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U33 • 74 nr>,--7-4^ UN1TED STATES DEPARTMENT OF LABOR BULLETIN OF THE WOMEN’S BUREAU, No. 74 THE IMMIGRANT WOMAN AND HER JOB Owr- • • ikwrn&w, [Public—No. 259—66th Congress] [H. R. 13229] An Act To establish in the Department of Labor a bureau to be known as the Women’s Bureau Be it enacted by the Senate and Mouse of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That there shall be established in the Department of Labor a bureau to be known as the Women’s Bureau. Sec. 2. That the said bureau shall be in charge of a director, a woman, to be appointed by the President, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, who shall receive an annual compensa tion of $5,000. It shall be the duty of said bureau to formulate standards and policies which shall promote the welfare of wage earning women, improve their working conditions, increase their efficiency, and advance their opportunities for profitable employ ment. The said bureau shall have authority to investigate and report to the said department upon all matters pertaining to the welfare of women in industry. The director of said bureau may from time to time publish the results of these investigations in such a manner and to such extent as the Secretary of Labor may prescribe. Sec. 3. That there shall be in said bureau an assistant director, to be appointed by the Secretary of Labor, who shall receive an annual compensation of $3,500 and shall perform such duties as shall be prescribed by the director and approved by the Secretary of Labor. Sec. 4. That there is hereby authorized to be employed by said bureau a chief clerk and such special agents, assistants," clerks, and other employees at such rates of compensation and in such numbers as Congress may from time to time provide by appropriations. Sec. 5. That the Secretary of Labor is hereby directed to furnish sufficient quarters, office furniture, and equipment, for the work of this bureau. Sec. 6. That this act shall take effect and be in force from and after its passage. Approved, June 5,1920. UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF LABOR James j. DAVIS, Secretary WOMEN’S BUREAU MARY ANDERSON, Director BULLETIN OF THE WOMEN’S BUREAU, NO. 74 THE IMMIGRANT WOMAN AND HER JOB CAROLINE MANNING UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE WASHINGTON : 1930 For sale by the Superintendent of Documents,. Washington, D. C., Price 30 cents . ' l » CONTENTS Letter of transmittal_________________ Introduction Scope!_________________________________________________________ Geographic location Industrial development Importance of foreign-born women in industries in the Lehigh Valley Method________________________________________________________ Data based on interviews Selection of neighborhoods in Philadelphia____________________ House-to-house canvass___________________________ _________ Neighborhoods outside of Philadelphia 12 Questionnaires in evening schools 12 Plan of report 13 Summaries of interviews 13 Personal data 18 Race and country of birth 18 Year of arrival in the United States 20 Reason for coming to the United States 21 Coming alone and age at arrival 22 Time in the United States before beginning work__________________ Marital status 22 Age_____________ Citizenship:_____________________________________________________ Schooling in the old country 26 Schooling in the United States 26 Ability to speak English 27 Ability to read English 29 Inability to read any language 30 Illiteracy 31 Employment of illiterates and those ignorant of English__________ Conclusion____________________________ Why so few attend evening school 32 Women who do attend evening classes 32 Failure of classes to fit individual needs 33 The family__________________ Summary 35 Size of family 36 Wage earners and non wage earners 36 Rela tionship of wage-earning woman in the family________________ Children 38 Number_____________________________________________ ______ Age and status 39 Care during mother’s absence 40 Care by fathers or others in the home 41 Care by neighbors or others outside the home_________________ Inadequate arrangements 42 No caretaker_________ Husbands and fathers 45 Steadiness of employment 46 Earnings of chief male bread-winner 46 Federal Reserve figures________ Cost of living Economic responsibilities Married women Team-work—double responsibility Unemployment;____________________________________________ Illness 54 Buying a home 54 hi Page. ix 1 3 3 4 6 9 9 10 12 22 24 24 31 32 35 37 38 42 43 48 48 50 50 52 53 IV CONTENTS Economic responsibilities—Continued. Married women—Continued. Brides continuing to work 55 Savings and old age 56 No absolute necessity for work 57 Sole support___________________________________________________ Single women Women living independently Other motives for working Home duties__________ _____________________________________________ Extent60 Washing 61 Assistance in housework 61 Boarders; day work 61 Housing_______________ ____________________________________________ Multiple dwellings in the Lehigh Valley 64 Size of dwelling 66 Persons per room 66 Rents____ Sanitary equipment of houses in Bethlehem Industrial experience Summary______________ Work in old country 71 Industry in old country compared with work in United States______ First work in the United States 74 Various industries in which employed 75 Major and minor industry 78 No change in occupation 79 Time spent as wage earners 83 Aggregate years worked before and after marriage_________________ Continuous employment Causes of unemployed time Employment of mothers and daughters Conditions in present job Earnings Earnings by industry or occupation Effect of experience on wages Wage reports from other sources or agencies__________________ Hours of work 95 Source of data 95 Daily hours 96 Weekly hours 96 Long hours and overtime 97 Irregularity of employment 100 Finding a job 103 Making a choice_ _ Importance of chance Influence of friends and language Definite choice_______________ Other agencies * Difficulties of experienced workers Age a drawback Adjustment in the job Industrial reasons for dissatisfaction No work__________ Low wages;________________________________________________ Pay while learning, Changes in method of pay 117 Difficulty in collecting wages________________________________ Personalities; language difficulties 119 Managerial policies 121 Physical strain 126 Insanitary conditions1______________________________________ Illness reported by cigar workers 128 Personal reasons for leaving job 129 Unsatisfactory conditions not resulting in change of job____________ Page 57 58 58 58 60 64 68 60 71 71 72 83 85 85 87 90 90 91 92 94 103 105 106 108 109 109 111 112 114 115 115 116 118 127 130 CONTENTS Accidents Immigration since the World War Race----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Housing-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------Education 135 Age and marital status 135 Reason for coming 135 Age at entering present industry 135 Finding work 137 Industrial work in the home: Introduction Race and present occupation Work in the old country Reason for coming to the United States Personal data Age and marital status Ability to use English Citizenship___________________________________________ _____ Dwellings The family____________________________________ Number and ages of children Husbands---------------------------------------------------------------------------Industrial experience 146 Reasons for working 146 Reasons for selecting home work 146 First work in the United States 147 Time spent in employment other than home work_____________ Experience in home work Operations in home work andthe rates of pay_________________ Proximity of plants and difficulties of getting the work________ Help of children 153 Time devoted to home work 154 Earnings_________________________ _____________________________ Source of data 155 Week’s earnings 156 Individual versus family-group work 156 Dissatisfaction with earnings 157 Foreign-born women attending Philadelphia public evening schools: Introduction_______________________________________ Summary: Scope Personal data Race and country of birth Age______________________________________ Marital statusi_____________ Time in the United States 162 Citizenship 163 Education 163 Schooling in the old country 163 Time in school in the United States 164 Industrial experience 166 Length of time working in the United States 166 Present employment 166 Employment in the old country compared with present em ployment 167 Effect on industry of time in the United States_______________ Number of jobs 169 Wages 170 First wages 170 Raises in wages 170 Wages in relation to experience 171 Wages and race 172 Wages in domestic and personal service 172 Summary of principal facts 173 Appendix.—Schedule forms 177 V Page 133 134 134 134 138 139 140 140 141 141 141 143 143 144 144 144 148 149 150 152 155 159 160 161 161 161 162 162 169 VI CONTENTS TEXT TABLES Table 1. Number of women interviewed, by race or people and locality 2. Age distribution of women 10 years of age and over in woman-employing manufacturing and mechanical in dustries, 1900, 1910, and 1920—Lehigh Valley, by com munity 3. Number and per cent of married women 10 years of age and over in woman-employing manufacturing and mechanical industries, 1900, 1910, and 1920—Lehigh Valley, lay com munityi 4. Number and per cent of foreign-born women 10 years of age and over in woman-employing manufacturing and mechanical industries, 1900, 1910, and 1920—Lehigh Valley, by community 5. Country of birth, by race or people_____________________ 6. Year of arrival in the United States, by race or people___ 7. Marital status, by race or people 23 8. Age, by race or people 24 9. Citizenship, by race or people 25 10. Extent of schooling in the United States of women 14 years of age or over at time of arrival, by locality___________ 11. Inability to speak English of women 14 years of age or over at time of arrival, by race or people and locality_______ 12. Inability to speak English, by years in the United States- 13. Inability to read English, by years in the United States-_ 14. Inability to read English of women 14 years of age or over at time of arrival, by race or people and locality______ 15. Inability to read any language, by race or people________ 16. Total illiteracy and inability to read and write English, by present industry or occupation 31 17. Wage earners and non wage earners according to the rela tionship in family of the woman interviewed__________ 18. Women in families having two wage earners, by relation ship of woman and size of family_____________________ 19. Number of children in the home, by race or people of mother 38 20. Mothers having children of specified age groups at home, in school, or at work, by age group of children___________ 21. Mothers with children at work, by race or people of mother. 22. Number of children, by age of youngest child___________ 23. Care of young children during mother’s absence at work, by age..----------------------------------------------------------------24. Industry or occupation of husband, by locality__________ 25. Median of a week’s earnings of the chief male wage earners, by industry or occupation and by locality_____________ 26. Reason for return to work after marriage, by time elapsed before such return 51 27. Extent to which married women and widows had boarders and lodgers, by race or people of woman______________ 28. Extent of cooperative housekeeping or living as “ boarders,” by race or people of woman interviewed—Lehigh Valley. _ 29. Size of dwelling and number of persons in the household, by locality 67 30. Average number of persons to a room, households of recent arrivals compared with all households—Lehigh Valley __ 31. Amount of monthly rental, by size of dwelling and locality. _ 32. Employment in old country of women who were 16 years of age and over at time of coming to United States, by present employment 72 33. Extent to which employment in United States had differed from that in old country—504 women who were wage earners in old country 73 34. First employment in the United States, by locality______ Page 3 7 7 8 19 21 26 28 29 29 30 30 36 37 39 39 40 41 45 47 62 65 68 69 74 CONTENTS • Table 35. Experience in various industries, by present industry— Philadelphia 77 36. Experience in various industries, by present industry— Lehigh Valley 78 37. Present employment major or minor, by locality_________ 38. Women reporting no change of occupation in entire indus trial experience in United States—Lehigh Valley______ 39. Women reporting no change of occupation in entire indus trial experience in United States—Philadelphia________ 40. Experience in one occupation, by time worked and locality. 41. Experience in one or more occupations, by race or people and locality 82 42. Percentage of years employed and unemployed during time spent in United States, by marital status and locality____________________________________________ 43. Extent of unbroken employment in the United States, by marital status and locality 85 44. Time not employed through domestic causes, by over-all working period in the United States__________________ 45. Industry of daughter, by industry of mother____________ 46. Median of the week’s earnings, by present industry and by locality 91 47. Median of the week’s earnings according to whether present employment major or minor, by locality______________ 48. Median of the week’s earnings, by actual time worked in present industry 93 49. Daily and weekly hours of work in manufacturing indus tries, by locality 96 50. Reason for choice of first job, by industry_______________ 51. Condition in the industry reported as reason for leaving job, by industry 115 52. Distribution by industry or occupation of women who had arrived in the United States in 1919 or later, according to first employment in the United States, according to present employment, and showing number who had remained in one industry or occupation, by locality____ Industrial work in the home: 53. Kind of home work done, by race of woman____________ 54. Inability to use English and general illiteracy, by race or people 142 55. Number of children in all families and number where young est child was under 5 years of age 144 56. Employment outside the home, by industry or occupation and duration of job 148 57. Extent of individual and group work, by kind of work done 157 Foreign-born women attending Philadelphia public evening schools: 58. Race or people, by country of birth 161 59. Age, by race or people 162 60. Time in school in the United States, by age at time of arrival_______ 61. Distribution of women according to length of residence in the United States and time attending school__________ 62. Attendance at school during approximately entire residence in the United States 165 63. Employment during approximately entire residence in the United States 166 64. Present industry or occupation, by race or people________ 65. Present employment, by occupation in old country______ 66. Women having had only one job in the United States, by time at work 170 67. Earnings in the first and the present job, by industry___ 68. Median of the full-time weekly wage, by time worked in the United States 171 VII Pass 78 80 80 82 84 87 88 93 103 136 139 164 165 167 168 171 VIII CONTENTS ILLUSTRATIONS Page Portrait of immigrant womanFrontispiece Map of central Europe showing countries in which most of the women interviewed were born 6 Map of Philadelphia showing location of foreign neighborhoods in which canvass was made________________________________________________ 11 LETTER OF TRANSMITTAL United States Department of Labor, Women’s Bureau, Washington, July 1,1929. Sir: I am submitting herewith a report on the immigrant woman and her job, designed to show how and to what extent these women are fitting into American industrial life, how necessary such em ployment is for the women and what it means to them and to their families, and how much of their time and strength is given to American industry. Grateful acknowledgment is made of the generous assistance lent by individuals and organizations—the women themselves, their em ployers, the Young Women’s Christian Association, the Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce, the Philadelphia Board of Education, and the United States Bureau of the Census. The survey was conducted by and under the direction of Caroline Manning, industrial supervisor of this bureau, and Miss Manning has written the report. Respectfully submitted. Mart Anderson, Director. Hon. James J. Davis, Secretary of Labor. IX /tk'MBi THE IMMIGRANT WOMAN AND HER JOB INTRODUCTION This report is descriptive of women who, born on the other side of the Atmntic, have adopted America as their home. The study was made in order to ascertain how and to what extent these women are fitting into American industrial life, how necessary such employ ment is for the women and what it means to them and to their families, and how much of their time and strength is given to American industries. • \°n 0f*aiiyi>art ^le immigration problem was attempted in tins study. An effort was made merely to get from the foreignborn woman herself her reactions to conditions as she finds them toda\ in a very small section of the United States. To accomplish this the interview method was used, the women being visited in their homes, frequently with the assistance of an interpreter. Too much can not be said in praise of the young women who acted as in terpreters. Some of them were themselves in industry, others were m offices or were teachers or social workers. Several, having grown up in the neighborhood, had experienced the difficulties of adjust ment in America and thus were better able to present the purpose of the survey in the homes of their fellow countrymen, winning the con fidence of strangers, many of whom otherwise might have been reticent and reluctant to discuss personal matters. One purpose of the survey was to discover where and why the women were employed, topics that guided the conversation into a discussion of the everyday affairs in which the woman interviewed was most keenly interested—her job and her home. In view of the method used, the results are not wholly statistical tabulations of recorded facts, but the report is offered in the belief that errors in individual statements have been lost in the laro-e num ber of cases interviewed or that errors on the one side have been balanced by errors on the other. Some of the comments may have been influenced by a natural bias, but the statements gave expression to predominant attitudes of mind strikingly suggestive of the forces that control the lives and characters of the vast immigrant population. 6 Not all the problems that the. women discussed were peculiarly those of the immigrant, but their handicaps undoubtedly served to emphasize their difficulties. .Nor are the conditions complained of new. Always known to exist, they were surveyed 20 years ago by the Immigration Commission, and in a number of respects the re ports of that commission describe the situation as it was found in the present inquiry. 1 2 THE IMMIGRANT WOMAN AND HER JOB Employers, like the women visited in their homes, exhibited a spirit of friendliness toward the study. In many cases they fur nished lists of the names and addresses of their foreign-born em ployees. Furthermore, a few supplied representative pay-roll data showing the actual earnings of the immigrant women employed in their plants. Some discussed their labor problems with amazing frankness. A foreman of an office-cleaning gang expressed a pref erence for married Slavic women, saying, “ They work hard, and don’t object to scrubbing tiled floors on their knees.” “ They still like brooms and are afraid of vacuum cleaners.” An employment manager in a large mill, who preferred Polish women, said: “ They are hard workers, stolid, and equal to heavy jobs. We have no Italians or Jews here. We do not like the excitable Italian type for work, and the Jew can not satisfy his ambitions in this plant, as there is no chance for progress in skill or wages. One reason we moved here was to be near a cheap labor supply.” And in Bethle hem the labor situation was described as “ unique ” and “ easy ” be cause not under trade-union domination. American neighbors are likely to be critical of the foreigner, whether a success or a failure, so many of the women not only were conscious of the barrier created by a strange language but felt the race prejudice that in some places amounted practically to ostra cism, to-day’s expression of the discrimination that has been the lot of the race most recently arrived from colonial days to the present time. Many of the foreign born remain complete strangers to the lan guage and customs of the land in which they make their home years after their arrival. Of the more than 2,000 women reporting only about three-fifths were able to speak English, and some of these used the language with great difficulty; less than one-third could read English and fewer still could write it. As remains true of the vast majority of women, and perhaps of men, it was a matter of place of residence and not one of deliberate choice of occupation that decided whether these women should be cigar rollers in the Lehigh Valley or woolen weavers in Philadelphia. In many cases the women interviewed had elected to live in a certain place to be near friends, but they had gone to work in the new environment blindly, with no enthusiasm for making cigars or with little aptitude for operating a power sewing machine. All work was alike to them, merely a means to earning a livelihood. In his book, Adjusting Immigrant and Industry, William M. Leiserson has said: When the immigrant’s work and the place in which it is done are as strange to him as the language and customs of the people among whom he has come to live, faith in a promised land is indeed a necessity to give hope that he will survive in the new environment. And if a proper adjustment of immigrant and industry is to be made, so that he'may become an integral part of the American industrial population, something more than faith is needed. Ade quate assistance in finding his place in American industry is also necessary.1 And after talking with women who for years have done some of the heaviest and most disagreeable tasks in our factories and mills, 1 Leiserson, William M. p. 48. Adjusting Immigrant and Industry. Harper & Bros. 1924, 3 INTRODUCTION but whose hearts and minds still dwell in the Carpathian Mountains, Americanization seems little more than a strange word and a vague ideal as yet far from attainment. SCOPE Geographic location. The table following shows the number of women interviewed, ac cording to race or people and locality: Table 1.—'Number of women interviewed, by race or people and locality Number Per cent Race or people Total Total..................... ............. Philadel Lehigh phia Valley Total Philadel phia Lehigh Valley ............. 2,146 1,120 1,026 100.0 100.0 100.0 Irish...................................................... Scotch................................................... 57 37 34 2 57 35 31 2 2 3 2. 7 1.7 1.6 .l 5.1 3.1 2.8 .2 .2 .3 7 451 214 223 274 7 5 7 101 173 221 47 350 41 2 227 7 5 .3 21.0 10.0 10.4 12.8 .3 .2 .6 9.0 15.4 19.7 4.2 11 27 330 34 7 12 115 184 104 11 6 26 295 28 2 4 31 5 1 35 6 5 8 84 184 57 4 .5 1.3 15.4 1.6 .3 .6 5.4 8.6 4.8 .5 .5 2.3 26.3 2.5 .2 .4 2.8 English-speaking: Non-English-speaking: French............ ................... ................... German..... .............................................. Italian .................................................. . Jewish..................................................... Magyar................................................... Spanish and Portuguese l........ ......... . Slavic— Czech,....................................... . Lithuanian and Lettish 2___ ____ Polish............................................. Russian...................... ................... . Ruthenian___________________ Serbo-Croatian 3._....................... . Slovak............................................. Ukrainian Other 4_______________ ___________ 1 Includes 4 Spanish and 1 Portuguese. 2 Includes 25 Lithuanian and 2 Lettish. 3 Includes 10 Croatian and 2 Serbian. 4 Includes 3 Armenian, 1 Finnish, 4 Flemish, 3 Greek. 47 7 4.2 .6 34.1 4.0 .2 22.1 .7 .5 .5 .1 3.4 .6 .5 .8 8.2 17.9 5.6 .4 . In selecting the field for the survey an effort was" made to include both a community with a foreign population typical of the United States as a whole and a more intensely foreign community with lim ited opportunities for the wage-earning woman. The latest occupational census of the United States, taken in 1920, shows that, of 1,930,341 women employed in manufacturing and me chanical industries, more than one in every five was foreign born and almost one-half of the foreign born were in the clothing and textile trades.2 It is apparent from the same report of the census that in Phila delphia about one-sixth of the women in industry were foreign born and the industries employing them in greatest numbers were clothing with about 4,000 foreign women and textiles with about 5,000.3 There were large cities with percentages of- foreign-born women in 2 U. S. Bureau of the Census. tions, pp. 342-350. 3 Ibid., pp, 204 and 1196, Fourteenth Census: 1920, vol. 4, Population, Occupa 4 THE IMMIGRANT WOMAN AND HER JOB industry much higher than that of Philadelphia : For New York City as a whole the figure was 46.3 per cent, and for the Borough of Man hattan it was 53.5 per cent; for Chicago it was 34.3 per cent. Some smaller industrial cities also had percentages much higher than that of Philadelphia: Fall Iiiver, with 44.7 per cent; Lowell, with 45.5 per cent; New Bedford, with 60.3 per cent; and Passaic, with 67.5 per cent.4 Philadelphia was selected for the present survey as fairly repre sentative of the country as a whole in numbers of foreign women employed, being a large clothing and textile center and offering op portunities for work in a great variety of other industries and occupations. It is not a 1-industry center as are so man}7 of the cities with unusually high proportions of foreign workers. ' In sharp contrast to Philadelphia with its normal population and diversified industries is an important industrial district in the Lehigh River Valley. About 50 miles north of Philadelphia and 80 miles west from New York are Bethlehem, famous for its steel works, and Allentown, with its more diversified manufacturing interests; a little farther up the river is the famous cement belt centering about the towns of Northampton, Coplay, and Cementon, and still farther up is Palmerton, unknown to the outside world until the New Jersey Zinc Co. acquired farms here in 1898 and began building the town along with its mills. These characteristic industries have been a magnet that has attracted thousands of foreign born to the district and has revolutionized it in the last quarter of a century. In this influx of the new immigration into the Lehigh Valley have been men of many races and many creeds. They have come chiefly from what was, before the World War, Austria-Hungary—from Galicia, Carpathia, Bohemia, Hungary, Burgenland; and here they have established their churches—Greek, Roman Catholic, and Lu theran and the foreign-language schools in connection with their churches. Here also the press is publishing newspapers in foreign languages that have a circulation far beyond the Lehigh Valley. As early as 1880 the first few Slovaks and Hungarians were reach ing Bethlehem, but not for 15 years did the Slovenes (Winds) come in noticeable numbers. With them have come their women folk, and they have established their homes in segregated communities close to the places of the men’s employment. In the earlier years there was little for the women to do outside their homes, but in about 1900 some lar-sighted men saw this idle labor supply and had visions of utilizing it. Industrial development. The mention of Bethlehem and the Lehigh Valley brings to mind a picture of steel and cement and the foreign labor that has been attracted by the opportunities of work offered by these big industr|es- Being a steel and cement center, the less important industries where the women have found work have been overshadowed. Before 1905 the cigar factories in the district were small shops employing perhaps half a dozen or so, but in that year a large and completely equipped cigar factory was established in the midst of the homes of the foreign-born families in Allentown. In less than 4 Ibid., pp. 1049-1257 and unpublished data, 5 INTRODUCTION three years another large cigar factory was operating in the foreign section in South Bethlehem, and in another two years one was opened in Northampton. Others followed rapidly, so that within a few years about 10 large cigar factories were employing hundreds of women living in these neighborhoods. They were popular with the workers, and some women who lived in South Bethlehem went back and forth daily to the factory in Allentown before one opened in their own city. The reputation of these large establishments soon spread to Europe, so that numbers of unattached women came to the valley, confident of obtaining work upon their arrival. The history of the silk industry in the district dates back con siderably farther than that of the cigar industry. In 1880 a silk firm in New Jersey was persuaded that among other considerations the abundant labor supply and cheap living made Allentown a favor able location for a mill. The next few years saw several silk mills opened in Bethlehem, as well as in Allentown, so that by 1890 the industry was well established and began reaching out into adjoining communities. Coplay had been a cement center for many years, but not until 1895 was there any foreign population to speak orf and not until 1901 did it boast of a silk mill or a cigar factory. About that time the zinc company in Palmerton was making rapid strides, and to house the incoming labor it was found necessary to begin the construction of company houses. A silk mill was opened, but it was not until 1914 that the cigar industry started here. The men and women who have settled in Philadelphia and the Lehigh Valley have come from practically every country in Europe. According to the United States Census of 1920,5 the six ranking countries of origin represented in Philadelphia, Allentown, and Bethlehem are as follows: Philadelphia Total population___1, Number of foreign born_____ Per cent of foreign born Six ranking countries of origin: 1. Russia. _ 2. Ireland _ 3. Italy___ 4. G e r many. 5. Poland.. 6. E n g land . . Allentown 823, 779 397, 927 21. 8 95, 744 64, 590 63, 723 Total popula tion 73,502 Number of for eign born_____ Per cent of for eign born_____ Six ranking coun tries of ori gin: 1. Hungary_ _ 2. Austria____ 3. Russia____ 4. Italy______ 5. Germany__ 6. Poland____ 39, 766 31, 112 Bethlehem 8, 612 11. 7 1, 644 1,563 1, 012 988 813 706 Total popula tion 50, 358 Number of for eign born_____10,943 Per cent of for eign born_____ 21. 7 Six ranking coun tries of ori gin: 1. Hungary_ _ 4, 269 2. Austria____ 1, 351 3. Italy______ 848 4. Czechoslo vakia___ 606 5. Germany__ 584 538 6. Russia_____ 30, 844 The difference in source of immigrant population between Phila delphia and the two Lehigh Valley towns is apparent, for although Hungary and Austria lead in Allentown and Bethlehem they do not 5 U. S. Bureau of the Census. 889, and 897. Fourteenth Census: 1920. vol. 3, Population, pp. 887, 6 THE IMMIGRANT WOMAN AND HER JOB occur among the six countries most largely represented in Philadel phia. Russia has much the lead in Philadelphia, and included m the number who had come from Russia were many Jews. MAP OF CENTRAL EUROPE SHOWING COUNTRIES IN WHICH MOST OF THE WOMEN INTERVIEWED WERE BORN land Importance of foreign-born women in industries in the Lehigh Valley. , Through the courtesy of the Bureau of the Census special compila tions have been made of data heretofore unpublished. These show certain personal information and employment of the wage-earning women in the five locations in the Lehigh Valley where women were interviewed during the survey. The three tables next presented trace the changes through the first two decades of the century in (1) the age, (2) the marital status, and (3) the nativity of women in the industries employing them in most representative numbers, INTRODUCTION i Table 2.—Age distribution of women 10 years of age and over in woman- employing manufacturing and mechanical industries, 1900, 1910, and 1920— Lehigh Valley, by community1 Allentown South Bethlehem2 Northamp Pal merton 3 ton4 Coplay Age 190C 1910 1920 All women.............. 1,797 3,101 3,450 Under 18 years_________ 18 and 19 years................. 20 to 24 years__________ 25 to 44 years__________ 45 years and over........ ... 37.2 18.5 26.8 16.5 .9 27.8 19.7 26.8 23.4 2.4 18.2 10.3 24.1 41.2 6.2 1900 1910 464 1,262 45.3 17.7 23.3 13.4 .4 36.6 19.3 23.7 19. 1 1.3 1920 1900 1910 1920 1910 1920 1920 993 12 160 174 378 493 90 22.3 13.4 25.8 34.9 3.6 91.7 8.3 24.4 22.5 40.6 12.5 20.7 7.5 23.0 47.1 1.7 32.5 18.8 31.5 16.9 .3 21.9 9.9 26.2 40.2 1.8 38.9 14.4 17.8 27.8 1.1 1 From unpublished data of Bureau of the Census. For industries included, see footnote 2 of Table i. 2 Incorporated with Bethlehem in 1917. The data in this table from the 1920 census are comparable with the boundaries of South Bethlehem in 1900 and 1910. 3 Incorporated as Alliance Borough in 1902 and name changed to Northampton in 1909. 4 Incorporated in 1912. _ Girls not yet 18 predominated in industry in each of the communi ties reported in 1900. In Allentown and South Bethlehem in that year there were two or three times as many girls under 18 as there were women of 25 or more, but in some of the communities in 1920 the number of older women was more than twice as large as the number of girls under 18. The year 1920 shows also a noticeable increase in women 45 years or older in industry. How much of this ap parent increase in the employment of older women is due to the girls of 1900 having remained in the industry it is not possible to say. Table 3.—Number and per cent of married women 10 years of age and over in woman-employing manufacturing and mechanical industries, 1900, 1910, and 1920-^Lehigh Valley, by community1 Allentown South Bethlehem2 Total Married Total Married Cen num women num women sus ber of ber of year wagewageearn earn ing Num Per ing Num Per wom ber cent wom ber cent en en 1900-. 1,797 109 1910.. 3,101 420 1920.. 3,450 1,112 6.1 464 13.5 1,362 32.2 993 7 303 330 1.5 24.0 33.2 Coplay Northampton 3 Palmerton 4 Total Married num women ber of wageearn ing Num Per wom ber cent en Total Married num women ber of wageearn ing Num Per wom ber cent en Total Married num women ber of wageearn ing Num Per wom ber cent en 12 160 174 56 92 35.0 52.9 378 493 120 230 31.7 46.7 90 29 32.2 1 From unpublished data of Bureau of the Census. For industries included, see footnote 2 of Table 4. 2 Incorporated with Bethlehem in 1917. The data in this table from the 1920 census are comparable with the boundaries of South Bethlehem in 1900 and 1910. 3 Incorporated as Alliance Borough in 1902 and name changed to Northampton in 1909. 4 Incorporated in 1912. Just as the employment of older women increased in the Lehigh Valley between 1900 and 1920, so the employment of married wage earners, in these communities increased in a striking degree, and, again, it is not possible to separate from the others the girls who married and remained at work. The percentage of married women 65661°—30----- 2 8 THE IMMIGRANT WOMAN AND HER JOB increased in Allentown from 6.1 to 32.2 and in South Bethlehem from 1.5 to 33.2 in the 20 years. In these two cities in 1920 about one in three of the wage-earning women was married, and in Coplay and Northampton about one in two was married. Furthermore, in South Bethlehem, Coplay, Northampton, and Palmerton 87 percent of all the married wage-earning women were foreign born.6 The employment of women in manufacturing and mechanical in dustries increased by leaps and bounds in the decade 1900 to 1910, the period that marlis the gain in the numbers of foreign-born women. In South Bethlehem manufacturing and mechanical plants employed 464 women in 1900 and by 1910 the number had nearly trebled. Of the 464 in 1900 approximately one-seventh were immigrant women, but by 1910 almost two-thirds of the women employed in these industries in South Bethlehem were foreign born. Table 4.—Number and per cent of foreign-bom women 10 years of age and over in woman-employing manufacturing and mechanical industries, 1900, 1910, and 1920—Lehigh Valley, by community1 ALL INDUSTRIES ’ Allentown Total Foreign Cen num born sus ber of year wageearn ing Num Per wom ber cent en 1900._ 1,797 1910.. 3,101 1920-. 3,450 192 955 953 South Bethlehem3 Coplay Northampton 4 Total Foreign Total Foreign Total Foreign bom bom born num num num ber of ber of ber of wagewagewageearn earn earn ing Num Per ing Num Per ing Num Per wom ber cent wom ber cent wom ber cent en en en 10.7 464 30.8 1, 262 27.6 993 63 817 551 13.6 64.7 55.5 12 160 174 Palmerton 6 Total num- Foreign born wageearn ing Num Per wom ber cent en (6) 66.3 56.9 378 493 275 281 72.8 57.0 90 44 48.9 1 100.0 59 92.2 50 89.3 145 152 139 126 95.9 82.9 58 42 72.4 46 49 182 319 98 146 53.8 45.8 29 2 1 106 99 CIGARS 1900.. 182 1910.. 804 1920_. 1,052 72 642 741 39.6 79.9 70.4 3 702 528 1 659 428 (6) 93.9 81.1 1 64 56 SILK 1900.. 1, 268 1910._ 1, 610 1920.. 1,934 106 123 172 8.4 7.6 8.9 301 299 325 45 117 102 15.0 39.1 31.4 7 86 116 53.5,| 42.2 m 1 From unpublished data of Bureau of the Census. 2 Includes manufacture of cigars, silk, hosiery, jute and other textile products, clothing, and cement, and laundry work. 3 Incorporated with Bethlehem in 1917. The data in the table from the 1920 census are comparable with the boundaries of South Bethlehem in 1900 and 1910. 4 Incorporated as Alliance Borough in 1902 and name changed to Northampton in 1909. 6 Incorporated in 1912. 8 Not computed, owing to small number involved, For each census period the figures show that the proportion of foreign-born women in industry was less in Allentown than in the other localities reporting. In 1920 about one in every four wage earning women in Allentown was foreign born, but in the other com munities the proportion was as high as one in every two. a Similar data not tabulated for Allentown. INTRODUCTION 9 The enumeration of the last census shows that only 61 of the 1,504 foreign-born women wage earners in Allentown and South Bethlehem were not in the cigar or silk plants. Since such over whelming numbers of the immigrant women were employed in the manufacture of cigars and silk, subdivisions for these two industries are included in the table. The marked growth in the cigar industry came between 1900 and 1910. In 1900 only 186 women were engaged in the trade, but by 1910 there were 1,715 employed in this part of the Lehigh Valley, and 87.4 per cent of these were born in the old country. At this time (1910) well over 90 per cent of the women working in this industry in South Bethlehem, Coplay, and Northampton were foreign born. The proportion of foreign-born women employed has always been strikingly higher in the cigar factories of the valley than in the silk mills and in 1920 there were almost three times as many in the cigar plants as in the silk mills. By 1900 the silk industry was well established in this section, particularly in Allentown, and the table shows that, except in Coplay and Northampton in 1910, it has employed native women much more extensively than the foreign-born. To sum up: This section of the country in southeastern Pennsyl vania was selected for study because it includes a large city with con ditions representative of the country as a whole, both industrially and in respect to the proportion of native and foreign-born in the popula tion, and an important area devoted to specialized industries and with a concentrated foreign group. METHOD Data based on interviews. To get the viewpoint of the foreign-born women toward their jobs they were visited in their homes by agents of the Women’s Bu reau. In these interviews, which form the basis of this report, effort was made to learn the peculiar difficulties the women had experienced in adjusting themselves to routine jobs, with special emphasis upon finding work, changing jobs, causes of unemployment, and present earning ability. Other inquiries were of a personal nature, in regard to age, race, marital status, length of residence in the United States, and schooling. Questions were asked about the family, the number of wage earners and non wage earners, as also about the house occu pied—its size, rental, etc. Furthermore, the endeavor was made to get an expression from the women of their economic responsibility to family and home, coupled with a statement of their reasons for working. Comparatively few women were not cordially cooperative. _ Some who were hesitant at first were soon talking freely about their jobs and their hopes and plans for their families. Others had little to say—perhaps because of the emptiness of their lives, for they seemed interested in the topics discussed. . These interviews with foreign-born women in many cases required the help of interpreters, chosen because they had a sympathetic understanding of the neighborhood and its problems or because they were trained case workers. 10 THE IMMIGRANT WOMAN AND HER JOB In 1908 and 1909 the Immigration Commission made a very ex tensive study, covering much of the United States, and as some of the original schedules still were accessible it was hoped that the Philadelphia schedules might be used as a basis for comparison in the present study. In the survey by the Immigration Commission, however, the emphasis was placed upon the chief male wage earner and data concerning the females employed were incidental. In the 933 foreign households visited in Philadelphia only 235 foreign-born females 16 years of age or over were reported as wage earners.7 Not only was the number insignificant but the districts in which the households were located had undergone a great change in the years since the survey. Some were no longer residential districts and were entirely given over to business and in other locations the negro had taken the place of the foreigner. For these reasons, the present study being concerned chiefly with foreign-born women who were wage earners, the earlier report could be used only in making rather general comparisons. Selection of neighborhoods in Philadelphia. To find the home of the foreign-born wage earner was a laborious task in Philadelphia. In the first place the selection of sample neighborhoods where there was a segregation of different foreign races, some convenient to industrial plants and others more remote, was made only after consultation with numerous social agencies, settlements, day nurseries, charity-organization societies, district nurses, the International Institute of the Young Women’s Christian Association, the Traveler’s Aid, the Americanization committee of the Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce, representatives of the for eign press and of foreign churches, employers, real-estate agents, and those in the public schools who had charge of the evening schools and vocational guidance. Neighborhoods were selected in widely scattered parts of the city in order to get a sample of the different racial groups reported by the census as numerically important. Care was taken also to select whenever possible the sections in which the immigrant groups lived in segregated communities. The accompanying map indicates roughly the location of the blocks selected for study in Philadelphia and the prevailing race in each neighborhood. The English-speaking groups were in Kensington; the Italian and Jewish communities both north and south of Market Street were selected; Slavic neighborhoods were scattered northeast in Bridesburg and Frankford, northwest in Manayunk and in Nicetown, and in the central part of the city; a few Magyars were found north of Girard Avenue, toward the Delaware, and living in the same neighborhood were some Germans, but they were Germans of a decidedly peasant type who for several generations had lived in Hungary, yet clung tenaciously to their German dialect. The loca tion of a district where the true German immigrant lived in any concentration of numbers was difficult to find, although probably the nearest approach to this was a little community to the north of Kensington. 7 United States Immigration Commission. Reports, vol. 27. S. Doc. No. 338, 61st Cong., 2d seas., pp. 335, 362. Immigrants in Cities. 11 INTRODUCTION MAP OF PHILADELPHIA SHOWING LOCATION OF FOREIGN NEIGHBORHOODS IN WHICH CANVASS WAS MADE V IARKET WINGOHOGKING ST SOUTH £= ENGLISH SPEAKING g=GERMAN I = ITALIAN J= JEWISH M= MAGYAR S= SLAVIC 12 THE IMMIGRANT WOMAN AND HER JOB House-to-house canvass. The neighborhoods having been selected, the next step was to find the homes of the foreign-born women who were at work, and this called for a house-to-house canvass. All told, a foreign-born working woman was found in one of every eight of the 9,000 houses canvassed. The ratio varied in different districts. For example, in the Jewish district north of Market Street there was a foreign worker in every 3 houses, but in Kensington, where the English-speaking immigrants were living, there was only 1 in every 10 houses. In many of the houses the foreign-born women were not employed, and in others the women who worked were native born, often the daughters of foreign parents. Neighborhoods outside of Philadelphia. Neighborhoods in Clifton Heights, a suburb of Philadelphia, and in Norristown also were recommended, but no extensive canvass was made in these localities. Throughout the report the interviews in Clifton Heights and Norristown have been included with Philadel phia except where otherwise specified, because the women belonged to the races that predominated in Philadelphia and the chief indus tries in which they worked were the same as industries listed in the city. In the Lehigh Yalley interviews were made in the towns extending along the river north of Allentown and Bethlehem as well as in these two cities. But the selection of blocks suitable for the canvass was no problem here. The foreign settlements were clearly defined, and instead of making a house-to-house canvass lists of the names and addresses of foreign-born working women were furnished by em ployers and church and nationality organizations. One employer turned to the book containing names of his' employees, saying: “ Take all the names; they are all greenhorns; they don’t know a word of English.” Another employer said, “ Go to all the houses around here; the women all work.” Questionnaires in evening schools. As the survey progressed in Philadelphia it was very evident that the German immigrant women, an important group, were not being located by means of the house-to-house canvass, and that they were not living in distinctly German neighborhoods but were scattered throughout the city.8 Records of the department of evening schools of the Philadelphia Board of Education showed that a representative group of German women attended the evening classes from year to 8 In 1923 the names of over 1,000 women, third-class passengers from Germany, were referred to the International Institute of the Young Women’s Christian Association of Philadelphia. This organization was especially interested in establishing a friendly rela tionship with the newcomers through clubs and classes, but some information was obtained quite incidentally about the first employment of 383 of these German women. Almost four-fifths of them went immediately into various kinds of domestic service. This was quite natural, since social custom in Germany favored this kind of work for girls, and they did not lose caste by doing it. Additional inducements for entering this kind of work were the opportunity it gave for acquiring English and of saving part of the wage. A smaller yet characteristic group found work in little corner bakeries, where their jobs combined duties in the store with those in the bakery of the German pro prietor. These were all young women (almost none were over 30) and a few of them had been teachers, stenographers, and nurses in Germany. Four German churches in Philadelphia conducted classes in English for newcomers, and in this group, which in some years was over a hundred, about four-fifths were household employees. Since these recent German immigrants were so largely employed in homes scattered all over the city it is no wonder they were not found in the house-to-house canvass in the most foreign sections of the city which formed the basis of the main part of this report. INTKODUCTION 13 year, though very few of the women interviewed in their homes were found to be attending such classes, notwithstanding the ample pro vision made for them by the board of education. In order, there fore, that information might be obtained about the German women and also something of the industrial background of other foreign women wage earners who were taking advantage of these educational opportunities, the Philadelphia Board of Education consented to the distribution of a simple questionnaire among the wage-earning women attending the English classes in the public evening schools1, This supplementary school study is of a picked group of unusually ambitious girls, whereas the women visited in their homes were a miscellaneous group and therefore more representative of the foreign women as a whole. Plan of report. The report is divided into three sections. The first deals with the problems of the women in industrial employment, the second with the much smaller group occupied more casually in industrial home work, and the third with the women attending the beginners’ Eng lish classes in the Philadelphia Public Evening Schools. The soilrce of information in the first two sections was a personal interview with the woman and in the third section it was a questionnaire cir culated in the evening schools. The field work was done from Janu ary to September, 1925. For both Philadelphia and the Lehigh Valley in the home visits, and in the use of the school questionnaire, the sampling method has been used in the collection of material for this study of foreign-born women in industry. Altogether 1,120 women were interviewed in Philadelphia and Norristown and 1,026 in the Lehigh Valley, and the Philadelphia Board of Education returned 732 questionnaires. These numbers are sufficiently large to justify the hope that the results may be accepted as a contribution to the literature on the sub ject of the economic and social status of the foreign-born woman in American industry. Summaries of interviews. The stories of many of the women revealed lives of unusual accom plishment, but trouble, if not tragedy, had cast its shadow over most of them. To give an idea of the various phases of the interviews a few of the stories, typical of the group as a whole, are summarized here: Interview No. 1.—The story of Tessie M. shows how chance and friends guided her to her first .iobs and how this fact determined the whole course of her industrial career. She was a Ukrainian peasant girl, who had come alone from her father’s farm in Poland with only the address of a stranger in Phila delphia. The stranger was working in a meat-packing plant, and she took Tessie, the second day after her arrival, to the same plant, where the foreman gave the newcomer a job casing sausages at $5 a week. As she told of the con ditions surrounding this first job Tessie’s face expressed disgust—“ too wet, too cold,” but after two months a new friend took her to a laundry, where she was put to work on mangle feed. Here she remained for five years, although the most she ever earned was $6 a week. A friend again helped her to find her next job, also in a laundry, and here she worked for 10 years. But a new manager, whom she described as too rough, made conditions unbearable, and Tessie quit. During the following two years she worked in three laundries. “ I find them out myself,” she said proudly. 14 THE IMMIGRANT WOMAN AND HER JOB When in 1924 Tessie heard that the boss in the laundry where she had worked for 10 years bad been fired, she returned, and at the time of the survey she was back again at her old place, as a starcher earning $14 a week, content with her job and her trade. Of her 18 years in this country, over 17 had been spent as a laundry worker. She had been entirely self-supporting throughout these years and had sent some money home to the old country but had not been able to save anything for emergencies or old age except small payments on a life-insurance policy. For $5 a month she rents a room with light-house keeping privileges. Her sole ambition is to be able to continue to be self supporting. ■ Interview No. 2.—An early marriage did not give Anna T. the leisure and economic security she expected. Instead her burdens increased, and now she is glad it she has food and clothing for her family. In 1912, shortly after her father died in Hungary, Alina at the age of 16 came alone to the United States With neither friends nor relatives to help her find work she followed womm on their way to work and on her own initiative found a job in a c-igar factory where she began as a bunch maker and earned $2.50 the first week Within a year she married a laborer, but he was often ill, his job was too heavy, and he lost much time, so they could not count on a full week’s pay. In the 10 years "1 ker manied life she had given birth to six children, four of whom were living at the time of the interview. But childbirth never interfered long with her status as a wage earner; she worked within a week or so of confinement and always returned when the babies were very little. Sometimes her baby was brought to the factory for her to nurse during working hours. Since 1912 Anna has worked 9 hours, 10 hours, day after day, and now one week s pay barely covers the monthly rental of $15. She lives in a dingy house with no gas and no sewer connection, but she is thankful that, having lived in communities where bunch makers are in demand, she has always been able to find work. Realizing how close they are to the poverty dead line, she addedSo much baby: if I no work, I no eat.” Interview No. 3.—In 1905 Agnes D., aged 17, accompanied by a friend, left her farm home in Galicia bound for America, thinking she would make more money and have an easier time in the land of opportunity. Her sister, who had come to Philadelphia some time before, secured the first job for Agnes as a d£m 5Y°rITTr at.l4 a week’ but she found so hard that after two months she iett it. Her sister then took Agnes to an agency and for a fee of $1 Agnes was placed as a kitchen maid in a restaurant. Plere her working day was from 5 a. m. to 11 p. in. Much of the time her hands were in hot water and the continuous standing made her feet tired and sore, but she hesitated to give up the job, since her sister had paid a fee to secure it for her, and she kept hoping that she would mind it less if she gave it a good trial. In about a year, having secured another job through the help of a friend, she quit the restaurant and began work “painting leather” (seasoning) in a tannery, at - 1T Sbe c?ntlnued at this place for about eight years, until she married inAt , Her husband proved to be no good and worked very irregularly, so in 1921, when the eldest boy was 7 years old and the children could shift for themselves, she returned to her old job in the tannery, where she is still em ployed. When she has a full week she can earn as much as $17, but lately business has been too bad and she has forgotten what a full pay envelope looks like. She takes pride in her work and regrets that she can never do measuring, as she does not know her “ numbers.” Measuring is one of the most desirable jobs in a leather plant, as the skins are measured automatically by a machine, which records their surface in square inches. The operator merely feeds the hides into the machine and copies the measurement but Agnes can neither read nor write the numbers, for she has never attended school. F,’r three years this worker has been the chief support of the family, although the husband helps intermittently. She is concentrating all her energy to make ends meet, working by day in the tannery and by night at home, where, in addition to the housework for her own family, she washes for a lodger. ’ In contrast to the young women who come to this country and enter industry while thev are girls are a few older women who, forced into industry in middle age, find the adjustment doubly difficult. Mrs. S. is typical of these. INTRODUCTION 15 Interview No. //..—Mrs. S.’s life had been spent in Poland, working on her own little plot of ground or those of her neighbors, and one by one her family had died or had emigrated to the United States until she was left alone. After the war a son-in-law, a coal miner in Pennsylvania, sent her a ticket to join them, and Mrs. S. came to this country expecting to spend the rest of her days happily with her daughter. Within a few months, however, she realized that she was an added burden, and since there was nothing for a woman of her years to do in the coal regions, she left her family and went to Allentown, where she had heard women could get work. There a stranger, a fellow countrywoman, took her in and helped her to find a job; not a very good one, for Mrs. S. was illiterate, inexperienced in all but farm work, and 58 years old. By working steadily and pegging away from 6.30 or 7 in the morning until late in the afternoon she has occasionally been able to earn $10 or $11 a week as a tobacco stripper, though at first her earnings were only $4, then $5, and then $6. All that Mrs. S. asks is to be able to earn her daily bread. Her good friend the landlady, herself a wage earner, acted as interpreter, and in an aside assured the visitor that Mrs. S. barely makes -a living; she was ill once for two months and had nothing except what the neighbors gave her—she “ can’t even afford insurance.” Interview No. 5.—Mrs. E. told a most unusual story of a long life spent as a cigar maker. She is still rolling cigars, with a background of about 40 years of cigar making in the United States and years of work in the same trade in Germany. Mrs. E.’s brother in this country kept writing to her, and “ some thing did drive me like to come. I don’t know if it was lucky or not, but anyway in 1885 had we come to America.” Since her husband was a slow ■worker, it was necessary for Mrs. E. to go to work in the new country, and she has worked ever since except for interruptions clue to slack times, strikes, or occasional change of job when shop conditions did not suit her, always sharing the support of the family with her husband. Widowed, and 81 years old, she still cares for her little home and works in the shop daily from 9 to 5—shorter hours than formerly. “ If I can’t make a living from 9 to 5, some one else can do it.” She earns only $8 or $9 a week but feels quite independent though her children see to it that she does not need anything. Interview No. 6.—Thirteen years ago Angelina, then a girl of only 16, anxious to see the world, came with some neighbors to her cousin’s in New York. She thought she knew what life in America would be like and only in a vague sort of way did she expect to work, but she supposed her money would buy beautiful clothes and that, her life would be like that of the women in restaurant scenes in the movies. When, the day after she arrived, her cousin spoke quite emphati cally about her going to work, she was surprised, but it was an even greater surprise when she found that she could not get the kind of work she wanted. She had started to learn dressmaking in Italy, but her cousin told her it was altogether different here, where each person makes but one special part of the dress and work is so scarce one has to take whatever can be found. So her cousin took her that day—her second in the United States—to an under wear shop and she was given pressing of corset covers, at 3 cents a dozen. Her first pay was $3.15. Adjustment to her work and her new life was difficult and she did not always succeed in keeping back the tears. She, who had come to this country to make and wear pretty clothes, never had a shirt waist that cost over $1 in the five years before she was married. “ Why, if I had a dollar waist on, I thought I was somebody.” She went on to say that she wore three or four fresh waists a week and succeeded at least in her desire to keep clean, but the family of cousins laughed at her because she was always washing and ironing. During the five years she was in the shop she had not lost a day except for holidays and lay offs of a week or so each summer. She was proud of the money she earned, for she had advanced to $10 and then to $12. and after three years she was made forelady of the pressing department at $13 a week. That extra dollar meant much. Her fiancS was then earning $14 a week and the girls whispered about it with awe. It was a hard struggle to deny herself everything she wanted, but she was sending money to Italy. “ They called me stingy.” Then she had five happy years in her own home and forgot about work in the shop. But tragedy overtook the family and since 1922 her husband has been in a sanitarium and she is back again at her old job, the sole support of herself and two little children. There is no tone of complaint in her voice as she 16 THE IMMIGRANT WOMAN AND HER JOB describes the routine of her day’s work—preparing the breakfast, dressing the children and taking them to the neighbor’s, and starting for the shop by 7 in the morning; then, after a long day at the machine, home again to prepare more food and care for the children. Interview No. 7.—Another case of disillusionment was that of a young Jewish girl who had been induced to come to the United States by her sister. Unlike Angelina, who succeeded in taking care of herself and her children, Minnie has failed often to be even self-supporting. She arrived in August, 1921, and was immediately put to work in her brother-in-law’s small store. She had had six years’ experience in a store in Warsaw, but this was different. “ I slaved here seven days a week. I was always in the store, early and late—sometimes more than 12 hours a day.” For 10 months she endured it, grateful to her sister for work. Then the bottom dropped out and she became ill—first a patient in a hospital ward, then in a free convalescent home, and now in a boarding home for working girls. During much of the past two years she has been “ on the city,” as she expresses it, and she kept repeating “ I must cover my expense.” At the time of the interview-slie was making an effort in spite of homesickness and “ many worriments ” to be self-supporting by making lamp shades at $10 a week. Most of the girls in the shop were pieceworkers, but Minnie was not strong enough to hurry, so the boss gave her a “ particular job ” and paid her “ straight,” which she regards as a great advantage, as “ piecework would kill me.” Once Minnie managed to go to idght school for three weeks. She is sensitive about her lack of English: “ Not very good language, so I can’t hope for nice store job,” although she feels she could do the work in a store better than anything else. Interview No. 8.—“ Everybody else was going,” so Louise M., a child of 14, left her poor home in Poland in 1905 to come with an uncle to the United States. For two years she tried her fortune in several housework jobs, but she was never satisfied, and as soon as she was 16 she went to a clothing factory and secured work as a sewing-machine operator. For six years she experienced the ups and downs in this industry—sometimes she waited in the shop for work and sometimes she waited at home; sometimes her pocketbook was empty, some weeks the pay envelope had $3, other weeks, $12. Probably her best job was pressing shirt waists, “ folding and pinning them just as you buy them in the store,” and for this she was paid at the rate of 15 cents a dozen. She was glad enough to give up this struggle for marriage and never expected to be a wage earner again. But in the depression after the war the little fruit stand in which they had invested all their savings failed, and she returned to work—any kind of work, in a laundry on the mangle feed, in a restaurant kitchen, office cleaning. This last she. particularly disliked. Her comments about it were: “ Four car fares a day; that’s too much. Marble floors. Just so much to scrub, and if you stopped five minutes you couldn’t finish on time.” She vowed she would not go back to that for $20 a week. At the time of the interview she was operating a drill press—a job that paid her $16 to $21 a week. She was delighted with the work and did not plan to give it up. “ You feel different—you feel that you are just like everybody else. You ain’t got to be ashamed. You feel like a different woman; you aren’t near so tired.” The joy in her job almost over shadowed the fact that this house was the first in which she had ever lived where there was no sink and no water, and she was happy that her earnings could provide the necessities. “You have to have, plenty milk for the children. From week to week you just keep going.” Interview No. 9.