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U. S. DEPARTMENT OF LABOR
JA M ES J. D AV IS. Secretary

CHILDREN’S BUREAU
G R A C E A B B O T T . Chief

THE WORKING CHILDREN OF
BOSTON
A STUDY OF CHILD LABOR UNDER A
MODERN SYSTEM OF LEGAL
REGULATION
By
HELEN SUM NER W O O D B U R Y , Ph. D.

Bureau Publication No. 89

WASHINGTON
GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE


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3 6 * . 1
A * ?

CONTENTS
Page.

Letter of transmittal..................................................

v

Preface ..........................................................................

..

Sources of information..............................................

1
7
13
;. 70-87
..
74
75
:.
76
78
..
79
83
88-103

Obtaining em ploym ent certificates.....................
Introductory su m m a ry ...........................................
T he children.......... ......................................... .............
S e x ...........................................: ..............................
N a tiv ity .................................................... ............
Birthplace..............................................................
Years in the U n ited States............................
Father’s nativity and nationality...............
Age at going to work.........................................
The fam ilies...................................................................

V II

F am ily status.......................................................

88

Occupation of father.........................................

93
95
96
99
104-147
..
104
..
106
..
107
..
114
..
118
..
126
..
144
148-170
..
148
..
152
..
155
..
156
..
160
..
162
.
163
171-224
..
171
..
183
.
190
..
194

Unem ployed fathers............ .............................
E m ployed mothers............................................
Economic need of ch ild ’s work....................
Termination of school life .......................................
Age at leaving school.......................................
Schooltime l o s t ............................ ......................
Season and month of going to work'.
Reasons for leaving school.........................
Grade com pleted................................................
Retardation.................. r . ...................................
Continuation-school attendance............
W ork before leaving school.......... ’. ........................
Sex, n ativity, and father’s n a tio n a lity ..
A ge at securing first school position..........
K in d of first school position..........................
A m ou n t of work done in school positions
Earnings in school positions..........................
Schooltime l o s t ..................................................
Grade completed and retardation...............
Industrial histories.....................................................
Methods of securing positions.......................
Num ber of positions...................................
U nem ploym en t...................................................
Initial w eekly wages........................................
Change in w eekly wages...............................

.

200

Average earnings................................................

.

206

.

211

Hours of labor......................................................

..

216
225-283
.
229
..
231
..
243

Reasons for leaving positions........................
Occupations..................................................... .............
S e x ............................................................................
N a tiv ity and father’s nationality................
Age at taking out first certificate................

ni

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IV

CONTENTS.

Occupations— Continued.
Page.
Grade completed and retardation....................................................................................
245
Vacation and regular Workers............................................................................................

250

Methods of securing positions...........................................................................................

254

Character of occupations......................................................................................................

257

Occupational shift........................................

258

T im e worked................................................... . . . ............... - ...........- ................... .................

261

Hours of labor..... .............................................................................................................. - - -

266

Piece and tim e work......................

270

Initial w eekly wages........................................................................................... •- - - -------

273

Change in w eekly w ages................................ ...................................- ...............................

277

Reasons for leaving positions.......................

280

Sickness and accidents.................. ........ .......................... ....................................................... 284-290
Sickness.............................. ...................................................................................â j .............

287

A ccidents.......................................................................... ........................ I .......... - - - ~...........

289

Enforcement of the child-labor law ........................................ .. - ............................. ........ 291-331
E vidence of age............................ ........................................................................................ -

295

Violations in school positions.............................. .............................................................
Violations in regular positions.......................... ................. ............................ .................

297
303

Certification and nativity and father’s nationality..................................................

306

Certification and the school........................................................................................... - -

311

Certification and work before leaving school.......................... ...................................

315

Certification and m ethod of securing p osition s.........................................................

316

Certification and occupation.......... ........................................ ' - - ....................................

318

Hour violations........................................ ............................ - ................................................
322*
Occupations, hours, and wages three years later......................... ............................ .. - 332-355
Occupations...................................... - . ................................... ........................- ......................

333

H om s of labor...............................................................- .........................................................

*^42

W eek ly wages...............................................................— - ......... .......................................
Increase in w eekly wages................................................................ ........ . . . . . . . . . . . . .

345
352

Appendixes..................................................................- ................................................................ 357-365
A pp en dix I . T ables.......................................................... - ...........- ................. ............... 359-361
Table. I .— Occupation, b y sex; comparison of positions held b y chil­
dren interviewed w ith those held b y children in Boston continuation
school and b y children issuêd certificates in four cities...........................

359

Table I I .— Occupation first entered, country of birth, and sex; children
issued certificates in four c it ie s .........................................................................

360

Table I I I .— Duration of first regular position, b y termination, and b y
sex of child; children interview ed.'.................................................................
361
A ppendix I I .— Methods of classification used in tabulation......................... 362-363
Diagram showing scale used in determining retardation............................

362

Occupation classification used in tabulation......................................................

362

Appendix I I I .— Special s tu d ie s .

..................................................................... 364-365

Special hom e perm its................................................................................................ ..
Case studies........................................................................- ...............................follow


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364
365

LETTER OF TRANSMITTAL.

U nited States D epartment of L abor ,
Children ’ s B ureau ,

Washington, May 31, 1921.
S ir : I transmit herewith a study of the employment of children

under 16 years of age in Boston, Mass., which is designed to show
the conditions under which these young workers are employed in
a typical city of diversified industries and a considerable volume of
trade where their labor is regulated by advanced modern legislation.
The material for this report was secured under the direction of
Mrs. Helen Sumner Woodbury, who has written the report. The
statistical treatment of the material was planned by Dr. Robert M.
Woodbury. The appendixes dealing with individual cases of child
workers and with special home permits were prepared by Miss Ella
Arvilla Merritt.
Respectfully submitted.
Julia C. L athrop, Chief.
Hon. James J. D avis ,
Secretary o f Labor.


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PREFACE.
The purpose of this study was to ascertain the amount, character,
conditions, and effects of employment of children under 16 years of
age in an American city of diversified industries and a considerable
volume of trade, and in a State having comparatively advanced
child-labor legislation. The problems of child labor, it was believed,
ate not confined to backward communities or to backward industries
but arise wherever the work of undeveloped young persons is used
primarily for profit instead of primarily for straining. Conditions
under which children work to-day in a city like Boston differ widely
from those under which they worked in England, when, in 1819, the
first factory act forbade their employment under 9 years of age and
limited the horns of those between 9 and 16 to 12 a day— an act
which, by the way, was never enforced. Nevertheless, for the child
laborers of the United States at the present time, as for those of
England when Lord Shaftesbury began his agitation in their behalf,
the questions to be asked are:
(1) Is the child worker able to grow into adult life with his health
and physical vigor unimpaired ?
(2) Does he receive training adapted to make him, when an adult,
an efficient workman ?
(3) Does he receive an education adequate to make him a good
citizen ?
In the days before the English factory acts these questions were
all answered definitely in the negative. More recently they have
been answered in the negative by many studies of the labor of chil­
dren in this country, from the early Massachusetts inquiries to those
which led to the 19-volume report on Condition of Woman and Child
Wage Earners.1 But each year legislation regulating child labor
has tended to become more voluminous; child labor codes have been
enacted and uniform child-labor laws have been proposed and passed,
in part at least, by a considerable number of States. The public
conscience has approved a 14-year minimum age and the requirement,
of employment certificates until 16 years of age, with compulsory
school attendance up to 14 and between 14 and 16 if a child is not
employed. Nevertheless, until the questions asked above can be
answered absolutely in the affirmative it is impossible to settle back
in the complacent belief that the child-labor problem has been
solved. Under each more advanced form of regulation, therefore,
1

Condition of W om an and Child W age Earners in the United States.

U . S. Bureau of Labor.
VII


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1910-1913.

V III

PREFACE.

these questions as to the effects of child labor on health, industrial^
efficiency, and good citizenship must be raised anew.
A study which would furnish the evidence necessary for definitely
affirmative answers to these three questions would involve a thorough
inquiry into the lives of a large number of young persons who had been
child laborers. The present study does not pretend either to the
breadth or to the depth necessary to furnish such answers. But in
the past the gathering together of the more easily ascertainable facts
has sufficed to furnish negative answers. Information on a special
phase of the subject which may be inconclusive or which may even
seem to point toward an affirmative answer usually indicates also
that further study of that phase is needed. - It is hoped, therefore,
that this study, even though it does not involve so thorough an inquiry
into the physical and mental effects of employment at an early age as
would be desirable, may contribute information which will assist in
forming a judgment as to the sufficiency of the more advanced types
of child-labor legislation.
Boston was chosen for the study because, in addition to having
industrial conditions fairly typical of those in other large American
cities, it had legal regulations of child labor as stringent as any which
are common in this country, a good system of records of its working ■"
children, and, in its continuation school, the beginnings, at least, of
an attempt to apply the most modern methods to the problems of the
child in industry. At the time of this study, however, the continua­
tion school was new and its methods were frankly experimental.
Therefore, although the records of this school were used and formed
a valuable source of information in regard to its pupils, no attempt
was made to study either its methods or their results.
The one possible objection to the selection of Boston was that the
city proper is not a complete industrial unit. The bridges and tunnels
connecting Boston with the neighboring cities to the north and north­
east— Cambridge, Somerville, and Chelsea— have served to link the
four cities together industrially as they are not linked politically.
In order to make as intensive a study as seemed desirable it was neces­
sary, however, to select a smaller number of children than were at
work in all four of these cities. It was therefore determined to secure
and tabulate all the information in the employment-certificate records
of the four cities, but to confine the intensive study to the children
enrolled in the Boston continuation school— all of whom had taken
out certificates for work in Boston, although some of them lived in the_
suburbs.


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THE WORKING CHILDREN OF BOSTON.
SOURCES OF INFORMATION.
The four chief sources of information in regard to these child
workers were:
(1) The employment-certificate records of Boston, Cambridge,
Somerville, and Chelsea.
(2) The Boston continuation-school records.
(3) Schedules taken in interviews by agents of the bureau with a
group of children attending the Boston continuation school.
(4) Replies to a questionnaire sent out in December, 1918, to the
children who had been interviewed.
The child-labor law, which became effective in Massachusetts in
September, 1913, required that no child between 14 and 16 years of
nage should be employed or “ permitted to work in, about, or in con­
nection with any factory, workshop, manufacturing, mechanical, or
mercantile establishment” without having secured an employment
certificate.1 If any machinery whatever was used, the establish­
ment was either a factory or a mechanical establishment. The term
“ workshop” covered many other places, and a “ mercantile estab­
lishment” was defined as any place where merchandise or goods were
sold, including restaurants and hotels.2
The employment of a child under 14 was prohibited not only in
any one of these establishments, but also in any—
barber shop, bootblack stand or establishment, public stable, garage, brick or lumber
yard, telephone exchange, telegraph or messenger office, or in the construction or
repair of buildings, or in any contract or wage-earning industry carried on in tenement
or other houses.3 •

So far as employment during school hours is concerned, the require­
ment of an employment certificate for children between 14 and 16
years of age was at the time of this study even more far reaching than
the prohibition of employment under 14, for the compulsory-education
law provided that children under 16 should not remain out of school
unless they had such certificates and were regularly employed at
least six hours a day, or unless they had the written permission of the
1 Acts of 1909, ch. 514, sec. 57, as amended b y acts of 1913, ch. 779, sec. 15.
2 Acts of 1909, ch. 514, sec. 17, as amended b y acts of 1912, ch. 191.
3 Acts of 1913, ch. 831, sec. 1, amending acts of 1909, ch. 514, sec. 56.

1


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2

TH E WORKING CHILDREN OF BOSTON.

superintendent of schools “ to engage in profitable employment at
home.” 4 This written permission was in the form of a “ special home
permit,” and the holder of such a permit was expected to show, not
only before securing it, but also at intervals therèafter, that he or
she was actually remaining at home to assist his or her parents and
was not employed in any of the industries for which an employment
certificate was required. This “ special home permit” was similar
in general form to an employment certificate.
The law, it is evident, provided adequate guaranties against the
gainful employment during school hours of children under 16 years
of age who had not procured employment certificates; and the posi­
tions in which their employment outside school hours was permitted
without certificates were limited in number and difficult to secure,
with one single exception specifically made in the law itself. For the
law provided that children under 16 years of age employed in mer­
cantile establishments from 7 a. m. to 6 p. m. on Saturdays only
were not obliged to have certificates.5
Employment certificates were issued by local school authorities,
were made out to the individual employer, and had to be returned
to the issuing office within two days after the child had left the
position or had been discharged.6 When the child found a new
position, therefore, he had to come back for another certificate for
the new employer. Each certificate was made out in duplicate and
the carbon copy was kept at the issuing office.
This law went into effect on September 1, 1913, and under it all
children employed in the State were obliged to obtain new certificates,
even those who already held employment certificates issued under
the former law. Since that date, therefore, a certain amount of in­
formation, not only in regard to children going to work, but also
in regard to their industrial careers after they went to work, has
been available in offices of the local school authorities in all Massa­
chusetts towns and cities.
The probability that these records were complete up to the child’s
sixteenth year was increased, moreover, by the provision requiring
children from 16 to 21, as well as those from 14 to 16, to have certifi­
cates. The older children were required to have educational certifi­
cates, which were of two kinds, orange colored, or “ gold,” certificates
for those who could read and write the English language, and gray
certificates for illiterates— that is, for young persons who were unable
to pass a fourth-grade educational test and who were therefore
obliged, in all places where evening schools had been established, to
attend a public day or evening school. Massachusetts is the only
* Revised Laws 1902, ch. 44, see. 1, as amended b y acts of 1913, eh. 779, sec. 1, and b y acts of 1915 eh. 81,
sec. 1.
6 Acts of 1909, ch. 514, sec. 57, as amended b y acts of 1913, ch. 779, sec. 15.
« Acts of 1909, ch. 514, secs. 57 and 60, both as amended b y acts of 1913, ch. 779.


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SOURCES OF INFORMATION.

3

State in the Union which attempts to exercise any direct supervision
over all working minors regardless of age.7
When this study was made, therefore, it was possible to secure
a certain minimum amount of information in regard to all working
children in the four cities— Boston, Cambridge, Somerville, and
Chelsea— which seemed together to constitute an urban industrial
unit. In order to obtain a representative group of children going
to work between 14 and 16 years of age, it was decided to obtain
the records of all children who became 14 at any time during the
year which ended on September 1, 1914, and who went to work
before September 1, 1916. These children, therefore, could not have
held certificates before the new law went into effect. At the same
time they were all 16 years of age or over by September 1, 1916,
and it was possible at that time to secure their complete industrial
histories, in the meager outlines furnished by the employment
certificate records, from the dates on which they first went to work
to their sixteenth birthdays.
Accordingly, complete employment certificate records were secured
and tabulated for all children who became 14 during the year ended
September 1, 1914— that is, of all children born between September
4 , 1899, and August 31, 1900— and who went to work at any time
before their sixteenth birthdays in any one of the four cities— Boston,
Cambridge, Somerville, or Chelsea. These children, of whom there
were 5,692, are believed to be in all respects typical of the children
going to work in this urban industrial area. The facts secured
cover sex, age at going to work, evidence of age produced, birth­
place, grade completed, and the occupation in each position for
which a certificate was secured.
More details, however, are given in the records of the Boston con­
tinuation school than in those of the certificate office, and these
records were accordingly used to supplement the certificate data for
as many children as possible. Unfortunately, continuation-school
attendance was compulsory, at the time of this study, only in Bos­
ton,8 and even there, during the early part of the period, it was a new
i Acts of 1909, eh. 514, sec. 66, as amended b y acts of 1913, ch. 779, sec. 23. The section of the law relating
to educational certificates for children from 16 to 21, though it did not exempt children employed in m er-.
cantile establishments on Saturdays, was not as broad in its application as the section relating to employ­
m ent certificates. This was in part because, though the list of establishments was the same, the words
“ permitted to work in, about, or in connection with ” were omitted, and in part because, as these children
were not required to attend any school whatever unless they were illiterate, and then only an evening
school, the provisions of the educational certificate section were not reinforced b y the compulsory-education
law. The certificate system for children from 16 to 21 did not, in fact, cover all occupations, nor did it cover
'Children who might be remaining at home. According to rulings of the State board of labor and industries,
educational certificates were not required in the following establishments: Banks, express companies,
insurance companies, telegraph and telephone messenger companies, bowling alleys, bootblack stands,
pool rooms, and regular fire-department stations. Helpers on peddlers’ wagons and laborers with pick
and shovel were also exem pt.
» A law enacted in 1919 makes the establishment of continuation schools compulsory in all cities or
towns in which 200 or more minors are regularly employed b y authority of employment certificates or
have permits. Acts of 1919, ch. 311, sec. 1.


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4

TH E WORKING CHILDREN OF BOSTON.

requirement. As a result, none of the Cambridge, Somerville or Chel­
sea children was included in the continuation-school records, and not
all the 4,401 Boston children. One reason for the omission of Boston
children was that enrollment in the continuation school was not
begun until January, 1914,' and before that date 88 children who
belonged in the selected group had escaped registration. A much
larger number for whom continuation-school records could not be
found, 589 in all, were children who had worked only during vacations;
and 57 others were not enrolled because they were nearly 16 years of
age when they took out their certificates. Although attendance at
continuation school was compulsory for all employed children under
16 years of age, the school facilities were for some time inadequate,
and therefore those children who were nearly 16, and so would be able
to leave the school before they had derived much benefit from at­
tendance, were not enrolled. Continuation-school records, on the
other hand, were found for 268 children who, according to the dates
of beginning and leaving positions, never actually worked during
school term and who, therefore, were presumably vacation workers.
But as no such records had been taken for the other 589 vacation
workers, these 268 children were excluded from the continuationschool series of tables. These tables represent,, therefore,- as nearly
as the data available permit, conditions among children who had
actually left school to go to work.9
In spite of these omissions, continuation-school records were used
for 3,399 of the 4,401 Boston children for whom employment certifi­
cate records had been secured. The eliminations mentioned in the
preceding paragraph tend to reduce the number of children ap­
proaching 16 when they first went to work, so that the tables
based on the continuation-school records represent a group of children
who began their industrial careers at a somewhat younger age than
the group included in the certificate record tables. A t the same time,
as all the vacation workers were omitted, they represent only children
who had actually left school to go to work. In other respects the
Boston children included in these tables are believed to be fairly
typical of the whole group.
The additional facts secured from the continuation-school records
related to working status of father and mother, age at leaving school
and reason for leaving, method of securing and reason for leaving
each position, and years in the United States of foreign-born children.
s The certificate series for Boston alone contains 4,401 children and the continuation-school series 3,389.
children. The following statement summarizes the reasons for omission of the remaining 1,002 children.
Vacation workers for whom no continuation-school records were taken............................................. ..........Vacation workers for whom continuation-school records were taken................................................................
Children who escaped registration before the continuation school was opened............................................
Children who were nearly 16 when they began work, and for whom, therefore, no continuation-school

589
268
88

records were taken......................................................I ................................................................................. - ............... ........ ®
Total............................................................................................... ............................................................. - ............... l>m


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SOURCES OE INFORMATION.

5

Not all the information desired could be secured from existing
records. Agents of the bureau, therefore, interviewed children in
the continuation school and in this way secured much additional in­
formation in regard to 823 children, nearly all of whom were included
in the group for which both certificate and continuation-school
records were used. These interviews furnished much more accurate
information as to unemployment and as to the time during which
each child remained in each different position than did the certificateoffice or continuation-school records. The certificate showed only
the date when it was returned by the employer, which was frequently
some time after the child had stopped work, and the continuationschool record was not made until the child returned for a new certifi­
cate. The interviews also furnished information as to the nationality
of the parents, unemployment, time out on account of sickness, and
the wages, hours, and character of work in each position, including
positions held both before and after leaving school for which no certi­
ficates had been procured. In other words, they gave a fairly com­
plete picture of the industrial careers of these 823 Boston children
up to the date of the interview, but not, as did the certificate and
continuation-school records, up to the age of 16.
The group of children interviewed, like that of children for whom
continuation-school records were secured, consisted . entirely of
regular workers. Moreover, it contained an even larger proportion
of children who had gone to work before they became 15 than did
the group for whom continuation-school records were used. But the
sample group of children interviewed was selected practically at ran­
dom, so that with these two exceptions the 823 children in this spe­
cial group seem to be fairly representative of the working children of
Boston.
Nevertheless, in order to detect, so far as possible, any bias in
either the larger or the smaller sample— the 3,399 children for whom
continuation-school records were used or the 823 who were inter­
viewed— a series of tables was prepared comparing, in as many
respects as appeared to be both possible and desirable, the 4,401
Boston records and the 5,692 certificate records for the' four cities
combined with these two sources of information. These compara­
tive tables assist in checking conclusions derived from both samples.
Still another series of tables is based on the 4,401 certificate
records for Boston alone and compares the children who worked
only during school vacations with those who actually left school to
go to work before becoming 16. As has been seen, 857 vacation
workers in Boston are included in the tables based on the certifi­
cate records, but are excluded from those based on the continuationschool records. These vacation workers were for the most part
children who held certificates only between June 1 and October

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6

TH E WORKING CHILDREN OF BOSTON.

1 or for a few days during the Christmas or Easter vacations; in^
addition, a few children are included who worked only before or
after school hours and whose certificates were labeled “ Not dis­
charged from school. ”
A final series of tables was based on answers from 328 children
to questionnaires sent out in December, 1918, to the 823 children
who were interviewed in the continuation school asking them for
information as to their occupations, wages, and hours at that time;
that is, three years after the date of the interview and at a time when *
war production was little, if any, below its highest level. Of
these 823 questionnaires 16 came back without description of the
positions the children were holding, 92 were returned by the post
office showing that the children could not be located, and 387 were
never returned.
In addition a special study was made of the child-labor laws of
Massachusetts and of their administration in Boston and its neighbor­
ing cities. This study was similar in character to the studies already
published of the administration of employment-certificate laws in
Connecticut, New York, Maryland, and Wisconsin.10 But in this
report it is connected with statistics as to the number of violations
of certain sections of the law, especially those relating to certification
and to hours of labor. Although these statistics must necessarily
underestimate the number of violations, as they are based on the
histories of children who, at the time of the interview, were legally
employed on certificates, they are for that reason all the more
significant.
Two other sources were used for supplementary information, but
the groups of children included in these subsidiary studies were not
the same as the group which furnished the basis for the main inves­
tigation— those who became 14 during the year ended September 1,
1914. These sources were as follows:
1. Interviews by agents of the bureau with 118 children who held
the “ special home permits” above mentioned, especially to deter­
mine what use was made of such permits and in how many cases the
children holding them were gainfully employed. The results of this
study are summarized in the appendix.11 These children all belonged
to the same age group as those whose employment-certificate records
had been copied.
2. The records of the certificate office in Boston as to employment
certificates granted to children under 16 years of age from Septem­
ber 1, 1914, to August 31, 1918, the four years which represent
roughly the period of the World War. Tables showing the princi­
pal facts available in these records are given in the introductory
summary to this report.
io Children's Bureau Publications Nos. 12,17, 41, and 85.
n See Appendix, pp. 364 to 365.


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r
OBTAINING EMPLOYMENT CERTIFICATES.
All the children included in this study were obliged, as already
stated, to obtain permission to work, in the form of an employment
certificate, from the local school authorities. In Boston these cer­
tificates were obtained from an office on the second floor of a build­
ing on Tremont Street near Boylston, close to the heart of the busi­
ness section. In Cambridge, Somerville, and Chelsea they were ob­
tained from the offices of the superintendents of schools of those
cities. All these offices were centrally located. In none of the four
cities were any printed instructions issued as to how to secure cer­
tificates. This kind of information is said to spread like wildfire
among school children. Nevertheless, many a child had to visit the
office more than once before he finally produced the four documents—
(1) evidence of his age, (2) a school record, (3) a promise of employ­
ment signed by an employer or by his authorized representative,
and (4) a physician’s certificate of health— which entitled him to
his entrance card to the industrial world.12
As for evidence of age,13 if the child did not bring a birth or bap­
tismal certificate, a transcript of such certificate, or a passport, he
was sent away with instructions as to where and how to apply for a
birth certificate. In Boston, if a child stated that he had been born
in the city, he was sent to the registry department, from which he
returned either with a statement of his age or with a statement that
his birth was not recorded. If born outside Boston, he had to
produce at the office evidence, usually a registry receipt for his let­
ter, that he had actually attempted to secure a transcript of his
birth record. In such a case he was told to go back to school until
he had received a reply to his letter or until sufficient time had
elapsed for a reply. If no reply was received within a reasonable
time, other documentary evidence was accepted, or if he could pro­
duce no satisfactory documentary evidence, he was required to
secure a physician’s certificate of age. This was obtained from the
physician appointed by the school committee to give physical exam­
inations to applicants for certificates. A child born in Boston who
could not obtain a birth certificate had to follow the same procedure
as to securing other documentary evidence or a physician’s certificate
of age.
Until the beginning of the World War the procedure was the same
for foreign-born as for native children, but the war interrupted or
i* 1909, ah. 514, sec. 58, as amended b y 1913, ch. 779, sec. 16.
is See pp. 295-297.

7

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Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

8

TH E WORKING CHILDREN OF BOSTON.

delayed communications to such, an extent that most foreign-born
children could no longer be asked to send abroad for evidence of age.
In order to obtain an employment certificate a child was obliged,
in the words of the law, to—
possess such ability to read, write, and spell in the English language as is required
for the completion of the fourth grade of the public schools of the city or town in
which he resides.14

Usually he had to bring evidence of such ability in the form of a
school record, the contents of which were specified in the law. The
law did not require completion of any other fourth-grade study than
reading, writing, and spelling in English; superintendents and
teachers were not absolutely required to state on the school record
the advancement of the child in other subjects, though a blank was
providedfor that purpose— and, in fact, they occasionally gave school
records to children who had not completed successfully other fourthgrade studies.
The law provided that school records should not be issued or
accepted unless the child not only possessed these educational qual­
ifications but also had regularly attended the public schools or other
lawfully approved schools for not less than 130 days after becoming
13 years of age.15 But in practice a principal did not refuse a school
record merely because the child had not attended his school the
requisite number of days, for the child might have attended some
other school and hence might be able to produce at the certificate
office another record showing enough days’ attendance to make up
the shortage. In all such cases, therefore, the responsibility for see­
ing that the child had attended school the requisite number of days
.after his thirteenth birthday rested solely on the certificate-issuing
officer.
If a child could not prove the requisite number of days’ atten­
dance, or if for some reason he could not obtain a school record from
the principal or teacher of the school last attended, the law permitted
the issuing officer to waive this requirement.15 But the child had to
produce satisfactory evidence of completion of the English studies of
the fourth grade, and, as no literacy test was given in the certificate
office, some kind of school document was often accepted as such
evidence. For example, if the school last attended was in some other
State than Massachusetts, the child was asked to bring a report or
promotion card or any other documentary evidence he might have
of his attendance and grade standing in that school. If he could pro­
duce satisfactory evidence that he had completed the fourth grade,
14 Revised Laws, 1902, ch. 44, see. 1, as amended b y Acts of 1913, ch. 779, see,. 1, and by Acts of 1915, ch.
81, sec. 1. Since the period of this study the educational requirement for employment under 16 years o f
age in Massachusetts has been raised to completion of the sixth grade. Acts o f 1921, ch. 463.
is Acts of 1909, ch. 514, sec. 59, as amended b y Acts of 1913, ch. 779, sec, 17, and b y Acts, of 1914, ch. 580.


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OBTAINING EM PLOYM ENT CERTIFICATES.

9

the requirement of a school record in the precise form specified in the
law, and with it the requirement of 130 days’ school attendance since
the thirteenth birthday, was waived. If he could not produce such
evidence, or if the validity of the evidence offered was doubtful, the
issuing officer refused to waive the requirement of a school record,
and the child was obliged to go back to school. This occurred also
when the issuing officer, though the child was able to prove comple­
tion of the fourth grade, did not believe that the work in the school
attended was equivalent to the fourth-grade work required b y law.17
At the time of this study one school in Boston had an “ employment
class” attended by about 30 girls, principally Italian, ranging from
14 to nearly 16 years of age. The object of this class was to give
special instruction in reading, writing, and spelling to children whose
progress in these subjects had been so slow that they had been
unable, on becoming 14, to obtain employment certificates. Only
children who had attended school in Boston for at least two years
were admitted, and each case was carefully investigated to see that
home conditions actually necessitated the employment of the child
as soon as possible. It was stated that children from this class did
not receive their school records until their standard of education in
-the three subjects studied was practically the same as that of children
who had regularly completed the fourth grade.
The law also provided that a school record showing seven or more
years of attendance at school might be accepted regardless of the
degree of education attained, provided the child, in the opinion of
the superintendent of schools, was mentally incapable of acquiring
the prescribed educational qualifications. The superintendent of
schools was also empowered to suspend the educational require­
ments “ in any case when, in his opinion, the interests of the child
will best be served by such suspension.” 18 But these two exemp­
tions were rarely, if ever, used in any of the four cities studied.
The promise of employment which the child had to bring was a
card filled out by the employer bearing the name of the child, the
name and address of the employer, the nature of the occupation to
which the child was to be assigned, the number of hours during which
he was to be regularly employed—which were required by law to be
not more than eight and, if he was to be excused from school, not less
than six— and the signature of the employer or his authorized man­
ager or superintendent. These blank cards were widely distributed
among employers, but if an employer did not have one the child
17 In one case> for example, a girl who had been in a French school in Montreal applied for a certificate
in Boston, and the issuing officer refused to waive the requirement of a school record on the ground that
the report brought from the French school did not show that she had completed work in Fnglish equivalent
to fourth-grade work in a Boston school.
w Acts of 1909, ch. 514, sec. 59, as amended b y Acts of 1913, ch. 779, sec. 17, and b y Acts of 1914, ch. 580.

4 9 4 7 0 °— 22------ 2


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Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

10

THE

W O R K IN G C H IL D R E N

OE B O S T O N .

could procure it from.his school or from the certificate office and take,
it to the employer to be filled out. If a child brought to the certifi­
cate office a promise of employment for an occupation prohibited to
children under 16 years of age by the sections of the law relating to
dangerous occupations, he was told that he must secure another
position.
When a child had satisfied the requirements as to evidence of age,
educational attainments, and the promise of a position, he was given
a blank physical examination form, which, together with his promise
of employment, on the back of which was the blank form for the
physician’s certificate of health, he took to the office of the physician
appointed by the school committee to examine children applying for
certificates. The certificate of health, according to law, might be
signed by a school or family physician; and occasionally a child
appeared at the certificate office with the signature of such a physi­
cian already on the back of his promise of employment. But this
rarely happened, for the family doctor had to be paid for his services
while the school physician referred the child to the issuing office,
where the doctor appointed for that purpose gave free examina­
tions.
The physical examination, in which the physician was assisted b y
a nurse, was supposed to be for the particular occupation specified
in the promise of employment, but in reality little distinction was
made between occupations.19 A child who had a heart lesion, how­
ever, was not given a certificate for an active or laborious occupa­
tion; for instance, for work as cash girl. If the physician did not
consider the child physically fitted for the occupation specified, he
refused to sign the certificate of health until lighter work was found,
and if he did not consider the child able to engage in any occupation
whatever he withheld the certificate entirely. But only children
who were in extremely bad physical condition—for example, who
were demonstrably tubercular— were refused health certificates.
Such a certificate was temporarily held up, however, if the child had
not been vaccinated or had evidence of a communicable disease.
In addition, children were frequently advised to secure treatment for
minor defects, such as defective teeth or eyes.
When a child had secured the physician’s signature on his cer­
tificate of health he took it to the issuing officer, who made out and
gave him his employment certificate to take to his employer. This
certificate contained the name and address of the child, the name
and address of the employer, the nature of the employment, the date
and place of birth, and the age of the child at the time of the issuance
of the certificate, the school last attended, the grade completed, the
19Since the date of this study special efforts have been made to raise the physical standards for an
employment certificate.


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OBTAINING EM PLOYM ENT CERTIFICATES.

11

sex, the color of hair and eyes, and the nature of the evidence of
age accepted. The space for “ distinguishing facial marks” was
usually left vacant. The blank space for the factory number was
filled out later by the employer in large establishments where em­
ployees were given numbers. The child himself signed the certificate
and it was signed also by the issuing officer.
The back of the certificate bore instructions to the effect that it
did not permit the employment of the child by anyone except the
employer named, that the child must either be regularly employed
or be in school, and that the certificate must be returned by the
employer to the office of the superintendent of schools within two
days after the child’s employment had terminated, on penalty of a
fine of from $10 to $100. It contained also a blank form for the
signature of the parent or guardian in approval of the issuance of
the certificate. This was for use when the issuing officer deemed
such approval desirable, which was rarely the case. Furthermore,
it gave a statement of the exact date when the child would become
16 years of age and should exchange his employment certificate for
an educational certificate.
A child who wished to be employed only during vacation or out­
side school hours had to fulfill the same requirements 20 as one who
wished to leave school to go to work, except that his promise of
employment did not have to show that he would be employed at
least six hours a day, as did that of the child who was being excused
from school attendance. His certificate was stamped “ Not dis­
charged from school.”
•
When a child who had already held one or more certificates wished
one for another employer he had only to secure a new promise of
employment and a new physician’s certificate of health. In Bòston,
if the child had been examined recently and appeared to be in good
physical condition, the physician merely looked up his record and,
if it showed no serious defects, signed the form on the back of his
new promise of employment without making another physical exam­
ination. If the child appeared to be in bad physical condition or if
the previous record showed any defect which would influence the
physician in determining the occupation in which the child might
engage, he made another.examination. The new employment cer­
tificate was not issued until after the previous one had been returned
to the issuing office.
In addition to securing an employment certificate the child under
16 years of age who went to work in Massachusetts was obliged to
so A n amendment to the labor law passed in 1916 and effective in the summer vacation of that year, that
is, during the last tw o and one-half months of the period within which the children included in the cer­
tificate series of tables could have taken out certificates, waived the educational requirement of completion
of the fourth grade for children employed during the summer vacation only. N one of the children included
in the continuation school or interviewed groups would have been affected b y this amendment.


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Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

12

TH E WORKING CHILDREN OF BOSTON.

submit to regulations concerning the occupations he might enter and
the hours he might work. He was prohibited from engaging in any
of a long list of occupations— a list which the State board of labor
and industries might extend, after hearings, to cover any occupation
deemed by it to be sufficiently dangerous or injurious “ to the health
or morals of minors under 16 years of age to justify their exclusion.” 21
He was permitted to work only eight hours a day and six days a
week. He might not be employed in night work, that is, before 6.30
in the morning or after 6 in the evening.22 And wherever, as in
Boston, the school committee had established a continuation school
and made attendance compulsory he was obliged to attend for at
least four hours a week, between 8 in the morning and 6 in the after­
noon of a working day. The time spent in continuation school had
to be counted as part of his working hours.23 In other words, no
child was permitted by law to spend in work and school attendance
combined more than eight hours a day.
21 Acts

of 1913, ch. 831, secs. 2-4.
of 1913, ch. 831, sec. i.
23 Acts of 1913, ch. 805, sec.l

22 Acts


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INTRODUCTORY SUMMARY.
The problem of child labor in Boston, Cambridge, Somerville, and
Chelsea is numerically an important one. Of the estimated number
of children in these four cities who became 14 years of age during the
year ended September 1, 1914, over one-third, 35.2 per cent, or 5,692
children, took out employment certificates for gainful labor before
their sixteenth birthdays. The great majority, 4,401, went to work
in Boston. Furthermore, Table A, which is based on the records of
the Boston certificate office, shows that the number of children going
to work in that city increased rapidly from September 1, 1914, to
September 1, 1918. During the year which ended on August 31,
1915, 3,342 original certificates were issued in Boston— that is,
3,342 children who had never before held certificates took them out.
The next year this number nearly doubled, and in the period from
September 1, 1917, to August 31, 1918, the number of children taking
out their first certificates was 8,760.x
T a b l e A . — Sex o f child, by year o f issue; first and all employment certificates issued in

Boston.

Employment certificates issued to—
Y ear of issue and kind of certificate.

Boys.

Girls.

All
children.
Number. Per cent. Number. Per cent.
FIRST OR ORIGINAL CERTIFICATES.

Sept.
Sept.
Sept.
Sept.

I jl1914-Aug.
1 , 1915-Aug.
1 , 1916-Aug.
1 , 1917-Aug.

31,1915.....................................................
31,1916.........................................
31,1917.....................................................
31,1918.............................................

3,342
6,653
7,017
8,760

(9
4,145
4,224
4,994

62.3
60.2
57.0

(*).
2,508
2,793
3,766

37.7
39.8
43. Ö

6,412
12,043
16,805
20,683

3,586
7,219
10,262
11,699

55.9
59.9
61.1
56.6

2,826
4^ 824
6,543
8,984

44.1
40.1
38.9
43.4

ALL CERTIFICATES (FIRST AND SUBSEQUENT).

Sept.
Sept.
Sept.
Sept.

1 , 1914-Aug.
1 , 1915-Aug.
1 , 1916-Aug.
1 , 1917-Aug.

31,1915....................................................
31,1916.............................................
31,1917.....................................................
31,1918....................................................

1 N o figures available for sex of children to whom first employment certificates wereissued in Boston
m 1914.

Some children who take out employment certificates, of course,
do not leave school, but work only during vacations or out of school
hours. Nevertheless, nearly three-tenths, 28.9 per cent, of all chil­
dren of the age group considered who lived in Boston at the time of
i During the next year this number fell to 6,781, and during the year which ended August 31, 1920, to
6,530.

13


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14

TH E WORKING CHILDREN OF BOSTON.

this study became regular workers— that is, left school for work— ,
before their sixteenth birthdays. About four-fifths, 80.5 per cent,
of the children who took out certificates in that city appear to have
definitely left school for industry.
Nativity and fathers’ nationality.— A decidedly larger proportion of
the foreign-born than of the native children— not far from three-fifths,
58.3 per cent, of the foreign born, but less than one-third, 32.3 per
cent, of the native children— living in the four cities took out employ­
ment certificates. Approximately four-fifths, 81.6 per cent, of the
children who took out certificates were native born. Russia and
Italy furnished considerably larger numbers of foreign-born children
than did any other country; only a very few children were bom in
Ireland.
The foreign-born children who took out certificates more generally
became regular, as distinguished from vacation, workers than did the
native children. Not far from twice as large a proportion of all the
foreign-born as of all the native children living in Boston— nearly
one-half, 47.7 per cent, of the foreign born but little over one-fourth,
26.4 per cent, of the native children— became regular workers. Of
the children who took out certificates in Boston the foreign born con­
stituted 18.8 per cent of the regular workers and only 14.5 per cent'
of the children who worked only during vacation or out of school
hours. Italian children furnished a particularly large proportion, 7.4
per cent, of the regular workers as compared with their proportion,
only 2.7 per cent, of the vacation workers.
Although only about 2 out of every 10 working children were them­
selves foreign born, about 7 out of every 10 had foreign-born fathers.
Of those interviewed, who may be considered fairly typical, 72.1 per
cent were children whose fathers came from some foreign country.
More than one-third, 36.1 per cent, had fathers from south and east
Europe, and not far from another third, 31.3 per cent, had fathers
from north and west Europe'. Comparatively few, only 8.7 per cent,
of the native children had Russian-Jewish fathers, but approximately
one-fourth, 24.8 per cent, had Italian fathers, and not far from twofifths, 37.7 per cent, had Irish fathers. A comparison of these pro­
portions for father’s nationality with those for the child’s own nativity
shows merely that the immigration of Irish families to Boston has
been comparatively slight within recent years, but was heavy a few
years ago; that Russian-Jewish family immigration has begun
recently, but has brought large numbers; and that Italian families,
have been coming in large numbers over a considerable period.
Sex.— More boys than girls went to work between 14 and 16 years
of age. Boys constituted three-fifths, 60.1 per cent, and girls twofifths, 39.9 per cent, of the children of the age group studied who took
out certificates in the four cities. Over two-fifths, 42.3 per cent, of

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Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

IN T R O D U C T O R Y S U M M A R Y .

15

the boys, but not much more than one-fourth, 28 per cent, of the girls
of this age group took out employment certificates. But within more
recent years, as shown in Table A, there appears to have been a
tendency, at least in Boston, for the number of girls entering industry
to increase more rapidly than the number of boys.
Less difference between boys and girls in the tendency to go to
work early was found among foreign-born than among native children,
and also among children of foreign parentage than among those of
native parentage. Not far from two-thirds, 61.7 per cent, of the
foreign-born boys and considerably more than one-half, 54.9 per cent,
of the foreign-born girls of the age group studied who were estimated
to be living in the four cities, became wage earners before they were
16 years of age. Among the native born the corresponding propor­
tions were about two-fifths, 39.8 per cent, for the boys and less than
one-fourth, 24.7 per cent, for the girls. Of the foreign-born children
who went to work nearly half, 46.6 per cent, were girls; but of the
native children less than two-fifths, 38.4 per cent, were girls. Simi­
larly, of the children interviewed whose fathers were foreign bom,
only a slightly lower proportion than of those who were themselves
foreign born, 44.7 per cent, were girls, while of those whose fathers
-.were native not much more than one-third, 36.8 per cent, were girls.
Evidently foreign-bom fathers were much more likely to send their
daughters, as compared with their sons, to work at an early age than
were native fathers.
In regard to the tendency to become regular or merely vacation
workers, little difference was found between boys and girls. A slightly
larger proportion of the girls, as compared with the boys who took out
certificates in Boston, became regular workers. Owing to the differ­
ence in tendency to take out certificates of any kind, over one-third,
34.5 per cent, of all the boys but less than one-fourth, 23.2 per
cent, of all the girls of the age group considered who aré estimated to
have lived in Boston had left school definitely for industry before
they became 16.
Among the foreign-born Children the tendency of girls to become
regular workers was nearly as pronounced as that of boys, but
among the native born a great difference was observed between the
two sexes. In Boston nearly one-third, 32.7 per cent, of the native
boys, but only about one-fifth, 20.2 per cent, of the native girls
had left school for work before their sixteenth birthdays.
Age at going to work.—A somewhat larger proportion of children
took out employment certificates within the first six months after
they became of legal age to work than during any other six-month
period. Not far from one-third, 31.4 per cent, of all the children
of the age group studied who were given certificates in Boston,
and considerably more than one-third, 35.1 per cent, of those who

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16

T H E W O R K IN G C H IL D R E N OE BOSTO N .

became regular workers, received their first certificates when between
14 and 14£ years of age. Of all the children who took out certificates^
in the four cities combined, a slightly larger proportion received them
during the six months preceding their sixteenth birthdays than during
the six months immediately following their fourteenth birthdays; but
this was due mainly to the large number of children who went to
work during a school vacation before the end of which they would
be 16. As these children had not left school for work before their
sixteenth birthdays, they were classed in this study as vacation
workers, although many of them, possibly a considerable majority,
never returned to school.
The figures relating to children to whom original employment
certificates were issued in Boston during the years from September
1, 1914, to August 31,, 1918, given in Table B, show a somewhat
different distribution by age at going to work, but a decided tendency
in the later years for more children to take out certificates soon after
becoming 14. In the year which ended August 31, 1915, and also in
the following year, a slightly larger proportion of children took out
certificates when between 15 and 15^ years of age than during any
other six-month period; but during the year which ended on August
31, 1917, practically one-third, 33 per cent, of all the children^
taking out their first certificates were between 14 and 14£, and in
the next year this proportion rose to 37.2 per cent. These figures,
however, like those for the children of the age group studied who
took out certificates in the four cities, relate both to children who
were going to work only during a vacation and to those who were
leaving school permanently for industry.
T a b l e B . — A ge o f child and year o f issue; first employment certificates issued in Boston.

First employment certificates issued to children of specified age.

Year ofissue.

Sept. 1 , 1914-Aug. 3 1 ,1 9 1 5 ...
Sep t-1,1915-A u g. 3 1 ,1 9 1 6 ...
Sept. 1,1916-A u g. 3 1 ,1 9 1 7 ...
Sept. 1 , 1917-Aug. 3 1 ,1 9 1 8 ...

14-141 years.
A ll
chil­
dren.

3,342
6,653
7,017
8,760

N um ­
ber.

832
1,583
2,319
3,256

Per
cent.

24.9
23.8
3 3.0
37.2

14J-15 years.

Num .
ber.

817
1,595
1,682
2,223

Per
cent.

24.4
24.0
24.0
25.4

15-15£ years.

N um ­
ber.

Per
cent.

853
1,747
1,604
1,849

25.5
26.3
22.9
21.1

15J-16 years.

N um ­
Per
ber. • cent.

840
1,728
1,412
1,432

25.1
26.0
20.1
16.3

The tendency for children to go to work within the first six months
after they became 14 was more marked among the native than
among the foreign born, apparently because many of the foreignborn children, and especially of those who had. been in the United
States less than five years, were prevented from going to work early


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INTRODUCTORY SU M M ARY.

17

_by inability to meet the educational requirements of the employmentcertificate law. That the foreign-born children, if unhampered by
educational requirements, would have gone to work as soon as they
were old enough appears probable from the fact that among the
children interviewed the comparatively large proportion of native
children going to work before they were 14£ years of age was found to
be due entirely to children whose fathers were foreign bom . In this
group both the foreign-born children and the native children of
foreign-born fathers showed a greater tendency than did the native
children of native fathers to leave school for work within one month
after their fourteenth birthdays.
The general tendency in regard to age at going to work was the
same for both sexes, although the boys showed a slightly greater
tendency than did the girls to take out certificates soon after becom­
ing 14, especially for vacation work.
Among the native children of
native fathers this difference was marked, but it was much less
evident among the native children of foreign-born fathers, and
appears not to have existed among the foreign-born children.
Evidence o f age.— The great majority of children who had been
born in the United States— 87.9 per cent of those born in Boston,
-Cambridge, Somerville, or Chelsea and 77.2 per cent of those born
elsewhere in the United States— produced official birth records as
evidence of age when applying for their employment certificates.
Moreover, most of thé other children born in the United States— 10.1
per cent of the first group and 11.7 per cent of the second— produced
baptismal certificates which were equally acceptable.
In spite of the fact that during a large part of this period the World
War so interfered with communication with foreign countries that
children were not required to send abroad for evidence of age, nearly
half, 46 per cent, even of the foreign-born children, produced official
records of birth, and 9.2 per cent produced records of baptism. Many
of the foreign-born children, however, were obliged to use passports
or other official or religious records, 18 per cent, or school registers,
21.9 per cent, as evidence of age; and 3.9 per cent of the foreignborn children, as compared with only 2.1 per cent even of the native
children born outside and with only three-tenths of 1 per cent of
those born in one of the four cities, could obtain no documents and
were obliged to resort to a physician’s examination for evidence of
age.
Family conditions. Of the children of the age group studied who
were in Boston continuation school, and all of whom were, therefore
regular workers, exactly two-thirds are known to have lived at the
time they went to work in normal families; that is, in families with
both a father (or stepfather) and mother (or stepmother) in the


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18

TH E WORKING CHILDREN OF BOSTON.

home. A few, 2.8 per cent, were not living with either parent, and
nearly 1 in 20, 4.4 per cent, had either lost their mothers or had
mothers who were not living with the family. A much larger pro­
portion, however, 17.7 per cent, had lost their fathers, either by
death or desertion, but were living with their mothers. Economic
need, therefore, caused by the death of the father or by the fact
that for some reason he was not living with his family appears to
have caused many children to leave school for work.
The proportion of regular workers who came from broken families
was highest among native children of native parentage, next highest
among native children of foreign parentage, and lowest among
foreign-born children. Evidently the death or desertion of the
father was more often a factor in the circumstances leading to the
child’s employment in native than in foreign families. This was due
to the greater tendency of children from foreign than from native
families to leave school for work, even when home conditions were
normal.
Although desertion by the father appears to have played its part
in sending children from school to work, for the fathers of 21 of the
823 children interviewed were not living with their families, the
death of the father appears to have been a much more important
factor. Only about one-eighth, 12.2 per cent,2 of children of 14
would normally have lost their fathers by death, yet approximately
one-fifth, 20.7 per cent, of the children interviewed, and nearly
one-fourth, 24.4 per cent, of those of native parentage, including all
who had stepfathers, had lost their own fathers by death.
The unemployment of the father of the family also appears to
have been less important than his death as a causal factor in the
child’s going to work. The information as to unemployment relates,
however, merely to the date when the child took out his first certifi­
cate. If a father’s work was irregular but he happened to be em­
ployed on that precise date, his occupation was given and nothing
appears on the record to show that his irregular work may have
necessitated his child’s labor. Nevertheless, the fathers of about
one-eighth, 12.8 per cent, of the interviewed children whose fathers
were living with their families were unemployed at the time the chil­
dren went to work. The proportion of children who had unem­
ployed fathers was about the same in each of the three main nativity
groups; but a considerably larger proportion of girls than of boys,
15.5 per cent as compared with 10.7 per cent, had unemployed fathers.
Of the interviewed children whose fathers were living with their“
families more than one-half had fathers who were laborers, factory
t Estim ated from the m ortality during 14 years of males aged 30 as given in TJ. S. Life Tables, 1910. The
estimate is purposely slightly overstated in assuming a rather high average age of fathers at the births
of their children and in assuming that the m ortality of males applies to married m ales.


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Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

INTRODUCTORY SU M M ARY.

19

.operatives, or skilled or semiskilled mechanics. The fathers of almost
one-fifth, 18.6 per cent, were laborers, but exactly the same propor­
tion had fathers who were skilled or semiskilled mechanics, and
nearly as many, 14.3 per cent, had fathers who were factory opera­
tives. The other two groups of occupations which showed the
largest proportions were teamsters, drivers, and expressmen, 8.2 per
cent, and merchants and peddlers, 8 per cent. A very small propor­
tion, only 1.6 per cent, of these children had fathers who were clerical
workers.
The native children of native parentage had a larger proportion
of fathers who were skilled or semiskilled mechanics, those of foreign
parentage a larger proportion who were laborers, and the foreignborn children larger proportions who were factory operatives and who
were merchants or peddlers. Doubtless because relatively more of
them were foreign born a considerably larger proportion of the
fathers of working girls than of working boys were laborers, and a
much smaller proportion were skilled or semiskilled mechanics.
The mothers of a considerable number, more than 1 in 6, 17.5 per
cent, of the children interviewed were employed in some gainful
occupation. In families where the father was native, the mother
Appears to have been more likely to go to work before the child was
sent into industry than in those where the father was foreign born,
and in families where the father was foreign born but the child native
than in those where both father and child were foreign born. Simi­
larly, mothers appear to have gone to work before their daughters
more frequently than before their sons in each nativity group
except that of foreign-born children.
In families where the father was unemployed, and to an even
more marked degree in those where the father was dead or not
living at home, the mother was much more likely to have preceded
the child into industry than in normal families. About one-fourth,
25.9 per cent, of the children whose fathers were unemployed, and
two-fifths, 40 per cent, of those whose fathers were dead or not
living with their families, had employed mothers. Less than onehalf, only 44.7 per cent, of the fatherless children had mothers at
home and not employed as compared with more than four-fifths,
83.6 per cent, of the children whose fathers were living at home and
employed.
Not all children, however, from families in which conditions
might seem to indicate economic pressure, stated, when asked why
they were leaving school, that their earnings were needed at home;
and on the other hand, because of large families, low earnings of the
fathers, illness or some other reason, many children from normal


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Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

20

TH E WORKING CHILDREN OF BOSTON.

families gave this as their reason for going to work. Economic
need was given as a reason for leaving school by only twofifths, 40.5 per cent, of all the children interviewed as compared
with more than one-half, 53.5 per cent, of those whose fathers were
dead or not living with their families, with not far from three-fifths,
57 per cent, of those whose mothers were employed and with over
three-fourths, 77.8 per cent, of those whose fathers were unem­
ployed.3
In spite of the fact that both the death or desertion of the father
and the employment of the mother seem to have been more closely
correlated with the employment of the children in families where the
children were native born of native fathers than in any other nativity
group, little more than one-third, 34.3 per cent, of these children, as
contrasted, for example, with nearly two-thirds, 63.7 per cent, of
those bom in Italy, gave economic necessity as their reason for
going into industry. To a certain extent this may have been due
to unwillingness on the part of the native children of native parent­
age to confess to poverty, but in large part it was probably due
to the actual existence of greater economic need in the families of
immigrants, and particularly in those of recent immigrants.
That girls, particularly native girls of native parentage, are less
likely than boys to go to work unless their earnings are actually
needed, appears again to be indicated by the fact that nearly onehalf, 48.6 per cent, of the girls, but little more than one-third, 34.6
per cent, of the boys, stated that they were leaving school because of
the economic necessities of their families. Decided differences
between girls and boys in this respect were found in each group
classified by the child’s nativity and the father’s nationality, but the
contrast was particularly striking among the native children of
native fathers, where 44.6 per cent of the girls, but only 28.3 per cent
of the boys, gave economic necessity as their reason for leaving
school to go to work.
Leaving school.— A considerable number of children in the Boston
continuation school, all of whom were regular workers, left school
when under 14 years of age. The proportion was 8.1 per cent.
Many of these children doubtless left school at the beginning of a
summer vacation before the end of which they became 14 and took
out employment certificates, so that they did not all violate the
compulsory school attendance law. The same can not be said, how­
ever, for the 44 children who left school when less than 13£ years of
age.
3 it

m ust be borne in m ind that the child’s statement as to the reason w hy he left school for industry

m ay not in all cases be trustworthy.


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INTRODUCTORY SU M M ARY.

21

Both the children whose fathers were dead or not living with their
families and those both of whose parents were dead or not living
with their families showed a tendency to leave school, as well as to
go to work, younger than those from normal families.
A better measure, however, of the amount of absence from school
during the transition to industry is found in the time during school
term which elapsed between the date of leaving school and the date
of taking the first regular position. Nearly one-third, 31.3 per cent,
of the interviewed children were out of school a week or more at this
time. About one-sixth, 16.4 per cent, were out from one week to a
month, and nearly one-tenth, 9.4 per cent, from one to three months,
while 3.4 per cent were out from three to six, and 2.2 per cent six
months or more.
The proportion who lost one or more weeks of school time was
highest among the native children of native fathers and lowest
among the foreign-born children. It was higher among the girls
than among the boys, and the girls also lost longer periods of time.
Over two-fifths, 41-9 per cent, of the native girls of native parentage
were out of school for a week or more, and about one-sixth, 16.2 per
cent, for three or more months just before they went to work. It
should be remembered that some of these girls, however, who were
over 14 years of age, may have held special home permits which
entitled them to be- legally out of school. Although those permits
were much less frequently given to boys than to girls, a few boys also
may have held them. It would appear that entrance into industry
is frequently preceded by absence from school, and in many cases by
long periods of absence, and that this is particularly common among
native children of native parentage, especially girls.
To what extent the children— or their parents— took their school
work seriously enough to wait until the completion of the year’s
work before leaving school for industry is shown in the figures relating
to the number of children who went to work during the summer
vacation and during the school term. As promotions took place in
the Boston schools only in June, children who went to work at any
other time than during the summer vacation must either have failed
to attend school as required by law or else must have dropped their
school careers without regard to the completion of the grade which
they had begun. Yet there was nearly as great a tendency to go to
work during the school term as during the summer vacation, for nearly
three-fourths, 72.8 per cent, of the children interviewed went to work
fduring the school year, which constituted only about three-fourths of
the calendar year. Evidently there was nearly as great a tendency


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Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

22

TH E WORKING CHILDREN OF BOSTON.

to go to work during the school term as during the summer vacations^
The slightly greater tendency to go to work in the summer was entirely
among the girls.
Children whose fathers were unemployed were more likely to go to
work during the school year than those whose fathers were employed.
But this disregard of their schooling was not unusually prevalent
among children whose fathers were dead or not living with their
families, perhaps because in many of these cases the death or desertion
had occurred some time before the child was of working age and the
family affairs had already been at least partially adjusted to meet
the situation.
Although economic pressure was more frequently given as a
reason for leaving school by the children of foreign-bom fathers, it
was the native children of native fathers who were most likely to go
to work during a school term. This was not due t o . any greater
tendency among native children of native parentage to wait until
autumn, when they would be obliged either to return to school or to
go to work— before securing positions— but to their greater tendency,
particulary that of the boys, to go to work in the spring before the
closing of school. Almost exactly one-fourth, 24.9 per cent, of all the
boys interviewed, but not far from one-third, 30 per cent, of those
whose fathers were native took their first regular positions during
April or May. The Russian-Jewish children, on the other hand,
appear to have been less likely than children of any other nationality
group to go to work in the middle of a school year, and showed no
special tendency to take positions in the spring.
The fact that girls showed less tendency than boys to go to work in
April or May may be due in part to more opportunities, especially
for outdoor work, open to boys at this season. Regardless of any
special opportunities, however, it seems probable that many children,
especially boys, left school shortly before the end of the session in
order to secure the better positions before the closing of the schools
released other applicants. Knowledge that they were not to be pro­
moted in school may also have been a factor in causing some children
to leave school for work in the spring.
The end of the school year in June is generally believed to be the
period of the greatest influx of children into industry; and, if both
vacation and regular workers are considered, this belief is doubtless
correct. But that it probably is not true for regular workers alone
appears to be indicated, not only by the foregoing facts, but by the
fact that only about one-tenth, 9.8 per cent, of the children inter­
viewed—-all regular workers—went to work in June after the close
of the school year. During the entire month of June only a little


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INTRODUCTORY SU M M ARY.

23

over one-eighth, 13.1 per cent, of these children took their first regular
positions. The proportion going to work during the month of Sep­
tember, on the other hand, was more than one-sixth, 17.4 per cent.
The girls showed an even greater tendency than the boys to go to
work rather than to return to school in the fall. September, then,
appears to be the most popular month for the children who are defi­
nitely leaving school to begin their industrial careers, a fact which
seems to point to lack of adjustment to school life as a very important
reason for leaving school.
In fact, about one-fifth, 20.2 per cent, of all the children inter­
viewed stated that their reason for leaving was that they were dis­
contented with school, either because they disliked their school or
their teacher, or because of slow progress or failure to receive a pro­
motion. To these children may be added the one-eighth, 12.3 per
cent, who said, when asked why they left school, that they wished
to work, and also perhaps the small proportion, 4 per cent, who had
finished the eighth grade and did not wish to go on to high school.
Discontent with school was more often given as a reason for leaving
by native children, of both native and foreign-born fathers, than by
foreign-born children and by boys than by girls. But these differ­
ences are accounted for by the greater proportions of foreign-bom
children and of girls who stated that they left because of economic
need for their earnings.
Grade completed.— If a child began school at 6 and continued
steadily without repeating grades he would have completed the
grammar-school course by the time he was 14. Yet little more than
one-half, 52.4 per cent, of the 14 and 15 year old children who took out
certificates in Boston, Cambridge, Somerville, and Chelsea had com­
pleted the eighth or a higher grade in a regular school. A slightly
larger proportion, 54.1 per cent, of those who took out certificates in
Boston alone had completed the grammar-school course. But even
if all the children from vocational, disciplinary, and other special
schools were considered to have completed the eighth grade, the
proportion would be under three-fifths. Within more recent years,
as shown in Table C, the proportion of children taking out certificates
in Boston who had completed the eighth or a higher grade has been
between 55 and 60 per cent. Between September 1, 1914, and
August 31, 1918, some tendency was shown for the proportion
who had completed high school or other grades above the eighth to
increase. This may be due partly, however, to an increase in the
proportion of children who worked only during vacations or out of
school hours.


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24

TH E WORKING CHILDREN OF BOSTON.

T able

C.— Grade completed by child, and year o f issue; first employment certificates issued
in B oston.

.f t

First employment certificates issued to—

Children who had completed specified grade.
Year of issue.
A ll
children.

Lower than fourth.

Fourth.

Fifth.

Number. Per cent. Number. Per cent. Number. Per cent.

Sept.
Sept.
Sept;
Sept.

1 , 1914-Aug. 31,1915
1 , 1915-Aug. 31,1916
1, 1916-Aug. 31,1917
1 , 1917-Aug. 31,1918

2
*43

3,342
6,653
7,017
8,760

139
130

0.1

185
271
245
322

.6

.6
.3

5.5
4.1
3.5
3.7

228
485
563
609

6.8
7.3

8.0
7.0

First employment certificates issued to—

Children who had completed specified grade.
Year of issue.
Seventh.

Sixth.

Sept.
Sept.
Sept.
Sept.

1 , 1914-Aug.
1 , 1915-Aug.
1 , 1916-Aug.
1 , 1917-Aug.

31,1915.......................
31,1916.......................
31,1917.......................
31,1918......................

Eighth.

Higher than
eighth.

N um ­
ber.

Per
cent.

N um ­
ber.

Per
cent.

N um ­
ber.

Per
cent.

N um ­
ber.

467
845
976
1,217

14.0
12.7
13.9
13.9

493
1,083
1,199
1,558

14.8
16.3
17.1
17.8

994
1.655
1.655
2,252

29.7
24.9
23.6
25.7

973
2,271
2,340
2,772

Per
cent.

29.1
34. r
33.3
31.6

i The increase in number of certificates granted to children from grades lower than the fourth was due to a
change in the law, first effective in the summer of 1916, which permitted the issuance of vacation certificates
to children who had not fulfilled the educational requirements of the law, namely, completion of fourth
grade. W ith this exception, all children receiving certificates were obliged to have completed the fourth
grade, except children who had attended school 7 years and whom the issuing officer deemed incapable
of completing that grade.

The vacation workers included in this study, because of the fact
that they were, on an average, decidedly older than the regular
workers, would be expected to have completed higher grades. The
difference, however, is even greater than would be expected from the
mere difference in age. Nearly three-fourths, 73 per cent, of the
children who were employed only during vacations or out of school
hours, as compared with less than one-half, 49.6 per cent, of those
who left school for work before their sixteenth birthdays, had com­
pleted the eighth or a higher grade in regular schools. The difference
between vacation and regular workers in the proportion who had
completed one or more years of/high-school work is even more
striking, 48 per cent as compared with 13.8 per cent. These figures
suggest that the children who were well advanced in school may
have been more likely to work only during vacations while those
who were behind were more likely to leave school for regular positions
in industry.
The tendency, already noted, for foreign-bom children to become
regular rather than vacation workers appears to be in part, at least,

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INTRODUCTORY SU M M ARY.

25

responsible for the different proportions of children from the higher
and the lower grades who worked regularly and merely during vaca­
tions. Only about one-third, 33.1 per cent, of the foreign-bom chil­
dren, as compared with considerably more than one-half, 56.7 per cent,
of the native children, had completed the eighth or a higher grade.
One in 8, 12.5 per cent, of the foreign-born children, and about 1 in 5,
21.4 per cent, of those born in Italy, were barely able to satisfy the
low educational requirements for a certificate, completion of the
fourth grade. Of the children bom in Russia, however, a very
creditable proportion, 44.2 per cent, as compared with only 15.7
per cent of those born in Italy, had completed the eighth or a higher
grade. Even the proportion, 56.7 per cent, of native children who
had completed the grammar-school course seems low when it is
remembered that all these children were over 14, and a large number
over 15 years of age.
Many of the native children were of foreign parentage, and it is
interesting to note for the children interviewed— the only group for
which the nationality of the father is available— the differences in
grade attained between the native children whose fathers also were
native and those whose fathers were foreign born. As would be
jexpected, the proportion of native children of native fathers who had
completed the eighth or a higher grade was somewhat larger than
that of native children of foreign-born fathers, 54.8 per cent as com­
pared with 48.5 per cent. The difference was slight as compared
with that between the native children of foreign-born fathers and the
foreign-born children, little more than one-fourth, 27.7 per cent, of
whom had completed the grammar-school course. All the children
interviewed, of course, were regular workers, and their grade standing
averaged considerably lower than that of the entire group of children
who took out certificates, including vacation workers.
In each different group of children, except the native, smaller pro­
portions of girls than of boys came from the eighth and higher grades.
This difference appears to have been due, at least in part, to the longer
periods among girls than among boys between leaving school and
going to work. Both boys and girls who had completed the seventh
or eighth grades were more likely than those from lower grades to
remain out of school for a time during this transition. In the case of
eighth-grade graduates this was undoubtedly due primarily to diffi­
culty in enforcing high-school attendance. Although many of the
girls and some of the boys may have held special home permits during
this interval between school and industry, it is significant that about
1 in 8, 12.4 per cent, of the girls who had completed only the seventh
or eighth grades, as compared with only about 1 in 20, 4.9 per cent,
of the boys, were out of school for three months or more at this time.
4 9 4 7 0 °— 22------ 3


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26

TH E WORKING CHILDREN OF BOSTON.

That the girls who took regular positions before they were 16 were
less likely than the boys to go on from the grammar to the high school is
further shown by the fact that the difference between the proportions
of the two sexes who left school upon completion of the eighth grade
was small as compared with the difference between the proportions
who had completed a high-school grade.
The same causes which make it necessary for a child to go to work
may also lead to retardation, and that they probably did so among
the children studied is suggested by thè fact that an even larger pro­
portion of those who gave economic reasons for leaving school than
of those who stated that they left because of slow progress or nonpro­
motion had completed only the sixth or a lower grade. It should be
remembered, however, that the reason given by the child for leaving
school may not in all cases have been the true one.
Retardation.— Actual retardation, measured on the conservative
scale adopted for this report,3“ appears to have been very frequent
among the children who left school for work before their sixteenth
birthdays. Not far from one-third, 31.5 per cent, of the children
who took out certificates in Boston for work during school hours
were found to be retarded. For the other two groups of regular
workers, those for whom continuation school records were used and
those who were interviewed, the percentages of retarded children
were nearly the same, 31.4 and 32.4, respectively.
Children who were in normal, and especially those who were in
higher than normal grades for their ages appear, on the other hand,
when they worked at all, to have sought employment during vacations
or out of school hours, rather than to have left school. Only onesixth of the vacation workers, as compared with more than threetenths of the regular workers, were retarded; and a surprisingly
large proportion, over three-tenths, of the vacation workers, as
compared with less than one-tenth of the regular workers, had com­
pleted higher grades than normal for their ages. About half, 50.6
per cent, of the vacation workers, but less than half, 48.1 per cent,
of the regular workers, had completed normal grades. Nor was the
high percentage of retardation among regular workers due entirely to
the comparatively large proportion of children of foreign birth among
•those who left school for industry before they were 16 years of age.
Even of the native children for whom continuation school records
were taken— all regular workers— more than one-fourth, 27.5 per cent,
had failed to attain a normal grade before leaving school. The cor­
responding proportion for the foreign-born children, however, wasnearly half, 48.2 per cent, and for the Italian children it was not far
from two-thirds, 63.1 per cent.
so See pp. 126-127, and appendix, p. 362.


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INTRODUCTORY SU M M ARY.

27

All the children who were born in this country-had enjoyed pre­
sumably the same school advantages and had been required to attend
for the same period. Nevertheless, for some reason, perhaps in part
because of the use of foreign languages in their homes and in part
because of other unfavorable home conditions affecting both their
health and their ambition for success in school, the native children
of foreign parentage were more often retarded than were the native
children o f native parentage. Less than one-fourth, 22.9 per cent,
of the latter group of children, those with fathers born in this coun­
try, were retarded, as compared with not far from one-third, 31.9
per cent, of the children interviewed who were native born of foreign
parentage. Thus the difference between the native children of native
and of foreign-born fathers in the matter of retardation is greater
than in that of grade attained. Of the foreign-born children, not far
from half, 45.2 per cent, were retarded. Apparently the difference
between native and foreign-born children in retardation, as well as in
grade attained, was greater than that between native children of
native and those of foreign parentage.
Among children of foreign parentage retardation appears to have
had a close connection with language difficulties, for it was found that
over two-fifths of the children interviewed whose fathers were foreign
born of non-English-speaking nationalities, and only one-fourth of
those whose fathers were foreign born of English-speaking nationali­
ties were retarded. A t the same time, the foreign-born children in
the Boston continuation school who had been in the United States
long enough to have begun their school lives here were much less
likely to be retarded than were the foreign-born children who had
come to this country since they were of school age. But that this
latter difference was due in part, at least, merely to changes in schools
is suggested by the fact that among the native children who took out
certificates in the four cities a similar difference appears between those
born in Boston, Cambridge, Somerville, or Chelsea and those born
elsewhere in the United States. Children of Italian fathers furnished
the largest percentage of retardation, while comparatively little
retardation was found among children whose fathers were Russian
Jews.
As in the case of grade attained, girls made a poorer showing than
boys. In each group— children given certificates, continuationschool children, and children who were interviewed—larger propor­
tions of girls than of boys were retarded and smaller proportions were
advanced in their school work. Among the interviewed children this
difference was particularly striking between the foreign-born boys
and girls and was slight between the native boys and girls whose
fathers were foreign born. The high percentage of retardation among
foreign-born children appears to have been due primarily to the

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28

TH E WORKING CHILDREN OF BOSTON.

girls, 52.2 per cent of whom were retarded as compared with only
36.8 per cent of the boys. Nevertheless, among the children of"
Italian fathers a larger proportion of boys than of girls was retarded.
The group of continuation-school children who went to work within
six months after becoming 14 years of age contained an unusually
large proportion both of retarded and of advanced children as com­
pared with the groups going to work within any other six months’
period. Some retarded children were probably prevented from going
to work until after their fifteenth birthdays by inability to meet
earlier the low educational requirement for a certificate— completion
of the fourth grade— for a slightly larger proportion of retarded chil­
dren was found among those who went to work when over 15 than
when between 14 and 15, and both groups of children who went to
work when over 15 showed unusually high proportions who were
three or more grades below normal for their ages.
The effect of family conditions and the economic status of the
family upon retardation among the children studied is not capable of
any exact statement. The data concerning family conditions relate
only to the time when the child took out his first certificate, whereas
the home influences which might cause retardation would cover the
entire period of the child’s school life. Nevertheless, it is interesting
to note that of the children attending the Boston continuation school
both of whose parents were employed and also among those both of
whose parents were unemployed— neither a normal family status—
unusually large proportions were retarded. That the employment
or absence from home of the mother may have more influence on the
retardation of the child than the status of the father is suggested, too,
not only by the higher proportion of retarded children who had both
parents employed than who had both parents unemployed but also
by the somewhat larger proportion whose mothers than whose fathers
were dead or not living with their families.
The father’s occupation, which is a rough index to the economic
status of the family, appears to have had some connection with the
child’s retardation, even when differences due solely to the distribution
of fathers of the various nationality groups among the occupations are
eliminated. Children of skilled or semiskilled mechanics and of
factory operatives were found, for example, to have been much less
frequently retarded than would be expected in those groups if the
rate of retardation prevailing in the different nationality groups had
prevailed also in each occupational group of the particular nationality.
On the other hand, the children of laborers and of merchants and
peddlers were more frequently retarded than would be expected. At
the same time, the conclusion that the economic pressure which
forces the child into industry often causes also his retardation in
school is strengthened by the fact that a larger proportion of the

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INTRODUCTORY SU M M ARY.

29

„.children who gave economic reasons for leaving school were retarded
than of those who gave all other reasons, and even than of those who
stated that they had left school because they disliked their school or
their teacher or because of slow progress or failure to obtain a
promotion.
Retarded children showed a more pronounced tendency than any
other group to take their first positions during the school year. Of
all the children interviewed who went to work during a summer
vacation only 19.2 per cent, but of those who went to work at some
other time, 37.4 per cent, were retarded. This tendency appeared in
each nationality group, but particularly among the children of foreignbom fathers of non-English-speaking nationalities, notably the Italian.
A t the same time less than one-fourth, 24 per cent, of the retarded
children, as compared with nearly one-third, 32.3 per cent, of the
normal children and with 44.1 per cent of the advanced children, lost
one week or more of school time between leaving school and going to
work. Evidently the retarded children more frequently went imme­
diately to work upon leaving school than did the normal and advanced
children. Many of the latter, doubtless, finished a school year and
then failed to return to begin the new grade in the fall. The greater
tendency of girls than of boys to stay out of school before going to
work was found mainly not among retarded girls but among girls
from normal and higher than normal grades for their ages.
Work before leaving school.—Many of the children who left school
for work before their sixteenth birthdays had also worked during
vacation periods or out of school hours before leaving school. Some
of this work was done after they were 14 years of age, but many of
the interviewed children, who were questioned as to all the positions
they had ever held, were found to have worked before they were 14,
when, of course, they could not secure certificates. Not all this work,
however, was illegal, for in some cases it was in occupations in which
children were permitted to work under 14 during vacations or outside
school hours, and in others street-trades licenses, which boys could
get at 12 years of age, had been secured.
The children interviewed, it should be remembered, were decidedly
younger when they left school for work than was the average child
taking his first regular position, so that they had had comparatively
little time for vacation work. Nevertheless, about two-fifths, 39.4
per cent, of all these children, and not far from three-fifths, 58.7 per
cent, of the boys, had been employed before leaving school; and all
hut 46 of the 324 who had been employed had begun their vacation
work before they were 14, at least 40 before 12, and 12 before 10 years
of age. Comparatively few girls, only about one-eighth:, 12.7 per
cent, worked before leaving school, and a much larger proportion of
them than of the boys secured their first school positions after they
were 14, and worked only during a vacation period.

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30

TH E WORKING CHILDREN OF BOSTON.

Opportunities to work before or after school hours or on Saturdaysduring school term at such occupations as street trading, odd jobs,
and outdoor work appear to have been much more common for boys
than for girls. Because of these opportunities and also because most
of the boys took their first school positions before they were 14 years
of age when factory and mechanical occupations were closed to them
by law, nearly nine-tenths, 89.6 per cent, of the boys who worked
before leaving school were first engaged in occupations classed as
“ clerical occupations, wrapping, selling, and delivery of goods.”
Over two-fifths, 41.1 per cent, of these first school positions held,by
boys were for occupations involving selling, generally as newsboys
or peddlers’ helpers; but an even larger proportion, 46.1 per cent,
were for messenger, errand, and delivery work.
Owing to the fact that a larger proportion of girls than of boys took
their first school positions when they were over 14 years of age, 9 of
the 15 children who were employed in factory or mechanical occupa­
tions were girls. Only 29 first school positions, 11 of them held by
girls, were for personal and domestic occupations. These positions
constituted 9 per cent of all the first school positions held by both
sexes, and this percentage was noticeably larger than the percentage,
4.6, of regular positions in personal and domestic occupations.
Foreign-born children, especially Italians, showed a greater
tendency than did native children to leave school definitely for work
rather than to go through an intermediate period of combined school
and work. The tendency of native children to work before leaving
school was entirely, however, among the boys. Similarly, a larger
proportion of native children of native than of foreign-born fathers
worked before leaving school, and this again was true only for the
boys, the girls showing an opposite tendency. The native boys whose
fathers were native appear, however, to have been more likely than
those whose fathers were foreign born to take school positions for
work during vacation only, and less likely to work during school term
only.
The work done before leaving school appears to have been less
desultory and irregular than might be expected. Two-thirds, 66.7
per cent, of the children who worked before leaving school held only
one school position, though over one-fifth, 21.3 per cent, held two,
nearly one-tenth, 9.3 per cent, three, and nine boys, 2.8 per cent of the
total number of children, four or more positions each. More than
one-third, 34.6 per cent, of these positions lasted less than three
months; but a surprisingly large proportion, 30.2 per cent, lasted for
a year or more and nearly one-sixth, 15.9 per cent, for two years or
more. The positions held by girls were much more frequently of
short duration than those held by boys. On the other hand, as
would be expected from the fact that the girls’ positions were more fre­
quently for work only during vacation, their hours of labor averaged

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INTRODUCTORY SUM M ARY.

31

decidedly longer than those of boys. In comparatively few, only 19.6
per cent, of the positions held by boys but the great majority, 62.2
per cent, of those held by girls the hours worked were 36 or over a
week. More than one-third, 34.9 per cent, of the boys’ positions
involved between 12 and 24 hours and more than one-fourth, 27 per
cent, less than 12 hours work a week. In nearly one-half, 48.8 per
cent, of the positions in which children worked less than 12 hours they
were employed for only one day a week. Over half, 51.3 per cent,
of all the positions held by both sexes in which the hours were from
24 to 48 a week were held for less than three months, and most of
these were vacation positions. Nevertheless, practically one-fifth,
19.9 per cent, of the positions in which the hours were from 24 to 48
a week were held for a year or over, and not far from one-fourth, 23.4
per cent, of the positions in which the hours were from 12 to 24 a week
lasted for two years or more.
Although weekly wages depended to a considerable extent upon
weekly hours of labor, some of these children appear to have received
somewhat high rates of compensation, considering the hours, for the
work they did before leaving school as compared with the rates usually
prevailing in the positions which they held after leaving school. In
more than one-third, 35.3 per cent, of the positions in which the hours
were from 24 to 48 a week the children received $4 or more, whereas
in over three-fourths, 76.6 per cent, of those in which the hours were
from 12 to 24 they received less than $4. Nevertheless, in not far
from one-third, 31.1 per cent, of the positions in which children
worked from 12 to 24 hours— that is, from two to four*hours daily on
an average they made $3 or more a week, and 13 boys working these
hours made $4 or over a week, 3 of them $6 or more.
A larger proportion of the children who had worked than of those
who had not worked before leaving school took their first regular
positions during school term. At the same time those who had
worked showed themselves more likely than those who had not worked
to go straight from school to industry without losing any important
amount of school time in the transfer. Little over one-fourth, 26.9
per cent, of the children who had worked, but more than one-third,
34.3 per cent, of those who had not worked before leaving school,
had lost one week or more of school time between leaving school and
taking their first regular positions. This difference was due almost
entirely, however, to the large number of girls who had not worked
previously who lost school time during the transfer to industry.
Among the children who were interviewed vacation work meant,
in most cases, work before the fourteenth birthday, which was per­
formed without having secured employment certificates. In other
words, it meant work performed at an age and under conditions
when it might most logically be expected to have an influence upon

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32

TH E WORKING CHILDREN OF BOSTON.

standing in school. It is not surprising, therefore, to find that a
larger proportion of the children who had worked, 36.1 per cent,
than of those who had not worked, 30.1 per cent, before leaving
school were retarded, and that a smaller proportion, 13.3 per cent
as compared with 18.6 per cent, had completed higher grades than
normal for their ages.
Nor is it surprising to find that work during school term appears
to have had more serious effects on school standing than work done
at any other time. Of the children whose first positions were held only
during school term, .45.1 per cent were retarded, as compared with
31.1 per cent of those whose first positions were held during both
school term and vacation and with 28.2 per cent of those whose
first positions were held only during vacation. As two-thirds of the
children who worked before leaving school held only one position,
these figures seem to indicate that employment during school term
is likely to cause a child to fall behind in his school work.
Occupations.— The occupations in which children between 14 and
16 years of age could be employed were of course decidedly restricted
by their ages, lack of physical strength, and lack of education and
experience. To a certain extent they were also restricted by law,
particularly by the provisions in regard to hours, continuation-schôol
attendance, and employment on machines. As a result most of the
positions held by the children studied were for simple mechanical
tasks or for running errands or carrying articles either inside or out­
side the establishment. Although none of these positions required
any real skill, some of them permitted the development of a certain
dexterity, and others made it possible for the child to acquire a
little practical knowledge of the business apart from his own small
task. A few of them, doubtless, offered opportunities for promo­
tion to more skilled or responsible positions if the child remained,
which he rarely did, until he grew older. In the vast majority of
cases, however, the occupation was not of such a character as to
offer either a future in itself or training for any other occupation by
which the child could hope to earn a living as an adult.
Not far from two-thirds— 63.5 per cent— of all the positions held
by children who took out certificates in the four cities were for
“ clerical occupations, wrapping, selling, or delivery of goods, etc.,”
and most of the others— 33 per cent of all—were for factory or
mechanical occupations. The most important of the clerical and
similar occupations was messenger, errand, and delivery work, which
alone furnished nearly one-third— 32.8 per cent— of all these posi­
tions; and next most important was cash and messenger work in
department stores, which furnished about one-eighth— 12.4 per cent.
Office work accounted for 7.3 per cent, packing, wrapping, labeling,
and shipping-room work for 6.8 per cent, and selling for 4.1 per cent.

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33

INTRODUCTORY SUM M ARY.

-As positions for messenger and office work in factories, as well as for
packing, wrapping, labeling, and shipping-room work, were classified
under clerical and similar occupations, most of the positions for fac­
tory and mechanical occupations involved work as factory opera­
tives. The only other kind of employment under this general desig­
nation was work as apprentices and helpers in skilled trades, and
only 2.6 per cent of these positions could be thus classified. Few
positions were in personal or domestic or any other occupations out­
side the two main groups—factory and mechanical occupations and
u clerical occupations, wrapping, selling, or delivery of goods.”
The increase in child labor which, as already noted, occurred in
Boston during the war period appears to have been more conspicu­
ous in factories than in workshops, stores, or other places. According
to Table D, the proportion of first certificates which were issued for
factories during the year ended August 31, 1916, was 38.4 per cent.
During the next year this proportion dropped to 37.4 per cent, while
the proportion issued for workshops increased from 16 to 18.3 per.
cent. During the year ended August 31, 1918, the proportion for
factories rose to 42.6 per cent and that for workshops dropped back
to 16 per cent. Meanwhile the proportion of first certificates for
work in stores decreased from 24.7 per cent to 21.5 per cent, and
then to 20 per cent. Similar changes occurred in the figures relating
to all certificates issued. The figures in this table, however, are
based upon a purely industrial classification, and therefore can not
be compared with those for positions held by the children studied
during this inquiry, which are based upon a classification primarily
according to occupation.
T able

D . — Place o f em ploym ent;and year o f issue; first and all employment certificates
issued in Boston.

Em ploym ent certificates issued for work in specified place of employment.
Year of issue and kind of
certificate.

FIRST

Sept.
Sept.
Sept.
Sept.

(O R ORIGINAL)
TIFICATES.

1, 1914-Aug.
1 , 1915-Aug.
1 , 1916-Aug.
1 , 1917-Aug.

Sept.
Sept.
Sept.
Sept.

1 , 1914-Aug.
1, 1915-Aug.
1 , 1916-Aug.
1 , 1917-Aug.

N um ­
ber.

3,342
6,653
7,017
8,760

6,412
12,043
16,805
20,683

Workshops.

Per
cent.

N um ­
ber. .

2,554
2,623
3,729

38.4
37.4
42.6

1,066
1,281
1,405

2,058
4,766
6,498
9,522

32.1
39.6
38.7
46.0

2,107
3,570
3,453

Per
cent.

Stores.

N um ­
ber.

Per
cent.

Other places.

N um ­
ber.

Per
cent.

CER-

33, 1 9 1 5 ...
31, 1 9 1 6 ...
3 1 ,1 9 1 7 ...
3 1 ,1 9 1 8 ...

-ALL
CERTIFICATES
ORIGINAL
AND
QUENT)—

Factories.

A ll
places
of em­
ploy­
ment.

i 1)

(i)

(!)

16.0
18.3
16.0

(i)

1,645
1,510
1,749

24.7
21.5
2 0 .0

1,388
1,603
1,877.

1,948
2,714
3,605
3,580

30.4
22.5
21.5
17.3

2,456
3,132
4| 128

20.9
2 2 .8

21.4

(BOTH
SUBSE-

3 1 ,1 9 1 5 ...
3 1 ,1 9 1 6 ...
3 1 ,1 9 1 7 ...
3 1 ,1 9 1 8 ...

( 2)

17.5
2 1 .2

16.7

1 N o figures available for places of employment in 1914.
a Separate figures for workshops and other places not available for 1914.


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(2)

The total is 2,406.

20.4
18.6
2 0 .0

34

TH E WORKING CHILDREN OF BOSTON.

Among the children included in this study considerable difference was found in the occupational distribution of boys and of girls.
More than one-half, 51.7 per cent, of the certificates taken out by
boys in the four cities were for messenger, errand, and delivery work,
and nearly nine-tenths, 89 per cent, of the certificates taken out for
this kind of work were held by boys. Although less than one-tenth,
9.4 per cent, of the positions held by boys were for office work, this
occupation also showed a preponderance of boys who held not far
from three-fourths, 72.7 per cent, of the office-work certificates.
Boys also held most, 89.4 per cent, of the positions as apprentices and
helpers in skilled trades.
On the other hand, nearly half, 48.3 per cent, of the certificates
taken out by girls were for work as operatives in factories, and nearly
seven-tenths, 69.1 per cent, of the certificates taken out for this kind
of work were held by girls. In clothing factories and other needle
trades a particularly large proportion, 94.3 per cent, of the positions
were held by girls. Girls also preponderated in cash and messenger
work in department stores and in packing, wrapping, labeling, and
shipping room work. More than one-sixth, 17.3 per cent, of the
girls’ positions were for cash and, messenger work in department
stores, and girls held three-fifths, 60.7 per cent, of the positions for"
this kind of work. Similarly, one-eighth, 12.4 per cent, of the girls’
positions were for packing, wrapping, labeling, and shipping room
work, and girls held four-fifths, 80 per cent, of the positions for this
kind of work. As would be expected, a larger proportion of the posi­
tions held by girls than of those held by boys were in personal and
domestic occupations.
Decided differences were found in the tendencies shown by native
and by foreign-born children, and also by children from different for­
eign countries, toward various occupations. Owing, primarily, to a
decidedly larger proportion of foreign-born than of native children
who secured their first positions in clothing factories and other needle
trades, the foreign-born children, especially the Italians, showed a
greater tendency to begin their industrial careers in factory and
mechanical occupations. This difference was particularly pro­
nounced among the girls. More than one-fifth, 21.8 per cent, of the
foreign-born girls who took out certificates in the four cities—over
one-third, 36.2 per cent, of those born in Italy and more than onesixth, 17.3 per cent, of those born in Russia— as compared with less
than one-tenth, 9.2 per cent, of the native girls, began work as oper­
atives in clothing factories and other needle trades.
The native children, on the other hand, showed a greater tendency
than the foreign born to enter each of the occupations classed as cler­
ical, wrapping, selling, and delivery of goods, except “ selling” and
“ packing, wrapping, labeling, and shipping room work.” Over one
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INTRODUCTORY SUM M ARY.

35

-tenth, 11.1 per cent, of the first positions held by Italian children and
8.6 per cent of those held by Russian children involved selling,
generally in small shops or from peddlers’ wagons. The Russian
children appear to have been more like the native in their distribution
between the two big occupation groups than were the Italian, but the
reason was that a much larger proportion of Russian, 11.7 per cent,
than of either native, 5.8 per cent, or Italian, 4.6 per cent, were first
employed in packing, wrapping, labeling, and shipping-room work.
The children who were born in England and Wales entered in general
much the same occupations as the native children, and an even
larger proportion of them were employed in cash and messenger work
in department stores. Nevertheless, department stores furnished
first positions for only 7."9 per cent of all the foreign-born children
and 11.3 per cent of all the foreign-born girls, including those from
Great Britain, as compared with more than one-eighth, 14.4 per cent,
of the native children and nearly one-fourth, 23.8 per cent, of the
native girls.
Among the native children were included, however, many whose
fathers were foreign born. These children tended to resemble in their
choice of occupations those whose fathers also were native more
closely than they resembled foreign-born children. Nevertheless,
they distinctly tended to modify the tendencies shown by native
children of native parentage. The contrast, therefore, between the
foreign-horn children and the native children whose fathers also were
native was in most cases even more pronounced than that between
the foreign born and the entire group of native children. In general,
too, the children whose fathers were foreign born of each special
nationality showed the same tendency, though in lesser degree, as
those who were themselves foreign born of the same nationality.
These figures concerning the nationality of the fathers relate, of
course, only to the interviewed children, all of whom were regular
workers, whereas those given previously concerning the nativity of
the children relate to all those who took out certificates, both vaca­
tion and regular workers. Only comparatively slight differences in
occupational distribution were found, however, between the vacation
and the regular workers who took out certificates in Boston. In spite
of the fact that more of them were native born and that they were,
as a rule, older and more advanced in school, the vacation workers
appear to have been somewhat more likely to enter factory and
mechanical occupations than the regular workers. The only occupa­
tion included in the group of clerical and other similar occupations
which the vacation worker less frequently entered was messenger,
errand, and delivery work. The greater tendency of vacation work­
ers to begin in factories appears to have been due primarily to a
comparatively large proportion of girl vacation workers who began

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36

TH E WORKING CHILDREN OF BOSTON.

their industrial lives as operatives in shoe factories. In clothing
factories and other needle trades, as would be expected from the large
proportion of foreign-born children employed, a smaller proportion of
vacation than of regular workers secured their first positions.
The differences in occupational distribution between the entire
group of continuation-school children and those who were inter­
viewed, like those between the vacation and regular workers, were
not great. Most of the conspicuous differences which occurred were
in occupations in which, as will be seen later, the interviewed children
were found to have held a considerable number of uncertificated
positions. For example, 4.6 per cent of the positions held by the
children interviewed, as compared with only 2.7 per cent of those
held by the children in continuation school, were in personal and
domestic occupations; and 9.5 per cent of those held by the children
interviewed, as compared with only 7.2 per cent of those held by the
children in continuation school, were as operatives in clothing fac­
tories and other needle trades. Evidently the chief differences were
due to the fact that, in the records of the children interviewed, posi­
tions were included for which no certificates were secured. On the
other hand, the fact that only 1.3 per cent of the positions held by
the interviewed children, as compared with 2.1 per cent of those-held
by the continuation-school children, were as apprentices and helpers
in skilled trades is probably due to more accurate description during
the interview of the actual work performed.
Children who were behind in their school work showed a greater
tendency than did normal or advanced children to enter factory and
mechanical occupations, and also to take positions involving “ sell­
ing” or “ packing, wrapping, labeling, and shipping room work,”
and to enter personal and domestic occupations. In spite of the
fact that the younger children showed less tendency than the older
to begin work as factory operatives, it appears that, in general, the
lower the grade a child had completed in school the more likely was
he to begin his industrial career in such an occupation. Actual
retardation seems, as would be expected, to have had the same effect.
Over one-third, 35.5 per cent, of the regular positions held by retarded
children, but little over one-fourth, 27.5 per cent, of those held by
children from normal grades, and not much more than one-fifth, 21.8
per cent, of those held by children from grades higher than normal
for their ages were for work as factory operatives. The only kind
of work in which retarded, normal, and advanced children showed
about the same tendency to begin their industrial lives was messenger,
errand, and delivery work.
Children from higher grades than normal for their ages showed,
on the other hand, a decidedly greater tendency than other groups
to go into offices and also into cash and messenger work in depart
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INTRODUCTORY SU M M ARY.

37

ment stores. Nearly one-third, 32.1 per cent, of the advanced
girls, as compared with little more than one-fourth, 27.1 per cent,
of the normal and with less than one-sixth, 14.8 per cent, of the
retarded girls, went into cash and messenger work in department
stores.
These differences in occupational distribution between normal and
retarded children appear in the main to coincide with the differences
already pointed out between the occupational tendencies of native
and foreign-born children. A larger proportion of the foreign-bom
than of the native children, for example, were retarded, and these
children more frequently than the native secured factory positions.
The children interviewed, w in constitute a fair sample of all, were
not usually employed in positions involving work at or in connection
with machines. In only about one-tenth, 10.7 per cent, of all the
positions held by them was there any machine work and in many,
if not most, of these the children were employed at machine work
for only part of the time. Most of the machine work was in factory
operative positions, and it was especially common in clothing factories
and other needle trades. As girls much more frequently than boys
worked in these positions, machine work was much more common
4n the positions held by girls than in those held by boys.
Children not infrequently worked at more than one occupation in
a position. When not needed for errands, for example, they were
often assigned to some other occupation, its nature depending on
the nature of their employers’ business. Frequently, too, children
were transferred from the occupation for which they were hired to a
different one not contemplated by the issuing officer or the examining
physician when the certificate was made out. In over one-eighth,
13.5 per cent, of all the positions held by the children interviewed
they were transferred to occupations different from those for which
their certificates read.
These occupational shifts were most likely to occur, however, in
establishments employing a considerable number of children in
similar occupations—-for example, in shoe factories— and, as a result,
many of them did not involve changes to occupations of a different
kind, so far as the classification adopted for this report is concerned.
In little more than 1 position in 20, 5.6 per cent, were the children
transferred to wholly different occupations. Shifts to occupations
of other kinds than those for which the children were employed
were most common in positions held by girls in messenger, errand,
md delivery work and in “ packing, wrapping, labeling, and shipping
room work.” In nearly one-fourth, 23 per cent, of the former posi­
tions, and in about one-eighth, 12.9 per cent, of the latter, girls were
so transferred. In these two general types of occupations, at least,
promises of employment evidently constituted peculiarly weak evi­
dence as to what a girl might actually be expected to do.

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38

TH E WORKING CHILDREN OF BOSTON.

Methods o f securing 'positions.— Few of these children— less than
one-tenth, 9.3 per cent, of those in the continuation school and a
still smaller proportion of those who were interviewed— secured their
first positions through any agency engaged in the placement or
vocational guidance of children. Of those who did make use of such
an organization more than half were placed by private employment
agencies. The Bòston Placement Bureau, which had offices in the
building where the certificate office was located and on the same
floor, worked mainly among high-school graduates and children over
16 years of age who were applying for educational certificates, and,
as a result, secured first positions for only 54, or 1.6 per cent, of the
3,399 children in the Boston continuation school. The State em­
ployment office secured first positions for only 31" of these children.
The day schools, most of which had vocational counsellors, but did
not attempt to find positions, appear to have been more important
as placement agencies than any other public organization; yet the
fact that they secured first positions for only 2.1 per cent of the con­
tinuation school and 0.4 per cent of the children interviewed shows
that their influence was slight and was mainly among the older boys
and girls.
The children who held more than one position appear, however, tjOhave been much more likely to use placement agencies of all kinds in
securing their second than their first positions. Nearly twice as large
a proportion of these children, 15.3 per cent as compared with 8.1
per cent, secured their second as secured their first positions through
agencies of this sort. Even the day schools obtained more second
than first positions, and the placement bureau increased from 1.5
per cent of first to 2.3 per cent of second positions. The greatest
difference, however, was found, naturally, in the use made of the
placement facilities of the continuation school where the children
were enrolled after they had secured their first but before they had
secured their second positions. Only three, or 0.2 per cent, of the
children who held more than one position secured their first, but 84,
or 4.4 per cent, secured their second positions through the continua­
tion school. Nevertheless, the continuation school at the time of
this study was new and had as yet developed no systematic place­
ment work. It is not surprising to find, therefore, that only oneninth of the continuation-school children of the age group studied
secured even their second positions through any form of placement
agency other than private employment bureaus.
Slightly over three-fourths, 76 per cent, of the children in the
Boston continuation school, and an even larger proportion of those
who were interviewed, stated that they had secured their first regular
positions either independently or through friends or relatives. A


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INTRODUCTORY SUM M ARY.

39

larger proportion of those who held more than one position secured
their first positions independently, oftener through personal appli­
cation than through friends or relatives. About two-fifths, 40.2 per
cent, stated that they had no assistance in finding their first places
in the industrial world, as compared with 35.8 per cent who were
assisted by friends or relatives. An even larger proportion of children
who held more than one position secured their second than their first
positions independently. A decrease of family influence is also
shown in the smaller proportion who secured their second positions
through relatives or who worked for relatives. On the other hand,
as would be expected from the fact that the children’s previous in­
dustrial experiences must have opened up new associations, the in­
fluence of friends over the choice of second positions was greater than
their influence over the choice of first positions.
High-school children appear to have been much more likely than
children from the grammar schools, and eighth-grade graduates than
children from the lower grades, to secure their first positions through
employment agencies, schools, or placement bureaus. Not far from
one-fifth, 18 per cent, of the children from high schools, and nearly
one-tenth, 9.6 per cent, of the eighth-grade graduates made use of
such agencies. At the same time native children, who constituted
comparatively large proportions of all those from the higher grades,
and particularly of those who had completed a year or more of highschool work, appear to have been much more likely than foreignborn children to secure their first positions through employment
agencies, schools, or placement bureaus. The children who had com­
pleted only the fourth or fifth grades, among whom the proportion
of foreign born was comparatively high, rarely found their first po­
sitions through such agencies, but unusually large numbers of them
were assisted by or went to work for relatives.
As would be expected from the fact that the proportion of children
from the higher grades who secured their first positions through
placement agencies was so much higher than that of children from
the lower grades, comparatively few, only 22.8 per cent, of the
children who made use of such agencies were retarded. On the other
hand, retarded children formed over two-fifths, 42.6 per cent, of those
whose employers were relatives, and nearly one-third, 32.4 per cent,
of those who secured their first positions through relatives, as com­
pared with only a little over one-fourth, 27.9 per cent, of those who
secured their first positions through friends. The children who were
assisted only by friends, as well as those who secured their positions
through private employment agencies and through the placement
bureau, seem to have been normal or advanced rather than retarded
in their school work.


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TH E WORKING CHILDREN OF BOSTON.

To a certain extent at least the method of securing a position
would doubtless influence the occupation; or, conversely, positions
in certain occupations would be more likely than positions in others
to be secured by certain methods. It is not surprising to find, for
example, that a larger proportion of the positions for clerical and
similar occupations than of those for factory and mechanical work
were secured through some sort of employment agency. Office work
and messenger, errand, and delivery-work positions were particularly
apt to be secured through employment agencies, schools, or place­
ment bureaus. Positions for cash and messenger work in depart­
ment stores, on the other hand, were more often secured independ­
ently than by all other methods combined. A larger proportion of
positions for factory and mechanical work than for clerical and other
similar occupations were secured through friends or relatives, and
also a larger proportion of the former than of the latter were secured
independently. Considerable difference was found, however, be­
tween different kinds of factories. Thus, the children who began
work in clothing factories and other needle trades, an unusually
large proportion of whom were foreign bom, much more often secured
their first positions through friends or relatives than did the children
who began work in shoe factories.
Length and number o f 'positions and 'anempZoymmi.-r-Considerable
difference was found between occupations in the length of time dur­
ing which children remained in their positions. In studying this
subject only the first regular positions held by children interviewed
were considered, for later positions were too frequently not termi­
nated and the exact length of positions was not known for the other
groups of children. The largest proportion of short-time positions
was found in cash and messenger work in department stores. More
than half, 51 per cent, of these positions, and not far from threefifths, 57.9 per cent, of those held by girls lasted less than one month.
Positions as operatives in clothing factories and other needle trades
were also likely to be of short duration. Over two-fifths, 43.6 per
cent, of these positions, and a still larger proportion, 45.7 per cent,
of those held by girls lasted less than three months. ' More than half
these clothing factory positions which were terminated within three
months lasted, however, more than one month. Though the work
in clothing factories is seasonal, the rush seasons are much longer
than department store “ sales,” and this fact is evidently reflected in
the comparative length of positions held in the two occupations.
Shoe factories appear to have offered the steadiest work for opera­
tives. Considerably more than two-fifths, 43.7 per cent, of the shoe
factory operative positions and nearly one-half, 48.3 per cent, of
those entered by girls were held for a year or more.
Doubtless, because girls preponderated in cash and messenger work
in department stores and in work as operatives in clothing factories

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INTRODUCTORY SU M M ARY.

41

and other needle trades, the positions held by girls generally lasted
for shorter periods than those held by boys. Over two-fifths, 41 per
cent, of all the first positions held by girls, as compared with less than
one-third, 32.1 per cent, of those held by boys, lasted less than three
months.
Even children who had been at work only a short time before their
sixteenth birthdays had often held a number of positions, but in
general the longer the industrial histories the larger the proportion of
children who had worked, for example, in as many as four different
places. Of the children taking out certificates in the four cities who
began work before they were 14£ years of age— that is, from 18
months to 2 years before their sixteenth birthdays—nearly one-third,
32.3 per cent, held only one certificate, and not far from one-fourth,
22.6 per cent, held four or more certificates. Fourteen of these
children held 10 or more certificates. This group of children includes,
however, many who worked only during vacation, and in such a
group the proportion holding one position would naturally be larger,
while that holding four or more positions would be smaller, than
among children who had spent the whole 18 months to 2 years before
their sixteenth birthdays as industrial workers. Of the contin­
uation-school children, all regular workers, who began at the
same ages, less than one-fourth, 22.6 per cent, held only one certificate
but not far from three-tenths, 28.1 per cent, held four or more
certificates.
Of the children interviewed, all regular workers, mot far from one
fourth, 23.1 per cent, held only one position in a year or more of work
history and were therefore classified as “ steady;” a somewhat larger
proportion, 24.7 per cent, held on an average one position within
each period of from six months to one year and were classified as
active;' about one-third, 33.2 per cent, held new positions on an
average within each period of from three to six months and were
classified as “ restless;" and a comparatively small proportion, less
than one-tenth, held new positions on an average within each period
of less than three months and were classified as “ unsteady."
In each of these groups of children girls held more positions on an
average than did boys. Over one-fourth, 27.1 per cent, of the girls
who took out certificates in the four cities, but less than one-fifth,
19.6 per cent, of the boys held four or more positions.
The steady workers appear to have been decidedly less likely to be
.arded in their school work than those who shifted their positions
frequently. Of the continuation-school children who took out their
first certificates before their fifteenth birthdays only about one-fourth,
25.5 per cent, of those who held only one position, but about twofifths, 40.6 per cent, of those who held four or more positions before
49470°— 22------ 4


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TH E WORKING CHILDREN OF BOSTON.

they became 16, were retarded. In the group of children inter--'
viewed the largest proportion of retarded children, about two-fifths,
39.9 per cent, was found among those classed as “ restless,” but
nearly as large a proportion, 37.9 per cent, appeared among the
considerably smaller number classed as “ unsteady.” On the other
hand, only about one-fourth, 24.7 per cent, of the “ steady” workers
had failed to attain a normal grade. Apparently children who were
' behind in their school work were more likely than were those from
normal or higher than normal grades for their ages to make frequent
changes in their positions after going to work.
The figures in regard to unemployment relate only to the children
interviewed, as the dates of termination of positions could not be
determined accurately enough for the other groups of children.
Moreover, only children who had been, at work one year or more are
here considered, as those with shorter work histories may not have
had a normal amount of unemployment. Among these children the
proportion of unemployed time was 14.4 per cent. The boys alone
had only about one-eighth, 12.4 per cent, of their time unemployed,
but the percentage for the girls was much higher, 17.
The order of nativity groups in amount of time unemployed was
for girls exactly opposite to that for boys. Among native boys
whose fathers also were native the percentage of unemployment was
only 10.5, somewhat less than among native boys of foreign parentage,
12.6, and decidedly less than among foreign boys, 16.9. Among
girls, on the other hand, the most favorable showing was made by
those who were foreign born, with only 14.1 per cent of their time
unemployed, and the next most favorable by the native girls whose
fathers were foreign born, with 16.4 per cent of unemployed time.
The highest percentage of unemployment for any sex and nativity
group was 22.9 for the native girls whose fathers also were native.
This peculiarity appears to be due to a greater tendency on the part
of the native girls, and especially those of native parentage, to work
only when they could secure the more attractive positions, for, as
already shown, these girls more frequently than any other group
tended to take temporary positions, especially for cash and messenger
work in department stores, and were consequently out of work a
great deal of the time.
This tendency to take temporary work especially in department
stores, is also probably the cause of the otherwise surprising fact that
girls who had completed higher grades than normal for their ages had
nearly twice as large a percentage of unemployment as boys of the
same class, 19.8 as compared with 10. For boys the percentage of
unemployment, like the number of positions held, was largest among
those who were retarded, but for girls it was somewhat larger among
those from higher than among those from lower grades than normal
for their ages.


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INTRODUCTORY SU M M ARY.

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Another strange fact is that both the boys and the girls who were
very much retarded— three or more grades below normal— had lower
percentages of unemployment, the boys only 6.8 per cent and the
girls 14.2 per cent, than any other groups of the same sex. This was
probably due primarily to the fact that the much retarded children of
both sexes were more likely to go to work in factories where shorttime positions were comparatively rare.
The children who had held only one position within a year or more
of work history— those called “ steady” workers—naturally had very
little unemployment. Among these children the percentage of unem­
ployed time was almost negligible, only 2.7. Among the “ active”
workers this percentage rose to 15.1, but it was more than doubled
among the “ unsteady” workers, who were unemployed during more
than one-third, 34.9 per cent, of their work histories. Even the
“ restless” workers were unemployed for more than one-fifth, 21.9
per cent, of their time. All the different groups of girls showed
higher percentages of unemployment than the corresponding groups
of boys, but the difference was especially marked among the “ un­
steady” workers.
It is interesting to note that although in this study of Boston
ildren it was found that the girls on an average remained in. their
first positions for shorter periods of time, held more positions within
given periods, and had more unemployment— in a word, were less
steady workers— than the boys, in a similar study of all the working
children of Connecticut the exact reverse was found. The girls in
that study remained in their first positions for longer periods of time,
held fewer positions within given periods, and had less unemploy­
ment—in a word, were more steady workers than the boys.4
This difference appears to be due entirely, however, to differences
in the occupations open to girls. In Boston, a typical commercial
city, large numbers of girls, and much larger than of boys, were
employed in cash and messenger work in department stores where, as
already seen, a large proportion of the positions were temporary in
character and of short duration. Not far from one-fourth, 23.4 per
cent, of all the positions held by the Boston continuation-school
girls, but only 7.1 per cent of those held by the boys, were for this
occupation. In each different group of children studied girls held
from three-fifths to three-fourths of all such positions. The Boston
girls, therefore, were at a distinct disadvantage, as compared with
the boys, in the matter of steadiness of employment. In Connecticut,
5ñ the other hand, only about one-sixth, 16.6 per cent, of the girls
held first positions in any kind of “ trade,” including not only posi­
tions for cash and messenger work but for selling and for work of
* Industrial Instability of Child Workers, U . S. Dept, of Labor, Children’s Bureau, Publication No. 74,
Industrial Series, No. 5, pp. 18-30 passim.


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TH E WORKING CHILDREN OF BOSTON.

various kinds which in Boston would have been classified as “ mes-^
senger work,' errands, and delivery.” 5 At the same time more Con­
necticut boys than girls were employed in “ trade.” Evidently the
Connecticut girls were not handicapped, as compared with the boys,
by temporary positions in department stores.
Furthermore, the clothing factories of Boston, which furnished
about one-eighth, 12.7 per cent, of the positions held by girls and a
very small proportion, only 0.6 per cent, of those held by boys, were
largely engaged in the manufacture of outer garments and offered
much seasonal work, whereas those of Connecticut were more com­
monly engaged in the manufacture of corsets and underwear and
offered more steady work. On the other hand, textile factories,
where in Connecticut the greatest steadiness in employment was
found and which furnished over one-fourth, 26.5 per cent, of the first
positions held by girls but only about one-sixth, 16.6 per cent, of
those held by boys in that State, were of comparatively little impor­
tance in Boston, where they furnished only 3 per cent of all the
positions held by both sexes. Though the numbers are small it is
also worthy of remark that, in spite of their more frequent employ­
ment in seasonal work in clothing factories, Boston girls worked for
longer periods than boys in their first regular positions as -factoiy
operatives.
Other illustrations of the differences in opportunities for steady
work offered to girls and to boys in the city of Boston and in the
State of Connecticut might be cited, if the positions held were all
classified either upon an occupational or an industrial basis. This
rough comparison is sufficient, however, to show that the greater
steadiness of boys in Boston and of girls in Connecticut is due to
differences in industrial opportunities open to the two sexes in a
commercial city like Boston and in a manufacturing State like
Connecticut.
Wages and earnings.— Not far from three-fourths, 73.5 per cent, of
the children interviewed received less than $5 initial weekly wages
in their first regular positions. As only 5.1 per cent made less than
$3, the initial weekly wages of the great majority, 68.4 per cent, were
from $3 to $5. Wages of from $4 to $5 were more common than
those of from $3 to $4. The latter amounts were received by little
more than one-fourth, 26.5 per cent, and the former b y over twofifths, 41.9 per cent, of the children.
The initial weekly wages of the boys were decidedly higher than
those of the girls. Nearly one-half, 48.6 per cent, of the boys but
only about one-third, 32.7 per cent, of the girls earned $4 but less
than $5, while about one-fifth, 20.3 per cent, of the boys and only
6 The material available for the Connecticut study m ade possible only an industrial, and not an occu­
pational, classification.


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INTRODUCTORY SU M M ARY.

