Search America's historic newspaper pages from 1836-1922 or use the U.S. Newspaper Directory to find information about American newspapers published between 1690-present. Chronicling America is sponsored jointly by the
National Endowment for the Humanities and the Library of Congress. external link Learn more
Image provided by: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Library, Urbana, IL
Newspaper Page Text
come from a visit with Thomas A.
Edison a visit to the greatest work
er in all America that I might ask
HIM what HE thinks of LABOR DAY.
The most famous man alive did
not answer my question. He looked
at me a moment and then laid a hand
on my shoulder.
"Tell me," he said, "how did you,
as 'Mamie Riley' spend the three
cents an hour you earned last fall
while investigating the New York
"When 'Mamie Riley' made thirty
six cents a day," I answered, "food
cost fifteen cents, bed fifteen cents, a
penny went for the daily paper and
the last nickel was spent at the
"That nickel was not wasted.
Pleasure is as necessary as food.
Never more so than now. Today the
average man does not depend on
health he works on his nerves.
"Our Labor Day problem now is
not a problem of increasing the effi
ciency of, or even exclusively con
sidering with satisfaction, the work
of the world. Instead it is a problem
of increasing the efficiency and the
quality of play in the world."
An alert secretary, laden with pa
pers, stood at attention. But Mr. Edi
son, absorbed in the matter in hand,
neither saw .nor heard.
"Now recreation is - RE-CREATION!
"I have come to think a good deal
about that. From the day a man or
woman gets his or her first job, life is
often one long worry. Take the ques
tion of lodging high rents and over
crowding in ramshackle tenements
the living conditions that undermine
health and lower earning capacity.
Those are all parts of one problem
a problem that must be solved. Some
day it will be.
By cheaper construction. But I
cannot discuss that now.
"Today we must protect the under
dog think first for the poor only
afterwards for the rich. Assess prop
erty at its real value shove on the
taxes raise money spend it hon
estly for the general good on recrea
tion! "When I was a boy it was sacri
legious to play ball on Sunday or to
walk abroad to see the birds. Before
age overtakes me I hope to have
some share in providing new pleas
ures Sunday and otherwise for the
people. Observe how I say 'NEW'
pleasures. Since we moved into cities
we have no space, no energy for the
old sports. Men and women who are
overworked and badly-fed need rest
in their leisure. That is one good in
the movies that andthe fact that
they make the whole world as fami
liar as the village next door. Just
think how they banish prejudices,
wipe out differences. Our emigrants
learn to know this country, their chil
dren acquire our customs all from
the moving pictures. And all the
while they are not only resting for
tomorrow's grind but having fun.
"This is an electric age. The pres
sure was never heavier nor the grind
harder. Now a workman's pleasure
to be pleasureful must be cheap. He
cannot afford more than five or ten
cents. Each year we are getting more
five-cent articles the trolley, cheap
er light, the nickle show. Before an
other year I hope to add good music
cheap, so cheap that almost every
one may have it in their homes.
"We have got the 'Flicker' out of
the biograph and the scrape out of
the phonograph. You see those
shelves of records? How many? Sev
eral thousand. Probably I have can
ned every well-known voice in Amer
ica and Europe and studied the rec
ord by way of preparation. Patience?
Well, perhaps. But then you know
science is only CONCENTRATION
and LONG PATIENCE.
"Every day we are getting the new
music better more Beautiful. We
are trying to get it cheaper. But
there we are handicapped. The peo
ple who sing, like lawyers, over-value
their services. Still we will keep il;