—For 20 years Mary had been struggling “to live like folks ” and “ to have a nice home.” As a girl of 17 she came alone to this country, and for some time struggled to eke out a living on the $3 a week that she earned in the cigar factory. To make both ends meet she was one of six girls who shared a room in a friend's house, but in spite of her economies it took her a long time to pay the debt she owed for her “ ship card.” She has prospered in her job, for now after 20 years with one firm she is a forelady earning $25 a week. She speaks English brokenly and can read it a little with difficulty. She and her husband, a laborer in the steel mill, have worked steadily day in and day out, year after year, and at the time of the interview both were beaming happily, for at last they had moved into “ the nice home ” that was their own. During the visit the wife continued with her washing, stopping long enough to display her new parlor curtains; the husband, also busy, con INTRODUCTION 17 tinued to dig the ditch for the sewer, as he meant to have an American bath room at once, never having had such a luxury in the houses they had rented. Interview No. 10.—Although Teresa M. was only 12 years old when she came to America, she can not read English; however, she speaks it better than do most of her neighbors. In Hungary there were cigar factories near her home and she was glad to find them here and eager to get to work; so her father helped her to find a job as a roller in a cigar factory and there, except for the interruptions of childbearing, she has been during the last 20 years. Altogether, she estimates that she has lost about 4 years from work during her 14 years of married life. “ My man made me stay home for babies,” and there had been five, although only three are living. In spite of the 20 years, most of which had been spent in only two shops, she still was keen about working and was contented with her job. “ I can always have my place. If I do not feel so good and stay home a day, I phone the boss and he says, ‘ All right, I’ll get another roller in your place to-day but be sure you come back.’ If we work, then the boss he likes.” Her husband also is thrifty and has one of the few steady jobs in a wire mill. There is an air of prosperity about their home and garden. Her husband could support the family, Teresa says, hut they couldn’t have things “ nice ” unless she worked; and she took the visitor to see the cellar, that had been cemented recently and paid for with her earnings—$200. There is electricity in the house, a washing machine, and modern plumbing. The fact that her husband helps her with the housework, with the washings, and “ sometimes he cook ” makes it possible for Teresa to do two jobs. She says she could not do it “ without my man, in everything he help,” nor could the husband have such an attractive home if Teresa had not helped as a wage earner also. She intends to continue working, hoping to be ready to meet adversity when it comes, for “ everybody sick or old some day.” She also hopes some day “ to sit and rock on the porch like other ladies. I’ll be old lady then,” PERSONAL DATA Race and country of birth. The table next presented shows what countries in Europe were the homes of these 2,000 and more women before they came here and what a heterogeneous mass of foreigners they were. Well under 200 of these women were from the sections in northern and western Europe that furnished what has been called the old immigration. The great majority had come from that section of Europe south and east of Germany, including only the most western section of Russia and exclusive of southern Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, and Greece. Over a fifth of the 2,142 reporting on this had come from Poland. Austria and Hungary had furnished the next largest numbers, and Italy, Yugoslavia, Russia, and Czechoslovakia were well represented. While more women were from Poland than from any other country, racially the most important in numbers were the Germans, two-thirds of whom had come from Austria; few of the Germans had come from Germany proper, and in spite of the fact that they gave a dozen different lands as country of birth they still considered themselves Germans and still spoke the German language or dialects. In the same way, though the majority of the Jews were from Russia, the rest of them had come from about as many countries in Europe as had the Germans. In order not to lose the significance of racial characteristics em phasis has been placed in this report on race rather than on country of birth. For example, it seems more important to consider as a unit the group of 450 women who claimed to be Germans rather than the group of 46 born within the present boundaries of Germany. From Hungary came not only Magyars but Slovenes (Winds) and Germans, and from Poland also came women of diverse races— women who called themselves Poles, Germans, Russians, Ruthenians, Ukrainians, Jews. From Yugoslavia came Slovenes (Winds), Germans, and Magyars. For the most part the women came from countries-that have had many boundary changes, so it is not surprising that four of the number interviewed were unable to give definite information about their early homes and their country of birth. Many women said they were from Galicia; some claimed Carpathia, and others claimed Burgenland as their native country. 18 r w < * Table 5.—Country of birth, by race or people Number of women whose country of birth was— Race or people Num Per ber cent Per cent distribution. ___________ Ire land Scot land Can ada 100.0 2.9 1.7 1.5 0.3 57 37 34 2 2.7 1.7 1.6 .1 55 7 450 214 223 272 7 5 .3 21.0 10.0 10.4 12.7 .3 .2 11 27 330 33 7 12 115 184 104 11 .5 1.3 15.4 1.5 .3 .6 5.4 8.6 4.9 .5 2,142 1 37 15.2 6.6 0.3 300 8 10 5 9 4 1 1 2.1 15.0 9.8 0.4 ■ | Ru Yugo Other coun mania Russia slavia tries 1 1.5 22.6 3.0 10 28 8 32 21 7 6 7.6 8.2 1.3 2 33 3 6 Aus Czech France Ger Hun Po oslo Italy Latvia Lithu land tria vakia ania many gary 1 1 1 2 1 2 1 9 32 1 1 219 209 4 7 1 1 2 107 1 1 2 2 3 63 1 23 2 1 325 23 4 3 84 1 20 143 1 1 5 1 6 1 1 4 PERSONAL DATA English-speaking: English_______ __ Irish........ .................................... Scotch___ __________________ Welsh Non-English-speaking: French.. ...................................... German____________________ Italian. __________________ Jewish ........................... ............ Magyar. _______ ___________ Rumanian . ._ ________ Spanish and Portuguese 2............ Slavic— Czech. ................................. Lithuanian and Lettish 3_ _ Polish. . Russian..................... ............. Ruthenian. _ ___ ______ Serbo-Croatian4..___ . Slovak. ____ ______ ____ _ Slovenian (Windish) Ukrainian ®.._ . Other races 6.. ______ _______ Eng land 1 7 8 120 10 3 Other countries or regions include Argentina, Armenia, Belgium, Brazil, East Indies, Estonia, Free State of Fiume, Portugal, Serbia, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukrainia, and Wales. 2 Includes 4 Spanish and 1 Portuguese. 3 Following the classification of the Immigration Commission, the Lithuanians and Letts are grouped together with the Slavs. Includes 25 Lithuanian and 2 Lettish. 4 Includes 10 Croatian and 2 Serbian. 6 A geographical term applied to Little Russians of the Ukraine region. 6 Includes 3 Armenian, 1 Finnish, 4 Flemish, 3 Greek. CO 20 THE IMMIGRANT WOMAN AND HER JOB Confusing statements were given about race as well as country of birth. A Ruthenian 1 woman insisted that she was a “ Greek, Greek Catholic.” Another said she had been Ukrainian but had “ turned ” and was now Polish, undoubtedly referring to a change from the Greek to the Roman church. A Slovak said, “ You can put it down Hungarian or Slovak. The people talked Hungarian so I talked Hungarian. The priest talked Hungarian one Sunday and Slovak the next Sunday.” Many others called themselves “Winds”—really Slovenes. The Windish women interviewed lived almost exclusively in Bethlehem, one of the most important of the few settlements of Winds in the United States. In the entire community they are known as Winds and not Slovenes, and the Windish churches, the Windish papers, and the Windish schools are familiar to all. In Europe this race lives chiefly within a limited district in the northwest corner of Yugoslavia that borders on Hungary and Austria. These Winds, together with the Germans and the Magyars, had come for the most part from a restricted area not much over a hun dred miles square in the borderland of Austria, Hungary, and Yugo slavia, and had settled in the Lehigh Valley. On the other hand, the Poles, Jews, Italians, and English-speaking races had congre gated in Philadelphia. Year of arrival in the United States. Prom the table following it is apparent that three-fifths of these women came to the United States in the decade between 1905 and 1915. During the next few years immigration practically ceased, and the numbers arriving since the war have never reached the peak of the 1905-1915 period. This decline is due, in part at least, 1 Ruthenian (synonyms—Little Russian, Malo-Russian, South Russian, Yugo-Russlan,* in Austria, Russniak, Russine, Red Russian, Galician; in Russia, also Ukrainian, Cherkasi ; in addition, some call themselves simply “ Russian ” (Rusy) and sometimes, in America, even “Greek”). The name Little Russian would seem most available of all this list at present for a clear and scientific definition. The Little Russian “ race ” or linguistic subdivision is that branch of the Russian, * * * which is found native throughout southwestern Russia and in Galicia (Austria). * * * The Little Russians (Ruthenians) furnish more immigrants than any other true Russian stock coming to America. ******* For * * * political reasons Austria has found it convenient to name her Little Russian subjects “ Ruthenians,” and this word is now commonly but loosely applied, even in scientific usage, to all Little Russians, including those of Ukrainia, in Russia. * * * Upon immigrating to America some refuse to acknowledge that they are Ruthenians, a name fastened upon them as a subject people. In some communities they are known here as “ Greeks ’’when they are of the United “ Greek ” Church, and thusi distinguished from the Roman Catholic Poles and Slovaks of the community. Of course, there is not a true Greek among them. Some American districts confer still other names upon them, lump ing them together with Magyars and perhaps with all Slavs under the picturesque but stupid title “Huns” or “ Hunkies.” The “ Ruthenian (Russniak)” column of our immi gration tables apparently includes all Little Russians, although but few are reported as coming from Russia. It is to be understood that all who bear the foregoing names are of one “ race.” They read one and the same language, which differs both from the White Russian and from the Great or true Russian. The Ruthenian alphabet itself is an earlier form of the Russian. ******* A large section of them have broken away from the Greek or Russian Church and have united with the Roman Catholic under a particular dispensation which allows them peculiar features of the Greek service and a married clergy. Hence the name “ United Greek Church.” Although the Little Russians stand much closer to the Great Russians than do the Polish, Hebrew, Lithuanian, and German elements in Russia’s population, nevertheless the use of their language has been discouraged and in a very remote sense they are a subject people in Russia as well as in Austria.—From Dictionary of Races or Peoples, vol. 5, Reports of the Immigration Commission to the 61st Cong. U. 8. Government Printing Office, 1611, pp. 116, 117. 21 PERSONAL DATA to the added restrictions placed upon immigration by the quota law. Table 6. Year of arrival Tear of arrival in the United States, by race or people Number and per cent of women who reported their race or people as— Num ber of Slavic women Eng report lish- Ger Ital Other ing speak man ian ish yar Pol Rus Slo Slovenian Other races ing ish sian vak (Wind- Slavic ish)1 Total........... 2,142 Before 1905 1905-1909 1910-1914 1915-1919___ _____ 1920 and through part ol 1925 *........ 129 450 212 223 274 115 184 3 50 316 587 730 58 28.7 16.3 26.4 3.1 15.8 24.4 23.1 .7 16.5 23.6 34.9 10.4 8.1 20.6 24.2 3.1 10.2 32.5 39.4 .7 19.4 34.5 39.1 2.4 13.1 33.1 49.7 2.1 20.0 32.2 31.3 1.7 6. 5 27.2 50.5 1.6 16. 0 26. 0 36.0 451 25.6 36.0 14.6 43.9 17.2 4.5 2.1 14.8 14.1 22.0 330 2 145 4.30 3.3 26. 7 13.3 26. 7 1 Immigration statistics include Slovenes (Winds) in the group Croatian and Slovenian, since in the total immigration they are not an important racial group. 2 Includes Russian, Ruthenian, and Ukrainian. 3 Includes Lithuanian and Lettish, Serbo-Croatian, and Czech * Includes Armenian, Finnish, Flemish, Greek, French, Rumanian, and Spanish and Portuguese a * ield work was concluded m October, 1925. The rate at which these 2,100 women arrived in the United States follows the same general curve as that for total immigration. It ascends m a marked degree previous to 1915, then falls suddenly, and since 1919 rises only gradually, few races reaching the 1914 peak. Among the interviewed women arriving before 1905 the propor tion from English-speaking races was largest. In the decade 1905 1914 came the great influx of Slavic, German, Magyar, and Italian women, and since 1920 the Jews and Germans have predominated. Only 62 of the women came before 1895; in other words, less than 3 per cent of the number reporting had been here as long as 30 years. None of the Slovenes (Winds) and only six of the Russians were here before 1900. The table shows for most races that a greater proportion have come since the outbreak of war in Europe than came before 1905. Reason for coming to the United States. In the interviews reference was made occasionally to the condi tions in the old country that forced many to seek new' homes. “ Poor in Galicia.” “My father had eight children and no land.” “Tn America there is land and work.” “ Times very bad.” “ So much work in old country; there only work and no eat.” “ Come to Amer ica for poor. Not even a penny in the old country.” “ In the United States, look for living for myself.” “ Farming too hard in old country. u Big family; no work at home.” Racial hatred resulting in persecution had driven some to America. ^PeoiaUy the Jews had come seeking relief from massacre and blood shed but Ukrainian women also referred to the Polish exploitation ol their country: “The poor people all Ukrainian and the rich people all 1 olish in the old country.” “ The Polish people have con trolled the laws and the land. We work three days every week for our landlord. The Polish people smart. We Ukrainians dumb.” 22 THE IMMIGRANT WOMAN AND HER JOB The hope of a “better life,” “more freedom,” and “less militar ism,” coupled with youthful enthusiasm and the spirit of adventure, drew many to this side of the water. They were “crazy to come”; “ everybody come, I come too ”; “ chance for girls to work and to marry in this country.” Exaggerated tales of gold in the streets lured a few. One girl was so disappointed that she would have gone back if she could have earned money enough for her “ ship card.” But most of the women realized that, in spite of their failure to find riches and their struggles in this country, they are better off than they would have been had they remained in Europe. Coming alone and age at arrival. Nearly three-fifths of the women reporting age at arrival were not more than 18 when they came, and only about a sixth were as much as 25 years old. Not only were they young, but two-fifths of them made the voyage alone, half of this number not having passed their eighteenth birthday at the time. There were differences racially in age at time of coming. As a whole the Germans were not quite so youthful as were the Jews, Russians, or Slovenes (Winds). Also, few of the Jewish, Italian, or English-speaking women came alone, while a large proportion of the Slovenes, Russians, and Poles were unaccompanied on the voyage to America. Time in the United States before beginning work. The speed with which some of these immigrant girls got to work was astonishing. In many cases they came to friends who, before the immigrants landed, were promised jobs for the new arrivals, and the day after joining their friends in America many of the girls started to work in factory or mill. It was only natural that they should get to work as quickly as possible, since many of them were dependent solely upon their own earnings. Not to do so was such an unusual occurrence that the women commented upon it, as in the case of the girl who was in this country six weeks before going to work: “ You know it sounds funny here when the girls don’t go to work.” Another woman referred appreciatively to the opportunity she had to rest before beginning life as a wage earner here, “ because I was new in the United States I stayed at home three weeks.” But the more quickly they found work the better they were satisfied. When asked the questions, “ How old were you when you came to the United States?” and “How old were you when you began work? ”70 per cent of the women made the same reply to each, so it is apparent that these 1,500 women were at work before the passing of a birthday. . The tendency to begin work shortly after arriving is particularly marked between the ages of 15 and 25. Older women were inclined to put off longer the role of wage earner. Marital status. The distribution by marital status brings out the striking fact that the great majority—about three-fourths—of the women were or had been married. 23 PERSONAL DATA Table 7.—Marital status, by race or people Women who were— Race or people Number of women reporting Single Widowed, sepa rated, or divorced Married Number Per cent Number Per cent Number Per cent Total- 2,146 555 25.9 1,227 57.2 364 17.0 130 62 47.7 41 31.5 27 20.8 461 214 223 274 97 75 163 54 21.5 35.0 73.1 19.7 279 107 15 182 61.9 60.0 6.7 66.4 75 32 45 38 16.6 15.0 20.2 13.9 Slavic. ___ ____ Polish............................. Slovak Slovenian (Windish) ... Other Slavic1 824 330 115 184 195 95 32 19 29 15 11.5 9.7 16.5 15.8 7.7 589 226 71 137 155 71.5 68.5 61.7 74.5 79.5 140 72 25 18 25 Other races2................... ...... 30 9 English-speaking..................... . N on-English-speaking: German, __________ ____ Italian........ .......................... Jewish___ Magyar ................................ « 14 p> 7 • 17.0 21.8 21.7 9.8 12.8 p) Russian, Ruthenian, Ukrainian, Lithuanian and Lettish, Serbo-Croatian, and Czech. Armenian, Finnish, Flemish, French, Greek, Rumanian, and Spanish and Portuguese. 3 Not computed, owing to small number involved. The Jewish race is radically different in marital grouping from the other races, for of the 223 Jewish women only 6.7 per cent were married and 73.1 per cent were single. Next to the Jewish women the English-speaking nnd Italian groups had the largest proportions of single women, while the Germans, Slavs, and Magyars had outstandingly high percentages of married women. The pro portion of widows was fairly similar for all the races. As might be expected, the single women were for the most part the younger ones, only a sixth of them being more than 25 years of age. That the proportion of married women varied with locality is evident from the following: Women living in— Marital status Philadel phia Total______________________ Single............ ......................... Married__________ ___ Widowed, separated, or divorced.___ _______ Lehigh Valley 1,120 1,026 31.6 49.2 19.2 19.6 65.9 14.5 Two-thirds of the women in the Lehigh Valley were married, and among the single women the Germans predominated, a race that is furnishing much of the most recent immigration in this district. The higher percentage of single women in Philadelphia may be accounted for partly by the fact that the younger Italian and Jewish women had settled there. 65661°—30---- 3 24 THE IMMIGRANT WOMAN AND HER JOB Age. These women were not the “ young-working-girl ” type, for com paratively few were under 20; practically three-fifths were 30 or more, and 6 per cent were at least 50 years of age. The Italians and Jews were for the most part younger women, while one-half of the German and the English-speaking groups, about three-fifths of the Magyars, and over two-thirds of the Slavs were past 30. The women who were as much as 40 were largely Germans and Poles. Table 8.—Ago, by race or people Number of women whose age was— Race or people Number of women reporting Under 20 years 20 and 25 and 40 and 30 and under 25 under 30 under 40 under 50 years years years years 50 years and over 325 15.2 1 133 6.2 32 21 17 138 49 29 123 69 35 16 40 29 22 5 7 136 40 18 45 20 13 381 156 38 96 60 31 138 60 24 12 15 27 52 29 10 5 1 7 4 9 6 1 Total.-............... -............. Per cent distribution------------- 2,143 100. 0 279 13.0 331 15.4 314 14.7 761 35.5 English-speaking-----------N on-E nglish-speaking: German------------ ------------Italian------------- -------------Jewish--------------------------Magyar--............................ . 127 22 20 15 451 214 223 274 46 53 59 36 90 38 90 29 79 17 24 39 Slavic Polish----------------------Slovak Slovenian (Windish)__ Ukrainian. ................ . Other Slavic2------------- 824 330 115 184 104 91 57 25 15 9 3 5 60 20 10 17 5 8 Other races3-------------------- 30 6 4 1 Of these women, 38 were 60 years or over. 2 Russian, Ruthenian, Lithuanian and Lettish, Serbo-Croation, and Czech. 3 Armenian, Finnish, Flemish, French, Greek, Rumanian, and Spanish and Portuguese. Citizenship. Generally by the initiative of male members of their families, 428 women, or one-fifth of the 2,092 reporting on this, were citizens of the United States. The proportion is lower for this limited group than that shown by the census for three of the localities included in this survey. According to 1920 census figures,2 half the total foreignborn white females 21 years of age and over in Philadelphia were citizens, almost one-third of those in Allentown, and about one-fourth of those in Bethlehem. The census shows further that the rate of all naturalized foreigners (men and women) is lower for Bethlehem than for any other city in Pennsylvania with a population of 25,000 or over. From the table following it is clear that the proportion of Ameri can citizens was largest among the English-speaking group and next largest among the Jewish women. 2 U. S. Bureau of the Census. 884. Fourteenth Census: 1920, vol. 2, Population, pp. 850— RERSOSTAL DATA 25 Table 9.—Citizenship, ~by race or people Race or people Total................. English-speaking____ Non-English-speaking: German_________ Italian.................... Jewish__________ Magyar........ .......... Slavic................................ Polish____________ Slovak____________ Slovenian (Windish) Other Slavic L......... Other races 2. Women who were United Number of States citizens women ____________________ reporting Number Per cent 2,092 428 20.5 128 64 50.0 443 207 217 268 82 47 74 38 18.5 22. 7 34.1 14.2 799 318 115 58 16 14 27 14.4 18.2 14.3 7.7 14.4 112 181 188 30 8 (3) 1 Russian, Ruthenian, Ukrainian, Lithuanian and Lettish, Serbo-Croatian, and Czech. 2 Armenian, Finnish, Flemish, French, Greek, Rumanian, and Spanish and Portuguese. 3 Not computed, owing to small number involved. It is a mistake to think of these women as being actively interested in civic affairs, for only 18 had themselves become naturalized citizens and they were women who had lived here for the most part at least 10 years. These few women who were ambitious enough to become Americans were very alert. A silk weaver of 48 years who had recently received her citizenship papers had attended the English classes with her husband, and was “ the first lady to get them in Berks County; it was in the papers about me.” Another woman was very proud of her framed “ citizen papers ” that hung on the wall. She said that she always voted and that during a slack period of two months in the factory she had served nine days on the jury, at $4 a day. “ That a good thing for me,” she added. The other 410 women had automatically become citizens of the United States when their fathers or husbands obtained citizenship; to them it had come without effort and accidentally. Most of the Jewish women gained this right when their fathers were natural ized, but most of the German and Slavic women when their husbands were naturalized. In many homes there was very intelligent discussion of the require ments for naturalization, but invariably the families were taking for granted that the wives would automatically become citizens with their husbands, not realizing the effect of the stricter regulations of the Cable Act passed in 1921. However, there was little enthusi asm on the part of the women about becoming citizens of their adopted country. Bertha was a striking exception to this, though not until recently had she heard of the Cable Act. Her friends and neighbors had be come citizens when their husbands received their papers, and she had expected to do the same. She described her husband’s graduating exercises from the English classes and the presentation of the diploma and the flag as well as the “American papers.” There was great excitement to read the documents upon their arrival home. THE IMMIGRANT WOMAN AND HER JOB 26 “ There it stand to study: My man, an American; Josie, American; Lena, American; Willie, American; Rosie, American; even Teresa, the baby, American; but nichts me—Mary not there. They are all American, and I a greenhorn still. I cried in my heart three days, and then I went over to the teacher, and now I read, I write, and pretty soon I be American, too. In old country I know more than my man, and here I am going to know, too.” Schooling in the old country. For most of these women childhood and school days were over when they arrived in America. They had had a fair amount of training, for three-fourths of the 1,278 women reporting definite data had spent six years or more in school in their native lands; a hundred of these had been in school seven years, another hundred eight years, and about another hundred even longer. In many cases attending school in the old country was fraught with difficulties and danger, and there seemed to be ample reason why several of the women reported little or no such schooling. Some had gone so short a time that they had forgotten all they had ever learned and could not even read, while others had never been to school. Some had lived miles from the school, and others explained how the police broke up the schools and how the authorities in Russia arrested Polish and Lithuanian subjects who sent their children to other than Russian schools. The case of a Lithuanian woman is like that of several others. She was an adult (23) when she came to America, yet could neither read nor write her native language, and though she had been in the United States 11 years she was not able to read one word of English. “ I can’t count anything,” she said, “ I can’t count months. I was raised just like a chicken. When I am at home in the evening I am walking around. If I could read I could do that.” Schooling in the United States. Under such circumstances it is no wonder that 324 of the women had never attended school in the Old World or in the New. The surprising fact is that almost one-sixth of the 454 who came to this country before they were 14 had never attended school here. The extent to which the group who had passed the usual school age when they arrived in the United States had attended American schools is shown in the table following: Table 10.—Extent of schooling in the United States of women Ilf pears of age or over at time of arrival, by locality Lehigh Valley Philadelphia 1 Extent of schooling Number Number Per cent 700 Women reporting......... ........... .................. ........... Had attended day school---------------- --------------- -----Had attended evening sessions------------------------------- Per cent 2 100.0 850 100.0 566 17 128 80.9 2.4 18.3 807 8 3 38 94.9 .9 4. 5 > The women interviewed in Norristown and Clifton Heights are not included in this discussion. In these two communities 1 of the 96 women had been in evening school and none had attended day classes. * Includes 11 who had also attended regular day-school sessions. * Includes 3 who had also attended regular day-school sessions. PERSONAL DATA 27 In contrast to the 1,373 women who had never attended school in the United States is the almost negligible number who, although past school age, had taken advantage of the opportunity to enroll in the regular day sessions and the 166 who had attended the part-time evening sessions. A consideration of the sacrifices required of a working woman after a long day in the shop in order to go to night school emphasizes the fact that special credit is due these women in their efforts to learn the language of their adopted land. There was a striking difference in the two geographic centers in the numbers of women who, 14 years of age or over at time of arrival in the United States, had taken advantage of night school. There were 38 such women in the Lehigh Valley and 128 in Philadelphia, and unpublished data show that race was a factor here, since seventenths of the group going to night school in Philadelphia were Jews. Exclusive of this race, of whom almost none lived in the Lehigh Valley, the numbers and proportions attending evening school were not radically different—39, or 7 per cent of the total in Philadelphia, and 37, or 4.4 per cent of the total in the Lehigh Valley. Although these women went to school they did not remain long in attendance, for only five had persevered in going for as much as three years, while the majority had left before completing the first year. Gradually they had given up, as, for example, the girl who attended regularly during the 6-month session of her first year in the United States, went only intermittently for two months during the second year, and quit altogether after one month of the third year. Ability to speak English.3 Learning the English language depended much upon the environ ment in the new country. If the newcomer settled among friends who could speak English or if she found work where some of the employees, and especially the foreman, spoke English, it was easier to venture using the new tongue. However, if she settled in a commumty where her fellow countrymen were still unacquainted with English, where the children attended schools in which much of the teaching was in their native tongue, where the advantages of classes ror foreign women had not been emphasized, and where even in the factory she rarely heard a word of English, from either fellow work ers or the “ boss,” her acquaintance with the language would be a slow process. The inability to speak English of women who had passed the usual compulsory school age when they arrived here and who for the most part had been deprived of the advantage of schooling in this country appears in the table next presented. tionrwiUebretonfjLaToa^E2k™SSrtk?ng%a?eS!dUCati0a ^ discusslons and ^bula- 28 THE IMMIGRANT WOMAN AND HER JOB Table 11.—Inability to speak English of women 14 years of age or over at time of arrival, by race or people and locality Philadelphia i Race or people Number of women reporting Lehigh Valley Women unable to speak English Number Per cent Number of women reporting Women unable to speak English Number Per cent Total.............. ........... ...................... 625 217 34.7 846 511 German______ _____________ _ ... Italian. . ___ _____ . Jewish______________ ... .. Magyar..._____ __________________ 71 59 140 33 16 34 14 9 22.5 57.6 10.0 303 24 195 6 180 101 56.1 Slavic................... ....................... Polish_______ _______ Russian a.......................... Slovak_______________ Slovenian (Windish)_____________ Other Slavic 4. _____ _____ 311 208 60 1c 143 108 19 5 46.0 51.9 31.7 206 15 43 43 63.2 (2) 326 20 61 63 28 11 « 13 7 » 1 0 12 3 0 Other races 6............................... 11 « 60.4 (2) (a) 64.4 70.5 1 Exclusive of Norristown and Clifton Heights. In these localities two-thirds of the women reporting could not speak English. 2 Not computed, owing to small number involved. 3 Russian, Ruthenian, Ukrainian. 4 Serbo-Croatian, Lithuanian and Lettish, and Czech. ‘ French, Rumanian, Spanish, Portuguese, Armenian, Finnish, Flemish, and Greek. A striking difference exists in the two geographic districts in the proportion of women unable to speak the language of their adopted country—34.7 per cent of those reporting in Philadelphia and 60.4 per cent of those in the Lehigh Valley. The Federal census of 1920 also shows a variance, though not in so marked a degree, probably due to the fact that the census figures are based upon all foreignborn white females 10 years of age or over and include English speaking as well as non-English-speaking races. In the more inclu sive group of the census there were in Philadelphia only 9.7 per cent who could not speak English, but in Allentown the proportion rose to 19.4 per cent and in Bethlehem to 26.9 per cent.4 * The table shows striking racial differences in Philadelphia, where the Jews led with the smallest proportion unable to speak English. In the Lehigh Valley there is no marked variation among the most representative races; in three-fifths of the interviews in this section it was necessary to use an interpreter. In Philadelphia the Jews become adept in English so quickly that interpreters were almost unnecessary in their homes. The next summary, covering a much larger number of women and based upon time in the United States but without regard to age at arrival, reiterates the fact that many of the women interviewed were not able to speak English and shows furthermore that close upon 40 per cent of the women who had been as much as 10 years in the United States had not learned the language. 4 L\ S. Bureau of the Census. Fourteenth Census : 1920 , vol. 2, Population, pp. 1258 and 1260, and vol. 3, Population, pp. 854 and 857. 29 PERSONAL DATA Table]2.—Inability to speak English, by years in the United States Years in the United States Number of women re porting Women unable to speak English Number Per cent 2,006 5 and under 10 years____________ __________________ _____ 10 and under 15 years_________ ___________ ________________ 15 and under 20 years............................................................................ 20 years and over____ ... ... _________ _________ _______ 809 40.3 388 57 582 573 406 208 20 227 214 140 53.6 35.1 39.0 37.3 34.5 Typical of the group unable to speak English is the German who came from Czechoslovakia when she was 23, eager “to get rich.” Before marriage her knowledge of America was limited, chiefly on account of her confining work as a domestic. Then for years she was busy in her own home, until it became necessary for her to assume some of the wage-earning responsibilities. Although she is now 50 and has been in America 27 years she can not express herself in English. She is, as she says, an “ignorant” unskilled worker in a jute mill, “ too old ” and “too green ” to find a “nice place.” Ability to read English. Next in importance to being able to speak and to understand a common language is the ability to read, but if two-fifths of the women could not speak English it is not surprising to find that over twothirds could not read it. Table 13.—Inability to read English, by years in the United States Years in the United States Number of women reporting Women unable to read English Number Per cent 2,002 1, 386 69. 2 387 57 1, 558 268 33 1,085 69.3 69.6 It is apparent that length of residence in the United States had little or no effect on the ability to read English, since the proportion of women unable to read was somewhat higher even among those who had been here as much as 10 years than among those who had arrived within the past 5 years. According to the table next presented, the Jews living in Phila delphia had the smallest proportion of women unable to read Eng lish, yet even theirs was an astonishingly high percentage—47.1. In both Philadelphia and the Lehigh V a I ley the other races showed from 63 to 100 per cent of their numbers unable to read the language. The Italians had a better record in the Lehigh Valley than in Phila delphia but their number was too small for definite conclusions, 30 THE IMMIGRANT WOMAN AND HER JOB although undoubtedly several silk weavers from northern Italy had a decided influence on the group in the valley, where there is little incentive for the women to “ trouble about English.” Table 14.—Inability to read English of women H years of age or over at time of arrival, by race or people and locality Philadelphia 1 Race or people Number of women reporting Lehigh Valley Women unable to read English Number Per cent Number of women reporting Women unable to read English Number Per cent Total2___ ________________ ____ 624 480 76.9 844 753 89.2 German.. ----- ------ ------------------------Italian----- ------------ ---------------------- 47 58 66 21 67.1 98.3 47.1 « 302 24 1 180 263 21 87.1 (?) ............................................... 70 69 140 33 160 88.9 Slavic......... ........ ............. ................... ........ Polish____________ _____ _ Russian_________________ ______ Slovak.................... ............. .................. 495 208 60 15 375 189 57 11 75.8 90.9 95.0 0 Other Slavic______ ______ ______ 28 28 100.0 518 20 61 63 168 13 469 20 60 57 154 9 90.5 100.0 98.4 90.5 91.7 09 Other races........................................... ........ 11 3 12 9 Magyar. . 09 09 1 Exclusive of Norristown and Clifton Heights. In these localities 91 of the 95 women reporting could not read English. 2 For races included in Russian, “ Other Slavic,” and “ Other races,” see footnotes 3, 4, and 5 of Table 11. 3 Not computed, owing to small number involved. Inability to read any language. Although less than a third of the women interviewed could read English, as many as six-sevenths were able to read their native language. But 285 women, almost two-thirds of them Slavic, could not read any language. Table 15.—Inability to read any language, by race or people Race or people Number of women reporting Women unable to read any language Number Per cent 2,002 285 14.2 449 214 220 274 11 60 17 8 2.4 28.0 7.7 2.9 815 325 143 114 183 50 183 71 62 18 13 19 22.5 21.8 43.4 15.8 7.1 58.0 30 6 o 1 Includes Lithuanian and Lettish, Serbo-Croatian, and Czech. 2 Includes Rumanian, Spanish, Portuguese, French, Armenian, Finnish, Flemish, and * Not computed, owing to small number involved. PERSONAL DATA 31 Illiteracy. Of the group interviewed, 348 (17.5 per cent) were illiterate, the word being used here to apply to those who can not read por write in any language. Although the Federal census bases illiteracy figures upon foreignborn white females 21 years of age or over and the present inquiry is concerned with foreign-born white wage-earning females 16 years of age or over of non-English-speaking races, the rate of illiteracy shown by the. census of 1920 for Philadelphia is 15.8 per cent, for Allentown 15.4 per cent, and for Bethlehem 14 per cent3—rates comparable to the per cent computed for the picked group in this study. Employment of illiterates and those ignorant of English. Since illiteracy or ignorance of English may have had some bear ing on the industrial adjustment of the foreign-born women, a tabu lation by industry is of interest. The following shows in what industries the wholly illiterate women, as well as the larger number who could not read and write English, were employed at the time the study was made. Table 16.—Total illiteracy and inability to read and write English, by present industry or occupation Present industry or occupation Number of women reporting Women unable to read and write English Number Total______________ Women unable to read and write any language Per cent Number Per cent 1,992 Manufacturing: Cigars_________ ___ Clothing___ ___________ Food products___ ______ Leather products (including tanning)__ Rag sorting________________ Textiles— Hosiery, sweaters, and bathing suits_ _ Other textiles 2_____ Miscellaneous manufacturing_ _ Clerical_____ _______ Domestic and personal service____ Trade______ ___ Other___ ________ 1,468 73.7 348 17.5 711 207 57 18 35 629 115 44 15 34 88.5 55.6 77.2 0 0 98 29 13 9 29 13.8 14.0 22.8 0 0 99 623 85 44 103 8 2 33 461 40 33.3 74.0 47.1 6 115 13 6.1 18.5 15.3 97 94.2 36 35.0 —_____________ _________ * Not computed, owing to small number involved. 2 Chiefly silk and woolen and worsted. -- Although three-fourths of the women unable to read and -write English were employed in the cigar factories (chiefly in the Lehi<di Valley) and in the group “other textiles” (chiefly woolen and worsted mills in Philadelphia) the highest percentages in any one industry were found among the rag sorters and in domestic and personal service. The knitting mills had a smaller percentage of illiterate women than had any other manufacturing line specified. riUi 99RBureau of the Census- Fourteenth Census : 1920, yol. 2, Population, pp. 1202 32 THE IMMIGRANT WOMAN AND HER JOB Naturally this discussion of the ability of women to use English has been confined to the non-English-speaking races, but mention should be made of the one illiterate English woman, a forlorn rag sorter well past middle age, who had lived many years in America. CONCLUSION The outstanding facts in regard to the women of non-Englishspeaking races are that IT.5 per cent were illiterate 'that ,ls; could not read and write in any language; that in Philadelphia thieefourths could not read English, and one-third could not speak it; and that in the Lehigh Valley nearly nine-tenths could not read English, and as many as three-fifths could not speak it. Why so few attend evening school. However, the women were not ignorant from choice. Woman after woman spoke regretfully of the opportunities missed m not (roing to school. One worker, feeling keenly her lack of English, commented: “ I been 17 years in this country and can t talk. Am t that funny? I come from old country dumb like anything, and nobody tell me go to school or anything.” Others said: “A green horn, and I ’shamed to go to school.” “ I liked night school, but I have to make the suppers now. 1 went about twenty times when I lived in Allentown, and I liked it, but didn’t have time.” Like this last worker, the majority of the women had two jobs, one in the factory for 8 to 10 hours a day and the other in their own homes, where for several hours of the day and of the night they toiled to keep the family clothed and clean and ted. The girls who had been employed at housework also had found dilficulty in getting through their evening tasks in time to go to school. As one girl explained: “Always fight with my missus to go. 1 always late to school and late getting home. Soon I give it up. Women who do attend evening classes. The small minority who had attended English classes m America and were learning to use the language made up m interest what they lacked in numbers. To accomplish anything m night school the girls had to be eager, alert, and persistent. One who had been a governess in Europe remarked: “ I’m so glad I live here [referring to the fact that she was a boarder, without home duties] for 1 m not so busy as home girls. I can study evenings, and not work, work, work like all the other girls.” . . A forelady in a cigar factory, recognizing the handicap ot Her ignorance of English after several years in the United States, had a private teacher. She described her job in the factory: I take care of machines. I take care of other girls, and learn them how to do everything. I need English for American girls. One girl was' grateful to her mother for making it possible for ■ her to get off to school. She said: “ Some girls have it hard. When they get home nothing is done for them. When we get home our mother has done everything, and supper is ready. I appreciate it very much what my mother does, for now I am in schooi three times every week.” EEBS02STAL DATA 33 None was more ambitious than Anna, who came alone to America in 1922 and, like scores of other girls, began to support herself by work in the cigar factory. But, unlike most of the others, she was spending her evenings in school. She spoke English well enough to get along during the interview without an interpreter, but it was a struggle, and when she became especially interested she lapsed into the tongue of her native Hungary. She was disappointed in the factory, for “everybody not talk English in factory. Never hear English only by the school ”; and when the visit was over she ex pressed great pleasure because the call had been one of her first little ventures in English with a stranger. “ You the only person talk English to me, you and Miss Z.”—referring to the teacher. Some who were unable to go to school were trying to pick up English; one was “learning herself from the children’s books.” Another was learning from the English newspaper; “ The letters are just like in Slovak words; if I know a word [if in her vocabulary] I can read it.” A Polish woman said she had learned to decipher English in much the same way, sometimes with the help of the chil dren. “ I learned because I know how to read Polish and the letters are the same.” The desire to read the captions in the moving pic tures stimulated one busy mother to take a serious interest in English, and the movies have been her chief teacher. Failure of classes to fit individual needs. After making the effort to go to school it must have been doubly disappointing not to be satisfied with the class work. Not in any spirit of criticism but almost as an apology for not having continued in school, several women explained most intelligently how the class did not fit their needs. The work was too elementary or too ad vanced, or the class was too large and heterogeneous and progressed too slowly. Julia had lived here much of her life and could speak English fluently, but as a child she did not attend school, for she was needed at home while her mother “ tended store.” Later, realizing her handicap in not knowing how to read and write, she went to the evening school, only to leave after two nights, for though she asked to be taught to read and write she was enrolled in a class of “greenies ” who could not speak even a word of English, and there seemed little prospect that her classmates would ever advance to the stage of reading. She thought it was no use to waste her time in school and so gave it up. On the other hand, Yetta stopped because she was put in a class for people who knew more English than she did. Comments of various women reveal the difficulties encountered: “ The teacher did not explain so good.” “ There were 30 persons in the class and some of them not educated in any language.” Aftertrying evening school for a year one girl decided that she “ wasn’t learning a thing.” A few had not confined their school work to the English classes. Concetta had been taught fine sewing by her mother at home and was eager to learn dressmaking, so she went to the evening school where it was taught, but to her utter disgust she found herself in an ele- 34 THE IMMIGRANT WOMAN AND HER JOB mentary class of girls who couldn’t handle a needle. Then she tried English, but that, too, was a, disappointment, for it was just a repe tition of what she had had in the short time she had attended day school. Several educated Jewish girls, becoming discouraged with the public-school evening classes, had joined private English classes where they advanced much faster. Repeated comments similar to these merely suggest the tremendous task yet to be accomplished in adapting English classes to the real needs of such large and mixed groups of foreigners. THE FAMILY Summary. This chapter discusses the size of the family, the number, age, and care of the children, the number of wage earners, and the employ ment of the chief male wage earner. Some outstanding facts developed in this discussion of the family are these: Only 139 women were living independently of their families or near relatives. The families were not small, as two-fifths of them consisted of five or more members and one-fourth had six or more members. The number of wage earners was slightly higher than the number of non wage earners. Two-thirds of the families had 2 wage earners, most frequently the hus band and the wife, and the families with 2 wage earners consisted usually of from 2 to 5 persons. The married women in these families are classified according to whether or not there were husband and children in the family. A “ wife ” is a married woman with no children, a “ wife and mother ” is a married woman with children as well as a husband, and a “ mother ” is a woman with children but no husband. The group “ wife and mother ” was as large as the groups of wives, mothers, daughters, and others combined; that is, the married woman with a husband and children was found as often as were all the others together. In three-fourths of the families there were children under 16 years of age. In more than two-fifths of the families there were three or more children. In as many as 500 homes the youngest child was less than 6 years old. For many small children the care provided during the mother’s absence was inadequate. Children of school age shifted pretty much for them selves. Since all but 139 of these foreign-born women were living with relatives as members of a family it is with families that the present chapter is concerned. Facts regarding the composition of these families, the number of wage earners and the number and ages of the children, become of vital significance in understanding the back ground of the foreign-born woman in industry. It is not until something is known of the woman’s family and her responsibilities in the home that it is possible to know the woman herself and to realize the importance of the place she fills in American life. In this section of the report a “family” applies to a group of closely related individuals living together under one roof as an eco nomic unit. This excludes children left in the old country and husbands who have not joined their families though expecting ulti mately to come to this country. Four wives were doing the pioneer work in America, while their husbands still remained in Europe. These broken families were recent immigrants who had settled in the Lehigh Valley. 35 36 THE IMMIGRANT WOMAN AND HER JOB A widow of 31 left her two children, aged 12 and 13, in the old country and came to America because she could earn the support of herself and children better here than there. “Very .hard in old country. Like you go sweep for somebody; they give you something to eat; no money.” The wife in one of these broken families preceded her husband to America because after the war they had only enough money for one “ ship card,” and as it was her relatives, and not the husband’s, who were welcoming them to America it seemed advisable for her to come first. She had expected to be able to send for him shortly, but the wages earned in the cigar factory where her relatives guided her have been a disappointment and not yet has she been able to save enough for his passage, although she has supported herself and the baby that came a few months after her arrival. Size of family. The 1,792 families included in this study were composed of closely related individuals and in about three-fourths of them there were children under 16 years of age. Most of the families consisted of 2, 3, or 4 persons, but about two-fifths of them had at least 5 members and about one-fourth had 6 or more. Number Per cent 346 334 371 Size of family 19.3 18.6 20.7 Number Per cent Size of family 6 persons.................................. 272 192 277 15.2 10.7 15.5 Wage earners and non wage earners. In the case of some of the families there was but one wage earner, but in most of them there were two, normally the woman interviewed and her husband. The following table shows that, collectively, the number of wage earners was slightly higher than the number of non wage earners, and that the average size of the family is 4.5 persons and the average number of wage earners in a family is 2.4. Table 17.—Wage earners and, non wage earners according to the relationship in family of the woman interviewed Composition of family Relationship Total. .......................... Wife.............................................. Wife and mother..................... . Mother___________________ _ Daughter Other___________ __________ Number Total of number women of persons Number Number Average inter of non size of viewed (includes of wage wage family women earners earners inter viewed) Average Average number number of wage of persons to each earners wage per family earner 1,921 8,637 4,536 4,101 4.5 2.4 1.90 261 960 273 388 39 595 4,559 1,106 2, 238 139 540 2,213 523 1,169 91 55 2,346 583 1,069 48 2.3 4.7 4.1 5.8 3.6 2.1 2.3 1.9 3.0 2.3 1.10 2.06 2.11 1.91 1.53 37 THE FAMILY Relationship of wage-earning woman in the family. The word “ wife ” in the foregoing table refers to those married women wTho had no children; the term “ wife and mother ” to those married women who had children; and the term “ mother ” to widows with children. “ Other ” includes those women—only 39 in all— whose relationship in the home was that of sister, niece, aunt, or grandchild. Almost every member was at work in those families where the woman interviewed was a wife, but in the other groups showing specific relationship there is a strikingly even division between wage earners and non wage earners. This table also shows that the group “wife and mother” is as large as all the other groups combined. It is natural that the families with daughters grown to working age should be the largest and should average more wage earners per family and fewer persons per wage earner. It is noticeable, how ever, that the average family of the mother—that is, the widow—is almost as large as the family of the wife and mother, where the woman has husband and children, and naturally the responsibilities of the wage earners in her family would be greater than those of women with husband or father. Another compilation (not published) shows that the woman inter viewed was the sole wage earner in 156 families, one of two wage earners in 1,175 families (or about two-thirds of the total number of families), one of three wage earners in 391 families, one of four wage earners in 145 families, and one of five or six or seven wage earners in 54 families. Women who were the sole wage earners in their families were chiefly widows; the majority of the women who were one of two wage earners wrere married women with husbands and children; and the daughters predominated in families with four or more wage earners. For that decidedly predominant group of 1,175 women whose families had two wage earners, an analysis of the relationship of the woman and the number of persons in the family is of interest. Table 18.—Women in families haring two wage earners, by relationship of woman and size of family Relationship of woman Number of women in fami lies hav ing two wage earners Total, ............ Wife. Daughter....................... Number of persons in family 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1,175 290 251 254 163 106 58 27 16 6 234 716 85 119 13 8 224 i 23 24 6 7 6 6 191 13 38 1 2 3 211 15 22 3 86 6 14 1 45 3 9 23 2 2 8 1 6 1 2 127 20 15 1 10 11 4 13 3 1 1 2 1 1 These 23 women had children in Europe, for the purpose of this report not considered part of family. In the group selected for discussion in this table only a fifth of the women are classed as wife and less than a tenth (only 7.2 per cent) as mothers, the outstanding number, three-fifths, being wife 38 THE IMMIGRANT WOMAN AND HER JOB and mother, that is a member of a normal family, with husband and children. Of the 716 families where the woman was wife and mother, more than a fifth (22.9 per cent) consisted of at least 6 persons, in some instances as many as 8, 9, or 10 persons. In the majority of cases, however, the family numbered only 3, 4, or 5 persons—the woman herself and her husband, both of whom were working, and 1 to 3 children. Children. Thus far in this report the term “ family ” has included more than parents and children, for when other relatives, such as sisters or nephews, were living under the same roof they were regarded as members of the economic group. In this section, however, emphasis is placed on the children in natural families, their number, their ages, and their care. Table 19.—Number of children in the home, by race or people of mother Race or people of mother Total number Number of women having— of— Average number of chil 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Moth Chil dren per 1 mother child chil chil chil chil chil chil chil chil dren ers dren dren dren dren dren dren dren dren Total--.............. i 1,186 3,083 2.6 343 323 225 153 75 44 18 3 English-speaking 42 N on-English-spoaking. 1,144 85 2,998 2.0 2.6 17 326 13 310 8 217 2 151 2 73 44 18 3 237 84 52 167 588 251 108 416 2.5 3.0 2.1 2.5 92 24 20 46 45 16 16 49 41 12 9 34 34 13 6 22 13 9 1 14 6 8 4 2 2 247 114 75 724 341 191 2.9 3.0 2.5 45 21 23 73 36 20 48 17 17 42 21 6 18 9 3 17 3 4 3 6 2 1 1 122 34 12 278 81 20 2.3 2.4 1.7 38 10 7 44 9 2 26 10 3 5 2 3 3 4 1 1 German___ ____ Italian Jewish........... ........ Magyar------------Slavic: Polish.............. Russian 1 2 Slovak Slovenian (Windish)— Other Slavic 3_4 Other races *......... 2 2 2 1 Excludes 41 mothers all of whose 87 children had remained in Europe or were living elsewhere in the United States. 2 Includes Ruthenian and Ukrainian. 3 Includes Czech, Lithuanian and Lettish, and Serbo-Croatian. 4 Includes French, Rumanian, Armenian, Greek, and Flemish. Number.—There were 1,588 women who were or had been married, and 1,186 of this number were the mothers of 3,083 children still living at home at the time of the interview. More mothers had one child than had two children, and more had two children than had three, yet over two-fifths (43.8 per cent) of these wage-earning women had three or more children in the home. This correlation of number of children by the race of the mother is given with hesitancy. Ordinarily the age and the race of the mother are important factors in considering the number of children, but where young children have been left in Europe or older children are no longer at home, the situation is not clear. This table, then, merely presents the facts found in a select group, including young and old married women, among whom the average number of chil dren at home ranges from two to three for all races. None of the English-speaking nor of the Jewish mothers had more than five THE FAMILY 39 children at home. A marked number of the German mothers had but one child and a marked number of the Polish mothers had two, while about as many Polish and Russian mothers had four children as had one child. Age and status.—To the mother who is a breadwinner the ages of the children are as important as their number; the young child requires constant care, while the older child may be very helpful. Table 20.—Mothers having children of specified age groups at home, in school, or at work, by age group of children Age group of children Number of mothers with children in specified age groups 1 2 At home Under 5 years_________ 5 and under 7 years________ 7 and under 14 years....... . _ 14 and under 18 years _____ 18 years and over............................... In school 28 13 201 2 At work 217 154 1 There is a duplication of mothers. Naturally, many mothers had children in more than one age group and many had children both at home and in school. In comparatively few homes were there mature children, at least 18 years of age, but in 600 or more cases there were little tots of under 7 years. The banking of numbers falls in the group having children of compulsory school age (7 and under 14 years) in school. The next largest group is that having children under 5 years at home. A fairly even balance between school and employment appears in the status of children of 14 and under 18 years. The extent to which the employed children could help varied, of course, with their ages and the nature of their work, for while an errand boy of 15 or 16 might not be self-supporting an experienced weaver of 18 years might make a substantial contribution to the family. In the table following only two races, the German and the Polish, had children at work in enough cases to be considered significant, although in several other races the proportion of mothers having children at work is larger than in the German and Polish groups. Table 21.—Mothers with children at work, by race or people of mother Race or people Total. English-speaking, ......... ........ Non-English-speaking: German___ __________ Italian_____ __________ Jewish............................... Magyar______________ Slavic— Polish____________ Russian.__________ Slovak____________ Slovenian (Windish) Other Slavic_______ Other races___________ 1 Children at work and living away from home are not included. 2 Not computed, owing to small number involved. 65661°—30----- 1 Number of mothers reporting Mothers with children at work 1 Number Per cent 1,186 371 42 19 237 84 52 167 93 34 21 44 39.2 40.5 40.4 26.3 247 114 75 122 34 12 73 30 37 5 12 3 29.6 26.3 49.3 4. 1 31.3 40 THE IMMIGRANT WOMAN AND HER JOB Care during mother’s absence.—Tlie families were large, the chil dren young, and life was especially strenuous for the 500 employed mothers whose youngest child was less than 6. It was not customary for children to begin school before they were 6, and in more than half of the families with five, six, and seven or more children the youngest child was not yet 4 years old. Table 22.—Number of children, by age of youngest child Age of youngest child Total......................... Under 6 months. 6 months and under 1 year__ 1 and under 2 years____ 2 and under 3 years. . 3 and under 4 years____ 4 and under 5 years___ 5 and under 6 years....... . 6 and under 7 years___ 7 and under 8 years___ 8 and under 9 years___ 9 and under 10 years... 10 and under 11 years___ 11 and under 12 years. Number of moth ers report ing 1951 25 21 58 80 113 97 110 96 84 90 70 61 46 Number of mothers with youngest child as specified who had in all — Total number of chil dren of 7 or mothers 1 2 chil 3 chil 4 chil 5 chil 6 chil reporting child dren dren dren dren dren more chil dren 2,672 215 262 192 145 72 64 174 257 386 294 281 9 22 16 13 16 29 2 4 16 24 23 15 2 6 12 16 17 17 211 242 184 150 101 20 2 10 16 29 26 37 34 26 21 12 19 16 13 13 10 43 22 10 16 5 8 7 9 7 3 3 1 3 1 1 1 3 1 i Excludes 231 mothers all of whose 389 children were at least 12 years of age and 4 mothers who did not report the ages of their 22 children. The opinion was general among the families visited that children of 7 who were in school part of the time certainly knew enough to get something to eat at noon and to take care of themselves when not in school, and that children as old as 12 were quite able to care not only for themselves but for younger children; in fact, the care of a 12-year-old presented few problems. The arrangements made by more than 700 mothers for the care of their 1,900 children (all under 12 years of age) when they them selves left home for work have been grouped under a few general headings in the next table. These arrangements varied from paid service to the most casual and inadequate care. Occasionally the condition was temporary, and a few mothers worked only during vacations, when the older children were at home and could look after the little ones. Many office cleaners selected that job because their hours permitted them to be at home most of the day. 41 THE FAMILY Tarlb 23.—Care of young children during mother's absence at work, by age Care outside the home Care in the home Age Child left daily— Num Child Other ber of board rela vision ed out Older tives chil With in dren i Father chil or oth None rela dren tives At day school er per nurs only or sons neigh ery bors Total............................................ 1,929 Per cent distribution............................ 100.0 271 14.0 184 9.5 352 18.2 10 18 59 83 132 139 198 188 196 227 225 242 212 2 3 10 9 29 29 33 28 36 24 22 25 21 1 1 7 9 4 7 21 23 38 30 41 40 34 39 22 31 22 and under 6 years....... ....................... and under 7 years........................... . and under 8 years......... .................. and under 9 years......... ........ ............ 9 and under 10 years. ............................ 6 6 7 8 11 and under 12 years............................ 