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one-twentieth, 5.2 per cent, of the girls earned $5 but less than $6.
Less than $3 weekly wages were-received by about one-twelfth, 8.7
per cent, of the girls, but by only 2.5 per cent of the boys.
Foreign-bom children, both boys and girls, appear to have received
higher initial weekly wages than native children of either native or
foreign-bom fathers. Not far from one-third, 31.6 per cent, of the
foreign-born boys earned $5 or more, as compared with less than
one-fourth of the native sons of native and of foreign-bom fathers,
23.6 per cent and 23.4 per cent, respectively. This appears to have
been due m part to the fact that foreign-bom children, particularly
boys, much more frequently worked long hours— that is, over 48 a
week— than did children of any other nativity group. In part, as
will be seen later, it appears to have been due to higher wages in
factory and -mechanical occupations in which, as already noted
oreign-born children showed a greater tendency than native to
engage.
Higher initial weekly wages were received by children who went to
work during the summer vacation than by those who went to work
at any other time, by children who left school for other than economic
reasons than by those who left school for economic reasons, and by
c^ldren who secured their first regular positions through friends or
relatives than by those who secured them independently or through
employment bureaus or placement agencies.
Advancement-in school work and employment before leaving school
also seem to have exercised a favorable influence over the children's
initial weekly wages in their first regular positions. Not far from
one-fourth, 22.1 per cent, of the children from higher than normal
grades for their ages received $5 or more, as compared with about
one-sixth, 16.4 per cent, of those from normal grades and with an
even smaller proportion of the retarded children. The same tendency was shown by both boys and girls. The advantage of children
who had worked before leaving school was even more pronounced.
Over one-fourth, 25.9 per cent, of these children, as compared with
little more than one-tenth, 11.2 per cent, of those who had not worked
before leaving school, received initial weekly wages of $5 or more.
Nor was this due to the preponderance of boys with their higher
wages among the children who had worked before leaving school for
the boys alone showed the same tendency.
Wages in factory and mechanical occupations were higher for both
boys and girls than in clerical and other similar occupations. In
art, at least, because of comparatively high wages received b y bovs
as apprentices and helpers in skilled trades, over two-fifths, 41.8 per
cent, of the positions held by boys in the entire group of factory and
mechanical occupations paid initial weekly wages of $5 or more.
Although girls received these wages in only about one-sixth, 16.8 per

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TH E WORKING CHILDREN OF BOSTON.

cent, of their positions in factory and mechanical occupations, this
proportion was higher than for their positions in clerical and other
similar occupations, which was less than one-tenth, 9 per cent. The
difference between these two main groups of occupations was due
primarily to the unusually low wages received by both sexes, but
particularly by girls, in positions for cash and messenger work in
department stores. The most frequent wages for this occupation
were $3 but less than $4, and less than $5 a week was received in not
far from nine-tenths, 87.8 per cent, of all these positions and in over
nine-tenths, 91.8 per cent, of those held b y girls. Office work showed
the highest proportion of positions in which the initial weekly wages
were $5 or more, but the positions held b y boys in messenger, errand,
and delivery work, like those in cash and messenger work in depart­
ment stores, carried lower wages than positions in the entire group
of clerical and other similar occupations.
Piecework was particularly common in factory and mechanical
occupations, and, although in general wages were lower in piece
than in time work positions, girls appear to have earned the higher
rates of wages more often when engaged in piecework. Children
were paid by the piece in only about one-eighth, 12.6 per cent, of
all their positions, but in about one-third, 33.2 per cent, of thoseT
factory and mechanical occupations, and in nearly three-fifths, 59.8
per cent, of those in shoe factories alone. The only other type of
occupation in which any considerable proportion of positions involved
piecework was “ packing, wrapping, labeling, and shipping-room
w ork /’ and in less than one-sixth, 15.4 per cent, of these positions
were the children paid by the piece. For both sexes combined, the
initial weekly wages were decidedly higher in time work than in
piecework positions. Nevertheless, girls, who held nearly seventenths, 69.3 per cent, of all the piecework positions, received wages
of $4 or more in 54.5 per cent of their piecework, as compared with
only 49.6 per cent of their timework positions, and $6 or more in
7.7 per cent of their piecework, as compared with only 3.3 per cent
of their timework positions.
Initial weekly wages do not represent the rate of compensation
received by these children during the whole of the period before
their sixteenth birthdays, for in two-fifths, 40.5 per cent, of all the
timework positions held for three months or more their wages were
raised, and in over one-fourth, 28.6 per cent, the increases amounted
to $ 1 or more a week. Although office work was, for boys, the occupa-^
tion which showed the largest proportion, 52.8 per cent, of positions i
which wages were increased, in general the children appear to have
been most likely to receive increases in the occupations in which their
initial wages were lowest. Thus both boys and girls received wage
increases in a larger proportion of positions in clerical and other

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INTRODUCTORY SU M M ARY.

47

similar occupations than in factory and mechanical occupations.
Girls also received a larger proportion of increases which amounted
to $1 or more in clerical occupations, but for boys the larger pro­
portion of such increases was found in factory and mechanical
occupations. In 43.4 per cent of the positions held b y boys for
messenger, errand, and delivery work the wages were increased, but
in only 29.5 per cent of them did the increase amount to $1 or more.
Girls received increases in a larger proportion, 60.8 per cent, of their
positions which lasted three months or longer for cash and messenger
work in department stores than in any other occupation, and in
almost one-half, 49 per cent, of these positions the increase amounted
to $1 or more. Evidently the girls who secured fairly permanent
positions in this occupation fared better than would be indicated
b y the low initial wages paid in their first positions.
Both because of increases in particular positions and because of
changes in positions, before the date of the interview many of the
children were earning more than in their first regular positions. Of
those who had been at work for a year or more, the great majority,
69.4 per cent, were receiving higher, and a very small proportion,
only 5.9 per cent, lower wages when interviewed than when they
began work. In the majority of cases their increases amounted to
less than $2, the largest number being in the group $1 but less than
$2. Twenty children had received increases of $4 or more. The
proportion of girls whose wages had increased was nearly as high
as that of boys, and the porportion who had received increases of
$2 or more was higher. Nevertheless, decreases occurred in the
wages of a larger proportion of girls than of boys.
Although the foreign-born children had the advantage in initial
weekly wages, in wage promotions they appear to have been not
so well off as the native children, and particularly as the native
children of native parentage. Increases of $2 or more were received
by less than one-fourth, 23.1 per cent, of the foreign-born children,
but by more than one-fourth, 27.9 per cent, of the native children
whose fathers were foreign born and b y about three-tenths, 30.1 per
cent, of those whose fathers also were native. A t the same time
decreases in wages were reported b y 7.7 per cent of the foreignborn children but b y only 5.5 per cent of the native children whose
fathers were foreign born and 4.9 per cent of those whose fathers
also were native.
Retardation appears to have exercised an unfavorable influence,
not only over initial weekly wages, but also over wage increases.
Only about three-fifths, 59.1 per cent, of the retarded children, as
compared with not far from three-fourths, 72.7 per cent, of the
children from normal grades and with more than three-fourths, 77.7
per cent, of those from higher grades than normal for their ages,

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TH E WORKING CHILDREN OF BOSTON.

received increases in wages between their first regular positions and
the date of the interview. Moreover, the increase amounted to $2“
or more for only about one-fifth, 19.9 per cent, of the retarded
children, as compared with three-tenths, 30.2 per cent, of the children
from normal grades and with an even larger proportion, 31.3 per cent,
of those from higher grades than normal for their ages.
The figures for wage increases in connection with average duration
of positions seem to indicate that frequent changes are not desirable.
The “ steady” workers, it was found, were more likely than any other
group of children to receive increases. Over three-fourths, 76.4 per
cent, of the children classed as “ steady,” as compared with only
68.5 per cent of those classed as “ active” and 65.4 per cent of those
classed as ‘ ‘ restless,” received wage increases. The increases received
by the “ steady” workers were also, in general, more substantial
than those of other children. Increases of $2 or more were reported
by 30.4 per cent of the “ steady,” by 29 per cent of the “ active,”
and by 24.2 per cent of the “ restless” children. Although these
larger proportions of wage increases and of fairly substantial increases
among the “ steady” workers may have been due in part to the fact
already shown that these children were less frequently than any
other group retarded in their school studies, it appears probable at
least that the children who change their positions frequently are n b f
the ones who secure most rapid advancement in wages.
The average monthly earnings, which depend not only upon weekly
wages and increases in weekly wages but also upon amount of unem­
ployment, differed for children who had been at work more, and for
those who had been at work less, than one year. For those who had
' been at work for a year or more the average monthly earnings of both
sexes were $16.68, slightly higher than for the children with shorter
work histories, $16.62. Although the difference amounted to only
6 cents, the children with the longer work histories had more unem­
ployment and would, therefore, be expected to show lower earnings,
so that even this slight difference appears to suggest again that the
wages of children tend to rise slightly with increased industrial experi­
ence. Many of the children whose industrial histories had lasted less
than a year, however, had been at work for too short periods to have
had typical percentages of unemployment and, therefore, typical
average earnings, and for that reason the following discussion relates
only to those who had been at work for a year or more. The boys,
as would be expected from their higher initial weekly wages and their
lower percentage of unemployment, had larger monthly earning'than the girls, $17.90, as compared with $15.06. But the higher
initial, wages of foreign-born boys were not sufficient to counter­
balance their comparative failure to secure wage advances and their
high percentage, 16.9 per cent, of unemployment. The highest aver-


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INTRODUCTORY SU M M ARY.

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age monthly earnings, therefore, $18.44, were received by the native
boys whose fathers also were native. The native girls of native parent­
age, on the other hand, who were unemployed not far from onefourth, 22.9 per cent, of their tune, received lower average monthlv
earnings, $13.98, than the girls of any other group.
The children who had completed normal grades for their ages,
owing to their higher initial wages, their greater success in obtaining
increases, and their smaller amount of unemployment, received
decidedly higher average monthly earnings than did the retarded
children, $17.24, as compared with $15.35, and for the same reasons
the advanced children received slightly higher monthly earnings,
$17.34, than did the normal children. The boys of these different
groups showed the same tendency as both sexes combined, but the
girls from higher grades than normal had such a large amount of
unemployment, due to their selection of occupations, that their aver­
age monthly earnings, $14.11, fell behind those of the girls from
normal grades, $15.87, and were only a trifle higher than those of
retarded girls, $14.07.
The tendency already noted for wages to rise with increased indus­
trial experience was found mainly among children who were advanced
in their school work, though also to a certain extent among those from
normal grades. The retarded children, on the other hand, showed
exactly the opposite tendency—for wages to fall with increased indus­
trial experience. In spite of a markedly unfavorable percentage of
unemployment, the average monthly earnings of children from higher
grades than normal who had been at work for a year or more were
$1.20 more than those of the same class of children who had been at
work less than a year. Even for children from normal grades, with
only a comparatively slight disadvantage in the matter of unem­
ployment, a difference in earnings of 21 cents in favor of the children
with longer work histories was found. But the average monthly
earnings of retarded children who had been at work for one year or
more were actually 70 cents lower than those of retarded children
who had been at work less than one year, though the difference in
amount of unemployment was smaller than for any other group of
children.
Decided differences in average monthly earnings corresponding to
those in percentages of time unemployed were found between
“ steady,” “ active,” “ restless,” and “ unsteady” workers. For exam­
ple, the “ steady” workers made nearly twice as much, $19.54, on an
perage, as the “ unsteady” workers, $10.71. Less difference was
ound among the boys, but the average monthly earnings of the
“ steady” girls were $18.15, as compared with only $7.30 earned by
the “ unsteady” girls.


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TH E WORKING CHILDREN OF BOSTON.

Hours o f labors—In more than three-fourths, 76.9 per cent, of their
positions the children interviewed worked either between 36 and 41
or exactly 48 hours a week. In nearly two-fifths, 39.1 per cent, they
worked exactly 48.hours. The hours in most occupations were for a
large majority of the children from 36 to 48, inclusive, and these may
therefore be' considered to be the customary hours for both boys and
girls. For both sexes, moreover, the hours in the last positions held
appear to have been much more likely to be within these limits than
those in the first positions. Not only did children work over 48
hours but they also worked less than 36 hours, in a smaller proportion
of last than of first positions.
The hours in factory and mechanical occupations were more often
than in clerical and similar occupations either from 36 to 48 or
exactly 48 a week. These two groups together included more than
four-fifths, 83.5 per cent, of all the positions in factory and mechanical
occupations, and over nine-tenths, 92.9 per cent, of those in shoe
factories. In not far from two-thirds, 64.3 per cent, of the shoe
factory positions the hours were exactly 48 a week. In less than
three-fourths, 74.1 per cent, of the positions in clothing factories and
other needle trades, on the other hand, were the hours from 36 to 48,
inclusive, and in little over one-fifth, 21.1 per cent, were they exactly..
48. Although a somewhat smaller proportion of the positions in
clothing factories and other needle trades than of those in the entire
group of clerical and other similar- occupations required from 36 to
48 hours, inclusive, the special occupations included in the latter
group showed wide variations. Thus in cash and messenger work in
department stores the hours were either between 36 and 48 or exactly
48 in more than nine-tenths, 92.5 per cent, of all positions, while in
messenger, errand, and delivery work these were the weekly hours
in less than three-fourths, 73.3 per cent, of all positions.
Positions with unusual hours— that is, with hours of either less
than 36 or more than 48 a week— were most common in proportion
to the number of positions in personal and domestic occupations.
Much the largest number of such positions, however, was found in
messenger, errand, and delivery work, and the next largest in work
as operatives in clothing factories and other needle trades. In nearly
half, 49.4 per cent, of all positions in personal and domestic occupa­
tions, and in over one-half, 51.1 per cent, of those held by girls, the
weekly hours were either less than 36 or more than 48. Nevertheless,
of the 84 positions in which the children worked less than 36 hours
a week, or less than the six hours a day required by law for exempt«
from school attendance, only 13 were in personal and domesti;
occupations as compared with 37 in messenger, errand, and delivery
work. And of the 297 positions in which the children worked more
than 48 hours a week, or more than the hours permitted by law in

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^most occupations, only 31 were in personal and domestic occupations,
as compared with 147 in messenger, errand, and delivery work, and
39 in clothing factories and needle trades. About one-fifth of the
positions in each of these two latter occupations, 19.5 per cent of the
messenger, errand, and delivery work positions and 21.1 per cent of
the clothing factory and other needle trades positions required more
than 48 hours’ work a week.
The hours of girls, doubtless because of the occupations entered,
appear to have been much more frequently than those of boys either
from 36 to 48 or 48 a week. On the other hand, the hours were less
than 36 in a larger proportion and more than 48 in a decidedly
larger proportion, of the positions held by boys than of those held
by girls.
The fact that foreign-born boys worked long hours— that is, over
48 a week— much more frequently than the boys of any other nativity
group may account for their comparatively high initial weekly wages.
In more than one-fourth, 27.5 per cent, of all their positions the
hours were over 48, as compared with about one-sixth, 17.4 per cent,
of the positions held by the native sons of foreign-born fathers and
with only about one-eighth, 13.6 per cent, of those held by the
''native sons of native fathers.
The conclusion that this greater tendency to take positions with
long hours of labor is the true explanation of the high wages of the
foreign-born boys appears to be confirmed by the fact that, in general,
the higher rates of wages were found to have been paid in positions
involving long hours and the lower rates in positions involving com­
paratively short hours. In nearly one-fourth, 23.1 per cent, of the
positions in which boys received initial weekly wages of $5 or more,
but in only about one-sixth, 16.4 per cent, of those in which their
initial weekly wages were less than $5, were their hours over 48 a
week. The wages of the girls, like those of the boys, were distinctly
affected by their hours, and in the same way.
Reasons fo r leaving 'positions.—As the information obtained from
the children who were interviewed in regard to their reasons for
leaving positions is probably more accurate than that obtained from
the continuation-school records, only the figures for the interviewed
children are here used. Even for this group it should be remem­
bered that the figures probably understate the number of cases of
“ lay offs,” because children would be more likely to state that they
had left because of dissatisfaction when actually they had been dis­
charged, than to state that they had been discharged when they had
actually left because they were dissatisfied with their positions.
Moreover, the group of children interviewed, primarily because they
were all at work on the date of the interview, contains an abnormally
small proportion of children who left positions in order to return to
school.

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TH E W ORKING CHILDREN OF BOSTON.

More positions were left because children were “ laid off” than
because they were dissatisfied with their positions, 42.5 per cent as
compared with 37.8 per cent. For the girls alone the difference was
even greater; practically one-half, 49.5 per cent, of the positions held
by girls, as compared with little more than one-third, 36.8 per cent,
of those held by boys, ended with a “ lay off.”
Probably a considerable majority of these discharges, however,
were not due to any fa’ult on the part of the children but solely to
the character of the industries in which they were employed. All
three of the occupations in which over two-fifths of the terminated
positions held by both sexes ended in discharge were more or less
seasonal in character; and in all three, girls were more commonly
employed than boys. These three occupations were work as oper­
atives in clothing factories and other needle trades, “ packing, wrap­
ping, labeling, and shipping-room work,” and cash and messenger
work in department stores. The latter occupation, in which girls
held about three-fourths of all the positions, was mainly responsible
for their higher proportion of “ lay offs.” In this occupation not
far from seven-eighths, 85.5 per cent, of all positions, and nearly
nine-tenths, 89.7 per cent, of those held by girls, ended with a
“ lay off.”
Discharges because the work was temporary, business was dull, or
for some unassigned reason accounted, moreover, for the termination
of over one-half, 50.4 per cent, of the positions left by native girls of
native parentage— who were most commonly employed in cash and
messenger work in department stores— as compared with only 38.3
per cent of those left by native girls whose fathers were foreign born
and by an even smaller proportion, 29.5 per cent, of those left by
foreign-born girls. Although native boys whose fathers were foreignborn were more frequently “ laid off” for these reasons than any other
group of boys, even for them the proportion of positions, 25.1 per
cent, terminated in this way was less than for any group of girls.
Owing to the large number of positions from which girls were
“ laid o ff” all other reasons were naturally given less frequently by
them than by boys. Thus dissatisfaction with their positions was
the reason given for the termination of about two-fifths, 40.6 per
cent, of the positions held by boys but less than one-third, 31.9 per
cent, of those held by girls. Dissatisfaction was not only the chief
reason for leaving positions for messenger, errand, and delivery work,
but also for leaving places in personal and domestic occupations and
in shoe factories. Moreover, the differences were found to be s
pronounced between the proportion of positions left by boys and
that left by girls because of too hard work or too long hours, 7.9 per
cent as compared with 4.6 per cent, that it appears probable that the
boys, doubtless because they were more frequently employed for long

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vhours and at heavy work, tended actually to leave positions because
of excessive physical demands more often than did the girls. The
boys, moreover, appear to have been ihuch more successful than the
girls in securing new positions before leaving their old ones.
As would be expected from their choice of occupations, the girls
who had completed higher grades than normal for their ages were
more likely to be “ laid o ff” than any other group, and those from
normal grades were more likely to be “ laid off” than those who were
retarded. Considerably more than one-half, 55.3 per cent, of the
positions held by advanced girls, as compared with 53.6 per cent of
those held by normal girls and with only 37.9 of those held by re­
tarded girls, were terminated for this reason. Retarded boys, on the
other hand, were “ laid off” in a larger proportion of cases, 37.4 per
cent, than advanced boys, 36.6 per cent, or than normal boys, 34.5
per cent.
As retarded children received lower initial wages and fewer wage
advances than normal or advanced children, it, is not surprising to
find that they more frequently left positions because of low wages.
Not far from one-eighth, 11.5 per cent, of the positions left by retarded
children, as compared with only 4 per cent of those left b y advanced
and 6.2 per cent of those left by normal children, were terminated
for this reason.
In the matter of “ lay offs,” as in amount of unemployment, num­
ber of wage increases, and average monthly earnings, the steadier
workers appear to have been more fortunate than those who shifted
their positions frequently, and the more frequent the shift the larger
the proportion of cases in which the children were “ laid off.” So
many positions held by children classified as “ steady” had not been
terminated by the date of the interview that no comparison can be
made for this group. But the proportion of terminated positions
from which “ active” workers were “ laid off” was only 37.2 per cent,
as compared with 41.3 per cent for “ restless” and 45.3 per cent for
“ unsteady” workers. At the same time at least a partial explana­
tion for differences in amounts of unemployment is found in the fact
that, before leaving their old positions, “ active” workers much more
frequently than “ restless” workers, and the latter than “ unsteady”
workers, secured new places which they believed, at least, to be
better.
Sickness and accidents.— At the time of this study the physical
exam ination given children applying for certificates in Boston rarely
resulted in the refusal of a certificate, and in this examination and
certification little attention was paid to the occupation in which the
child was to be employed. Moreover, the records of the physical
examinations which had been given the children studied were too


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TH E WOKKING CHILDREN OF BOSTON.

incomplete to use as a basis for any statistical statement. Every
child interviewed was questioned, however, in regard to all cases of
sickness or accident which had occurred to him between the time he
took his first regular position and the date of the interview, and the
records of the Massachusetts Accident Board were searched for re-,
ports of accidents to these children. The information given by the
children has, of course, no medical value and is probably not even
complete. Nevertheless, from these two sources a rough estimate,
at least, could be obtained of the number of cases of sickness or acci­
dent and the amount of time which they caused the children to lose
from work.
At least one case of sickness since leaving school for work was
reported by more than one-third, 36 per cent, of the children inter­
viewed. A larger proportion of the girls than of the boys, 37.9 per
cent, as compared with 34.6 per cent, reported sickness. All four of
the children who reported three cases each and 21 of the 34 who each
reported two cases of sickness were girls. Less than three-fourths,
71.3 per cent, of- the children who reported sickness, however, stated
that they had lost time on account of it, and a smaller proportion
of the cases among girls than among boys, 66.9 per cent, as com­
pared with 75.3 per cent, resulted in loss of time from work. A caseof sickness during a period of unemployment, it should be noted,
was not classified as having caused loss of time from work even
though it may have delayed the child in securing a new position.
Accidents were not so common as was sickness. Nevertheless,
nearly 1 child out of every 12, 8 per cent, had suffered some accident,
either in the course of his work or otherwise, since taking his first
regular position. Although the boys, as has been seen, did not so
often suffer from sickness as did the girls, they appear to have been
decidedly more liable to accidents. Less than one-twentieth, 4.3 per
cent, of the girls, but more than one-tenth, 10.7 per cent, of the boys,
reported some accident. Moreover, two boys and one girl reported
three or more, and three boys and one girl reported two accidents
each. Almost two-thirds of these accidents, and about the same
proportion for girls as for boys resulted in loss of time from work.
Sixty accidents, about seven-tenths of the entire number, occurred
while the children were at work. Of the accidents which occurred
to boys alone, however, only about 6 in every 10 occurred during the
course of employment. Probably because of the fact already shown
that girls more often than boys were employed in machine work,
most of their accidents, but only a few of those to boys, were cause
by machinery. On the other hand, the more frequent employment
of boys in messenger, errand, and delivery work is reflected in the
fact that nine of their accidents, but none of those to girls, were
caused by elevators or vehicles.

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The amount of time lost from work on account of both sickness and
accident was small as compared with the amount lost on account of
unemployment. The children who had been at work for one year
or more lost through sickness or accident 2.6 per cent of their working
time— the girls more than the boys, 3 per cent as compared with
2.4 per cent. This does not mean, however, that these children were
in good health during all the rest of the time between leaving school
and the date of the interview. Not only were some of the illnesses
and accidents from which the children suffered too trivial to cause
absence from work, but no sickness or accident which occurred
during a period of unemployment was considered to have caused
loss of time from work even though it may have prevented the child
from securing another position promptly.
Violations o f law.— The story of child labor in Boston presented in
this report, except for the work of interviewed children before leaving
school, covers a period of three years, at the very beginning of which
there went into effect a series of acts not only establishing higher
standards for child labor but making important changes in the
employment certificate system and reorganizing completely the
labor law enforcement machinery of the State of Massachusetts.
Tiese three years include a period during which employers, parents,
and children had to be educated to an understanding of a new
law which required that employment certificates be secured for each
separate position, that the hours of children be limited to eight a day,
and that working children attend continuation school. This educa­
tion, too,* had to be given mainly by an agency which was itself in
process of organization and which had many other heavy respon­
sibilities.
These conditions, as well as the fact that the information as to
violations rests entirely upon the xmverifiable statements of the
children, should be considered in connection with the cases of viola­
tion of child-labor laws discovered in the course of this study. At
the same time it should be remembered that for many years certi­
ficates of some sort had been required in Massachusetts for the
employment of children, and that in many, if not most, occupations
their hours had been limited to 10 a day and 54 or 58 a week. More­
over, not only did there seem no reason to doubt that in most instances
the child’s statement was substantially correct but in case of the
slightest doubt the work was classified as legal. The figures, there­
fore, include only definitely reported violations of some provision of
*law.
Failure to comply with the provisions of the child-labor law were
particularly common in positions held before the children left school
for work. About three-fifths, 60.8 per cent, of the children who
worked before leaving school had violated one or more of the pro
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TH E WORKING CHILDREN OF BOSTON.

visions of the child-labor or the compulsory-school-attendance law i
one or more of their school positions. Many of these positions, more­
over, were held before September 1 , 1913, and in these cases the law
violated was not the new one of that year but the older law with
its lower standards. Perhaps, in part, because a larger proportion of
the girls were over 14 before they took their first school positions,
fewer of them than of the boys, only 38.6 per cent as compared wdth
64.3 per cent, were employed in violation of the law in positions held
before leaving school.
Both “ factory and mechanical” and “ clerical and similar” occu­
pations showed higher proportions of school positions in which viola­
tions of law occurred than their proportions of all school positions.
The difference was greatest in messenger, errand, and delivery work,
which accounted for less than half, 47.6 per cent, of all school positions
but for nearly three-fourths, 74.5 per cent, of those in which violations
occurred. In domestic service, on the other hand, no legal restric­
tion except that of the compulsory-school-attendance law existed,
while in some of the other occupations included under personal and
domestic occupations— for example, bootblacking— the standards of
legal protection for children were comparatively low. Because of
this comparative lack of law, violations were rare in the entire group
of personal and domestic occupations.
In many school positions more than one violation occurred. Thus,
though violations were found in only 235 positions, in 71 there were
two violations, in 32 three, and in 5 four, so that in all 385 violations
of different kinds were counted. Employment under legal age was
the most common and accounted for about two-fifths, 40.3 per cent
of the entire number. Next came night work, which accounted for
not far from one-third, 31.9 per cent. Both these were especially
common in messenger, errand, and delivery work, in which boys
were often employed as delivery boys for small stores and as
peddlers’ helpers on Saturdays and after school hours. About oneeighth, 11.9 per cent, of all the violations consisted in failure to
obtain employment certificates, and in most of the other cases, 14.8
per cent of the entire number, the children worked too long hours.
In only 3 cases did they report that they had been employed during
school hours.
Even in their regular positions practically one-half, 4 9 .8 per cent,
of the children were employed at some time in violation of some pro­
vision of the child-labor law 5 and, as in the case of school position",
a considerably larger proportion of boys than of girls, 5 7 .7 per cent
as compared with 39 per cent, were illegally employed. It was found,
too, that illegal employment was somewhat more common among
foreign-born children than among native children of foreign-born
fathers, and decidedly more so than among native children of native
fathers.

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Children who had worked before leaving school and those who
were retarded in their school work were both especially prone to
violate the child-labor law in one or another of the positions which
they held after leaving school. About three-fifths, 60.7 per cent, of
the boys who had worked before leaving school, as compared with
53.3 per cent of those who had not, were illegally employed in some
regular position. Among the girls, however, a somewhat larger pro­
portion of those who had not worked were illegally employed. The
proportion of retarded children who violated the child-labor law in
one or another of their regular positions was considerably over half,
55.4 per cent, while that of children from normal grades was decidedly
less than half, 46.2 per cent. Owing entirely, however, to a greater
tendency of boys from higher grades than normal to work illegally,
the proportion of advanced children who violated the child-labor law
was higher than that of normal children, 49.3 per cent.
Certification violations.—Although only 1 child in every 20, 5 per
cent, had worked in a first regular position without the certificate
required by law, more than 1 in every 8, 13.6 per cent, had worked
illegally without a certificate in at least one position before the date
of the interview. Evidently the children were more likely to violate
die law in this way in later than in first positions1—a fact which
suggests that some, at least, of these violations may have been due
to lack of familiarity with the new law which required a separate
certificate for each different position. In this connection it should
be noted also that the foreign-born children— among whom and among
the employers of whom knowledge of the requirements of the new
law would be likely to spread most slowly— though least likely to
work without certificates in their first regular positions, were most
likely to work without certificates in later positions. The largest
proportion of children who held one or more illegally uncertificated
positions was found, too, among the children of foreign-born fathers
of non-English-speaking nationalities, and specifically among the
children of Russian Jewish fathers. Of all the children of foreignbom fathers the Irish showed the smallest proportion who held such
positions.
The preceding figures relate only to positions for which certificates
were never secured. Often, however, in positions for which certifi­
cates were eventually secured they were not taken out until the
children had been at work for some time. For instance, about onetenth, 9.4 per cent, of the children did not take out certificates for
iheir first regular positions until they had been at work more than
10 days. In many cases these children may have been found at
work by school-attendance officers or factory inspectors who ordered
that they secffrfe employment certificates or be discharged.
4 9 4 7 0 °— 22------ 5


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TH E WORKING CHILDREN OF BOSTON.

Late certification, unlike failure ever to secure a certificate, was^
most common among native children of native fathers and least
common among foreign-born children. This was due entirely, how­
ever, to the greater frequency of late certification among native boys
of native parentage.
Both failure to secure certificates required by law and late cer­
tification in first regular positions were decidedly more common among
children who went to work during the summer vacation than among
those who went to work at any other time. Of the children who
went to work during a summer vacation 8 per cent were illegally not
certificated and 17.9 per cent were certificated late, while of those
who went to work at some other time only 3.8 per cent were illegally
not certificated and 6.2 per cent were certificated late. In both
cases the difference was more pronounced among the boys. More
than one-third, 36.4 per cent, of the boys who went to work during
the summer vacation, as compared with only about one-ninth, 11.3
per cent, of those who went to work during the school year, were
either illegally not certificated or certificated late.
The children from normal and higher than normal grades for their
ages, in part probably because of their greater tendency to go to
work during the summer vacation and in part because of the occupa-*
tions they entered, were more likely than the retarded children both
to work illegally without certificates and to be certificated late in
their first regular positions. One or the other violation of the employ­
ment certificate law was found in the first regular positions held by
nearly one-fifth, 19.1 per cent, of the advanced children and by over
one-sixth, 16.9 per cent, of the normal children, but by only about
one-twelfth, 8.6 per cent, of the retarded children. The tendency of
children from higher grades than normal more frequently than those
from normal grades to violate the certificate law was due entirely to
the boys; but both normal girls and normal boys showed a greater
tendency than did retarded girls and retarded boys to be illegally not
certificated or certificated late in their first regular positions.
Perhaps because so many of them had already violated the childlabor law without difficulty, the children who had worked before
leaving school were more likely to be employed without certificates
in their first regular positions than were those who were going into
industry for the first time. Moreover, the children who had worked
before leaving school were decidedly more likely to neglect to secure
certificates until after they had been employed for more than a week.
Although the method of obtaining positions seems to have hac
much less influence than the occupation entered over whether or
not certificates were secured, it is interesting to note that both
illegal failure to secure certificates and failure to seeure them on
time were particularly common in positions obtained through private

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.employment agencies. This was probably due, however, to the
character of the positions filled by such agencies. The employer
is primarily responsible for having a certificate on file for the child.
It is upon him, and not upon the child, that the penalties of the labor
law fall in case of violation. In positions, therefore, in which the
employer understands the legal requirements and is careful to obey
them a child is not likely to work in violation of the certificate law.
These positions, moreover, are most likely to be found in establish­
ments where a number of children are employed and where, conse­
quently, some system of employment and of keeping certificates
has been developed. Violations of the certificate law, on the other
hand, are most likely to occur in positions where the employer hires,
more or less casually, only a single child.
Because of the prevailing number of children working for. a single
employer in the different kinds of positions it is not surprising to,
find that in factory and mechanical occupations the children were
either illegally not certificated or certificated late in only one-ninth,
11.1 per cent, of all their positions, whereas in personal and domestic
occupations they violated the certificate law in over two-fifths,
43.8 per cent, and even in office work in not far from one-fourth,
"23.8 per cent, of their positions. Nor is it surprising to find a con­
siderable variation in the different occupations classified as factory
and mechanical. In only 2.5 per cent of the shoe factory positions,
for example, was the certificate law violated, but violations occurred
in 17.8 per cent of all the positions in clothing factories and other
needle trades, an industry in which the establishments were decidedly
smaller.
The greater frequency with which girls complied with the require­
ments of the certificate law, both by securing certificates and by
securing them promptly, is accounted for 4n part, but not wholly,
by their more frequent employment in the occupations, especially
factory and mechanical occupations, in which more than one child
were commonly employed in an establishment and in which the em­
ployers were most likely to be familiar with the law. Of the factory
operative positions precisely the same proportion, 4.3 per cent, of
those held by girls as of those held by boys were illegally not certifi­
cated, and precisely the same proportion, 5.7 per cent, were certifi­
cated late. Nevertheless, in the occupation in which the largest
number of boys was employed— messenger, errand, and delivery
work both lack of certification and late certification were more
common in positions held by boys than in those held by girls; and
in all positions for cash and messenger work in department stores,
although only five such violations were found, three of these five
positions were held by boys. It appears probable, therefore, either
that girls were more careful to secure certificates or that employers
were more careful to demand them for girls,

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TH E WORKING CHILDREN OF BOSTON.

Hour violations.— Five provisions of law, one of the school-at­
tendance law and four of the labor law, related to hours of labor.
A child could work too short hours, less than 6 a day or 36 a week,
while school was in session; such short hours did not legally entitle
him to exemption from school attendance. On the other hand, he
could work too long hours, either b y the day or b y the week; and
he could be employed at night or 7 days a week. Each kind of
violation could occur in combination with other kinds.
One or more of these five legal provisions as to hours were broken
in over one-fifth, 21.2 per cent, of all the positions held by the children
interviewed. Moreover, violations did not usually occur singly. In
about three-fourths of all the positions in which any violation occurred
more than one provision of the law were broken; and in over one-fourth
three or four provisions were broken. In four cases children were
employed in violation of all four provisions of the labor law, too long
hours a day and a week, at night, and 7 days a week.
The most common violation was too long daily hours, and the
next was too long weekly hours. In over one-sixth, 17.5 per cent,
of all the positions held, the provisions of law relating to daily hours
were violated, and in about one-seventh, 14.2 per cent, those relating
to weekly hours were violated. Usually too long daily hours meant
also too long weekly hours. In over three-fourths, 78.3 per cent,
of the positions in which a violation of daily hours was found one of
weekly hours was also found.
Moreover, too long weekly hours
rarely— in only nine cases— occurred except in connection with too
long daily hours. Frequently, too, when children were employed
too long daily or weekly hours, or both, they were also employed at
night, and occasionally they were required to work 7 days a week.
In about 1 position in 12, 8.4 per cent, the children were employed
in violation of the night work provision, but in only about 1 in 100
were they employed in violation of the 7-day provision of the law.
In a few positions— about 1 in 50— they worked less than the 6
hours a day or 36 a week required for exemption from school attend­
ance, and in some of these cases too short weekly hours were com­
bined with too long daily hours or too short daily or weekly hours
with night work.
In 36 positions, also, about 1 in every 50, although no violation
was found because the law limiting hours did not apply to the par­
ticular occupations, the hours were excessive— that is, longer than
permitted by the law in occupations which it covered. Most qJ
held by girls.
Boys were much more frequently employed in violation of the
provisions of law relating to hours of labor than were girls. Viola­
tions occurred in over one-fourth, 26.3 per cent, of the positions

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held by boys, but in only about one-seventh, 14.7 per cent, of those
held by girls. Each different kind of violation, too, was more com­
mon among boys. In over one-fifth, 21.4 per cent, of the positions
held b y boys, but only about one-eighth, 12.6 per cent, of those held
by girls, the daily hours were too long; and in over one-sixth, 17.9
per cent, of the positions held by boys, but less than one-tenth, 9.6
per cent, of those held b y girls the weekly hours were too long. In
the case of night work the difference was even greater, 13.2 per cent
as compared with 2.2 per cent; and of the 19 positions in which
children were required to work 7 days a week, 15 were held b y boys.
Even undertime was slightly more common among boys than among
girls.
These differences between boys and girls were due in large part to
the occupations in which they were employed. As in the case of
certificate violations, too long as too short hours were most likely to
occur in occupations in which as a rule only one child was hired by
an employer. In messenger, errand, and delivery work positions,
for example, in which boys largely preponderated, violations of the
law relating to hours occurred in nearly three-tenths, 29.6 per cent,
and in the entire group of clerical and other similar occupations in not
far from one-fourth, 23.4 per cent, of all the positions held. In
factory and mechanical occupations, on the other hand, in which
girls preponderated, the law relating to hours was violated in less
than one-sixth, 16.2 per cent, of all the positions.
The differences found in the number of hour violations between
children of the various nationality groups also appear to be due
primarily to occupation. For example, it was found that the children
of foreign-born fathers, especially those of nrm-English-spi k i n g
nationalities, were more likely than the children of native fathers to
be employed too long hours; and at least two occupations in which
these children were largely employed, a selling” and operative work
in clothing factories and other needle trades, showed particularly
high proportions, 44.7 per cent and 24.9 per cent, respectively, of
positions in which some legal provision relating to hours was violated.
Most of the selling positions were in small shops or similar places
where only one child was employed, and even the clothing factories
and other needle-trades establishments in which children were em­
ployed were in many cases small and conducted by foreign-language­
speaking employers. In shoe factories, on the other hand, where the
establishments were usually large and hired many children of native
athers and of foreign-born fathers of English-speaking nationalities,
little more than one-twentieth, 5.5 per cent, of the positions involved
hour violations.
In occupations in which children often worked without certificates
or were certificated late, they were frequently employed also in vio
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TH E WORKING CHILDREN OE BOSTON.

lation of the legal provisions relating to hours of labor. In little
more than one-eighth, 13.3 per cent, of all the positions in which the
hours were legal and not excessive, but in nearly three-tenths, 29.6
per cent, of those in which the hours were illegal the children had
either failed illegally to take out certificates or had taken them out
late.
Although this was probably due in part to greater carelessness as
to hours when the children were working without certificates, it was
primarily due to the fact that violations of the certificate law and of
the law relating to hours of labor were both most likely to occur in
occupations in which employers usually hired only a single child.
In many of these cases the employer, either because of inexperience
or because of lack of familiarity with the English language, may
have had imperfect knowledge of the requirements of the law. These
small employers, of course, are most difficult to reach by an educa­
tional campaign or by visits of labor-law inspectors.
Occupations, hours, arid wages three years later.— The questionnaires
sent the children in December, 1918, about three years after they had
been interviewed and at a time when the war had created unusual
demand for labor and unusually high wages, were answered b y only
about two-fifths, 39.8 per cent, of the children, 38.2 per cent of th#
boys and 42.4 per cent of the girls. Moreover, of the 182 boys who
replied, 37— and doubtless many of those who failed to reply—had
enlisted in the United States military or naval service and were there­
fore omitted from the comparisons of occupations,, hours, and wages
in 1918. Among the children who answered, a somewhat larger pro­
portion had been in higher grades and a somewhat smaller proportion
in lower grades than normal when they left school than among all the
interviewed children; and for this reason, as well as because the chil­
dren who were not doing well would perhaps be less likely to answer,
this group may have been somewhat more prosperous, on an average,
than the children who were not located or failed to reply. Neverthe­
less, it is believed that this bias is not great enough to prevent the
figures frojn being roughly indicative of the progress made by the entire
group of children during this period. These figures, especially those
relating to wages, should not, however, be considered as indicative of
the progress usually made by working children in normal times.
When the children answered this questionnaire they were all from
17 to 19 years of age and were, therefore, still minors and subject to
certain restrictions in hours and occupations as well as to the require­
ment that, in most positions, they hold educational certificateST
They were no longer, however, subject to the 8-hour law or obliged
to attend continuation school, and their choice of occupations was
wide as compared with the choice they had before they became 16.


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iv, ' Wider opportunities, combined with the greater strength, experi­
ence, and training which the children must have acquired during this
period, are doubtless responsible for their drift away from messenger,
errand, and delivery work, and from cash and messenger work in
department stores. The first of these occupations accounted for
only about one-sixteenth, 6.5 per cent, of the positions held in 1918,
as compared with not far from two-fifths, 38.8 per cent, of those held
before the date of the interview; and the last accounted for only
1.4 per cent of those held in 1918, as compared with about one-ninth,
11 per cent, of those held before the date of the interview.
All three of the other occupations included in the main group of
clerical and similar occupations furnished, on the other hand, larger
proportions of the positions held three years later than of those held
before the children were interviewed in the continuation school.
In office work, although both sexes increased, the greater increase
was among the girls. More than one-eighth, 13.7 per cent, of the
girls were engaged in 1918 in office work— an even larger proportion
than of the boys, which was only about one-ninth, 11 per cent. Both
in selling and in “ packing, wrapping, labeling, and shipping room
w ork /’ however, the positions held by boys showed a greater rate of
increase than the positions held by girls.
In spite of these increases the proportion of positions in clerical
and other similar occupations fell, because of the drift away from
messenger, errand, and delivery work and from cash and messenger
work in department stores, from nearly two-thirds, 64.2 per cent,
before the interview to not much over one-third, 36.1 per cent,
three years later. At the same time the proportion in factory and
mechanical occupations rose from less than one-third, 30.3 per cent,
before the interview to considerably over half, 54.3 per cent, three
years later. This tendency to enter factory and mechanical occupa­
tions as they grew older was particularly pronounced among the
boys, and was due in large part to their employment as apprentices
or helpers in skilled trades— occupations from which they had been
in most industries debarred, before their sixteenth birthdays by the
legal prohibition of work on or about dangerous machinery. In
nearly three-tenths, 29 per cent, of their positions in 1918, as com­
pared with less than one-fortieth, 2.3 per cent, of those which they
held before the date of the interview, the boys were employed as
apprentices or helpers in skilled trades. Even in factory operative
positions, however, perhaps also because of the removal of legal
restrictions, there was a decided increase in the proportion of positions
held by both boys and girls. But both sexes showed a pronounced
tendency to leave shoe and clothing factories, where they had been so
largely employed when younger, for other types of manufacturing
industries.

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TH E WORKING CHILDREN OP BOSTON. -

In each nativity group the children showed the same drift away
from carrying positions toward heavier and more skilled work; but
the tendency to transfer to factory and mechanical occupations as
they grew older was more pronounced among the children of native
fathers than among those of foreign-born fathers, and among the
children of foreign-born fathers of English-speaking nationalities than
among those of non-English-speaking nationalities. As will be
remembered, in the positions which they held before the date of the
interview the children of fathers of non-English-speaking nationalities
were most likely, and all those of foreign-born fathers were more
likely than those of native fathers, to be employed in factory and
mechanical occupations. The tendencies shown by the different
groups after the interview were calculated therefore to diminish the
differences in occupational distribution. In 1918 a decidedly larger
proportion of children of native fathers than of either native or
foreign-bom children of foreign-born fathers were employed as
apprentices or helpers in skilled trades. But the relatively greater
tendency toward factory operative positions shown in their earlier
positions by the newer elements of the population was still pronounced
three years later.
The differences in occupational distribution between retarded an
normal children appear to have increased, instead of diminished, as
the children grew older. The proportion of positions in factory and
mechanical occupations held by children who had been in normal
grades for their ages when they left school increased 62.9 per cent
between the date of the interview and 1918. During the same period,
however, the proportion held in these occupations by children who
had been retarded when they left school increased 72.2 per cent.
Conversely, the normal children showed a greater tendency than did
the retarded children to remain in clerical and other similar occupa­
tions. This was especially true of office work, in which in 1918 only
about 1 in 100, 1.1 per cent, of the retarded children, but nearly 1 in
5, 19.3 per cent, of the normal children was found.
As for hours of labor, it should be remembered that the question­
naire was answered at a time when many manufacturing establish­
ments still had on hand large war orders. The hours in 1918, therefore,
were not only much longer than those which the children had worked
when they were restricted by the child-labor law, but were in many
cases, doubtless, longer than they would have worked in normal
times. In more than two-fifths, 43.3 per cent, of the positions held
in 1918, as compared with only 15.3 per cent of those held before tfft
children were interviewed, their hours were over 48 a week; and in
nearly one-fifth, 19.2 per cent, of the positions held in 1918, as com­
pared with only 6.4 per cent of those held before the date of the
interview, the children worked 54 hours or more.

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In the positions held in 1918, as in those held before they were 16,
the boys more frequently worked long hours than did the girls.
This was due entirely, however, to the places in clerical and other
similar occupations. Over half, 51.9 per cent, of the boys employed
in this group of occupations, but less than one-fourth, 23.5 per cent,
of the girls, worked over 48 hours a week. In factory and mechani­
cal occupations, on the other hand, in which the hours were over 48
in not far from half, 44.9 per cent, of all the positions held, more girls
than boys were employed for these hours. Moreover, in spite of the
law limiting the hours of all women to 54 a week, over one-fifth, 20.9
per cent, of the girls employed in factory and mechanical occupations,
as compared with less than one-tenth, 9.7 per cent, of the boys,
worked 54 hours or more.
The pressure of war work also accounts in large part for the com­
paratively high wages received in 1918. The removal of restrictions
on their employment, as well as their greater age and experience,
would doubtless have enabled the children to earn more three years
after they were interviewed than they were earning at that time, and
still more than when they began work. But the great demand for
labor and the increased cost of living doubtless raised their wages to
a decidedly higher point than they would have reached in the same
time under normal conditions.
A large proportion, 57 per cent, of the children who replied to the
questionnaire earned in 1918 from $10 to $20 a week; only about
one-tenth, 10.7 per cent, made less than $10; but nearly one-fourth,
24.4 per cent, made from $20 to $30; and nine boys received $30 or
more. Boys, as in their earlier positions, received higher wages than
girls. None of the girls in 1918 made as much as $25 and only about
1 in 40 made over $20 a week. But more than half, 52.4 per cent, of
the boys earned over $20 and not far from one-fourth, 22.1 per cent,
over $25. Although these wages are not high, there seems to have
been considerable increase when it is remembered that nearly threefourths, 73.5 per cent, of the children interviewed had received less
than $5 a week in their first regular positions.
The children from normal grades for their ages and those who had
worked before leaving school— both groups in which the proportion
of native children, and especially of native children of native fathers,
was unusually high— appear to have continued to hold three years
later the advantage in wages which they were found to have had
before they were interviewed. More than one-eighth, 14 per cent,
f the normal children, but only a little over one-twentieth, 5.5 per
cent, of the retarded children, earned $25 or more a week in 1918.
At the same time, probably because the normal children were more
frequently employed in clerical and other similar occupations in
which wages were lower than in factory and mechanical occupations,

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TH E WORKING CHILDREN OF BOSTON.

a larger proportion of these children, 14 per cent, than of the retarded
children, 5.6 per cent, earned less than $10 a week.
The higher wages in factory and mechanical than in clerical and
similar occupations may have been due in part to a greater influence
of war production; but in part it was doubtless due to a larger pro­
portion of positions requiring some skill and experience. For boys
the difference was slight. Somewhat more than half, 52.8 per cent,
of the boys employed in factory and mechanical occupations, and
exactly half, 50 per cent, of those employed in clerical and similar
occupations, made $20 or over a week. But for girls a much greater
difference was found. Over one-fourth, 25.6 per cent, of the girls
employed in factory and mechanical occupations, but less than onetwentieth, 3.9 per cent, of those employed in clerical and similar
occupations, made $15 or more a week.
The wage increases during the three years following the interview
were large as compared with those between the first and last regular
positions before the children were interviewed. All the children
reported higher weekly wages in 1918 than when interviewed and more
than half, 51.5 per cent, reported increases of $10 or more, while in
10 cases the increases amounted to $24 or more. As would be ex­
pected, the wage increases of boys were greater than those of girls.
For both sexes, however, the period of greatest wage increase was
evidently after the sixteenth birthday and, although this was due in
part to the rapid changes in industrial conditions which occurred
during the three years from 1915 to 1918, greater freedom from legal
restrictions and wider choice of occupations, as well as increased age
and strength, undoubtedly had much to do with these wage increases.
Conclusion.— As suggested in the introduction to this study, three
points stand out in any consideration of public policy with regard to
the industrial labor of physically and mentally half-developed
children. First is the health and normal growth of the child, second
his training for useful labor in adult life, and third his preparation
for citizenship in a democracy. The productivity of the labor of
children is of little consequence, even from a purely economic stand­
point, for what an individual can produce during his years of child­
hood is negligible as compared with what he can produce during his
adult years.
The present inquiry throws little light upon the first of these
points. When it is remembered that these 5,692 children— onethird of all the children of their ages in Boston, Cambridge, Somer­
ville, and Chelsea—were living through perhaps the most critic^
years of their bodily growth and development at the very time
that they were being initiated into industrial life, it is evident that
a far more thorough study is needed of the effects of child labor upon
health than was here attempted. Before the results of this early

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67

labor can be adequately measured it is necessary, too, that its in­
fluence over physical growth and development should be carefully
considered. At present very little is known as to the effects of
different occupations upon the plastic bodies of the young children
who are employed in them.
As for preparation for industrial efficiency and for the duties of
citizenship in adult life, this study appears to show that, for the fourfifths of these child workers who had definitely left school for industry,
the period between the date of leaving school and the sixteenth
birthday was in nearly all cases almost, if not completely, wasted,
and that for many it was worse than wasted. Equipped with at
best only a rudimentary education and guided, except in rare in­
stances, only by chance, these children were necessarily excluded by
law from all trades involving the use of dangerous machinery, and by
their own ignorance and inexperience from practically all other
occupations which would offer them any opportunity to acquire
either mental or manual skill. In the vast majority of cases even
the little dexterity which they might have obtained in a position was
soon lost because as they grew older they passed on from their
children’s tasks to entirely different occupations.
'm Thus, with no opportunity to acquire industrial experience of any
real value, these children drifted, about restlessly from one simple
task or errand position to another, on the one hand often unemployed
for long periods, and on the other hand frequently obliged to work
excessively, and generally illegally, long hours or at night,— all for
wages which averaged only $16.68 a month. Permanently handi­
capped, in most cases for life, by an educational training inadequate
either to make them adaptable to the changing industrial conditions
of modern life, or to give them the background necessary for an
understanding of the duties of citizenship, they were subjected also
to positive damage from irregular habits of work, from labor un­
adapted to their needs and capacities, and from unsuitable associa­
tions and environments.
Each of the two outstanding, yet to a considerable extent over­
lapping, groups of child workers found in this study—-the misfits in
the school system as evidenced both by retardation and by dislike
of school, and the children from immigrant families— presents its
own special problems. That over half the children leaving school
for industry at 14 and 15 years of age had failed to complete the eighth
grade; that retardation, measured by the very conservative scale
adopted for this report, was very prevalent among these children;
¿hat about one-fourth of them gave as their reason for leaving that
they disliked school or did not wish to go on to high school; that
their entrance into industry was frequently preceded by a period, in
many cases a long period, of absence from school; and that more of

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TH E WORKING CHILDREN OF BOSTOitf.

them went to work just after school had opened in September than
in any other month of the year— all these facts show the pressing neec%
for the study and application of methods of training adolescent boys
and girls which will make the most of whatever capacity each may
possess. That some of these children, probably, were hampered by
more or less feeble intellects only emphasizes the need for special
training, adapted to their abilities, in order that as many as possible
may be made self-supporting and self-respecting citizens instead of
public burdens or public problems.
Retardation appears in many cases, however, to have resulted
merely from the difficult and often painful process of being trans­
planted from one country to another or from being surrounded by
families so transplanted. Moreover, because of their comparative
failure in school, their greater poverty, their national customs, or all
three combined, the children of foreign parentage, and especially
those who were themselves foreign born, were more likely to leave
school for industry before their sixteenth birthdays than were the
children of native parentage. That nearly half the foreign-born chil­
dren in the four cities, as compared with only about one-fourth of
the native children, became regular workers at this early age; that
only about one-third of them had completed the eighth or a highe;
grade; and that about half were decidedly retarded in school— these
facts show comparative failure at the very point where greatest
success might be anticipated in the process of transforming recent
immigrants into American citizens. This failure is further evident
when it is recalled that, although four-fifths of the children who
took out employment certificates had been born in the United States,
some seven-tenths had foreign-born fathers, and that these children
of foreign parentage were handicapped, though to a less degree, in
all the ways that the children who were themselves foreign bom were
handicapped.
The definite advantage which children from normal or higher than
normal grades for their ages had over those who were retarded, in
occupations, steadiness of work, initial wages, wage increases, and
average earnings— an advantage which was, if anything, more pro­
nounced three years later than at the time the children were inter­
viewed— though in large part due to the same superior intelligence
or thorough familiarity with the language and customs of the country
which made the children successful in their school work, was great
enough, for the boys at least, to suggest that even the small amount
of education which the eighth-grade graduate could boast over tj
sixth-grade graduate was a real industrial asset. For the girls th.
effect of differences in education is blurred by the frequent employ­
ment of those who were normal or advanced in their school work in
temporary positions in department stores. But this merely suggests

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|aat, if children of school age are to be permitted to enter industry,
t least, before they are allowed to take the serious step of abandoning
their school studies, their employers should be required to oifer them
something more than a few days’ work.
The problems here studied are those of practically all the larger
cities of the United States, and the main facts shown, with only
slight modifications due to local conditions, are probably as true of
other cities as of Boston. Massachusetts, indeed, through its con­
tinuation-school law, its law requiring evening school attendance of
all minors who are unable to read and write English, its eight-hour
law, and other acts, has done more to improve conditions than most
other States. Since the period of this study, moreover, Massachu­
setts has raised the educational requirement for employment under
16 to completion of the sixth grade, has elaborated its certificate
system, has made continuation-school attendance compulsory in all
the larger cities of the State, and has made special efforts to enforce
the physical requirements for an employment certificate. Neverthe­
less, although the degree of damage caused by employment is thus
doubtless somewhat reduced, even a child who is in perfect health
and has completed the sixth grade is very poorly equipped to assume
burdens of adult life. The findings of this study point to the
act that, whether in Boston or any other similar commercial and
manufacturing city, both the child and the community have more
to lose than to gain by a policy which permits children to go to work
when less than 16 years of age.


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FÆ1

THE CHILDREN.
Approximately one-third, 35.2 per cent, of the children who became
14 years of age during the year ended September 1,1914— in all, 5,692
children— in the four cities studied, took out employment certificates
for gainful labor before they became 16 years of age. According to
Table 1, more boys than girls went to work at this early age, 42.3 per
cent of the boys as compared with only 28 per cent of the girls.
Of these children about four-fifths were native and one-fifth foreign
bom ; about three-fifths were boys and two-fifths girls. A much
larger proportion of the foreign-bom than of the native children in
the four cities, however, went to work before they became 16 years
of age. Less than one-third, 32.3 per cent, of all native children, and
less than one-fourth, 24.7 per cent, of the native girls, took out
certificates. But of the foreign born nearly three-fifths, 58.3 per
cent, of all children— over three-fifths, 61.7 per cent, of the boys and
more than one-half, 54.9 per cent, of the girls—became wage earners
before they were 16 years of age. Among the foreign bom there
appears less difference between the sexes in the tendency to go to
work early than among the native.
1 .— Prevalence o f em ploym ent o f children between the fourteenth and sixteenth
birthdays, by sex and n a tivity; children in B oston , Cambridge, Som erville, and Chelsea
who were 14 but less than 15 years o f age on S ep t. 1, 1914-

Table

Children aged 14 but less than 15 years,
Sept. 1,1914—

Sex and nativity.
Estimated
total.1

W h o took out employment
certificates between their
f ourteenth and sixteenth
birthdays.

Number.

A ll children.
Bovs.
Girls..
Native.
Boys.
Girls.
Foreign born.
Boys.
Girls.

Per cent of
estimated
total.

16,192

' 5,692

35.:

8, OSS
8,104

«3, 419
2,273

42.3
28.0

14,402

4,646

32.3

7,185
7,217

2,860
1,786

39.8
24.7

1,790

1.044

903
887

557
487

61.,
54.9

1 Estimated from the figures for children aged 10-14, 1900 and 1910, assuming in each nativity group an
arithmetical increase of population, multiplied b y the proportion of the age group 10-14 that was 14 in
Bostonin 1910. The ratio of the scxesin 1910is then applied to find the numbers of boys and girls. Native
is the sum of native white and Negro; foreign born the sum of foreign white and other colored.
* Including two (boys) for whom nativity was not reported.

70


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TH E CHILDREN.

^ a b l e 2. Prevalence o f em ploym ent o f children between the fourteenth and sixteenth
birthdays, by nativity and city o f em ploym ent; children in B oston , Cambridge, Somer­
ville, and Chelsea who were 14 but less than 15 years o f age on S ep t. 1, 1914.

Children aged 14 but less than 15 years,
Sept. 1, 1914—

City of employment and nativity.
Estimated
total.1

W h o took out employment
certificates between their
fourteenth and sixteenth
birthdays.

Num ber.

All children.
Boston.........
Cambridge...
Somerville__
Chelsea.........

Per cent of
estimated
total.

16,192

3 5,692

35.2

12,273
1,925
1,417
577

4,401
664
386
241

35.9
34.5
27.2
41.8

Native.

14,402

4,646

32.3

Boston......... .
Cambridge__
Somerville__
Chelsea..........

10,875
1,762
1,345
420

3,609
538
345
154

33.2
30.5
25.7
36.7

1,790

1,044

Foreign born

Boston......
Cambridge.
Somerville.
Chelsea___

1,398
163
72
157

58.3
56.6
76.7
56.9
55.4

. 1 Estimated from the figures for children aged 10-14, 1900 and 1910, assuming in each n tv an arithmetical
increase of population, multiplied b y the proportion of the age group 10-14 that was 14 in Boston in l qjo
N ative is the sum of native white and Negro; foreign born the sum of foreign-born white and other colored
3 Including two for whom nativity was not reported.
'

The tendency of children to seek employment seems to differ de­
cidedly in the four cities. Boston and Cambridge, according to
Table 2, show figures which vary only slightly from the average
for the four; the Boston figures are slightly higher and the Cambridge
figures slightly lower than the average. But Somerville and Chelsea
differ markedly not only from each other, but also from the average;
in the former only 27.2 per cent of the children took out employment
certificates as against 41.8 per cent in the latter.
This difference appears to be due primarily to differences in the
proportion of foreign born. In Somerville, as appears in Table 3,
only 5.1 per cent of the children aged 14 on September 1, 1914, were
foreign born, while in Chelsea the foreign born constituted 27.2 per
cent of the children of this age. The proportion of foreign-born
children in Boston was 11.4 per cent, and in Cambridge only 8.5
T?er cent somewhat lower as compared with Boston than might
ave been expected from the comparative proportions of children
going to work. This difference appears to be due to the unusually
large proportion, 76.7 per cent, of foreign-born children who took
out certificates in Cambridge, for Table 2 shows that the native


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TH E WORKING CHILDREN OF BOSTON.

children of that city showed somewhat less tendency to go to work*
than those of Boston. On the other hand, Chelsea had the largest
proportion, 36.6 per cent, of native children taking out employment
certificates. To a considerable extent, doubtless, the differences
which can not be accounted for by the nativity of the children of
the different cities might be accounted for b y the nativity of their
parents.27
T a b l e 3.— N ativity, by city; children in B oston, Cambridge, Som erville, and Chelsea
who were 14 but less than 15 years o f age on S ept. 1 , 1914•

Per c e n t1 of children aged 14.
but less than 15 years, Sept,
1,1914.
City.
Total.

Native.

Foreign
bom .

100.0

88.9

11.1

100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0

88.6
91.5
94.9
72.8

11.4
8.5
5.1
27.2

i For figures see Table 2, p. 71.

T a b l e 4 .— C ity o f issuance o f certificate, by nativity o f child; children issued certificates
in fo u r cities.

Per cent1 distribution of chil­
dren to whom employment
certificates were issued.
City of issue.

B oston....................................................................................................................................

A ll
children.

Native.

Foreign
born.

100.0

100.0

100.0

77.3
11.7
6 .8
4.2

77.7
11.6
7 .4
3.3

75.8
12.0
3.9
8.3

1 For figures see Table 2, p. 71,

The actual numbers of working children in Somerville and Chelsea,
and even in Cambridge, as shown in Table 2, were small as compared
with those in Boston. Over three-fourths, 77.3 per cent, of all the
children to whom certificates were issued in the four cities went to
w ork28 in Boston; 11.7 per cent went to work in Cambridge, 6.8
per cent in Somerville, and 4.2 per cent in Chelsea, as shown in
Table 4.
27 The nativity of the father is tabulated for the continuation-school children who were interviewed by
agents of the bureau, and the results, though relating only to Boston children, seem to justify this con­
clusion. See Tables 12 and 13, pp. 79 and 80.
28 The figures relate to children who went to worfe in each c ity and not necessarily to children living
in that city.


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73

TH E CHILDREN.

The figures thus far given relate to children who took out em­
ployment certificates for work at any time, and some of these chil­
dren worked only during summer vacations or out of school hours.
Except for Boston, no information was available in the records as
to the proportion of children taking out employment certificates
who were actually beginning their working lives; that is, who were
leaving school to become regular workers. In Boston, 3,544 of the
4,401 children who took out certificates, or 80.5 per cent, appear to
have definitely left school for industry. Table 5 shows, therefore,
that the proportion of the estimated population of this age group
actually leaving school to begin work before they were 16 years of
age was 28.9 per cent. Over one-third, 34.5 per cent, of all the
boys of this age, but less than one-fourth, 23.2 per cent, of the girls,
belonged to this group.
Only a little over one-fourth, 26.4 per cent, of the native children
and nearly half, 47.7 per cent, of the foreign-born children left
school to become regular workers before they were 16. Among the
foreign bom , too, the tendency of girls to become regular workers
was nearly as great as that of boys, while among the native a great
difference is observed between the two sexes, for 32.7 per cent of
he boys and only 20.2 per cent of the girls had left school for work
efore their sixteenth birthdays.
T a b l e 5.— Prevalence o f regular em ploym ent o f children between the fourteenth and
sixteenth birthdays, by sex and n a tivity; children in B oston who were 14 but less than
15 years o f age on S ep t. 1 ,1 9 1 4 .

Children aged 14 but less than 15
years, Sept. 1,1914—

Sex and n ativity.
Esti­
mated
total.1

W h o took out employ­
m ent certificates for
regular work between
the fourteenth and six­
teenth birthdays.

Numbe'r.

A ll children.

Boys.
Girls.

2 3,544

28.9

6,152

’ 2,114
1,430

34.5
23.2

10,875

2,876

26.4

5,406
5,469

1,769
1,107

32.7

667

47.7

6,121
Native.

Boys.
Girls.

Per cent
of estimated
total.

Foreign-born.
715
683

20.2

344
323

1 Estimated from the figures for children aged 10-14, 1900 and 1910, assuming an arithmetical increase of
population, and then multiplied b y the proportion of the age group 10-14 that was 14 in Boston in 1910.
2 Including one boy for whom nativity was not reported.

4 9 4 7 0 °— 22— - 6


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74

TH E WORKING CHILDREN OF BOSTON.

SEX.

As has been seen, a decidedly larger proportion of boys than of
girls went to work in the four cities combined, almost exactly threefifths, 60.1 per cent, of the child workers being boys and two-fifths,
39.9 per cent, being girls. Table 6 shows also that the proportion
of girls was slightly larger in Boston, according to both the certificate
and the continuation-school records, than in the four cities combined,
and was a little more than two-fifths, 42 per cent, of the 823 children
interviewed.
Among native children the proportion of boys was somewhat
larger than among children of both nativities combined, and the
different series of records and schedules showed less than 1 per cent
difference in sex distribution.
T

6 . — Sex o f em ployed children, by na tivity; comparison o f children interviewed
with children in Boston continuation school and with children issued certificates in fo u r

able

cities.
Children issued certificates.

A ll cities.

Children in
Boston continua­
tion school.

Boston.

Children
interviewed
(Boston).

Sex and nativity.

A ll children.
B oys.
Girls.
N ative.
Boys.
Girls.
Foreign-born.
Boys.
Girls.

Per
cent
distri­
bution.

Per
cent
distri­
bution.

Per
cent
distri­
bution.

N um ­
ber.

Per
cent
distri­
bution.

15,692

100.0

2 4,401

100.0

2 3; 399

100.0

823

100.0

13,419
2,273

60.1
39.9

¡2,633
1,768

59. §
40.2

22,026
1,373

59.6
40.4

477
346

58.0
42.0

1,701
1,060

61.6
38.4

401
256

637

100.0

100.0

324
313

50.9
49.1

45.8
54.2

N um ­
ber.

4,646

100.0

3,609

2,860
1,786

61.6
38.4

2,215
1,394

1,044

100.0

791

557
487

53.4
46.6

417
374

1 Including two boys for whom n ativity was not reported.
2 Including one boy for whom n ativity was not reported.

N um ­
ber.

N um ­
ber.

100.0

2,761
61.4
38.6

52.7
47.3

61.0
39.0

y

Among the foreign-born children girls constituted nearly half, 46.6
per cent, of all the children who took out employment certificates in
the four cities; they formed 47.3 per cent of those in Boston, 49.1 per
cent of those in the Boston continuation-school group, and over onehalf, 54.2 per cent, of the children who were interviewed in the con­
tinuation school. As the 47.3 per cent shown in the Boston certificate
records may be considered typical of all children taking out cer­
tificates in that city, it is evident that the continuation school an’
schedule records included a few too many girls to be entirely repre­
sentative of the sex distribution of foreign-born children. The dis­
proportion is not great, however, and the figures for the certificate


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The children .

75

records show again a decidedly greater tendency for foreign-born than
for native girls to go to work. In Boston alone, where girls consti­
tuted 47.3 per cent of the foreign bom , they constituted only 38.6 per
cent of the native children who took out certificates.
NATIVITY.

Approximately four-fifths of all the children, and also of the chil­
dren in each of the smaller groups, as shown in Table 7, were native
born.28® Somewhat less than one-fifth, indeed, were foreign born in
every group except that of the interviewed children, where the pro­
portion of foreign born was exactly 20.2 per cent.
The greater teridency, already noticed, of foreign born than of
native girls to go to work is shown again in the fact that the foreign
born constituted 21.4 per cent of all the girls who took out certificates
in the four cities as compared with only 16.3 per cent of all the boys.
The figures for the continuation-school group show 22.8 per cent of
the girls to have been foreign born and those for the schedule group
26 per cent. The larger proportion, therefore, of foreign-born chil­
dren found in the schedule group, as compared with the other groups,
was evidently due to an excess of girls.
7 . — N ativity o f em ployed children, by sex; comparison o f children interviewea with
children in B oston continuation school and with children issued certificates in fo u r cities.

Table

Per cent distribution.

N ativity and sex.

Children issued
certificates.

A ll cities. Boston.

Children Children
in Bos­
inter­
ton con­
viewed
tinuation
(Bos­
school.
ton).

Both sexes............................................................................................

100.0

100.0

100.0

100.0

N ative................................................................................................................
Foreign born....................................................................................................

81.6
18.3

82.0
18.0

81.2
18.7

79.8
20.2

B o y s .......................................................................................................

100.0

100.0

100.0

100.0

N ative.......................... .....................................................................................
Foreign born........ .'........................................................................... .............

83.7
16.3

84.1
15.8

84.0
16.0

84.1
15.9

100.0

100.0

100.0

100.0

78.6
21.4

78.8
21.2

77.2
22.8

74.0
26.0

Girls........................
N ative.......................................................................................... 1....................
Foreign born.............................................. .....................................................

The four, cities, as shown in Table 10,286 differed decidedly in the
proportion which the foreign born constituted of all children who
_took out employment certificates. In Boston and Cambridge, as in
ie four cities combined, about 18 per cent of these children were
foreign born. But in Somerville only about one-tenth, 10.6 per cent,
28a

A s the certificate record did not specify whether the children were colored or white, and as only

18 colored children were included in the continuation-school group, colored children are not separately
itemized in the tabulation.
See p. 78.


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Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

76

TH E WORKING CHILDREN OE BOSTON.

were foreign bora, while in Chelsea the foreign bom constituted over
one-third, 36.1 per cent, of all the children who obtained certificates.
It is said that after the Chelsea fire of 1908 a large number of the
former inhabitants moved away and were replaced by immigrant
families.
BIRTHPLACE.

Of all the children who took out certificates in the four cities, as
shown in Table 8, 6.1 per cent were born in Russia, 5.7 per cent in
Italy, 2 per cent in England and Scotland, and 1.7 per cent in British
North America. Only six-tenths of 1 per cent were born in Ireland.
These figures, as will be seen later in discussing the nationalities of
the children’s fathers,29 reflect, not the distribution of the different
nationalities in the entire population but merely the relative recency
of immigration from different countries. The Russians and Italians
constituted the newer immigration. The English and Irish had been
in this country longer and, therefore, a larger proportion of their
children of working age had been born here.
T a b l e 8 . ___P lace o f birth o f em p loyed children1
; com parison o f children in terview ed w ith

children in B oston continuation school and with children issued certificates in fo u r cities.-

Children issued certificates.

A ll cities.

Children in Bos­
ton continuation
school.

Boston.

Children
interviewed in
Boston.

Country of birth.
Per cent
Per cent
Per cent
Per cent
Number. distribu­ Number. distribu­ Number. distribu­ Number. distribu­
tion.
tion.
tion.
tion.

Total................................

1 5,692

N ative.......................... - ............
Foreign born............................

4,646
1,044

2 4,401
81.6
18.3

3,609
791

82.0
18.0

2 3,399

100.0

823

100.0

2,761
637

81.2
18.7

657
166

79.8

20.2

British North America.
England and Scotland.
Ireland................................
Ita ly ....................................
Russia................................
Other..................................
1 TnninHing two boys for whom nativity was not reported.
2 Including one boy for whom nativity was not reported.

In Boston alone the certificate records show a somewhat higher
proportion of Italians— 6.5 per cent— and this proportion is even
higher, 7.3 per cent, in the continuation-school records, and still
higher, 10.9 per cent, in the group of children for whom schedules
were taken. The children interviewed show, on the other hand, a
comparatively low proportion, only 4 per cent, of Russian children
The larger proportion of Italian children in the continuation-schoo
group may be accounted for by the fact, which will later be shown
23 See page 80.


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Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

77

TH E CHILDREN.

^statistically,30 that of all children who applied for certificates the
Italians were more likely than children of other nationality groups
to leave school permanently to go to work; for vacation workers are
included in the certificate but not in the continuation-school records.
But it is evident that, for some reason, a larger number of Italian
children and a smaller number of Russian children were interviewed
than were typical of their respective groups in the child-labor popula­
tion of Boston.
Table 9, which gives the distribution by place of birth of the 166
foreign-born children who were interviewed, shows that, though
nearly as many children born in Russia as children born in Italy took
out certificates in Boston, over one-half, or 54.2 per cent, of the
foreign-born children who were interviewed were born in Italy, and
less than one-fifth, 19.9 per cent, in Russia. This discrepancy is
even greater among the girls, for nearly two-thirds, 63.3 per cent, of
the foreign-born girls interviewed had been born in Italy. Italian
girls, therefore, appear to constitute the nativity element composing
the excess already mentioned 31 of foreign-born children among those
for whom schedules were taken.
T able

9 .— Place o f birth, by sex; foreign-born children interviewed.

Children.
Place of birth.

Boys.

Girls.

Per cent
Number. distribu­
tion.

Per cent
Number. distribu­
tion.

Number.

Per cent
distribu­
tion.

Total..............................................................

166

100.0

76

100.0

90

100.0

British North America......................................
England.................................................................
Ireland....................................
Scotland.................
Italy............................................
R ussia..............................................................
Other..................................................

5
12
6
6
90
33
14

3.0
7.2
3.6
3.6
54.2
19.9
8.4

3
7
5
4
33
15
9

3.9
9.2
6.6
5.3
43.4
19.7
11.8

2
5
1
2
57
18
5

2 2
5.6
1.1
2.2
63.3
20.0
5.6

The four cities differ quite as much in the proportions of their
working children born in different countries as in the proportions of
foreign born. Table 10 shows that the high proportion of foreign
born in Chelsea, for example, is due to children'born in Russia; over
one-fourth, 26.1 per cent, of all the children who took out certificates
in that city came from Russia, as compared with 6 per cent in Boston,
2.9 per cent in Cambridge, and 0.3 per cent in Somerville. In Cam­
bridge, on the other hand, 36 children who were born in Portugal
Including those born in the Azores) took out certificates— a larger
proportion than of any other foreign-born group. In other words,
though in the four cities combined this group furnished only 40
80 See Table 64, p. 150.
S1 See p . 75.


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*78

th e

w o r k in g

c h il d r e n

of

Bo s t o n .

children, or less than 1 child in 100, in Cambridge more than 1 child,,
in every 20 taking out certificates was born in Portugal or the Azores.
Cambridge and Chelsea, however, and even Somerville, had fewer
Italian children than had Boston.
T able

10.— Place o f birth, by city o f issue; children issued certificates in fo u r cities.

Children to whom certificates were issued in—

A ll cities.

Boston.

Cambridge.

Somerville.

Chelsea.

Place of birth.
Per
Per
Per
Per
Per
cent
N um ­ cent N um ­ cent Num­ cent Num ­ cent N um ­ distri­
ber. distri­ ber. distri­ ber. distri­ ber. distri­ ber.
bu­
bution,
bution.
bution,
bution.
tion.
A ll countries.......................... .

5,692

*4,401

100.0

United States........................ .

4,646

3,609

82.0

Boston, Cambridge, Somerville,
and Chelsea.................................. Elsewhere in United States.........

4,023
623

70.7
10.9

3,163
446

71.9

Foreign countries..................

1.044

18.3

791

R ussia...................................................
Ita ly ......................................................
England, Scotland, and W a les. . .
British North America..................
Portugal, including the Azores. .
Ireland..................................................
Norway, Sweden, and Denmark.
Austria-Hungary..............................
Turkey, including Syria................
Germany.............................................
Other countries.................................

349
323

10.1

! 664

100.0

386

81.0

345

100.0
89.4
51.5
12.4

281
64

455
83

87

125

36.1

63

111

.3
.5

1 Including two children whose place of birth was not reported.
* Including one child whose place of birth was not reported.

YEARS IN THE UNITED STATES.

The certificate records do not show how long the foreign-born
children had been in the United States, but, according to Table 11,
in the group for whom continuation-school records were used about
one-fourth, 24 per cent, of the foreign-born children had been in the
United States less than 5 years; somewhat more than one-third,
35.2 per cent, had been in this country 5 years but less than 10; and
not quite one-third, 31.8 per cent, had been here for 10 years or more.
The last group had been brought to this country when they were
under school age and had therefore received all their education in
the United States. Of the foreign-born children who were inter­
viewed practically the same proportion, 31.3 per cent, had been in
this country for over 10 years, about two-fifths, 40.4 per cent, between
5 and 10 years, and about one-fifth, 21.7 per cent, less than 5 years
Considering the small numbers involved, there is no particular
significance in the slight differences between the two groups of
children.


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79

TH E CHILDREN.

. T a b l e 1 1 .— Years o f residence in the United States; comparison o f foreign-born children

interviewed with foreign-born children in B oston continuation school.
Foreign-born chil­
dren in Boston con­
tinuation school.

Foreign-born chil­
dren interviewed
(Boston).

Years in the United States.
Per cent
Per cent
Number. distribu­ Number. distribu­
tion.
tion.
T o ta l....

637

100.0

166

100.0

Under 5............
5 but under 10.
10 and over___
N ot reported..

153
224
203
57

24.0
35.2
31.8
8.9

36
67
52
11

21.7
40.4
31.3
6.6

FATHER’S NATIVITY AND NATIONALITY.

Although only about one-fifth of the working children of Boston
were themselves foreign born, nearly three-fourths, 72.1 per cent,
of the children interviewed had foreign-born fathers. Table 12,
which shows these proportions, may slightly overstate the impor­
tance of the foreign element, for a somewhat higher percentage of
interviewed children than of all children who took out certificates
were foreign born. But it is safe to say that at least 7 out of every
10 children taking out certificates were of foreign parentage. Yet
fully two-thirds of these children of foreign-born fathers had them­
selves been born in the United States.
The two groups of nationalities, those of north and west Europe
and of south and east Europe, each furnished, as shown in Table 13,
a larger number of fathers of interviewed children, 31.3 per cent and
36.1 per cent, respectively, than did the United States. Of the
separate nationalities the Italians predominated; 23.9 per cent of the
children had Italian fathers, nearly as many as had native fathers.33
But not far from the same proportion, 20.3 per cent, had Irish
fathers. On the other hand, the fathers of only 8.5 per cent of the
children interviewed were Russian Jews.34
T a b l e 12 .— N ativity o f father and child, by sex o f child; children interviewed.

Children.
N ativity of father and child.

Boys.

Per cent
Number. distribu- Number
tion.

Girls.

Per cent
distribu- Number. distribution.
tion.

Total............................................

823

100.0

477

100.0

346

100.0

$ ° t h fathers and children native,
thers foreign born.........................

201
593

24.4
72.1

127
328

26.6
68.8

74
265

21.4
76.6

Children native..........................
Children foreign born...............

427
166

51.9
20.2

252
76

52.8
15.9

175
90

50.6
26.0

N ativity of fathers not reported. .

29

3.5

22

4.6

7

2.0

83 A s shown on p . 76 the proportion of Italian children in the schedule series is somewhat larger than for
Boston alone in the certificate series, which includes all the children going to work.
84 This, as already shown on p . 77, is too small a proportion to be representative of all children taking
out certificates in Boston.


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80

TH E WORKING CHILDREN OF BOSTON.
T a b l e 13.— N ationality o f father, by sex o f child; children interviewed.

Children.
Nationality of father.

Per cent
Per cent
Number. distribu­ N unfter. distribu­
tion.
tion.

477

Total.
Father n ative............
Father foreign born.

Girls.

Boys.

201
593

24.4
72.1

127
328

26.6

Per cent
distribu­
tion.

346

100.0

74
265

21.4
76.6

31.3

North and west Europe.
English.............
Irish...................
Scotch...............
German............
Scandinavian.
Other................

44.8

South and east Europe___
Russian Jewish.................................
Other Jewish......................................
Italian..................................................
O ther................................ ...................

.2

.7

Asia, Syrian............................
North America......................

12 0

French Canadian..............................
English and Scotch C anadian.. .
N ativity of fathers not reported.

29

3.5

i Including 1 boy the nationality of whose father was not specified.

The sources of the newer immigration stand out distinctly when
the parentage of the native children is compared with, that of the
foreign-born children. For example, Table 14 shows that of the
native children whose fathers were foreign born 55 per cent had
fathers from north and west Europe and only 37.9 per cent had fathers
from south and east Europe, while Table 15 shows that of the
foreign-born children only 13.9 per cent had fathers from north and
west Europe and 81.3 per cent had fathers from south and east
Europe. Although only 24.8 per cent of the native children with
foreign-born fathers were Italian, 54.8 per cent of the foreign-born
children- were Italian. This difference is still more marked in the
case of the Russian Jews, for only 8.7 per cent of the native children
of foreign parentage but 19.9 per cent of the foreign-born children
belonged to this group. On the other hand, all the different groups
of nationalities classed under “ north and west Europe” show oppo­
site conditions. Irish children, indeed, constituted over one-third,
37.7 per cent, of the native children of foreign parentage, and only
3.6 per cent of the foreign-born children.
As would be expected from comparisons already made, a smalle
proportion of the girls than of the boys, 21.4 per cent as compared
with 26.6 per cent, were native born of native fathers. Table 12
shows that over three-fourths, 76.6 per cent, of the girls had foreignborn fathers, and only 50.6 per cent of them, as compared with 52.8

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THE

81

CH IL D R E N ,

per cent of the boys, were native children of foreign parentage. In
Tables 13, 14, and 15 the nationalities of the fathers of these boys and
girls are further analyzed in detail.
T able

14.

Nationality offather, by sex o f child; native children with foreign-born fathers
interviewed.
Native children.

Both sexes.

B oys.

Girls.

Nationality of father.
N um ber.

Per
cent
N um distriber.
button.

Per
cent
N um distriber.
button.

Per
cent
distributton.

Father foreign born.................

427

100.0

252

100.0

175

100.0

North and west Europe.

235

55.0

147

58.3

88

50.3

29
161
9
19
15
2

6.8
37.7
2.1
4.4
3.5
.5

21
96
5
16
8
1

8.3
38.1
2.0
6.3
3.2
.4

8
65
4
3
7
1

4.6
37.1
2.3
1.7
4.0
.6

162

37.9

85

33.7

. 77

44.0

37
5
106
14

8.7
1.2
24.8
3.3

23
4
51
7

9.1
1.6
20.2
2.8

14
1
55
7

8.0
.6
31.4
4.0

English..........
Irish...............
Scotch.............
German..........
Scandinavian.
Other.............
South and east Europe.
Russian Jewish.
Other Jewish___
Italian..................
Other....................

Asia, S yrian ...

1

.2

1

.4

North America.

129

6.8

119

7.5

10

5.7

5
23

1.2
5.4

3
15

1.2
6.0

2
8

1.1
4.6

French Canadian..........................
English and Scotch Canadian.

T a b l e 15. — Nationality o f father,

by sex o f child; foreign-born children interviewed.

Both sexes.

Boys.

Girls.

Nationality of father.
N um ber.

Per
cent
N um distriber.
button.

Per
cent
N um distriber.
button.

Per
cent
distributton.

Father foreign horn...................

166

100.0

76

100.0

90

North and west E u rope..

23

13.9

18

23.7

5

English..........................................
Irish................................................
Scotch.............................................
German..........................................
Scandinavian..............................

7
6
6
1
3

4.2
3.6
3.6
.6
1.8

5
5
4
1
3

6.6
6.6
5.3
1.3
3.9

2
1
2

2.2
1.1
2.2

100.0
■

5.6

South and east Europe.. .

135

81.3

57

75.0

78

86.7

Russian Jewish...........................
Dther Jewish................................
•Italian............................................
Other.............. ...............................

33
4
91
7

19.9
2.4
54.8
4.2

17
3
34
3

22.4
3.9
44.7
3.9

16
1
57
4

17.8
1.1
63.3
4.4

Asia, Syrian.........................

5

3.0

5

5.6

North America....................

3

1.8

1

1.3

2

2.2

1
2

.6
1.2

1

1.3

1
1

1.1
1.1

French Canadian.......................
English and Scotch Canadian.


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82

T H E WOÏtKIÜTG C H Ïh D ïtE N ÔF BOSTO N .

The relative tendency of the different nationality groups to send
their daughters to work as compared with their sons is best shown,
however, in Table 16. Where the fathers were native, girls fur­
nished only about one-third, 36.8 per cent, of the working children.
In other words, from American families only one girl to every two
boys went to work before the age of 16. But in families where the
father was foreign born the proportion of girl workers rose to 44.7
per cent. In other words,, nearly half the child workers from the
families of immigrants were girls.
T

able

16.— S ex o f child, by nationality o f father and nativity o f child; children interviewed.
Boys.

Nationality of father and nativity of child.

Girls.

Children.
Number.

Per
cent.1

Number.

Per
cent.1

823

447

58.0

346

42.0

201
593

127
328

63.2
55.3

• 74.
265

36.8
44.7

Children native.......... .
Children foreign born.

427
166

252
76

59.0
45.8

175
90

41.0
54.2

North and west Europe...................

258

165

64.0

93

36.0

235
23
51
38
13
167
161
6
40
36
4

147
18
35
26
9
101
96
5
29
25
4

62.6

Total........................
B oth fathers and children native........
Fathers foreign b o m ............................

Children native.................. .
Children foreign born-----English and Scotch.................. .
Children native...................
Children foreign born........
Irish..........................................
Children native...................
Children foreign born____
Other..............................................
Children native..................
Children foreign b o m ------

68.6
60.5
59.6

'

88
5
16
12
.4
66
65
1
11
11

37.4
31.4
39.5
40.4

297

142

47.8

155

52.2

Children native..................
Children foreign born____
Russian Jewish..........................
Children native..................
Children foreign b o m -----Italian............................................
Children native..................
Children foreign born........
Other............................................. .
Children native..................
Children foreign born____

162
135
70
37
33
197
106
91
30
19
. 11

85
57
40
23
17
85
51
34
17
11
6

52.5
42.2
57.1

77
78
30
14
16
112
55
57
13
8
5

47.5
57.8
42.9

British North Am erica................... .

32

20

Children native...........................
Children foreign b o m ................

29
3

19
1

10
2

Other.......................................................

6

1

5

Children native...........................
Children foreign born................

1
5

1

N ativity of fathers not reported...........

29

22

7

29

22

7

South and east Europe...................

.

Children native..................................

43.1
48.1
37.4

•

56.9
51.9
62.6

12

5

1 N ot shown where base is less than 50.

This high proportion of girl workers, as compared with boy workers,
in the newer elements of the population was due entirely to a greater


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Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

Th e

C H IL D R E N .

$3

- tendency among fathers from south and east Europe, particularly
Italian fathers, to send their daughters, as compared with their
sons, to work at an early age. Of the children of fathers from north
and west Europe an even smaller proportion, only 36 per cent, than
of the children of native fathers were girls. Though Irish fathers
showed a somewhat greater tendency to send their daughters to
work than native fathers, only 39.5 per cent of the children of Irish
fathers who were interviewed in continuation school were girls. Even
of the children of Russian Jewish fathers only 42.9 per cent were
girls. On the other hand, over one-half, 52.2 per cent, of the chil­
dren of all fathers from south and east Europe, including the Rus­
sians, and a still larger proportion, 56.9 per cent, of the children of
Italian fathers, were girls. The tendency of Italian fathers to send
their daughters to work may be somewhat exaggerated by these
figures, for, as already shown,35 a larger proportion of girls who were
born in Italy were included in the schedule group than is typical of
the entire group of children taking out employment certificates in
Boston. Nevertheless, although this tendency was most marked
when the child as well as the father was foreign born, over half, 51.9
per cent, of the native children of Italian fathers who were inter­
viewed were girls.
AGE AT GOING TO WORK.

Apparently a considerable number of children went to work at the
earliest possible date, for Table 17 shows that in the four cities com­
bined— Boston, Cambridge, Somerviller and Chelsea— more children
took out employment certificates between the ages of 14 and 14-£
than between the ages of 14| and 15 or 15 and 15£, and nearly as
many as between the ages of 15^- and 16. Of all the children who
took out certificates before their sixteenth birthdays 29.9 per cent
entered industry before they were 14| years of age, only 19.1 per
cent between that age and their fifteenth birthdays, and 20.9 per
cent between 15 and 15£. Between 15J and 16, more children— 30
per cent of the total— took out certificates, but this group included
children who began work during a summer vacation before the end
of which they would be 16 and no longer subject to the compulsoryeducation or child-labor laws.36
The boys showed a slightly greater tendency than did the girls to
take out their certificates soon after becoming 14, but a somewhat
larger proportion of girls than of boys went to work between 14£ and
15 years of age. The general tendency, however, was the same for
both sexes.
85 See p . 77.


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88 See Table 67, p . 153.

84

THE

W O R K IN G

C H IL D R E N

OF B O S T O N .

T a b l e 17.— A ge at talcing out first certificate and sex; comparison o f children inter­
viewed with children in B oston continuation school and with children issued certifi-'
cates in fo u r cities.
Children issued certificates.

A ll cities.

Children in Bos­
ton continuation
school.

Boston.

Children inter­
viewed
(B oston).1

Age at taking out first cer­
tificate, and sex.
N um ­
ber.

Per
cent
distri­
bution.

N um ­
ber.

Per
cent
distri­
bution.

N um ­
ber.

Per
cent
distri­
bution.

N um ­
ber.

Per
cent
distri­
bution.

Both sexes.........................

5,692

100.fi

4,401

100.0

3,399

100.0

823

100.0

14 under 14£..................................
14£ under 15..................................
15 under 15J.............................. ....
15£ under 16..................................

1,703
1,089
1,191
1,709

29.9
19.1
20.9
30.0

1,381
854
892
1,274

31.4
19.4
20.3
28.9

1,151
710
732
806

33.9
20.9
21.5
23.7

2 611
162
43
7

74.2
19.7
5.2
0.9

Boys....................................

3,419

100.0

2,633

100.0

2,026

100.0

477

100.0

14 under 14§..................................
14£ under 15..................................
15 under 15J..................................
15J under 16..................................

1,048
620
740
1,011

30.7
18.1
21.6
29.6

838
473
562
760

31.8
18.0
21.3
28.9

687
395
464
480

33.9
19. 5
22.9
23.7

2 357
88
29
3*

74.8
18.4
6.1
0.6

Girls........................................

2,273

100.0

1,768

100.0

1,373

100.0

346

100.0

14 under 14J..................................
14J under 15.......... .......................
15 under 15£..................................
15J under 16...................... ..........

655
469
451
698

28.8
20.6
19.8
30.7

543
381
330
514

30.7
21.5
18.7
29.1

464
315
268
326

33.8
22.9
19.5
23.7

2 254
74
14
4

73.4
21.4
4.0
1.2

1 These two columns relate to actual date of going to work, whereas the others relate to date of taking,
out certificate.
2 Including 21 children— 18 boys and 3 girls— who went to work before they were 14.

The method of selection, as already stated, was such that both the
continuation-school group and the interviewed group of children
contained a larger proportion who went to work soon after becoming
14 than did the certificate group. This difference, as shown in Table
17, was comparatively slight in the continuation-school group, where
it showed itself entirely in a somewhat smaller proportion of chil­
dren who took out their certificates when they were 154 hut .under
16 years of age. But it was marked in the schedule group,37 where
nearly three-fourths, 74.2 per cent, of all the children were under
144 when they took their first regular positions, and only 6.1 per
cent were over 15. In none of the groups was there any significant
difference between the proportions of boys and of girls.
The tendency noted above for a more than proportionate number
of children to take out their certificates within the first six months
after becoming 14 appears, according to Table 18, to have affected
native more than foreign-born children. Of the native children, a
larger number took out certificates before they were 144 than after
they were 154 years of age. Among the foreign-born children who
were interviewed, a larger proportion than of the native children
went to work during the second age period, that is, between 144 an
15, and a correspondingly smaller proportion during the first
months after becoming 14.
81 The age at going to work of the children who were interviewed is the actual age at the time of taking
the first regular position, and not, as for the other groups of children, the age at taking out the first cer­
tificate. This fact, in addition to the others already mentioned, would tend to place more children of
this group in the earlier age groups.


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85

T H E C H IL D R E N .

T a b l e 18 — A ge at talcing out first certificate and nativity; comparison o f children inter­
viewed with children in B oston continuation school and with children issued certificates
in fo u r cities.
Children issued certificates.

Age at taking out first cer­
tificate and nativity.

A ll cities.

N um . ber.

A ll children...................

Per cent
distri­
bution.

«5,692

Boston.

N um ­
ber.

Per cent
distri­
bution.

8 4,401

Children in
Boston contin­
uation school.

N um ­
ber.

Per cent
distri­
bution.

8 3,399

Children inter­
viewed (Boston).1

N um ­
ber.

Per cent
distri­
bution.

4 823

N ativ e.......................................... ..

4,646

100.0

3,609

100.0

2,761

100.0

<657

100.0

14 under 14J...........................
14J under 15...........................
15 under 15£..........................
15i under 16...........................

1,403
888
966
1,389

30.2
19.1
20.8
29.9

1,140
695
731
1,043

31:6
19.3
20.3
28.9

940
571
595
655

34.0
20.7
21.6
23.7

476
124
35
6

72.5
18.9
5.3
.9

Foreign b o m .................................

1,044

100.0

791

100.0

637

100.0

4166

100.0

14 under 14J..........................
14J under 15...........................
15 under 15i..........................
15J under 16..........................

299
201
225
319

28.6
19.3
21.6
30.6

241
159
161
230

30.5
20.1
20.4
29.1

211
139
137
150

33.1
21. i?
21.5
23.5

114
38
8
1

68.7
22.9
4.8
.6

1 These two columns relate to actual date of going to work, whereas the others relate to date of taking
out certificate.
8 Including two children whose nativity was not reported. Including also three children who went to
work before they were 14 years of age, according to continuation-school records, but who did not secure
employment certificates until after they were 14.
8 Including one child whose nativity was not reported.
- < Including 16 native and 5 foreign-born children who went to work before they were 14.

The fact that a smaller proportion of the foreign born than of the
native children began work as soon as or soon after they could legally
secure certificates is probably due to greater difficulty among the
foreign-born children in meeting the educational requirements for an
employment certificate. Many of the foreign-born children, as will
be seen,38 had barely completed the fourth grade when they went to
work, and some of them probably did not complete it until some
time after they became 14. Table 19, based on the continuationschool records, shows that the group in which the smallest proportion,
26.1 per cent, took out certificates between 14 and 14£ years of age
was that of foreign-born children who had been in the United States
less than five years.
The supposition that the foreign-born children, if unrestrained by
the educational requirements of the law, would have gone to work
even younger than the native children is also supported by Table 20,
which shows that, among the working children interviewed, a much
larger proportion of native children of foreign-born fathers went to
work before they were 14^ years of age than of native children of
native fathers, 78.2 per cent as compared with 68.7 per cent. The
comparatively large proportion of native children found going to work
at this age is evidently due entirely to the group whose fathers were
foreign born. Therefore, when foreign-born children were compared
with native children of native fathers alone it was found that the
foreign born had the greater tendency to go to work early.
88See Table 46, p. 120.


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86

T H E W O R K IN G C H IL D R E N OF BOSTON .

T a b l e 19.— A ge at taking out first certificate, by nativity and length o f residence in the

United States; children in B oston continuation school.
Children taking out first certificate at specified age.

N ativity and length of resi­
dence in United States.

A ll
chil­
dren.

14 under 14}.

N um ­
ber.

Per
cent.

14} under 15.

N um ­
ber.

15 under 15}.

Per
cent.

N um ­
ber.

15} under 16.

Per
cent.

N um ­
ber.

Per
cent.

Total................................... 13,399

1,151

33.9

710

20.9

732

21.5

1806

23.7

N a t iv e .........................................
Foreign born...............................

2,761
637

940
211

34.0
33.1

571
139

20.7
21.8

595
137

21.6
21.5

655
150

23.7
23.5

Years in United States:
Under 5 .........................
5 b u t under 1 0 ...........
10 and over.............. :
N ot reported...............

153
224
203
57

40
79
61
31

26.1
35.3
30.0
54.4

40
51
39
9

26.1
22.8
19.2
15.8

42
40
43
12

27.5
17.9
21.2
21.1

31
54
60
5

20.3
24.1
29.6
8.8

1 Including one child for whom nativity was not reported.
T a b l e 20.— A ge at entering industry, by sex and nativity o f child, and nativity o f father;

children interviewed.
Children.
Both fathers
and children
native.

Total.
Age at entering industry,
and sex.
N um ­
ber.

Per
N um ­
cent
distri­
ber.
bution.

Per
cent
distri­
bution.

Fathers fo reign born.
Children
native.

N um ­
ber.

Children
foreign born.

Per
N um ­
cent
distri­
ber.
bution.

Per
cent
distri­
bution.

Nativ­
ity of
fathers
not re­
ported:
chil­
dren
native.

Both sexes........................

823

100.0

201

100.0

427

100.0

166

100.0

29

Under 14}.....................................
Under 1 4 }.............................
Under 14.......................
14, under 141 m o n th .
14 1 month, under 14
2 m onths...................
142 months, under 14
3 m onths...................
14}, under 14}.....................
14}, under 15........................... . .
15, under 15}...............................
15}, under 16..........................

611
429
21
216

74.2
52.1
2.6
26.2

138
93
3
44

68.7
46.3
1.5
21.9

334
232
12
117

78.2
54.3
2.8
27.4

119
89
5
45

71.7
53.6
3 .0
27.1

20
15
1
10

104

12.6

24

11.9

60

14.1

19

11.4

1

88
182
162
43
7

10.7
22.1
19.7
5.2
0.9

22
45
51
11
1

10.9
22.4
25.4
5.5
0.5

43
102
68
20
5

10.1
23.9
15.9
4.7
1.2

20
30
38
8
1

12.0
18.1
22.9
4.8
0.6

3
5
5
4

B o y s...................................

477

100.0

127

100.0

252

100.0

76

100.0

22

Under 14}.....................................
Under 141.............................
Under 14.......................
14, under 141 m onth.
141 month, under 14
2 m onths...................
14 2 months, under 14

357
249
18
125

74.8
52.2
3.8
26.2

92
64
3
33

72.4
50.4
2.4
26.0

199
137
10
68

79.0
54.4
4.0
27.0

53
38
4
16

69.7
50.0
5.3
21.1

13
10
1
8

56

11.7

13

10.2

33

13.1

9

11.8

1

141, under 141.....................
141, under 15...............................
15, under 151...............................
15!, under 1§.............................

50
108
88
29
3

10. 5
22.6
18.4
6.1
0.6

15
28
28
7

11.8
22.0
22.0
5.5

26
62
37
13
3

10.3
24.6
14.7
5.2
1.2

9
15
18
5

11.8
19.7
23.7
6.6

3
5
4

Girls....................................

346

100.0

74

100.0

175

100.0

90

100.0

7

Under 141.....................................
Under 141.............................

254
180
3
91

73.4
52.0
0.9
26.3

46
29

62.2
39.2
14.9

77.1
54.3
1.1
28.0

66
51
1
29

73.3
56.7
1.1
32.2

7
5

11

135
95
2
49

48

13.9

11

14.9

27

15-4

10

11.1

38
74
74
14
4

11.0
21.4
21.4
4.0
1.2

7
17
23
4
1

9.5
23.0
31.1
5.4
1.4

17
40
31
7
2

9.7
22.9
17.7
4 .0
1.1

11
15
20
3
1

12.2
16.7
22.2
3.3
1.1

14, under 141 m onth.
141 month, under 14
2 m onths...................
14 2 months, under 14
3 m onths...................
14}, under 14}.....................
154, under 16...............................


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Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

s rrf

2

3
2

th e

c h il d r e n

.

87

of thJn t ’ 2l ' 1,,iPer Cef i °f the foreign-bom children, 27.4 per cent
of the native children of foreign-bom fathers, and only 21.9 per cent
of the nabve children of native fathers went to work 4 h i n £ month
the

V l T f0Urteent1h b'rthdays.

In other words, over one-fourth of

fifrt f t t 6'1 “ f,aCh ° f ,the foreign ^ “ "P 3 and llttle more than oneU th o f those in the purely native group included in the group of inter­
viewed children practically celebrated their fourteenth birthdays by
beginning their industrial careers.39
y y
nu^ 0mpar“ ,g the boys with the girls, it is observed that of the
ve children of native fathers a markedly larger proportion of
bbeconung
l t m W l14—
d 72.4
f 2r4 per
Went
dT with
g the
&St
m «ntbs
after
centTasWOrk
compared
62.2
perSb£
cent.
Muchless
difference is found between the native sons and daughters of foreignbom fathers And among the foreign-born children an even larger
proportion of girls, 73.3 per cent, than of boys, 69.7 per cent w £ t
to work at this early age. It should be remembered, however, that
the group of interviewed children contains a larger proportion of
oreign-born girls than the entire group of working children.
(seepp.5, a«.).

^


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worl1 “

« 8 » « a n d i d all those who t o o t out oertmcates

THE FAMILIES.
To what extent these children came from broken families, that is,
from families in which either the father or the mother was dead or
not living with the family, is of interest, especially in connection with
the child’s reasons for leaving school. Other points which throw
light upon his reasons for leaving school are his father’s occupation,
whether or not his father was unemployed, and whether or not his
mother was employed. These facts are available only for the children
included in the continuation-school and schedule groups, all of whom
had actually left school to go to work at the time the information was
secured.
FAMILY STATUS.

Of the children included in the continuation-school group, exactly
two thirds— 66.6 per cent—lived in normal families at the time they
went to work; that is, in families with both a father (or stepfather)
and mother (or stepmother) in the home. Of those included in the
schedule group an even larger proportion, 70.7 per cent, lived in such
families. In both groups, as shown in Table 21, the proportion of
girls coming from these normal families was somewhat greater thaii
the proportion of boys.40
T a b l e 2 1 . — F am ily status and sex o f child; comparison o f children interviewed with chil­

dren in B oston continuation school.
Children in Boston
continuation school.
Fam ily status and sex of child.

Children inter­
viewed (Boston).

Per cent
Per cent
Number. distribu­ Number. distribu­
tion.
tion.

3,399

100.0

823

100.0

Parents living together............ - ...........................
Father dead or not living with fam ily............
Mother dead or not living with fam ily............
Both parents dead or not living with fam ily.
Status of one or both parents.not reported.. .

2,263
600
150
96
290

66.6

8.5

582
151
26
19
45

70.7
18.3
3.2
2.3
5.5

B oys.................................- ...............................

2,026

100.0

~477

100.0

88

65.9
18.0
4.3

331
94
15

52
187

2.6

8

69.4
19.7
3.2
1.7

9.2

29

6.1
100.0

Both sexes............ .........................................

Parents living together.........................................
Father dead or not living with fam ily............
Mother dead or not living with fam ily............
Both parents dead or not living with fam ily.
Status of one or both parents not reported...

1,335
364

17.7
4.4

2.8

Girls..................................................................

1,373

100.0

346

Parents living together.........................................
Father dead or not living w ith fam ily............
Mother dead or not living with fam ily............
Both parents dead or not living with family.
Status of one or both parents not reported...

928
236
62
44
103

67.6
17.2
4 .5
3.2
7.5

251
57

40

11
11
16

in both groups the proportion of cases in which the status of either one or both parents is not re­

ported is comparatively high; 8.5 per cent in the continuation-school group and 5.5 per cent in theschedule
group for both sexes.


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\

89

TH E FAMILIES.

Many children doubtless went to work because of economic need
caused by the death of the father or by the fact that, for some reason,
he was not living with his family. Of all the children for whom
continuation-school records were taken, about one-fifth— 20.5 per
cent— belonged to broken families of this kind; 2.8 per cent did not
live with either parent; and 17.7 per cent lived with their mothers,
but had lost their fathers by death or desertion. Practically no dif­
ference was found between the girls and boys as to this point.
The fact that the mother was dead or not living with the family
seemed to have had much less influence in sending children to work.
The mothers of only 7.2 per cent, as compared with the fathers of
20.5 per cent, of the children in the continuation-school group were
dead or not living with their families. This percentage was some­
what higher for the girls, 7.7 per cent, than for the boys, 6.9 per cent.
Approximately 1 child in 20, 4.4 per cent, lived with his father but
had no mother, or none at home.
Of the children who were interviewed a smaller proportion than of
the Continuation-school children came from families in which the
mother was dead or not living with the family, but a slightly larger
proportion from families in which the father was dead or not living
th the family. The differences between the two groups, however,
are too slight to be significant.
T a b l e 22.— Fam ily status, by sex and nativity o f child; children in B oston continuation
school.

All children.

Fam ily status and sex of child.

Both s e x e s ...................................................

Native
children.

N um ­
ber.

Per
cent
dis­
tribu­
tion.

N um ­
ber.

Per
cent
dis­
tribu­
tion.

Foreign-born
children.

N um ­
ber.

Per
cent
dis­
tribu­
tion.

1 3,399

100.0

2,761

100.0

637

100.0

1 2,263
600
150
96
290

66.6
17.7
4 .4
2 .8
8.5

1,810
513
127
78
233

65.6
18.6
4.6
2 .8
8.4

452
87
23
18
57

7L 0
13.7
3.6
2 .8
8.9

Boys.................... .............................................

1 2,026

100.0

1 ,7 0 T

100.0

324

100.0

Parents living together..........................................
Father dead or not living with fa m ily .. , ___
Mother dead or not living w ith fam ily............
Both garents dead or not living w ith fa m ily
Status, of one or both parents not reported...

1 1,335
364
88
52
187

65.9
18.0
4.3
2 .6
9.2

1,101
321
79
46
154

64.7
18.9
4.6
2.7
9.1

233
43
9
6
33

71.9
13.3
2 .8
1.9
10.2

1,373

100.0

1,060

100.0

313

100.0

928
236
62
44
103

67.6
Ì7.2
4.5
3.2
7.5

709
192
48
32
79

66.9
18.1
4.5
3.0
7.5

219
44
14
12
24

70.0
14.1
4.5
3.8
7.7

Parents living together.......................... ...............
Father dead or not living with fam ily............
Mother dead or not living w ith fam ily............ }
Both parents dead or not living with family
Status of one or both parents not reported.. .

Girls.............................................................. .
rents living together.......................................... .
ather dead or not living with fam ily. . . . ___
other dead or not living with fam ily............ .
Both parents dead or not living w ith family.
Status of one or both parents not reported___

1 Including one boy for whom nativity was not reported,

4 9 4 7 0 °— 22------ 7


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90

T H E W O R K IN G C H IL D R E N OF BOSTON .

When the native are compared with the foreign-born children, asin Table 22 for the continuation-school group, it is found that the
proportion of working children who belonged to broken families was
higher among the native than among the foreign born. The per­
centage of cases in which both parents were dead or not living with
their families was precisely the same for both, but a somewhat smaller
proportion of the foreign-born children lived in families where the
mother only was missing, and a decidedly smaller proportion, 13.7
per cent as compared with 18.6 per cent for the native, in families
where the father only was missing. Evidently the death of the father
or the fact that he was, not living with his family was relatively more
frequently a factor in the circumstances that led to the child’s employ­
ment among the native than among the foreign-born children.
T able

23.— Fam ily status, by sex and nativity o f child and nativity o f father; children
interviewed.

Children.

Fathers foreign born.

N a­
tivity
of fa­
Children
Children for­ thers^
native.
eign-born. notr
port­
ed;
chil­
Per
Per
Per
Per
N um ­ cent N um ­ cent N um ­ cent N um ­ cent dren
ber. distri­ ber. distri­ ber. distri­ ber. distri­ na­
bution.
bution
bution.
bution. tive.
Total.

Fam ily status and s e i of child.

Both sexes................•............ .....................

823

Both fathers
and children
native.

100.0

201

100.0

427

100.0

127

100.0

Parents living together.......................................
Father dead or not living w ith fam ily.........
Mother dead or not living w ith fa m ily .........
Both parents dead or not living with family
Status of one or both parents not reported..

166

100.0

29

252

100.0

76

100.0

22

175

100.0

90

100.0

17

B o y s........................................... ...................

61.4
25.2
3.1

Parents living together................... ..................
Father dead or not living w ith fam ily..........
Mother dead or not living w ith fam ily.........
Both parents dead or not living with family
Status of one or both parents not reported..

29

Girls...............................................................

346

Parents living together.......................................
Father dead or not living with fam ily..........
Mother dead or not living w ith fam ily........
Both parents dead or not living with fam ily
Status of one or both parents not reported..

100.0

.8

9.4

100.0

*74-

100.0

72.6
16.6
3.4
2.9
4.6

In this respect the native children of foreign-born fathers stand,
as might be expected, about halfway between the foreign-born
children and the native children of native fathers. Table 23 shqlj
that, among the children who were interviewed, 16.9 per cent of th
foreign-born children, 19.2 per cent of the native children whose
fathers were foreign born, and 24.9 per cent, or almost exactly onefourth, of the native children of native parentage came from families
without fathers. In every group except that of native children of

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TH E FAMILIES.

91

oreign-born fathers a smaller proportion of the girls than of the boys
came from such families.41
The father or mother may have died or deserted the family be­
tween the time the child became 14 and the date of his going to work,
and thus the loss of a parent may often be the direct cause of the
employment of a child even though such employment did not begin
as soon as the child became of legal age to work. Nevertheless,
Table 24 shows that 35.2 per cent of the continuation-school children
whose fathers only were dead or not living with their families, as
compared with 33 per cent of those whose parents were living together,
left school to go to work before they were 14^ years of age. On the
other hand, only 30.7 per cent of the children whose mothers were
dead or not living with their families and 30.2 per cent of those both
of whose parents were dead or not living with their families went to
work at this age.
T a b l e 24.

A ge at talcing out first certificate, by fa m ily status,• children in B oston con­
tinuation school.

Children taking out first certificate at specified age.

Fam ily status.

A ll
chil­
dren.

14 under 14|. 14J under 15. 15 under 15|. 15J under 16.
N um - Per N um - Per N um - Per N um - Per
ber.
cent. ber. cent. ber. cent. ber. cent.

