND GIRLS IN HONOLULU.
lolulti's teaching force, like its copulation, includes rep-
resentatives of the four corners of the earth :
Hawaiian or Part Hawaiian 32
Chinese - 7
Other Foreigners 6
These are all first-grade certificate teachers, earning salaries
of from $600 to $1,000 a year. Teachers are on duty five days
in the week, from 9 a. m. until 2 p. m., and the school year is
nine months, with a total of three months' vacation. The salary
schedule is substantially the same as in other communities of
this size, but the school day is shorter by two hours than it is on
the mainland. The community is paying its teachers for their
eighth year of service $75 a month about the same pay a
stenographer receives at the end of her first year's work, with
an even greater scarcity in supply, and a far more urgent need.
Teachers here, as indeed they do everywhere, complain of the
small pay, and those spoken with expressed a preference for
longer hours and more pay.
A number of teachers were spoken to with reference to the
wide discrepancy between the social and community aspect of
the public and private school work in Honolulu. It was sug-
gested that a teacher's institute would do much to stimulate
such activity, by giving; opportunity for the interchange of
thought among the teachers in Honolulu and those from other
sections of the Islands who have a considerable amount of
social activity with their school work.
This would seem to be an admirable plan, and the steamship
50 THE INDUSTRIAL CONDITION OF
companies might be induced to grant special rates for such an
occasion so that attendance would not be an unduly heavy finan-
cial burden. Reduced transportation is usually obtained for
A number of the teachers were interested in the question of
getting into closer touch with the children in their homes, and
are planning to meet the parents at an early date.
There are only six teachers on the waiting list at present
while on the other hand groups of children of school age continue
to be seen on every block during school hours. Either the re-
quired accommodations are not yet provided, or else the com-
pulsory law is not being enforced.
In the private schools there are forty women teachers re-
ceiving salaries ranging from $450 to $1,500 a year, and living
expenses. In several instances salaries are not ^aid for the
summer vacation; but teachers have the privilege of living at
the school without expense.
While the maximum salary is greater than in the public
schools, the private school work includes a comprehensive social
program noted in the chapter on "Public Amusements," which
calls for much service outside of school hours.
The Territorial Teachers' Association could do much if it
would interest itself in the social problems of the city. Sociolo-
gists are coming; to agree that in last analvsis the teacher and
the policeman are the forces which may be regarded as capable
of becoming the strongest bulwarks of social betterment. Some
place the policeman's opportunity first; but in considering
Honolulu's problems I should say that the teacher might at any
rate 'be entitled to equal consideration.
There is a wide divergence of opinion in the community con-
cerning the question of nurses and where the supply ought to
come from. At present there are about thirty-five private nurses
officially registered at the Sanitorium, who earn $25 and $30 a
\Vo.MEX AXD GlKLS IN HONOLULU. 51
week. This number, I am told, fairly supplies the normal de-
mand in Honolulu; but the nurses come and go, and not half a
dozen have ties which make them an integral part of the com-
Queen's Hospital employs regularly sixteen nurses at $50 a
month and living expenses, and a head nurse at $75 a month
and living expenses. This means an expense of $875 a month.
A hospital of this size located in a community of the type of
Honolulu should be able at an expense of $250 a month and liv-
ing expenses for a superintendent of nurses and an assistant, to
train a class of fifteen girls at no cost to the community other
than their living expenses and about $150 a month of an allow-
ance for their uniforms, books, etc.
jNTative girls who have taken hospital training on the main-
land are not only giving the best of satisfaction but are earning
salaries far higher than it would be possible for them to secure
in any other way.
The corps of district nurses, who receive salaries of $90 a
month and have continuous work, is constantly receiving addi-
tions, and the demand for this class of help in various institu-
tions is constantly increasing.
As at present organized the three separate hospitals, Queen's,
the Children's and the Maternity Home represent an outlay for
plant and running expenses which might easily be materially
lessened. A consolidation of the Maternity Home and the
Children's Hospital would not only be an economy, but would
give both institutions an opportunity to give thorough training
to a corps of children's nurses, as well as to give maternity
and children's diseases practice to nurses taking training at
Queen's Hospital. Such a course is customary in other cities.
If the consolidation could be effected and a resident physician
placed in charge, it would not only place both institutions on a
higher basis, but would leave the supervising nurse free to train
the proposed nursing classes. This would mean to subscribers
to both institutions an opportunity for truly efficient giving
which in turn means the consideration of community needs first.
52 THE INDUSTRIAL CONDITION OF
last and always; and making a dollar perform 100 per cent of
Only recently while visiting a family in Camp 2, a young
baby fell from the second story porch and struck its head in
falling. Owing to the necessity for immediate medical attend-
ance it was impossible to take it to the Children's Hospital, and
the child had to be rushed down to Queen's Hospital.
I know of nothing that is better worth doing in the com-
munity than making these changes in the hosi)ital regime, and
instituting a course of training for nurses. If the matter were
given newspaper publicity young women of the city would
undoubtedly furnish good material for the classes.
A circular letter sent to ei^hty-eisiit representative employers
of stenographers in Honolulu, supplemented by further personal
inquiry, indicates that there are about 100 women stenographers
employed in the city at present, at salaries from the $40 or
$60 a month usually paid to beginners, up to $100 and $150
paid those having experience from a year to eight, ten and twelve
years. Over 50 per cent of the salaries range between $100 and
$135 a month, and the average for all is $90 a month. As com-
pared with mainland salaries this average is unusually high,
but on the other hand the average of ability is higher and re-
ports indicate that the stenographers in Honolulu have a gen-
erally higher level of school training than is reached in com-
munities where numerous commercial schools, accepting pupils
of any grade of intelligence who can be persuaded to take
their course, have flooded the market with a supply of incom-
petents willing to work for any wage.
There are only three complaints of incapability, two of them
being on account of lack of English, and one for lack of concen-
tration. The others reported not capable or expert have not yet
had a year's experience, and could not reasonably be expected to
have reached their full efficiency.
Vacations with pay range from one week to a month, and a
WOMEX AXD GIRLS IN HONOLULU. 53
number of firms allow two or three months every three years,
presumably for the trip to the mainland to tone up, which is a
general custom in the islands.
Hours range almost uniformly from 9 a. m. to five p. m.
There is no public stenographic office in Honolulu. Tran-
sients and others who have occasional work are dependent on se-
curing an unemployed stenographer haphazard, or having work
done in the evening or on Sunday. This works to the disad-
vantage of both employer and employe, for while the latter may
and in some cases does double her regular salary by overtime
work, yet the strain on her physique, and especially on her eyes
inevitably brings bad results.
Successful stenographers elsewhere make the largest earnings
in this field of work, and veritable fortunes have been piled up
by some of the large offices who make a specialty of reporting
conventions, legislative inquiries, meetings, etc.
A capable stenographer should have High School training or
its equivalent; unless exceptionallv equipped with English.
Even then High School English is desirable and a fund of gen-
eral information is a valuable asset to those qualifying for secre-
tarial positions. Of the thirty-four stenographers reported as
trained in Honolulu, all but eight have such training, which
undoubtedly has much to do with the high average of ability.
Seventeen of the entire number reported are Hawaiian or
Hawaiian with mixed blood. Mne of the seventeen Hawaiian
stenographers are receiving from $900 to $1,600 a year, and
have from one to eleven years' experience/ In general their
wages average as high or a little higher than those paid other
nationalities. The only salaries departing from a normal scale
as compared with salaries paid in Honolulu are $10 a week paid
a Japanese stenographer in a law office, which is below the
average paid for the same length of experience in this class of
work; and the salary paid a stenographer in the office of an
engineering firm, which is low both for the field of work and
for the amount of experience shown. Both stenographers are
pronounced capable by their employers.
54 THE IXDUSTKIAL CONDITION OF
The nationalities shown in the order of their numerical im-
American, Hawaiian, British or Canadian, Portuguese, Por-
tuguese-German, Half-White, (Hawaiian and white), Nor-
wegian-American, HaAvaiian-Chinese, Hawaiian-French, Jap-
It is perhaps too much to expect private teachers to confine
their instruction to pupils whose English will qualify them to
become efficient stenographers, but if English is found deficient
additional instruction should at any rate be suggested. If a
stenographer is hopelessly incompetent in English it has often
been found possible to persuade her of the inconvenience her
incompetence is causing her employer, and of the ill-effect on
herself of wasting effort that in another field might make her
services valuable. Employers can themselves db musch by
speaking frankly with a girl in this respect.
Here, too, a vocational bureau would be exceptionally valu-
able, and would tend to maintain the present satisfactory con-
dition of the stenographic field from the standpoint both of
ability of the workers and the pay they receive.
In view of the training required, and of the nature of the
work performed, the salaries paid in Honolulu are not high;
but they are high when compared with those paid in mainland
cities where the field is overcrowded with girls unequipped with
the proper qualifications but eager to make for themselves a
position which is considred practically at the top of the wage-
earners' scale from a social point of view.
x AXD GIRLS ix HONOLULU, 55
SHOPS AND STORES
The five dry goods shops employ an aggregate of about seven-
tv-five saleswomen, made up of an equal number of Americans
and Portuguese, with a sprinkling of Hawaiians and Germans.
