Εικόνες σελίδας
PDF
Ηλεκτρ. έκδοση

government of the United States is giving signs of awakening to this great need of the people. The Secretary of State has recently directed Mr. Schoenhof, consul at Tunstall, to prepare an exhaustive report on the “State of Technical Education in Europe." The first volume of the series is now ready,—“Technical Education in France." The author, in his introduction, compares dexterity, quickness, accuracy, power of utilizing machinery in America, with the countries of Europe, immensely to American advantage. He declares that the Americans are the “industrial geniuses of the world.”

With technical skill would come to the woman worker the shorter hours of toil, the better home, the better health. If she remain single, she may attain a happy independence and secure old age; and, if she is of those who marry, how can she be otherwise than a better helpmate, wife, and mother, when her years of training and intelligent work have helped to increase her self-reliance, her self-respect, and self-control ?

France has made her people a nation of workers, feeding the wants of other lands as well as her own. May not we hope to find in industrial education a long step toward the solution of the problem of American poverty?

Our prayer may wisely be:

“ + Make no more giants, God,
But elevate the race at once. We ask
To put forth just our strength, our human strength.
All starting fairly, all equipped alike,
Gifted alike, all eagle-eyed, true-hearted,
See if we cannot reach thy angels yet.'”.

DISCUSSION OF DR. BROWN'S PAPER.

Dr. Louise FISKE BRYSON, of New York.— I would like to emphasize what Dr. Brown says about home hygiene. The condition of working-women is worse than it should be, because they have so little idea of the care of their personal health. I lectured to some working-girls in New York last winter. I asked them what they did at noon; for I found that they had liberty to leave the building in which they are employed, some half an hour, others three-quarters, and some an hour and a half. I found that they elected not to leave the buildings, but sat still where they were. It seems to me that the sanitary education of the women themselves is the solution of the matter. They have very little idea of the value of sunshine and water, and the use of variety, not only in food, but in recreation, for maintaining health. They have far more opportunity than we imagine to care for themselves. It has occurred to me that classes might be formed to teach them how to take care of themselves, and how to use the liberty their employers give them.

Dr. H. L. WAYLAND.—There ought to be more teaching of hygiene in public schools. A year ago last winter I visited the industrial schools at the North End in Boston, and in the cooking-school I saw on the wall a chart giving the proportion of nutriment in different kinds of food. It seems to me that such things should be taught in the public schools. How are we going to get time? you may ask. If we could drop this absurd plan of studying grammar, and of learning how to spell incorrectly, we should get a great deal of time for teaching children things by which the Lord means they shall live. One reason why working-women do not fare better is because they do not make their work worth more. This is true not only of sewing-women, but of the more intelligent and refined of the sex. They think they have no need to learn anything. They believe that, if necessary, they can teach, cook, or keep a boarding-house. They seem to feel that they can wake up in the morning and start out and excel at once. But men have to learn all these things. That is one reason why women's wages are so low. They should learn to make themselves masters of this or that trade. I pay the same rate of wages to men and women in the printing office, but the women do not earn so much as the men. Whether they do not give so much time to it, or do not give their minds to it, I do not know: I only know they do not earn so much. I want to thank Dr. Brown for her exceedingly valuable and practical paper.

Mr. KingSBURY.— I would like to ask Dr. Brown whether there have been observations enough to base a theory upon, in regard to these unhealthy trades and occupations, as to their hereditary effect. Do the children of those who follow such occupations find them as deleterious as they were to their parents ?

Dr. E. S. Brown.- In regard to tobacco, a certain habituation does take place, and must, unless the health breaks down entirely. But are the children of tobacco workers better able to work on tobacco than the children of those who have not done so? I should say not, but that they would enter upon the work with distinct disadvantage. We know that tobacco does affect children very largely by inheritance. In relation to industries where mercury, arsenic, phosphorus, etc., are used, the children would be in an inferior physical condition if their parents had been seriously affected. Such children would not be so well able to cope with the poison as the children of parents who had not worked in it. In regard to dusty industries, there is a certain amount of physical resistance. The dust, after a time, does not perhaps penetrate the mucous membrane so far. Those persons of strumous type suffer more than others, and the children of such parents would be less able to resist it.

Dr. F. BONNEY. — It is well understood by those persons who have studied these questions that any individual who is to encounter deleterious sanitary conditions of work should be well fed before entering upon them. The results to the physical system which are brought about by the digestion and assimilation of wholesome and well-prepared food go far towards protecting one from these unhealthy influences. The fact, however, is that most of the class of persons treated of by the essayist take their breakfast very hurriedly, of scanty, ill-cooked material, which fails to furnish the nutriment necessary to sustain properly either body or intellect in the wearisome labor to be performed. Purchasing in small quantities at a time, they usually pay a much higher price for their food than do others who have more means, the consequence of which is a deficiency in both quantity and quality. If any method could be devised through which proper food material could be purchased in small quantities without enhancing the cost, a great boon would be conferred upon these people.