Total.................................. ......................
Parents living together.........................................
Father dead or not living w ith fam ily............
Mother dead or not living with fam ily...........
Both parents dead or not living with fam ily
Status of one or both parents not reported..

3,399

1,151

33.9

710

20.9

732

21.5

806

23.7

2,263
600
150
96
290

747
211
46
29
118

33.0
35.2
30.7
30.2
40.7

485
134
33
29
29

21.4
22.3
22.0
30.2
10.0

504
128
27
21
52

22.3
21.3
18.0
21.9
17.9

527
127
44
17
91

23.3
21.2
29.3
17.7
31.4

In all these tables, however, the terms father and mother include
stepfather and stepmother, so that the actual number of children
who had lost one or the other parent by death is considerably greater
than here shown. The death or desertion of the mother, as has been
seen, appears to have affected comparatively few children. But if
we eliminate the stepfathers, as in Table 25, it is found that the
fathers of one-fifth, 20.7 per cent, of the children interviewed were
dead. The proportion of children of native parentage whose fathers
were dead is even higher, 24.4 per cent, or nearly one-fourth. This
table shows, again, that the death of the father must have been less
important as a cause of the employment of the child among the
'children of foreign parentage who, as already stated, had the larger
roportion at work than among those of native parentage, and also
less important among the south and east European races than
among the north and west European races.
« The slight differences between these groups in the proportion of cases in which the mother was dead
or not living w ith the fam ily are based on too sm all numbers to be significant.


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92

TH E WORKING CHILDREN OF BOSTON.

Among the children of all the different nationality groups, excep
the Italian, the death of the father seems to show itself definitely as
a cause of the employment of the child. An estimate, based on the
death rates prevailing in the death registration area of the United
States in 1910, shows that not more than 12.2 per cent of all children
of 14 would normally have lost their fathers by death.42 Y et of all
the children interviewed in the Boston continuation school 20.7 per
cent had lost their fathers; and among those of native parentage this
proportion rose to 24.4 per cent and among the Irish to 25.7 per
cent. Even the children of the south and east European nationalities
showed a slightly higher proportion, 13.8 per cent, of fatherless
children than the estimate for the entire population. Only the
children of Italian parentage, indeed, fell slightly below this estimate
in the proportion of working children whose fathers were dead.
Among all nationality groups except the Italian, therefore, children
whose fathers were dead seem to have been more likely to go to work
than children whoBe fathers were living. For the Italian group the
figures suggest merely that children whose fathers were living were
as likely to go to work as those whose fathers were dead.
T a b l e 25.— Death o f father, by nationality; children interviewed.
ChUdren whose fathers were dead.

Nationality of father.

AU
clüldren.

Stepfather.

Total.

N um ­
ber.

Per
cent.®

Total.............................................

823

170

20.7

Father native.........................................
Father foreign horn......................... —

201

49
109

24.4
18.4

North and west Europe............... .

258

593

24.0

No
step­
father.

149

Total.

N ot
Em ­
Uving
ployed. with
family.

19

54

English.....................................
Irish..........................................
Scotch...................................... .
German....................................
Scandinavian...........................
Other.......................................
37

South and east Europe...... ..........
Russian Jewish........................
Other Jewish...........................
Italian......................................
Other.......................................
Asia, Syria.....................................
North America..............................

6 32

French Canadian....................
EngUsh and Scotch Canadian.
NationaUty of father not reported.......

29

a N ot shown where base is less than 50.
6 Including 1 child the nationality of whose father was not specified.
« Estim ated from the mortaUty during 14 years of males aged 30 as given in U . S . Life Tables, 1910. The
estimate is purposely sUghtly overstated in assuming a rather high average age of fathers at the births of
their children and in assuming that the mortality of males applied to married males.


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93

TH E FAMILIES.

Desertion by the father, though not a frequent cause of child labor
as compared with the death of the father, doubtless played its part in
sending children from school to work, for the fathers of 21 of the 823
interviewed children, or 2.6 per cent, were not living with their
families.
OCCUPATION OF FATHER.

Table 26 gives, according to the occupations of the fathers at the
time the children went to work, the distribution of all the children
interviewed whose fathers were living with their families. About
T a b l e 26.- -Occupation o f father, and nativity o f father and child, by sex o f child; children
interviewed.
Children.
Fathers foreign born.
Occupation of father or stepfather and
sex of child.

B oth sexes.........................

.......

B o y s ......... ...............................

Girls....................... ..........................
Father living with fam ily.....................
Laborer (all industries)..................
Skilled or semiskilled m echanic..
Factory operative.............................
Merchant (including peddler)___
Other proprietor.............................. ..
Clerical worker.................................*
Teamster, driver, expressman__
Other.....................................................
N ot em ployed............ . . ! ! ! . [. ” ! !
Father not living with fa m ily ..............
Father dead................................................
N ot reported...............


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201

823

Father living with family....................
Laborer (all industries)................
Skilled or semiskilled mechanic.
Factory operative...........................
Merchant (includingpeddler)...
Other proprietor..............................
Clerical worker.................................
Teamster, driver, expressm an..
Other................... . . . . . . ...................
N ot e m p lo y e d ................................
Father not living with fam ily ............
Father dead..............................................
N ot reported.. . . ___ ..................

Father living with family......................
Labor (all industries)........ .............
Skilled or semiskilled nechanic. .
Factory operative.....................
Merchant (including peddler).. ! I
Other proprietor................................
Clerical worker.-.............................V
Teamster, driver, expressman. . .
Other................... . . . . . . .....................
N ot employed..........................
Father not living with fam ily
Father dead........................................
N ot reported.........................

Both fathers
and children
native.

Na­

tivity
of
Children
Children father
native.
foreign born not
re­
port­
Per
Per
Per
ed;
Per
cent N um ­ cent
chil­
Num­ distri­
um ­ cent N um ­ cent
distri­ Nber,
distri­
distri­ dren
ber.
ber.
ber.
bu­
bu­
na­
bu­
bu­
tion.
tion.
tion.
tion. tive.
Total.

427

166

100.0

100.0

18.6
18.6
14.3

100.0

7.6
24.8
10.3
5.5

23.4
16.0
13.6
7.7
5.3
.3
9.8

8.0
1.6
8.2
4.9

2.8

13.1

5.5
9.7
21.4
12.4

12.8

477

127

19.5
15.0

21.8
11.3

6.8
.8

2.3
9.0
13.5

11.8
12.1

252

100.0

20.9
18.4
12.9

10.0
4.0

1.6

9.3
13.2
10.7

22

76

100.0

16.2
22.5
12.4
9.1
4.9

29

100.0

"Ì2 .4
10.9
10.4

100.0
22.0
20.3
18.6

10.2
11.9
1.7
1.7
5.1
8.5

11
346

74

100.0

21.8
13.3
17.0

6.6
4.8
1.5

6.6
12.9
15.5

175

100.0
14.3
17.9
14.-3
3.6

1.8

5.4
14.3
14.3
14.3

100.0
17.6

10.8
24.3

12.2
2.7

12.2
17.6

94

T H E W O R K IN G C H IL D R E N

OF BOSTON .

one-eighth, 12.8 per cent, of the children had unemployed fathers.^
Not far from one-fifth, 18.6 per cent, had fathers who were laborers,
and the same proportion had fathers who were skilled or semiskilled
mechanics. The fathers of 14.3 per cent were factory.operatives, of
8.2 per cent teamsters, drivers, and expressmen, and of 8 per cent
merchants and peddlers. Very few, only 1.6 per cent of the children,
had fathers who were clerical workers.
Considerable difference was found between girls and boys in respect
to the occupations of the fathers. In the first place, the unemploy­
ment of the father appears to have had more effect upon the employ­
ment of girls than of boys; although in general girls were less likely
to go to work than boys, a larger proportion of the girls than of the
boys who were interviewed, 15.5 per cent as compared with 10.7 per
cent, had unemployed fathers. A considerably larger proportion of
.the fathers of the girls, too, 21.8 per cent as compared with 16.2 per
cent, were laborers, and a much smaller proportion, 13.3 per cent as
compared with 22.5 per cent, were skilled or semiskilled mechanics.
A smaller number of girls went to work, however, and it is interesting
to note that the number of girls whose fathers were laborers, 59, is
precisely the same as that of boys. Similarly the fathers of 46 girls
and of 45 boys were factory operative's, making the proportion fc
girls 17 per cent and for boys only 12.4 per cent. On the other hand
the much larger numbers and proportions of boys whose fathers were
skilled or semiskilled mechanics, merchants or peddlers, and team­
sters, drivers, or expressmen seem to indicate clearly a decidedly
greater tendency among the sons than among the daughters of men
in these occupations to go to work at an early age.
Considerable difference was also found between the different
nativity groups, the native children of native parentage having a
larger proportion of fathers who were skilled or semiskilled operatives,
those of foreign parentage a larger proportion who were laborers, and
the foreign-born children larger proportions of fathers who were
factory operatives and who were merchants or peddlers. Of the
native children of native parentage approximately one-fourth, 24.8
per cent, had fathers who were skilled or semiskilled mechanics, and
only 7.6 per cent had fathers who were laborers. On the other hand,
nearly one-fourth, 23.4 per cent, of the native children of foreign
parentage were children of laborers and only 16 per cent were children
of skilled or semiskilled mechanics. The fathers of nearly as large a
proportion of the foreign-born children, 15 per cent, as of the native^
children of foreign parentage were skilled or semiskilled mechanics
and the fathers of a smaller proportion, only 19.5 per cent, as com-{
pared with 23.4 per cent, were laborers. But over one-fifth, 21.8 per
cent, of the foreign-born children had fathers who were factory
operatives, and the fathers of more than one-tenth, 11.3 per cent,

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95

TH E FAMILIES.

were merchants or peddlers. Of the native children of native
fathers only one-tenth, 10.3 per cent, and of the native children of
foreign-born fathers only a little more than one-eighth, 13.6 per cent,
were factory operatives. Comparatively few native children, more­
over, only 5.5 per cent of those whose fathers were native and 7.7 per
cent of those whose fathers were foreign born, had fathers who were
merchants or peddlers.
UNEMPLOYED FATHERS.

It is impossible to make even an estimate of the proportion of
unemployed men in Boston during the period covered by this study.
But the unemployment of the father of the family, like his desertion,
seems to have been less, important as a cause of the child’s employ­
ment than his death. It has already been seen that about one-eighth,
12.8 per cent, of the interviewed children whose fathers were living
with their families had unemployed fathers at the time they went to
work. Table 27 shows, however, that this proportion was con­
siderably less, only 8.8 per cent, among the children included in the
continuation-school group.
As already stated, among the interviewed children a considerably
larger proportion of girls than of boys, 15.5 per cent as compared with
10.7 per cent, had unemployed fathers. But this difference is
decidedly less, 9.5 per cent as compared with 8.3 per cent, among the
children for whom continuation-school records were used.
T a b l e 27. — Em ploym ent o f father and sex o f child; comparison o f children interviewed

with children in B oston continuation school.

Children in Boston
continuation school.

Children inter­
viewed.

Status of father and sex of child.
Per cent
Per cent
Number. distribu­ Number. distribu­
tion.
tion.
Both sexes........................................ .
Father living w ith fam ily.......................
Em p loyed............................................. .
N ot employed.......................................
Father dead or not living w ith family
Father’s status not reported..................
Boys................................................... .

3,399

823

2,577
100.0
2,350
91.2
227
8.8
696 ..................
126 ..................

635
554
81
170
18

2,026

477

Father living w ith fam ily.......................
E m ployed................................. : ......... .
N ot employed.......................................
Father dead or not living with fam ily
Father’s status not reported...................

1,537
100.0
1,409
91.7
128
8.3
416 ..................
73 ..................

364
325
39

.4..

1,373

346

1,040
100.0
941
90.5
99
9.5
280 ..................
53 ..................

271
229
42

Girls......................................................

Father living with fam ily........................
E m ployed..............................................
N ot employed......................................
Father dead or not living with fa m ily .
Father’s status not reported....................


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102

100.0
87.2

12.8

100.0
89.3
10.7

11

68
7

100.0
84.5
15.5

96

T H E W O R K IN G C H IL D R E N

OF BOSTON .

The proportion of children who had unemployed fathers, according
to Table 28, was about the same in each nativity group, though some­
what larger among the foreign-born children. This difference was
due entirely to the fact that a considerably larger proportion of
foreign-born girls than of foreign-born boys, 17.6 per cent as compared
with 8.5 per cent, had unemployed fathers. In fact a smaller propor­
tion of the foreign-born boys than of any other group had fathers who
were unemployed. Among the native children of native fathers the
difference between the girls and boys in this respect was somewhat
less than in any other nativity group. Evidently no definite conclu­
sion can be drawn as to the effect of the unemployment of their
fathers in causing the children of the different nativity groups to go
to work.
T a b l e 28 .— E m p lo ym en t o f fa th er, and n a tiv ity o f fa th er and child, by sex o f ch ild; children
in terview ed.

EMPLOYED MOTHERS.

Table 29 shows that of the children whose mothers were living with
their families 15.8 per cent of the continuation-school group and 17.5
per cent of the interviewed group had mothers who were gainfully
employed. In both groups a larger proportion of girls than of boys,
among the interviewed children 19.6 per cent as compared with 15.9
per cent, had employed mothers.

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97

T H E F A M IL IE S .

Considerable difference existed, according to Table 30, in*the tend­
ency of the different nativity groups as regards the employment of
mothers of working children. It appears that, in families of the chil­
dren interviewed where the father was native born, the mother was
more likely to have gone to work before the child was sent into
industry than in those where the father was foreign born; and she
was also more likely to have gone to work first in the families where
the father was foreign born but the children native than in those where
both fathers and children were foreign born. Of the children of native
fathers about 2 in every 10, 20.3 per cent, had employed mothers, and
the proportion for the native children of foreign-born fathers was
nearly as high, 18.4 per cent. But of the foreign-born children less
than 1 in 10, 9.7 per cent, had employed mothers. This difference
between the nativity groups is probably in part due to a greater tend­
ency on the part of mothers whose children were born in this country
to go to work themselves rather than send their children to work, but
it may also have been due in part to the fact that in the families of
recent immigrants the mothers perhaps more often had small children
to care for at home.
T a b l e 29.- -E m ploym en t o f mother and sex o f child; comparison o f children interviewed
with children in B oston continuation school.

Children in Boston
continuation school

Children inter­
viewed (Boston).

Status of mother and sex of child.
Per cent
Per cent
distribu­ Number. distribu­
tion.
tion.

Number.

Both sexes......................
Mother living with fam ily................
Em ployed.....................................
N ot employed........................
Mother dead or not living with fam ily___
Mother’ s status not reported.................
Boys.................................................................. ..
Mother living with fa m ily ..............
Em ployed.....................................
N ot employed.................. .............
Mother dead or not living with fam ily___
Mother’ s status not reported.............
Girls.......................................................
Mother living with fa m ily .
•..........
Em ployed.....................................
N ot employed. . ......................
Mother dead or not living with fam ily___
Mother’s status not reported...................

3,399

823

2,941
464
2,477
246
212
2,026

100.0
15.8
84.2

=

—
¡77”

1,740
260
1,480
140
146

100.0
14.9
85.1

427
68
359
23
27

100.0
17.0
83.0

306
60
246
22
18

—

1,373
1,201
204
997
106
66

733
128
605
45
45

100.0
17.5
82.5
■■ - '
100.0
15.9
84.1

346
100.0
19.6
80.4

The proportion of girls whose mothers were employed was greater
han that of boys in each nativity group, except that of foreign-born
children, where only 6.4 per cent of the girls but 13.4 per cent of the
boys had employed mothers. But among the native children of
foreign-born fathers 23.4 per cent of the girls as compared with only

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TH E W ORKING CHILDREN OF BOSTON.

98

14.9 per cent of the boys, and among the native children of nativefathers over one-fourth, 25.8 per cent, of the girls as compared
with only 17.1 per cent of the boys had mothers who were employed.
Evidently in families where the children were native, even when the
fathers were foreign born, the mothers more frequently preceded the
daughters than the sons in gainful employment.
T

able

3 0 . — Em ploym ent o f mother, by nativity o f father and child, and sex o f child;

children interviewed.

Children.
N a­
tiv­
ity
of
fath­
ers
Children
Children
not
foreign bom .
native.
re­
port­
ed;
Per
Per
chil­
cent
cent
N um ­ distri­ N um ­ distri­ dren
na­
ber.
ber.
bu­
bu­
tive.
tion.
tion.
Fathers foreign b om .

Total.

B oth fathers
and children
native.

Status of mother and sex of child.
Per
Per
cent
cent
Num ­ distri­ N um ­ distri­
ber.
ber.
bu­
bu­
tion.
tion.

Both sexes....................................................

823

Mother living with fam ily.................................
Em ployed............ — ............- . - - — —
N ot employed................................................
Mother dead or not living with fam ily------Mother’s status not reported.............................

733
128
605
45
45

B o y s................................................... ...........

477

Mother living with fam ily.................................
Em ployed........................................................
N ot em ployed.................................................
Mother dead or not living with fam ily.........
Mother’ s status not reported.............................

427
68
359
23
27

Girls................................................................

346

Mother living with fam ily...............................
Em ployed.................................... .................
N ot employed.................................- ............
Mother dead or not living with fam ily------

306
60
246
22
18

177
36
141
8
16

100.0
20.3
79.7

111
19
92
5
11

100.0
17.1
82.9

66
17
49
3

228
34
194
14
10

100.0
25.8
74.2

158
37
121
11
6

145
14
131
9
12

100.0
9.7
90.3

100.0
14.9
85.1

67
9
58
3
6

1

100.0
13.4
86.6

78
5
73
6
6

21
6
15
1
7

90
100.0
23.4
76.6

25
7
IiT
3
22

76

175

74
100.0
19.6
80.4

100.0
18.4
81.6

252

127
100.0
15.9
84.1

386
71
315
25
16

29

166

427

201
100.0
17.5
82.5

100.0
6 .4
93.6

4
1
3
2
1

5

The preceding comparisons relate only to children whose mothers
were known to be living with their families. Table 31, on the other
hand, shows that of all the interviewed children, including also those
whose mothers were dead or not living with their families or whose
mothers’ status was not known, only 15.6 per cent had employed
mothers. Yet the proportion of working mothers rose to 25.9 per
cent among the children whose fathers were unemployed and to 40
per cent among the children whose fathers were dead or not living
with their families. Moreover, the latter group had an unusuallylarge proportion, 11.2 per cent, of mothers who were also dead cr
not living with their families, so that less than half, 44.7 per cent,'
of these fatherless children had mothers at home and not employed.
But of the children whose fathers were employed, 83.6 per cent, or


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T H E F A M IL IE S .

99

nearly twice as large a proportion, had mothers at home and not
employed. Evidently the death, desertion, or unemployment of the
father frequently led directly to the employment of the mother.
T a b l e 31 .— Em ploym ent o f mother, by sta tu s'of father and sex o f child; children inter­
viewed.

Children whose mother? were—

Status of father and sex of child.

A ll
chil­
dren.

F.mployed.

N ot
employed.

N um Per
N um ber.
cent.1 ber.

Dead or not
living
w ith family.

Mother’s
status not
reported.

Per
N um Per N um - Per
cent.1 ber.
cent.1 ber. cent.1

Both sexes............................................

823

128

15.6

605

73.5

45

5,5

45

5.5

Father em ployed........................ .............
Father not em ployed....................................
Father dead or not living with fam ily...
Father’s status not reported.......................

554
81
170
18

39
21
68

7.0
25.9
40.0

463
59
76
7

83.6
72.8
44.7

25
1
19

4.5
1.2
11.2

27

4.9

•7
11

4.1

B o y s.........................................................

477

68

14.3

359

75.3

23

4.8

27

5.7

Father em ployed.........................................
Father not em ployed....................................
Father dead or not living with family ..
Father’s status not reported.......................

325
39
102
11

25
7
36

7.7

82.5

14
1
8

4.3

18

5.5

35.3

268
31
55
5

7.8

3
6

2 .9

G i r l s . .. .. . ,* ..........................................

346

60

17.3

246

71.1

22

6.4

18

5.2

Father em ployed.............................................
Father not em ployed....................................
Father dead or not living with fam ily...
Father’s status not reported.......................

229
42
68
7

14
14
32

6.1

195
28
21
2

85.2

11

4.8

9

*3.9

30.9

11

16.2

4

5 .9

.-v

47.1

53.9

1 N ot shown where base is less than 50.

ECONOMIC NEED OF CHILD’S WORK.

The figures which have been given relating to the families of the
children tend to throw some indirect light upon the economic need
for their gainful labor. Upon this point more direct evidence is
furnished, however, b y the statements of the children themselves,
which, though not to be wholly relied upon, probably reflect roughly
the part played b y poverty in the transfer of the young children of
Boston from school to industry.
From one-third to two-fifths of the children, 32.7 per cent of those
in the continuation-school group and 40.5 per cent of those in the
interviewed group, stated that they had left school for economic
reasons— that is, because their earnings were needed at home. Table
32 shows also that a larger proportion of girls than of boys left school
for this reason. Of the girls interviewed, indeed, neatly half, 48.6
^er cent, left school for economic reasons. Evidently the girls, more
enerally than the boys, were kept in school unless their earnings
were actually needed.
Economic need as a reason for child labor appeared to decrease as
the family’s length of residence in this country increased. Table 33

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100

T H E W O R K IN G C H IL D R E N OF BOSTO N .

shows, for example, that of the Italian children who were inter­
viewed, nearly two-thirds, 63.7 per cent, of those who were them­
selves foreign born and only about one-half, 50.9 per cent, of those
who were native born of foreign fathers, left school for economic
reasons. On the other hand only about one-third, 33.2 per cent, of
the native children of fathers from north and west Europe, the source
of the earlier immigration, and but little more than one-third, 34.3
per cent, of the native children of native fathers, alleged economic
necessity as a reason for leaving school. To a certain extent, how­
ever, this result may have been influenced by more frequent un­
willingness on the part of native children of native fathers to confess
to economic need even when such need actually existed.
T a b l e 32.— Reason fo r leaving school, by sex; comparison o f children interviewed with
children in B oston continuation school.

Children in
Boston continuation
school.

Children
interviewed
(Boston).

Reason for leaving school, and sex.
Number.

« Both sexes................................ *
Economic reasons..............................
Other reasons...................................
Reasons not reported........................
Boys.........................................
Economic reasons..................................
Other reasons................................
Reasons not reported..........................
Girls..........................................
Economic reasons.........................................
Other reasons.......................................
Reasons not reported..................................

Per cent
Per cent
dis­
Number.
dis­
tribution.
tribution.

3,399

100.0

823

100.0

1,112
1,846
441

32.7
54.3
13.0

333
408
82

40.5
49.6
10.0

2,026

100.0

477

100.0

566
1,177
'283

27.9
58.1
14.0

165
262
50

34.6
54.9
10.5

1,373

100.0

346

100.0

546
669
158

39.8
48.7
11.5

168
146
32

48.6
42.2
9.2

In each group, except the native children of fathers from north and
west Europe, a larger proportion of girls than of boys gave economic
necessity as the reason for leaving school. The difference between
the sexes in this regard is particularly striking among the native
children of native fathers; in this group 44.6 per cent of the girls and
only 28.3 per cent of the boys left school for this reason.
Economic reasons for leaving school were given by a larger propor­
tion of the children whose fathers were unemployed than of those
whose fathers were dead or not living with their families, 77.8 per_
cent as compared with 53.5 per cent. Table 34 shows also that chil­
dren of foreign parentage gave this reason as often as those of native
parentage when their fathers were unemployed, but more often, in
56.4 per cent of the cases as compared with 52 per cent, when their
fathers were dead or not living with their families.

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101

TH E FAMILIES.

T a b l e 33.— Reason fo r leaving school, by nationality o f father and nativity and sex o f
child; children interviewed.

Children who left school because of—

Nationality of father and nativity and sex of child.

A ll
chil­
dren.

Economic
reasons.

Other
reasons.

Reasons not
reported.

N um ­ Per N um ­ Per N um ­ Per
ber. cent.1 ber. cent.1 ber. cent.1
B oth sexes................................................................

823

333

40.5

408

49.6

82

10.0

B oth fathers and children native................................
Fathers foreign born and children native................
Fathers’ nationalities:
North and west Europe.................................
Irish.................................. ............................
Other..............................................................
South and east Europe...................................
Italian.............. ....................... ......................
Other..............................................................
Other......................................................................
B oth fathers and children foreign b o m ....................
Fathers’ nationalities:
North and west Europe..................................
Irish................................................................
Other.............................................................
South and east E u ro p e ..t..............................
Italian............................................................
Other..............................................................
Other......................................................................
N ativity of fathers not reported; children native.

201
427

69
167

34.3
39.1

111
215

55.2
50.4

21
45

10.4
10.5

235
161
74
162
106
56
30
166

78
54
24
78
54
24
11
89

33.2
33.5
32.4
48.1
50.9
42.9

127
83
44
72
45
27
16
65

54.0
51.6
59.5
44.4
42.5
48.2

30
24
6
12
7
5
3
12

12.8
14.9
8.1
7.4
6.6
8.9

23
6
17
135
91
44
8
29

6
6
80
58
22
3
8

477

B oth fathers and children native................................
Fathers foreign born and children native................
Fathers’ nationalities:
North and west Europe..................................
Irish.............................. ................................
Other.............................................................
South and east Europe...................................
Italian............................................................
Other.........................................................
Other.......................................................... ............
B eth fathers and children foreign b o m ....................
Fathers’ nationalities:
North and west Europe...................................
Irish..................................... . . ; ................... .
Other..............................................................
South and east Europe................................... .
Italian............................................................
Other...............................................................
Other.......................................................................
N ativity of fathers not reported; children native..

53.6

39.2

7.2

1

59.3
63.7

16
6
10
44
29
15
5
17

165

34.6

262

54.9

50

10.5

127
252

36
91

28.3
36.1

77
134

60.6
53.2

14
27

11.0
10.7

147
96
51
85
51
34
20
76

49
32
17
36
21
15
6
34

33.3
33.3
33.3
42.4
41.2

82
51
31
41
24
17
11
37

55.8
53.1
60.8
48.2
47.1

16
13
3
8
6
2
3
5

10.9
13.5
5.9
9.4
11.8

18
5
13
57
34
23
1
22

3
3
31
19
12

Girls.............................................................................

346

168

48.6

B oth fathers and children native.................................
Fathers foreign born and children native.................
Fathers’ nationalities:
N orth and west Europe...................................
Irish..................................................................
Other....................'v.........................................
South and east Europe.....................................
Italian............................................ .................
O th er....................J.......................................
Other........................................................................
B oth fathers and children foreign born......................
Fathers’ nationalities:
North and West E u r o p e .................................
Irish..................................................................
Other................................................................
South and east Europe........................... .........
Italian...................................... .......................
Other................................................................
Other.......................................................................
N ativity of fathers not reported; children n a tiv e ..

74
175

33
76

88
65
23
77
55
22
10
90

29
22
7
42
33
9
5
55

5
1
4
78
57
21
7
7

3

,-sss

B oys...........................................................................

1 N ot shown where base is less than 50.


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447

__

48.7

1
11
4
7

8.1
4.4

4

6.6

1
38.6

1
4
2
2

146

42.2

32

9.2

44.6
43.4

34
81

45.9
46.3

7
18

9.5
10.3

33.0
33.8

45
32
13
31
21
10
5
28

51.1
49.2

14
11
3
4
1
3

15.9
16.9

31.1

7

7 .8

28.2
28.1

7
2
5

9.0
3.5

54.4

4

3
49
39
10
3
4

14
5
9
22
13
9
1
14

32.6
31.9

54.5
60.0
61.1

62.8
68.4

2
1
1
22
16
6
4
3

7.0

4

40.3
38.2

5.2
1.8

102

TH E WORKING CHILDREN OE BOSTON.

The contrast between girls and boys on this point is shown i
Tables 35 and 36, which give the proportions of each sex among the
children whose fathers and among those whose mothers were em­
ployed, unemployed, or dead or not living with their families. Of all
the. children whose fathers were unemployed only 51.9 per cent were
girls, yet of those with unemployed fathers who gave economic
reasons for leaving school 54 per cent were girls. Similarly, of all
the children whose fathers were dead or not living with their families
only 40 per cent were girls, yet of the children of this group who gave
economic reasons for leaving school 42.9 per cent were girls.43 Table
36 shows that, although of all the children whose mothers were em­
ployed only 46.9 per cent were girls, of those with employed mothers
who gave economic reasons for leaving school 52.1 per cent were
girls. That girls were more likely than boys to leave school only
because of economic necessity is again shown in the fact that, although
only 42 per cent of all the children were girls, of those who stated
that they left school for economic reasons 50.5 per cent were girls.
T a b l e 34,— Reason fo r leaving school, by status and nativity o f father; children inter­
viewed.

Children who left school because of—

Status and nativity of father.

A ll
chil­
dren.

Economic
reasons.

Other
reasons.

Reasons not
reported.

N um ­ Per N um ­ Per N um ­ Per
ber. cent.« ber. cent.« ber. cent.®

Total...........................................................- ...............................

823

333

40.5

408

49.6

82

10.0

Father em ployed................................................................................
Father not employed.........................................................................
Father dead or not living with fam ily.......................................
Father’ s status not reported...........................................................

554
81
170
18

176
63
91
3

31.8
77.8
53.5

323
16
63
6

58.3
19.8
37.1

55
2
16
9

9.9
2.5
9 .4

Father n a tiv e ...................... .......................................................

201

«T

34.3

in

Father employed.................................................................................

30
13
26

23.6

Father dead or not living with fam ily.......................................
Father’ s status not reported...........................................................

127
18
50
6

Father foreign b o m ....................................................................

593

256

412
59
110
12

145
46
62
3

29

8

17

4

15
4
10

1
4
3

13

1

4

3

Father employed................................................................................
Father not employed...... ..................................................................
Father dead or not living w ith fam ily.......................................
Father’s status not reported...........................................................

55.2

21

10.4

81
5
22
3

63.8

16

12.6

44.0

2
3

4.0

43.2

280

47.2

57

ÖTö

35.2
78.0
56.4

229
11
37
3

55.6
18.6
33.6

38
2
11
6

9.2
37^
10.0

52.0

—

a Not shown where hase is less than 50.
43 Table 35 also shows, in another w ay, the fact already mentioned that the unem ploym ent of the father
seems more often to have been a cause of the employment of the girl than of the boy. For, although only
•42 per cent of all the children interviewed were girls, 51.9 per cent of those whose fathers were unemployed
were girls.


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103

TH E FAMILIES.
able

35.— Sex, by reason fo r leaving school, and status o f father; children interviewed.

B oys.
Reason for leaving school and status of father.

Girls.

Children.
Number. Per cent.1 Number. Per cent.1

A ll reasons..... ..................................

823

477

58.0

346

42.0

Father employed............ ..........................
Father not employed.................................
Father dead or not living w ith family.
Father’s status not reported...................

554
81
170
18

325
39
102
11

58.7
48.1
60.0

229~
42
68
7

41.3
51.9
40.0

Economic reasons...........................

333

165

49.5

168

50.5

Father employed........................................
Father not employed................................
Father dead or not living with family.
Father’s status not reported..................

176
63
91
3

82
29
52
2

46.6
46.0
57.1

94
34
39
1

53.4
54.0
42.9

Other reasons....................................

408

262

64.2

146

35.8

Father employed........................................
Father not employed................................
Father dead or not living with family.
Father’s status not reported...................

323
16
63
6

209
8
42
3

64.7

114
8
21
3

35.3

Reasons not reported.....................
Father employed........................................
Father not employed................................
Father dead or not living with fa m ily .
Father’s status not reported..................

■

66.7
___

■

33.3

82

50

61.0

32

39.0

55
2
16
9

34
2
8
6

61.8

21

38.2

8
3

—a N ot shown where base is less than 50.

T a b l e 36.— Sex, by reason fo r leaving school, and status o f mother; children interviewed.

Boys.
Reason for leaving school and status of mother.

. Girls.

Children.
Number. Per cent.1 Number. Per cent.1

A ll reasons............................... .......................................

823

477

58.0

346

42.0

Mother employed......................................................................
Mother not employed.................................................. ...........
Mother dead o f not living with fam ily............................
Mother’s status not reported.............. ’ ................................

128
605
45
45

68
359
23
27

53.1
59.3

60
246
22
18

46.9
40.7

Economic reasons.........................................................

333

165

49.5

168

50.5

Mother employed.................................................................. ..
Mother not*employed..............................................................
Mother dead o f not living with fam ily.............................
Mother’s status not reported..................................................

73
234
16
10

35
117
6
7

47.9
50.0

38
117
10
3

52.1
50.0

Other reasons..................................................................

408

262

64.2

146

35.8

Mother employed......................................................................
Mother not employed..............................................................
Mother dead or not living with fam ily..............................
Mother’s status not reported.............. "................................

43
322
25
18

27
209
15
11

64.9

16
113
10
7

35.1

Reasons not reported..................................................

82

50

61.0

32

39.0

Mother em ployed................................... ................................
Mother not*employed..............................................................
Mother dead o f not living with fam ily.............................
Mother’s status not reported.............. .................................

12
49
4
17

6
33
2
9

1 N ot shown where base is less than 50.


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6
16
2

S'

TERMINATION OF SCHOOL LIFE.
The next questions which arise relate to the child’s relationship to
the school, to the age at which he left, the amount of school time
lost between leaving and going to work, whether or not he began
work during a vacation period, his specific reason for leaving, the
grade he had completed, and whether he was in a higher grade than
normal, a normal grade, or a grade lower than normal for his age.
In considering these subjects it must be remembered that all the more
detailed data in this study relate to the group of children interviewed,
about three-fourths of whom, as compared with less than a third of
all children taking out certificates, were less than 14^ years of age
when they went to work. About 19 out of 20 o f these children,
indeed, went to work before they were 15. Even among the children
included in the continuation-school group, furthermore, a somewhat
larger proportion took out certificates when under 15 years of age
than among all those who took out certificates.44
AGE AT LEAVING SCHOOL.

Naturally, because of the differences in age at going to work, a
larger proportion of the interviewed children than of those included
in the continuation-school group left school when less than 15 years
of age. Table 37 shows, indeed, that 95.2 per cent of the inter­
viewed children left school before they were 15, and 18.7 per cent of
them before they were 14. A larger proportion of girls than of boys,
21.4 per cent as compared with 16.8 per cent, left school before the
age of 14. Even of the children in the continuation-school group
274, or 8.1 per cent, left school when under 14— 44, or 1.3 per cent,
when under 13J years of age. In this group, too, girls showed a
greater tendency than boys to leave school early.
Children whose fathers were dead or not living with their families
showed a tendency to leave school, as well as to go to work,45 younger
than those from normal families. Although in some cases the death
of the father or his separation from the family may have occurred
when the child was over 15 and caused his employment at this later
age. Table 38 shows that, in the group of children for whom con­
tinuation-school records were used, 63.1 per cent of those whose
fathers alone were dead or not living with their families, as compared
with 56.5 per cent of those whose parents were living together, left
« See Table 17, p. 84.

104


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<5 See pp. 89,91,

105

T E R M IN A T IO N OF SCH O O L LIFE,

school before they were 15. Moreover, about 1 in 10, 10.8 per cent,
of the fatherless children, as compared with only 7.6 per cent of the
children from normal families, left school when under 14— 20 per cent
before they were 13£ years of age. A similar tendency to go to work
comparatively early is shown among the children both of whose
parents were dead or not living with their families.
T a b l e 37.— A ge at leaving school, by sex; comparison o f children interviewed with children

in B oston continuation school.

Children in Boston
continuation school.

Children interviewed (Boston).

Age at leaving school and sex.
Per cent
Per cent
Number. distribu- Number. distribution.
tion.
Both sexes.

3,399

100.0

823

100.0

Under 14.................
14, under 15..........
15, under 16..........
Not reported........
N ot leaving...........

274
1,657
1,125
142
201

8.1
48.7
33.1
4 .2
5.9

154
630
38
1

18.7
76.5
4.6
.1

B oys............

2,026

100.0

477

100.0

Under 14................
14, under 15..........
' Sounder 16..........
Not reported____
Not leaving...........

133
938
711
105
139

6 .6
46.3
35.1
5.2
6 .9

80
373
23
1

16.8
78.2
4.8
.2

Girls............

1,373

100.0

346

100.0

Under 14................
14, under 15..........
15, under 16..........
N ot reported........
Not leaving___ , .

141
719
414
37
62

10.3
52.4
30.2
2.7
4.5

74
257
15

21.4
74.3
4.3

T able

3 8 .— A ge at leaving school, by fa m ily status; children in B oston continuation
school.

Children leaving school at specified age.

Fam ily statu s.

Total.

Under
13*.

13* under
14.

14 under
15.

15 under
16.

N ot
reported.

Children
not
leaving
school.

Num­ Per N um ­ Per N um ­ P e r. N um ­ Per Num­ Per N um
ber. cent. ber. cent. ber. cent. ber. cent. ber. cent. ber.
T o t a l ............... 3,399
Parents liv in g to­
gether.................... 2,263
Father dead or not
livin g w ith fam ily. 600
Mother dead or not
^living w ith fam ily.
150
oth parents dead
or not livin g w ith
^ fa m ily ........................
96
Status of one or both
parents notreporte d .................. .............. 290

44

1.3

230

6 .8 1,657

26

1.1

147

6 .5 1,107

48.9

12

2 .0

53

8 .8

314

52.3

1

0 .7

12

8 .0

69

2

2 .1

6

6 .3
4.1

3

4 94 7 0°— 22------ 8


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Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

1 .0

12

48.7 1,125

33.1

142

773

34.2

69

3 .0

169

2 3 .2

20

3 .3

46.0

54

3 6 .0

5

3 .3

57

59.4

24

25.0

3

3 .1

V.
110

37.9

105

36.2

45

15.5

4 .2

201

Per
cent.

5.9

106

T H E W O R K IN G C H IL D R E N OF B O STO N .

SCHOOLTIME LOST.

If a child became 14 during a vacation, however, he may have left
school before that age without any violation of the compulsoryattendance law. Of much greater significance, therefore, than
whether or not he left school before he was 14 is the length of the period
during the school term between the date of his leaving school and
the date of his going to work. This interval between leaving school
and going to work usually meant48 time lost which, according to
law, should have been spent in school.
T a b l e 39.— A m ou n t o f school time lost, by nativity o f father and nativity and sex of
child; children interviewed.
Children.

Total.
School tim e lost and sex of child.

B oth
fathers
and
children
native.

Fathers foreign born.
NativityChildren
native.

Children
foreign born.

Per
Per
Per
Per
Num ­ cent N um ­ cent N um ­ cent N um ­ cent
ber. distri­ ber. distri­ ber. distri­ ber. distri­
bution
bution
bution
bution

A ll children.........................................

823

Children who lost during interval be­
tween leaving school and going to
work specified am ount of school tim e
(interval wholly or partly during
school term )................................................ « 600
341
None or less than 1 w eek...........................
258
One week or m ore........................................
135
1 week under 1 m on th ........................
77
1 m onth under 3 m onths....................
28
3 months under 6 m onths..................
18
6 m onths or over................................
Children w ith interval entirely during
223
vacation........................................................
B o y s.......................................................

477

Children who lost during interval be­
tween leaving school and going to
work specifiedamountof schooltime
(interval wholly or partly during
school term )................................................ o355
222
None or less than 1 w eek...........................
132
One week or m ore........................................
78
I week under 1 m onth........................
38
1 month under 3 m onths....................
10
3 m onths under 6 m onths..................
6 m onths or over...................................
6
Children w ith interval entirely during
122
vacation........................................................
Girls.......................................................
Children who lost during interval be­
tween leaving school and going to
work specified amount of schooltime
(interval wholly or partly during
school term )................................................
None or less than 1 w eek...........................
One week or m ore.........................................
1 week under 1 m on th ........................
1 month under 3 m onths....................
3 months under 6 m onth s.................
6 m onths or over...................................
Children w ith interval entirely during
vacation........................................................

100.0

201

100.0

427

100.0

166

100.0

72.9
41.4
31.3
16.4
9.4
3 .4
2.2

157
88
69
32
18
11
8

78.1
43.8
34.3
15.9
9 .0
5.5
4 .0

296
168
128
70
42
11
5

69.3
39.3
30.0
16.4
9 .8
2.6
1.2

a 124

74.7
45.2
28.9
15.1
8 .4
2 .4
3 .0

75
48
25
14
4
5

27.1

44

21.9

131

30.7

42

25.3

100.0

127

100.0

252

100.0

76

100.0

74.4
46.5
27.7
16.4
8 .0
2.1
1.3

100
62
38
23
8
5
2

78.7
48.8
29.9
18.1
6 .3
3 .9
1.6

180
112
68
38
24
3
3

71.4
44.4
27.0
15.1
9 .5
1.2
1.2

«58
39
18
12
4
1
1

76.3
51.3
23.7
15.8
5 .3
1.3
1.3

25.6

27

21.3

72

28.6

18

23.7
100.0

346

100.0

74

100.0

175

100.0

90

245
119
126
57
39
18
12

70.8
34.4
36.4
16.5
11.3
5.2
3 .5

57
26
31
9
10
6
6

77.0
35.1
41.9
12.2
13.5
8.1
8.1

116
56
60
32
18
8
2

66.3
32.0
34.3
18.3
10.3
4.6
1.1

66
36
30
13
10
3
4

73.3
40.0
33.3
14.4
11.1
3.3
4 .4

101

29.2

17

23.0

59

33.7

24

26.7

Including 1 boy for whom amount of schooltime lost was not reported.
In some cases the children m ay have obtained special home permits. See pp. 2 and 364.


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fathers
not
ported;
children
native.

T E K M IN A T IO N OF SCH OO L L IF E .

107

Nearly one-third of the interviewed children, 31.3 per cent, lost
one week or more of schooltime during their transfer from school
to work. This proportion, as shown in Table 39, was even higher.
34.3 per cent, among the native children of native fathers, and was
lowest, 28.9 per cent, among the foreign-born children. Less than a
month was lost by 16.4 per cent of the children, but nearly one tenth,
9.4 per cent, lost from one to three months, 3.4 per cent from three to
six months, and 2.2 per cent six months or more.
More girls than boys lost schooltime, for of the girls over onethird, 36.4 per cent, and of the boys only 27.7 per cent had an
interval of one week or more between leaving school and going to
work. The girls, moreover, lost larger amounts of time for, though
the proportion of girls who lost one week but under one month is
about the same as that of boys, 11.3 per cent of the girls as com­
pared with 8 per cent of the boys lost from one to three months,
5.2 per cent as compared with 2.1 per cent of the boys lost from
three to six months, and 3.5 per cent as compared with 1.3 per cent
of the boys lost six months or more. This loss of time was even
greater among the native girls whose fathers were also native than
among those whose fathers were foreign born or among the foreign’ orn girls. Over two-fifths, 41.9 per cent, of the native girls whose
^fathers were native lost a week or more, and considerably more than
one-fourth, 29.7 per cent, lost a month or more of school time during
the transition from school to work.
SEASON AND MONTH OF GOING TO WORK.

A t the time of this study promotions in the Boston schools took
place only in June, and, therefore, children who went to work at
any time during the school year either did so without having finished
the grade which they had last begun, or else had failed to attend
school as required by law. Yet, according to Table 40, nearly
three-fourths, 72.8 per cent, of the children interviewed went to work
during the school year. As the school year constitutes about threefourths of the calendar year this means that nearly, though not
quite, as many children took their first positions during a school
term as would have been the case if the dates of taking positions had
been evenly distributed throughout the year.
Nevertheless, these children did go to work somewhat more fre­
quently during the summer vacation than at other times, for a lit­
tle over one-fourth of them, 27.2 per cent, took their first regular
ositions during this period. But even this slightly greater tendency
o go to work during the summer than at any other time showed itself


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108

THE WORKING

CHILDREN OF BOSTON.

entirely among the girls, of whom 29.8 per cent went to work at tha«
season as compared with almost exactly one-fourth, 25.4 per cent, of
the boys. In all the nativity groups, except the Irish, the girls
were more likely than were the boys to take their first positions dur­
ing a summer vacation.
T a b l e 40.— Time o f securing first regular p o sitio n b y nationality o f father, and nativity
and sex o f child; children interviewed.

Children who-went to work—

Nationality of father, nativity and sex of child.

A ll
children.

During
summer
vacation.

A t some other time.

Num ber. Per cent.1 Num ber. Percent.1

Both sexes...................................................................
B oth fathers and children native....................................
Fathers foreign born and children native....................
Fathers of English-speaking nationalities. . —
Irish...........................................................................
Other....................................................- ............. .. - Fathers of non-English speaking nationalities..
Italian— ................................................................
Other....................................................... .. — . . . .
B oth fathers and children foreign born........................
Fathers of English-speaking nationalities...........
Irish............................................................................
Other........................................................ ...............
Fathers of non-English speaking nationalities..
Italian.......................................................................
Other.........................................................................
N ativity of fathers not reported; children native ..
B oys............................. .................................................

823

224

201

2427
222

161
61
204
106

78.1
69.3
66.7
68.3
62.3
72.1
71.7
72.4
74.7

25.5

74.5 1
78.0
68.5

31.5

477

121

25.4

356

346

1 N ot shown where base is less than 50.
* Including one boy the nationality of whose father was not specified.

74.6

20.5
28.6
32.8
32.3

79.5
71.4
67.2
67.7

23." 7'
25.4
23.7

*76." 3
78.4
74.6
76.3

23.0

77.0

21.6

Both fathers and children native..................................
Fathers foreign born and children native..................
Fathers of English-speaking nationalities.........
Irish ...'....................................................................
Other.......................................................................
Fathers of non-English speaking nation alities.
Italian......................................................................
Other......................................................................
Both fathers and children foreign born......................
Fathers of English-speaking nationalities.........
Irish.................................... .....................................
Other................................ '. ....................................
Fathers of non-English speaking nationalities.
Italian......................................................................
Other.......................... ............................................
N ativity of fathers not reported; children native..


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72.8

21.9
30.7
33.3
31.7
37.7
27.9
28.3
27.6
25.3

22.0

B oth fathers and children native..........
— .—
Fathers foreign born and children native...................
Fathers of English-speaking nationalities...........
Irish........................................ ..................... .............
Other.......................... ..............................................
Fathers of non-English speaking nationalities..
Italian.......................................................................
Other.........................................................................
Both fathers and children foreign b o m ...................... .
Fathers of English-speaking nationalities.........
Irish .................................................................... ..
Other.......................................................................
Fathers of non-English speaking nationalities.
Italian.............. ......................................... .............
Other.................... ...................................................
N ativity of fathers not reported; children native..
Girls...... .............................. .......................................

27.2

29.

243

70.2

24.3
33.7
34.1
30.8

75.7
66.3
65.9
69.2

*33." 3'
34.5

"¿6.7
65.5

*26." 7

73.3

27.4

22.8

109

T E R M IN A T IO N - OF SCH O O L L IF E .

Taking both sexes together, however, the native children of foreignborn fathers, and particularly the Irish, were more likely to go to
work during the vacation period than were the foreign-born children
and decidedly more so than the native children of native fathers.
Of the native children of foreign-born fathers 30.7 per cent, of the
foreign-born children 25.3 per cent, and of the native children of
native fathers only 21.9 per cent went to work during a summer
vacation. Of the native children of foreign-born fathers of Englishspeaking nationalities, indeed, one-third, 33 per cent, instead of only
the one-fourth which would be expected if the dates of going to work
were evenly distributed throughout the year, went to work during
the vacation period.
T a b l e 41. — Time o f securing first reqular position, by status o f father and sex o f child:

children interviewed.

Children who went to work.

Status of father and sex of child.

A ll
children.

During summer
vacation.

A t some other time.

Number. Per cent.1 Number. Per cent.1
Both sexes............... .............................

823

Father employed............................................
Father not employed . ..................................
Father dead or not living with fam ily...
Father’ s status not reported.......................
B o y s........................................................

27.2

72.8

28.7

71.3
79.0
74.1

21.0
25.9
477

25.4

Father employed............................................
Father not em ployed....................................
Father dead or not living with family . .
Father’ s status not reported.......................
^

Girls.........................................................

346

103

29.8

243

Father em ployed............................................
Father not em ployed....................................
Father dead or not living ■with fam ily .
Father’ s status not reported.......................
1 Not shown where base is less than 50,

The fact that even less than one-fourth of the native children of
native fathers seem to have taken their first positions during the long
summer vacation is primarily due to the small proportion, 20.5 per
cent, of the boys of this group who went to work during that period.
Nevertheless the girls, instead of counteracting the tendency of the
boys, showed a trifle less than the expected percentage, 24.3 per cent,
going to work during the summer vacation. No other group shows
so large a proportion who went to work at some time during the school
term or during short vacations. It might be surmised that this was
due to a greater tendency among native children of native parentage
to take a vacation during the summer and wait until autumn, when


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110

T H E W O R K IN G C H IL D R E N OF B O STO N .

they would otherwise be obliged to return to the school room, be­
fore securing positions. American-born parents are often said to be
more indulgent toward their children than foreign-born parents, and
it has already been shown that, according to the child’s statement
of his reasons for leaving school, economic pressure was more common
in the families where the father was foreign born. But, as will be
seen later, it appears to be due, primarily, not to this cause but to a
greater tendency on the part of native children of native parentage,
particularly boys, to go to work in the spring before school has
closed.47
Children whose fathers were unemployed were, naturally, more
likely to go to work during the school year than those whose fathers
were employed. Table 41 shows that only 21 per cent of the children
of unemployed fathers, as compared with 28.7 per cent of the children
of employed fathers, took their first positions during a summer vaca­
tion. On the other hand, of the children whose fathers were dead
or not living with their families practically as large a proportion,
25.9 per cent, went to work during a summer vacation period as
would be expected if the fact that school was in session had no in­
fluence whatever. It may be that the economic stress caused b y
unemployment is more immediately pressing than that caused by
the death or desertion of the father which in many cases, doubtless,
had occurred some time before the child became of age to work.
That many children who did not go to work during the summer
took positions soon after school had begun in September, apparently
to avoid going back to school, appears clearly in Table 42, which
gives the number and proportion of children going to work in each
month of the summer vacation and in each month of the school term.
As June and September belong in part to the vacation and in part to
the school period, these two months appear in each list. Yet during
the school term part of September a larger number of children went
to work than during any other complete month except June. About
one-eighth, 12.9 per cent, of the interviewed children went to work
in September after school had opened, whereas only 13.1 per cent
went to work during the entire month of June, both before and
after the closing of school. If the numbers of children who went to
work in September both before and after school opened are added, it
is found that not far from one-fifth, 17.4 per cent, of all the children
went to work in that month alone.®
*i See Table 42, pp . 112-113.
“ For the children who were interviewed, first regular position means the first position held afte
leaving school, regardless of certification; the large number of children going to work in September can
not, therefore, be a reflection of any peculiarity in the employment-certificate records bu t m ust repre­
sent the actual fact.


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Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

T E R M IN A T IO N OP SC H O O L L IF E .

Ill

After September and June, May had the largest number of children
going to work, 10.4 per cent, and April came next with 9.8 per cent,
precisely the same proportion as went to work after school had closed
in June. Many children, apparently, left school shortly before the
end of the session in order to secure the better positions before the
closing of the schools released other applicants. During November
and the three winter months—December, January, and February—
fewer children went to work than during any other month except
August, which was even less popular for entering industry than either
December or February. Evidently the children who did not go to
work during the- early part of the vacation were likely to wait until
after school had begun in September.
The girls showed an even greater tendency than the boys to go to
work rather than return to school in the fall. Of the girls 15.6 per
cent and of the boys only 10.9 per cent went to work in September
after school had opened. The girls, however, showed much less tend­
ency than the boys to leave school for work during April and May,
the two months during which almost exactly one-fourth, 24.9 per cent,
of the boys took their first positions. In part this may be due to the
fact that in the spring more opportunities, especially for outdoor
'Work, are opened to boys than to girls. In part it may be due to
more pronounced cases of “ spring fever” among boys than among
girls.
The tendency to leave school for work in April and May was de­
cidedly more pronounced among the children of native than among
those of foreign-born fathers and also more pronounced among the
boys than among the girls whose fathers were native. Among these
girls, moreover, the movement into industry seems to have begun in
March, when 10.8 per cent of them went to work, to have fallen to 6.8
per cent in April, and to have risen again to 12.2 per cent in May.
But 30 per cent of the boys whose fathers were native went to work
in April and May alone, and not far from half, 45 per cent, of them
went to work during the four months from February to May, inclu­
sive. Of the boys whose fathers were foreign born, on the other
hand, only 34.5 per cent, or very few more than would be expected if
the dates of going to work were evenly distributed throughout the
year, went to work during these four months. The Russian Jewish
children, indeed, seem to have entirely resisted this tendency to leave
school for work in large numbers in the spring; they showed, moreover, less tendency than any other nationality group to go to work in
the middle of a school year. At the same time the proportion of
children who went to work in September after school had opened
was practically the same in each nationality group.


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112

T a b l e 42.— M onth o f going to w ork1 in first regular position ,by nativity and nationality o f father and sex o f child; children interviewed.

Children of foreign-born fathers.
A ll children.

Children of na­
tive fathers.
Total.

Month of going to work in first regular posi­
tion and sex.
N um ­ Per cent
distri­
ber.
bution.

N um ­ Per cent
distri­
ber.
bution.

Italian.

N um ­
ber.

Percent
distri­
bution.

Russian Jewish.

Num ­ Per cent
distri­
ber.
bution.

N um ­
ber.

Per cent
distri­
bution.2

Children
the
nativity
of whose
fathers
Per cent was not
distri­ reported.
bution.

Other.

N um ­
ber.

Both se x e s.....................................................

823

100.0

201

100.0

8 593

100.0

167

100.0

197

100.0

70

100.0

158

100.0

During summer vacation.....................................
J u n e.....................................................................
J u ly ........ ............................................................
A u g u st................................................................
Septem ber.........................................................
A t some other tim e ................................................
January...............................................................
F ebruary...........................................................
M arch....................................................
A p r il....................................................................
M a y ................................................................
J u n e.....................................................................
Septem ber.........................................................
October...........................................................
N ovem ber....................................... ..................
December........................................................

224
81
61
45
37
599
42
48
60
81
86
27
106
61
40
48

27.2
9.8
7.4
5.5
4.5
72,8
5.1
5.8
7.3
9.8
10.4
3.3
12.9
7.4
4.9
5.8

44
17
8
6
13
157
10
14
17
24
28
2
27
11
10
14

21.9
8.5
40
3.0
6.5
78.1
5.0
7.0
8.5
11.9
13.9
1.0
13.4
5.5
5.0
7.0

173
64
50
37
22
8 420
32
30
41
8 51
55
25
77
46
30
33

29.2
10.8
8.4
6.2
3.7
70.8
5.4
5.1
6.9
8.6
9.3
4.2
13.0
7.8
5.1
5.6

54
15
18
14
7
113
8
10
10
15
16
9
22
8
7
8

32.3
9.0
10.8
8.4
4.2
67.7
4.8
6 .0
6.0
9.0
9.6
5.4
13.2
4.8
4.2
4 .8

50
20
10
14
6
147
14
7
15
17
23
6
25
21
9
10

25.4
10.2
5.1
7.1
3.0
74.6
7.1
3.6
7.6
8.6
11.7
3.0
12.7
10.7
4.6
5.1

26
14
5
5
2
44
2
5
5
3
2
3
9
5
5
5

•37.1
20.0
7.1
7.1
2.9
62.9
2.9
7.1
7.1
4.3
2.9
4.3
12.9
7.1
7.1
7.1

43
15
17
4
7
115
s
8
11
15
14
7
21
12
9
10

27.2
9. 5
10.8
2.5
4.4
72.8
5.1
' 5.1
7.0
9.5
8.9
4 A
13.3
7.6
5.7
6.3

B o y s...................................................... ..........

477

100.0

127

100.0

8 328

100.0

101

100.0

85

100.0

40

100.0

101

100.0

During summer vacation............................ ........
J u n e....................................................................
J u ly ......................................................................
A u g u st.............................................. „ ...............
Septem ber..................................... - ..................
A t some other tim e ................................................
January..............................................................
February......................................... .................
M arch..*............................................. ...............
A p r il.......................................................... .......
M a y .....................................................................
J u n e.....................................................................
Septem ber.........................; ............................

121
45
36
25
15
356
21
31
33
63
56
17
52

25.4
9.4
7.5
5.2
3.1
74.6
44
6 .5
6.9
13.2
11.7
3.6
10.9

26
13
5
4
4
101
7
10
9
19
19
1
17

20.5
10.2
3.9
3.1
3.1
79.5
5.5
7.9
7.1
15.0
15.0
0.8
13.4

90
32
28
20
10
8 238
14
18
23
8 38
34
16
34

27.4
9.8
8.5
6.1
3.0
72.6
4.3
5.5
7.0
11.6
10.4;
4.9i
10.4!

33
8
12
10
3
68
5
6
4
13
11
5
10

32.7
7.9
11.9
9.9
3.0
67.3
5.0
5.9
4.0
12.9
10.9
5.0
9.9

18
10
3
4
1
67
6
4
9
9
13
4
'5

21.2
11.8
3.5
4.7
1.2
78.8
7.1
4.7
10.6
10.6
15.3
4.7
5.9

14
6
4
3
1
26
1
3
3
1

25
8

24 3
7.9

3
5
76
2
5
7
14
10
5
14

3 0
5 0
75 2
2.0
5 0
0 Q


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f

2
5

5. 0
13.9

29
7
3
2
2
22
4
2
6
3
2
4
1
22

17

1

T H E W O R K IN G C H IL D R E N OF BOSTON,

N um ­ Per cent
distri­
ber.
bution.

Irish.

October..........................
N ovem ber.................... '
Decem ber......................
G irls................ ...........

346

74

2 Rate not shown where base is less than 50.
8 Including one boy ,the nationality of whose father was not specified,

100.0

100.0

66

100.0

9.4
5. 9
4.7

112

100.0

30

32
10
7
10
5
80
8
3
6
8
10
2
20
13
4
6

28.6
8.9
6 .2
8.9
4.5
71.4
7.1
2.7
5.4
7.1
8.9
1.8
17.9
11.6
3.6
5.-4

12
8
1
2
1
18
1
2
2
2
2
1
4
1
3

4
2
5
100.0

7
7
5

6 .9
6 .9
5.0

57

100.0

7

18
7
8
1
2
39
6
3
4
1
4
2
7
5
2
5

31.6
12.3
14.0
1. 8
3.5
68.4
10. 5
5.3
7.0
1. 8
7 .0
3 .5
12.3
8.8
3 .5
8.8

2

) 3

1
1
5
1
1

1
1
1

In determining
the study were

T E R M IN A T IO N - OF SCH O O L L IF E .

During summer vacation.
J u n e.................................
Ju ly..................................
A u gu st............................
S e p tem b er...................
A t some other tim e ............
January..........................
February.......................
M arch..............................
A p ril................................
M a y .................................’
Ju ne...........................
Septem ber.....................
October...........................
N ovem ber....................’
December...................

5
4

U 3


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114

T H E W O R K IN G C H IL D R E N OF BOSTO N .

try in the spring, rather than any greater tendency to save themselves
from school by going to work in the autumn, which accounts for
the large proportion of native children of native fathers who dropped
their school careers without stopping even to finish the grades they
were in. It may be that these children are more likely to leave
school in the spring if they fear they will not be promoted than are
the children of foreign-born fathers. But whatever the reason, the
children who were interviewed had left school in large numbers from
one to three months before the end of the school year when promo­
tions were to take place.
REASONS FOR LEAVING SCHOOL.

The economic reasons for leaving school have already been dis­
cussed. Many other reasons, however, were given by the children
who were interviewed, and these have been classified and the number
and proportion of children giving each type of answer are shown in
Table 43. Although the replies may not be as accurate on this as on
most points, and although one-tenth of the children failed to give any
reason, the replies obtained seem sufficiently significant to make
a classification worth while.
^ a
About one-fifth, 20.2 per cent, of all the children were discontented
with school, either because they disliked their school or their teacher
or because of their slow progress or nonpromotion. A few children,
4 per cent of the .total, stated that they had finished the eighth grade
and did not wish to go to high school. Others, 12.3 per cent of the
total, gave as a reason for leaving school merely that they wished to
work. Many of the children, of course, who preferred to work rather
than attend school were doubtless influenced by discontent with
school, but, on the other hand, discontent with school may have
been caused by the desire to go to work.
Discontent with school was given as a reason for leaving more often
by native children of both native and foreign-born fathers than by
foreign-born children. As fewer foreign-born children had finished
the eighth grade this fact was less frequently given by them as a rea­
son for leaving school than by either group of native-born children.
Moreover, although 17.4 per cent of the native children of native
fathers stated merely that they wished to work, this reply was given
by only 11.2 per cent of the native children of foreign-born fathers
and by only 7.8 per cent of the foreign-born children. On the other
hand, the fact that the parents wished the child to work was given a~
a reason by only 3.5 per cent of the native children of native father^
but by 6.3 per cent of those of foreign-born fathers and by 5.4 per
cent of the foreign-born children.


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110

T E R M IN A T IO N OF SCH O O L L IF E .

-T a b l e 43.— Reason fo r leaving school, by nativity offath er and nativity, and sex o f child;
children interviewed.

Children.

Fathers foreign b o m .
Total.
Reason for leaving school, and sex.

N um
ber.

Both sexes.............................................
Economic reasons...........................................
A ll other reasons............... . . . ! . ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !
Discontent w ith schooi. ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !
Disliked school or teacher.............
Slow progress or nonpromotion..
Finished eighth grade and did not
wish to go to high school_________
Other reasons.............................................
Child wished to work___
Parent wished child to work........
Illness of child....................................
Illness in fam ily...........................
Other reasons........................... .........
Not reported............................. ..........................
B o y s.........................................................
Economic reasons.............................................
A ll other reasons...................
Discontent with schooi! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !
Disliked school or teacher..............
Slow progress or nonprom otion..
Finished eighth grade and did not
wish to go to high school...................
Other reasons.............................................
Child wished to w o r k ! ! ! . ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !
Parent wished child to w o rk ...
Illness of child....................................
Illness in fam ily.........................! ! ! !
Other reasons................... .................
Not reported.................................! . ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !
Girls.....................................
Economic reasons.............................................
A ll other reasons.................... ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !
Discontent with school! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !
Disliked school or teacher.............
Slow progress or nonpromotion. .
Finished eighth grade and did not
wish to go to high school....................
Other reasons..............................................
Child wished to work................ ! ! !
Parent wished child to work........
Illness of child....................................
Illness in fam ily............................. . !
Other reasons............. ..............
N ot reported....................... .....................

Both fathers
and children
native.

Per
cent
N um
dis­
ber.
tribu­
tion.

Children
native.

Children
foreign born.

Per
Per
cent
cent
dis­ N um ­ dis­ N um
ber.
ber.
tribu­
tribu­
tion.
tion.

823

100.0

201

100.0

427

100.0

333
408
166
100
66

40.5
49.6
20.2
12.1
8 .0

69
111
45
27
18

3473” .1 6 7
55.2
215
22.4
94
13.4
54
9 .0
40

39.1
50.4
22.0
12.6
9.4

33
209
101
45
12
10
41
82

4 .0
25.4
12.3
5 .5
1.5
1.2
5.0
10.0

8
58
35
7
4
4
8
21

4 .0
28.9
17.4
3 .5
2 .0
2 .0
4 .0
10.4

19
102
48
27
2
4
21
45

4 .4
23.9
11.2
6 .3
0 .5
0.9
4.9
10.5

477

100.0

127

100.0

252

165
262
109
64
45

34.6
54.9
22.9
13.4
9 .4

36
77
33
22
11

28.3
60.6
26.0
17.3
8.7

91
134
62
33
29

16
137
73
29
8
2
25
50

3 .4
28.7
15.3
6.1
1.7
0 .4
5.2
10.5

5
39
27
5
3

3.9
30.7
21.3
3 .9
2 .4

4
14

346

100.0

168
146
57
36
21

48.6
42.2
16.5
10.4
6.1

17
72
28
16
4
8
16
32

4 .9
20.8
8.1
4 .6
1.2
2 .3
4 .6
9 .2

3
19
8
2
1
4
4
7

166

Per
cent
dis­
tribu­
tion.

Na­
tivity
of
fathers
not re­
ported;
chil­
dren
native.

100.0

29

53.6
39.2
14.5
10.8
3 .6

8
17
3
1
2

4
37
13
9
6
1
8
-1 2

2 .4
22.3
7.8
5.4
3.6
0 .6
4.8
7.2

2
12
5
2

100.0

76

100.0

22

36.1
53.2
24.6
13.1
11.5

34
37
12
9
3

44.7
48.7
15.8
11.8
3 .9

4
14
2

3 .2
25.4
13.1
6 .0
0.4
0.8
5 .2
.10.7

1
24
8
7
4

1.3
31.6
10.5
9 .2
5.3

2
10
5
2

3 .2
11.0

8
64
33
15
1
2
13
27

5
5

6 .6
6 .6

3
4

74

100.0

175

100.0

9Ö" 100.0

7

33
34
12
5
7

44.6
45.9
16.2
6 .8
9 .5

76
81
32
21
11

43.4
46.3
18.3
12.0
6.3

55
28
12
9
3

61.1
31.1
13.3
10.0
3 .3

4
3
1
1

4.1
25.7
10.8
2 .7
1.4
5 .4
5 .4
9 .5

11
38
15
12
1
2
8
18

6.3
21.7
8.6
6 .9
0 .6
1.1
4.6
10.3

3
13
5
2
2
1
3
7

3 .3
14.4
5.6
2 .2
2 .2
1.1
3 .3
7.8

89~
65
24
18
6

1
4
4

2

2

1
1

The girls, as already stated, gave economic reasons for leaving school
jn a much larger proportion of cases than did the boys. All the other
reasons, therefore, were less frequently given by girls. Only 16.5
per cent of the girls, for example, as compared with 22.9 per cent of
the boys, gave discontent with school as a reason for leaving; and
only 8.1 per cent of the girls, as compared with 15.3 per cent of the
boys, stated merely that they wished to work.

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116

T a b l e 44.— A m ount o f schooltime lost, hy reason fo r leaving school and sex; children interviewed.

Children who lost specified amount of school tim e during interval between leaving school and going to work.
W

Reasons for leaving school, and sex.

B oth sexes......................................................................

2 823

None or less
than 1 week (in­
terval wholly or
partly during
school term ).

Other reasons............................................................

Num ­
ber.

Per
cen t.1

2.2

223

27.1

1.2
3.4
.6
1.0

99
94
42
25
17

207
23.0
25.3
25.0
25.8

15
37
18
7

17.7
17.8

Per
cent.1

Num ­
ber.

341

41.4

258

31.3

135

16.4

77

9.4

28

3.4

18

30
40
17
9
8

9.0
9.8
10.2
9.0
12.1

1
25
7
6
1

.3
6.1
4.2
6.0
1.5

4
14
1
1

9
9

4.3

2
11
2

5.3
2.0

Economic reasons....................................................................
A ll other reasons......................................................................
Discontent with school.................................................
Disliked school or teacher....................................


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Num ­
ber.

Per
cent, i

.....

Finished eighth grade and did not wish to go
to high school............... ...............................................
Other reasons....................................................................
Child wished to work.............................................

Per
cent.1

Num ­
ber.

»477

—

Num ­
ber.

6 months
or over.

Per
cen t.1

4
84
45
20
3
3
13
34

B o y s........................................................... .

Per
cent.1

3 months under
6 months.

Num ­
ber.

33
2 209
101
45
12
10
»41
82

N ot reported..................................................................... ..

1 month under
3 months.

Per
cent, i

143
164
76
46
30

Other reasons....................................................... ...........
Child wished to work............................................

1 week under
1 month.

Total.

Children
with inter-#
vals entirely
during vaca­
tion.

Num ­
ber.

333
2 408
166
100
66

Economic reasons....................................................................
A ll other reasons......................................................................
Discontent with school.................................................
Disliked school or teacher....................................
Slow progress or nonpromotion.........................
Finished eighth grade and did not wish to go

One week or more.

42.9
40.2
45.8
46.0
45.5

■ 91
149
48
29
19

11.0

78

16.4

38

26.1
29.4
22.9
21.9

31
42
11
6
5

18.8
16.0
10.1
9.4

12
21
12
6
6

7.3
8.0
11.0
9.4

35.8
31.5

31
15
9
1

22.6
20.5

9
6
1
1

6.6
8.2

132~

27.7

43
77
25
14
11

222~

46.5

165
»262
109
64
45

79
122
60
35
25

47.9
46.6
55.0
54.7

16
» 137
. 73
29
8
2
225

1
61
35
14
3
2
7

3
49
23
11
5

16.8
17.2
13.9
.13.0
15.2

2
21
12
4
3
1
1
7

22.0

41.5

44.5
47.9

56
70
23
13
10
1
46
24
13
1
2
6
9

14
87
38
18
9
7
15
18

40.2
44.6

27.3
36.5
28.9
29.0
28.8
41.6
37.6

ÍÓ 1...............

1

6

22.0
23.8

.|

i

10.0
11.9

8.5

1
1
2
5
2

2.4

¡7 0 "

10

2.1

................

4
2
3

8
2
2

3.1
1.8
3.1

2
4

2 .9

6

12
30
1.3

6

2.3

1
5
2

3.6
2.7

1
1

2

2

Í

36.6

122

25.6

43
62
24
15
9

26.1
23.7
22.0
23.4

12
26
15
4

19.0
20.5

—

T H E W O R K IN G C H IL D R E N OE BOSTON .

A ll
chil­
dren.

17

21

42.0

12

24.0

1 5

10.0

5

10.0

2

4 .0

346

119

34.4

126

36.4

57

16.5

39

11.3

18

5.2

12

3.5

101

Economic reasons.................................................................. .
A ll other reasons.......................................... ..........................
Discontent with school...............................................
Disliked school or teacher...................... ............
Slow progress or nonpromotion.......................
Finished eighth grade and did not wish to go
to high school................... t ............. , ............i ..........
Other reasons........ ..........................................................
Child wished to work...........................................
Parent wished child to w o r k ...........................
Illness of child....................................................... .
Illness in fam ily.....................................................
Other reasons...........................................................
N ot reported............................................................................

168
146
57
36
21

64
42
16
11
5

38.1
28.8
28.1

48
72
23
15
8

28.6
49.3
40.4

25
28
12
7
5

14.9
19.2
21.1

18
19
5
3
2

10.7
13.0
8.8

1
17
5
4
1

.6
11.6
8.8

4
8
1
1

2.4
5.5
1.8

56
32
18
10
8

17
72
28
16
4
8
16
32

3
23
10
6

1 N ot shown where base is less than 50.

1
6
13

31.9

11
38
15
7
4
7
5
6

52.8

1
15
9
4
2

2
12
6
3
2
1

4

2

20.8

16.7

7
5

2
3

6.9

1
6

8.3

2
2
2

2 Including one boy for whom amount of schooltime lost was not reported.

3
11
3
3
5
13

33.3
21.9
31.6

15.3

T E R M IN A T IO N

50

Girls................................................................................ .

N ot reported.

OF SCH OO L L IF E .

117


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118

T H E W O R K IN G C H IL D R E N OF BOSTON .

A smaller proportion of the children who gave economic reasons
than of those who gave other reasons for leaving school— 27.3 per
cent as compared with 36.5 per cent— lost as much as a week of school
time between leaving school and going to work. Only 1.5 per cent
of those who gave economic reasons, moreover, as compared with 9.5
per cent of those who gave other reasons, lost as much as three months
or more. Table 44 shows that this difference, though existing among
the boys to a slight extent, was mainly among the girls; for nearly
half, 49.3 per cent, of the girls who gave other than economic reasons
for leaving school lost a week or more of school time, and 30.1 per
cent of them lost a month or more. It might be thought that this
difference would be accounted for by the loss of schooltime occurring
among children who were leaving because of discontent with school.
Yet only a slightly larger proportion of these children than of those
who were leaving because of economic necessity, 28.9 per cent as
compared with 27.3 per cent, actually lost one week or more. The
difference, indeed, is to be accounted for by the large proportion of
children who gave reasons not directly connected with school. For
example, of the children who stated that they wished to work, over
one-third, 37.6 per cent, lost a week or more of schooltime, and this

illness or of illness in the family.
GRADE COMPLETED.

Because of the differences already discussed in age at going to
w ork 48 and also because of differences which will be discussed later
between vacation and regular workers,49 the three groups of children
show considerable differences in the grades attained in school.
About three-fourths, 75.8 per cent, of all the children who took out
certificates in the four cities, according to Table 45, had completed only
elementary grades in regular schools, and 19.5 per cent had completed
one or more years in a high school; the others had come from voca­
tional, disciplinary, or other special schools. Of the children for
whom continuation-school records were used, on the other hand, over
four-fifths, 82.1 per cent, came from elementary grades and only
13.7 per cent from high schools. As the children who were inter­
viewed were, on an average, even younger than those for whom con­
tinuation-school records were used, a still larger proportion of them,
90.9 per cent, came from elementary grades and a smaller proportion, ^
only 7.9 per cent, from high schools. In each group a larger pro­
portion of the girls than of the boys came from elementary grades.
« See p. 83. The certificate series of tables includes in addition to children who became regular workers
children who worked only during vacation or out of school hours before their sixteenth birthdays.
These latter children, according to Table 77, p. 164, were from higher grades, on an average, than were
the children leaving school for work, who constituted the continuation school and schedule groups.
« See p. 153.


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119

T E K M IN A T IO H OF SCHOOL, LIFE,

All the children included in the study were, of course, over 14 years
of age, and about half of those included in the continuation-school
and certificate groups of children were over 15 when they took
out their first certificates. Yet little more than half, 52.4 per cent,
of the children who took out certificates in the four cities combined
had completed the eighth or a higher grade in a regular school. The
corresponding percentage for the continuation-school group was
49.6, and that for the interviewed children was 45.9.
T a b l e 45.— Grade completed, by sex; comparison o f children interviewed with children in

B oston continuation school and with children issued certificates in fo u r cities.

Children issued certificates.

Grade completed or kind of school last
attended, and sex.

Boston.

A ll cities.

N um ber.

Children in Bos­ Children inter­
ton continua­
viewed
(Boston).'
tion school.

Per
N um cent
ber.
distribution.

Per
cent
distribution.

N um ber.

Per
cent
distribution.

N um ber.

Per
cent
distribution.

A ll children................

5,692

100.0

4,401

100.0

3,399

100.0

823

100.0

Elementary grades...............
,
Fourth grade..................
Fifth grade......................
?
Sixth grade.....................
Seventh grade................
Eighth grade..................
Prevocational................
Special...............................
High school grades..............
First year........................
Second year.....................
Third and fourth year.
Vocational schools................
Disciplinary schools............
Other schools.........................
N ot reported..........................

4,312
233
440
851
838
1,873
50
27
1,111
736
306
69
179
20
41
29

75.8
4.1
7.7
15.0
14.7
32.9
.9
.5
19.5
12.9
5.4
1.2
3.1
.4
.7
.5

3,322
166
330
648
621
1,481
50
26
899
595
246
58
133
12
25
10

75.5
3.8
7.5
14.7
14.1
33.7
1.1
.6
20-4
13.5
5.6
1.3
3.0
.3
.6
.2

2,790
148
291
566
504
1,219
41
21
467
364
97
6
104
11
21
6

82.1
4.4
8.6
16.7
14.8
35.9
1.2
.6
13.7
10.7
2.9
.2
3.1
.3
.6
.2

2 748
36
91
160
147
313

90.9
4.4
11.1
19.4
17.9
38.0

65
61
4

7.9
7.4
.5

10

1.2

Boys........................ ..........

3,419

100.0

2,633

100.0

2,026

100.0

477

100.0

Elementary grades...............
Fourth grade..................
Fifth grade......................
Sixth grade.....................
Seventh grade................
Eighth grade..................
Prevocational................
Special..............................
High school grades..............
Vocational schools...............
Disciplinary schools............
Other schools.........................
N ot reported.......................

2,567
119
259
514
521
1,098
45
11
732
52
19
27
22

75.1
3.5
7.6
15.0
15.2
32.1
1.3
.3
21.4
1.5
.6
.8
.6

1,955
86
193
380
386
855
45
10
603
36
12
18
9

74.2
3.3
7.3
14.4
14.7
32.5
1.7
.4
22.9
1.4
.5
.7
.3

1,637
78
171
331
309
700
40
8
331
26
ii
16
5

80.8
3.8
8.4
16.3
15.3
34.6
2.0
.4
16.3
1.3
.5
.8
.2

425
15
53
91
84
182

89.1
3.1
11.1
19.1
17.6
38.2

45

9.4

„ 7

1.5

Girls..................................

2,273

100.0

1,768

100.0

1,373

.100.0

346

100.0

1,745
114
181
337
317
775
5
16
379
127
1
14
7

76.8
5.0
8.0
14.8
13.9
34.1
.2
.7
16.7
5.6

1,367
80
137
268
235
626
5
16
296
97

77.3
4.5
7.7
15.2
13.3
35.4
.3
.9
16.7
5.5

1,153
70
120
235
195
519
1
13
136
78

84.0
5.1
8.7
17.1
14.2
37.8
.1
.9
9.9
5.7

3 323
21
38
69
63
131

93.4
6.1
11.0
19.9
18.2
37.9

20

5.8

.6
.3

’7
1

.4

5
1

.4
.1

3

.9

Elementary grades...............
Fourth grade..................
Fifth grade......................
Sixth grade.....................
Seventh grade................ .
Eighth grade..................
Prevocational................
Special...............................
igh school grades.............. .
-Vocational schools.................
Disciplinary schools..............
Other schools...........................
N ot reported............................

1 Prevocational, special, vocational, disciplinary, and other schools are not separately entered for the
children interviewed.
* Including one girl under the fourth grade.


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120

T H E W O R K IN G C H IL D R E N OF BOSTON .

Of all the children taking out certificates in the four cities combined^
including vacation as well as regular workers, according to Table 45,
nearly 1 in 20, 4.1 per cent, had barely attained the educational re­
quirement for an employment certificate, completion of the fourth
grade. Of the foreign-born children, however, one in eight, or 12.5
per cent, and of the children bom in Italy about 1 in 5, or 21.4 per
cent, had not completed any grades higher than the fourth. More­
over, less than 1 in 3, 33.1 per cent, of the foreign-born children and
only 15.7 per cent of the Italian children had completed the eighth
or a higher grade. On the other hand over two-fifths, 44.2 per cent,
of the Russian children had completed the eighth or a higher grade,
a proportion comparing not unfavorably with that of the native
children which was over one-half, 56.7 per cent. The proportion of
Russian children who had completed the eighth or a higher grade,
was higher, indeed, than that of the children born in 'England,
Scotland, Wales, or British North America— all English-speaking coun­
tries—which was only about two-fifths, 40.1 per cent. Moreover, 11.5
per cent of the Russian children, as compared with only 1.5 per cent
of the Italian children, had completed one or more high school grades.
Of the native children, however, about 1 in 5, 21.8 per cent, had
completed a year’s work in high school.
T a b l e 46.— Grade completed, by nativity and nationality o f child; children issued certifi­
cates in fo u r cities.
Foreign-horn children.

Country of birth.
Native
children.

England,
Scotland,
W ales or
British
North
America.

Total.
Russia.

Cfrade completed or school
last attended.

Italy.

Other
countries.

Per
Per
Per
Per
Per
Per
cent N u m ­ cent N u m ­ cent N u m ­ cent N u m ­ cent N u m ­ cent
Num ­
dis­
dis­
dis­
dis­
dis­
dis­
ber
ber.
ber.
ber
ber.
ber
tribu­
tribu­
tribu­
tribu­
tribu­
tribu­
tion.
tion.
tion.
tion.
tion.
tion

A ll children................

4.646 100.0

Elementary grades----- ------- 3.415
102
Fourth grade..................
286
Fifth grade— ...............
645
Sixth grade.....................
703
Seventh grade................
Eighth grade.................. 1.623
45
Pre vocational. . ............
11
Special........ ......................
High school grades.............. 1,015
670
First year........................
278
Second year....................
67
Third and fourth years
149
Vocationalschools................
20
Disciplinary schools............
Other schools and hot re­
47
ported ....... , .........................


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100.0

349 100.0

323 100.0

207 100.0

100.0

84.8
11.7

11.2
18.3

10.0
32.7
14.5

10.1
3 .9
.5
2.4

1.7

2.0

.9

3 .4

3.6

T E R M IN A T IO N
able

121

OF SC H O O L L IF E .

47.— Grade completed, by length o f residence in United States; foreign-barn children
in B oston continuation school.
Foreign-bom children in continuation school.

Living in United States specified number of years.
Total.
Under 5
years.

Grade completed or kind of
school last attended.

5 years but
under 10.

10 years and
over.

N ot
reported.

Per
Per
Per
Per
Per
N um ­ cent N um ­ cent N um ­ cent N um ­ cent N um ­ cent
distri­
distri­
distri­
distri­
distri­
ber.
ber.
ber.
ber.
ber.
bu­
bu­
bu­
bu­
bu­
tion.
tion.
tion.
tion.
tion.
A ll children.
Elementary grades
Fourth grade..
Fifth grade____
Sixth grade___
Seventh grade.
Eighth grade...
Prevocational..
Special................
High school grades.
First year..........
Second year___
V ocationa 1schools.
Other schools...........
Not reported............

637

100.0

153

100.0
98.0
34.0
27.5
17.6
7.8
5.9
1.3
3.9

224

100.0

203

100.0

57

100.0
93.0

8.8

12.3
28.1

8.8
33.3

Table 47 shows that, as would be expected, a much larger propor­
tion of the foreign-born children who had been in the United States
less than 5 years than of those who had been here longer had barely
managed to meet the educational requirements of the certificate
law. According to this table, which relates only to the continuationschool group of regular workers, over one-third, 34 per cent, of the
foreign-born children who had been in the United States less than
5 years had completed only the fourth grade, and none of them
had finished a year’s high-school work. Of the foreign-bom children
who had been in the United States 5 years but under 10 only 8.5
per cent, and of those who had been here 10 years or more only 3.4
per cent had failed to advance beyond the fourth grade. The
latter percentage compares favorably with that for native children,
which was 2.2. Furthermore, almost as large a proportion of the
foreign-born children who had been in this country 10 years or
more, 53.2 per cent, as of the native children, 56.7 per cent, had
completed the eighth or a higher grade, and 14.3 per cent of them
had finished at least one year’s work in high school.
^ When the nativity of the father as well as that of the child is
considered, as in Table 48 for the interviewed children, it is found
-at, although little more than one-fourth, 27.7 per cent, of the
foreign-born children and less than one-half, 48.5 per cent, of the
native children of foreign-born fathers had completed the eighth
grade or one or more years of high-school work, over one-half, 54.8
4 94 7 0°— 22------ 9


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122

T H E W O R K IN G C H IL D R E N OF BOSTON,

per cent, of the native children of native fathers had finished th.
eighth or a higher grade. Of the native girls whose fathers were
also native, three-fifths, 58.1 per cent, had completed the eighth or
a higher grade. It is somewhat surprising to find, however, that a
slightly larger proportion of native children of foreign-born fathers
than of native children of native fathers, 10.1 per cent as compared
with 9 per cent, had completed the first or second year of the high
school course.
T a b l e 48.— Grade completed, by nativity o f father and nativity and sex o f child; children
interviewed.
Children.

Fathers foreign born.
B oth fathers
and children
native.

Total.
Grade completed and sex
of child.

N um -

Children
native.

Children
foreign born.

Per
cent
distributton.

N um ber.

Per
cent
distributton.

N um ber.

Per
cent
distributton.

N um ber.

Per
cent
distributton.

B oth sexes......................

823

100.0

201

100.0

427

100.0

166

100.0

Under seventh grade.............
Under fourth grade.........
Fourth grade....................
Fifth grade........................
Sixth grade........................
Seventh and eighth grades..
Seventh grade..................
Eighth grade....................
H igh school grades.............. :
First year........... ..............
Second y e a r .....................
Grade not reported1..............

288

35.0
.1
4.4
11.1
19.4
55.9
17.9
38.0
7 .9
7.4

52

25.9

147

34.4

4
18
30
130
38
92
18
16

11
41
95
237
73
164
43
41
2

2.6
9.6
22.2
55.5
17.1
38.4
10.1
9.6
.5

47.6
.6
12.0
16.9
18.1
45.8
19.3
26.5
1.2
1.2

10

1.2

1

2.0
9.0
14.9
64.7
18.9
45.8
9 .0
8.0
1 0
.5

79
1
20
28
30
76
32
44
2
2
9

5.4

B o y s . . . ----- ------ i .........

477

100.0

127

100.0

252

100.0

76

100.0

Under seventh grade............
Fourth grade.................. .
Fifth grade...................... .
Sixth grade........................
Seventh and eighth grades.
Seventh grade................ .
Eighth grade...................
H igh school grades.................
First year.....................
Second year.....................
Grade not reported...............

159
15
53
91
266
84
182
45
42

33.3
3 .1
11.1
19.1
55.8
17.6
38.2
9.4
8.8

34.1
3 .2
10.3
20.6
54.0
15.5
38.5
11.9
11.1
.8

31
4
10
17
38
16
22
1
1

40.8
5.3
13.2
22.4
50.0
21.1
28.9
1.3
1.3

1.5

26.0
1.6
10.2
14.2
63.8
20.5
43.3
9 .4
8.7
_8
.8

86
8
26
52
136
39
97
30
28
2

7

33
2
13
18
81
26
55
12
11
1
1

6

7.9

346 ~~100.0

74

100.0

175

100.0

90

100.0

129
1
21
38
69
194
63
131
20
19
1
3

19

25.7

61

34.9

2
5
12
49
12
37
6
5
1

2.7
6 .8
16.2
66.2
16.2
50.0
8.1
6 .8
1.4

3
15
43
101
' 34
67
13
13

1.7
8.6
24.6
57.7
19.4
38.3
7.4
7 .4

48
1
16
18
13
38
16
22
1
1

53. 3
1.1
17.8
20.0
l£ 4
42.2
17.8
24,4
1.1
1.1

3

3.3

G ir ls .............................
Under seventh grade...........
Under fourth grade____
Fourth grade..................
Fifth grade......................
Sixth grade......................
Seventh and eighth grades.
Seventh grade................
Eighth grade...................
H igh school grades................
First year.........................
Second year.....................
Grade not reported...............

ll

36
91
160
460
147
313
65
61

37.3
.3
6.1
11.0
19.9
56.1
18.2
37.9
5.8
5 .5
.3
.9

Na­
tivity

of
thers
not re-

22

About one-third, 34.4 per cent, of all the native children of foreignborn fathers and nearly half, 47.6 per cent, of the foreign-born
children had not-completed grades higher than the sixth. Y et of

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T E R M IN A T IO N OF SC H O O L L IF E .

123

e native children of native fathers only about one-fourth, 25.9
per cent, had failed to advance beyond the sixth grade.
Of the 823 children interviewed 36, or 4.4 per cent, had barely
attained the educational requirement for an employment certifi­
cate— completion of the fourth grade. And one foreign-born girl,
when interviewed, did not claim to have completed even this grade,
although her continuation school record stated that she had done soOf the 36 children who had completed only the fourth grade 20 were
foreign born, 11 were native but had foreign-born fathers, and only 4
were native children of native fathers; 50 15 of them were boys and
21 girls.
Although it is often observed that a larger proportion of girls than
of boys enter high school, in each of the three groups of working
children the proportion of boys who had finished one or more years
of high school work was higher than the proportion of girls.51 Of the
children interviewed, however, a larger proportion of the boys than
of the girls of each nativity group came from high school grades,
while 37.3 per cent of the girls and only 33.3 per cent of the boys had
failed to complete any grade higher than the sixth. This compara­
tively large proportion of girls from the sixth and lower grades
occurred, however, mainly among the foreign-born girls, of whom
,“3.3 per cent, as compared with only 40.8 per cent of the foreignyborn boys, had completed only the sixth or a lower grade. This
was probably due to the excessive number of Italian girls among the
interviewed children.52 On the other hand, the proportion of girls
who had completed the eighth or a higher grade was higher than that
of boys among the native children of native fathers.
The small difference between the proportions of girls and of boys
who left school upon completion of the eighth grade compared with
the much larger difference between the proportions who had com­
pleted a high-school grade, when interpreted in connection with the
greater amounts of school time lost by girls than by boys between
the date of leaving school and the date of going to work,53would seem
to indicate that many of these girls considered their schooling fin­
ished when they had completed the eighth grade. Table 49 shows
that girls from the higher grades more frequently had intervals of
one week or more between their school and their working lives than
did any other group of children. Over two-fifths, 43.8 per cent, of
the girls from the seventh or eighth grades had such intervals as
compared with only 28.2 per cent of the boys from the same grades
and with only 27.9 per cent of the girls from the lower grades. Of
the girls who had completed the seventh or eighth grades, moreover,
)out 1 in 8, 12.4 per cent, as compared with only 4.9 per cent of
the boys, lost three months or more of schooltime. Many of these
girls may have held special home permits.
60 The nativity of the father of the remaining child was not reported.
61 See Table 45, p. 119.
6* Seep. 77.
•* See Table 44, pp. 116-117.


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124

T a b l e 49.— A m ount o f schooltime lost, by grade completed and sex; children interviewed.

Children who' lost specified amount of schooltime ‘during interval between leaving school and

Both sexes............. ....... ...........................................
Under seventh grade........................... . — ..................
Seventh and eighth grades..............................................
H igh school I and I I .......................... ............................. .
N ot reported and other schools...................................
B o y s...........................................................................

1 week under
1 m onth.

Total.

1 m onth under 3 months under
6 months.
3 m onths.

Per
cent.2

Per
cent.2

N um ­
ber.

Per
cent.2

N um ­
ber.

Per
cent.2

N um ­
ber.

Per
cent.2

N um ­
ber.

Per
cent.2

N um ­
ber.

Per
cent.2

Num ­
ber.

341

41.4

258

31.3

135

16.4

77

9.4

28

3 .4

18

2 .2

223

27.1

823
288”
460
65
10

163~
149
23
6

56.6
32.4
35.4

75
160
21
2

26.0
34.8
32.3

42
78
13
2

14.6
17.0
20.0

25
45
7

8.7
9 .8
10.8

4
23
1

1.4
5.0
1.5

4
14

• 1.4
3 .0

49
151
21
2

17.0
32.8
32.3

46.5

132

27.7

78

16; 4

38

8.0

10

2.1

6

122

25.6

222

1.3

477

9
1

3.4

2
4

1.3
1.5

22
88
11
1

13.8
33.1

18

5.2

12

3 .5

101

29.2

27
63
10
1

20.9
32.5

159
266
45
7

97
103
18
4

61.0
38.7

39
75
16
2

24.5
28.2

27
40
9
2

17.0
15.0

10
22
6

6 .3
8.3

346

119

34.4

126

36.4

57

16.5

39

11.3

Girls................................... .......................................
Under seventh grade.......................................................
Seventh and eighth grades........................ ...................
H igh school I and I I ........................................................
N ot reported and other schools...................................

129
194
20
3

 r~
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Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

6 months or
over.

N um ­
ber.

Under seventh grade.......................................................
Seventh and eighth grades............................................
High school I and I I ........................................................
N ot reported and other schools...................................

1 Includes one boy “ under the seventh grade
* N ot shown where base is less than 50.

Children with
intervals en­
tirely during
vacation.

One week or more.

66
46
5
2

51.2
23.7

36
85
5

27.9
43.8

15
38
4

11.6
19.6

15
23
1

*

11.6
11.9

who went to work during school term; amount of schooltime lost not reported.

4
14

3.1
7.2

2
10

1.6
5 .2

T H E W O R K IN G C H IL D R E N OF BOSTON .

• Grade completed and sex.

None or less
than one week
AU
(interval whoUy
chil­
or partly dur­
dren.'
ing school
term.)

t e r m in a t io n

of

sch oo l

l if e

125

.

- Both boys and girls, however, who had completed the seventh or
eighth grades were more likely to lose schooltime between leaving
school and going to- work than were children from the lower grades.
Over one-third, 34.8 per cent, of the seventh and eighth grade gradu­
ates, as compared with little over one-fourth, 26 per cent, of the grad­
uates of lower grades, lost one week or more. A slightly smaller pro­
portion, 32.3 per cent, of the children who had completed one or more
years of high-school work lost one week or more; but, on the other
hand, about one-eighth of these children, 12.3 per cent, were out of
school for one month or more before going to work.
T a b l e 50.— Grade completed, by reason fo r leaving school, and sex; children interviewed.

Children who had completed specified grade.

Reasons for leaving school and sex.

A ll
6th or lower. 7th or 8th.
chil­
dren.

High school
I or II.

N ot re­
ported.

Num - Per Num - Per N um - Per N um - Per
her. cent.1 her. cent.1 her. cent.1 her. cent.1

823

288

35.0

460

55.9

65

7.9

10

1.2

Economic reasons.........................................................
“ other reasons, total...............................................
Discontent with school, to ta l...........................
Disliked school or teacher..........................
Slow progress or nonpromotion...............
Finished eighth grade and did not wish to
go to high school............................................
Other reasons..........................................................
Child wished to work..................................
Parent wished child to work....................
Illness of child.................................................
Illness in fam ily.............................................
Other reasons........................................ .. —
N ot reported....................................................... ............

333
408
166
100
66

141
129
58
33
25

42.3
31.6
34.9
33.0
37.9

173
239
91
58
33

52.0
58.6
54.8
58.0
50.0

13
36
17
9
8

3.9
8.8
10.2
9.0
12.1

6
4

1.8
1.0

33
209
101
45
12
10
41
82

71
35
17
6
4
9
18

34.0
34.7

56.0
53.5

1
18
10
4

8.6
9.9

1
3
2

1.4
2.0

22.0

31
117
54
24
6
6
27
48

B o y s ......................................................................

477

159

33.3

Economic reasons............................... ........................
A ll other reasons, total...............................................
Discontent with school, total...........................
Disliked school or teacher.................... ..
Slow progress or nonpromotion...............
Finished eighth grade and did not wish to
go to high school.,............................................
Other reasons..........................................................
Child wished to work..................................
Parent wished child to work........ ...........
Illness of child................................................
Illness in fam ily............................................
Other reasons.......................... ................. ....
N ot reported........................................... .................

165
262
109
64
45

67
81
32
19
13

40.6
30.9
29.4
29.7

49
25
12
4

35.8
34.2

Both sexes....................................................—

Girls............... ............................... ...................
Economic reasons.........................................................
A ll other reasons, total...............................................
Discontent with school, total..........................
Disliked school or teacher..........................
Slow progress or nonpromotion..............
Finished eighth grade and did not wish to
go to high school........ ......................................
Other reasons.................................... .....................
Child wished to work..................................
Parent wished child to work.................. .
Illness of child.............................................. .
Illness in fam ily.......................................... .
Other reasons.................. '............................
Not reported........................... .............- ............. ......... •
* Not shown where base is less than 5 0 .,


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16
137
73
29
$
2
25
50

1

58.5

4
16

19.5

266

55.8

45

9.4

7

1.5

84
152
65
40
25

50.9
58.0
59.6
62.5

11
25
12
5
7

6.7
9.5
11.0
7.8

3
4

1.8
1.5

52.6
53.4

13
7
3

9.5
9 .6

1
3
2

2.2
2.7

15
72
39
14
4

-1

6
11

22.0

15
30

60.0

3
9

18.0

346

129

37.3

194

56.1

20

5.8

3

.9

168
146
57
36
21

74
48
26
14
12

44.0
32.9
45.6

89
87
26
18
8

53.0
59.6
45.6

2
11
5
4
1

1.2
7.5
8.8

3

1.8

22
10
5
2
2
3
7

30.6

17
72
28
16
4
g
16
32

.

16
45
15
10
2
6
12
18

62.5

*

1
5
3
1
1
7

6 .9

126

T H E W O R K IN G C H IL D R E N OF BOSTON .

This loss of school time between leaving school and going to wor
among children from the higher grades was undoubtedly due primaril
to difficulty in enforcing attendance of eighth-grade graduates at high
schools. The compulsory school-attendance law made no distinc­
tion between advanced and retarded children. All between 14 and 16
who were not at work, or who had not secured special home permits,
were supposed to be in school— in high school if they had completed
the eighth grade. But the break between the elementary and the
high school decidedly increases the difficulties in enforcing the law,
and a more strict enforcement for children from the lower grades is
reflected in the fact that considerably more than half, 56.6 per cent,
of those who had not completed any grade higher than the sixth, as
compared with less than a third, 32.4 per cent, of those who had com­
pleted the seventh or eighth grades, had no interval, or one of less than
a week, between leaving school and going to work.
Of the children who gave economic reasons for leaving school, as
appears in Table 50, an even larger proportion than of those who
stated that they left because of slow progress or nonpromotion,
42.3 per cent, as compared with 37.9 per cent, had completed only the
sixth or a lower grade. This was a considerably larger proportion
than of those who gave other than economic reasons, which was onl
31.6 per cent. Of the girls who left school because of economic ne­
cessity an even larger proportion than of the boys came from these
lower grades.
On the other hand, about 1 in 8 of the children who left school
because of slow progress or nonpromotion had completed at least
one year’s high-school work. Of the children who left becau se of
discontent with their school, including dislike of the school or the
teacher and slow progress or nonpromotioii, 11 per cent of the boys
and 8.8 per cent of the girls came from high school. This was the
most common reason for leaving school given by high-school pupils.
RETARDATION.

According to the commonly accepted standard, children of 14
should have completed the eighth grade. The fact, therefore, that
of the children included in this study, all of whom were over 14, and
a large proportion in the certificate and continuation-school groups
over 15, when they took out their first employment certificates,
only about half had completed the grammar-school course shows
that a large number of them must have been retarded.
This standard of retardation ,is doubtless, however, too high to
apply to the average school child or to the working children include


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is

T E R M IN A T IO N OF SCH O O L L IF E .

127

iji this study. Accordingly a considerably less stringent test was
applied.54 A child who left school when he was 14 years of age, for
example, was not considered retarded for the purposes of this study
unless he had failed to complete a grade higher than the sixth. I f
he had completed either the seventh or the eighth grade his school
standing was called normal. But if he had completed only the fifth
or the sixth grade he was considered to be retarded one or two years,
and if he had completed only the fourth grade he was classified as
retarded three years or more. On the other hand, completion of a
high-school grade was considered higher standing than normal for
his age. In the same way a child who left school when he was 15
was said to have completed a normal grade if he had finished the
eighth grade or the first year of high-school work, and one who left
school when he was 13 if he had completed the sixth or the seventh
grade.
Table 51 shows that, according to this standard, over three-tenths,
31.5 per cent, of the children who took out certificates in Boston for
work during school hours55 were retarded. The corresponding
percentages for the children whose continuation-school records were
used and for those who were interviewed were 31.4 and 32.4, respec­
tiv e ly .
In spite of the fact that the proportions of children for whom only
the school and not the grade was given were much higher in the
certificate and continuation-school groups than in the schedule group
the latter showed the smallest percentage, 4.1 per cent, as compared
with 6 per cent for both the other groups, of children who were three
or more grades below normal for their ages. When children from
higher grades than normal are considered, however, it is found that
this difference in the proportion of cases in which grade was not
reported appears to cause discrepancies between the- figures, for in
the certificate and continuation-school groups about 1 in 10, 9.4 per
cent and 9.6 per cent, respectively, while in the schedule group about
1 in 6, 16.5 per cent, were reported as advanced in their school work.
In this case the proportion among the children interviewed, 16.5 per
cent, is doubtless a better measure than are the proportions for
either of the other groups of the number of children from higher
grades than normal for their ages. In each group a smaller proporM For a diagram showing graphically the method of classification see appendix, p. 362.
M Seesection on W ork Before Leaving School, pp. 148 to 170. Thechildren who worked only during vaca­
tion, as will he seen later ( Table 79, p. 169), were m uch less frequently retarded than were the regular workers.
The figures for all the children who took out certificates in the four cities would not, therefore, be comparable
with those for the children in either the continuation school or the schedule groups, both of which included
only children who became regular workers before their sixteenth birthdays. The division into vacation
and regular workers could not be made for the children who took out certificates in Cambridge, Somerville,
and Chelsea, because the records did not show when positions were terminated.


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Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

128

th e

W o r k in g

c h il d r e n

oe

boston

.

tion of girls than of boys were advanced in their school work and a
larger proportion were retarded.
About half the children in each group were neither retarded nor
advanced but had just completed grades normal for their ages. The
percentages of these normal children were 48.1 in the certificate
group, 47.7 in the continuation-school group, and 49.7 in the schedule
group.
51.— Retardation, by sex; comparison o f children interviewed with children in
B oston continuation school and with children issued certificates in B oston fo r work
during school hours.

T able

Children issued certificates in Boston for work
during school hours.

B oth sexes.

Boys.

Retardation.

Girls.

N um ­
ber.

Per
cent
distri­
bution,

N um ­
ber.

Per
cent
distri­
bution,

N um ­
ber.

Per
cent
distri­
bution.

A ll ch ildren.......................... ...............................

3,544

100.0

2,114

100.0

1,430

100.0

H aving completed—
A higher grade than normal...............................
A normal g r a d e ......................................................
A lower grade than normal............................ .*..
One or two grades lower than normal___
Three or more grades lower than normal
N ot reported
.........................................................

334
1,706
1,117
905

212

387

Children in Boston continuation
school.

B oth sexes.

Boys.

208
967
663
548
115
276

Girls.

Children interviewed (Boston).

B oth sexes.

Boys.

Girls.

Retardation.
Per
Per
Per
Per
Per
Per
cent
cent
N um ­
N um ­
Num ­ cent N um ­ cent Num ­ cent N um ­ cent
distri­
distri­
distri­
distri­
distri­
distri­
ber.
ber.
ber.
ber.
ber.
ber.
bu­
bu­
bu­
bu­
bu­
bu­
tion.
tion.
tion.
tion.
tion.
tion.
A ll children................... 3,399 100.0 2,026 100.0 1,373 100.0
Having completed—
A higher grade than
normal............................. 325
, A normal grade............... 1,622
A lower grade than nor­
m a l.................................. 1,066
One or tw o grades
lower than normal. 861
T h r e e or m o re
grades lower than
normal....................
205
N o t reported1..................
386

9.6
47.7

202
917

10.0
45.3

123
705

9.0
51.3

823 100.0

477 100.0

346

100.0

136
409

82
238

17.2
49.9

54
171

15.6
49.4

16.5
49.7

31.4

632

31.2

434

31.6

267

32.4

149

31.2

118

34.1

25.3

522

25.8

339

24.7

233

28.3

135

28.3

98

28.3

6.0
11.4

110
275

5.4
13.6

95
111

6.9
8.1

34
11

4.1
1.3

14
8

2.9
1.7

20
3

5.8
.9

*
ieporwju, means uiac m e cnuaren came from disciplinary, prevocational, and other sue
schools and that on the records only the school attended, and not the grade completed, was given.

A larger proportion of the foreign-born than of the native children
were retarded. Of the native children for whom continuationschool records were used, according to Table 52, a little over one-


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Termination of school life .

129

fourth, 27.5 per cent, had failed to attain a normal grade. But of
the foreign-born children nearly one-half, 48.2 per cent, were re­
tarded, and 17.9 per cent of them were three or more grades below
normal. The proportion of Italian children, 27.7 per cent, who were
three or more grades below normal was somewhat larger than the
proportion of native children who were retarded even a single grade.
Nearly two-thirds, 63.1 per cent, of the Italian children, indeed, were
at least one grade below normal. Yet only about two-fifths, 39.7
per cent, of the Russian children, and not much more than one-third,
35.7 per cent, of all the children from north and west Europe were
retarded. A smaller proportion of the Italian girls were retarded
than of the Italian boys, 55.6 per cent as compared with 70.4 per
cent.
That in many cases the retardation among foreign-born children
may have been due, in part, merely to breaks in the school life occa­
sioned by changes in residence is suggested by the fact that even of
the native children who were not born in Boston or the adjoining
cities of Cambridge, Somerville, or Chelsea, a larger proportion, 30.4
per cent, were retarded than of the native children born in one of
those cities, 27 per cent. That differences in language or in oppor­
tun ities for education, combined with such changes of residence, were
y a t least in large part responsible for the greater amount of retarda­
tion among foreign-born children is indicated by the facts shown in
Table 53. Here it is seen that over three-fourths, 78.4 per cent, of
the children who had been in the United States less than 5 years, not
quite half, 49.6 per cent, of those who had been here 5 but under 10
years, and not much more than one-fourth, 28.6 per cent, of those
who had been here 10 years or more, were retarded. In other words
among the foreign-born children who had been in the United States
long enough to have begun their school lives here, the proportion re­
tarded was but little higher than among the native children. The
influence of language differences appears also, as will be shown later,57
in a larger proportion of retarded children among those whose fathers
were of non-English-speaking nationalities.
Nevertheless, among the native children included in the continu­
ation-school group are a large number whose fathers were foreign
born, and it appears, according to Table 54, that among the inter­
viewed children a considerably larger proportion of the native
children of foreign-born fathers than of the native children of native
fathers, 31.9 per cent as compared with 22.9 per cent, were retarded,
hit of the foreign-born children in this group 45.2 per cent were
retarded, and 10.2 per cent, as compared with only 2.8 per cent of
the native children of foreign-born fathers and 2 per cent of the
children of native fathers, were three or more grades below normal.
«» See Table 55. p . 133.


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TH E WORKING CHILDREN OF BOSTON,

130

T a b l e 52.— R eta rd ation , by place o f birth and sex; children in

B o sto n con tin u a tion

sch ool.

Children who, on leaving school, had completed, for their ages -

A lower grade than normal.

Placé of birth and
sex.

A higher
grade
than
normal.

A ll
chil­
dren.

One or two
grades
lower
than
normal.

A normal
grade.
Total.

Three or
more
grades
lower than
normal.

N ot re­
ported.1

Per N u m ­ Per N u m ­ Per N um ­ Per
N u m ­ Per N um ­ Per N um ­
ber. cent.*
ber. cent.1 ber. cent.1 ber. cent/ ber. cent.: ber. cent.1

3,399

325

9 .6 1,622

United States......... 2,761
Boston, Cam­
bridge, Som­
erville, Chel­
s e a .. . ............ 2,419
Elsewhere in
342
United States
■North and west
Europe................
Ireland............ .
Other...............
South and east
Europe................ .
Ita ly .................
Russia............
O t h e r ...............
Other countries—

295

10.7 1,389

B oth s exe s. .

47.7 s 1,066

31.4

»861

25.3

205

6.0

758

27.5

667

24.2

91

3.3

50.3

275

52.2
63.1
39.7

8.0

34

45.3

'4Ò.Ò

2,026

10.0

917

45.3

31.2

United States.......... 1,701
Boston, Cam­
bridge, Som­
erville, Chel­
sea...................
Elsewhere in
United States
North and west
Europe..................
Ireland..............
OJher.................
South and east
227
Europe___ . . . . . .
125
Ita ly ...............
Russia................
Other..................
Other countries—

185

10.9

811

47.7

27.6

1,373

123

9.0

United States......... 1,060
Boston, Cam­
bridge, Som­
erville, Chel­
943
sea............... ..
Elsewhere in
117
United States
North and west
Europe..................
Ireland...............
Other.................
South and east
Europe...........—
Ita ly ...................
Russia................
Other.................
Other countries___

110

10.4

Girls...............

2.4

12.2

30.2
35.3
24.5

22.0

10.8

28.Ò

Ì2.Ó

35.4
33.6
26.1
41.7

202

B o y s ...............

319

140

»522

25.8

24.3

8.4
13.7

27.7
15.2

55

5.4

275

1 3.6'

3.2

236

13.9

40.4

578

129

56.8
70.4
39.8

51.3

434

31.6

339

24.7

54.5

289

27.3

253

23.9

38.4
33.9
41.5

47.7
55.6
•39.6

22.5
28.8
14.3

34.4
41.6
25.5

28.6
18.4
41.8

26.2
29.0
23.6

36

6.9

8.1

3.4

7.8

21.5
26.6
16.0

i “ N ot reported ” means that the children came from disciplinary, prev ocational, and other special schools
and that on the records only the school attended, and not the grade completed, was given.

* N ot shown where base is less than 50.

-

* Includes one boy whose place of birth was not reported.


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131

T E R M IN A ’T lO H OF SC H O O L L IF E .
ble

53

Retardation, by nativity, len gth of residencein UnitedStates, and sex; children
m B oston continuation school.