The rooms are large, no artificial light is used, and there are
no basement salesrooms.
The working day commences at 7 :45 in the morning and
closes at 5 o'clock in the afternoon. There is an hour's allow-
ance for lunch.
Three of the shops close at noon on Saturday for four months
of the year, and two at 1 o'clock during June, July and August.
One shop has reopened from 7 to 9 o'clock Saturday evenings,
but the proprietor says it has not paid and that he intends dis-
continuing the practice the first of the year. There are no
fines or penalties except censure or dismissal for incompetence.
There are rules, however, to insure courtesy to customers and
systematic methods of salesmanship. The lowest salary paid be-
ginners is $2.50. They are advanced with reasonable rapidity,
one shop raising wages from $2.50 to $5.00 for a year's service
in one instance; and from $3.50 to $7.50 in seven months in an-
other. One manager employs none but experienced help and has
110 saleswoman earning less than $9.00. Another has a minimum
wage of $5.00, raising it to $6.00 after a month's trial. He says
if a girl does not earn a $6.00 rate within a month he does not
wish to employ her.
A list of sixty-nine salaries verified as correct by employers
and employes is as follows:
1 at $ 3.50 10 at 8.00
1 at 4.00 2 at 9.00
5 at 5.00 8 at 10.00
2 at 6.00 1 at 11.00
5 at 7.00 5 at 12.00
1 at... 7.50 3 at... . 12.50
56 THE INDUSTRIAL CONDITION OF
List of verified salaries (Continued.)
1 at 14.00 2 at $ 75.00
9 at 15.00 1 at 85.00
4 at 20.00 3 at 100.00
1 at 25.00 3 at 125.00
1 at 40.00
Two weeks' vacation with pay is given by three shops; and
a week with pay by the other two.
A number of the saleswomen are married. One who left her
position when she married went back to it after a long illness
of her husband left them in straitened circumstances, and she
has remained at work ever since. She has no children and says
she "feels safer for her old age." Most of the girls say simply
they are working to earn a living, and they "like this way of
The best paid employes are from "the coast" some from
New York those earning $15.00 or less a week being Hono-
All the managers agree that native girls are desirable sales-
women, but that they lack energy. One manager said he would
like to employ more native girls if he could secure efficient
ones, because of their amiability.
There are a fair number of openings for new employes in
the shops each year from fifteen to twenty in all and each
manager has a waiting list.
The requirements are: a fair knowledge of arithmetic, a
good appearance and good English. The saleswomen are not
required to wear black because of the heat; but there is little
extreme dressing, and the general tone of the shops is exceed-
ingly good. Perhaps it will not be out of place to say a word
in regard to the surprisingly quick time in which new styles
WOMEN AND GIRLS IN HONOLULU. 57
reach Honolulu shops. All the buying is done in ~Ne\v York,
and in general an excellent stock of goods is carried.
In the book, florist, jewelry, curio and art shops, and in the
various stores, there are about 100 young women employed,
some of whom combine office duties, bookkeeping or stenography
with selling in the shop. The wages vary from $5.00 a week-
paid the small Chinese beginner of fifteen who has here clothed
herself in American garb to $85.00 a month for years of ex-
perience and a multiplicity of duties The average wage is from
$10.00 to $12.00 a week, and the majority of the saleswomen
are Spanish, Portuguese and Irish. The restaurants employ
girls as cashiers, but there are no waitresses.
These clerkships afford excellent employment for untrained
girls with good manners, a good apearance and average intelli-
gence, and during the winter season an extra force is maintained
in practically all the shops.
58 THE INDUSTRIAL CONDITION OF
SEAMSTRESSES AND NEEDLEWOMEN
The seamstress investigation developed two interesting facts :
i. e., that the supply of workers is not keeping pace with the
demand; and that the seamstresses at present available are for
the most part self-trained.
A circular sent to 250 women who have households in Hono-
lulu brought 110 replies, of which 8 stated that no seamstress
was employed because of scarcity or inefficiency; 78 employed
a seamstress regularly in periods varying from one week to
eleven months, but for the most part from three to six weeks
in the year. Of these more than half complained either of in-
competence or slowness. Seamstresses who had served with
dressmakers were the best paid and most satisfactory ; but they
formed a small group of only eleven. The majority were found
satisfactory for plain sewing, but incapable of planning work,
or incompetent in execution.
The remarks in reports are generally as follows:
" Satisfactory if watched."
"I have been able to get only one girl, who is en-
tirely untrained, though willing.' 7
"Competent for plain sewing and mending."
"Competent for plain work."
"For very plain sewing and mending her work is
"Qualified for plain sewing; not to cut or fit."
"I do not employ any at present, as I have found
all I have tried incapable or unreliable."
Forty-eight report paying from $2.00 to $3.00 a day, which
always includes lunch, and often breakfast and carfare. The
remainder paying $1.00, $1.50 and $1.75 a day. There is an
opportunity in this field for a number perhaps fifty compe-
The day is as a rule eight and a half hours long, beginning
at eight in the morning and ending at five in the afternoon.
WOMEN AND GIRLS IN HONOLULU. 59
Xo one nationality can be said to give more satisfactory service
than another, although the Portuguese are by far the most
numerous. The reports cover.
15 Hawaiians or part Hawaiians
Five dressmakers employ about 30 girls, whom they pay from
$3.00 to $15.00 a week, the lower amount stated in each case
as being paid to apprentices. The dressmakers report eight
and one-half hours a day, and one states that she gives a half
holiday 011 Saturday and extra pay for overtime. The majority
of the dressmakers 7 assistants are Portuguese, and these are
considered the most efficient workers. A Japanese girl in one
shop is also giving satisfaction, but Hawaiians and half Chi-
nese are not reported on favorably.
Japanese maids are in some instances being trained by -their
mistresses as seamstresses, and several Japanese women are now
going out by the day, but none were reported in the investiga-
tion and no definite information could be secured concerning
Girls working in other establishments, however, report ten
and eleven hours 7 work, at low wages ; and a shop manager who
employs girls for alterations states he has had complaints from
dressmakers' employes that they did not receive their pay. In
other instances they complained of not being paid promptly.
This charge is a common one in the dressmaking business,
the proprietors of certain New York establishments saying their
bills were neglected for so long a period some customers,
usually w T omen of wealth, paying their bills only once in six
months that their own capital became exhausted.
60 THE INDUSTRIAL CONDITION or
Each of the department stores employs from one to three
alteration hands, who are paid from $10 to $15 a week, the for-
mer being the amount paid two Hawaiian girls , who were con-
sidered by their employers to be slower and less energetic than
the Portuguese woman who received $15 a week.
In the millinery shops the girls in the work rooms would be
considerably benefitted by a preliminary course in sewing. They
now begin their apprenticeship with no salary at all in two
shops; a salary of from $1.00 to $2.00 is paid where the ap-
prentice also delivers parcels and runs errands.
There are only a dozen or fifteen workers in the millinery
shops, and it does not seem worth while in this community to
give a millinery course for trade purposes.
There is a large demand for needlework, and the shops taking
orders for it and also having articles on sale, report a thriving
business. The workers earn very little, however, the average
among a dozen women talked with being from fifty to sixty
cents a day, while some earn only thirty cents. This is the
usual state of affairs among the makers of hand work, as indeed
in most home industries. The shopkeepers say they are handi-
capped by the fact that the same women who work for them
also work for private customers, and underbid them. One shop
maintains that it earns only a 10% commission and its stamp-
ing charges. Another shop employs Portuguese women on plan-
tations and says it not only pays their fare into town when
they come for work, but that work is often taken out to the
plantations at the shop's expense. It was not possible to visit
any of these plantation workers and learn what they earn.
The work offered for sale in most of the shops indicates that
training in the designing and selecting of patterns would be
desirable ; and none of the shops show the pillow laces, so well
made as by the girls of the Industrial School.
WOMEN AND GIRLS IN HONOLULU. 61
LEI MAKING AND LAUHALA WEAVING
The makers of leis the beautiful garlands of carnations,
ilima, ginger or hydrangea interwoven with maile, forming the
hat and neck-encircling masses of fragrance and color which
speed departing friends, or bedeck luau and poi luncheon guests
enliven the street corners of the shopping district at all times,
sitting in the shade of nearby buildings with their ti-leaf cov-
ered baskets by their sides, busily making the more durable
leis of paper, shell or seeds, and almost invariably discussing
suffrage. On steamer days the downtown districts and piers
are alive with men and W 7 omen vendors of this most character-
istic native ornament.
Usually the women of the family make the leis, the men cul-
tivating the flowers for their manufacture in the home garden
patches. There are perhaps two dozen of these women in Hono-
lulu, each of whom has her regular stand on one street corner
or another. But the leis themselves are made everywhere. A
trip through a tenement block at eleven o'clock at night dis-
closed an entire family, men, women, half -grown girls and chil-
dren, eight in all, asleep on the floor, while an older woman,
an aunt, sat on the floor in the farthest corner making yellow
paper leis for a suffrage meeting, by the light of an oil lamp.