11 11 21 22 18 27 19 25 12 13 0.7 1 1 3 3 1 1 1 1 1 550 28.5 51 2.6 3 7 19 36 45 60 87 55 56 54 54 46 28 1 4 5 8 5 6 5 5 4 4 4 493 25.6 15 0.8 I 1 3 1 4 32 45 75 102 110 124 4 2 1 2 1 1 Number of mothers, 737. Few children as young as 6 months were left in the care of others, nor were there many under 3 years; but from 3 years the numbers left increased in a marked degree, so that about one-third of the children whose mothers went daily to work were not yet 6 years old and therefore were not in school. Care by fathers or others in the home.—For only half of the chil dren under 12 had an effort been made to provide adequate care during the mother’s absence. In 102 families the fathers had assumed the burden of caring for the children while their wives were at work. A few who had a little cobbler shop or tailoring establishment in the front room of the dwelling could keep an eye on the children while they plied their trade. The parents’ working hours sometimes dovetailed, but in families where the mother was on a day shift and the father on a night shift the children at home had little or no supervision while fathers rested during part of the day. Not infre quently also there was time in the morning and late afternoon when neither father nor mother could be at home, and the children were accustomed to prepare their own breakfasts and get themselves olf to school, coming home in the afternoons to an empty house. In other families the father was at home because of illness or unemployment, and the mother had become the chief breadwinner while the father cared for the children. This was the case with Anna. During four months in 1924 her husband had only one day’s work a week, and finally he was laid off; at the time, women could get work in the cigar factory, so Anna got a job as a stripper and she and her husband exchanged positions, she becoming the wage earner and he the housekeeper. When the father assumed the care of the family they had six children, the eldest a girl of 12 and the youngest an infant of only a few weeks. 42 THE IMMIGRANT WOMAN AND HER JOB Other relatives or persons in the home, especially grandmothers, had the burden of slightly more than one-sixth of these young chil dren while the mothers worked. There was only one case where a wage-earning mother was em ploying a maid, a 15-year-old girl, whom she paid $28 a month. This maid did the housework and while the mother was away had the responsibility of the three children, aged 4, 5, and 13 years. Care by neighbors or others outside the home.—In many cases there was no one in the home with whom these children might be left during the mother’s absence, so about one-third of the children were left with relatives or neighbors or were cared for at day nurseries, and every morning before beginning work in the factory the mother must take the children there for the day. An expression current among the women was, “I bring my children by my sister’s. She watch her children and my children.” Mothers, sisters, or other rel atives who were not working in the factories “ could just as well look after a few more kids as not.” Most fortunate were the women with kind neighbors1 who, usually for a small consideration, would “ mind ” the children while the mothers were away from home. While such an arrangement might be all right for younger children it frequently was rather casual for those who were in school part of the day, for only in extreme situa tions did the neighbor exercise her authority over children “ as old ” as 8, 9, or 10 years'. _ One woman, in commenting on the generosity of a neighbor who “ watches ” her children of 8 and 12 years, said: “ We don’t fight too much and she good to my children.” In another house the landlady was spoken of as “ watching a little the children.” One widow who worked in the mill all day repaid a neighbor for her child’s dinner by doing the neighbor’s mending; another gave a few cents a day to a “ neighbor lady ” who “ made the soup ” for the children. Amounts paid for the care of children either in a neighbor’s home or in a day nursery were not standardized and were determined prob ably by the mother’s ability to pay as well as by the bonds of friend ship. One woman paid a neighbor $12 a month for the care of two children, aged 6 and 9 years, including their noon meal. Another paid the landlady $2 a week for watching a child of 2 years, although the mother prepared the food for lunch and her 12-year-old boy took care of the baby at noon and when he was not in school. The mother felt, however, that by paying the landlady a little she insured more interest in both children. Inadequate arrangements.—In too many families the arrangements made for the children were inadequate. For one-fourth of the children not 12 years old the time they spent at school was the only period during which they were supervised, and although the school session lasted only 5 or at most 6 hours and the mother’s workday in the factory lasted sometimes 10 hours, most of the mothers showed great relief that their children were in such good hands for even part of the day, and they trusted to luck and neighbors for the rest of the time. An office cleaner with children aged 4 months and 4, 8, and 13 years left them alone “ only ” from 4.30 to 11 p. m. and while she was away from home the girl of 13 “ watched out ” for the family. THE FAMILY 43 No caretaker.—In only a very few cases did the mothers feel that no one at all was giving attention to the children. Many of the women with families of small children worked in factories near enough to their homes to enable them to return at noon to prepare the lunch for the smaller children, but except for this help in the prepa ration of the noon lunch many of the children shifted for themselves. One mother whose children were 8, 11, and 12 years old exclaimed with relief: “ Oh, my children old enough to care for themselves! ” Another said: “ He 7 years old, he feed himself now! ” and it went without saying that he shifted for himself during the 10 hours that his mother was at the factory. The mother of four children—5, 8, 11, and 13 years old—was frankly worried about the children she left at home during her long workday; three were in school part of the day, but the one who was too young to go to school was at home alone or on the streets. Very rarely did women speak of locking children alone in the house for safety. One woman felt that she had chosen her jobs wisely when the children wTere little, for she had always done office clean ing at night. She would put the children to bed and lock them in the house, hoping to find them all right when she returned about midnight. Another described in detail how carefully she closed the house before she went to her job in the hosiery mill: " I give them their breakfast, put the meal on the table for them, hide the matches, knives, and everything that could hurt them, lock the front door and the gate in the back yard, and go away.” Another mother explained that, on starting to work three years before, she had solved the problem of the children’s care by locking the child of 6 in the house and leaving the child of 8, who was in school, to play out of doors until she came home with the key. There were 184 children—approximately one-tenth of all those under 12 years of age—left to the care of older brothers or sisters, the majority of whom were themselves school children under 16. Of the little caretakers one was 9 and her charge was 6, and three be tween 10 and 11 had the care of children of 2, 4, and 8 years, respec tively, two of them having other charges also. A child of 13 took care of an infant of a few months, and in other families children of 11,12, and 13 were responsible for babies between 1 and 2. In families where the oldest brother or sister of only 11, 12, or 13 years had charge of four or five younger children there probably was but little “ looking after ” and no order or discipline. The usefulness of the older children in their families is illustrated in the following: Although Mary has been in America 15 years she does not speak a word of English, the interpreter commenting that she has been “ too busy to think of English.” She had never worked in this country until her husband’s death, six years before, left her with four little children, aged 10 months, and 3, 6, and 7 years, dependent on her for support. Since that time she has worked almost steadily, and when she became a wage earner the 6-year-old girl was the only one to look after the baby. The mother often has come home to find the house cold and the children huddled together on the bed to keep warm, but only once during the six years have they been sick. The mother had to give up one job, sorting leather in a tannery, as 44 THE IMMIGRANT WOMAN AND HER JOB the factory was too far from home, and in other jobs she has hot had much success. She worked a year in a second tannery, but the firm became bankrupt, and after two years in a yarn mill she was lai d off because of slack work. In other places the work was too hard. At the time of the interview she was engaged in the unskilled job of opening ropes in a curled-hair factory. The 6-year-old girl meantime has grown to a little woman of 12, who has all a mother’s solicitude for the other children and takes much responsibility about the house. The fact that Theresa has a 16-year-old daughter crippled by in fantile paralysis makes it possible for Theresa to go to work in the morning with a mind at ease, knowing that this crippled daughter will take care of the five younger children, the youngest of whom is not quite 2. After her marriage Theresa did not work for several years, but when they started to buy a home it became necessary for her to return to work, as her husband was a laborer earning only $3.50 a day. “ He saves his wages to pay for the house. I work to feed the family. We have lots children. We pay for house when we can.” This woman expects all her children to begin work as soon as they are 14. She regrets that her oldest is physically so handi capped that she can never go out to earn anything and rejoices that a 13-year-old girl will soon be able to help the family. Arriving in this country at the age of 18, Sophie began work immediately as a cigar roller and, although married within a year, she continued to work until shortly before her first child was born. Since then she has worked only in the two emergencies of the house hold—in 1921 when her husband’s unemployment lasted throughout most of the year, and in 1924 when she returned to her old job be cause of the heavy debts contracted by the long-continued illness and the death of a child. During most of her 15 years’ married life she has been busy in her own borne, for she has had eight children, two of whom died. At the time of the interview the 13-year-old daughter, who was in school, had the responsibility of the five younger children while Sophie was at work. This daughter washed the dishes, made the beds, swept, and did all the usual daily chores about the house; at noon prepared lunch for the children, and after school started the supper; and after supper frequently helped her mother with the ironing and scrubbing. No wonder she was stunted and appeared worried and careworn. She had recently been pro moted in school and her mother was troubled, because this meant that the girl would be transferred to a distant building and it would no longer be possible for her to do the household chores. The mother was fearful lest she herself would be obliged to give up work. The family, like many others in the neighborhood, was feeling the hard times and the effects of unemployment, and, as the mother said, “Money always gone.” The house in which they lived had but four rooms and had no conveniences, not even running water. The family shared a hydrant as well as a privy with a family in the adjoining house, and for such accommodations paid a rent of $12 a month. The father was industrious, and up to 1921 had had a steady job. Sophie had come to this country 16 years ago because her mother was a poor widow in Hungary. She herself commented, 45 THE FAMILY “ Me poor in this country too,” and from appearances the hard-work ing child of 13 looks forward to little more. It was reassuring to learn from the juvenile probation officer of Bethlehem, who went over the list of names of 369 women furnish ing information in the present survey, that of the almost 1,000 cases (mostly preventive) handled by her office in the past live years only 3 had been in the families of these women. Husbands and fathers. How impossible it would have been for the men to carry the bur den of supporting their families (41.4 per cent of the families con sisted of five or more persons) had not the women been wage earners also can be only partly realized even when it is known that many of these men were unskilled laborers and were earning the lowest scale of wages. For many of the husbands the actual work varied so from day to day that the wives were at a loss to know how to describe their husbands’ jobs; and it was easier for many to answer simply by mentioning the name of the firm where he was employed, or the product of the plant. Others dismissed the question with the one word “ laborer.” Undoubtedly many for whom the industry was specified were laborers within the industry,1 but only those have been classified as laborers whose occupation was definitely given as. such. Of the 503 women in Philadelphia with husbands who worked, all but 9 gave some idea of the kind of work in which their husbands engaged, and all but 33 of the 676 women in the Lehigh Valley reported something of the nature of their husbands’ jobs. Table 24.—Industry or occupation of husband, by locality Husbands of women in the Lehigh Valley Husbands of women in Philadelphia Industry or occupation Total Manufacturing: Miscellaneous occupations or industriesOwn business_________________ Number reported 494 142 67 32 29 42 38 18 74 28 24 Industry or occupation Total Manufacturing: Miscellaneous occupations or industries. Number reported 643 270 143 42 26 48 42 35 19 18 In Philadelphia the men were employed chiefly in the metal trades and the textile mills and as laborers. In the Lehigh Valley the occupations of the men were centered in the distinctive man-employing industry in each district—steel in Bethlehem, cement in Northampton and the adjoining towns, and 1 Census figures show as many as three-fourths of the males in the iron and steel industries of Bethlehem and Allentown as laborers. U. S. Bureau of the Census. Four teenth Census : 1920, vol. 4, Population, Occupations, pp. 240, 242, 246, and 248. 46 THE IMMIGRANT WOMAN AND HER JOB zinc in Palmerton, these three industries combined employing almost two-thirds of the husbands whose jobs were reported. The cigar industry, which employs a vast majority of the women in this sec tion, furnished employment for only five of the husbands. A greater number of men were working in the silk mills where their wives were employed but, as was the case with the cigar industry, the number was much smaller than was the number or women. In both districts the male textile workers were in the same branch of the industry as the women, chiefly woolen and worsted in Phila delphia and silk in the Lehigh Valley. . In the metal trades in Philadelphia were 28 men, and in the Lehigh V alley 22, whose jobs were in automobile factories. In Philadelphia the miscellaneous-manufacturing group includes tan neries and leather products, clothing, and furniture, but in the Lehigh Valley it includes such diverse manufacturing lines as fur niture, shoes, cigars, clothing, meat packing, and tiles. The group of laborers in Philadelphia includes 15 street laborers and steve dores or longshoremen. The group called miscellaneous occupations or industries includes in Philadelphia drivers, firemen, a printer, and some clerical workers, and in the Lehigh Valley barbers, jani tors, watchmen, bartenders, musicians, a dishwasher, an elevator operator, and a clerical worker. The .group conducting their own business in Philadelphia had no counterpart in the Lehigh Valley. Their business enterprises did not represent any investment, as they were for the most part street venders, dealing in ice cream, vegetables, newspapers, or rags. One conducted a cobbler shop, another a barber shop, another a shoeshine stand, another a fruit stand, still another made baskets at home. There were also a paper hanger, a stonemason, an upholsterer, and an electrician who worked independently. Steadiness of employment.—At the time of the interview as many as 120 husbands were not contributing to the family support. Some of these men were ill, others were temporarily out of work on account of lay offs or other industrial reasons, and a few were, according to the informants, “just no good.” In approximately one-tenth of the families reported the wife had assumed the role of chief wage earner in place of the husband who under ordinary circumstances would have been the support of the family. Furthermore, not all the men who had jobs were working full time; the complaint of “ work not too much ” was heard again and again in the home visits. Some of these breadwinners were employed in admittedly seasonal work; bricklayers, carpenters, cement work ers, stevedores, and longshoremen worked only intermittently; some street laborers and track repairers were out of work because of bad weather.. In addition to these, men in other lines of employ ment complained of work being slack, and underemployment was prevalent at the time of the interview. Earnings of chief male breadwinner.—Definite and reliable infor mation on the actual week’s earnings of the chief male wage earner was obtained in 456 of the families—298 in the Lehigh Valley and 158 in Philadelphia. In most instances the chief male wage earner was the husband, but in a very few cases he was the father or son of the woman interviewed. 47 THE FAMILY About one-tenth of the 456 men for whom current earnings were reported, chiefly unskilled and receiving the wages commonly paid for this kind of work, earned less than $20 a week; one-third were earning $20 and under $25 and slightly more than one-fourtli earned as much as $30. The following presents in descending scale the medians of a week’s earnings of these groups of men: Table 25.—Median of a week's earnings of the chief male wage earners, by industry or occupation and by locality Philadelphia Industry or occupation Lehigh Valley Number Median of a of men week’s reported earnings 158 Manufacturing: Textiles Paper and paper products. Miscellaneous manufacturing. Labor and miscellaneous oc cupations. Industry or occupation $24.25 20 52 15 17 24 27.00 26.65 24. 60 23.60 23.20 30 22. 35 Number Median of a of men week’s reported earnings 298 $26.80 63 51 28.65 28. 60 26 15 118 25 27. 85 27. 80 24. 90 24.65 Manufacturing: Miscellaneous facturing. manufac- Steel_______________ Miscellaneous industries and occupations. For the chief male wage earners for whom this information was obtainable the table shows that the median of the figures reported as a week’s earnings was less than $27 for the Lehigh Valley and less than $25 for Philadelphia. In other words, one-half the 158 men in Philadelphia and one-half the 298 men in the Lehigh Valley earned less than $25 and less than $27, respectively. In Philadelphia the largest group numerically is that classified as in the metal trades. It includes 52 men working in locomotive and automobile works and in machine shops, and for these the median earnings were $26.65 for the week. The highest median is $27, the figure for the 20 textile workers. At the other end of the scale are the 30 chief male wage earners classified as laborers, and for these the median of a week’s earnings was $22.35. In the Lehigh Valley the most representative group, comprising two-fifths of the men reported, was working in the steel industry, and the median of their earnings was $24.90, decidedly less than the median for any other industry reported specifically in this locality. Workers in the cement mills in this district, with median earnings of $28.65, fared better in this respect than did men in any of the other groups in either locality. It is interesting to note that, as far as these small groups are concerned, the median for men in the metal trades in Philadelphia is higher than the median for men in the steel mills in the Lehigh Valley. Unpublished data show that the median of a week’s earnings of 23 men employed in the building trades, the two localities combined, is $26.50, an amount that compares favorably with the better-paid workers in Philadelphia, though it is slightly less than the median in the Lehigh Valley. 48 THE IMMIGRANT WOMAN AND HER JOB For a somewhat limited group of families—172 in Philadelphia and 286 in the Lehigh Valley—definite data were obtained relative to the current earnings of husbands and of wives in the same families. The earnings of the wives were lower than the earnings of the hus bands, and wages averaged lower in Philadelphia than in the Lehigh Valley. Philadelphia. Number of families reporting 172 Median of a week’s earnings of wives$15. 50 Median of a week’s earnings of husbands$22. 90 Lehigh Valley. 286 $18.15 $26. 45 Unpublished data show that in Philadelphia about three-eighths (38.4 per cent) of the husbands had earnings between $20 and $25; in the Lehigh Valley almost one-third (32.5 per cent) received be tween $25 and $30. Earnings of $15 and under $20 were reported for 40.1 per cent of the wives in Philadelphia and 37.4 per cent of those in the Lehigh Valley. Earlier in the report it was stated that two-thirds of all the families interviewed had two wage earners (p. 36), so the combined earnings of husbands and wives would seem to be fairly indicative of family earnings. It was indeed for tunate that the wife was able to supplement the husband’s earnings, as even the combined medians amounted to only $38.40 in Philadel phia and to $44.60 in the Lehigh Valley. Federal Reserve figures. Information obtained during the interviews regarding the earnings of male wage earners corresponds closely with data on wages pub lished by the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia. According to a report by this authority wage earners employed in the State of Pennsylvania in the manufacture of metal products averaged $26.19 for one week in September, 1925. The manufacture of metal prod ucts covers the employment of two-fifths of the male wage earners in the present study—the men making automobiles and engines, those in foundries and blast furnaces, and those in steel work in general. Cost of living. It is pertinent to consider the cost of living in relation to the amount of wages earned. The standard budget used by the Bethle hem Family Welfare Association in giving relief to needy families provides an annual allowance for a family of five—man, wife, and three children (a boy of 11, a girl of 7, and an infant)—as follows: Food^ Clothing 167. 60 Rent__________________ Fuel 84. 00 $678.00 180'. 00 Total1,109.60 This is a mere subsistence budget at the poverty level, covering the bare essentials of shelter, food, and clothing and making no allowance for other things almost as necessary and provision for the emer gencies bound to arise in practically all families. Hourly rates not uncommonly received by labor in the Lehigh Valley were 37 to 39 cents. At such rates a man would have to work 10 hours a day for 300 days a year—a steadiness of employ ment not generally found—for his year’s earnings to exceed the THE FAMILY 49 allowance made by the charity organization referred to in aiding families dependent upon the community for support. The hardships most common and most dreaded were unemploy ment and sickness, and it was these emergencies that drove the women to work and the fear of them that kept wives and mothers at their jobs. The staff of a hospital in the Lehigh Valley had just completed a study (unpublished) of the cost of being sick in a wage-earning community. About half the patients were charity cases, and it was ascertained that for one or more short illnesses only the man earning as much as $125 a month and having not more than one dependent could manage to pay a hospital bill lim ited to actual costs. Even in such a case the doctor’s bill, as likely as not, was never paid. In order to meet a small hospital bill a single man with no family responsibilities required a wage of at least $25 a week. In Philadelphia the cost of living and the cost of being ill are no less than in the Lehigh Valley. While the budget already quoted for Bethlehem is based on the lowest standards of living, a civic organization of Philadelphia drew up a budget based on the “ require ments and cost, at March, 1923, prices, of a minimum health and decency standard of living for a family of five, consisting of parents, boy of 13, girl of 10, and boy of 6.” 2 This calls for an annual ex penditure of $1,854.28, or an income in excess of $35 for each of the 52 weeks of the year. In addition to the essentials it provides an allowance for medical care, replacement of household equipment, insurance and taxes, and for some education, amusement, and recrea tion. This allowance for a minimum standard of health and decency shows a marked increase in the item of rent since 1918 and even since 1921. The standard of the Philadelphia budget is a 6-room house facing a street; it provides a bathroom, laundry tubs, furnace, and facilities for cooking and lighting with gas. Such an equipment was considered to cost $37 a month in 1923, and very few women interviewed in Philadelphia could afford such an outlay. _ A recent study based on wage-earning mothers3 in Philadelphia includes this statement in its analysis of the wages of 328 husbands reported upon: “Almost three in every five of these men earn less than $25 a week. Half of the group earning less than $25, however, earn $20 or more.” In comparing this with the standard of living recommended by the Philadelphia Bureau of Municipal Research the report goes on to say: “ These wages do not provide the usual minimum standard of decency for the family of husband, wife, and three children, which requires from $25 to $30 a week.” When husbands and fathers earn no more than $25 there is little choice left to the women except to become wage earners themselves, for these families did not come to America to continue living at the poverty line, but to seek a “ better living ” and to enjoy the higher standards that they expected would be possible of attainment in the United States. 2 Bureau of Municipal Research, Philadelphia. The Cost of a Workingmen’s Standard of Living in Philadelphia at March, 1923, Prices. Citizens’ Business, Apr. 5, 1923. No. 567. 11 pp. 3 Hughes, Gwendolyn S. Mothers in Industry New York, New Republic (Inc.), 1925, p. 66. ECONOMIC RESPONSIBILITIES Married women. Information so pertinent as the employment and the earnings of the husbands of these foreign-born women and the number of chil dren in the families would seem to make superfluous any inquiry regarding the reasons and purposes of the women themselves in securing and holding jobs. To the question as to why the women had returned to work after marriage there was repetition in the answers: “ Times weren’t so good.” “ Expenses so high.” “ We were getting behind in every thing.” “ The men were laid off and we needed a slice of bread.” “ Never know when sickness comes how much it cost.” “ To pay for my home some day.” All “needed to help a little out”—husbands ill, husbands out of work or on part time, rent to pay, and children to feed were indeed common to all. When the answers given referred quite definitely to the status of the husband they were tabulated in the rather inclusive class “ in sufficient support from husband.” This covers the few men reported worthless, those ill or out of work—non wage earners, in other words—as well as the larger number who, due to business conditions, were working irregularly or part time and the many others working full time but not earning enough to support the family. In not one of these cases was the husband contributing an amount sufficient for the family’s needs. The second classification, “ to help maintain home and support family,” is closely related to the first group, as it depends largely upon the wages earned by the husband whether or not the wife works “ to help with the large family ” or “ to pay the bills at the store.” Practically the only difference in the two groups is in the manner in which the question was answered, as in each the lack of adequate support from the husband was the primary cause for the woman’s working. The first group includes all those answers that mention conditions of the husband’s employment; the second includes answers in which definite mention was made of the responsibilities that the woman had to assume. For most purposes the two groups may be combined. Of the women reporting reasons and a specific number of years elapsing before their return to work after marriage, two-thirds gave reasons that fell in the first two of the groups, and except for the women working to buy a home or furniture the other groups are numerically unimportant. The 556 women who continued to work with no loss of time after marrying naturally are omitted from the tabulation of reasons for returning to work. Widows, too, are not included in this presen tation. The 314 women who reported that they did not return imme diately to industry but gradually drifted back as they realized that 50 51 ECONOMIC RESPONSIBILITIES their pay envelopes were needed to keep up the homes they had estab lished are shown in the table following. A majority of these women were living in Philadelphia. Table 26.-—Reason for return to work after marriage, by time elapsed before such return1 Married women reporting Number of married women who returned to work after a lapse of— Num Per ber cent 1 and 3 and 5 and 10 and 15 Under under under under under years and 10 15 3 5 1 year years years years years over Reason for return to work 314 Total ................ ........... ................... . Per cent distribution________ _______ ____ 100.0 100.0 18 5.7 44 14.0 29 9.2 99 31.5 82 26.1 42 13.4 148 65 66 47.1 20.7 21.0 8 2 4 26 8 6 17 5 5 44 9 30 33 28 14 20 13 7 19 6 10 6.1 1.9 3.2 3 2 1 2 1 7 5 4 4 1 2 2 1 Insufficient support from husband-----------To help maintain home and support family To buy home or furniture To save for old age and to raise family standard i Includes only women who worked in the United States both before and after marriage. The table shows that while a few of the women found it necessary to return to their wage-earning jobs before they had been married a year, almost a third were at home 5 and under 10 years before they went back, and two-fifths were at home for 10 years or more. An unpublished tabulation relating to the employment of married women includes a number of women who, having married in the old country, naturally had no work history as single girls in this country, and, further, returned to work in 1918 or later after a lapse of at least five years spent in their own homes. The unpublished figures show that more than half the number in this more comprehensive group of married women had been out of industry from 10 to 20 years, and a few even longer, before reentering industry, and, as stated above, none had returned to work before a lapse of 5 years. The majority of this group had not reentered industry until 1920 or later, which seems to indicate that the high wages caused by the con dition of Avar did not tempt the women to enter industry as much as did the financial difficulties caused by the business depression of 1920-21. From another unpublished tabulation, based upon married women who did not enter industry until 1918 or later, although they had lived here previously to that time, it would seem that they had not come to this country Avith the expectation of being breadAvinners, for they were well past the age when it is easy to fit. into industry. Of those reporting age at beginning work in this country only a tenth were less than 30 years of age and almost two-fifths had reached 40 when they obtained employment here. And like the other mar ried women in industry they, too, were working chiefly because of the inadequacy of the husband’s wage and the necessity of supple menting the family income. The foregoing discussion relates only to such material as lent itself to tabulation, but more telling than figures are the comments 52 THE IMMIGRANT WOMAN AND HER JOB that the women made. The remainder of this chapter, therefore, con sists mainly of illustrative material selected at random from the interviews. It includes comments on continued employment as well as on the need of returning to work after a lapse of years. The statements were made by old women and young women of different races and employed in various industries, for neither age, race, nor industry made a difference in the extent to which the women were assuming the burdens of family support. What were the motives that had driven these married women to seek employment ? In most cases it was definite economic want, such as family support, in whole or in part; the supplementing of a hus band’s earnings to pay for special expenditures such as doctor’s bills, or the extra responsibility of aged parents, or for unforeseen emer gencies of all sorts; establishing a home or buying the furniture; paying for a home; the acquiring of a surplus for old age and future uncertainties. There were very few who were working without the urge of a definite economic need or motive. The outlook of the older woman was limited generally to satis faction of immediate economic needs and family responsibilities, and conditions described in such phrases as these were reasons enough for working: “ Big pile of debts at store and house to pay.” “ Now like the winter comes—coal you need and the children shoes.” Only occasionally was the question of the woman’s responsibility met by such replies as “ Husband no good.” “ Husband does not like to work.” “Husband no help; drinks and spends his own money.” Much more commonly the answer was, “A good man, but job no good.” Teamwork—Double responsibility.—Naturally, since only em ployed women were included in the study, in none of these families was the husband supporting the wife and children without help; in all the support fell jointly upon the man and his wife working together. The wife’s double job of contributing to the family maintenance and keeping house was accepted as a matter of course, as if it were only natural that husbands could not make enough to support their families. In some cases, if the wife had not supplemented the family earnings it would have been impossible to meet even current ex penses, much less to cover special expenditures such as payments for insurance or the buying of furniture or of a home. Husbands taking part in the interviews often volunteered such statements as “ She works so we can live ” or “ I pay rent, pay bills at the grocery store, buy shoes, and have not 1 penny left. She must work.” Another husband said, “ She is helping me, I’m helping her.” Additional extracts from schedules along the same line are these: Husband and wife emphasized the necessity of teamwork, both earning and contributing to support. They could not live without the help of each other. They had not expected to find living so expensive in America. When illness overtakes them, they spend all they can save. “ Necessary to help. Short money all the time.” The husband in one case seemed especially thrifty (said he had saved $2,500 in war times when wages were high) and six months before had purchased a home for $4,700. At the time of the interview he was spending his evenings digging a basement, adding a back kitchen, and getting ready to install a bath room and electric lights. Besides the financial obligation of paying for a home, ECONOMIC RESPONSIBILITIES 53 money was sent to the husband’s father and the wife’s mother in Hungary. The man said, “A family can’t get ahead unless the wife works.” One husband, speaking of his wife, said, “ She is a good woman. If woman does not help, bad for man.” Six children and a mother-in-law to support. Husband has a fairly steady job at $23 a week, but sick sometimes and “ getting old ” (40 years of age) so. can not support family alone. Husband gets only 37 cents an hour—three children. Plenty to do to earn a living, and man can’t do it alone. Wife longed for children left in Galicia and if husband only had worked they never would have been able to send for them. They were also buying a house, the wife’s earnings paying the. current expenses while the husband’s went largely to pay for the house. A husband employed in a wire mill said, “Greenhorns need their wives to help them." “ Six children. One man can not feed them all.” Takes all both can earn to support five children. Husband, a laborer, earns $3.90 a day; the rent is $12 a month; the wife contributes $10 to $14 a week. A German woman who had been in this country only a few years was living in a gloomy alley house with a roof that leaked. A few months before she had taken a regular job again as presser, so she was turning into the family purse $11 to $18 a week, though her husband, who had been a salesman in Germany, was doing well, learning English, and earning over $27 a week at general labor. Both had realized the fact that they would never get out of the alley house nor prosper in other ways unless the wife worked too. The husband’s comment was, “ Best thing would be for married man to earn enough to keep his woman home.” Unemployment.—The following comments indicate the necessity of the women finding work when their husbands were laid off: We saved a little, but when he was out of work we ate it all up in two months. Once when he was out of work for 11 weeks we had money in the bank, but, we had to take it all out. Soon it was all gone and we have not been able to get ahead for two years. Steel mills laid off lots of men in 1919. Women must work. Husband out of work. Bills just the same. In one case a woman reported that it had been her practice to stop work whenever her husband’s employment warranted it. Shortly before the interview he had been out of work for about four months, through the winter, and they had had to borrow to get along. The wife said that she meant to keep a steady job herself from that time on, as it did not pay for her to spend so much time hunting work every time her husband was laid off. She said: “ I felt a stone roll off my heart when he got his job. All over slack—not much work.” Another woman whose husband, a blacksmith, had been out of work four months, and whose son, an errand boy, had been laid off one month, replied: “ I work now to eat.” A man who had had only four places in 20 years had been laid off for the first time in his life. He had been out of work a few weeks, but in the emergency his wife had found a job and was substituting as the chief wage earner. The husband appeared greatly embarrassed at the situation, which he seemed powerless to remedy. He hoped it would be only a temporary arrangement, and one of the reasons he gave was that his wife “ scolds all the time; all the time so tired; she so tired by 7 o’clock she goes to sleep.” 54 THE IMMIGRANT WOMAN AND HER JOB Illness.—Few of these families had escaped illness, with its doc tors’ or hospital bills. One mother, in speaking of a frail child, said: “ I think she cost as much money as she weigh herself.” A woman who was a weaver before her marriage returned to work after 10 years, when her husband’s health and strength began to fail. At different times he had lost 6, Sy2, and 2% months. Besides these illnesses of the chief breadwinner, three children had been ill and died, so the family had had a “ sickness bill ” haunting them for years. The little daughter interpreting for her mother added, “ She never can take a rest.” Some years ago one family managed by hard work and great economy to put $800 in the bank, but “ so much sick ” in recent years had eaten up these savings and financially the family wTas back where it had started. An Italian woman was the chief support of her family because her “ husband was laid off three years ago when his arm got a cold in it and the hospital can’t help him.” A tobacco stripper of 50 was the sole support of herself and her husband, the latter having been an invalid nine years. At first they had had some money “ put by the bank,” but theirs has been the same experience as that found in many other homes and they had nothing at the time of the study. They seemed reconciled to their two little rooms and had given up all expectation of having “ nice things.” Cases illustrating tragedies caused by illness could be quoted by the score, but there is a depressing similarity in all of them—compen sation inadequate to support the family, the savings of years vanish ing, and an accumulation of debts that must be paid. “ Husband work—I’m stay home. Husband sick; nobody give me eat, I work.” Buying a home.—When business was good and wages were high many families invested in the most coveted possession—their own homes—purchasing on the contract-for-deed plan; but when work grew slack it was a struggle to keep up these payments and many wives had been forced back to work to avoid losing their homes. Repeated references were made during the interviews to the “ nice ” homes the women wanted above anything else. “ To have right my own home.” “A home a little nice, that’s all I want.” “ This like an alley house where we live—I get better home on better street, bathroom and everything nice.” “ It is in my mind I buy a house and garden.” A house with plumbing and drainage was the goal of many who were willing to slave day and night in the hope that some day such a home would be theirs. One woman spoke feelingly when she said, “ If you want a nice home you have to work like the devil for it,” and in order to help to get a home she had done sewing in the even ings in addition to her job in the shop and all her own housework: “ I always work. Didn’t have so much money; we have a mortgage yet, that’s why I work.” Another woman said, “ I am not going to be steady on rent, I buy a home some day. Husband can not buy it alone.” By working and supplementing the family earnings they hope to see an end of the payments, although one woman whose home was not half paid for after 10 years added, “ I may die first.” Many families had been forced to buy during a real-estate boom in order to keep a roof over their heads. For six years an Italian laborer had paid nothing on the principal but was keeping up the ECONOMIC RESPONSIBILITIES 55 interest. He had bought in self-protection, and to meet the first payment he had borrowed $200 from friends—$10 from one, $10 from another, wherever he could get a small amount. He said he could not really afford to buy: “ Too much mortgage, no bread.” The story of a winder in a silk mill whose home had been sold over her head is worth relating. She could not find another suitable house because the owners objected to her five small boys, so they undertook to buy a large house, though realizing at the time that the husband’s wages did not warrant the investment. The husband was an unskilled laborer in the steel mill; for his pay envelope to yiold $44 for two weeks was not unusual though sometimes he earned more. He was worn out and getting old (47) for heavy labor. The wife, therefore, accepted the house as her responsibility and went back to the mill after an absence of several years. Rental from part of the house was helping with the installment payments, but she herself had paid for many improvements in the last five years— water and sewer connections, plumbing fixtures, painting, and sidewalks. A few additional descriptions of home buying taken from the schedules follow: Upkeep of the home in addition to the purchase payments was a heavy drain on family income and occasionally was the immediate reason for the wife’s seeking work. Much expense on houses they were buying; “paint, $210”; “cement porch, $150”; and so on. “ Sometimes the rooms are empty; sometimes husband’s pay envelope is $7 to $15 short,” was one woman’s reason for returning to the silk mill to work. “A new roof on house ” was that of another. Mrs. H. had six children, the oldest 12 and the youngest 2. She had worked as a weaver whenever she had been able to leave home. Her husband was a carpenter and in bad weather likely to be without work. They had always had a hard time to get along. “Plenty chil dren, always ready to eat.” Yet wTith her help they had managed to buy their home of three rooms. Often she had had to leave very small children at home, but the 12-year-old boy now was taking care of the 2-year-old baby during vacation. Brides continuing to work.—More than one bride pointed with delight to her enamel stove or linoleum floor covering that she was buying on the installment plan with her own earnings. “We could never have a home on his wages,” one said, and another explained: “We didn’t have furniture and we had to live in a boarding house and that cost too much.” One young woman, commenting on her work after marriage, said: “Married on Thursday and on next day, Friday, went to work in the factory. I didn’t have a cent and my husband not $5 when we married.” A bride of three months said that she had been at home only a short time when she realized that she must work again if the monthly bills were to be met. They had furnished three rooms on the install ment plan with an insured value of $1,000. Another young wife told of having saved $75 before she married. The husband had $150. When asked, “Why do you work?” she ex claimed, “ Oh, these Hungarian men, one week married, the next 65661°—30--- 5. 56 THE IMMIGRANT WOMAN AND HER JOB week the woman go to work.” She hastened to add that her husband was a good man; that he never drank and was always at home. She was glad to help while she could. A few were not accepting their lot as wage earners after marriage with entire resignation and acquiescence. For example, one woman who had found her responsibilities increased by marriage said: “ I wish my husband make enough so I don’t have to go to work. It is hard to sit there all day and then come home, cook, and work, but what can we do? We can’t live on $20 a week.” The husbands voiced similar sentiments. One wished that “ things were so that men could earn enough to support a family, then women would not have to slave at two jobs.” Sayings and old age.—During the survey little information was obtained that showed that the families had put away much in the way of savings. Some few women referred to bank accounts; many more were carrying insurance. One woman thought the family might be able to exist on her hus band’s $22 a week; “but,” she said, “bad for the children. They never be Americans, and where I go when old ? ” _ A young Hungarian clothing operator, one of the main supports in her family, said: “Wouldn’t care if I had a steady job; no one would be happier. Then every day something to eat and every day something to save.” On the whole, the women were thrifty; some were keen for money, some may have been penurious; but, as one remarked, they were sav ing money only for their own economic security. They were looking ahead, and felt it was good to save. One man said, “ Every man hopes to save for better life.” “ Better living ” was a common phrase that covered their ideas of economic and social advancement together wTith leisure for some culture and enjoyment of life. There was no evidence of extravagant expenditure. These men and women desired sayings laid up against sickness and old age, a home to live in, and children educated according to American standards. For many of the women interviewed the motivating force was found in the insecurity of the future and the desire to have enough to tide over unforeseen emergencies—illness, accidents, or unemploy ment—or to provide for old age. “A little bit of money good if some thing happen in the family.” “Just as well to work—never know when sickness comes.” These are typical of statements made again and again. The specter of a dependent old age haunted many of these women, so that the hope of declining years free from poverty and dependence kept them at work; and they worked under such a strain while young that they were prematurely old at 40. One couple of 42 and 40 years finally had achieved success in that they owned their home, but it had been at the cost of their health. They had nothing but the house and were worrying about sickness and fast-approaching age. The husband was “ plenty sick ” and the wife looked very frail. For years she had “ all the time hurry,” at home and in the shop, else she would “ make nothing.” Another woman voiced the same fear when she said: “ When old we don’t want to be on the city. Plenty widows that have no money. It is in my mind, then, to work so long I can. I have not ECONOMIC RESPONSIBILITIES 57 enough yet, but when too much, then I stop work.” The speaker, although only 30, looked like an old woman. Another felt that wives must work while they are young. “We folks are like that. We work while we are young, and help while we are healthy so when we are old we will have something.” She was a young bride, but she, too, was worrying about the possible tragedy of old age. No absolute necessity for work.—Once in a while a woman was working not so much because of absolute economic pressure as with the rather hazy desire to raise the family standard and to have a few of the little niceties of life. One woman was very proud of her hus band’s ability to support the family. He was a bricklayer, but they were thrifty and desired to rise in the social scale, so the wife was helping. “ Why sit around and not have any money? ” she said. A few admitted that at the time of the survey no economic need forced them to work, although at an earlier time there may have been such need. The reasons for working given by this group are illus trated by the following: “ I’d gotten my hand in and the children were older, so I kept on.” “ Nothing especially to keep me at home. No baby. I like to work.” “ I’m happiest while working.” “ Could I sit and watch my man do it all ? ” Instances such as these were rare, however, and even the more prosperous wives were working because they felt a definite want. All the women realized the uncertainty of their financial status de scribed by one woman as “ Now we go forward ”—referring to the fact that all was well with the family—“ but sometimes we go backward.” Sole support. In this report much emphasis has been placed on the wife whose husband also was a wage earner, but there were 156 cases where the woman interviewed was the sole support of the family. Twentysix of these women had husbands, but by far the larger number, 116, were widows and a few were daughters carrying the responsibility of their parents. A few excerpts from the individual schedules indicate the extent of the women’s responsibilities as chief wage earners of family groups: Widowed seven years, the worker interviewed was the sole support of self and two children. She was calm and philosophical. “ Sometimes good—some times bad. Must work—no work, no eat.” A worker very proud of having met her economic obligations reported that for at least 17 years she had been the sole support of herself and others and for a considerably longer period the chief wage earner of the family. One woman had been the chief support of her husband, ill eight years before his death ; he needed “ gentle eats ” and there were always doctors’ bills. During his illness he had been able to work only irregularly, and for some years she had been the sole support. The case of the women who were widowed or otherwise without a husband’s support deserves especial mention, for unpublished fig ures show that, although the median of a week’s wage for the group of about 100 women reporting actual earnings was nearly $16, onefourth of them earned less than $12 and a few earned less than $10 and were making an effort to support their families under such conditions. 58 THE IMMIGRANT WOMAN AND HER JOB Single women.—Since the great majority of the women interviewed were or had been married, it is easy to overlook the single girls, but they, too, had their responsibilities. They had grown up with the idea that as soon as possible they must become self-supporting. One girl said: “ Everybody works; that’s why we came here.” Another said: “ If I had come to America to sit in a house, I might as well have stayed in Europe.” As previously stated in this report, many of the girls had begun work on the day following their arrival in America. In addition to supporting themselves many were contributing to the family fund, and if parents or other near relatives needed assist ance the wage-earning daughter assumed the burden of their sup port without question. A girl whose father, aged 65, was crippled and unable to work, said: “ What can I do with $25 a week ? I must take care of my father and mother. It takes four weeks’ pay to buy our coal. Last week I paid our taxes and my envelope was empty.” One intelligent girl reckoned that she was contributing one-third of the total income in a family of 10 people—mainly younger brothers and sisters. The case of a young woman who for 12 years had been the sole support of her blind father was an outstanding one. She was proud to have been able “ to spare him the disgrace of going to an institution.” Sending money to relatives in the old country was a constant drain upon earnings. “ My mother is very, very poor. I send her every month all I can. I’m very disappointed with my life, so much trouble.” A better job seems to be the chief aim in life of this type of girl. While the married women’s lives centered in their families and their homes, more than 100 single girls were particularly eager for more education and improved conditions in industry. Almost half the single girls who expressed dissatisfaction with industrial conditions—long hours or meager pay—and wished “ to have not so hard a job ” were Jewish or English-speaking girls, and it was the Jewish and Magyar girls who most often expressed ambition for more education and “ to be American.” Some girls were looking for ward to marriage and having their own homes—■“ to have it better, so as not to go to the mill.” Women living independently'.—'Them was a group of about 120— some widows, some single women—who were not living with their families and, unlike the vast majority of the women interviewed, had no one dependent upon them for support. The median of the earnings for one week as reported by this group was found to be about $16, almost the same as the amount shown for those who W'ere widows, discussed on page 57. Similarly to that group, about a fourth of these women earned less than $12 a week and a few had received anywhere from $5 to $10 as their pay in the week preceding the interview. Other motives for working. Satisfaction of daily needs and solution of present problems of existence kept most of the women at work. “ Thankful to make a living,” “As long as I have my everyday bread, I’m satisfied this way,” “ Came to America to work and satisfied if I can get work,” and “ Just to keep the family together ” were some of their replies ECONOMIC RESPONSIBILITIES 59 to the question as to motive in going to work. Yet the conversa tion often drifted into channels that revealed deeper hopes and am bitions. Though the women did not give such desires as their defi nite reasons for working, they constituted perhaps the impelling force that directed the lives of these wage earners. At least 700 mothers referred to the plans they had for their children and the problems arising in regard to their education and the kinds of wTork in which they should be trained. Their comments speak for themselves: “ I am still a greenhorn. My little girl must be smart.” “ She must not do stripping like me.” “ My boys must go to high school if they have good heads.” “ He must not work in the mill but be an American.” The children of an ambitious woman who was spending her days at the polishing wheel took music lessons. An other mother, recalling her days of “ slavery ” in the mill, was help ing her daughter through, a business college. Women feeling the pinch of hard times were ready to make sac rifices: “ We do by our children in school what we can afford.” The goal of a widow who worked 10 hours a day was to see her daughter a graduate of the normal school: “I no care how Iona- I w8rk if she can teach in a school.” Some mothers confessed to keen disappointment when, after the struggle to educate them, the children could not or would not bene fit by it. One woman, aged 46, speaking of her son said: “ He went to col lege. I lost all my strength giving him an education, and the girl went to business college. My life pretty hard, but I’m glad I gave him a good education. Now he can not get work; so I work—maybe you know somebody who needs an accountant? ” In contrast to the hundreds who were ambitious to educate their children were a few whose comment was like this: “Let them go to work the same as I had to. It is good for them. School till they are 14 would be enough.” An Italian expressed real disappointment because her children had left home when very young, because she said, “ they old enough to work now, and they should be feeding me. For what good they been to me? Too mucha trouble, too mucha cost. Bad in America.” HOME DUTIES Extent. It must be apparent that work for the wage-earning woman who is mother of a family does not end with the day in the factory. Most of the women had another job awaiting them at home. Many of the interviews were made with the women while they peeled the potatoes, scrubbed the floors and steps, or bent over the washtub. As they worked they talked about their jobs, their children, and their homes. Only 28 of the women had no household cares or duties, and it was exceptional to find a couple boarding or a wage earning wife who was not also a housekeeper. In the case of a woman silk weaver the family was boarding, and the husband com mented : “ She works 7 to 5, then done. A woman keeping house works uintil 8 or 9 at night, and never done.” As usual, the brunt of the housework fell upon the wives and mothers, about a thousand of whom had practically no assistance with the housekeeping chores, for families, whether large or small, had to be fed, clothed, and kept clean. Everything I do—wash, iron, cook, clean, sew, work in the garden, make bread if time. Get up at 4.30, feed the chickens, make the breakfast, get ready the lunches, and it is time to start to work; 6 o’clock come home, make eats for children; washing at nighttime, and make clothes for children. A cigar roller had begun the week’s washing at 2.30 in the morning on the Saturday before the interview, as it was summer and she felt that it was too hot to wash in the afternoon. She had ironed on Sun day and was finishing this task Monday night. She customarily worked at home almost every evening and much of Sunday, making her child’s clothes and most of her own. Another described her Sunday: “ Yesterday I scrubbed the shanty, washed the porch, mopped and wiped the windows. I felt just like work, but to-day I can’t drag to work. Work is never done—never stay clean.” A cigar worker who was employed long hours and did all her regu lar housework and sewing, said: “ If I clean downstairs I must leave upstairs dirty.” Her boys were working during the summer vaca tion and she regretted that “Now when they come home tired and dirty, nobody is there to get them hot water or clean clothes. It’s too bad.” “ I do all my work—wash Saturday morning. You see how dirty. I can’t keep clean with four dirty, naughty children.” A widow of 56 expressed surprise that there should be even a ques tion about her doing all her own work. “All housework, sure! What you think ? I am always to be independent.” A cigar worker who took pride in her family’s high standard of living said, in speaking of her extensive household duties; “We live right, we eat, we ain’t like some people,” explaining also that they did not eat “ out of tin cans.” A woman who did buy canned foods considered that it was more expensive, but stated that in her case it 60 HOME DUTIES 61 was possible to work longer and earn more if she did not spend time in preparing food for the table; so she bought canned vegetables rather than lose the time from the shop to prepare them. She had reckoned that it cost her $3 a day to feed her family of five when she bought some foods already prepared. Washing. The family washing seemed to be the bugbear of the women, for it was the home duty most frequently mentioned and the one most in evidence. It was unusual for an agent to have an evening of visiting without at least one of her interviews being made beside the washtub or the ironing board. Some comments on washing were these: Friday night, I wash. Saturday, iron. I’m washing to-night. Get up at 4 in the morning to wash. Washed three tubs of clothes last night. Sunday is my wash day. Glad when Monday comes—Sunday’s work is done. Baby two and a half makes lots of wash. Assistance in housework. In many families the sharing of houshold tasks was accepted as a matter of course. At the time of one visit the woman interviewed was washing the clothes while her husband was wringing them and her brother-in-law was washing dishes. The wife in an Italian family was washing greens when the agent entered, and the husband took her place at the sink while she sat down to receive the visitor. By way of apology he said, “ Oh, my wife needs a rest,” and her comment was, “ He learned in the Army how to help me.” A Windish woman also was very proud of her husband’s accom plishments. “ Man, he help in everything. Tuesday every night we wash till 10 o’clock. Wednesday we iron, and if much to do we get up at 4 in the morning to finish. Friday night we sweep, wipe floors, windows, front rooms, and bedrooms. Saturday afternoon we go to market, scrub, bake, and everything.” This woman said she could not do her work without her husband’s help: “ My man everything he help.” Another said: “ What’s my trouble is his trouble, too.” A husband who was doing the washing volunteered this comment: “ She help me, so I help her.” One husband, objecting to his wife’s employment, said: “Plenty job in the house. My woman work all the time. By and by, me stay home. Maybe baby no die if woman stay home.” Another husband said: “ It will be best if men earn so much the women they can stay home all time.” Children were very helpful in dish washing and tending babies, and now and then comments such as the following would be made: Mary [aged 10], she’s just like a woman in the house. Annie [aged 12] often does the washing. She stands on a bos to reach. Boarders; day work. It seems almost incredible that in addition to their wage-earning jobs and ordinary housekeeping duties any of these women could 62 THE IMMIGRANT WOMAN AND HER JOB have had the courage to take boarders. Yet 166 women, belonging chiefly to the German or the Slavic races in the Lehigh Valley, had this extra responsibility. Table 27.—Extent to which married women and icidotcs had hoarders and lodgers, by race or people of woman Race or people Total Non-Engiish-speaking: German........... .................. .......................................................... Slavic— Other races______________ Number of women reporting 1,374 Women having board ers and lodgers Number Per cent 166 12.1 307 128 34 193 51 13 4 14 16.6 10.2 (') 7.3 258 128 80 137 39 17 27 18 4 28 4 3 10.5 14.1 5.0 20. 