Children who, on leaving school, had completed, for their ages—

A lower grade than normal.
N ativity, length of
r e s i d e n c e in
United
States,
and sex.

A ll
chil­
dren.

A higher
grade
than
normal.

N um
ber.
B oth s e x e s.. «3,399

A normal
grade.
Total.

Per N um
cent.5 ber.

One or two
grades
lower
than
normal.

Per N um - Per N um
cent.5 ber. cent.5 ber.

Three or
more
grades
lower than
normal.

Per N um
cent. ber.

N ot re­
ported.1

cent.5 ber. Icent.2

325

9.6 1,622

47.7 «1,066

31.4

«861

25.3

205

6 .0

386

11.4

2,761
637

295
30

10.7 1,389
4 .7
233

50.3
36.6

758
307

27.5
48.2

667
193

24.2
30.3

91
114

3.3
17.9

319
67

11.6
10.5

153
224

6

2.7

13
87

8.5
38.8

120
111

78.4
49.6

54
80

35.3
35.7

66
31

43.1
13.8

20
20

13.1
8.9

203

21

10.3

111

54.7

58

28.6

46

22.7

12

5.9

13

6.4

57

3

5.3

22

38.6

18

31.6

13

22.8

5

8.8

14

24.6

»2,026

202

10.0

917

45.3

«632

31.2

«522

25.8

110

5.4

275

13.6

N ative............
1,701
Foreign born
324
-Years in United
States:
Under 5 . .
76
5 under 10.
123
10 years or
over___
103
N ot re­
ported..
22

185
17

10.9
5.2

811
106

47.7
32.7

469
162

27.6
50.0

414
107

24.3
33.0

55
55

3.2
17.0

236
39

13. 9
12.0

3

2.4

7
43

9.2
35.0

59
65

77.6
52.8

29
49

38.2
39.8

30
16

39.5
13.0

10
12

13.2
9.8

11

10.7

51

49.5

32

31.1

25

24.3

7

6.8

9

8.7

N ative..................... i
Foreign born..........
Years in Unitec
States:
Under 5 . . .
5 under 10..
10 years or
over........
N o t re­
ported. . .
B o y s. .

Girls............. .

3

5

6

4

2

8

1,373

123

9 .0

705

51.3

434

31.6

339

24.7

95

6 .9

111

8.1

N ativ e..................... . 1,060
Foreign born...........
313
Years in United
States:
Under 5 . . .
77
5 under 10..
101
10 years or
over........
100
N ot re­
ported. . .
35

110
13

10.4
4.2

578
127

54.5
40.6

289
145

27.3
46.3

253
86

23.9
27.5

36
59

3.4
18.8

83
28

7.8
8.9

3

3 .0

6
44

7.8
43.6

61
46

79.2
45.5

25
31

32.5
30.7

36
15

46.8
14.9

10
8

13.0
7.9

10

10.0

60

60.0

26

26.0

21

21.0

5

5.0

4

4.0

1 . 1

6

17

12

9

“ S r" ,
« « “ 0 1rom aiscipnnary, prevocational, and other special schools
r®C0r^ s only the school attended, and not the grade completed, was given.
2 Not shown where base is less than 50.
6
8 Including one boy for whom nativity was not reported.
*Tv.

•

A somewhat larger proportion of the native sons of native fathers
than of the native daughters of native fathers, 23.6 per cent as com­
pared with 21.6 per cent, were retarded. Among the native children
of foreign-born fathers little difference appears between the sexes;
but among the foreign-born children who were interviewed 52.2 per
t of the girls as compared with only 36.8 per cent of the boys were
.tarded. The high percentage of retardation among the foreignborn children is evidently due primarily to the large amount of retar­
dation among the girls of that group, nearly one-sixth, 15.6 per cent,
of whom were three or more grades below normal. On the other
hand, a larger proportion of the native children of foreign-born than

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132

T H E W O R K IN G C H IL D R E N OF B O STO N .

of native fathers, 19.2 per cent as compared with 16.9 per cent, h
completed higher grades than normal for their ages.
T a b l e 54 — Retardation, by nativity o f father, and nativity and sex o f child; children
interviewed.
Children who, on leaving school, had completed, for their ages—

A lower grade than normal.
N ativity of father
and nativity and
sex of child.

A higher
A ll grade than
chil­
normal.
dren.

A normal
grade.
Total.

Three or
O n e or two
grades lower more grades
lower than
than,
normal.
normal.

Not
reported.

Per Num - Per Num - Per N um - Per N um - Per N um - Per
ber. cent.1 ber. cent.1 ber. cent.1 ber. cent.1 ber. cent.1 ber. cent.1

B oth sexes-----B oth fathers and
children native . . .
Fathers foreign b o m .
Children native..
Children foreign
b o m ..................
N ativity of fathers
not r e p o r t e d ;
B o y s ...................
B oth fathers and
children native—
Fathers f oreign bom .
Children n a tive..
Children foreign
born...................
N ativity of fathers
not r e p o r t e d ;
children native—
Girls...................
B oth fathers and
children n a tiv e .. .
Fathers foreign bom .
Children native
Children foreign
b o m ___
N ativity of fathers
not r e p o r t e d ;
children native. . .

823

136

16.5

409

49.7

267

32.4

233

28.3

34

4.1

11

201
593
427

34
96
82

16.9
16.2
19.2

120
276
209

59.7
46.5
48.9

46
211
136

22.9
35.6
31.9

42
182
124

20.9
30.7
29.0

4
29
12

2 .0
4.9
2 .8

1
10

166

14

8.4

67

40.4

75

45.2

58

34.9

17

10.2

10

6 .0

29

6

1Ï

2 .9

' 8

L7

.5
1.7

......

1

9

10

13

1.3

477

82~ 17.2

238

49.9

149

31.2

135

28.3

127
328
252

18
59
54

14.2
18.0
21.4

78
153
117

61.4
46.6
46.4

30
109
81

23.6
33.2
32.1

28
98
73

22.0
29.9
29.0

2
11
8

1.6
3 .4
3.2

1
7

2.1*

76

5

6.6

36

47.4

28

36.8

25

32.9

3

3.9

7

9 .2

22

5 ...........

1

9

10

7

...........

346

54

15.6

171

49.4

118

34.1

98

28.3

20

5.8

3

.9

74
265
175

16
37
28

21.6
14.0
16.0

42
123
92

56.8
46.4
52.6

16
102
55

21.6
38.5
31.4

14
84
51

18.9
31.7
29.1

2
18
4

2.7
6 .8
2 .3

3

1.1

90

9

10.0

31

3À 4

47

52.2

33

36.7

14

15.6

3

3 .3

6

1 N ot shown where base is less than 50.

The children of foreign-born fathers of non-English-speaking
nationalities, as shown in Table 55, were much more frequently re­
tarded than were those of foreign-born fathers of English-speaking
nationalities. Of the former 43 per cent and of the latter only 24.7
per cent had failed to attain a normal grade. As was seen to be the
case among children who were themselves foreign born, the Italian
group furnished the largest proportion of retarded children, while
comparatively few such children were found in the Russian-Jewigh
group. Over one-half, 51.3 per cent, of the children of Italisd^j
fathers were retarded, and 10.2 per cent of them were three or mofe
grades lower than normal. Only a little over one-third, 34.3 per
cent, of the children of Russian-Jewish fathers were retarded and only
2.9 per cent of them were three or more grades below normal for their
ages.

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133

T E R M IN A T IO N OF SCH O O L LIFE ,
b l e

55.— Retardation, by nationality o f father, and sex o f child; children interviewed.

Children who, on leaving school, had completed, for their ages—

A lower grade than rîormal.

Nationality of father
and sex of child.

A higher
A ll
chil­ grade than
normal.
dren.

A normal
grade.
Total.

Three or
One or two
grades lower more grades
lower than
than,
normal.
normal.

Not
reported.

Num - Per N um - Per N um - Per N um - Per N um - Per Num - Per
ber. cent.1 ber. cent.1 ber. cent.1 ber. cent.1 ber. cent.1 ber. cent.1

Both sexes........

823

Children of native
201
fathers......................
Children of foreignhorn fathers........... 2 593
Of English-speak­
ing nationali­
243
ties ......................
Irish................
167
76
Others............
O f non-Englishspeaking na­
349
tionalities...
Italian___
197
Russian-Jew­
ish................
70
82
Other............
Children the nativ'ty of whose fathers
29
was not reported..
B o y s ........... .

477

Children of native
127
fathers..................
Children of foreign2 328
bom fathers. . . .
O f English-speak­
ing nationali­
152
ties ................
Irish..........
101
O ther.___
51
O f non-Fnglishspeaking na­
175
tionalities...
Italian___
85
Russian-Jewish..............
40
50
Other............
Children the nativ­
ity of whose fathers
22
was not reported..
Girls....................
Children o f native
fathers......................
Children of foreignbom fathers...........
O f English-speak­
ing nationali­
ties................
Irish..........
Other........
O f non-Englishspeaking na,
tionalities...
Italian___
Russian-Jewish..........
Other........
Children the nativ­
ity of whose fathers
was not reported..

346

409

49.7

16.9

120

59.7

46

22.9

42

20.9

4

2.0

1

.5

16.2

276

46.5

2 211

35.6

182

39.7

2 29

4.9

10

1.7

51
37
14

21.0
22,2
18.4

130
85
45

53.5
50.9
59.2

60
45
15

24.7
26.9
19.7

58
43
15

23.9
25.7
19.7

2
2

.8
1.2

2

.8

2

2.6

45
20

12.9
10.2

146
69

41.8
35.0

150
101

43.0
51.3

124
81

35.5
41.1

26
20

7.4
10.2

8
7

2.3
3.6

12
13

17.1
15.9

33
44

47.1
53.7

24
25

34.3
30.5

22
21

31.4
25.6

2
4

2.9
4.9

1

1.4

82

17.2

.238

49.9

149

31.2

135

28.3

14

2.9

8

1.7

136

16.5

34
96

6

267

32.4

233

10

13

34

28.3

4.1

11

1.3

1

9

18

14.2

78

61.4

30

23.6

28

22.0

2

1.6

1

.8

59

18.0

153

46.6

2 109

33.2

98

29.9

2 11

3.4

7'

2.1

36
26
10

23.7
25.7
19.6

80
50
30

52.6
49.5
58.8

34
25
9

22.4
24.8
17.6

32
23
9

21.1
22.8
17.6

2
2

1.3
2.0

23
5

13.1
5.9

73
30

41.7
35.3

74
46

42.3
54.1

66
42

37.7
49.4

8
4

4.6
4.7

9
9

18.0

20
23

46.0

10
18

36.0

9
15

30.0

1
3

6.0

49.4

118

34.1

98

2S.3

5

7

54 Is T iT

171

1.3
3.9

5
4

2.9
4.7

1

1

9

10

2
2

’

20

5.8

3

.9

74

16

21.6

42

56.8

16

21.6

14

18.9

2

2.7

265

37

14.0

123

46.4

102

38.5

84

31.7

18

6.8

3

1.1

91
56
25

15
11
4

16.5
16.7

50
35
15

54.9
53.0

26
20
6

28.6
30.3

26
20
6

28.6
30.3

174
112

22
15

12.6
13.4

73
39

42.0
34.8

76
55

43.7
49.1

58
39

33.3
34.8

18
16

10.3
14.3

3
3

1.7
2.7

30
32

3
4

13
21

7

1

6

14
7

1
1

13
6

M
1 N ot shown where base is less than 50.
2 Including one boy the nationality of whose father was not specified,


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I <i 1

134

T H E W O R K IN G C H IL D R E N OF BOSTON .

Among the children interviewed, as among the foreign-bo
children included in the continuation-school group, a larger propor­
tion of Italian boys than of Italian girls— 54.1 per cent as compared
with 49.1 per cent— were retarded. Of the children of Irish fathers,
a smaller proportion of boys than of girls— 24.8 per cent as compared
with 30.3 per cent—had failed to attain a normal grade.
T a b l e 56.— Retardation, by age at talcing out first certificate, and sex; children in B oston

continuation school.

Children who, on leaving school, had completed, for their ages—

A lower grade than normal.
A ll
Age at taking out first chil­
certificate, and sex. dren.

A higher
grade than
normal.

A normal
Total.

Three or
One or two
grades lower more grades
lower than
than,
normal.
normal.

Not
reported.1

Num ­ Per Num ­ Per N um ­ Per N um ­ Per Num ­ Per N um ­ Per
ber. cent. ber. cent. ber. cent. ber. cent. ber. cent. ber. cent.

A ll children.. . 3,399

325

9.6 1,622

1414* years.. 1,151
710
14$-15 years..
1515$ years.. 732
806
15J-16 years. .
B o y s ..

2,026

1414$ years.
14$-15 years..
1515$ years..
15$-16 years..
G ir ls..
1414$ years..
14$-15 years..
1515$ years..
15$-16 years..

202

10.0

687
395
464
480
1,373
464
315
268
326

123

9 .0

47.7 1,066

31.4

861

25.3

420
370
390
442

36.5
52.1
53.3
54.8

402
184
226
254

34.9
25.9
30.9
31.5

346
152
168
195

30.1
21.4
23.0
24.2

917

45.3

632

31.2

522

25.8

246
185
239
247

35.8
46.8
51.5
51.5

239
93
143
157

34.8
23.5
30.8
32.7

203
83
108
128

29.5

705

51.3

434

31.6

339

24.7

174
185
151
195

37.5
58.7
56.3
59.8

35.1
28.9
31.0
29.8

11.4

205

16.6
13.0

110

5 .4

95

6.9

275

13.6

21.0
23.3
26.7

30.8
21.9
22.4

20.6

1 “ Not reported” means that the children came from disciplinary, prevoeational, vocational, and other
special schools and that on the records only the school attended, and not the grade completed, was given.

The continuation-school children who went to work soon after
becoming 14— that is, between 14 and 14J years of age— were more
frequently from higher grades than normal than were those who
went to work at any other age. According to Table 56 nearly oneeighth, 12 per cent, of these children had completed higher grades
than normal, as compared with only 9 per cent of the children who
went to work when they were between 14^ and 15 years of age, and
with even smaller proportions of those who went to work when over
15. The oldest age group, 15£ to 16 years, had the smallest propor­
tion of advanced children, only 7.8 per cent. On the other hand, th
group of children who went to work before they were 14£ years
age contained also a larger proportion of retarded children than any
other group. More than one-third, 34.9 per cent, of them came from


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T E R M IN A T IO N ' OF SCH O O L L IF E .

135

.lower grades than normal for their ages, whereas only about onefourth, 25.9 per cent, of the children who went to work between 14J
and 15, and less than one-third, 30.9 per cent and 31.5 per cent, re­
spectively, of those in the two older age groups came from such grades.
The slightly larger proportion of retarded children among those who
went to work when they were over 15 than among those who did so
when between 14^ and 15 may indicate that some of the older chil­
dren had been prevented from going to work earlier by their failure
to attain the educational standard for employment certificates.
The supposition that this is the true explanation is confirmed by the
fact that both groups of children who went to work when over 15
showed unusually high proportions of children who were three or
more grades below normal for their ages. At any rate the group of
children who went to work within six months after becoming 14
appears to have contained an unusually large proportion both of
advanced and of retarded children, while the group of children who
did not go to work until within six months before their sixteenth
birthdays contained an abnormally small proportion of children from
higher grades than normal. The retardation figures for the boys and
for the girls of the different age groups differ only slightly. An even
irger proportion of the boys who went to work when between 14£
and 15 years of age than of those who went to work earlier, 12.2 per
cent as compared with 10.5 per cent, came from higher grades than
normal for their ages, while of the girls who went to work when be­
tween 14^ and 15 years of age only 5.1 per cent, as compared with
14.2 per cent of those who went to work before they were 14J, were
advanced in their school work. Apparently the girls who had com­
pleted higher grades than normal for their ages left school even more
quickly after attaining the legal age to work than did the boys.
Although the data concerning the death and the employment
status of the father and mother were taken as of the date when the
child went to work and may not have been of long enough standing
to have had any effect on the child’s school work, Table 57 shows
for the continuation-school group that, among the children both of
whose parents were employed and also among those both of whose
parents were not employed— neither a normal family status— unusu­
ally large proportions were retarded. Of the children in the former
group— that is, whose mothers as well as fathers were employed—
45.3 per cent were retarded. In the latter group the proportion
was somewhat less, 40 per cent. When the father was not employed
and the mother employed, only 32.1 per cent of the children were
retarded, but an unusually large proportion, 16.1 per cent, were three
or more grades below normal. The death of the father or the
fact that he was not living with his family seems to have had no


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136

T H E W O R K IN G C H IL D R E N OF BOSTON .

effect on the school standing of the child. But when the m other
was dead or not living with the family exactly one-third were re­
tarded— a somewhat larger proportion than that for all the children
for whom continuation-school records were used.
T a b l e 57.— Retardation,

by fa m ily status; children in B oston continuation school.

Children who, on leaving school, had completed, for their ages-

A lower grade than normal.

Fam ily status.

A higher
All
grade than
chil­
normal.
dren.

A normal
grade.
Total.

One or two
Three or
grades lower more grades
than,
lower than
normal.
normal.

Not
reported.1

Num ­ Per Num ­ Per N um ­ Per N um ­ Per Num ­ Per N um ­ Per
ber. cent. ber. cent. ber. cent. ber. cent. ber. cent. ber. cent.

Total.................. 3,399
Parents living to­
gether........................ 2,263
Both p a r e n t s
employed..........
139
Neither parent
employed..........
150
Father employed
and mother not
employed.......... 1,918
Father not em­
p l o y e d and
m o t h e r em­
ployed................
56
Father dead or not
living with fam ily. 600
Mother dead or not
living with fam ily. 150
Both parents dead
or not living with
fam ily........................
96
Status of one or both
parents not re­
290
ported........................

325

9.6 1,622

47.7 1,066

210

9.3 1,084

31.4

861

25.3

205

6.0

386

11.4

47.9

737

32.6

589

26.0

148

6.5

232

10.3

8

5 .8

53

38.1

63

45.3

53

38.1

10

7.2

15

10.8

8

5.3

69

46.0

60

40.0

41

27.3

19

12.7

13

8.7

191

10.0

930

48.5

596

31.1

486

25.3

110 ' 5 .7

201

10Æ

3

5.4

32

57.1

18

32.1

9

16.1

9

16.1

3

5.4

64

10.7

295

49.2

177

29.5

142

23.7

35

5 .8

64

10.7

14

9.3

69

46.0

50

33.3

43

28.7

7

4.7

17

11.3

4

4.2

53

55.2

31

32.3

26

27.1

5

5.2

8

8.3

33

11.4

121

41.7

71

24.5

61

21.0

10

3.4

65

22.4

1
“ Not reported” means that the children came from disciplinary, prevocational, vocational, and other
special schools and that on the records only the school attended, and not the grade completed, was given.

The occupation of the father, if employed, as well as the mere fact
of his employment or unemployment, is a rough index to the eco­
nomic status of the family. Table 58 shows that among the children
interviewed the largest proportion, 49.4 per cent, who were retarded
was found in the group where the fathers were unemployed. The
next largest proportion, 43.1 per cent, was found among the children
whose fathers were merchants or peddlers, and the third largest,
35.6 per cent, among the children whose fathers were laborers.
It has already been seen, however, that both the native and for­
eign-born children of foreign-born fathers were much more fre^
quently retarded than were the children of native fathers 58 anc
also that foreign-born fathers of both native and foreign-born chilw See Table 55, p. 133.


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137

T E R M IN A T IO N OF SCH O O L L IF E .

dren were much more frequently engaged in certain occupations than
were native fathers.59 The differences shown in Table 58, therefore,
might be due entirely to differences in nativity distribution of the
fathers engaged in the different occupations. Table 59, however,
compares with the actual number of retarded children in each occu­
pational group the number of retarded children who would be ex­
pected in that group if the rate of retardation prevailing in each
nationality group prevailed also in each occupational group of that
nationality. For many of the occupational groups the numbers are
too small and the differences not large enough to be significant;
but the influence of occupation seems to be shown in the groups of
skilled or semiskilled mechanics, and factory operatives, in which
the actual numbers of retarded children were very low, and also
in the groups of merchants and peddlers and of unemployed where
the proportions of retarded children were high.
T able

58.— Retardation, by occupation o f father; children interviewed.

Children who, on leaving school, had completed, for their ages—

A lower grade than normal.

Occupation of father.

A ll
chil­
dren.

A higher
grade than
normal.

A n o rm a l
grade.
Total.

One or two
Three or
grades lower more grades
than.
lower than
normal.
normal.

Not
reported.

Num - Per Num - Per N um - Per N um - Per N um - Per Num- Per
ber. cent.“ ber. cent.“ ber. cent.“ ber. cent.“ ber. cent.“ ber. cent.“
Total...................

823

136

16.5

409

554

97

17.5

118

16

13.6

49.7

267

32.4

233

285

51.4

57

48.3

28.3

34

164

29.6

42

35.6

147

26.5

36

30.5

4.1

11

17

3.1

8

6

5.1

1.3

Father
employed
and living with
Laborer (all inSkilled or sem is k i l l e d m e­
chanic................
Factory operaM e r c h a n t (ineluding ped­
dler) ....................
Other proprietor.
Clerical w orker..
Teamster,driver,
expressm an.. .
Other.....................
Father not employed.
Father not l i v i n g
with fam ily..............
Father d e ad "..............
N ot reported...............

1.4
2 .5

118

17

14.4

72

61.0

28

23.7

26

22.0

2

1.7

.8

91

19

20.9

47

51.6

22

24.2

21

23.1

1

1.1

3.3

51
31
10

7
4
3

13.7

22
16
6

43.1

22
11

43.1

20
10

39.2

2
1

3 .9

52
83
81

12
19
6

23.1
22.9
7.4

26
39
35

50.0
47.0
43.2

14
25
40

26.9
30.1
49.4

14
20
30

26.9
24.1
37.0

5
10

6 .0
12.3

21
149
18

2
26
5

17.4

12
72
5

48.3

7
48
8

32.2

6
42
8

28.2

1
6

4 .0

“ N ot shown where baséis less than 50.
69 See Table 26, p. 93.

4 9 4 7 0 °— 22------ 10


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1

3

2 .0

138
T

T H E W O R K IN G C H IL D R E N

able

OF BOSTON .

59.— Retardation, by occupation o f father with influence o f nationality eliminated;
children interviewed.

C h i l d r e n in
lower grades
than normal.
Occupation of father.
Com­
Actual.
puted.1

T otal......... ........... ........................
Father living with fa m ily ...................
Laborer (all industries)...............
Skilled or semiskilled mechanic
Factory operative..........................
Merchant (including peddler). .
Other proprietor.............................
Clerical worker................................
Teamster, driver, expressman..
O th e r ................................................
N ot em ployed.................................
Father not living with fam ily...........
Father dead.............................................
N ot reported............................................

267

267

207.7
40.2
37.2
31.5
17.6
10.7
2 .6
15.8
25.3
26.7
7.0
46.9
5.9

204
42
28
22
22
11
14
25
40
7
48
8

1 Calculated on the assumption that the proportion of retarded children for the different nationalities
which prevailed in the whole group of children prevailed also for those nationalities in each occupation
group. The difference between the expected number as thus calculated and the actual number is the
measure of the influence of the occupational factor, with the influence of nationality eliminated.

The tendency of retarded children to take their first positions
during the school year was pronounced. Table 60 shows that of
all the interviewed children who took their first positions during "a
Rummer vacation only 19.2 per cent, but of those who went to work
at some other time 37.4 per cent, were retarded. Moreover, of the
children who took their first positions during a summer vacation
only 1.3 per cent were three or more grades below normal, while
of those who went to work at some other time 5.2 per cent were
three or more grades below normal. This may be ascribed partly
to the fact that a child who leaves school during the school year
loses the chance to complete the grade last entered, but it undoubtedly
indicates also a greater tendency on the part of retarded than on the
part of other children to drop out of school at the first opportunity
regardless of the completion of any unit of school work.
This tendency was evident in each nationality group but particu­
larly among the children of foreign-born fathers of non-English
speaking nationalities, notably the Italian group. Of the children
of all foreign-bom fathers 21.4 per cent of those who went to work
during a summer vacation were retarded as compared with 41.4
per cent of those who went to work at some other time. Of the
children of foreign-bom fathers of non-English-speaking nationali­
ties 27.7 per cent of those who went to work during a summer vaca;
tion and 48.6 per cent of those who went to work at some other tim.
were retarded. For the children of Italian fathers the proportion


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T E R M IN A T IO N

139

OF SCH O O L LIFE ,

retarded among those who went to work during a summer vacation
was 32 per cent but among those who went to work at some other
time it was 57.8 per cent.
T a b l e 60.— Retardation, by nationalityr o f father and time o f securing first regular
p osition ; children interviewed.

Children who, on leaving school, had completed, for their ages—

A lo w e r grade than normal.
N a t i o n a l i t y of
father; time of se­
curing first regular
position.

A higher
All
chil­ grade than
normal.
dren.

A normal
grade.
Total.

One or two
Three or
grades lower more grades
than
lower than
normal.
normal.

Not
reported.

Num - Per N um - Per N um - Per Num - Per Num - Per Num ber. cent.1 ber. cent.1 ber. cent.1 ber. cent.1 ber. cent.1 ber. cent.1
Total___

823

136

16.5

409

49.7

267

32.4

233

28.3

34

4.1

11

1.3

Po s i t i on secured
d u r in g s u m m e r
vacation....................

224

46

20.5

133

59.4

43

19.2

40

17.9

3

1.3

2

.9

44

9

173

34

19.7

100

57.8

37

21.4

35

20.2

1.5

2

1.2

79
54
25

19
16
3

24.1
29.6

48
30
18

60.8
55.6

11
8
3

13.9
14.8

11
8
3

13.9
14.8

1

1.3

94
50

15
5

16.0
10.0

52
28

55.3
56.0

26
16

27.7
32.0

24
. 15

25.5
30.0

26
18

5
5

13
11

8
2

8
1

7

3

2

2

2

Fathers n ative...
Fathers foreign
■bom....................
O f Englishs p e a k in g
n a tio n a li­
ties..............
Irish........
Other___
O f non-English-speaking nation­
alities..........
Italian ...
ItussianJewish
Other___
N a t i v i t y oi
fathers not re­
ported................
Position secured at
some other t i m e .. .

4

3Î

1

3

2

1

2
1

2.1
2.0

1
1

1.1
2.0

1.5

1

599

90

15.0

276

46.1

224

37.4

193

32.2

31

5.2

9

Fathers n a tive...
157
Fathers foreign
b om ..................... 2 420
O f Englishspeaking
n a tio n a li­
ties...............
164
Irish___
113
Other___
51
O f non-English-speaking nation­
alities..........
255
Italian ...
147
RussianJewish
44
Other___
64
N a t i v i t y of
fathers not re­
ported.................
22

25

15.9

89

56.7

42

26.8

39

24.8

3

1.9

1

62

14.8

176

41.9

2 174

41.4

147

35.0

2 27

6.4

8

32
21
11

19.5
18.6
21.6

82
55
27

50.0
48.7
52.9

49
37
12

29.9
32.7
23.5

47
35
12

28.7
31.0
23.5

2
2

1.2
1.8

. 1

.6

1

2. 0

30
15

11.8
10.2

94
41

36.9
27.9

124
85

48.6
57.8

100
66

39.2
44.9

24
19

9.4
12.9

7
6

2.7
4.1

7
8

12.5

20
33

51.6

16
23

35.9

14
20

31.3

2
3

4.7

3

11

8

7

1 N ot shown where base is less than 50.
2 Including one boy the nationality of whose father was not specified.


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1

1

1.9

140

T H E W O R K IN G C H IL D R E N OE BOSTO N .

On the other hand, the children who had completed a normal
grade or a higher grade than normal for their ages showed a some
what less tendency to go to work during the school year. Of all chil­
dren who secured their positions during the summer vacation, 59.4
per cent had completed a normal grade and 20.5 per cent had com­
pleted a higher grade than normal. Yet of those who secured thenpositions at some other time only 46.1 per cent had completed a
normal grade and 15 per cent a higher grade than normal.
Nevertheless a large number of children who were not retarded
went to work during the school year. Probably in many cases they
did not actually drop their schooling in the middle of a grade to go
to work. Table 61 shows that for the children who had completed
a higher grade than normal 44.1 per cent, and of those who had
completed only a normal grade 32.3 per cent, had lost one week or
more of schooltime between leaving school and going to work.
Many of these children, doubtless, finished a school year and then
failed to return to begin the new grade in the fall. Of those who
had completed a higher grade than normal over one-tenth, 11 per
cent, and of those who had completed only a normal grade 6.9 per
cent lost three months or more of schooltime before going to work.
Comparatively few of the retarded children, on the other h a n donly 24 per cent or less than one-fourth—had intervals of one wee
or more between leaving school and going to work. A very small
proportion, only 1.1 per cent, lost three months or more of school
work at that tune.
The girls who had completed normal or higher than normal grades
for their ages showed a decidedly greater tendency to stay out of
school before going to work than did the boys. Over half, 51.9 per
cent, of the girls and only about two-fifths, 39 per cent, of the boys
who were unusually advanced in their school work, had intervals of
one week or more between leaving school and going to work, and
40.9 per cent of the girls as compared with only 26.1 per cent of the
boys who had completed only normal grades had such intervals.
The girls, moreover, lost longer periods of schooltime than did the
boys. About one-sixth, 16.7 per cent, of the girls who had com­
pleted higher grades than normal and over one-tenth, 11.1 per cent,
of those who had completed only normal grades lost three months or
more of schooltime, as compared with only 7.3 per cent and 3.8 per
cent, respectively, for the same groups of boys. Among retarded
children the differences between the sexes were comparatively slight.
These figures confirm the conclusions reached in discussing gradecompleted^and in discussing the greater loss of school time betwe.
leaving school and going to work by children, particularly girls, from
the higher grades. Regular school attendance appears undoubtedly
to have been more strictly enforced for the children from the lower


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141

T E R M IN A T IO N ’ OF SC H O O L LIFE ,

ades—the retarded children— than for those from the upper gradesthe normal and advanced children.
T a b l e 61.— Retardation, by amount o f schooltime lost, and sex; children interviewed.

Children who, on leaving school, h ad completed, for their ages-

A lower grade than normal.
A higher
grade th an
normal.

Interval between leaving school
and going to work, and sex.

Num ­
ber.

B o th sexes.................................. .
Interval partly or wholly during
school te rm ......................................... .
N o schooltime lost or less th an
1 week.............................................
1 week or m ore...............................
1 week under 1 m on th .........
1 m onth under 3 m onth s.
3
m onths under 6 m on th s..
6 m onths or over....................
nterval entirely during vacation ...
B o y s................................................

A normal
grade.
Total.

One or tw o
Three or
grades lower more grades
th an nor­
lower than
mal.
normal.

Per
Per
Per
Per
Per
cent
cent
cent
cent
cent
dis­ N u m ­ dis­ N um ­ dis­ N um ­ dis­ N u m ­ dis­
ber.
ber.
ber.
ber.
tribu­
tribu­
tribu­
tribu­
tribu­
tion.
tion.
tion .
tion.
t i o n .1

136

100.0

409

100.0

267

100.0

233

100.0

34

85

62.5

279

68.2

227

85.0

196

84.1

81

25
60
26
19
7
8
51

18.4
44.1
19.1
14.0
5.1
5.9
37.5

147
132
70
34
20
8
130

35.9
32.3
17.1
8.3
4.9
2.0
31.8

163
64
37
24
1
2
4Q

61.0
24.0
13.9
9 .0
.4
.7
15.0

138
58
34
21
1
2
37

59.2
24.9
14.6
9 .0
.4
.9
15.9

25
6
3
3

82

100.0

238

100.0

149

100.0

135

100.0

14

3

Interval partly or wholly during
schoolterm ...........................................
N o schooltime lost or less th an
1 week......................... ..................
1 week or more................................
1 week under 1 m onth..........
1 m onth under 3 m onth s. . .
3 months under 6 m onths
6 m onths or over........ ...........
Interval entirely during vacation ...

51

62.2

166

69.7

131

87.9

118

87.4

13

19
32
15
11
4
2
31

23.2
39.0
18.3
13.4
4 .9
2 .4
37.8

104
62
37
16
6
3
72

43.7
26.1
15.5
6 .7
2 .5
1.3
30.3

95
36
24
11

63.8
24.2
16.1
7.4

85
33
22
10

63.0
24.4
16.3
7.4

10
3
2
1

1
18

.7
12.1

1
17

.7
12.6

1

Girls.............................. .................

54

100.0

171

100.0

118

100.0

98

100.0

20

34

63.0

113

66.1

96

81.4

78

79.6

18

6
28
11
8
3
6
20

11.1
51.9
20.4
14.8
5.6
11.1
37.0

43
70
33
18
14
5
58

25.1
40.9
19.3
10.5
8.2
2.9
33.9

68
28
13
13
1
1
22

57.6
23.7
11.0
11.0
.8
.8
18.6

53
25
12
11
1
1
20

54.1
25.5
12.2
11.2
1.0
1.0
20.4

15
3
1
2

Interval partly or wholly during
school term ...........................................
N o schooltime lost or less than
1 w eek............................................
1 week or more.................................
1 week under 1 m onth..........
1 month under 3 m on th s. . .
•3 months under 6 m o n th s ..
6 months or over.....................
Interval entirely dining vacation.. I

100.0

100.0

100.0

2

1 N ot shown where base is less than 50.

A larger proportion of the children who gave economic reasons for
leaving school than of those who gave all other reasons were retarded—
39.9 per cent as compared with 27.2 per cent. Table 62 shows also
that, conversely, a smaller proportion of those who gave economic
easons than of those who gave all other reasons had completed only
normal grades, 45 per cent as compared with 52.4 per cent, or higher
grades than normal, 13.2 per cent as compared with 19.1 per cent.
In this respect little difference appears between the boys and the


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142

T H E W O R K IN G C H IL D R E N OF BOSTON .

T able

62.— Retardation, by reason fo r leaving school and sex; children interviewed.

Children who on leaving school, had completed, for their ages—

A lower grade than normal.

Reason for leaving
school, and sex.

A ll
chil­
dren.

A higher
grade than
normal.

A normal
grade.
Total.

Three or
One or two
grades lower more grades
lower than
than
normal.
normal.

Not
reported.

Num ­ Per Num ­ Per N um ­ Per N um ­ Per Num ­ Per N um ­ Per
ber. cent.1 ber. cent.1 ber. cent.1 ber. cent.1 ber. cent.1 ber. cent.1

B oth sexes____

823

136

16.5

409

49.7

267

32.4 ■ 233

28.3

34

4.1

Economic reasons. . .
A ll other reasons____
Discontent with

333
408

44
78

13.2
19.1

150
214

45.0
52.4

133
111

39.9
27.2

112
99

33.6
24.3

21
12

6 .3
2 .9

166

20

12.0

96

57.8

50

30.1

27.1

5

3.0

100

13

13.0

58

58.0

29

29.0

25

25.0

4

4.0

66

7

10.6

38

57.6

21

31.8

20

30.3

i

1.5

33
209

12
46

22.0

20
98

46.9

61

29.2

54

25.8

7

101

17

16.8

51

50.5

31

30.7

29

28.7

2

45

15

13

17

13

12

1

9

2

2

4

3

3
28.0

' 7
22

26.8

i
i

1.2

D isliked
school or
teacher___
Slow progressornonpromotion.
Finished eighth
grade and did
not wish to
go to
high
Other reasons___
Child wished
to work___
Parent wished child to
I l l n e s s of
I l l n e s s in

3.3
2.0

11
61
5

1.3
1.8
1.2

1
4

1.9

2

2.0

4

10

3

Not reported...............

41
82

10
14

Í7 .Í

21
45

54.9

8
23

B o y s...................

477

82

17.2

238

49.9

149

31.2

135

28.3

Û

2 .9

8"

1.7

Economic reasons. . .
All other reasons____
Discontent with

165
262

23
48

13.9
18.3

74
138

44.8
52.7

65
71

39.4
27.1

57
66

34.5
25.2

8
5

4.8
1.9

3
5

1.8
1.9

109

15.

13.8

66

60.6

28

25.7

24

22.0

4,

3.7

64

9

14.1

38

59.4

17

26.6

14

21.9

3

4.7

45

6

16
137

5
28

4

2.9

2

2.7

Other ' rea-

D isliked
school or
teacher___
Slow progressornonFinished eighth
grade and did
not wish to
go to
high
Other reasons___
Child wished
to work___
Parent wished child to
111 n e s s of
I l l n e s s in
Other

73

13

29

9

20.4
17.8

g

10
62
36

45.3
49.3

25
50

6
il

22.0

N o t shown where base is less th an 50.


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43
22

31.4

42

30.7

30.1

22

30.1

8

12

11

2

2

2

2

12
26

52.0

5
13

1

10

6

2

rea-

N ot reported...............

11

28

2

1

.7

1

2
26.0

1 12

24.0

1

2.0

143

T E R M IN A T IO N OF SC H O O L L IF E .

X a b l e 62.— Retardation, by reason fo r leaving school and sex; children interviewed— Con.

Children who, on leaving school, had completed, for their ages—

A lower grade than normal.

Reason for leaving
school, and sex.

All
chil­
dren

/

A higher
grade than
normal.

A normal

One or two
Three or
grades lower more grades
than
lower than
normal.
normal.

Not
reported.

N um - Per N um - Per N um . Per N um - Per N um - Per Num - Per
her. cent. ber. cent. ber. cent. ber. cent. ber. cent. ber. cent.

G irls...................

346

54

15.6

171

49.4

118

34.1

98

28.3

20

5.8

3

.9

E co n o m icrea so n s...
A ll other reasons____
Discontent w ith
school.................
D isliked
school or
tea ch er___
Slow prog­
ress or nonprom otion.
Finished eighth
grade and did
n o t wish to
go to
high
school.................
Otherreasons___
Child wished
t o w ork ___
Parent wish­
ed child to
w ork ...........
I l l n e s s of
child...........
I l l n e s s in
fa m ily ........
Other rea­
son s.............
N o t r e p o r t e d .......

168
146

21
30

12.5
20.5

76
76

45.2
52.1

68
40

40.5
27.4

55
33

32.7
22.6

13
7

7 .7
4.8

3

1 .8

57

5

8.8

30

52.6

22

38.6

21

36.8

1

1.8

36

4

20

12

11

21

1

10

10

10

17
72

7
18

28

4

16
4

25.0

10
36

50.0

18

25.0

12

1

Î6.7

6

15

9

7

2

6

5

5

2

3

1

3

8

3

4

1

1

16
32

4
3

9
19

3
10

2
10

8.3

1
1

One might expect that many of the children who were discontented
with school would be found in the retarded list. But in fact only 29
per cent of the children who said that they had left school because
they disliked their school or their teacher and only 31.8 per cent of
those who stated that they left school because of slow progress or non­
promotion were retarded. On the other hand, comparatively small
proportions, 13 per cent and 10.6 per cent, respectively, of these two
groups of children had completed higher grades than normal. The
girls who were discontented with school were much more frequently
retarded than were the boys.
These results, like those relating to the interval between leaving
school and going to work, seem to confirm those arrived at in the dis­
cussion of the grades completed by these children before going to
work.


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144

T H E W O R K IN G C H IL D R E N OF BOSTO N .

CONTINUATION-SCHOOL ATTENDANCE.

All the children who were interviewed and most, if not all, of those
for whom continuation-school records were used had the benefit of a
longer or shorter period of attendance at the Boston continuation
school after they went to work. This school was started in Septem­
ber, 1914, and attendance for four hours a week was made compul­
sory under the terms of the Massachusetts continuation-school law
of 1913,60 which provided that “ when the school committee of any
city or town shall have established continuation schools or courses of
instruction for the education of minors between 14 and 16 years of
age regularly employed in such city or town not less than six hours
per day, such school committee may, with the consent of the State
board of education, require the attendance in such continuation
schools or on such courses of instruction of every such minor thereafter
receiving an employment certificate and who is not otherwise receiv­
ing instruction approved by the school committee or equivalent to
that provided in schools established under the provisions of this act.”
Two methods of enforcing this act were provided by the law.
First, the employer was required to discharge a child as soon as he
was notified in writing by the superintendent of schools or his repre­
sentative that the child was not attending continuation school as
required by law. Any employer failing to discharge a child after
such notification was liable to a fine of from $10 to $100 for each
offense. Second, the superintendent of schools might revoke the
employment certificate of any child who failed to attend continua­
tion school. There was no fine for either the child or the parent.
At the. time of this study a continuation-school clerk was stationed
in the certificate office, and as soon as a child had secured his employ­
ment certificate he was sent to her to be registered in the school.
This clerk filled out a card record with information seemed in part
from the child himself and in part from a personal record card sent
by the child’s teacher or the vocational counselor of his school. The
former card contained spaces for information concerning four different
positions and for ratings in four different continuation-school classes,
and furnished a permanent record of the child’s employment and con­
tinuation-school history. A t the same time the clerk assigned the
child to a continuation-school class and gave him a card stating the
days and hours when he must attend. This card the child showed to
his employer and then presented it at the school. When a child
changed positions his new employer was sent a notice stating that'
the child must continue to attend continuation school.
Acts of 1913. ch. 805. secs. 1-8.


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T E R M IN A T IO N OF SC H O O L L IF E .

145

y-Three times a year the teacher made out for each child a record
Containing his ratings, not in the special subjects studied, but in
“ interest, application, accuracy, initiative, punctuality, courtesy,
neatness, and accomplishment.” The child was rated not only on
his work in school but also on his record in employment. The data
for the employment ratings were secured by interviews with the em­
ployer, superintendent, or foreman who was in immediate control of the
child’s work. All continuation-school teachers were allowed 121hours a week to visit the homes and the places of employment of their
pupils and to become familiar with what they were doing and with
their vocational and other needs.
Most of the continuation-school classes were conducted at the
school building, which was only about a block from the employment
certificate office, in a convenient location for children who worked
in the mercantile district) but some classes were conducted in estab­
lishments where children were employed. Whenever an establish­
ment had a sufficient number of pupils and offered facilities, the
policy was to conduct classes in the establishment instead of requiring
the children to go to the school building. A t the time of this study,
/fiasses were conducted in a large shoe factory, in a lace curtain factory,
in a number of department stores.
The term of the compulsory continuation-school in Boston was the
same as that of the regular day school except that it had no spring
vacation but instead closed during the week before Christmas. This
arrangement was made for the convenience of mercantile establish­
ments where many of the continuation-schools pupils were at work.
The periods of attendance were for four consecutive hours on a single
day, for two consecutive hours on two days, or for one hour on each
of four days. About 70 per cent of the children who attended classes
at the continuation-school building were in four-hour classes, but in
classes conducted in establishments the children attended for twohour periods. Few children were in single-hour classes.
The work of the Boston continuation school at the time of this
study was frankly experimental and its first and foremost policy was
flexibility. Classes were divided into three kinds: (1) General im­
provement classes for pupils who were not in skilled employments
and had no specific vocational aim, (2) prevocational classes for pupils
who had well-defined vocational aims but whose work did not offer
preparation for the vocations they had selected, and (3) trade-exten­
sio n classes for pupils who were in skilled employment. Each class
^'as composed of not more than 25 and, whenever possible, not more
tljan 15 pupils; and usually, but not always, girls and boys were
taught separately. The trade-extension classes were naturally small,
as opportunities for children under 16 to enter skilled trades were rare.


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146

T H E W O R K IN G C H IL D R E N OF BOSTON .

The proportion of time allotted to the various subjects and types
of instruction in the different classes was as follows:
General im provem ent classes:

Propor­
tion of
time.

Civics, hygiene, cultural studies, and recreation.................................. ..................

\

Discovery of interests and powers...................................................................................

1

Training, based on acquirement, to remove deficiencies and improve ac­
quirem ent.................................................................................. - .......... ...............................•

i

Prevocational classes:
Civics, hygiene, cultural studies, and recreation.....................................................

i

Information related to shopwork.................................................................................

i

Shop work................................................................................................................................. -

1

Trade-extension classes:
Civics, hygiene, cultural studies, and recreation.....................................................

\

Shopwork and information related to the shop.........................................................

I

The subjects taught were: Woodworking, metal working, electrical
work, plumbing, printing, shoe-factory work, bookbinding, sales­
manship, stenography and typewriting, telephone operating, clerical
work, power-machine operating, dressmaking, millinery, cooking, and
homemaking. Only children who had completed the grammarschool course were admitted to the classes in stenography and
typewriting, in telephone operating, and in electrical work. No
attempt was made, however, to teach trades, even in the trad'd
. extension classes, where the object was merely to furnish the pupils
with a broader knowledge of the trades in which they were actually
engaged than they could obtain in the shop alone. On the other
hand, none of the work was mere manual training.
Even in the general improvement classes an attempt was made
to have all instruction as concrete as possible, and in the prevocational
and trade-extension classes the academic work was closely related
to the vocation which the child was studying. Arithmetic problems,
for example, were actual problems growing out of the vocation, and
the reading was directed largely toward cultivating the child’s
knowledge of and interest in his chosen occupation. In the prevoca­
tional classes actual shop conditions were imitated and the child was
given work of the same practical character as he would actually
encounter in the trade.
Orders were taken fcr certain kinds of work, as for printing.
Much of the printing for the school committee, and some outside
work, was done in the continuation school. In some cases castings
were sent from commercial shops to be made up at the school.
These were not always paid orders, as sometimes the expense of
transporting back and forth and the cost of spoiled castings counter
balanced the value of the work done, but they secured practice
work for the continuation-school pupils. In other cases the principal
of the school bought materials and sold the product— as, for example,
cheap tables and wooden rollers for scrub pails— at wholesale market
prices.

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T E R M IN A T IO N OF SCH O O L L IF E .

147

A child was usually assigned first to a general improvement class,
where he remained until he developed a preference for some one
of the prevocational classes. He might stay in the general im­
provement class for only two or three days or, if he expressed no
desire for a change and was progressing satisfactorily in his studies,
he might remain there throughout the whole period of his compulsory
continuation-school attendance. The child was given every oppor­
tunity when he first entered to learn what the school had to offer
and what were the prospects in the various callings, and was allowed
free choice among the classes. The opportunities afforded by the
occupation or industry in which he was already employed, however,
were usually emphasized by his teachers. Even when he had
entered one class he might change to another if he wished or if he
was not doing good work. Thus the child had an opportunity to
test himself in different occupations.
Many employers at first resented the requirement of continuationschool attendance for the children in their establishments, and
undoubtedly the immediate reaction of some of them was to do
away altogether with the employment of children under 16. But
they soon became adjusted to the new requirement, and many of
ihem, it was said at the time of this study, had already learned to
welcome the continuation school as a material aid in the training
of their employees.
When this study was made children who had been at work but
were temporarily unemployed* were not expected to return to the
schools which they had left before going to work, but were supposed
to attend continuation school four hours every day, instead of only
four horns a week.


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WORK BEFORE LEAVING SCHOOL.
All the children for whom continuation-school records were used
and also all who were interviewed had left school for work before
their sixteenth birthdays. In the group of 4,401 children who took
out certificates in Boston, however, were included 857, or 19.5 per
cent of the total number, who, according to the records, worked
only during school vacations or outside school hours. These children
did not leave school until after they became 16, and before that age,
therefore, they were not regular but merely vacation workers.
While all the 823 children interviewed, moreover, had left school for
regular positions before becoming 16— most of them soon after
becoming 14— 324, or 39,4 per cent of the total number, had also
worked during vacations or out of school hours before leaving school.
This work was not all carried on under the authority of an employ­
ment certificate. As the information for these children was secured
directly from them and not from records, gainful labor is include"
which was performed both before and after their fourteenth birth­
days and without as well as with certificates. The vacation workers
included in the certificate group of children, who did not leave school
before becoming 16, may also have held positions before they were
14 or for which they secured no certificates, but for them no informa­
tion as to such positions was secured.
These two groups of children who worked before leaving school
differ, therefore, not only in the fact that the children in one did not,
while those in the other did, become regular workers before their
sixteenth birthdays, but also in the character of the information
secured. In the first group the information relates only to certi­
ficated positions, all of which must have been held after the children
became 14, and in the second to all positions, regardless of certifica­
tion, of the child’s age, and even of the legality of the work.
SEX, NATIVITY, AND FATHER’S NATIONALITY.

The certificate group of vacation workers was composed of 519
boys and 338 girls. In other words, 60.6 per cent of this group were
boys and 39.4 per cent girls. As only 40.2 per cent of all the children
who took out certificates in Boston were girls it is evident tha
nearly as large a proportion of girls as compared with boys took ou
certificates for vacation work as for regular work. Of the 324
interviewed children who had worked before leaving school, however,
only 44, or 13.6 per cent, were girls. Apparently only a few of the
148


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149

W O R K BEFORE L E A V IN G SCH OO L.

girls, as compared with the boys, who took regular positions soon
¡after becoming of legal age to work had been gainfully employed
before leaving school. More than one-half, 58.7 per cent, of the boys,
but only about one-eighth, 12.7 per cent, of the girls, who were inter­
viewed had worked before leaving school.62 The cause of this differ­
ence is doubtless the fact that the opportunities open to girls for work
out of school hours are few as compared with those open to boys.
Most of the girls who worked without leaving school before becoming
16. held full-time positions during school vacations, whereas many of
the boys were engaged in street trades or other irregular work out­
side school hours. This difference will be further discussed in con­
sidering the occupations of vacation and regular workers.
63.— N ativity and sex; comparison o f vacation and regular workers issued certifi­
cates in B oston and regular workers interviewed who worked and did n ot work before
leaving school.

T able

Children issued certificates in
Boston who, before becoming
16, worked— jj

N ativity and sex of child.

During vacation
or out of school
hours only.

N um ­
ber.

Regularly.

Per
N um ­
cent
distri­
ber.
bution.

Children interviewed who left
school to work before becoming
16, and who, before leaving
school—

Worked.

D id not work.

Per
Per
N um ­
N um ­
cent
cent
distri­
ber.
distri­
ber.
bution.
bution.1

Per
cent
distri­
bution.

B oth s3xes.

857

100.0

23,544

100.0

324

100.0

499

100.0

N a tiv e................
Foreign-born.. .

733
124

85.5
14.5

2,876
667

81.2
18.8

265
59

81.8
18.2

392
107

78.6
21.4

519 | 100.0

2 2^ 114

100.0

280

100.0

197

100.0

1, 769
344

83.7
16.3

236
44

84.3
15.7

165
32

83.8
16.2

338 J 100. 0

1,430

100.0

44

100.0

302

100.0

287
51

1,107
323

77.4
22.6

29
15

227
75

75.2
24.8

B o y s ............
N a tiv e.................
F oreign-bom ...
G irls............
N ative.................
Foreign-born.. .

446
73

85.9
14.1

84.9
15.1

1 N ot shown where base is less than 50.
2 Including one boy for w hom nativity w as not reported.

Native children furnished a somewhat larger proportion of vacation
workers than of regular workers, and also a somewhat larger pro­
portion of the children interviewed who worked than of those who
did not work before leaving school. Table 63 shows also that only
14.5 per cent of the children who took out certificates for work only
during vacation or out of school hours before their sixteenth birth’ays were foreign born, as compared with 18.8 per cent of those who
ook out certificates for regular positions. This table shows further
« See Table 67. p. 153.


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150

T H E W O R K IN G C H IL D R E N OF BOSTON .

that of the children interviewed, all of whom were in regular positions
before they were 16 and most of them before they were 15, th*
foreign born constituted only 18.2 per cent of those who worked as
compared with 21.4 per cent of those who did not work before
leaving school. Apparently the native children who went to work
before their sixteenth birthdays were more likely than were the
foreign-born children to combine school and work.
This conclusion, however, holds true only for the boys. The oppo­
site tendency is seen among foreign-born girls, for they constituted
34*1 per cent of those who worked as compared with only 24.8 per
cent of those who did not work before leaving school.
The Italians, as appears in Table 64,. furnished a particularly
small proportion, 2.7 per cent, of the vacation workers as compared
with 7.4 per cent of the regular workers. Moreover, among the
interviewed children the Italians furnished only 6.8 per cent of those
who had worked, as compared with 13.6 per cent of those who had
not worked before leaving school. Evidently the Italian children
were more likely to leave school for work than merely to work after
school hours or during vacation.
T a b l e 64. — Place o f birth; comparison o f vacation and regular worlcers issued certifi­

cates in B oston and regular workers interviewed who worked and did not work before,
leaving school.

Children issued certificates in
Boston who, before becoming
16, worked—

Place of birth.

During vacation
or out of school
hours only.

N um ­
ber.

Regularly.

Per
N um ­
cent
ber.
distri­
bution.

Children interviewed who left
school to work before becoming
16, and who, before leaving
school—

Worked.

Per
N um ­
cent
distri­
ber.
bution.

D id not work.

Per
cent
N um ­
ber.
distri­
bution.

Per
cent
distri­
bution.

A ll children.......................... ............

857

100.0

13,544

100.0

324

100.0

499

100.0

N a tiv e .......................... .................................
Foreign-born................................................
Place of birth:
British North Am erica............
England, Scotland, W ales___
Ireland...........................................
Ita ly ................................................
R ussia............................................
Other........................ .....................

733
124

85.5
.14.5

2,876
667

81.2
18.8

265
59

81.8
18.2

392
107

78.6
21.4

10
17
6
23
51
17

1.2
2.0
.7
2.7
6.0
2.0

46
74
17
261
215
54

1.3
2.1
.5
7 .4
6.1
1.5

3
7
5
22
15
7

.9
2 .2
1.5
6 .8
4 .6
2 .2

2
11
1
68
18
7

.4
2.2
.2
13.6
3 .6
1.4

1 Including one child for whom nativity was not reported.

The nativity of the fathers is known only for the interviewed^
children. In this group, as appears in Table 65, a larger proportio;
of the native children of native fathers than of the native children of
foreign-born fathers or of the foreign-born children, 41.3 per cent,
39.6 per cent and 35.5 per cent, respectively, worked before leaving
school. The boys show the same order of nativity groups, though

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WORK

BEFO R E L E A V IN G

151

SCH O O L.

much larger proportions in each group worked before leaving school—
"9.1 per cent of the native sons of native fathers, 58.7 per cent of the
native sons of foreign-born fathers, and 57.9 per cent of the foreignborn boys. The girls, however, show exactly the opposite order of
nativity groups, with much smaller proportions in each; only 10.8
per cent of the native daughters of native fathers had worked before
leaving school, as compared with 12 per cent of the native daughters
of foreign-bom fathers, and with 16.7 per cent of the foreign-bom
girls. Evidently the native girls whose fathers were also native
were less likely than were the girls of either of the other groups to
combine school with work.
T able

65. - -E m ploym ent before leaving school, by nativity o f father and nativity and
sex o f child; children in te r v ie w e d .

Children who, before leaving school-

N ativity of father and nativity and sex of child.

A ll chil­
dren.

W orked.

D id not work.

Num ber. Per cent.1 Num ber. Per cent.1
Both sexes.................................

823

Both fathers and children n ative.
Fathers foreign born..........................
Children native............................
Children foreign born................
Nativity of fathers not reported...

201
593
427
166
29

B o y s............................................

477

B oth fathers and children native.
Fathers foreign born..........................
Children native................ -..........
Children foreign born................
Nativity of fathers not reported...
Girls............................................
Both fathers and children native.
Fathers foreign born..........................
Children native............................
Children foreign born................
Nativity of fathers not reported...

346

324

39.4
41.3
38.4
39.6
35.5

280

60.6
118
365
258
107
16

58.7
61.6
60.4
64.5

58.7

41.3

59.1
58.5
58.7
57.9

40.9
41.5
41.3
42.1

12.7

302

87.3

10.8
13.6

12.0
16.7

1 Not shown where base is less than 50.

From Table 66 it appears further that the children whose fathers
came from south and east Europe showed less tendency to work be­
fore leaving school or to put off leaving school by working outside
school hours than the children whose fathers came from north and
west Europe. This was due apparently to the comparatively small
proportion of Italian children, and especially Italian girls, who had
worked while still in school. Only 27.9 per cent of all the Italian
hildren, 54.1 per cent of the boys but barely 8 per cent of the girls,
rad worked before leaving school. This tendency among the Italians,
numerically the largest group of children whose fathers were foreign
born, counterbalanced an opposite tendency among the RussianJewish children, 48.6 per cent of whom worked before leaving school.

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152

T H E W O R K IN G C H IL D R E N OF BOSTON .

Of the chikiren whose fathers were Irish, who constituted the second
largest group of foreign parentage, only 37.7 per cent worked befo'
leaving school— a smaller proportion than of the children whos
fathers were native.
T

able

6 6 . — Em ploym ent before leaving school, by nationality o f father and sex o f child;

children interviewed.
Children who, before leaving school—
♦
N ationality of father and sex of child.

A ll chil­
dren-

D id n ot work.

W orked.

Num ber. Per cent.1 Num ber. Per cent.1
I
1
Both sexes........................................................................

Nativity of fathers not reported..........................................

823

324

39.4

499

60.6

201
593
258
51
167
40
297
70
197
30
38
29

83
228
105
21
63
21
106
34
55
17
17
13

41.3
38.4
40.7
41.2
37.7

118
365
153
30
104
19
191
36
142
13
21
16

58.7
61.6
59.3
58.8
62.3

280

58.7

197

41.3

B o y s . . .......................... - .........

64.3
51.4
72.1

59.1
58.5
56.4

Fathers native.......... ; . .....................
Fathers foreign born........................
North and west Europe..........
English and Scotch..........
Irish.................................... ..
Other.....................................
South and east Europe...........
Russian-J ewish..................
Italian.................................. .
Other....................................
O t h e r ...:....................................
N ativity of fathers not reported.
Girls........................................-

35.7
48.6
27.9

346

12.7

87.3

Fathers native..................................
Fathers foreign born......................
North and west Europe........
English and Scotch.........
Irish.....................................
Other....................................
South and east Europe.........
Russian-J ewish................
Ita lia n ................................
Other:..................................
Other............................................
N ativity of fathers not reported.
i N ot shown where base is less than 50.

A G E A T S E C U R IN G F IR S T S C H O O L P O S IT I O N .63

As already stated, 857, or 19.5 per cent, of the 4,401 children who
took out employment certificates in Boston worked only during vaca­
tion or out of school hours. In other words, about one child out of
every five who took out a first certificate did not actually leave scho
before his sixteenth birthday. But that many of these childr
probably went to work during a vacation before the end of which
they would have become 16 and did not attend school after that age
63 B y **school position” is meant a position held b y a child only during vacation or outside school hours
an d before he had left school for work.


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153

W O R K BEFORE L E A V IN G SCH OO L.

seems to be indicated by the fact shown in Table 67 that over half of
them, 5‘0.5 per cent, were between 15£ and 16 years of age, as com­
pared with less than one-fourth, 23.7 per cent, of the regular workers’.
Nevertheless, many of these children doubtless worked outside
school hours and during vacations while continuing their schooling,
for, as will be seen later,84 nearly half of them were in high school as
compared with not much more than one-eighth of the regular
workers.
T able

67.— A ge at taking out first certificate and sex o f vacation and regular workers;
children issued certificates in B oston.
Children who worked—
All children.
Regularly.

Age and sex.

Number.

Both, sexes.

Per cent
distriNumber.
bution.

During vacation or
out of school hours.

Per cent
Per cent
distriNumber.
distribution.
bution.

4,401

100.0

3,544

100.0

857

14 under 14£.
14J under 15.
15 under 151.
151 under 16.

1 1,381
854
892
1,274

31.4
19.4
20.3
28.9

1,245
719
739
841

35.1
20.3
20.9
23.7

136
135
153
433

100.0
.

15.9
15.8
17.9
50.5

B o y s..

2,633

100.0

2,114

100.0

519

100.0

14 under 141.
141 under 15.
15 under 151151 under 16.

838
473
562
760

31.8
18.0
21.3
28.9

747
399
470
498

35.3
18.9
22.2
23.6

91
74
92
262

17.5
14.3
17.7
50.5

G irls...

1,768

100.0

1,430

100.0

338

100.0

14 under 141-.
141 under 15.,
15 under 151-.
151 under 16..

543
381
330
514

30.7
21.5
Ì8.7
29.1

498
320
269
343

34.8
22.4
18.8
24.0

45
61
61
171

13.3
18.0
18.0
50.6

1 Including three children who went to work before they were 14 years of age according to continuationschool records, but who did not secure employment certificates until after they were 14.

The large proportion of vacation workers who were in high school
should be considered, however, in connection with their ages. Only
15.9 per cent of these vacation workers took out their first certifi­
cates before they were 14^ years of age as compared with 35.1 per
cent of the regular workers. Similar differences are found for both
boys and girls, though the proportion of girls taking out certificates
for vacation work when under 14^ was only 13.3 per cent as com­
pared with 17.5 per cent of boys. A larger proportion of the girls
than of the boys, on the other hand, took out certificates when
between 14£ and 15 years of age. In this group, of course, none of
he positions were held before the children were 14.
Many of the children interviewed, on the other hand, gave informa­
tion as to gainful work before their fourteenth birthdays, in some
cases even before their tenth birthdays. Of the 324 children who
M See p . 165.

4 9 4 7 0°— 22-

-11


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154

TH E WORKING CHILDREN OF BOSTON.

worked before leaving school, only 46, according to Table 68, secured
their first school positions after they were 14 years of age. Many
of the interviewed children took regular positions so soon after
becoming 14 that there was no time for them to have vacation or
out of school hours positions after that age. The age at securing
first school position had to be tabulated as “ not reported’ in 135
cases, 41.7 per cent of the total number, usually because the children
could not accurately remember the date. As they would be much
more likely to remember comparatively recent dates than earlier
ones it is probable that most of the children who failed to report on
this point had begun work before they were 14 and many of them
before they were 12. Even of those who reported, 40 children
began before they were 12— 12 boys before they were 10— while 36
began between 12 and 13, and 67 between 13 and 14 years of age.
T a b l e 6 8 . — A ge at securing first school position, by age at securing first regular position

and sex; interviewed children who worked before leaving school.
Children who worked before leaving school.

Age at securing first regular position.
Age at securing first school position
and sex of child.

Total.
Under 14i.

Number.

. Both sexes..............

Per cent
Number.
distri­
bution.!

100.0

157

100.0

144

Under 12 years of age—
Under 10......................
10 under 11..................
11 under 12..................
12 under 14 years of age.
12 under 13..................
13 under 14..................
14 under 15 years of age.
14 under 144................
144 under 15................
Not reported......................
Boys..........................

14J and under 16.

Per cent
Number.
distri­
bution.!

Per cent
distri­
bution.!

100.0

100.0

64
136

100.0

31

100.0

Under 12 years of age—
Under 10......................
10 under 11..................
11 under 12..................
12 under 14 years of age.
12 under 13..................
13 under 14..................
14 under 15 years of age.
14 under 144................
144 under 1 5 . . . . . . . . .
Not reported............ ..
Girls..........................
Under 12 years of age.. ..
11 under 12..................
12 under 14 years of age.
12 under 13..................
13 under 14.......... —
14 under 15 years of age.
14 under 144—
144 under 15.............. .
N ot reported....................
1 Not shown where base is less than 50.


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W O R K BEFORE L E A V IN G SCHOO L.

155

A much larger proportion of girls than of boys who worked before
leaving school secured their first school positions after they were 14,
and only two girls began work under 12 and none under 11. Nearly
half, 21,. of the 44 girls took their first school positions after the age
of 14.
The children who had worked before they were 14 showed a strong
tendency to secure regular positions as soon as they reached that
age. Of the 128 boys who reported having worked before their
fourteenth birthdays, 80, or 62.5 per cent, took regular positions
within the first three months after those birthdays. And of the 15
girls who reported having worked before they were 14, 9 secured
regular positions before they were 14 years and 3 months old.
KIND OF FIRST SCHOOL POSITION.

According to Table 69 for the interviewed group 21.9 per cent of all
the first positions held by the 324 children who had been employed
before leaving school involved only work during vacation periods.
The proportion of girls was much larger than that of boys, for 30 out
of 44 girls and only 41 out of 280 boys had first positions of this kind,
but about two-fifths, 40.7 per cent, of both sexes, and not far from
If, 45.7 per cent, of the boys alone, worked during both vacation
and school term in their first positions. And over one-third, 34.9
per cent, of both sexes and a somewhat larger proportion, 37.5 per
cent, of the boys alone worked only during school term. One-ninth
11.1 per cent, of the children worked only on Saturdays and about
one-sixth, 16.7 per cent, both on Saturdays and before and after
school hours. The girls, as already stated, usually had first positions
involving only vacation work and consequently each of the per­
centages relating to work at any time during a school term is higher
for hoys alone than for both sexes.
The native boys whose fathers were native appear to have been
less likely than those whose fathers were foreign-born to work during
schoolterm only and more likely to work during vacation only. At
any rate 34.7 per cent of the native sons of native fathers and
42.6 per cent of the native sons of foreign-born fathers held first
school positions which were for work during schoolterm only. On
the other hand, 16 per cent of the native sons of native fathers and
13.5 per cent of the native sons of foreign-born fathers held first
positions that were for work during vacation only. Not far from
qne-fourth, 22.3 per cent, of the native boys whose fathers were
)reign born, as compared with only 14.7 per cent of those whose
fathers were also native, held first positions which involved work
both on Saturdays and before and after school hours. More than
half, 26 out of 44, of the foreign-born boys worked both during
vacation and schoolterm in their first positions. The number of

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156

TH E WORKING CHILDREN OF BOSTON.

foreign-bom girls who worked before leaving school is too small to
justify any similar comparison for them.
In 22 of the 324 first school positions the employer was a parent
or relative. These positions were held by 22 children, 5 girls and 17
boys.
T a b l e 69 .— K in d o f first school position, by nativity o f father and nativity and sex of

child; interviewed children who worked before leaving school.

Children who worked before leaving school.

Fathers foreign b om .
Both fathers
and children
native.

Total.
K ind of first school position
and sex.

N um ­
ber.

Both sexes......................

B o y s.................................
V acation o n ly...............
Vacation and schoolterm___
Out of school horns........
Dining school hours 2___
Schoolterm___ ....■ .................
Saturday only............
Before and after sch ool..
Saturday and before and
after school.......... ..........
N ot reported............... ............. .
Girls................................. .

Children for­
eign born.

Per
Per
Per
Per
cent
N um ­
cent
N um ­
cent
N um ­
cent
distri­
ber.
distri­
ber.
distri­
ber.
distri­
bution.1
bution.1.
bution.1
bution.1

324

Vacation on ly...........................
Vacation and schoolterm___
Out of school hours........
During school hours* ...
Schoolterm................................
Saturday only..................
Before and-after sch ool..
Saturday and before and
after school.............. .
During school h ours2. . .
Not reported.............................

Children na­
tive.

83

100.0

100.0

100.0

22.9
41.0
39.8

18.9
39.1
37.9

28.8
45.8
45.8

1.2
32.5

1.2

12.0

40.2
13.0
5.9

100.0

100.0

6.0

Nativ­
ity of
fathers
not re­
ported;
chil­
dren
native.

13

16.7

280

100.0

13

16.0
45.3
44.0
1.3
34.7
13.3
6.7
18.6

2.1

14.7
4.0

100.0

100.0

22.3
1.4

100.0

Vacation o n ly..... ....................
Vacation and schoolterm .. .
Out of school hours........
During school hours2. ..
Schoolterm................................
Saturday only..................
Before and after school. .
Saturday and before and
after school....................
During school hours 2. . .
Not reported___|........... ........
1 Not shown where base is less than 50.
2 Of the six children who worked during school hours, three boys and two girls did so for only a few days
at the beginning or end of a schoolterm.

AMOUNT OF WORK DONE IN SCHOOL POSITIONS.

Two-thirds, 66.7 per cent, of the children interviewed who had
worked before leaving school, as appears in Table 70, held only one
school position. This proportion was even higher for the girls than
for the boys. Only 7 girls held more than one position. But over

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WORK

BEFORE L E A V IN G

157

SCH O O L.

one-fifth, 21.3 per cent, of all the children held two positions; nearly
^one-tenth, 9.3 per cent, three positions; and 9 boys, 2.8 per cent of
the total number of children, four or more positions each. Six
children held two positions simultaneously; and one of them had two
such combinations.
T a b l e 7 0 . — N u m ber o f school p o sitio n s held, by n a tiv ity o f father and n a tiv ity and sex o f

ch ild; in terview ed children w ho w orked before leaving school.

Children who worked before leaving school.

Fathers foreign born.
B oth fathers
and children
native.

Total.
Number of school positions
held and sex.

N um ­
ber.

Both sexes___

324

B o y s................

100.0

100.0

1.2

100.0

63.9
22.9

68.0

10.0

12.0
1.3

63.5
23.0
9.5
4.1

100.0

100.0

100.0

Girls.................

100.0

100.0

10.8

■ 1 position....................
2 positions..................
3 positions..................
4 or more positions.

169

65.7
21.3
9.5
3.6

18.1

280

Children for­
eign b om .

Per
Per
Per
Per
cent
N um ­
N um ­
N um ­
cent
cent
cent
distri­
distri­
distri­
ber.
distri­
ber.
ber.
bution.1
bution.1
bution.1
bution.1

1 position...................
2 positions..................
.3 positions..................
4 or more positions.

f

Children na­
tive.

3 .2

75

18.7

Nativ­
ity of
fathers
not re­
ported:
chil­
dren
native.

59

100.0

1 position....................
2 positions..................
3 positions..................
1 N ot shown where base is less than 50.

For the girls the numbers are too small for any comparison by
nativity. A larger proportion of the native boys whose fathers were
also native than of those whose fathers were foreign born, 68 per cent,
as compared with 63.5 per cent, held only one position.
Table 71 shows that more than one-third, 34.6 per cent, of the posi­
tions held by children before leaving school lasted less than three
months, but nearly as large a proportion, 30.2 per cent, lasted for one
year or more and almost one-sixth, 15.9 per cent, for two years or
more. This table also shows that the positions held by girls were
shorter than those held by boys, as would be expected from the fact
that a larger proportion of them were during vacation only. About
iree-fifths, 60.4 per cent, of the positions held by girls lasted less
tjhan three months, and less than one-tenth, 9.5 per cent, more than
a year.


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158

T H È W O R K IN G CHILDREN- OF B O STO N .

T a b l e 71.— Tim e em ployed and sex; school positions held by interviewed children w h & j
worked before leaving school.
1

School positions held b y—
Girls.

B oj

A ll children.
Tim e employed in each school position.

Per cent
Per cent
Number. distribu­ Number. distribu­
tion.
tion.

T o ta l........... .................
Under 3 m onths...................
Under 1 week................
1 week under 1 m onth.
1 m onth under 2 ..........
2 months under 3 .........
3 m onths under 6 .................
6 months under 12...............
6 m onths under 9 ..........
9 months under 12-----12 months under 24.............
12 m onths under 1 8 . ..
18 months under 2 4 . . .
24 m onths and over.............
N ot reported..........................

483

100.0

430

167
12
48
37
70
92
68
52
16
69
52
17
77
10

34.6
2.5
9.9
7.7
14.5
19.0
14.1
10.8
3.3
14.3
10.8
3.5
15.9
2.1

135
7
39
31
58
82
64
50
14
67
50
17
74
8

Per cent
Number. distribu­
tion.

100.0

53

100.0

T a b l e 72 — H ours weekly and sex; school positions held by interviewed children who
worked before leaving school.

School positions held by—

A ll children.

Girls.

Boys.

Hours weekly.
Per cent
Per cent
Per cent
Number. distribu­ Number. distribu­ Number. distribu­
tion.
tion.
tion.

T o t a l....................
Under 12..........................
Under 4............ —
4 under 8 ..................
8 under 12................
12 under 24......................
24 to 48 (inclusive)-----24 under 36..............
36 under 42..............
42 under 48..............
48 even.....................
Over 48.............................
Over 48, under 54.
54 and over.............
N ot reported..............- •

483

100.0

121
14
45
62
154
156
64
23
42
27
25
11
14
27

25.1
2.9
9.3
12.8
31.9
32.3
13.3
4.8
8.7
5.6
5.2
2.3
2.9
5.6

430
116
13
43
60
150
124
60
16
30
18
20
7
13
20

100.0

53

100.0

27.0
3.0
10.0
14.0
34.9
28.8
14.0
3.7
7.0
4 .2
4.7
1.6
3.0
4.7

5
1
2
2
4
32
4
7
12
9
5
4
1
7

9 .4
1.9
3.8
3.8
7. 5
60.4
7.5
13.2
22.6
17.0
9 .4
7.5
1.9
13.2

In approximately one-fourth, 25.1 per cent, of their school posi­
tions, according to Table 72, the children worked less than 12 hours
a week, and in not far from one-third, 31.9 per cent, between 12 and
24 hours. In nearly another third, 32.3 per cent, of the school posi­
tions held by-both sexes and in 60.4 per cent of those held by girl;
the hours were between 24 and 48 a week. Comparatively few of thè
boys only 19.6 per cent, but the great majority of the girls, 62.2 per


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159

W O B K BEFOBE L E A V IN G SCH O O L.

reent, worked over 36 hours— indeed, 9.4 per cent of the girls worked
over 48 hours, as compared with only 4.7 per cent of the boys. It
should be remembered in this connection, of course, that the positions
held by girls were much more generally for work during school vaca­
tion, and that a larger proportion of the girls than of the boys were
over 14 years of age when they first went to work.
T a b l e 73.— Tim e em ployed, by hours weekly and sex; school positions held by interviewed

children who worked before leaving school.

School positions of specified w eekly hours.

Under 12.
Tim e employed and sex of
child.
N um ­
ber.

12 under 24.

24 to 48 (inclu­
sive).

Over 48.

Not re­
Per
Per
Per
Per
ported.
N um ­
cent
cent
N um ­
N um ­
cent
cent
distri­
distri­
ber.
distri­
distri­
ber.
ber.
bution.1
bution.1
bution.1
bution.1

Both sexes.......................

121

100.0

154

100.0

156

100.0

25

3 months, under 6 .....................
6 months) under 12...................
12 months, under 24.................
24 months and over..................
N ot reported...............................

35
25
19
19
20
3

28.9
20.7
15.7
15.7
16.5
2.5

34
22
30
28
36
4

22.1
14.3
19.5
18.2
23.4
2.6

80
28
16
17
14
1

51.3
17.9
10.3
10.9
9.0
.6

14
10
1

B o y s...................................

116

100.0

150

100.0

124

100.0

20

32
25
17
19
20
3

27.6
21.6
14.7
16.4
17.2
2.6

34
21
29
28
35
3

22.7
14.0
19.3
18.7
23.3
2.0

55
23
15
17
13
1

44.4
18.5
12.1
13.7
10.5
.8

11
8
1

Girls....................................

5

100.0

4

100.0

32

100.0

5

Under 3 m onths........................

3

6 months) under 12...................

2

1
1
1
1

25
5
1

100.0

27
4
7
2
5
7
2

100.0

20
3
5
2
3
6
1

100.0

7
1
2

3
2

1

$

2
1
1

iN ot shown where base is less than 50.

When the weekly hours are considered in connection with the time
employed, as in Table 73, it is found that over half, 51.3 per cent, of
all the positions in which the hours were from 24 to 48 a week were
held for less than three months. Practically one-fifth of them, how­
ever, 19.9 per cent, were held for over a year. Of those which ended
in less than three months a larger proportion were held by girls than
by boys. The shorter hour positions were more evenly distributed
according to the time spent in each, but a surprisingly large proporeek lasted for over two years.


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160

T H E W O R K IN G CHELEKEN OF BOSTON .

EARNINGS IN SCHOOL POSITIONS.65

A

The weekly wages depended naturally to -a considerable extent
upon the amount of time the children were employed weekly. Table
74 gives the wages of children whose work fell into the different hour
groups. In over half, 51.2 per cent, of the positions in which the
hours were under 12 the children either worked one day a week only
or received no cash or only part cash; and in considerably over onefourth, 29.8 per cent, of these positions they received less than $2
a week. In over one-fourth, 27.9 per cent, of the positions in which
the hours were from 12 to 24 they received less than $2. None of the
girls who held positions in this hour group made over $2 a week.
But of the positions held b y boys in which the hours were 12 but
less than 24, in more than one-fourth, 26.7 per cent, their wages were
$2 but less than $3, and in nearly as large a proportion, 23.3 per cent,
they were $3 but less than $4. It is somewhat surprising to find
that in these positions with comparatively short hours, averaging
from two to four a day, 13 boys, 8.7 per cent, made $4 or more a
week, three of them $6 or over.
The children who worked from 24 to 48 hours a week naturally
received considerably higher wages than those who worked shorter
hours. In more than one-third of these positions, 35.3 per cent, tHe
children made $4 or more; in about one-fourth, 25.6 per cent, $4
but less than $5. In nearly as large a proportion, 30.1 per cent,
however, the weekly wages were only from $3 to $4.
In connection with these earnings it is interesting to note to what
extent the economic needs of the family may have influenced the
child to secure employment before leaving school. Table 75 shows
that of the interviewed boys who gave economic reasons for leaving
school only a slightly larger proportion than of those who gave other
reason^, 58.2 per cent as compared with 57.6 per cent, had worked
before they left school. And of the interviewed girls an even smaller
proportion of those who gave economic reasons than of those who
gave other reasons, 8.3 per cent as compared with 11 per cent, had
worked before leaving school. It should be remembered, however,
that the reason given by the child for leaving school may not always
have been the true one.
65 in some cases the children worked on their own account in street trades and other similar occupations
and their compensation did not, therefore, consist technically of wages, but to make possible a general
view of the compensation received this comparatively unimportant distinction has been ignored and such
earnings have been classified along with actual wages.


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161

W O R K BEFORE L E A V IN G SC H O O L.
T

able

7 4 . — W eekly wage, by hours weekly and sex; school positions held by interviewed

children who worked before leaving school.

School positions of specified weekly hours.

Total.
Weekly wage and sex of child.

Under 12.

12 under 24.

Over 48.

Not
rePer
Per
Per
Per
Per portcent
cent
cent
cent
cent ed.
Num- distri- Num- distri- Num- distri- Num- distri- Num- distriber. bu- ber. bu- ber. bu- ber. bu- ber. bution.
tion.1
tion.1
tion.1
tion.1

Both sexes............................

483 100.0

Under $2.........................................
Under #1..................................
$1 under $2..............................
$2 under S3.....................................
S3 under $4.....................................
$4 and over.....................................
$4 under $5...............................
S5 under 86..............................
S6and over.............................
Other..............................................
Worked 1 day a week only__
No cash wage or onlv part cash
Not reported..................................

95 19.7
5.8
28
67 13.9
90 18.6
99 20.5
83 17.2
61 12.6
13 2.7
1.9
9
98 20.3
73 15.1
5.2
25
18 3.7

121 100.0
36
18
18
15
3
2
2

29.8
14.9
14.9
12.4
2.5
1.7
1.7

62
59
3
3

51.2
48.8
2.5
2.5

43
8
35
40
35
13
9
1
3
19
13
6
4

27. 9
5.2
22.7
26.0
22.7
8.4
5.8
.6
1.9
12.3
8.4
3.9
2.6

Boys.....................................

430 100.0
88 20.5
26 6.0
62 14.4
85 19.8
86 20.0
67 15.6
47 10.9
11
2.6
9 2.1
88 20.5
70 16.3
18 4.2
16
3.7

Girls......................................

53 100.0

5 100.0

4 100.0

Under 82.........................................
Under 81..................................
81 under 82..............................
82 under 83.....................................
83 under 84.....................................
84 and over.....................................
84 under 85...............................
85 under 86..............................
86 and over................. ............
Other..............................................
Worked 1 day a week only__
No cash wage or only part cash
Not reported. .7 .......... ..................

7 13.2
2
3.8
5 9.4
5 9.4
13 24.5
16 30.2
14 26.4
2 3.8

1
1

3
1
2

10
• 3
7
2

1 N ot shown where base is less than 50.

18.9
5.7
13.2
3.8

116 100.0

154 100.0

Under 82.........................................
Under $1..................................
►—>81 under 82..............................
82 under 83.....................................
83 under 84.....................................
84 and over.....................................
84 under 85..............................
$5 under 86..............................
86 and over..............................
Other..............................................
Worked 1 day a week only__
No cash wage or only part cash
Not reported.................................


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Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

24 to 48
(inclusive).

35
17
18
14
3
2
2

30.2
14.7
15.5
12.1
2.6
1.7
1.7

59
57
2
3

50.9
49.1
1.7
2.6

1

3
2
1

150 100.0
40
7
33
40
35
13
9
1
3
18
13
5
4

26.7
4.7
22.0
26.7
23.3
8.7
6.0
.7
2.0
12.0
8.7
3.3
2.7

156 100.0
11
7.1
1
.6
10 6.4
27 17.3
47 30.1
55 35.3
40 25.6
10 6.4
5 3.2
12 7.7
12
4

7.7
2.6

124 100.0
9
7.3
1
.8
8 6.5
24 19.4
37 29. 8
42 33. 9
29 23.4
8 6.5
5 4.0
9
7.3
9
3

7.3
2.4

32

100.0

25 100.0

' Î
3
s
12
10
1
1
2
2
20 100.0

3
6
9
7
1
1
2
2
5 100.0

1

3

1

3

1

5
1
4
5
5
î
1
3
î
2
7
20
4
1
3
4
5
î
i

6
7
1

2
2
3
10
13
11
2

27

i

2
3
3

1
1

3
î
2

MB ¡8

1

162

T H E W O R K IN G C H IL D R E N OF B O STO N .

T able

75.— Em ploym ent before leaving school, by reason fo r leaving school and sesg
children interviewed.

Children who, before leaving school—

Reason for leaving school and sex of child.

A ll chil­
dren.

D id not work.

Worked.

Number. Percent.1 Number. Percent.1

Both sexes.........

823

324

39.4

499

60.6

Economic reasons____
Other reasons................
Reasons not reported.

333
408
82

110
167
47

33.0
40.9
57.3

223
241
35

67.0
59.1
42.7

B o y s....................

477

280

58.7

197

41.3

Economic reasons........
Other reasons................
Reasons not reported.

165
262
50

96
151
33

58.2
57.6
66.0

69
111
17

41.8
42.4
34.0

Girls.....................

346

44

12.7

302

87.3

Economic reasons........
Other reasons................
Reasons not reported.

168
146
32

14
16
14

8.3
11.0

154
130
18

91.7
89.0

1 N ot shown where base is less than 50.

SCHOOLTIME LOST.

The children who worked before leaving school, although a larger,
proportion of them than of those who did not work before leaving^
took their first regular positions during school term, were somewhat
more likely to go straight from school to work without losing any
important amount of schooltime in the transfer. Table 76 shows
that 75.3 per cent of the children who worked, as compared with
only 71.3 per cent of those who did not work, took their first regular
positions during the school year. In spite of this only 26.9 per cent
of the former group, as compared with 34.3 per cent of the latter,
had intervals of one week or more of schooltime between leaving
school and taking their first regular positions. Moreover, only 9.6
per cent of the children who had worked, as compared with 18.4
per cent of those who had not worked, lost one month or more of
schooling at this time.
This difference shows itself chiefly among the girls who had not
worked, a larger proportion of whom than of the boys had intervals
in many cases long intervals— between their school and their
working lives. . Of the boys alone very nearly the same proportion
of those who had worked as of those who had not worked— 27.1
per cent as compared with 28.4 per cent—lost one week or more of
schooltime; but 9.7 per cent of those who had worked and 13.6 per


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163

W O R K BEFORE L E A V IN G S C H O O L.

cent of those who had not worked lost one month or more of schoolrtime between leaving school and going to work.
T able

76.— A m ou n t o f schooltime lost, by em ploym ent before leaving school and sex;
children interviewed.

Children who, before leaving school—

Worked.

D id not work.

Interval between leaving school and going to work and sex.
Per cent
Per cent
Number. distribu­ Number. distribu­
tion.1
tion.

A ll children.........................................................................................

324

100.0

499

Interval during school term .......................................................................
None or less than 1 week (interval wholly or partly dining
school term ).........................................................................................
1 week or more.......................................... ! ...........................................
1 week, under 1 m onth................................................................
1 m onth, under 3 m onths...........................................................
3 months, under 6 m onths..........................................................
6 months or over........................................................... .................
Interval entirely during vacation.. . ; .......................................... .........

244

75.3

2 356

71.3

157
87
56
21
9
1
80

48.5
26.9
17.3
6 .5
2.8
.3
24.7

184
171
79
56
19
17
143

36.9
. 34.3
15.8
11.2
3.8
3.4
28.7

B oys........................................................................................................

280

100.0

197

100.0

Interval during school term ......................................................................
None or less than 1 week (interval wholly or partly during
school term )..........................................................................................
1 week or more........................................................................................
1 week, under 1 m onth................................................................
1 m onth, under 3 m onths...........................................................
3 m onths, under 6 m onths.........................................................
6 months or over............................................................................
Interval entirely during vacation............................................................

213

76.1

2 142

72.1

137
76
49
19
7
1
67

48.9
27.1
17.5
6 .8
2.5
.4
23.9

85
56
29
19
3
5
55

43.1
28.4
14.7
9.6
1.5
2.5
27.9

44

100.0

302

100.0

100.0

31

214

70.9

20
11
7
2
2

99
115
50
37
16
12
88

-32. 8
38.1
16.6
12.3
5.3
4 .0
29.1

None or less than 1 week (interval wholly or partly during

Interval entirely during vacation...................................................... .....

13

1 N o t shown where base is less than 50.
» Including one boy for whom amount of schooltime lost was not reported.

GRADE COMPLETED AND RETARDATION.

On the subject of the grade the child had completed when he left
school for work, information is available not only for the inter­
viewed children, but also for all the children who took out certifi­
cates for regular or for vacation work. In Table 77 the vacation
and regular workers of the Boston certificate group and the children
of the interviewed group who worked and who did not work before
leaving school are compared as to this point.


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164

T H E W O R K IN G C H IL D R E N OF BOSTON,

T a b l e 77.— Grade completed and sex; comparison o f vacation and regular workers issued )
certificates in B oston and regular workers interviewed who worked and did not work^
before leaving school.

Children issued certificates in
Boston, who, before becoming
16, worked—

Grade completed or kind of school
last attended and sex of child.

During vacation
or out of school
hours.

N um ber.

Regularly.

Per
cent
N um distriber.
bution.

Both sexes....................

857

100.0

Elementary grades........ .
Fourth grade...................
Fifth grade............... ..
Sixth grade.......................
Seventh grade.................
Eighth grade....................
Prevocational..................
Special................................
High school grades................
First year................ .........
Second year......................
Third and fourth years.
Vocational schools........... ..
Disciplinary schools..............
Other schools...........................
Not reported............................

415
13
26
56
93
214
4
411
216
143
52
22
1
4
4

48.4
1.5
3.0
6 .5
10.9
25.0
1.1
.5
48.0
25.2
16.7
6.1
2.6
.1
.5
.5

B o y s................................

519

Elementary grades................
Fourth grade...................
Fifth grade.......................
Sixth grade.......................
Seventh grade.................
Eighth grade....................
Prevocational..................
Special................................
High school grades................
First year..........................
Second year......................
Third and fourth years.
Vocational schools.................
Disciplinary schools..............
Other schools...........................
Not reported......................

Children interviewed who left
school to work before becoming
16, and who, before leaving
school1—

Worked.

D id not work.

Per
Per
Per
N um cent
N um cent
cent
distriber.
distriber.
distribution.
button.2
bution.2

100.0

324

100.0

499

100.0

2,907 • 82.0
153
4.3
304
8.6
592
16.7
528
14.9
1,267
35.8
41
1.2
22
.6
488
13.8
379
10.7
103
2.9
6
J2
111
3 1
11
.3
21
.6
6
.2

294
12
50
56
55
121

90.7
3.7
15.4
17.3
17.0
37.3

»454
24
41
104
92
192

91.0
4.8
8.2
20.8
18.4
38.5

29
27
2

9 .0
8.3
.6

36
34
2

7.2
6.8
.4

1

.3

9

1.8

100.0

2,114

100.0

280

100.0

197

100.0

243
4
15
33
60
125
5
1
260
139
92
29
9
1
2
4

46.8
.8
2.9
6.4
11.6
24.1
1.0
.2
50.1
26.8
17.7
5.6
1.7
.2

81.0
3.9
8.4
16.4
15.4
34.5
1.9
.4
16.2
12.5
3.5
.2
1.3
.5
.8
.2

256
9
43
48
48
108

91.4
3.2
15.4
17.1
17.1
38.6

169
6
10
43
36
74

85.8
3 .0
5.1
21.8
18.3
37.6

23
22
1

8.2
7.9
.4

22
20
2

11.2
10.2
1.0

.8

1,712
82
178
347
326
730
40
9
343
264
74
5
27
11
16
5

1

.4

6

3 .0

Girls........ ..... .................

338

100.0

1,430

100.0

44

100.0

302

100.0

Elementary grades................
Fourth grade...................
Fifth grade.......................
Sixth grade.......................
Seventh grade.................
Eighth grade...................
Prevocational..................
Special...............................
High school grades................
First year..........................
Second year.....................
Third and fourth years.
Vocational schools.................
Other schools...........................
Not reported............................

172
9
11
23
33
89
4.
3
151
77

1,195
71
126
245
202
537
1
13
145
115
29
1
84
5
1

83.6
5. 0
8. 8
17.1
14.1
37. 6
.1
.9
10.1
8.0
2.0
.1
5.9
.3
.1

38
3
7
8
7
13

» 285
18
31
61
56
118

94.4
6 .0
10.3
20.2
18.5
39.1

6
5
1

14
14

4 .6
4.6

3

1.0'

23
13
2

50. 9
2. 7
3.3
6. 8
9.8
26 3
1.2
Q
44.7
22.8
15 1
6 8
3 8
.6

3,544

i Prevocational, special, vocational, disciplinary, and other schools are not separately entered for the
children interviewed.
* Not shown where base is less than 50.
* Including 1 girl under the fourth grade.


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W O R K BEFORE L E A V IN G SCH OO L.

165

jfv Qf the children who took out certificates before their sixteenth
^birthdays for work only during vacation or out of school hours, a
much larger proportion had completed high-school grades than of
those who took out certificates for regular work. Of the vacation
workers nearly half, 48 per cent, but of the regular workers little
over one-eighth, 13.8 per cent, came from the high schools. Onefourth, 25.2 per cent, of the vacation workers as compared with
one-tenth, 10.7 per cent, of the regular workers, came from the first
year of high school; 16.7 per cent as compared with 2.9 per cent of
the regular workers, came from the second year; and 6.1 per cent,
as compared with 6.2 per cent of the regular workers, had completed
the third or fourth years. Children who had completed the eighth
or a higher grade constituted nearly three-fourths, 73 per cent, of
the vacation workers and only about one-half, 49.6 per cent, of the
regular workers.
A larger proportion of both the boys and girls who were vacation
workers than of those who were regular workers came from high
schools or had completed the grammar school course. In both
groups, however, a smaller proportion of the girls than of the boys
came from these higher grades. Of the girls who worked only
during vacation or outside school hours 71 per cent, as compared with
✓ 74.2 per cent of the boys, had completed the eighth grade or one or
more years of high-school work. But of the girls who took out
certificates for regular positions only 47.7 per cent, and of the boys
50.7 per cent, were thus far advanced in their school work.
These differences in school standing do not necessarily indicate,
however, that the vacation workers, actually were farther advanced
for their ages than were the regular workers. Not only did a smaller
proportion of the vacation workers come from the nativity groups—
the foreign-born in general and notably the Italian— in which the
proportion of children from the lower grades was particularly high,
but the vacation workers, as already shown,66 were on an average
considerably older than the regular workers, half of them being over
15£ years of age when they took out their first certificates. This
fact alone might appear to account for all the differences in grades
completed between the two groups.
That these differences in age do not, by any means, however,
account for the differences in grade completed is shown in Table 78,
for there it appears that not far from one-third, 31.7 per cent, of all
the children who before their sixteenth birthdays worked only during
acation or out of school hours, as compared with less than one-tenth,
.4 per cent, of those who took regular positions, had completed higher
grades than normal for their ages. It should be noted that for more
than one in ten, 10.9 per cent, of regular workers but for little more
66 See Table 67, p . 153.


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166

T H E W O R K IN G C H IL D R E N OF BOSTON .

than one in a hundred, 1.1 per cent, of vacation workers the schoui J
only and not the grade attained was reported, so that the degree o f v
retardation could not be accurately measured. But even if all the
children for whom the exact grade was not reported had come from
higher grades than normal for their ages, the children who worked only
during vacation or out of school hours would still have had a decided
advantage in the matter of advancement in school. Moreover, only
one-sixth, 16.6 per cent, of these vacation workers, as compared with
not far from one-third, 31.5 per cent, of the regular workers, were
retarded. Although the differences between the sexes were slight, a
somewhat larger proportion of the girls than of the boys who worked
only during vacation or out of school hours were retarded.
T a b l e 7 8 .— Retardation and sex; comparison o f vacation and regular workers issued
certificates in B oston and regular workers interviewed who worked and did not work
before leaving school.

Children issued certificates in
Boston, who, before becoming
16, worked—

Retardation and sex.

During vacation
or out of school
hours only.

A ll children..........................................

B o y s . . . ...........................................
H aving completed:
A higher grade than norm al..........
A normal grade...................................
A lower grade than normal............
One or two grades lower than
norm al.......................................
Three or more grades lower
than norm al........................... .
N ot reported2......................................
Girls....................................................

Worked.

D id not work.

Per
Num ­
cent
distri­
ber.
bution.1

Per
cent
distri­
bution.

100.0

499

100.0

43
163
117

13.3
50.3
36.1

93
246
150

18.6
49.3
30.1

25.5

105

32.4

128

25.7

6 .0
10.9

12
1

3.7
.3

22
10

4.4
2 .0

2,114

100.0

280

100.0

197

100.0

32.2
50.5
16.0

208
967
663

9 .8
45.7
31.4

41
141
97

14.6
50.4
34.6

41
97
52

20.8
49.2
26.4

69

13.3

548

25.9

88

31.4

47

23.9

14
7

2.7
1.3

115
276

5.4
13.1

9
1

3.2
.4

5
,7

2.5
.3 .6

338.

100.0

1,430

100.0

44

100.0

302

100.0

105
172
59

Mi 9

31.1

17.5

126
739
454

8.8
51.7
31.7

2
22
20

- 52
149
98

17.2
49.3
32.fi

43

12.7

357

25.0

17

81

26. jj

16
2

4.7
.6

97
111

6.8
7.8

3

17
3

5 .6
1.0

Per
cent
distri­
bution.

Num ­
ber.

Per
cent
distri­
bution.

857

100.0

3,544

100.0

324

272
434
142

31.7
50.6
16.6

334
1,706
1,117

9.4
48.1
31.5

112

13.1

905

30
9

3.5
1.1

212
387

519

100.0

167
262
83

Num ­
ber.

Having completed:
A higher grade than normal..........
A normal”grades................................
A lower grade than normal............
O ne or two grades lower than
norm al.......................................
Three or more grades lower
than norm al.............................
N ot reported2......................................

Regularly.

Children interviewed who left
school to work before becoming
16, and who, before leaving
school—

Num ­
ber.

H aving completed:

One or tw o grades lower than
Three or more grades lower

1 Not shown where base is less than 50.
2 “ N ot reported” means that the children came from disciplinary, prevocational, and other special
.schools and that on the records only the school attended, and not the grade completed, was given.


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W O R K BEFORE L E A V IN G SC H O O L.

167

/ ^The differences between these two groups of children in grade comtlpleted shown in Table 77 must therefore be due to an actual tendency.
The fact that the group of vacation workers includes a smaller pro­
portion of foreign bom , and especially of Italian children, who tend
more frequently than native children to be retarded, can not alter the
conclusion that the children who worked only during vacation and out
of school hours tended much more frequently than did those who left
school for work before their sixteenth birthdays to come from higher
grades than normal for their ages. Conversely, it can not alter the
conclusion that the regular workers tended much more frequently than
the vacation workers to be retarded in their school work.
The children who were interviewed, whether or not they had worked
before leaving school, had all left school for work before they became
16 and most of them soon after becoming 14 years of age. These
children, therefore, were all regular workers, and consequently in their
school advancement they did not differ greatly from the entire group
of children who took regular positions before their sixteenth birthdays
except that, as they were on an average younger, fewer of them came
from high school.
The vacation work reported by these children, moreover, was in the
Agreat majority of cases begun, if not completed, before they became
>14 years of age, and generally without taking out employment cer­
tificates. The vacation workers of the schedule series constituted,
therefore, a group of children who not only had definitely entered the
industrial world before their sixteenth birthdays— most of them soon
after their fourteenth birthdays— but had been irregularly employed
out of school hours before they definitely entered, and the great
majority of them before they were of legal age definitely to enter
the ranks of industrial workers.
From Table 77, relating to grade completed, it is hardly possible to
show that work before leaving school had any definite effect on the
school standing of the children who took regular positions before they
were 16 years of age. Nearly one-fifth, 19.1 per cent, of those who had
worked, as compared with little more than one-eighth, 13 per cent, of
those who had not worked, came from the fourth or fifth grades. But
on the other hand, 9 per cent of those who had worked, as compared
with only 7.2 per cent of those who had not worked, had completed
one or more years in high-school study. This difference, however,
might be entirely accounted for by the smaller proportion of foreign
born, and especially Italian children, in the group of vacation workers,
"hat it is at least in part so accounted for appears to be shown by the
„ct that it occurred entirely among the girls, who were on an average
older than the boys when they left school for work, and among whom
were an abnormally large proportion of Italians, who tend normally,
as already indicated, to leave school for work as soon as they can

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168

T H E W O R K IN G C H IL D R E N OE B O STO N .

secure certificates rather than to work before leaving school. Among \
the boys, in fact, a smaller proportion of those who had worked than^l
of those who had not worked came from high-school grades.
When Table 78 is considered, however, it appears definitely that
a larger proportion of the interviewed children who had worked than
of those who had not worked before leaving school came from lower
grades and a smaller proportion from higher grades than normal for
their ages.67 Of the children who had worked, 36.1 percent and of
those who had not worked only 30.1 per cent were retarded. On the
other hand, of the children who had worked only 13.3 per cent, but of
those who had not worked 18.6 per cent, had completed when they
left school higher grades than normal for their ages. Upon the whole,
the kind of work done before leaving school by the children who
were interviewed appears to have had a disastrous effect on their
school standing.
Much of this work, and that which was apparently the most harm­
ful, was at least begun during school term. Among the children who
had worked before leaving school a decidedly larger proportion, accord­
ing to Table 79, of those whose first school positions were for work during
school term and at no other time had completed only the sixth or a
lower grade than of those whose first positions were of any other kind.,
Not far from one-half, 46 per cent, of the children of the former groupl
had not completed any grade higher than the sixth. Moreover, the
proportion of children from the sixth or a lower grade whose first
school positions were for work during both school term and vacation
was higher than that of children whose first positions were for work
during vacation only— 31.1 per cent as compared with 26.8 per cent.
A much larger proportion of the children whose first school positions
were held during vacation only than of any other group came from High
school, 14.1 per cent as compared with 8.3 per cent of those who
had worked during both vacation and school term, and with 7.1 per
cent of those who had worked only during school term. These figures
relate, of course, only to first school positions, but since two-thirds of
these children held only one such position the conclusion to which they
point is probably not affected by this fact. Evidently for some reason
the children whose first positions were held during school term were
more likely than those whose first positions were held only during
vacation to have completed only the sixth or a lower grade when they
finally left school. Most of these children doubtless were retarded.
si A s explained on p . 127, the difference between the certificate and schedule groups in the proportions Qf
children from higher grades than normal can not be considered of any special significance because it is
probably caused, in part at least, b y the large proportion in the certificate group for whom only the schoq»
and not the grade was reported and for whom, therefore, retardation could not be determined, x. e , waSt
“ not reported.”


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Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

W O R K BEFORE L E A V IN G SCH O O L.
^T a b l e 79.

i

169

Grade completed, by hind o ffirst school position, and sex; interviewed children
who worked before leaving school.

Children who on leaving school had completed
specified grade.

K ind of first school position and sex of child.

• All
chil­
dren.

Sixth or
lower.

N um ­
ber.
Both sexes........................................
Vacation on ly ...................................
Vacation and school term ................
Out of school hours................
During school hours...................
School term .............................
Saturday only......................
Before and after school....................
Saturday and before and after school..........
During school hours.........................
N ot reported.........................................
B o y s ...............................................
Vacation o n ly ...................................
Vacation and school term............
Out of school hours............ ..........
During school hours.........................
School term ...................................
,
Saturday only..............................
Before and after school................
V - Saturday and before and after school........
y iot reported...................................................
Girls............................................................
Vacation on ly ......................................
Vacation and school term..........................
Out of school hours..................................
During school hours.......................
School term..............................
Saturday only.......................
Before and after school.......................
Saturday and before and after school.........
During school hours.....................
Not reported.......................................

Seventh or
eighth.

Per
cent.1

N um ­
ber.

Per
cent.1

High school
I or I I .

N um ­
ber.

Per
cent.1

*324

118

36.4

176

54.3

29

9.0

*71
132
129
3
113
36
20
54
3
8

19
41
41

26.8
31.1
31.8

57.7
60.6
61.2

46.0

51.9

10
11
9
2
8
2
3
3

ÏÏTÏ
8.3
7.0

52
20
9
23

41
80
79
1
53
14
8
28
3
2

55.7

23

8.2

42.6

6

*280

100

»41
128
126
2
105
35
18
52
6

7
39
39
50
20
8
22
4

35.7
30.5
31.0
47.6
42.3

156
27
79
78
1
48
14
7
27
2

46.9

61.7
61.9
45.7
51.9

6
10
9
1
7
1
3
3

. 44

18

20

6

30
4
3
1
8
1
2
2
3
2

12
2
2

14
1
1

4
1

2

5

1
1

1
1
1

1
1
3

7.1
5.6

7.8
7.1
6.7
5.8

2

1 Not shown where base is less than 50.
3 Including one boy whose grade was not reported.

That work during school term tends distinctly to cause a child to
fall behind in his school work is even more clearly indicated by the
figures, in Table 80 than by those in Table 79. For in Table 80
each child’s actual age at leaving school is compared with the grade
which he had completed at that time. Of the children whose first
positions were held only during school term 45.1 per cent were re­
tarded, as compared with 31.1 per cent of those whose first positions
were held during both school term and vacation and with 28.2 per
cent of those whose first positions were held during vacation only,
n the other hand, of the children whose first positions were solely
/ring vacation a larger proportion than of any other group were
from normal grades, and of those whose first positions were during
both vacation and school term a larger proportion had completed
higher grades than normal for their ages.
4 9 4 7 0 °— 22------ 12


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170

T H E W O R K IN G C H IL D R E N OF B O STO N .

T a b l e 80.— Retardation, by kind o f position first held before leaving school, and s& Q
interviewed children who worked before leaving school.

Children who, on leaving school, had completed for their ages—

A lower grade than normal.

K ind of first school position
and sex.

A higher
grade than
AU
normal.
chil­
dren.

A normal
grade.
Total.

Three or
One or two
more grades
grades
lower than lower than
normal.
normal.

Num ­ Per Num ­ Per Num ­ Per N um ­ Per Num ­ Per
ber. cent.1 ber. cent.1 ber. cent.1 ber. cent .1 ber. cent. 1

13.3

163

50.3

9~ 12.7
23 17.4
22
17.1

41

57.7
51.5
51.2

43

Both sexes................................. 2 324
71
132
129
3
113
36

2

1
10

20

54
3

4

8

1

ÏT

B o y s............................................. 2 280

.

-

fioforo and after school
Saturday and before and after
N ot reported.........................................
Girls.............................................
1

Vucdliuii and school term»

Satui day only................ .............
lW t ho and after school. . . ••••
Saturday and before and after

52
14

8 .8

3
3

Saturday and before and after
Not reported................................. ..

68
66
2

29

41
128
126

2

23
22
1

9

105
35
18

4

6

1

53.7

18.0
17.5

4.2
3.0
3.1

51
19
9

45.1

47
19

41.6

4

3.5

21
2

38.9

18
4
88

5.6

1

31.4

9~

Ä2

8

51.6
51.6

39
39

30.5
31.0

35
35

27.3
27.8

4
4

3,-tf

44.8

43
19
7

41.0

4

3. S'

38.5

17

32.7

3

1
8 .6

49
14
7

46.7

47
19

7.7

28

53.8

20

8

3

2

1

17

3

9

3

2~

22~

20*

1

17

12
2
2

2
2

3

4

4

1

1

1

1
1

1
2
2

1
2
2

2
1
1
1
1

2

i

1

2

44~

1

3

33.3

2

30
4
3
1
8
1

1

8

8

66

3

1

\

N ot shown where base is less than 50.
,
, ,
* Tnpinding one boy, whose age on leaving school was not reported.


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3.7

3
4
4

ÔT 34.6

50.4

65

2

1

12

23.9
28.0
28.7

5

24

2
3 1

52

46.0

141

14.6

32.4

17
37
37

41
41

1
2

8

105

28.2
31.1
31.8

2 <r

8

7.4

36.1

117

1;

5.8

i

INDUSTRIAL HISTORIES.
When a child has finally left school to go to work he has started
upon a real industrial career the first phase of which ends upon his
sixteenth birthday when the restrictions of the law are in large part
removed. The occupations which he enters during this period will
be considered later, but certain other general facts in regard to his
industrial history are important. In the first place how does he
secure his first and later positions ? Is he guided upon the threshold
of industrial life by the advice and assistance of officials of the school
which he is leaving or of the department which enforces the childlabor law under the authority of which he is placing himself ? Or is
he left without guidance from any public source ?
It is also important to know how many positions he holds during
this period, during what proportion of the time he is unemployed,
what wages he receives when he begins work and what wage increases
'he secures. From one point of view, however, his industrial success
¡pan best be measured by his average monthly earnings in all positions
^and through all periods of employment and unemployment. These
average monthly earnings give an idea of the monetary value to himself
or his family of the labor of a child under 16 years of age. Finally,
it is very important, especially from the point of view of health, to
know the hours which he works, and especially from the educational
and industrial points of view, to know the reasons for his changes
in positions.
METHODS OF SECURING POSITIONS.

The great majority of child workers in Boston appear to have secured
their positions either independently or through friends or relatives.
Table 81 shows that at least three-fourths of the children studied
secured their first positions in one of these two ways. Of those for
whom continuation school records were used the proportion was 76
per cent and of those who were interviewed it was 87.7 per cent. A
smaller proportion of the interviewed children than of the continua­
tion-school children, 38.4 per cent as compared with 40.2 per cent,
secured their first positions independently, and a considerably larger
proportion, 49.3 per cent as compared with 35.8 per cent, secured
hem through friends or relatives. The latter difference may be due
•i part to the fact that about one-tenth, 10.6 per cent, of the continua­
tion-school children failed to report how they secured their first posi­
tions. But the smaller proportion of interviewed children who se­
cured their first positions independently must show a real difference
171


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T H E W O R K IN G C H IL D R E N OF B O STO N .

between the two groups which is due, probably, to the fact that th e j
interviewed children were on an average younger than the continua-V
tion-school children when they began work.
Little use appears to have been made of employment agencies or
of schools or placement bureaus in securing first positions, and few
children were offered positions. Only about one child in twenty,
5.4 per cent of the continuation-school group and 5.1 per cent of the
schedule group, secured their first positions through a State or other
employment agency or philanthropic organization. An even smaller
proportion, 3.9 per cent of the continuation-school group and 1.7
per cent of the schedule group, were assisted by a school or a place­
ment bureau. Of the continuation-school group 4 per cent and of
the schedule group 4.6 per cent were offered employment.
T a b l e 81.— Method o f securing first position, by sex; comparison o f children interviewed
with children in B oston continuation school.

Children

in

B oth sexes.

Boston
school.

continuation

B oth sexes.

Girls.

B oys.

Children interviewed (Boston).

Girls.

Boys.

Method of securing first
position.
N um ­
ber.

3,399

T otal......................... ..

Position secured through—
Friend or relative.......... 1,217
555
547

Friend. . ..................
Relative.....................
Employer is rela­
tiv e..........................