It is the most general home occupation of the Hawaiian woman,
and the lei itself in one form or another, usually of red or yel-
low paper, decorate picture frames and mantels at least in
every other home one enters. It was found even on the occa-
sion of a visit to the high-perched cottage of a Black Forest
German iron-worker, married to a French woman from the
Pyranees, who owns a homestead at the head of one of the
beautiful valleys, with an outlook sweeping from the crest of
one hill to the next, the sound of a nearby waterfall always
accompanying the soughing of the trade wind. The crescent
moon, accompanied by Venus, topped one of the hills as our
host settled himself back in his veranda chair and grunted com-
62 THE INDUSTRIAL CONDITION OF
fortably: "I think I don't know any better place as Honolulu
for a working man. !N"o?"
Lei making is evidently a profitable occupation. The vendors
say that the usual receipts are $9.00 a day on steamer days,
and from $2.00 to $3.00 or $4.00 on other days. It is taught
by the older Hawaiian women to the next generation, and I
fancy any newcomer to the ranks would have much the same
sort of fight for place as would a newsboy on a rival's route.
The garlands sell at twenty-five cents each, and the blossoms
are either gathered up in the hills or are raised at home. Only
one lei-maker talked with purchased any of her flowers. She
said she bought about half her supply from a Japanese gardener.
Lauhala weaving is a passing native industry, and while
mats, fans and pillow-covers are found in the curio shops, deal-
ers and some of the older Hawaiians say that the rush to turn
land into pineapple and sugar cultivation has eradicated the
lauhala until it is not now obtainable in any quantity sufficient
for commercial uses, from every island but Molokai.
The mats, of a soft, light tan color, are the ideal covering
for bungalow floors. They are woven in inch or two-inch
squares, and have a dull, satiny finish that is very attractive.
They are scrubbed with soap and water, and the lauhala fiber
may be preserved indefinitely for mending purposes, if moist-
ened with water occasionally.
There is undoubtedly a good local market for these mats, and
their beauty and durability ought to make them popular else-
where if a sufficient supply of raw material were guaranteed.
Most of those in use here are made to order, although a few
of the shops have a small stock for sale.
The training of a corps of workers in this industry and an
organized plan for marketing the product in the furniture and
dry-goods shops might convince property owners that here is an
additional opportunity for industry.
The Federal Bureau of Forestry and Agriculture says that
lauhala will grow on almost any sort of rocky land that would
WOMEX AXD GlRLS IX HoXOLULU.
be available for 110 other agricultural purpose; and that it re-
quires very little moisture, growing down almost to the sea in
The weaving process is not laborious and can be carried on
in the open air. Patience and care are required, however, in
selecting and moistening the dried leaves for weaving.
If this industry could be placed on a sound basis it would
not only give continuous employment to a corps of workers, but
would serve the interesting purpose of keeping alive a charac-
Also, as Miss Addams has so often pointed out, in speaking
of the national museum of occupations in Hull House, the
stimulation of the workers' respect for their own national oc-
cupations is always healthy.
64 THE INDUSTEIAL CONDITION OF
COFFEE SORTING AND PACKING
Coffee sorting and packing employs between 60 and 70
women workers, the former occupation lasting from October
to June, and the latter all the year round.
A number of the cannery employes find work here after the
close of the pineapple canning season.
The work is sorting coffee beans of two grades, the better
grade paying forty cents, the poorer grade fifty cents a hun-
Some of the experienced workers earn as hie'h as $7.00 a
week, but the majority of credits on the time book are between
$2.50 and $4.50 a week.
The hours are from 7 :30 a.m. to 5 p.m., and the work-room
is in a light, airy, first-story room. Both the sorting and pack-
ing operations are carried on seated, the workers being arranged
in groups of two or three.
Here, as in the canneries, the majority of workers are Ha-
waiian, with Japanese and Portuguese second and third in
number. There are also Porto Ricans and Filipinos, but the
highest wages are earned by the Japanese.
The Hawaiian foreman is a great favorite, and he knows
the intimate personal history of all the workers the Japanese
girl who wishes to learn English ; the Hawaiian woman who
was closely related to the victim of the last white slave trial;
the stout, but asthmatic and idle husband of one of the women,
who "always shows up on pay day.' 7
Coffee packing pays $3.00 to $5.00 a week, according to
length of service, the latter amount being paid after three
years. I asked the foreman if anyone was earning $5.00 now,
and he said : "No, not since my daughter left to be married."
Few of the employes understand or speak any English, and
it was therefore not possible to converse with them.
WOMEN AND GIRLS IN HONOLULU. 65
The 150 workers normally employed in Honolulu's three
steam laundries are exempt from all the minor and some of the
major ills which commonly beset this class of wage-earners.
The greatest gain is perhaps in the all-year-round opening
of doors and windows, entirely obviating the collection of steam,
gas fumes and other impurities. Then, too, the fact that two
laundries conduct their work entirely on one floor removes the
discomfort which ascending steam and heat brings when the
wash-room is in a basement or lower floor. The only two-story
laundry in the city has its wash-room on the second floor.
A test of all the power-driven machinery demonstrates that
no more effort than stepping down is required to operate any
one of them: a great and welcome contrast with the exhaust-
ing work described in Miss Butler's "Women and the Trades"
as performed by the Pittsburgh operators of laundry machinery.
To cite only one instance :
(1) Pages 182-183.
"Cuff, neckband and yoke presses, and the wing
point tipper for collars, operate in the same way as
the body ironers. The cuff is placed over the saddle-
shaped padded head; pressure of a treadle raises the
head against a steam chest and the pressure of an-
other treadle causes the head to drop back as the cuff
is finished. Only by violent exertion can hot metal
and padded head be forced together. By sheer physi-
cal effort, therefore, the operator presses each cuff
four times, twice on a side, and the whole body of the
girl is shaken by the force she is obliged to use. In
one laundry the manager said: 'Xo American girl
can stand this. We have to use Hungarians or other
foreigners. It seems to be unhealthful, but I don't
know ' Yet American girls do stand it. I have
seen them ironing at the rate of three cuffs a min-
66 THE INDUSTRIAL CONDITION OF
ute. The motion required for operating the tipper
is as violent as that of the old-style cuff press, the
pressure of either treadle requiring the utmost physi-
cal effort, but in each case where I saw the machine
in use the operator was a young girl not over fifteen
years of age, and she was white with the strain."
Another favorable feature characterizing the work in laun-
dries here is the shifting of occupation made possible in small
establishments. While one machine, a body-ironer for example,
on which 600 shirts may be turned out in one day, each shirt
requiring ten motions, making a total of 6,000 motions of the
arms and of the foot in operating the treadle, is operated by
the right foot, the collar-presser is a left-footed machine, and
the girls are shifted from one machine to another, so that the
strain on one part of the body exclusively is regulated. I asked
one manager why this was not done in all laundries, and he
said the difficulty lay in the fact that union wage scales were
made for certain kinds of work; whereas he paid his employes
by the month, raising wages according to ability and length of
The fact that all the steam laundries are comparatively new
has perhaps been the reason why the newer machine models,
obviating the strains mentioned by Miss Butler, have been in-
There is, however, the same tendency to exact long hours of
work in times of stress which is found everywhere in this busi-
ness, one laundry reporting 87 hours of overwork in one month
during the tourist season, making a thirteen-hour day, and as
all work must be performed in a standing posture, this strain
is unduly severe. The customary overtime is two evenings a
week until nine or nine-thirty o'clock.
Work commences in all the laundries at seven or seven-thirty
in the morning and continues until five or five-thirty in the
evening. Saturday is usually a half holiday.
Processes are uniform in all the laundries. The bundle of
laundry first goes to the marker, who gives it its distinguish-
WOMEN AND GIKLS IN HONOLULU. 67
ing family or personal mark. It is then separated into white,
colored and woolen articles, after which it goes to the washer,
and is boiled in the large vats occupying one corner of the room.
The washing is done by men mostly Chinese with the ex-
ception of the woolens and fine pieces, which are washed in an-
other part of the room by the starch girls. The floors were
wet about the washing machines, but there was no standing
water, the drainage being good in all the laundries.
After the clothes are washed they are put into the drying
machines, huge metal vats with perforated inner baskets re-
volving rapidly and throwing out the water by centrifugal force.
Accidents have been reported in other places caused by the un-
even distribution of clothing in these inner baskets, which
breaks them under the great force with which they revolve.
They in turn cause the outer metal covering: to break loose and
whirl into the workroom. There is no record of such an acci-
dent, however, in Honolulu.
The clothes are next shaken out ready for the mangling or
starching, and on the shaking out process and mangling the
beginners are started, earning $3.50 to $5.00 a week, in one
laundry; $3.00 to $1.50, in another; and $17.00 a month in
a third. In all the laundries an upright board about six inches
high is used to protect the hands of the operators from being
crushed between the rollers of the mangling machines. These
machines are near the corner where the washing is done, and
are constructed of framework supporting steam-heated metal
rolls, placed horizontally and covered with wool and canvas.
Between these rolls sheets, towels, napkins and other flat work
receive their final drying and pressing. Two operators work
at either side of the roll on sheets, table-cloths and other large
pieces ; but the smaller ones are fed into the roller by one
Here, as in all other processes, the motor is gauged to. a low
rate of speed, for managers all agree that the girls cannot work
as hard here as they do on the mainland.