4 « (0 53 1 Not computed, owing to small number involved. Undoubtedly, economic pressure was the reason why these women assumed extra burdens. They were for the most part recent ar rivals, and therefore the more eager to do all in their power to get a good start in their new environment. A sentiment against taking boarders was revealed occasionally, as in the case of one Italian, the mother of a young daughter, who, when faced with the necessity of supplementing her husband’s earnings, preferred to humble herself by going out to work in a factory, which was contrary to all conventions, rather than take in boarders. In the case of Italians, however, lodgers usually are men, while among the German and Windish families visited many of the lodgers were young single women. Again and again the married women referred in a casual way to the time when they had kept boarders or had done cleaning by the day or had taken in washings. No estimate could be made of the time spent in these nonindustrial jobs, for usually it was intermit tent work in times of special stress when family cares made it im possible for a housewife to add to the income in any other way. The period of such nonindustrial jobs often was reckoned according to the babies. “ I did washings some when John was a baby, but when he was two months old I went back to work. Then Mary came and was a sickly baby, so I was kept home a long time with her, but I had boarders then.” The women were disinclined to regard these irregular or part time jobs as anything that had counted much. They were simply a part of the accepted household routine that had to be done, and comments made by the women clearly indicate how thoroughly they disliked these makeshift jobs: A young German housewife had done house cleaning and day work three or four days a week when first she came; her cousin HOME DUTIES 63 found the places for her and housework was the conventional thing to do, but she grew “ skinny ” so she decided she would get work in a factory, although the cousin disapproved of the change. “All heavy work, always to clean; on my knees half the time; too hard.” A silk picker whose husband had been more of a drag than a help took in washings for four years while the children were little, but she said, “It only ruined my health. I guess you can read the story in my looks/’ At 38 she was indeed thin, stooped, and worn. HOUSING To the question, “ In what kind of homes were these families living?” the answer in all probability would be, “Clean, although occasionally disorderly and frequently crowded.” Some had sepa rate living rooms, with upholstered furniture and victrolas, or in a few cases a piano; but on the other hand, there were homes located in blind alleys that bore the marks of poverty, where the kitchen answered also for dining room, living room, and bedroom. Multiple dwellings in the Lehigh Valley. In the Lehigh Valley, where practically three-tenths of the dwell ings furnished shelter for economic household groups consisting of more than a natural family unit, an unusual situation was found. Houses built for a single family were occupied by two or three and occasionally more family units, although the houses had not been altered for such use. The one kitchen was a community room, where each woman cooked and baked for her own family on the one stove and where the men and the children of the respective families con gregated. These “ cooperative households ” cooperated in the item of rent and in the use of the kitchen but not in other living expenses, for each family in a house rented one sleeping room, rarely two, with the privilege of using the kitchen, w7here the family life of the com plex household centered. The housewives shared in cleaning the parts of the house used in common—kitchen, stairs, doorsteps—but it was customary for each housewife to prepare her own meals, wash her own dishes, do her own washing. In one cellar a row of locked bread boxes bore witness to the number of housewives in the dwelling. The descriptions of households of multiple family units run as follows: House crowded, with 16 people in 8 rooms, 1 of which was a kitchen serving for 3 distinct family units, consisting of parents with 1 child, with 2 children, and with 3 children, respectively. There were also 2 single girls living co operatively and one of the families had 2 men boarders. Crowded house, though having only 2 family units, consisting of parents with 3 children in one case and with 2 children in the other. These 9 persons were occupying 5 rooms, 1 of which they used in common as kitchen and living room. Exclusive of kitchen, house averaged 3 persons per room, 4 housekeeping groups, totaling 9 adults and 6 children, having only 6 rooms in all. A 6-room building housed 3 family units—the landlord’s family, of 2 adults and 4 children, and the tenants, whose families consisted of 2 adults and 1 child and of 3 adults, respectively. There was more or less confusion in the use of the term “ boarder.” Some families in cooperative households called themselves boarders, although they were lodgers with housekeeping privileges. One woman said: “ Board is how much we eat, sometimes $60, sometimes $70, a month for two of us.” Upon further questioning it developed that she was a “ cooperator,” but in her case the landlady did much 64 65 HOUSING of her marketing and charged her only what the food cost; sometimes the landlady prepared the food, sometimes the boarder. In many cases a distinction between cooperative groups and boarders could not be made, so in this report all those who called themselves boarders have been classed as such although many undoubtedly belonged to the larger group of cooperating housewives. This manner of living, in mixed household groups, was more com mon in Northampton and Coplay than in the other centers in the Lehigh Valley, in spite of the fact that they are small towns without any need of crowded dwellings. Yet tenements—that is, houses equipped to accommodate three or more families independently of each other—were not found in these two towns. Women in Northampton and Coplay: Number sharing kitchen equipment with other housekeeping units___ 123 Number in families with “ boarders ” 39 Number living independently of other families 97 Total reporting259 About one-half of the women interviewed in this limited area were sharing the stove, the sink, the kitchen table, and the washtubs with other women who also had families to feed and washings to do. More women reported keeping house under these conditions than were living in a natural family unit, free to use the kitchen as they pleased without being inconvenienced by other women in the house. The next table shows that racially also there was a difference in the extent to which the women lived in cooperative households. More than one-third of the Germans and Winds were living in co operative groups, and the Germans more than the other races called themselves “ boarders.” On the other hand, the great majority of the Slovaks and Magyars lived in exclusive natural family units. Table 28.—-Extent of cooperative housekeeping or living as “ hoarders,” 6y race or people of icoman interviewed—Lehigh Valley Race or people German........................................................... Magyar __________________________ Slavic: Russian________________________ Slovak Slovenian (Windish) _____________ Number of women re porting Women in cooperative Women who called households themselves “boarders” Number Per cent Number Per cent 344 223 120 28 34.9 12.6 73 15 21.2 6.7 68 81 182 17 11 65 25.0 13.6 35.7 4 9 20 5.9 11.1 11.0 It is significant that one-half of the women living in cooperative households in the Lehigh Valley had arrived here since the World War, and that it is chiefly the races that had contributed most largely to the recent migration into the district whose members were living in cooperative households. Such families, so recently near the pov erty level in Europe, grasp at this means of reducing rents until they can afford something better. Not choice but necessity forces them to economize so that they can get a start in this country. 66 THE IMMIGRANT WOMAN AND HER JOB Size of dwelling. The Bureau of Municipal Research in Philadelphia has recom mended as a standard for the housing of the wage-earner’s family in health and decency a dwelling of six rooms. Even when several families living cooperatively in a house of six or more rooms are considered as one household instead of being classed as separate families living each in one or two rooms, one-half of the dwellings visited in the Lehigh Valley fell below the standard of six rooms to a dwelling. In Philadelphia more than three-fifths of the dwellings had less than six rooms. On the whole, the homes in Philadelphia were smaller than those in the Lehigh Valley, for in Philadelphia dwellings of three rooms or less, found chiefly in apartments and in alleys or courts, were most common, although the 6-room house, the typical “ workingman’s home,” was almost as prevalent. In the Lehigh Valley the 6-room house prevailed and there were compara tively few 3-room dwellings. (For the multiple dwellings as found in the Lehigh Valley, see p. 64.) . Number of homes having— Locality Philadelphia________________ Lehigh Valley....... ....... .................. Number of homes visited 3 rooms or less 907 843 268 147 4 and under 6 rooms 6 rooms 296 279 246 267 7 and under 10 10 rooms or more rooms 91 136 6 14 When a distinction is made between rented dwellings and those that the occupants owned or were buying, it is apparent that the houses owned or being purchased more nearly approximated the 6-room standard. About two-thirds of the houses owned by the oc cupants had at least six rooms, but the rented properties were much smaller. In Philadelphia and in the Lehigh Valley the prevailing size of the rented house was three or four rooms, although in the Lehigh Valley a representative number of 6-room houses also were rented. Persons per room. More important than the size of the dwelling is the number of persons that occupy it. An investigation of industrial housing was conducted by the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics in 1918-19 in 20 cities, the households being selected at random from among families primarily American.1 No schedules were taken from nonEnglish-speaking families who had been in the United States less than five years. In this survey it was found that the majority of workingmen’s families of average size and average income lived in houses that furnished approximately one room per person. This did not seem to be an unreasonable standard and the report recommended one room per person as a minimum requirement for health and decency.2 Although the basis of selection of families for the Bureau n’L®Sf T'abor Statistics. Monthly Labor Review, .Tune, 1920. Minimum Decency pB if^ Neceesary t0 Maintain a Worker’s Family of Five in Health and •J imS.re^haLl°rLftaPdaLd-S?e one-half persons to a room—was recommended OoiinrTl of wSmS's ln f£e Washington (D. C.) housing budget submitted to the Council or Social Agencies. Journal of Home Economics, August, 1927, p. 448. 67 HOUSING of Labor Statistics survey was decidedly different from that of the present study, the earlier report furnishes an American standard of housing that should be available for all wage earners’ families re gardless of where they were born. The table following shows that the families in Philadelphia and in the Lehigh Valley reached this standard in the majority of cases, but the figures below the underscores in the table indicate to what extent they failed to reach the standard of one room per person. Little imagination is needed to picture the cases of extreme overcrowd ing as revealed in the table, as, for example, 4, 5, or 7 persons living in two rooms; 7, 8, or 9 persons living in three rooms; or 8, 9, and 10 or more persons in four rooms. It is clear, also, as has been re marked, that Philadelphia has the small dwellings and the Lehigh Valley the large ones. The 43 cases of 10 or more persons in a 6-rooin house in the Lehigh Valley are striking. Table 29.—Size of dwelling anti, number of persons in the household, by locality PHILADELPHIA Number of dwellings having— Num Number of persons in ber of groups 10 or household 7 8 9 6 4 5 2 3 report 1 more ing room rooms rooms rooms rooms rooms rooms rooms rooms rooms Total___ ______ 4 persons..................... 10 persons or more___ 907 11 94 163 17 124 138 181 153 104 82 57 24 27 4 6 7 41 20 17 8 2 33 31 43 24 18 5 6 1 1 1 191 1 26* 32 44 41 18 15 7 3 4 14 6 2 2 3 3 4 6 2 4 1 2 2 3 4 1 1 2 1 1 r 1 49 61 25 14 3 8 3 5 6 6 3 5 7 7 10 9 6 7 7 1 1 6 6 7 2 1 1 “ 2 4 4 105 246 6 19 19 20 19 10 7 4 1 2 12 33 48 43 32 32 18 12 14 50 1 5 10 11 11 9 1 2 27 1 LEHIGH VALLEY Total 840 9 85 117 165 128 101 70 49 45 71 20 2 12 2 1 3 127 151 127 266 1 31 27 41 15 4 3 4 1 3 18 20 37 22 20 14 6 7 4 2 7 28 20 25 16 1 10 26 50 43 34 23 20 16 43 9 10 5 5 2 6 10 2 2 i Householders living alone. A summary of this table follows. It shows that in 137 dwellings the average was as high as two persons or more to a room and that in almost a third of the dwellings the average was between one and two persons to a room. 68 THE IMMIGEANT WOMAN AND TIE It JOB Households with specified number of persons to a room Average number of persons to a room Philadelphia-All households Lehigh Valley—All Lehigh ValleyMixed cooperative households households Number Per cent Number Per cent Number Per cent Total._________________ _______ 907 100.0 840 100.0 247 100.0 1 person or less__.......................................... Between 1 and 2 persons_____ _________ 2 persons or more.......... ................................ 533 291 83 58.8 32.1 9.2 512 274 54 61.0 32.6 6.4 99 121 27 40.1 49.0 10.9 The summary further shows a very different situation when the condition in the mixed cooperative households is considered apart from that of all households in the Lehigh Valley. In decidedly less than half of these multiple dwellings is the standard met of one person to a room and in about a ninth of them the ratio is two or more persons to a room. In the group last mentioned are extreme cases of congestion. Most of the mixed households occupied dwellings of six rooms, but there were 2 houses with 9 people in four rooms, 1 house with 13 people in four rooms, 11 houses with 12, 13, or 15 people in six rooms. It is small wonder that, living in such quarters—two or more persons to a room and two or more families occupying a 1-family house— these women are willing and eager to work day and night in order to get a start and have homes of their own. That much of the overcrowding in the Lehigh Valley was found in households of women who had arrived since the World War is apparent from the table following. In this district 12 per cent more of the households of recent immigrants than of the households of all the women without regard to time of arrival in the United States had more than one person to a room. In Philadelphia there was practically no such difference. Table 30.—Average number of persons to a room, households of recent arrivals compared with all households—Lehigh Valley Per cent of households with specified num ber of persons to a room Average number of persons to a room Households All house of immi grants holds arrived in 1918 or later 1 person or less_____________ Between 1 and 2 persons. _______ 2 persons or more____________ 61.0 32.6 6.4 49.1 38.3 12.6 Rents. The increasing rents were discussed in excited terms by more than one family, for this item loomed large. Not infrequently it took a fourth of the chief bread-winner’s wages to meet the monthly pay 69 HOUSING ments. Some women had assumed the responsibility of paying the rent with their own earnings, explaining that the husband’s wages could barely meet the “ store bills.” Table 31.—Amount of monthly rental, hy size of dwelling and locality Houses or separate apartments of specified size in— Size of dwelling Philadelphia 1 Number Median of the rentals Lehigh Valley Number Median of the rentals 452 5 rooms_______ _________ - ---------------r rooms___________________________ _________ -y rooms or more______ ______ ___________ ______ $16.85 422 $15. 70 101 145 107 38 47 14 11.40 15.20 23.75 24.00 30. 35 42.50 17 114 114 56 104 17 10. 70 13.10 15.15 15.75 20.20 27.50 i Exclusive of Norristown and Clifton Heights. Kents were lower in the Lehigh Valley than in Philadelphia; in houses of .all sizes the renter in the valley had the advantage. A 6-room house in the Lehigh Valley could be had for less than a 4-room house in Philadelphia, and for a house that answered the standard of six rooms the median rental value was a third less in the Lehigh Valley than in Philadelphia. The schedules show that in Philadelphia $12 or $15 a month insured only a shelter, incon venient and in bad repair and in many cases in an alley. Obviously the item of rent is one of the largest and most inescap able in the workingman’s budget. Naturally the laborers’ families were complaining of the increasing rents. The following cases may be cited: Ten years ago a cigar roller paid $10 rent for a little house that did not fulfill even the minimum requirements of good housing. About a year before the study was made it was increased to $12 and later to $15. In this decade no improvements had been made and the only plumbing was a sink in the kitchen. A family in a little 3-rooin dwelling had seen the rent increase from $7 to $15 in two years. They had occupied the house 12 years, and in that time it had been papered twice and a kitchen sink had been installed. Because the landlord was papering the house, a hosiery topper liv ing in a better-grade house had just had her rent raised from $24 to $28 a month. Six years before, a jute worker had paid $5 a month for a poor little 2-room house. Gradually, however, the rent was raised, some times 50 cents a month, sometimes $1, until it reached $10. The house was wired for electricity, but the tenant burned kerosene as she could not afford to pay for the current. Sanitary equipment of houses in Bethlehem. To the woman who does the housework, quite as important as the number of rooms that the rental covers is the equipment of the house for the accomplishment of household tasks. 70 THE IMMIGRANT WOMAN AND HER JOB A supplementary survey of the sanitary equipment of the houses where the women lived was made in the three most foreign wards of Bethlehem, because so often during the home visits in that city ref erence was made to the lack of modern conveniences and the difhculty of keeping house without them. Comments such as “ When I own a house it will have a bathroom ” were frequent. In over three-fourths of the 276 houses in the supplementary sur vey there were no bathtubs, and in two-thirds there wTere no inside toilets. In 70 houses the toilets were on the back porch, either a long hopper or an antifreezing type of plumbing that in many places was out of order. The tenants in one house said that the flush had been out of repair for over a year. They felt that it would be futile to complain, so they carried pails of water from the yard hydrant when it was necessary to flush the toilet. In 30 other dwellings this same type of antifreezing toilet was installed in the yard, where it was found to be even more unsatisfactory than when on the porch. Over a fourth of the dwellings had only privy wells in the yard. Some of these were in disgusting condition and their stench pene trated the houses. The toilet arrangements for a congested row of eight 2-family brick houses consisted of a long row of privy com partments that occupied almost all the yard space behind the houses. For seven buildings that housed 17 families there were no inside water fixtures, the most extreme case being that of six families that, used one yard hydrant in common. In a few instances where city water was piped into the house there was only a faucet, with neither sink nor drain connection and only a pail placed under the faucet to catch the drippings. In other sections of the Lehigh Valley similar conditions of inade quate water supply were found. For a row of 21 substantially built 1-family houses there was no sewer connection, only surface drainage and privies. Three yard hydrants supplied all the water for the 21 houses. The tenants were enduring these inconveniences because they feared that the rent would be increased beyond their means if even running water were installed, for already they were paying $16 to $20 for shelter that lacked the very essentials of sanitation. In another case a pump in the street was used as a water supply by several families. For houses of families with small incomes Miss Dinwiddie8 recom mends a sanitary equipment that provides, for each family, running water and a separate sewer-connected toilet in good condition, located inside the house. In the way of modern sanitary equipment this standard insures only essentials, yet many women interviewed in Bethlehem and in other parts of the Lehigh Valley lived in homes without even these minimum requirements. a Dinwiddie, Emily W. In Journal of Home Economics, August, 1927, p. 449. INDUSTRIAL EXPERIENCE Summary. This chapter traces the industrial experience of the women in both the old country and the new, the kinds of work they had done, and the length of time they had been employed. Outstanding facts in the chapter may be summarized as follows : About half of the women who reported working in the old country had done farm work; others had been in domestic service and only about 200 had had real industrial jobs. The women who had worked on farms and as servants in the old country were employed here almost exclusively in manufacturing industries, and none were farm hands. Those who had had experience in manufacturing in Europe had fitted into similar lines in this country. For about 350 women the first employment after their arrival had been some kind of domestic or personal service, work in which very few were engaged at the time of the interview. In the Lehigh Valley two-thirds of the women who reported the present industry as the major industry were in cigar manufacturing and two-sevenths were in silk manufacturing. In Philadelphia there was no such concentration of numbers, the nearest approach being woolen and worsted goods and the clothing industry, which together include less than one-half of the women reporting such facts in that locality. Almost two-fifths of the women in Philadelphia who reported their entire industrial history and two-thirds of those so reporting in the Lehigh Valley had made no change since coming to the United States in the kind of work done. In Philadelphia twro-thirds of these women had worked less than five years but in the Lehigh Valley over three-fifths of them had worked five years or more. In the Lehigh Valley the Winds showed less inclination to change than did the other races; in Philadelphia the Italians and Jews had made the fewest changes. In Philadelphia the women who had changed most from industry to industry were employed in textiles and clothing trades and as office cleaners. Except for housework, the former working experiences of the women were too scatter ing to show any definite trend. This is true also in the Lehigh Valley, where, except for previous experience in housework, there is nothing strikingly differ ent, for in this section the choice of industries is so limited that any change would almost necessarily have to be from silk to cigars or from cigars to silk. The collective experience of 865 women who had worked both before and after marriage shows that they had worked more years than they had been at home. Those in the Lehigh Valley had worked a larger proportion of the time since coming to the United States than had the women in Philadelphia. Before marriage the women had worked practically continuously, losing almost no time. After marriage the women in the Lehigh Valley had been wage earners almost as many years as they had been non wage earners, but in Phila delphia the women had worked less than a third of their married life. The widows worked almost as steadily as did the single girls. Nine-tenths of 919 women lost no time from work before marriage; in the Lehigh Valley one-fourth, and in Philadelphia one-eighth, lost no time from work after marriage. For the 1,371 women reporting cause of lost time, most of the years in which they were not wage earners were devoted to domestic affairs. Compared with this the time lost from work on account of conditions in the industry is almost negligible. Work in old country. In the old country the women had learned what it means to work. One had been employed in a brickyard with her husband, forming bricks by hand with a wooden mold and wheeling them to the kiln in a barrow. Very many had worked on farms: “In the spring I 65661°—30-----6 71 72 THE IMMIGRANT WOMAN AND HER JOB took the cows out.” “ I chopped wood in the bushes.” “ I dig potatoes every year.” One woman added: “ I worked lots harder on my father’s farm than I ever do in this country.” A farm laborer worked for a few cents a day until she had “ made a ticket ” to this country. “ Everybody gone to America,” she said, “ I come myself, too.” Considerable numbers had been servants and others had been em ployed in textile mills and cigar factories. In fact, a vast majority of the women who had passed the age of childhood before they emigrated had been workers before coming to the United States. The women who had worked for wages were somewhat fewer than those who, although regularly employed, had not been wage earners. Of the wage earners more than half had had no experience in manu facturing industries. Industry in old country compared with work in United States. The great majority of the women who reported having worked in the old country were peasants who had come from work on the farm or in the home to find employment in the manufacturing plants of America. Tabm ' 32.—Employment in old country of women who were 16 years of age and over at time of coming to United States, by present employment Number of women in specified industry in old country whose present industry was— Manufacturing NumIndustry and occupation in ber of women old country reporting Cleri Domes cal, Miscel- profes tic and per lane- sional, sonal Food ous Knit serv prod goods, Other manu and ice ucts includ tex factur sales ing tiles ing hosiery Textiles Cigars Cloth ing 1,348 499 136 42 51 415 1106 5 94 2 504 2172 2 45 18 234 2159 240 1 235 58 10 50 8 1 1 1 34 102 3 5 16 5 3 2 16 6 72 4 20 4 2 1 3 5 5 22 141 133 9 2 58 55 2 3 6 5 2 2 5 5 4 7 2 2 4 31 42 2 5 13 14 1 1 2 20 10 2 669 2 279 251 14 10 2 221 2 51 1 2 42 540 116 8 20 2 253 30 12 25 3 15 1 10 2 2 6 2 199 23 1 35 17 1 1 1 29 12 1 2 175 48 40 10 15 3 17 Wage earners in old Manufacturing: Dressmaking, tailoring, Miscellaneous manufacClerical, professional, and Non wage earners in old country—total. No work in old coun- 2 7 1 7 35 4 1 Includes women in the manufacture of bags, buttons, cement, electrical supplies, furniture, lamp shades, leather products, metal products, medicines, millinery, paper products, polish, printing, quilts, rag rugs, rag sorting, tassels and tinsel, and upholstery work. 2 Details aggregate more than total, because some women reported more than one occupation in the old country. 73 INDUSTRIAL EXPERIENCE Such a correlation of the present employment of the women with that in the old country is of special interest, since it shows how ex tensively the women whose only working experience in the old country had been in farming or housework were engaged in various manufacturing lines here, largely in cigar factories and silk and woolen mills. Only 32 who were engaged in housework in the old country, either as wage earners or as non wage earners, were engaged in similar work here in laundries or restaurants or as office cleaners, and not one of the 673 who had done farm work was in agricultural pursuits in this country. The following summarizes the changes experienced by the women who were wage earners in the old country since beginning work in the United States. Table 33.—Extent to which employment in United States had differed from that in old country—SOJf women who were wage earners in old country Status in United States Number of Number of women whose occupation in old country1 was— women who were wage earn ers in old Manufac Domestic Farm Other work turing service country 504 223 132 184 164 20 53 14 38 10 2 8 257 43 66 120 29 Present employment same as in old counFirst but not present employment was Employment other than first or present All lines of employment different from 1 120 28 1 Women reporting more than 1 occupation in the old country are classed according to major employment. In the first place, more than half of these women had never engaged in the United States in work similar to what they had done in the old country, the great majority having been farm hands or in service. In the second place, one-eighth of the women had at some time in the United States found work of the kind done in the old country, but they had later changed; the majority in this group had been in service. In the third place, practically three-eighths of the women had consistently followed the same line of work here as in the old country, and almost all these were in manufacturing industries. The group who had been in service in the old country experienced the most varied changes. Of the 132 so employed in Europe, half (66) had never been in domestic service here, about a third had been in domestic service at some time but had changed to other kinds of work, and only 20 were found to be in domestic service, such as laundries or restaurants, at the time of the survey. Unpublished data show some racial differences in the kinds of work done in Europe. The English-speaking people had been largely textile hands; the Slavs had been almost exclusively farm laborers and domestic servants; while the Germans and Magyars had been employed about as much on farms and in service as in manufacturing plants, the last named chiefly cigar and textile factories. A. hundred 74 THE IMMIGRANT woman and her job women with experience in the old country in cigar and textile fac tories reported how long they had worked in their trades before com ing here. Half of them had worked less than 5 years, but one-fifth had worked at least 10 years before coming to the United States. First work in the United States. From the preceding section, which correlates work in the old coun try with work in the United States, it is evident that most of the women had come from work on the farm or in domestic service to fit without any preparation into organized industries in American cities. Of the 2,130 women whose first employment in the United States was reported, 1,700 had their first wage-earning experience in the United States in the manufacturing trades, though only 200 had been wage earners in factories in the old country. Table 34.—First employment in the United, States, by locality Women interviewed in— First employment in the United States Philadel phia Lehigh Valley All women reporting................. Manufacturing: Cigars_________________ Clothing _____________ Food products_____ 42 Textiles.__ _________ Knit goods.___________ ... Silk goods (Lehigh Valiev)... Silk, cotton, lace goods (Philadelphia).. Woolen and worsted goods. Other textiles........... . ... Miscellaneous manufacturing ... Agriculture__________ C lerical and professional occupations.. Domestic and personal service__ Trade___ ... Other industries__________ . 101 218 39 22 From the foregoing it is seen that more than one-third of the 1,108 women in Philadelphia and one-fourth of the 1,022 in the Lehigh Valley had their first industrial experience in America in textile mills. More than a fifth of the women interviewed in Philaclelphia and about a tenth of those in the Lehigh Valley first sought employment in domestic service or the kinds of work akin to^it. Different branches of the manufacturing industry dominate in the two districts, for in Philadelphia the women had found work in woolen and worsted mills and clothing factories while in the Lehigh Valley they had flocked to the cigar factories and, to a much less extent, to the silk mills. In the Lehigh Valley about two-thirds of the silk workers started as weavers, but in Philadelphia there were only 26 women in the entire textile group whose first job was weaving. Among those who started in the clothing industry in Philadelphia almost two-thirds were engaged on handwork occupations. As many as 30 women made their first wages as rag sorters. INDUSTRIAL EXPERIENCE 75 Contrasted with the hundreds of factory workers are the very few who were able to begin work as saleswomen or in clerical and pro fessional occupations. The clerical group is not large and it com prises for the most part young Jewish women who had received a business training in this country. It was surprising how completely the women remembered the many details that related to their work, a job of a few months in one place, then several years in another. Although a few of the women did not at once respond cheerfully to the questions, usually even the more reticent evinced enthusiasm as the interview pro gressed, welcoming the opportunity to talk about things as near to them as families and jobs. They seemed seriously interested to give an account of all the periods of their employment and unem ployment. One woman stopped the agent on the street a week or so after her interview and with profuse apologies explained that she had forgotten to mention the fact that several years before she had stayed at home a few days because of minor illness. A conference of the entire family, including father and children, sometimes was necessary to fix dates. Even the neighbors sometimes were called in. For example, one woman remembered that she re turned to work when her neighbor’s daughter was married, and to be sure of the date she dashed off to the neighbor’s for its verifica tion. The ages of the children and the unemployment of the chief wage earners aided greatly in determining the periods of employ ment of the women. “When John was born I was home six months, but Annie was a sickly baby so I was home that time just about two years, and now again this time I was home all summer.” Upon further question ing “ all summer ” proved to be four months. Frequently the wife’s employment corresponded closely to the husband’s unemployment. For one wife the long-continued illness of her husband in 1918 made it necessary for her to go to work. Debts accumulated and she kept on working until “ the next Christ mas” (1919). Then, turning to his wife, the husband said, “And you mo go factory any more. Then January, 1922, I was laid off and you work again—work, work all the time, never stop.” Various industries in which employed. Perhaps nothing emphasizes more the diversity of industries in Philadelphia than does the accompanying table, including only those women who reported upon the whole of their industrial experience. It shows a great scattering through a score or more of industries and occupations in numbers too small to indicate any definite trend from one industry to another. An attempt to indicate the various changes from occupation to occupation would have resulted in a meaningless mass of figures. 76 THE IMMIGRANT WOMAN AND HER JOB Table 35.—Experience in various Number of women with present job as specified who had also worked in— 9 22 1 1 2 1 3 2 1 11 24 13 1 2 1 3 1 14 21 14 4 2 5 1 1 84 Rag sorting 44 Paper products 568 Metal products' and electrical supplies Manufacturing: Cigars................................. . Clothing............................... Pood products— Candy_____________ Meat packing Other (includes bak eries).......... .............. Leather products (includes tanning). ____ ______ Metal products and elec trical supplies Rag sorting Sewing operations not elsewhere specified Textiles— Cotton and lace goods. Haircloth and curled hair and jute______ Hosiery.......................... Silk goods. ................... Sweaters and other knit goods Woolen and worsted goods....... ........... ...... Miscellaneous manufactur ing «............................... . Clerical and telephone operat ing........ .................................... Domestic and personal service: Hotels and restaurants___ Laundries Office cleaning Sales........ ........... .................. . Other occupations 1 2 3 4 Leather products (in cludes tanning) £ Total.............. ......... ........ Other (includes bakeries) 0 1 Meat packing a I Food products Candy fl <x> ' a s Clothing Present industry or occupation Cigars and cigarettes The manufacture of— 5 1 4 5 2 1 4 4 1 2 5 1 5 1 1 1 3 1 1 2 4 1 2 2 2 3 1 1 1 3 8 3 3 1 1 2 5 1 4 1 4 1 1 2 1 2 1 12 7 2 1 1 13 2 2 2 4 3 2 I g 1 2 1 1 4 1 4 4 2 1 2 1 2 2 3 1 1 1 1 1 Throughout this column totals are much less than details because many women had worked in more than 1 industry. 2 See also “Other manufacturing.” . . . . 3 Includes 3 women in textiles, kind not reported, and 49 in miscellaneous industries. 4 See also “ Other occupations." The industries in which the women had worked most generally before entering their present trades were housework, clothing, woolen and worsted mills, hotels and restaurants, and cigars. Women who had previously done housework were employed at the time of the study in every industry reported, many in textile mills, others as office cleaners, some in clothing or in cigar factories, and so on through the list. _ The women with these various trade experiences were at work in Philadelphia in largest numbers in clothing, in woolen and worsted goods, and as office cleaners, the last named having more than seven times as many women at the time of the interview as had been so employed in earlier years. The 58 women listed as office cleaners 77 INDUSTRIAL EXPERIENCE industries, by present industry—Philadelphia and telephone operating Number of women with present job as specified who had also worked in—Continued The manufacture of—Continued Hotels and res taurants 34 25 20 83 52 64 35 8 208 11 31 13 2 4 1 1 2 1 5 11 4 3 2 4 7 8 1 1 1 15 22 1 4 2 7 6 2 1 5 8 1 1 1 3 1 1 1 1 5 1 2 1 1 3 1 2 4 1 1 3 1 3 2 1 5 1 1 1 1 7 1 1 5 4 2 1 7 1 3 4 2 1 1 4 3 1 1 1 5 1 3 1 1 1 1 14 2 7 2 1 2 5 1 3 1 12 3 3 1 2 3 2 1 35 1 1 10 2 6 1 2 1 1 6 1 10 2 7 9 6 1 3 2 2 Other occupations Sales 2 8 3 1 1 6 14 10 7 4 4 4 2 2 4 1 Clerical Housework Office cleaning 3 1 Laundries Sweaters and other knit goods Hosiery goods Haircloth, and curled h air and jute Cotton and lace 1 4 Other manufacturing3 18 | Woolen and worsted goods 34 Sewing operations not elsewhere specified Silk goods Domestic and personal service4 21 Textiles1 2 16 3 12 2 9 7 27 1 1 1 1 4 Includes 6 women in printing and publishing, 4 in agriculture, 1 in professional service, and 2 in domestic and personal service, kind not reported. 6 Includes 1 woman manufacturing beaded bags, 7 buttons, 3 medicine, 2 paper and paper products, 2 printing and publishing, 1 stove polish, and 3 rag rugs. had had various experiences; 55 had had jobs in housework, hotels and restaurants, and laundries, work similar in some respects to office cleaning. They had had textile and other factory jobs also, but none had ever worked in sales or clerical lines. Those employed in the woolen mills and in clothing factories had had experience in almost every industry specified. There was considerable shifting from one branch of the textile industry to another. For example, some women employed in the hosiery mills had had jobs in woolen and worsted goods, in silk, or in the other kinds of textile plants as well as their present work in the hosiery trade. The Lehigh Valley offered little in the way of employment except in cigar factories, silk mills, and domestic or personal service. The 78 THE IMMIGRANT WOMAN AND HER JOB previous trade experience of the women employed in the cigar fac tories had been limited practically to housework and to the silk mills, and conversely the previous trade experience of those now in the silk mills had been limited almost exclusively to housework and cigar factories. Table 36.—Experience in various industries, by present industry—Lehigh Valley Number of women with present job as specified who had also worked in— Present industry Number of women reportmg i The manufacture of— Domes tic and Sales per sonal Other service Miscel laneous occupa tions Cigars Cloth ing i 311 106 20 17 50 20 147 26 129 2 2 7 10 44 11 83 1 12 2 26 ' 146 1 16 85 2 11 7 9 47 10 4 1 2 3 1 2 1 1 Jute Silk goods Manufacturing: Clothing_________ ____ Textiles— Hosiery.... ................. Silk goods Miscellaneous manufac turing......... ................. Domestic and personal serv ice . 3 1 Most of those totals are less than the details, because some 'women had worked in more than 1 industry. Only 2 women were in domestic and personal service at the time of the survey, but 147 had previously been so employed. A total of 106 women had had jobs in cigar factories. It is interesting to note that the number shifting from cigars to silk is greater than the number shifting from silk to cigars. Unpublished data show that of the 308 women whose present industry was silk, 189 had found in that industry their first employment in America and more than one-half of the remainder had begun work in cigar establishments. Major and minor industry. As interesting as the kinds of work the women found to do and the changes they made from job to job is the industry in which each had had most experience. Table 37.—Present employment major1 or minor, by locality Number of women reporting Number of women reporting their present employ ment as major 1 Number of women reporting their present employ ment as minor Philadel phia Lehigh Valley Philadel phia Philadel phia 1,076 1,022 Present industry or occupation Total _______ ______ ___________ 859 Manufacturing: Cigars_______ ____ ________ 64 657 57 Clothing......... ...... ........... .................. 197 5 179 Food products. ______________ 58 37 Leather products (includes tanning)... 19 12 Rag sorting______________________ 35 27 Sewing operations not elsewhere specilied 31 19 1 The industry occupying the woman for the greatest number of years. Lehigh Valley 943 635 4 217 7• 18 21 7 8 12 Lehigh Valley 79 22 1 79 INDUSTRIAL EXPERIENCE Table 37.—Present employment major or minor, by locality—Continued Number of women reporting Number of women reporting their present employ ment as major Number of women reporting their present employ ment as minor Philadel Lehigh phia Valley Philadel Lehigh phia Valley Philadel Lehigh phia Valley Present industry or occupation Manufacturing—Continued. Textiles— Haircloth and curled hair............ Hosiery _________ _____ _ ... Jute. ................................. ........ Silk, cotton, and lace goods (Philadelphia)_________ _________ Silk goods (Lehigh Valley)______ Sweaters and other knit goods Woolen and worsted goods... . . Miscellaneous manufacturing........... . Domestic and personal service: Hair dressing_________ _________ Hospital maids________________ Hotels and restaurants__________ Laundries............. ................ ......... Office cleaning............................ . Clerical______________ _________ Sales_______ _______ __________ Other occupations_____ ______ 15 93 22 3 44 37 28 228 68 2 2 31 18 63 55 8 2 306 3 2 2 10 17 28 20 207 41 1 20 9 36 51 7 1 5 33 264 11 9 1 8 21 27 ] 9 42 2 1 1 1 Of the 943 women in the Lehigh Valley who reported their greatest experience in the industry in which they were engaged at the time of the study, two-thirds were in cigar plants and two-sevenths in silk mills. Jute manufacturing is the only other industry that showed a number in any way significant. “The predominance of these industries in this locality explains the fact that they constitute the minor employment also. ' In Philadelphia there was no such concentration of numbers in any two or three industries, the only situation approaching that in the Lehigh Valley being the 207 women for whom woolen and worsted goods was the major industry. Next in importance were the manufacture of clothing, hosiery, and cigars and clerical work. As in the Lehigh Valley, no large number of women reported their present industry as minor. Not much significance can be attached to the racial distribution in various industries, but in the Lehigh Valley, though great num bers of Germans, Magyars, and Winds were employed in the cigar factories, the Germans outnumbered any other people in the silk mills. In Philadelphia the most noticeable trend was the employment of the English-speaking women and the Poles in textiles, the latter largely in woolen and worsted goods. The Jews predominated in the clothing trades, in sales, and in clerical work. No change in occupation. Not only had a large proportion of the women kept consistently to one industry since beginning work in the United States but a marked number had not even changed occupation within the industry, and for these it was a case of once a power-machine operator in a dress factory always a power-machine operator, or once a spinner or weaver in a woolen mill always a spinner or a weaver in a woolen mill. The tables following, one for the Lehigh Valley and one for Philadelphia, indicate to what extent the women had worked con stantly at the same job, day after day and year after year. As 80 THE IMMIGRANT WOMAN AND HER JOB would be expected, the proportion who had not changed occupation is much greater in the Lehigh Valley than in Philadelphia. Table 38.—Women reporting no change of occupation in entire industrial experience in United States—Lehigh Valley Women Number of who had women had only 1 reporting occupation Present industry or occupation 1,026 Manufacturing: Cigars..................................................................................................................... Clothing-------- -------------------- ----------------------------------- -------------------Jute------ ------------------ -------------------------------- --------- -------- ---------Silk goods ---------------- ----------------------------------------- -------- -------Domestic and personal service------- ---------------------------------- ... . --------- 654 658 5 44 308 7 4 500 3 13 137 1 Limited industrial opportunity, rather than choice in the matter, undoubtedly was the reason why about two-thirds of the women in this district had never shifted from one occupation to another. Over three-fourths of the cigar workers had never varied their work, and unpublished data show that 295 had always been rollers, 121 had always been bunchers, and 71 had always been on the poorly paid job of stripping. Among the silk workers, less than one-half (44.5 per cent) had done only one kind of work, most of these (116) having always been weavers. Table 39.—Women reporting no change of occupation in entire industrial ex, perience in United States—Philadelphia Present industry or occupa tion Total Manufacturing: Cigars Bunching and rolling. Stripping---------------Other Women Number who had of women had only reporting 1 occupa tion 1,007 382 61 28 31 12 18 17 6 5 Clothing...... ..................... 172 78 Handwork Machine operating._. 81 91 37 41 58 18 14 20 3 6 24 9 34 15 Textiles...... ....................... 394 159 Haircloth and curled hair and jute Knit goods Silk, cotton, and lace goods................. . 35 120 5 45 36 8 Food products ... Candy___________ Meat packing Other (includes bakeries).................. Rag sorting___ _______ Women Number who had Present industry or occupa of women had only tion reporting 1 occupa tion Manufacturing-Continued. Textiles—Continued. Woolen and worsted goods....................... 203 101 Miscellaneous manufacturing__........................ 112 30 19 16 5 7 29 48 7 11 Leather products (ineludes tanning) Metal products Sewing operations not elsewhere specified. Other Clerical............................... . 56 34 Domestic and personal service 115 19 Hotels and restaurants. _. Laundries________ Office cleaning.................. Other________________ 30 17 64 4 6 0 6 1 Sales_________________ ___ 3 1 Other (telephone, professional) 2 INDUSTRIAL EXPERIENCE 81 In spite of the great diversity of industries in Philadelphia, 382 women, or three-eighths of the number giving complete information on their industrial experiences, reported no change in occupation since beginning work in the United States. The outstanding instances of women having followed but one occupation are the clothing trade, where not quite one-half had made no change in occupation; the woolen and worsted mills, where half had remained at the same work; and the knitting mills, where onethird had not shifted from their first job. Although the group of rag sorters is small numerically, almost half of them had never ven tured to try anything but rag sorting, and 34 of the 56 clerical workers had worked only at that occupation. In the clothing trade the division is about even between handwork and machine operations. The occupations of the textile group and the number of women having only one occupation throughout their industrial career may be summarized as follows: Number of women re porting— Present occupation Total. ... .................. ....... Card and draw_____________ Spin, spool, wind, etc_____________ Weave______________ Machine operating in knit goods______ Handwork and general____________ Only 1 Industrial occupation experience in entire experience 394 159 82 130 35 61 86 46 44 13 19 37 More than one-half of these textile workers were employed in the card room or in spinning, spooling, and winding jobs. The smallest occupational group consists of 35 weavers, only 13 of whom had always been in this occupation. The number who had always been knitters likewise is small. It is in the more unskilled jobs and in the heavier and more disagreeable kinds of work that many of the foreign-born women had toiled, never shifting from one department to another in the mills. Over half of those employed in the card room had not worked outside of it and one-third of the spinners, spoolers, and winders had never changed occupation. In addition to these thousand and more women in the two districts who had continued in the work in which they started, there are less than 200 women who, although changing their occupation, had re mained in the same industry; as, for example, doffers in a woolen mill who became spinners, or winders in a hosiery mill who became loopers, or floor girls in a clothing factory who became machine operators. The number of women who had kept steadily at one job during their working years is more significant when correlated with the time they had actually worked. The table following shows that while about two-thirds of the women in Philadelphia who had made no change in occupation had been employed less than 5 years, in the Lehigh Valley over half had worked from 5 to 15 years. Espe 82 THE IMMIGRANT WOMAN AND HER JOB cially interesting are the 17 women in Philadelphia and the 49 in the Lehigh Valley who, through 15 or more years, had made no change in the kind of work done. Thirteen of these women had been in one occupation 20 years or more. Table 40.—Experience in one occupation, by time worked and locality Lehigh Valley Philadelphia Number of Number Number of Number with 1 with 1 women women reporting occupation reporting occupation only only Time worked Total....................... ........ ......................................... 904 371 969 624 Under 5 years....... ................ ........ ........................-........ 5 and under 10 years------- ------------------------------------10 and under 15 years 15 and under 20 years............................ _........................... 20 years and over------------------------------------------------- 498 235 117 41 13 236 76 42 12 5 374 296 219 62 18 239 179 157 41 8 Even where industrial opportunities were the same the women of some races changed jobs less often than did those of other races. The table following shows a marked degree of stability in the Lehigh Valley, especially among the Sloveness (Winds), 87 per cent of whom had never worked at more than one occupation. Of these women, 148 had always worked in cigar factories; 10 of these had always stripped tobacco, 38 had bunched cigars, 98 had rolled them, and 2 had packed them. The other Windish women with but one occupation had always done silk weaving. In this district the great est shifting was among the Slovaks. Table 41.—Experience in one or more occupations, by race or people and locality Number of women re porting Per cent of women 1 who had worked in— 1 occupation Race or people Phila Lehigh delphia Valley 21,014 38.9 116 89 157 196 42 263 72 30 5 349 41 2 225 34 67 82 179 37.1 27.0 .54.8 51.0 Russian_____ __________________ _ 3 or more occu pations Phila Lehigh Phila Lehigh Phila Lehigh delphia Valley delphia Valley delphia Valley Total_______________ _____- 2 1,010 German.!- _ ____________ _______ 2 occupations 30.4 23.6 64.3 33.9 64.2 39.7 41.6 27.4 28.6 62.2 55.2 46.3 86.6 33.5 41.7 26.4 27.2 9.3 30.1 23.3 31.5 17.8 20.4 5.7 29.8 20.9 35.4 11.2 36.1 34.7 8.0 23.9 18.3 2.2 1 Per cent not computed where base is less than 50. 2 Details aggregate less than total, because 2 groups—other Slavic and other races—are not shown. In Philadelphia, with its variety of opportunities, the Italian and Jewish women had changed the least—54.8 per cent and 51 per cent, respectively, having done the same kind of work throughout 83 industrial experience their industrial experience in the United States. This bulking may be due in part to the fact that many women of these two races had been at work less than five years, while many of the Russians and Poles, who showed a greater tendency to change, had worked 10 years or longer. Time spent as wage earners. In each of the districts almost 1,000 women were able to approxi mate very closely the number of years they had been wage earners in the United States, but in spite of the similarity in numbers re porting the two districts showed quite a different distribution. The summary shows that more than half of the women reporting in Philadelphia had worked less than 5 years, but that in the Lehigh Valley more than one-half had worked 5 and under 15 years. Time worked in the United States Women in Phila delphia Women in Lehigh Valley Number Per cent Number Per cent Total______ ____ Under 5 years................ 5 and under 10 years_____ 10 and under 15 years_______ 15 years and over__________ 966 100.0 980 100.0 512 256 136 62 53.0 26.5 14.1 6.4 376 299 224 81 30. 5 22. 9 8.3 Aggregate years worked before and after marriage. The preceding summary shows the extent of employment only in a general way, but Table 42, which is based on the very complete work histories of 328 women in Philadelphia and 537 in the Lehigh Valley, shows what proportion of the years spent in the United States had been years of employment. All these women had worked in this country as single girls and as married women. A few in each district had become widows, so their work histories include also the time worked during widowhood. The table presents the collective experience of these women—instead of a computation of “ man hours ” it is one of “ man years ”—as wage earners and as non wage earners. From the fairly definite statements given, a close approximation of the years each woman had worked or had been at home was possible. Undoubtedly the data furnished by the women were more accurate for recent years than for periods 10 or 20 years before, yet during the course of each interview there were many opportunities of check ing and rechecking those statements that involved definite periods of time. Facts dating from the woman’s arrival in this country were very definitely placed, and such discrepancies as were apparent at the time of the interview were corrected by the woman herself. Occasionally there was an unavoidable vagueness in some of the replies, as in the case of a woman who said, “ I worked there about 3 years at that time, and then I was home about a year before I went back.” There may be an error of a few weeks in crediting this woman with three years as a wage earner as against one as a non wage earner. In no case did the time employed plus the time unem ployed exceed the total time in the United States. The probability 84 THE IMMIGRANT WOMAN AND HER JOB of underestimates exists in each case of aggregate years. It should be understood that the table is presented not as a record of exact figures but as an approximation showing for 865 women the trend or habit of work when single and when married. Table 42.—Percentage of years employed and unemployed1 during time spent in United States, by marital status and locality PHILADELPHIA Total Number of women reporting_______ _____ _________ Aggregate years spent in United States2 Per cent years employed in United States Per cent years unemployed in United States 328 4, 871 46.7 52.4 Before marriage During marriage During widowhood 328 1,066 96.9 2.6 328 3,611 29.7 69.5 36 136 91.9 7.4 537 1,468 96.5 2.9 537 5, 428 46.4 51.6 68 292 82.2 13.0 LEHIGH VALLEY Number of women reporting Aggregate years spent in United States 2.......... .............. Per cent years employed in United States.___ ______ Per cent years unemployed in United States______ __ 537 7, 263 58.2 39.9 1 The sura of the years employed and unemployed does not equal the aggregate number of years spent in the United States, because in some cases definite information regarding time employed and unemployed was not available and fractional parts of these years were on this account lost in the tabulation. 2 Probably an underestimate in each case. Unpublished data show that in the two districts the total number of years worked by these women amounted to more than 6,000 as com pared with between 5,000 and 6,000 during which they had not been wage earners; in other words, collectively they had been wage earners longer than they had been non wage earners. From the table it appears that more than a fifth of the aggregate years in the United States were while the women were single, that for about three-fourths of the time the women were married, and that for only a few years some of them had been widowed. In Philadel phia the number of years employed was not very different from the number unemployed, but in the Lehigh Valley the work years were more numerous by almost one-half. In both districts the women were employed very steadily before marriage, having lost from work a little less than 3 per cent of the time, or together less than 100 years. After marriage the story naturally is very different, although the married women had spent about 3,500 years at their jobs. In Philadelphia the married women had worked about three-tenths of their married life and in the Lehigh Valley they had worked almost half the time. That the married women in the Lehigh Valley should have worked for so large a part of the time is one of the most striking facts brought out by the sur vey. The table shows a tendency for the 104 women who were wage earners after widowhood to work almost as steadily when widowed as they had done while single. An unpublished table giving average years for this same group shows that, though the woman in Philadelphia had been in this country longer than the woman in the Lehigh Valley, the average years worked was higher for the woman in the Lehigh Valley. INDUSTRIAL EXPERIENCE 85 Continuous employment. A surprising number of these women claimed to have worked stead ily except for a day or a week now and then. The selected group next considered includes, in addition to the women just discussed, 7 women in the Lehigh Valley and 47 in Philadelphia who had not worked both before and after marriage, and the presentation follow ing shows to what extent the entire group had worked continuously at their jobs. Table 43.—Extent of unbroken employment in the United States, by marital status and locality MARRIED WOMEN Philadelphia Lehigh Valley Marital and employment status Number Per cent Number Per cent Total reporting_____________ 375 100.0 544 100.0 Had worked approximately all the time— Before marriage______ ____ During marriage____ ____ 340 50 90.7 13.3 504 137 92.6 25.2 76 100.0 72 100.0 54 71.1 48 66.7 WIDOWED WOMEN Total reporting___________________ Had worked approximately all the time during widowhood_ _ In each district over nine-tenths of the women had worked all the time before marriage, but after marriage there appears a marked decrease in the number of workers with unbroken employment, only one-fourth of the women in the Lehigh Valley group and about one-eighth of those in Philadelphia having worked continuously. The two districts had fairly similar per cents as concerns the single and the widowed, but it is interesting to note a proportion almost twice as large in the Lehigh Valley as in Philadelphia for the women who had worked continuously while married. Unpublished material shows that the great majority of the women who had worked practically all the time since coming to the United States (375 in Philadelphia and 544 in the Lehigh Valley) had been single for less than three years after their arrival. Most of the women reporting had been married 10 and under 15 years. The number of widows was comparatively small, and the majority of these had been widowed less than five years. Causes of unemployed time. The reasons given by 1,371 women for the interruptions to their employment in the United States are the basis of this section. Col lectively the women accounted for unemployed time amounting to more than 6,700 years. Events that seriously interrupted life as a home worker and again as a wage earner, such as the husband’s lay off or an infant’s illness, are not readily forgotten, but instances of failure to mention a few 86 THE IMMIGRANT WOMAN AND HER JOB days’ illness or a 2-week shutdown must have occurred. On the whole, however, the women outlined with painstaking care, though in terms of years rather than weeks and of months rather than days, their experiences as wage earners and non wage earners. The causes and the approximate duration of the various periods of unemployment were reported, and it has been possible to make a rough tabulation of the statements, although such table does not pretend to be strictly accurate. Because interviews and interviews only formed the basis of these particular facts the liability of error becomes a little higher, since there may have been time unemployed in addition to that reported. The following is to be regarded, therefore, as the approximate rather than the exact number of years lost from work. Domestic causes Industrial causes 1,371 944 507 435 6,720 4.9 6,890 6.2 186 0.4 644 1.5 Total Number of women reporting----- --------------------- -----Approximate years not employed: Aggregate------------------------------ ------ ---------------Average------------------ ------ ---------- -------------------- Other causes The reasons given for the time lost from employment have been grouped under three inclusive headings: Domestic, industrial, and causes other than these two. The average for the total of all causes is heavily weighted by the large numbers included in domestic causes. Under domestic causes are included the usual routine home duties, as well as illness of other persons, the care of children, and pregnancy and confinement. It was necessary to make this rather inclusive subdivision because in many cases it was impossible to divide under more specific causes a period at home extending over several months or years. “ Mary was a baby; so much to do and Johnnie sick some ” was a common story of what happened when it was necessary to give up wage earning. Industrial causes were very definitely on account of shutdowns, lay offs, or discharges. Strikes are included here. Included in the third group, other causes, are time spent in school, vacations, visiting the old country, and illness of the worker herself, exclusive of confinements. Since the group interviewed consisted so largely of married women it is not surprising to find that the great bulk of the years in which they were not wage earners was due to domestic causes (5,890). This is an average of more than six years for each woman who lost time on this account. The following analysis of this most important group shows a normal increase in unemployed time as the period increases since the women began to work; that is, for the women who had worked less than 5 years the average time unemployed is only a few months, but it gradually increases to approximately 12 years for those whose working experience covered 25 years or more. INDUSTRIAL EXPERIENCE 87 Table 44.—Time not employed through domestic causes, hy over-all working period in the United States Over-all working period in the United States Number of women reporting Approximate years not employed through domestic causes Aggregate Average Total....... .......................... ...... 944 5, 890 6.2 Under 5 years......................... ...... 5 and under 10 years. . ________ 10 and under 15 years...................... . 15 and under 20 years_______ __ _ 20 and under 25 years_________ 25 years and over___ ___________ 78 59 336 276 149 46 50 113 1,637 2,059 1,486 545 .6 1.9 4.9 7.5 10.0 11.8 The aggregate time not employed because of conditions in industry was little, although almost two-fifths of the women reported having lost some time on this account. The average per woman is low, being roughly five months. The fact that there is no uniform increase in the average amount of time not employed through industrial causes as the women’s work ing periods increase, such as is seen in the case of time lost by domestic causes, may be due to the fact that employment was steadier for these women 10,. 15, or 20 years ago than in the more recent period of business readjustment. Fewer women reported time not employed through reasons other than domestic or industrial, but the amount of such lost time aggre gated about 644 years, or an average of 1 y2 years per woman. Un employment because of their own illnesses (exclusive of childbirth) accounted for a third of the time in this classification, or an average of slightly less than a year per woman. Twenty-one women had stopped work to attend school and 174 women had taken short vaca tion periods or made extended visits to their native lands. In contrast to this large group who reported definite details about time lost from employment, 421 women claimed that they had lost no time except a day or two now and then. This seems quite plausible, since three-fourths of the number had been at work less than five years and more than one-half were still unmarried at the time of the study. Employment of mothers and daughters. In 209 families information was obtained regarding the employ ment of mothers and their daughters. About three-eighths of the daughters were in the same industries as the mothers; the underlined figures in the following table show that this occurred chiefly in tex tiles and cigars. 