Per
P e r -^ l
Per
Per 1
Per
Per
cent N um ­ cent Num­ cent Num­ cent Num­ ce n t?
cent
Num­
dis- < .
dis­
dis­
dis- 1
disdis­
ber.
ber.
ber.
ber.
ber.
tributribu­
tribu­
tribuiributribu­
tion.
tion.
tion.
tion.
tion.
tion.
100.0 2,026 100.0 1,373 100.0
35.8
16.3
16.1

738
325
330

823 100.0

477 100.0

346

100.0

36.4

479

34.9

406

49.3

212

44.4

194

56.1

16.0
16.3

230
217

16.8
15.8

183
160

22.2
19.4

84
83

17.6
17.4

99
77

28.6
22.3

115

3.4

83

4.1

32

2.3

63

7.7

45

9 .4

18

5.2

Independently secured. 1,367

40.2

735

36.3

632

46.0

316

38.4

186

39.0

130

37.6

Applied personally 1,296
A n sw er«! adver­
65
tisement ...............
W orked there be­
6
fore.........................

38.1

698

34.5

598

43.6

234

28.4

-140

29.4

94

27.2

1.9

31

1.5

34

2.5

44

5:3

16

3.4

28

8.1

.2

6

.3

38

4.6

30

6.3

8

2.3

Em ploym ent offered. .

136

4.0

104

5.1

32

2.3

38

4 .6

31

6 .5

7

2 .0

Em ploym ent agency,
etc...........................

184

5.4

171

8.4

13

.9

42

5.1

37

7.8

5

1.4

State employment
office......................
Private
employ­
m ent agency-----Philanthropic or­
ganization.

27

1 .3

4

.3

138

4.1

132

6 .5

6

.4

38

4.6

34

7.1

4

1.2

15

.4

12

.6

3

.2

4

.5

3

.6

1

.3

School, or placement
bureau—

132

3.9

75

3.7

57

4.2

14

1.7

6

1.3

8

2*-L

1/4
.6

D ay sch ool..

0|

1

Other m ethods..
Method not reported. . .


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2.1
71
7
J2,
54 - 1.6

42
2
31

2.1
.1
1.5

¿i
10.6

3
200

.1
9 .9

360

29
5
23

2.1
.4
1.7

3 i
-4
1
.1
10 1 1.2

1

.2

5

1.0

2
1
5

5

1.0

2

I
160

11.7

7

.9

IN D U STR IAL, H ISTO R IE S.

173

.
Each public school in Boston had at the time of this study a voca­
t i o n a l counselor whose function was, not to secure positions, but
to furnish advice to children who were leaving school for work.
These counselors, who were usually teachers in the upper grades
giving only part time to this work, also sometimes placed children in
positions which they considered comparatively desirable. Special
types of schools such as disciplinary, prevocational and vocational,
frequently secured positions for their pupils. That day schools in
general were more likely, however, to secure positions for, and prob­
ably also to be consulted by, the older children than the younger ones
appears to be indicated by the fact that they secured first positions
for 2.1 per cent of the continuation-school children but for only 0.4
per cent of the interviewed children. Evidently, as would be ex­
pected, their influence over the actual placement of children in
industry was slight.
An agency especially designed for the placement of children existed,
however, in the placement bureau which had an office adjoining the
Boston certificate office. The work of this bureau was mainly
among high-school graduates and children over 16 years of age who
were applying for educational certificates. That it had compara­
t iv e ly little to do with securing positions for the children included in
/this study is shown by the fact that it placed in their first positions
only 1.6 per cent of the children for whom continuation-school
records were used, 54 children out of 3,399. The State employment
office secured first positions for only 31 of these children, 27 of them
boys.
Less than one-tenth, 9.3 per cent, of the continuation-school chil­
dren and an even smaller proportion, 6.8 per cent, of the interviewed
children secured their first positions through any sort of agency or
bureau organized for the purpose of securing employment. Of those
who did make use of such an agency, more than half, 4.1 per cent of
the continuation-school children and 4.6 per cent of the interviewed
children, were placed by private employment agencies. Most of
the children placed by these agencies, as well as of those placed by the
State employment office, were boys.
In the continuation-school group a larger proportion of girls than
of boys secured their positions independently, 46 per cent as com­
pared with 36.3 per cent, but in the group of children interviewed
the tendency of the two sexes was exactly reversed and a somewhat
larger proportion of boys secured their positions independently. On
Ite other hand, in the continuation-school group a smaller propor­
tion of girls than of boys, 34.9 per cent as compared with 36.4 per
cent, secured their first positions through friends or relatives, and
this also was reversed among the interviewed children. In the latter
group 56.1 per cent of the girls and 44.4 per cent of the boys were

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174

T H E W O R K IN G C H IL D R E N OF BOSTON,

assisted by friends or relatives. In general it appears that the girlsj
were even more likely than the boys to apply personally for positioner
but that there was more difference in timidity between the younger'
and older girls than between the younger and older boys.
T a b l e 82.— Method o f securihg first and second positions, by sex; children in B oston con­
tinuation school who held two or more positions.

Children who held two or more positions.

B oth sexes.

Method of securing position.

Girls.

Boys.

First posi­ Second posi­ First posi­ Second posi­ First posi­ Second posi­
tion.
tion.
tion.
tion.
tion.
tion.

Per
Per
Per
Per
Per
Per
cent
cent
cent
cent
cent
cent
N um ­
N um ­
N um ­
N um ­
N um ­
N um ­
distri­
distri­
distri­
distri­
distri­
ber.
ber.
ber.
ber.
ber. distri­ ber.
bu­
bu­
bu­
bu­
bu­
bu­
tion.
tion.
tion.
tion.
tion.
tion.
T o ta l............................... 1,908 100.0 1,908 100.0 1,101 100.0 1,101 100.0

807 100.0

807

100.0

Position secured through—
Friend or relative...........

567

29.7

507

26.6

338

30.7

287

26.1

229

28.4

220

27.3

Friend........................
Relative.....................
Employer relative..

248
271
48

13.0
14.2
2.5

288
194
25

15.1
10.2
1.3

148
161
29

13.4
14.6
2 .6

155
111
21

14.1
10.1
1 .9

100
110
19

12.4
13.6
2 .4

133
83
4

16.5
10.3
.5"
■■ —J

Independently secured.

793

41.6

882

46.2

416 ~3778

467

42.4

377

46.7

415

Applied personally.
Answered advertisem ent.................
Worked there before

747

39.2

832

43.6

392

35.6

446

40.5

355

44.0

386

47.8"

41
5

2.1
.3

48
2

2.5
.1

19
5

1.7
.5

19
2

1.7
.2

22

2.7

29

3 .6

Employment offered. . .

82

4 .3

67

3 .5

61

5.5

42

3 .8

21

2.6

25

3.1

Em ploym ent agency,
school, placement bureau, etc..........................

155

8.1

292

15.3

116

10.5

203

18.4

39

4.8

89

11.0

14

.7

32

1.7

12

1.1

26

2.4

2

.2

6

.7

61

3 .2

80

4.2

61

5.5

71

6.4

9

1.1

Philanthropic organization..............
D ay school................
Continuation school
Placement bureau..

5
44
3
28

.3
2.3
.2
1.5

5
47
84
44

.3
2.5
4.4
2 .3

3
28
1
11

.3
2.5
.1
1.0

4
32
42
28

.4
2 .9
3 .8
2.5

2
16
2
17

.2
2 .0
.2
2.1

1
15
42
16

.1
1.9
5.2
2 .0

Method not reported...

311

16.3

160

8.4

170

15.4

102

9.3

141

17.5

58

7.2

State employment
office........................
Private
employ-

A larger proportion of the children secured their second positions
independently than their first67®and a smaller proportion secured their
seeond positions through relatives. Table 82 shows that of the
continuation-school children who held more than one position 46.2
per cent secured their second positions independently, as compared
with only 41.6 per cent who secured their first positions in this way.
Although a slightly larger proportion secured their second positioi
67a Based on total cases. I f not reported cases are equally divided among the different positions, then
the proportion securing their second positions independently was about the same as the proportion
securing their first positions independently.


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IN D U S T R IA L H ISTO R IE S.

175

.b y answering advertisements, the difference was due almost entirely
\ o the larger proportion who applied personally, 43.6 per cent as
compared with 39.2 per cent. This table also shows that only 26.6
per cent of the second positions, as compared with 29.7 per cent of
the first positions, were secured through relatives and friends. Here
the difference was due entirely to the smaller proportion of cases in
which the second position was secured through a relative or in which
the second employer was a relative. Only 10.2 per cent of the children
who held more than one position secured their second positions
through relatives, as compared with a percentage of 14.2 for their
first positions. And only 25, or 1.3 per cent of these children, worked
for relatives in their second positions, as compared with 48, or 2.5
per cent, in their first positions.68 On the other hand, a larger pro­
portion,-15.1 per cent, as compared with 13 per cent, secured their
second positions through friends. Both the boys and the girls
showed this greater tendency to secure their second than their first
positions through friends or by personal application.
With the background of experience secured in their first positions
many children evidently had greater confidence and initiative, which
4ed them to branch out for themselves and secure their second posi­
tions by personal application. In this they were doubtless often
^assisted by information secured through all sorts of channels opened
up to them through their previous work, including their new asso­
ciates. The influence of these new associates is shown also in the
number of children who secured their second positions through friends
instead of relatives. Many children who secured their positions by
personal application doubtless heard of the vacancies through asso­
ciates.
These children showed a decidedly greater tendency to make use
of agencies and bureaus designed for placement in securing their
second than they had in securing their first positions. Nearly twice
as many of them, 292, or 15.3 per cent, as compared with 155, or 8.1
per cent, secured their second positions through employment agencies
or schools or placement bureaus. A larger proportion used each
different type of such agency, except the philanthropic organization,
for second than for first positions; even the day school secured more
second than first positions for children who held more than one.
The placement bureau, which found first positions for only 28, or 1.5
per cent of these children, found second positions for 44, or 2.3 per
cent of them.
The greatest difference was found, as was natural, in the use
ade of the placement facilities of the continuation school. Voca« In all the regular positions held b y the children interviewed the employers were parents or relatives
in 84 cases involving 78 children. 58 boys and 20 girls.


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176

T H E W O R K IN G C H IL D R E N OF BOSTO N .

tional guidance or vocational counseling was a prominent feature o f j
the work of the continuation school and, although this function dic^J
not include specifically the placement of children, it naturally led
to such placement, especially as the teachers’ visits to the establish­
ments where children were at work began to make employers realize
the aid which the schools could give them. Employers at the time
of this study were gradually learning to send to the continuation
school for boys and girls, especially to fill positions requiring some
technical or vocational training. Before securing their first positions
children, as a rule, had no contact with the continuation school, since
they were enrolled only after they had brought their promises of
employment and secured their first certificates. Only three of them,
or 0.2 per cent, therefore, secured their first positions through the
continuation school, as compared with 84, or 4.4 per cent, who secured
their second positions through this agency. This latter proportion,
moreover, must not be considered typical of the work of the
continuation school in this respect as it represents only such
placement as could be carried on during the early history of the school
when the energies of its staff were occupied mainly in the pioneer
task of organization and no systematic placement work had been
developed.
A larger proportion of the foreign born than of the native children^
included in the continuation school group, according to Table 83,
secured their first positions independently or through relatives or
were employed by relatives, and a smaller proportion made use of
employment agencies, schools, or placement bureaus. Of the foreignborn children 43 per cent, as compared with 39.6 per cent of the native
children, secured their positions independently; 17.1 per cent, as
compared with 15.9 per cent of the native children, secured their
positions through relatives; and 5.8 per cent, as compared with 2.8
per cent of the native children, were employed by relatives. On the
other hand not much more than 1 in 20, 6.4 per cent, of the foreignborn children, but 1 in 10, 10 per cent, of the native children secured
their first positions through employment agencies, schools, or place­
ment bureaus.
In regard to methods of securing first positions the general tendency
of foreign-born children who had been in the United States for 10 years
or more was most like, and that of those who had been here for less
than 5 years differed most from, that of native children. Practically
one-half, 49.7 per cent, of the children who had been in this country
less than 5 years secured their first positions independently; ove
one-fifth, 21.6 per cent, secured their-first positions through relative
less than one-tenth, 9.8 per cent, through friends; and only 1 in 50,


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177

IN D U S T R IA L HISTORIES,

2 per cent, through employment agencies, schools, or placement
'bureaus. A larger proportion of the foreign-born children who had
been here from 5 to 10 years, 7.1 per cent, than of any other group
were first employed by their relatives.
T a b l e 83.— Method o f securing first position, by nativity and length o f residence in the

United States; children in B oston continuation school.

Children in Boston continuation school.

Foreign born.

Living in United States specified number of years.

Native.
Method of securing first
position.

Total.
Under 5.

5 under 10.

10 years
and over.

Not
reported.

Per
Per
Per
Per
Per
Per
N um ­ cent N um ­ cent Num ­ cent N um ­ cent N um ­ cent N um ­ cent
distri­
distri­
distri­
distri­
distri­
distri­
ber.
ber.
ber.
ber.
ber.
ber.
bu­
bu­
bu­
bu­
bu­
bu­
tion.
tion.
tion.
tion.
tion.
tion.
T o ta l............................... 2,761 100.0

637 100.0

153 100.0

224 100.0

203 100.0

Positions secured through—
Friend or relative .1 ___

990

35.9

227

35.6

55

35.9

79

35.3

80

Friend........................
R elative.....................
Employer relative..

474
438
78

17.2
81
15.9
109
2.8 ' 37

12.7
17.1
5.8

15
33
7

9.8
21.6
4.6

28
35
16

12.5
15.6
7.1

34
33
13

57

100.0

39.4

13

22.8

16.7
16.3
6 .4

4
8
1

7.0
14.0
1.8

Independently secured. 1,092

39.6

274

43.0

76

49.7

96

42.9

84

41.4

18

31.6

Applied personally. 1,035
Answered adver­
tisement .................
51
Worked there before
6

37.5

260

40.8

68

44.4

94

42.0

80

39.4

18

31.6

1.8
.2

14

2.2

8

5.2

2

.9

4

2.0

Em ploym ent offered. . .

' 119

4.3

vT

2.7

5

3 .3

4

1.8

7

3.4

1

1.8

Em ploym ent agency,
school,
placement
bureau, etc....................

275

10.0

41

6.4

3

2.0

18

8.0

14

6.9

6

10.5

1

.4

2

1.0

1

.7

7

3.1

6

3.0

3

5.3

.4
2.7
.9
.4

12.1

State employment
office........................
Private
employ­
m ent agency.........
Philanthropic or­
ganization..............
D ay school................
Continuation school
Placement bureau..

28

1.0

3

.5

121

4.4

17

2.7

14
62
5
45

.5
2.2
.2
1.6

1
9
2
9

JJ
1.4
.3
1.4

2

1.3

1
6
2
1

A ll other methods..........

3

.1

Method not reported. . .

282

10.2

78

12.2

14

9.2

27

3

1.5

3

1.5

3

5.3

18

8.9

ÏT

33.3

A much larger proportion of children who had completed a year or
more of high school work than of any other group, as appears in Table
84, secured their first positions through employment agencies, schools,
r placement bureaus. Not far from one-fifth, 18 per cent, of the
hildren from high schools made use of these agencies, most of them
securing their positions either through private employment agencies,


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178

T a b l e 84.— Method o f securing first position, by grade completed children in Boston continuation school.

Children, before taking out first certificate, attending—

Elementary school: Grade completed.

N um ­
ber.

A ll children...................................... .................

Per
cent
distri­
bution.

N um ­
ber.

Per
cent
distri­
bution.

Per
cent
distri­
bution.

N um ­
ber.

Per
cent
distri­
bution.

N um ­
ber.

148

100.0

291

100.0

566

100.0

504

100.0

1,219

61
20
34
7
66
62
4

41.2
13.5
23.0
4.7
37.8
35.1
2 .7

103
40
50
13
121
115
5
1
18

35.4
13.7
17.2
4.5
41.6
39.5
1 .7
.3
6.2

198
76
92
30
238
222
15
1
21

35.0
13.4
16.3
5.3
42.0
39.2
2.7
.2

178
82
85
11
211
197
12
2
27

35.3
16.3
16.9
2.2
41.9
39.1
2.4
.4
5.4

448
224
190
34
495
477
16
2
40

7

2.4

4

1.4

6.0
.9
2.5
.7
.4
.5
1.1

29
3
16

5.8
.6
3.2

.3
.3
.3

34
5
14
4
2
3
6

14.4

75

13.3

117
13
59
7
3
2
33
1
118

Positions secured through—

Em ploym ent

N um ­
ber.

Eighth.

Seventh.

Sixth.

Fifth.

Fourth.

5

3.4

4
1
1
1

2.7
.7
.7
.7

agency, school, placement

1

.7

1
1
1

22

14.9

42

3 /T

2

.4

8
1
58

1.6
.2
11.5

Per
cent
distri­
bution.

-

N um ­
ber.

Per
cent
distri­
bution.

N um ­
ber.

Per
cent
distri­
bution.

100.0

467

100.0

198

100.0

36.8
18.4
15.6
2.8
40.6
39.1
1.3
.2
3.3

168
83
70
15
169
157
12

36.0
17.8
15.0
3.2
36.2
33.6
2.6

59
28
26
5
75
74
1

29.8
14.1
13.1
2.5
37.9
37.4
.5

15

3.2

10

5.1

9.6
1. 1
4.8
.6
.2
.2
2.7
.1
9.7

84
8
37
2
32
1
4
1
30

18.0
1.7
7.9
.4
6.9
.2
.9
.2
6.4

39
1
6

19.7
•5
3.0

31

15.7

1

.5

15

7.6

1 Including special, disciplinary, prevocational, vocational, and other schools.


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5 >-?-

T H E W O R K IN G C H IL D R E N OF BOSTON

Method of securing first position.

IN D U STR IAL. H ISTO R IE S.

179

7.9 per cent, or through their own schools, 6.9 per cent. Nearly
one-tenth, 9.6 per cent, of the eighth-grade graduates, but little more
than one-twentieth, 5.8 per cent, of the seventh-grade graduates,
only 6 per cent of the sixth-grade graduates, and much smaller pro­
portions, 2.4 per cent and 2.7 per cent, respectively, of the fifth and
fourth grade graduates, secured their first positions through such
agencies. Few of the children from elementary as compared with
those from high schools secured positions through their schools.
This was probably due in part to a greater amount of attention to
the placement of children in the high than in the elementary schools.
It is difficult to determine whether this greater tendency of highschool pupils to use placement agencies, or whether the greater
tendency previously noted of native children to use such agencies,
is due to the comparatively large proportion of native children in the
high schools.
A large proportion, 23 per cent, of the children who had completed
only the fourth grade secured their first positions through relatives.
This was due in part, though not wholly, to the inclusion in this
group of a comparatively large number of foreign-born children
who, as already seen, tended to secure their positions in this way.
rn part, the comparatively large proportion, 17.1 per cent, of the
foreign-born children who secured positions in this way was due to
the large proportion of these children who came from the lower
grades in school. Children who had completed the fifth grade
showed the next largest proportion, 17.2 per cent, who were placed
by relatives.
In general the children from the fourth, fifth, and sixth were more
likely than those from any higher grade to go to work for their
relatives, and ljess likely to secure positions through friends. In
addition to the fact that a larger proportion of them were foreign
born these children from the lower grades would be less likely than
those from higher grades to have friends who had preceded them
in leaving school for work.
Table 85 shows that over two-fifths, 42.6 per cent, of the con­
tinuation-school children whose first employers were relatives were
retarded, as compared with 31.4 per cent of the entire number.
The girls whose employers were relatives were less frequently re­
tarded than the boys, of whom 45.8 per cent had failed to attain
normal grades. Only a little over one-fourth, 27.9 per cent, of the
children who secured their first positions through friends were
retarded, and on this point little difference was found between the
sexes.


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180

T a b l e 85.— Retardation, by method o f securing first position, and sex; children in B oston continuation school.
Children who, on leaving school, had completed, for their ages-

A 1ower grade than norroal;
Method of securing first position and sex.

A ll
children.

A higher grade
than normal.

A normal grade.

Not
reported.1

Three or more
grades lower than
normal.

Number. Per cent. * Number. Per cent.2 Number. Per cent.2 Number. Per cent.2 Number. Per cent.2 Number. Per cent.2
Both sex e s......................................

3,399

325

9.6

1,622

47.7

1,063

31.4

861

25.3

205

6.0

386

11.4

Positions secured through—
Friend orrelative................................
Friend.................................... . . . "
R elative........................
Employer relative....................
In d e p e n d e n tly secured................
Applied personally..................
Answered a d v ertisem en t...
Worked there before.................
Em ploym ent offered.......................
Em ploym ent agency, etc...............
State em p lo y m e n t office___
Private em p loy m en t agency
Philanthropic organization..
School or placement bureau........
D a y school..................................
Continuation school.................
P la c e m e n t bureau.................
A ll other methods............................ . .
Method not reported........................

1,217
<555
547
115
1,367
1,296
65
6
136
184
31
138
15
132
71
7
54
3
360

117
58
51
8
113
106
7

9.6
10.5
9.3
7.0
8.3
8.2
10.8

48.4
51.5
45.9
45.2
49.7
50.0
43.1

76
27
44
5
92
84
7
1
8
6
1
4
1
3
2

6 .2
4.9
8.0
4.3
6.7
6.5
10.8

130
56
68
6
121
117
3
1
20
11
1
9
1
37
35

10.7
10.1
12.4
5.2
8.9
9 .0
4.6

15.2

8

14.8

64.8

16.7

305
128
133
44
362
341
20
1
43
36
7
25
4
19
8
3
8

25.1
23.1
24.3
38.3
26.5
26.3
30.8

7 .4
15.8

381
155
177
49
454
425
27
2
51
42
8
29
5
22
10
3
9

31.3
27.9
32.4
42.6
33.2
32.8
41.5

10
29
6
21
2
11
3

14.8

1

1.9

2

3.7

45

12.5

589
286
251
52
679
648
28
3
55
102
16
79
7
62
23
4
35
3
132

36.7

116

32.2

96

26.7

20

5.6

67

18.6

B o y s ........... ..............5 .......................

2,026

202

10.0

917

45.3

632

31.2

522

25.8

110

5.4

275

13.6

Positions secured through—
Friend, or relative...............................
Friend............................................
Relative.........................................
Em ployer relative....................
I n d e p e n d e n tly secured.................
Applied personally...................
Answered a d v e rtis e m e n t...
W orked therie before.................

738
325
330
83
735
698
31
6

78
41
32
5
56
53
3

10.6
12.6
9 .7
6 .0
7 .6
7.6

339
155
150
34
343
328
12
3

45.9
47.7
45.5
41.0
46.7
47.0

228
91
99
38
261
244
15
2

30.9
28.0
30.0
45.8
35.5
35.0

184
75
76
33
216
202
13
1

24.9
23.1
23.0
39.8
29.4
28.9

44
16
23
5
45
42
2
1

6 .0
4.9
7.0
6.0
6.1
6.0

93
38
49
6
75
73
1
1

12.6
11.7
14.8
7.2
10.2
10.5


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8.3
4.2

40.4
55.4
57.2
47.0
32.4

37.5'
22.8
21.0
16.7
14.1

31.6
19.6
18.1
14.4
11.3

5.9
3.3
2.9
2.3
2.8

•

14.7
6 .0
6.5
28.0
49.3

T H E W O R K IN G C H IL D R E N OF BOSTON

One or two grades
lower than normal.

Total.

Vj
104
171
27
132
12
75
42
2
31
3
200

25

G irls.......................................................

1,373

Positions secured through—
Friend or relative...................................
Friend...............................................
Relative.............................................
Em ployer relative........................
In d ep en d en tly secured....................
Applied personally.......................
Answered ad vertisem ent........
Em ploym ent offered............................
Em ploym ent agency, etc...................
State em ploym ent office...........
Private em ploym ent agency..
Philanthropic organization.... .
School or placement Dureau............
D ay school....................................
Continuation school.....................
Placement bureau.......................
Method not reported..........................

479
230
217
32
632
598
34
32
13
4
6
3
57
29
5
23
160

8
28
6
20
2
7
2

7.7
16.4

12.5

41
97
14
77
6
24
3
1
20
3
70

123

9.0

39
17
19
3
57
53
4
2
1

8,1
7.4
8.8

15.2
9.3

5

9.0
8.9

1
4
1
3
20

7.0

12.5

39.4
56.7

37
35
6
26
3
10
4
1
5

35.6
20.5

35.0

61

30.5

52

26.0

9

4.5

44

22.0

705

51.3

434

31.6

339

24.7

95

6.9

111

8.1

250
131
101
18
336
320
16
14
5
2
2
1
38
20
3
15
62

52.2
57.0
46.5

153
64
78
11
193
181
12
14
7
2
3
2
12
» 6
2
4
55

31.9
27.8
35.9

121
53
57
11
146
139
7
13
6
2
2
2
9
4
2
3
44

25.3
23.0
26.3

32
11
21

6.7
4.8
9.7

37
18
19

7.7
7.8
8.8

23.1
23.2

47
42
5
1
1

7.4
7.0

46
44

7.3
7.4

15.8

3
2

5.3

3

5.3

6.9

23

14.4

58.3
32.0

53.2
53.5

66.7

38.8

1

19.7
13.3

30.5
30.3

21.1

34.4

30
30
5
23
2
10
4
1
5

28.8
17.5
17.4

7
5
1
3
1

6.7
2.9
2.3

13.3

18
11
1
9
1
34
33

17.3
6.4
6.8
45.3

1

1

27.5

i
ii

t h e ' ^ ^ e ^ ^ p ^ e d ^ a s g i v w i . ^ 6 cMldren came irom disciPlinary» prevocational, vocational,and other special schools, and that on the records only the school attended, and not

IN D U S T R IA L H ISTO R IE S.

Em ploym ent offered...........................
Em ploym ent agency, etc.................
State em ploym ent office_____
Private em ploym ent agency.
Philanthropic organization__
School or placement bureau............
D ay school.......................................
Cont inuation school....................
P la c e m e n t bureau.....................
All other methods.................................
Method not reported............................

1 N ot shown where baseis less than 50.

181


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182

T H E W O R K IN G C H IL D R E N OF BOSTON .

This table shows also that comparatively few, only 22.8 per cent
of the children who secured their first positions through employment
agencies of all kinds and even fewer, 16.7 per cent, of those who
secured them through schools or placement bureaus, were retarded.
In the latter group— the children who secured positions through
schools or placement bureaus— the grade completed by more than
one-fourth, 28 per cent, was not given. The children for whom the
grade was not given were from disciplinary, prevocational, vocational,
and other special schools, most of which endeavored to place as many as
possible of their pupils. Of the children who secured their first posi­
tions through the schools they were leaving, about one-half, 49.3 per
cent, came from this type of school. Nearly all of them were boys.
The children who secured their positions through private employ­
ment agencies and through the placement bureau seem to have been
those who were advanced rather than retarded in their school work.
Of the former group 15.2 per cent and of the latter 14.8 per cent, as
compared with only 9.6 per cent of all the children, had completed
higher grades than normal. Nearly three-fifths, 57.2 per cent, of the
children who secured their first positions through private employ­
ment agencies and not far from two-thirds, 64.8 per cent, of those
who secured them through the placement bureau, were in norma
grades for their ages. .
T a b l e 8 6 . — Method o f securing first regular position, by em ploym ent before leaving school,

and sex; interviewed children who worked before leaving school.
Children who, before
leaving school—
Worked.
Method of securing first
regular position.

100.0

100.0
140

F rien d .................................. .
R ela tiv e...............................
Employer relative............
Independently secured..........

130

43.2

53.3

16.4
17.0
9.9

130
105
31

26.1

40.1

186

37.3

Applied personally...........
Answered advertisement.
Worked there before____

Em ploym ent agency___
P h ilan th rop ic organiza­
tion ....................................
D ay school..........................
Continuation school........
Placement bureau............
Not reported..............................


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280 100.0
118

Did not
work.

21.0

6.2
113

29

27
6.5

1.2
1.2

17

40.4

22

7.9

24

8.6

3.4

.6

94

Worked-

Did not
work.

47.7

44

302

22

172

8.1

37.1
33.0
4.1

57.0

21.2

20.8
73

100.0

30.8

18.8

26.8
2 .9
10.7

6.6

7.1

42.1

197 100.0

16.8
15.0
10.4

30.7

Em ploym ent offered..............
Em ploym ent agency, school,
placement bureau, etc.........

Worked.

Girls who, before
leaving school—

Per
Per
Per
Per
Per
cent
cent
cent
cent
cent
N um ­
N um ­
Num ­
Num ­ N um ­ dis­
N um ­
dis­
dis­
dis­
dis­
ber.
ber.
ber.
ber. ber. tribu­
ber.
tribu­
tribu­
tribu­
tribu­
tion.
tion.
tion.
tion.
tion.

T o t a l......................................... .
Position secured through—
Friend or relative......................

D id not
work.

B oys who. before leav­
ing school—

5.0
17

113

37.4

25

29.1
8.3

2.0
19

9.6

15

7.6

1.4

.5

1.1

1.0

3.3

.3

V .

IN D U S T R IA L H ISTO R IE S.

183

Among the interviewed children, according to Table 86, a larger
proportion of those who worked than those who did not work before
leaving school secured their first positions independently. But this
difference was due entirely to the fact that more than one-tenth, 11.7
per cent, of the children who had worked before leaving school went
back to places where they had been employed before. A larger pro­
portion of these children than of those who had not worked before
leaving school, 7.1 per cent as compared with 3 per cent, were offered
positions; and a larger proportion also, 6.5 per cent as compared with
3.4 per cent, secured their first positions through private employment
agencies.
NUMBER OF POSITIONS.

The children who took out certificates before they were 16 years of
age began their industrial histories at different ages, when barely 14,
when nearly 16, and at all ages between. The number of certificates
which a child held before his sixteenth birthday is not, therefore, an
index to his relative steadiness or unsteadiness as a worker unless it
is known also how long before that birthday, that is* at what age,
he took out his first certificate. Even when this is known the records
Wef the certificate office do not necessarily give the child’s complete
’ industrial history, for he may at some time between the ages of 14
and 16 have secured a certificate, or even more than one certificate,
for work in some other city. A certain number of the children for
whom records were secured may have moved from somewhere else
to Boston or to one of the neighboring cities included in the study,
and others may have moved away, between the ages of 14 and 16.
These children may have worked in the city from which they came
or to which they went. Still others must have died, and probably a
few worked at some time without certificates. Both the certificate
and continuation school records, therefore, furnish understatements of
the number of positions held. The certificate records, moreover, in­
clude children who worked only during vacation and were in school all
the rest of the year. Nevertheless, it is of interest to note the num­
ber of certificates issued to the children of these two groups who began
work at the different ages.


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184

T H E W O R K IN G C H IL D R E N OF B O STO N .

T a b l e 87. — Number o f certificated positions held, by age at taking out first certificate

and sex; children issued certificates in fo u r cities.

Num ber of certificated positions held and
age at taking out first certificate.

14 under 14$ years.............................................. .

14$ under 15 years................................................

15 under 15$ years................................................

15$ under 16 years................................................

Girls.

Boys.

Children.

Per cent
N u m b er. distribu­
tion.

Per cent
Per cent
um b er. distribu­ d u m b er. distribu­
tion.
tion.

11,703

100.0

1,048

100.0

655

100.0

550
468
302
383

32.3
27.5
17.7
22.6

354
300
188
206

33.8
28.6
17.9
19.6

196
168
114
177

29.9
25.6
17.4
27.1

166
89
65
25
18
6
14

9.7
5.2
3.8
1.5
1.1
.4
.8

101
43
35
15
5
4
3

9.6
4.1
3.3
1.4
.5
.4
.3

65
46
30
10
13
2
11

9.9
7.0
4.6
1.5
2.0
.3
1.7

1,089

100.0

620

100.0

469~

100.0

486
302
171
130

44.6
27.7
15.7
11.9

288
194
73
65

46.5
31.3
11.8
10.6

198
108
98
65

42.2
23.0
20.9
13.8

71
36
11
8
2

6.5
3.3
1.0
.7
.2

40
14
4
6

6.5
2.3
.6
1.0

31
22
7
2
2

6.6
4.7
1.5
.4
•4

2

.2

1

.2

1

1,191

100.0

740

100.0

451

100.0

434
191
76
39

58.6
25.8
10.3
5.3

246
109
55
41

54.5
24.2
12.2
9.1

680
300
131
80

57.1
25.2'
11.0
6.8

• 58
12
9
1

4.9
1.0
.8
.1

31
5
3

4.2
.7
.4

•2;

6.0
1.6
1.3
.2
---------------- 100.0
698
27
7
6
1

1,709

100.0

1,011

100.0

1,382
248
59
20

80.9
14.5
3.5
1.2

828
136
36
11

81.9
13.5
3.6
1.1

554
112
23
9

79.4
16.0
3.3
1.2

14
3
3

.8
.2
.2

6
3
2

.6
.3
.2

8

1.1

1

.1

1 Including three children who went to work before they were 14 years of age according to continuation
school records, but who did not secure employment certificates until after they were 14.

Table 87 shows that, of all the children who took out certificates
in the four cities— Boston, Cambridge, Somerville, and Chelsea—
between the ages of 14 and 14^-, and who therefore had from 18
months to 2 years of possible working histories before their sixteenth
birthdays, nearly one-third, 32.3 per cent, held only 1 certificate each
but almost one-fourth, 22.6 per cent, held 4 or more certificates. Tb^
proportion holding only 1 certificate increased to 44.6 per cent among
the children who began work between 14^ and 15, to 57.1 per cent


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INDUSTRIAL HISTORIES.

185

among those who began between 15 and 15£, and to 80.9 per cent
among those who began between 15£ and 16. - At the same time the
proportion holding 4 or more certificates fell to 11.9 per cent, to 6.8
per cent, and to 1.2 per cent, respectively, among the children who
went to work at each of these three different ages. Those who went
to work between 15£ and 16, of whom 80.9 per cent held only 1
position and only 1.2 per cent held 4 or more positions, had, of course,
less than 6 months of possible work histories before their sixteenth
birthdays. Fourteen of the children who received their first certi­
ficates between 14 and 14| years of age and 2 of those who received
them between 14-| and 15 years of age took out 10 o r‘m ore certificates
before they became 16; 12 of these children were girls and 4 were
boys. One of the girls had taken out 16 certificates and 3 had taken
out 13. One boy had taken out 14 certificates and another boy,
and also 1 of the girls, had taken out 12.69
In each age group a smaller proportion of the girls than of the
boys held only 1 position, and a larger proportion held 4 or more
positions. Of the girls who took out their first certificates before
they were 14£ years of age over one-fourth, 27.1 per cent, as com­
pared with less than one-fifth, 19.6 per cent, of the boys, held 4 or
more positions.
In the group of continuation-school children, none of whom had
worked merely during vacation, the proportion who had held only 1
certificate was naturally smaller, and the proportion who had held 4
or more certificates larger, than in the certificate group. From Table
88 it appears that of the continuation-school children who went to
work when they were between 14 and 14£ years of age less than onefourth, 22.6 per cent, as compared with nearly one-third, 32.3 per
cent, of the children in the certificate group, held only 1 certificate.
vOn the other hand, 28.1 per cent had held 4 or more positions as
compared with 22.6 per cent in the certificate group. The tendency
toward a greater amount of shifting among girls than boys is again
shown in this group. Of those who took out their first certificates
before they were 14£ years old about one-third, 33.6 per cent, of the
girls held 4 or more positions as compared with less than one-fourth,
24.3 per cent, of the boys. Similar differences between the girls
and the boys appear in each age group.
69
A t the time of this study the Boston certificate office had on file the record of 1 girl (not included in
this study) who had taken out 32 certificates within a period of 15 months. For each of 3 different depart­
m ent stores she had taken out 2 certificates; and she had also held certificates for 3 other department stores.
2?he names of 2 candy factories appear twice and of 6 other candy factories once each in her list. The m m »
of a leather goods company also appears twice. In a number of these positions she was probably never
ctually employed. In 4 cases she secured certificates for one employer one day and for another the next
day.
.

4 9 4 7 0 °— 22------- 13


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186

TH E WORKING CHILDREN OF BOSTON.

T a b l e 8 8 . — Num ber o f certificated positions held, by age at taking out first certificate and

sex; children in B oston continuation school.

Children in Boston continuation school.

Number of certificated positions held.
Sex and age at taking out
first certificate.
Total.
N um ­
ber.

14 under 14J years:
Both sexes—

Per
cent.

N um ­
ber.

23.3

21.2

323

28.1

21.8

114

150
94

167
156

24.3
33.6

194

27.3

137

19.3

14.9

14.4
25.4

12.9
17.5

710

273

B o y s .........
G i r l s .'....

395
315

165
108

41.8
34.3

15 under 15J years
B oth sexes. . .

732

374

51.1

203

27.7

B o y s .........
Girls.........

464
268

248
126

53.4
47.0

133
70

28.7
26.1

584

72.5

20.3

352
232

73.3
71.2

19.8

15 J under 16 years
Both se x e s.. .
B o y s.........
Girls.........

480
326

Per
cent.

244

14£ under 15 years:
Both se x e s.. .

21.6

N um ­
ber.

30.6
24.6

160

100

Per
cent.

28.1

687
464

B o y s.........
Girls.........

N um ­
ber.

210

22.6

1,151

Per
cent.

30.9
22.9
95

20.3

13.0

60

8.2
6 .0
11.9

42

5.2

2.0

21.2

For the interviewed children information was secured in regard to
all positions, regardless of whether certificates had been secured, and
even regardless of whether the employment had been in Boston or
one of the other three cities studied, or elsewhere. For these children,
therefore, the record of positions held is complete. On the other
hand, these children were all interviewed before they were 16 years
of age, and consequently the information available relates only to
the period between the date when the child went to work and thé
date of the interview, and not, as for the other groups, up to his
sixteenth birthday. These children, therefore, have been classified
in four groups, not according to the number of positions held, but
according to the average number held within different lengths of
industrial history. The first group, which is called class A, consists
of children who held only 1 position within a year or more; these
children are called “ steady.” The second group, class B, consists of
children who held, on an average, 1 position within each period of
from 6 months to 1 year; they are less steady than the first group,
but not exactly unsteady workers, and have been called “ active.^
The children in the third group, class C, held new positions on ai
average within each period of from 3 to 6 months*; and those in thè
fourth group, class D, within less than 3 months ; those in the third
group tended toward unsteadiness in their work, but have been called


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187

INDUSTRIAL HISTORIES.

“ restless,” while those in the fourth group were distinctly “ unT a b l e 8 9 .— Steadiness at work, by sex; children interviewed.

Children.
Steadiness at work.»

Boys.

Girls.

Per cent
Per cent
Per cent
Number. distribu­ Number. distribu­ Number. distribu­
tion.
tion.
tion.

T o ta l.............................................................

823

Class A — Steady...................................................
Class B — A ctive...................................................
Class C— Restless..................................................
Class D —.U nsteady..............................................
Class E— Indeterminate.....................................

190
203
273
66
91

,

100.0

477

100.0

346

100.0

23.1
24.7
33.2
8.0
11.1

108
123
154
35
57

22.6
25.8
32.3
7.3
11.9

82
80
119
31

23.7
23.1
34.4
9.0
9.8

34

1 Class A consists of children who each held during work histories of 1 year or more 1 position only;
class B consists of children who held on an average new positions at a rate less than 1 for every 6 months
and more than 1 for every 12 months of their work histories; class C consists of children who held on an
average new positions at a rate less than 1 position for every 3 months and more than 1 for every 6 months
of their work histories; class D consists of children who held on an average new positions at a rate more
than 1 position for every 3 months of their work histories; class E consists of children who each held a single
position which had not terminated at the end of a work history record of less than 1 year’ s duration.

Table 89 gives for all the interviewed children and for each sex
separately the results of this classification. Not far from one-fourth,
23.1 per cent, of all the children were found to be steady workers,
and a somewhat larger proportion, 24.7 per cent, were classified as
^ a ctiv e” because they held on an average 1 position within each
period of from 6 months to 1 year. About a third, 33.2 per cent,
were found to have held new positions, on an average, within every
period of from 3 to 6 months, and 8 per cent within every 3 months.
A somewhat larger proportion of the girls than of the boys were found
in each of the last two groups. This fact confirms the conclusion
arrived at in considering the number of positions held by the certifi­
cate and continuation school children, that the girls were more likely
to shift, that is, were less steady workers, than the boys.
That the girls worked less steadily than the boys appears, however,
to have been due largely, if not entirely, to the peculiarities of many
of the occupations open to them. The girls, as will be seen later,71
were more frequently than the boys employed to assist for short
periods in sales in department or dry goods stores. In some cases,
according to reports made to agents of the bureau, girls were even
required, after having secured certificates on promises of employ­
ment from department stores, to wait without work and without
pay until needed, sometimes for several days; in some cases they
would never be employed at all, and in many others, as soon as the
emporary rush of trade was over, they would be dropped.
That many children took out certificates for positions in which
they were never actually employed appears in. Table 111,72 which
70

See Appendix, “ Case Studies,” for summaries of typical work histories of children of these different

classes.
71 See Table 129, p p . 264-265.


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188

TH E WORKING CHILDREN OF BOSTON.

shows that 117 such certificates were taken out by continuationschool children. This was apparently much more likely to occu
to girls than to boys. In 80 cases girls took out certificates which
were never used, while only 37 such certificates were taken out by
boys. For the children who were interviewed only positions actually
held were included in the tabulations. Forty of these children
secured certificates for positions in which they never actually worked,
38 of them for regular positions and 2 for school positions. Two
of these children had 2 such experiences, so that the number of
positions for which children secured certificates but in which they
never worked was 42. On the other hand, 9 children held 2 positions
at the same time.
The children who shifted their positions frequently were more
likely to be retarded in their school work than were the steady
workers. Table 90 shows, for the continuation-school children who
took out their first certificates before they were 15 years of age,*3
that about two-fifths, 40.6 per cent, of those who held 4 or more
positions, as compared with only about one-fourth, 25.5 per cent,
of those who held but 1 position, were retarded. The amount of
retardation increased steadily with the number of positions held..
On the other hand, the proportion of children who had complete«
higher grades than normal for their ages decreased from 11.8 per^
cent among the children who held only 1 position to 8.6 per cent
among those who held 4 or more positions. The slight variations
from this tendency which appear when the sexes are considered
separately are not important enough to affect the general result.
The steady workers among the interviewed children, too, as appears
in Table 91, were less likely to be retarded in their school work than
any other group. Although nearly one-third, 32.4 per cent, of
all the interviewed children were retarded, less than one-fourth, 24.7
per cent, of the steady workers had not attained a normal grade.
The largest proportion of retarded children, about two-fifths, 39.9
per cent, was found in the group of children who held a new position,
on an average, within each period of from three to six months—
that is, among the “ restless” children; but nearly as large a propor­
tion, 37.9 per cent, was found in the group where the children held
new positions within each period of 3 months or less— that is, among
the “ unsteady” children. On the other hand, the largest propor­
tion of children who had completed a higher grade than normal,
21.2 per cent, was found in the group where the children held, on an
average, 1 position during every period of from 6 months to a yearnot among the “ steady” but among the “ active” children. The
general tendency was the same for the girls and for the boys, although
73 M any of the children who took out their first certificates when between 15 and 16 years of age had been
at work for such short periods that the figures for this group are of no particular significance.


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189

IN D U STR IAL. HISTORIES,

|be group of “ active” girls had a considerably larger proportion of
etarded children than had the corresponding group of boys, 35
per cent as compared with 26.8 per cent. This group of girls had
also a large proportion, 20 per cent, as compared with 15.6 per cent
for all girls, who had completed higher grades than normal.
T able

90. — Retardation, by number o f certificated positions held, sex, and age at taking
out first certificate; children in B oston continuation school.

Children who, on leaving school, had completed, for their ages—

A lower grade than normal.
Number of certificat­
ed positions held,
sex, and age at tak­
ing out first certifi­
cate.

A ll
chil­
dren.

A higher
grade than
normal.

A normal
grade.

Num- Per
ber. cent.

Num- Per
ber. cent.

Total.

N um
Per
ber. cent.

Not
One or two
Three or
grades lower more grades reported.1
than
lower than
normal.
normal.

Num- Per
ber. cent.

Num- Per
ber. cent.

Num- Per
ber. cent.3

Children 14 under 15
years:
Both sexes,
1,861

202

10.9

790

42.5

586

31.5

498

26.8

88

4.7

283

15.2

533
518
381

63
60
42

11.8
11.6
11.0

256
212
161

48.0
40.9
42.3

136
150
126

25.5
29.0
33.1

120
126
107

22.5
24.3
28.1

16
24
19

3.0
4.6
5.0

78
96
52

14.6
18.5
13.6
13.3

2 positions..
3 positions..,
4 or more po­
sitions____

429

37

8.6

161

37.5

174

40.6

145

33.8

29

6.8

57

1,082

120

11.1

431

39.8

332

30.7

286

26.4

46

4.3

199

18.4

325
332
207

48
36
23

14.8
10.8
11.1

144
125

44.3
37.7
39.1

79
95
67

24.3
2 8.6
32.4

70
83
60

21.5
25.0
29.0

9
12
7

2 .8
3.6
3.4

54
76
36

16.6
22-9
17.4

218

13

6 .0

81

37.2

91

41.7

73

33.5

18

8.3

33

15.1

779

82

10.5

359

46.1

254

32.6

212

27.2

42

5.4

84

10.8

208
186
174

15
24
19

7.2
12.9
10.9

112
87
80

53.8
46.8
46.0

’ 57
55
59

27.4
29.6
33.9

50
43
47

24.0
23.1
27.0

7
12
12

3.4
6.5
6.9

24
20
16

11.5
10.8
9.2

211

24

11.4

80

37.9

83

39.3

72

34.1

11

5.2

24

11.4

Children 15 under 16
years :
Both sexes............ 1,538

123

8.0

832

54.1

480

31.2

363

23.6

117

7 .6

103

6.7

87
27
6

9.1
7 .4
4 .4

529
192
72

55.2
52.3
52.6

283
123
46

29.5
33.5
33.6

219
90
35

22.9
24.5
25.5

64
33
11

6 .7
9 .0
8.0

59
25
13

6.2
6 .8
9 .5

B oys.
2 positions...
3 positions...
4 or more po­
sitions........
Girls.
2 positions.. '
3 positions...
4 or more po­
sitions........

1 position___
2 positions...
3 positions...
4 or more po­
s i t io n s .....
B oys.
1 position___
2 positions., .
3 positions.. .
4 or more po­
sitions____
Girls.
1 position___
2 p ositions...
3 positions.. .
4 or more po­
sitions........

958
367
137

81

76

3

3.9

39

51.3

28

36.8

19

25.0

9

11.8

6

7.9

944

82

8 .7

486

51.5

300

31.8

236

25.0

64

6 .8

76

8.1

600
228
81

56
22
3

9.3
9 .6
3 .7

312
115
41

52.0
50.4
50.6

180
78
30

30.0
34.2
37.0

141
61
25

23.5
26.8
30.9

39
17
5

6 .5
7; 5
6 .2

52
13
7

8.7
5 .7
8.6

35

1

18

12

3

9

594

41

6 .9

346

58.2

180

30.3

127

21.4

358
139
56

31
5
3

8 .7
3 .6
5 .4

217
77
31

60.6
55.4
55.4

103
45
16

28.8
32.4
28.6

78
29
10

21.8
20.9
17.9

41

2

21

16

10

53
25
16
6
6

4
8.9

27

4.5

7 .0
11.5
10.7

7
12
6

2.0
8.6
10.7

2
1

1 “ N ot reported ” means that the children come from disciplinary, prevoeational, vocational, and other
specialschools, and that on the records only the school attended and not the grade completed was given.
3 N ot shown where base is less th a n 50.


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190

TH E WORKING CHILDREN OF BOSTON.
T a b l e 91.— Retardation, by steadiness at work and sex; children interviewed.

Children who, on leaving school, had completed, for their ages—

A lower grade than lormal.

Steadiness at work
and sex.1 -

A higher
A ll
grade than
chil­
normal.
dren.

A normal
grade.
Total.

Three or
One or two
grades lower more grades
lower than
than
normal.
normal.

Not
reported.

Num­ Per Num ­ Per Num ­ Per Num ­ Per N um ­ Per N um ­ Per
ber. cent.2 ber. cent.2 ber. cent.2 ber-. cent.2 ber. cent.2 ber. cent.2

Both sexes... .

S23

136

16.5

409

49.7

267

32.4

233

28.3

34

4.1

11

1.3

Class A — Steady........
Class B — A ctive.........
Class C— Restless___
Class D — U nsteady. .
Class E — Indetermin a te............................

190
203
273
66

33
43
40
5

17.4
21.2
14.7
7.6

109
98
119
35

57.4
48.3
43.6
53.0

47
61
109
25

24.7
30.0
39.9
37.9

43
53
92
22

22.6
26.1
33.7
33.3

4
8
17
3

2.1
3.9
6.2
4.5

1
1
5
1

.5
.5
1.8
1.5

91

15

16.5

48

52.7

25

27.5

23

25.3

2

2 .2

3

3.3

B o y s...................

477

82

17.2

238

49.9

149

31.2

135

28.3

14

2.9

8

1.7

Class B —A c tiv e.........
Class C— R estless___

10ft
123
154
35

22
27
20
4

20 4
22.0
13.0

62
62
66
16

57. 4
50.4
42.9

24
33
65
14

22. 2
26.8
42.2

24
31
55
13

22.2
25.2
35.7

2
10
1

1.6
6.5

1
3
1

.8
1.9
5.3

Class E — Indetermin a te............................

57

9

15.8

32

56.1

13

22.8

12

21.1

1

1.8

3

Girls....................

346

,54

15.6

171

49.4

118

34.1

98

28.3

20

5 .8

3

.9

Class A — Steady........

82
80
119
31

11
16
20
1

13.4
20. 0
16.8

47
36
53
19

57.3
45. 0
44. 5

23
28
44
11

28.0
35.0
37.0

19
22
37
9

23.2
27.5
31.1

4
6
7
2

4.9
7.5
5.9

1

1.2

2

1.7

34

6

Class C— Restless___
Class E — indetermi-

16

12

11

1

'
1 Class A consists of children who each held during work histories,of 1 year or more 1 position only; class
B consists of children who held on an average new positions at a rate less than 1 for every 6 months and
more than 1 for every 12 m onths of their work histories; class C consists of children who held on an average
new positions at a rate less than 1 position for every 3 m onths and more than 1 for every 6 m onths of their
work histories; class D consists of children who held on an average new positions at a rate more than 1 posi­
tion for every 3 months of their work histories; class E consists of children who each held a single position
which had not terminated at the end of a work history record of less than 1 year’s duration.
2 N ot shown where base is less than 50.

UNEMPLOYMENT.

Change of position may be effected without any period of unem­
ployment, as when a child secures a new place before leaving the old;
but frequently, and practically always when the child is discharged,
an interval is found between the old and the new position. In order
to measure the importance of the problem of unemployment, the
interviewed children were divided into two groups, those who had
been at work less than a year and those who had been at work more
than a year, and Table 92 was prepared to show the percentage of
time unemployed for each of the different nativity groups. The
figures for the children who had been at work less than a year are of
slight significance, since this group includes children whose industrial
histories were too short to permit a normal amount of unemploy­
ment. For all the children who had been at work more than a year


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191

INDUSTRIAL HISTORIES.

the percentage-of unemployment was 14.4. It was somewhat higher,
15.1, where both the fathers and the children were native, but highest,
15.4, where both the fathers and the children were foreign born, in
spite of the fact that these foreign-born children probably were more
affected by economic pressure than other children 74 and, therefore,
might be expected to be forced to take whatever positions were offered
rather than wait for desirable places.
The most significant difference, however, is that between the boys
and the girls. For the boys the percentage of unemployed time was
only 12.4, but for the girls it was 17. It was highest of all, 22.9,
among the native girls whose fathers were also native. The high
percentage for both sexes in this nativity group was due entirely to
the girls, for the boys whose fathers were native had a comparatively
low percentage, 10.5, of unemployment. The native boys whose
fathers were foreign born came next with ,12.6 per cent of their time
unemployed, and the foreign-born boys last with 16.9 per cent.
Among the girls the order of the three nativity groups is exactly
reversed, the foreign-born girls having the lowest percentage of unem­
ployment, 14.1, the native girls whose fathers were foreign born the
next, 16.4, and the native girls whose fathers were also native the
highest, 22.9.
T a b l e 92.— U nem ploym ent, by length o f work history, n a tivity o f father, and nativity
and sex o f child; children interviewed.

Percentage of time
unemployed for a—

Nativity of father and nativity and sex of child.

Children Children
who had who had
been at
been at
work less work 1
than
year or
1 year.
over.

Both sexes................ ................................................

13.3

Both fathers and children n a tive................................
Fathers foreign born.........................................................
Children native..........................................................
Children foreign born................................................
N ativity of fathers not reported; children native.

10.7
13.3
13.0
13.9
26.2

B oys...... .....................................................................

10.4

12.4

Both fathers and children n ative................................
Fathers foreign born.........................................................
Children n a tiv e ..........................................................
Children foreign b o m ................................................
N ativity of fathers not reported; children n a tive.

10.1

10.5
13.5

G ir ls ..........................................................................

18.4

17.0

Both fathers and children n ative................................
athers foreign born.........................................................
Children native.....................; ...................................
Children foreign born...............................................

11.8

22.9
15.7
16.4
14.1

a N ot shown where base is less than 100 months of work histories.
74 See Table 33, p . 101.


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9.5

12.6
16.9
3 .7

19.2
19.1
19.3

192

T H E W O R K IN G C H IL D R E N OF BOSTON .

The percentage of unemployment was distinctly greater, as appears
in Table 93, among the retarded children than among those from nor­
mal grades for their ages. Among the boys who had completed a
higher grade than normal it was less, only 10, than among those who
had completed a normal grade, 11.1; but among the girls who had
completed a higher grade than normal it was nearly twice as high,
19.8, as among the boys, and higher than in any other group of
girls except those who were one or two grades below normal where
it was precisely the same. This peculiarity in the figures for the
girls, together with the high percentage of unemployed time among
the native girls of native parentage, leads to the suspicion that not
all this unemployment was involuntary. In part, however, this
high percentage was doubtless due to the fact that the native girls
of native parentage who had completed higher grades than normal
for their ages were more likely than were the girls of any other
group to seek employment in department and other stores, and
perhaps in other occupations where the work was unsteady, rather
than in factories where short-time positions were comparatively
rare.
T

able

9 3 .— U nem ploym ent, by length o f work history, retardation, and sex ; children
interviewed.
^

Percentage of time
unemployed for1—

Retardation and sex.

Both sexes...................................................................................................
Having completed:
A higher grade than norm al................................................................................
A normal grade...............................................................................
A lower grade than normal................................................................................
One or two grades lower than norm al...................................
Three or more grades lower than norm al...................................................
N ot reported............................................................................................................
B oys...............................................................................................................
Having completed:
A higher grade than normal.................. ......................................................................................
A normal grade.................................................................................................
A lower grade than normal.................. ...................................................................
One or two grades lower than normal..............................................................................
Three or more grades lower than norm al...................................................
Girls.................................................................................................................................
Having completed:
A higher grade than norm al....................................................................
A normafgrade.....................................................................................................
A lower grade than normal...............................................................................................
One or two grades lower than norm al....................................................
Three or more grades lower than normal................................................................
i N ot shown where base is less than 100 m onths of work histories.


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Children Children
who had who had
been at
been at
work
work 1
less than year or
1 year.
over.

13.3

14.4

9.7
11. 4
16.7
16.8
16.3

13.7
12.8
17.2
17.8
11.1
17.6

10.4

12.4

8.1
7.3
14.9
15.3

10.0
11. 1
15.6
16.3
6.8

18.4

17.0

11.5
19. 8
19. 4
19. 6
18.8

19.8
15.1
19.1
19. S'
14.2

IN D U S T R IA L H ISTO R IE S.

193

Another unexpected showing in these figures is that both the
j>oys and the girls who were very much retarded— that is, who had
completed only grades three or more lower than normal for their
ages had the lowest percentages of unemployment. The boys of
this group had only 6.8 per cent of their time unemployed and the
girls 14.2 per cent. Special reasons may have existed for the re­
tardation of many of these children which did not affect their ability
to hold positions in industry. As already seen, many of them were
foreign born 75 and were doubtless more handicapped in school than
in industry by difficulties with the language.
The number of positions held within specific periods had -naturally
great influence over the amount of unemployment. Table 94 shows
that of the children who had been at work for one year or more, the
unsteady . workers that is, the children who held a new position
on an average within every three months— had more than one-third,
34.9 per cent, of their time unemployed. The “ restless” workers
were unemployed a little over one-fifth, 21.9 per cent, and the “ active”
workers less than one-sixth, 15.1 per cent, of their time. In other
words, the “ unsteady” workers had more than twice as much unem­
ployment as the “ active” workers. Among “ steady” workers,.,
oreover, the amount of unemployment was negligible, only 2.7
er cent.
All the groups of girls showed higher percentages of unemployment
than the corresponding groups of boys, but the difference was espe­
cially marked among the “ unsteady” workers. The girls in this
group were unemployed for more than two-fifths, 42.6 per cent, of
their time, whereas the boys were unemployed for only about onefourth, 25.1 per cent, of their time. Between the “ restless” and the
“ active” girls, moreover, there was little difference, both groups
having about one-fifth of their time unemployed, whereas among
the boys the percentage of unemployment was nearly as high among
the “ restless” as among the “ unsteady” workers, 23 per cent as
compared with 25.1 per cent, but was decidedly less, 11.9 per cent
among the “ active” workers.
These figures again suggest that the girls much more frequently
than the boys took temporary positions and when dropped were
either obliged because of a scarcity of places open to them -to remain
for a time unemployed or else preferred to wait for places which
were quite to their liking, and frequently also temporary, rather
than take whatever work might be first available. During their
Briods of unemployment, many of the girls, probably assisted in
housework at home and watched for advertisements of positions in
the papers, whereas the boys more frequently spent all or most of
their time in active search for new positions.
76 See Table 53, p . 131.


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194

T H E W O R K IN G C H IL D R E N OE BOSTON .

T a b l e 94. — U nem ploym ent, by length o f work history, steadiness at work, and sex ; chil*

dren interviewed.
Percentage of time
unemployed for2—

Steadiness at w ork1 and sex.

Children Children
who had who had
been at
been at
work 1
work
less than year or
over.
1 year.

13.3

Both sexes................

14.4
2.7
15.1
21.9
34.9

Class A — Steady.................
Class B —Active..................
Class C— Restless.............. .
Class D — Unsteady..........
Class E —Indeterminate.
10.4

B oys...........................

12.4

1.1

Class A — Steady........—
Class B — Active................
Class C— Restless..............
Class D — U nsteady..........
Class E— Indeterminate..

11.9
23.0
25.1

G i r l s ............. .........

18.4

Class A — Steady................
Class B — A ctive................
Class G— Restless......... . .
Class D — Unsteady..........
Class E — Indeterminate.

27.1

17.0
4.7

20.1
20.6
42.6

"i'.h

1 Class A consists of children who each held during work histories of 1 year or more one position only;
class B consists of children who held on an average new positions a t a rate less than 1 for every 6 months
and more than one for every 12 m onths of their work histories; class C consists of children who held on an
averagenew positions at a rateless than one position for every 3 m onths and more than 1 for every 6 months
of their work histories; class D consists of children who held on an average new positions at a rate more
than 1 position for every 3 months of their work histories; class E consists of children who each held a single
position which had not terminated at the end of a work history record of less than 1 year’ s duration.
2 N ot shown where base is less than 100 months of work histories.

IN IT IA L W E E K L Y W A G E S .76

Table 95 gives the initial weekly wages received by the children
interviewed in their first regular positions by the nativity of the
children and of their fathers. About two-fifths, 41.9 per cent, of
all the children received from $4 to $5, and over one-fourth, 26.5
per cent, from $3 to $4. Nearly three-fourths, 73.5 per cent, earned
less than $5. Only 25 children, 3 per cent of the whole number,
earned $6 or more.
The boys received decidedly higher wages than the girls* Only
68.3 per cent of the boys, as compared with 80.6 per cent of the
girls, received less than $5. The proportion of boys receiving less
than S3 was only 2.5 per cent, as compared with 8.7 per cent of the
girls; and the proportion receiving $3 but less than $4 was 17.2 per
cent, as compared with 39.3 per cent of the girls. On the other
hand, a larger proportion of boys than of girls was found in eao
wage group over $4. Nearly half, 48.6 per cent, of the boys, butt
only about one-third, 32.7 per cent, of the girls, earned $4 but less
7« In some cases the children worked on their own account in street trades and other similar occupa­
tions and their compensation did n ot, therefore, consist technically of wages, b u t to m ake possible a
general view of the compensation received this comparatively unimportant distinction has been ignored
and such earnings have been classified along with wages.'


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195

IN D U S T R IA L H ISTO R IE S.

than $5; and about one-fifth, 20.3 per cent, of the boys and only
ne-twentieth, 5.2 per cent, of the girls earned $5 but less than $6.
Of the 25 children who earned $6 or over, 19 were boys and only 6
girls. A much larger proportion of girls than of boys, 10.4 per cent
as compared with 5.7 per cent, received wages which could not be
classified because they were not paid, or not wholly paid, in cash,
or for other reasons.
The foreign-born boys appear to have received the highest initial
wages earned by children of any nativity group. About one-third,
31.6 per cent, of them received $5 or more, as compared with less
than one-fourth of the native sons of native and of foreign-born
fathers, 23.6 per cent and 23.4 per cent, respectively. In each na­
tivity group the largest proportion of boys earned $4 but under $5.
T able

95.— In itial weekly wage, by nativity o f father and nativity and sex o f child;
children interviewed.
Children.
j
Fathers foreign born.
Total.

Both fathers anc
children native

g ' Initial weekly wage in first
”
regular position and sex.

N ativ­
Children foreign ity of
born.
fathers
not re­
ported:
chil­
Per
Per
dren
cent
cent
Num ­
native.
dis­
dis­
ber.
tribu­
tribu­
tion.
tion.

Chi idren native

N um ­
ber.

Per
cent
dis­
tribu­
tion.

N um ­
ber.

Per
cent
dis­
tribu­
tion.

N um ­
ber.

Both s e x e s .. .

823

100.0

201

100.0

427

100.0

166

100.0

29

Initial wage:
Under $5.............
Under $ 3 . . .
$3 under $4.
$4 under $5.
$5 or over............
$5 under $6.
$6 or over.. .
O th er1.................
N ot reported___

605
42
218
345
140
115
25
63
15

73.5
. 5.1
26.5
41.9
17.0
14.0
3 .0
7.7
1.8

154
9
52
93
35
30
5
10
2

76.6
4.5
25.9
46.3
17.4
14.9
2.5
5.0
1.0

320
23
121
176
70
59
11
28
9

74.9
5.4
28.3
41.2
16.4
13.8
2.6
6 .6
2.1

111
10
38
63
31
23
8
22
2

66.9
6 .0
22.9
38.0
18.7
13.9
4.8
13.3
1.2

20
7
13
4
3
1
3
2

B o y s .................

477

100.0

127

100.0

252

100.0

76

100.0

22

Initial wage:
Under $5.............
Under $ 3 . . .
$3 under $4.
$4 under $5.
55 or over............
55 under 56.
56 or over...
O ther1_________
N ot reported___

326
12
82
232
116
97
19
27
8

68.3
2.5
17.2
48.6
24.3
20.3
4.0
5.7
1.7

91
2
21
68
30
25
5
6

71.7
1.6
16.5
53.5
23.6
19.7
3 .9
4.7

174
9
44
121
59
49
10
13
6

69.0
3.6
17.5
48.0
23.4
19.4
4.0
5.2
2 .4

45
1
12
32
24
20
4
6
1

59.2
1.3
15.8
42.1
31.6
26.3
5.3
7.9
1.3

16

Girls.................

346

100.0

.74

100.0

175

100.0

90

100.0

7

Initial wage:
JUnder 55.............
Under 5 3 . . .
53 under 54.
54 under 55.
55 or over.........
55 under 56.
56 or over.. .
O ther1.................
N ot reported___

279
30
136
113
24
18
6
36
7

80.6
8.7
39.3
32.7
6 .9
5 .2
1.7
10.4
2 .0

63
7
31
25
5
5

85.1
9.5
41.9
33.8
6 .8
6 .8

4
2

5 .4
2 .7

146
14
77
55
11
10
1
15
3

83.4
8.0
44.0
31.4
6.3
5.7
0.6
8.6
1.7

66
9
26
31
7
3
4
16
1

73.3
10.0
28.9
34.4
7 .8
3.3
4 .4
17.8
1.1

5
11
3
3
2
1

4
2
2
1
i
1
1

1 Including positions where wage was not paid in cash or not all in cash, where child worked for nothing
or employer failed to pay, and where he worked for less than one week on piecework or only one day each
week.


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196

T H E . W O R K IN G C H IL D R E N

OF BOSTO N .

The largest proportion of girls in each nativity group, except the^
foreign-born children of foreign-born fathers, earned only from $3
to $4. Among the girls as among the boys, the foreign born earned
somewhat higher initial wages than the native born, 34.4 per cent
of the foreign born earning from $4 to $5, and 28.9 per cent from $3
to $4; the corresponding percentages for the native children of for­
eign-born fathers were 31.4 and 44, and those for the children of
native fathers were 33.8 and 41.9. Of the foreign-born girls, more­
over, 7.8 per cent received $5 or more, while of the native daughters
of.foreign-born fathers only 6.3 per cent, and of the native daughters
of native fathers 6.8 per cent received $5 or more. Furthermore, an
unusually large proportion, 17.8 per cent, of the foreign-born girls
received wages which could not be classified in dollars and cents; if
these had been disregarded in making the percentages, the advantage
of the foreign born over the native girls in the matter of initial wages
would have appeared even more pronounced than in the table as
given.
T a b l e 96.— Initial weekly wage in first regular position, by time o f entering industry

and sex; children interviewed.
Children who went to work—

.i p

Initial weekly wage in first regular position and sex.

Both sexes. . .
Initial wage:
Under $ 5 .______
Under S 3 ...
$3 under S4.
54 under S5.
$5 or over...........
55 under S6.
56 or o v e r ..
Other1.................
N ot reported...
B oys................
Initial wage:
Under $5..........
Under S 3 ...
53 under $4.
54 under S5.
$5 or over...........
55 under S6.
56 or over. .
Other1.................
N ot reported...
Girls___ _____
Initial wage:
Under $5............
Under S 3 ...
$3 under S4.
S4 under S5.
S5 or over...........
$5 under S6.
S6 or over. .
Other1.................
N ot rep orted...
1 Including positions'where wage was not paid in cash or not all in cash, where child worked for nothing
or employer failed to pay, and where he worked for less than one week on piecework or only one day a week.


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IN D U S T R IA L H ISTO R IE S.

197

The children who went to work during the summer vacation,
according to Table 96, received somewhat higher initial wages than
those who went to work at some other time. Of the boys who went
to work during the summer vacation 27.3 per cent, and of those who
went to work at some other time only 23.3 per cent, received $5 or
more. For the girls the corresponding percentages were 8.7 and
6.2, respectively.
The wages received by children who left school for economic reasons
were, upon the whole, lower than those received by children who left
school for other reasons. Table 97 shows that three-fourth®, 75.1
per cent, of the children who gave economic necessity as their reason
for leaving school, as compared with only 71.8 per cent of the children
who gave other reasons, received initial wages of less than $5. In
this respect the girls appear to differ from the boys, but the difference
is probably due, in part at least, to the large proportion, 13.7 per
cent, of girls who left school for economic reasons whose wages were
not reported in cash.
As might be expected, it appears from Table 98 that the children
who were advanced in their school work had higher initial weekly
wages in their first regular positions than the children from normal
grades, and that the wages of the latter were higher than those of the
retarded children. Almost one-fourth, 22.1 per cent, of the advanced
children received $5 pr more, as compared with about one-sixth, 16.4
per cent, of the normal children and with only 14.6 per cent of the
retarded children. The boys and girls who had completed higher
grades than normal had larger percentages receiving $5 or over
than did the children who had completed only normal grades, and
the percentage of the normal children who were in that wage group
was larger than the percentage of children who had failed to complete
normal grades for their ages. Nevertheless, nearly nine-tenths, 88.9
per cent, of the girls who were advanced in their school studies re­
ceived less than $5 a week in their first regular positions, over half,
53.7 per cent, of them receiving from $3 to $4. A much larger pro­
portion of the normal than of the advanced girls, 10.5 per cent as
compared with 1.9 per cent, and a still larger proportion, 13.6 per
cent, of the retarded girls took positions the initial wages of which
could not be classified.
The children who worked before leaving school were decidedly '
more likely to get the better-paid positions when they finally left
school. According to Table 99, over one-fourth, 25.9 per cent, of
hese children, as compared with little more than one-tenth, 11.2
er cent, of those who did not work before leaving school, received
initial wages of $5 or more in their first regular positions. Moreover,
only 3.1 per cent of those who worked, as compared with 6.4 per cent


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198

T H E W O R K IN G

C H IL D R E N OF BOSTON,

of those who did not work, received less than $3, and 19.8 per cent or
the former, as compared with 30.9 per cent of the latter, received $
but less than $4. That these differences were not due merely to the
large preponderance of boys, who generally receive higher wages than
girls, among the children who worked before leaving school is shown
by a comparison of the percentages given in this table for the boys
alone.
T a b l e 97 — Initial weekly wage in first regular position and reason fo r leaving school,
and sex; children interviewed.

Children who left school for—

Initial weekly wage in first regular posi­
tion and sex.

Economic reasons.

Other reasons.

Reasons not re­
ported.

Per cent
Per cent
Per cent
Number. distribu­ Number. distribu­ Number. distribu­
tion.1
tion.
tion.
100.0

333

100.0

100.0

165

100.0

100.0

Initial wage:
Under $5................
Under $3........
$3 under $ 4 ...
84 under 8 5 ...
$5 or over...............
$5 under 8 6 ...
86 or over___
Other2.....................
N ot reported........

7
4

72.7
1.2
20.6
50.9
20.6
18.2
2.4
4.2
2.4

18
3

64.5
2.3
16.4
45.8
27.5
22.5
5.0
6.9
« 1.1

2
1

10.0
56.0
20.0
16.0
4.0
4.0
2.0

Girls....................

168

100.0

146

100.0

32

100.0

Initial wage:
Under 85................
Under 83........
83 under 8 4...
$4 under 8 5...
85 or over..............
85 under 8 6...
86 or over___
Other2................... .
N ot reported____

130
15
65
50
13
10
3
23
2

124
14
59
51
8
6
2
11
3

84.9
9.6
40.4
34.9
5.5
4.1
1.4
7.5
2.1

25
1
12
12
3
2
1
2
2

Both sexes........
Initial wage:
Under $5................
Under $3........
$3 under $ 4 ...
$4 under $ 5 ...
$5 or over...............
$5 under $ 6 ...
, $6 or over___
Other2.....................
N ot reported........
Boys.................. ,

77.4
8.9
38.7
29.8
7.8
6.0
1.8
13.7
1.2 1
1

74.0

8.0

1 Not shown where base is less than 50.
.
2 Including positions where wage was not paid in cash or not all in cash, where child worked for nothing
or employer failed to pay, and where he worked for less than one week on piecework or only one day each
week.


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ly y

IN D U S T R IA L H ISTO R IE S.

T a b l e 98.— Initial weekly wage in first regular position , by retardation and sex; chil­
dren interviewed.

Children who, on leaving school, had completed, for their ages-

A lower grade than normal.

Initial weekly wage in first regu­
lar position and sex.

Both sexes.
Initial wage:
Under $5....................................
Under $3.......... .................
$3, under #4......................
$4, under $5......................
$5 of over..................................
$5, under ¿ 6 ...................... ’ ’ ’ I
$6 or over.................................
O ther1..............................................
N ot reported............................
B oys..................

A higher
grade than
normal.

One or two
grades lower Three |
N ot
or
than normal,
more report­
gradas ed.
lower
Per
Per
Per
Per
than
N um ­ cent N um ­ cent N um ­ cent N um ­ cent
ber. distri­ ber. distri­ ber. distri­ ber. distri­ nor­
mal.
bution.
bution.
bution
bution.
136

100.0

Total.

409

267

100.0

238

100.0

100.0

3.0
10.5

2.2

149

100.0

100.0
72.5
6.4
26.6
39.5
15.9
12.9
3.0
9.0

11.6

62.2

2.6

135

100.0
65.9
3 .0
17.0
45.9
23.7
19.3
4.4

1.2

13.4
47.6
30.5
24.4

6.1

8.1
2.2

7.3
54

233

72.7
6.7
27.7
38.2
14.6

6.6
2.0

7

82

100.0
75.1
4.2
24.9
46.0
16.4
13.7
2.7

24
6

Initial wage:
Under $5..............
,
Under $3___
$3, under $4.
$4, under $5.
$5 or over.............
$5, under $6.
$6 or o v e r.. .
Other1...................
N ot reported___
Girls..................

A normal
grade.

171

100.0

100.0

Initial wage:
Under $5..............
Under 13____
$3, under $4.
$4, under $5.
$5 or over.............
$5, under $6.
$6 or o v e r .. .
O ther1. . . ............
Not reported___
1 Including positions where wage was not paid in cash or not all in cash, where child worked for nothing
weefc ° yer
an<^ wkere he worked for less than one week on piecework or only one day each

A larger proportion of the children who secured their first regular
positions through friends or relatives than of those who secured them
in any other way, as appears in Table 100, received initial weekly
wages of $5 or more. Of the positions secured by friends or relatives
18 per cent, while of those secured independently only 16.8 per cent,
and of those secured through an employment agency, a school, or a
lacement bureau only 14.3 per cent, paid these wages. Moreover,
jfi an unusually large proportion of such positions, 12.3 per cent, as
compared with only 1.3 per cent of the positions secured independ­
ently and 5.4 per cent of those secured through an employment


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TH E WORKING CHILDREN OE BOSTON.

200

agency, a school, or a placement bureau, the wages were not paid or
not wholly paid in cash or for some other reason could not be classi
fied on a cash basis. If in any of these positions the remuneration
amounted to $5 or more the financial advantage of securing positions
through friends or relatives over securing them in any other way was
even greater than is here represented.
Fifty-two children stated to the bureau agents that their wages had
been docked because of attendance at continuation school.
T a b l e 99.— Initial weekly wage in first regular position, by em ploym ent before leaving
school, and sex; children interviewed.

Children who, before leaving school—

D id not work.

W orked.
Initial weekly wage in first regular position, and sex.

Per cent
Per cent
Number. distribu­ Number. distribu­
tion.1
tion. 1

100.0

B oth sexes........

499

100.0

197

100.0

Initial wage:
Under $5................
Under $3____
$3, under $4..
$4, under $5..
$5 or over..............
$5, under $6..
$6 or over___
O ther2.................. .
Not reported-----B o y s..................
Initial wage:
Under $5..............
Under $3-----$3, under $4.
$4, under $5.
35 or over.............
$5, under $6.
86 or over. . .
O ther2..................
Not reported—

180

302

100.0

Girls..................
Initial wage:
Under 85..............
Under 8 3 . . .
83, under 84.
84, under 85.
85 or over.............
85, under 86 86 or over. . .
Other2..................
Not reported—

1 Not shown where base is less than 50.

....

.

, .

...

2 Including positions where wage was not paid in cash or not all in cash, where child worked for nothing
or employer failed to pay, and where he worked for less than one week on piecework or only one day each
week.

C H A N G E IN W E E K L Y W A G E S .

The weekly wages received may have increased or decreased either
within the same position or between the time a child took his first
regular position and the date of the interview. The increases which
occurred without change of position are considered in discussing the

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201

IN D U S T R IA L H ISTO R IE S.

subject of occupations.77 Those which occurred between the time
fehe children took their first regular positions and the date of the in­
terview are best measured by considering only children who had been
at work for one year or more. Those who had been at work a shorter
time had hardly had adequate opportunity to obtain an increased
wage or to show their value in the industrial world. In Table 101
the increases received by children of the different nativity groups
who had been at work for one year or more are compared.
T able

100. — In itial weekly wage in first regular -position, by method o f securing position
and sex; children interviewed.

Children securing first position b y specified m ethod.

Initial weekly wage in first
regular position and sex.

Friend or rela­
Independently.
tiv e.

N o tre ported.
N um ber.

B oth sexes....

Em ploym ent
agency, school,
placement
bureau, etc.

Em ploym ent
offered.

Per
cent
N um distriber.
bution.

Per
Per
Per
cent
N um cent
N um cent
distridistriber.
distriber.
bution.«
bution.«
bution.

406

100.0

.316

100.0

38

Under $5.............
Under $ 3 . . .
$3, under $4
$4, under $5
$5 or over............
$5, under $6
$6 or o v e r...
Other
.............
N ot r e p o rte d ...

277
18
106
153
73
63
10
50
6

68.2
4 .4
26.1
37.7
18.0
15.5
2 .5
12.3
1.5

253
16
91
146
53
43
10
4
6

80.1
5.1
28.8
46.2
16.8
13.6
3.2
1.3
1.9

27
5
8
14
6
3
3
4
1

100.0

56

100.0

7

44
2
13
29
8
6
2
3
1

78.6
3 .6
23.2
51.8
14.3
10.7
3.6
5.4
1.8

4
1

43

100.0

5

mtialwage:

B o y s .................

212

100.0

186

100.0

31

Initial wage:
Under $5.............
Under $ 3 . . .
$3, under $4
$4, under $5
$5 or-over............
$5, under $6
$6 or over...
O th er».................
N ot re p o rte d ...

130
3
35
92
57
51
6
23
2

61.3
1.4
16.5
43.4
26.9
24. i
2.8
10.8
.9

136
6
33
97
46
37
9

73.1
3 .2
17.7
52.2
24.7
19.9
4.8

4

2 .2

21
2
7
12
6
3
3
3
1

Girls..................

194

100.0

130

100.0

7

147
15
71
61
16
12
4
27
4

75.8
7.7
36.6
31.4
8.2
6 .2
2.1
13. 9
2.1

117
10
58
49
7
6
1
4
2

90.0
7.7
44.6
37.7
5.4
4.6
.8
3.1
1.5

6
3
1
2

Initial wage:
Under $5.............
Under $ 3 . . .
$3, under $4
$4, under $5
$5 or over............
$5, under $6
$6 or over...
Other » ................
N ot rep orted.. .

100.0

3

2
1

4
1

35
7
28
7
6
1

3

1
1
100.0

13

100.0

2

9
2
6
1
1
1
3

1

1
1

1
✓ s N ot shown where base is less than 50.
'll» Including positions where wage was not paid in cash or not all in cash, where child worked for nothing
employer failed to pay, and where he worked less than one week on piecework or only one day each week.

n S e e p p . 277 to 280.

4 9 4 7 0°— 22------ 14


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202

T H E W O R K IN G

C H IL D R E N

OF BOSTON .

T a b l e 101.— Change in weekly wage between first and last regular positions, by nativity
o f father and nativity and sex o f child; children interviewed with industrial histories
o f one year or Over.

Children with industrial histories of one year or over.

Fathers for eign born.
Both fathers
and children
native.

Total.
Change in weekly wage be­
tween first and last regular
position,1 and sex.

Children
native.

Children
foreign b om .

N um ­
ber.

Per
cent
dis­
tribu­
tion.

Num ­
ber.

Per
cent
dis­
tribu­
tion.

100.0

330

100.0

117

100.0

59.2
39.2
9.8
29.4
30.1
20.3
8.4
.7

234
142
44
98
92
55
23
13
1

70.9
43.0
13.3
29.7
27.9
16.7
7.0
3.9
.3

77
50
17
33
27
12
11
3
1

65.8
42.7
14.5
28.2
23.1
10.3
9.4
2.6
.9

.7
4.9
21.0
4.9

18
55
23

5.5
16.7
7.0

9
13

7.7
11.1
k 15.4

88

100.0

190

100.0

51

100.0

57
34
9
25
23
13
8
1

64.8
38.6
10.2
28.4
26.1
14.8
9.1
1.1

137
88
20
68
49
26
11
11
1

72.1
46.3
10.5
35.8
25.8
13.7
5.8
5.8
.5

34
24
6
18
10
8
2

66.7
47.1
11.8
35.3
19.6
15.7
3.9

1
6
21
4

1.1
6.8
23.9
4.5

5
35
13

2.6
18.4
6.8

6
5
6

11.8
9.8
11.8

100.0

55

100.0

140

100.0

66

100.0

68.8
38.7
15.0
23.7
30.1
18.4
9.4
1.9
.4
7.1
13.9
10.2

42
22
5
17
20
16
4

76.4
40.0
9.1
30.9
36.4
29.1
7.3

97
54
24
30
43
29
12
2

69.3
38.6
17.1
21.4
30.7
20.7
8.6
1.4

1
9
3

1.8
16.4
5.5

13
20
10

9.3
14.3
7.1

43
26
11
15
17
4
9
3
1
3
8
12

65.2
39.4
16.7
22.7
25.8
6.1
13.6
4.5
1.5
4.5
12.1
18.2

N um ­
ber.

Per
cent
dis­
tribu­
tion.

N um ­
ber.

Per
cent
dis­
tribu­
tion.

Both sexes..................

607

100.0

• 143

Increase in weekly w a g e..
Under $2................... .
Under $1.................
$1 under $2.............
82 and over................
$2 under $3.............
$3 under $ 4 . . . . . . .
$4 under $ 6 . , .........
86 under $10...........
810 or over..............
Decrease in weekly wage..
N o change...............................
N ot reported.........................

421
255
76
179
166
97
49
17
2
1
36
99
51

69.4
42.0
12.5
29.5
27.3
16.0
8.1
2.8
.3
.2
5.9
16.3
8.4

99
56
14
42
43
29
12
1
1
7
30
7

B o y s . . . . .....................

341

100.0

Increase in weekly wage. .
Under 8 2 . . .....................
Under 8 1 . . . ..........
$1 under 82.............
82 and over................
82 under $3.............
83 under 8 4 ...........
84 under 8 6 . . . —
86 under 810...........
810 or over..............
Decrease in weekly wage.
N o change..............................
N ot reported.........................

238
152
36
116
86
48
24
12
1
1
17
62
24

69.8
44.6
10.6
34.0
25.2
14.1
7.0
3.Ä
.3
5.0
18.2
7.0

Girls..............................

266

Increase in weekly wage..
Under 82........................
Under 81.................
$1 under 82---------82 and over....................
82 under 83............
83 under 84............
84 under 86............
86 under 810..........
Decrease in weekly wage.
N o change..............................
N ot reported...... ..................

183
103
40
63
80
49
25
5
1
19
37
27

Nativ­
ity of
fathers
not re­
ported;
chil­
dren
native.

1 Difference between wage in first and last regular position.

The weekly wages of nearly seven-tenths, 69.4 per cent, of all
the children who had been at work for as long as a year previous
to the interview had increased; those of about one-sixth, 16.3 pe$
cent, had remained stationary; and those of a little over one-twei
tieth, 5.9 per cent, had decreased. The majority of increases
amounted to less than $2, the largest number being in the group $1
but less than $2. Of all the children included over four-tenths, 42
per cent, had received increases of less than $2 in their weekly^

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203

IN D U S T R IA L HISTORIES,

¡wages, and nearly three-tenths, 29.5 per cent, had received increases
if $1 but less than $2. On the other hand, 20 children, 3.3 per cent,
had received increases of $4 or more.
T a b l e 102.— Change in weekly wage between first and last regular 'positions, by retarda­
tion and sex; children interviewed with industrial histories o f one year or over.

Children who, on leaving school, had completed, for their ages-

A lower grade than normal.

Change in weekly wage between
first and last regular positions1
and sex.

A higher
grade than
normal.

A normal
grade.

One or two
grades lower Three
Not
or
than normal.
more report­
grades ed.
Per
lower
Per
Per
Per
than
cent
N um ­
N um ­ cent N um ­ cent N um ­ cent
distri­
nor­
ber.
ber. distri­ ber. distri­ ber. distri­
bu­
mal.
bution.
bution.
bution.
tion.*
Total.

Both sexes.................

112

100.0

308

100.0

181

100.0

165

100.0

16

6

Increase in weekly wage..
Under $2.........................
Under $1.................
$1 under $2............
$2 and over....................
$2 under $3............
S3 under $4............
$4 under $6............
$6 under $10..........
$10 or over.............
Decrease in weekly wage.
N o change..............................
N ot reported.........................

87
52
14
38
35
18
12
4
1

77.7
46.4
12.5
33.9
31.3
16.1
10.7
3.6
.9

224
131
42
89
93
58
24
10
1

72.7
42.5
13.6
28.9
30.2
18.8
7.8
3 .2
.3

107
71
19
52
36
21
11
3

59.1
39.2
10.5
28.7
19.9
11.6
6.1
1.7

95
63
16
47
32
18
10
3

57.6
38.2
9.7
28.5
19.4
10.9
6.1
1.8

12
8
3
5
4
3
1

3
1
1

2

1
15
9

.9
13.4
8.0

21
43
20

6.8
14.0
6 .5

1
14
40
20

.6
7.7
22.1
11.0

1
14
37
19

.6
8 .5
22.4
11.5

3
1

1
2

2

B oys.............................

68

100.0

171

100.0

99

100.0

93

100.0

6

3

Increase in weekly wage..
Under $2.........................
Under $1.................
$1 under $2............
$2 and over....................
$2 under $3............
$3 under $4............
$4 under $6............
$6 under $10..........
$10 or over.............
Decrease in weekly wage.
Nochange.............................
N ot reported.........................

54
31
6
25
23
10
8
4
1

79.4
45.6
8.8
36.8
33.8
14.7
11.8
5 .9
1.5

123
77
19
58
46
29
11
6

71.9
45.0
11.1
33.9
26.9
17.0
6 .4
3 .5

60
43
10
33
17
9
5
2

60.6
43.4
10.1
33.3
17.2
9.1
5.1
2.0

54
39
9
30
15
7
5
2

58.1
41.9
9.7
32.3
16.1
7.5
5.4
2 .2

6
4
1
3
2
2

1
1
1

10
4

14.7
5 .9

io
29
9

5.8
17.0
5.3

1
7
22
10

Í.Ó
7.1
22.2
10.1

1
7
22
10

i. i
7.5
23.7
10.8

Girls.............................

44

100.0

137

100.0

82

100.0

72

100.0

10

3

47
28
9
19
19
12
6
1

57.3
34.1
11.0
23.2
23.2
14.6
7 .3
1.2

41
24
7
17
17
11
5
1

56.9
33.3
9 .7
¡23.6
23.6
15.3
6 .9
1.4

6
4
2
2
2
1
1

2

2

7
18
10

8 .5
22.0
12.2

7
15
9

9.7
20.8
12.5

3
1

1

Increase in weekly wage..
Under $2........................
Under $1.................
$1 under $2............
$2 and over...................
$2 under $3............
$3 under $4............
$4 under $6............
$6 under $10..........
Decrease in weekly wage.
N o change............................
N ot reported........................

33
21
8
13
12
8
4
1
5
5

101
54
23
31
47
29
13
4
1
11
14
11

73.7
39.4
16.8
22.6
34.3
21.2
9 .5
2 .9
.7
8.0
10.2
8.0

1
1

2

1 Difference between wage in first and last regular position.
-» Bate not shown where base is less than 50.

Not only was the proportion of girls whose wages had increased
nearly as high as that of boys, 68.8 per cent as compared with 69.8
percent, but the proportion receiving increases of $2 or over was higher,
30.1 as compared with 25.2 per cent. This was in spite o f the fact

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T H E W O R K IN G C H IL D R E N OF BOSTON .

that a larger proportion of the girls than of the boys failed to repor
on this point. Nevertheless, decreases had occurred in the wages of
larger proportion of the girls than of the boys, 7.1 per cent as com­
pared with 5 per cent.
Increases of $2 or more were received by a larger proportion,
30.1 per cent, of the native children of native fathers than of the
native children of foreign-born fathers, 27.9 per cent, and by a
larger proportion of the latter than of the foreign-bom children, 23.1
per cent. It should be noted, however, in considering these figures,
that only 4.9 per cent of the native children whose fathers also were
native, as compared with 7 per cent of those whose fathers were
foreign born and with 15.4 per cent of the foreign-born children,
failed to make a report as to whether their wages had increased or
decreased. Nevertheless, even if these children were excluded, the
same relationship would exist between the three groups, as to in­
creases of $2 or more. Moreover, the report that their wages had
been stationary was made by 21 per cent of the native children of
native fathers and by only 16.7 per cent of the native children of
foreign-born fathers and 11.1 per cent of the foreign-born children.
Decreases were reported by only 4.9 per cent of the native children
of native fathers as compared with 5.5 per cent of the native children
of foreign-born fathers and with 7.7 per cent of the foreign-born
children. Apparently it is safe to conclude that in the matter of
wage increases the immigrant children are not so well oif as those
whose fathers were immigrants, and the latter are not so well off as
the children of native fathers.
According to Table 102, the wages of a decidedly larger proportion
of the children who had completed higher grades than normal, 77.7
per cent, than of those in any other group increased between their
first regular positions and the date of interview; next came the
children from normal grades, 72.7 per cent of whom received wage
increases; and last came the retarded children, only 59.1 per cent of
whom received higher wages in their last than in their first regular
positions. Moreover, the wages of only one child from a higher grade
than normal decreased, whereas decreases were noted in the wages of
6.8 per cent of the children from normal grades and of 7.7 per cent
of those from lower grades than normal. Almost one-fourth, 22.1
per cent, of the retarded children reported no change in wages, as
compared with only 14 per cent of the normal children and 13.4 per
cent of the advanced children.
The increase in weekly wages amounted to $2 or more for 31.3 p e’
cent of the advanced children, 30.2 per cent of the children fro:
normal grades, and only 19.9 per cent of the retarded children. It
was as much as $1 but less than $2 for about one-third, 33.9 per cent,
of the advanced children, as compared with 28.9 per cent of the
normal and 28.7 per cent of the retarded children.

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205

IN D U S T R IA L HISTORIES,

T a b l e 103. — Change in weekly wage between first and last regular positions, by steadiness
Itr-- at work and sex; children interviewed with industrial histories o f one year or over.

Children of specified steadiness at work.

Class B 2—
Active

Class A*—
Steady.

Class C2—
Restless.

Change in weekly wage,1 and sex.

N um ber.

Both sexes.................
Increase in weekly wage. .
Under $2.........................
Under $1.................
■$1, under $2......... .
$2 or over........................
$2, under $3...........
$3, under $ 4 ._____
$4, under 8 6...........
$6, under $10.........
$10 or over.............
Decrease in weekly w age..
N o change................ ........... *
Not reported.........................
B o y s ...........................
Increase in weekly wage. .
Under $2.........................
Under $1.................
$1, under $ 2...........
$2 or over........................
$2, under $3...........
$3, under $4...........
$4, under $6...........
$6, under $10.........
$10 or over..............
Decrease in weekly wage.
N o change..............................
N ot reported.........................

Per
cent
distributton.

N um ber.

Per
cent
N um distriber.
button.

Class
D 2—
Per
U ncent steady.8
distributton.

191

100.0

200

100.0

182

100.0

34

146
88
23
65
58
33
20
4

76.4
46.1
12.0
34.0
30.4
17.3
10.5
2.1

137
79
24
55
58
34
14
9
1

68.5
39.5
12.0
27.5
29.0
17.0
7.0
4.5
.5

119
75
23
52
44
26
13
4
1

65.4
41.2
12.6
28.6
242
14.3
7.1
2.2
.5

19
13
6
7
6
4
2

1
1
40
4

.5
.5
20.9
2.1

16
29
18

ao
14.5
9.0

14
24
25

7.7
13.2
13.7

5
6
4

109

100.0

120

100.0

97

100.0

15

83
47
13
34
36
17
11
7
1

69.2
39.2
' 10.8
28.3
30.0
14.2
9.2
5.8
.8

64
44
11
33
20
14
3
3

60.0
45.4
11.3
34.0
20.6
14.4
3.1
3.1

5
3
1
2
2
1
1

7
20
10

5.8
16.7
8.3

7
16
10

7.2
16.5
10.3

3
5
2

86
58
11
47
28
16
9
2

7a 9
53.2
10.1
43.1
25.7
14.7
8.3
1.8

1

.9

2Ì
2

19.3
1.8

Girls.............................

82

100.0

80

100.0

85

100.0

19

Increase in weekly wage..
Under $2............. ...........
Under $1_________
$1, under $2...........
$2 or over........................
$2, under $3......... .
$3, under $4......... .
$4, under $ 6......... .
$6, under $10_____
Decrease in weekly w age.
N o change............................ .
N ot reported....................... .

60
30
12
18
30
17
11
2

73.2
36.6
14.6
22.0
36.6
20.7
13.4
2.4

54
32
11
21
22
17
3
2

67.5
40.0
13.8
26.3
27.5
21.3
3.8
2.5

1.2
23.2
2.4

9
9
8

Ü. 3
11.3
10.0

64.7
36.5
14.1
22.4
28.2
14.1
11.8
1.2
1.2
a2
9.4
17.6

14
10
5
5
4
3
1

1
19
2

55
31
12
19
24
12
10
1
1
7
8
15

2
1
2

1 Difference between wage in the first and the last regular position.
s Class A consists of children who each held during work histories of 1 year or more 1 position only;
class B consists of children who held on an average new positions at a rate less than 1 for every 6 months
and more than 1 for every 12 months of their work histories; class C consists of children who held on an
average new positions at a rate less than 1 position for every 3 months and more than 1 for every 6 months
of their work histories; class D consists of children who held on an average new positions at a rate
more than i position for every 3 months of their work histories.
8 Rate not shown where base is less than 50.

The steady workers— that is, the children who held only one position
yithin a period of one year or more— were more likely, according to
’’able 103, than were other children, to receive increases in wages,
heir increases, too, were in general more substantial than were those
of other children. Over three-fourths, 76.4 per cent, of the children
classed as “ steady,” as compared with only 68.5 per cent of those


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206

T H E W O R K IN G

C H IL D R E N

OF B O S T O N .

classed as “ active” and 65.4 per cent of those classed as “ restless/^
received wage increases. Only one “ steady” child, but 16 “ active^!
and 14 “ restless” children, reported decreases in their weekly wages.
Increases of $2 or more were reported by 30.4 per cent of the “ steady”
children and by 29 per cent of the “ active” and 24.2 per cent of the
“ restless” children. The “ active” boys, however, showed a larger
proportion of such increases than did any other group, 30 per cent,
as compared with 25.7 per cent for the “ steady” boys and with 20.6
per cent for the “ restless” boys. This correlation of industrial ad­
vance, as measured b y changes in wages between the first regular
position and the date of the interview, with steadiness in employ­
ment should be considered, of course, in connection with the factshown in Table 102, that this advance was also greatest among
the children who were ahead and least among those children who
were behind in their school work. The larger proportion of wage in­
creases and of substantial increases among the “ steady” workers may
be due in part to the fact, shown in Table 91, that the “ steady”
children were less likely than any other group to be retarded in their
school work. Nevertheless, it appears probable that, in general,
frequent shifting about from one position to another does not asv
often lead to wage advancement as does remaining, at least for con­
siderable periods of time, in one position.
A V E R A G E E A R N IN G S .

The average monthly earnings of the interviewed children who
had been at work for one year or more, as appears in Table 104,
were $16.68— very little higher than those of the children who had
been at work less than one year, $16.62. Even this slight difference,
however, appears to suggest that the wages of children tend to rise
slightly with increased industrial experience,78 for the percentage of
unemployment was somewhat higher for children who had been at
work one year or more than for those who had been at work for a
shorter period, 14.4 as compared with 13.3.
The boys had higher monthly earnings than the girls, the average
for the boys who had been at work more than a year being $17.90
and that for the girls $15.06. The average monthly earnings of the
girls increased, however, from $14.23 received by girls who had been
at work less than a year to $15.06 received by girls who had been at
work more than a year. On the other hand, the average monthly
earnings of boys who had been at work less than a year were higher,
$18, than of boys who had been at work more than a year, $17.90,..
This difference between the two groups of boys is doubtless due tr
the fact, shown in Table 92, that the percentage of unemploymen
among boys who had been at work less than a year, as might be
78The children interviewed were so nearly the same age when they began work that it was not possi­
ble to discover any influence of age over wages.


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207

IN D U S T R IA L H ISTO R IE S.

T a b l e 104.— Average m onthly earnings, by length o f industrial history, nativity o f

father, and nativity and sex o f child; children interviewed.
Average m onthly
earnings1 of—

N ativity of father and nativity and sex of child.

Children Children
who had who had
been at
been at
work
work
1 year
less than
or over.
1 year.

$16.62

$16.68

17.29
16.53
16.26
17.04
14.53

16.77
16.57
16.79
15.95
18.64

18.00

17.90

17.74
18.30
17.91
19.24

18.44
17.63
17.83
16.91
19.21

14.23

15.06

16.38
13.80
A 3.10
14.74

13.98
15.3Ô
15.36
15.15

" i N ot shown where base is less than 100 months of work histories.

expected from the fact that they were all employed at the beginning
of the period under consideration, was less than that among boys
who had been at work more than a year, 10.4 as compared with 12.4.
But, contrary to this expectation, the girls who had been at work
less than a year were unemployed for a larger proportion of their
time than were those who had been at work more than a year, 18.4
per cent as compared with 17 per cent, and this difference is reflected
in their lower average earnings. The girls as a whole appear to have
had a tendency, with greater length of industrial experience, to
become more steady workers, and therefore to secure higher earnings
than when fresh from school.
The foreign-born boys, who, as already shown,79 began with
higher initial wages than any other group, seem to have been unable,
primarily because of unemployment, to keep this lead. Those who
had been at work less than a year received higher average monthly
earnings than any other group, $19.24, but the average monthly
earnings of those who had been at work for over a year were lower
than for any other group of boys, only $16.91. As will be seen from
Table 92, this was largely due to an increase in unemployment
from 8.8 per cent for the boys with shorter to 16.9 per cent for those
with longer work histories; but in part it was due to the fact already
mentioned80 that the weekly wage rates did not increase as much
for the foreign-born as for other children.
79 See Table 95, p. 195.
so See Table 101, p. 202.


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208

T H E W O R K IN G C H IL D R E N OF BOSTON .

The highest average monthly earnings received by any group of.
children who had been at work more than a year were received byl
the native boys whose fathers were also natives, $18.44. The lowest,
$13.98, were received by the girls of this same nativity group. These
girls, as already pointed out, were unemployed for not far from
one-fourth, 22.9 per cent, of their time. Yet the average earnings
of the girls of this nativity group who had been at work less than
a year were $16.38, and they were unemployed, according to Table 92,
only 11.8 per cent of their time. The native daughters of native
fathers evidently did not share in the tendency shown by the whole
group of girls to become more steady workers with greater length of
experience, but their influence was not sufficient to counteract the
decided tendency of both the other groups of girls— the native
daughters of foreign-born fathers and the foreign-born daughters
of foreign-born fathers.
The girls, as will be remembered, gave economic reasons for
leaving school more frequently than did the boys. Table 105 shows
that the average monthly earnings of girls who gave economic
reasons for leaving school were somewhat higher than those of
girls who gave other reasons. The girls who had been at work more
than a year and who had stated that they left school because of eco­
nomic need in their families, received average monthly earnings of
$15.04 as compared with $14.78 received by those who had given
other reasons for leaving school. The average monthly earnings of
the boys who left school for economic reasons and who had been at
work for a year or more were lower, however, than those of boys
who left for other reasons, $17.17 as compared with $18.34.
T a b l e 105.— Average m onthly earnings, by length o f industrial history, reason fo r leaving

school, and sex; children interviewed.

Average monthlyearnings i of—

Reason for leaving school, and sex.

N ot reported...............................................................................................................................................
Girls...................................................................................................................................................
Economic reasons....................................................................................................................................
Other reasons.............................................................................................................................................
N ot reported...............................................................................................................................................
1 N ot shown where base is less than 100 months of work histories.


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Children Children
who had who had
been at
been at
work
work
less than
1 year
1 year.
or over.

$16.62

$16.68

16.37
17.15
15.22

16.06
17.05
17.49

18.00

17.9Q

17.56
18.80
15.59

17.17
18.34
17.96

14.23
14.82
13.44

15.06
»15.04
14.78
16.74

IN D U S T R IA L H ISTO R IE S.

209

T a b l e 106.— Average m onthly earnings, by length o f industrial history, retardation, and

fy
)

sex; children interviewed.

Average monthlyearnings 1 of—

Retardation and sex.

Both shxes.
Having completed:
A higher grade than normal...
A normal grade..............
A lower grade than normal.’ . ' ’ *‘ ' ' ' ' * [ ' ' '
One or two grades lower than n o rm al'
Not re orted more ^ra<^es l°wer than normal.
Boys.................................................

Children Children
who had who had
been at been at
work
work
less than 1 year
1 year. or over.
$16.62

$16.68

16.14
17.03
16.05
16.02
16.15

17.34
17.24
15.35
15.20
16.81
16.54

18.00

17.90

18.09
18.79
16.70
16.79

19.35
18.28
16.39
16.25
18.22

14.23

15.06

13.83
13.39
15.11
14.65
16.09

14.11
15.87
14.07
13.83
15.83

j

Having completed:
A higher grade than normal. . .
A normal grade.....................
A lower grade than normal.’ .’ .’ .’ *' ‘ ‘ ‘ ' **‘ ‘ * ' "
One or two grades lower than n o rm al .......
XT , 1 ilre®0I! more grades lower than normal.
Not reported.......................................
Girls...................; ...................................

Having completed:
v f higher grade than normal...
A normal grade......... .................... ...................
A lower grade than normal.. . J
\
One or two grades lower than norm al
i hree or more grades lower than normal.
Not reported....
1 N ot shown where base is less than 100 months of work histories.

Of the children who had been at work for a year or more those
who were advanced in their school work, according to Table 106
^ eo ? dk in
Slightly higher averaSe mon^hly earnings,’
than did those who were normal, $17.24, and the l a t t e r
received decidedly higher earnings than did those who were retarded,
$15.35. This is doubtless due, in part, to the differences in per­
centages of unemployment shown in Table 93. But as the same
relationship was found in the matter of initial wages and also in
that of increase in wages, it can not be due entirely to unemploy­
ment. The low percentage of unemployment among the children
who were three or more grades below normal, however, doubtless
accounts for the fact that the average monthly earnings of these
children were $16.81, while the earnings of the children who were
retarded only one or two grades were $15.20.
<The boys of the different groups as regards standing in school
owed the same tendency as both sexes combined, although the
differences were greater and the wages higher. But the average
monthly earnings of the girls from normal grades were higher, $15.87,
than those of the girls from grades higher than normal, $14.11, and
the latter were only a trifle higher than the $14.07 received by

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210

T H E W O R K IN G C H IL D R E N OF BOSTON .

retarded girls. The high percentage oi unemployment among t h e j
advanced girls, which has already been noted, seems sufficient ex-(
planation for their failure to follow the general rule.
The tendency for wages to rise with increased industrial expe­
rience was found mainly among the children who were advanced in
their school work. The average monthly earnings of children from
higher grades than normal who had been at work for one year or
more were $1.20 more than those of the same class of children w p
had been at work less than one year. At the same time the per­
centage of unemployment was much greater for the former group
of children than for the latter, 13.7, as compared with on ly-9.7.
For the children from normal grades the difference in earnings was
only 21 cents, but for this group also the amount of unemployment
was greater, though much less markedly so, 12.8 per cent as com­
pared with 11.4 per cent, for the children who had been at work a
year or more than for those who had been at work for a shorter period.
T a b l e 107 — Average m onthly earnings, by length o f industrial history, steadiness at

work, and sex; children interviewed.
Average m onthly
earnings o f 2—

Steadiness at work,1 and sex.

Both sexes.................
Class A — Steady.................
Class B — Active..................
Class C— Restless................
Class D — Unsteady...........
Class E — Indeterminate..
B oys...........................
Class A — Steady................
Class B — Active................
Class C— Restless..............
Class D — Unsteady.........
Class E — Indeterminate.

Girls............... .
Class A — Steady.............'
Class B — Active................
Class C— Restless.......... : .
Class D — U nsteady.........
Class E — Indeterminate.

2 N o t shown where base is less than 100 months of work histones.

Children Children
who had who had
been at
been at
work
work
1 year
less than
or
over.
1 year.

$16.62

15.63
13.49
18.85
18.00

17.45
14.42
19.99
14.23

12.82

$16.68
19.54
16.64
14.85
10.71
17.90
20.60
17.82
15.57
15.07
15.06
18.15
14.78
13.98
7.30

"Ì6.79

\

Exactly the opposite tendency, however— that is, for wages to
fall with increased industrial experience—was found among the
retarded children. The average monthly earnings of retarded
children who had been at work for one year or more were actually

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211

IN D U S T R I A L H IS T O R IE S .

V^70 cents lower than those of retarded children who had been at
work for less than one year, yet the proportions of time unemployed
were 17.2 per cent and 16.7 per cent, respectively— less difference
than for any other group of children.
It should be noted that the children whose standing in school was
not reported and who had been at work less than one year had the
highest average monthly earnings of any group, $20.93. These
children, as will be remembered,81 came from vocational, prevocational, disciplinary, and other special schools which made unusual
efforts to place their pupils.
Decided differences, shown in Table 107, were found between the
average monthly earnings of the “ steady,” “ active,” “ restless,”
and “ unsteady” workers who had been at work for a year or more,
differences corresponding to those found in the percentages of time
unemployed of these four groups. Thus the average monthly earn­
ings of the “ steady” workers who were unemployed, according to
Table 94, only 2.7 per cent of their time were nearly twice as high,
$19.54, as those, $10.71, of the “ unsteady” workers who were unem­
ployed 34.9 per cent of their time. The average monthly earnings
of the “ unsteady” girls, who were unemployed more than twoifths, 42.6 per cent, of their time were only $7.30, while those of the
'steady” girls, who were unemployed only 4.7 per cent of their
time, were $18.15. Less difference was found among the boys.
Even the “ unsteady” boys made on an average $15.07 a month,
almost three-fourths as much as the “ steady” boys, who made an
average of $20.60; and, as has already been noted, the “ unsteady”
boys were unemployed 25.1 per cent of their time, as compared
with only 1.1 per cent of unemployment for the “ steady” boys.
HOURS OF LABOR.

The hours worked weekly by the children interviewed, as appears
in Table 108, were 48 or less in over four-fifths, 81.3 per cent, of
their positions. These hours include periods of attendance at con­
tinuation school which are supposed to be deducted from the 48
hours permitted by law. Many of the positions here considered,
however, were held during vacation and others were held before the
continuation school was started or before the child had been assigned
to a class. In nearly two-fifths, 39.1 per cent, of their positions,
these children worked exactly 48 hours, and in not far from twoJifths, 37.8 per cent, between 36 and 48 hours. But in 15.3 per cent
of their positions they worked over 48 hours— in 6.4 per cent over
,54 hours. To what extent these positions involved violations of the
law limiting the hours of labor of children under 16 to 8 a day and
48 a week in most occupations a will be considered later,6
81 See p . 182.


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a Acts of 1913, ch. 831, sec. 8.

6 See pp. 322 to 331.

212

THE

W O R K IN G

C H IL D R E N

OF B O S T O N .

The law also requires that, to be excused from school attendance^/
a child must be employed for at least six hours a day.82 Yet in 84
positions, or 4.3 per cent of the entire number, these children were
employed for less than 36 hours a week. The entire subject of
violations of the law relating to hours of labor, however, is con­
sidered later, as also that of the hours worked in the various occu­
pations.
T a b l e 108.— H ou rs w eekly, by sex o f child; regular 'positions held by children interview ed.

Regular positions.

A ll positions.

First position.

Last position

Hours weekly and sex of child.
Number.

Both sexes..........

1,943

Per cent
Per cent
distribu­ Num ber. distribué Number.
tion.
tion.

100.0

823

100.0

100.0

477

100.0

Per cent
distribu­
tion.

823

100.0

402

84.3

Hours weekly:
48 hours or under.
Under 12..........
12 under 24___
24 under 36___
36 under 48___
48 e v e n ...........
Over 48 hours........
Under 54..........
54 or o v e r .—
N ot reported..........
B o y s .,..................
Hours weekly:
48 hours or under.
Under 12..........
12 under 24___
24 under 36___
36 under 48___
48 even............
Over 48 hours........
Under 54..........
54 or over........
N ot reported..........
Girls.................... .
Hours weekly:
48 hours or under.
Under 12........ .
12 under 24—
24 under 36—
36 under 48—
48 even............
Over 48 hours----Under 54........
54 or over____
Not reported.........