68 THE INDUSTEIAL CONDITION or
The starched pieces go from the drying machines to the
starchers. The starching is done by hand in two laundries and
by machine in one. The starch-girls have a corner to them-
selves as a rule, with a sink for washing fine pieces and flan-
nels. The starching process, even when done by machinery,
is very simple, and the girls earn even less than the mangle
operators. They are paid from $3.00 to $4.50 a week, accord-
ing to length of service, in one laundry the head starcher re-
ceiving $20.00 a month, after three years of service.
The drying-room, where the starched pieces are sent before
being ironed, is partitioned oft from the main workroom, and
in one case the process is entirely automatic, the articles being-
suspended from the hooks of a traveling 1 chain and carried
through the closed drying-room, which is heated to a high de-
gree, from which they are automatically dropped into a basket
for ironing. In the other two laundries the pieces are sus-
pended from a chain, drawn by the starch-girl into the drying-
room, in which they are left for a certain period of time and
are then taken out in the same manner.
The ironing is done by the most experienced workers, this
being the last stage of promotion, and the wages paid are from
$1.00 a day to $35.00 a month and overtime. It is possible
with overtime to earn $10.00 a week, about a dozen women in
all reaching this figure, but the most common rate of pay for
the normal day is $1.00, with an unpaid-for half -day on Sat-
urday, averaging $5.50 a week for a ten-hour day. One laun-
dry pays $35.00 a month to its most experienced workers for
a ten-hour day. All overtime is paid for at regular day rates.
The rate is rather under that paid on the mainland, where
ironers earn $15.00 and $18.00 a week when working long
Shirts, collars and cuffs are ironed on machines driven by
gas, steam or electricity, the other pieces beinp* ironed by hand,
with electric or gas-heated irons. The ironing machines and
boards are all placed at the windows on the mauka side of the
WOMEX AXD GIRLS ix
room, so that the breeze blowing almost continuously from the
hills may be taken advantage of.
In one laundry all the latest appliances in electric and steam-
driven machines especially are in use; but the other two use
gas and some electricity for their machines and irons. As the
workrooms of these two laundries are or>en to the air on all
four sides, however, the fumes do not accumulate, though they
are in evidence to a slight degree near the machines when they
are in operation.
Finally such pieces as require mending or darnino- go to a
woman usually an elderly person who is regularly employed
for this purpose, and who receives $4.50 a week in all the
The workers are of all ages, conditions and races.
The visits were made at the time of year when the laun-
dries were least busy, and the race proportion among the women
workers was as follows:
Porto Rican 1
The one Japanese had been adopted when a baby by a white
family, and had been "raised white." No Japanese are em-
ployed in any of the laundries, because of the fear of cut prices
if processes are learned ; but, on the other hand, there are in-
numerable Chinese and Japanese laundries throughout the city,
the Bureau of Licenses having a record of 232 which are being
operated without the license showing inspection by the Board
of Health, required from the other laundries. Most of these
are said to be conducted by Japanese women, who collect laun-
dry from individual customers, hiring other Japanese women
to do the work. But although there is a record of their exist-
TO THE INDUSTRIAL CONDITION OF
ence, numerous trips through the tenement blocks failed to
disclose any of them in operation.
Laundry managers say they find efficient workers among all
nationalities, and that the grade of help is slowly improving.
One manager says there is a great deal of jealousy between the
different race's on the score of advancement.
It was difficult to find any prevailing characteristics among
the workers. Several worked because their husbands earned
insufficient salaries to provide a "good home." Three worked
because they said it improved their health ! The majority of
Portuguese, however, either said they were helping to buv
homes ,or were members of large families, in eight instances
having no support from their father, either through illness or
death. The Filipinos and Porto Ricans spoke no English and
it Nvas impossible to talk with them. One Portuguese lady
thought I was collecting for a church and immediately took
out her pocket-book, searching through many petticoats to
Here, as in the canneries, there was general good spirit among
the employes, even the girls shaking out the sheets and table-
cloths for the mangles the most tiring work of all doing it
with much chattering and gossip. It must be because so much
of the work is done in the fresh air that one sees little of the
strained, tired expression of the mainland industrial worker.
Several of the women stated that they had varicose ulcers on
their legs, but none of these had been working in the laundry
for a sufficiently long period to make this work the cause of
The laundries are all prosperous and growing, their man-
agers say, most of the work coming from the steamers and trans-
ports constantly touching at Honolulu.
No previous training is required or wished, each laundry
having its own way of doing its work and preferring to teach
its own employes. There should be employment for from
twenty-five to thirty girls in this work within the next year;
but a ten-hour day rigid law and better wages are needed here.
WOMEN AND GIRLS IN HONOLULU.
The Fourth Report of the Department of Commerce and
Labor on Hawaii (Bulletin JSTo. 94, May, 1911) sums up the
possibilities of industry in the islands as a whole as follows
(1) page 674:
"The Territory possesses no mineral or fuel de-
posits, and this, together with the remoteness from
markets, prevents diversified industries. A small
amount of subsistence farming, followed principally
by natives and orientals, and the production of staple
export crops, like sugar, have hitherto been the prin-
cipal occupations of the people."
To this should also be added the product of the pineapple
canneries, which, strangely enough, is omitted entirely from
the report, although increasing in value and importance by leaps
and bounds. This omission may perhaps be accounted for by
the fact that the bulletin issued in May was compiled before
the canning season commenced, which is not usually until June
1st, lasting this year until October 5th. In the past ten years
the value of the pineapple exports increased from $3,948 to
$1,229,647, almost 400%,* and the growth of this year's busi-
ness over last may be gauged from the fact that while one estab-
lishment employed a maximum of 215 women and girls last
year, this year they report 450 employed during their heaviest
Then, too, while last year 60% of the entire "nack" was
reported as being taken care of in three weeks, this year there
were only six or seven half-day shut downs during the four
months of the season.
^Bulletin of the Thirteenth Census of the United States,
1910; page 11.
72 THE INDUSTRIAL CONDITION OF
The manufacturers' problem in Honolulu is uncomplicated
by the variety of processes and products of the mainland can-
nery. The only product with which they have to deal is the
pineapple, as against spinach, berries of all varieties, cherries,
peas, wax beans, tomatoes, pears, peaches, apples, beets and
finally oysters in Maryland; asparagus, strawberries, peas,
gooseberries, cherries, currants, beans, blackberries, apricots,
greengages, plums,peaches, pears, tomatoes, grapes and quinces
in California ; while Pittsburgh, Pa., cans berries, fruits, beans,
corn, peas and tomatoes, as well as pickles and molasses.
After the overripe fruit is eliminated there is little or no
waste in canning pineapple. As the boxes are taken from the
freight cars into the factory, the "pines, "as they are usually
termed, are stripped of their green ends by the trimmers, and
these ends are planted for the rattoon crop. The pineapple
yields two crops, requiring, like sugar, eighteen months to ma-
ture the first crop, the second, or rattoon, crop being ready for
harvest in twelve months. Sometimes the trimming is done
before the fruit is shipped from the plantations, in which case
it is ready when received at the cannery for the coring and
peeling machine. This machine is operated by men, and calls
for considerable sureness of eye to secure the largest number
of perfect pineapples for slicing. If the fruit is at all soft,
however, it is split into two and sometimes three parts in this
process, and is then used for grated pineapple, which is also
made of the slices too imperfect for canning, the odds and ends
from the slicing machine, and the fruit which still adheres to
the peeling. These are accumulated in tubs, taken to the screen-
ing machine, which reduces it to the consistency of the
grated pineapple, used principally at soda fountains. The
grated pulp is received in a wooden vat running the length of
the screen, and is conducted automatically from this vat into
tubs. From these tubs the pulp is poured in bulk into cooking
vats, where it is mixed with the sweetening syrup. From the
cooking vats it is automatically fed into large cans, gallon or
half-gallon, these cans in turn being automatically sealed and
'OMEN AXD UlRLS IN HONOLULU.
into a cooling bath, after which they are sent to the label-
After the pineapples are peeled and cored they go through a
second trimming process with a pruning knife, by means of
which all the "eyes' 7 and small pieces of peeling are removed.
They are then placed in the slicing machine, from which the
slices are automatically deposited onto a traveling web band
about ten inches wide, moving at a medium rate of speed along
the centre of the packing tables, which are about thirty feet
long. On each side of the moving web are wooden shelves,
the one immediately in front of the packer being used as a
sorting tray. On the shelf back of the web are arranged the
trays of empty cans, each tray stamped with the grade of fruit
it is to hold. Above this shelf is a second one, on which are
empty trays to receive the cans of fruit as they are packed.
As soon as a tray is filled with a dozen cans, it is taken away
by a man to be filled with syrup and cooked.
As the sliced pineapple is deposited onto the traveling web,
the girl next to the slicing machine, usually an experienced
and efficient worker, selects the most perfect slices those hav-
ing no flaws or imperfect edges, and whitest in color. The
next worker selects the next grade, and so on down the table,
the residue, unsuitable for canning, going into the pulp tub.