Dr. H. D. CHAPIN, New York.— I think it is well to dwell upon the preventable side. I have treated a great many working.girls in dispensaries, and am convinced that this view is very important. Dr. Brown has spoken of the anæmia almost always present in these cases. This is due to a number of factors, and one of the principal is the poor food they get. The poor quality of their food is not, however, due so much to poverty as to ignorance. In questioning these girls about their appetites, you will find that, in almost all cases, they go to their work with no breakfast. I habitually asked them what they had eaten in the morning, and they were apt to reply that they “swallowed a cup of strong coffee and a roll. On that they go to a long morning's work. They take a lunch with them, which consists of ham sandwich and cake; and in the middle of the day they eat that. They go home late at night. Most of the tenement-house people eat their dinner at noon, and then get a supper. These girls may perhaps get something warm at night, but it is in no sense sufficient. We have in this an easily preventable factor as a cause of this anæmic condition. If we could persuade them to eat three good meals a day, that would be a long step forward.

Prof. WAYLAND.— I wish to thank Dr. Brown for her admirable paper, and to ask her if there is not something in the appetite of these working-women which gives them a distaste for nourishing food. Do we not find that they prefer spiced and stimulating food, which is not best for them, rather than the plain, homely food which they ought to use?

Dr. Brown. The working-girl, from motives of economy, is apt to make her diet of bread and tea largely. This is sustaining to a certain extent; but it is well known that strong tea and coffee do take away the appetite, and create a condition of the stomach which unfits it for the digestion of the food that is best for them. I believe this habit of tea-drinking is responsible for their distaste for nourishing food.

Mrs. C. H. Dall.— It is now some years since I gave a great deal of time to learning about the wages of working-women, and I think any one who has had experience would say that all women who work at low wages work more hours than the women who work at high wages.

The nerve-prostration is greater in proportion then. Many of these women fail to get a good night's rest. They live in bad localities, and wake with no appetite. If they do not take their strong coffee, they go to their work without breakfast. It would be better for such women to take something like oatmeal or some mush preparation ; but they do not know enough to do that, or else they do not know that, when they take such food, they must be patient with its digestion. I wish doctors would tell us all that we had better drink cold water. American women are too lazy about the matter of preparing food. I believe women have driven men to intemperance because they did not prepare food which was likely to tempt them. Americans are not dying of pies (as Mrs. Diaz says) half so much as for lack of something good to eat.

Dr. PECKHAM. The working-women of New York are a standing marvel to me,- that they can dress so well and keep so well as they do. There is such an army of these workers,- 200,000 in New York alone; yet they maintain a very respectable appearance, and, taking everything into consideration, they have remarkable health. There are so many factors entering into the ill health of working-women that it is almost impossible to get a truly just estimate of the question. Some of these are heredity from intemperate parents, poor constitutions, poor surroundings, poor food, bad air. All these elements enter into the consideration of such a topic. It can be stated on general principles that the diseases which occur among these women are such as would take place in other classes of society if engaged in these occupations. As to the longevity of those so employed, I do not know whether it has been estimated for women ; but it has been for men. It is my opinion that whatever is deleterious to men is deleterious to women, and the tables which have been made in regard to these occupations for men would be true in regard to women.

Dr. H. H. Curtis.— For some years I had a large number of girls from the factories of New York in the dispensary, especially those with lung affections; and I invariably found that they showed a predilection for tea and spices. They seemed to get a nutritive stimulus from pickles, pie, and crullers that other people could not,- certainly, I could not. There was always something in their lunch-basket with spices in it,- cake with cinnamon or something similar. It has even struck me that perhaps the restless, nervous life they led called for this stimulating diet, and that they felt stronger for eating it.

Mrs. Dall.— It is not the spices, but the sugar, that their systems call for.

6. THE STRUGGLE FOR SUBSISTENCE: HOW CAN

IT BE MOST EFFICIENTLY AIDED?

BY HENRY DWIGHT CHAPIN, M.D.,

PROFESSOR OF DISEASES OF CHILDREN AT THE NEW YORK POST-GRADUATE

MEDICAL SCHOOL AND HOSPITAL.

(Abstract.) One of the profoundest of nature's laws is the universality and necessity of a struggle for being. Included in the wide grasp of this law, we find the most humble vegetable organism and the highest animal form. However different in destiny man may be, he is here at one with lower orders of nature. The general rule makes of him no exception. Artificial and aristocratic conditions of society have hampered the normal operation of this law to a certain degree. As government comes more and more into the hands of the people, a larger number are enabled to compete successfully for the benefits of life. The hereditary principle remains good, but acting in the natural way, inasmuch as inherited ability, and not artificial privileges, will enable the descendants to succeed in the race of life. Undoubtedly, the trend of social development is toward industrial democracy, where natural inherited, together with acquired powers, must assume great force. Unfortunately, the equality that is assumed and promised in the constitution of such a State does not exist in the individuals composing it. The most such a community can do is to try to afford equal opportunities to its unequally equipped members. This is a distinct advance, as it substitutes equal for unequal opportunities. The problem of poverty thus assumes a greater importance in a democracy than in an absolute government, inasmuch as, in the former, conditions of life are less regulated by law and more by individual foresight and ability. Moreover, from this it is evident that democracy does not necessarily help poverty : it simply places its conditions to a certain extent on a different basis from absolutism. Classification of some kind there must be in society. That is the best which is based on the essential elements

« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »