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as Christmas and New Years, and doesn't happen very often. With this planning, breakfasts cost her usually five or eight cents. This year was a very "good year” for clothes, that is she had to buy very few things, for she wore her last year's purchases. The only things she had to buy this last winter were two dresses at $9 and $2.50, one black waist at 98 cents, one black skirt at $2.90, two suits of underwear at 50 cents each, one corset at 50 cents, three pairs of shoes, one pair at $2.90 and two at $2, $6.90'; two pairs of rubbers at 60 cents and 75 cents, $1.35; and stockings at 10 cents and 35 cents, amounting to $1.10. The extravagance of two dresses Miss B. evidently thought needed apology for, she hastened to explain, she wouldn't have bought the $2.50 dress except that her landlady had a dress given to her and was anxious to sell it. As Miss B thought the dress was nice and the price low she decided to get it. She couldn't afford to buy this dress outright, however, so has been paying 25 cents a week on it. “ It is almost paid for,” she added proudly. She also explained about the stockings, saying she knew it was better economy to pay 25 cents or 50 cents a pair, but said “when you've got just 10 cents in your pocket book and need a pair of stockings, what are you going to do?” She knew by experience the pitfalls of buying on the installment plan and did not care to be involved again.
This strict economy and worried planning was shown as much in her recreation money as in her egg and milk breakfast and $2.50 second-hand dress. Fifteen cents a week is the very top notch expenditure for pure pleasure. It occurs only on holidays and very special occasions. Usually Miss B has nothing left out of her salary, not even five cents for a moving picture show. As far as could be learned church on Sunday seems to be the one relaxation she allows herself during the week. Her story, conscientiously and painstakingly told, was one of incessant economy, of minute plannings over unexpected bills and of nerves already worn, stretched tauter. There seemed to be no large and free movement of the mind, but a dwarfed and circumvented scheming instead.
Q. Did you find that these women or girls planned out in the beginning of the year or week how much they were going to
spend and what they were going to spend it for? A. Having so small an income it would be very easy to do that. Most of them knew to the cent just how much they should spend for certain things. There were in Miss B’s life no gay, unexpected pleasure trips, no little lovable extravagances, nothing sudden, bright and colorful in her life. Pleasure was obtained only after laborious planning. Dresses were bought for warmth and durability, never because they were becoming; and food was purchased not for delectability but for nourishment. Miss B’s whole life seemed to be drab and uniform.
Statistics tell us that thousands of working girls are receiving only $5, $6 and $7 a week. This means little, unless one can visualize just what this low wage means to Annie B or Florence M. To one girl $5 will mean lack of food; to another it will mean no savings for the rainy day; to another it will mean no pleasure, but invariably it will mean to thousands a cramped, subnormal way of life, a mere existing, not a real living.
By Commissioner McGUIRE:
Q. These cases quoted to the Commission, they are typical conditions you found ? A. They are typical.
Q. They are not extreme cases? A. No, not at all..
Q. And did you find in your investigation that some of the young women employed at the work, receiving the same salary, got on much better than others? A. No, I don't think I did. I found everywhere a sacrificing of either one or another item. As I said, one girl prefers to economize on food and another girl prefers to economize on rent, and therefore their standard of living would vary, but throughout all of these cases there was always some sacrifice
Q. You found much of that in New York City, did you? A. A great deal of it.
Q. In connection with the department stores ? A. And fac
By Commissioner GOMPERS:
Q. Have you testified, Miss Packard, as to the particular establishments outside of the department stores which you investi
gated ? A. In addition to the department stores, the paper box factories, the candy factories and the men's shirt factories were studied.
Mr. ELKUS: Mr. Emanuel W. Bloomingdale desires to make a statement.