When she has a sufficient number of slices of the proper grade,
she makes a mound of them, turns an empty can down over the
mound, slips it off the sorting tray and places it right side up
on the tray for filled cans.
After the cans have been filled with the sliced pineapple and
syrup, they are taken to another machine which automatically
places the cover on the can and seals it.
The sealed cans are then taken on a tray to the cooking vat,
where they are lowered in boiling water onto a slowly moving
platform, which carries them, submerged, through the water
for just a sufficient length of time, gauged automatically, to
cook the fruit. The tray of cans is then raised, again auto-
THE INDUSTEIAL CONDITION OF
matically, onto a continuation of the moving 1 platform, which
immerses them in a cold bath, in which thev are kept for a
sufficient length of time to cool them. The cans are then sent
to the labeling room, where they receive their various brands,
according to grade and to the customers for whom they are
All machinery is geared at a low rate of speed; the only
process which holds any menace is the peeling and coring ma-
chine, which must have the careful attention of the operator to
keep his fingers from the knives.
The cores, which formerly were thrown out with the waste,
are now also sliced into inch lengths, cooked, canned and sold
to confectioners, who coat them with chocolate and sell them as
pineapple candies. As these cores have about as much taste
as juicy wood, it is at least a question how much of pineapple
the ultimate consumer is favored with.
The women workers in the canneries are divided into four
classes: trimmers, packers, labelers and miscellaneous, the lat-
ter doing duty at the slicing machine, the pulp troughs and in
packing the cores.
The new workers are usually started at trimming and at
packing cores, the youngest ones performing the latter work
or tending the slicing machines. All of this work is done in
a sitting position in one of the canneries ; but the other two
establishments have no seats for any of their employes.
At the packing table, however, the workers stand shoulder
to shoulder, sometimes in the height of the season as closely
packed as they can work; ordinarily, however, there is ample
room for each individual. At one cannery there are seats back
of the packers, but they are so arranged that it is impossible
to do more than lean back against them for a moment or two,
and even this throws an additional strain on the workers' feet,
which it is necessary to brace against the floor or the frame-
work of the fruit table.
Work commences at seven o'clock in the morning, and on
days when the cannery runs full time the official closing time
WOMEN AND GIKLS ix HONOLULU. 75
is half -past five; but in only one cannery did the employes
state that there was an earlier closing time than six o'clock.
Half an hour is allowed for lunch, this being divided between
two shifts from noon until one o'clock. The normal working
day is therefore eleven or eleven and one-half hours long, as
in the factory world it is the custom to close half an hour
earlier when the lunch hour is shortened to half an hour.*
JSTo skill is required by any of the processes; but the pack-
ers must exercise good judgment in selecting slices of the proper
grade, else cans marked to contain the best fruit may receive
inferior contents and vice versa. The forewomen, of whom
there is one at each table in two of the canneries, are respon-
sible for the "pack," as it is called. If the manager, in in-
specting the cans, which he does haphazard, finds careless pack-
ing coming frequently from any table, the forewoman is de-
posed ; but there are no fines and no penalties, for the reason
that it .is impossible to locate the packer responsible for the
work. Sometimes two or three are engaged in packing the same
grade of slices at the same table.
One cannery reports employing no forewoman because of
the unwillingness on the part of any of the women workers
to assume this responsibility.
The wages paid as reported by employers vary from five
and six cents an hour, paid workers under sixteen years of
age, to fifteen cents an hour paid to forewomen. As a result,
girls who commence working at twelve years of age and are
experienced and efficient workers, receive less wages than an
older girl in her first season. The highest rate per hour paid
to any but forewomen is ten cents, and the lowest paid to
workers over sixteen years of age is seven and one-half cents
an hour. One cannery reports paying for eleven hours if the
employes work ten hours. Overtime is paid for at the regular
*Butler, Elizabeth Beardsley; Women and the Trades, page
76 THE INDUSTRIAL CONDITION OF
rate of pay per hour; and in the case of night work until eight
or half -past, the workers interviewed say they either go with-
out supper until they return home or else their supper costs
them the greater part of what they earn in the three extra
hours. One employer says he pays time and a half for overtime,
"when he has to," and one gives the employes coffee and sand-
wiches for supper when they work later than 7 o'clock. As cof-
fee and bread is the almost invariable breakfast and lunch if,
indeed, any lunch at all is eaten the effect on the workers'
health of this overtime, without food, or with the kind of food
available, cannot but be injurious.
The cannery owners state that during the heavy season it is
necessary to work overtime to take care of the fruit, which de-
teriorates rapidly and which cannot be packed in cold storage;
that the Federal Experiment Station had found no way to pre-
vent waste, once the pineapple is ripe, if it is not canned im-
Sunday work, of which only five days are reported by the
three canneries, is, however, devoted to labeling, this being
done after the fruit is cooked, canned and ready for shipment,
so there could be no question of deterioration here. A similar
state of affairs, in regard to overtime work, was found in Cali-
At seven and a half cents an hour a trifle over the average
paid all workers (omitting forewomen) it is necessary for a
girl working sixty hours a week (and being paid for sixty-six
according to the one-hour bonus plan) to earn $4.95. Con-
trasted with the average wage earned by employes in the city
and country canneries of California, this shows a much lower
rate in Honolulu, the California average being $7.92 a week
for 63.8 hours' work in the country canneries and $7.21 a
week for 57.8 hours' work in the city establishments. (This
average also omitted forewomen.)*
^Bulletin of the Bureau of Labor, No. 96, September, 1911;
WOMEN AND GIRLS IN HONOLULU. 77
The owner of one of the canneries stated that last year the
average wage was $3.50 to $4.00, and that some of the em-
ployes who had been with them longest earned as high as $10.50
during the heavy season. This year the rate of pay was raised
in all the canneries, due, I was told by several of the girls, to
"kicks by the Jap women."
The only menace to the health of the workers in the pine-
apple canneries which might arise from the occupation itself,
is the effect of the pineaple juice on the skin. Chemical anal-
ysis shows that the acid is so strong, it digests the skin as secre-
tions of the alimentary canal digest food.
By order of the Health Department, rubber gloves are sup-
plied by the companies to the workers handling the fruit; but
most of them work barefooted, standing in the drippings from
the tables, and their feet were badly eaten by the juice.
On taking this up with the authorities, I was told that the
reason the rubber gloves were ordered was not because of the
probable injury to the workers, but in order to protect the prod-
uct from possible contamination.
It would be possible to slat the floors where the workers
stand, and flush them well with water several times a day.
None of the Honolulu canneries give free housing accommo-
The work of screening, operating the syrup machines, cook-
ing, sealing the cans, as well as peeling and coring, is done by
men in all the canneries.
THE INDUSTEIAL CONDITION OF
Table Showing Length of Season, Time Shut Down During Season;
Overtime Run, in Honolulu Canneries in 1912:
Lgth of Season.
1 4 months
2 3y 2 months
3 3% months
Time Shut Down.
7 half days. 28 hours Sunday, 24 hours night.
I whole, 4 hfdays 30 hours Sunday, 60 hours night.
5 whole, 1 hf day 10 hours Sunday, 53 hours night.
Table Showing Wages paid per hour, Season of 1912, in Honolulu
Canneries (As of October 1st.)
|| Under 16.
II I .
ges. || N6. [Wages
1... | $0.09 | $0.08 | $0.08 |$0.08
.07 V 2
1 1 ..10
| 47 | $0.
07V 2 || 12
Total largest number of women employed 651
Total smallest number women employed 142
Total Hawaiians and Part-Hawaiians employed 242 in 2 canneries
Total Japanese employed 104 in 2 canneries
Total Chinese employed 40 in 2 canneries
Total Portuguese employed 28 in 2 canneries
WOMEN AND GIKLS IN HONOLULU.
COST OF LIVING
-iiquiry into the cost at which it is possible for a woman or
girl to live independently in Honolulu was based on two propo-
First. That she live in the home family of a
friend or relative, and pay her quota of expense.
Second. That she either board or room in the
I have given first consideration to the proposition that she
live in a family 'because experience has proven that to be the
most desirable place for the average working girl.
The Children's Aid Society of Boston has set its face against
the philanthropic home or hotel for working girls because it
fails to give them a background for their future life as wives
and mothers. The Clara de Hirsch Home in New York City,
a most successful institution, cares for immigrant girls with-
out family ties until they may safely become members of the
community. As soon as a girl is considered to be earning a
sufficient wage and acquainted with the customs of her new
environment, she is placed in a private family, these families
being carefully selected by the authorities of the Home.
Girls who have been committed to Orphan Asylums in their
youth are also "bridged over" by residence in this Home, to
membership in the normal community.
Training in various trades is given. There is a gymnasium,
and a varied social program.
The girls pay from $3.00 to $6.00 a week, according to
In Honolulu I should say such a home would be valuable
for girls who, as in New York, have been brought ut> in Or-
phan Asylums; for those who are taken away from improper
home surroundings by the Courts; and for any other girls with-
out family ties who may not be sufficiently well grounded in
80 THE INDUSTRIAL CONDITION OF
character to live safely in the community. I do not consider,
however, that the normal wage-earning girl should be provided
for in this way.