858

850

100.0

346

100.0
86.7
0.3
0.3

2.6

38.7
44.8

346
89.3
0.3
0.3
0.9
40.2
47.7

11.6

In a larger proportion of positions held by boys than by girls,
18.2 per cent as compared with 11.5 per cent, the hours were over
48 a week, but in a smaller proportion, 35.6 per cent as compare *
with 43.6 per cent, they were exactly 48. That the hours of th
girls were more likely to be standardized than those of the boys is
again shown by the fact that in only 2.9 per cent of the positions
82 Acts of 1913, ch. 831, sec. 8.


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213

IN D U S T R IA L HISTORIES,

lield by girls as compared with 5.5 per cent of those held by boys
were the hours less than 36 a week.
T a b l e 109.— Hours weekly, by nativity o f father and nativity and sex o f child; regular

position s held by children interviewed.
Regular positions.

Fathers foreign b om .

Hours weekly and sex.

Both fathers
and children
native.

N um ber.

Both, sexes..............
Hours weekly:
48 hours or u n d e r.. .
Under 12...............
12 under 24..........
24 under 36..........
36 under 48..........
48 even.................
Over 48 hours............
Over 48 under 54.
54 or over.............
N ot reported..............
B oys..........................
Hours weekly:
48 hours or un der.. .
Under 12..............
12 under 24..........
24 under 36..........
36 under 48..........
48 even..................
Over 48 hours............
Over 48 under 54.
54 or over.............
Not reported...............
Girls..........................
Hours weekly:
48 hours or under___
Under 12..............
12 under 24..........
24 under 3 6..........
36 under 4 8..........
48 even..................
Over 48 hours............
Over 48 under 54.
54 or over.............
Not reported..............

Per
cent
distributton.

Children na­
tive.

N um ber

Per
cent
distributton.

Children for­
eign bom .

N um ber.

Per
cent
distributton.

Nativity of
fathers not re­
ported; chil­
dren native.

N um ber.

Per
cent
distributton.!

459

100.0

998

100.0

426

100.0

60

100.0

383
4
5
18
167
189
62
36
26
14

83.4
.9
1.1
3.9
36.4
41.2
13.5
7.8
5.7
3.1

822
6
10
27
382
397
142
-84
58
34

82.4
.6
1.0
2.7
38.2
39.8
14.2
8.4
5.8
3.4

325
2
4
5
169
145
84
46
38
17

76.3
.5
.9
1.2
39.7
34.0
19.7
10.8
8.9
4.0

49

81.7

3
17
29
9
6
3
2

5.0
28.3
48.3
15.0
10.0
5.0
3.3

272

100.0

579

100.0’

200

100.0

42

100.0

231
1
3
13
111
103
37
21
16
4

84.9
.4
1.1
4.8
40.8
37.9
13.6
7.7
5.9
1.5

458
6
10
18
219
205
101
62
39
20

79.1
1.0
1.7
3.1
37.8
35.4
17.4
10.7
6.7
3.5

133
1
2
3
64
63
55
27
28
12

66.5
.5
1.0
1.5
32.0
31.5
27.5
13.5
14.0
6.0

36

187

100.0

419

100.0

226

100.0

18

152
3
2
5
56
86
25
15
10
10

81.3
1.6
1.1
2.7
29.9
46.0
13.4
8.0
5.3
5.3

364

86.9
2.1
38.9
45.8
9.8
5.3
4.5
3.3

85.0
.4
.9
.9
46.5
36.3
12.8
8.4
4.4
2.2

13

9
163
192
41
22
19
14

192
1
2
2
105
82
29
19
10
5

3
15
18
6
4
2
100.0

2
11
3
2
1
2

1 Not shown where hase is less than 50.

The children appear to have been more likely to work both shorter
and longer hours than contemplated by law in their first than in their
last positions. In their first positions 4.5 per cent but in their last
positions only 2.4 per cent of them worked less than 36 hours. More­
o v e r, in their first positions 15.3 per cent but in their last positions
only 12.4 per cent worked over 48 hours. These differences were ac­
companied by correspondingly larger proportions who worked ex­
actly 48 hours, and especially who worked from 36 to 48 hours in their
last positions.

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214

T H E W O R K IN G C H IL D R E N OF BOSTON,
T able

110.— H ours weekly, by initial weekly wage and

Regular positions showing specified initial weekly wage.

Under $5.

Hours weekly and sex.

Under $3.

Total.

$3 under $4.

Per
N um ­
cent
ber.
distri­
bution.2

$4 under $5.

Per
Per
N um ­
cent
cent
distri­
ber.
distri­
bution.2
bution.2

Num ­
ber.

Per
cent
distri­
bution.

Num ­
ber.

1,302

100.0

103

100.0

413

100.0

786

100.0

85.8
0 .2
1.3
2.5
37.9
43.9
12.9
8 .2
4.7
1.3

79
3
11
9
30
26
18
8
10
-6

76.7
2.9
10.7
8 .7
29.1
25.2
17.5
7.8
9.7
5.8

355

86.0

683

86.9

54 or over.......................................
N ot reported........................................

1,117
3
17
32
494
571
168
107
61
17

3
13
151
188
51
29
22
7

.7
3.1
36.6
45.5
12.3
7.0
5.3
1.7

.3
10
313
357
99
70
29
4

.4
1.3
39.8
45.4
12.6
8 .9
3.7
0 .5

B oys....................................................

660

100.0

39

100.0

135

100.0

486

100.0

82.1
.2
2 .0
3.3
38.5
38.2
16.4
9.8
6.5
1.5

27
1
8
7
6
5
7

104

77.0

411

84.6

N ot reported........................................

542
1
13
22
254
252
108
65
43
10

2
8
53
41
28
15
13
3

1.5
5.9
39.3
30.4
20.7
11.1
9.6
2.2

3
.7
195 •
206
73
50
23
2

.6
1.4
4oaJ
42.4
15.0
10.3
4.7
.4

Girls....................................................

642

100.0

64"

100.0

278”

100.0

300

100.0

575
2
4
10
240
319
60
42
18
7

89.6
.3
.6
1.6
37.4
49.7
9.3
6.5
2.8
1.1

52
2
3
2
24
21
11
8
3
1

81.3
3.1
4.7
3.1
37.5
32.8
17.2
12.5
4.7
1.6

251

90.3

272

90.7

1
5
98
147
23
14
9
4

0.4
1.8
35.3
52.9
8 .3
5.0
3.2
1.4

3
118
151
26
20
6
2

1.0
39.3
50.3
8 .7
6. 7
2.0
.7

Both sexes........................................
Hours weekly:
48 hours or under...............................
12 under 24....................................

Over 48 hours......................................

Hours weekly:

Hours weekly:
48 hours or under...............................
24 under 36....................................
36 under 48....................................
Over 48 hours.................................. .
Under 54........................................
54 or over.......................................
N ot reported........................................

7
5

Both boys and girls showed this tendency toward larger propor­
tions of last positions than of first positions where the hours were
either exactly 48 or between 36 and 48 a week.
Table 109 shows that the hours were more than 48 a week in over
one-fourth, 27.5 per cent, of all the positions held by foreign-born
boys, as compared with not much more than one-sixth, 17.4 per cent,
of those held by native boys whose fathers were foreign born and with
scarcely over one-eighth, 13.6 per cent, of those held by the sons of
native fathers. In 13.5 per cent of all the positions held by foreign^
born boys the hours were over 48 but under 54, and in 14 per cent theJF
were over 54 a week. The long hours may account for the higher
wages received by the foreign-born boys in their first positions.


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215

IN D U S T R IA L H ISTO R IE S.

Hours weekly and sex.

Both sexes.
Hours weekly:
48 hours or under.
Under 12.
12 under 24.
24 under 36.
36 under 48.
48 even.
Over 48 hours.
Under 54.
54 or over.
Not reported.
Boys.
Hours weekly:
48 hours or under.
Under 12.
12 under 24.
24 under 36.
36 under 48.
48 even.
Over 48 hours.
Under 54.
54 or over.
N ot reported.
Girls.
Hours weekly:
48 hours or under.
Under 12.
12 under 24.
24 under 36.
36 under 48.
48 even.
Over 48 hours.
Under 54.
54 or over.
N ot reported.
1; Including positions where support or meals were given as part or whole of wage; also positions where
child worked for nothing or employer failed to pay; and where he worked for less than one week on piece­
work or only one day a week.
2 Rate not shown where base is less than 50.

Of the positions held by foreign-born girls, however, only about oneeighth, 12.8 per cent, required over 48 hours of work a week— even less
than of those held by native girls whose fathers were also native, 13.4
per cent, but more than of those held by native girls whose fathers
were foreign born, 9.8 per cent. The foreign-born girls also showed a
greater tendency^ than the native to secure positions where the hours
were from 36 to 48, while the native girls tended to secure posi­
tions where the hours were exactly 48. Of all the positions held by
foreign-born girls 46.5 per cent, as compared with 38.9 per cent of
those held by native girls of foreign parentage and with only 29.9


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216

T H E W O R K IN G C H IL D R E N OF BOSTON .

per cent of those held by native girls of native parentage, require^
as much as 36 but less than 48 hours a week. On the other hand,
only 36.3 per cent of the positions held by foreign-born girls, as com­
pared with 45.8 per cent of those held by native girls whose fathers
were foreign-born and with 46 per cent of those held by native girls
whose fathers were also native, were the hours exactly 48 a week.
The hours worked in different positions naturally affected the
wages paid. Thus the hours were over 48 a week, according to Table
110, in only about one-eighth, 12.9 per cent, of the positions in which
the wages were less than $5 a week, but in about one-fifth, 20.4 per
cent, of those in which the wages were $5 or more. At the same time
the hours were less than 24 a week in considerably more than oneeighth, 13.6 per cent, of the positions paying less than $3, but in none
of those paying more than $5 a week. In positions where the wages
were $6 or more, as might be expected, the hours were rarely less than
36, but in one-fourth, 25 per cent, of these positions they were over 48
a week. The tendency among the girls and the boys was practi­
cally the same. In more than half the positions in which girls re­
ceived from $3 to $5 a week they worked exactly 48 hours; but it
is interesting to note that in over one-sixth, 17.2 per cent, of the
positions in which girls earned less than $3 a week they worked ove?
48 hours. In this case, however, the numbers involved are small.
Roughly speaking, the higher rates of wages were paid for compara­
tively long hours and the lower rates for comparatively short hours
of labor.
R E A S O N S F O R L E A V IN G P O S IT IO N S .

Table 111 shows that, of the positions for which reason for leaving
was reported, not far from two-fifths, 38 per cent, of those left by
children for whom continuation-school records were used, and over
two—
fifths, 42.5 per cent, of those left by children who were inter­
viewed were terminated because the children were “ laid off.” This
does not mean necessarily that the children who held these positions
were incompetent or troublesome, for children were often discharged
because the work was temporary, because business was dull, because
the employer failed or sold out his business, and for a variety of other
reasons. On the other hand, 37.5 per cent of the positions terminated
by continuation-school children and 37.8 per cent of those terminated
by interviewed children were for some reason not satisfactory to the
children themselves. Not all these positions were left voluntarily,
for many children would not like to state that th^y had been di5^-jj
charged and would complain instead of wages, or hours, or the kin^W
of work, or would merely say that they disliked the work or the placd.
The information as to reasons for leaving positions obtained from
the interviewed children is probably more accurate than that obtained
from the continuation-school children. This greater degree of accuracy

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Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

217

INDUSTRIAL HISTORIES.

is doubtless reflected in the higher proportion of positions from which
the children were “ laid off.” It is probably also reflected in the differ­
ences between the two groups in the proportions of positions left
because the children disliked the work or the place and because they
secured better, or merely other, places. Of the positions left by
continuation-school children, 14.8 per cent, as compared with only
9.9 per cent of those left by interviewed children, were terminated
because of dislike of the work or the place. On the other hand, only
7.3 per cent of those left by continuation-school children, as compared
with 13.1 per cent of those left by interviewed children, were reported
as terminated because better positions had been secured. The
continuation-school record on this point was made when the child
applied for a certificate, and, as he always had another position at
that time, he evidently often gave his reason for hunting the new
place, instead of the fact that he had it, as his reason for leaving his
former position. The interviewed child, on the other hand, was
questioned carefully to ascertain whether he had secured the new
position before actually leaving the old one and, if he had done so,
this fact, instead of his reasons for dissatisfaction, was given as the
cause of leaving.
a b l e

111. — Reason fo r leaving p osition , by sex; comparison o f positions held by children
interviewed and by children in B oston continuation school.

Regular positions held b y children
in Boston continuation school.

Both sexes.

Boys.

Girls.

Regular positions held b y children
interviewed (Boston).

Both sexes.

B oys.

Reason for leaving
position.
N um ­
ber.

Per
Per
Per
cent
N um cent N um ­ cent N um ­
dis­
dis­
dis­
ber.
ber.
ber.
tribu­
tribu­
tribu­
tion.
tion.
tion.

A ll positions................. 7,381

4,134

3,247

Per
Per
Per
cent
N um ­ cent N um ­ cent
dis­
dis­
dis­
ber.
ber.
tribu­
tribu­
tribu­
tion.
tion.
tion.

1,943

1,093

Positions ieft............................. 3,324 100.0 1,742 100.0 1,582 100.0 1,136 100.0
Reason for leaving:
Laid off.............................. 1,264
Position not satisfactory.................................. 1,245
Disliked work or
place........................
491
Low wages------- i___
283
W ork too hard or
hours long.............
230
Secured better position.......................
241
Continuation school___
49
194
Returned to school........
Other reasons...................
455
^
N ot em ployed1................
117
•

__

Positions not left or reason
not reported......................... 4,057

850

627 100.0

509


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Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

100.0

38.0

476

27.3

788

49.8

483

42.5

231

36.8

252

49.5

37.5

807

46.3

438

27.7

429

37.8

262

41.8

167

32.8

14.8
8.5

315
132

18.1
7.6

176
151

11.1
9.5

112
93

9.9
8.2

64
46

10.2
7.3

48
47

9.4
9 .2

6.9

174

10.0 j . 56

7.3
1.5
5 .8
13.7
3 .5

186
31
127
264
37

10.7
1.8
7.3
15.2
2.1

._

2,392

55
18
67
191
80
1,665

3.5

75

6.6

51

8.1

24

4.7

3 .5
1.1
4.2
12.1
5.1

149
25
20
179

13.1
2 .2
1.8
15.8

101
16
13
105

16.1
2.6
2.1
16.7

48
9
7
' 74

9.4
1.8
1.4
14.5

807

466

1 Em ployer did not keep promise of employment or child decided not to take position.

4 9 4 7 0 °— 22------ 15

Girls.

341

218

TH E W ORKING CHILDREN OF BOSTON.

In one respect, the group of children interviewed is not typical o f .
all children who left school to go to work, for it contains an a bnorm ally^
small proportion of children who left positions in order to return to V
school. This was natural in view of the fact that these children were
all at work on the date of the interview; but it may be due in part to
the fact that children who went to work soon after becoming 14,
as so large a proportion of these children did, were less likely to return
to school than were children who did not go to work, until later.
Both groups of children worked during school term before they were
16; that is, neither group included children who were merely vacation
workers, but it may be that the continuation-school group included
some children who went to work with the distinct intention of return­
ing to school within a short time.
Girls were much more likely than boys to be “ laid off.” If the
cases in which the reason for leaving was not reported are disregarded,
as is done in Table 111, about half, 49.5 per cent, of the positions left
by girls who were interviewed and practically the same proportion,
49.8 per cent, of those left by girls for whom continuation-school
records were used were terminated for this reason. Only a little
over one-third, 36.8 per cent, of those held by boys who were inter­
viewed, and a decidedly smaller proportion, only 27.3 per cent, of
those held by boys for whom continuation-school records were used
were terminated for this reason. The differences between the per­
centages for the two groups of boys may indicate that the boys
more often than the girls admitted that they had been laid off only
when closely questioned. A much larger proportion of the positions
held by girls than of those held by boys, however, were for temporary
work, particularly in mercantile establishments. Table 112 shows
that although from only one-fifth, 20.4 per cent, of the positions left
by boys the children were laid off because the work was temporary,
because business was dull, or for reasons not assigned, this group of
causes accounted for the termination of nearly two-fifths, 38.7 per
cent, of the positions left by girls. At the same time it accounted for
about seven-tenths, 69.4 per cent, of all the positions from which
children were “ laid off.”
Twenty-five children, 16 boys and 9 girls, stated to bureau agents
that they had lost positions because they had been obliged to attend
continuation school.


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219

INDUSTRIAL HISTORIES,
//T

y

a b l e

112.

Reason / o r leaving position , by nativity o f father and nativity and sex o f
child; regular positions held by children interviewed.

£
Regular positions.
Fathers foreign-bom.
A ll children.

Both fathers
and children
native.

Reason for leaving position and sex.

N um ­
ber.

Both sexes......................

Per
cent
dis­
tribu­
tion.

. 1,943

Boys........................... |.............

Per
cent
dis­
tribu­
tion.

998

426

60

272

100.0

598

100.0

268

100.0

32

41.3

114

41.9

258

43.1

98

36.6

13

28.6

83

30.5

184

30.8

61

22.8

7

5.5
7.2
36.7
9.6
1.1
7.9
6.4
11.6
2.1
1.7
15.3
2.9

11
20
98
32
4
13
24
25
5
3
45
7
187

4.0
7.4
36.0
11.8
1.5
4 .8
8.8
9 .2
1.8
1.1
16.5
2.6

33
41
226
55
8
56
35
72
12
11
74
17
400

5.5
6.9
37.8
9.2
1.3
9.4
5.9
12.0
2.0
1.8
12.4
2 .8

18
19
93
23
1
24
14
31
7
6
54
10
158

6.7
7.1
34.7
8.6
.4
9.0
5 .2
11.6
2.6
2.2
20.1
3.7

2
4
12
2

1,093
646

N um ­
ber.

100.0

272

_________

Positions left2................................... ...
Reason for leaving:
Laid off..........................................
Work temporary, business
dull, or reason not given..
Business sold out or employer
failed....................................
For other reasons....................
Position not satisfactory...............
Disliked work or place...........
No advancement....................
Low wages............................. .
Work too hard, hours long___
Secured better position..........
Continuation school......................
Returned to school...................... .
Other reasons................ ......... ...
Not reported.................................
Positions not left................................ .

Per
cent
dis­
tribu­
tion.

459

-

Positions left2............... ...........
. 1,170
Reason for leaving:
Laid off............ ..................
.
483
Work temporary, business
dull, or reason not given. .
335
Business sold out or employer
failed...................................
64
For other reasons...................
84
Position not satisfactory..............
429
Disliked work or place..........
112
No advancement...................
13
Low wages.............................
93
Work too hard, hours long...
75
Secured better position.........
136
Continuation school.....................
25
Returned to school......................
20
/
Other reasons...............................
179
Not reported.................................
34
ositions not left................................
773

N um ­
ber.

Children
native.

N ativity
of
Children
foreign-born. father
not
report­
Per
ed:
chil­
N um ­ cent
dis­
dren
ber.
tribu­
na­
tion. tive.1

100.0

155

579
100.0

342

129

6
28

200
100.0

2
8
1

42
100.0

20

231

35.8

46

29.7

136

39.8

42

32.6

7

132

20.4

24

15.5

86

25.1

20

15.5

2

41
58
262
64
10
46
51
91
16
13
105
19
447

6.3
9.0
40.6
9.9
1.5
7.1
7.9
14.1
2.5
2.0
16.3
2.9

7
15
69
19
3
9
17
21
3

4.5
9.7
44.5
12.3
1.9
5 .8
11.0
13.5
1.9
20.6
3.2

6.4
8.2
39.8
9.9
1.8
7.6
6.1
14.3
2.6
2.3
12.9
2.6

10
12
48
9
1
11
11
16
3
5
26
5
71

7.8
9 .3
37.2
7.0
.8
8.5
8.5
12.4
2 .3
3 9
20.2
3.9

2
3
9
2

32
5
117

22
28
136
34
6
26
21
49
9
8
44
9
237

Girls...........................................

850

Positions left2. .....................................
Reason for leaving:
Laid off................... ....................
Work temporary, business
dull, or reason not given...
Business sold out or employer
failed.............................. .
F or other reasons....................
Position not satisfactory...............
Disliked work or place............
No advancement.....................
Low wages...............................
^
Work too hard, hours long....
'
Secured better position..........
Continuation school......................
Returned to school........................
Other reasons.................................
Not reported..................................
Positions not left..............................

524

100.0

187
117

419
100.0

256

139

3
22

226
100.0

2
5
1

18
100.0

12

252

48.1

68

58.1

122

47.7

56

40.3

6

203

38.7

59

50.4

98

38.3

41

29.5

5

23
26
167
48
3
47
24
45
9
7
74
15
326

4.4
5.0
31.9
9.2
.6
9.0
4.6
8.6
1.7
1.3
14.1
2.9

4
5
29
13
1
4
7
4
2
3
13
2
70

3.4
4.3
24.8
11.1
.9
3.4
6.0
3.4
1.7
2.6
11.1
1.7

11
13
90
21
2
30
14
23
3
3
30
8
163

4.3
5.1
35.2
8.2
.8
11.7
5.5
9.0
1.2
1.2
11.7
3.1

8
7
45
14

5 .8
5.0
32.4
10.1

1
3

13
3
15
4
1
28
5
87

9.4
2 .2
10.8
2.9
.7
20.1
3.6

3
3
6

1 Rate not shown where base is less than 50.
“ Not reported’ ’ is included under “ Positions left,” whereas in Table 111, which includes
vfPS'“V(W <iren; the cases in which the reason for leaving was not reported were com­
bined with those in which the position had not been left.
F


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220

TH E WORKING CHILDREN OF BOSTON.

Complaint of too hard work or too long hours, according to t h ^
same table, accounted for the termination of 6.4 per cent of all the^
positions held by interviewed children, 7.9 per cent of those held by
boys, and only 4.6 per cent of those held by girls. In other words,
in about one-sixth of all the cases in which positions were not satis­
factory the reason given was that the physical demands were exces­
sive. Although the large proportion of girls who. were “ laid off”
means smaller proportions who left positions for all other reasons,
it is natural that excessive physical demands should be mentioned
more frequently by boys than by girls, for boys are more frequently
employed for comparatively heavy work. It was given in a larger
proportion of cases, 8.8 per cent, by native children of native fathers
than by either native children of foreign-born fathers, 5.9 per cent,
or foreign-bom children, 5.2 per cent.
Both groups of native children showed larger proportions of posi­
tions from which the children were laid off because the work was
temporary, because business was dull, or for some unassigned reason
than did the foreign-born children. The percentages for both sexes
were 30.5, 30.8, and 22.8, respectively, and they were considerably
larger for girls than for boys. Over half, 50.4 per cent, of the posi­
tions left by native girls whose fathers also were native were termimated for one of these reasons, as compared with 38.3 per cent of those
left by native girls whose fathers were foreign-born and with 29.5 per
cent of those left by foreign-born girls. These differences were
doubtless due entirely to the differences to be discussed later in the
occupations entered by the three nativity groups.
Native boys whose fathers also were native appear to have left
because their positions were not satisfactory more frequently than
did native boys whose fathers were foreign born, and the latter ter­
minated their positions more frequently for this reason than did
foreign-born boys. Of all positions left by the first group 44.5 per
cent, of those left by the second 39.8 per cent, and of those left by
the third 37.2 per cent were ended because they were considered
unsatisfactory. Because of the large proportion of girls of native
parentage who were laid off, other reasons were given less frequently
by girls of this group. Dissatisfaction with their positions was given
as a reason for leaving by less than one-fourth, 24.8 per cent, of them,
as compared with over one-third, 35.2 per cent, of the native girls
whose fathers were foreign-born and with nearly one-third, 32.4 per
cent, of the foreign-born girls.
The frequency with which native girls of native parentage were
laid off also accounts for the fact that in so few cases, only 3.4 pe
cent, as compared with 9 per cent for native girls of foreign parentage
and 10.8 per cent for foreign-born girls, were they able to leave one
position because they had secured another which they believed to be

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221

INDUSTRIAL HISTORIES.

V

T a b l e 113 — Reason fo r leaving position , by retardation and sex o f child; regular posi­

tions held by children interviewed.
Regular positions held b y children who, on leaving school, had
completed for their ages—
A lower grade than normal.

Reason for leaving position and
sex.

A higher
grade than
normal.

N um
ber.

Both sexes............................
Positions left..................................
Reason for leaving:
Laid off....................................
W ork temporary, business
dull-, or reason not given.
Business sold out or em­
ployer failed...................
For other reasons..............
Position not satisfactory.........
Disliked work or place.. ..
N o advancement.......
Low wages.................
Work too hard, hours long,
Secured better position..
Continuation school............ .
Returned to school................
Other reasons.........................
Not reported..........................
Positions not left..........................
Boys...................................
Positions left................................
Reason for leaving:
Laid off..................................
Work temporary, business
dull, or reason not given.
Business sold out or em­
ployer failed..................
For other reasons.............
Position not satisfactory........
Disliked work or place__
No advancement..............
Low wages........................
Work too hard, hours long.
Secured better position...
Continuation school................
Returned to school.................
Other reasons..........................
Not reported............................
Positions not left.....................
Girls.....................................
Positions left..................................
Reason for leaving:
Laid off...... .............................
Work temporary,business
•dull, or reason not given.
Business sold out or em­
ployer failed...................
For other reasons..............
Position not satisfactory.........
Disliked work or place___
No advancement..............
Low wages........................
Work too hard, hours long.
Secured better position...
Continuation school....... ........
Returned to school.................
Other reasons.........................
Not reported...........................
Positions not left...........................

Per
cent
dis- N um
triber.
bution.

Total.

Per
cent
dis- N um
triber.
bution.

One or
two grades
lower than
normal.

Per
Per
cent
cent
dis- N um
distriher. , tribubution.
tion.

Three or
more grade,
lower than
normal.

ber.

N ot
report-

trition.i

307

923

687

602

85

26

177 100.0

533 100.0

444 100.0

392 100.0

52 100.0

16

79

44.6

232

43.5

167

37.6

154

39.3

13

25.0

5

62

35.0

171

32.1

99

22.3

89

22.7

10

19.2

3

6
11
60
17
3
7
14
19
4
7
19
8
130

3.4
6.2
33.9
9.6
1.7
4.0
7.9
10.7
2.3
4.9
10.7
4.5

27
34
177
49
4
33
28
63
15
7
85
17
390

5.1
6.4
33.2
9.2
.8
6.2
5.3
11.8
2.8
1.3
15.9
3.2

29
39
186
46
6
51
33
50
6
6
70
9
243

6.5
8.8
41.9
10.4
1.4
11.5
7.4
11.3
1.4
1.4
15.8
2.0

26
39
160
41
6
46
26
41
5
4
60
9
210

6.6
9.9
40.8
10.5
1.5
11.7
6.6
10.5
1.3
1.0
15.3
2.3

181

510

101 100.0

385

281 100.0

344

254 100.0

226 100.0

3

5.8

2

26
5

50.0
9.6

6

5
7
9
1
2
10

9.6
13.5
17.3
1.9
3.8
19.2

10
17

28 100.0

10

97

34.5

95

37.4

90

39.8

5

27

26.7

57

20.3

48

18.9

44

19.5

4

4
6
41
9
3
4
9
16
4
5
il
3
80

15
4.0
25
5.9
114
40.6
34
8.9
2
3.0
18
4.0
18
8.9
42
15.8
9
4.0
4
5.0
49
10.9
»
8
3.0
229

5.3
8.9
40.6
12.1
.7
6.4
6.4
14.9
3.2
1.4
17.4
2.8

20
27
103
21
5
23
24
30
3
4
41
8
131

7.9
10.6
40.6
8.3
2.0
9.1
9.4
11.8
1.2
1.6
16.1
3.1

19
27
89
18
5
22
19
25
3
2
34
8
118

8.4
11.9
39.4
8.0
2.2
9.7
8.4
11.1
1.3
.9
15.0
3.5

76 100.0

5

41

36.6

126

2
4

33

37

2

1

2

14
3

4

1
5
5

3

1

2
7

4

13

413

302

258

44

9

252 100.0

190 100.0

160 100.0

24 100.0

6

42

55.3

135

53.6

72

37.9

64

38.6

8

3

35

46.1

114

45.2

51

26.8

45

27.1

6

3

2
5
19
8

2.6
6.6
25.0
10.5

3
5
3

3.9
6.6
3.9

2
8
5
50

2.6
10.5
6.6

12
9
63
15
2
15
10
21
6
3
36
9
161

4.8
3.6
25.0
6.0
.8
6.0
4.0
8.3
2.4
1.2
14.3
3.6

9
12
83
25
1
28
9
20
3
2
29
1
112-

4.7
6,3
43.7
13.2
.5
14.7
4.7
10.5
1.6
1.1
15.3
.5

7
12
71
23
1
24
7
16
2
2
26
1
92

4.2
7.2
42.8
13.9
.6
14.5
4.2
9.6
1.2
1.2
15.7
.6

1 N ot shown where base is less than 50.


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A
normal
grade.

1

2
12
2

2

4
2
4
1

i

3

i

20

i

222

TH E WORKING CHILDREN OF BOSTON.

more satisfactory. In this boys appear to have been much morey^
successful than girls, native boys whose fathers also were native some-\]
what less so than native boys whose fathers were foreign-born, but
both more so than foreign-born boys. For in 13.5 per cent of the
cases in which native boys of native parentage left positions they
had previously secured employment elsewhere, whereas for native
boys of foreign parentage this percentage was 14.3 and for foreignbom boys 12.4.
Children from higher grades than normal, doubtless because of the
particular type of occupations entered by the girls of this group as
will be seen later,83 were somewhat more likely than children from
normal grades and decidedly more likely than retarded children,
according to Table 113, to be laid off.
Children from higher grades were laid off in 44.6 per cent, those
from normal grades in 43.5 per cent, and those from grades lower
than normal in only 37.6 per cent of all cases in which they left
positions. That this was due primarily at least to the occupations
entered by girls is suggested by the fact that retarded boys were laid
off in a larger proportion of cases,3 7.4 per cent, than advanced boys,
36.6 per cent, or than normal boys, 34.5 per cent. Retarded girls, on
the'other hand, were laid off from only 37.9 per cent of their posi­
tions— about the same proportion as boys of this group— as com­
pared with 53.6 per cent of the positions held by normal girls and
55.3 per cent of those held by advanced girls.
The advanced and normal children, as already pointed out,84
received higher initial wages and more wage advances than did the
retarded children. It is, therefore, not surprising to find that
retarded children were more likely than the other two groups to
leave positions because of low wages. Not far from one-eighth,
11.5 per cent, of the positions left by retarded children, as compared
with only 4 per cent of those left by children who had completed
higher grades than normal and 6.2 per cent of those from normal
grades, were terminated for this reason. The differences between
advanced, normal, and retarded girls, as regards termination of
position on account of low wages, though showing the same tendency,
were more marked than the differences between the same groups of
boys.
83 See Table 122, pp . 248-249 and Table 135, pp. 282-283.
14 See Table 98, p. 199 and Table 102, p . 203.

\


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223

IN D U S T R IA L H ISTO R IE S.

ftT

a b l e

114.— Reason fo r leaving position, by steadiness at work and sex o f child; regular
positions held by children interviewed.

Regular positions held b y children of specified steadiness at work.1
Class B
(active).
Reason for leaving regular positions
and sex.
Class A
Per
(steady). N um ­
cent
distri­
ber.
bution.

Positions held by both sexes...
Positions left........................................
Reason for leaving:
Laid off..................................? ___
Work temporary, business
dull, or reason not given__
Business sold out or employer
failed.......................... . . . . . .
For other reasons...................
Position not satisfactory...............
Disliked work or place...........
No advancement....................
Low wages..............................
Work too hard, horns lon g ...
Secured better position..........
Continuation school......................
Returned to school........................
Other reasons................................
Not reported.................................
Positions not left.................................

190

438

Class C
(restless).

N um ­
ber.

896

Per
cent
distri­
bution.

328

644

90

37.2

266

45.3

62

25.6

183

32.5

100.0

Class E
(inde­
termi­
nate).

91

100.0

100.0

180
262

Positions left.............................. .
Reason for leaving:
Laid off..........................................
Work temporary, business
dull, or reason not given__
Business sold out or employer
failed....................................
For other reasons....................
Position not satisfactory...............
Disliked work or place...........
No advancement....................
Low wages..............................
Work too hard, hours lon g ...
Secured better position..........
Continuation school......................
Returned to school........................
Other reasons................................
Not reported___'............... ...........
Positions not left.................................

143

100.0

46

32.2

136

29

20.3

76

Positions held b y girls..................

N um ­
ber.

242

Positions held by boys..............

Positions left............................................
Reason for leaving:
Laid off..................................................
W ork temporary, business
dull, or reason not given___
Business sold out or employer
failed............................................
For other reasons........................
Position not satisfactory.................
Disliked work or place.............
N o advancement........................
Low wages....................................
W ork too hard, hours lo n g .. .
Secured better position............
Continuation school...........................
Returned to school............................
y
Other reasons.....................,,................
N ot reported.........................................
Positions not left........................................

Per
cent
distri­
bution.

Class D
(unsteady).

502

100.0

16.5
7.9
82

394

33

100.0

100.0

100.0

44.4

45.9

56.3

37.8

45.9

33.3

107

4.0
16.2
77

34

1 Class A consists of children who each held during work histories of 1 year or more 1 position only; class
B consists of children who held on an average new positions at a rate less than 1 for every 6 months and
more than 1 for every 12 months of their work histones; class C consists of children who held on an average
new positions at a rate less than 1 position for every 3 months and more than 1 for every 6 months of their
work histories; class D consists of children who held on an average new positions at a rate more than 1
position for every 3 months of their work histories; class E consists of children who each held a single posi­
tion which had not terminated at the end of a work history record of less than 1 year’ s duration.


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224

T H E W O R K IN G C H IL D R E N OF BOSTON .

The children of the four different groups, the “ steady,” “ active,^“ restless,” and “ unsteady” workers, showed decided differences in
their reasons for leaving. Table 114 shows that all but 10 of the 190
positions held by “ steady” children were still held at the date of the
interview. For this group of children, therefore, the number of posi­
tions left is entirely too small to justify any conclusion. But the
“ unsteady” workers showed a greater tendency to be laid off than
the “ restless” workers, and the latter than the “ active” workers.
From 45.3 per cent of the positions left by “ unsteady” workers they
were laid off; while the corresponding percentage for “ restless”
workers was 41.3, and for “ active” workers oiily 37.2.
On the other hand, 41.3 per cent of the positions left by “ active”
workers, as compared with 38 per cent of those left by “ restless”
workers, and with only 30.3 per cent of those left by “ unsteady”
workers, were terminated because for some reason the work was not
satisfactory. Although “ low wages” was most frequently given as
a cause of dissatisfaction by the “ unsteady” workers and least fre­
quently by the “ active” workers, this tendency was more than coun­
terbalanced by the greater tendency of the “ active ” workers to give
other reasons, particularly the securing of a better position, why
their positions were not satisfactory. About one-sixth, 16.5 per
cent, of the positions left by “ active” workers, as compared with
about one-ninth, 11.8 per cent, of those left by “ restless” and with
only 7.3 per cent of those left by “ unsteady” workers, were termi­
nated because the children had secured new places, which they be­
lieved, at least, to be better. This greater tendency of children who
changed their positions less frequently to secure new places before
leaving the old may in part account for their smaller percentages
already noted of time unemployed.
The tendency as regards reasons for leaving positions was slightly
different among the three groups of boys. As has been seen, boys
were much less frequently laid off from their positions than were girls.
But a larger proportion, 37.7 per cent, of positions terminated by
“ restless” boys than by any other group were ended in this way.
On the other hand, the “ unsteady ” girls showed decidedly the largest
proportion, 56.3 per cent, of positions thus ended. Nearly two-fifths,
19.6 per cent, of the positions terminated by “ active” boys, as com­
pared with 13.6 per cent of those terminated by “ restless” and with
10.1 per cent by “ unsteady” boys were left because the boys had
secured better positions.
^
The reasons for leaving positions, however, are so closely con­
nected with the character of the occupations that before any very
satisfactory conclusions can be drawn from them it is necessary to
consider what occupations were entered by the boys and girls of the
different groups.

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OCCUPATIONS.
. A thorough study of children’s occupations was not possible in
connection with this inquiry, partly because of the wide variety of
positions and the small number of children doing any one specific
task. This condition is characteristic of any large city with diversi­
fied industries in which no one type of child-employing industry is
largely represented, but practically all types are present. Another
reason why no such study was attempted was because an investiga­
tion of that kind would necessarily involve careful descriptions of
the work performed,85 and both physical and mental examinations
of a large number of children to determine its effects, as well as a
study of a variety of environmental conditions. It probably should
also include the following up for a number of years of the group of
children studied in order to secure information as to their physical
and industrial histories. Such a thorough study of children’s occu­
pation s is much needed.
For the purpose of tabulation, it was necessary to make a broad,
general classification of the occupations engaged in by the children
included in this study. No complete industrial classification was
attempted, but so far as possible the occupations involving similar
labor conditions were grouped together. The children classed as
factory operatives, for example, were all engaged in typical manufac­
turing occupations. Those employed in factories but not engaged in
actual production—f or example, messengers and labelers— were classed
under the general heading, “ Clerical occupations, wrapping, selling,
and delivery of goods,” along with children from other types of estab­
lishments engaged in the same kind of work.
Under “ factory and mechanical occupations,” however, “ factory
operatives” were carefully distinguished from “ apprentices and help­
ers” in skilled trades; and under “ factory operatives” certain kinds
of factories which employed unusually large numbers of children were
distinguished from the others. The group “ clerical occupations,
wrapping, selling, and delivery of goods” was divided into five classes,
“ office work,” “ cash and messenger work in department stores,”
“ selling,” “ packing, wrapping, labeling, and shipping room work,”
ajjd “ messenger, errand, and delivery work.” The last two designa­
tions necessarily include positions in a wide variety of industries,
ss A few tentative studies of work processes were made in order to estimate the difficulties involved,
but not enough was done in this line to justify any conclusions, and these studies were not followed up
b y physical examinations of the children.

225


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226

T H E W O R K IN G C H IL D R E N OF BOSTON .

which, though involving considerable variations in external circular^stances, possess essential likenesses in their more fundamental char\^
acteristics.86
Of all the positions held by children who took out certificates in the
four cities of this survey, according to Table 115 about one-third,
33 per cent, were for factory and mechanical occupations, and not
far from two-thirds, 63.5 per cent, for clerical occupations, wrapping,
selling, and delivery of goods. Only 3 per cent of these positions
were for personal and domestic occupations. An even smaller
proportion, 2.6 per cent, were for work, included under factory
and mechanical occupations, as apprentices and helpers in skilled
trades.
115.— Occupation, by sex o f child; com parison o f position s held by children in ­
terviewed with those held by children in B oston continuation school and with those held
by children issued certificates in fo u r cities.

T able

Per cent distribution: a A ll positions held by—

Children issued certificates.

Children in the
Boston continua­
tion school.

Occupation.
Boston.

A ll cities.

Children inter•viewed
(Boston).
A

Both
Both
Both
Both
Boys. Girls.
Boys Girls. sexes. Boys. Girls.
Boys. Girls.
sexes.
sexes.
A ll occupations........... 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0
Personal and domestic oc­
cupations..............................
Personal service (other
than servants in the
h om e)..........................
House and home work.
Factory and mechanical
occupations..............
Factory operativ«
Shoe factory.
C lothing factory
and other needle
trades..................
Textile m ill..........
Candy factory___
Other factory____
Apprentice and helperskilled trades............
Clerical occupations, wrap­
ping, selling, and d (' ‘
of goods.....................
Office w o r k . . .. .
Cash and messenger
work — department
store...................... —
Packing, wrapping, la­
beling, and shipping
room w ork..............
Selling..........................
Messenger work, e
rand, and delivery .
A ll other occupations...
Not reported......................

4.6

3.5

30.3
29.0

12.8

10.2

6.3

3.0

2.2

3.9

3.0

2.2

4.1

2.7

2.1

3.6

2.0
1.0

2.1
.2

1.9
2.1

1.9
1.1

2.0
.2

1.8
2.2

1.6
1.1

1.9
.2

1.3
2.3

33.0
30.4
8.9

20.7
16.6
5.3

48.9
48.3
13.5

33.6
31.0
10.4

20.5
16.5
6.3

49.9
49.3
15.7

31.1
29.0
10.1

16.9
13.6
5.5

49.2
48.6
15.9

5.8
3.0
.8
11.8

.6
1.6
.4
8.8

12.7
4.9
1.4
15.8

6 .8
3.5
.8
9.4

.7
1.9.3
7.2

14.5
5.5
1.3
12.2

7.2
3.2
.7
7.8

.6
1.7
.2
5.6

15.7
5.1
1.2
10.6

2.6

4.0

•6

2.6

4.1

.7

2.1

3.3

.5

1.3

2.3

63.5
7.3

76.2
9.4

47.0
4.6

62.8
7.4

76.4
9.6

45.8
47

65.8
6 .0

80.4
7.8

47.2
3.7

64.2

6.2

79.8
6.7

12.4

8.6

17.3

14.0

9.6

19.5

143

7.1

23.4

11.0

5.0

6 .8
4.1

2 .4
4.1

12.4
4.3

4.8
4.0

2.0
3.8

8.3
4.1

44
2.9

1.5
2.5

ao
3.3

32.8
.5

51.7
.8

8.3
.1

32.7
.5
.1

51.4
.7
.1

9.2
.1
.1

38.3
.4

61.4
.6

as
.1

15.1

100.0

6.0

49.8
49.8
15.3

20.8
3.6

2.2
7.8

18.6

8.2
3.9

-40.

not shown where less than one-tenth of 1 per cent.
s« The specific occupations included under each designation in the tables are shown in the Appendix,
pp. 362 to 363.


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OCC U PA TIO N S.

227

^ B e ca u se of differences in industrial opportunities the occupations
[of the children who took out certificates in Boston alone differed
somewhat from those of the children who took out certificates in the
four cities combined. A slightly larger proportion of the positions
in Boston than of those in the four cities combined was found in the
group of factory and mechanical occupations and a slightly smaller
proportion in that of clerical occupations, wrapping, selling, and
delivery of goods. Of the Boston positions 10.4 per cent, as com­
pared with only 8.9 per cent of the positions in the four cities, were
for work as operatives in shoe factories. Boston led also in the pro­
portions of positions in clothing factories and in textile mills. The
only other differences worthy of note between the occupational dis­
tribution of positions held by children in Boston and in the four cities
combined are the larger proportion in Boston, 14 per cent as com­
pared with 12.4 per cent, of positions for cash and messenger work in
department stores, and the smaller proportion in Boston, 4.8 per
cent as compared with 6.8 per cent, of positions for packing, wrapping,
labeling, and shipping room work. None of these differences, how­
ever, is sufficiently significant to invalidate the Boston figures alone
as representative, in general, of the occupational distribution of
children’s positions in the larger industrial unit.
In the figures based on the continuation-school records a new
feature enters, for the children in this group had all left school for
work, whereas a considerable number of those in the certificate
record group worked only during vacations. The differences in
occupational distribution of vacation and regular positions, however,
will be considered later. Here it is necessary to state only that a
smaller proportion of the positions held by the continuation-school
children, 31.1 per cent, were for work in factory and mechanical
occupations, and a larger proportion, 65.8 per cent, for work in
clerical occupations, wrapping, selling, and delivery of goods, and
that a similar difference was found in the positions held by the chil­
dren interviewed.
The information in regard to occupations for the certificate and
continuation school groups of children was obtained from the promises
of employment signed by employers and brought to the certificate
office by the children. Only certificated positions, therefore, were
included. The occupation designations given on the promises of
employment were often vague and sometimes inaccurate. In one
establishment, at least, most of the promises of employment were
ade out for one occupation, though children were employed in a
umber of different processes. To a considerable extent, however,
the broad groups into which the occupations are classified prevent
these inaccuracies from causing errors in the conclusions.


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228

T TTF1
, W O R K IN G C H IL D R E N OF BOSTON .

For the children interviewed the information was secured by quesy^
tioning the child as to the occupations in which he had been actually^
engaged, and uncertificated as well as certificated positions were
included. Nevertheless the differences between the proportions of
positions held in the different occupations by the children for whom
continuation-school records were used and by those who were inter­
viewed are slight. A larger proportion of the latter positions than
of the former, 4.6 per cent as compared with 2.7 per cent, were for
personal and domestic occupations— a difference which is probably
accounted for by the inclusion for the interviewed children of uncer­
tificated positions. The same fact may account for the somewhat
larger proportion, 9.5 per cent as compared with 7.2 per cent, of
positions in clothing factories and other needle trades among those
held by the children who were interviewed. On the other hand the
smaller proportion, 1.3 per cent as compared with 2.1 per cent, of
positions as apprentices and helpers in skilled trades is probably due
to more accurate description by the children of the actual work per­
formed. It is safe to say that the information as to occupations
obtained from the children is considerably more accurate than that
obtained from the promises of employment.
As to the representative character of the schedule data concerning
occupations the differences between the two groups are so slight that
it seems safe to assume that, with one exception, the children inter­
viewed are typical in their occupations of all the working children
of Boston. This one exception is in positions for cash and messenger
work in department stores. At the time of this study continuationschool classes were conducted in a number of large department stores
in Boston, but no children from these classes were interviewed. As
a result the schedule group includes none of the children who were
employed in any of these large stores at the time the schedule study
was made. To a limited extent, moreover, this omission probably
diminished the proportion of interviewed children employed by de­
partment stores in their first positions, for some of the children may
have held only one position and others may have merely gone from
one of the big department stores to another.
In regard to the children employed in the different occupations facts
were secured which were designed to answer certain definite questions.
To what extent, for example, do the occupations of boys differ from
those of girls, or the occupations of foreign-born children from those
of native children or those of native children of foreign parentage
from those of native children of native parentage? Do the ages
children at taking out their first certificates, their school. standing,
or the methods by which they secured their positions affect the
occupations they enter ? How do the occupations of vacation workers
differ from those of children who have left school ? How frequently

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OCCUPATIONS.

229

A Me occupations changed without change of position? How long
^ydo children work, and what are their hours and wages and increases
in wages in the different occupations ? What reasons do they give
for leaving positions involving the various kinds of work ? In con­
sidering the answers to all these questions it must, of course, be
kept constantly in mind, not only that the occupations which these
children could enter were limited by law, but that in many, if not
most, cases they had no real choice but simply took the first position
which they could secure without thought of “ picking and choosing.”
SEX.

The boys showed a greater tendency than did the girls to go into
the group of occupations included under the general designation
“ clerical occupations, wrapping, selling, and delivery of goods.” Of
all the certificates taken out-for this group of occupations in the four
cities, according to Table 116,88 67.8 per cent were for boys, although
boys held only 56.5 per cent of the certificates taken out for all
positions. The preponderance of boys in this group was due entirely
to their employment in office work and in messenger, errand, and deliv­
e ry work. Nearly three-fourths, 72.7 per cent, of the certificates
*eld by children for office work, and almost nine-tenths, 89 per cent,
bf those held for messenger, errand, and delivery work were taken out
by boys. The proportion of selling positions held by boys was
nearly as high, 55.3 per cent, as the proportion of all positions, 56.5
per cent. Boys took out only about two-fifths, 39.3 per cent, of the
certificates for cash and messenger work in department stores and
only one-fifth, 20 per cent, of those for “ packing, wrapping, labeling,,
and shipping-room work.”
The girls, on the other hand, showed a greater tendency than did the
boys, not only to go into cash and messenger work in department
stores and into “ packing, wrapping, labeling, and shipping-room
work, but also to become factory operatives. Nearly seven-tenths,
69.1 per cent, of the certificates held for work in factories were taken
out by girls. They held about two-thirds, 66.2 per cent, of the shoe
factory positions, over seven-tenths, 70.7 per cent, of those in textile
mills, and nearly three-fourths, 73.9 per cent, of those in candy
factories. The greatest preponderance of girls was found, however,
in positions as operatives in clothing factories and other needle trades,
where they held nearly 19 out of every 20, 94.3 per cent, of all the
Positions. In the entire group of factory and mechanical occupations,
however, the preponderance of girls was less than in any of these
bdivisions. This was due in part to the fact that they held a smaller
proportion, only 58.1 per cent, of the positions in “ otherfactories.”
But to a considerable extent it was due to the decided preponderance
I p^359 fi^ures 011

the percentages given In this table are based will be found in Appendix Table


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T H E W O R K IN G C H IL D R E N OF BOSTON .

230

of boys in positions as apprentices and helpers in skilled trades^
Only about one-tenth, 10.6 per cent, of the certificates held for work
of this kind were taken out by girls.
1 1 6 .— S ex , by occu p a tion ; com parison o f p osition s held by children interview ed
w ith those held b y children in B o sto n con tin u a tion school and w ith those held by
children issued certificates in fo u r cities.

T able

Per c e n t1 of positions held by—

Children issued certificates.
Occupation.
A ll cities.

A ll occupations...............................
Personal and domestic occupations.. .
Personal service (other than ser­
vants in the home)........................
House and home w ork............. —
Factory and mechanical occupations.
Factory operative..............................
Shoe factory.............. ........
Clothing factory and other
needle trades.......... ....... .. —
Textile m ill..................................
Candy factory............ .................
Other factory..............................
Apprentice and helper— skilled
tra d e s........................................... ..
Clerical
occupations,
wrapping,
selling, and delivery of goods.......... .
Office w ork.........................................
Cash and messenger work— de­
partment store..............................
Packing, wrapping, labeling, and
shipping-room w ork...................
Selling.................. ...............................
Messenger work, errand and
delivery............................................

Boston.

Children in
Boston continuation
school.

Children inter­
viewed (Bos­
ton).

Girls.

Boys.

Girls.

Boys.

Girls.

Boys.

Girls.

Boys.

56.5

43.5

55.6

44.4

56.0

440

56.3

57.4

40.5

59.5

42.6

57.4

42.7

59.3
8.8
35.4
30.9
33.8

40.7
91.3
64.6
69.1
66.2

58.1
9.9
34.0
29.5
33.4

41.9
90.1
66.0
70.5
66.6

65.3
8.6
30.5
26.3
30.5

347
91.4
69.5
73.7
69.5

28.1
24.9
34.7

71.9
75.1
65.3

5.7
29.3
2ft 1
41.9

94.3
70.7
73.9
58.1

5.7
30.4
24.0
42.5

94.3
69.6
76.0
57.5

4.3
30.1

95.7
69.9

4.3
41.5

95.7
58.5

4Ò.3

59.7

89.4

10.6

88.4

11.6

88.9

11.1

67.8
72.7

32.2
27.3

67.6
71.8

32.4
28.2

68.4
73.0

31.6
27.0

69.9
72.3

30.1
27.7

39.3

60.7

38.2

61.8

27.7

72.1

25.8

74.2

80.5
50.7

32.7
56.6

67.3
43.4

10.1

42.6

20.0
55.3

80.0
44.7

23.5
53.5

76.5
46.5

19.5
49.3

89.0

11.0

87.5

12.5

89.9

1 For the figures on which these percentages are based see Appendix Table I , p. 359.
not shown where base is less than 50.

6Ì.7

11.5

The per cent is

In personal and domestic occupations, also, more positions were
held by girls than by boys. Girls held nearly three-fifths, 57.4 per
cent, of all the certificates issued for these occupations and over
nine-tenths, 91.3 per cent, of those issued for house and home work
alone. In personal service other than servants in the home, they fell
behind the boys, for only about two-fifths, 40.7 per cent, of these
positions were held by girls.
In the continuation school and schedule groups of children, as
compared with the certificate group, even larger proportions of the
positions in clerical and similar occupations— 68.4 per cent for the
continuation school group and 69.9 per cent for the schedule grou p ^
were held by boys. At the same time larger proportions of the pos‘
tions in factory and mechanical occupations, 69.5 per cent and 71JH
per cent for the two groups, respectively, were held by girls. Threefourths, 75.1 per cent, of the factory operative positions held by the


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O C C U PA TIO N S.

231

¿children interviewed were filled by girls, but none of the girls in this
Iroup appear to have been employed as apprentices or helpers in
skilled trades. This may have been due to the more accurate
classification of occupations made possible by the opportunity to
question the child. In cash and messenger work in department stores,
as in factory and mechanical occupations, both the continuation
school and schedule groups of children showed higher proportions of
girls, 72.1 per cent and 74.2 per cent, respectively, than did the
certificate group, probably because of the fact that most of the large
stores were in Boston, comparatively few of them being in Cambridge,
Somerville, or Chelsea.
For some reason a smaller proportion of the. positions for packing,
wrapping, labeling, and shipping-room work appear to have been
held by girls in the group of children interviewed than in the entire
continuation school group, 67.3 per cent as compared with 80.5 per
cent, or than in the certificate group, 80 per cent. In all other occupa­
tions the group of children interviewed seems to resemble closely, in
the distribution of the two sexes, the continuation school group, that
is, practically the total number of regular workers who took out
certificates in Boston.
Tn spite of the preponderance of girls over boys in personal and
omestic occupations, in cash and messenger work in department
stores, and in “ packing, wrapping,labeling, and shipping-room w ork”
nearly half, 48.3 per cent, of all the positions held by girls who took
out certificates in the four cities, according to Table 115, were for
work as operatives in factories. Only 17.3 per cent of them were for
cash and messenger work in department stores, 12.4 per .cent for
'packing, wrapping, labeling, and shipping-room work,” and 3.9 per
cent for personal and domestic occupations. The majority— 51.7
per cent of the positions held by boys, on the other hand, were for
messenger, errand, and delivery work. It is evident that the girls
tended to concentrate in factory work and the boys in what have
been called the "fetching and carrying” jobs.
NATIVITY AND FATHER’S NATIONALITY.

The children born in the United States showed a greater tendency
than the foreign-born children to enter clerical and similar occupa­
tions, and the foreign-born children showed a greater tendency to
enter factory and mechanical occupations. Table 117 89 shows
that over seven-tenths, 71.1 per cent, of all the native children
taking out certificates in the four cities, as compared with less than
^-tenths, 59 per cent, of the foreign-born children, were first em­
ployed in clerical occupations, wrapping, selling, and delivery of
goods. On the other hand, little more than one-fourth, 26 per cent,


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232

T H E W O R K IN G C H IL D R E N OF BOSTON .

of the native children as compared with considerably over one-j
third, 36.1 per cent, of the foreign-born children held first positional
in factory and mechanical occupations.
Each occupation division within the clerical and similar occupa­
tions group, except “ selling,” and “ packing, wrapping, labeling,
and shipping room work,” showed a decidedly larger proportion of
the native than of the foreign-born children. Nearly two-fifths, 39.6
per cent, of the native children, as compared with less than one-third,
31.3 per cent, of the foreign-born children, were first employed in mes­
senger work, errands, and the delivery of goods. Office work furnished
first positions to 7.6 per cent of the native and only 4.8 per cent of
the foreign-born children. Perhaps the most striking difference was
found in cash and messenger work in department stores, in which
14.4 per cent of the native children and only 7.9 per cent of the
foreign-born children were first employed. On the other hand,
only 3.7 per cent of the native children, as compared with 7.5 per
cent of the foreign-born children, were first employed in “ selling,”
which generally meant work in small shops kept by foreign-born
merchants or on peddlers’ wagons. These children were often
employed by their parents or relatives. In spite of the comparative
prevalence of this type of work among foreign-born children, theij
general tendency was to enter the more mechanical occupation
This general tendency doubtless accounts for the fact that 7.6 per
cent of the foreign-born children, as compared with only 5.8 per
cent of the native children, were employed in packing, wrapping,
labeling, and shipping room work.
In the factory and mechanical occupations group the larger pro­
portion of all foreign bom than of all native children appears to be
due mainly to the fact that 10.5 per cent of the foreign bom, as
compared with only 3.7 per cent of the native children, were em­
ployed in clothing factories and other needle trades. More than
one-fifth— 21.8 per cent— of the foreign-born girls, as compared
with less than one-tenth— 9.2 per cent— of the native girls became
operatives in factories of this kind. It is interesting to note also
that a larger proportion of foreign born than of native children, 3
per cent as compared with 2 per cent, were first employed as appren­
tices and helpers in skilled trades; but this difference was entirely
among the boys, for practically no foreign-born girls— and only a
few native girls— were thus classified.
Decided differences in occupational distribution were found
between the children born in different foreign countries.
Tho
born in England and Wales, for example, appear to have fou'
much the same occupations as the native children. The most
interesting difference is that in the former group a considerably
larger proportion, 5.4 per cent— all boys— were employed in their

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OCCUPATIONS.

233

first positions as apprentices and helpers in skilled trades. Of the
^children born in British North America a smaller proportion than
of the native children, 66.7 per cent as compared with 71.1 per cent,
were employed in clerical and similar occupations and a larger pro­
portion, 5.2 per cent as compared with 2.5 per cent, in personal and
domestic occupations.
Of the other two principal nativity groups the Russian children
were more like the native in the occupations first entered than were
the Italian. For instance, only about one-third, 33.5 per cent, of the
Russian children, as compared with not far from one-half, 46.1 per
cent, of the Italian children, entered factory and mechanical occupa­
tions. Nearly two-thirds, 65 per cent, of the Russian children, as
compared with not much more than two-fifths, 43.3 per cent, of the
Italian children, entered clerical and similar occupations. A de­
cidedly larger proportion of the children in each of these groups,
especially the Italian, than of the native children were first employed
in clothing factories and other needle trades. Of the Russian chil­
dren nearly one-tenth, 9.2 per cent, and of the Italian over one-sixth,
17.6 per cent, as compared with only 3.7 per cent of the native children,
entered this group of occupations. In “ selling,” too, both these
groups showed decidedly larger proportions, 8.6 per cent and 11.1
per cent, respectively, than the native, only 3.7 percent. A partic­
ularly large proportion of the Italian boys, 13.2 per cent, sold goods
in their first positions. Nearly as large a proportion of the Russian
as of the native children, 6.6 per cent as compared with 7.6 per cent,
but a very small proportion, only 1.5 per cent, of the Italian children
began in office work. Comparatively few of the Italian children
began their industrial lives in messenger, errand, and delivery work,,
only 23.5 per cent as compared with 31.2 per cent of the Russian and
39.6 per cent of the native children. Finally, it is of interest to note
that a much larger proportion of the Russian children than of the
native, 11.7 per cent as compared with 5.8 per cent, were first em­
ployed in packing, wrapping, labeling, and shipping-room work,
a group of occupations first entered by only 4.6 per cent of the Italian
children.
Many of the native children, however, were of foreign parentage,
and Table 118, for the children interviewed, shows that, although
in their occupational distribution these children tended to be more
like the native children of native fathers than like the foreign-born
children, they distinctly modified the tendencies shown by the
children of native parentage. For instance, 23.5 per cent of all the
positions held by native children whose fathers were also native,
29.6 per cent of those held by native children whose fathers were
foreign bom , and 39.9 per cent of those held by foreign-bom children
were for factory and mechanical occupations.
4 9 4 7 0 °— 22------ 16


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234

T H E W O R K IN G C H IL D R E N OF BOSTO N .

T a b l e 117.— Occupation first entered, by country o f birth and sex; first positions held byk
children issued certificates m fo u r cities.

Per cent distribution:1 First positions held b y children issued
certificates.

Country of birth.

Occupation first entered and sex.

Foreign countries.
Total.
United
States.
Total.

Both sexes......................................
Personal and domestic occupations..
Personal service (other than
servants in the h om e)................
House and home work...................
Factory and mechanical occupations.
Factory operative..............................
Shoe factory..............
Clothing factory and other
needle trades............................
Textile m ill..................................
Candy factory...... .......................
Other factory................. .............
Apprentice and helper, skilled
trad e s..................................... .........
Clerical occupations, wrapping, sell­
ing, and delivery of goods...................
Office work...........................................
Cash and messenger work, de­
partment store................................
Packing,
wrapping, labeling,
and shipping room work.............
Selling....................................................
Messenger work, errand and de­
livery................................ .................
A ll other occupations...............................
Not reported.............. ..................... ...........

100.0

100.0

2.8

2.5

1.9
.9
27.8
25.7
7.4

1.5
.9
26.0
24.0
7.5

5.0
2.4
.5
10.4

3.7
2.0
.5
10.3

100.0

Russia.

Italy.

Eng­ British
North
land
Amer­
and
ica.
Wales.

100.0

100.0

100.0

100.0

66.7
7.3

64.2
4 .8

9.0

27.9
22.5
7.2
3.6
3.6

1.8

2.1

2.0

68.9
7.1

71.1
7.6

65.0

6.6

43.3
1.5

13.2

14.4

6.9

2.5

18.0

6.1
4.4

5.8
3.7

38.1
.4
.1

39.6
.4
.1

31.2

23.5
1.5

37. i

Boys........................ ......................... .

100.0

100.0

100.0

100.0

100.0

Personal and domestic occupations...
Personal service (other than
servants in the hom e)..................
House and home work....................
Factory and mechanical occupations.
Factory operative.............................
Shoe factory.................................
Clothing factory and other
needle trades.......................... .
Textile m ill..................................
Candy factory............................
Other factory..............................
Apprentice and helper, skilled
trades................................................ .
Clerical occupations, wrapping, sell­
ing, sind delivery of goods.................
Office work................. ......................
Cash and messenger work, de­
partment store..............................
Packing, wrapping, labeling,
and shipping room work...........
Selling.................................................
Messenger work, errand and de
livery........................................ —
A ll other occupations.............................
N ot reported.,........................................ ...

2.0

1.4

1.9
.1
16.1
12.9
3.8

1.3
.1
15.1
12.3
3.7

.3
1.4
.3
7.0

.2
1.3
.3
6.7

3.2

2.8

81.3
8.4

82.9
9.0

72.9
5.6

7.9

8.5

4.8

1.8
3.9

1.7
3.5

59.3
.6
.1

60.3
.5
.1

100.0

13.5

100.0

16.1

19.4
12.4
2.9

12.6
2.3

7.7
3.4
82.4

78.2
6.9

14.9

6.9

6.8

4.1

59.4

37.9
2.3

55.4

1 For the figures on which these percentages are based, see Appendix Table I I , p . 360.
is not shown where base is less than 50 or where rate is less than one-tenth of 1 per cent.


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Other.

The per cent

OCCUPATION'S.

>T

v ia b l e

'Z ô b

1 1 7 — Occupation first entered, by country o f birth and sex; first position s held
by children issued certificates in fo u r cities— Concluded.

Percent distribution: First positions held b y children issued
certificates.

Country of birth.
Occupation first entered and sex.

Foreign countries.
Total.
United
States.

Girls............................
Personal and domestic occupations..
Personal service (other than
servants in the h om e)_______
House and home work....................
Factory and mechanical occupations.
Factory operative..............................
Shoe factory............................... .
Clothing factory and other
needle trades............................
Textile m ill.........................j ____
Candy factory..............................
Other factory...............................
Apprentice and helper, skilled
trades..................................................
/Clerical occupations, wrapping, sell­
ing, and delivery of goods...................
Office work...........................................
Cash and messenger work, de­
partment store.................................
Packing,
wrapping, labeling,
and shipping room w ork.............
Selling................................ ...................
Messenger work, errand and de­
livery..................................................
A ll other occupations...............................
Not reported................................................

Total.

Russia.

Italy.

Eng­ British
land
North
and
Amer­ Other.
W ales.
ica.

100.0

100.0

100.0

100.0

100.0

4.0

4.2

3.5

2.2

5.4

1.3

1.9

2.0
2.2
43.4
42.8
13.5

1.6
1.8
53.2
53.0
10.3

.6
1.7
46.9
46.4
10.1

4.7
.7
63.8
63.8
8.7

1.3
50.0
50.0
6.4

9.2
3.1
0.9
16.1

21.8
6.2
1.2
13.6

17.3
7.8

36.2
3.4
2.0
13.4

17.9
6 .4
2.6
16.7

.6

.2

.6

50.3
5.1

52.2
5.5

43.1
3.9

50.8
5.6

30.2
2.0

48.7
2.6

21.1

23.8

11.3

9.5

4.7

14.1

12.6

12.3
4.1

13.8
8.8

19.0
12.3

8.1
8.7

16.7
7.7

6.5
.1
.1

5.3
.2

6.7
.7

7.7

2.2
45. 5
45.0

12.8

.5

5.1

11.2

100.0

100.0

100.0

The occupational distribution of the children whose fathers were
foreign born but of English-speaking nationalities, however, includ­
ing children who were themselves foreign born, as appears in Table
119, was very similar to that of the children of native fathers. An
even smaller proportion of the positions held by the boys whose
fathers were foreign born of English-speaking nationalities than of
those held by the sons of native fathers, 11.5 per cent as compared
with 13.6 per cent, were for factory and mechanical occupations.
But this was accompanied by a larger proportion of the positions held
by girls, 46.7 per cent as compared with only 38 per cent of those
held by the daughters of native fathers. The Irish boys and girls
showed less tendency than the sons and daughters of other for­
eign-born fathers of English-speaking nationalities to become facTy operatives.
On the other hand, of the positions held by the children of fathers
of non-English-speaking nationalities 38.5 per cent and of those
held by the children of Italian fathers 46.6 per cent, were for factory


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TH E W ORKING CHILDREN OF BOSTON.

236

children showed
and mechanical occupations. The Russian-Jewish
Russian-Jewisii cmictren
snowea^
even less tendency than the children of native fathers to b e c o m ^ l
factory or mechanical workers, for of the positions held by the former
only 21.4 per cent, as compared with 23.5 per cent of those held by
the latter, belonged to this group. Although the same general
tendencies are shown by the boys alone as by both sexes, they are
most pronounced among the girls. Of the positions held by girls
whose fathers were foreign born of non-English-speaking national­
ities 56.8 per cent and of those held by Italian girls 62.7 per cent
were for work as factory operatives, as compared with 38 per cent
of those held by girls whose fathers were native and with only 37.3
per cent of those held by girls whose fathers were Russian Jews.
T able

118.— Occupation, by nativity o f father, and nativity and sex o f child; regular posi­
tions held by children interviewed.

Regular positions held b y children.

Fathers foreign born.
Both
fathers and
children
native.

Total.
Occupation and sex.

Children
native.

N ativity of
fathers not
reported;
children
Children
native.
foreign bom .

Per
Per
Per
Per
Per
cent N um ­ cent
cent
cent N um ­ cent
N um ­
N um ­
dis­
dis­
dis­
dis­
dis­
ber. tribu­ ber. tribu­ ber. tribu­ ber. tribu­ ber. tribu­
tion.
tion. 1
tion.
tion.
tion.

B oth sexes.................................. .

n,943 100.0

89
Personal and domestic occupations
Personal service (other than servants
46
in the h o m e!........................................
43
House and home work........... ............
588
Factory and mechanical occupations—
563
Factory operative.................. ...............
199
Shoe factory.....................................
Clothing factory and other needl
185
trades..............................................
53
Textile m ill.......................................
19
Candy factory..................................
107
Other factory............... ; . . . . .........
Apprentice and helper— s k i l l e d
25
trades..................................................... .
Clerical occupations, wrapping, selling,
1,248
and delivery of goods....................
101
Office work............. ....................
Cash and messenger work—depart­
213
m ent store.......................... - .................
Packing, wrapping, labeling, and
.
104
shipping-room work..............
76
S e llin g ......................... .
.
754
Messenger work, errand and de
.
17
All other occupations.......................

23

5.0

2.4
2.2
30.3
29.0
10.2

5
18
108
103
44

1.1
3.9
23.5
22.4
9.6

9.5
2.7
1.0
5.5

27
14
3
15

5.9
3.1
.7
3.3


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Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

4.5

3.3

2.5

2.0

3.3
25.0
18.3
8.3

29.6
28.4

11.1

3.3

6.7

1.3

5

1.1

64.2
5.2

324
38

70.6
8.3

652
45

11.0

76

16.6

107

5.4
3.9
38.8
.9

14
10
186
4

3.1
2.2
40.5
.9

1
N ot shown where base is less than 50.
* Trending one position for which occupation was not reported.

100.0

426

459 100.0

4.6

65.3
4.5

229
13

53.8
3.1

24

5.6

71.7
8.3

237

OCCUPATIONS.
able

f

118.— Occupation, by n a tivity o f father, and nativity and sex o f child; regular
p osition s held by children interviewed— Concluded.

Regular positions held b y children.

Total.
Occupation and sex.

N um ­
ber.

Girls r.......................................................
Personal and domestic occupations..........
Personal service (other than servants
in hom e).................................................
House and home w ork...........................
Factory and mechanical occupations___
Factory operative................................
Shoe factory............... *......................
Clothing factory and other needle
trades................................................
Textile m ill........................................
Candy factory.. . ..............................
Other factory.....................................
Clerical occupations, wrapping, selling,
and delivery of goods................................ .
Office work............................................... .
Cash and messenger work—depart­
m ent store............................................ .
Packing, wrapping, labeling, and
shipping-room work..........................
Selling...................................................... . ,
Messenger work, errand and delivery.
2 Including

272 100.0

38

3.5

4

Children
native.

N ativity of
fathers not
reported;
Children
children
foreign born.
native.

35
3
165
140
69

3.2
.3
15.1
12.8
6.3

8
22
41

.7
2.0
3.8

5
8

2 579 100.0

200 100.0

1.5

23

4.0

11

4

1.5

3.5
.5
14.9
12.8
6.2

5.5

13.6
11.8
7.0

20
3
86
74
36

11

37
32
19

34
30
10

17.0
15.0
5.0

1.8
2.9

4
15
19

.7
' 2.6
3.3

4
2
14

2.0
1.0
7.0

42

8
4
4

25

2.3

5

1.8

12

2.1

4

2.0

4

79.8
6.7

227
31

83.5
11.4

464
27

80.1
4.7

147
10

73.5
5.0

34
5

55

5.0

20

7.4

29

5.0

5

2.5

1

34
43
667
17

3.1
3.9
61.0
1.6

2
5
169
4

.7
1.8
62.1
1. 5

22
22
364
5

3.8
3 .8
62.9
.9

10
16
106
8

5.0
8.0
53.0
4.0

850 100.0

187 100.0

419 100.0

100.0

5.5

872
73

226 100.0

28
18

51

6.0

19

10.2

22

5.3

8

3.5

2

11
40
423
423
130

1.3
4.7
49.8
49.8
15.3

1
18
71
71
25

.5
9.6
38.0
38.0
13.4

5
17
209
209
75

1.2
4.1
49.9
49.9
17.9

5
3
136
136
29

2.2
1.3
60.2
60.2
12.8

2
7
7
1

177
31
19
66

20.8
3.6
2.2
7 .8

27
9
3
7

14.4
4.8
1.6
3.7

76
14
8
36

18.1
3.3
1.9
8.6

72
8
6
21

31.9
3.5
2.7
9.3

2

376
28

44.2
3.3

97
7

51.9
3.7

188
18

44.9
4.3

82
3

36.3
1.3

9

158

18.6

56

29.9

78

18.6

19

8.4

5

70
33
87

8.2
3.9
10.2

12
5
17

6.4
2.7
9.1

30
11
51

7.2
2.6
12.2

26
17
17

11.5
7.5
7.5

2

one position for which occupation was not reported.


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Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

Fathers foreign born.

Per
Per
Per
Per
Per
cent
cent
cent
cent
cent
N um ­
N um ­
Num ­
N um ­
disdisdisdis­
disber.
ber.
ber.
ber.
tributributributribùtribution.
tion.
tion.
tion.
tion.

B oys.......................................................... «1,093 100.0
Personal and domestic occupations..........
Personal service (other than servants
in the h om e)..........................................
House and home w ork...........................
Factory and mechanical occupations—
Factory operative...................................
Shoe factory........... ...........................
Clothing factory and other needle
trades................................................
Textile m ill........................................
Other factory............................... ..
Apprentice and helper— s k i l l e d
tra d e s.....................................................
Clerical occupations, wrapping, selling,
and delivery of goods..................................
Office work.................................................
Cash and messenger work— depart­
m ent store..............................................
Packing, wrapping, labeling, and
shipping-room work............................
Selling..........................................................
Messenger work, errand and delivery.
A ll other occupations.....................................

Both
fathers and
children
native.

2
2

2

100.0

T able
.

119.— Occupation, by nationality o f father, and sex o f child; regular positions held by interviewed children o f foreign-born fathers.

__________ ______ _

.

,

.

........................

bO'

......... -.................

00

Regular positions held b y children of foreign-born fathers—

O f English-speaking nationalities.

O f non-English-speaking nationalities.

Total.
Total.

Occupation and sex.

Per
N um cent
distriber.
button.

Per
cent
N um distriber.
button.

Other.

Per
N um cent
distriber.
button.

Per
N um cent
ber.
distribution.

B oth sexes....................................................

i l,4 2 4

100.0

574

100.0

382

100.0

192

100.0

845

Personal and domestic occupations................
Personal service (other than servants in
the home)......................................................
House and home w ork.................................
Factory and mechanical occupations............
Factory operative.........................................
Shoe factory.............................................
Clothing factory and other needle
trades......................................................
Textile m ill............................................ .
Candy factory...................... ..................

64

4.5

24

4.2

17

4 .5

7

3.6

40

41
23
465
449
150

2.9
1.6
32.7
31.5
10.5

9
15
140
135
65

1.6
2.6
24.4
23.5
11.3

7
10
83
82
38

1.8
2.6
21.7
21.5
9 .9

2
5
57
53
27

1.0
2.6
29.7
27.6
14.1

156
39
14
90
16

11.0
2.7
1.0
6 .3
1.1

25
20

4.4
3.5

19
13

5 .0
3.4

6
7

3.1
3.6

25
5

4.4
,9

12
1

3.1
.3

13
4

1 881
58

61.9
4.1

402
.26

70.0
4.5

278
16

72.8
4 .2

131

9 .2
\
6 .2

Apprentice and helper— skilled trades..
Clerical occupations, wrapping, selling, and
delivery o f goods...........................................
Office w ork.......................................................
Cash and messenger work— department
store.................................................................
Packing, wrapping, labeling, and ship­
ping room work..................................
Selling.................................................................
Messenger work, errand and d elivery.. .
A ll other occupations...........................................
N ot reported................................................ ...........
B oys...........................................i ...................


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Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

88
66
1538
13
1
1779

Italian.

Total.

Per
N um cent
distriber.
bution.

Russian Jewish.

Per
N um cent
distriber.
bution.

Other.

Per
N um cent
distriber.
bution.

Per
cent
distribution.

485

100.0

192

100.0

168

100.0

4.7

28

5.8

7

3.6

5

3.0

32
8
325
314
85

3.8
.9
38.5
37.2
10.1

26
2
226
221
55

5.4
.4
46.6
45.6
11.3

4
3
41
37
10

2.1
1.6
21.4
19.3
5.2

2
3
58
56
20

1.2
1.8
34.5
33.3
11.9

15.5
2.2
1.7
7.7
1.3

100
11
12
43
5

20.6
2.3
2.5
8.9
1.0

16
1

8.3
.5

6.8
2.1

131
19
14
65
11

10
4

5.2
2.1

15
7
2
12
2

8.9
4.2
1.2
7.1
1-2

124
10

64.6
5.2

474
32

56.1
3 .8

226
11

46.6
2.3

143
11

74.5
5.7

105
10

62.5
6 .0

100.0
.

80

13.9

59

15.4

21

10.9

51

6.0

18

3.7

13

6 .8

20

11.9

4 .2
1.2
46.2
1.2
.2

21
7
175
3
1

5.5
1.8
45.8
.8
.3

3

1.6

90
4

46.9
2.1

64
59
268
6

7.6
7.0
31.7
.7

33
31
133
5

6 .8
6.4
27.4
1.0

26
20
73
1

13.5
10.4
38.0
.5

5
8
62

3 .0
4 .8
36.9

.1

24
7
265
7
1

m o

364

100.0

239

100.0

125

100.0

410

100.0

201

100.0

117

92

100.0

4 .6

37.8
.9

m o

\

TH E WORKING CHILDREN OF BOSTON.

N um ber.

Irish.

I
Personal and domestic occupations................
Personal service (other than servants in
the home).......................................................
House and home w ork.................................
Factory and mechanical occupations............
Factory operative...........................................
Shoe factory..............................................
Clothing factory and other needle
tra d e s.....................................................
Textile m ill...............................................

3.2

25

6.1

18

9 .0

4

3.4

3

3 .3

1.6
1.6
17.6
14.4
7.2

24
1
78
67
25

5.9
.2
19.0
16.3
6.1

18

9.0

4

3.4

8.4
7.9
5 .0

2
2
22
18
9

48
43
15

23.9
21.4
7 .5

13
9
3

11.1
7.7
2.6

2
1
17
15
7

2 .2
1.1
18.5
16.3
7 .6

4.0
3 .2
3 .2

2 .0
1.7
6 .6
2 .7

7
2
. 19
5

3 .5
1.0
9 .5
2 .5

.9

5

4
4

8
7
27
11

1

2.1
.8
.4

5
4

4 .3
3 .4

5
3
2

5 .4
3.3
2.2

87.9
5.4

95
7

76.0
5.6

301
17

73.4
4.1

130
6

64.7
3 .0

99
5

84.6
4 .3

72
6

78.3
6 .5

4

4

3.4

4

4.3

7
12
71
1

6.0
10.3
60.7
.9

2
5
55

2.2
5.4
59.8

4.4

9

2.5

5

2.1

31
3
120
104
46

4.0
.4
15.4
13.4
5.9

7
2

5

2.1

42
37
21

1.9
.5
11.5
10.2
5.8

20
19
12

$
17
33
16

1.0
212
4.2
2.1

io
6
5

2 .7

5

1 .6
1 .4

2
1

1611
37

78.4
4.7

305
20

83.8
5.5

210

34

4 4

26

7.1

22

32
38
1470

4 .1
4 .9

12
5

10

60.3
1.7

242

3 .3
1 .4
6 6 .5

160

1

J5

1

JL

13

*

3.2

8

2.0

2

1.6

82

65.6
3.2

20
33
223
6

4 .9
8.0
54.4
1.5

11
16
97
5

5.5
8.0
48.3
2 .5

1

4.2
2.1
66.9
1 3
14

435

100.0

284

100.0

75

100.0

76

100.0

15

3.4

10

3 .5

3

4.0

2

2.6

8
7
247
247
60

1.8
1.6
56.8
56.8
13.8

8
2
178
178
40

2 .8
.7
62.7
62.7
14.1

3
28
28
7

4 .0
37.3
37.3
9 .3

2
41
41
13

2 .6
53.9
53.9
17.1

28.3
2 .8
3 .2
8 .7

93
9
12
24

32.7
3.2
4.2
8 .5

15
1

20.0
1.3

5

6 .7

15
2
2
9

19.7
2 .6
2 .6
11.8

39.8
3.4

96
5

33.8
1.8

44
6

58.7
8 .0

33
4

43.4
5.3

9 .2 ’

4

___ ___ ___

210

m o

143

1 0 0 .0

67

15

7 .1

12

8 .4

3

4 .5

1 fi
3.1
53.5
53.5
16.1

2
13
98
98
44

1 0
6.2
46.7
46.7
21.0

63
63
26

18.2

3
35
35
18

52.2
52.2
26.9

148
22
14
57

22.9
3.4
2.2
8.8

25
10

11.9
4 .8

19
8

13.3
5.6

6
2

9.0
3.0

19

9.0

10

7.0

9

13.4

123
12
14
* 38

270
21

41.9
3.3

97
6

46.2
2.9

68
3

47.6
2.1

29
3

43.3
4 .5

173
15

97

15.0

54

25.7

37

25.9

17

25.4

43

9 .9

18

6.3

9

12.0

16

2L 1

56
28
68

8.7
4.3

12
2
23

5 .7
1.0
11.0

11
2
15

7 .7
1.4
10.5

1

1.5

8

11.9

44
26
45

10.1
6 .0
10.3

22
15
36

7 .7
5.3
12.7

19
8
2

25.3
10.7
2 .7

3
3
7

3 .9
3 .9
9 .2

Girls...............................................................

645

m o

Personal and domestic occupations................
Personal service (other than servants in
the home).........|........... ............................. .
House and home w ork.................................
Factory and mechanical occupations............
Factory operative..........................................
Shoe factory.............................................
Clothing factory and other needle
trades.................. ............. ......... ..........
Textile m ill..............................................
Candy factory........................................ .
Other factory......................................... .
Clerical occupations, wrapping, selling, and
delivery of goods.......................................
Office w ork................................................... ..
Cash and messenger work— department
store........................... ...................................
Packing, wrapping, labeling, and ship­
ping room work.........................................
Selling..............................................................
Messenger work, errand and delivery..

30

4 .7

20
345
345
104

1 0 .5

.

2

1.4

10

7 .0
4 4 .1
4 4 .1

m o

4 .5


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Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

239

; Including five positions held b y a boy the nationality of whose father was not reported.

O C C U P A T IO N S.

Apprentice and helper— skilled trad es..
Clericaloccupations, wrapping, selling, and
delivery of goods.........................................
Office w ork.......................................................
Cash and messenger work— department
store.................................................................
Packing, wrapping, labeling, and ship­
ping room work...........................................
Selling................................................................
Messenger work, errand and delivery...
A ll other occupations..........................................
N ot reported...........................................................

4

34

240

T H E W O R K IN G C H IL D R E N OF BOSTON .

The native children of foreign-born fathers, however, tended to>
hold positions as shoe-factory operatives more often than did either
of the other groups. Of the positions held by these children 11.1
per cent were for work in shoe factories, whereas of those held by
native children of native fathers only 9.6 per cent and of those held
by foreign-born children only 9.2 per cent were for this occupation.
This comparatively high proportion was due to a decided tendency
on the part of the girls of this nativity group to work as operatives in
shoe factories. This tendency was most marked among the daughters
of foreign-born fathers of English-speaking nationalities. Over onefifth, 21 per cent, of the positions held by the girls of this group,
including both native and foreign-bom girls, were in this occupation.
On the other hand, work as operatives in clothing factories and other
needle trades furnished a very much larger proportion of the positions
held by foreign-born children, 17.8 per cent, as compared with 8
per cent of those held by native children of foreign-born fathers and
5.9 per cent of those held by native children of native fathers. Nearly
all the children employed in this occupation were girls. When the
nationalities of the fathers of these girls are compared it is found that
the great majority were foreign bom of non-English-speaking national­
ities. Only 11.9 per cent of the positions held by girls whose fathers
were foreign born of English-speaking nationalities, and 14.4 per cent
of those held by girls whose fathers were native, were for this work;
but it furnished 28.3 per cent of the positions held by girls whose
fathers were foreign born of non-English-speaking nationalities, only
20 per cent of those held by Russian-Jewish, but 32.7 per cent of those
held b y Italian girls. Although these children were by law required
to know at least some English in order to be employed, it is evident
that to a considerable extent they tended to secure positions in the
occupations so frequently followed by their non-English-speaking par­
ents, relatives, and friends.
In general the proportion of positions held by the native children
of foreign-born fathers in the different occupations grouped as
“ clerical occupations, wrapping, selling, and delivery of goods,”
was higher than that held by foreign-born children and lower than
that held by native children whose fathers also were native. Never­
theless, the proportion held by all children of foreign-born fathers of
Enghsh-speaking nationalities, including those who were themselves
foreign born, was slightly lower, 70 per cent, than that held by children
of native fathers, 70.6 per cent. The different tendency of children
of foreign-born fathers, therefore, is to be attributed entirely to the
children whose fathers were of non-English-speaking nationalities.
Of the positions held by this last group only 56.1 per cent could be
classified as “ clerical occupations, wrapping) selling, and delivery of


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Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

O CC U PA T IO N S.

241

jgoods.” Although an even larger proportion, nearly three-fourths,
'or 74.5 per cent, of the positions held by Russian-Jewish children
were so classified, less than one-half, 46.6 per cent, of those held by
Italian children were in these occupations. The children of Italian
parentage, it is evident, were largely responsible for the apparently
greater tendency of the whole group of children of foreign-bom
fathers than of children of native fathers to go into factory and
mechanical rather than clerical and similar occupations.
In two of the subgroups included under the general designation
“ clerical occupations, wrapping, selling, and delivery of goods,”
however, the tendency shown for the entire group was exactly
reversed. These two subgroups were “ selling” and “ packing,
wrapping, labeling, and shipping room work.” Of the positions held
by native children of native fathers only 2.2 per cent, of those held
by native children of foreign-born fathers 3.3 per cent, but of those
held by foreign-born children 7.7 per cent involved selling. Of the
positions held by native children of native fathers only 3.1 per cent,
of those held by native children of foreign-bom fathers 5.2 per cent,
but of those held by foreign-bom children 8.5 per cent were for packing,
wrapping, labeling, and shipping room work. As in other cases, the
pposite tendency here shown by the children of foreign birth or extrac­
tion to that shown by those whose fathers were native is due entirely to
the children whose fathers were of non-English-speaking nationalities.
But in both these cases this opposite tendency is even more marked
among the Russian-Jewish than among the Italian children. Of the
positions held by Russian-Jewish children about one-tenth, 10.4
per cent, and of those held by Italian children about one-sixteenth,
6.4 per cent, involved selling. For the Russian-Jewish boys and girls
the proportions were about the same. But a somewhat larger propor­
tion of the positions held by Italian boys, 8 per cent, than of those
held by Italian girls, 5.3 per cent, were for this occupation. Packing,
wrapping, labeling, and shipping room work, on the other hand,
accounted for more than one-eighth, 13.5 per cent, of the positions
held by Russian-Jewish children and for only about one-sixteenth,
6.8 per cent, of those held by Italian children; and the difference
between the two groups is due almost entirely to the fact that an
unusually large proportion, 25.3 per cent, of the positions held by
Russian-Jewish girls were for work of this kind.
Messenger, errand, and delivery work provided a somewhat larger
portion of positions for native children of foreign-born fathers,
1.6 per cent, than for native children of native fathers, 40.5 per cent,
nd a very much larger proportion than for foreign-born children, for
whom it furnished only 28.9 per cent of all places held. Although the


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Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

242

T H E W O R K IN G C H IL D R E N OF BOSTON .

order of the different nativity groups was the same for boys as fefiL
both sexes combined, this difference was due. mainly to the greatei\J
tendency of native girls whose fathers were foreign born than of girls
of either of the other two nativity groups to take up some form of
' ‘ messenger, errand, and delivery work.” About one-eighth, 12.2
per cent, of the positions held by this group of girls were classified
under this general description, as compared with 9.1 per cent of
those held by native girls whose fathers were also native and with
7.5 per cent of those held by foreign-bom girls.
The children of foreign-born fathers of English-speaking nationali­
ties showed a decidedly greater tendency than the children of native
fathers and a still greater tendency than the children of foreign-born
fathers of non-English-speaking nationalities to go into messenger,
errand, and delivery work. Of the positions held by children of this
group 46.2 per cent, as compared with only 40.5 per cent of those
held by children of native fathers and only 31.7 per cent of those held
by children of foreign-born fathers of non-English-speaking nation­
alities were for occupations of this character. These occupations
provided positions, indeed, for about two-thirds, 66.5 per cent, of the
boys whose fathers were foreign born of English-speaking nationali­
ties, as compared with only 54.4 per cent of those whose father
were of non-English-speaking nationalities. The girls of both types
of foreign parentage, English speaking and non-English-speaking,
especially the Italian girls, tended to go into messenger, errand, and
delivery work more frequently than did the girls whose fathers
were native.
.*
,
In most occupations, as already noted, the distribution of enudren
of foreign-born fathers of English-speaking nationalities differed
comparatively little from that of children of native fathers. This is
not true, however, of office work. Only 5.5 per cent of the positions
held by the sons of foreign-born fathers of English-speaking nation­
alities, as compared with 11.4 per cent of those held b y the sons of
native fathers, were for office work. It should be noted, also, that
native girls whose fathers were foreign-born showed nearly as great
a tendency to go into office work as did their brothers, whereas of
the positions held by the native daughters of native fathers only
3.7 per cent, as compared with 11.4 per cent of those held by their
brothers, were for office work.
In the tendency to enter personal and domestic occupations the
relative position of the girls of the different nativity groups
exactly the reverse of that of the boys. Most of the girls in th
occupations were employed in “ house and home work,” whi
furnished 9.6 per cent of the positions held by native girls whose


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Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

O CC U PA T IO N S.

243

fath ers were native as compared with 4.1 per cent of those held by
native girls whose fathers were foreign-bom and with 1.3 per cent
of those held by foreign-born girls. Nearly all the boys, on the
other hand, were employed in “ personal service other than servants
in the hom e” which furnished only 1.5 per cent of the positions
held by native boys whose fathers were native as compared with
3.5 per cent of those held by native boys whose fathers were foreignborn and with 5.5 per cent of those held by foreign-born boys. A
larger proportion of the positions held by native girls whose fathers
were native, 10.2 per cent as compared with 7.1 per cent of those held
by all girls, native and foreign-bom, whose fathers were foreignbom of English-speaking nationalities and with only 3.4 per cent of
those held by all girls whose fathers were foreign-born of non-Enghsh-speaking nationalities were in personal and domestic occupations.
But among the boys this order was again reversed, for only 1.5 per
cent of the positions held by the sons of native fathers, as compared
with 2.5 per cent of those held by the sons of foreign-bom fathers of
English-speaking nationalities and with 6.1 per cent of those held
by the sons of foreign-born fathers of non-English-speaking nation­
alities belonged in this group of occupations.
AGE AT TAKING OUT FIRST CERTIFICATE.

The younger children showed a greater tendency than did the
older to enter clerical and similar occupations, and the older ones
showed a greater tendency than the younger to enter factory and
mechanical occupations. Table 120 shows that about three-fourths
75.9 per cent, of the children who took out certificates in the four
cities when between 14 and 14| years of age, but little over threefifths, 62.4 per cent, of those who took out certificates when between
15^ and 16 years of age, went to work in clerical occupations, wrappmg, selling, and delivery of goods. On the other hand about onethird, 33.9 per cent, of the older group of children, as compared with
little more than one-fifth, 21.2 per cent, of the younger, went to
work m factory and mechanical occupations. Both the boys and
the girls showed, in general, the same tendency. The larger pro­
portion of the older group of children entering factory and mechanical
occupations is probably due in part, however, to the fact already
noted, °.that the foreign-born children, who were most likely to
enter these occupations, tended to take out their first certificates at
later ages than the native children.
90 See Table 18, p. 85.


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T H E W O R K IN G C H IL D R E N OE BOSTON .

244
T able

120.— Occupation first entered, by age at talcing out first certificate and sex; children
issued certificates in fo u r cities.

Children taking out first certificates at specified age.
children.

Occupation first entered and sex.

4,under 14J. L4£,under 15. 5,under 15£. 5i,under 16.

Per
Per
Per
Per
Per
cent
cent
cent
cent
cent
N um ­ iistri- dum ­ listri- dum ­ Hstri- dum­ fistri- Num­ iistriber.
ber.
ber.
ber.
ber.
bububububution.
tion.
tion.
tion.
tion. ■

159
Personal and domestic occupations........
Personal service (other than serv­
107
ants in the hom e)...............................
52
House and home w ork........................
Factory and mechanical occupations— 1,585
1,463
Factory operative.......................... .—
Apprentice
and
helper— skilled
122

Clerical occupations, wrapping, selling,
and delivery of goods. . ..................... 3,922
404
Office work................................................
Cash and messenger work— depart751
Packing, wrapping, labeling, and
347
shipping room work..............
252
Selling............................... .
Messenger work, errand and de­
2,168
livery..............................................
23
All other occupations...........................
B oys................................................

Girls.....................................................

55

3.2

10

1 .2
.8

340
311

28.5
26.1

39
16
579
541

2.3
.9
33. S
31.7

2.4

38

2 .2

822
99

69.0 1,066
116
8.3

62.4

142

149

12.5

196

11.5

2.5

38

3.5

24

1.9
.9
27.8
25.7

32

1.9

22

2 .0

14

10

361
336

.6
2 1 .2

19.7

16
305
275

1.5
28.0
25.3

2 .1

25

Ì. 5

30

2 .8

29

68.9 1,293
109
7.1

75.9
6.4

741
80

6 8 .0

7.3

13.2

251

14.7

155

6 .8

6 .1

113

6 .6

66

6 .1

88

5.2

50

46

76
57

6.4
4.8

'92

4.4

57

5.4
3.3

38.1
.4

732
7

43.0
.4

390
5

35.8
.5

441
4

37.0
.3

605
7

35.4 j
.4 J

740 1 0 0 .0

1 ,0 1 1

620 1 0 0 .0

100 . o ]

2.5

2 .0

22

2 .1

12

1.9

8

1 .1

25

1.9

22

2 .1

12

1.9

6
2

.8

24

2.4

17.4
13.2

123
95

.3
16.6

1
202

.1
2 0 .0

16.6

.1

16.1
12.9

118
95

11.3
9.1

108
82

1 2 .8

168

3.2

23

2 .2

26

4.2

28

3.8

34

3 .4

81.3
8.4

902
85

8 6 .1
8 .1

495
54

79.8
8.7

604
75

81.6
1 0 .1

778
73

77.0
.7 .2

6 .6

71

9.6

87

8 .6

2 .1

13
26

1 .8

3.5

17
34

1.7
3.4

419
4

56.6
.5

567
5

56.1
.5

451 1 0 0 .0

7.9

72

6.9

41

1 .8

3.9

17
46

1 .6

4.4

13
29

59.3

682

65.1

.6

6

.6

. 12,273 1 0 0 .0

92
Personal and domestic occupations........ .
Personal service (other than serv
43
ants in the hom e).............................. .
49
House and home work........................
. 1,034
. 1,023
Factory operative.
helperApprentice
and
.
11
trades.
Clerical occupations, w rapp ing,!
' . 1,143
and delivery of goods.......... .
.. 117
Office w ork.................................
Cash and messenger work— depart­
. 480
m ent store........................... ...
Packing, wrapping, labelini
..
287
shipping room work........
..
117
Selling..........................................
Messenger work, errand, ai
”
142
livery........................................
3
A ll other occupations......................

1 0 0 .0

2 .0

1,089

~ 42

13,419 1 0 0 .0 1,048 1 0 0 .0

67
Personal and domestic occupations.
Personal service (other than serv­
64
ants in the h om e)...................
3
House and home w ork............
. 551
Factory and mechanical oecupatk
. 440
Factory operative.......................
Apprentice
and
helper— skilled
Ill
trades.................................................... - .
Clerical occupations, wrapping, selling,
and delivery of goods........................ . 2,779
Office work............................................... . 287
Cash and messenger work— depart­
m ent store............................................ . 271
Packing, wrapping, labeling, and
60
shipping room work..........................
135
Selling.................................................. . . . .
Messenger work, errand, and de­
livery...................................................... . 2,026
20
A ll other occupations...................................

L0Q. 0 L, 191 L00.0 1,709

1,703 1 0 0 .0

2; 8

Both sexes............................................. 15,692 1 ,0 0 0

4.0
1.9
2 .2

45.5
45.0

358
5

4.7
57.7
.8

655 1 0 0 .0

469 1 0 0 .0

698

1 0 0 .0

20

3.1

26

5,5

16

3.5

30

4.3

10
10

1.5
1.5
37.1
36.8

10

2 .1

16
197
193

3.4
42.0
41.1

8
8

1 .8
1 .8

217
216

4a 1
47.9

15
15
377
373

54.0
53.4

243
241

4

2 .1
2 .1

.6

.5

2

.3

4

.9

1

50.3
5.1

391
24

59.7
‘ 3.7

246
26

52.4
5.5

218
24

48.3
5.3

288
43

41.3

109

15.6

.2

2 1 .1

179

27.3

114

243

78

17.3

1 2 .6

96
42

14.7
6.4

53
21

11.3
4.5

63
31

14.0
6.9

75
23

50

7.6

32

6 .8

22

49

38

1

.2

5.1
6 .2
.1

2

6 .2

10 ^

s j
5. 5
.3

1

1 Including three children, two boys and one girl, whose occupations were not reported.
2 Including three children who went to work before they were 14 years of age, according to contmuation-school records, hut who did not secur e em ployment certificates until they were 14.


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O CC U PA T IO N S.

__

245

GRADE COMPLETED AND RETARDATION.

According to Table 121, tbe lower the grade completed in school,
the more likely was the child to begin his industrial career in a factory
or mechanical occupation. Of all the first positions held by children
who took out their certificates in one of the four cities and had com­
pleted only the fourth grade, over two-fifths, 42.5 per cent, were for
occupations of this kind. But of those held by children who had
completed the fifth grade only 30.7 per cent, the sixth 26.9 per cent,
the seventh 28 per cent, the eighth 25.9 per cent, and a year or more
in high school 23 per cent, were classified as factory and mechanical
occupations. The figures for “ clerical occupations, wrapping, sell­
ing, and delivery of goods” showed a corresponding increase from
less than one-half, 49.4 per cent, for the children who had completed
only the fourth grade to about three-fourths, 75.2 per cent, for those
who had completed a year or more of high school work.
Although the older children tended more frequently than the
younger to take positions in factories, it nevertheless appears that
children from lower grades also tended more frequently than those
from higher grades to take these positions. This is explained by
the fact that a larger proportion of the foreign-born children who
more frequently secured factory positions than did the native came
from the lower grades. Their low standing in school, moreover, fre­
quently meant that they were prevented by the educational require­
ments of the law from going to work as soon after their fourteenth
birthdays as did the native children. This conclusion that the for­
eign element accounts for at least the greater part of the differences
in occupational distribution of the children from the various grades
seems to be supported by the fact that, within the group of clerical
and similar occupations, “ selling,” and “ packing, wrapping, labeling,
and shipping-room work,” which were the only ones of this group
to show larger proportions of the foreign-born than of native chil­
dren, were also the only ones to show a reverse tendency from that
of the group as a whole in the occupational distribution of the chil­
dren by grades.
Whatever the reason, the standing of the children in school appears
to have had a decided influence over the occupations they entered.
Table 122 shows for the continuation school group that a much
larger proportion of the positions held by retarded children, 37.4
per cent, than of those held by children from normal grades, 29.9
per cent, and by the latter than by children from grades higher than
normal, 24.1 per cent, were for work in factory and mechanical occu­
pations. As a smaller proportion of the positions held by retarded
"hildren than by any other group were for work as apprentices and
helpers in skilled trades, it is evident that the retarded children
showed a decided tendency to become factory operatives. This
tendency is more marked among the girls than among the boys, and
appears for all types of factories except those making candy.

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T able

121.— Occupation first entered by grade com pleted; children issued certificates in fo u r cities.
Children w ho, before taking out first certificate, attended-

Elem entary school:-Grade completed.

Occupation first entered.

A ll occupations.......................................
Personal and domestic occupations................
Personal service (other than servants
in the h o m e )...............................................
House and home w ork.................................
Factory and mechanical occupations............
Factory operatives........................................
Shoe factory.............................................
Clothing factory and other needle
- t r a d e s . . . , .............................................
Textile m ill..............................................
Candy factory....... .................................
Other factory...........................................
Apprentice and helper, skilled trad es...
Clerical occupations, wrapping, selling,
and delivery of goods......................................
Office w ork.......................................................
Cash and messenger work, department
sto re ................................................................
Packing, wrapping, labeling, andshipping^room w ork..........................................
Selling................................................................
Messenger work, errand and delivery...
A ll other occupations...........................................

Per
Num cent
distriber.
bution.

Per
N um cent
ber.
distribution.

Per
N um cent
distriber.
bution.

Per
N um cent
ber.
distribution.

AH other
schools.1

Per
cent
N um distriber.
bution.

N ot reported.

Per
N um cent
distriber.
bution.

Per
cent
distribution.

100.0

233

100.0

440

100.0

851

100.0

2 838

100.0

s 1,873

100.0

1,111

100.0

276

100.0

70

16

6 .9

16

3.6

31

3 .6

25

3.0

43

2.3

15

1.4

12

4.3

1

1.4

11

4 .7

12

2.7

2 .2

135
124
39

30.7
28.2
8.9

26.9
25.6
8.0

2.1
.8
28.0
25.8
8.9

24
19
486
443
134

1.3
1.0
25.9
. 23.7
7 .2

11
4
255
232
62

1.0
.4
23.0
20.9
5.6

11
1
124
114
24

4.0
.4
44.9
41.3
8.7

1.4

42.5
40.3
5.2

18
7
235
216
75

1

99
94
12

19
12
229
218
68

22
22
8

31.4
31.4
11.4

29
14
2
37

12.4
6 .0
.Q
15.9

24
23

5.5
5.2

28
23
3
87
19

3.3
2.7
.4
10.4
2. 2

74
27
13
195
43

4.0
1.4
.7
10.4
2. 3

35
16
5
114
23

3.2
1.4
.5
10.3
2.1

54
3
3
30
10

19.6
1.1
1.1
10.9
3.6

1.4
4.3

8.6

4.3
3.1
.6
9.6
1 2

1
3

38

37
26
5
82
* 11

10

14.3

115
6

49.4
2.6

285
10

64.8
2.3

589
35

69.2
4.1

572
41

68.3
4 .9

1,339
148

71.5
7.9

836
144

75.2
13.0

139
13

50.4
4.7

47
7

67.1
10.0

1 4

4

1.7

31

7.0

86

10.1

108

12.9

300

16.0

186

16.7

28

10.1

8

11.4

21
16
68
3

9.0
6 .9
29.2
1.3

38
25
181
4

8.6
5.7
41.1
.9

65
50
353
2

7.6
5.9
41.5
.2

50
33
340
5

6.0
3 .9
40.6
.6

96
63
733
3

5.1
3 .4
39.1
.2

55
51
400
5

5.0
4.6
36.0
.5

18
13
67
1

6.5
4.7
24.3
.4

4
1
27

5.7
1.4
38.6

1 Including special, disciplinary, prevocational, vocational, and other schools.
3 Including one child whose occupation was not reported.
* Includes two children whose occupations were not reported.


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Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

Per
N um cent
distriber.
bution.

H igh school.

Eighth.

T H E W O R K IN G C H IL D R E N OF BOSTON .

N um ber.

Seventh.

Sixth.

Fifth.

Fourth.

OCCUPATION'S.

247

L^_The retarded children also showed a somewhat greater tendency
l^han the other groups to take positions involving “ selling/’ and
“ packing, wrapping, labeling, and shipping-room work,” but the
differences here were comparatively slight. In 3.2 per cent of the
positions held by retarded children and 2.6 per cent of those held by
children from normal grades, the occupation was selling. The tend­
ency toward “ packing, wrapping, labeling, and shipping-room work”
was mainly among the girls. Nearly one-tenth, 9.2 per cent, of all
the positions held by retarded girls, as compared with only 6.8 per
cent of those held by girls from normal grades and with 5.9 per cent
of those held by girls from grades higher than normal, were for this
type of work.
Another occupation group which the retarded children tended to
enter more frequently than other children was the group called
“ personal and domestic occupations.” Of the occupations held by
retarded children 3.6 per cent, of those held by normal children 2.4
per cent, and of those held by advanced children only 1 per cent were
in this group.
The children who had completed higher grades than normal for
/their ages, on the other hand, showed a greater tendency than the
ildren from normal grades or the retarded children to go into office
ork and cash and messenger work in department stores. About
one-eighth, 12.6 per cent, of the positions held by advanced children
involved office work, as compared with only 6.8 per cent of those held
by children from normal grades and with only 3 per cent of those held
by retarded children; and 18.1 per cent of the positions held by
advanced children, as compared with 16.7 per cent of those held by
children from normal grades and with only 8.5 per cent of those held
by retarded children, were for cash and messenger work in department
stores. In the latter case the differences are due primarily to the girls
who held most of these positions; cash and messenger work in depart­
ment stores furnished nearly one-third, 32.1 per cent, of the positions
held by advanced girls, as compared with 27.1 per cent of those held
by normal and only 14.8 per cent of those held by retarded girls.
The only kind of occupation which retarded, normal, and advanced
children showed about the same tendency to enter was that classed
as messenger, errand and delivery work— the kind which furnished
more positions to children than any other single occupation. Of the
positions held by retarded children, 38.9 per cent, of those held by
normal children 37.3 per cent, and of those held by advanced children
per cent, were of this type.


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Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

248

T H E W O R K IN G C H IL D R E N OF BOSTO N .

T able

122.— Occupation, by retardation and sex o f child; all positions held by children.
in B oston continuation school.

Positions held b y children who, on leaving school, had completed, for
their ages—

A lower grade than normal.

Occupation and sex.

A higher
grade than
normal.

A normal
grade.

Per
cent N um ­
N um ­
dis­ ber.
ber.
tribu­
tion.

Both sexes....................
Personal and domestic oc­
cupations............................. '■
Personal service (other
than servants in the
ho m e).............................
House and home work.
Factory and mechanical
occupations.........................
Factory operative..........
Shoe factory..............
Clothing
factory
and other needle
trades......................
Textile m ill.......... .
Candy factory..........
Other factory...........
Apprentice and h e lp erskilled trades................
Clerical occupations, wrap­
ping, selling, and deliv­
ery of goods..........................
Office w ork'......................
Cash and messenger
work — department
store.................................
Packing,
wrapping,
labeling, and ship­
ping-room work..........
Selling................................
Messenger work, errand
and delivery.................
A ll other occupations...........
B o y s...............................
Personal and domestic oc­
cupations ..............................
Personal service (other
than servants in the
ho m e).............................
House and home w ork ..
Factory and mechanical
occupations.............-..........
Factory operative.........
Shoe factory...........
Clothing
factory
and other needle
trades...................
Textile m ill..........
Candy factory —
Other factory------Apprentice and helperskilled trades............

Three or
One or two
more grades
grades
lower than lower than
normal.
normal.

Total.

Per
cent N u m ­
dis­
ber.
tribu­
tion.

Per
cent
N um ­
dis­
ber.
tribu­
tion.

N ot re­
ported.1

Per
Per
Per
cent Slum­ cent Num­ cent
dis­
dis­
dis­ ber.
ber.
tribu­
tribu­
tribu­
tion.
tion.
tion.

669 100.0 3,284 100.0, 32,547 100.0 22,064 100.0

483 100.0

3881

100.0

7

1.0

80

2 .4

92

3.6

71

3.4

21

4.3

23

2 .6

2
5

.3
.7

40
• 40

1.2
1.2

59
33

2.3
1.3

45
26

2.2
1.3

14
7

2 .9
1.4

20
3

2 .3
.3

161
146
58

24.1
21.8
8.7

982
904
282

29.9
27.5
8.6

952
905
318

37.4
35.5
12.5

752
717
279

36.4
34.7
13.5

200
188
39

41.4
3 8.9'
8.1

201
188
86

22.8
21.3
9.8

38
9
1
40

5.7
1.3
.1
6.0

247
94
31
250

7.5
2.9
.9
7.6

223
115
14
235

8.8
4.5
.5
9.2

149
94
10
185

7.2
4.6
.5
9.0

74
21
4
50

15.3
4.3
.8
10.4

25
21
3
53

2 .8 j

15

2.2

78

2.4

47

1.8

35

1.7

12

2.5

13

L5

58.5 1,231
66
3.0

59.6
3.2

260
10

53.8
2.1

652
57

74.0
6.5

67.3 1,491
76
6.8

6.(1

500
84

74.7 2,211
223
12.6

121

18.1

548

16.7

217

8.5

197

9.5

20

4.1

167

19.0

23
18

3.4
2.7

128
86

3.9
2.6

127
81

5.0
3.2

97
63

4.7
3.1

30

6.2
3.7

45
28

5.1
3 .2

38.0 1,226
11
.1

37.3
.3

990
11

38.9
.4

808
9

39.1
.4

182
2

37.7
.4

355
3

40.3
.3

255 100.0

3586

100.0

254
1

364 100.0 1,772 100.0 1,412 100.0 1,157 100.0

18

28

1.6

43

3.0

32

2.8

11

4.3

15

2 .6

23
5

1.3
.3

41
2

2.9
.1

30
2

2.6
.2

11

4.3

15

2 .6

54
41
17

14.8
11.3
4.7

274
205
83

15.5
11.6
4.7

288
247
99

20.4
17.5
7.0

226
196
86

19.5
16.9
7.4

62
51
13

24.3
20.0
5.1

84
71
28

14.3
12.1
4 .8

4
5

1.1
1.4

.5
1.2
.2
5.0

9
33
5
101

.6
2.3
.4
7.2

6
28
2
74

.5
2.4
.2
6 .4

3
5
3
27

1.2
2 .0
1.2
10.6

1
13

.2
2 .2

29

4.9

3.9

41

2 .9

30

2.6

4.3

13

15

4.1

9
21
4
88

13

3.6

69

1 11

i “ N ot reported” means that the children came from disciplinary, prevocational, and other speci
schools, an d that on the records only the school attended, and not the grade completed, was given,
s including one position for which occupation was not reported.
3 Including two positions for which occupation was not reported.