65661°—30------7 THE IMMIGRANT WOMAN AND HER JOB 88 Table 45.—Industry of daughter, Number of daughters employed in— jNumDer reporting The manufacture of— Industry of mother Leather Food products Clothing products (includes Printing tanning) Mothers 209 Textiles— Woolen and worsted Miscellaneous manufac- Domestic and personal service: 44 20 81 18 6 36 6 6 2 1 3 3 7 16 22 Leather products (includes 240 72 13 6 Manufacturing: Daugh ters 7 18 26 2 1 1 22 10 26 11 1 2 1 18 20 1 1 3 9 8 4 11 9 2 1 Cigars 4 2 1 1 7 4 1 1 i 1 1 1 The groups showing the greatest numbers employed were cigars, silk goods, and woolen and worsted goods—the three predominating industries employing the foreign-born women of these sections. Half the daughters and more than half the mothers were in these three groups. The largest number of mothers in any one industry—more than a third—were in the cigar factories; the largest nuinber of daughters—almost a fourth—were in the silk mills, an industry giving employment to only about 1 in 10 of their mothers. Thirty of the girls in silk mills and 36 of those in cigar factories had mothers working in the latter industry. Three times as many daughters as mothers were employed in the hosiery mills. None of the mothers were employed in printing, sales, clerical work, or telephone operat ing, and more detailed figures show that no daughter was employed as a rag sorter, nor in the tanneries, curled-hair plants, or laundries. Comparison of the occupations within an industry is impossible because of lack of sufficient data, but statements made by managers of the plants imply that the daughters in cigar factories were em ployed chiefly as packers or as machine operators, rarely as hand strippers; in woolen and jute mills the older women were in the card room, while the girls were employed in spinning, spooling, or winding. . _ On the -whole, the daughters had found employment in industries where working conditions were pleasanter than those in plants where their mothers worked, yet in the group classified as miscellaneous manufacturing were several girls who had drifted into industries having a tendency to seasonal work or into dead-end jobs with un- INDUSTRIAL EXPERIENCE 89 7>y industry of mother Number of daughters employed in—Continued The manufacture of--Continued Textiles Hosiery 22 Other knit goods 2 Woolen and wor Other sted goods textiles Silk goods Jute 55 21 1 3 3 30 1 1 12 24 16 Domes tic and personal service 6 Sales 3 3 1 1 1 Clerical work and telephone Miscel laneous operat ing manu facturing 1 3 4 5 1 3 2 2 1 3 1 1 1 1 I 4 15 1 14 1 2 1 1 2 5 4 1 1 1 3 1 1 1 1 1 2 1 i certain if not low wages—the manufacture of brushes, of buttons, of pins, paper boxes, pencils, lamp shades, and millinery being some of the industries reported. In this connection it is interesting to refer to the report of the Immigration Commission that deals with the occupations of wage earning women born abroad and the occupations of the daughters of immigrants born in this country. The figures presented for the two generations of female wage earners in 1900 in the State of Penn sylvania show that daughters predominated as silk-mill operatives and saleswomen and in clerical positions, while mothers outnumbered daughters in the various lines of domestic and personal service.1 1 United States Immigration Commission. Reports, vol. 28, Occupations of the First and Second Generations of Immigrants in the United States. S. Doc. No. 282, 61st tong. — u sess., pp, oo*-~o91. CONDITIONS IN PRESENT JOB EARNINGS1 When a girl tells how she left one factory for another because she could earn 2 cents more per hundred for the cigars she rolled, the importance of the pay envelope in the lives of these wage-earning women is realized. Explanations of how they tried to exist on their meager wages, of how they had gone weeks without any pay, were as detailed as though these events had occurred only yesterday. The difficulty of collecting wages was a topic of conversation with many women, and cuts in wages had been frequent—in fact, more misunderstanding and hard feeling seemed to have arisen over the wage question than over any other factor in industry. _ Dissatisfaction with wages had driven girl after girl from one job to another: “Pay too small.” “Work too cheap.” “ Prices [re ferring to wage rates] weren’t so good.” “ Couldn’t make a living.” “ The boss reduced the price.” “ The cut was $3. When he gave raises they were 30 cents to 75 cents a week, but the cut was $1 a week.” . _ As wages are of such vital importance to the worker it was natural that all but about 300 of the women interviewed should give very definite information about their current earnings. In their eager ness to give exact information many of the women showed an ac cumulation of pay envelopes, but only earnings for the week preced ing the interview form the basis of the tabulations and the accom panying discussion. ... Since the interview method was used in collecting this informa tion, allowance should be made for at least a slight margin of error. Undoubtedly there were some exaggerated statements of earnings, due perhaps to a natural desire to report as good a record as a neighbor. On the other hand, some women may have made under statements, in order to arouse sympathy. As the number of records is large, however, it may be assumed that the misstatements balance one another, so that the result, while not claiming exactness, may be said to approach a fairly accurate record of the women’s earnings. Earnings have been tabulated separately for the two districts, and the following shows that the trend of wages is found to be higher in the Lehigh Valley than in Philadelphia. This may be due partly to the fact that the woman-employing industries in the Lehigh Valley were operating full time while many industries in Philadelphia were running low and there was much underemployment. Locality Lehigh Valley........ ........... ................. 1 See also pp. 115 to 119. 90 Per cent of women whose week’s earnings were— Num ber of women $10 and $12 and $15 and $17 and $20 and report Under under under under under under $25 and $10 over ing $25 $20 $15 $17 $12 988 836 11.0 10.3 13.8 8.6 21.7 14.7 19.4 17.8 16.4 19.4 11.4 19.7 6.3 9.4 91 CONDITIONS IN PRESENT JOB In each section about 1 in every 10 women earned less than $10 in the week reported. In Philadelphia almost half the women re ceived less than $15, but in the Lehigh Valley two-thirds had earned $15 or more. This difference in the districts is especially marked in the proportion earning $20 or more, since 29 per cent of the women in the Lehigh Valley, in contrast to 18 per cent of those in Philadel phia, had earned as much as this. Earnings by industry or occupation. Wages varied not only with the district but with the industry and, more especially, with the occupation. The list following gives the medians of the earnings for specified industries and, where the occu pations were reported in numbers large enough to be significant, for occupations within the industry. Table 46.—Median of the weelc’s earnings, by present industry and by locality Number of women reporting Present industry or occupation Median of the week’s earnings Phila delphia Lehigh Valley Phila delphia Total..................................................................... .................. 988 836 $15. 35 $16. 75 Manufacturing: Cigars............... .................................. ........ .............. ............... 16. 95 Lehigh Valley 59 545 15.70 Bunching and rolling.............................. ........................ 31 15.65 18.35 Other (in Philadelphia includes stripping) 28 414 104 27 15.75 15.80 175 4 15.05 0) 80 95 2 57 1 3 13.80 15.85 14.40 (0 0 Clothing___ _____ _______ _____ Handwork___ ___ ____________ _____ ________ Textiles_______________ ________ ____________ _____ Silk, cotton, and lace goods (Philadelphia)_____ ___ Jute_______ ____________ ________________ Hosiery ______ Knitting and topping___________ Looping and seaming 26 18 18 34 *392 34 23 2 207 67 70 29 18 87 26 17 21 23 27 281 237 176 61 41 3 1 2 12. 35 18. 50 14.00 10.70 16.60 16.05 16.00 17 95 14.95 11.05 16.60 16. 20 16. 25 15.75 15.40 24. 50 19.05 19.50 18. 50 19. 75 18. 50 15. 70 0 16. 50 12. 50 15.10 14.15 (>) (■) Miscellaneous manufacturing— Other______ Sewing operations not elsewhere specified___________ Domestic and personal service— Laundries_ ___________________ ___________________ _ Office cleaning_________________________________ ____ 1 Not computed, owing to small number involved. 2 Includes all occupations reported in the industry. 3 Includes haircloth and curled hair, not shown separately. 15 15 33 31 3 54 18. 25 10 17 66 2 8 2 (l) 14.50 11.25 (i) (i) 0) 2 1 (>) 0 92 THE IMMIGRANT WOMAN AND HER JOE The median of the week’s earnings for all the women reporting was $15.35 in Philadelphia and $16.75 in the Lehigh Valley; these were the midpoints in wages; that is, half the women earned less and half earned more than these amounts. In the Lehigh Valley medians have been computed for only three industries—cigars, silk, and jute, and for a few of the chief occupations within these indus tries, so comparison of the median earnings may be made for the two districts in only two industry groups—cigars, in which the wages range higher in the Lehigh Valley, and jute, in which the wages are markedly higher in Philadelphia. In Philadelphia the textile group is composed chiefly of woolenand-worsted-mill operatives and in the Lehigh Valley it is chiefly silk-mill operatives. On the whole, earnings were higher for the silk workers than for the woolen-mill operatives, yet the group of 18 woolen weavers shows median earnings ($24.50) higher than the median in any other occupation or indeed in any other industry. However, for the other occupations in the woolen and worsted indus try median earnings were $8 to $9 lower than for these few weavers. In Philadelphia the next highest median is that of the women in hosiery mills; for all occupations reported in the industry this me dian amounts to $19.05, ranking above every other industry group in Philadelphia or the Lehigh Valley. The few women in Philadel phia in the meat-packing industry show higher median earnings than do the clerical workers. At the other extreme are the rag sorters, with a median of $10.70 a week. Handworkers in the cloth ing trade, women doing miscellaneous sewing operations, bakery and candy workers, laundry workers, women in the metal trades, and those in tanneries, had median earnings below the amount shown for all women reporting ($15.35). The earnings of office cleaners also were very low, but it must be remembered that hours were shorter and, though many had broken shifts, this was little more than a part time job. In the Lehigh Valley the silk weavers were at the top of the scale with a median for the week of $20.25, and the tobacco strippers at the bottom with a median of $10.70, the same amount as has been re ported for the rag sorters, the lowest-paid group in Philadelphia. The jute workers in the Lehigh Valley were also a low-paid group; for them the median is found to be only slightly higher than that of the tobacco strippers. The cigar bunchers and rollers in the Lehigh Valley were earning more than a large majority of the women in the various industries and occupations in Philadelphia, their median being slightly higher than the median for clerical workers in Philadelphia. Effect of experience on wages. Whether a woman has worked a long or a short time in an indus try undoubtedly affects to some degree her weekly earnings. In order to discover to what extent experience in an industry affected earnings of the women medians were computed for two groups, those employed in the major industry—that is, the one in which they had worked longest, and those employed in a minor industry—that is, one in which they had had less experience. From the accompanying tabula tion it is apparent that the wages were higher in an industry when CONDITIONS IN PRESENT JOB 93 experience was greater, for in Philadelphia the median of the earn ings of the women employed in their major industry was $2 higher than for those employed in a minor industry, and in the Lehigh Valley the median was $5 more. The 145 silk weavers who had spent more time at weaving than at any other occupation had higher earn ings than had the group of only 29 who had spent more time in other lines of work. The vast majority, however, were employed in their major industry—only 183 women in Philadelphia and 72 in the Le high Valley reporting earnings in a minor industry. Table 47.—Median of the week’s earnings according to whether present employment major1 or minor, by locality Philadelphia Present employ ment major 1 Present industry or occupation Lehigh Valley Present employ ment minor Num Median Num Median ber of of the ber of of the women week’s women week’s report report earn earn ing ings ing ings All industries_____ _ Cigars _______ ____ _____ Clothing____________ Food products.. ________ Hosiery and knit goods Silk. . Weaving__________ _. Woolen and worsted goods. _ 3 757 $15.80 183 $13.65 154 35 92 15.00 15.25 18. 75 16 20 18 15.00 14.00 17.00 182 16.25 19 15.25 Present employ ment major 1 Present employ ment minor Num Median Num Median ber of of the ber of of the women week’s women week’s report report earn earn ing ings ing ings 2 760 $17. 20 523 17.15 145 20.75 72 $11.70 1 The industry occupying the women for the greatest number of years. ^ Total exceeds details because only those industries appear that were reported as minor in numbers large enough for the computation of a median. The effect of experience upon wages is further emphasized by the following table. Table 48.—Median of the week’s earnings, by actual time worked in present industry Time worked in present industry Total__________ Under 1 year________________ 1 and under 2 years, _ ................ 2 and under 3 years________ 3 and under 4 years. ________ 4 and under 5 years ... ... 5 and under 10 years_________ . 10 and under 15 years. __ 15 and under 20 years . 20 years and over_____________ Number of Median of the week’s women reporting earnings 1,682 228 203 203 176 124 403 244 74 27 15.40 15.90 17.10 17.85. 17.25 18.50 Whether a woman had worked 1,2,3, or 4 years seems to have made little difference in median earnings, but with experience of 5 years and more there is, on the whole, an upwrard trend in earnings; how 94 THE IMMIGRANT WOMAN AND HER JOB ever, an increase in wages of less than $6 after working for 20 years does not place a high premium on experience. Wage reports from other sources or agencies. Wherever possible these data on a week’s earnings, based solely upon statements made by the women during the interviews, were checked with other source material. In every case such information is so similar that confidence in the reliability of the interviews is increased. Finn pay rolls.—Earnings of foreign-born female employees were obtained from two pay rolls—a representative cigar firm and a repre sentative silk firm. Located in the Lehigh Valley, both plants were operating full time and to capacity employment, but with few ex ceptions the women were pieceworkers and the time actually worked was not entered on the pay roll. The manager of the cigar factory remarked that it was “ not neces sary to employ natives * * * they all come from foreign fami lies.” About 100 foreign-born women were employed, most of them as bunchers and rollers, and in these two occupations the earnings of the women for the week selected (in June, 1925) had a median of $19.45. It will be recalled that the median as computed for bunchers and rollers from the statements of the women themselves was $18.35, or only $1.10 below the amount derived from the pay-roll figures. In the silk mill the foreign women were almost exclusively weav ers. The manager explained that the immigrant women insisted on this job and worked at it as hard and as efficiently as did any of the men. Since the earnings of weavers varied so from week to week, the computation of their median was based on the individual pay-roll entries for four weeks of 30 women who were “ steady on the job.” This exclusion of irregular and less experienced weavers resulted in a median for the select group, during a week in June, 1925, of $22.45, a figure which, though representing the earnings of unusually steady and experienced workers, is only $2 higher than the median com puted from the earnings as given by the women themselves. It was the manager of the silk mill who remarked that only Ameri can girls were content to do winding. In fact, only three foreignborn women in this mill were not weavers, and this was the situation throughout the industry in the Lehigh Valley. In view of the fact that earnings as obtained in the interviews were not for any one specific week but rather were for the pay immediately preceding the week of the agent’s visit, whereas the pay-roll record covered one definite and decidedly busy period, the slight discrep ancies in the medians of the two groups are not surprising. Bureau of labor statistics.—Another authority on wages has issued recently two bulletins on wages and hours of labor in the manufac ture of woolen and worsted goods and of hosiery and underwear. A comparison follows of earnings based on the interviews in the present study and figures selected from the bulletins referred to for women workers in the State of Pennsylvania as a whole. In the woolenand-worsted industry the wages range from $1 to $3 higher for the women interviewed; in hosiery the wages for the interviewed group are lower. CONDITIONS IN PRESENT JOB Average Median of week’s earn ings as re the week’s ported in earnings as Bureau of reported by Labor interviews— Philadelphia, Statistics bulletins— 1925 Pennsyl vania, 1926 Industry and occupation Woolen and worsted goods: Carding.._ ... ___ Spinning__________ Weaving. __ _________ Hosiery___________ . factoring,*1910*0 95 * 14. 55 ta W°°len and Worsted Qoods Manu‘ 2 2-week pay period. 3 U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Wages and Hours of Labor in the Hosiery and Underwear Industries, 1907 to 1926. Bui. 452, p. 12. 4 Full-time earnings. There is probably a closer correspondence in actual earnings than at first seems apparent from the figures. The Bureau of Labor Statistics data are for a year later than the Women’s Bureau study1926 and 1925, respectively. The bulletins state that in the case of knit goods the index numbers of pay-roll totals throughout the United States increased from 105.6 in 1925 to 109.6 in 1926 and that in woolen-and-worsted-goods manufacturing they decreased from 87.2 in 1925 to 78.9 in 1926, which may account in part for the differences in figures of the two authorities. Furthermore, in hosiery the wage computation for the workers interviewed was based on actual earn ings, while the figures from the bulletin are for full-time workers only. HOURS OF WORK Source of data. Though the schedule did not call for data on working hours, more than 200 women in each locality volunteered very definite informa tion on this point. In the Lehigh Valley these women were employed chiefly in 12 cigar factories and 27 silk mills, but in Philadelphia they were so scattered in various manufacturing industries that a classification of hours by industry is not significant. The table following is based on statements of the women regarding the hours they worked. These are not necessarily the scheduled hours of the plants, since many women, especially those in cigar factories, prolonged the firm’s scheduled day by beginning earlier than the customary hour in the morning or by reducing the lunch period. It is customary in the Lehigh Valley to make cigars by the old hand method, in no way dependent upon power-driven machinery, so that they have more freedom in their hours than have the workers in the plants where work hours are regulated by machines. In the former case, however, instead of working shorter hours than the plant stand ard the women frequently work longer hours. Some factory doors are unlocked at 5 in the morning for janitors and cleaners and the women may go in as early as they please. It is not unusual for some of the older strippers, eager for a fuller pay envelope, to be at the factory by 6 o’clock. 96 THE IMMIGRANT WOMAN AND HER JOB The women reported such uniform data as to their hours of work in the mills and factories that there seems no doubt that these reports give reliable facts for the 443 women concerned. Table 49.—Daily and weekly Hours of work in manufacturing industries, by locality DAILY HOURS Philadelphia manufacturing industries Lehigh Valley manufacturing industries Silk Cigars Total Hours of work Number Per cent Number Per cent Number Per cent Number Per cent distri distri of distri of of distri of women bution women bution women bution women bution Total................... .......... 9 10 ....... ................ ..................... .......... 226 18 71 20 73 43 1 100.0 8.0 31.4 8.8 32.3 19.0 .4 i 246 17 3 39 68 28 2 91 100.0 6.9 1.2 15.9 27.6 11.4 37.0 136 100.0 96 100.0 1 1 2 22 20 90 .7 .7 1.5 16. 2 14.7 66.2 15 2 30 40 8 1 15.6 2.1 31.3 41. 7 8.3 ’ ----- ------WEEKLY HOURS Total---- ------- ---------Under 48............ .............. Over 50 and under 54--------Over 54......................... -........ 217 100.0 194 100.0 107 100.0 77 100.0 56 45 31 25 40 10 10 25.8 20. 7 14. 3 11.5 18.4 4.6 4.6 11 5.7 3 2.8 7 9.1 6 27 55 12 383 3.1 13.9 28.4 6.2 42.8 .9 17.8 5. 6 72.9 5 24 31 6 4 6. 5 31. 2; 40. .1 i 19 6 78 5. 2 i Total includes several small groups not given separately in the table. i In the majority of these cases the day was 1014 hours. See discussion, p. 95. a in the majority of these cases the week was not over 55 or 56 hours. See discussion, p. 95. Daily hours. The table emphasizes the long hours prevalent in the Lehigh Val ley, where 37 per cent of the women reported that they were work ing more than 10 hours a day (10 hours is the legal maximum per mitted in Pennsylvania). In Philadelphia less than 20 per cent of the women were em ployed as long as 10 hours a day, and only one woman worked more than 10 hours; these were principally workers in the woolen and jute mills. Again, while in the Lehigh Valley only 8.1 per cent of the women worked less than 9 hours a day, in Philadelphia 39.4 per cent worked less than 9 hours. . The cigar industry is responsible for the excessively long day in the Lehigh Valley; only four cigar workers reported a full-time day as short as 9 hours and practically two-thirds of the women report ing in this industry worked for slightly more than 10 hours. A short workday on Saturday was customary in both districts and in all manufacturing industries. Weekly hours. Equally striking differences are found in the length of the working week in the two districts and in the two industries in the Lehigh CONDITIONS IN PEESENT JOB 97 Valley separately tabulated. While in Philadelphia almost one-half (46.5 per cent) of the women reporting did not exceed 48 hours a week and only 20 women (9.2 per cent) had a week as long as 54 hours, in the Lehigh Valley the 48-hour week was almost unknown and more than two-fifths of the women said they worked over 54 ’ hours, which was exceeding the legal limit. For the women in the silk mills of the Lehigh Valley the prevailing hours were found to be 50 and under 54 hours, but in the cigar industry almost three-fourths of the women reporting (72.9 per cent) reported hours that exceeded the legal limit, and in a few instances extended to 56, 58, and even to 60. In the Lehigh Valley work began early in the day. The most usual hours of the cigar workers, affecting nearly three-fifths of the women who reported beginning and ending hours, were from 6.30 a. m. to 5.30 p. m., and since in many instances the time allowed for lunch was only 45 minutes, the workday here was 10)4 hours. Only five women reporting in this industry began work later than 7. The prevailing workday observed by the silk industry in this same district was somewhat shorter, the day starting at 7 or 7.15 and closing not later than 5. A few mills had inaugurated the 2-shift system. . In Philadelphia it was unusual for the workday to begin earlier than 8 or to end later than 5 or 5.30. During one interview a girl who had worked in Allentown and later in Philadelphia referred three times to the 8-hour day she was enjoying in the Philadelphia plant in contrast to the longer day of her earlier industrial experience. But the day of these housekeeping wage earners began long before the hour of their arrival in the factory or shop. Breakfast had to be prepared and lunches put up before leaving home in the morning, and one worker said she had formed the habit of doing her buying at 6 o’clock, before her day at the factory began. After 9 or 10 hours in the factory these women returned home to prepare the family meal, and spent the evening washing, ironing, cleaning, or baking. Long hours and overtime. In view of the business depression and the consequent amount of undertime and unemployment prevalent in some industries, it was surprising to hear complaints of long hours and overtime, one of the most common causes of dissatisfaction among the women. The woolen mills came in for their share of complaints because of the long day that for years had been customary in this industry. A Slovak woman who came to America in 1912 was taken to a woolen mill three days after landing. Here she worked for several years as a burler from 6 in the morning until 6 at night, with only half an hour for lunch. As she recalled the experience she laughed and remarked that she had “thought that was the way in America.” But there were “ only greenhorns ” employed in that mill, and it was not until she married and moved to another town that she real ized that conditions were not the same everywhere. More recently a number of yarn winders had summoned courage to protest to the boss against the long day in their mill. They had asked for an 8-hour day, but the boss had replied, “No good; you no work 10 hours you no come.” 98 THE IMMIGRANT WOMAN AND HER JOB Hours in the cigar factories seemed to be a cause for general com plaint by members of their families as well as by the women them selves. A husband employed in the steel mill on a shift of hours shorter than his wife’s felt that she was working herself to death. “ He [referring to his wife] has two jobs. Begin half past 5 every morning; 10 o’clock, 11 o’clock at night he finish.” Rosy was a “ greenhorn ” in a cigar factory, but she was not too green to know that she was working too long and described the situation very vividly. “The foreman says to me ‘Rosy, what are you doing to-night? ’ ‘ Nothing.’ And then he says, ‘Well, I guess you can work until half past 6.’ ” Several evenings every week for a month this conversation had been repeated, and on those days Rosy began work as usual at 6.30 in the morning and continued until 6.30 in the evening. The working day of a hosiery knitter also was being extended to 9 p. m. once or twice a week, and a silk winder who worked usually from 7 to 4.45 found her day lengthened to 6 o’clock about three times a week. When women expressed satisfaction with their hours it was usu ally because in some former job they had worked so much longer. A rag sorter felt that her change from housework to rag sorting had been a great advantage because work in a private family frequently had occupied her until 9 o’clock in the evening. She prefers rag sorting because the job has regular hours, although she realizes that actual earnings are less. Comments of the night workers were very illuminating; it was not from choice but as a matter of convenience that they worked through the night hours. A dishwasher in a restaurant kitchen preferred the night shift because when she went to work she could lock the children—2, 4, and 6 years old—in the house. “ That is why I work at night so hard—then in the morning hurry home to the children.”' A woman of 43, alter working for 1 y2 years on the night shift of a dairy, tending a bottling machine, had to give up the job because of illness. She was convinced that her illness was due solely to the night work, but she overlooked the fact that she had combined with this the family cares that occupied most of her day, since working at night made it possible for her to care during the day for six chil dren, 4 to 11 years old. It was doubtful how long she would be able to remain in her present job—cleaning the inside of taxicabs from 11.30 at night to 9 or 9.30 in the morning. “ I have awful short sleep, three or four hours after supper. Such dirty wet work. Sometimes I awful tired and I stay home one night, but they give me hell if I don’t go in. They say they going to raise us to $3. I don’t know.” Wages were $2.50 a night at the time she was interviewed. It was said repeatedly that men were working in the Lehigh Valley an 8-hour day although hardly any women in the community enjoyed such a privilege. Frequently the husbands reached home in the afternoon and started the evening meal before their wives returned. One young cigar roller felt that it “ wouldn’t hurt to have an 8-hour day in Pennsylvania, for it is too long for women to work in the shop 10 hours and then do their work at home.” About the only way these CONDITIONS IN PRESENT JOB 99 women have of expressing their dissatisfaction is what they call “ a fight,” which in the cigar industry means much petty quarreling, ending in a walkout. A woman who had learned a little English said, “ I wish they could fight out something that the women work eight hours. Eight hours is just enough, but 10 hours a day—from 6.30 to 5.30—is slavery.” However, dissatisfaction with the hours in the cigar factories was not universal. More than one cigar buncher was fearful lest hours should be reduced. They were keen “to get rich,” and one said, “ Can’t make good in 8 hours, so bad the stuff now. Now must work 10 hours to make.” Invariably these were women who had begun work when the cigar industry was developing in the Lehigh Valley in the early part of the century. Such eagerness and grasping was not observed among the younger women nor among those who had acquired some knowledge of English and of American standards. The length of the lunch period in the cigar factories is optional with the workers. Although the factory schedule may allow 45 minutes for lunch, frequently women take no more than 15 minutes. The more they shorten their lunch hour, the larger they expect their earnings to be. As one woman said who worked regularly from 6.30 to 5.30, never taking more than 20 minutes for lunch: “ If I eat longer, I never make the little I have now.” Another remarked: “ Sometimes I bring my lunch back home at night. If I see others start to work I forget to eat, I start work, too. If I work hard and hurry up all day, 6.30 to 5.30 sometimes, I have $18 and $20 every week.” Another woman, in describing the rush of the factory, said: “ Now the strippers they are working and eating there; only those on day wages take time to eat.” While the tobacco strippers were glad to reduce their lunch time to a few minutes, silk weavers complained of the change in shifts that had eliminated entirely the lunch hour. A few of the silk mills were operating two shifts a day, one group of employees working from 6 to 2 and another coming on at 2 and working till 10, with no allow ance for a rest or lunch period in either of the 8-hour shifts. As was inevitable, not all the workers were pleased with the change. One weaver had been employed in her brother-in-law’s “ small little mill ” where she “ had it nice ” until he changed from the usual workday— 7 to 5—to the 2-shift system. Neither of these shifts suited this weaver, as they did not fit in with the schedules of the rest of her family and her housekeeping program. “ Besides,” she said, “ it was dreadful to work eight hours without a chance to rest, but sometimes we snatched a bite to eat now and then when Ave went to the dressing room.” She added: “My brother-in-law made an awful fuss when I quit on him, and said: ‘ What I do, if all the other girls quit like you ? ’ ” Although most of the comments against long hours came from workers in woolen mills and cigar factories, occasional reference was made to excessive hours in restaurants and stores. Not infre quently restaurant workers left their “ places ” because they “ worked all the time every day ” or “ had to work Sunday all day.” The work was hard and the hours were long, in one case lasting from 7 in the morning till 10 at night; “ so much to do, no get away.” 100 THE IMMIGRANT WOMAN AND HER JOB Only because her pay was $25 a week had one young mother endured working in a little neighborhood store from 9 in the morn ing until 11 at night, with only short breaks for lunch and supper. But at the end of seven months she “ went all to pieces ” and had to give up her job. Work in a millinery store from noon to 10 o’clock at night, and sometimes later on Saturdays, proved irksome to a bright girl be cause it deprived her of all social contacts and opportunities for study. •‘You don’t see anything; you don’t read anything; you eat and sleep. It’s like an animal. I thought youse people were going to break that working at night.” IRREGULARITY OF EMPLOYMENT In view of the prevailing long workday and overtime in some of the industries there was an astounding amount of despair over short days and half-filled pay envelopes, especially among women em ployed in the woolen and worsted mills and the clothing factories. The clothing workers, as a rule, had found work irregular and slack, a week off here or a short day there, while for some workers in the woolen mills the day had been definitely shortened or the week was only 4 or 5 days instead of 5y2. The following shows how such undertime had affected the work of 476 women in manufacturing industries within the year preceding the date of interview. Type of shortened day or week Number of women reporting Total—................ ................ ...... 476 Daily hours shortened regularly___ “ One-half day or 1 day out a week ” “1 or 2 days out a week”_________ “2 or 3 days out a week”_________ 3 days or more out_______________ Indefinite________ ____ __________ 53 75 94 69 22 163 Practically a third of those who complained of undertime were unable to describe it except by “ slack ” or “ very slack,” because it was so irregular—a day off here, or a few hours there, scattered through the week. That this experience of less than full-time work had continued through much of the preceding 12 months for some of the women is shown in the following: Duration of period of less than full-time work Total. “Few weeks”_______ 1 and under 3 months.. 2 and under 2 months.. 3 and under 6 months.. 6 and under 12 months. 9 and under 9 months.. “The summer”______ Number of women reporting 320 17 31 38 97 25 49 63 This information was given by the women in a very indefinite way, as “ 2 or 3 weeks,” “ 4 or 5 weeks,” or “ 3 or 4 months.” Many women knew merely that “ the summer ” had been a particularly bad CONDITIONS IN PRESENT JOB 101 time, and this may have meant a period of any duration—a few weeks or a few months; but jn spite of the vagueness of their reports there is unmistakable evidence of long-continued undertime that had left a deep impression on the women. In addition to temporary irregularities complaint was made again and again of shutdowns when the plant was entirely closed. The following gives a slight idea of the time lost through shutdowns reported by 205 women. ' Although some of the shutdowns lasted only a week or so, a serious situation is revealed by the fact that more than a third of the 205 women had been continuously out of work for from one to three months and practically as many for a longer time. Duration of shutdowns Total____________ 1 and under 2 weeks______ 2 weeks and under 1 month. 1 and under 2 months_____ 2 and under 3 months_____ 3 months and over_______ Number of women reporting 205 18 44 37 36 70 It is bad enough for the woman who has a job to be temporarily out of work, but it is infinitely worse for the woman who when times are bad is forced to hunt for a new job. About 400 women told how they had searched for work during periods of unemployment, condi tions so recent that they were able to recount them in great detail. Women with years of experience as well as those who had not been long in America described the discouragement that followed days of futile hunting for a job. Young and old had failed to find work, and although for the most part these applicants were young women full of vigor it is impossible to forget the woman of 67 who described her hunt for work as “ just walking around.” From the numerous references to irregularity of employment it is evident that the difficulty of finding and keeping a steady job caused the women more anxiety than did any other recent experience in industry. Particularly was this true in Philadelphia. It was hard enough to find work in the first place, but when after struggling through the learning period it became apparent that slack seasons with no guaranty of work were inevitable, disappointment was par ticularly keen. The following phrases have been selected at random from the schedules: Work only two or three days a week now. All time stop. All places slow. They stopped too much. They were stopping many days. It goes too bad. • I was always being home more than I worked. Sit and wait for work ; so weary waiting for work. No work; made 45 cents one week. I saw it doesn’t pay me to go in that place. Come home early many days. Work has been bad two years. Never know. Sometimes work half day, sometimes few hours, sometimes no work. Never know how much work when I go in morning. 102 THE IMMIGRANT WOMAN AND HER JOB Every year some stout down. Close every year; Easter two weeks, Christmas two weeks. Every Christmas closed. Too much stuff. That way every year now'. Home three months—all the places have it bad. Worked only four days a week for several months. . About two years everywhere slack. One woman could not understand why the custom had changed in the factory; formerly they worked regularly to make up stock in advance of orders but now they “ sit and Wait for orders.” Referring to the necessity of taking any kind of work during a slack season, one girl said: “ You see, if I get work there, if I don’t like it or not I’ll stay there.” Another woman made this statement: “ That is a disgusting place, the work runs so slack. I quit about 50 times and went back.” Her present anxiety over slack work had overshadowed all earlier trou bles, and when the agent tried to get some information about her first job and early wages this woman replied, “It ain’t to-day I’m worrying about that, so it don’t hold in my head.” Undoubtedly the clothing workers had had the greatest difficulty in making adjustments to the seasonal character of their industry, but undaunted by its irregularity they clung to the trade. A widow with the responsibility of a family had been unable for five years to earn enough in the busy seasons of her trade to tide her over the slack summers, so with great difficulty she had found sup plementary unskilled jobs as chambermaid, dishwasher, or office cleaner. The sign “ house for sale ” on the home that had been hers for years told the story of how shutdowns and lay offs had affected the household dependent upon her uncertain earnings. One account of time lost ran thus: “ No work Lincoln’s Birthday; no work Saturday; no work the next Saturday; and closed all the next week. Worked only three days this week.” Another clothing worker figured undertime in terms of lowered earnings. “ In October I earned always $15 a week; in November I went down to $10 one week; in December it is always bad—$3 or $4 a week; January and February still bad—about $6 or $7 a week. Now [March] it is good again.” A millinery worker recalled a seasonal shutdown of about six weeks in January and, beginning again in May, another long shut down of three months; and then after a busy fall she found herself out of work in December for about two months. Others had shifted from factory to factory, finding work for a short time in one place and then hunting work in another. One woman, when trying to account for the time she had worked during her brief experience in industry, exclaimed almost hopelessly: “ So many places, I can not count them.” A hand finisher in the clothing industry reckoned on two busy seasons of perhaps eight weeks each in the spring and autumn. Dur ing the week of the interview the earnings of this woman were only $3.50, and while her full-time earnings amounted to $20 there were some weeks when there was no work in the plant. Yet she holds on to her job: “All the places have it slack when mine is slack. The busy season will begin soon.” Probably the secret of her courage in the face of such irregular employment is found in her last comment: “ I’m satisfied; it’s better than in the old country.” FINDING A JOB Many of the schedules bore entries telling of the difficulties the women had experienced in first finding work in a strange land. Se lected at random, a few of the phrases that the women used in describ ing their search for work indicate how haphazard it all was and how they caught at anything that chance offered: “ I was all over asking.” “ Too many people, all hunting work.” “ I went all over the places, nothings, nothings.” “Walking and walking, I wore my feet out.” “ Two months too long till you get a job.” “ Looking every day couldn’t find.” “ I just didn’t get; they didn’t need girls. I walked all over, five or six weeks, and ask if she need a woman; I look, I look, come back and next day go again. They all say 4 too late,’ 4 call again,’ 4 will let you know.’ ” Making a choice. A classification of the influences that sent the women job hunting hither and yon, some to this job and others to that, is given in rather general terms for Philadelphia and the Lehigh Valley together in the following table. It emphasizes to what a great extent a friend’s help or mere chance determines where the foreign-born woman goes to work. Table 50.—Reason for choice of first job, by industry Number of women whose first job was in— Domestic and personal service Manufacturing Reason for choice Total ............. Num ber of wom en re port ing 2,000 Influence of relatives, countrymen, friends___ _ 1,035 Chance, first or only job available or easiest to get 346 Advertisement or employment 32 agency---- ---------Her trade or work she knew 220 Job desirable or good working conditions 135 Near home. _ 73 Physical disability (including age)_ _ 45 Miscellaneous (ineluding temporary)-------------------- 114 Other Trade indus and tries cleri and Mis cal cella occu Ho Ci Cloth siery pa Woolen Other neous House Other work tions ing gars manu work and Silk and tex factur other goods worsted tiles 1 ing 2 knit goods goods Textiles 655 196 104 218 221 80 151 228 89 54 4 373 83 44 105 170 57 85 61 42 14 1 74 55 33 14 16 6 31 3 78 28 4 57 40 1 10 34 16 4 6 4 41 2 42 15 7 7 7 5 38 1 16 1 2 4 17 8 11 9 14 1 25 3 4 2 8 6 2 7 69 2 2 1 1 1* Includes 47 women in the manufacture ofof food Includes 39 women in the manufacture jute. and 22 in rug sorting. 3 Housework best for greenhorns (5 women). 4 Only work known or known about (34 women). 65661°—30-----8 4 1 12 1 14 1 ■ 15 1 3 1 5 Better women), working conditions than in cigars (26 8 Better; includes room and board (9 women) 7 Quicker to learn than silk; earn sooner (44 women). 103 104 THE IMMIGRANT WOMAN AND HER JOB More than half the women gave reasons that fall in the first group, showing how the women flocked to places where friends were already working, where friends took them, or where they could understand the language spoken in the plant. Thus more than 1,000 women followed their brothers, sisters, other relatives, or friends wherever they led the way. The expression of most common occurrence, often uttered with a shrug of the shoulder, was: “ My cousin, she took me there.” “ My friend talk German, the other women talk German in that factory, I talk German, so I go too.” When there were no relatives to advise the recent arrivals, fellow countrymen gladly took the places of brothers or cousins and helped in finding the jobs. Well over half of the women who first went to work in cigar factories or in textile mills gave as the reason for their choice that friends or rela tives had made it possible for them to get work; there. Because friends had suggested it as the most available job, 13 women had started in as rag sorters. Far less than the influence of friends and relatives was the ele ment of chance, 346 women having begun work where chance led them. Sometimes it was the first job they could find, or sometimes the only one obtainable, and sometimes it was the easiest one they could get. Only 355 women had chosen the work because they were experienced in it or because the job seemed desirable. The monotony in the repetition of “ my friend work there,” “ all I could get,” “ I learn quicker there,” was rarely broken by such answers as “ it was my trade,” “ work I knew,” “ thought I’d like it,” “ pay was good,” “ thought I could work up to a good position.” The only industry groups shown in the table in which trade ex perience and good conditions were considerably greater factors than chance in getting a job were the manufacture of cigars or of silk and trade and clerical work. Industries near their homes influenced many of the women to go to the plant that was most convenient, and in this way 73 were able to carry wage-earning jobs in addition to their family responsibilities. Employment agencies were not mentioned by the women outside Philadelphia, and even in that city the women seldom had recourse to agencies, except in the case of domestic service. Occasionally the Jewish girls reported that they watched the help-wanted columns for work in the clothing trade. For one reason or another housework was the first choice of 228 girls. They knew nothing about factories or else no job in a factory was available. Many women in the Lehigh Valley, where work was limited prac tically to two industries, were careful to explain why, if they first worked in cigar factories, they had not gone to silk mills, and vice versa. Forty-four women expressed a preference for cigar manu facture because it was possible not only to learn the work more quickly but to get on a wage-earning basis very soon after beginning, while in the silk mills it took weeks and weeks. Nine others pre ferred cigars, giving no specific reason, and 12 could find no opening in the silk mills and of necessity went to the cigar factories. On the other hand, 26 women in the Lehigh Valley expressed a preference for the silk mills because working conditions were better than in the cigar factories, and both the work and the establishments FINDING A JOB 105 were cleaner; 12 preferred silk to cigars but did not specify the reason, while only 1 went to a silk mill because there was no opening in a cigar factory. In giving their reasons for first doing housework a few made comparisons with other occupations. Fourteen felt it best for “ greenhorns ”; they had a home—room and board—besides wages. A number preferred it to work in the mills but did not specify why. Several years ago, when there was a shortage in help, runners from factories had met the incoming boats and before the girls left the dock had offered them work. One woman stated that she was offered employment as a dishwasher in a restaurant before she had had time to look for work. “As soon as he hear a greenhorn want work, he come for me by my cousin’s.” In rare instances agents from a factory had canvassed the neighborhood to persuade the women to go to work. Importance of chance. The women who had no friends to intercede for them had anxious times finding work. Chance was all that guided them. Schedule after schedule contains entries of the women’s remarks describing the haphazard way in which they had secured employment. “ When I first here I so foolish, I go out, I make chalk marks so I find my way home again; that how dumb I was. I was in the street and I saw a factory. I was coming in to ask for a job and they gave me.” Another couldn’t tell where she went. “ Market street upstairs where I see steps always I go.” She understood there was no work when the men shook their heads and shouted “ No.” “Any work, I didn’t care what I would do.” u I had to go some place and a girl took me.” “ Every girl, she was going there and I go, too.” “ My sister say I make him more money there.” “Any thing I get.” “Just a job.” The foreman in a cigar factory gave one woman stripping. “I didn’t know I should ask for rolling. Now I know stripping was the worst job.” “All the girls go to cigars. I didn’t know it was so bad.” An illiterate woman of 45 said, “Any—any place—just look for signs.” Though she could not read, a placard nailed to the factory door indicated to her that help was wanted within. It took one Kussian woman about two months to secure her first work. She walked the streets and whenever she saw a person who looked like a Kussian she would ask her where she worked and if she thought she herself could get work there; finally in this way she found work as a rag sorter. When out of work she still goes to the same places that she learned about in her first search 15 years ago; she feels at home among the Kussians who work in these plants. “ I know no English; how do you expect me to go somewhere else to find a job?” A young German girl arrived in America carrying a piece of paper on which was written the address in Allentown of the one person in America whom she knew. When she reached Allentown she was distressed to find that the friend had moved away, no one knew where. After walking around for a few hours she asked a policeman where she could get a job, for she * just had to work,” 106 THE IMMIGRANT WOMAN AND HER JOB and through his help she found a place “ maiding,” where she stayed until she married. An Italian girl of 19 was so unhappy in the cigar factory where her cousin first took her that after a week she quit, thinking to find something better for herself. For eight clays she wandered about, fearing to go far. She followed other girls in the morning and went in everywhere. Her mother lost patience with her and she regretted having come to America. Finally she stumbled accidentally into a factory where the Italian boss would take a “ green girl,” and for six years she worked where “all the green girls went,” but they learned no English and had no way of knowing what a “ slave driver ” he was. She refers to it now as her “ training school.” A forelady earning $25 a week relates that when she was a mere child a big-hearted neighbor took her to work in the box factory where she happened to be employed at the time. “ She took me for charity and taught me, and for 28 years I have worked in nothing but paper-box factories.” Not only did those have trouble who knew no English, but an English-speaking woman who had been a weaver eight years in the old country did housework here for a year because she did not know how to find her own work. Her next move was to a textile mill, but upon a very minor operation. However, it proved to be an entering wedge, so she finally “ got some looms.” Another woman, who was a mender in a hosiery mill in England, first found a job packing candy in this country, and it was three months before she was able to find her “ own job ” here. Influence of friends and language. Ignorance of English undoubtedly was one of the chief draw backs in finding work, not only when the women arrived but later in making changes; in fact, many who did not know English re mained in their first job, no matter how unsatisfactory, rather than undergo the difficulty and embarrassment of seeking a new one. A considerable number of these women, because of their ignorance of the language, relied solely upon relatives or friends to find them work, and fortunately the great majority of them came to persons who had a sense of responsibility for the newcomers, and saw to it that they were settled in a job as soon as possible, regardless of what the job might be. Wherever they were taken to work by relatives, friends, or fellow countrymen the girls were glad to go, for they had come to America to work and to better themselves. They were like children in their dependence upon others. One woman described the situation most aptly when, in halting English, she said: “ I like I just been born. I wasn’t so long in this country. I not know where I go except someone he take me.” The language spoken by the foreman and the race of the other women employed often were the determining factors. “ People talked Hungarian there and I was talking Hungarian.” A great number of the women never considered working except in places where their friends were employed, and they would not go where there was not a common language. “ No Slovak people in silk—all Slovak and Russian people go to cigar factories. You must talk English in the silk mill.” Another went where she “ could ask Jewish bosses for work.” FINDING A JOB 107 “All my people from old country go to cigar factory, all they know about, and Windish women take me.” “ My Polish friend know the laundry and take me there day after I come.” “ I like this place best of all. Nice Slavic boss there.” “ Me no English so stay same place. All talk Italian; that is better; no change.” Another Italian woman was so conscious of her ignorance of Eng lish that throughout the interview she kept repeating: “Me little English, me little English ”; and she was continuing at a miserable job because “ They know me and I know them. We talk Italian. Me ’shamed to go anywhere.” Because of their ignorance of English the women cling to the work they have. Resigned to the monotony they say: “ No like to change. You know your own people. What you used to you like to do.” An old tobacco stripper had always worked in one place where she knows what they say. Her country people gave her the job. Some of the schedules read: “ In United States 20 years, but when a change necessary friends who could talk English to the boss always went with her.” ( “ Does not understand English, although came to the United States at age of 13, and is now 40. She must always ask friends where there is work, and then get someone to take her to the fac tory and talk for her.” “ Has never searched for work independently.” Often the children shared the anxieties of job hunting. A 15-yearold daughter went from place to place with her mother, reading and interpreting the signs for her. “ We walked two or three weeks like that last summer.” A niece interpreting for her aunt of 50 said: “ She could never find her way alone to the factory at first.” A 16-year-old boy showed his mother the way to the shop and “ talked for her ” and a little girl of 7 acted as guide and interpreter for her mother. For four years a young Slavic woman clung to her first job as a shaker in a laundry because the boss “ he talk Polish.” The hard work, coupled with the long hours, “ almost killed her.” Gradually she learned that there were “ nicer ” places to work and at length she found courage to quit. At 45 she is still conscious of her handi cap. “ Greenie not wanted in nice clean places.” Another girl hunted “ everywhere ” for work when her mill closed down, but upon further questioning it developed that “ everywhere ” was limited to three mills where there were Italian bosses and that she “ didn’t know where else to go.” Only two women expressed themselves as satisfied not to know English. One, a German, had been very successful in having desira ble work, and after her first job, to which her cousin took her, she had always found work alone. She assured the agent that not much is required just to ask for work, for the bosses know some German and occasionally they are “ Dutch themselves.” A charming young Magyar woman who had learned to speak English fluently gives the following account of her experience in seeking a job: “ First in 1923 I asked in the office and the man just grunted ‘ no ’ at me. I knew I must work and I could see others at work through the window, so I just said please give me a chance.” In 1925, when 108 THE IMMIGRANT WOMAN AND HER JOB again out of work, she answered an ad. for an experienced worker in a hosiery factory. “ To get the job I knew I would have to say something, so I said I was experienced, but when he took me to my machines I had never seen anything like them. But I was in with a job in sight and I couldn’t give up, and I just begged him to give me time and I would learn, and it was easy to learn. I didn’t mean to do wrong to get that job, but it is so hard to ask for work. It is always asking a favor just like asking charity.” One girl had a start different from that of most of the women. She did not seek out a place where hers was the language of the shop, but began work where English was spoken and there she has remained for 13 years. She says, proud of her accomplishment, “ So, of course, now I talk English, too.” During one call the agent complimented a young woman from Austria upon her unusual command of English. Whereupon the woman explained: “ Oh, I learned in New York before I came to Northampton. I sometimes think I was silly to learn. Now we say no English word. All the people here talk- what they call Dutch in the silk mills—even the foreman is German. I could never learn English here.” Definite choice. On the whole, skill and experience counted for little when the women started out to find work in the United States. The mass of comments give an indication of the haphazard way in which a job is selected and it is a relief to hear occasionally of a suc cessful definite choice. The most astonishing case was that of a girl who learned from her employer in Europe the name of the firm to which he shipped thread in the United States and who came directly to this address to apply for work. A German woman stated that it was three years before she found the right kind of machines and “ really good stuff ” to work on. An English woman, with 18 years’ experience in paper-box facto ries before coming to the United States, set out for a job of the same kind in this country, but everywhere the work she had done by hand was being done by machine, and, though with very little assistance she could have learned to operate the machine, no one was willing to teach her. She still hunts for “ her job ” and hopes ultimately to get her “ own work.” An Italian weaver was working as a stripper in a cigar factory while she watched for a chance to get into her own trade. A woman who had been an experienced knitter in the old country tried work here and there in about 10 plants during her first two years in America before she found what she was accustomed to, but since then she has remained five years in one job. For three years a woman who had been an experienced hosiery knitter in the old country wandered about, trying to find work that suited her. She expected to find exactly the same kind of machine, the same kind of yarn, and all the other operating conditions to which she had been accustomed. Fortunately she kept at it, and after trying about 10 places she found what she wanted. The only reason she did not try some other trade, she said, was because she was afraid. It was hard enough in an industry that she knew something about. FINDING A JOB 109 An unusually alert German girl, a weaver in the old country, sought work in a silk mill here. She was able to speak German to the “ super,” but he replied very firmly, “ No work, no help needed.” As she was passing out she stopped to look at a loom and commented on the difference between it and those she had operated. Imme diately his manner changed and he gave her the job she wanted. An experienced French weaver applied for work in the only mill where she knew the foreman was French and then waited several weeks before there was work for her, preferring to wait rather than make a failure because of inability to understand the language of other foremen. In the Lehigh Valley many were intent upon silk weaving. One girl said she knew what work was like in a cigar factory, as her older sister worked there, so she herself went to the silk mill because “ more American girls work in the silk mills.” And another deliber ately chose to work in silk because cigars, the only other work she knew about, were “ too much strong.” A Polish girl who had sewed in the old country and was bent upon finding the same kind of work here, for six weeks kept hunting with a dogged determination until, as she expressed it, she “had a place to go.” Domestic service as a first job was the definite choice of many girls and doubtless the element of chance here was small. “I always liked housework. I was taught that way and it was only thing I knew.” “Housework is best for greenhorns; they learn how to do everything and get used to the country.” “ You can learn more and you have a good home.” One woman who had done only housework or office cleaning because she “ no like factory ” recommended house work because “ you get room, clothes, everything, and can save.” But others were not so enthusiastic about housework and had gone into it first because, they said, they took what they could get and this was “ easiest to find.” “ I didn’t know English enough to find other work then.” “ I was a greenhorn and didn’t know I could do better. I knew nothing about factories then.” A woman who was a winder in the old country tried domestic service here for a little less than a year, hesitating at first to go to a factory. “ I was a greenhorn and I thought everyone would laugh at me in the mill.” Other agencies. Those who depended upon advertisements and employment agen cies were not much better off than those who hunted blindly. The clothing workers particularly watched ads in the Yiddish papers. One girl said she would starve if she could not read the papers, yet the places often were filled before she found them and frequently she failed to locate the addresses. “ I used to think I’ll be the earliest one, but when I came there I see 15 or 20 ahead of me.” “ Many weeks I hunted, all the ads I answered, but always the jobs were filled and the bosses say 1 Just leave me your name and address.’ ” Difficulties of experienced workers. Finding the first job is not the only time that getting work presents difficulties. Shutdowns, slack work, low wages, and other adverse 110 THE IMMIGBANT WOMAN AND HER JOB conditions sent experienced workers out again and again in search of employment. Almost every woman interviewed had either clung helplessly to her one and only place of employment or had experi enced much trouble in finding work if she had changed. “ Went to many places alone always; they take my name but I not talk for myself. Many times I change. "Always I wait for work two weeks, three weeks, maybe three months. I ready to do any thing.” “ I hunted long time everywhere, every day I walk around.” Lack of English was always a drawback, whether hunting for the first job or the third or fourth. Since 1922 or thereabouts the women had been finding employment conditions particularly hard. A clothing worker could not recall the number of places she had gone to for work in December, 1923, the only time she had had trouble of this kind since finding her first job in 1910. , Textile workers had had the same kind of experience, they said. “ Last four months almost no work.” “All the places slack.” “ No body finds work now.” “ No help needed, some mills keeping only their oldest workers.” A young girl who had worked only a year regretted that she left a fairly good job in a mill because it was slack, not realizing that the whole industry was affected at the time and that she could not find a better job than the one she had left. Another said: “Every time I change since 1922 I have trouble— hosiery, silk, shirts, everywhere no girls needed.” Another had had trouble in getting each of her six jobs; she looked for signs on the buildings or asked other women. She thought she often failed to get work because no help was needed, but her young son’s aside was, “ She is not educated in English.” A cigar worker complained: “It is slow getting a place. Work lasts only a couple of days, then I be home for three or four days. Then another place a few days, according to what the times run.” In 1920 a clothing worker did housework for seven months until she could find something better. A machine operator had her “ worst experience ” in 1921, when she spent several months hunting for work. Another skilled worker went from factory to factory not knowing what kind of work was done in them. For two months she was “ going around.” Someone would say, “ There is a factory, try there,” but everywhere they said, “No work; work so slack now.” She went to 10 mills one day, asking for work. “ I must work. The children need clothes.” Many have learned from experience that when their work is slack it is useless to look for work elsewhere, especially in their own trade. After taking two months to find a job Mrs. A. was loath to give it up, and although she had work only part of the time she held on: “ I no make much but I’m steady. My place runs bad, others bad too.” A clothing worker expressed the same idea: “ I don’t go out to hunt much because between seasons others haven’t work either.” An account of a similar experience follows: “ I couldn’t find. I see I didn’t get. The bosses all say, ‘ Oh, I got a girl,’ so I didn’t try any more, I wait for my job. They send for me always back again.” FINDING A JOB 111 Repeatedly the women said that they never tried to work except at their own places, as in the case of Mrs. K., who had worked off and on from 1909 to 1924 in the same cigar factory. “ The boss call me back when he gets work,” she said; “ always I knew my place.” It was she who made the comment “ Greenhorns need their wives to help them,” as she explained why she always returned to the factory as soon as her babies were a few months old. Age a drawback. In addition to ignorance of English the women found that age was a handicap. This was the experience of the woman of 38 who re peated the words of the superintendent of one plant where she ap plied for work: “ He pointed to the sign and said, ‘ It reads girls wanted, not old women.’ ” At the age of 42 a woman returned to a cigar factory as a stripper although in her youth she had been a roller. u Stripping is an old lady’s job,” she said; “old women not get every place. Factory is for young girls.” Even a woman who had learned to speak English felt that her age was against her. She was in her forties when she returned to work after an absence of 16 years from the shop. “ I would try to get other work but it is hard, for an old person to get work and I didn’t know where else to go. They take younger women first.” One of the most appealing cases was that of a rag sorter of 63 with no other industrial experience; because she can not speak English she goes where her friend first took her years ago. Her final com ment was, “ Both of us old now, no one wants old people in America.” A woman of 53, who had been in the United States 28 years and had woiked in restaurant kitchens, retained a vivid impression of her vain search for work in the summer of 1924; the experience seemed to have blotted out all her former efforts to find work: “Too old Boss all time holler, ‘ I want young girls, young girls.’ When we are young and strong it is all right in America, but we wear out pretty soon, then what? In old country better for old people; they can stay on farms.” J ADJUSTMENT IN THE JOB Not only did finding a job present various difficulties but frequently there were nonadjustments in the jobs found and these the women accepted as inevitable. In telling why they remained in one plant or why they left another the workers quite unconsciously gave the picture of their industrial life in America. To what extent the foreigner has had greater difficulty in fitting into industry than has the native it is impossible to say, since many of the obstacles encoun tered by the foreigner are met also by the native-born American. Nevertheless it is acknowledged that the immigrant bears the greater burden because in addition to all other difficulties is the endeavor to understand and be understood by a people whose language and cus toms are wholly strange. Personal antagonisms or prejudices may have caused some of the women to exaggerate or to make understatements, but the composite picture that emerges from their stories may be regarded as a fairly true characterization of an attitude of mind that deserves thoughtful consideration. _ In answering questions as to how they liked their work in America and which of all the jobs they had had in America they liked best, one after another of the women would say: “ I must like, I make a living”; “My business to like it”; “Sure, I have to like, I need money.” Kepeatedly the grim answer “I must like” indicated a total lack of interest or enthusiasm for the job and a resignation to the necessity of working. This fatalistic view was noticed particularly among the older women of Jewish or Slavic extraction. A Jewish widow working in a hosiery mill had struggled for five years to support three children. Speaking of the desirability of her job she replied quite naturally, “ Well, I couldn’t help, if I’m not liking I have to do it.” 1 Another woman whose present occupation, stripping tobacco, brought her only $7 to $8 a week, said: “ I must like. What I eat, if I not work? ” She had been employed in a shirt factory and in a jute mill, and every year she tried to get a few weeks’ work in the country digging potatoes or husking corn. This Slovak widow of 43, glancing about her small house, commented “ Not much to clean ”; but she seemed grateful that she had managed to keep from starving. Still another woman “ must like ” her job, for although she had been working 14 years as a roller in a cigar factory the family had not yet succeeded in paying for their home. A few younger women had much the same attitude toward their work as was expressed by these mature women after long years of difficult experiences. The young German girl whose comment was, “ Have to like it, it’s daily bread,” had been in the United States but two years, during which time, besides supporting herself, she had 112 ADJUSTMENT IN THE JOB 113 paid back the borrowed passage money and had sent half her pay to her widowed mother in the old country. A young Jewish woman with a vivid memory of a massacre in the old country had been working a year as a collar setter and in that time had had no advance in the $12 wage of her first week in the industry. In regard to her job she too feels, “ I must like. I must make a living.” A few women frankly admitted that they had found no work they really enjoyed. One woman whose job was hand quilting, which she described as so simple that anyone can do it, in speaking of her ex perience said: u I work because I like the money. I like the money but not the job.” A German woman who since 1905 had never been long without work, chiefly in restaurants, summarized her experience thus: “A long while in one place, a few months in another place. I go in a place, I have to think it good, it don’t make any difference where; all the same.” In contrast to the group of stolid, uncomplaining women who saw no possibilities in their work and looked for nothing except a pay envelope at the end of the week, were many who expressed satisfac tion with their work and appreciation of the people for whom they were working. One young Jewish girl accounted for the cause of dissatisfaction of many of her friends when she said: “ When the women have trouble it’s because the employer doesn’t realize that they are as necessary to him as the job is to the women; it’s no path of roses either way.” This girl liked her job, hand finishing in a cloth ing factory. My mind is free and while I work I can think of all I ve read and all I’ve seen.” The following comments, selected at random, show how apprecia tive the women were of considerate treatment: One was satisfied in the cigar factory “ because the boss has good respect for me. An Italian remained on her job because she liked the Italian fore man. Lots of places they not talk Italian.” One woman was very keen about her job “ because the boss calls me back' ; that is, slack seasons did not trouble her, for she knew that she would be notified as soon as there was work. Another woman was happy in her laundry work “ because they are so nice to their help, they are nice people.” Another made a similar comment about the hosiery mill where she was working: “ They treat the women nice, nobody say anything, no boss holler, no boss yell.” In various industries—silk, hosiery, and jute—the women were con tented, some because they had found work vastly easier than what they had been accustomed to, others because the hours of work, or seats and a chance to use them, made a job seem desirable. Many were enthusiastic about their jobs without giving any reason. In this g™uP YaS ■ , Y/irri!in who had done pairing for 14 years in a hosiery mill she said, “I always stick to my job, I like it so ’’-and the lace worker whose comment was, “ This is a fine job, nicest one I ever had. Another worker when contrasting her life on a farm in Lurgenland with her present job in a cigar factory talked about the nicer work here. A woman of 41 was more than content to feed 114 THE IMMIGRANT WOMAN AND HER JOB the breakers in a jute mill, for in spite of the fact that it was physi cally hard work she found it easy to learn—“ I didn’t have to know anything to learn ”—and she considered it a good place for an “ old greenhorn.” There seemed to be a sort of dumb satisfaction with the job among the jute workers, even the woman who was getting 25 cents an hour after 13 years as a breaker showed no discontent and was proud to have worked always for the one firm. “ I never left here,” she said. A power-machine sewer was glad to work in a trade observing t^ie 8-hour day and Saturday half-holiday. An office cleaner liked her job because she worked at night and could remain home during the day when she was needed to care for the children and do her own housework; to her the convenience of the work hours more than compensated for other drawbacks. An experienced silk weaver com mented favorably on her job, for although she had worked in several mills this was the first where stools had been provided for the weav ers ; and another weaver made a similar remark: “ There is a bench for each loom and a chance to sit.” After doing daywork for some time one woman had finally found her place and for 12 years had been a presser in a clothing factory. “ Now fine pressing is my trade. I’m the best there and I iron all the samples.” One woman was content because she still retained her job as a hand stripper; she knew she wouldn’t like to work on one of the modern stripping machines. Another, pleased with her job, assured the agent, “ If we work hard, the boss he like.” INDUSTRIAL REASONS FOR DISSATISFACTION Dissatisfaction as expressed by the women did not refer to one mill but to many, not to one laundry but to many, and the experiences of these women had extended over several years; but they talked of events of 20 years ago almost in the same breath in which they de scribed present-day conditions. And whether they talked of one industry or another, or of the past or the present, the impress that American industry had made upon them wTas unmistakable. In the following tabulation of the reasons given by the women for leaving their jobs a correlation with the industry has been made whenever the reason seemed to bear directly upon the conditions of work. In cases where the women had left more than one job the cause for leaving each such job is included, but when various reasons were given for leaving one job only the first reason mentioned has been used in the tabulation, ADJUSTMENT IN THE JOB Table 115 51.—Condition in the industry reported as reason for leaving job, by industry Number of times condition specified was reported as reason for leaving job in— Domestic and personal service The manufacture ofReason for leaving job Total Plant closed, shut down, moved, or worker laid off, discharged Work slack Low wages Hours unsatisfactory Bad working condi tions Poor managerial pol icies......... ................ Personalities; lan guage Physical strain____ Illness attributed to job Return to former job or trade For better or differ ent job................... . All in dus tries Other Sales indus and tries cler or ical occu Mis House Ci Cloth work pa Woolen cellan work Other ing Knit gars tions Silk and eous 2 goods goods worsted Other1 goods 1,860 Textiles 441 267 119 236 133 58 194 204 85 55 65 33 32 57 32 53 37 38 15 5 12 18 46 26 47 399 64 221 462 22 128 53 24 85 47 103 142 22 8 80 52 11 1 118 28 18 167 46 12 . 18 1 115 85 8 28 16 1 26 24 3 4 69 22 1 14 1 2 2 15 16 44 3 29 3 1 1 3 4 1 2 36 1 10 9 5 4 3 3 11 4 16 2 16 14 9 4 9 6 10 3 14 3 13 21 15 21 1 1 2 18 7 9 15 10 6 3 1 Includes 28 women in jute manufacturing. 2 Includes 37 women in food manufacturing and 28 in rag sorting. No work. Trade conditions causing shutdowns, lay offs, and part-time em ployment, such as were described in the section on irregularity of employment (pp. 100 to 102), accounted for a third of the cases of shifting from job to job appearing in this table. No industry is with out examples of this. With the exception of housework, cigar manu facture has the smallest proportion of cases. In over a hundred cases the workers had returned to some former employment, this change frequently being tied up with trade con ditions in the industry. In addition to fairly definite reasons there were others more general, and without being specific the women seemed to think that if they “ didn’t like ” the work or wanted a “ better job ” these were sufficient reasons for changing. Low wages. More than any other reason low wages had caused women to leave their jobs. This seems to have been the case particularly in the cmar industry and in housework. The cut in rates for cigar making had caused discontent generally among the workers. And the women who had formerly done housework referred again and again to the low wages they had received in such employment: “ $2 a week never pay for the ship card.” Though she had been an experienced cigar maker in the old coun try, a change in style first presented difficulties to a girl who found 116 THE IMMIGRANT WOMAN AND HER JOB “ they made long, straight ones here.” It took her several weeks to get up her speed making a long cigar instead of a short one. During this period of learning her earnings were very meager, and when it seemed to her that she had about acquired her usual speed the factory cut down its working schedule to four days a week, so she had never known a full week’s pay in her trade. In the case of the clothing workers who found their earnings too low to warrant staying longer on the job, wages were so interrelated with slack work and undertime that it is difficult to separate the two. This is true also, though to a less extent, in the various branches of the textile industry and in the group classified as miscellaneous manufacturing. When an Italian rag sorter was promoted from sorting to baling she asked for a raise of $1 a week. She was refused and quit, only to find work in another rag shop. In the new place she had advanced to the position of forelady, earning $13.75 a week, “ the highest wage anyone earns.” So she is content. References to the amounts earned in different jobs would mean little unless correlated with the year, but whether the job was held 20 years ago or 2 years ago the women regarded their pay as too small—that is, below the average or inadequate to provide a decent living. Pay while learning. Many women recalled the first few weeks in industry, when they had struggled to live on their slight earnings or no earnings at all. A Polish girl related how she went with a fellow countrywoman and neighbor to her first factory, where this neighbor taught her powermachine sewing. After about six weeks an employee at the next machine, a German wTho spoke Polish, asked the girl about her earn ings. To her amazement the new girl learned that all other begin ners on the same work were receiving $5 or $6 a week, while she was getting only $3, and it developed that her friendly neighbor was getting half the pay due her as commission for supplying a worker. The need of immediate earnings had made it impossible for most of the newcomers to spend weeks learning any of the more skilled kinds of work, during which time they would earn no wages—“ learn for nothing,” as one of them explained. Not all were so fortunate as the girl who said: “For six weeks T had no pay, learning to weave; guess I would have starved if I hadn’t lived with my sister for nothing.” In 1914 an illiterate girl started work as a cigar roller. She “ went for work where the others go,” but earning not more than $3 during the first two weeks and fearing it would take too long to increase her pay, she left the factory. Now as she looks back she realizes her mistake in not remaining through the apprenticeship period, and her comment is “ I foolish then—I stripper now.” In 1905 another girl worked on through two months without any pay while she learned power-machine sewing. Comparing industry as the immigrants found it in the early 1900’s with that of the present day, one woman said: “ Many greenhorns came then and the wages were small, but I’m glad I came so early, for although the pay was low it was easier to get a machine then and easier to learn.” ADJUSTMENT IN THE JOB 117 First wages were likely to be wholly inadequate, as in the case of the girl who, out of her $3 a week, paid her uncle $1.50 for board and $1 toward the cost of her passage, which he had advanced. It was not unusual for the women to feel that because they were “ green horns ” they not only worked for very low wages but received less consideration than the others, and one who had begun her industrial career in the basement kitchen of a dingy restaurant made the com ment: “ I had the hardest, heaviest w’ork to do all the time.” Applicants for jobs sometimes hesitated to inquire the rates of pay, and if they did ask they were likely to receive an evasive answer. Two women who had not worked long enough to have had a pay day in the jobs they were holding when interviewed explained that they could not tell what their wages would be because “ Many times you don’t ask, for you know the bosses sometimes get sore about it ” and “ So glad I get a job, I couldn’t ask about the pay yet.” One girl, when asked about her wage in a job begun two days before, replied: “ I’m not privileged to ask, for it isn’t my trade. It is what they give you.” Changes in method of pay. Changes in method of pay and efficiency systems were a source of uneasiness to some. Before such a change one textile hand inter viewed could reckon her pay, but now it is too complicated for her to understand. A tobacco stripper found that her earnings were less when the bundle of tobacco leaves—the basis of the wage rate—was enlarged. When a topper in a hosiery mill was transferred from a job on ladies’ hose to half hose the machine adjustments were so different that her pay envelope became alarmingly thin and she finally quit. Then she added exultantly, “ But now the girls on that job are all right, for the union has set the rates so you can earn as much on one kind of hose as the other.” A weaver who “ quit her job ” when the boss refused the raise she asked for learned that the increase was offered immediately to those who remained. “ I do that for them,” she said proudly. Jedging by the comments of the women, a cutting of wage rates had been quite general after the peak of 1919-20, a strange experience for those who had worked as long as 10, 15, or even 20 years with out. a reduction. Naturally they protested, but in vain—“ the boss said ‘ I cut everybody. I cut you.’ ” The case of a power-machine operator in an upholstery shop was happier than most. For years she had speeded away, earning some times $12 per week, and sometimes $15, never more. She heard of the higher wages in other shops and mustered courage to ask for a raise. This was flatly refused. She accepted the boss’s decision as final and it never occurred to her to look for employment elsewhere; but good workers were in demand and a foreman from another shop called at her home, offering her the same kind of work at double the rate. Even so she was loath to leave her old boss, but the inducement was too much to refuse; and throughout the depression that followed, when others were out of work or having their wages cut she had steady work in her new job with increasingly higher pay. 118 THE IMMIGRANT WOMAN AND HER JOB A clothing worker, unable to earn sufficient during the day after rates were cut, brought home immense bundles of overcoats to trim and clean during the evening, the rate for this kind of work being 2 cents a coat. The week before she was interviewed she had worked four nights until 11 or 12 o’clock and received for the week’s employ ment, including her work in the shop and her overtime at home, $9.75. She was working when the agent called and the kitchen table and chairs were piled high with overcoats. The call caused no inter ruption in the work. Difficulty in collecting wages. It seems incredible that employers should exploit labor by with holding wages or by the nonpayment of wages that had been fairly earned. Yet an Italian girl, one of the most recent immigrants visited, related the following experience: The Italian boss of the shop where she sewed on coats kept promising to pay her, and at the end of three weeks owed her $31.80. Meantime she had nothing, and expecting to get what was due her she kept promising to pay her landlady the rent. “All the girls waiting; no money for car fare, no lunches but bread brought from home.” The boss said: “ I pay next week”; then, “I pay after Sunday.” But after Sunday the girls found the door locked. The office assistant promised to get their pay and to meet them with it “ on Market Street,” but they were never able to find him. The machines were removed from the shop. A few of the girls, after spending “ lots of days ” trying to find the boss, went to the city hall, but they discovered that the cost of collecting would amount to more than their wages. It was all very discouraging. “ Then what I do ? I get married. He want me; he help me pay my ship card. I help him buy nice things”; and she pointed to the kitchen table and chairs. Their two rooms shone with newness, purchased on the installment plan, for she had married a laborer whose earnings were barely $20 a week. Several firms had the reputation of “ holding back ” the money due the girls for the first few weeks of work, and it was next to im possible to collect this back pay. A girl who had worked for five weeks while learning her job signed a paper which, she understood, was a promise on her part to work a year with her employers, at the end of which time they in turn were to pay her $8 for each of the five weeks of the learning period. She had worked more than the year stipulated but the sum had not been paid. “ Many times I ask.” A bright Hungarian girl, whose parents were old and whose young brother “ must be a success,” in speaking of conditions confronting a woman with responsibilities at home said that the girls are afraid and take anything. “ You feel like a slap in the face when you ask for a raise and the boss refuses. ‘You make well enough, be quiet. If you do not like it you can get out. I taught you. Look how much I give you already. You know nothing before I learned you.’ ” She went on to say that the present boss makes mistakes in the pay roll and the girls are afraid to tell him. Besides, some girls do not know how to figure. “He forgot to pay me overtime. I Avorked on two nights before Easter to 8 o’clock. He pulled off $6.80 on me. I kept telling him two Aveeks and he tells me to go where; but he likes me for my work and gave it in my pay last time. Last ADJUSTMENT IN THE JOB 119 year I was shy, too, and I never fuss for anything under $1, but now I get tired telling him about all 25 cents. I copy in my book all the amounts on the work slips before I take them back to the forelady, so I know what I do just like a bookkeeper. It takes a little bit of sense to keep it. That’s the way they do in a union shop. Bosses don’t make such mistakes in union shops. Not all bosses are like this one.” One can almost hear the petty wrangling and bickering over these small amounts. Annie expected that $5 would be paid her at the end of her 6-week learning period, but through some oversight her name was not on the books. She stayed on, hoping to get the $5, as her pocketbook was empty. “ I talked lots and the other girls all talked lots, too, before he paid it.” Personalities; language difficulties. In over a hundred cases women had left work because of friction with employers or other employees; they were sensitive to anything that suggested other than impartial treatment toward themselves and the workers who were American-born. Sometimes the clashing of personalities would make a job so unendurable in one place that the girls would quit, expecting to find conditions more harmonious in another plant. Their accounts were brief: Had an argument with the boss. We had a personal tight. Many arguments. He boss so much. The boss always picked on me. The people got me sore; sometimes they think I didn’t do enough and the work wasn’t right. They wouldn’t let me earn enough. If you hurry all day, it’s all right; but if you go little bit slow, then he say “Get to hell.” That man was cruel. If the girls made a mistake, he yelled at them • he all the time scream at us. The boss so rough; he say, “Go home, stay home,” always yelling I get so excited I don't do anything right. The boss was too common; lie was not an intelligent man. The bosses get so fresh. They are not Christian American people any more The super scares the girls—always he yell at them. Not infrequently the women left places when they had not the medium of a common language. A Pole said, “ The other girls were all Italian and were always talking against me.” A Slovak’s com ment was, I didn’t like it there. The German ladies stayed to gether and there was only one other Slavic girl, and I didn’t like that.” One German remarked, “ Too many Russians there and no Burgenlanders.” Another said, “The foreman wanted the Italians to have the best warps.” A learner, in speaking of her first job, said of the American boss: “ He just yelled and motioned how to do the work.” There was no fellow countryman to help this girl, and after a week’s struggle with the simple job she gave up. “ The boss, he all the time yell at me ” A ‘ greenhorn ” just 18 years old spent but half a day in her first mill. ‘Only two other girls in the big room who could talk. It was so dark and lonesome.” But in her next place this girl remained eight years as a spinner. 65661°—30---- 9 120 THE IMMIGRANT WOMAN AND HER JOB In her first job another woman was learning to double silk, but “ the people were no good, always fighting, and I couldn’t talk to explain,” and when the forelady slapped her to make her understand she quit. She stated that she was much happier in a cigar factory, where “ all talk the same.” Although she could not say how she got the impression, one woman asserted quite positively that after a strike those who knew English got their jobs back because the blame was put on those who did not know English. Like her, many were so conscious of their ignorance of English that they became supersensitive and thought they were being imposed upon because they were “ greenies.” Repeated refererences were made to foremen who had taken advantage of their ignorance and given them the worst jobs; for example, tobacco strip pers felt that they had been imposed upon “ when the boss put them there to strip.” Textile workers also had their grievances. One woman had been satisfied to take a job as a quiller upon the promise of getting weaving soon. When she saw that several new American girls were given weaving in preference to herself she began asking for looms also, but she was put off with a promise, “Next time you get a loom.” But she never did, and she left without understanding why she was not given a job as a weaver. In the same way a bobbin girl of 16 was promised a job of winding, but it was “ all promises.” She saw four new girls hired for winding at 16 cents an hour—■“ more American ” girls than she—and meanwhile extra frames were given her until she felt like a “chore boy” with so much running. In despair she finally quit, blaming the foreman for her bad luck. Women who were shakers in laundries, gill-box tenders in woolen mills, and breakers in jute mills frequently remarked that Americans would not do the kinds of work they were doing. Hand seasoning in tanneries is not an easy job. It consists of rubbing—with a long, constant sweeping motion of the arm—a stain into the leather stretched on a table before the worker. Machine seasoning is much less exhausting, for this means feeding the hides into a manglelike machine that does the staining. The Polish women felt bitter because those who knew English were given the preference in these machine jobs. It seemed never to have occurred to them that they might learn English so as to understand instructions about the work and the machine. Extreme dissatisfaction with conditions is expressed by the women in ineffectual walkouts—strikes, as they call them. This is appar ently the only way the workers have of releasing their pent-up feel ings. The strike of the Lehigh Valley cigar workers in 1924 was most vivid in the memory of several of the women interviewed. At least 50 referred to it in an attempt to explain their feelings toward conditions prevailing in their plants, even though this strike, as a protest against the cut in rate, the long hours, and the poor quality of tobacco, had gained nothing for them in the end. There were other women who had not taken the strike seriously, seeming to know little of its cause, its settlements, or its details. One poor soul asked helplessly, “ Why in America women have to fight the bosses ? Why the bosses always scold and always holler ?■ ” One intelligent woman thought that the failure of the strike was due largely to the lack of leadership and unity among the women ADJUSTMENT IN THE JOB 121 themselves. For, though there was a general exodus from the plant at nrst, the women were not organized and could not come to an agreement among themselves. Some wanted the 8-hour day, while n,hTnVafraii theLCould not earn en°ugh in 8 hours, insisted on the lU-nour day. Many languages complicated the situation. “ The Hungarians said to the Winds they did not know what they wanted. 1 hey said to me. You are German; you go with the Jews.’ I said, *rs’ ^ stand in this corner and holler for my side; you stand in hat corner and holler for your side; and some one else stand in another corner and holler for her side ’; and we didn’t get anything ” Several women were quite disgusted because the workers did not stay out longer. Their comment was that “ foreign women were too easily frightened by the boss.” One woman said that she was learn ing English so as to fight for herself next time. “ The girls are so dumb.” b Managerial policies. The satisfactory adjustment of the worker to the job depended to a great extent upon the condition of the equipment in the plant. In this the machine and the condition of the stock that the worker must handle play equally important parts. A mismatched team trying to adjust themselves to each other’s speed and shortcomings was a frequent cause for complaint, and the difficulties of learning and becoming established discouraged many. Machines.—The remarks of the women about the machines they had to operate reflect the timidity and alarm of those to whom machinery was entirely new and strange. “ Machine goes so quick. I can’t keep up so fast.” A doffer “ didn’t like the machine—so big, so hard to take care of, and too much noise. Of combs in the card room a girl said, “ It looked so ugly, ^ KJ1V-.e^’ aiM another “wanted to run away” as soon as she started the machine. You have to use your arms and feet so much. Your whole body has to move when you sew,” said a stitcher One girl who gave up a machine operation after two days because she could not get used to the noise never tried factory work again but she regretted this—‘No one tell me machine all right by and by when I get used to it.” 6 J “ After six months a Russian Jewess left her job in a clothinofactory because “ the machines were so close, so noisy, there was no breath. Another said of power-machine sewing, “For the eyes bad, for the mmd stale; no time to think, all the time run, run.” u a Ie riiac,l"'<js seemed to get out of order for unaccountable reasons hornet lung the matter with the machine”; the girls must “lose time waiting for the machine fixer”; and “the foreman tired of hxmg my machine were common complaints. A rather retiring girl told how the other workers crowded her out of her turn in getting woik inspected or her machine fixed. Her machine was delicate and broke down often and the forelady would fix the machines of older workers first, leaving the new hands to wait. One day, after wait ing what seemed to her like hours, she quit, hoping to find a better machine somewhere in another shop. A weaver, young in years but old in experience, had learned “ never tnnW? a g7d 7 first y°u, g°„to a mill, for nobody before you left a good job for something else.” In one place she had found 122 THE IMMIGRANT WOMAN AND HER JOB the “ warp so bad, so many ends out, and I spent so much time pull ing them in with the reed knife I couldn’t make out. The boss Kept promising and promising something better but always the same bad warp. If it wasn’t one thing, it was another. In another place I had old looms; one was always broken and I had to wait so long for the loom fixer; sometimes 20 minutes and once over an hour. . I couldn’t afford to wait so much so I quit.” Others made similar remarks. “ Much trouble—bad silk all the time; second-hand looms and everything loose on them.” Dissatisfaction with the small number of looms also was ex pressed. One employee who saw one of her three looms taken from her and given to a new girl quit her job. Though an experienced weaver was given three looms, one was “ no good ” and she could not make as much as on two good looms, so she left. Sometimes the weavers gave up their jobs because they had only one loom; “ could not make on one loom ” was their comment. Some of the older women had seen changes in machinery and the introduction of more modern methods of production that threatened their positions in the factory. A few silk pickers felt that their occupation was not so good as it had been, because a machine was turning out much of the work formerly done by hand. With ma chine picking the method of pay also had been changed from a piecework to a timework basis, and the earnings of the women had fallen off. In the cigar industry the stripping machine had displaced some of the women. “ It makes the pay smaller,” was their chief com plaint. When stripping machines were introduced, a foreman prom ised to teach one of the old hand strippers how to operate them. Meanwhile she was laid off and waited two weeks, going back to inquire from time to time, and at every inquiry the foreman renewed his promise to teach her. Not until she saw that all the machines had operators did she realize that she had to find another job. “ Bad for hand strippers now.” The recent introduction of the automatic cigar-making machine in one of the factories in the Lehigh Valley was making the women apprehensive about their jobs as they saw themselves gradually being displaced and no other kinds of employment open to them. As a rule, the older, experienced women were not given an opportunity to learn to operate the machines. “ They wanted young girls and couldn’t use me,” was a remark heard again and again. Poor stock.—The poor quality of the raw material on which the women worked was the cause of much discontent, as poor stock is harder to handle and slows down production. Some of the bitter est complaints made by the cigar workers referred to the quality of the tobacco: “ They give us bad stock, but they want good work.” “Rotten stock, bum pay.” “Every place you go they give you rotten stock and don’t let you make enough.” One woman’s pro duction had been cut about half when she began working with a poorer grade of tobacco, even though the rate of pay remained unchanged. When poor tobacco is used it is difficult to cut the required number of wrappers from a leaf, and in cutting it is likely to be wasted. ADJUSTMENT IN THE JOB 123 They are then “short with wrappers” and the “foreman fight about it so all the people look at you.” After 3^ years with a firm one cigar wrapper left because “ The stuff was so bad, I used too much. They were scolding me all the time.” One girl had pre ferred, instead of “ fight too much,” to quit and find a place where “ they don’t give you hell yet.” “ He have not good respect for the tobacco; he call my work short; he always make a row” were the comments of another worker. Workers in the textile mills had trouble with the quality of the fibers and threads: “Poor material.” “Rotten warp.” “Work running bad and poor pay.” “ Silk was bad.” One woman re marked : “ The work runs so bad, I quit. Then the boss would send tor me and say, ‘ I’ll fix the work all right for you,’' but he no fix.” “ You don’t get your warp in and you have to wait and wait.” Another said: “ You might find the work left all in a tangle. You would know to look at it such a place can’t pay.” Teamtworlc.—In the Lehigh Valley cigars were made chiefly by hand, three girls working together in a team, the buncher keeping the two rollers supplied with stock. Again and again the cigar workers referred to the drawback of ill-balanced teams. Rollers complained of irregular or poor bunch makers or of having none at all. “ She make bad bunches, so my work bad, too, and I quit.” Waited three days for a bunch maker, then I quit.” “ Bunch maker gone every week a day.” “ When you don’t have bunch maker you have to go to another factory. They kept telling me, ‘ Next week you 11 have a bunch maker,’ but she not come.” “ No got bunch maker, got to get other job.” Slow rollers annoyed a swift buncher, who frequently must quit by the middle of the afternoon, since she had made enough bunches to keep the rollers busy the rest of the day. “I like to work to 5 o’clock, too. I no got strong cigar roller.” A cigar buncher who had been unavoidably absent from the fac tory found when she returned that there was no roller for her. Although she had worked for the firm several years, no effort was made to fit her into another team, and the foreman insisted that as she was old now ” (she was 38) she could not expect to have another roller and so had better do stripping. After having been a stripper it was impossible for her to get a job as a buncher, and when it was too late she realized her mistake in submitting to the change in jobs. On the other hand, bunch makers whose pay was regulated by the piece-work earnings of the two rollers were dissatisfied and quit their jobs because the rollers were slow or irregular in their work. “ Some times no roller—she stay home.” Th® impossibility of a German cigar buncher conversing with the Hungarian rollers on the team made a critical situation in one plant. Each m her own tongue shifted the blame for the poor work being done. The trouble ended in a quarrel, and the buncher left the factory. When women said that they had quit a job because “ the people there no good ” it usually developed that race prejudice and misunderstandings, exaggerated by inability of the workers to converse with one another, were the real causes. Workers in other industries seldom made reference to poorly bal anced teamwork. The case of a topper in a hosiery mill is an excep 124 THE IMMIGRANT WOMAN AND HER JOB tion. After three days as a topper, she gave up a job that promised well, because she was so driven in her elfort to keep up with the knitters. “ Didn’t have time to go to the dressing room or even to get a drink.” But in contrast to these occasional misfits were many more who were well matched and worked together harmoni ously. A buncher, aged 42, had a slow roller, but her comment was that she herself was getting slow; “ not so young now.” Unsatisfactory arrangements for teaching.—In only one mill had the firm supplied an instructor for the apprentice weavers. Instruc tion usually was a personal arrangement between the girl who wanted to learn and a friend or relative who was an experienced weaver in the mill. These friends taught the beginners on their own looms and it was customary for the learners to pay them $5 or $10, some times $15. Occasionally a gift instead of money was presented to the teacher. The learning period varied from one to four weeks and during the period of apprenticeship there was no pay. One woman told how she had been given a loom at the end of three weeks, her first week’s earnings being $2.50. A girl who expressed a desire to learn weaving, when asked what hindered her replied: “ Who going to learn you ? Factory not give you the chance. Have to find yourself someone willing to show you. It takes money.” Moreover, there is no agreement on the part of the management to furnish looms after the job is learned. The arrangement is most informal; it is not always certain that the girls can get their own looms when the learning period is passed, and even after they start on one loom often there is difficulty in getting enough looms to make the job pay. “ Silk-mill people are very hard on their workers in regard to their looms,” is the impression of one young girl whose time spent in learning was lost, since she never got looms of her own, and she finally had to go to a cigar factory because there was “ noth ing else to do.” _ _ Several years ago a similar situation had been prevalent in cigar factories. It was customary for rollers and bunchers to work with out pay while they learned their trade, though strippers began earn ing at once, and many were forced to select stripping instead of roll ing or bunching. One woman of 35 had begun work as a stripper in 190T. She had kept at it whenever her domestic duties permitted, and with only a stripper’s pay she had been the chief wage earner in the family for three years. Ip a tone of regret she said that she would have liked to learn rolling, but she “ couldn’t live for nothing while learning,” and now they want younger apprentices. ' A girl who had borrowed $80 to come to America felt so bur dened' with debts that she started at once as a stripper. Another, who had not expected to work many years, had begun as a stripper, never guessing that at the end of 11 years she still would be stripping, else she would have learned “ something that paid better.” A stripper felt that she had lost the opportunity of her life because she was ill just when she had a chance to learn bunch making. The following two instances, one of a woman with years of ex perience and the other of a girl spending her first day in industry, indicate how the worker’s failure to get the employer’s point of view gave her no choice but to look for work elsewhere; ADJUSTMENT IN THE JOB 125 On the reorganization of a plant a forelady, who had been with the firm for 19 years, was given a piecework job that she had not done tor a long time and for which she no longer had speed and skill. Naturally she had to leave. . It took considerable courage for a new girl to give up her first .job when she heard the employer discharging another girl because the _ greenhorn [referring to herself] would work cheaper.” Piecework. In many of the industrial jobs piecework was driving the workers to their utmost speed, as they wanted to earn the extra pennies. The rate of pay for polishing the heads of brass screws was 60 cents a thousand. “ If I do 5,000 a day, that is $8. It is not so hard, but every minute you’ve got to be quick.” Another said: “ It is how much you work. Some day no feel so good, don’t make much. Some weeks $18, other weeks, you know you get bad stock.” J ’ The young pace setter in one factory was rather proud of the distinction. 14 I’m supposed to be the fastest worker. When a new girl comes for work Mr. G. takes my card to show her how much I make.” However, some of the women were keen about piecework and seemed dissatisfied when another basis of pay was used. A girl dis couraged with her timework earnings of $12 a week said, “ My place not so good. They promise you piecework, but it is only promises.” Others had left because “ there was no chance for piecework.” Disgust with the piecework rates was expressed occasionally. Many tobacco strippers felt that they “ hurry all the time and work too hard for anything.” The maximum pay of a Slovak woman was $20. She sighed as she remarked: “Twenty is too much. I work too hard all time to get it.” Another said: “ I work like an automat.” A clothing operator who had packed crackers during a slack sea son m her trade found that she could not keep up with the speed of the conveyor. To earn the standard rate she was expected to fill piles and piles of boxes ” a day. “ I quit. He can find another fool if she is willing.” Unlike most of the women a silk weaver with experience in several mills seemed delighted to be in a mill “ nicer ” than all the others be cause there was no piecework, and she never wants to return to the old system of pay. , Another weaver, who had been promoted to the position of weav ing instructor, appreciated the change. “ They give you a chance, they dont hurry and bully you. You’re not on a rush, and don’t get too tired.” Speeding was wearing out some women. “All the time I’m tired. It’s piecework, and operating on men’s vests is cheap work. I hurry all the time to make anything.” A “ speed fiend ” who had made as high as $39 on piecework in a cigar factory changed to housework after a very few years because Sii ,tl.iougbt it would be healthier.” Upon further inquiry she added, “ Well, I guess I speeded myself to death.” Although not on a machine job, seamstresses in dressmaking shops had felt the nervous strain of speeding, and this combined with 126 THE IMMIGRANT WOMAN AND HER JOB long hours and low pay made conditions all but unbearable. The comments of a woman who had worked also in the needle trades in the old country are illuminating: “ The madame says the work must be done if we get our pay from the lady who wants the dress. Then we don’t have any supper time but sew, sew, sew till sometimes 8 o’clock, 9 o’clock. That rushing. Once I said that I didn’t want to stay and was leaving; she gave me $2, and I worked that night until the dress was done.” For a “long time” in 1924 she had wTorked like this for $10 a wTeek. “ I haven’t got the education, but I’m not dumb,” she added, “ and I know I do lots of things nicer than the others, but I didn’t get the pay.” Contrasting her work in a clothing factory with her previous experience in a dressmaking shop, working under high-speed pres sure and trying to please “ fussy customers,” another girl said: “ Here, one boss to please. Every day the same hours; I do one thing, I get it done.” Physical strain. A surprising number of women had left jobs because of the physical strain of the work and illnesses attributed to it. Housework.—More women left housework than quit any other job because it was: “ Too hard.” “ Too heavy.” “ I not strong enough.” “ So much to do—not go to church.” “ Work all the time—work so early, so late.” “ Clean 10 rooms, wash dishes, wash clothes.” “ Too hard, I too skinny, I get sick.” On the whole, “maiding,” as many of the women called it, was not popular as a job. Comments selected at random from the sched ules give a picture of lonely girls handicapped by new ways of housekeeping, new customs, and a new language. “ Not hear a Polish word spoken, couldn’t stand it.” “ Everything new, learn everything new.” “ I so lonesome I cried all the time.” “ I wanted to see some people.” Eye stram.—Eye strain was complained of particularly by women employed in textiles—hosiery and silk. “ So hard for eyes. Couldn’t see enough to earn.” After two days as a topper a girl quit because “ It was too bad for the eyes. I have good eyes. Why should I spoil them ? ” A few gave up silk weaving because they “couldn’t see the fine threads. I crazy. Eyes no good.” One weaver who needed glasses said, “ Gotta eye every night, gotta feet every night.” Exhaustion.—Not all the women who talked about their tired, aching feet had left their jobs, but an Italian woman of 58 who had been working seven years as a doffer—her only job in the United States—had given it up because “ stand all day and when I come home I can’t even walk.” Her daughter said she did not know what other work her mother could find. While the weavers found it “ hard to stand 10 hours, not healthy,” the cigar makers complained of the strain on their backs. “ Too hard, sit all the time. Every day, my back.” “ Lots of times head ache and backache. You’re sitting all the time and you have to bend down.” A cigar roller aged 34, who had been at the job since she was 15 years old, was “ afraid ” she wouldn’t be able to work much longer, her shoulders were “so bad from bending over the work so many years,” ADJUSTMENT IN THE JOB 127 Textile workers particularly referred to the physical exertion of repeated bending, lifting, and standing. “ Starting and stopping the loom takes all your strength.” “ Had to lean so much to fasten up ends.” A weaver who was pregnant had to give up her job because of the lifting of the weights on the loom, and when inter viewed she was worrying lest she should not get back her looms when she returned to work. A winder complained of the effort to reach the reels above her head. A ribbon weaver found the high reach and stretching on ribbon looms too difficult, and at the end of three months gave it up. Another woman was transferred to box looms, and had to resign before she became accustomed to the work. Her comment, like that of the ribbon weaver, was “ It’s a man’s job, it’s so heavy.” Boarding in the hosiery plants also was physically exhausting, and at least one woman called it “ a man’s job.” The daughter of a woman who had tried steel chipping explained that her mother “ used to wear straps around her wrists all the time, it was so hard. It was a man’s work.” Women who were lifting and moving cans of paint said, “ It really isn’t a fit job for a girl.” When one young mother was interviewed she said that after she had lifted a lot of heavy boxes of locks she “ had to go to the midwife.” In a few other jobs reported by the women there appeared to be a definite connection between the job and physical ills. After operat ing a kick press for two months one woman refused to work longer, though she had been offered $2 a week more if she would remain; her back and legs were too lame to consider the offer. Another woman thought that constant kicking of a foot press had caused a miscarriage. On her return she had asked for lighter work but there was none. “ Too hard standing on one foot and pressing the pedal all day.” One slender girl was employed in an upholstery department stretching tapestries over furniture frames with the left hand while she nailed with the right. This was the same kind of work as the men were doing and for months her arms ached severely. When she suggested to the foreman that her work was causing the trouble he laughed at her and said: “Anyone is liable to have rheumatism.” Finally her arm stiffened, swelled, and grew numb, and she had to stay in the hospital for weeks. Women who had worked in tanneries referred more often to the strain of their jobs than to other conditions. Trimming skins re quires little skill, but one woman who had trimmed skins day after day for five years said: “ It’s hard, the scissors on the hand.” Hers was a piecework job and probably a full pay envelope had kept her at it, for in 1920, when the rate was cut, her earnings had dropped from $20 to $16, so she had become discouraged and quit. Insanitary conditions. Work done in dismal, damp, or dirty surroundings becomes all but unbearable. Though comparatively few of the women had worked in meat-packing plants, their comments almost generally were critical of the rooms in which they worked. “ You stand all day on a wood platform and wear skin aprons to keep dry, but the water is everywhere and it is wet and cold just the same. In the winter it is colder and the meat so cold sometimes it has ice on it and the tables 128 THE IMMIGRANT WOMAN AND HER JOB are cold.” These women had “ too many colds ” and “ the wet floors hurt the legs.” One woman, after linking sausages four years, had given up the job in spite of her good pay because she “ ached so.” . The rag sorters, too, referred to dust and dirt, but one had quit her job not so much because the rags were dirty as because the work room, a large barnlike place heated by one little stove in a far corner, became unbearable when the winter winds whistled up through the cracks in the floor on which she sat to work. Illness reported by cigar workers. Specific causes for leaving a job occurred oftener in some industries than in others, and the reasons seemed peculiar to conditions in the industry. For example, long hours and physical strain were more often assigned as reasons for leaving domestic-service and office cleaning jobs, and difficulties over work equipment or plant policies were causes mentioned almost exclusively by cigar and silk workers. Leaving jobs in the clothing trades was due largely to slack work, shutdowns, or closing, and in most of the cases in which low earnings were given as the cause of leaving jobs in this trade the pay was linked closely with such undertime employment. Insanitary conditions of the plant and illness due to the job were reasons advanced almost exclusively by cigar workers. Though the indefinite “ no like ” was as much of a cause as a few cigar workers were able to give, the majority assigned very definite reasons. A woman of 33, who had worked as a cigar roller all but two years since she was 18, described the effect of such an experience when she said: “ Cigar work no good for any woman. It make her foolish and rough and she not know much after some years.” A young woman who had worked in a cigar factory in Munkacs before coming to America showed the agent a picture of that factory and drew comparisons not favorable to the cigar establishments she knew in this country. She called attention to the grass and trees around the European factory, praising its cleanliness and light. Her final comment was that she thought Americans did not know how to keep clean and tidy. Nor was it unusual for women with ex perience in various cigar factories in the United States to draw con trasts of conditions. It was natural that these women should have their preferences. In one plant the windows were large, in others small; in some they were opened for ventilation, in others not. An appreciative roller said: “ The super we got now opens the window, but the other one didn’t bother about the people. This one says it’s nice to get fresh air. I like him.” In addition to references to the steam, the dust, and the lack of fresh air in the factories a number of cigar workers discussed physical ailments, chiefly digestive, which they attributed to their occupations in cigar factories. Some had experienced the symptoms in their first jobs and had quit after only a few days or after giving the job a few months’ trial. On the other hand, some women who had not suffered at first later found themselves subject to such digestive disorders that they were unable to work. In 18 months a persistent woman had tried four different cigar factories, always in hope that the next place would smell less rank and the tobacco be less strong. Her health grew worse and worse ADJUSTMENT IN THE JOB 129 until a doctor advised her to give up work at once. Another with years of experience said: “Too much stink. I can’t eat, my stomach like fire. All good again when I not work a while.” A woman who had quit after a year because of loss of appetite said: “ Since I don’t work there no more I eat like anything.” A stripper also com plained of loss of appetite; “But then,” she added, “good thing, maybe; not pay so much for food.” A young woman who had been working in a cigar factory since her arrival in the United States in 1920 pointed with pride to her framed passport picture, which showed her to have been plump at that time. When her father met her three years later “ he not know me, I so thin and skinny. Never sick before I came to America. Cigars not good to work.” According to the description of one cigar worker, life is a vicious circle: “ I work, I get sick, I work again to get a little money to pay doctor and the drug store; that work makes me sicker and sicker, another doctor’s bill, work for money to pay, and sick again.” Though the evidence of the women indicated that the cigar in dustry was blamed for many physical ills, occasionally workers volunteered such information as “ Healthier in the factory than at home,” or “ Cigar work is good for the health,” and “ Tobacco never made me sick like the other ladies.” In this connection it is interesting to note that the Anti-Tubercu losis Society of the Family Welfare Association of Bethlehem had instituted medical examinations in four cigar factories in 1925. Many of the women were unwilling to submit to physical examinations, so not. more than 138 foreign-born women wTere included. These were chiefly Hungarians, ranging in ages from 16 to 60. Forty-two were single, 85 were married, and 11 widowed or separated. The results of this investigation show no condition prevalent at that time corre sponding to the. digestive disorders complained of in the interviews of the present study. The examinations showed that 39 women were normal, 11 were tuberculosis suspects, 32 had goiter, 18 were anemic, 6 had stomach or intestinal trouble, and most of the others were suffering from bad teeth, eye troubles, or fallen arches. In all proba bility the old buildings, the bad ventilation, and the posture through long hours of work contributed to the ailments that the women reported, but in the community the workers themselves held the tobacco chiefly responsible for their ills. PERSONAL REASONS FOR LEAVING JOB In addition to the reasons for leaving work concerned directly with conditions within the industry jobs had been given up for per sonal or family reasons in no way related to the industry. An unpublished tabulation shows that in 574 cases personal and family reasons had caused the leaving of jobs. It is interesting to note that the reasons for leaving jobs because of conditions in the industry are more than three times as many as those classified as personal. Some workers had moved away from their places of employment and others wanted a job nearer home; others reported illness of self or family as the reason for leaving; in 66 cases rela tives and friends influenced the worker to try a different job; a few women gave up working when their husbands had an increase in 130 THE IMMIGRANT WOMAN AND HER JOB earnings so that it was no longer necessary for the wives to help with the family, support. The personal causes most frequently given for leaving a job were the marriage of the worker or home duties and the illness of self or others in the family. UNSATISFACTORY CONDITIONS NOT RESULTING IN CHANGE OF JOB Conditions that set some women to hunting new jobs were en dured by others. The office cleaners illustrate this point. Office cleaning was desirable chiefly because of the hours of work and not because of the job itself. Though some were forced to give up because their “ knees were sore ” or they “ couldn’t stand it, work all day at home, then work all night,” many continued the work in spite of conditions or because they knew that office-cleaning jobs were limited. “Five or six women come every night to get work.” The usual routine of one office cleaner was described on the sched ule as follows: From 6 to 9 in evenings sweeps and mops 26 lino leum-covered and 2 wood floors; wrings mop by hand though negro porters in halls have mop wringers; asked for wringer but told they were too heavy for women; to get through allotment of offices must hurry so that clothes usually wet with perspiration when she leaves. Returns in morning to dust rooms, clean mirrors, wash bowls and cuspidors, and empty waste baskets. The number of rooms for which each woman was responsible varied with size of room and kind of floor, but the worst feature of the work was the white steps: “No like scrub marble,” they said. When one asked to be relieved of scrubbing on her knees and given sweeping and dusting only, the forelady said, “ You no want, I get someone else,” so the worker continued to scrub. “ I must,” she said. Another woman had left a similar job because of her bad knees, and while there was no heavy mopping and scrubbing in her new place the carpeted floors required heavy sweeping. No vacuum cleaner was provided, but the respite from scrubbing was giving her knees a chance to get well. One of the women interviewed was working with a group all of whom except herself were Americans. She could not understand English and was sure she was being imposed upon because she was a greenie.” She said that she was the one who had the hardest scrubbing of white-tile floors and that the washing powder used made her hands smart. Another worker had to clean 30 rooms, more than many of the other women, and nothing would convince her that the forelady was not favoring the Americans while she exploited the foreigners. Not only office cleaners but laundry workers showed a tendency to remain on the job in spite of adverse conditions. These were, for the most part, older Slavic women, conscious of their handicap in not speaking English and certain that it was because of this han dicap that they were imposed upon frequently. These women were shakers, mangle workers, pressers. They spoke of the steam, of the hot pipes under the cement floors, and the heat in general; of the low ceilings in the basement workrooms. A few had collapsed un der the strain of such conditions, yet they had returned to laundry work. “ It’s hard work, terrible hot, you have to be strong to stand ADJUSTMENT IN THE JOB 131 it.” Not only was the work heavy; the pay was inadequate. The women told of the struggles they had had to live on their wages. A representative number of women had worked at one time or another in the jute industry—“ jutey,” as they called it. In the mills the women fed the breakers or watched the roving cans—heavy or monotonous work that required no little endurance. Yet these women, who looked strong and equal to the job, were critical of the long hours, the constant standing, and the dirt. The similarity in the lives of these jute workers may be illustrated by citing a couple of the interviews. As a girl in the old country Mary often had “ chopped wood in the bushes and dug potatoes,” and her first work in America was “ maiding,” which she did in the two years preceding her marriage. While her seven children were young she supplemented her husband’s earnings by taking boarders, and when her children were older her time had been about evenly divided between her home and the mill. From 1909 to 1912, during her “ man’s ” illness, and also for nine months in 1914 when his work was slack, she had worked in the jute mill, and since 1918 she had worked there quite steadily. She remarked to the agent in the inter view that her chief concern, now that her children were grown, was for her husband. “ I pity my man. One week he work days, the next he work nights, 12 hours every night, and next Sunday he work 24 hours. If he die, I have more trouble, so I work, too.” As her husband had died Annie came to America in 1914, for she had heard she could get “nice work” over here. First she tried housework, then she heard of “ jutey.” The war came and for five years she had “ much trouble,” as her four children whom she had left in Europe until she could earn money to send for them almost starved. At the time of the interview she seemed happy in having her children with her, and hoped that the two youngest could “ be nice educated.” In the expectation of a “ better life ” she had remarried in 1920, but after only a few weeks it had become evident that a “ husband can’t do it alone. Plenty to do, so I go back to my place in mill.” Annie’s husband acted as her interpreter, as she herself could not read the figures on her pay envelopes nor tell the amounts of her earnings. Often she spent her wages on iier way home from the mill. “ Shoes, meat, bread, then all gone.” The following are among the many cases that illustrate the woman’s helplessness and her failure to understand new methods and strange customs. A French girl who spoke English and had had sales experience in her native country was working in a candy factory. As part of this job she had to carry 5-pound boxes of candy from the second floor to the basement. To get through more quickly she would carry as many as possible—5 or 6 boxes—each trip; even so, she sometimes was going up and down stairs for two hours at a time. She knows she was given more than Her share of the heavy work because she was not an American. “ There is nothing to learn, just taking candy from a board and packing it. I could see myself 50 years there and not any higher.” Although her weekly earnings were only $10 she felt timid about hunting another job. “ I have ambition but not nerve.” She had refused a position selling toys at $12 a week because she did not know the stock and at that wage could not afford clothes 132 THE IMMIGRANT WOMAN AND HER JOB nice enough for the store. Yet she would like to sell perfumes or dresses. “ I know those best,” she said. A typical case is that of a woman who had never found adjust ment in her job. In 1914, at the age of 29, she had first tried her luck as a stripper in a cigar factory, but she made little more than 50 cents a day. “ 1 all the time cry.” Then for two years she was in a hotel restaurant, but her health broke down; “ I skinny, sick.” Discouraged, she went back to stripping tobacco, since she "knew it was easier than kitchen work. She had continued at stripping fillers, though to make her usual pay of $10 or $11 a week it was necessary to go very early to the factory and to work for long hours and very hard: sometimes she began as early as 6 for the door was open then and the strippers could go in. She worked till 5.30 in the evening. A Slovak woman beginning work in this country at the age of 31 had attempted several unskilled jobs, but unsuccessfully. The expression of her face was one of complete discouragement as she spoke of the many times she had been forced to go back to office cleaning, “ because not trained for anything else.” An experienced silk weaver was unable to arrive at a satisfactory adjustment in the mill, where she was employed on the day shift. A weaver on the night shift was using the same looms and in the morning the day worker found such “ a mess of ends down ” that it spoiled her work, caused her delay and, of course, cut her wages. ACCIDENTS As many as 124 women reported industrial accidents, and while almost half of this number had occurred in textile mills and about a fourth in the clothing industry accidents were reported also by office cleaners, restaurant workers, and even rag sorters. In the needle trades the most usual trouble was running the needle into the finger, but the women regarded such punctures as trifling matters. “ Kun plenty needles in my finger,” was a frequent com ment. One operator said, “ I never had an accident, nothing but a needle in my finger.” When one girl was asked to describe an acci dent, she replied, “ It’s something that you never can tell, you work so hard, so close, it happen lots of times.” In one case infection had developed from a needle puncture and for the four weeks during which the operator was unable to sew she had been given general work and paid a flat rate of $10 a week. It was such a relief from piecework speeding that the girl referred to it as “nice vacation for me.” The workers regarded cuts much as they regarded needle punc tures-—minor affairs for which, in a number of cases, little or no time was lost. “ The knife slipped when the boss hollered at me in the ear,” was how one woman accounted for an ugly gash. A woman summed up her disregard of cuts in the words: “ Got now lots of cuts, no cuts too much ”—that is, none seemed to her serious. Other accidents, however, were serious. A woman whose finger was caught in a power machine described her fright by saying, “ I run, I run so fast, I never go back, I quit my job.” Others said, “ The cog took a bite,” or “ The machine chewed my arm.” Flying shuttles, combs, punch presses, and slippery floors all con tributed to accidents. The dark stairway where one worker fell might have been anywhere, and it was not until after the accident that a light was installed on the stairway. A hole in the floor not visible because of old papers, in which a rag sorter injured her ankle, likewise was repaired after the worker had been injured. In very few cases did it appear that ignorance of English was a definite contributing cause of the accident. However, of the 18 women who had been permanently injured, 9 did not speak Eng lish at the time of the interview. The outstanding case where lan guage difficulty seemed to be the main factor in an accident was that of a 16-year-old Italian girl who was at work in a mill within a week after she reached this country. She was assigned to a Polish girl as her “ learner.” Neither could understand the other, and on her second day in the mill, in an effort to stop the machine, the young Italian girl lost her hand. 133 IMMIGRATION SINCE THE WORLD WAR To get a picture of the recent immigration, illustrating the prob lems of the women who had lived here only since the World War, separate tabulations to show some of the characteristics of this selected group were made. Among the women reporting there seems to be very little difference between the immigration of this more recent period and that of 20 or 30 years before. The women of both periods had youth, racially they were the same, and industrially their experiences had been similar. Race. In Table 6 of this report appear 451 women who had come to the United States since and including 1920. These women had come from the same countries in Europe and to the same localities in Pennsylvania as had the immigrants who preceded them years before, and they had settled in the neighborhoods where fellow countrymen had been settling for many years. A further analysis shows the racial trend of this group. The numbers were about evenly divided between Philadelphia and the Lehigh Valley, with Jews predominat ing in Philadelphia and Germans in the Lehigh Valley. The other races or peoples, represented tty! much smaller numbers, merely indicate a tendency of recent immigrants to settle in communities where their countrymen had already established themselves—prac tically all the Italian and English-speaking groups going to Phila delphia and most of the Slavs and Magyars going to the Lehigh Valley. Locality Number of women arriving in 1920 and since * who reported race or people as— Number of wom en re porting English German Italian Jewish Magyar Slavic Other speaking Total............... 