I am told that native girls who earn fair wages and live in
families other than their own, pay $2.50 a week, usually in
fish, or poi, or canned goods, rather than in money. I was
unable to find any specific girl who is now doing this ; but was
told of the practice by women who had known of instances at
other times, and whose knowledge of conditions is unquestion-
ably accurate. This does not represent the actual value of ac-
commodations, however, as will be shown.
The working girls I talked with who were not living in their
OW T II families were, with the exception of those living in the
Kaiulani Home, either with relatives or adopted parents, and
were paying no board. Two women occupied tenement rooms,
but both were married, and had come to Honolulu from the
country for the canning season.
Girls who do all their own sewing say their clothing costs
them at least $1.25 a week to maintain a sufficiently good ap-
pearance to take any part in the social activities of their asso-
ciates. This is distributed as follows in a yearly allowance :
2 for Business, at $2.00 each $4.00
1 for Good wear 4.00
4 Dresses for Business, at $2.00 8.00
2 Dresses for Good wear, at $5.00 10.00
4 Pair Shoes, at $3.00 12.00
3 Pairs Silk Gloves for good wear 3.00
1 Dark Skirt for bad weather 2.00
2 Shirt Waists, at 75c 1.50
1 Coat 5.00
1 Umbrella . 1.00
WOMEN AND GIRLS IN HONOLULU. 81
2 Pairs Rulbers 1.50
Incidentals, handkerchiefs, collars, sewing
materials, etc 5.00
The fact that the same wardrobe does duty in Hawaii the
year round is a very great saving. The girl who has not been
taught to sew (and this girl is in the majority) must allow at
least 25c a week additional for clothing.
Board, lodging and clothing can therefore be had at $3.75
or $4.00 a week; carfare is 60c; the cheapest lunch, 5c for
coffee and rolls, is another 30c, which brings the total cost to
$4.65 or $4.90, without any allowance for incidental carfares
On the other hand living expenses in the community, when
reduced to their lowest rate, bring the total expense to $2.00
a week each, provided two girls share a room.
I have followed up numerous advertisements in the daily
papers, investigated "Furnished room" signs, etc., and found
in the first place that no furnished room house will permit
cooking to be done in the rooms, and secondly that the lowest
rate for a furnished room for two girls was $2.00 a week. If
two girls together rented a tenement room at $2.00 a month
they would need to buy a bed, dishes and cooking utensils, cost-
ing at least $15.00. The cost per week of maintaining such
a room would then be for each :
Rent $ .25
Fuel and light 25
Food (fruit, poi, coffee, rice, fish, etc.) 1.50
I have made a sufficient allowance for food to provide a
After a girl has worked ten or eleven hours, however, I fear
the temptation would be either to eat in a cheap restaurant or
82 THE INDUSTRIAL CONDITION or
to neglect cooking a substantial evening meal, especially in the
case of the Hawaiian girls, who are prone to omit meals when
fatigued unless food is placed before them. In the eating place
provided by the Libby, McNeill and Libby Cannery, which
serves wholesome, nourishing meals at ten cents each, the girls
eat everything placed before them. The sea air blowing through
the work-room constantly undoubtedly has its share in creating
If two girls were to occupy a furnished room and have their
meals in restaurant the minimum weekly rate for each would be :
Rent of Room .-. $1.00
Food .. . 2.50
The cheapest rate at which I could find boarding accommo-
dations for two girls in a room was $10.00, for a close, hot
room in a house which did not seem at all desirable from any
point of view.
Altogether the best plan which presents itself for providing
accommodations is a rooming house making provision for two
girls in a room, and having a cafeteria dining room. I should
not advise making this a philanthropic venture. It should be
not only absolutely self-sustaining, but should be conducted
with a view to its making a return of at least 3% on money
invested. This is the return made by the Mills Hotels in New
York. Emphasis should be laid first on developing enterprises
by which self-supporting girls may earn an adequate living,
and, secondly, on obtaining a living wage for those engaged
in occupations already established, rather than on providing
them with a living place at philanthropic rates.
Before a girl is encouraged to leave her family and live in
any other home it would be well to give a thorough considera-
tion to her home problem and determine whether surroundings
which at first may seem undesirable cannot in some way be
-changed so that family ties need not be broken. Family re-
WOMEN AND GlELS IX HONOLULU.
sponsibility needs to be strengthened in every way possible
among the natives, and if Hawaiian women who have had edu-
cational advantages would undertake the home improvement
work which has had such beneficial results in the Southern
States, much might be accomplished in raising standards of
sanitation as well as morals. Whole families still occupy one
room for sleeping purposes, and matters of this kind can only
be remedied by constant personal effort. Congresses of physi-
cians and other bodies assembled to discuss questions of sex
morality all agree that little can be accomplished so long as
habits of decent privacy are not inculcated.
84 THE INDUSTRIAL CONDITION OF
The Territory of Hawaii has as yet no labor laws, and there-
fore the hours during which men, women and children work
are governed entirely by the will of employers, the workers'
own wishes or economic necessities, and in the case of children
by the act providing that they shall attend school during ten
months in the year until they are fifteen, when they may be
released to go to work.
Employment in the canneries is by the hour, each employe
being given a time card which is punched on coming to work
in the morning, on resuming work at noon, and on leaving at
While the cannery season is short, it is also exacting. In
addition to a regular eleven-hour day for four months in the
year, a maximum of sixty hours overtime night work and thirty
hours of Sunday work was reported by one cannery. Two
others report less amounts. One employer said he worked his
employes all they would stand for. Weekly pay envelopes show
from seventy to eighty hours of work per week, in some cases
running as high as eighty-four hours. In California, where
the season extended over fourteen weeks, averaging sixty-three
hours each, two cannery officials, each in a different cannery,
are reported by the investigator of the Department of Com-
merce and Labor as volunteering the opinion that "cannery
work was so much of a strain that workers were unfit to 'do
other work when the cannery season was over/' 1 *
Perhaps the women employes in the small Chinese and Japa-
nese shops have the longest hours continuously, as these shops
open at seven o'clock in the morning and do not close until nine
o'clock or later in the evening.
The workers in the laundries, who have a regular ten-hour
day, perform overtime work until eight or nine o'clock at least
^Bulletin of the Bureau of Labor No. 96. p. 403.
WOMEN AND GIKLS ix HONOLULU. 85
wice a week, and during the winter season, when the tourists
are most numerous, one laundry manager reported eighty-seven
hours overtime in one month. Saturday is a half holiday unless
there is a special rush of work.
Household servants, here as elsewhere, are among the least
considered sufferers from the long day, and although Honolulu
mistresses of households call to one's attention the fact that no
servants are on duty in the evening, that may be regarded
rather as a mitigation of one of the greatest hardships borne by
domestic servants, rather than as having a bearing on the gen-
eral question of a normal working day.
Honolulu is an early riser, and servants come on duty at
half-past six. Dinner is not over at the earliest until seven
o'clock, which means that the work of the maid who waits on
the table continues for at least twelve and one-half hours, and
longer if she has any duties after dinner.
There are few women cooks, the domestic servants being
almost exclusively housemaids, waitresses and nursemaids.
Where several maids are employed, each of them has an hour
or two of leisure through the day; but in the case of the cook-
and-one-maid menage, which is by far the most common, Sun-
day afternoon, and occasionally, but by no means universally,
an afternoon during the week is given. The long day is a
potent factor in the servant problem; and yet the Japanese
women, like their sisters in other communities, prefer to go
to work at the machines in the little shops. I have talked with
as many of them as could understand English, and none would
consider going back to housework. On having their attention
called to the fact that they were working just as long in the
shops they smiled and nodded, saying: "Bimeby not work so
long/' which may forecast a similar situation to that brought
about by certain of the Chinese huis, who have, notably among
the tailors, succeeded in securing an eleven-hour day. It is
an undoubted fact that rather than become a household serv-
ant at a minimum wage of $4.00 a week and her food, in
86 THE INDUSTRIAL CONDITION OF
many cases all her living expense, the women work twel i /e
and fourteen hours in the shop for from $2.00 to $5.00.
Clerks and stenographers have an eight-hour day. Shop
girls are on duty from seven-forty-five until five o'clock, with
an hour at noon and a Saturday half holiday three months in
the 'year. One shop closes on Saturday at one o'clock f^ur
months in the year.
The shop girls have two weeks' vacation with pay, and all
the stores provide seats.
Stenographers also have two weeks' vacation with pay, in a
great many cases being allowed a three months' vacation every
Teachers are on duty from eight-forty-five in the morning
until two-fifteen in the afternoon almost an hour and a half
less than the regulation time for this work. They have a
somewhat longer vacation, too, than elsewhere.
In her consideration of hours of work, in " Women and the
Trades,"* Miss Butler questions . the length of the working
day which may be considered "long." "At present (even) ten
hours as the limit of the working day is far from universal,"
she says. "Should ten hours, however, be set as a permissive
standard ? Or should we seek rather to work out, on the basis
of health, a lower maximum beyond which no employe may
go, and below this maximum set others corresponding to the
degree of strain in different industries ? . . . Hours are
'long,' whether the day is eight hours or ten, if the work is
continued so long that it causes ill health or interferes with
the employes' capacity for recreation."