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249

OCCUPATIONS.

T a b l e 122.— O ccupation, by retardation and sex o f child; all p osition s held by children

in B oston con tin u ation school— Concluded.

Positions held b y children who, on leaving school, had completed, for
their ages—

A lowei grade than îormal.

Occupation and sex.

A higher
grade than
normal.

N um ­
ber.

Boys— Continued.
Clerical occupations, wrappine, selline. and delivery of goods..........................
Office w ork.......................
Cash and messenger
work — department
store.................................
Packing,
wrapping.
labeling, and shipping-room work..........
Selling.................................
Messenger work, errand
and delivery.................
A ll other occupations............
G irls.-.............................

309
62

A normal
grade.

One or two
Three or
grades
more grades
lower than lower than
normal.
normal.

Total.

Per
Per
Per
cent N u m ­ cent
cent
dis­ N um ­ dis­ N u m ­
dis­
ber.
tribu­ ber. tribu­ ber.
tribu­
tion.
tion.
tion.

84.9 1,460
17.0
157

82.4 1,070
8.9
59

Per
cent
dis­
tribu­
tion.

75.8
4.2

890
51

76.9
4.4

180
8

70.6
3.1

483
43

82.4
7.3

6.3

139

7.8

49

3.5

46

4.0

3

1.2

83

14.2

5
9

1.4
2.5

25
39

1.4
2.2

23
41

1.6
2.9

18
32

1.6
2 .8

5
9

2.0
3.5

10
16

1.7
2.7

57.7 1,100
10
.3

62.1
.6

898
11

63.6
.8

743
9

64.2
.8

155
2

60.8
.8

331
2

56.5
.3

228 100.0

295

100.0

305 100.0 1,512 100.0 21,135 100.0

Textile m ill..............
Candy factory...........
Other factory...........
Apprentice and helper—
skilled trades...............
Clerical occupations, wrapping, selling, and delivery of goods...........................
'Office w ork.......................
Cash and messenger
work — department
store.................................
Packing,
wrapping.
labeling, and shipping-room work..........
Selling.................................
Messenger work, errand
and delivery.................

Per
Per
cent
cent
N um ­
N um ­
dis­
dis­
ber.
ber.
tribu­
tribu­
tion.
tion.

23

210
1

Personal and domestic occupations..............................
Personal service (other
than servants in the
h om e)..............................
House and home w ork ..
Factory and mechanical
occupations..........................
Factory operative...........
Shoe factory.............
Clothing
factory
and other needle

N ot re­
ported.

2 907 100.0

7

2.3

52

3.4

49

4.3

39

4.3

10

4.4

8

2.7

2
5

.7
1.6

17
35

1.1
2.3

18
31

1.6
2.7

15
24

1.7
2.6

3
7

1.3
3.1

5
3

1.7
1.0

107
105
41

35.1
34.4
13.4

708
699
199

46.8
46.2
13.2

664
658
219

58.5
58.0
19.3

526
521
193

58.0
57.4
21.3

138
137
26

60.5
60.1
11.4

117
117
58

39.7
39.7
19.7

34
4
1
25

11.1
1.3
.3
8.2

238
73
27
162

15.7
4.8
1.8
10.7

214
82
9
134

18.9
7.2
.8
11.8

143
66
8
111

15.8
7.3
.9
12.2

71
16
1
23

31.1
7.0
.4
10.1

24
8
3
24

8.1
2.7
1.0
8.1

2

.7

9

.6

6

.5

5

.6

1

.4

191
22

62.6
7.2

751
66

49.7
4.4

421
17

37.1
1.5

341
15

37.6
1.7

80
2

35.1
.9

169
14

57.3
4.7

98

32.1

409

27.1

168

14.8

151

16.6

17

7 .5

84

28.5

18
9

5.9
3 .0

103
47

6.8
3.1

104
40

9.2
3.5

79
. 31

8.7
3.4

25
9

11.0
3.9

35
12

11.9
4.1

44

14.4

126
1

8.3
.1

92

8.1

65

7.2

27

11.8

24
1

8.1
.3

2 Including one position for which occupation was not reported.

4 9 4 7 0 °— 22------ 17


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250

T H E W O R K IN G C H IL D R E N OF BOSTON .

VACATION AND REGULAR WORKERS.

The opportunities for work during vacation and outside school]
hours are, of course, even more limited than those for regular positions
for children under 16 years of age. Nevertheless, Table 123 shows
that the occupational distribution of first positions held by all-the
children who took out certificates for work only during vacation or
out of school hours before their sixteenth birthdays did not differ very
widely from that of all the children who left school for work before
that age. It is somewhat surprising, however, to find that a larger
proportion, 31 per cent, of the first positions held by vacation workers
than of those held by regular workers, 27.4 per cent, were in factory
and mechanical occupations. This is especially surprising in view of
the fact that a smaller proportion of the vacation than of the regular
workers were foreign-born,91 a fact which doubtless accounts for the
smaller proportion of vacation than of regular workers, 4.9 per cent
as compared with 6 per cent, who began work as operatives in clothing
factories and other needle trades. Shoe factories, on the other hand,
furnished exactly one-tenth, 10 per cent, of the first positions held
b}^ vacation workers as compared with only 8.5 per cent of those held
by regular workers, and nearly one-fifth, 19.5 per cent, of those held
by the girls who worked only during vacation as compared with only
14.1 per cent of those held by the girls who worked regularly.
The occupations included under the general heading “ clerical
occupations, wrapping, selling, and delivery of good s/’ were first
entered by a larger proportion of the regular than of the vacation
workers, 69.2 per cent as compared with 66 per cent. Although a
somewhat smaller proportion of vacation than of regular workers
went into office work, the difference was due mainly to the fact that
little over three-tenths, 31.3 per cent, of the vacation workers as
compared with nearly four-tenths, 39.2 per cent, of the regular
workers began industrial life in messenger, errand, and delivery
work. Each of the other occupations included in this group showed
larger proportions of first positions held by vacation than by regular
workers. The difference is particularly striking in the case of boys
employed in cash and messenger work in department stores. About
one-sixth, 16.4 per cent, of the boys who worked only during vacation
and only 7 per cent of those who worked regularly entered this
occupation. On the other hand it furnished a smaller proportion of
the first positions held by girls who worked only during vacation
than of those held by girls who worked regularly, 19.2 per cent as
compared with 25.9 per cent.
The children interviewed who worked and those who did not wor
before leaving school show much greater differences in the occupa­
tions entered when they became regular workers. When both sexes
are considered together, however, these differences in occupational
» See Table 63, p . 149.


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Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

251

OCCUPATIONS,

T a b l e 123. — O ccupation in first regular p osition , by sex o f child; com parison o f vacation

T

regular workers issued certificates m B oston and regular workers ihterview ed who
worked and did n ot work before leaving school.

Children issued certificates in
Boston who, before becoming
16, worked—

Occupation in first regular position,
and sex.

During vaca­
tion or out of
school hours.

N um ­
ber.

Regularly.

Per
N um ­
cent
distri­
ber.
bution.

Children interviewed who left
school to work before becoming
16, and who, before leaving
school—

Worked.

Per
cent
N um ­
distri­
ber.
bution.

Per
cent
distri­
bution.

D id not work.

N um ­
ber.

Per
cent
distri­
bution.

10Ó.0

Both sexes.........................................

1857

100.0

3,544

100.0

324

100.0

499

Personal and domestic occupations.. .
Personal service (other than servants in the hom e)...........................
House and home work....................
Factory and mechanical occupations.
Factory operative.............................
Shoe factory.................................
Clothing factory and other
. needle trades............................
Textile m ill..................................
Candy factory..............................
Other factory...............................
Apprentice and" helper— skilled
trades..................................................
Clerical occupations, wrapping, selling, and delivery of goods..................
Office work...........................................
Cash and messenger work— department store................................
Packing, wrapping, labeling, and
shipping room work......................
Selling.....................................................
Messenger work, errand, and deliv ery..................................................
A ll other occupations.....................

21

2.5

108

3.0

10

3.1

20

4. O

19
2
266
246
86

2.2
.2
31.0
28.7
10.0

64
44
970
895
300

1.8
1.2
27.4
25.3
8.5

9
1
55
48
21

2.8
.3
17.0
14.8
6.5

8
12
176
173
66

1.6
2 4
35] 3
34.7
13. 2

42
24
4
90

4.9
2.8
:5
10.5

211
102
17
265

6 .0
2.9
.5
7.5

7
9

2 .2
2 .8

55
18

11.0
3.6

11

3 .4

26

5. 2

20

2.3

75

2.1

7

2 .2

3

.6

566
58

66.0
6.8

2,451
266

69.2
7.5

257
24

79.3
7.4

301
26

60.3
5.2

150

17.5

519

14.6

23

7.1

77

15.4

45
45

5.3
5.3

131
144

3.7
4.1

11
19

3.4
5.9

28
21

♦ 4 .2

268
3

31.3
.4

1,391
15

39.2
.4

180
2

55.6
.6

149
2

2 9 .9
.4

B oys....................................................

519

100.0

2,114

100.0

280

100.0

197

Personal and domestic occupations..
Personal service (other than servants in the h o m e )..........................
House and home work....................
Factory and mechanical occupations.
Factory operative...............................
Shoe factory.................................
Clothing factory and other
needle trades.............................
Textile m ill..................................
Candy factory..............................
Other factory...............................
Apprentice and helper— skilled
trades................................................
Clerical occupations, wrapping, selling, and delivery of goods...........
Office work.........................................
Cash and messenger work— department store..............................
Packing, wrapping, labeling, and
shipping room work......................
Selling...............................................
Messenger work, errand,and delivery.................; ......................
A ll other occupations........................

7

1.3

44

2.1

7

2. 5

g

7

2.5

5

35
28
13

12.5
10.0
4.6

32
29
16

16.2
14.7
3.1

2
6

O
3.0
2 .5

m o

7

1.3

100
83
20

19.3
16.0
3.9

41
3
321
253
98

1.9
.1
15.2
12.0
4.6

2
10
3
48

.4
1.9
.6
9.2

8
39
3
105

.4
1.8
.1
5.0

1
7

.4
2.5

7

2 .5

5

17

3.3

68

3.2

7

2.5

3

1.5

410
35

79.0
6.7

1,736
196

82.1
9.3

236
21

84.3
7.5

158
12

80.2
6.1

85

16.4

149

7 .0

17

6.1

12

6.1

9
29

1.7
5.6

34
67

1.6
3.1

7
15

2 .5
5.4

5
6

2 .5
3.0

252
2

48.6
.4

1,290
13

61.0
.6

176
2

62.9
.7

123
2

62.4

i Including one girl whose occupation was not reported.


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5 .6

1

1 .0

252

T H E W O R K IN G C H IL D R E N OF BOSTON .

T a b l e 123.— O ccupation in first regular p osition , by sex o f child; com parison o f vacation

and regular workers issued certificates in B oston and regular workers interview ed wKd
worked and did n ot work before leaving school— Concluded.

distribution appear greater than they really are because of the fact
that the group of children who worked before leaving school was
composed of 280 boys and only 44 girls, and therefore tended
decidedly to resemble the boys of the entire interviewed group,
whereas the group of children who did not work before leaving school
was composed of 197 boys and 302 girls and therefore tended
decidedly to resemble the girls. When the boys alone are considered
the differences are comparatively slight. Nevertheless only oneeighth, 12.5 per cent, of the boys who had worked, as compared with
about one-sixth, 16.2 per cent, of those who had not worked before
leaving school entered factory and mechanical occupations when
they took their first regular positions. This tendency away from
factory occupations shown by the boys who had worked before
leaving school was accompanied by a corresponding tendency toward
clerical occupations, wrapping, selling, and delivery of goods.”
This is natural in view of the fact, shown in Table 124, that nearly
nine-tenths, 89.6 per cent, of these boys had worked in “ clerical

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Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

OCCUPATIONS.

253

Occupations, wrapping, selling, and delivery of goods” in the first
positions which they held before leaving school. A large proportion
of them, as already stated, held these positions before their fourteenth
birthdays and at that time the factory and mechanical occupations
were closed to them by law. All the children whose first positions
T a b l e 124.

O ccupation in first school p osition , by nativity o f jather and nativity and

___________ oj child , interview ed children who worked before leaving school.
Children who worked before leaving school.

rotai.
Occupation in first school position and
sex of child.

Fathers foreign b om .
Both father s '__
and childrei
Nativ­
native.
Children
Children
ity of
native.
foreign bom . fathers

ported:
Per
Per
Per
chil­
Per
cent
cent
cent
dren
cent
Num
N
um
Num
.Num
' distri
"
distri­
'
distri
native.
"
distri­
ber.
ber.
ber.
bu­
bu­ I ber.
bu­
bu­
tton.1
tion.1
tton.1
tion.1
B oth sexes____
Personal and domestic occupations
Personal service (other than servants
m the hom e)...
/
House and home work.
^Clerical 9ccupations, wrapping, seliiAg.
F and delivery of goods.
Office work.
Cash and messenger work— depart­
ment store..........
•racking, wrapping, labeling, a n d
snipping room work.........
Selling............
aft Messenger work, errand and delivery
A ll other occupations..
N ot reported____
B o y s. . .
Personal and domestic occupations
Personal service (other than servants
in Home). .
.p House and home work
Clerical occupations, wrapping, selling,
and dehvery of goods..
6
Office w ork.. .
casn and messenger work— depart
m ent store___
Packing, wrapping, labeling, and
shipping room w ork............
* n Messenger work, errand and delivery
A ll other occupations. . .
N ot reported____
Girls...........
Personal and domestic occupations
Personal service (other than servants
In home) 3 . .
„
House and home w ork..
Pacloiy ana mecnamcal occupations
M escal occupations, wrapping, selling and
« d e liv e ry of goods................................
B
Office worlr
W Cash and messenger work— departr
ment store___
Packing, wrapping, labeling, and
shipping room work . .
S e ll i n g ...:...
......................
Messenger work, errand and delivery
N ot reported. .
J
1 N ot shown where base is less than 50.


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Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

.[

---------- -

324

100.0 1 169

29

9 .0

11
15

3.4
4.6

3

3.6 :
- -

20

2.4 1

9
8

274

59

100.0

11.8

6

10.2

6 .5
6
5.6
* ' "X
4.7
6

10.2

1

72.9
3.4

12

83.4
1.2

10

10.2

3.0

1

1.7

39.8
44.6
2.4

62
69

1.8
36.7
40.8

1
22
17
1
3

1.7
37.3
28.8
1.7
5.1

5
7

75

100.0

148

100.0

44

100.0

13

1

1.3

2.2
37.7
40.1
.9
.9

33
37
2

280

100.0

18

6.4

17
1
6

0.4
2.1

251
2

89.6
.7

1

.4

4
115
129
3
2

1.4
41.1
46.1
1.1
.7

44

100.0 ;

« ■

1
3

7.4
.7
2.0
89.9

1

1.3

2
32
37
2

2.7
42.7
49.3
2.7

2
61
69

1.4
41.2
46.6

8

100.0

21

100.0

5
5
2

i

34
1

12

17
16
1
2

5
7

1

11

2

1
10
9

2
......

43
2

13

5

7
122
130
3
3

23
3

100.0

6 . ......

15

8

1

5

4

8

9

1

p

9

4 .

4

3
7 .
1 .
1 .

1 . ..........
1

1

......

1
1
1

100.0

254

T H E W O R K IN G C H IL D R E N OF BOSTO N .

before leaving school were in factory or mechanical occupations hadforeign-born fathers and, in spite of the small proportion of girls in
the group as a whole, 9 out of the 15 were girls. This was due to the
fact that a larger proportion of the girls than of the boys were over 14
when they took their first school positions.
Over two-fifths, 41.1 per cent, of the first school positions held by
boys were for occupations involving selling, generally as newsboys
or from peddlers’ wagons, and an even larger proportion, 46.1 per
cent, were for messenger, errand, and delivery work. About half,
49.3 per cent, of the native boys whose fathers also were native went
into messenger, errand, and delivery work in their first positions held
before leaving school.
The proportion of all regular positions held by children of native
fathers in personal and domestic occupations was slightly larger,
5 per cent, than that held by the children of foreign-born fathers,
which was 4.5 per cent both for native and for foreign-born children.
In view of this fact it is interesting to note, not only that the propor­
tion of first school positions in those occupations was decidedly
higher, 9 per cent, than that of regular positions, but also that
within the school position group it was much higher, 11.8 per cent,
for the native children of foreign-born fathers than for the nativ
children of native fathers, for whom it was only 3.6 per cent, and
slightly higher than for the foreign-born children, for whom it was
10.2 per cent.
METHODS OF SECURING POSITIONS.

Positions in the different occupations were secured by all the
various methods already discussed, but in some occupations one
method was more commonly used than another. Table 125 shows,
for example, for the continuation school group of children, that a
larger proportion of the positions for factory and mechanical work
than of those for clerical and similar occupations, 32.8 per cent, as
compared with 27.4 per cent, were secured through friends or relatives,
and also that a larger proportion of the former than of the latter,
46.2 per cent, as compared with 43.5 per cent, were secured inde­
pendently. On the other hand, a larger proportion of the positions
for clerical and similar occupations, 7.5 per cent, than of those for
factory and mechanical work, 2.2 per cent, were secured through
employment agencies of some sort. Private employment agencies
alone filled about one-twentieth, 5.3 per cent, of the clerical and
similar positions but less than 1 per cent of the factory and mechanica
positions. The placement bureau also filled a somewhat larger pr
portion of the clerical than of the factory and mechanical positions,
2.4 per cent, as compared with 1.4 per cent, but the day and continua­
tion schools filled a larger proportion of the latter than of the former
positions, 5.3 per cent, as compared with 4.5 per cent.

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Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

255

O CC U PA T IO N S.

The positions in personal and domestic occupations were secured
through friends or relatives more often than those in any other occu­
pational division. Moreover, in a comparatively large proportion
of these positions the employer was a relative. Of all the positions
in this group of occupations, 40.1 per cent, as compared with only
29.4 per cent of those in all occupations, were secured by friends or
relatives. Almost one-sixth, 15.3 per cent, of all these positions, as
compared with little over one-ninth, 11.9 per cent, of those in all
occupations, were secured through relatives alone, and in 8.4 per
cent of them, as compared with only 2.2 per cent of those in all posi­
tions, the employer was a relative. This high proportion occurred
chiefly among the boys. In 16.3 per cent of all the positions held by
boys in this group of occupations, but in only 2.6 per cent of those
held by the girls, was the child employed by a relative.
T able

125 — Method o f securing position , by occupation; positions held by children in
B oston continuation school.

Positions held in specified occupation groups.
A ll positions.

Factory and Clerical, wrap­
mechanical. ping, selling, Other
and delivery.
occu­
pa­
tions
Per
Per
Per
Per
and
N um ­ cent N um ­ cent N um ­ cent N um ­ cent not re­
dis­
dis­
dis­
dis­
ber.
ber.
ber.
ber.
tribu­
tribu­
tribu­
tribu­ ported.
tion.1
tion.1
tion.1
tion.1
Persona] and
domestic.

■ Method of securing position.

Total...............................................

7,381

100.0

)sition secured through—
Friend or relative..........................

202

100.0

2,296

100.0

4,854

100.0

29

2,169

29.4

81

40.1

754

32.8

1,328

27.4

6

Friend......................... ; . . .
Relative.................
Employer— relative................

1,126
881
162

15.3
11.9
2.2

33
31
17

16.3
15.3
8.4

408
320
26

17.8
13.9
1.1

684
527
117

14.1
10.9
2.4

1
3
2

Independently secured.................

3,254

44.1

70

34.7

1,060

46.2

2,112

43.5

12

Applied personally.................
3,070
Answered advertisement.........
169
Worked there before...................
15

41.6
2.3
.2

67
3

33.2
1.5

1,007
48
5

43.9
2.1
.2

1,985
117
10

40.9
2 4
.2

11

5

Em ploym ent offered.............

328

4.4

21

10.4

68

3.0

234

4 .8

Em ploym ent agency, etc.................

420

5.7

5

2.5

51

2.2

363

7.5

1

State employment office..........
Private employment agencv..
Philanthropic organizations..

‘ 105
282
33

1.4
3.8
.4

2
2
1

1.0
1.0
.5

20
21
10

.9
.9
.4

82
259
22

1.7
5.3
.5

1

School or placement bureau____

490

6.6

6

3.0

153

6 .7

331

6 .8

D ay school.........................
Continuation school...........
Placement bureau.................

140
199
151

1.9
2 .7
2.0

2

1.0

4

2.0

53
68
32

2JJ
3^0
1.4

131
115

2 .4

A ll other m ethods.........................

3

N ot reported.......................................

717

1
9.7

1 N ot shown where less than one-tenth of 1 per cent.


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Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

19

9 .4

209

2
9.1

484

10.0

5

256

TH E WORKING CHILDREN OF BOSTON.

Table 126 shows, for the children interviewed, that there was con­
siderable difference in the methods by which first positions were
secured between the occupations included in the two general groups
“ factory and mechanical occupations” and “ clerical occupations,
wrapping, selling, and delivery of goods.” This table relates to a
different group of children from those included in the preceding
table, and also covers only first positions which, as has been shown,
are secured by somewhat different methods than later positions.
Nevertheless, it confirms the conclusion that a larger proportion of
factory than of clerical and similar positions were secured through
friends or relatives, and also that a larger proportion of the former
than of the latter were secured independently. It also confirms the
conclusion that employment agencies, schools, or placement bureaus
filled a larger proportion of positions for clerical and similar work
than for factory and mechanical occupations.
T a b l e 126.— Method o f securing first regular position, by occupation; children interviewed.

Children securing first regular position b y specified method.

Occupation.

A ll
chil­
dren.

Friend or
relative.

Independ­
ently.

Em ploy­
ment
offered.

Em ploy­
ment agen­
cy, school,
placement
bureau, etc.

Not re»''
ported.

Num ­ Per Num ­ Per Num­ Per Num ­ Per Num­ Per
ber cent.1 ber. cent.1 ber. cent.1 ber. cent.1 ber. cent.1

Total.......................................
Personal and domestic occupa­
tions. ....................................................
Factory and mechanical occupa­
tions......................................................
Factory operative.......................
Shoe factory...........................
Clothing factory and other
needle trades.....................
Other factory.........................
Apprentice and helper— skill­
ed trades......................................
Clerical occupations, wrapping,
selling, and delivery of goods. . .
Office work.....................................
Cash and messenger work—
department store.....................
Packing, wrapping, labeling,
and shipping-room work—
Messenger work, errand and
delivery.......................................
Other clerical, etc., occupa­
tions ..............................................
A ll other occupations........ ................

823

406

49.3

316

38.4

38

4.6

0.9

30
53.7
54.8
46.0

40.7
41.2
48.3

72.6
50.0

22.6

47.1
46.0

38.5
34.0

39.0

53.0

46.2

36.2

1.6

48.6

10
558
50

263
23

8.6
12.0

5.2

6.0

6.7

34

10.3

1 N ot shown'where base is less than 50.

Decided variations were found within the different groups. For
instance, friends or relatives secured first positions for not far from
three-fourths, 72.6 per cent, of the children who began their industrial
careers as operatives in clothing factories or other needle trades but
for considerably less than one-half, 46 per-cent, of those who began

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O CC U PA T IO N S.

257

as operatives in shoe factories. This was doubtless due to the larger
proportion of foreign-born children— who, as already noted,92 tended
to secure their positions through their friends or relatives— employed
in clothing factories and other needle trades. In cash and messenger
work in department stores, moreover, friends and relatives played
a much less prominent part in securing first positions than in office
or in messenger, errand, and delivery work. Only 39 per cent of the
children who went into cash and messenger work in department
stores secured their first positions through friends or relatives as
compared with 46 per cent of those who went into office work and
with 46.2 per cent of those who went into messenger, errand, and
delivery work. Over half, 53 per cent, of the department store
positions were secured independently. An unusually large propor­
tion, 12 per cent, of the office work positions but nearly as large a
proportion, 10.3 per cent, of the messenger, errand, and delivery
work positions were secured through employment agencies, schools
or placement bureaus.
CHARACTER OP OCCUPATIONS.

The general character of the different occupations in which the
children were employed is indicated, in part at least, by the occupa­
tion designation. The children who were engaged in messenger,
errand, and delivery work, for example, must have walked or ridden
on vehicles and in many cases worked outdoors. On the other hand,
those who were employed as factory operatives must have carried
on their work indoors and for the most part in sitting positions.
Children engaged in cash and messenger work in department stores
and in “ packing, wrapping, labeling, and shipping-room w ork” also
worked indoors, but the former group must have walked a great
deal and many of the latter must have stood at their work. It is
obvious, therefore, that a large part of the work in which boys were
engaged was outdoors and involved much walking, while most of
that in which girls were employed was indoors and meant a fairly
constant sitting position.
Work at or in connection with machines was not common. In
only about one-tenth, 10.7 per cent, of all the positions in which the
children interviewed were employed, according to Table 127, was
there any machine work. In many, if not most, of these positions
the children were employed at machine work for only part of the time.
X)f the factory operative positions alone, however, not far from onethird, -31.6 per cent, involved some machine work, and as a result
machine work was much more common among the girls, who pre­
dominated in this group of occupations, than among the boys, who
•* See Table 83, p . 177.


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258

T H E W O R K IN G C H IL D R E N OF BOSTON .

tended to enter in larger numbers the occupations classed as “ clerical
occupations, wrapping, selling, and delivery of goods,” only 1.9 per
cent of which involved any machine work. The largest proportion
of positions involving machine work, 40 per cent, was found among
the operatives in clothing factories and other needle trades. In over
one-sixth, 17.5 per cent, of the positions filled by girls, but only about
one-twentieth, 5.3 per cent, of those filled by boys, was there work on
or about machines of any kind.
T a b l e 127.— Type o f work, by occupation and sex o f child; regular position s held by

children interviewed.

Regular positions.
Involving some
Involving no
machine work. machine work.

Occupation and sex.

Type of work
not reported.

Total.

B oth sexes.............................
Personal and domestic occupations.....................
Factory and mechanical occupations..................
Factory operative...................
Shoe factory..............
Clothing factory and other needle
trades...............................................
Textile m ill..........................
Other factory................................
Apprentice and helper— skilled trades........
Clerical occupations, wrapping, selling, and
delivery of goods.................................
A ll other occupations.........
B o y s ..........................................
Personal and domestic occupations.....................
Factory and mechanical occupations..................
Factory operative...........................
Shoe factory..................
Clothing factory and other needle
trades..................................................
Textile m ill............................
Other factory....................
Apprentice and helper— skilled trades........
Clerical occupations, wrapping, selling and
delivery of goods.................................
All other occupations..............................................
Girls...................................................
Personal and domestic occupations.............
Factory and mechanical occupations..................
Factory operative.....................................
Shoe factory............................................
Clothing factory and other needle
trades...........................................................
Textile m ill..........................................
Other factory................................................
Apprentice and helper— skilled trades____
Clerical occupations, wrapping, selling, and
delivery of goods.............................................

N um ­
ber.

Per
cent.1

N um ­
ber.

» 1,943

207

10.7

89
588
563
199

3
180
178
59

3.4
30.6
31.6
29.6

185
53
126
25

74
19
26
2

1,248
17
» 1,093

Per
cent.1

N um ­
ber.

Per ■
cent.1

*1,727

88.9

9

0.5

86
400
378
137

96.6
68.0
67.1
68.8

8
7
3

1.4
1.2
1.5

40.0
35.8
20.6

108
33
100
22

58.4
62.3
79.4

3
1

îTë
1.9

24

1.9

1,224
16

98.1

58

5.3

»1,033

94.5

2

.2

26.7
30.0
30.4

38
120
98
48

72.7
70.0
69.6

1

.6

38
165
140
69

44
42
21

8
22
41
25

7
6
8
2

872
17

14

1

1
16
33
22

1

1.6

858
16

98.4

____

1

1

850

149

17.5

694

81.6

7

.8

51
423
423
130

3
136
136
38

5.9
32.2
32.2
29.2

48
280
280
89

94.1
66.2
66.2
68.5

7
7
3

1.7
1.7
2.3

177
31
85

67
13
18

37.9

107
17
67

60.5

3
1

1.7

21.2

376

10

2.7

366

97.3

78.8

1 Not shown where base is less than 50.
aIncluding 1 position for which occupation was not reported.

OCCUPATIONAL SHIFT.

Before a child could obtain an employment certificate in Massachu•setts a physician had to certify that he was physically able to do the

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Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

O C C U P A T IO N 'S .

259

work for which the particular certificate was requested.93 This physi­
cian’s certificate, as already stated, was made out on the back of the
card, the face of which bore the name of the occupation, written by
the employer. The physician, therefore, always knew the name
of the occupation in which the employer said the child was to be
engaged. There was nothing in the law, however, to prevent the
employer from transferring the child to some other occupation
whenever occasion arose, provided the other occupation was not so
dangerous or injurious that it was prohibited for all children.
In some cases children, upon beginning work, were employed in
different occupations from those for which their certificates read,
and in.a considerable number, though employed in the occupations
shown in their certificates, they worked also in supplementary
occupations. For example, an errand boy in a grocery might also
watch stock and sell to customers during the noon hour. In some
of these latter cases children were employed in two different types
of occupation at the same time, as when a boy employed by a real
estate dealer to run errands was given typewriting to do when not
needed for his major occupation, or when a girl employed for sowing
by a dressmaker was sent on errands. These supplementary occuations, however, would usually be expected from the nature of
the work originally designated and can hardly be considered as
evading any safeguard of the law. The cases of the first kind, in
which a child was put at-work essentially different from that for
which the employer stated that he was hired, were comparatively few.
It more often happened that a child was transferred to another
occupation than that specified on his promise of employment after
he had been at work for a time, and these cases give a conservative
measure of the employment of children in occupations not contem­
plated by the issuing officer or the examining physician when the
certificate was issued. In over one-eighth, 13.5 per cent, of all the
positions held by the children interviewed, as appears in Table 128,
the children were actually transferred from one occupation to
another. Most of these transfers, however, were to similar occupa­
tions. In 7.9 per cent of their positions the children were transferred
to another occupation of the same kind, so far as the occupational
classification adopted for this report is concerned, as the one for
which the certificate was made out.* In about 1 case out of 20, 5.6
per cent, they were transferred to an occupation of a different class.
Boys were not shifted so often from one occupation to another in
the same position as were girls. About one-eighth, 12.8 per cent, of
the positions held by girls showed occupational shifts within the
same classification, but only about one-half as large a proportion, 6
per cent, showed occupational shifts to other classifications.
98 Acts

of 1919, ch. 514, sec. 58, as amended b y acts of 1913, ch. 779, sec. 16.


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Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

260
T

Th e

able

w o r k in g

c h il d r e n

of

boston

.

1 2 8 . — Change o f occupation in a p osition by occupation and sex o f child; regular,

p osition s held by children interviewed.

Regular positions.

Occupation and sex of child.
Total.

Both sexes........................................................
Personal and domestic occupations...................
Factory and mechanical occupations................
Factory operative.............................................
Shoe factory.................................................
Clothing factory, and other needle
t r a d e s .....................................................
Other factory...............................................
Apprentice and helper— skilled trades___
Clerical occupations, wrapping, selling, and
delivery of goods.......... ........................................
Office work...........................................................
Cash and messenger work— department
store...................................................................
Packing, wrapping, labeling, and shipping-room work.............................................
Messenger work, errand and delivery____
Selling.....................................................................
A ll other occupations...........................................
B o y s...................................................................
Personal and domestic occupations...................
Factory and mechanical occupations................
Factory operative............................................. .
Shoe factory................................................
Clothing factory, and other needle
trades.......................................................
Other factory..............................................
Apprentice and helper— skilled trades.. .
Clerical occupations, wrapping, selling, and
delivery of goods....................................................
Office.work......................................... .................
Cash and messenger work—department
store...................................................................
Packing, wrapping, labeling, and ship­
ping-room work............................................
Messenger work, errand and delivery
Selling............................................... ................
All other occupations..............................................

1,943

Showing an oc­ Showing an oc­
cupational shift cupational shift Showing no oc­
in same classi­ to another clas­ cupational shift.
fication.
sification.

N um ­
ber.

Per
cent.1

N um ­
ber.

Per
cent.1

N um ­
ber.

154

7.9

108

5.6

¡1,681

86.5

86

96.6
81.3
80.5
68.3

3.4
14.8
15.5
25.1

89
588
563
199

13.0
7.3
1,248

101
213

31

14.6

4.2

158
159
25

85.4

1,100

88.1

92

91.1

173

81.2

88.8

« 1,093
90.9
89.3
84.1
3.2
872
73

786

Girls....................................................................

850

Personal and domestic occupations...................
Factory and mechanical occupations..............
Factory operative.............................................
Shoe factory................................................
Clothing factory, and other needle
trades................................................. .......
Other factory............................................ ..
Clerical occupations, wrapping, selling, and
delivery of goods........................................ ...........
Office work..........................................................
Cash and messenger work— department
store...................................................................
Packing, wrapping, labeling, and ship­
ping-room work............................................
Messenger work, errand and delivery___
Selling...................................................................

51
423
423
130

5.9
18.9
18.9
34.6

177
116

13.0
10.3

109

66

90.1
90.4

48
328
328
78

94.1
77.5
77.5
60.0

12. i

376
28

26

6.9

*158

20

12.7

1 N ot shown where base is less than 50.
a Including one position for which occupation was not reported.


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Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

478
453
136

Per
cent.1

81.2

85.3
85.3

20

9.6

314
26

83.5

3.2

133

84.2

12.9
23.0

82.9
74.7

O C C U P A T IO N S .

261

The shifting from one occupation to another in the same position
as naturally most likely to occur in establishments employing a
considerable number of children in different occupations. It is not
surprising to find, therefore, that the largest proportion of positions
in which girls changed their occupations was found among the shoefactory operatives. Most of these changes, however, were to similar
occupations. More than one-third, 34.6 per cent, of the shoe-factory
operative positions held by girls involved changes of occupation
within the same classification and only about one-twentieth, 5.4 per
cent, to different classifications. Among positions in clothing fac­
tories and other needle trades, which were generally in much smaller
establishments than shoe factories, only a little over one-eighth, 13
per cent, of those held by girls involved changes within the same
classification, while only 1.7 per cent involved changes to another
classification. Outside of factories, the only positions in which
much shifting occurred were those in which the original occupation
was classified as cash or messenger work in department stores. Onefifth, 20 per cent, of the positions so classified which were held by
boys and about one-eighth, 12.7 per cent, of those held by girls showed
^occupational shifts within the same classification and 7.3 per cent of
he boys’ positions and 3.2 per cent of the girls’ positions showed
occupational shifts to different classifications.
One important fact brought out in this table is that in nearly onefourth, 23 per cent, of all the cases in which girls were employed for
messenger, errand, and delivery work and in about one-eighth, 12.9
per cent, of those in which they were employed for “ packing, wrap­
ping, labeling, and shipping-room w ork” they were transferred to
occupations of an entirely different character. Evidently the occu­
pation tables already given, which are based upon the first kind of
work carried on in each position, must exaggerate the amount of work
done by girls in these two groups.
Evidently, too, a promise of employment specifying that a girl is
to be employed in one of these classes of occupations is peculiarly
weak evidence as to what she is actually likely to be called upon to
do. In many cases the shift of occupation is a benefit to the child,
as when a girl employed to do errands in a dressmaking or millinery
establishment is given sewing when she is not needed for errands,
and is thus afforded an opportunity to learn at least a little of the
trade. In a case in which the physician would not have certified that
the child was able to do any and every kind of work the shift may
sily be to an occupation which he would not have approved, and
e protection of his certificate may be thus entirely removed.
T IM E W O R K E D .

At the time of this study most of the children were still at work,
many of them in their first regular positions. How long they may

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.

262

THE

W O R K IN G

C H IL D R E N

OF B O ST O N .

have stayed in these positions after the date of the interview or after
their sixteenth birthdays was not a point included in the study,
which covered the industrial histories of the interviewed children
only up to the time they were questioned by bureau agents and of
the other children only up to their sixteenth birthdays. It was there­
fore not possible to ascertain the average length of time that the
children remained in positions in different occupations. The number
of first regular positions which ended within specified periods could
be ascertained, however, with a fair degree of accuracy for the children
interviewed.94 Table 129 shows the rate at which first regular posi­
tions in different occupations were terminated.
The largest proportion of short-term positions— that is, of positions
lasting less than three months—was found, as would be expected, in
cash and messenger work in department stores. Of all the first
regular positions in this occupation more than one-half, 53 per cent,
lasted less than three months; of all those held by girls alone the
percentage terminated during this period was even higher, 57.9 per
cent. Nearly one-sixth, 16 per cent, of all these positions, and over
one-fifth, 21.2 per cent, of those held by girls, lasted less than a week;
while over one-third, 35 per cent, of all, and 36.7 per cent of those
held by girls lasted from one week to one month. In other words
more than one-half, 51 per cent, of all first regular positions for cas
and messenger work in department stores, and not far from threefifths, 57.9 per cent, of those held by girls lasted less than one month.
The great majority of these positions were evidently temporary in
character, for special seasons such as the period just before Christ­
mas or for sales. It should be noted, however, that a considerable
number of permanent positions for this type of work were evidently
open to children, for over one-third, 36 per cent, of all the children—
though a smaller proportion, only 31.1 per cent of the girls— who first
entered this occupation appear to have held their positions for at least
a year.
94 j n calculating the percentages a small proportion of first positions not terminated before the end of 12
months have been treated as if they lasted the full 12 m onths. The percentages in the table, therefore,
slightly understate the proportion terminated before 1 2 months and slightly overstate the proportion that
terminated at 12 months and over. That errors are not great is shown in the following table, in which an
estimate has been made of the total number of positions that womd have terminated before the end of the

year based on the proportion among the known cases.
P e r cent o f children com mencing work whose positions terminated in specified period.

Period.

Under 1 week— ........................
1 week but under 1 m onth—
1 monti} but under 3 months.
3 months but under 6 months


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Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

Uncor­
rected.

Cor­
rected.

Period.

months but under 9 m onth s..
9 months but under 12 months.
12 months and over...................... .
6

Cor­
Uncor­
rected. rected.

6.6
4 .5
36.2

OCCUPATION'S.

263

Another occupation in which the percentage of first positions held
for less than three months was unusually high was work as operatives
in clothing factories and other needle trades. First positions in
this occupation were held for less than three months by over twofifths, 43.6 per cent, of all children, and by a still larger proportion,
45.7 per cent, of the girls concerned. Very few of these positions,
however, were terminated within a week and about one-fourth, 24.2
per cent, within from one to three months. At the same time com­
paratively few clothing factory and needle trades positions, as com­
pared with other occupations, lasted for 12 months or more. For
both sexes the proportion lasting that long was not quite threetenths, 29 per cent, and for girls it was about one-fourth, 25.4 per
cent. This is doubtless due to the fact that a large part of the work
in clothing factories and other needle trades is seasonal in character,
but the rush seasons are much longer than the sales periods of de­
partment stores.
Office work and “ messenger, errand, and delivery w ork” showed
the highest proportions, 72 per cent for the former and 70.5 per
cent for the latter, of positions lasting three months or longer.
Office work also showed the highest proportion, 44 per cent, of
positions lasting a year or over. Even in messenger work consider­
ably more than one-third, 37.7 per cent, of all the first regular
positions held lasted a year or more. In positions lasting for 12
months or more, however, shoe factories ranked higher than
messenger work. Of all the first regular positions for work as opera­
tives in shoe factories considerably more than two-fifths, 43.7 per
cent and nearly half, 48.3 per cent, of those entered by girls, were
held for a year or over. Comparatively few positions in these occu­
pations, as compared with those in occupations which had high pro­
portions of short-time positions, were terminated, as will be seen
later,95 by the discharge of the children.
The positions held by girls generally lasted for shorter periods
than those held by boys. Over two-fifths, 41 per cent, of all the
first positions held by girls lasted less than three months, and about
one-twelfth, 8.7 per cent, of them lasted less than a week, whereas of
those held by boys less than one-third, 32.1 per cent, lasted less than
three months and a very small proportion, only 2.5 per cent, less than
a week. At the same time the proportion of positions lasting 12
months and over which were held by girls and by boys did not differ
reatly, 34.7 per cent and 36.3 per cent, respectively. The failure of
girls to hold their positions for as long periods as boys was undoubtai See Table 135, pp. 282-283.


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Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

264

T H E W O R K IN G C H IL D R E N OF BOSTON .

T a b l e 129. — D uration o f first regular position by occupation arid sex; children interviewed.

Children whose first regular positions terminated

Less than 3 months.

Occupation and sex.

Total.
Total.

Less than
one week.

One week
but less
than 1
month.

One month
but less
than 3
months.

N u m - Per N um ­ Per N um ­ Per N um ­ Per
her. cent.1 ber. cent.1 ber. cent.1 ber. cent.1

B oth sexes................. .........................................
Personal and domestic occupations......................
Factory and mechanical occupations................. .
Factory operative.................................................
Shoe factory...........................1.......................
Clothing factory, etc....................................
Other factory.................................................
Apprentice and helper, skilled trades..........
Clerical occupations, wrapping, selling and
delivery of goo d s......................................................
Office work..............................................................
Cash and messenger work— department
store.............................. ....................................... .
Packing, wrapping, labeling, and shippingroom w o rk ........................................................ .
Messenger work, errand and delivery..........
Selling.......................................................................
A ll other occupations.......................... ........... ..........

823

558
50

100

Girls................. ....................... ........................... .
Personal and domestic occupations......................
Factory and mechanical occupations................. .
Factory operative....................... ....................... .
Shoe factory.................................................. .
Clothing factory, etc.................................. .
Other factory................ ....................
Clerical occupations, wrapping, selling and
delivery of goods............................... . . . . . . ........... .
Office work.......................................................... .
Cash and messenger work— department
store......................................................................
Packing, wrapping, labeling and shippingroom w ork.........................................................
Messenger work, errand and delivery.........
Selling.....................................................................
1 N ot shown when base is less th an 50.


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Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

35.9

42

5.1

129

15.7

36.3
38.0
35.6
43.6
36.1

14.7
15.4
19.5
14.5

35.1
28.0

16.1

13.4
16.0

10.0
16.0

15.1
16.9
17.6
13.7
24.2
16.7

11.1

16

53

124

2.0

35

14.0

153

B o y s......................................................................
Personal and domestic occupations......................
Factory and mechanical occupations................. .
Factory operative................................................
Shoe factory....................................................
Clothing factory, etc.................................. .
Other factory.................................................
Apprentices and helpers, skilled tra d e s.. . .
Clerical occupations, wrapping, selling and
delivery of goods..................................................... .
Office w ork....... ......................................................
Cash and messenger work— department
store......................................................................
Packing, wrapping, labeling and shippingroom work..................... ................................. ..
Messenger work, errand and delivery..........
Selling........................................... ..................... ..
A ll other occupations___ „•......... ............................ .

295

32.1

12

2.5

64

34.3
40.4

394
33

121

29

12

30.7

11

2.8

77
14.9
17.5

21.1

13.2

14.7

17.9

30.4

346

71

142

41

16.1

14.7

30

8.7

65

47

37.2
37.2
32.8
45.7

14.6
14.6
19.0
15.3

16.4
16.4
10.3
25.4

45.7

23.2

10.4

15

26

36.7

265

OCCUPATIONS,
T a b l e 129.-

-D u ra tion o f first regular p osition by occu pa tion and sex; children
interview ed —Concluded.

Children whose first regular positions terminated in—

Three months and over.

Occupation and sex.
Total.1

3 months
but less
than 6
months.

6 months
but less
than 9
months.

9 months
but less
than 12
months.

12 months
and over.1

Num- Per N um - Per Num - Per N um - Per Num ber. cent.5 ber. cent.5 ber. cent.5 ber. cent.5 ber. cent.2
Both sexes.................. , .......................

528

Personal and domestic occupations........ .
Factory and mechanical occupations___
Factory operative.................................. .
Shoe factory..................................... .
Clothing factory, etc..................... .
Other factory................... ............... .
Apprentice and helper,skilled trades.
Clerical occupations, wrapping, selling
and delivery of goods.................................
Office w ork......................... .......................
Cash and messenger work— depart­
m ent store...............................................
Packing, wrapping, labeling, and
shipping-room w ork...........................
Messenger work, errand and delivery.
Selling...................................................... ..
A ll other occupations...................................

64.1

139

16.9

54

6.6

37-

4.5

298

36.2

18
147 63.7
137 62.0
56 64.4
35 56.4
46 •64.0
10

5
35
33
11
9
13
2

15.1
14.9
12.6
14.5
18.1

6
14
12
5
3
4
2

6.1
5 .4
5.7
4 .8
5.6

1
9
8
2
5
1
1

3.9
3.6
2 .3
8.1
1.4

6
89
84
38
18
28
5

38.5
38.0
43.7
29.0
38.9

362
36

64.9
72.0

98
9

17.6
18.0

34
3

6.1
6 .0

27
2

4 .8
4.0

203
22

36.4
44.0

47

47.0

7

2.0

2

2 .0

36

36.0
37.7

36.3

7.0

2

11
61
10
1

18.5

1
26
2

7.9

21
2

6.4

12
124
9

67.9

82

17.2

36

7.5

28

5 .9

178

65.7
59.7

1
12
10
4

17.9
17.5

2
4
2
2

6.0
3 .5

1
3
2
1

24
23223
1

70.5

Boys..........................................................

324

Personal and domestic occupations..........
Factory and mechanical occupations___
Factory operative....................................
Shoe factory.......................................
Clothing factory, e tc .......................
Other factory, ......................... .........
Apprentices and helpers, skilled
trades....... ............................ , .................
Clerical occupations, wrapping, selling
and delivery of goods..................................
Office w ork................................................
Cash and messenger work— depart­
ment store. ........................................
Packing, wrapping, labeling and
shipping room w ork...........................
Messenger work, errand, and delivery
S ellin g;........................ ...............................
A ll other occupations......... ..........................

6
44
34
17
8
14

—

273
25

2
69.3

68
4

17

1

9
208
14
1

4
53
6
1

59.0

57

62.8
62.8
67.3
54.2

4
23
23
7
9
7

—

69.5
_________

G i r l s ...,.............................. ...................

204.

Personal and domestic occupations..........
Factory and mechanical occupations...
Factory operative....................................
Shoe factory............... .......................
Clothingfactory, e tc .......................
Otherf actory............................... .
Clerical occupations, wrapping, selling
and delivery of goods............. ....................
Office w ork.................................................
Cash and messenger work—depart­
m ent store . . . ...... ................... ...........
Packing, wrapping, labeling, and
shipping-room work............ ...............
.Messenger work, errand and delivery,
fe llin g ...........................................................

12
103
103
39
32
32

1

6

10

17.3

30
2

7.6

24
2

6.1

2

151
17

38.4

14

17.7

1
26
1

8.7

19
1

6.3

4
110
6

36.8

19.7

18

6.2

9

3.1

120

34.7

14.0
14.0
12.1
15.3

4
10
10
3
3
4

6.1
6.1
5 .2
5.1

6
6
1
5

3 .7
3 .7
1.7
8.5

4
64
64
28
15
21

39.0
39.0
48.3
25.4

3

1.8

52
5

31.7

22

31.1

54.2

30
5

18.3

4
1

2 .4

30

42.3

6

8.5

2

2 .8

7
8
4

37.4
35.1

1

2

89
11

15
24
9

4.5
3.5

2
25
20
10
g
7

1

2
1

g
14
3

1 A l l the first regular positions which were not terminated at the date of the interview were considered
have lasted for 12 months or over; 66.1 per cent of them had already lasted 12 months or over; 16.6
per cent had already lasted from 9 to 12 months; and 12.9 per cent had lasted from 6 to 9 m onths. See
Appendix Table I I I , p. 361.
2 N ot shown where base is less than 50.

4 9 4 7 0 °— 2 2-

-18


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266

T H E W O R K IN G C H IL D R E N OF BOSTO N .

edly due primarily to their choice of occupations, particularly to
their employment in such seasonal occupations as operative work JB
clothing factories and other needle trades, and in department store
“ sales.”
HOURS OF LABOR.

Decided differences were found in the weekly hours of labor re­
quired in the different occupations. Of the 84 cases already men­
tioned in which the weekly hours were less than 36, Table 130 shows
that 37 were positions for messenger, errand, and delivery work, 13
for personal and domestic occupations, 7 for cash and messenger
work in department stores, and 5 each for office work and for work as
operatives in clothing factories and other needle trades. But the
largest proportion of such positions in any one occupation was 14.6
per cent for personal and domestic occupations. For no other kind
of occupation except selling was the proportion of positions in which
the hours were less than 36 a week higher than the 5 per cent shown
for office work. For all positions in factory and mechanical occupa­
tions it was only 1.2 per cent. All such positions in factory and
mechanical occupations and also for cash and messenger work in
department stores were held by girls, and all those for messenger,
errand, and delivery work by boys.
Of the 125 positions in which the horns were very long, 54 or over
weekly, 62, or about half, were for messenger, errand, and delivery
work, but 23 were in personal and domestic and 22 in factory and
mechanical occupations. Nevertheless in over one-fourth, 25.8 per
cent, of the whole group of positions in personal and domestic serv­
ice, as compared with 8.2 per cent of those in messenger, errand, and
delivery work and with only 3.7 per cent of those in factory and me­
chanical occupations these hours were required. In considerably
over one-third, 37.3 per cent, of the personal and domestic positions
held by girls, the hours were over 54 a week; but most of the messen­
ger, errand, and delivery work positions in which these were the
hours, 58 out of 62, were held by boys.
Messenger, errand, and delivery work again took the lead in the
number of positions in which the hours were over 48 but under 54.
Of 172 such positions 85 were for this class of occupations, but 53
were for factory and mechanical occupations, 32 of them for work as
operatives in clothing factories and other needle trades. In over
one-sixth, 17.3 per cent, of the latter positions the hours were between
48 and 54 a week. All but three of these positions were held
girls. But 78 of the 85 messenger work positions were held by boys.


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O C C U PA TIO N S.

267

In most occupations a large majority of the children worked either
■from 86 to 48 hours or exactly 48 hours a week. In factory and
mechanical occupations these two hour groups together included
83.5 per cent of all the positions, the larger proportion, 46.3 per cent,
being in the group where the hours were from 36 to 48. In shoe fac­
tories,. however, over nine-tenths, 92.9 per cent, of the positions
required from 36 to 48 or exactly 48 horns work, and in the larger pro­
portion, 64.3 per cent, or not far from two-thirds, the hours were
exactly 48 a week. On the other hand, of the factory and mechanical
occupations specifically enumerated, work as operatives in clothing
factories and other needle trades showed the smallest proportion,
74.1 per cent, of positions in which the hours belonged in one of these
two groups. In over one-half, 53 per cent, of these positions, the
hpurs were from 36 to 48 and in only a little over one-fifth, 21.1 per
cent, they were exactly 48. It appears, therefore, that of all the
factory and mechanical occupations in which the work of children
under 16 was used to any considerable extent, their hours varied
most in clothing factories and other needle trades, where in nearly
one-fourth, 23.8 per cent, of all the positions held the weekly hours
were either less than 36 or more than 48. These variations in hours
„affected the work of girls far more than that of boys, for 177 out of
the 185 positions in this occupation were held b y girls.
The weekly hours in clerical and similar occupations showed wider
variations in general than those in factory and mechanical occupa­
tions. The proportion of all positions for clerical and similar work
in which the hours were either 36 but less than 48, or exactly 48,
was 77.6 per cent, the larger proportion, 41.9 per cent, being in the
group where the hours were exactly 48 a week. But even greater
differences in the matter of hours were found between the different
occupations included in this group than between those included in
the group of factory and mechanical occupations. For example,
the hours were 36 but less than 48 in over two-thirds, 67.3 per cent,
of the office work positions but in only a little over one-half, 51 per
cent, of the positions for packing, wrapping, labeling, and shippingroom work, and for less than one-sixth, 14.6 per cent, of those for
cash and messenger work in department stores. On the other hand,
they were exactly 48 in about one-fifth, 20.8 per cent, of the office
work positions, in over one-third, 36.5 per cent, of the positions for
packing, wrapping, labeling, and shipping-room work, and in almost,
four-fifths, 77.9 per cent, of those for cash and messenger work in
department stores. In the last-named occupation, cash and mes­
senger work in department stores, the hours were more frequently
exactly 48 than in any other, and in only 6.1 per cent of these posi-


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Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

268

th e

T able

w o r k in g

c h il d r e n

of

boston

.

130.— H ours w eekly, by occupation and sex o f child; regular position s held by
children interview ed.

Regular positions’showing specified number of
hours weekly.

Occupation and sex.

A ll
regular
posi-

36, under 48.

Under 36.

N um ­
ber.

Per
cent.1

N um ­
ber.

48 even.

N um ­
Per
ber.
cen t.1

Per
cent.1

B oth sexes.......................................................... s i , 943

84

4.3

735

37.8

760

39.1

89
588
563
199

13
7
7

14.6
1.2
1.2

13
272
258
57

14.6
46.3
45.8
28.6

15
219
214
128

16.9
37.2
38.0
64.3

185
179
25

5
2

2.7
1.1

98
103
14

53.0
57.5

39
47
5

21.1
26.3

1,248
101

59
5

4 .7
5.0

446
68

35.7
67.3

523
21

41.9
20.8

213

7

3.3

31

14.6

166

77.9

53
270
24
4

51.0
35.8
31.6

38
283
15
3

36.5
37.5
19.7

409

37.4

389

35^6

45.5
43.6
33.3

5
61
56
41

37.940.0
59.4

Clothing factory and other needle
Ap pi t/ii iico £ind Ii6lp6r^ slvillGd trjidcs - - - - *
Clerical occupations, wrapping, selling, and
Cash and messenger work— department
Packing, wrapping, labeling, and shipMessenger work, errand, and delivery.........
A ll other occupations.................................................

104
754
76
17

4 .9
37
13.2
10
5 ...............

B o y s..................................................... - .............. s 1,093

60

38
165
140
69

7

Clothing factory and other needle

.5.5

7
75
61
23

8
63
25

Clerical occupations, wrapping, selling, and
872
73

48
3

3
35
14

55.6

15
5

23.8

5 .5
4.1

323
53

37.0
72.6

320
14

36.7
19.2

18.2

40

72.7

Cash and messenger work— department
55

10

34
667
43
17

37
8
5

5.5

13
233
14
4

850

24

2 .8

326

38.4

371

43.6

51
423
423
130

6
7
7

11.8
1.7
1.7

6
197
197
34

11.8
46.6
46.6
26.2

10
158
158
87

19.6
37.4
37.4
66.9

177
116

5
2

2 .8
1.7

95
68

53.7
58.6

39
32

22.0
27.6

376
28

11
2

2 .9

123
15

32.7

203
7

54.0

158

7

4 .4

21

13.3

126

79.7

40
37
10

57.1
42.5

24
38
8

34.3
43.7

Packing, wrapping, labeling, and shipMessenger work, errand, and delivery.........

Clothing factory and other needle
Clerical occupations“, wrapping, selling, and
Cash and messenger work— department
Packing, wrapping, labeling, and ship70
87
33

2

1 N ot shown where base is less than 50.
Including one positionf or which occupation was not reported.

2


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Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

34.9

14
245
7
3

36.7

269

O C C U P A T IO N S.
T able

130.— H ours w eekly, by occu pation and sex o f child; regular p osition s held by
children interview ed —Concluded.
Regular positi ons showing spec ified number of
hours weekly.

Occupation and sex.

Over 48, under
54.

N um ­
ber.

54 or over.

N ot reported.

Per
cent.1

N um ­
ber.

172

8.9

125

6.4

*67

3.4

8
53
50
7
32
11
3

9.0
9.0
8.9
3 .5
17.3
6.1

23
22
20
3
7
10
2

25.8
3.7
3.6
1.5
3.8
5.6

17

19.1
2.6
2 .5
2.0
2.2
3.4

111
3
6

8.9
3.0
2.8

76
2

6.1
2.0

33
2
3

2.6
2.0
1.4

9
85
8

8.7
11.3
10.5

1
62
11
4

1.0
8.2
14.5

3
17
8
1

2.9
2.3
10.5

Boys.......................................................................................

114

10.4

85

7.8

*36

3.3

Personal and domestic occupations.......................................
fa cto ry and mechanical occupations..................................
Factory operative...................................................
Shoe factory....................................................................
Clothing factory and other needle trades............
Other factory.........................................................
Apprentice and helper—skilled trades....................
Clerical"occupations, wrapping, selling, and delivery of
goods.....................................................................................
Office w ork................................................. ..................
Cash and messenger work— department store..........
Packing, wrapping, labeling, and shipping-room
work...........................................................................
Messenger work, errand, and delivery.........................
Selling.........................................................................
All. other occupations..................................................................

7
14
11
3
3
5
3

6 .7
6.4
1.4

8
4
3
1

2.4
2.1
1.4

Both sexes.........................................................
Personal and domestic occupations....................................
Factory and mechanical occupations...................................
Factory operative.................................................................
Shoe factory..........................................................
Clothing factory and other needle trades..........
Other factory.................................................................
Apprentice and helper— skilled trades........................
Clericaloccupations, wrapping, selling, and delivery of
goods.......................................................................
Office w ork...........................................................
Cash and messenger work— department store.. .
Packing, wrapping, labeling, and shipping-room
work.................................................................
Messenger work, errand, and delivery.........................
Selling............................................................
A ll other occupations................................................................

8.5
7.9
4.3
7.9

4
11
9
1
2
6
2

Per
cent.1

N um ­
ber.

14
4
4
6
1

Per
cent.1

9 .5

2
1

3.2

66
1

7.6
1.4

22
1

2.5
1.4

8.7

1
16
4
1

2.4

93
1
5

10.7
1.4
9.1

5
78
4

11.7

1
58
6
4

Girls.......................................................................................

58

6 .8

40

4.7

31

3.6

Personal and domestic occupations......................................
Factory and mechanical occupations...................................
Factory operative.............................................
Shoe factory........................................
Clothing factory and other needle trades............
Other factory................................. ................................
Clerical occupations, wrapping, selling, and delivery of
goods.................................................................................
Office w ork.................................................
Cash and messenger work— department store..........
Packing, wrapping, labeling, *and shipping-room
work......................................................................................
Messenger work, errand, and delivery.........................
Selling......................................................................................

1
39
39
4
29
6

2 .0
9.2
9.2
3.1
16.4
5.2

19
11
11
2
5
4

37.3
2.6
2 .6
1.5
2 .8
3 .4

9
11
11
3
4
4

17.6
2.6
2.6
2.3
2.3
3.4

18
2
1

4.8

10
1

2.7

11
1
3

2.9

4
7
4

5.7
8 .0

2
i
4

2. Q
l .i

.6
4
5

4.6

1.9

1 N ot shown where base is less than 50.
* Including one position for which occupation was not reported.

tions were the hours either under 36 or over 48 a week. In no occu­
pation except, perhaps, work as operatives in shoe factories, were the
weekly hours of girls as generally within the limit of from 36 to 48,
inclusive, as in cash and messenger work in department stores.


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Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

270

T H E W O R K IN G C H IL D R E N OF BOSTON .

The occupation in which the hours of boys varied most widely,
with the single exception of personal and domestic occupations, was
that classified as messenger, errand, and delivery work. In over
one-fourth, 25.9 per cent, of all the positions for messenger, errand,
and delivery work held by boys, as might be expected from the pre­
ceding discussion, the hours were either less than 36 or more than 48
weekly. The proportion of cases, 36.7 per cent, in which they were
exactly 48 was somewhat larger than the proportion, 34.9 per cent,
in which they were 36 but less than 48.
The largest proportion of unusual hours for both boys and girls
was found, as might be expected, in personal and domestic occupa­
tions. Of all the positions held by both sexes in these occupations
only 16.9 per cent required exactly 48 hours and 14.6 per cent required
36 but less than 48 hours a week. In nearly one-half, 49.4 per cent,
of these positions, and in over one-half, 51.1 per cent, of those held by
girls, the weekly hours were either less than 36 or more than 48.
PIECE AND TIME WORK.

In about one-eighth, 12.6 per cent, of all their positions, as shown
in Table 131, the children were engaged in piecework. Nearly fourfifths, 195 out of 244, of these positions were in factory and mechan­
ical occupations, 119 of them, or nearly one-half, being in shoe factones. The only other type of occupation in which any considerable
proportion of positions involved piecework was 11packing, wrapping,
labeling, and shipping-room work,” and in less than one-sixth, 15.4
per cent, of these positions, as compared with about one-third, 33.2
per cent, of those in factory and mechanical occupations and with
nearly three-fifths, 59.8 per cent, of those in shoe factories alone,
were the children engaged in piecework. Because of the decided
tendency of girls to enter the occupations involving piecework a
much larger proportion of the girls than of the boys, 19.9 per cent as
compared with 6.9 per cent, held positions in which they were paid
by the piece.
The initial wages of both sexes combined were decidedly higher in
time-work than in piecework positions. Table 132 shows that in
18.4 per cent of the piecework positions, as compared with only 3.5
per cent of the time-work positions, were wages less than $3 a week.
In over three-fourths, 76.6 per cent, of the piecework positions, as
compared with little more than two-thirds, 68. 3 per cent, of the tunework positions, were they less than $5. On the other hand, they
were $5 or more in over one-fourth, 25. 6 per cent, of the time-work
but less than one fifth, 19.7 per cent, of the piecework positions.


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Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

271

O C C U P A T IO N S.
T able

131.— K in d o f work, by occupation and sex o f child; regular p osition s held by
children interview ed.

Regular positions showing specified kind of work.

Occupation and sex of child.

Both sexes..........................................

A ll
reg­ Time-work.
N o cash
Not
Piecework.
ular
wage.
reported.
posi­
tions.
N um ­ Per N um ­ Per N um ­ Per N um ­ Per
ber. cent.1 ber. cent. ber. cent.1 ber. cent.1
*1,943 1,632 84.0

244

12.6

42

Personal and domestic occupations.......................
89
74 83.1
Factory and mechanical occupations....................
588
360 61.2
Factory operative............. ‘ ................................. 563
336 59.7
Shoe factory..........................................
199
74 37.2
Clothing factory and other needle trades. 185
128 69.2
Other factory................................................
179
134 74.9
Apprentice and helper—skilled trades........
25
24
Clerical occupations, wrapping, selling, and
delivery of goods..............................................
1,248 1,184 94.9
Office work.............................................
101
98 97.0
Cash and messenger work— department
store.....................................
213
213 100.0
Packing, wrapping, labeling, and shippingroom work............................................
104
86 82.7
Messenger work, errand and delivery...........
754
730 96.8
Selling................ '........................
76
57 75.0
A ll other occupations................................
17
14
_____
B oys...........................................
»1,093 991 90.7

12
195
195
119
35
41

13.5
33.2
34.6
59.8
18.9
22.9

1
18
17

3.1

15
15

15

8.1

7

Personal and domestic occupations................
Factory and mechanical occupations....................
Factory operative........... .*.............................
Shoe factory......................................
Clothing factory and other needle trades.
Other factory................................................
Apprentice and helper— skilled trades........
Clerical occupations, wrapping, selling, and
delivery of goods..................................
Office work......................................
Cash and messenger work— department
store..........................................
Packing, wrapping, labeling, and shippingroom work............................. _•...........
Messenger work, errand and delivery..
Selling..............................
A ll other occupations..................

12
44
44
32
1
11

26.7
31.4
46.4

18

2.1

10
8
1

1.5

Girls....................................... . . . .
Personal and domestic occupations.......................
Factory and mechanical occupations....................
Factory operative........... .*..............
Shoe factory....................................
Clothing factory and other needle trades.
Other factory................................
Clerical occupations, wrapping, selling, and
delivery of goods................................
Office work.................................
Cash and messenger w ork-departm ent
store......................................
Packing, wrapping,labeling, and shippingroom work................................
Messenger work, errand and delivery...........
Selling...............................

38
165
140
69
8
63
25

24
115
91
34
6
51
24

872
73

838 96.1
73 100.0

55

69.7
65.0
49.3
8Î.Ô

1.3
2.2
2.6
2.7
3.0
3.8
1.1

1
36

2.9
3.0

16
12
8
1

15.4
1.6
10.5

8
11
s

75

17.5

1.1
14.5

4

^

1
■« ~ ■■ _ _s

3

1.8

1
1
1

1.6

7

1.1

1.9
.5

1.0
1.8
2.1
4 .3

55 100.0

34
667
43
17

34
646
30
14

850

641

75.4

51
423
423
130
177
116

50
245
245
40
122
83

98.0
57.9
57.9
30.8
68.9
71.6

151
151
87
34
30

376
28

346
25

92.0

18

4.8

158

158 100.0
16
2

22.9
2 .3

70
87
33

*25
_

52
84
27

96.9

74.3
96.6

4

.6

i
« t

169

1.6

35.7

1
15

2 .0
3 .5
3 .5

12
12

66.9
19.2
25.9

14
1

7.9

7

1
6

1.1

2.8
2.8
2.3
4.0
1.7

2.9

1 Not shown where base is less than 50.
? Including one position for which occupation was not reported.

The best opportunities for girls to earn the higher rates of wages
¡appear, however, to have been in piecework positions. Although
in only 9.3 per cent of the piecework as compared with 10 per cent
of the time-work positions held by boys were the initial weekly


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272

T H E W O R K IN G C H IL D R E N OF BOSTON,

T a b l e 132.— In itia l weekly wage, by kind o f work and sex o f child; regular position s

held by children interview ed.

Regular positior s showing specifl ed kind of work.
A l l regular
positions.
Time-work.

Piecework.

Initial weekly wage and sex.

Both sexes........................................

N um ­
ber.

Per
cent
dis­
tribu­
tion.

1,943
1,302
103
413
786

No
cash
wage.

N um ­
ber.

Per
cent
dis­
tribu­
tion.

N um ­
ber.

Per
cent
dis­
tribu­
tion.

100.0

1,632

100.0

244

100.0

325
14Ö
127
49

67.0
5.3
21.3
40.5
23.9
16.7
7.2
6.5
2 .5

1,114
57
364
693
417
297
120
79
22

68.3
3.5
22.3
42.5
25.6
18.2
7 .4
4.8
1.3

187
45
49
93
48
28
20
6
3

76.6
18.4
20.1
38.1
19.7
11.5
8.2
2.5
1.2

1,093

100.0

991

100.0

75

100.0

16

660
39
135
486
355
249
106
57
21

60.4
3.6
12.4
44.5
32.5
22.8
9.7
5.2
1.9

608
28
123
457
335
236
99
38
10

61.4
2.8
12.4
46.1
33.8
23.8
10.0
3.8
1.0

52
11
12
29
20
13
7
3

69.3
14.7
16.0
38.7
26.7
17.3
9 .3
4.0

16

850

100.0

641

100.0

169

100.0

26

642
64
278
300
110
76
34
70
28

75.5
7 .5
32.7
35.3
12.9
8.9
4.0
8.2
3 .3

506
29
241
236
82
61
21
41
12

78.9

135
34
37
64
28
15
13
3
3

79.9
20.1
21.9
37.9
16.6
8.9
7.7
1.8
1.8

Not
report­
ed.

42

25

Initial wage:

Boys.....................................................

1
1

1
42
24
11

Initial wage:

Girls....................................................

11

Initial wage:
37.6
36.8
12.8
9 .5
3 .3
6 .4
1.9

14
1
1

26
13

1 Including 84 positions where support or meals were given as part or whole of wage; also positions where
child worked for nothing or employer failed to pay; and where child worked for less than 1 week
piecework, or only one day each week.


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O CC U PA T IO N S.

273

IN IT IA L W E E K L Y W A G E S .

Taking both sexes together, the occupation in which the highest
proportion of positions paid initial weekly wages of $5 or over, as
shown in Table 133, was office work. In personal and domestic occu­
pations, selling, and work as operatives in clothing factories, the pro­
portions of positions in which the wages were not entirely in cash96
Were high, 42.7 per cent, 27.6 per cent, and 10.3 per cent, respec­
tively, and as a result the proportions in all other groups were com­
paratively low. With the exception of these three occupations,
where the money classification can not be considered representative
of the actual status, office work showed not only the highest propor­
tion of positions, 28.7 per cent, paying $5 or more, but also the lowest
proportion, 65.3 per cent, paying less than $5. In only one such
position were the wages less than $3, and that position was held by
a girl.
When boys alone are considered, however, factory and mechanical
occupations had the highest proportion, 41.8 per cent, of positions
paying $5 or more and the lowest proportion, 53.3 per cent, of posi­
tions paying less than $5. Although the number of apprentices and
helpers in skilled trades is too small to justify the working of per­
centages, it appears that they contributed largely to this wage
superiority of factory and mechanical occupations, for the propor­
tion of positions as factory operatives in which the wages of boys
were over $5 was less, 39.3 per cent, than the proportion, 41.8 per
cent, in all factory and mechanical occupations. For both sexes
together the highest proportion, 27 per cent, of factory operative
positions paying $5 or more was found in “ other factories/’ that
is in factories other than those making shoes, clothing or textiles.
In only one position in a factory or mechanical occupation held by
a boy, and that a position as operative in a shoe factory where the
work was doubtless paid by the piece, were the initial weekly wages
less than $3. On the other hand, the initial weekly wages were $6
or over in 18.8 per cent of all positions held by boys in factory and
mechanical occupations, but in only 16.4 per cent of the factory
operative positions— again showing, not only the decided superiority
in wages of factory and mechanical over any other class o f occupa­
tions, but also the special advantage of positions as apprentices and
helpers in skilled trades.
96 Including positions where support or meals were given as part or whole of wage; also positions where


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274

T H E W O R K IN G C H IL D R E N OF BOSTO N .

T able

133.— In itia l w eekly wage, by occu pa tion and sex; regular position s held by
children interview ed.
Regular positions showing specified initial weekly
wage.
AH
regu-

Under $5.

Occupation and sex.
posi­
tions.

Total..

Under $3.

S3 under $4. $4 unt

N um - Per N um - Per N um - Per N um - Per
ber. cent.1 ber. cent.1 ber. cent.1 ber. cent.1

B oth sexes................................... ...................... 21,943 1,302
Personal and domestic occupations.......................
89
Personal service (other than servants in the
home).....................................................................
46
House and home work........................................
43
Factory and mechanical occupations....................
588
Factory operative.................................................
563
Shoe factory....................................................
199
Clothing factory and other needle trades
185
Textile m ill........ .............................................
53
Other, factory.................................. ...............
126
Apprentice and helper— skilled trades..........
25
Clerical occupations, wrapping, selling, and de­
livery of goods.................................... . . „ ................ 1,248
Office work..............................................................
101
Cash and messenger work— department
sto r e ....................................................................
213
Packing, wrapping, labeling, and shipping104
room w ork...........................................................
Selling.............................................. .4.......................
76
Messenger work, errand, and d e liv e ry .... . .
754
A ll other occupations..................................................
17
B o y s...................................................................... H,093
Personal and domestic occupations......................
Personal service (other than servants in the
hom e)....................................................................
House and home w ork.......................................
Factory and mechanical occupations....................
Factory operative......... .....................................
Shoe factory....................................................
Clothing factory and other needle trades
Textile m ill.....................................................
Other factory..................................................
Apprentice and helper— skilled trades.........
Clerical occupations, wrapping, selling, and
delivery of goods........................... ..........................
Office! work................................ ..........' . . . . , ____
Cash and messenger work— department
store..........,•....... ..................................................
Packing, wrapping, labeling, and shippingroom work........................................................ .
Selling.......................................................................
Messenger work, errand, and delivery........ .
All other occupations........ ....................................... .
Girls............................. .......................................
Personal and domestic occupations......................
Personal service (other than servants in the
hom e)........................................................
House and home work............................
Factory and mechanical occupations____
Factory operative............... ................... .
Shoe factory........................................
Clothing factory and other needle
Textile m ill.........................................
Other factory......................................
Clerical occupations, wrapping, selling, and
delivery of goods....................... ................. .
Office w ork............................... ............... .
Cash and messenger work—department
store.............................. ....................................... .
Packing, wrapping, labeling, and shippingroom work...........................................................
Selling......................................................................
Messenger work, errand, and delivery........ .
1N ot shown where base is less than 50.


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Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

67.0

103

5.3

413

21.3

786

32.6

11

12.4

10

11.2

8

68.4
69.8
77.4
62.7
67.9
69.0

9
2
45
45
18
20
3
4

7.7
8.0
9.0
10.8
5.7
3.2

69.3
65.3

46
1

3.7
1.0

263
16

21.1
15.8

556
49

446
48.5

187

87.8

5

2.3

98

46.0

84

39.4

72
36
504
6

69.2
47.4
66.8

7
4
29
1

6.7
5.3
3.8

27
15
107

26.0
19.7
14.2

38
17
368
5

36.5
22.4
48.'8

660

60.4

39

3.6

135

12.4

486

44.5

29
21
8
402
393
154
116
36
87
9
865'
66

_

38

16

35
3
165
140
69
8
22
41
25

15
1
88
79
44
2
14
19
9

872
73

550
47

63.1
64.4

55

42

76.4

34
43
667
17

14
19
428
6

850

642

75.5

51

13

25.5

11
40
423
423
130
177
31
85

6
7
314
314
110
114
22
68

74.2
74.2
84.6
64.4

2
2
44
44
17
20
3
4

376
28

315
19

83.8

158

145

70
33
87

58
17
76

7

1
1
1

23.8
24.5
19.1
26.5
24.5
30.2

6

7
53.3
56.4
63.8

5
5
140
138
38
49
13
38
2

.6
.7
1.4

5
1
26
24
15

64.2

80.0

1
3
26
1

3.4

3
15.8
17.1
21.7

61
54
28
2
10
14
7

37.0
38.6
40.6

103
8

11.8
11.0

417
39

47.8
53.4

10

18.2

32

58.2

11
8
327
5

3.9

2
g
75

11.2

64

7.5

278

32.7

300

35.3

4

7.8

4

7.8

5

9.8

4
1
156
156
70
45
10
31

36.9
36.9
53.8
25.4

139
10

37.

ÌÓ.4
10.4
13.1
11.3
4,7

16
1

4.3

91.8

5

82.9

6
1
3

87.4

36.9
37.3
49.2
25.4
37.7
35.7

3

4
5
2
30

7
1
217
210
98
47
20
45
7

40.5

4
114
114
23
49
9
33

27. Ò
27.0
17.7
27.7
38.8

49.0

36. " 5

160
8

42.6

3.2

88

55.7

52

32.9

8.6

25
7
32

35.7

27
9

38.6

3.4

36.8

47.1

2 Including one position for which occupation was not reported.

275

Oc c u p a t i o n s .
"T a b l e

133.— In itia l w eekly wage, by occu pa tion and sex; regular p osition s held by
children interview ed —Concluded.
Regular «positions showing specified initial weekly wage.
$5 or over.
Occupation and sex.

Total.

$5 under $6.

N ot reported.

$6 or over.

N um - Per N u m - Per N um - Per N um - Per N um - Per
ber. cen t.2 ber. cent.5 ber. cent.2 ber. cent.2 ber. cent.2

/

B oth sexes............ .................................

465

23.9

325

16.7

140

7 .2

127

6 .5

8 49

2.5

Personal and domestic occupations..........
Personal service (other than servants
in the hom e)...........................................
House and home w ork...........................
Factory and mechanical occupations___
Factory operative....................................
Shoe factory.......................................
Clothing factory and other nee­
dle trades.........................................
Textile m i l l . . ....................................
Other factory.....................................
Apprentice
and
helper— skilled
trades.........................................................
Clerical occupations, wrapping, selling,
and delivery of goods.................................
Office w ork....................... ..........................
Cash and messenger work— depart­
m ent store............................. ..............
Packing, wrapping, labeling, and
shipping-room work............................
Selling...........................................................
Messenger work, errand, and delivery.
A ll other occupations......... ...........................

18

20.2

11

12.4

7

7.9

38

42.7

4

4.5

17
1
140
126
38

23.8
22.4
19.1

10
1
85
79
22

14.5
14.0
11.1

55
47
16

9.4
8.3
8.0

6
32
26
24
1

4.4
4.3
.5

2
2
20
20
6

3.4
3.6
3.0

40
14
34

21.6
26.4
27.0

25
13
19

13.5
24.5
15.1

15
1
15

8.1
1.9
11.9

19

10.3

4

3.2

10
3
1

5.4
5.7
.8

24.0
28.7

228
22

18.3
21.8

72
7

4 .8
5 .0

23
1

1.8
1.0

14
300
29

7

6

,

2

8
5.8
6 .9

60
5

20

9.4

18

8.5

2

.9

1

.5

5

2.3

27
19
205
7

26.0
25.0
27.2

18
11
159
1

17.3
14.5
21.1

9
8
46
6

8.7
10.5
6.1

1
21
32
3

1.0
27.6
4 .2

4

3.8

13
1

1.7

355

32.5

249

22.8

106

9.7

57

5.2

«21

1.9

13
^Personal and domestic occupations..........
Personal service (other than servants
13
in 4 h e h o m e )...........................................
House and home w ork...........................
69 41.8
Factory and mechanical occupations___
Factory operative.......................... ..........
55 39.3
21 30.4
Shoe factory................. .....................
Clothing factory and other nee­
5
dle trades........................................
8
Textile m ill.........................................
21
Other factory.....................................
Apprentice
and
helper—skilled
trades........................................................
14
Clerical occupations, wrapping, selling,
and delivery of goods..................................
266 30.5
Office w ork................................................. ' 24 . 32.9
Cash and messenger work— depart­
12 21.8
m ent store...............................................
Packing, wrapping, labeling, and
19
shipping-room work............................
Selling..........................................................
14
197 29.5
Messenger work, errand, and delivery.
7
A ll other occupations.....................................

8

B oys...........................................................

5
5

8
38
32
12

7

23.0
22.9
17.4

2
7
11

31
23
9

18.8
16.4
13.0

8
64
7

7.3
9.6

10

18.2

2

3.6

22.6

1.8
2.1
4.3

4 .8
1.4

14
1

1.6
1.4

1

1.8

4.5

12
1

1.8

2

23.2
23.3

4
5
46
6

3
3
3

1

202
17

15
9
151
1

2
3.0
2.1
1.4

1

3
1
10

6

5
2
5
3
1

2

6.9

42
1

1
10
30
3

Girls...........................................................

110

12.9

76

8.9

34

4.0

70

8 .2

28

3.3

Personal and domestic occupations..........
Personal service (other than servants
in the h om e).......................................
House and home w ork...........................
Factory and mechanical occupations___
Factory operative....................................
Shoe factory......... .....:......................
Clothing factory and other nee­
dle trades.........................................
Textile m ill.........................................
Other factory....... ....................... .. .
Clerical occupations, wrapping, selling,
and delivery of goods..................................
Office work . 1 .............................................
Cash and messenger work— depart­
m ent store..................... j .......................
Packing, wrapping, labeling, and
shipping-room work............................
Selling...........................................................
Messenger work, errand, and delivery.

5

9.8

3

5.9

2

3.9

31

60.8

2

3.9

4
1
71
71
17

16.8
16.8
13.1

2
1
47
47
10

11.1
11.1
7.7

24
24
7

1
30
21
21

5.0
5.0

2
17
17
3

4.0
4.0
2.3

35
6
13

23
6
8

13.0

12

6.8

18

10.2

9.4

5

5.9

3

3.5

10
3
1

5.6

15.3

26
5

6.9

8

2.1

18
4

4 .8

9

2.4

1

.6

5
3

7.1

34
5

19.8

9.0

2

8

5.1

8

5.1

8
5
8

11.4

3
2
8

4.3

9.2

9.2

5.7
5.7
5.4

11
2

2.3

1.2

4

2.5

4

5.7

1

1.1

1 Including positions where support or meals were given as part or whole of wage; also positions where
child worked for nothing or employer failed to pay; and where he worked for less than one week on piece­
work or only one day each week.
* Not shown where base is less than 50.
* Including one position for which occupation was not reported.


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276

T H E W O R K IN G C H IL D R E N OF BOSTON .

Even for girls, less than one-tenth, 9 per cent, of all positions in
the entire group of clerical and other similar occupations, as com­
pared with about one-sixth, 16.8 per cent, of positions in the group
of factory and mechanical occupations, paid initial weekly wages of
$5 or more. Though the proportion of shoe factory positions held
by girls in which these wages were paid was somewhat smaller, 13.1
per cent, that of positions in clothing factories and other needle
trades was even larger, 19.8 per cent, than for the group as a whole.
In more than half, 53.8 per cent, of the positions held by girls in
shoe factories the initial weekly wages were $4 but less than $5.
At the same time the wide range of wages paid to girls in these occu­
pations is shown by the fact that in about one-tenth, 10.4 per cent,
of all their positions in factory and mechanical occupations, in more
than one-eighth, 13.1 per cent, of those in shoe factories, and in
about one-ninth, 11.3 per cent, of those in clothing factories and
other needle trades, their weekly wages were less than $3. Upon
the whole, however, the weekly wages paid girls in factory and
mechanical occupations were comparatively high— a fact which
should be considered in connection with the fact already mentioned
that these were the occupations in which piece work was common,
and with the further fact that girls received higher wages in piecework
than in timework positions.
Wages for cash and messenger work in department stores were
lower than in any other occupation. The most common wage for
this occupation was $3 but less than $4, which was paid in almost
half, 46 per cent, of all the positions held by both sexes and in con­
siderably more than one-half, 55.7 per cent, of those held by girls.
Moreover, wages of less than $5 were paid in nearly nine-tenths,
87.8 per cent, of all positions and in over nine-tenths, 91.8 per cent,
of those held by girls. Even the boys, whose wages ranged con­
siderably higher than those of the girls, received less than $5 in
over three-fourths, 76.4 per cent, of all their positions for cash and
messenger work in department stores— a larger proportion than in
any other occupation.
Messenger, errand, and delivery work was the next lowest paid
occupation for girls; but for boys the occupations thus classified
were more varied in character and probably included more responsible
positions than for girls, and as a result the wages of boys in these
occupations compared more favorably with their wages in other
pursuits. Girls received less than $5 in nearly as large a proportion,
87.4 per cent, of these positions, as in their positions for cash an
messenger work in department stores, but boys received these wage


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O C C U P A T IO N S.

277

in less than two-thirds, 64.2 per cent, of the positions they occupied.
^Nevertheless, even the wages of boys were lower in messenger,
errand, and delivery work positions than in all occupations classified
as “ clerical occupations, wrapping, selling, and delivery of goods” ;
and, as has been seen, they were lower in the latter group than in
factory and mechanical occupations.
Although between $4 and $6 was the most common wage received
by hoys, as well as by both sexes combined, the most common wage
received by girls was between $3 and $5. In more than half the
positions in all the occupations in which more than 50 positions
were held by girls these were the wages. The proportion of positions
in cash and messenger work in department stores in which girls re­
ceived $3 but less than $5 was nearly nine-tenths, 88.6 per cent; in
messenger, errand, and delivery work it was considerably over fourfifths, 83.9 per cent; and it was about three-fourths, 75.3 per cent,
in “ other factory” operative positions, and almost as high, 74.3 per
cent, in packing, wrapping, labeling, and shipping-room work.
C H A N G E IN W E E K L Y W A G E S .

The changes in weekly wages in all positions which lasted for
•three months or more, except for positions involving piece work
where changes in wages could not be accurately secured, are shown
in Table 134. In over half, 51.3 per cent, of all these positions, it
appears, there was no change in weekly wages, and in 6.7 per cent
of them wages were fluctuating. But in two-fifths, 40.5 per cent,
the children’s wages were increased, and in over one-fourth, 28.6
per cent, the increases amounted to $1 or more a week. In a larger
proportion of the positions held by boys than by girls, 53.3 per
cent as compared with 47.3 per cent, there was no change. At the
same time a larger proportion of the positions held by boys than
of those held by girls, 43.2 per cent as compared with 35.4 per cent,
showed increases. This difference, however, should be considered
in connection with the fact that in 16.3 per cent of the positions
held by girls and only 1.7 per cent of those held by boys the wages
were fluctuating. In only two positions, both of them held by boys
and both among the occupations classified as messenger, errand, and
delivery work, was there a decrease in wages.


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278

T a b l e 134.— Change in weekly wage, by occupation and sex; tim e work position s held three m onths and over by children interview ed.
*
Regular positions showing specified change in
weekly wage in time work.

Occupation, duration of position, and sex

N o change.

Increasing.
N ot reported or
inapplicable.

N um ­
ber.

Per
cent.1

N um ­
ber.

Per
cent.1

N um ­
ber.

Per
cent.1

51.3

2

0.2

58

Both se x e s....................................................................

S66

444

38
176
159
17

31
80
68
12

647
69
75
433
70
5

330
36
31
224
39
3

51.0
52.2
41.3
51.7
55.7

B o y s ............................. 1.................................................

572

305

53.3

Personal and domestic occupations...........: ...................
Factory and mechanical occupations.............................
Factory operative............. *............................................
Apprentice and helper— skilled trades...................
Clerical*occupations, wrapping, selling, and delivery
of goods...................................................................................
Office work........................................................................

11
63
46
17

9
34
22
12

493
53
24
376
40

259
25
11
198
25
3


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Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

Fluctuating.

Total.

Personal and domestic occupations................................
Factory and mechanical occupations..............................
Factory operative............. 1 ...........................................
Apprentice and helper— skilled trades................. J
Clericaloccupations, wrapping, selling, and delivery
of goods...................................................................................
Office work....................................................................
Cash and messenger work— department store__
Messenger work, errand, and delivery....................
Other...................................................................................
A ll othdr occupations............................................................

Messenger work, errand, and delivery....... ............
Other...................................................................................
A ll other occupations............................................................

Diminishing.

42.8
2

.3

2

.5

2

.3

52.5
47.2
52.7

2

2

$1 and over.

N um ­
ber.

Per
cent.1

Num ­
ber.

Per
cent.1

N um ­
ber.

Per
cent.1

N um ­
ber.

Per
cent.1

40.5

103

11.9

248

28.6

11

1.3

36.4
37.1

2
18
18

10.2
11.3

4
46
41
5

26.1
25.8

2
2

1.1
1.3

9

1.4

9

2.1

6 .7

351

1
30
30

17.0
18.9

6
64
59
5

27
1,
1
14
11

4.2
1.4
1.3
3.2
15.7

279
32
43
184
20
2

43.1
46.4
57.3
42.5
28.6

83
6
10
61
6

12.8
8.7
13.3
14.1
8.6

196
26
33
123
14
2

30.3
37.7
440
28.4
20.0

10

1.7

247

43.2

70

12.2

177

30.9 i

3
3

4 .8

.4

7

1.4

.5

1
5
1

L3

54.0

Under 31.

2
26
21
5
217
28
12
163
14
2

41.3

4
4

6.3

44.0
52.8

66
5
4
52
5

13.4
9.4

43.4

13.8

2
22
17
5
151
23
8
111
9
2

8

1.4

.........

34.9

30.6
43.4

S

1 .6

29.5

S

2 .1

T H E W O R K IN G C H IL D R E N OF BOSTON .

All
regular
posi" lions
show­
ing
time
work.

Regular positions showing specified change in weekly wage in
time work.

Girls
Personal and domestic occupations.................................
Factory and mechanical occupations.............................
Factory operative............. .............................................
Clerical occupations, wrapping, selling, and delivery
of goods..................................................................................
Officework............ ................... .......................................
Cash and messenger work— department sto re .. .
Messenger work, errand, and delivery....................

Other............................... ...................... ..............

O C C U P A T IO N S.

279


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280

THE

W O R K I N G C H IL D R E N

OF B O S T O N .

For boys, office work was the occupation which showed the largest
proportion of positions in which wages were increased, considering,
only occupations in which boys held as many as 50 positions. Over
one-half, 52.8 per cent, of all office positions held by boys showed
wage increases. These increases were comparatively substantial,
for in more than two-fifths, 43.4 per cent, of all these positions the
boys’ wages were raised $1 or more. The increases given boys in
messenger, errand, and delivery work positions were smaller. In
43.4 per cent of these positions the wages were increased, but in
only 29.5 per cent of them did the increases amount to $1 or more.
Both these occupations, as will be remembered, had high proportions
of positions lasting three months or longer, and office work had a
particularly high proportion lasting more than a year. In a some­
what larger proportion of positions held by boys in clerical and other
similar occupations than in factory and mechanical occupations,
44 per cent, as compared with 41.3 per cent, were the wages increased,
but increases of $1 or more were given in a larger proportion of the
factory and mechanical than of the clerical and other similar occu­
pations, 34.9 per cent as compared with 30.6 per cent..
The occupation in which girls received their lowest initial wages,
cash and messenger work in department stores, was the one in which^
they received increases in the highest proportion, 60.8 per cent, of
their positions. Moreover, in almost one-half, 49 per cent, of these
positions they received increases of $1 or more. As will be remem­
bered, more than half of the positions in this occupation were only
temporary and were held less than three months, but the girls who
secured fairly permanent positions evidently fared better than their
low initial wages would seem to indicate. Partly, at least, because
of the frequency with which their wages were increased in cash and
messenger work in department stores girls received wage increases
in about two-fifths, 40.3 per cent, of their positions in clerical and
other similar occupations, as compared with little more than onethird, 33.6 per cent, of their positions in all factory and mechanical
occupations.
R E A S O N S F O R L E A V IN G P O S IT IO N S .

Table 135 gives, for the children interviewed, the reasons for
leaving all terminated positions in the different occupations. The
most conspicuous point shown in this table is the large proportion
of positions for cash and messenger work in department stores from
which the children were “ laid off.” This was given as the reason
for leaving almost seven-eighths, 85.5 per cent, of all these position®
and nearly nine-tenths, 89.7 per cent, of those held b y girls. A
girls held 74.2 per cent of all these positions 97 this explains the larger
proportion of positions held by girls than by boys, as already noted,
from which the children were laid off. The large number of girls
« See Table 116, p. 230.


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OCCUPATION'S.

281

who were employed in temporary positions in department stores, for
sales or at other rush times, also explains, at least in part, why the
girls held more positions and had more unemoloyment than did
the bpys.
Another conspicuous point in the table is the small proportion,
only 18.1 per cent, of all terminated positions for work as operatives
in shoe factories from which the children were laid off. This, how­
ever, may be rather an apparent than a real showing, for at least
one large Boston shoe factory made a practice of keeping children
on its pay roll through slack seasons, requiring them to report fre­
quently if not every day, but giving them little or no work. As
already stated, a great part of the shoe factory work of children is
done on a piece price basis. The result of this policy was that the
children were not discharged but that during such periods thenwages amounted to little or nothing. Only a small proportion of
shoe factory positions were left because the children were laid off
but a large proportion, 48.9 per cent, were left because they were not
satisfactory, the chief cause of dissatisfaction being the low earnings
In only three occupations were more than two-fifths of the ter­
minated positions held by children ended by their discharge. These
were cash and messenger work in department stores already men­
tioned, “ packing, wrapping, labeling, and shipping room work,”
in which 44.1 per cent of all positions were thus terminated, and
work as operatives in clothing factories and other needle trades in
which the proportion was 42.5 per cent. The term “ packing,
wrapping, labeling, and shipping room w ork” includes positions in
a considerable number of industries, many of them more or less
seasonal in character, and work in clothing factories is distinctly
seasonal. It appears probable, therefore, that in the majority of
cases in which children were laid off their discharge was not due to
any fault of theirs but to the character of the industry in which they
were employed.
The chief reason for leaving positions in personal and domestic
occupations and in messenger, errand, and delivery work, as well as
in shoe factories, was dissatisfaction on the part of the children.
Of all the terminated positions in personal and domestic occupations
44.1 per cent, and of all those in messenger, errand, and delivery
work 42.3 per cent were left for this reason.
The positions ended because of the requirement that the children
attend continuation school, which constituted only 2.1 per cent
f all terminated positions, were fairly evenly distributed among
the various occupations. The only noteworthy fact about those
which were left in order to return to school, constituting 1.7 per cent
of all terminated positions, is the comparatively large proportions
in shoe factories and in “ packing, wrapping, labeling, and shipping
room w ork,” 4.3 per cent and 3.4 per cent, respectively.
4 9 4 7 0 °— 22------ 19


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282

T H E W O R K IN G C H IL D R E N OF BOSTON,

T a b l e 135.— Reason fo r leaving position, by occupation and sex o f child; regular positions
left by children interviewed.

Regular positions left for specified reason.

Occupation and sex.

A ll
regular
posi­
tions
left.1

Laid oil.

N um ber.

Position not
satisfactory.2

Continuation
school.

Per
cent.3

N um ber.

Per
cent.3

N um ber.

Per
cent.3

25

2.1

8
7
2
1
4
1

2.5
2.2
2.1
.9
3.8

17
2

2.2

A ll occupations— both sexes.............

<1,170

483

41.3

429

36.7

Personal and domestic occupations...........
Factory and mechanical occupations........
Factory operative............... ..............
Shoe factory.............. ............. ..........
Clothing factory and other needle trades
Other factory................................................
Apprentice and helper— skilled trades____
Clerical occupations, wrapping, selling, and
delivery of goods......................... ............. ....... .....
Office work........................ ...................................
Cash and messenger work—department
store.....................................................................
Packing, wrapping, labeling, and shippingroom work.........................................................
Messenger work, errand, and delivery____
Selling.....................................................................
A ll other occupations...............................................
N ot reported............................................ ...................

68
* 325
313
94
113
106
12

18
106
103
17
48
38
3

26.5
32.6
32.9
18.1
42.5
35.8

30
130
127
46
39
42
3

44.1
40.0
40.6
48.9
34.5
39.6

762
46

353
24

46.3

263
13

34.5

152

130

85.5

14

9.2

59
447
58
<■ 14
1

26
152
21
6

44.1
34.0
36.2

23
189
24
6

39.0
42.3
41.4

2
13

3.4
2.9

<646

231

35.8

262

40.6

16

2.5

29
94
82
34
5
43
12

9
31
28
6
3
19
3

37.2
39.0

3
2
1

3.2
2.4

508
27

185
13

35

25

8

14
400
32
14

5
130
12
6

7
175
15
6

524

252

39
231
231
60
108
63

9
75
75
11
45
19

254
19

168
11

66.1

117

105

89.7

45
47
26

21
22
9

Occupations—boys.....................................
Personal and domestic occupations.....................
Factory and mechanical occupations..................
Factory operative..................... ........................
Shoe factory..................................................
Clothing factory and other needle trades
Other factory.................................................
Apprentice and helper— skilled trades.........
Clerical occupations, wrapping, selling, and
delivery of goods......................................................
Office work.............................................................
Cash and messenger work— department
store.....................................................................
Packing, wrapping, labeling, and ship­
ping-room work................................................
Messenger work, errand, and delivery........
Selling.....................................................................
A ll other occupations.................................... ...........
Occupations— girls..........................................
Personal and domestic occupations.................Cl
Factory and mechanical occupations..................
Factory operative..............................................
Shoe factory..................................................
Clothing factory and other needle trades
Other factory........ .......................................
Clerical occupations, wrapping, selling, and
delivery of goods....................................................
Office work............................................................
Cash and messenger work—department
store.....................................................................
Packing, wrapping, labeling, and shippingroom w ork..........................................................
Messenger work, errand, and delivery____
Selling.......................................................... ...........

33.0
34.1

36.4

32.5

10
35
32
15
2
15
3
211
6

Jfifi

1
1
41.5

13
2

2.6

43.8

1
10

2.5

48.1

167

31.9

9

1.7

32.5
32.5
18.3
41.7
30.2

20
95
95
31
37
27

41.1
41.1
51.7
34.3
42.9

5
5
1
1
3

2.2
2.2
1.7
.9
4.8

52
7

20.5

4

1.6

6

5.1

16
14
9

1
3

1 That is, omitting entirely those not left.
2 Disliked work or place, no advancement, low wages, work too hard or hours long, secured better
position.
8 Not shown where base is less than 50.
4
Including one position for which occupation was not reported.


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O C C U PA TIO N S.

283

T a b l e 135.- -R ea so n for leaving position , by occupation and sex o f child; regular posi­
tions left by children interviewed— Concluded.
F

Regular positions left for specified reason.

Occupation and sex.

Returned to
school.

N um ­
ber.
A ll occupations— both sexes......................................

20

Per
cent.1

1.7

Other reasons.

N ot reported.

N um ­
ber.

N um ­
ber.

Per
cent.1

»34

2.9

179

Personal and domestic occupations........................
Factory and mechanical occupations___
Factory operative................................ ” * ”
Shoe feictory..................... ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ...................
Clothing factory and other needle trades...
"Other factory......... .................
Apprentice and helper— skilled t r a d e s ..........
«roods
wrapping, selling and delivery of

Per
cent.1

15.3
26.5

20.0
19.5
22.3
19.5
17.0

Office w ork........................... I ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! * ! ! .................
Cash and messenger work— department store..........
Packing, wrapping, labeling, and shipping-room
8.5
15.4
17.2

Messenger work, errand, and delivery........................
Selling........................................................ _
..................
A ll othfer occupations....................
N ot reported................ ...........
Occupations—boys.............................
Personal and domestic occupations............................
- actory and mechanical occupations...................
Factory operative................................ ................................
Shoe factory..............1! ! ! ! ! " " * ................. .........
Other factory......................... .......................................
Apprentice and helper— skilled t r a d e s ....................
Clerical occupations, wrapping, selling, and deiiverv’
of goods.......................................... ................
J
Office w ork............................................................................
Cash and messenger w ork-departm ent store.
Packing, wrapping, labeling, and shipping-room
Messenger work, errand, and deiiverv........................
Selling............................... ......................................................
A ll other occupations...................... ...........................................
Occupations— girls.....................................
Personal and domestic occupations.......................
Factory and mechanical occupations.................
Factory operative................................
Shoe factory........................... ” ] ” ! .........................
Clothing factory and other needle trades.........
Other factory...................................
Clerical occupations, wrapping,' selling, ’ and deiiverv
of goods..........................................................
J
Office w ork............................. ............................................. .
Cash and messenger w ork-departm ent store!........
Packing, wrapping, labeling, and shipping-room'
work..........................................................
°
Messenger work, errand, and deiiverv........
Selling......................................................................................
1 Not shown where base is less than 50.
s Including one -position f or which occupation was not reported.


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2.0

105

16.3

2.9

20.2
18.3

1.8

14.8

1.5

16.3

1.3

74

14.1
19.9
19.9
21.7
20.4
17.5

2.0

7.5

3.0

14

3.5

2.9

SICKNESS AND ACCIDENTS.
All the children included in this study were supposed to have had
physical examinations before receiving their employment certifi­
cates. As this examination could be given b y a family or school
physician, as well as by a physician appointed for this purpose, no
uniformity could be expected between different cities in the matter
of records as to the physical condition of children when they went to
work. In Boston, where nearly all the children were examined by
the physician at the certificate office, a uniform record form was
used. An attempt was made, therefore, to secure from these forms,
for the Boston children included in the study, information as to the
physical defects with which they went to work or which may have
been noted when they applied for second or later certificates;, but
the files had not been carefully kept and the physical examination
records were missing for so many children that this attempt had to
be abandoned.
The physical examination given when a child applied lor per­
mission to go to work rarely resulted, at the time of this study, in
the refusal of a certificate; and the cases in which the certificate was
even temporarily withheld on account of lack of vaccination or.
because of evidence of a communicable disease were almost as rare
as refusals. At the certificate office it was stated that the chief
reason for this was that children with physical disabilities rarely
applied as they knew that they would not be granted certificates.
Many of the children interviewed reported to agents of the bureau
that they had not been told, of minor physical defects which the
physician had noted on the physical examination form and about
which the agents questioned them. In no case was a certificate
withheld until any minor trouble, such as defective teeth or eye­
sight, was corrected.
' .
.
,
,
Little attention was paid in the physical examination to the
occupation in which the child expected to be employed. The shifts
in occupation which, as previously stated, occurred during em­
ployment in a single position»8 did not, therefore,have the practical
importance that they would have had if more distinction had been
made in the first place between occupations.
Although children were supposed to be reexamined when the
returned for later certificates, the records of the certificate office
afforded no information as to the effects, upon their health, of the
98 See p p . 258-261.

284


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S IC K N E S S A N D A C C ID E N T S.

285

various occupations in which they had been engaged. The Massa­
chusetts General Hospital had at the time of this study begun to
keep separate records of all persons, children as well as adults,
treated for diseases resulting from their occupations. But these
records included only cases in which the ill effects of an occupation
were so acute as to necessitate treatment and in which the patient
applied for assistance to the Massachusetts General Hospital.
The only information secured in regard to sickness among the
children studied which could be utilized as the basis of any statistical
statement was obtained by questioning the 823 children who were
interviewed in regard to illnesses that had occurred between the time
they took their first regular positions and the date of the interview.
This information, of course, has no medical value, as it is based upon
the child’s statement of his own case, but it does furnish a rough
estimate as to ther number of cases, the probable causes, and the
amount of time lost through sickness.
, At the same time that the children were questioned about sick­
ness, they were asked whether they had suffered from any accident
and, if so, what was the cause and how much time they had lost
from their work. The information thus secured related not only
to accidents which occurred in the course of their work but also to
accidents which had no connection with their work. To supplement
this information the records of the Massachusetts Accident Board
were searched for reports of accidents to any of the 823 children
interviewed. These records, since they were based on reports by
employers, related only to accidents which were in sòme way con­
nected with places of employment. Not all accidents thus reported
occurred in the course of employment. An employer would report,
for example, an accident resulting from a scuffle between two boys
during their lunch hour if it occurred on his premises. In a few cases
it was found that children failed to tell the bureau agents of accidents
which their employers had reported to the accident board, and in
others they told of accidents which had not been reported. But in
practically all cases of either kind of discrepancy the accident was
trival in character.
The number of cases of either sickness or accident reported by the
823 children interviewed, according to Table 136, was 424. Of these
considerably more than one-fourth, 28.1 per cent, were due to colds,
grippe, or sore throat," and about one-fifth, 20.3 per cent, to acci­
dents. More than one-tenth of all thè cases were due to eye diseases
<and eye defects," which showed 11.8 per cent, and to headache and
neuralgia, which showed. 10.6 per cent. Digestive disorders caused
7.1 per cent of the cases, skin diseases., boils, and abscesses 5.7 per
99 This was during an ordinary period, so for as colds, grippe, etc., are concerned, as it was before the in­
fluenza epidemic.


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286

T H E W O R K IN G C H IL D R E N OF BOSTON .

cent, and toothache 2.6 per cent. No other single cause or related
group of causes was responsible for as many as 10 cases of sicknes
or accident.
Of the 424 cases, 241 occurred to boys and 183 to girls.
Sixty-three of the cases among the boys, however, were due to acci­
dents, which caused only 23 of those occurring among the girls. On
the other hand, 178 of the cases of sickness occurred to boys, while
160 occurred to girls. Comparing these figures with the number of
boys and girls who were interviewed in regard to sickness or acci­
dents, it appears that the boys were much more likely to suffer from
accidents but somewhat less likely to suffer from sickness than were
the girls.
T a b l e 136.— Nature o f case, by sex o f child; cases o f sickness or accident reportedby children
interviewed.
Num ber of cases of sickness or accident to—

Both sexes.

Girls.

Boys.

Nature of case.
N um ­
ber.

Per
N um ­
cent
distri­
ber.
bution.

Per
N um ­
cent
distri­
ber.
bution.

Per
cent
distri­
bution.

Total......................................................................................

424

100.0

241

100.0

183

100.0

Nature reported........................................ ...................................
Cold, grippe, sore throat____: .........................................
Injuries b y accident............................................................
E y e diseases and eye defects............................................
Headache and neuralgia....................................................
Digestive disorders...............................................................
Skin diseases, boils, and abscesses................................
Toothache...............................................................................
Pneumonia and bronchitis...............................................
Ear diseases................................................ ..........................
Heart trouble........................................................................

409
119
86
50
45
30
24
11
8
6
4
3
3
20
15

96.5
28.1
20.3
11.8
10.6
7.1
5.7
2.6
1.9
1.4
.9
.7
.7
4.7
3.5

233
65
63
26
19
21
12
7
4
4
2

96.7
27.0
26.1
10.8
7.9
8.7
5.0
2.9
1.7
1.7
.8

176
54
23
24
26
9
12
4
4
2
2
3

96.2
29.5
12.6
13.1
14.2
4.9
6.6
2.2
2.2
1.1
1.1
1.6

3
7
8

1.2
2.9
3.3

13
7

7.1
3.8

Other diseases........................................................................
Nature not reported................ ...................................................

In proportion to the number of girls, all the diseases which caused
more than 10 cases of sickness, except digestive disorders and tooth­
ache, occurred more frequently among them. Although girls con­
stituted only 42 per cent of the children who were interviewed, they
had 45.4 per cent of the cases of colds, grippe, or sore throat, 48 per
cent of those of eye diseases and eye defects, 50 per cent of those of
skin diseases, boils and abscesses, and 57.8 per cent of those of headache
and neuralgia. The boys, however, appear to have been more liable
to suffer from digestive disorders and from toothache than the girls.
Of the 30 cases of digestive disorders 21, and of the 11 cases of tooth*,
ache 7, occurred to boys. These numbers, however, are small.
The amount of time lost: from work on account of sickness or
accident was small as compared with the amount lost by reason of
unemployment. Table 137 shows that the children who had been
at work for one year or more had lost through sickness or accidents

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287

S IC K N E S S A N D A CC ID E N T S.

only 2.6 per cent of their time, the boys somewhat less than the
.girls, 2.4 per cent as compared with 3 per cent. The children who
had been at work less than a year, most of whom were younger at
the time of the interview than those in the other group, had lost
4.1 per cent of their working time; and in this group the boys had
lost more time than the girls, 4.6 per cent as compared with 3.3
per cent.
This does not mean, of course, that these children were in perfect
health during all the remainder of the time between the dates when
they took their first regular positions and when they were inter­
viewed. Some of the cases of sickness and accident reported were
too trivial to cause loss of time from work. These two groups of
children were unemployed, respectively, during 14.4 per cent and
13.3 per cent of their time, and no illness or accident which occurred
during a period of unemployment— that is, between two different
positions— was considered to have caused loss of time from work,
even though it might have prevented the child from securing another
position as soon as he would otherwise have done. The somewhat
greater amount of unemployment among the children who had been
at work for a year or more may have contributed to the smaller
proportion of time which they lost on account of sickness or accident.
It is probable that with greater length of industrial experience
children tend more frequently to disregard minor ailments and
continue at their work.
T a b l e 137.— Tim e lost on account o f sickness or accident, by length o f industrial history
and sex; children interviewed.

Percentage of time
lost on account
of sickness
or
accident of—
Sex.

Children Children
who had who had
been at
been at
work less work 1
than 1
year or
year.
oyer.

4.1
4.6
3.3

2.6
2.4
3.0

SICKNESS.

According to Table 138, more than one-third, 36 per cent, of all
he children interviewed— 34.6 per cent of the boys and 37.9 per
cent of the girls—reported at least 1 case of sickness. Of the 296
children who reported sickness, moreover, 34 reported two and 4
three cases. Only a little over three-fourths, 76 per cent, of these
children, however— including 32 of the 34 who reported 2 and all
4 of those who reported 3 cases— stated that they had lost time

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288

T H E W O R K IN G C H IL D R E N OF BOSTON.

from work on account of sickness. All 4 of the children who reported
3 cases of sickness and 21 of the 34 who reported 2 cases were girls
T a b l e 138.— Cases o f sickness per child and tim e lost fr o m w ork, by sex ; children in ter­
view ed.
Children.

Sex.
Total.

sick­
ness.

Both sexes:

823
100.0

527
64.0

Losing time from work on account of sickness:
225
100.0
Losing no tim e from work on account of sickness:

Boys:
Losing time from work on account of sickness:

Losing tim e from work on account of sickness:
Losing no tim e from work on account of sickness:

Total.

1 case. 2 cases. 3 cases.

296
36.0

258
31.3

34
4.1

4
0.5

225
100.0

189
840

32
14.2

4
1.8

1
0.2
1

591
100.0
7

527
89.2

64 0
10.8
7

63
10.7
6

477
100.0

312
65.4

165
34 6

152
31.9

13
2.7

130
100.0

117
90.0

13
10.0

130
100.0

Losing no tim e from work on account of sickness:

Girls:

Reporting sickness.

Re­
port­
ing

.