451 33 162 31 98 47 72 28 Philadelphia....... ...... Lehigh Valley 221 230 31 2 •26 136 28 3 97 12 35 24 48 3 5 1 1 Through part of 1925. Field work was concluded in October, 1925. 2 Includes 1 Armenian, 2 French, 2 Spanish, 1 Portuguese, and 2 Greek. Housing. As already stated in this report (see p. 65) it was chiefly those races contributing the major part of recent migration into the Lehigh Valley that were living in cooperative households—dwellings that furnished shelter for economic household groups consisting of more than one natural family unit. One-half of the total number of women living in these households in the Lehigh Valley had arrived in America since the World War and it is not surprising that those recently so near the poverty level in Europe were taking advantage of this mode of living as a means of reducing expenses, 134 IMMIGRATION SINCE THE WORLD WAR 135 Education. By reference to the summary on page 29 it is apparent that slightly less than half of the women of non-English-speaking races who had been here less than five years, and therefore must have been part of the postwar immigration, had learned to speak English; and it is apparent that the proportion able to read English was similar for the group here only a short time and the group that had lived here 10 years or more. Not only had the group coming to America within the more recent period made considerable headway with English but 32 of them— chiefly Jews and Germans—who had been in the United States less than five years when interviewed had filed their first papers prepara tory to becoming American citizens. Age and marital status. As was the case in other periods of immigration this group of women were decidedly young. Unpublished data show that nearly four-fifths of them were under 25 years of age when they arrived, and over half were not even 20 years old. Only 14 of the number reported that they were as much as 40 when they came. As would be expected in a group as young as this the women were, for the most part, unmarried; in fact, three-fourths were single when they arrived, although 85 had married since arrival. Reason for coming. These women had come to America primarily to earn a living. Friends in the United States had written how easily girls could find work here, and they had come with youth, strength, and heavy re sponsibilities—the world-old story of the pioneer immigrant—to start life anew in a strange country. During the interviews with the agents of the bureau the women spoke with much concern of the destitute parents, the brothers and sisters, whom they had left in their native homes in Europe; they had been sending money to help them and hoped ultimately to “ bring them over.” . Age at entering present industry. The girls were young when they came to the United States and they were young when they began to work—indeed, they lost little time in finding a job. The following summary shows that more than three-fourths of 460 girls who had come to the United States since the World War 1 had begun work in their present jobs before they were 25 years of age. Women reporting Age at beginning present industry Number Per cent Total.................. ...... ........................................ Under 18 years____________________ ________________ Under 20 years_____________________ _____________ _ _ Under 25 years______ . _____________ _______ _ 25 years and over______ __________ _________ _____________ 1 Includes two who came in 1918. 65661°—30---- 10 106 77 136 THE IMMIGRANT WOMAN AND HER JOB It was a coincidence that the same number of women who had come here since the World War were interviewed in Philadelphia and in the Lehigh Yalley. The table following shows in what indus tries these most recent arrivals first found employment, in what in dustries they were employed at the time of the survey, and how many had made no change in the few years they had been at work. 52.—Distribution by industry or occupation of women who had arrived in the United States in 1919 or later,1 according to first employment in the United States, according to present employment, and. showing number who had remained in one industry or occupation, by locality Table Philadelphia: Number of Lehigh Valley: Number of women for whom industry women for whom industry or occupation specified was— or occupation specified was— Industry or occupation Total_______________ __________ Manufacturing: Cigars________________ Clothing_____ . _ Food products— Meat packing_________ Other____ Leather products (includes tanning). Rag sorting Textiles— Hosiery Other knit goods______ Silk goods . ......... .................. Woolen and worsted goods Other textiles____ __ _____ Miscellaneous manufacturing............. Clerical and trade________________ Domestic and personal service: Hotels and restaurants Housework_______________ _ Laundries________________ Office cleaning............ .................. . Other industries___ ________ ____ First Only in First Only in employ Present dustry or employ Present dustry or ment in employ occupa ment in employ occupa United tion en United ment ment tion en States gaged in States gaged in 232 232 133 232 232 175 10 78 8 81 4 53 167 3 148 3 134 7 7 5 1 4 10 5 2 3 4 4 1 2 17 14 6 28 9 20 7 22 11 5 29 7 35 5 11 4 2 22 5 13 3 77 36 1 16 4 1 1 4 1 3 3 1 43 1 1 2 12 1 1 Includes 2 who came in 1918. The list of industries is the same as that used in the tables for all women regardless of the year of arrival in the United States, and the grouping shows the same general trend as does the earlier table, tor the immigrant women of short residence in the United States were finding work in largest numbers in the cigar factories and silk mills in the Lehigh Valley, and in the clothing factories and various textile mills in Philadelphia. As in earlier years, some had drifted into housework first but they had not remained there. As would be expected, this group of more recent arrivals had changed less from industry to industry than had the all-inclusive group regardless of the time they had been here. Nevertheless, it is interesting to note that in Philadelphia, with its variety of indus tries, more than half (57 per cent) of those arriving since the war had remained in the same line of work in which they started. IMMIGRATION SINCE THE WORLD WAR 137 Finding work. In one respect the group of more recent immigrants have faced a harder situation than that of the earlier arrivals. Some of the women came at the time when jobs were plentiful and a woman who wanted work and failed to get it was the exception. But since the World War many efforts to find a job have been in vain. Unpublished fig ures show that more than two-thirds of the failures to secure work reported as having occurred since 1900 had occurred since 1920. Young women as well as older ones had experienced trouble in find ing work. One industry seemed as slack as another—whether cigar, clothing, or textile factories, sales and clerical work, or office cleaning. INDUSTRIAL WORK IN THE HOME INTRODUCTION Canvassing from house to house in Philadelphia in the search for foreign-born wage-earning women, the agents found many who were contributing something to the family support though not leaving their homes to work in standardized industrial plants. These women were taking material from the factories to finish at home. Some were felling seams, and had piles of coats stacked beside them on the kitchen table; others were sewing pockets on sweaters, which were piled up by the dozen; still others were tearing rags into strips, sew ing them together, and winding them into balls for weaving by factory hands into rag rugs. The 159 women thus found engaged in industrial home work have been treated as a unit, entirely apart from the other groups of women in the survey; for not only is this kind of work more seasonal in character than other work1 but even when employment is available its irregularity would tend to exclude the occupations of home work ers from a group of regular or even seasonal factory jobs. As the earnings from home work seldom, if ever, reach the minimum stand ard for a living wage, it would not be fair to weight the earnings of industrial workers with the very low amounts derived from home work occupations. Life stories of great courage and enduring patience were developed as the women talked to the interviewers. One such illustration is the case of Jennie, who when 21 years old followed her sweetheart to this country. Almost immediately upon her arrival a friend took her to a clothing factory, where she finished coats until she married. She was a very swift sewer and more than once during that year in the factory the boss told her she was earning too much. Finally he cut her rate, and she had to accept the reduction because she needed work and did not know where else to find it. She had sewed practically all her life, for shortly after her mar riage Jennie returned to the factory, knowing of no other place and fearing to venture alone. But when the first baby came she gave up working in the factory, and ever since she had taken the coats and pants to finish at home. She said: “ I don’t stop only when I get a baby; then I stop two weeks maybe.” When telling how she first found the place that gave out home work Jennie was quite apologetic: “ I stole my work. I watched the other women go for work and I followed, too.” The inquiry as to why she worked seemed superfluous. With a gesture indicating the children and the furnishings of the small, crowded room she replied: “Why I work? Needed a slice of bread.” She did not want her children to crave food. “ We work 1 See third annual report of the New York State Commission to Examine Laws Relating to Child Welfare, 1924, p. 71. 138 INDUSTRIAL WORK IN THE HOME 139 to eat, we all must live.” Her husband was a street cleaner, earning at the most $25 a week and in winter sometimes only $10. He had had four serious illnesses and by her home-work earnings the wife probably kept the roof over their heads. She had a regular schedule for work. Rising at 5, she prepared her husband’s breakfast and lunch and then sewed until time to awaken the children and hustle them off to school. Then she sewed steadily until noon with the clock always before her, driving her self—“ So much to do can not breathe.” She tried to finish a coat in an hour, and if she failed in her stint one hour she tried to make it up in the next. In the afternoon she shouldered her bundle of 8 or 10 coats and went to the shop for another lot of work. One factory where she got work was quite distant, the trip requiring an hour and costing 15 cents in car fare—almost as much as she could earn by sewing in an hour. In another factory she got pants, but she preferred coats because pants required more turning of the gar ment and two kinds of thread. At times she had tried to find better work, but she had gone so often to other places and found nothing that she had given up any idea of change and was content to go where she was known. She quoted an Italian proverb to fit her case—“Sai cio che tieni e non sai cio che trori.” (You know what you have but you do not know what you will find.) One summer when needlework was slack she was induced to go with the children to work in a cannery in the country. She went with a “ few dollars in the pocket ” but returned with “ not’ings, not’ings.” Such was this woman’s industrial record. But she also did the housework in the little 3-room house, entirely lacking in the modern conveniences. She even baked the bread, and from pieces the tailor gave her she made the suits for her three little boys: “A scissor here, a scissor there, some stitches, I put it on and he walk out the door.” Race and present occupation. The following table indicates in a general way the race of the women who were engaged in industrial home work and the kinds of work they did. All the women who were employed on industrial work in their homes lived in Philadelphia and Norristown; none were found so employed in the Lehigh Valley. Table 53.—Kind of home work done, by race of woman Kind of home work done Number of women Number of women whose race was re ported as— German Total...................................................... Sewing carpet rags.......... .................... ........... Finishing clothing: Men's_______________________ _____ Women’s and children’s___ ____ _____ Finishing sweaters and knit goods________ Stringing tags_____ ___________________ Beading buckles_______________________ Covering curtain rings and pulls__________ Carding or arranging hooks, snaps, and pins.1 1 Includes 2 Magyars and 1 Spaniard. 159 Italian 27 108 28 27 15 26 15 3 20 25 Slavic 21 Otheri 3 28 1 24 2 26 13 1 1 14 1 2 25 18 1 140 THE IMMIGRANT WOMAN AND HER JOB Two-thirds of the 159 home workers interviewed were Italians. Of this race, 34 lived in Norristown, most of these sewing carpet rags and finishing a cheap grade of men’s clothing, while 21 lived in the down-town wards of Philadelphia and all the others lived north, in and near the parts of the city called Nicetown and Tioga. In the down-town districts these women were engaged in finishing men’s clothing; uptown they were stringing tags, covering curtain rings, embroidering children’s dresses, threading dress hooks on rods, and carding pins and snaps. Next in size to the Italian group, but only one-fourth as large, was the German, with 27 women. They were living in an old section of Philadelphia just north of Girard Avenue and east toward the Delaware River. The great majority of them were finishing sweaters and other knit goods. Twenty-one Slavic women were home workers; there were 13 Slovaks, 4 Poles, 2 Russians, 1 Lithuanian, and 1 Ukrainian. All but two of the Slavs were living in the Nicetown district, and they were engaged in many of the kinds of work done by their Italian neigh bors. One Spaniard and two Magyars, to complete the list of races in the table, were living near the German women and were doing the same kinds of work. With very few exceptions the Italian home workers had come from southern Italy—Sicily, Naples, and vicinity. Only 2 of the German women were natives of Germany, 18 of them having come from Rumania and the others from Yugoslavia, Hungary, and Czecho slovakia. Work in the old country. The industrial home work in which these women were engaged was in many cases entirely different from anything for which their early training in the old country might have fitted them. Unpub lished tabulations show that two-fifths of the women reporting had had no special occupation in their early homes and that three-fourths of those who did give definite information about their jobs over there had been engaged in farm work, some for wages but more in the fields and vineyards of their own homes. The majority of those who reported agricultural work were Italians, and a few Italians had done sewing and fine embroidery. A few German women had done house work. Of the women who had worked for wages in their native country 10 had done housework and 6 had done sewing. Reason for coming to the United States. The urge that had prompted these women to leave life on the farms in the old country and to come to America was the impelling force that had caused others before them to come. Opportunity and better economic conditions had tempted them: “To make a living,” “To work,” “ Others were coming,” “ The riches in America ” were a few of the reasons advanced for their move to the United States. An expression common among them was “ better in America ”—a phrase that summed up the poverty and lack of opportunities in the homes they had known and their hopes of economic independence in America. A number had been influenced by relatives already here and at least one in four had come to join husbands who had made a INDUSTRIAL WORK IN THE HOME 141 start in the new land and were ready to establish homes here. The spirit of adventure had brought some of the women. The date of arrival in the United States is shown in the summary following: Year of arrival Total________ __________ Number of women reporting 159 Before 1905__________ 1905-1909________________ 1910-1914__________ _ 1915-1919_____________ 1920 and since i__________ 29 40 59 5 26 1 Survey was concluded in October, 1925. PERSONAL DATA Age and marital status. Practically three-fourths of the women (74.2 per cent) had come to the United States when between 15 and 30 years of age, and only two of the number reporting had been as much as 45. But at the time this study was made (1925) about 70 per cent were in the age groups 30 and under 50 years; only eight had not reached 25 years. More than one-half of the women had been married 10 and under 20 years. Only three of the total number reporting home work were single. Approximately four-fifths of these women had lived in this country at least 10 years. Those with a residence of as much as 20 years were mostly Italians. The recent immigration, so far as can be judged from so small a number as the 26 women who had come to the United States in 1920 or since, showed no striking differences from the immigration of a decade before. Like the earlier arrivals, these women had been young when they came to America, and they belonged to the same races. All were married at the time of the interview, and they were doing the same kinds of home work as the women of longer resi dence—8 were finishing clothing, 7 finishing sweaters, 5 covering cur tain rings, and the 6 others were sewing carpet rags, stringing tags, arranging dress hooks on rods, or beading buckles. It is to be noted, however, that more than half of the number were doing the more skilled work on clothing and sweaters. Ability to use English. Although four-fifths of the women had been in the United States for 10 years or more, as many as two-thirds of the entire group could not speak English. Among the Italians the proportion was even larger. 142 THE IMMIGRANT WOMAN AND HER JOB Table 54.-—Inability to use English and general illiteracy, by race or people Number of women— Race or people Number of Unable to Unable to Unable to read and women speak read interviewed English write any English language (total re (total re (total porting, 159) porting, 155) porting,re 155) Total 159 104 139 70 German_ _ Italian___ Slavic____ Other____ 27 108 21 3 9 80 9 19 97 20 3 63 6 1 The proportion of women engaged on home work who could not speak English is greater than the per cent already cited for the women who worked outside the home. In fact, interpreters were needed throughout the interviews with the home workers. Since two-thirds of the number reporting could not speak English, even brokenly, it is not surprising that almost nine-tenths could not read it. This ignorance of the language of their adopted country was in part due to the fact that the vast majority had passed the school age when they arrived in America and had settled in communities of their countrymen where there was almost no need for English and little or no group enthusiasm to learn it. In addition to their ignorance of English there was a shocking degree of illiteracy even in their native tongues, for almost half the women were unable to read and write in any language. This illiter acy was found chiefly among the Italian women. All the Germans reporting and the two Magyars were able to read and write in at least one language. The lack of English had limited many women in their choice of work. The Italians liked to work for Italian bosses; the other races, for their own. An educated Italian girl who had been in the United States only five years had been particularly embarrassed by her ignorance of English. Recently she had returned to the only factory in which she had been employed before her marriage, this time to get home work. She was distressed to find that during her short absence the “nice Italian boss ” under whom she had worked had left, and she had trouble in understanding the directions of the new one about the embroidery. Her anxiety lest he think her mistakes willful or careless was keen, but she could not explain to him—“ Me no English and he no Italian.” In 1891 an Italian woman searching for her first job had followed some of her fellow countrywomen into a clothing factory and be come contented there, since the foreman was “ nice ” and she “ liked the other ladies,” all of whom spoke her language. But after 10 years there was a change in bosses, the Italian was replaced by a man of another race, and wages were reduced from $9 to $3. The new boss said: “ In Italy you would make only 10 cents. See for yourself how much more you make here.” He gave the women to INDUSTRIAL WORK IN THE HOME 143 understand that there were hundreds of newly arrived immigrants waiting to take their places, and it was well known that he made a practice of meeting the boats to look for workers among the arriv ing immigrants. This woman had remained in her next place five years, quite con tented again and apparently for the same reason, as she found an other Italian boss and other Italian “ ladies.” She had never had the initiative to try to work where Italian was not the common lan guage, and after 34 years’ employment in this country she still was working for an Italian boss—finishing coats at home. Citizenship. As so much is said about the Americanization of the immigrant, it is interesting to know that about one in four of the women report ing was a citizen of the United States. However, only one of the entire group—a German who had come to this country when she was still of school age—had been naturalized through her own efforts. The others had acquired their citizenship through the ini tiative of their fathers or husbands. Fifteen women did not report whether or not they were citizens. Dwellings. It is easier to understand why these women were trying so hard to earn a little money and why they were doing this work in their homes, when an impression of their homes and families is obtained. More than half the families were living in rented homes, chiefly dwellings of three or four rooms. Invariably the 3-room house was in a rear court or alley, one of a row of 3-story houses, one room above the other, devoid of all modern conveniences, often without gas. The median of the monthly rentals for homes of this size was $14. For houses of other types and of four rooms the median of the rentals was $27.15, nearly twice as much as for the alley type. Surprising as the fact is, 12 of the families owned their homes, although nearly two-fifths of them still were making payments— payments that invariably were so burdensome that they crippled the family’s standard of living. About a third of those who were buying their homes were Italians living in the vicinity of Norristown. Those who were buying homes in Philadelphia lived away from the center of the city; some were Slavs in the Nicetown district and others were Italians in Tioga, whose homes were the familiar 2-story brick dwellings'. Persons per room.—The families crowded into these houses were not small; 4 to 7 persons were most usual and about a fifth of the families were even larger, having 8 to 10 persons. The groups con sisting of as many as 11 persons—and there were a few such—in cluded lodgers. Since dwellings of three and four rooms were the prevailing types, and since families of four to seven members were the most common, there was bound to be some overcrowding, and under these conditions it is not surprising to find that in more than one-eighth of the homes there were two or more persons per room. 144 THE IMMIGRANT WOMAN AND HER JOB Number and per cent of dwellings Persons per room 1'person or less_________ Between 1 and 2 persons___ 2 persons or more___ _________ 21 13.7 In one case 6 persons lived in a 2-room dwelling. Marked con gestion was found also in 3-room dwellings housing families of 5 to 7 persons and in dwellings of 4 rooms housing families of from 7 to 9 persons. THE FAMILY Number and ages of children. There were many children in these homes, and it was chiefly be cause the families were large and the children young that these mothers could not leave home and of necessity were sewing carpet rags or covering curtain rings whenever they could snatch a minute from their household cares. In only about a dozen homes were there no children, while in 142 families there were altogether 535 children, an average of 3.77 children to the family. Only 83 children were as old as 14, and nearly three-fifths of the'number were between 5 and 14; in 41 families the youngest child was less than 2. The table fol lowing shows that in three-fifths of the families the youngest child was not yet 5, and that in more than one-half of these cases there were four or more children in the family. Table 55.—Number of children in all families and number where youngest child teas under 5 years of age Number reporting Number of children in the family Number where young est child was under 5 years of age Families Total 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7_ 8. 9. Children 142 535 84 351 16 25 33 17 24 12 11 3 1 16 50 99 68 120 72 77 24 9 6 11 22 7 16 9 10 2 1 6 22 66 28 80 54 70 16 9 Families Children It is evident that in practically one-half of these families there were as many as four children and that in almost a fifth there were six or more. Of the 68 mothers having as many as four children, four-fifths were Italian. Husbands. Their work.—In all but 12 of the families men had the chief responsibility of support, but the work that they were doing was INDUSTRIAL WORK IN THE HOME 145 mainly unskilled and the most poorly paid labor. The following is a partial list of their jobs: Digs in street. Sweeps street. Labor on road. Track work. Trucker. Yard work. Wheels coal to furnace room. Gate tender. Night watchman. Tends machine. Sweeps chippings. Loads boxes. Cleans cars. The low earnings of the chief breadwinners and the care of the many small children in the families made it necessary for the mothers to try to eke out a living by earning a penny here and a penny there, as they could spare time from housekeeping tasks so arduous in themselves that under ordinary circumstances it would be impossible to do any extra work at all. In 101 families information about the regularity of the man’s job was secured. In 29 cases his employment was in a seasonal trade and in 43 it was reported as very irregular. Only 29 men were said to have steady work. There was a similarity among many of the stories, and such comments as the following were made: Of a presser in a clothing factory, “ work slack ”; a shoemaker’s helper, “ irregular ”; a laborer near an oven, “business slack and expects to be laid off any time”; a molder, “ four or live days a week now a factory laborer, “ laid off three months ago, no work now ”; a crane operator, “ work un certain”; an elevator operator, “factory shut down a week now”; a factory laborer, “ no work all winter a card stripper, “ four days a week now.” Others said that the employment of the chief male breadwinner was subject to weather conditions: A stone mason’s helper, “out of work now ”; a street laborer, “ depends on weather ”; a cement finisher, “little work in winter”; a plasterer, “slow in January and February ”; a stone mason’s helper, “ steady only in good weather”; a street cleaner, “sometimes only two or three days a week ”; a quarry worker, “ no work in bad weather ”; an outside laborer, “ no work when it rains or in bad weather ”; a carpenter, “ not much work in winter.” Of the 29 who had steady work, several were railroad employees and some were carpenters, though other railroad employees and car penters reported irregular work; more were in establishments man ufacturing wheels and automobiles; a very few were bakers, one was a machinist, one a foreman, and the others were in various manufacturing lines. Earnings.—In about a third of the families the earnings of the chief male breadwinner for a current week were reported. One of the men had earned less than $10 during the week reported and 15 had earned less than $20. One man had earned as much as $38. The median of the week’s earnings for the group of 51 men was $24.25. There was a difference of more than $4 in the median be tween those reported as having steady employment and those re ported as having seasonal or irregular employment. In the first instance it was $25.85; in the second, $21.50. In a few cases rates for the hour or the day were reported instead of definite earnings, the former averaging 40 cents and the latter 146 THE IMMIGRANT WOMAN AND HER JOB $3.85, but actual earnings were said to be far below what the rates would indicate, as some men had such irregular employment. For example, for three months a laborer in a yarn mill whose rate was 45 cents an hour had had work only four days a week. Included among the male wage earners for whom no definite report on wages was obtained were a few conducting their own busi ness. One was a junk dealer, another had a shoe-shine stand, another sold soft drinks, and another was a tailor who carried on a business at home when he could get work and at other times tried to find employment in a shop. In no case was there any investment of capital and frequently the front room of the dwelling was given over to the husband’s trade. At the time of the interview with one of these families the father had spent the day looking for work. As a cobbler he had been mak ing $10 to $12 a week repairing shoes. On some days he had had no work; on other days one, two, or perhaps three pairs of shoes to mend. They “ couldn’t live that way,” so the wife was helping as she could, sewing “ by coats ” at home. INDUSTRIAL EXPERIENCE Reasons for working. It is apparent that these women worked because the husbands’ earnings were far too small to support the families decently, families that more frequently than not were large. “ To help my husband his work not steady,” “Husband wasn’t making much,” “Large' family and nothing to eat if not work,” “ To buy bread,” “ Husband in hospital, money no got,” were the women’s comments. Invariably the family “ could not make out on the husband’s wage,” or he was getting old ” and they were facing poverty in their ap proaching old age. Sometimes the husband’s pay had been cut— and it was never high—while the rent had been raised. It was not necessary for the women to add that they “ used every penny they earned, and to many the question as to the necessity of their work ing seemed superfluous—“ What you think? I hungry. Children need shoes, bread.” Reasons for selecting home work. There was nothing new in the reasons the women gave for their selection of home work; they simply “needed money.” Small chil dren m the families made it imperative for most of the mothers to remam at home, and home work offered itself as a means of helping. Too much to do at home to go away all day.” “ Could keep the baby nice and make money, too.” “ Couldn’t go away from home and leave the children. ” “ The snap factory is near, must work at home while children are little.” “ Could care for the children and help support the family.” The following notes on Concetta’s story tell why one of the women does industrial home work. Her husband was in the hospital in 1920 and despair drove her to seek a job. Payment had lapsed on the home they were buying and debts were accumulating. When she went to the mill she had to leave a baby 6 weeks old in the care of four small children. Her industrial experience, however, was cut short very soon afterwards because two of the little ones were severely INDUSTRIAL WORK IN THE HOME 147 scalded while she was away from home. She could never be per suaded to go to the mill again and was quite satisfied to earn a share of the family income by sewing carpet rags at home. There was a note of helplessness in some of the replies: “ Knew nothing else to do “ Only thing I knew about ”; “ Knew no other way to help my husband “First work I could get ”■—this last from a German woman who had taken up the finishing of sweaters two weeks after arriving in this country in 1921 while her husband still was hunting for work. A little daughter said of her mother, a widow working for the first time: “ She doesn’t know anything else; a neighbor lady could teach her and show her where to get the work.” A rag sewer, 60 years old, said with a shrug of the shoulder, “ What else I do ? ” She had been a hand spinner in her youth in the old country, but during her 20 years in the United States she had had no experience as a wage earner; so in her old age she grasped at the only work that she could get. The proximity of the factory giving out home work and the estab lished habit of the neighborhood influenced others to try home work. The simple statement made by many of the women, “ there was a fac tory across the street,” seemed to them a sufficient explanation for taking such employment. Others said: “ Saw other women doing it “ Saw neighbors getting the work ”; “All the ladies work; so I try, too “ Friends do this clean work.” A middle-aged woman saw how other women got snaps to be carded, so she “ asked for snaps, too.” It was the only thing she knew about, except sewing, which she did not do nicely enough, as her work in the old country had been mostly in the fields. To recruit help, agents from the factories sometimes made the rounds of the immediate neighborhoods. “A girl from the factory came ringing the doorbell.” “ She walks to the houses and asks the ladies if they want to do it.” “ She says, ‘ The work so easy to do; children like it; so easy to get; stay home and work and make the money.’ ” Seven mothers said they had taken tags, hooks, snaps, or pins partly because these provided “ busy work ” for the children: “ It kept them from running around and breaking their shoes ”; “ Kept them off the street ”; and “ Good for children to help a little.” One instance of group work was particularly pathetic. The family consisted of a paralytic husband, aged 61; a wife of 51; her feeble father of 74; a daughter of 31 mentally defective and almost blind; two wage-earning sons; and a daughter in school. Four members of this household worked regularly on carpet rags. The grandfather and the older daughter worked steadily in their corners—one cutting the rags and the other winding the cuttings into balls; the wife and the younger daughter for three or four hours each day sewed the rags. The stint of the group was to work up three or four 25-pound balls a week, for which they received $5 or $6. First work in the United States. When these women came to America they were for the most part young, many of them facing the problem of self-support. They “ came to America to work ”; they “ expected to work until mar ried”; they “had to pay for their ship cards”; they “had to earn 148 THE IMMIGRANT WOMAN AND HER JOB a living.” Many drifted into domestic service as housemaids and cooks, while others had their first industrial experience in clothing factories and woolen mills. The list following shows the first work done by women who did not begin with home work: TotalT 75 -----Clothing 13 Textiles 18 Other 19 Domestic service 25 Manufacturing: In these jobs many of the women had encountered the not unusual experiences of the immigrant wage earner—experiences that lead to dissatisfaction and misunderstanding. Some had found housework trying. A girl from Hungary had been directed to domestic service in 1905, but her comment at the time of the interview was, “ I was sorry I took that job; too hard work, that’s why I get married.” A number had found this work “lonesome,” and the difficulty of understanding a foreign language was too great a handicap for others—“ She not talk German, and I no English.” Another girl who had gone originally into domestic service, thinking she would learn more English in a home than in a factory, quit after six months’ trial of housework because she “ didn’t understand the lady, she talked so strange.” Another had begun work at the age of 14 in a woolen mill. Just one week did she endure her job as a doffer. She lived quite a dis tance from the mill (the walk to work took three-quarters of an hour), the work was heavy, it was a 60-hour week, and the pay was $3—a shock to a child who had expected riches in America. Another, a mature woman, had been a spinner for eight years before her marriage. She, too, had found the work terribly hard, the day lasting from 7 to 6. “ I cried almost every night,” was her final comment about her first job. Time spent in employment other than home work. At one time or another 81 of the women had tried work in fac tories or in domestic service. Four had tried even farm work. Some of them had tried more than one line, but on the whole their experience had been very limited. The following table shows how brief their time had been in the various kinds of employment. Table 56.—Employment outside the home, by industry or occupation and duration of job Industry or occupation Num Number of jobs that had employed the woman outside the home for— ber of jobs re 6 ported 3 and (wom Under under months 1 and 2 and 3 and 4 and 5 years and 3 under under under under and en re 6 port months months under 2 years 3 years 4 years 5 years over ing, 81) 1 y^ar Total____ 101 11 14 17 10 Manufacturing: Clothing___ Food______ Textiles____ Other_____ Domestic service Agriculture____ 14 3 3 2 3 5 1 1 3 4 28 16 27 4 2 ........ 3 12 1 2 6 2 6 1 4 1 149 INDUSTRIAL WORK IN THE HOME One in four of the women had worked as much as three years in employment outside of the home, but for another 25 per cent such work had lasted less than six months. In domestic service the ex perience of the majority of the women had lasted two years or more, but in practically half the instances of work in manufacturing the women had been employed less than a year. That these women had not been industrial workers' for any length of time before they took up the more petty home-work jobs is shown further in the following summary for 67 who were able to give a detailed account of all the years they had actually worked in regular jobs, either in manufacturing industries or in domestic service. Years lived in the United States: Aggregate---------------------------------------------------------------Average per woman_____ 14. 04 Years worked in the United States: Aggregate---------------------------------------------------------------Average per woman 2. 27 941 152 Collectively these women had worked only 152 years, or about a sixth of the time they had been in the United States; about a third of the wage-earning years had been spent in domestic service. A number of women in this summary had not worked outside the home since marriage, but a computation of aggregate years has been made for the group of 48 who had had some experience in regular industry since as well as before their marriage. The summary fol lowing shows that the work histories of these women had been almost too brief to consider. Before marriage After marriage Years lived in the United States: 105 2.19 601 12.52 100 2.08 Years worked in the United States: 13 0. 27 Collectively the women had worked most of the time before they were married, but the amount of time spent in industry after mar riage had been negligible, averaging only about three months per woman. In the aggregate this group had spent almost half their employed years in domestic service, an occupation that in no way prepared them for work in factories or gave them any idea of standards in American industry. Experience in home work. Primarily interest is centered in the 159 women as home workers and not because of their former brief experiences in other industries. For about half the women the first gainful employment had been in home work, the same unstandardized work in which they were en gaged at the time of the interviews, so that many had no basis for a comparison of conditions in factory work and home work. Of the other half, who had had more varied experience as wage earners, only 13 had engaged in occupations in the least similar to their present work. Two-fifths of the women engaged in finishing 150 THE IMMIGRANT WOMAN AND HER JOB sweaters—chiefly Germans—had begun work as housemaids, an oc cupation that had first claimed about two-thirds of the women working on curtain rings and buckles—chiefly Slovaks. Occasionally a woman with industrial experience volunteered in formation that showed that she knew the handicaps of home work. One woman who had worked in a factory before marriage and then “ no go no more ” had been glad to return to her old job after 10 years at home. At the time of the study a young baby kept her at home. She earned not over $2 a week “ by snaps,” though work ing hard all the time, day and night, and keenly regretting the loss of her $16 pay envelope. A finisher on sweaters told a similar story. She had worked in the plant, but while the children were small she was finishing sweaters at home and by hard work managed to earn about the same as in the factory, though this meant that she had to work under tense pressure all day and much of the night. A German woman who had been a factory worker intermittently since her marriage was engaged in home work when interviewed, as her regular factory job was so slack that she could not afford to pay $5 a week for the care of the children. Home work for her was merely a makeshift, for she realized its drawbacks and planned to return to industry as soon as the depression was over. It was impossible to estimate even roughly how many months or years these women had devoted to industrial home work. Over a fourth had begun it within the year of the interview and un doubtedly had not worked the whole of this time. More than half had begun it less than five years before the interview and a few (only one-sixth) reported that their first home work had been done as long ago as 10 years. One woman over 60 had done her first home work at least 15 years before the interview, but another woman, of 67, had begun it within the preceding year. Operations in home work and the rates of pay. The finishing on men’s coats differed with the style of the garment. On some the women made the buttonholes by hand; on others the usual work was felling the inside and outside of the collar, the shoul der seams, armholes, wrists, both fronts, and bottom of the coat, and this was paid for commonly at the rate of 17 cents a garment. One woman said that by driving herself she could do seven or eight coats in six hours. By working quite steadily two sisters, who had grown old in the trade, managed to finish 9 to 12 coats a day. Other women in the clothing group were embroidering children’s wash dresses in rather simple designs. The rate differed with the design, but the rate for one quite popular style, requiring outline, chain, and lazy-daisy stitches in four colors, was 50 cents a dozen. In a few cases women were able to finish a dozen of these in four or five hours. One woman organized her work so that her evenings were free for embroidery. The children were in bed by 6.30, which left her three or four hours to work “ a little,” and “ if I have time I make a dozen, maybe dozen and a half. Last night I made 45 cents.” There was nothing casual about this line of home work. The women were eager to get it and their chief complaint was that work was too scarce. INDUSTRIAL WORK IN THE HOME 151 The work of finishing sweaters included sewing on pockets, collars, and cuffs, turning the hem, and finishing the neck and armholes, with slight variations according to the different styles. The work was done very evenly and so closely that it had the appearance of machine work. It was as skilled as any of the home-work operations. A usual rate paid for such work on a sweater was 40 or 45 cents, and it took a swift worker, sewing without interruption, about an hour and a quarter to finish one sweater. The hourly earnings in such a case would be from 30 to 35 cents. Work on tags consisted of threading the twine or wire through the hole in the tag and knotting it. Wire was a little harder to handle and there were differences in knotting, but it was all the simplest kind of work. The usual rate was 10 cents a thousand. Few women who were doing tags could estimate their rate of speed, since they worked so intermittently or else had haphazard help from the chil dren. Yet from scattering statements, 500 tags an hour seemed to be a fair average. One woman of 38, who had a very small family, was able to spend several hours a day stringing tags. She reckoned her speed at about 500 an hour, on which basis her earnings would be 5 cents an hour. Covering curtain rings was done by crocheting a cord over the ring in the simplest of stitches. The rate for this was 40 cents a gross. One fast-working woman, a speeder, said that if she had no interrup tions and could work steadily she sometimes did six dozen an hour, but that she couldn’t keep up that speed for any length of time. Many women felt that when they did two dozen rings an hour they were cov ering a lot, and they reckoned on doing a gross in about five hours of steady work—that is, their earning rate was about 8 cents an hour. One woman had discovered that her earnings were more when she covered curtain rings than when she strung tags. She and her 15-year-old daughter counted on doing two gross a day when they had the rings. On the last trip to the factory the daughter had got six gross. “We did two yesterday, two to-day, two to-morrow, then we take them back.” On the day of the visit the girl had worked an hour before school in the morning, some time at noon, and about two hours after school, and was planning to work perhaps another hour in order to complete her daily stint of one gross. In spite of house hold interruptions the mother had worked about this same time dur ing the day. Work on carpet rags—cutting the mill remnants into strips, join ing the strips, and winding them into balls—occupied a group in Norristown (largely Sicilians) in supplementing their husbands’ in adequate wages. Their houses were small and crowded, so in work ing they sat on the steps in the sunshine. They much preferred the summer to other seasons because of not having to bother with the “ muss ” of the rags in the house. The earnings from cutting and sewing a sack of carpet rags were about $1.50, the sack holding from 2 to 3 bushels; speaking very roughly, then, the rate was about 50 cents a bushel. In one family where work on rags was done steadily day after day, season after season, they had found that three or four hours of steady work was required to cut a bushel of rags, sewing them took about as long, and 65661°—30-----11 152 THE IMMIGBANT WOMAN AND HEE JOB winding about half an hour. According to the reckoning of this group it would take one person seven or eight hours to do a third of a sack, the earnings for that being approximately 50 cents. For the most part these women appeared to be happy in their work, but occasionally a more thoughtful one voiced discontent. The cut in rates that had occurred a year or so before the interview still irritated a rag sewer, the mother of a young family. It seemed “ all wrong,” because living costs were just as high and in some ways higher than they had been. Pointing to her bare but shining white floor the woman added, “ So much it costs, we never have a rug, but we make them cheap; too cheap for Americans.” Carding safety pins, 12 on a card, was paid at the rate of 8 to 10 cents per 100 cards for the large sizes and 15 cents for the smallest size. In reply to questions regarding the amount of work they could do, such comments as the following were heard: “ When I don’t look at nobody I do 100 cards (assorted sizes), maybe, in two hours,” the equivalent of 6 cents an hour. “If I have baby pins (smallest size) and work all time, I might make 50 cents to-day. If I make a dollar I feel rich.” A comment by an interested neighbor was, “ They don’t make so much, but they just get the pins because they need work. When the factory first moved here they paid as high as 22 cents for- a hundred cards.” The rate for snaps, a dozen on a card, was 10 cents a hundred cards, and it was the general opinion that the work on snaps was harder than the work on pins and hooks. The top of the snap had to be pressed down securely over the knob on the lower part of the snap, the latter being held so that the knob projected through the perfora tion in the card. The constant repetition of this pressure was tiring, and sore, calloused fingers were the result. Comments made again and again by the women showed how thor oughly they appreciated the hopelessness of earning more at home work. An educated Italian woman, who had lived since 1905 in what is now the Italian quarter in Tioga, had watched the changes during those 20 years: “ Only four or five of our people here then; no houses, no factory to give the women work in their homes.” She recalled how “ tiny ” the first tag factory was in comparison with its present quarters. “ It prospered on the work of our people.” In those days the women had earned more, “but now too many people take the work and pull the prices down.” Another worker summed up the situation by saying: “ We Italians are used to working. It would be better if we weren’t. We are hung by our own ropes; all the time hurry to get work done, head ache all the time, hurry all the day.” Two women reported serious infections that resulted from carding safety pins or snaps. In one case the constant pressure necessary in carding snaps had made the fingers sore, and an infection of the index finger of the right hand necessitated some bone being removed, so that the finger was permanently stiff and the woman had lost the use of both joints. In the other case a finger on the right hand was punctured while carding pins; infection followed, and the finger had to be amputated. Proximity of plants and difficulties of getting the work. Within recent years one factory furnishing snaps, pins, and hooks had moved into an exclusively foreign neighborhood away from the INDUSTRIAL WORK IN THE HOME 153 center of the city. The dwellings were the typical Philadelphia workingmen’s homes—2-story brick with four or five rooms, cheaply constructed, and facing on narrow streets. The little community was quite self-sufficient, its life was ingrowing rather than expanding, and the women were learning little of American customs or language. The factory gate where the pins and snaps were doled out to the home workers was but a few steps around the corner. The home-work habit had become fixed in the neighborhood, and this was all that many of the women knew about industry. Any hour of the day these women could be seen going back and forth with the work from the factory, for when they live so near the trips for work are more frequent. On the day of the interview one woman had been to the factory five times to get pins and snaps, and each time she had been told, “ No work; come later.,r “ Lots of stairs to climb,” was her comment. Several women complained of the climb: “ Up four flights of stairs for work.” “ Fifty steps.” “ When you get to top you can not breathe. If they would put out a sign, ‘ No work to-day,’ it would save climb ing, but they never do that.” Occasionally the women had their work organized. Such was the case of one Italian mother who planned to carry her daily load of 20 to BO pairs of pants in the morning, while the baby was asleep; but she said she was very nervous about leaving him: “ You start, then think maybe something has happened, and you run back to see.” When work was scarce others went to the factory early and sat, some times for hours, until they got something to carry home. On the other hand, some of the firms delivered the carpet rags, sweaters, and tags to the homes where the finishing processes were done and called again for the completed work. Help of children. Errands at the factory were not the only way in which the chil dren were helpful, for there were few mothers working on pins, snaps, or tags who were without the help of children in these monot onous operations. Perhaps the women did not regard this work as a serious business and did it more casually because so often it was “ a child’s job.” The busy lives of these mothers and the difficulty of getting supplies regularly at the factory tended to make home work on pins, snaps, and hooks most unsatisfactory as a steady or worth-while occupation, and judging from the complaints of the mothers the children were no keener about the work than the adults. “ Sometimes they say ‘ Don’t ask me to do snaps to-day, my head says no and if you whip me still my head says no.’ ” Children helped also in stringing tags and to a less extent in covering curtain rings, but these were not such haphazard occupa tions even for the children, perhaps because the delivery of the tags by the firm was regular and the supply of curtain rings could be counted on. One Italian woman who herself worked intermittently at stringing tags had the help of two children aged 7 and 9. “They once made as much as 50 cents a day in summer. They have to sit two hours to do a thousand; they can’t do them all the time. Must fix a hundred tags for a penny.” One woman, with a family of 10 to care for, had “ taken tags ” regularly for 12 years; not that she could do much on them herself, 154 THE IMMIGRANT WOMAN AND HER JOB though occasionally she did a thousand or so, but she had a definite plan of work for the children. Three children, of 10, 12, and 13 years, each must do a thousand tags a day, working before school in the morning and again after school. The child of 8 years was ex pected to do 750 tags a day. After explaining how much their work helped, the mother added, almost apologetically, “ It keeps them off the street, you know.” The operations on dress hooks, pins, and snaps also were so simple that children could do them; often their nimble fingers worked faster than did their mothers’. Hooks were arranged on a rod about 2 feet long that had an open groove on one side. The rods were filled by slipping the hooks on with the eyes fitting into the groove. It took about 100 small-size hooks to fill a bar and the rate of pay was 19 cents for 110 bars filled with the small-sized hooks. A mother and two children who had been working steadily for about an hour at the time of the agent’s visit had filled perhaps 50 bars with small hooks, the combined earnings of the three being less than 10 cents for that hour. One woman described vividly her family’s efforts to earn a little “ doing hooks.” They were two days getting their first allotment done, and were making so little that everyone hurried. The mother scolded, she whipped the children to make them work, and when the bars were brought to the factory they were under weight. She searched the house and found a few hooks and returned with them, but still the bars weighed short. “ I not eat them, the children not eat them,” but as no more could be found they had to forfeit 10 of the 27 cents that they had expected for their two days’ work. Time devoted to home work. In determining the size of the pay check, as important as the rate of pay and the amount of help the children give is the amount of time that the woman herself devotes to the work. At least twofifths of the women worked so casually on industrial home work— “Whenever baby sleep,” “Few minutes to-day, maybe no work to-morrow ”• that undoubtedly such odd moments and spare time — did not amount to more than an hour or so a day; and this was especially true of the women who were carding snaps and pins, arranging hooks, or stringing tags. They knew they were busy all the time, but how many hours were devoted to personal and family affairs and how many to industrial home work they could not tell. However, some of the clothing workers and the sweater finishers worked quite regularly. Again and again they began sewing at 6, 7, or 8 in the morning, as soon as the husband was off to work, and they had an hour or so without interruption before they hurried the children off to school, and settled down again to sewing, barely stop ping for lunch. Housework chores were of secondary importance in the homes of such steady workers. An Italian woman who was doing fine embroidery described her first day’s sewing as follows: “ I work all day. No make my bed upstairs even. First day made 20 cents, and when my husband come home at night and find out I work, he so mad he could kill me.” Several had a regular daily stint. For some it was only an hour or so, but others liked to have sewing enough to keep them busy 5, INDUSTRIAL WORK IK THE HOME 155 6, 7, or even 8 hours every day. For those who were able to sew 7 or 8 hours in addition to housework duties the day was a long one, often beginning before dawn and continuing far into the night. In 1922, when her husband’s pay was reduced to $20 a week, an Italian woman had begun to sew at home. Her day began at 4.30 or 5 in the morning, and frequently did not end until midnight; but, in spite of this hard work, it seemed impossible for her to earn more than $5 or $7 a week. For nine years they had been paying $20 a month toward the purchase of their home, but since her husband’s earnings were reduced he had been unable to meet the payments. She said her husband’s work as a car cleaner, though poorly paid, had been steady many years, and this steady employment seemed better than the uncertainty that so often accompanied higher wages, to prove which she quoted an Italian proverb—“ L’acqua minutella fa il bugo a la pietra ” (Drops of water wear a hole in the stone). The industrial history of a young German woman from Yugo slavia, who was “ reduced to home work,” was typical of the work ers whose ambition to succeed drove them beyond their strength. As a bride she had come to the United States in 1921. She and her husband were bending all their energies to buying a home, as they begrudged paying $15 rent for an alley house of three rooms with out any modern conveniences, not even gas or running water. Her first two months in this country had been spent as a boarder in a hosiery factory, but the constant standing and reaching resulted in an. illness that took her savings. Next she had tried fork dip ping in a candy factory for a year or so, but this too she had had to give up on account of her health. While recuperating from her second illness she was finishing sweaters, usually from 7 o’clock in the morning and frequently until 8 or 9 o’clock at night, with inter ruptions only for her household chores. EARNINGS Source of data. It would not have been surprising if women with hours of work so casual and irregular had been unable to quote their earnings. But the pennies were of such vital importance that usually the women were keen in reckoning how many dozen sweaters they'had received on Tuesday and how many more on Friday, and they knew the rates for each dozen. Some clothing workers had been fortunate in having regular work, and they too knew how many pairs of pants they had felled or how many dozen coats they had finished, or how "many pockets, collars, and cuffs they had embroidered for children’s dresses during the week. Even some of the carpet-rag sewers worked regularly enough to know how many 20 or 25 pound balls they had made. Workers in tags had no difficulty in reckoning numbers of boxes, and those who crocheted curtain rings knew how many gross they had covered. It was on such definite information as this that earnings were computed, for the women always knew the rate of pay. 156 THE IMMIGRANT WOMAN AND HER JOB Week’s earnings. In computing earnings vague estimates were disregarded, and the summary following is based upon definite statements of the amount of work accomplished during the week preceding the interview. Kind of home work Total.. ......................... Carpet rags__________________ Clothing______ _____ Curtain rings and buckles— .... _ Sweaters________________ _ Tags, pins, snaps, and hooks . ........... Number of Median of women reporting the week’s earnings earnings 139 21 34 23 3.45 36 2.35 The wide range in the medians of the week’s earnings—from $1.70 for the women sewing carpet rags to $9.20 for those finishing sweaters—is due to several conditions, primarily to the rates of pay but also to the amount of work available and the amount of time that the women devoted to the work. Unpublished data show that not one woman sewing carpet rags earned as much as $6; none working on tags, hooks, pins, or snaps as much as $8; none crocheting curtain rings or covering buckles as much as $10. In clothing, however, one woman earned as much as $16 and in sweater finishing one woman earned almost $20. The low rates of pay as roughly estimated made it impossible for the average woman interviewed to make much over 5 or 6 cents an hour in pins or tags, or 7 or 8 cents an hour in curtain rings and carpet rags, but the higher rates made it possible for a woman finishing coats to earn 20 cents an hour and a woman finishing sweat ers 35 cents an hour. The clothing and sweater finishers, on the whole, had a more serious attitude toward their work and in their eagerness to accomplish all they could worked incessantly—often day and night—while work on pins, snaps, hooks, and carpet rags generally was regarded more casually. Some women working at carpet rags would have liked more work; clothing finishers were complaining bitterly of the lack of work; the sweater finishers alone seemed to have all they could do. These women were interviewed at the height of their season; the slump in sweaters was expected a few months later. Individual versus family-group work. Another factor that must be considered in connection with earnings derived from home work is that the individual woman often had assistance from other members of the family. With this in mind a classification was made showing to what extent the family group worked together and to what extent the women were the only home workers and were unassisted by others in the family, 157 INDUSTRIAL WORK IN THE HOME Table 57.