This latter statement is especially interesting in the light
of a conversation with the manager of one of the Honolulu
canneries. He was asked his opinion of the degree of danger
to the cannery women employes from being obliged to go
through Iwilei, especially on their way from work in the
evening. He said : "After the girls have worked ten or twelve
WOMEN AND GIRLS IN HONOLULU. 87
hours a day there is not much danger that they will skylark.
They are only too glad to get home and to bed."
But even though they are too tired to "skylark" they do
not go to bed. Here as elsewhere the large majority of women
workers have household tasks cooking, washing and ironing
to perform both before and after working hours; and many
have children to care for. This is especially true of the Ha-
waiian, Chinese and Japanese, and I have seen the women
standing on first one foot and then the other to relieve the
strain as early as nine o'clock in the morning, after a stretch
of long hours.
Managers of the canneries say that the workers are at liberty
to stop work at any hour of the day they wish, as the pay is
by the hour. In common practice, however, it is made as dif-
ficult as possible to secure an accounting for time excepting at
regular periods ; and when work is pressing permission to leave
before closing time is refused.
Managers themselves say that the habit of going home before
closing time or at noon is more common among the younger
girls who are working during their school vacation, which
occurs almost identically with the canning season, than among
the regular workers.
The Hawaiian enjoys her work, as she enjoys most of the
things she does, and she is as yet too new to industry to show
superficially any ill effects of labor. It was not possible, in
the three and one-half months of the investigation, to make any
study of the effects of work on her health.
The experience of the world, however, is more than likely
to be the experience of Hawaii.
Hours of work and the resulting fatigue strains have been
made the subject of a close, scientific investigation, covering a
period of five years, by Miss Josephine Goldmark, publication
secretary of the National Consumers' League, which has now
been published in book form under the title of "Fatigue and
Efficiency," and gives the results of the experience of both
Europe and America concerning the effects of long hours,
88 THE INDUSTRIAL CONDITION OF
night work and occupational strains on women workers. Miss
Goldmark also gives the substance of four briefs prepared by
her under the direction of Mr. Louis D. Brandeis in his suc-
cessful defense of various State laws limiting women's hours
Her investigation shows that long hours of work by women,
especially if performed in a standing position, mean to the
community heightened infant mortality, a falling birth rate,
and race degeneration, while to the w r orkers themselves they
mean every sort of disorder. In speaking of general injuries
to health, Miss Goldmark says : "The fatigue which follows
excessive working hours becomes chronic, and results in gen-
eral deterioration of health. While it may not result in im-
mediate disease, it undermines the whole system by weakness
On the other hand the good effect of short hours is shown
by the growth of temperance, and "wherever sufficient time has
elapsed since the establishment of the shorter working day, the
succeeding generation has shown extraordinary improvement in
physique and morals." 4
Several pages of testimony from all over the world are sub-
mitted in support of the statement that "even the lightest work
becomes totally exhausting when carried on for an excessive
length of time." She quotes from Dr. Ludwig Hirt's "The
Disease of Working People" : "No attitude of the body is harnv
ful in itself; only in prolonging it until it produces harmful
results ; all the well-known disturbances, such as varicose veins,
etc., etc., arise not through sitting or standing, but through
excessively prolonged sitting or standing."'
For the protection of their women workers more than thirty
American States have enacted laws limiting the hours of em-
ployment for women ; but only three States, Massachusetts,
Indiana and Xebraska, have passed a law in such form as
*"Fatigue and Efficiency," Part II, p. 290.
*"Fatigue and Efficiency," Part II, p. 321.
WOMEN AND GIRLS IN HONOLULU. 89
to make it enforcible. Miss Goldmark defines "the rigid law,
which prohibits overtime and night work," as "one which pro-
vides fixed boundaries for working hours. It protects women
from working after a specified hour at night, and more than
a given number of hours by the day or week. The best ex-
emplar of this kind of law in the United States is the Massa-
chusetts statute which prohibits the employment of women in
textile mills more than ten hours in one day, or more than
fifty-four hours in one week, or before six o'clock in the morn-
ing or after six o'clock in the evening. . . . The law is
final. Its provisions are clear cut. Employers, employes and
inspectors know without disagreement or argument what con-
stitutes a violation. Work continued after the specified closing
hour is conclusive evidence of violation."
As showing the beneficial effect of shorter hours on output,
Miss Goldmark quotes at length from the testimony of various
Massachusetts employers of labor. The Treasurer of the At-
lantic Mills, in Lawrence, stated : "We saw an improvement in
the operatives directly after adopting ten hours. . . . We
have had more continuous and uninterrupted work throughout
the year than before." The Eeport of the Massachusetts Dis-
trict Police states: "One manufacturer stated to me a short
time ago that he had run his mill sixty-six hours per week,
supposing that by so doing he increased the production nearly
one-eleventh, but was persuaded ... to reduce his run-
ning time to sixty hours per week, and at the end of six months
found that the production of his mill had increased nearly ten
per cent, while the quality of work done was more perfect."
The entire question of the long day is as yet in its incipiency
in Hawaii, and the closing paragraph of Miss Goldmark's
preface is peculiarly pertinent. She says:
"In the main opposition to laws protecting working women
and children has come from the unenlightened employer, who
has been blind to his own larger interests and who has always
seen in every attempt to protect the workers an interference
with business and dividends. To this day it is the short-sighted
90 THE INDUSTRIAL CONDITION OF
and narrow-minded spirit of money-making that is the most
persistent enemy of measures designed to save the workers from
exhaustion and to conserve their working capacities. Regular,
continuous labor and exertion is as necessary for the worker's
health as it is for subsistence, and if legislation regulating the
workday had sought to invade legitimate work, it would long
ago have defeated its own end. . . .
"First the new industry, then exploitation, then the demand
for some measure of protection such is the universal story.
Nor is this a chance sequence. It is the relentless record of
history, the more impressive for its unconscious testimony to
a waste of human effort and experience, in retrospect scarcely
credible among a thinking people, yet in our very midst per-
sisting steadily to this day."
Hawaiian employers, most of whom are kamaainas, sin-
cerely interested in the welfare of the Hawaiian girls and
women, have not given adequate thought to the broader social
problems of their employes. Kind treatment, good air and
light do much to mitigate matters, but no woman or girl can
work standing continuously for ten or more hours a day and
retain her health. Nor will she in this way become a home-
maker, and an intelligent mother and member of the community.
RESTRICTING THE HOURS OF LABOR OF WOMEN AND CHIL-
DREN UNDER THE AGE OF SIXTEEN YEARS.
Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the Territory of Hawaii:
SECTION 1. The term "establishment" where used in this
Act shall mean any place within this Territory other than where
domestic or agricultural labor is employed; where men, women
or children are engaged and paid a salary or wages by any per-
son, firm or corporation, and where such men, women or chil-
dren are employes in the general acceptance of that term.
SECTION 2. ~No minor under the age of sixteen years, and
no female shall be employed in any establishment for a longer
WOMEN AND GIRLS IN HONOLULU. 91
period than sixty (60) hours in any one week nor for a longer
period than ten (10) hours in any one day.
SECTION 3. ~No minor under sixteen years and no female
shall be employed or suffered to work in any establishment
before the hour of six in the morning, or after the hour of six
in the evening.
SECTION 4. Retail mercantile establishments shall be ex-
empt from the provisions of Sections 2 and 3 hereof during a
period of ten days beginning with the fifteenth day of Decem-
ber and ending with the twenty-fourth day of the same month.
SECTION 5. Any person, firm or corporation violating any
provision of this Act shall, upon conviction, be fined in a sum
not less than One Hundred Dollars ($100.00) or more than
Five Hundred Dollars ($500.00) for each day any person is
employed, permitted or suffered to work in violation of this
SECTION 6. This Act shall be in force and effect from and
after the date of its approval.
92 THE INDUSTRIAL CONDITION OF
As stated in the report of the Massachusetts Commission on
Minimum Wage Boards (page 8) : "To obtain an accurate view
of the condition of labor, so far as women and minors are con-
cerned, it is especially of service to obtain, if possible, not only
the wage schedules, but the actual weekly and annual variation
of these earnings, with ages and experience, irregularity of em-
ployment, the economic status of the workers in so far as they
are aided by other members of a family group, or by charity,
or are themselves called on to support others."
For many reasons it was not possible to exactly work out all
these details in Honolulu. Information was, as a rule, to be
had from the workers only during the lunch hour and after
work was finished, and as many of them did not know their
street and number, a knowledge of conditions was obtained by
visiting in the homes in various parts of the city, both during
the day and at night, rather than by following up individual
workers. Only five girls could remember what amounts their
pay envelopes contained for three consecutive weeks. Then,
too, the great majority of women of all nationalities spoke no
Employers were interested and helpful, and I am indebted
to them for much definite information, which was in practi-
cally all instances corroborated by the statements of the work-
ers themselves ; and it is mainly on employers' information
that I have based my statements of wages paid. The workers
appear on the pay roll by number, names not being known as
a rule, and here again it was impossible to follow up indi-
In general, unskilled w r age-earners are almost without ex-
ception aided by other members of a family group or by charity,
the latter group including those called on to assist others, and
those who low wages force to accept shelter or food, or both,
WOMEN AND GIRLS IN HONOLULU. 93
either from friends or relatives, or from homes philanthrop-
As shown in the Cost of Living Schedule, the minimum
subsistence cost in Honolulu is $5.00 a week; whereas the
wages earned by beginners vary from $2.50 to $3.50 in occu-
pations offering employment to only a few workers, to a mini-
mum of $4.80 in the canneries; while the majority of laundry
workers, with several years' experience, earn only $20.00 a
The fixing of minimum wages for women and minors other-
wise than by the law of supply and demand, or the sense of
social responsibility of employers, has been in force in Aus-
tralia since 1896, through the operation of a Minimum Wage
Board, while England and Massachusetts created such Boards
in 1910 and 1912, respectively.