Mr. BLOOMINGDALE: Doctor Dean yesterday in his testimony referred particularly to the extension work being done now under the auspices of the Education Department, and the question was put to him as to whether the extension classes resulted in a greater efficiency to the benefit of the employer, or whether they found an effect in the pay envelope of the employe. In the course of his testimony he referred twice to the extension schools being carried on by the firm of D. E. Sicher & Co., and I have here a part of a report with reference particularly to that very subject. This first part is a report made by Mr. Winthrop Talbott, who inaugurated this extension class, and is in part as follows:
“In September, 1913, at the request of Mr. Dudley D. Sicher and by authorization of the school authorities, Miss Lizzie E. Rector, Principal of Public School No. 4 deputed Miss Florence D. Myers, who has been in charge of experimental class, to teach 40 girls in the factory of D. E. Sicher & Co., makers of muslin undergarments, 45 West 21st street, New York City. These girls were mainly those who had never learned to read or write in any language and comprised all the illiterates in the factory force of four hundred, about 10 per cent. The girls were taken in three groups of six each for forty-five minute periods, one section being taught from October to February, the other from February to June. In this way every illiterate girl in the factory at that time received practically individual instruction in English, reading, writing and arithmetic, American history, geography, personal hygiene and practical information about food values, fire protection and the evolution of the undergarment. Practice was given in the writing of letters of a friendly and business nature; keeping expense accounts and budget, making out work slips and reports. In arithmetic girls learned the practical application of adding, subtracting and multiplying on work
slips and factory and personal accounts. They were taught how to deposit and draw money in a savings bank.
Miss Myers took pains herself to sit down at the various machines and get the forewoman to instruct and correct her; making notes of all her phrases and afterwards using them in the early lessons in English. In teaching English practice was given in the use of the telephone book, and the city directory and how to write telegrams.
The girls learned about the mail service, how to send letters abroad, the common routes of travel in New York, and local ordinances. They were given practical and simple rules for safety and health.
It was obvious as the weeks passed by that the lessons in personal hygiene, physical culture, right breathing and eating were taking effect. The eyes of the girls were getting brighter, the skins more clear, the minds more alert and receptive, and better judgment and taste was shown in dress. They were interested, eager and willing to work hard.
In no sense could this be termed welfare or philanthropic work inasmuch as in the records of the firm the girl students gained from 20 per cent. to 70 per cent. in working efficiency and the girls themselves rot only attained new hopefulness, ambition and courage, but increased their earnings from an average of 19.5 per hour to 22.5 per hour, while the earnings of those who could not avail themselves of the class instruction remained practically unchanged.
From time to time interested visitors, educators and employers visited the class which, received favorable attention and notice in the daily press, with the result that other employers were stimulated to establish similar classes.
At the close of the course in June, graduation exercises were held and public school certificates of literacy were presented to each member of the class."
In the report of Miss Lizzie E. Rector she says:
“ One of the pressing problems of the day, in New York, is how to reduce illiteracy among those who, born in foreign lands, come to this country to earn a livlihood. The first thought of the immigrant is to find employment. Though many of them possess a degree of adaptability for different kinds of work, because of their lack of knowledge of even the elementary principles of an education, they are inefficient and therefore can earn only the smallest wages -- especially the women.
It was with a view of reducing illiteracy among the young immigrant women employees of their factory and thus increase their efficiency and earning capacity that D. E. Sicher & Company secured the co-operation of the Board of Education in establishing a school in their building for the daily instruction of these workers in reading, writing and arithmetic and subjects in life in a great city.
The girls who attended the school the first year were selected on the basis of illiteracy. Some had never been in a school at any time in their lives. Others had, for brief periods, attended school in remote districts of Russia, Poland and Italy. Some since their arrival in New York had made an effort to gain what had been denied them at home by going to night schools after working in the factory all day. This proved to be such a tax on their strength that most of them finally gave up the attempt.
The Board of Education assigned Miss Florence D. Myers, an experienced teacher, to conduct the classes in the Sicher factory under the general direction of Miss Lizzie E. Rector, principal of Public School No. 4.
During the past year forty girls have received instruction. These were divided into two classes of sixteen each and one of eight. These classes were then subdivided into groups of three or four girls each, each group receiving instruction for forty-five minutes daily. They were taught to read, to write and to keep personal expense account as a part of the course in arithmetic. As the girls were engaged in the factory on piece work, the firm paid them while attending school the amount they would earn if actually at work, so that at the end of the week they received
The results of the first year's work in the classes have been highly satisfactory to Dudley D. Sicher, through whose initiative the school was established. A careful examination of the teachers and the factory's report shows that the earning capacity of the