—Extent of individual and group work, by kind of work done Number of Number of Individual women women in reporting workers terviewed earnings Kind of home work Total __ _ 159 139 100.0 $3.70 Carpet rags____________ ____ Sweaters.____ Tags, pins, snaps, and hooks 28 42 23 26 40 21 34' 23 25 36 Family groups 64 46.0 $4. 75 75 54.0 $3.00 11 22 12 10 12 11 6 19 36 In contrast to the more skilled work required in finishing sweaters and clothing were the simple operations in tags, pins, snaps, and hooks, for while only about a fourth of the sweater workers and about a third of the clothing workers had help, every woman work ing on tags, pins, snaps, or hooks had help from one or more mem bers of the family, generally from the children of school age. It was impossible to measure the amount of work done by the mother and the other helpers, so the earnings represent the labor of a miscellaneous group of adults and children. It is interesting, how ever, to note that individual work was more common in the two industry groups having the largest earnings, that is, sweaters and clothing. Of all the women reporting, the individual workers had a median of $4.75 for a week’s work and those assisted by members of the family had a median of only $3. Dissatisfaction with earnings. Dissatisfaction with pay was expressed freely by the women, but to some degree they blamed themselves. “If we wouldn’t do the work they would have to pay more.” “People like me make that factory rich.” Another woman said: “ We ask God to give us work and then we get so tired, more curses go on the cards than pins.” She laughed at the folly of it, but still felt that anything was better than nothing, for she could not afford to lose those few pennies. Several complained of the recent reduction in rates of pay. “ They used to be 25 cents, and now 10 cents, 15 cents.” “ Some women would take the work if they paid only 2 cents. Now work all day hard and 50 cents all can earn by pins.” In spite of the pitifully low wages, hope and ambition were not dead. Many mothers were cheerfully plodding along, hoping to keep their children in school, “even through high school,” “as far as their heads would carry them.” One mother’s attitude, however, was quite different: “ God bless me,” she said, “ when my children be big enough to work, maybe I not work so hard.” But the hopes and plans of these home workers centered chiefly in the ownership of their homes and not infrequently they expressed a wish that there might be a garden, perhaps a farm; in every case it was to be a “ nice ” home. In these families the purchase of a home was a stupendous under taking. All plans revolved about it and other items of the family budget faded away in comparison with it, for there was always the 158 THE IMMIGRANT WOMAN AND HER JOB constant fear that if the monthly payments should lapse they would lose what had already been invested. In every one of the families burdened with buying homes, the wives were working under pres sure to help to meet these payments. Because of doctors’ and hos pital bills one family was behind three months in the monthly pay ments of $20 on a house valued at $1,650, with no cellar, with open drainage, and a cess pool. To contribute her bit the wife was sewing carpet rags and her husband’s comment was, “She sits in rags all the time; she kill herself to make a sack.” She was one of the many who found it easier to wTork at carpet rags in the summer, when she could sit out of doors; it was hard to work in the house with the five children playing around in, the one small room that served as kitchen, dining room, and living room. Working as hard as she could and whenever she coukl her earnings from carpet rags rarely were more than $1.50 a week. Yet that $1.50 loomed large and her face shone like a child’s as she talked of the time when the home would be theirs. FOREIGN-BORN WOMEN ATTENDING PHILADEL PHIA PUBLIC EVENING SCHOOLS1 INTRODUCTION As the house-to-house canvass progressed in Philadelphia it be came evident that one recent and very important group of immigrant women was not being located by this method. It was quite generally known that a great influx of young German working women had taken place since the war, and that because of their education and working experience in Germany these were important not only numerically but industrially. The women had scattered throughout the city and were not living in the so-called foreign sections where the canvass of houses was made. In order that the study should include all classes of foreign-born workers it seemed important to reach this group of women; in no other way could accurate data in regard to the recent German migra tion to Philadelphia become part of this report. It was learned that these women were attracted from all parts of the city to the public evening-school centers where classes for beginners in English were offered, and through the courtesy of the Philadelphia Board of Edu cation it was made possible to reach these pupils in the English classes and so to gather information to supply the deficiency evident in the other method of approach. Information obtained in this way from a decidedly ambitious and picked group is supplementary to the data in the first part of this report secured during personal visits in the homes of the more mis cellaneous groups of women found through a house-to-house canvass in foreign neighborhoods. Several of the schools were located in the neighborhoods in which the block canvasses were made, but others were very remote, and frequently the women stated that they had to come long distances, the trip for some of them requiring an hour each way. In some of the more advanced classes the pupils filled in the blanks without assistance, but in the case of beginners several teachers made a class exercise of the questionnaire, interpreting it question by question and giving individual assistance during the lesson. Every possible effort was made to get reliable data, yet despite care and precaution there were many opportunities for misunderstanding, be cause this group was not familiar with English and it was impossible during the limited lesson hour to give adequate individual super vision in the larger classes. Many of the questionnaires bore evidence of difficulty in writing the letters and spelling the English words, but other replies were wonderfully neat and correct. The students themselves evinced much interest in the general purpose of the inquiry, often volunteering 1 The same questionnaire used in English classes of the Philadelphia public schools was distributed to the women attending similar classes in Allentown, but so few Women were enrolled that the data were insufficient for tabulation. 159 160 THE IMMIGRANT WOMAN AND HER JOB more information than was requested. Taken as a whole the data obtained by this method give a fairly accurate picture of an espe cially progressive group who, in addition to their daily employment, were making an effort to acquire the language of their adopted country. Not only Germans but women of many other races filled out the simple questionnaire distributed among the foreign-born pupils who were wage earners, so the following discussion is not confined to German women.2 Almost half the questionnaires distributed in the six high schools were answered by German women; the attendance in the 10 elemen tary schools reflected the predominating racial elements in the im mediate neighborhoods. Summary. Germa/n women.—Some of the outstanding facts brought out by the questionnaires for the group of German women are these: None of the 143 German women reporting was illiterate; as many as ninetenths had attended school for seven years or more before coming to the United States. They were not so young as the other races represented in the schools; twothirds were at least 21, and some were 40 and over, a few being at least 50. Although seven-tenths of these women had been in the United States less than two years, 41 of the 141 who gave a definite reply to this query were looking forward to American citizenship and had filed their first papers. They predominated in domestic service and in hosiery mills, and three of the five professional pursuits were followed by German women. Exclusive of those receiving living in addition to wage, largely domesticservice workers, the median of the week’s earnings of women of the German race was $18.35. All women.—Of the total of 732 women making out the ques tionnaires in the Philadelphia public evening schools, the majority were Jews. The Germans were the next most numerous. The out standing facts concerning them are these: The women were young, almost three-fifths of them being less than 21 years. Over nine-tenths were unmarried. Four-fifths of the women had been in this country less than four years. More than a fifth of those who had not become citizens had filed their first papers. Nine were illiterate. Almost three-fourths of the 695 women who reported extent of schooling in the United States had been in school less than two years, explained partly by the fact that almost a fourth of such group were at least 21 years of a'ge when they arrived in this country. There was a decided falling off in school attendance after three years of residence in the United States. Almost three-fifths of the women reporting had worked throughout their period of residence in the United States. Almost half of the women reporting present employment and race were in the various clothing trades, more than seven-tenths of the number being Jewish. Domestic and personal service, specifically housework, had a preponderance of women of the German race. More than a third of the women had been wage earners in the old country. Almost two-fifths of those who had been wage earners in the old country— chiefly domestics and dressmakers and tailors—were doing the same kind of work here. 2 Several German women who answered the questionnaire had to be excluded from the tables because they were not wage earners. They were well-educated, mature women attending the English classes with their husbands, an interesting body of students but not related to the present study. 161 FOREIGN-BORN WOMEN ATTENDING EVENING SCHOOLS There was little shifting from job to job. More than half of the women re porting on this had had only one job in the United States, but almost three-fifths of these women had been at work in the United States less than two years. The median of the week’s wages as reported by 557 women is $17.40. Scope. The schools in which the questionnaires were distributed were lo cated in scattered sections of the city—the north central part, West Philadelphia, Germantown, Frankford, Richmond, Kensington, and South Philadelphia. For each school the figures quoted represented an average at tendance—for one evening in February, 1925—and not the total en rollment. Questions relating to age, present living condition, work and schooling in the old country, as well as citizenship, schooling, and industrial experience in the United States, appeared on the questionnaire. (See p. 175.) The reports were sent to the bureau by the schools visited, he number of questionnaires returned by each school being as follows: Elementary High Total..............................................................518 Barry..----------Blaine..................... Ferguson_____________ Hay________ Kearney-------------------------------Martin...................... Meade_____ ___________ Miller__ 65 Mt. Vernon 23 Southwark...________ Total..._______ ______________ 26 _ ..214 Central.................................................... . ___ Frankford_______________________________ Germantown 24 Kensington___________________ Northeast 53 South Philadelphia 41 62 27 99 6 13 46 Grand total, both classes................. 71 732 9 41 126 PERSONAL DATA Race and country of birth. Although the pupils of these evening schools had come from 20 or more European countries and from South America and Canada, and represented almost as many races, the concentration of numbers is found among the Jewish, German, and Russian. Jews comprised practically three-fifths of the 732 women reporting, and by their overwhelming numbers they color every phase of this special survey. The German group, next largest in numbers, comprised about onefifth, and the Russians about one-tenth, of the total. Table 58.—Race or people, by country of birth Number of women who were born in— Race or people wom Eng en report land ing Ire land Aus tria 22 121 16 4 732 English-speaking____ Non-English-speaking: German.. Italian... ______ Jewish__ Magyar. _ Polish Rumanian............. Russian Other races 4 8 12 4 Ger Hun Italy many gary Po land Other Ru mania Russia coun tries 8 143 8 117 415 10 4 24 4 76 228 1 22 8 2 1 6 22 77 21 392 i 49 17 317 13 1 22 48 23 69 ^ Includes Lithuania 13, Latvia 7, Czechoslovakia 6, and Armenia 5. The remaining 18 were from more other countries. 8 Includes Lithuanian 8 and Armenian 5. The remaining 15 were of 8 or more other races. 24 10 or 1 162 THE IMMIGRANT WOMAN AND HER JOB More than half of the women came from Russia—three-fourths of the Jews as well as nine-tenths of the Russians claiming it as their country of birth—and the next largest number came from Germany. It will be recalled that the Germans who had settled in the Lehigh Valley since the war had come chiefly from Austria, but that those settling in Philadelphia had come from Germany. Yet not all the Jews had come from Russia nor all the Germans from Germany, for there were Jews and Germans from eight other European countries also. Age. As might be expected, these evening-school pupils were young, well over one-half (56.7 per cent) being less than 21 years of age. There were, however, maturer women of 30 and 40 who, in spite of their years, were bravely making the effort to learn English after the day’s work. The table following shows that while almost two-thirds of the German women were 21 years old or more, two-thirds of the Jews and Russians were less than 21. It is noticeable that in the highest age group—40 years and over—10 of the 13 women reporting were German. Three of these women were as much as 50. Table 59.—Age, 6y race or people Race or people Total English-speaking_______ ___ Non-English-speaking: German ____________ ... Italian__________ ____ Jewish........................... Russian Other races...___ _______ Number of women whose age was— Number of women 21 and 25 and 30 and reporting Under 18 18 and under 21 under 25 under 30 under 40 40 years years and over years years years years 720 90 12 142 21 408 74 » 63 318 177 65 57 13 6 10 l 61 14 4 42 43 20 17 10 212 35 21 91 15 16 23 7 9 20 2 12 1 1 1 ■Includes Polish 24, Lithuanian 8, Magyar 8, and Armenian 5. The remaining 18 were of 9 or more hAr FAPAK Marital status. Not only was this group of students young but from unpublished data it is found that the vast majority of them (92.3 per cent) were single. Only 56 were married. The German group had one-tenth of their number married, while the Jewish and Russian groups each had about one-twentieth in this class. Time in the United States. Taken as a whole the night-school pupils had been residents of the United States a very short time, some having been in this country less than a year. More than a third had been here 1 and under 2 years and about a fourth 2 and under 3 years. Four out of five had been here less than 4 years. In contrast to these were a very few who had been here 10,15, or eyen 20 years. FOREIGN-BORN WOMEN ATTENDING EVENING SCHOOLS 163 Citizenship. In view of the fact that only 81 of the 728 women reporting had been here as long as five years it was surprising to find that 113 were naturalized citizens of the United States. These had automatically become citizens through their fathers or husbands and not because of any action taken by the women themselves. Real interest is attached to the 124 women in this young and very recent immigrant group who on their own initiative had declared their intention of becoming American citizens. More than a fifth of those who were not citizens had taken this action, the proportion being higher among the Germans than among any other race. Number of women reporting Race or people Having full cit izenship Having first papers or having de clared intention Number Per cent Number Per cent Total_____ ________ ______________ _______ 702 113 16.1 124 17.7 German..__________________ __________ ... Jewish_______ ________ Russian.......................................................................... Other________ ________________ _________ ... 141 396 70 95 8 74 12 19 5.7 18.7 17.1 20.0 41 51 13 19 29.1 12.9 18.6 20.0 Illustrative of the eagerness of some to become citizens was the Russian girl of 22 who, though in the United States only a year and a half, had been in school the whole of that time and had" already declared her intention of becoming a citizen. In contrast to her was the Italian girl who in spite of a residence of nine years in America had not taken out her first papers and was only beginning to learn English. As a maker of artificial flowers the Italian girl had earned $3 a week when she came, but as a cigar maker at the time of the study she occasionally earned $20. EDUCATION Schooling in the old country. Work in these elementary English classes was not the first experi ence these women had had in school, for the great majority had been fairly well educated in the schools of their native countries and only 9 (4 Russian Jews, 3 Russians, and 2 Italians) could neither read nor write in any language. Three-fifths of the women had attended school as much as five years in the old country and many of them much longer. Almost half of the women who had been in school in the old country as much as seven years were Germans. This is the more striking as there were about three times as many Jews as Ger mans in the total number reporting. Seven-tenths of the women could read and write in more than one language. The Jewish women showed the greatest proficiency in languages, due in some degree to their knowledge of Yiddish as well as the official language of their native country. One-third of all the women reporting could read and write in as many as three lan guages, and most of these were Jewish. Approximately another third of the women knew two languages, but of these about as many were non-Jewish as were Jewish. 164 THE IMMIGRANT WOMAN AND HER JOB A Jewish girl born in Rumania was typical of her race as far as languages are concerned. She spoke Yiddish at home; she had learned to read and write Rumanian and German in the old coun try; and after two and a third years in American evening schools she had acquired a fair knowledge of English. Time in school in the United States. The habit of attending school was acquired in the old country, so it was not altogether a strange experience to continue studying here. Table 60.—Time in school in the United States, bv age at time of arrival Time in school in the United States 1 Total Under 1 year_____ 1 and under 2 years 2 and under 3 years. 3 and under 4 years. 4 and under 5 years. 5 years and over___ Number of women re porting Number of women with schooling as specified whose age at time of arrival in the United States was— Under 14 years 14 and un 21 years der 21 years and over 695 42 511 142 301 4 211 86 113 37 8 6 170 93 29 41 20 20 212 12 1 3 8 12 2 1 1 Expressed in years, though in many cases it may mean school years. From Table 60 it is evident that practically all the women had passed the usual grade-school age when they arrived in the United States, the largest group being 14 and under 21 when they came, and that all who had been in school in this country as much as five years were less than 14 at time of arrival. Of more vital importance is the length of time the women had been in school in the United States. The table shows that much the largest group had been in school less than a year. Only 1 woman in 10 had had as much as three years’ schooling in the United States. Of the women who had been in school here less than a year, almost two-thirds had attended less than six months. Not many women were as eager for schooling as the Russian girl described in the comments on citizenship. For example, of a group of 62 women who had been in school in the United States less than three months, 28 had been in this country 1 and under 3 years and 8 had been here 3 years or more. One woman actually had lived here 15 years. Of the 26 in the United States less than a year, 10 had been here less than 3 months and had at once begun attending school. The following correlation of residence in the United States and attendance at school emphasizes the natural tendency for the period of school attendance to be much shorter than the period of residence. Only 17.4 per cent of the women had lived here a year or less, but more than one-half of them (54.1 per cent) had been in school for no longer than a year. At the other extreme of the table are 76 women with an American residence of five years or more and only 20 women with as much as five years’ schooling in the United States, presumably those who came here when young. FOREIGN-BORN WOMEN ATTENDING EVENING SCHOOLS 165 Table 61.—Distribution of women according to length of residence in the United States and time attending school Residence in the United States School attendance in the United States Time period Number Number of women reporting____ ____________ Under 3 months.__________ ____ _________ ____ 3 and under 6 months_______________________ _____ 6 and under 12 months__________ _________________ 1 year_________ Over 1 year and under iy% years 1^ and under 2 years.. ___ 2 and under 2l years_____ ___ ____ _ A 2H and under 3 years 3 and under 4 years 4 and under 5 years______________________________ 5 years and over Per cent Number Per cent 708 100.0 708 100.0 10 16 15 82 78 93 133 40 111 54 76 1.4 2.3 2.1 11.6 11.0 13.1 18.8 5.6 15.7 7.6 10.7 62 133 114 74 103 38 94 21 37 12 20 8.8 18.8 16.1 10.5 14.5 5.4 13.3 3.0 5.2 1.7 2.8 From the next table it is evident that almost a fifth of the women who had been in school less than five years had attended the eve ning schools approximately all the time these had been in session since their arrival in the United States. Table 62.—Attendance at school during approximately entire residence in the United States Residence in the United States Number of women attending school for same period Total.................... ... 126 Under 1 year____________ 1 year-------- ------ -----------Over 1 and under 1H years. 5 19 18 Residence in the United States ll and under 2 years. A 2 and under 2A years 2% and under 3 years 3 and under 4 years.. 4 and under 5 years. _ Number of women attending school for same period 15 32 11 20 6 This compilation is merely an approximation to. show that many women had the habit of continued and regular attendance at school. If a woman reported that she had lived here 15 months—that is, from a year to a year and a half—and also that she had been in school a year and a few months, it was taken for granted that in the main the time of her schooling approached fairly closely the over-all of the residence period, and she is included as one of the women who had been in school during approximately their entire residence. Undoubtedly the approximation is closer for the shorter periods than for periods involving three or four years. It is interesting to note how quickly many women had found their way to school. One woman in the United States but two weeks had been registered in school two weeks; two others in this country only three weeks had been in school one week and eight days, respec tively; another with a month’s residence had been in school three weeks; another who had been here six weeks had been in school four weeks of that time. The most significant fact is not that some immigrants find their way to school so quickly after landing, nor that some attend school 166 THE IMMIGRANT WOMAN AND HER JOB regularly, but that after so short a residence as three years there is a marked falling off in school attendance. The average foreign-born pupil seems to leave evening school as soon as she knows the minimum amount of English that enables her to “ get along.” INDUSTRIAL EXPERIENCE Length of time working in the United States. These women were workers primarily, and they had spent a much longer time in the shops than in the schools of their adopted land. Time worked in the United States was reported as follows: Time worked in the United States Number of women Total... .............................. 682 Under 3 months____________ 3 and under 6 months__ 6 months and under 1 year______ 17 18 28 Time worked in the United States 1 and under 2 years________________ _ 2 and under 3 years___ ___ Number of women 261 174 94 40 50 Only 9.2 per cent of the women had worked less than a year. Five out of six had been employed from 1 to 4 years. The follow ing summary shows that roughly three-fifths had worked during approximately their entire residence in the United States. Table 63.—Employment during approximately entire residence in the United States Residence in the United States Number of women working for same period 386 Under 6 months 1 and under V/i years________ 2 and under 2l years A 7 91 46 98 Residence in the United States and under 3 years. ........................ . 3 and under 3J4 years________ _. .. 3Yi and under 4 years_______ _______ 4 and under 4years___________ 5 and under 10 years____ 10 and under 15 years... 15 years and over........... Number of women working for same period 17 56 9 31 10 8 8 This table includes only those women who gave exactly the same answer to the two questions: “ How long have you worked in the United States?” and “ How long have you lived in the United States?” It does not include, for example, the woman who had been here 14 days and had been at work 10 days. Undoubtedly the information is more exact for those in the United States only a short time, but on the whole it may be said that 386 women considered that they had been wage earners all the time they had lived here and that at least it was their habit to work continuously. Present employment. Of the 712 women who gave definite data about their present em ployment, almost one-half were in the various branches of the cloth ing industry, while the next largest numbers were employed in the manufacture of textiles, chiefly knit goods, and in domestic and per 167 FOREIGN-BORN WOMEN ATTENDING EVENING SCHOOLS sonal service. The miscellaneous-manufacturing group includes 6 women employed in the making of paper boxes, 6 in shoes, 7 in neckties, 10 in lamp shades, 13 in bakery and confectionery establish ments, and others even more scattered. The professional group of five women includes nurses and teachers. Table 64.—Present industry or occupation, by race or people Women reporting Number of women in each specified industry whose race was— Present industry or occupation Number Per cent English Ger Ital Jew Pol Rus Other speaking man ian ish ish sian Total_____________ _ . Per cent distribution. Manufacturing: Cigars_____ ... 100.0 100.0 12 1.7 138 19.4 2.9 17 7 10 407 57.2 4.5 286 76 94 40.2 10.7 13.2 116 16.3 Dressmaking and tailoring___ Millinery............... ......... 62 28 8.7 3.9 Textiles................ ........... Hosiery____________ Sweaters and bathing suits. Other................... ........ 98 25 52 21 13.8 3.5 7.3 2.9 3 Miscellaneous Clerical......................... 78 15 11.0 2.1 1 11 1 Domestic and personal service__ Housework................ Other.......... ...... .......... 89 69 20 12.5 9.7 2.8 3 69 58 11 Professional work________ Sales................................ 5 19 .7 2.7 73 212 56 78 9 28 78 32 Clothing_________ ..___ Men’s clothing ... Women’s clothing Other clothing and produets not specified 24 3.4 3 18 37 5.2 20 7 1 1 26 17 4 3 1 4 17 2 43 2 37 3 2 52 3 2 1 8 7 1 8 1 1 10 8 6 9 3 1 8 15 Since almost three-fifths of these wage earners were Jewish, naturally this race predominated in many of the industry groups. Altogether three-fifths of them were employed in the clothing trades and they comprised a large proportion of the workers in the manu facture of cigars, millinery, sweaters, and the small lines included in miscellaneous manufacturing, such as lamp shades, paper boxes, and neckties. Most of the saleswomen were Jewish, but there were very few Jews (only 3 of 89) in domestic service. None were found in woolen mills nor in the group classified as professional. The Germans predominated in domestic service. The Russians were employed largely in the clothing trades, but otherwise there is nothing distinctive in their industrial distribution. The few Italians were in manufacturing trades exclusively. Employment in the old country compared with present employ ment. More than a third of the women had been wage earners in the old country, to a considerable extent in the needle trades, as tailors, dress makers and seamstresses, or in clothing factories, but chiefly in house work. Others had been saleswomen, clerks, and farm workers, and a few had been nurses and teachers. 65661°—30——12 THE IMMIGRANT WOMAN AND HER JOB 168 Agriculture was the only pursuit followed on the other side in which no women had been employed since coming to the United States. Those who had done farm labor were working here in domes tic service and in factories. _ In the old country more than two-fifths of the women had been in the more skilled trades and occupations, as dressmakers, saleswomen, clerical workers, nurses, or teachers, but over here only about a seventh (14.8 per cent) had succeeded in getting into such lines of work, and most of these were tailors or dressmakers. None of those who had been saleswomen were in saleswork here, only one clerical worker had fitted into her own line, and only a few had found tutor ing or nursing positions in the United States. _ The remainder of the women who had worked in the old country were employed largely in the factories of Philadelphia, chiefly cloth ing and knit goods, and even in domestic service. Some women who had been clerks, salespersons, or skilled workers in the needle trades were employed here in domestic service. The manufacturing indus tries had recruited even more workers (62) from those who were in skilled trades in the old country, as dressmakers, saleswomen, clerical workers, and professional women than from those who were employed in manufacturing in the old country (56). Table 65.—Present employment, by occupation in old country Number of women whose present job is in— Num ber of Occupation in old country women report ing Total___ ___ _ Manufacturing: Dressmaking and tailor- Manufacturing Dress Cloth making Knit and ing tailor goods ing Domes tic and Profes Clerical per work sonal sional Mis work cella service neous 250 72 28 36 43 28 19 2 5 20 1 3 2 12 4 1 17 4 2 8 3 3 62 4 1 4 5 2 2 6 2 43 6 35 23 56 20 27 11 6 8 11 6 6 6 Sales 3 1 2 2 1 1 8 5 37 6 4 4 _____ Girls who had been office clerks, typists, and stenographers in Hun gary and Russia found themselves operating power sewing machines in this country. It was a great change from working in a store to packing pretzels, or from telegraph operating to work on a cigarette machine. A girl who had been a teacher in her native country was a cigar bander at the time of the survey. But the largest number who had not found their places in industry were in housework. Two German women, skilled weavers, were domestics, making a desperate effort to attend the English classes at night. Several domestics, chiefly German girls, had been sales- FOREIGN-BORN- WOMEN ATTENDING EVENING SCHOOLS 169 women, office clerks, and stenographers before they came to the United States. With painstaking care they wrote in English their answers to the questionnaire: In the United States—1 year 9 months; in school—1 year 5 months; first papers—yes; work in old country— stenographer; work now—housework. While many had not yet found their places, at least 108 women, or more than two-fifths of those who had been wage earners in the old country, had fitted into the same general line of work here. Over a third (37) of these women were in domestic service before they came and reported the same in the United States. The next largest number (20) were continuing as dressmakers and tailors on this side; 11 others who had been dressmakers were in closely allied branches of the clothing trade; and 2 who had been in the clothing industry had become dressmakers. Nineteen had found their own work in clothing factories, 5 in knit-goods factories, 4 in professional lines, and 1 in clerical wTork. In the miscellaneous lines of manufacturing 5 millinery workers were in the same general kind of work over here, as were 2 cigar makers; and the only 2 who were weaving had learned their trade in the old country. Employment in the same industry is shown in"the case of the girl whose answers to the questions were as follows: What kind of work did you do in the old country ? Dressmaking. What was your first job in the United States? Sew dresses. What is your job now? Dressmaking. How many jobs have you had? Two. Or in the case of the German girl who wrote her replies with great precision, Nurse; nurse; I am a nurse. Effect on industry of time in the United States. The length of time that the women had lived in the United States seems to have had little to do with the industry in which they were employed. Although half of the group who had been here less than a year were in the clothing trades, the others in this group already were scattered through the main manufacturing lines and were also in sales,_ clerical, and professional positions. About seven-tenths of those in domestic and personal service had been here less than two years, and none of the five professional nurses and teachers had been here as long as four years. The employment of immigrant women as saleswomen and clerks is explained by the fact that this was mostly in neighborhood stores in foreign sections, where the customers were as foreign as the girls themselves, and a foreign language was a greater asset than English. Such was the case with Rosie—a young Jewish woman who during her year and a half in the United States had been employed as a saleswoman in a store belonging to a fellow countryman. She had had the equivalent of a common-school education in Europe and had been in school “ 1 year and 19 weeks ” since coming to the United States, hoping some day “ to talk English so good ” that she can get a job in a “ nice store on Market Street.” Number of jobs. . Furthermore, the women had shifted comparatively little from one job to another. Regardless of the time they had worked, more than half of those reporting had held but one job in the United States; 170 THE IMMIGRANT WOMAN AND HER JOB about, three-tenths had worked in two jobs, and about one-eighth in three jobs, and 44 women had had four or more jobs. The following analysis shows how long the women who had made no change in their employment had worked. It is apparent that about two-thirds of the group had worked in one job one or two years. Table 66.—Women having had only one job in the United States, by time at tcork Time at work in the United States Total____________________ ____ _____ 1 and under 2 years______ ______ ... _. 2 and under 3 years__________________ 3 and undei 4 years... _______ 4 and under 5 years______ __________ 5 years and over....... ................... ............. Number of reporting Women with only 1 job Number Per cent 658 339 51.5 62 254 169 93 39 41 49 146 88 30 16 10 79.0 57.5 52.1 32. 3 41. 0 24.4 WAGES First wages. The questionnaire called for data on first wages earned in the United States as well as present -wages, and since so few of the women had been in the United States longer than five years their first wages are indicative of what foreign-born beginners have been earning in very recent years. The first week’s pay was less than $6 for 87 women, $6 to $8 for 85 women, and $8 to $10 for 116 women, so that almost half of the 598 women reporting received less than $10 for their first week’s work. About a fourth were paid $10 to $11, and the remaining fourth earned amounts varying from $11 to $20, and in rare instances more. Raises in wages. Almost 600 women answered the question, What do you earn now when you work a full week? and the replies undoubtedly represent maximum wages in busy seasons rather than actual earnings, espe cially in jobs in which there is as much undertime as in the clothing trade. A very few women were working at the time of the survey at a rate lower than that at which they started; many more had ex perienced no change; but a comparison of amounts first earned in the United States with the present full-time maximum wages reveals that about 500 women had received material increases in pay during the short time they had been employed. The extent of such increases, based on the full weekly wage received, are indicated roughly in the table following. ' FOREIGN-BORN WOMEN ATTENDING EVENING SCHOOLS 171 Table 67.—Earnings in the first and the present job, by industry First employment Industry or occupation Present employment Number of Median of Number of Median of the full the week’s women women time reporting reporting weekly rate wage Total___ __________ 590 $17.40 9.00 10.40 10.50 249 56 90 18.15 18. 50 18. 30 9.55 8.00 7. 10 10.00 131 30 27 74 15. 80 20. 50 15.95 14.80 22 Clerical; professional; sales_____ 557 i 220 2 28 29 120 Miscellaneous manufacturing _ _ _ Cigars. ________ Millinery. ............ Miscellaneous occupations_____ $10.05 197 71 80 Manufacturing: Clothing_________ Dressmaking and tailoring.. Textiles (including knit goods)___ 10.80 31 15. 65 . 1 Includes 43 women in industries too small for tire computation of a median. 1 Includes some women employed in cigarette factories. First wages and present full-time rates in some of the industries or occupations in which the women were chiefly employed are com pared in Table 67. The median of the wages of all the women for their first week’s work in the United States was $10.05, but the median of their present rate is $17.40; that is, $7.35 more than their first pay. There arc no extreme differences in the medians of the wages for the first week in the industries that employed most women, but the median for the sales, clerical, and professional group was slightly higher than for the others. However, in contrast to this the median of the rates for those now employed in sales, clerical, and professional lines is lower than those in all the other groups but miscellaneous manufacturing. Wages in relation to experience. The next summary shows that in general full-time wages increase as experience in industry increases up to four years. The median of the full-time wage rises from $12.25 to $19.50 during the first four years, an increase that seems a normal result of experience. Table 68.—Median of the full-time weekly wage, by time worked in the United States Time worked in the United States Total__________ ________ Under 6 months_____ _____ ________ 6 months and under 1 year. ... 1 and under 2 years............................... 2 and under 3 years___ __________ 3 and under 4 years ________________ 4 and under 5 years .............. .................. 5 and under 10 years_____ ___________ 10 and under 20 years................ .............................. .. Number of Median of the weekly women reporting wage 549 $17.45 31 25 188 148 84 33 22 18 12.25 13.40 15.80 18.60 19.50 18. 70 20. 60 16.00 172 THE IMMIGRANT WOMAN AND HER JOB Wages and race. A correlation of standard full-time wages and race showed some variations among the three groups reporting in numbers large enough to be at all significant, with the Germans having the highest median. Race or people German_______ Median of the full time weekly wage _ Russian...____ ______ ____ .... Number of women reporting 66 16.40 _ Wages in domestic and personal service. Besides the few hundred women who were wage earners in organ ized industries, 79 enrolled in the English classes were employed as maids in private families and in other personal-service or profes sional lines such as sewing or practical nursing. Since it was customary for this group to receive board and perhaps room in addition to the weekly cash wages, they have not been in cluded in the discussion of wages for women whose compensation was in money only. More than half who received their living as part pay were working for a wage of $10 to $13 a week; a few were receiv ing more than $15 and a very few less than $10. Only five of these women had been in the United States as long as three years; most of them had been here only from one to three years. SUMMARY OF PRINCIPAL FACTS Date of survey: January to September, 1925. Scope: Interviewed in Philadelphia, 1,120 women; in Lehigh Valley, 1,026. Principal races: In Philadelphia, 26.3 per cent Polish; 19.7 per cent Jewish; 15.4 per cent Italian; 9 per cent German. In Lehigh Valley, 34.1 per cent German; 22.1 per cent Magyar; 17.9 per cent Slovenian; 8.2 per cent Slovak. . Date of arrival in United States: Three-fifths came between 1905 and 1915. Age at arrival: Nearly three-fifths not more than 18; only about a sixth as much as 25. Two-fifths made the voyage alone. Seventy per cent went to work within a few months; many without losing a day. Marital status: Single, 25.9 per cent; married, 57.2 per cent; widowed, separated, or divorced, 17 per cent. Jewish were 73.1 per cent single; English speaking races, 47.7 per cent. Age: Under 20, 13 per cent; 20 and under 25, 15.4 per cent; 25 and under 30, 14.7 per cent; 30 and under 40, 35.5 per cent; 40 and under 50, 15.2 per cent; 50 and over, 6.2 per cent. Italian and Jewish, younger groups; women 40 or more largely German and Polish. Citizenship: One-fifth were citizens of the United States, but only 18 by own efforts. Schooling: Three-fourths of the nearly 1,300 reporting schooling in old country had had six or more years in school there. Nearly 1,400 never at school in United States. More than 300 never at school either abroad or in United States. Inability to speak English: Of more than 1,500 in United States 10 or more years, 37.2 per cent could not speak English. Of nearly 1,500 at least 14 when they arrived, about half had never learned to speak English. This condition worse in Lehigh Valley than Philadelphia. Illiteracy: More than two-thirds could not read English; about 1 in 6 could not read and write in any language. Illiterate found largely in textiles and cigars. Small minority attending night classes. Others found them not suited to needs. Living conditions: Only 139 living apart from family or near relatives. Twofifths of families had 5 or more members; one-fourth, 6 or more. Aver age size of family, 4.5 persons. Average number of wage earners in family, 2.4. Woman was sole wage earner in 156 families; 116 were widows and 26 wives. Relationship of woman: Of 1,900 reporting on this, half were wives and moth ers, 1 in 5 daughters, 1 in 7 wives but not mothers, 1 in 7 widows with children. Children: Average number per mother, 2.6. More than two-fifths of mothers had at least 3 and almost 70 had 6 or more. Three-fourths of families had children under 16. In 600 or more cases there were children under 7. Large numbers inadequately cared for while mother at work. Slightly over 150 mothers had sons or daughters of 18 or more. Almost all these were at work, as were perhaps half of those 14 and under 18. Occupation of husband: Of more than 1,100 women reporting, 36 per cent gave husband’s occupation as in metal trades, 13 per cent in cement, 10 per cent textiles, 8 per cent labor, and 7 per cent building trades. One hundred twenty husbands were not employed—ill, out of a job, “no good.” Slack work was a common condition. In about a tenth of the families the wife had become chief wage earner. Earnings of chief male wage earner: About one-tenth of the 456 men whose earnings were reported received less than $20 a week. Slightly over a fourth, as much as $30. Lehigh Valley had somewhat higher earn ings than Philadelphia. Married women’s return to work: Of 314 reporting on this, 223 had been at home 5 years or more before again going to work. In 147 eases such return was necessary for actual family support. Home duties: Only 28 women had no household duties. More than 160 had boarders and lodgers in the home. 173 174 THE IMMIGRANT WOMAN AND HER JOB Housing: Houses were larger in Lehigh Valley than Philadelphia, and in threetenths of the cases 2, 3, or more families occupied one house. Each family rented one sleeping room, rarely two, and shared kitchen. There were 43 cases of 6-room houses having 10 or more occupants ; some had 12 to 15 people in 6 rooms. Both localities had examples of 2 and 3 persons living in one room; Philadelphia, one case of 4 in a room. Rents averaged between $5 and $6 a room in Philadelphia; less in Lehigh Valley. Sanitary equipment inadequate or entirely absent in many cases in Lehigh Valley. Women’s occupations: Principal lines in Lehigh Valley—cigars (658 women), silk (308), jute (44). In Philadelphia—woolen and worsted (235), clothing (205), hosiery (93), cigars (67), office cleaning (66), food (61), clerical work (56). Industrial experience: Most women coming as adults had been employed in old country, more than half in farm work. Of these, 46 per cent were now employed in cigars and 36 per cent in textiles. None doing farm work. Of those formerly in domestic service, 34 per cent were in cigars and 26 per cent in textiles. Most of those formerly in textiles were again in textiles. Three-fourths of those not employed in the old country were in cigars, clothing, and textiles. Seventeen hundred women had gone directly into manufacturing in the United States though only 200 had been wage earners in factories before. More than a fifth in Philadelphia and about a tenth in Lehigh Valley went to work first in domestic and personal service. In Philadelphia 38 per cent and in Lehigh Valley 64 per cent had had no change in occupa tion in their entire working experience in the United States; 66 women, no change in 15 or more years; 13 in one occupation 20 years or more. Of Philadelphia women reporting, 53 per cent had been employed in United States less than 5 years; 20 per cent as much as 10 years. Of those in Lehigh Valley, less than 40 per cent had been employed under 5 years and 31 per cent as much as 10 years. In the aggregate, Philadelphia women had worked somewhat less than half their time in United States; those in Lehigh Valley, almost threefifths. Work after marriage more common in the Lehigh Valley. In the aggregate, lost time was 88 per cent due to domestic causes. Earnings: Of 988 women in Philadelphia, 11 per cent received under $10, 35 per cent $10 and under $15, 36 per cent $15 and under $20, and 18 per cent $20 and over. Of 836 women in the Lehigh Valley, 10 per cent received under $10, 23 per cent $10 and under $15, 37 per cent $15 and under $20, and 29 per cent $20 and over. The medians of these earnings were $15.35 in Philadelphia, where woolen weaving, hosiery, meat packing, and clerical work paid best, and $16.75 in Lehigh Valley, where silk weaving and cigar bunching and rolling had the highest medians. For 1,682 women reporting, the median with experience of less than a year was $12.85; for 5 and under 10 years, $17.10; for 20 years and over, $18.50. Hours worked: Of more than 200 women in Philadelphia reporting hours worked, almost two-fifths worked less than 9 hours a day, two-fifths 9 and under 10 hours, and one-fifth 10 hours or more. Of more than 200 reporting in the Lehigh Valley, only 8 per cent worked less than 9 hours, 43 per cent 9 and under 10 hours, 11 per cent 10 hours, and 37 per cent more than 10 hours. Many women prolonged their firm’s scheduled day by beginning work earlier than the hour specified in the morning or by reducing the lunch period, thus insuring higher earnings. In Philadelphia 46 per cent gave their weekly hours as 48 or under; only 9 per cent worked 54 hours or more. In Lehigh Valley less than 6 per cent worked 48 hours or less and 43 per cent said they exceeded 54 hours. Irregularity of work: Slack work, during periods ranging from a few weeks to more than 9 months, was reported by 476 women. Seventy women re ported shutdowns that kept them out of work for 3 months or more, and more than 70 had been thus unemployed for 1 and under 3 months. Shutdowns, layoffs, and irregular employment had caused a third of the cases of changing jobs reported; low wages a fourth of all. Accidents: Industrial accidents had occurred to 124 women; 18 injured permanently. SUMMARY OS’ PRINCIPAL PACTS 175 INDUSTRIAL HOME WORK IN PHILADELPHIA Numbers and race: Italian, 108; German, 27; Slavic, 21; other, 3; total, 159. Occupation: Finishing clothing, 42; finishing sweaters and knit goods, 26; hooks, snaps, pins, tags, 40; curtain rings and pulls, 20; sewing carpet rags, 28; beading buckles, 3. . Age: About 70 per cent 30 and under 50 years; only 8 under 25. Marital status: Only 3 women single. More than half of all had been married at least 10 years. Years In United States: Approximately four-fifths in United States more than 20 years. Inability to speak English : Two-thirds could not speak English. Illiteracy: About 90 per cent could not read English; 45 per cent could not read and write in any language. Children: Dependency of children the principal cause of women doing home work. Average number of children, 3.8. In practically half the families, as many as 4; in almost a fifth, 6 or more. In 84 families, youngest child was under 5. Male breadwinners: Men had chief responsibility of support in all but 12 families. Their work mainly unskilled and poorly paid labor. In 29 cases, employment was seasonal; in 43, very irregular. Only 29 men had steady work. Of 51 whose earnings were reported, one earned less than $10 and one as much as $38. Median was $24.25. Fifteen earned less than $20. Women’s earnings: Median of a week’s earnings, 139 women, $3.70. Ranged from $1.70 for carpet rags to $9.20 for sweaters. Many had the help of children. Finishing men's coats, 17 cents each. Steady workers, 4 to 8 in a day. Embroidering children’s dresses, 50 cents a dozen. Some women, a dozen in 4 or 5 hours. Finishing sweaters, skilled work, 40 or 45 cents each. Swift and steady workers, a sweater in 1% hours. Stringing tags, 10 cents a thousand. Fair average, 500 in an hour. Covering curtain rings, 40 cents a gross. About 5 hours of steady work, though one fast worker had done 6 dozen in an hour. Cutting and sewing carpet rags, about $1.50 for 2 to 3 bushels. An experienced worker took 7 or 8 hours to do a bushel. Carding safety pins, 8 to 15 cents a hundred cards. Fifty cents a day; occasionally a dollar. Carding snaps, 10 cents a hundred cards. WOMEN ATTENDING EVENING SCHOOLS Number of students answering questionnaire, 732. Race: Jewish, 415; German, 143; Russian, 76; others, 98. Age: Well over half were under 21; about 2 per cent were as much as 40. Marital status: More than 90 per cent single. Years in United States: Four in five, less than 4 years; a very few, 10, 15, 20 years. Literacy: Seven-tenths could read and write in more than one language; onethird in 3 or more languages. Years in United States and in school: Of 708 women, 6 per cent had been in the United States under 1 year; 36 per cent 1 and under 2 years; 24 per cent 2 and under 3; 16 per cent 3 and under 4; 8 per cent 4 and under 5; 11 per cent 5 years and over. Of the same women, 44 per cent had been in school in the United States under 1 year; 30 per cent 1 and under 2; 16 per cent 2 and under 3; 5 per cent 3 and under 4; 2 per cent' 4 and under 5; and 3 per cent 5 years and over. Occupation: Of 712 reporting, 286, mainly Jewish, were in clothing; 98, mainly Jewish and German, in textiles; 89, mostly German, in domestic and personal service. First wages in United States: Almost one-half of 598 women reporting had received less than $10 for their first week’s work: Under $6, 87 women ; $6 and under $8, 85 women; $8 and under $10, 116 women. Present earnings: Median, for 557 women, $17.40; ranged from $14.80 in miscellaneous manufacturing to $20.50 in cigar manufacturing. V * 1 I . APPENDIX—SCHEDULE FORMS SCHEDULE I This schedule was used for the interviews with the women in their homes. U. S. Department of Labor WOMEN’S BUREAU I. Personal Data 1. 6. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. Name--------------------------------------------- 2. Address............. ' lime at present address.•_--------- 4. Marital status: S. M W S D~ Present age------------- Date of birth._ ... _ Country of birth----------------- Province "~Citv"................................................. Race______________ _ ____ J ~~ Date of arrival________________ _ _ _ Age at arrival. Yrs. in U. S------------------------- Came a~lone.IL With (spec.)__ Reason for coming to U. S____________________ _ Citizenship: Naturalized___ Own act. Father..". Husband. First papers Education: Yrs. attending full-time school: O. C_____ , U. S_ Part-time or night school: O. C____ , U. S __ " English: S. R. W. Other lang.: S". R. W. "(spec.) II. Living Condition A. With family (make-up of group): 1. Wage earners Person Industry Occupation 2. Non wage earners— Nat. Age Person Nat. Age School Self_______ 3. No. earners: M_. F._ Total.. 4. No. nonearners: M_ F _ Total_ 5. No. of lodgers.. 6. Total in house._ -n at ------Amt. rent------------------ 9. No. of rooms B. Not with family: L Room and board_____ With whom? 2. L. h. k---------- With whom?______________ _ _ _ __ Changes and dates in marital status since coming toU. _ _ Notes: III. Industrial History 1. Experience in own country: Earner____________________________ Nonearner________________ 177 178 THE IMMIGRANT WOMAN AND HER JOB 2. Experience in U. S.: Occupation T. or P. Industry How se cured Fee Training Wage in past 4 weeks Age Date be be gun gun 1 2 3 4 Present job: Dura Reason for leaving tion First wage Advances in wage Influence in choice of job___________________ Reason for first going to work_______________ Experience between first and last job_________ 3. Periods of nonemployment: Date Reason Duration Reason for return to work IV. Special Industrial Problems 1. Unsuccessful attempts to secure work: Date Industry Ago Occupation Method used Fee Reason not secured ......... 2. Cases of nonadjustment: Date Age Industry Occupation Duration Reason for leaving i 3. Industrial accidents: Date Occupation Age Cause and manner of accident Nature and extent of injury Comp. paid Time lost V. Industrial Home Work 1. 4. 6. 7. Ind__________ 2. Nature of work__________ 3. How secured Busy season------------------ 5. Other home wrk. past year Mos. of home wrk. past year_________________________________ Earnings (individual or group): Amt. last received Por what period Amt. of work Rate Est. average weekly earnings 8. Hrs. of day----- 9. Yrs. at home wrk. (overall)___ 11. Other home workers:__________________ 10. Yrs. unempl___ APPENDIX.—SCHEDULE FOEMS 179 VI. Social Responsibility 1. Economic responsibility to family: ________________ 2. Home duties: All___ Most_____ Part_____ Describe. 3. Work done out of home 4. Care of children_______ 5. Ambitions: Education of children Other______________ 6. Affiliations: Foreign societies__ „ _ Trade unions_______ Other______________ Employer’s name Notes: _ ____ __ Address _ Source of name____________________ Date------------------------------- Agent Informant SCHEDULE II This questionnaire was filled out by the foreign-born women in the English classes of the Philadelphia public evening schools. U. S. Department of Labor WOMEN’S BUREAU 1. 3. 4. 6. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. Are you married?-------- 2. Do you live with relatives? Do you live with friends? Do you live where you work?_____ 5. What is your job now? How old are you?-------------- 7. In what country were you born? What language did you speak in your home in the old country? How many years did you go to school in the old country ? What languages can you read? What languages can you write? How long have you been in the U. S.? Tears How long have you been in school In the U. S.? Years, months, weeks 14. Are you a citizen of the U. S.?—— 15. Have you taken out your first papers? 16. Did you work in the old country?----- 17. What kind of work?—______ I 18. 19. 20. 21. What was your first job in the U. S.? How many years have you worked in the U. S.?I How many jobs have you had?___________________________________ Have you had trouble finding jobs? 22. 23. 24. 25. Have you lost time hunting a job? What was your first weekly wage in the U. S.?I_ _ What do you earn when you work a full week?_____________________ What do you earn a week on an average? Remarks: __________________________________ PUBLICATIONS OF THE WOMEN’S BUREAU [Any of these bulletins still available will be sent free of charge upon request] •No. 1. Proposed Employment of Women During the War in the Industries of Niagara Falls, Is. Y. lb pp. 1918. No. 2. Labor Laws for Women in Industry in Indiana. 29' pp. 1919. No. 3. Standards for the Employment of Women in Industry. 8 pp. Third ed No. 4. Wages ot Candy Makers in Philadelphia in 1919. 46 pp. 1919 ’ •No. 5. The Eight-Hour Day in Federal and State Legislation. 19 pp. 1919 No. 6. 19®l“pl0yment °f Women in Hazardous Industries in the United States. 8 pp. No. 7. •No. 8. •No. !). •No. 10. No. 11. •No. 12. No. 13. •No. 14. No. 15. No. 16. No. 17. No. 18. No. 19. •No. 20. No. 21. •No. 22. No, 23. No. 24. No. 25. No. 26. No. 27. No. 28. No. 29. No. 30. No. 31. No. 32. No. 33. No. 34. No. 35. No. 36. No. 37. No. 38. No. 39. No. 40. No. 41. No. 42. No. 43. No. 44. No. 45. No. 46. No. 47. •No. 48. No. 49. No. 50. Night-Work Laws in the United States. 11919.] 4 pp. 1920. Women in the Government Service. 37 pp. 1920. Home Work in Bridgeport, Conn. 35 pp. 1920. Hours and Conditions of Work for Women in Industry in Virginia. 32 np 1920 IVomen Street Car Conductors and Ticket Agents. 90 pp 1921 ' The New Position of Women in American Industry. 158 pp. 1920. Industrial Opportunities and Training for Women and Girls. 48 pp 1921 A Physiological Basis for the Shorter Working Day for Women 20 pp 1921 Some Effects of Legislation Limiting Hours of Work for Women. 26 pp. 1921 (See Bulletin 63.) ' Women’s Wages in Kansas. 104 pp. 1921. Health Problems of Women in Industry. 11 pp. 1921. Iowa Women in Industry. 73 pp. 1922 Negro Women in Industry. 65 pp. 1922. Women in Rhode Island Industries. 73 pp. 1922. Women in Georgia Industries. 89 pp. 1922. The Family Status of Breadwinning Women. 43 pp. 1922 Women in Maryland Industries. 96 pp. 1922 Women in the Candy Industry in Chicago and St. Louis. 72 pp 1923 Women in Arkansas Industries. 86 pp. 1923. The Occupational Progress of Women. 37 pp. 1922. Women’s Contributions in the Field of Invention. 51 pp. 1923 Women in Kentucky Industries. 114 pp. 1923. The Share of Wage-Earning Women in Family Support. 170 pp. 1923. What Industry Means to Women Workers. 10 pp. 1923 Women in South Carolina Industries. 128 pp. 1923. Proceedings of the Women’s Industrial Conference. 190 pp 1923 Women in Alabama Industries. 86 pp. 1924. Women in Missouri Industries. 127 pp. 1924, Radio Talks on Women in Industry. 34 pp. 1924. Women in New Jersey Industries. 99 pp. 1924. Married Women in Industry. 8 pp. 1924. Domestic Workers and Their Employment Relations. 87 pp. 1924 (See Bulletin 63.) ' Famiiy Status of Breadwinning Women in Four Selected Cities. 145 pp. 1925 List of References on Minimum Wage for Women in the United States and Canada. 42 pp. 1925. Standard and Scheduled Hours of Work for Women in Industry. 68 pp 1925 Women in Ohio Industries. 137 pp. 1925. * Home Environment and Employment Opportunities of Women in Coal-Mine Workers’ Families. 61 pp. 1925. Facts About Working Women—A Graphic Presentation Based on Census Statis tics. 04 pp. 1925. w™Jgn ln the Fruit-Growing and Canning Industries in the State of Washington. kiZo pp. 19Jb. Women in Oklahoma Industries. 118 pp. 1926. Women Workers and Famiiy Support. 10 pp. 1925. Bl Women Upon the EmPl0yment Opportunities of American No. 51. No. 52. No. 53. No. 54. No. 55. No. 56. No. 57. No. 58. No. 59. No. 60. Women in Illinois Industries. 108 pp. 1926 Lost Time and Labor Turnover in Cotton Mills. 203 pp. 1926. Ihe Status of Women in the Government Service in 1925. 103 pp 1926 Changing Jobs. 12 pp. 1926. Women in Mississippi Industries. 89 pp. 1926. Women in Tennessee Industries. 120 pp. 1927. IVomen Workers and Industrial Poisons. 5 pp. 1926 Women in Delaware Industries. 156 pp. 1927. Short Talks About Working Women. 24j>p. 1927. Jntlustriai Accidents to“WomeiT iiT’New*Jersey, Ohio, and Wisconsin. 316 pp. No. 61. ThooPevelop,IS?5t of Mihimum-Wage Laws in the United States, 1912 to 1927 635 pp. 1928. Price 90 cents. No. 62. Women s Employment in Vegetable Canneries in Delaware. 47 pp. 1927. 'Supply exhausted. (I) No. 63. State Laws Affecting Working Women. 51 pp. 1927. [Revision of Bulletins 16 and 40.] No. 64. The Employment of Women at Night. 86 pp. 1928. ♦No. 65. The Effects of Labor Legislation on the Employment Opportunities of Women. 498 pp. 1928. No. 66. History of Labor Legislation for Women in Three States; Chronological Develop ment of Labor Legislation for Women in the United States. 284 pp. 1928. No. 67. Women Workers in Flint, Mich. 80 pp. 1928. No. 68. Summary : The Effects of Labor Legislation on the Employment Opportunities of Women. (Reprint of Chapter II of Bulletin 65.) 22 pp. 1928. No. 69. Causes of Absence for Men and for Women in Four Cotton Mills. 24 pp. 1929. No. 70. Negro Women in Industry in 15 States. 74 pp. 1929. No. 71. Selected References on the Health of Women in Industry., 8 pp. 1929. No. 72. Conditions of Work in Spin Rooms. 41 pp. 1929. No. 73. Variations in Employment Trends of Women and Men. [In press.] No. 74. The Immigrant Woman and Her Job. 175 pp. 1929. No. 75. W’hat the Wage-Earning Woman Contribues to Family Support. 20 pp. 1929. No. 76. Women in 5-and-10-Cent Stores and Limited-Price Chain Department Stores. 59 pp. 1929. No. 77. A Study of Two Groups of Denver Married Women Applying for Jobs. 10 pp. 1929. Annual reports of the director. 1919*, 1920*, 1921*, 1922, 1923, 1924*, 1925, 1926, 1927*, 3 928*, 1929. * Supply exhausted. O (n>