The thought of such a Board in Hawaii at the present time
may be quite as amusing as the action of the International As-
sociation for Labor Legislation (called by the Swiss Federal
Council and participated in by official representatives of four-
teen European powers) prohibiting night-work for women in
Uganda, Ceylon, Fiji Islands, Leeward Islands and Trinidad;
yet, as Miss Goldmark says, in commenting on this action:
" Experience has taught the wisdom of legislating before in-
dustry is present."
Industry is, however, present in Hawaii, and its growth has
been so rapid that, as stated before, employers have not con-
sidered seriously the questions involved in women's work.
An employer who was genuinely anxious to do his best for
his employes asked me seriously : "What would the girls do with
any more money if they had it ?" He was quite willing to con-
sider a living wage, and also spoke of profit-sharing with em-
The majority of employers, when spoken to concerning the
insufficiency of wages paid, point out that their employes have
homes in which there are other bread-winners ; and that with
94 THE INDUSTRIAL CONDITION OF
few exceptions they are not entirely dependent on their own
One special group of seven women was analyzed. Each re-
ceived a flat wage of $3.00 a week in an occupation requiring
no skill, and in which no advance in wages could be received
until two years' service had been rendered, when $4.00 was
paid. Even here one girl a Japanese who had been em-
ployed over two years, had received no advance.
Of this group three women were married, one was widowed
and three were young girls. One of the married women, whose
husband was in jail and who had a three-year-old child the
victim of infantile paralysis was receiving her rent from a
church society. The woman who was widowed also had her
rent paid by a church society. Two of the girls received help
from their respective fathers in addition to their living ex-
penses, and one woman supported herself and invalid husband
on her earnings in this position and in the canneries where she
worked during the season with her grandchild, the two earning
about $8.00 a week. She was a wiry, industrious Hawaiian
woman of about sixty, and it took much persuasion to get her
story from her. The Hawaiians are not beggars and few of
the old stock have been known to seek alms.
The proprietor, on having these facts called to his attention,
said that he could hire Chinese boys at $3.00 a week and have
the work done more efficiently. Yet even Chinese boys depend-
ent on their own efforts cannot subsist decently on $3.00 a
In her address before the National Conference of Charities
and Corrections in Cleveland, held -in June, 1912, Mrs. Flor-
ence Kelly, the dean and veritably the mother of industrial in-
a We cannot longer escape the knowledge that there
is no more efficient cause of wholesale destitution in
the United States than industry. It can be said with
truth that poverty is the regular and inevitable by-
product of our present industry, as wealth is its nor-
WOMEN AND GIRLS IN HONOLULU. 95
mal product. We carry on our industry to produce
wealth, and incidentally we produce wholesale poverty.
insufficient wages underlie a vast proportion of
the need for correctional and reformatory work. They
entail upon the community child-labor, tuberculosis,
underfeeding, lack of refreshing sleep and consequent
"They underlie industrial employment of mothers,
whose neglected children fail in health and morals.
The children in turn crowd the juvenile courts and
custodial institutions. . .
"It behooves us all to put in practice as rapidly
as we may some standard of payment for the work-
ing people having due relation to the expenditure of
life itself, in the service of all, that is made by those
who work for wages."
A typical example of the spirit being developed among em-
ployers by a better knowledge of conditions is cited by Mrs.
"A leading store in Boston Filene's has for
several months maintained a minimum wage of $8.00
a week. For many years this store had employed no
one who had not finished the work of the eighth grade
of the public schools. It has thus set for the whole
country an example of retail trade as a field in which
industry can be carried on under all the difficulties
entailed by unlimited competition, with profit and
success, and without producing poverty as its by-
In Honolulu working people can live comfortably on low
wages, in a greater degree of comfort than in any other com-
munity of which I have knowledge, but in practically every
family there is more than one wage-earner the wife and chil-
dren contributing their quota, however small.
96 THE INDUSTRIAL CONDITION OF
Only the tenements, the best of which afford no decent pri-
vacy to families, are open to the man with a family who earns
$1.00 or even $1.50 a day, if he is the sole wage-earner.
Your Oriental population is demonstrating its wish for bet-
ter standards of living by the avidity with which it is building
itself homes and sending its children to school.
Its morals will no doubt improve when, as a group of Chi-
nese young people said to a Mission class leader, they "have a
better example set them by representative white citizens/'
I believe that a Commission appointed by the Governor to
look into wage conditions in Hawaii, and their relation to the
cost of living, would clarify the whole Hawaiian labor situa-
tion, both at home and abroad.
Such a commission for the study of the wages of women and
minors, was created in Massachusetts in 1911, as follows:
"Resolved, That the Governor, with the advice and
consent of the Council, shall appoint a Commisison
of five persons, citizens of the Commonwealth, of
whom at least one shall be a woman, one shall be
a representative of labor, and one shall be a repre-
sentative of employers, to study the matter of wages."
Its report recommended an Act not only establishing a Mini-
mum Wage Board, but also providing for the determination of
minimum wages for women and minors.
Sections 3 and 4 of this Act provide:
"SECTION 3. It shall be the duty of the commis-
sion to inquire into the wages paid to the female em-
ployes in any occupation in the Commonwealth if
the commission has reason to believe that the wages
paid to a substantial number of such employes are
inadequate to supply the necessary cost of living and
to maintain the worker in health.
"SECTION 4. If after such investigation the com-
mission is of the opinion that in the occupation in
question the wages paid to a substantial number of
OMEX AXD GIRLS ix HONOLULU. 97
female employes are inadequate to supply the neces-
sary cost of living and to maintain the worker in
health, the commission shall establish a wage board,
consisting of not less than six representatives of em-
ployers in the occupation in question and of an equal
number of representatives of the female employes in
said occupation and of one or more disinterested per-
sons appointed by the commission to represent the
public, but the representatives of the public shall not
exceed one-half of the number of representatives of
either of the other parties. The commission shall des-
ignate the chairman from among the representatives
of the public, and shall make rules and regulations
governing the selection of members and the modes of
procedure of the boards, and shall exercise exclusive
jurisdiction over all questions arising with reference
to the validity of the procedure and of the determina-
tion of the boards. The members of wage boards shall
be compensated at the same rate as jurors ; they shall
be allowed the performance of their duties, these pay-
ments to be made from the appropriation for the ex-
penses of the commission. "
Mrs. Kelly says, concerning it, and I can think of no more
fitting close to a report on industrial conditions:
"We have never before brought to bear the experi-
ence of the people most closely concerned. These are
the employers, the workers, the consumers, not the
bondholders and stockholders. The employers know,
better than any other persons can possibly know, the
meaning of the pay-roll in relation to their particular
branch of industry. The workers know, as no one
else can, what it costs to bring up a family in a par-
ticular place in a given year, and what; if anything,
can be put away for the future out of a weekly wage.
When, therefore, these two participants, and repre-
sentatives of the consuming public, pool their know]-
98 THE INDUSTRIAL CONDITION OF
edge and correlate the wages with the cost of living
in their community, in the full light of publicity, all
the available, intimate knowledge and practical ex-
perience is brought to bear upon the wage scale thus
"This is a new extension of democracy into a field
of industrial bargaining. It gives the moral and legal
support of the State to its weakest economic elements,
to the women and children. By thus turning on the
light, it makes real, for the first time, that which has
by the economists and the courts been assumed to
exist, but has not yet existed: equality of the two
contracting parties. It gives effect to the will of those
who have in the past been mere pawns in the hands
of masters who have played the game on terms laid
down by themselves alone. It gives votes to women
in a field in which women most sorely need them, in
the determination of their wages. It tends, for the
first time, to substitute justice through self-govern-
ment in industry, for charity."
AND GlBLS IX HONOLULU.
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GLOSSARY OF HAWAIIAN TERMS
ALOHA Good will ; friendship.
KOXA South ; hot.
KAMAAIXA Old settlers; long time residents.
POPOL.A Wild spinach, valued as a food for its medicinal
LEI A garland for the neck or hat made of flowers, shells,
Poi Pounded root of the Taro plant the staple native food.
TAPA A stencilled material made by the pounded fibre of a
native tree; and formerly used for making the chief
article of dress by the natives.
LAUJIALA A native shrub, growing ten to fifteen feet in height,
with lance-like leaves which when dried are used for
mats, baskets, etc.
PAPAIA A native fruit, somewhat like a muskmelon.
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