347
100.0

312
89.9

35
10.1

35
10.1

„ 346
100.0

215
62.1

131
37.9

106
30.6

21
6.1

4 '
1.2

95
100.0

72
75.8

19
20.0

4
4.2

29
11.9
7

28
11.5
6

1
0.4
1

95
100.0
244
100.0
7

215
88.1

For more than one-fourth, 26.3 per cent, of their cases of sickness
the children, according to Table 139, reported no working time lost.
Although the girls had more cases than the boys, a smaller propor­
tion of their cases resulted in loss of time. Only about two-thirds,
66.9 per cent, of the cases of sickness reported by girls, as compared
with about three-fourths, 75.3 per cent, of those reported by boys,
resulted in loss of time from work.
T a b l e 139.— T im e lost fr o m work o n account o f sickness, by sex o f child; cases o f sickness
reported by children interview ed.
Cases of sickness reported b y —

Both sexes.

Girls.

Boys.

T im e lost from work on account of sickness.
Cases.

T o t a l.. .
N o tim e l o s t ..
Some time lost
N ot reported..


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Per
cent
distri­
bution.

338
241

26.3
71.3
2 .4

Cases.

Per
cent
distri­
bution.

Cases.

178

100.0

160

24.7
75.3

Per
cen '
distri­
bution.

100.0
28.1
66 9
5 0

289

S IC K N E S S A N D AC C ID E N T S.

ACCIDENTS.

The 86 accidents already mentioned occurred, as shown in Table
140, to 66 children, 51 boys and 15 girls. Of these children 59
reported only 1 case of accident each, but 3 boys and 1 girl reported
2 cases each, and 2 boys and 1 girl reported 3 or more cases each.
About one-twelfth, 8 per cent, of the children interviewed— more
than one-tenth, 10.7 per cent, of the boys but less than one-twentieth,
4.3 per cent, of the girls— had had accidents of some sort.
T a b l e 140.— Num ber o f cases o f accident jper child and time lost from work, by sex;
children interviewed.
Both sexes.

Total.
Num ber of cases of
accidents.

Boys.

Losing time
from work on
account
of accidents.

Girls.

Losing time
from work on
account
of accidents.

Total.

Total.

Losing
time
from
work on
account
of acci­
dents.

Per
Per
Per
Not
Not
cent
Num ­
re­ N u m ­ cent
re­ N u m ­ cent
dis­ Yes. N o.
dis­
Yes.
No.
dis­
Yes. No.
ber.
port­ ber.
port­ ber.
tribu­
tribu­
tribu­
ed.
ed.
tion.
tion.
tion.
A ll ch ild re n ....
Reporting no acci­
dents............................
Reporting accidents..
1 case................. ..
2 cases......................
3 or more cases. . .

823 100.0
757

66
59

4

92.0
8.0
7.2
.5

3

42

42
38
2
2

779

2

757
22
21

2
2

1

477 ioo.o

35

426
51
46
3
.2

35
33
1
1

89.3
10.7
9.6

.6
..4

440

2

426
14
13

2
2

1

346 100.0
331
15
13
i
i

•4

9$ 7
4.3
3 8
.3
.3

7

339

7

8

1
1

As in the cases of sickness, not all these accidents resulted in loss
of time from work. In nearly one-third, 32.6 per cent, of all the
cases of accident, according to Table 141, no time was lost. Twenty
of these accidents occurred to boys and eight to girls. The girls and
boys apparently differed little in the proportions of their accidents
which resulted in loss of time.
T a b l e 141.— Tim e lost from work on account o f accident, by sex o f child; accidents re­
ported by children interviewed.
Accidents to—

Both sexes.

B oys.

Tim e lost from work on account of accident.
N um ­
ber.

Per
cent
dis­
tribu­
tion.

Total___

86

N o time lo s t ...
Some tim e lost
N ot reported..

28
55
3

1 R ate not shown where base is less than 50.


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N um ­
ber.

Per
cent
dis­
tribu­
tion.

100.0

63

100.0

23

32.6
64.0
3 .5

20
40
3

31.7
63.5
4 .8

8
15

G irls.1

290

T H E W O R K IN G C H IL D R E N OF B O STO N .

Not all these accidents, it should be remembered, occurred m
the course of employment. Table 142 shows that not far from one,
fourth, 23.3 per cent, of all the accidents and about three-tenths,
30.2 per cent, of those reported hy boys, occurred when the children
were not at work.
.
Sixty accidents occurred while the children were at work— 38 ot
them to boys and 22 to girls. Most of the accidents to girls, 17 out
of the 22, but only 9 of the accidents to boys, were due to machinery.
This comparatively large number of accidents to girls from machinery
is doubtless due to the fact that to a greater extent than boys they were
employed in machine work.1 Elevators and vehicles, which caused
no accidents to girls, caused, respectively, 3 and 6 accidents to boys,
while hand tools caused 4 accidents to boys and only 1 to a girl.
T a b l e 1 4 2 . - T im e and cause o f accident, by sex o f child; accidents reported by children
interview ed.


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ENFORCEMENT OF THE CHILD-LABOR LAW.
At the time this study was made two agencies were responsible
for the enforcement of the child-labor laws of Massachusetts, local
school authorities and inspectors of the State board of labor and
industries. The local school authorities had two tasks, that of
issuing employment and educational certificates and that of following up children to see that the compulsory school and continuationschool attendance laws were enforced. The issuing of certificates,
as earlier stated, was a function of the superintendent of schools or
some one deputized by him for that purpose. The enforcement of
attendance was a function of the school attendance officers who
worked under the direction of the superintendent of schools. The
inspectors of the State board of labor and industries, on the other
hand, were expected to see that no children under 14 were employed,
that employment certificates were on file for children between 14
and 16, and educational certificates for those between 16 and 21
years of age, and that children were not employed in occupations or
lo r hours prohibited by law. They also enforced other laws which
affected both adults and children, especially those relating to safety
and sanitation.
The method of issuing certificates has already been sufficiently
described. It should be noted in connection with the subject of
law enforcement that a certificate office is not merely an agency
for issuing permits to leave school for work, but is itself part of the
enforcement machinery, not only of the child-labor laws but also of
the compulsory school-attendance laws. The chief function of the
certificate office is to see that children do not enter industry who have
not attained the age and school standing required by law or who are
not physically able to work. But this office also receives from
employers the certificates of children who have left their positions
or been discharged and who therefore should return to school unless
they secure new positions and new certificates. Its records, too,
furnish the principal source of information as to children who should
be attending continuation school.
Keeping children under 16 years of age in school does not, of course,
prevent them from being employed illegally during vacations or
yutside of school hours. Nevertheless, the occupations in which
hey can engage while in regular attendance at school are comaratively limited, and strict enforcement of the compulsory schoolattendance law is of material assistance in preventing illegal employ­
ment. The work of attendance officers, therefore, both in preventing

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292

TH E W ORKING CHILDREN OF BOSTON.

children enrolled in school from leaving without legal excuseeither an employment certificate or a special home permit— and i,
securing the enrollment of newcomers to the city, is another part of
the machinery for enforcing the child-labor law.
In Boston at the time of this study if a child under 16 years of age
left school without having obtained either a transfer card to another
school, a special home permit, or a school record to present in apply­
ing for an employment certificate, the teacher was required to send a
formal notification to the chief attendance officer. This official
assigned the case to the attendance officer in charge of the district
in which the school was located. The city was divided into 21
such districts, with a corresponding number of attendance officers.
When the child had been located and the cause of absence ascer­
tained a report was sent back to the teacher for his information.
Private and parochial as well as public schools, it was said, notified
the attendance department of absences.
Children who secured school records as a preliminary to applying
for employment certificates were not discharged from school until
after the certificates were actually issued. In order to insure that
such a child did not drop out without securing a certificate the school
records were made out in duplicate and one copy was forwarded t;
the superintendent of schools. When the child’s certificate had
actually been issued this copy, indorsed on the back with the date
of issuance and the signature of the issuing officer, was returned to
the school by the attendance officer and only then was the child
supposed to be dropped from the school register. Children who did
not apply for certificates within about? 10 days after having received
"their sòhool records were investigated by attendance officers. In
Jcase the certificate was refused that fact was noted on the back of the
school record which then constituted a notice not to discharge thè
child and in addition the attendance officer was expected to see that
the child returned to school.
In locating children who had never been enrolled in school in
Boston no use was made of the school census, but attendance officers
occasionally made canvasses of their districts. They also made
regular visits to the office of the Immigration Service to secure the
names and addresses of children coming from abroad. But the
names of children who applied at the certificate office without the
requisite documents or with documents improperly made out were
not recorded by the issuing officer. Some of these children may
have been newcomers to the city or for other reasons may not hay
been enrolled in school and, if so, they could easily go to work illegal!
when they found difficulties in the way of securing certificates.
As for the return to school of children who were temporarily unem­
ployed, during the early part of the period covered by this inquiry

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ENFORCEMENT OF TH E CHILD-LABOR LA W .

293

little effort was made in this direction. The new eight-hour law for
Children under 16 went into effect in September, 1913, at the same
time as the new certificate law, and its immediate result was the
discharge of a considerable number of children— all of whom had
gone to work before September 1, 1913, and who were therefore
not included in this study. The number of children discharged
and the fact that it was considered impossible to send back to school
any of those who had been employed for some time, resulted in
practically no effort being made to return to school any unemployed
children. Gradually the children originally thrown out of work by
the eight-hour law secured new positions or became 16 and were
therefore no longer subject to the compulsory-education law. At
the same time the new legal provision requiring employers to return
to the certificate office the certificates of children who left work or
were discharged led to the accumulation of evidence never before
available as to what children were unemployed. By the end of the
period covered by this study, as has been stated, more or less suc­
cessful efforts were being made to have these children attend con­
tinuation school every day until they had secured new positions.
Because of the large number of employers in Boston it was found
ifficult to secure the prompt return of all certificates, and unless the
certificates are returned it is not possible even to know the names of
the unemployed children. To aid in insuring prompt return, the
certificate office refused to issue a new certificate to a child until his
previous one had been returned. This made the child, as well as
the officials, interested in forcing the employer to obey the law; but
it was of only indirect assistance in case the child did not soon secure
a new position, and these were exactly the cases where it was most
important that the school authorities be notified of the unemploy­
ment.
The Boston attendance officers, in the course of their work, not
infrequently inspected industrial establishments. The main burden
of such inspections, however, rested upon the inspectors of the State
board of labor and industries. These inspectors were specifically
directed, while school attendance officers were only permitted, to
visit “ factories, workshops, manufacturing, mechanical, and mercan­
tile establishments” to ascertain whether children were employed
contrary to law.2 During most of the period covered by this study
there were for the entire State only 24 of these inspectors (of whom
12 were industrial health inspectors); 19 of them were men and 5
[were women. With this force it was not believed possible to inspect
all establishments in the State more often than once a year. Some
establishments in which violations had been found were visited again
within a comparatively short period.
* Acts of 1909, ch. 514, sec. 62, as amended by acts of 1913, ch. 779, sec. 20.


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294

TH E WORKING CHILDREN OE BOSTON.

The methods of inspection for child labor varied with the inspector
and with the size of the establishment. Sometimes an inspectoi
would take from the office all the certificates on file and endeavor to
identify each child for whom he found a certificate. In the larger
establishments he was more likely to pick out children while going
through the rooms and ask them to sign their names on a slip of
paper, looking afterwards in the office files for their certificates.
Orders were made out in triplicate, a white copy to be left with the
employer, a pink copy to be sent to the State board, and a blue copy
to be kept by the inspector. A date was usually set before which
the order must be obeyed, and at or near the expiration of the time
the inspector was instructed by the attorney for the board to visit
the establishment again and ascertain whether the order had been
complied with or prosecution should be undertaken. Inspectors
did not usually recommend prosecution unless the employer was a
repeated offender or the violation was long continued and evidently
willful.
The inspectors in Boston as a rule made no reports to the school
authorities as to children whom they ordered discharged. An inspec­
tor sometimes inquired at the certificate office as to whether a par­
ticular child whom he had ordered to obtain a certificate had done so.
More often he went back to the establishment to find out, and if he
found the child had been discharged, made no further inquiry as to
his whereabouts. In such a case, the child was likely to secure
illegal employment in another position and inspections were so infre­
quent that he might easily be over 16 years of age before being again
discovered.
The law creating the State board of labor and industries went into
effect on June 1, 1913; and the new certificate law requiring that a
special certificate be issued to each employer, on September 1, 1913.
The former law, under which a child secured his certificate and took
it from employer to employer, was enforced under a quite different
system by the district police. The three years covered by this study
included the period of organization of the work of the board of labor
and industries. At the sapie time, as already seen,’ it included a
period during which employers, parents, and children were becoming
accustomed to the much more strict regulations of the new certificate
law, to the limitation of the hours of children to eight a day, and in
Boston to the establishment of the compulsory continuation school.
As a result of the number and complexity of the new laws which went
into effect in the fall of 1913, the inspectors of the State board were!
engaged from September of that year to the spring of 1914 prima­
rily in visits to employers to instruct them in the provisions of the
new law and to endeavor to secure their cooperation in its enforce­
ment.

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ENFORCEMENT OF THE CHILD-LABOR LA W .

295

The cases of violation of child-labor laws discovered in the course
6f this study must be considered, therefore, as belonging to a period
when a new enforcing authority was endeavoring to put into effect
a number of new provisions of law, especially the provision requiring
a certificate for each different employer and the provision limiting
the hours of children to eight a day. At least at the beginning of
this period, employers were not fully acquainted with the provisions
of the law and the administrative machinery was not in full opera­
tion. It should be added, however, that for many years certificates
of some sort had been required for the employment of children, and
their hours in many occupations had been limited to 10 a day and
54 or 58 a week. Moreover, many if not most of the violations in
positions held before the children had left school occurred under the
old and less strict law and a long-established system of enforcement.
At the same time it should be remembered that the information
secured as to violations of law is based entirely upon the statements
of the children. As these statements related mainly to past events
in their lives they could not, of course, be verified, hut there seems
no reason to doubt that in most cases the child’s statement was
substantially correct. Only positive cases of violation were so clas­
sified; in case of the slightest apparent doubt the work was classified
as legal. Except in the case of school positions, violations of the
child-labor law only, and not violations of the school-attendance law,
are considered. For instance, many of the intervals between leaving
school and going to work, as well as many of the periods of unem­
ployment discussed earlier in this report, were probably in violation
of the school-attendance law. On the other hand, during some of
these periods the children doubtless held special home permits which
enabled them legally to remain out of school.3
EVIDENCE OF AGE.

Before proceeding to a discussion of violations, however, it is of
interest to note in connection with the enforcement of the certificate
law the kind of evidence of age secured from applicants for employ­
ment certificates. According to law3a no other evidence of age should
be accepted if either a birth or a baptismal certificate is obtainable.
These two documents are equally acceptable. If neither is available
the next preferred evidence is a passport, immigration record or
transcript, or other official or religious record; and if no one of these
documents is available a record of age as given on the register of the
school which the child first attended in Massachusetts is accepted,
¿provided the record was kept for at least two years while the child
was in attendance. As a last resort, if no other evidence of age can
* See appendix, pp. 364 to 365, for results of a study of special home permits in Boston.
«A s in effect at the time of the study.


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296

TH E WORKING CHILDREN OF BOSTON.

be produced, a certificate of age, signed by a school physician or by.
a physician appointed by the school committee, may be accepted.4
In the latter case, the parent must also sign the card, certifying
that he or she is unable to produce for the child a birth certificate or
any other document named as acceptable evidence of age.
Official records of birth ought usually to be available for children
born in Massachusetts, for birth registration has long been efficiently
carried on in that State. Nevertheless, Table 143 shows that, of all
the children taking out employment certificates in the four cities—
Boston, Cambridge, Somerville, and Chelsea— who were born in one
of those cities, only 87.9 per cent produced official birth records as
evidence of age. Most of the others, however, 10.1 per cent, pro­
duced baptismal certificates, which were equally acceptable. Only
three-tenths of 1 per cent of these children were obliged to resort to
a physician’s examination for evidence of age.
T a b l e 143.— P r o o f o f age, by place o f birth; children issued certificates in fo u r cities.

Children born in—

Proof of age.

Boston,
Elsewhere
All places. •Cambridge, in United
Somerville,
States.
or Chelsea.
Per
Num­ cent
dis­ Num­
ber. tribu­
ber.
tion.

Total.......... ............................ ..........
Birth record..... .................................. ....... .
Baptismal record..........................................
Schoolregister............................................
Passport or other official or religious record.
Physician’s examination..............................
Not reported............................................

Per
cent Num­
dis­
tribu­ ber.
tion.1

Foreign
countries.

Per
cent Num­
dis­ ber.
tribu­
tion.

Per
cent
dis­
tribu­
tion.

5,692 100.0 4,023 100.0

623 100.0 1,044 100.0

4,499 79.0 3,536
576 10.1
407
307 5.4
37
198 3.5
2
1.2
67
13
45
.8
28

481 77.2
73 11.7
41
6.6
8 1.3
13 2.1
1.1
7

87.9
10.1
.9
.3
.7

N ot'
re­
port­
ed.

480 46.0
96 9.2
229 21.9
188 18.0
41
3. 9
10
1.0

!Not shown where less than one-tenth of 1 per cent.

For native children born elsewhere than in Boston, Cambridge,
Somerville, or Chelsea, many of whom doubtless were born in some
other place in Massachusetts, official birth records were produced in
a little over three-fourths, 77.2 per cent, of all cases. A somewhat
larger proportion of these children, 11.7 per cent, as compared with
10.1 per cent of those born in one of the four cities, used baptismal
records, and a much larger proportion, 6.6 per cent, as compared with
0.9 per cent, used school registers as evidence of age. About 1 in
50, 2.1 per cent, of these children could secure no documentary evi-j!
dence and had to have their ages determined by physical examination.
4Acts of 1909, ch. 514, sec. 58, as amended by acts of 1913, ch. 779, sec. 16,


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ENFORCEMENT OF THE CHILD-LABOR LAW .

297

£ Before the beginning of the World War it was the custom to require
foreign-born children who did not bring baptismal records or pass­
ports to send abroad for copies of their birth certificates. Even after
the beginning of the war these children were for a time required to
send to those countries which were most accessible. Thus many
birth certificates were secured for Italian children who constituted
the predominating foreign element in Boston. On the other hand,
m Chelsea, where the predominating foreign element was RussianJewish, few birth certificates could be secured for foreign-born chil­
dren after the first year covered by this study. During the latter
part of the period, moreover, especially after the entrance of Italy
into the war, the difficulties of communication became so great that
efforts to send to any foreign country for evidence of age were entirely
suspended.

Nevertheless, nearly one-half, 46 per cent, of the foreign-born
children who took out certificates in the four cities produced official
records of birth, and less than one-tenth, 9.2 per cent, produced
records of baptism. School registers were used as evidence of age by
a larger proportion of these children, 21.9 per cent, than were “ pass­
ports or other official or religious records, ” 18 per cent. It is said
that the reason so few passports are offered is that in many cases, on
coming to this country, parents have understated the ages of their
children in order to enable them to travel at half rates. Of the
foreign-born children only 3.9 per cent were obliged to resort to the
physician’s certificate. This small proportion was doubtless due in
part to the fact that the requirement of ability to read and write
English forced the children from non-English-speaking countries,
even if nearly or quite of working age, to go to school in this country
for a long enough period so that the school register could be used as
evidence of age.
VIOLATIONS IN SCHOOL POSITIONS.

A decided majority, 60.8 per cent, of the children who worked
before leaving school did so, according to Table 144, in violation of
some provision of the child-labor law. This does not mean that all
the work of these children before leaving school was illegal or that
violations occurred in all the positions held by them, but it does
mean that nearly two-thirds of all the children who worked before
leaving school were employed in some way illegally in one or more
of their school positions. The proportion of boys who had worked
NpgaHy before leaving school was much higher than that of girls,
|4.3 per cent as compared with 38.6 per cent. This was probably
in part due to the fact that the girls, as a rule, were older when they
began work. A large proportion, perhaps the majority, of these
4 9 4 7 0 ° — 2 2 ------- 2 0


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298

THE

W O R K IN G

C H IL D R E N

OF BO STO N .

violations occurred under the child-labor law in force before Sep­
tember 1, 1913, but all of these and many others would have been ,
classed as violations if the latter law had been in effect at the time
of their occurrence.5
T a b l e 144.— Illeg a l em p loym en t in an y school p o sitio n , by sex ; interview ed children who
w orked before leaving school.

Children who worked before leaving
school—
Illegally in one
or more posi­
tions.

Sex.

Legally in all
positions.

Total.
Num­
ber.

Per
cent.

Num­
ber.

Per
cent.

324

197

60.8

127

39.2

280
44

180
17

64.3
38.6

100
27

35.7
61.4

Of the positions held before leaving school 83 per cent 'irere for
“ clerical occupations, wrapping, selling, and delivery of goods,” but
of those in which violations of any kind occurred, as appears in
Table 145, not far from nine-tenths, 88.9 per cent, and of those in
which two violations occurred, decidedly over nine-tenths, 93 per
cent, belonged in this group. For the boys alone these proportions
were even higher, 90.8 per cent and 94.2 per cent, respectively.
a Packing, wrapping, labeling, and shipping room work and selling,
other than newsboys” each showed an excess in the proportion of
positions in which violations occurred over the proportion of all
positions held before leaving school. B y far the greatest excess was
found in positions for messenger, errand, and delivery work. Less
than one-half, 47.6 per cent, of all the school positions, but nearly
three-fourths, 74.5 per cent, of those in which any violations occurred,
and over four-fifths, 81.7 per cent, of those in which two violations
occurred, were for occupations of this kind. This was due to the
large amount of employment before leaving school as delivery boys
for small stores and as peddlers’ helpers, occupations frequently
involving Saturday night work.
Factory and mechanical occupations also showed a slight excess
in the proportion of positions in which violations occurred over their
proportion of all school positions, 7.7 percent, as compared with 5.2
per cent. Personal and domestic occupations, evidently because of
s Before Sept. 1,1913, the minimum age of 14 applied only to factories, workshops, or mercantile estab­
lishments and there was no minimum age in street trades. Night work was prohibited for women and
minorsin manufacturing establishments from 10 p. m. to 6 a. m ., but in other occupations only for children
under 14 from 7 p. m. to 6 a. m. In manufacturing establishments the hours of minors under 18 were
limited to 10 a day, and 54 (or 58 in seasonal industries) a week, and in mercantile establishments they
were limited to 58 per week. Acts of 1909, ch. 514, secs. 17 (as amended by Acts of 1912, ch. 191), 47,48
(as amended b y Acts of 1912, ch. 477), 49, 51,56, 62-65.


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ENFORCEMENT OF THE CHILD-LABOR LAW .

299

|i comparative lack of legal regulations, accounted for only 2.6 per
^cfent of the positions in which violations of any kind occurred, as
compared with 9.1 per cent of all positions held before leaving school
Both newsboys and bootblacks, the latter included under “ personal
service (other than servants in the home),” coiWd work legally out­
side of school hours as soon as they were 12 years of age on street
trades licenses and were not obliged to secure employment certifi­
cates. No information was secured in regard to whether or not they
had secured such licenses. Boys engaged in these occupations could
work later at night and earlier in the morning than could children
engaged in other occupations.6 Violations of the child-labor law,
therefore, were less likely to occur among newsboys and bootblacks
than among other children. As domestic service and agricultural
pursuits were regulated only by the compulsory school-attendance
law comparatively few violations were likely to occur in these
occupations.
The most common type of violation was employment under legal
age, and the next most common type was illegal employment at night.
According to Table 146, out of a total of 385 violations of law occur­
ring in positions held before leaving school, 155 involved employment
t too early an age and 123 involved employment either too early in
he morning or too late at night. These two kinds of violation
together accounted for almost three-fourths, 72.2 per cent, of all the
violations which occurred in positions held before leaving school.
In 46 cases the children were illegally not certificated; in 42 the daily
hours and in 13 the weekly hours were too long; in 2 the children
worked seven days a week; in 3 they were employed during school
hours; and in 1 the occupation was illegal.
Both under age and night-work violations were especially common
in messenger, errand, and delivery work. Of the under age viola­
tions 126 out of 155, and of the night-work violations 95 out of 123
occurred in this occupation. Selling, which accounted for nearly
one-tenth, 9.6 per cent, of the total violations in all positions, had
less than its proportionate share, 6.5 per cent, of under age viola­
tions, but more than its proportionate share, 10.6 per cent, of nightwork violations. Personal and domestic occupations also had more
than their proportionate share, 4.9 per cent, as compared with 2.6 per
cent of all violations, of cases in which children worked too early in
the morning or too late at night. Ten children had been employed
under age, but only 3 had been employed at night in factory and
||gechanical occupations before they left school. Moreover, 6 chil­
dren had been illegally employed without certificates and 4 had
been employed for too long daily and 2 for too long weekly hours in
factory and mechanical occupations.


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Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

300

THE

T able

W O R K IN G

C H IL D R E N

OF B O S T O N .

145.— N um ber o f vio la tio n s, by occupation and sex o f child; school p osition s held i
by interview ed children.
mi

Total
school
positions
held.

Total
positions
m which
violations
occurred.

School positions
showing—•

One viola­
tion.

Two viola­
tions.

Occupation and sex of child.

N um ­
ber.

Both sexes............................................................
Personal and domestic occupations..............................
Personal service (other than servantsin the home).
House and home work............................................
Factory and mechanical occupations...........................
Clerical occupations, wrapping, selling, and delivery
of goods.......................................... .............................
Office work......... ....................................................
Cash and messenger work—department store.......
Packing, wrapping, labeling, and shipping-room
, work........................... .......... .........................
Selling......................................................................
Newsboys..........................................................
Selling, other than newsboys...........................
Messenger work, errand and delivery....................
All other occupations............................................... .
Not reported...................................................... -.........
B o y s ...,...............................................................
Personal and domestic occupations............................ .
Personal service (other than servants in the home).
House and home work..........................................
Factory and mechanical occupations..........................
Clerical occupations, wrapping, selling, and delivery
of goods...................... ..........................................
Office work.......................................................
Cash and messenger work—department store.
Packing, wrapping, labeling, and shipping-room
work..........................................................
Selling.. ......................................................
Newsboys...............................................
Selling, other than newsboys...............
Messenger work, errand and delivery........
All other occupations........................................
Not reported......................... .............................
Girls......................... ................................
Personal and domestic occupations...................
Personal service (other than servants in the home).
House and home work................................
Factory and mechanical occupations......................... .
Clerical occupations, wrapping, selling, and delivery
of goods.................................................................
Office work...................................................... .
Cash and messenger work—department store.
Packing, wrapping, labeling, and shipping-room
work......................... .................................
Selling...........................................................
Newsboys...............................................
Selling, other than newsboys...............
Messenger work, errand and delivery.........
All other occupations.........................................
Not reported.......................................................
1 N ot shown where base is less than 50.


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Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

Per
cent
N um ­
dis­
ber.
tribu­
tion.

483 100.0

Per
Per
Per
cent
cent
cent
Num­
Num­
dis­
dis­
dis­
ber.
ber.
tribu­
tribu­
tribu­
tion.1
tion.1
tion.1

235 100.0

127 100.0

71

100.0

2 .4
.8
1.6
10.2

2
2

2.8
2.8

3

4.2

85.8
.8
1.6

66

93.0

1

1.4

2.4
11.0
.8
10.2
70.1
1.6

2
5

2.8
7.0

5
58

7.0
81.7

69

loo. a .

44
26
18
25

9.1
5 .4
3 .7
5.2

6
4
2
18

2.6
1.7
.9
7.7

401
5
13

83.0
.0
2.7

209
1
3

88.9
.4
1.3

109

9
144
112
32
230
10
3

1.9
29.8
23. 2
6 .6
47.6
2.1
.6

7
23
1
22
175
2

3 .0
9 .8
.4
9 .4
74.5
.9

3
14

1

430 100.0

217 100.0

3

T
2
13

1

2

1

13
89

2

112 100.0

13

7 .2
5 .8
1. 4
3 .0

13

2.3
1.8
.5
6 .0

9

1.8
.9
.9
8.0

375
2
4

87.2
.5
.9

197

90.8

99

88.4

1

.5

1

.9

1.2
31.6
26. 0
5 .6
53.0
2.1
.5

5

2.3
7 .8
.5
7.4
80.2
.9

1

.9
8.0
.9
7.1
78.6
1.8

31
25

6

5
136
112
24
228
9
2

53 100.0
13

5

4

1

17

1

16
174
2

18 100.0

1

2

1

1

9

1

8
88
2

15 100.0

12
12

1

1

5

4

26
3
9

49.1
5. 7
17.0

12
1
2

10

4
8

7.5

2

15.1

6

2
5

8

Î 5 .1

6

5

2
i
i

3. 8
1.9
1.9

1

1

1

1

2.9
2.9

2

2.9

65

94.2

2
5

2.9
7.2

5
58

7.2
84.1

2

100.0

1

24. 5
1. 9
22. 6
22.6

1

2
2

1
1

1

E N F O R C E M E N T OF T H E

301

C H IL D -L A B OR L A W .

T a b l e 145.— N um ber o f violation s, by occupation and sex o f child; school position s held
by interviewed children— Concluded.

School positions showing—

Three violations.

Four viola­
tions.

Total violations
in all school
positions.

Occupation and sex of child.

N um ­
ber.

B oth sexes..........................................................................

32

Personal and domestic occupations......................................
Personal service (other than servants in the home).
House and home w ork.......................................................
Factory and mechanical occupations..................................
Clerical occupations, wrapping, selling, and delivery
of goods........................................................................................
Office w ork...........................................................
Cash and messenger work— department store..........
Packing, wrapping, labeling,‘ and shipping-room
work............................................................................
Selling..........................................................................
Newsboys........................................................................
Selling, other than newsboys..................................
Messenger work, errand and delivery........................
A ll other occupations................................... .......................

1
1

B oys..............................................................................
Personal and domestic occupations.............................
Personal service (other than servants in the home).
House and home w ork................................................
Factory and mechanical occupations....................
Clerical occupations, wrapping, selling, and delivery
of goods................................................................ ..........
Cash and messenger work— department store..........
Packing, wrapping, labeling, and shipping-room
work.......................................................................... .
Selling............................................................................
N ew sboys...................................................................
Selling, other than new sboys.....................
Messenger work, errand and delivery.........
A ll other occupations................................... " .........
Girls....................................................................
Personal and domestic occupations................................
House and home work.............................................
Factory and mechanical occupations........................
Clerical occupations, wrapping, selling, and delivery
of goods.........................................................................
Office work.........................................................
Cash and messenger work— department store..........
Packing, wrapping, labeling, and shipping-room
work..............................................................................
Selling..................................................................................
Selling, other than newsboys..................................
Messenger work, errand and delivery..........................
1 Not shown when base is less than 50.

/


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Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

Per
Per
Per
cent
N um ­
cent
N um ­
cent
distri­
ber.
distri­
ber.
distri­
bution.1
bution.1
bution.1

100.0

5

100.0

2
29

5

2
3

1

3
24

1
4

32

100.0

4

100.0

1
1
2
29

»

4

2
3
3
24

4
100.0

1

100.0

385

100.0

10
8
2
25

2.6
2.1
.5
6.5

348
1
4

90.4
.3
1.0

13
37
1
36
293
2

3.4
9.6
.3
9.4
76.1
.5

362

100.0

9
- 8
1
19

2.5
2.2
.3
5.2

332
1

91.7
.3

11
28
1
27
292
2

3 .0
7.7
.3
'7 .5
80.7
.6

23

100.0

1
1
6
1

1
1

16
1
3
2
9
9
1

302

Th e

w o r k in g

Ch i l d r e n

of

boston

.

146.— K in d o f violation, by occupation and sex o f child; violations occurring ijk.
school positions held by interviewed children who worlced before leaving school, f *

T able

Hour violations.

Total
violations
Under age.
in all school
positions.

Occupation and sex.

Ille­
gally
uncertifiPer
Per cated
cent
cent (num­
N um ­
N um ­
dis­
dis­
ber) '
ber.
ber
tribu­
tribu­
tion.1
tion.1

Both sexes............ ..
Personal and domestic oc­
cupations .............................
Personal service (other
than servants in the
home)............................
House and home work.
Factory and mechanical
occupations.........................
Clerical occupations, wrap­
ping, selling, and deliv­
ery of goods........................
Office w ork.....................
Cash and messenger
work, department
store..............................
Packing,
wrapping,
labeling, ana shipping-room work........
Selling...............................
Newsboys................
Selling, other than
newsboys.............
Messenger work, er­
rand and delivery.. .
A ll other ocupations...........
B oys..............................
Personal and domestic oc­
cupations.............................
Personal service ( other
than servants in the
h om e)...........................
House and home work.
Factory and mechanical
occupations.........................
Clerical occupations, wrap­
ping, selling, and deliv­
ery of goods.........................
Cash and messenger
work, department
store...............................
Packing,
wrapping,
labeling, and ship­
ping-room work........
Selling...............................
Newsboys................
Selling, other than
newsboys.............
Messenger work, er­
rand and delivery.. .
A ll other occupations.........

385 100.0

155

Work
dur­
ing
7-day school
hours
Per week
cent (num­ (num
N um ­
dis­ ber).1 ber).1
ber.
tribu­
tion.1

Night work.
pation
(num­
ber) ‘

D aily Week­
hours
(num­ hours
ber).1 (num­
ber).1

ly

100.0

42

46

4.1

10.6
12

36

77.2

.8

100.0

362

7.5
80.7

.6

1 Rate not shown where base is less than 50,


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Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

Ule-

43

1

100.0

1

^E N F O R C E M E N T OF T H E C H IL D -L A B O R L A W .

303

146.- —K in d o f violation, by occupation and sex o f child; violations occurring m
school positions held by interviewed children who worked before leaving school— Con­
cluded.

T able

Hour violations.

Total
violations
in all school
positions.

Ille­
W ork
gally Ille­
Night work.
dur­
gal
uning
occucerpa- D aily W eek­
7-day school
tifihours
Per
Per cated tion hours
Per
week
ly
cent
cent (num­ (num­ (num­ hours
cent (num­ (num­
N um ­
N um ­
dis­
dis­ ber).1 ber).1 ber).1 (num­ N um ­ dis­ ber).1 ber).1
ber.
ber.
ber.
tribu­
tribu­
ber).1
tribu­
tion.1
tion.1
tion.1

Occupation and sex.

Girls............................ '.
Personal and domestic oc­
cupations.............................
House and home work.
Factory and mechanical
occupations........................
Clerical occupations, wrap­
ping, selling, and deliv­
ery of goods........................
Office w ork.....................
Cash and messenger
work, department
store..............................
Packing, wrapping,
labeling, and ship­
ping-room work........
Selling..............................
Selling, other than
newsboys.............
Messenger work, er­
rand and delivery.. .
A ll other occupations..........

23 100.0

10 100.0

3

3

2

1
1

3 100.0
i
i

6

3

i

1

i

16
1

7

2
1

2

i

1

1

3

2

2

i

2
9

2

4

1

i

2

i

9

4

1

i

2

i

1

1.
1

1 Rate not shown where base is less than 50.

VIOLATIONS IN REGULAR POSITIONS.

In regular positions— that is, positions held after leaving school—
practically one-half, 49.8 per cent, of the children interviewed, ac­
cording to Table 147, were employed in one or more positions in
violation of some provision of the child-labor law. The proportion of
boys so employed was decidedly higher than that of the girls, 57.7
per cent as compared with 39 per cent.
The foreign-born children appear to have been somewhat more
likely to be employed illegally than the native children of foreignborn fathers and decidedly more so than the native children of native
fathers. Of the first group 51.2 per cent, of the second 50.4 per cent,
and of the third 45.3 per cent, were employed at some time in viola­
tion of the law. Nearly two-thirds, 65.8 per cent, of the foreign-born
boys, but not much more than one-third, 38.9 per cent, of the foreignborn girls worked illegally. Among the native children of foreign"born fathers nearly three-fifths, 59.5 per cent, of the boys and less
than two-fifths, 37.1 per cent, of the girls worked illegally. The dif­
ference between the boys and girls was less, 47.2 per cent as com­
pared with 41.9 per cent, among the native children whose fathers
also were native.

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Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

304

th e

w o r k in g

c h il d r e n

of

B O STO N . %

T a b l e 147.— Illegal em ploym ent in any regular position , by nativity o f father, and nativity

■*

and sex o f child; children interview ed.

Children who worked—

N ativity of father and nativity and sex of child.

Children native......................................................................................
Children foreign b o m ..........................................................................
B o y s......................................................................................................

Childrennatiye................................................................ ....................

A ll
chil­
dren.

Illegally in one
or more regular
positions.

Legally in all
regular
positions.

N um ­
ber.

Per
cent.1

N um ­
ber.

Per
cent.1

823

410

49.8

413

50.2

201
593
427
166
29

91
300
215
85
19

45.3
50.6
50.4
5L 2

110
293
212
8t
10

54.7
49.4
49.6
48.8

477

275

57.7

202

42.3

127
328
252
76
22

60
200
150
50
15

47.2
61.0
59.5
65.8

67
128
102
26
7

52.8
39.0
40.5
34.2

346

135

39.0

211

61.0

74
265
175
90
7

31
100
65
35
4

41.9
37.7
37.1
38.9

43
165
no
55
a

58.1
62.3
- 62.9
61.1

i N ot shown where base is less than 50.

The retarded children, as appears in Table 148, were more likely to
be employed illegally than the children from normal grades or from
grades higher than normal. The latter, the advanced children, were
more often employed illegally than the normal children. The pro­
portions of children who worked illegally were 55.4 per cent for the
retarded, 49.3 per eent for the advanced, and 46.2 per cent for the
normal groups. For the boys alone these proportions were 65.1 per
cent, 61 per cent, and 51.7 per cent, respectively. Among the girls a
different order was found for, although a larger proportion, 43.2 per
cent, of the retarded than of any other group of girls was employed
illegally, the smallest proportion, 31.5 per cent, of girls who were
illegally employed was found among those who had completed a
higher grade than normal .for their ages.
The children who worked before leaving school were more fre­
quently employed illegally in one or more of their regular positions
than were those who did not work before leaving school. Table 149
shows that of all the children who worked before leaving school
57.7 per cent, and of those who did not work only 44.7 per cent werA
employed illegally in some regular position. This difference occurred
entirely among the boys, for only 38.6 per cent of the girls who had
worked, as compared with 39.1 per cent of those who had not worked,
before leaving school were illegally employed after they had defi
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Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

E N F O R C E M E N T OF T H E

305

C H IL D -L A B O R L A W .

nitely left school for industrial life. About three-fifths, 60.7 per
^cent, of the boys who worked, as compared with 53.3 per cent of
those who did not work, before leaving school were illegally employed
in some regular position.
T a b l e 148. — Illegal em ploym ent in any regular position , by retardation and sex; children

interviewed.

Children who, on leaving school, had completed, for their ages—

A lower grade than normal.

Violation of law in regular positions,
and sex.

A higher
grade than
normal.

A normal
grade.

Per
N um ­ cent N um ­
dis­
ber.
ber.
tribu­
tion.

Both sexes..........................................

136 100.0

One or two
grades low­
er than
normal.

Total.

Per
cent
N um ­
dis­
ber.
tribu­
tion.

Per
cent
dis­
tribu­
tion.

Three
or
more
grades
lower
' than
Per
nor­
cent
N um ­
m al,
dis­
ber.
num ­
tribu­
ber.1
tion.

N ot
re­
ported.

409 100.0

267 100.0

233 100.0

34

189
220

148
119

125
108

53.6
46.4

23

135 100.0

14

8

63.7
36.3

11
3

5
3

98 100.0

20

3

39
59

12
8

1
2

u

Working illegally in one or more posiN o violation...............................................
Boys......................................................
W orking illegally in one or more positions..............................................................
N o violation...................................................
Girls......................................................
Working illegally in one or more positions..............................................................
No violation...................................................

67
69

49.3
50.7

46.2
53.8

82 100.0

238 100.0

50
32

123
115

61.0
39.0

51.7
48.3

54 100.0

171 100.0

17
37

66
105

31.5
68.5

38.6
61.4

55.4
44.6

149 100.0
97
52

65.1
34.9

86
49

118 100.0
51
67

43.2
56.8

6
5

11

39.8
60.2

1 Rate not shown where hasé is less than 50.

T a b l e 149. — Illegal em ploym ent in any regular p osition , by em ploym ent before leaving

school, and sex; children interview ed.

Children who worked—

Em ploym ent before leaving school, and sex.

Both sexes...................................................

All
chil­
dren.

Illegally in one
or more regular
positions.

Legally in all
regular posi­
tions.

N um ­
ber.

Per
cent.

N um ­
ber.

Per
cent.

823

410

49.8

413.

50.2

Worked before leaving school......................
D id not work before leaving school.......................

324
499

187
223

57.7
44.7

137
276

42.3
55.3

477

275

57.7

202

42.3

Worked before leaving school............................
D id not work before leaving school.................

280
197

170
105

60.7
53.3

110
92

39.3
46.7

Girls.......................................................................

346

135

39.0

211

61.0

Worked before leaving school.................................. ..
D id not work before leaving school............................. -ui -

44
302

17
118

38.6
39.1

27
184

61.4
60.9


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Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

306

T H E W O R K IN G C H IL D R E N OF BOSTON .

CERTIFICATION AND NATIVITY AND FATHER’S NATIONALITY.

Table 150 shows that more than one-sixteenth, 6.7 per cent, of the
children interviewed failed to secure certificates for their first regular
positions. In some positions, however, certificates were not required
under the law,7 while others were held outside Boston and its sub­
urbs— a few of them in foreign countries— and it was not known
whether or not they were certificated. Only one-twentieth, 5 per
cent, therefore, of these children were known to have been employed
without certificates in violation of the law. Of the 41 children thus
employed six could not have obtained certificates because they were
under 14 years of age when they took their first regular positions.
About one-tenth of the children, 9.4 per cent, were certificated late,
that is, more than 10 days after they had taken their first regular
positions.8 Of the 77 children thus certificated late 9 were under 14
when they began work. ~
The girls more generally held certificates, and also more generally
secured them on time— that is, within 10 days after going to work
in their first regular positions— than did the boys. Of the girls 95.1
per cent were certificated and 89.3 per cent were certificated on
time, while of the boys only 92 per cent were certificated and only
80.1 per cent were certificated on time. The proportion of girl,
illegally not certificated was 4 per cent, while that of boys was 5. /
per cent.
Late certification in the first regular position was most common
among native children of native fathers and least common among
foreign-bom children. Over one-ninth, 11.4 per cent, of the native
children of native fathers, but only about one-twelfth, 8.4 per cent,
of the native children of foreign-bom fathers and an even smaller
proportion, 7.8 per cent, of the foreign-bom children took out their
certificates for their first regular positions more than 10 days after
they had begun work. Late certification was particularly common
among the native boys whose fathers also were native. Of these
boys 15 per cent, as compared with only 5.4 per cent of the girls of
the same nativity group, were certificated late. A much larger pro­
portion, too, of the boys than of the girls who were themselves
native but whose fathers were foreign born, 11.1 per cent as com­
pared with 4.6 per cent, took out their certificates more than one
week late. Among the foreign-born girls the proportion of late
certifications was higher, 7.8 per cent, than in any other group of
girls and almost exactly the same as among the foreign-bom b o y ^
7
Certificates were not required b y law (1) for employment during vacation in a few occupations, smjh
as “ water boy for contracting com pany,” (2) for employment outside school hours in selling newspapers
or other occupations covered b y the street trades law, and (3) for employment in mercantile establishments

on Saturdays. Acts of 1909, ch. 514, sec. 57, as amended b y Acts of 1913, ch. 779, sec. .15.
s Children certificated within 10 days after going to work were not considered to have been certificated
late.


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E N F O R C E M E N T OF T H E

307

C H IL D -L A B O R L A W .

7.9 per cent. Evidently the relatively greater frequency of late
certifications among the native children of native fathers was due
entirely to the boys.
T able

150.— Certification in first regular position, by nativity o f father and nativity and
sex o f child; children interviewed.
Children.

Fathers fo reign bom .

Certification in first regular position and
sex.

Both fathers
and children
native.

Nativ­
Children
ity of
foreign bom . fathers
not re­
ported;
chil­
Per
Per
Per
Per
dren
cent
cent
cent
cent
N um ­
N um ­
N um ­
N um ­
native.
dis­
dis­
dis­
dis­
ber.
ber.
ber.
ber.
tribu­
tribu­
tribu­
tribu­
tion.
tion.
tion.
tion.
Total.

Children
native.

Both sexes.................................................

823

100.0

201

100.0

427

100.0

166

100.0

29

Certificated............................................................

768

93.3

189

94.0

397

93.0

155

93.4

27

On tim e..........................................................
L a te1....... .......................................................

691
2 77

84.0
9 .4

166
23

82.6
11.4

361
36

84.5
8.4

142
13

85. 5
7 .8

22
•5

N ot certificated.. . : ............................................

55

6.7

12

6.0

30

7.0

11

6 .6

2

Ille g a lly --.............. * ...................................

14
8 41

1.7
5.0

2
10

1.0
5.0

7
23

1.6
5.4

5
6

3 .0
3 .6

2

B o y s..........................................................

477

100.0

127

100.0

252

100.0

76

100.0

22

Certificated............................................................

439

92.0

118

92.9

231

91.7

68

89 5

22

On tim e..........................................................
L a t e ................................................................

382
57

80.1
11.9

99
19

78.0
15.0

203
28

80.6
11.1

62
6

81.6
7 .9

18
4

38

8.0

9

7.1

21

8.3

8

10.5

11
27

2.3
5.7

2
7

1.6
5.5

5
16

2.0
6.3

4
4

5.3
5.3

Girls..................... .......................................

346

100.0

74

100.0

175

•100.0

90

100.0

7

Certificated.............................................. ......... .. -

329

95.1

71

95.9

166

94.9

87

96.7

5

On tim e..........................................................
Late................................................................-

309
20

89.3
5 .8

67
4

90.5
5 .4

158
8

90.3
4.6

80
7

88.9
7.8

4
1

17

4 .9

3

4.1

9

5.1

3

3.3

2

3
14

.9
4.0

4.1

2
7

1.1
4.0

1
2

1.1
2 .2

2

N ot certificated..............................................
Illegally..........................................................

3

1 B y “ late ” is meant more than 10 days after going to work:.
2 Including nine children who were under 14 when they began work in first regular position.
8 Including six children who were under 14 when they began work in first regular position.

Failure to take out a certificate for a first regular position for
which under the law it was required was most common among the
native children of foreign-born fathers, but least common among
Ahe foreign-born children. Of the native children of foreign-born
fathers 5.4 per cent, of those of native fathers 5 per cent, and of the
foreign-born children only 3.6 per cent failed’to take out certificates
for such positions.
Although only one-twentieth, 5 per cent, of the children were
illegally uncertificated in their first regular positions,1more than one
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308

TH E WORKING CHILDREN OF BOSTON.

eighth, 13.6 per cent, of them, as appears in Table 151, worked in^
some regular position in which certificates were required by law/-*
without having secured such certificates. 'These children appear to
have been less likely to secure certificates for later than for first
positions. Of the 1,943 positions held 1,120, or 57.6 per cent, were
second or later positions, while of the 163 which were illegally not
certificated 122, or 74.8 per cent, were second or later positions.9
This may have been due, in part at least, to lack of familiarity,
during the early part of the period covered by this study, with the
provisions of the new law which required a certificate for each new
employer.
Nearly one-tenth, 9.7 per cent, of all the children and over onetenth, 10.5 per cent, of the boys alone held only one illegally uncer­
tificated position; but 3.9 per cent of all the children and 4.4 per
cent of the boys alone held two or three such positions. Five boys
and two girls each held three positions for which they failed to secure
the certificates required by law.
Table
•

151. —Number o f illeg a lly uncertificated p o sition s held, by n a tivity o f father and
n a tiv ity and sex o f child; children interview ed.


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ENFORCEMENT OF THE CHILD-LABOR LAW .

309

The native children of native fathers appear to have been less
ikely than the native children of foreign-born fathers and the latter
than the foreign-bom children to hold illegally uncertificated positions.
Of the first group 12.4 per cent, of the second 13.1 per cent, and of
the third 15.1 per cent held one or more such positions. As it has
already been seen that failure to take out a certificate for a first
regular position for which, under the law, it was required, was least
common among the foreign-born children, it is evident that failure
to take out certificates for later positions was much more prevalent
in this group than in any other. This fact seems to confirm the theory
that failure to secure new certificates when children changed positions
was often due to lack of familiarity with the new law, for both the
foreign-born children and their employers would be least likely to
secure prompt information as to the exact provisions of recent
legislation.
In each nativity group a smaller proportion of the girls than of the
boys held one or more illegally uncertificated positions. But the
difference was least, 12 per cent as compared with 13.9 per cent,
among the native children of foreign-born fathers, and most, 11.1
per cent as compared with 19.7 per cent, among the foreign-born
.children. Of the foreign-born girls, indeed, a smaller proportion,
11.1 per cent, than of the native girls whose fathers were foreign
born, 12 per cent, held one or more positions for which they illegally
failed to take out certificates. Nevertheless, failure to take out
certificates for more than one position in which they were required
by law was more common among the native girls whose fathers were
also native than in any other group of girls and also than among the
boys whose fathers were native.
Table 152 shows that of all the children of foreign-born fathers,
including both native and foreign-born children, a smaller proportion,
86.3 per cent, than of the children of native fathers, 87.6 per cent,
never held any illegally uncertificated positions. In other words, a
larger proportion of the children of foreign-born than of native
fathers held one or more illegally uncertificated positions. The
largest proportion, 18.6 per cent, of children who held such positions
was found in the Russian-Jewish, and the smallest, 11.4 per cent,
in the Irish group. One Russian-Jewish child out of every ten, 10
per cent, held two or more and only 8.6 per cent held only one such
position. Of the Italian children, on the other hand, only 1 in 50,
2 per cent, held two or more, but about 1 in 10,10.7 per cent, held one
/u ch position. The Irish children, like the Italian though to a less
'degree, were more inclined to hold only one than to hold more than
one illegally uncertificated position.
In general, the children of foreign-born fathers of non-English
speaking nationalities were more likely than those of foreign-born
fathers of English-speaking nationalities to fail to secure certificates

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T H E W O R K IN G C H IL D R E N OE BOSTON .

for positions for which, under the law, they were required. This
difference occurred entirely among the girls. Of the girls whose
fathers were foreign born of non-English-speaking nationalities 13.2
per cent, and of those whose fathers were foreign born of Englishspeaking nationalities only 8.8 per cent held one or more illegally
uncertificated positions. On the other hand, of the boys whose
fathers were foreign born of non-English-speaking nationalities 14.9
per cent, and of those whose fathers were foreign born of Englishspeaking nationalities a slightly larger proportion, 15.1 per cent,
held one or more illegally uncertificated positions. Nearly as large a
proportion of the Italian girls as of the Italian boys, 12.5 per cent,
as compared with 12.9 per cent, but a very small proportion, 7.5 per
cent, of the Irish girls as compared with the Irish boys, 13.9 per cent,
failed to secure certificates for one or more positions for which the
law required such certificates.
T a b l e 152.— Number o f illegally uncertificated positions held, by nationality o f father
'
and sex o f child; children interviewed.

Children who Jleid positions ille gaily uncertificated.

N ationality of father and sex of child.

All
chil­
dren.

N one.

Num ­
ber.

One.

Per
cent.1

N um ­
ber.

Tw o or more.

Per
cent.1

N um ­
ber.

Per
cent.1

Both sexes.........................................................

823

711

86.4

80

9.7

32

3.9

Fathers native..............................................................
Fathers foreign born..................................................
Of English-speaking nationalities................
Irish..................................................................
Other................................................................
O f non-English-speaking nationalities........
Italian..............................................................
Russian Jewish.............................................
Other................................................................

201
2593
243
167
76
349
197
70
82
29

176
512
212
148
64
300
172
57
71
23

87.6
86.3
87.2
88.6
84.2
86.0
87.3.
81.4
86.6

17
60
23
14
9
37
21
6
10
3

8.5
10.1
9.5
8.4
11.8
10.6
10.7
8.6
12.2

8
2 21
8
5
3
12
4
7
1
3

4.0
3.5
3.3
3.0
3.9
3.4
2.0
1C.0
1.2

B oys......................................................................

477

406

85.1

50

10.5

21

4.4

Fathers native.............................................................
Fathers foreign born..................................................
Of English-speaking nationalities................
Irish..................................................................
Other................................................................
O f non-English-speaking nationalities___
Italian.......................; .....................................

110
278
129
87
42
149
74
31
44
18

86.6
84.8
84.9
86.1
82.4
85.1
87.1

12
35
17
11
6
18
8
4
6
3

9.4
10.7
11.2
10.9
11.8
10.3
9.4

5
2 15
6
3
3
8
3
5

3.9
4.6
3.9
3.0
5.9
4.6
3.5

N ativity of fathers not reported............................

127
2328
152
101
51
175
85
40
50
22

Girls............................ •.........................................

346

305

88.2

30

8.7

11

3.2

Fathers native..............................................................
Fathers foreign born..................................................
Of English-speaking nationalities..................
Irish..................................................................

74
265
91
66
25
174
112
30
32
7

66
234
83
61
22
151
98
26
27
5

89.2
88.3
91.2
92.4

5
25
6
3
3
19
13
2
4

6 .8
9.4
6.6
4.5

3
6
2
2

4.1
2.3
2.2
3. fi

ÌÓ.9
11.6

4
1
2
1
2

2.3
.9

Of non-English-speaking nationalities.........
Italian..............................................................
N ativity of fathers not reported...........................

88.0

86.8
87.5

H
1 N ot shown where base is less than 50.
2 Including one boy, the nationality of whose father was not specified.


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12.0
1

b m

311

E N F O R C E M E N T OF T H E C H IL D -L A B O R L A W .

CERTIFICATION AND THE SCHOOL.

Failure to secure a certificate for the first regular position was
much more common, according to Table 153, among the children
who went to work during the summer vacation than among those
who went to work at any other time. About one-ninth, 11.2 per
cent, of the children who went to work during the summer vacation
but only one-twentieth, 5 per cent, of those who went to work during
the school year held no certificates in their first regular positions.
Certificates for some kinds of work were not required by the labor
law but only by the compulsory school-attendance law, which speci­
fied that children must have certificates or home permits in order to
remain out of school. For such work, of course, no certificates were
required during vacation periods. It is, therefore, not surprising to
find that of the children who went to work during summer vacation,
3.1 per cent, but of those who went to work at some other time only
1.2 per cent, were either not required by law to hold certificates in
their first regular positions, or else held these positions elsewhere
than in Boston.
T a b l e 153. — Certification in first regular position, by time o f entering industry, and sex;

children interviewed.

Children who went to work—

During summer
vacation.

A t some other
time.

Certification in first regular position, and sex.

N um ­
ber.

Per
cent
Num ­
distri­
ber.
bution.

Per
cent
distri­
bution.

224

100.0

599

100.0

199
159
»40
25
7
»18

88.8
71.0
17.9
11.2
3.1
8.0

569
532
37
30
7
23

95.0
88.8
6.2
5.0
1.2
3.8

B oys.................................... ...................................................................................

121

100.0

356

100.0

Certificated.......................................................................................................................

102
72
30
19
5
14

84.3
59.5
24.8
15.7
4.1
11.6

337
310
27
19
6
13

94.7
87.1
7.6
5.3
1.7
3.7

103

100.0

243

100.0

97
87
10
6
2
4

94.2
84.5
9.7
5.8
1.9
3.9

232
222
10
11
1
10

95.5
91.4
4.1
4.5
.4
4.1

On time....................................: ................................................................................
L a te1..........................................................................................................................

N ot certificated...............................................................................................................

Girls........................................................................................................................

1 B y “ late” is meant more than 10 days after going to work.
2 Including nine children who were under 14 when they began work in first regular position.
8 Including six children who were under 14 when they began work in first regular position,


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312

TH E WORKING CHILDREN OF BOSTON.

The fact that 8 per cent of the children who went to work during \
the summer, as compared with only 3.8 per cent of those who went
to work at some other time, failed to secure certificates for positions
for which they were required by law shows that positions for which
certificates were not required if the work did not interfere with school
attendance do not by any means account for the difference. Failure
to secure certificates required by law, as well as merely going to work
in positions for which they were not required, appears to have been
decidedly more common among children who went to work during a
summer vacation than among those who went to work at any other
time. For the boys alone the difference is pronounced, 11.6 per cent
as compared with 3.7 per cent. More than one boy out of every nine
who took his first regular position during the summer vacation did so
illegally without an employment certificate.
The lack of a certificate does not tell the whole story, for children
who were at first employed without certificates were likely to secure
them eventually if they held their first positions long enough, gen­
erally if they held them until school opened in the fall. These chil­
dren were classified, not as uncertificated but as certificated late, and
late certification for first regular positions was far more prevalent
among children who went to work during a summer vacation than
among those who went to work at any other time. Of all the chil­
dren who went to work during summer vacation 17.9 per cent, as
compared with only 6.2 per cent of those who went to work at some
other time, were certificated late.
Of the boys who went to work during summer vacations, prac­
tically one-fourth, 24.8 per cent, were certificated late, and consid­
erably more than one-third, 36.4 per cent, either were certificated late
or illegally held no certificates at all for their first regular positions.
Y et of those who went to work at some other time only 7.6 per cent
were certificated late and 11.3 per cent were either certificated late
or illegally not certificated. Though less pronounced, similar dif­
ferences were found among the girls, for of those who went to work
during summer vacation 13.6 per cent, as compared with only 8.2
per cent of those who went to work at some other time, either held
no certificates or failed to secure certificates until they had worked
more than a week in first regular positions for which by law certifi­
cates were required.
The children who went directly from school to work— that is, who
lost less than a week of school time in the transition—according to
Table 154, were less likely to be illegally not certificated but even
more likely to be certificated late for their first regular positions than
were the children who had an interval of one week or more between
leaving school and going to work. Of the children with no interval,
3.2 per cent were illegally not certificated and 7.9 per cent were cer
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E N F O R C E M E N T OF T H E C H IL D -L A B O R L A W .

-tificated late, while of those with an interval of one week or more 4.3
er cent were illegally not certificated but only 5.4 per cent were cer­
tificated late. In this respect the same tendency was shown by
both boys and girls, but it was more pronounced among thed>oys.
Nevertheless, as would be expected from the fact that the children
who went to work during vacation were much more likely than those
who went to work at any other time to be illegally not certificated or
certificated late in their first regular positions, these percentages are
small as compared with those for the group of children for whom such
intervals as occurred between leaving school and going to work were
entirely during vacation. Of the latter group of children 8.5 per
cent were illegally not certificated and 16.1 per cent were certificated
late in their first regular positions.
T able

154.— Certification in first regular position, by amount o f schoov time lost and sex;
children interviewed.

Children with interval wholly or partly during
school term who lost, during interval between
leaving school and going to work, specified
amount of school time.

Certification in first regular position,
and sex.

None or less
than one week.

Total.

Num ­
ber.

Per
cent
distri­
bution.

N um ­
ber.

Per
cent
distri­
bution.

Children with
interval en­
tirely during
vacation.

One week or
more.

Num ­
ber.

Per
cent
distri­
bution.

Num ­
ber.

Per
cent
distri­
bution.

1600

100.0

341

100.0

258

100.0

223

100.0

1569
i 528
8 41
31
9
422

94.8
88.0
6.8
5.2
1.5
3.7

324
297
27
17
6
11

95.0
87.1
7.9
5.0
1.8
3.2

244
230
14
14
3
11

94.6
89.1
5.4
5.4
1.2
4.3

199
163
36
24
5
19

89.2
73.1
16.1
10.8
2.2
8.5

1355

100.0

222

100.0

132

100.0

122

100.0

Illegally..................................................

1335
1307
28
20
7
13

94.4
86.5
7.9
5.6
2.0
3.7

'211
191
20
11
4
7

95.0
86.0
9.0
5.0
1.8
3.2

123
115
8
9
3
6

93.2
87.1
6.1
6.8
2.3
4.5

104
75
29
18
4
14

85.2
61.5
23.8
14.8
3 .3
11.5

Girls....................................................

245

100.0

119

100.0

126

100.0

101

100. Ö

234
221
13
11
2
9

95.5
90.2
5.3
4.5
.8
3.7

113
106
7
6
2

95.0
89.1
5.9
5.0
1.7
3.4

121
115
6
5

96.0
91.3
4.8
4.0

5

4.0

95
88
7
6
1
5

94.1
87.1
6 .9
5.9
1.0
5 .0

4

1 Including one boy for whom amount of school time lost was not reported.
* B y “ late” is meant more than 10 days after going to work.
Including nine children who were under 14 when they began work in first regular position.
| 4 Including six children who were under 14 when they Degan work in first regular position.

In part probably because of the greater tendency of normal and
advanced than of retarded children to go to work during a summer
4 94 7 0°—-22------ 21


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314

TH E WORKING CHILDREN OF BOSTON.

vacation rather than at any other time, and in part because of them
occupations, these children showed a greater tendency than did th^j
retarded children both to work illegally without certificates and to
be certificated late in their first regular positions. Table 155 shows
that 8.8 per-cent of the children from higher grades than normal, 4.9
per cent of those from normal grades, and 3.4 per cent of those from
lower grades than normal for their ages were illegally not certificated.
A larger proportion of the children from normal grades than of those
from higher grades than normal, 12 per cent as compared with 10.3
per cent, but only 5.2 per cent of the retarded children, were certifi­
cated late. Nearly one-fifth, 19.1 per cent, of the advanced children,
and over one-sixth, 16.9 per cent, of the normal children, but only
about one-twelfth, 8.6 per cent, of the retarded children, were either
illegally not certificated at all or certificated late for their first regular
positions.
T able

155.— Certification in first regular position, by retardation and sex; children
interviewed.

Children who, on leaving school, had completed, for their ages—

A lower grade than normal.
A higher grade
Certification in first regular than normal.
position, and sex.

N um ­
ber.

Both sexes.................
Certificated...........................
On time..........................
L a te 1 ..............................
Not certificated....................
Legally and not reported
Illegally..........................

Girls............... ............
Certificated...........................
On time......................... {j
Late................................
Not certificated.....................
Legally and not reported
Illegally.................... .
1
3

Total.

Per
Per
Per
cent
N um ­ cent N um ­ cent
dis­
dis­
dis­
ber.
tribu­
tribu­ ber. tribu­
tion.
tion.
tion.

One or two
grades lower
than normal.

N um ­
ber.

Per
cent
dis­
tribu­
tion.

Three N ot re­
or more ported.
grades
lower
than
normal.

136

1 0 0 .0

409

1 0 0 .0

267

1 0 0 .0

233

1 0 0 .0

34

11

120

8 8 .2

106
» 14
16
4
3 12

77.9
10.3

93.9
81.9

1

i

20

4.9

8

94.8
90.1
4.7
5.2
1.7
3.4

33
30
3

2.9

95.1
89.9
5.2
4.9
1.5
3.4

221
210
11
12

8 .8

254
240
14
13
4
9

10
10

1 1 .8

384
335
49
' 25
5

82

1 0 0 .0

238

1 0 0 .0

149

1 0 0 .0

135

1 0 0 .0

14

223
189
34
15
4

141
132
9

94.6

94.8

8 8 .6
6 .0

13
13

8
2
6

5.4
1.3
4.0

128
119
9
7

Boys............................
Certificated.............. ...... .....
On time.......... ............. ¿'.
Late............................... ;
Not certificated.....................
Legally and not reported
Illegally.......................

A normal
grade.

1 2 .0
6 .1
1 .2

54
14
14
4

82.9
65.9
17.1
17.1
4.9 ,

10

1 2 .2

11

93.7
79.4
14.3
6.3
1.7
4.6

54

1 0 0 .0

171

1 0 0 .0

118

52
52

96.3
96.3

161
146
15

94.2
85.4

2

3.7

10
1

5.8

113
108
5
•5

.6

2

2

3.7

9

5.3

3

68

.

8 .8

4

8 8 .1

5

6.7
5.2
1.5
3.7

1

1 0 0 .0

98

1 0 0 .0

20

95.8
91.5
4.2
4.2
1.7
2.5

93
91

94.9
92.9

20

2

2

2 .0

5

5.1

8

1

17
3

3
3

2

. 3

3.1

? y i“ late” is meant more than 1 0 days after going to work.
n.m e ehUdren who were under 14 when tliey began work in first regular position.
Including six children who were under 14 when they began work in first regular position.


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Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

1

■\

315

ENFORCEMENT OF THE CHILD-LABOR LAW»

The tendency of children from higher grades than normal to be
egally not certificated or certificated late in their first regular posi­
tions more frequently than those from normal grades was due entirely
to the boys. Of the girls 5.3 per cent of those from normal grades,
as compared with only 3.7 per cent of those from higher grades than
normal for their ages, were illegally not certificated, and none of the
advanced girls were.certificated late. The retarded girls, as well as
the retarded boys, however, showed less tendency both to be illegally
not certificated and to be certificated late in their first regular posi­
tions than did the normal girls and boys.
CERTIFICATION AND WORK BEFORE LEAVING SCHOOL.

The children who had worked before leaving school were more
likely to fail to secure certificates for their first regular positions than
were those who had never had any industrial experience, and de­
cidedly more likely to neglect to secure certificates until they had
been at work for more than a week in such positions. Of the chil­
dren who had worked before leaving school, according to Table 156,
6.2 per cent, and of those who had not worked, only 4.2 per cent were
illegally not certificated; but of the first group 12.7 per cent and of
"able

156 — Certification in first regular position , by em ploym ent before leaving school,
and sex; children interviewed.

Children who, before leaving
school—

Certification in first regular position, and sex.

Worked.

N um ber.

Both sexes....................
Certificated.............................
On time............................
Late 2 ................................
Not certificated......................
Legally and not reported.
Illegally...............j ......... .
Boys......................... .

D id not work.

Per
cent
N um distri­
ber.
bution.1

Per
cent
distri­
bution.

324

100.0

499

100.0

299
258
»41
25
5
* 20

92.3
79.6
12.7
7.7
1.5
6.2

469
433
36
30
9
21

94.0
86.8
7.2
6.0
1.8
4.2

280

100.0

197

100.0

258
221
37
22
4
18

92.1
78.9
13.2
7.9
1.4
6.4

181
161
20
16
7
9

91.9
81.7
10.2
8.1
3.6
4.6

Girls..............................

44

100.0

302

106.0

ertifieated.............................
yOli time........ ....................
Late 2 ................................
t certificated......................
Legally and not reported.
Illegally........ ...............

41
37
4
3
1
2

288
272
16
14
2
12

95.4
90.1
5.3
4.6
.7
4.0

Certificated.............................
On time............................
L ate*...............................
Not certificated. . 1 .................
Legally and not reported.
Illegally..... .......................

1 N ot shown where base is less than 50.
2 B y “ late” is meant more than 10 days after going to work.
* Including nine children who were under 14 when they began work in first regular position.
• Including six children who were under 14 when they began work in first regular position.


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Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

316

TH E WORKING CHILDREN OF BOSTON.

the second only 7.2 per cent were certificated late. Of the boys wh
had worked before leaving school nearly one-fifth, 19.6 per cent, b,
of those who had not worked only about one-seventh, 14.8 per cent,
either failed to secure in their first regular positions the certificates
required by law or secured them more than a week after going to
work.
CERTIFICATION AND METHOD OF SECURING POSITIONS.

Considerable difference was found among the children who secured
their first positions by different methods, as to whether or not they
were certificated or took out their certificates only after having worked
for 10 days or more in these positions. Table 157 shows that the
largest proportion, 7.1 per cent, of first positions which were illegally
not certificated was found among children who secured these posi­
tions through employment agencies, schools, or placement bureaus.
There were only four of these illegally uncertificated positions, how­
ever, and in three of them the children were placed by private em­
ployment agencies. The children who secured their first positions
through friends or relatives were somewhat more likely than were
those who secured them independently to fail illegally to take ou|
certificates. Of the former group 4.7 per cent and of the latter onl
3.8 per cent were illegally not certificated. But a more striking di
ference was found between the certification status of children who
secured their first regular positions through friends and those who
secured them through relatives. Of the former group 6.6 per cent
and of the latter only 2.5 per cent failed illegally to secure certificates
for these positions.
Late certification in first regular positions was far more common
among children whose first employers were relatives and among those
who seemed their first regular positions through private employment
agencies than in any other group. Over one-fifth, 20.6 per cent, of
the children whose employers were relatives failed to secure certifi­
cates until after they had been at work for more than a week. About
one-seventh, 14.3 per cent, of the group of children who secured their
first positions through employment agencies, schools, or placement
bureaus were also certificated late, and all of them were placed by
private employment agencies. It should be noted in this connection
that in comparatively few, only 4.8 per cent, of the first positions in
which the employer was a relative were the children illegally not
certificated, but that, as has already been pointed out, illegal failure
to secure any certificates at all, as well as failure to secure theifD
time, was particularly common among children who secured th
first regular positions through private employment agencies.


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Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

vj T

----- 4Children with first position not certificated.

Children with first position certificated.

Method of securing first regular position.

Total.

On time.

Late.

Legally and
not reported.

Total.

Illegally.

N um ­
ber.

Per
cent.1

N um ­
ber.

Per
cent.1

N um ­
ber.

Per
cent.1

N um ­
ber.

Per
cent.1

N um j ber.

Per
cent.1

N um ­
ber.

823

768

93.3

691

84.0

2 77

9.4

55

6.7

14

1.7

8 41

. 406

381

93.8

344

84.7

37

9.1

25

6.2

6

1.5

19

183
160
63

169
153
59

92.3
95.6
93.7

158
140
46

86.3
87.5
73.0

11
13
13

6.0
8.1
20.6

14
7
4

7.7
4.4
6.3

2
3
1

1.1
1.9
1.6

12
4
3

Per
cent.1

5.0

Position secured through:
'

4.7
6.6
2.5
4.8

316

299

94.6

275

87.0

24

7.6

17

5.4

5

1.6

12

3.8

234
44
38

223
41
35

95.3

209
36
30

89.3

14
5
5

6.0

11
3
3

4.7

3

1.3

3.4

2

8
3
1

38

32

2

4

56

52

38
4
3
1
10

35
4
2
:1
10

7

4

25
92.9

78.6

8

27
4
2
1 ..............
10

8

44

3

6

7

1

14.3

4

7.1

4

3

3

1

1

3

1

2

7.1

ENFORCEMENT OF THE CHILD-LABOR LA W .

A ll
chil­
dren.

1 N ot shown where base is less than 50.
* Including nine children who were under 14 when they began work in first regular position.
8 Including six children who were under 14 when they began work in first regular position.

317


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Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

318

T H E W O R K IN G C H IL D R E N OF BOSTON .

CERTIFICATION AND OCCUPATION.

>

Whether or not an employment certificate is secured or is secured
on time for a given position probably depends at least as much upon
the employer as upon the child. The principal object of the child in
securing a certificate is to stay out of school without being interfered
with by an attendance officer, and the principal object of the employer
in demanding a certificate is to secure the child’s services without
danger of trouble with the factory-inspection department and possible
prosecution for violation of the child-labor law. Employers who have
in their establishments a number of children, even if only two or three,
are much more likely than are employers of only a single child to
know the requirements of the law and to be careful not to violate
them. In factories where many children are used methods of employ­
ment are often developed which make it very difficult for any child
to secure work without presenting a certificate. This is particularly
true in Massachusetts, where in factories certificates of one sort or
another are required for employment, not only of children under 16,
but of any person under 21 years of age. Employers who have only
one child in their service, on the other hand, are sometimes not well
acquainted with the legal conditions to be fulfilled and are frequently’
unsystematic in their methods of employment.
It is not surprising, therefore, to find that failure to secure certifi­
cates and late certification are both much more common in occupa­
tions in which frequently or commonly only one child is employed
than in those in which it is customary for a number of children to
work for a single employer. In personal and domestic occupations,
for example, Table 158 shows that nearly one-third, 30.3 per cent, of
all the positions were illegally not certificated, and over one-eighth,
13.5 per cent, were certificated late, whereas in factory and mechan­
ical occupations less than one-twentieth, 4.6 per cent, were illegally
not certificated and only about one-sixteenth, 6.5 per cent, were cer­
tificated late. Failure to secure the certificates required by law was
least common in positions as shoe-factory operatives, where only
one position was illegally not certificated, and late certification was
least common in positions for cash and messenger work in department
stores, where also only one position was certificated late. The estab­
lishments in which children worked as operatives in the manufacture
of clothing or in other needle trades were as a rule decidedly smaller
than the shoe factories, and consequently it is not surprising to find
that nearly one-tenth, 9.2 per cent, of the positions in these establish-^
ments were illegally not certificated and almost as large a proportion^
8.6 per cent, were certificated late.
V


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Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

E N F O R C E M E N T OF T H E

C H IL D -L A B O R L A W .

319

Failure to secure the certificates required by law was more common
in positions for office work than for any other except personal and
domestic occupations. Of the office-work positions over one-eighth,
13.9 per cent, were illegally not certificated, and practically onetenth, 9.9 per cent, were certificated late. Late certification was
more common, however, in selling than in any other kind of position.
In nearly one-fourth, 22.4 per cent, of the positions in which the
occupation was selling the children did not take out certificates
until they had been at work for 10 days or more, and in more than
one-ninth, 11.8 per cent, of these positions they failed entirely to
take out the certificates required by law.
The fact that girls more frequently than boys entered factory and
mechanical occupations accounts, in part but not wholly, for the
fact that fewer of the positions held by girls than of those held by
boys were illegally not certificated or were certificated late. A
larger proportion of the positions in personal and domestic occupa­
tions were also held by girls, but the total number of such positions
was very small, only 89, as compared with the number (588) of posi­
tions for factory and mechanical occupations. Precisely the same
''proportion, 4.3 per cent, of the factory operative positions held by
iris as of those held by boys were illegally not certificated, and
precisely the same proportion, 5.7 per cent, were certificated late.
In messenger, errand, and delivery work both lack of certification
and late certification were more common in positions held by boys
than in those held by girls. Of positions for this kind of work held
by boys 10.8 per cent were illegally not certificated and 13.5 per
cent were certificated late, and of those held by girls only 6.9 per
cent were illegally not certificated and 12.6 per cent were certificated
late. In a number of other occupations, too, classified as “ clerical
occupations, wrapping, selling, and delivery of g o o d s /’ the propor­
tion of positions held by boys which were either not certificated at
all or certificated late was higher than of those held by girls. In the
group as a whole, therefore, not far from one-fourth, 23.3 per cent,
of the positions held by'boys but only a little over one-tenth, 10.6
per cent, of those held by girls were either illegally not certificated or
certificated late. It may be, of course, that even in these occupa­
tions boys were more likely than girls to be employed singly, but it
appears probable either that girls were more careful to secure certi­
ficates or'that employers were more careful to demand them for girls.

v


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Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

320

T H E W O R K IN G C H IL D R E N OF BOSTON .

T a b l e 158.— Certification, by occupation and sex o f child; regular positions held by
children interviewed.
Regular positions certificated.

1
Occupation and sex.

All
regular
positions.

4 1,943

On time.

Total.

Late.
Per
cent.1

N um ­
ber.

Per
cent.1

Num ­
ber.

Per
cent.1

N um ­
ber.

4 1,731

89.1

«1,542

79.4

2189

9.7

35

39.3

12

13.5

25
10
517
503
194

87.9
89.3
97.5

3
9
38
32
4

6 .5
5.7
2 .0

151
49
19
90
14

81.6
92.4

16
2

8.6
3.8

84.1

10
6

9.3

78.8
75.2

136
10

10.9
9.9

89

47

52.8

46
43
588
563
199

28
19
555
535
198

94.4
95.0
99.5

185
53
19
107
25

167
51
19
100
20

90.3
96.2

1,248
101

1,120
86

89.7
85.1

984
76

213

208

97.7

207

97.2

1

.5

104
76
754
17

101
59
666
8

97.1
77.6
88.3

94
42
565
5

90.4
55.3
74.9

7
17
101
3

6.7
22.4
13.4

4 1,093

‘ 945

86.5

«810

74.1

135

12.4

Personal service (other"than servants in

Clothing factory and other needle

93.5

Clerical occupations, wrapping, selling, and
Cash and messenger work— department
Packing, wrapping, labeling, an d shipMessenger work, errand and delivery.........

2

38

18

16

35
3
165
140
69

18

16

151
131
68

8
22
41
25

6
20
37
20

872
73

767
66

88.0
90.4

651
57

74.7
78.1

55

53

96.4

52

94.5

34
43
667
17

32
31
585
8

850

'786

92.5

732

86.1

54

6 .4

51

29

’ 56-9

19

37.3

10

19.6

11
40
423
423
130

10
19
404
404
130

95.5
95.5
100.0

9
10
380
380
128

89.8
89.8
98.5

1
9
24
24
2

5.7
5 .7
1.5

177
31
19
66

161
31
19
63

376
28

353
20

158
70
33
87

Personal service (other"than servants in
91.5
93.6
98.5

137
123
66

2
83.0
87.9
95.6

14
8
2

8.5
5.7
2.9

Clothing factory and other needle
1
1
4
6

5
19
33
14

Clerical occupations, wrapping, selling, and
Cash and messenger work— department

116
9

13.3
12.3

1

1.8

Packing, wrapping, labeling, and shipS e llin g ....................................................................
Messenger work, errand and delivery.........

87.7

26
21
495
5

74.2

Personal service (other‘than servants in

6
10
90
3

13.5

Clothing factory and other needle
91.0

15
1

8.5

86.4

6

9.1

88.6

20
1

5.3;

146
30
19
57

82.5

93.9

333
19

155

98.1

155

98.1

69
28
81

98.6

68
21
70

97.1

93.1

95.5

Clerical occupations^ wrapping, selling, and
Cash and messenger work-—department
Packing, wrapping, labeling, and shipMessenger work, errand and delivery.........

1 N ot shown where base is less than 50.
* Including nine positions where child was under 14 when he began work.

* Including one position for which occupation was not reported.


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Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

8Ö.5

1
7
11

*S

1 .4
12.6

321

ENFORCEMENT OF THE CHILD-LABOR LAW,

able 158.— Certification, by occupatiorj, and sex o f child; regular positions held by
children interviewed— Concluded.

Regular positions not certificated.

Occupation and sex.

Both sexes.............................................................
Personal and domestic occupations....................... .......
Personal service (other than servants in the home).
House and home work........................................—
Factory and mechanical occupations............................
Factory operative........................................ ............
Shoe factory......................................................
Clothing factory and other needle trades.........
Textile m ill.......... .............................................
Other factory.............................................____
Apprentice and helper—skilled trades....................
Clerical occupations, wrapping, selling, and delivery
of goods............................... ...... .........s........... - .........
Office work..............................................................
Cash and messenger work—department store........
Packing, wrapping, labeling, and shipping-room
work.......................................................................
Selling........................................................................
Messenger work, errand and delivery.....................
All other occupations........................ .............................

/

Boys......................................................................................

Personal and domestic occupations.................. ...................
Personal service (other than servants in the hom e).
House and home w ork...................................................
Factory and mechanical occupations..................................
Factory operative...................... ........................................
Shoe factory...................................................................
Clothing factory and other needle trades............
Textile m ill.............. .....................................................
Other factory......................................... .......................
Apprentice and helper—skilled trades........................
Clerical occupatipns, wrapping, selling, and delivery
of goods.......................................................................... .............
Office w ork............................................................................
•Cash and messenger work— department store..........
Packing, wrapping, labeling, and shipping-room
work................................................................ .....................
Selling......................................................................................
Messenger work, errand and delivery..........................
All other occupations.................................................................
Girls.................. ................... ................................... ...........
Personal and domestic occupations.................................... .
Personal service (other than servants in the home)
House and home w ork......................................................
Factory and mechanical occupations................................ .
Factory operative...... ........... ......................................... .
Clothing factory and other needle trades...........
Other factory......... ................ ...........................
Clerical occupations, wrapping, selling, and delivery
of goods........................................ ..............................................
Office w ork................................. ..........................................
Cash and messenger work— department store..........
Packing, wrapping, labeling, and shipping-room
work...................................................................................
Selling.................................................................................... .
Messenger work, errand and delivery........................

Legally and
not reported.

Total.

N um ber.

Per
cent.1

N um ber.

Per
cent.1

N um ber.

212

10.9

49

2.5

8 163

8.4

27
11
16
27
24
1
17

30.3

6
3

5.6

42
18
24
33
28
1
18
2
7
5

47.2

128
15
5

Per
cent.1

15
7
8
6
4

16.9

1
2
1
2

.5
3.8
.9

10.3
14.9
2.3

21
1
1

1.7
1.0
.5

107
14
4

8.5
13.9
1.9

3
17
88
9

2.9
22.4
11.7

1
8
10
7

1.0
10.5
1.3

2
9
78
2

1.9
11.8
10.3

148

13.5

39

3.6

109

10.0

5.6
5.0
.5
9.7
3.8
6.5

20
17
3
14
9
1
2
2
4
5

8.5
6.4
1.4

105
7
2

12.0
9.6
3.6

2
12
82
9
64

9
7
2
5
3

1.0
.7

3.0
2.1

2
1
2

12.3
7.5

22
1
21
19
19
16
3

43.1

23
g
3

6.1

1
5
6

1.4

4.5
4.5
9.0
4 .5

1.9

6 .9

,'T ‘Not shown where base is less than 50.
' a including seven positions where child was under 14 when he began work.


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Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

Illegally.

18

1
7
10
7
10

2.1

1.5
1.2

6

11.8
.2
.2
.6

1

5.5
4.3
1.4

3
3

6
1
1
1
3
1
1

11
10
1
9
6
1
2

4.6
4.3
.5
9.2

.8
.6

87
7
2
1
5
72
2

10.0
9.6
3.6

10.8

54

6.4

16
1
15
18
18
15
3

31.4

20
7
2

5.3

1
4
6

1.4

4.3
4 .3
8 .5
4.5

1.3

6 .9

322

T H E W O R K IN G C H IL D R E N OF BOSTON .

HOUR VIOLATIONS.

Five different kinds of hour violations could occur, and each one
of these could occur in combination with one or more other kinds.
First, a child could work too short hours; that is, less than 6 a day
or 36 a week. This was a violation of the school-attendance law and
could occur only when school was in session as the restriction related
only to employment involving absence from school. Too short
weekly hours could be combined with too* long daily hours, with
night work, or even possibly with work for seven days a week.
Work for less than 6 hours a day could not be combined with either
too long daily or too long weekly hours. The second kind of viola­
tion consisted of work for over 8 hours a day in manufacturing,
mechanical, and mercantile establishments, workshops, etc., or over
10 hours a day for express or transportation companies, while the
third kind consisted of work for over 48 hours a week in the first
group of establishments or for over 54 a week for express or trans­
portation companies. The fourth kind of violation which could
occur was employment at night; that is, before 6.30 a. m. or after
6 p. m. in manufacturing, mechanical, or mercantile establishments,
workshops, etc., or before 5 a. m. or after 9 p. m. in street trades.
The fifth kind was employment for seven days a week.1
Violations, moreover, might occur either in the first occupation
entered in a position or in some subsequent occupation pursued
while employed in a single position or in another simultaneous posi­
tion. When a child’s occupation was changed his hours also might
be changed. If a child was employed in two positions simultane­
ously, the second might be for work at night or on Sunday, or the
hours in the second, when added to those in the first, might make
too long a day or too long a week.
In more than one-fifth, 21.2 per cent, of the positions held by all
the children interviewed— over one-fourth, 26.3 per cent, of those
held by boys but only about one-seventh, 14.7 per cent, of those held
by girls— they were employed in their first occupations, as appears
in Table 159, in violation of one or another provision of law relating
to hours of labor. Wherever one such violation occurred, moreover,
two or three provisions of the law were generally broken. In only
one-twentieth, 4.9 per cent, of all the positions held did only one
violation occur, but in about one-tenth, 10.2 per cent, there were
two violations, and in another twentieth, 5.3 per cent, there were
three. In four positions all four of the provisions of the labor las;
relating to hours of labor were broken, for the children were employed*^
*---------------------------------------------------- :--------------------------------------------- V
i Revised Laws 1902, ch. 44, as amended b y acts of 1913, ch. 779, sec. 1; acts of 1913, ch. 831, secs. 8, 9;
acts of 1909, ch. 514, sec. 48; acts of 1913, ch. 831, sec. 15.


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E N F O R C E M E N T OF T H E

C H IL D -L A B O R L A W .

323

too long hours a day, too long hours a week, at night, and seven
days a week. Three of these positions were held by girls.
T a b l e 159.

V iola tion o f law in hours o f labor, by sex o f child; regular p o sitio n s held
by children interview ed.

Regular positions held b y —
A ll children.

Boys.

Girls.

Violation of law in hours of labor.

All positions. . . . .................... ................. ...........
Showing violation of law in hours of labor i.................
In first occupation entered.....................................
One violation......................................... ! . ! ! ! ! !
Undertime....... ..............
IIIIIIIII
Day..........................
" "
Night............................................. |...........
7-day.................................
” ”
Two violations..................................................
Under time and day.............................
Under time and night................................
Day and week.................................. .........
Day and night............................................
Day and 7-day........................................ .
Week and 7-day................................... .......
Night and 7-day....................................... .
Three violations....................... .........................
Under time, day and night........•................
Day, week, and night................................ .
Day, week, and 7-day.................................
W eek, night, and 7-aay.............................
Four violations...................................................
Day, week, night, and 7-day
In subsequent occupation or simultaneous position.
Day....................... ....... .....................................
Night.................................................
Day and week.................................
Day, week, and night.....................................
Hours legal and not excessive 2.......................................
Hours excessive but legal 8 ..........................
Hours not reported......................................

N um ber.

Per
cent
distribution.

N um ber.

1,943

100.0

1,093

100.0

850

100.0

412
402
96
28
42
24
2
199
2
4
162
24
1
4
2
103
3
94
2
4
4
4
10
2
2
3
3
1,444
36
51

21.2
20.7
4.9
1.4
2.2
1.2
.1
10.2
.1
.2
8.3
1.2
.1
.2
.1
5.3
.2
4.8
.1
.2
.2
.2
.5
.1
.1
.2
.2
74.3
1.9
2.6

287
283
59
13
23
21
2
129
1
4
96
21
1
4
2
94
3
86
1
4
1
1
4

26.3
25.9
5.4
1.2
2.1
1.9
.2
11.8
.1
.4
8.8
1.9
.1
.4
.2
8.6
.3
7.9
.1
.4
.1
.1
.4

125
119
37
15
19
3

14.7
14.0
4.4
1.8
2 .2
.4

70
1

8.2
.1

66
3

7 .8
.4

2
1
1
769
8
29

.2
.1
.1
70.4
.7
2.7

Per
cent
N um distriber.
bution.

Per
cent
distribution.

9

1.1

8
1

.9
.1

3
3
6
2

.4
.4
.7

2
2
675
28
22

.2
.2
79.4
3.3
2.6

vioimions. undertime! -Less than 6 hours per day or 36 per week, where child has an employment
certificate and works during school hours or is out of school. D ay: Over 8 hours per day in manufac­
turing, mechanical, and mercantile establishments, workshops, etc., or over 10 hours per day for express
or transportation companies. W eek: Over 48 hours per week in manufacturing, mechanical and mercan­
tile establishments, workshops, etc., or over 54 per week for express or transportation companies. Night■
Before6.30 a. m . or a ft e r 6 p .m . in manufacturing,mechanical and mercantile establishments, workshops’
etc., or before 5 a. m . or after 9 p . m . in street trades. 7-day: 7 days per week.
'
2 N ot more than 8 hours per day, 48 hours per week, or 6 days per week; no work before 6.30 a. m . or
after 6 p . m ., and not less than 6 hours per day or 36 per week where child has employment certificate and
works during school hours or is out of school.
8
Including three positions showing also an undertime violation. These children worked irregular
hours, less than 36 a week, but either more than 8 hours on certain days or else at night.

Positions in which the children worked too short hours— that is,
less than six a day or 36 a week— were somewhat uncommon. In
28 positions, or 1.4 per cent of the total number, this kind of viola­
tion occurred alone. In addition, there were two cases in which the
^weekly hours were too short but the daily hours too long; in four the
daily or weekly hours were too short but there was night work, and
in three too short weekly hours were combined with both night work
and too long daily hours. In about 1 position in 50, therefore, or,


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Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

324

TH Ë WORKING CHILDREN OE BOSTON.

to be exact, 1.9 per cent of all the positions, the children worked too
short hours. Undertime alone was more common among the girls,
but, combined with violations of other laws relating to hours of labor,
it was more common among the boys.
Too long daily hours were generally accompanied by too long
weekly hours, and the latter form of violation seldom occurred except
in connection with the former. In only 42 positions were the daily
hours alone too long, but in 162 both the daily and the weekly hours
were too long, and in 93 others the night-work law also was violated.
When all the positions in which the horns per day were longer than
permitted by law are added together, regardless of whether the vio­
lation occurred in subsequent occupations or simultaneous positions
and also of whether it was accompanied by other violations, it is
found that in over one-sixth, 17.5 per cent, of all the positions— over
one-fifth, 21.4 per cent, of those held by boys, but only about oneeighth, 12.6 per cent, of those held by girls— the provisions of law
relating to daily hours were violated. Similarly, when all the posi­
tions in which the hours per week were longer than permitted by law
are added together it is found that in about one-seventh, 14.2 per
cent, of all positions— over one-sixth, 17.7 per cent, of those held by
boys, but less than one-tenth, 9.6 per cent, of those held by girls
the provisions of law relating to weekly Hours were violated. In only
eight cases were the weekly hours too long without the daily hours
also being too long, and in all of these the children worked seven days
a week— in four cases working also at night. Evidently violations of
the legal provisions relating to hours per week were somewhat less
common than of those relating to hours per day and were almost
always accompanied by the latter.
Employment of children, particularly boys, in night work was not
at all uncommon. In about one-twelfth, 8.4 per cent, of all the posi­
tions held by the children interviewed, they were employed in viola­
tion of the night-work law. In only 19, or 2.2 per cent, of the posi­
tions held by girls, but in 144, or 13.2 per cent, of those held by boys
night work was required. In other words, the boys were employed
at night in over one-eighth of all the positions which they held. In
26 cases night work occurred without any other violation, but in 4
cases it was combined with undertime, in 24 with too long daily
hours, in 2 with a seven-day week, in 3 with both too short hours
per week and too long hours per day, in 96 with both too long hours
per day and per week, and in 4 with too long hours both per day and
per week and a seven-day week.
Positions in which children were required to work seven days a
week were relatively rare, this kind of violation being found in only


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ENFORCEMENT OF TH E CHILD-LABOR L A W .

325

1 position out of every 100 held by these children. Like positions
requiring night work, they were much more frequently held by boys
than by girls. Of the 19 positions requiring work for seven days a
week 15 were held by boys.
A few cases were found in which, although no violation of any law
relating to hours actually existed because hours in the particular
occupations concerned were not regulated, violations would have
existed if the 8-hour day, 48-hour week, 6-day week, and night work
provisions in force for other occupations had been in effect for these.
Most of these cases, 28 out of 36, were in positions held by girls.
In nearly three-fourths, 74.3 per cent, of all the positions held by
these children, however, the hours were not only legal but were not
excessive— that is, were not over 8 a day or 48 a week— and did not
involve work at night— that is, before 6.30 a. m.,or after 6 p. m.— or
for more than six days a week. In over seven-tenths, 70.4 per cent,
of the positions held by boys and nearly eight-tenths, 79.4 per cent,
of those held by girls, the horns of labor fell within these limits.
Violations of law as to hours of labor were most likely to occur,
according to Table 160, in the positions held by children of foreignborn fathers, especially in those held by children whose fathers were
of non-English-speaking nationalities, and particularly in those held
by Russian-Jewish children. Such violations were found in only
17.9 per cent of the positions held by children of native fathers, but
in 22 per cent of those held by children of foreign-born fathers, 24.7
per cent of those held by children whose fathers were of non-Englishspeaking nationalities, and 28.6 per cent of those held by RussianJewish children.
In this respect much less difference was found between the girls
than between the boys whose fathers were native and foreign born.
Of the positions held by the daughters of native fathers 13.9 per cent
and of those held by the daughters of foreign-born fathers 15 per cent
involved hour violations. Of those held by the sons of native
fathers, on the other hand, 20.6 per cent, and of those held by the
sons of foreign-born fathers 27.7 per cent involved such violations.
Of the positions held by boys whose fathers were foreign born of
non-English-speaking nationalities not far from one-third, 31.7 per
cent, and of those held by Russian-Jewish boys about the same pro­
portion, 31.6 per cent, involved illegal hours. Much more difference
was found between the Russian-Jewish girls and all the girls whose
fathers were foreign born of non-English-speaking nationalities in the
^'matter of hour violations; for in nearly one-fourth, 24 per cent, of
the positions held by the former but only 18.2 per cent of those held
by the latter were such violations discovered.


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Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

326
T

th e

able

w o r k in g

c h il d r e n

of

boston

.

160.— Violation o f law in hours o f labor, by nationality o f father and sex o f child;
regular positions held by children interviewed.

R e g u la r p o sitio n s in w h ich —

V io la tio n s o f la w as t o h ou rs o f la b o r o ccu rred .1

N a tion a lity o f father a n d s e x o f ch ild .

A ll
regular
p o si­
tio n s.

I n first o c c u p a ­
tio n entered.

T o ta l.

I n su b seq u en t
o cc u p a tio n or
sim ultaneous
p o sitio n .

P er
ce n t.4

N um b e r.

P er
c e n t.4

N um b e r.

P er
c e n t.4

N um b e r.

1,943

412

21.2

402

20.7

10

0 .5

459
Children of native fathers.................................
Children of foteign-born fathers....................... 51,424
574
Of English-speaking nationalities.............
382
Irish.......................................................
192
Other....................................................
845
Of non-English-speaking nationalities----485
Italian..................................................
192
Russian-Jewish....................................
168
Other....................................................
Children the nativity of whose fathers was not
60
reported......................................... ................

82
5 313
100
58
42
209
117
55
37

17.9
22.0
17.4
15.2
21.9
24.7
24.1
28.6
22.0

81
6304
96
55
41
204
114
54
36

17.6
21.3
16.7
14.4
21.4
24.1
23.5
28.1
21.4

1
9
4
3
1
5
3
1
1

.2
.6
.7
.8
•5
.6
.6
•5
.6

4

.4

4
2
1
1
2
2

.5
.5
.4
.8
.5
1.0

Both sexes....................... ........................

Boys........................ ...................... - — .
Children of native fathers.................................
Children of foreign-born fathers...................... .
Of English-speaking nationalities.............
Irish...................................i . . ..............
Other............................................ .
Of non-English-speaking nationalities----Italian............................ .................
Russian-Jewish...................................
Other............................................—
Children the nativity of whose fathers was not
reported................. ..................... . ...............
Girls...... .............................. .................
Children of native fathers..............................
Children of foreign-born fathers.......................
Of English-speaking nationalities.............
Irish......................................................
Other....................................................
Of non-English-speaking nationalities......
Italian...................................................
Russian-Jewish....................................
Other.............. ..................................
Children the nativity of whose fathers was not
reported..................................... ............ .......

17

28.3

17

28.3

1,093

287

26.3

283

25.9

5 779
364
239
125
410
201

56
5 216
82
46
36
130
64
37
29

20 6
27! 7
22.5
19.2
28.8
31.7
31.8
31.6
31.5

56
5 212
80
45
35
128
62
37
29

20.6
27.2
22.0
18.8
28.0
31.2
30.8
31.6
31.5

.

___

15

42

15

850

125

14.7

119

14.0

6

.7

187

13.9
15.0
8 .6
8 .4
9 .0
18.2
18.7
24.0
10.5

25
92
16
10
6
76
52
17
7

13.4
14.3
7.6
7 .0
9 .0
17.5
18.3
22.7
9 .2

1
5
2
2

.5
.8
1.0
1.4

435
284
75
76

26
97
18
12
6
79
53
18
8

3
1
1
1

.7
.4
1 .3
1.3

18

2

210
143

2

j

1

1 V iolation s.— U n d ertim e: L ess th a n 6 h ou rs p e r d a y or 36 p e r w eek , w h ere c h ild has a,n e m p lo y m e n t
certificate a n d w ork s d u rin g s ch o o l hou rs or is o u t o f sch o o l. D a y : O v e r 8 h ou rs p e r d a y in m an u factu r­
in g , m ech a n ica l, a n d m ercan tile establishm ents, w o rk sh o p s, e t c ., or o v e r 10 h ou rs p e r d a y far express
or tra n sporta tion com p a n ies. W e e k : O v e r 48 h ou rs p er w eek i n m an u factu rin g, m ech a n ica l, a n d m e rca n ­
tile establishm ents, w ork sh op s, e t c ., o r o v e r 54 p e r w eek for e xpress or tra n sporta tion co m p a n ie s. N ig h t:
B efore 6.30 a. m . or after 6 p . m . i n m an u factu rin g, m ech an ical, a n d m erca n tile establish m en ts, w o r k ­
sh op s, e tc ., o r b efore 5 a. m . o r a fter 9 p . m . in street trades. 7 d a y s : 7 d a y s p e r w eek .
1 N o t s h o w n w h ere base is less th a n 50.
,
, .
_ .
,
6 In clu d es fiv e p o s itio n s h e ld b y a b o y , th e n a tio n a lity o f w h o se fa th e r w as n o t re p o rte d . I n fo u r o f
these p osition s v io la tio n s o ccu rre d .


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Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

ENFORCEMENT OF TH E CHILD-LABOR LA W .

Table 160 .

327

R a t i o n o f law in hours o f labor, by nationality o f father and sex o f child;
regular position s held by children interviewed— Concluded.

Regular positions in whichHours were
legal and not
excessive.2

Nationality of father and sex of child.

Hours were
excessive but
legal.8

Hours were
not reported.

Per
cent.4

Number.

Number.

1,444

74.3

36

354
51,050
445
304
141
604
353
130

77.1
73.7
77.5
79.6
73.4
71.5
72.8
67.7
72.0
66.7

13

Number.
B o th s e x e s ......................................
C hildren o f n a tiv e fa th ers.......................
C hildren o f foreign -born fa th ers .. ...................................
O f English-speaking n a tion a lities.’. " ..........................
I n s h . . ...........................
......................
O th e r...................................................................... .
O f n on -E n glish -sp eak in g nationalities * ' " ..............
Ita lia n ...............................................
...........
R ussia n -J ew ish ........."""
O th e r .................................. ...........................................
C hildren th e n a tiv ity o f w h ose fathers w as n o t "reported'

12 1

40

B o y s ......................................................
C hildren o f n a tiv e fa th ers...............
C hildren o f foreign -born fath ers.’.".
.........1
O f E nglish-speaking nationalities. . . ’. ................
I n s h .................................
....................
O th e r.......................... .....................................................
O f non -E n glish -speak in g n a tion a lities! . ] ..................
I ta lia n ................................ ..............
R ussia n -J ew ish ____
O th e r.................................. ..........................................
h ild ren th e n a tiv ity o f w h ose fathers w as n o t reported.
—
G irls ........ .................................................... _
C hildren o f n a tiv e fa th ers........ .........................
C hildren o f foreign -born f a t h e r s . ..................
O f E nglish-speaking nationalities’.".’. ’. ! ! ! ....................
I r is h ........................................
O th er................................ ...............................................
O f n on -E n glish-speakin g n ationalities ! ’ ’ ! ! ! ............
Ita lia n ................ ..........
R u ssian -Jew ish ............... [ ”
O th e r.................................. ............................................*
C hildren th e n a tiv ity o f w h ose fathers w as n o t re p orted .

13
3
9
3
2

4
1

70.4

8

77.2
68.3
74.5
77.4

3
5

86

2 .8

22

769

260
127
77
56
27

___ ] ±

10

210

532
271
185

Per
cent.4

.

51

2 .6

10

2 .2

1.5
2.3

39
16

2 .6
1 .6
1 .1
.6
1 .0

10
6

23

2.4
1.7

5

2 .6

6
2

3.6
3.3

.7

29

2.7

1 .1
.6

3
26

1 .1

12

1
1

.3
.4

4
2

1 .0
1 .0

2

2 .2

3
5

6 8 .8

63.4
63.2
65.8
60.9

Per
cent.4

10

7
3
16
8

2.7
2 .8
2 .0

3.1
2.7
2.5

3.3
2.7
2.9
2 4
3Ì 9
4.0
5.’ 4

675

79.4

28

3.3

22

2.6

144
518
174
119
55
344
226
53
65
13

77.0
80.3
82.9
83.2
82.1
79.1
79.6
. 70.7
85.5

10
17
12
9
3
5
1
2
2
1

5.3
2.6
5.7
6.3
4.5
1.1
.4
2.7
2.6

7
13
6
3
3
7
4
2
1
2

3.7
2 .0
2 .9
2.1
4 .5
1.6
1.4
2 .7
1.3

«

-------------- -. •

6 days per week; no work before 6.30 a. m . or after
~
UUU1 TOOl/uau UJLLULLLSper QU-YOTOb per
where child has employment certificate and works
during school hours or is out of school.
!
i 1“ ?® P r i o n s , showing also an undertime violation.
, * Not shown where base is less than 50.

these po^tions^folations in li ours occurred® nationality of whose father was


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Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

p o r te d .

In four of

T able

161. — Violation o f law in hours o f labor, by occupation and sex o f child; regular positions held by children interviewed.
Regular positions in which—
Violations of law as to hours of labor occurred.1

All

regular
posi­
tions.

Hours were legal
In subsequent
and not excessive.*
In first occupation occupation or simul­
taneous posi­
entered.
tion.

Total.

Number.

Per
cent .4

Per
cent.4

Number.

B o t h s exes...................................... , ......... .

412

21.2

402

20.7

P erson a l a n d d om estic o cc u p a tio n s ..............
P erson al service (oth e r th a n servants
in th e h o m e ) ...............................................
H ou s e a n d h o m e w o r k ................................
F a c to r y a n d m ech a n ica l o cc u p a tio n s .......... .
F a c to r y o p e ra tiv e ....................................... .
S h oe fa c t o r y ............................................
C loth in g fa c to r y a n d other need le
tra d e s ................................... ...............
T e x tile m ill............................................
C a n d y fa c t o r y .......................................
O ther fa c to r y ..........................................
A p p r e n tice a n d helper— skilled tra d e s..
C lerica l occu p ation s, w rap p in g , selling, a n d
d e liv e ry o f g o o d s .:..........................................
O ffice w o r k ......................................................
Cash a n d m essenger w ork — departm en t
store...................................................... .........
P a ck in g , w rap p in g , labeling, a n d sh ip ­
p in g-room w o r k .........................................
S elling................................................................
M essenger w ork , erran d a n d d e l iv e r y ..
A ll other o cc u p a tio n s ..........................................

21

23.6

21

23.6

B o y s ........................... ...................................
P erson a l a n d d om estic o cc u p a tio n s ...............
P erson a lservise (oth er th a n servan ts in

th e h o m e ) *,A'..............................................

H ou s e f jp i j ^ j m e w o r k ................................
https://fraser.stlouisfed.org
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

46
43
588
563
199

20
1
95
90
11
46

g

3'

22

20
1
92
87

15.6
15.5

11

5 .5

24.9
15.1

44
8

2 0 .6

21

16. 2
16 0
5.5

5

1,248

292

101
213

Per
cent.4

Number.
10

3

a 5

3

.5
.5

23.8
15. i

2

1 .1

19.6

1

.9

22.8
8.9

7

3
5

23.4

99

285
9

.6

74.3

36*

1L®

5 51

2.6

31

34.8

29*

32.. 6.

8

9.0

81.3
81.5
92.5

4
4
15
14
4

2.6
2.5
2.0

135
44
16
80
i9

731.0
83.0

4
1

2.2
1.9

74.8

5
1

4.7

925
89

74.1
8 8 .1

27
2

2.2
2.0

21
10
478
459
184

1
28

4

.3

9L5

3

1 .4

87.5
48.7

2.9'

2iM

769

70.4

2:.T

34

4 4 .7

223

29.6

32
220

2
3

25.9

4

.4

4

283

1,444

91
37
513
10

1 .0
2 .6
.4

26.3

Per
cent.4

Number.

195

8.7
42.1
29.2

...................

Pter

eerct. 41

1

7 .0

9

4

Number.

LO

15

7.0

9

Per

cent.4*

Hours were not
reported.

1

6

15

Num
ber.

Hours were exces­
sive but Legal!-3*

6 8 .0

3

3.9

1

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3
2
17

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3
8

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38

18

18

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5

18

18

12
2

1

4
1

T H E W O R K IN G C H IL D R E N OE BOSTON ,

Occupation and sex.

u r

‘4 9 4 7 0

Girls................. ............................................

850

Personal and do&estic occupations...............
Personal service (other than servants in
the h om e)....................................................
House and home work................................
Factory and mechanical occupations............
Factory operative.........................................
Shoe factory............................................
Clothipg factory and other needle
trades................... ................. ............
Textile m ill..............................................
Candy factory.........................................
Other factory.........................................
Clerical occupations, wrapping, selling, and
delivery of goods...............................................
Office w ork.....................................................
Cash and messenger work— depart­
m ent store....................................................
Packing, wrapping, labeling, and shipping-room work,
ielli
Selling
Messenger work, errand and delivery. .

165
140
69

.

26
21
4

15.8
15.0
5.8

8
22
41
25

5
3
9
5

872
73

239
3

27.4
4.1

55

5

34
43
667
17

5
19
207
4

26
21
4

15.8
15.0
5.8

5
3
9
5

81.8
82.9
92.8

26.9
4.1

9.1

5

31.0

5
17
205
4

125

14.7

51

3

5.9

11
40
423
423
130

2
1
69
69
7

16.3
16.3
5.4

2
1
66
66
7

177
31

41
5
3
13

23.2

376
28

53
7

158
70
33
87

4

.5

70.0
94.5

9.1

50

90.9

30.7

2
2

.3

28
20
443
10

119

14.0

6

.7

675

79.4

3

5.9

17

33.3

15.6
15.6
5.4

3
3

.7
.7

9
8
343
343
120

81.1
81.1
92.3

39
5
3
12

22.0

2

1.1

18.2

1

1.5

14.1

50
6

13.3

3
1

.8

10

6.3

10

6.3

5
15
16

7.1

4
15
15

5.7

1

1.4

17.2

1

1.1

18.4

*

132
25
16
50

2?4
2.1
1.4

1

610
69

19.7

■/
I I
|
1

3
19
30
19

235
3

19
66

135
116
64

66.4

4

.5

19
1

3
i
3

.1

16

2.4

28

3.3

22

2.6

28

54.9

2.2
1.4

1

5.9

28

74.6
|

11
11
3

2.6
2.6
2.3

4
1

2.3

75.8

3

4.5

83.8

8
1

2.1

145

91.8

3

1.9

63
17
70

90.0

2
1
1

2.9

315
20

80.5

1.1


https://fraser.stlouisfed.org
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

329

} Violations.— Undertime; Less than 6 hours per day or 36 per week, where child has an employment certificate and works during school horns or is out of school. D a y Over
8 hours per davrn manufacturing, mechanical, and mercantile establishments, workshops, etc., or over 10 hours per day for express or transportation oompanies Week- Over 48
hours per week m manufacturing, mechanical, and mercantile establishments, workshops, etc., or over 54 per week for express or transportation companies. Night: Before
6.30 a. m . or after 6 p . m . in manufacturing, mechanical, and mercantile establishments, workshops etc., or before 5 a. m . or after 9 p. m . in street trades. 7-day- 7 days per week
* N ot more than 8 hours per day, 48 hours per week, or 6 days per week; no work before 6.30 a. m . or after 6 p . m .; and not less than 6 hours per day or 36 per week where
child has employment certificate and works during school horns or is out of school.
.
* Including three positions showing also an undertime violation.
4 N ot shown where base is less than 50.
* Including one position for which occupation was not reported.

ENFORCEMENT OF THE CHILD-LABOR L A W .

Factory and mechanical occupations..........
Factory operative............................. ______
Shoe fa c to ry ..........................................
Clothing factory and other needle
trades................................................... .
Textile m ill............................................ .
Other factory..........................................
Apprentice and helper— skilled trades..
Clerical occupations,wrapping, selling, and
delivery of goods..............................................
Office work......................................................
Cash and messenger work— depart­
m ent store...................................................
Packing, wrapping, labeling, and shipping-room work......... ...............
Selling...............................................................
Messenger work, errand and d elivery..
A ll other occupations.........................................

330

TH E WORKING CHILDREN OF BOSTON.

The difference in the matter of hour violations between the chib
dren of the various nationality groups, as well as that between the
boys and the girls, was due primarily to differences in occupations.
Violations of the laws