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The day book. (Chicago, Ill.) 1911-1917, January 16, 1912, Image 9

Image and text provided by University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Library, Urbana, IL

Persistent link: http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83045487/1912-01-16/ed-1/seq-9/

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THE WORK OF JANE ADDAMS
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The value of,Jane Addams' sociological writing lies in the deft
ness with which she conceals her own conclusions under a smooth,
sympathetic ripple which permits the reader to fancy himself pro
found in that he sees so clearly what Miss Addams apparently fails
to grasp.
One cannot read her observations upon the under-paid working
girl without having whatever preconceived theories of the remedy
for the social evil given new direction. The clumsy moralist sees
too often, in the bedizened creature of the streets, a victim of vanity.
Miss Addams beholds in the gew-gaws, not an end, but the
means. The "trade" demands appearance ofvgaudiness and gaiety,
just as the saloon tacks on the bright lights and the tintinnabulation
of real or alleged music. Miss Addams perceives in the snap-notion
of a minimum wage law a certain possible good in selected cases,
where the under-paid woman has but her own support to care for
but she finds, in her painstaking and tireless investigations, that
nearly all working girls are burdened with the support of others.
They "go wrong," in thousands of cases, from sacrificial motives
that are angelically pure, so far as the, spiritual side goes. They sell
the body, not for the body's own food or drink or ease or rich ap
parel, but barter it secretly for money needed "by the aged, weak
and helpless of their own blood.
Where a girl gets $5 or $6 a week in factory or store; and where
she must have $15 or $20 to keep want from her dear ones, what
"minimum wage" of $10 or$12 would suffice?
The facts are, gentlemen and ladies, that you all have a theory,
growing out of the ancient tradition that the girl and woman wage
earner was working either for pin-money, or at- the worst, her own
living.
a You must know that most of these persons, with the delicacy
due to sex, laboring under handicaps and discriminations against
that sex, are mainstays of families little matriarchs.
The ,woman's love and loyalty to her own operate against her.
Where the boy will cut himself loose, if necessary, from parents
and younger brothers and sisters and say, "It is as much as I can
do now to take care of myself," the girl pours ever her chastity upon
the altar of family devotion.
' It's too bad King Winter and
Summer's queen cannot.be mar
ried. The match might temper
f. the dispositions of both.
He who burns the midnight oil
is likely to run short of gasoline
when he tried to speed up next
day. v
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