Search America's historic newspaper pages from 1789-1943 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
EVERY DESCRIPTION OF THE GENTLE SEX ATTEND MONSTER
MEETING OF UNEMPLOYED WOMEN
BY JANE WHITAKER
Diffident, and filled with the shame
of failure, they entered Cooper
Union in New York cityxthe other
day, a small armyto attend the first
meeting of its kinoS ever held a
meeting of unemployed worripnrN.
They, were young and they were
old; they were fresh cheeked and
they were wrinkled; they were hope
ful ana they were hopeless; they were
still bravely endeavoring to keep up
-appearances or irretrievably shabby.
There was no soap box oratory.
There was no cry of "Down with the
capitalist." They didn't ask that
anyone l)e lowered, but only that
they might be helped up.
Around the hall were banners with
inscriptions: "We have helped enrich
the city. What will the city do for
us?" "To deny us the right to work
is to "deny us the right to live."
At first they listened to the
speeches of social workers with a
weary stolidness, and then one or
two became bolder and told their own
Perhaps, if, like the soap box
orator, they had striven for effect,
they might have left their listeners
cold. But they did not care what the
rest thought; they only were telling
aloud what they had been paying
over and over to themselves.
Some of the younger social work
ers began to cry as the stories went
monotonously on, seemingly woven
of the same thread by different spin
ners. And the tears became choked sobs,
that sounded like an accompaniment
in major chords on a cello.
"I'm forty-five years old." She
was tall, gaunt, with deep circles un
der her eyes. "I might as well be
sixty, because I'm done. I tell you
I'm done. I cannot get work. I
have lived on $3 since Christmas, me
rndmygirl. How long is that? God,
T don't know. I don't count days by
hours any more, but by how much I ;
suffer, and each day seems a year.
"I go out hunting work all day
long and doors are slammed in my
face. 'Get along,' they cry to me,
'you are too old.'
"My girl is fifteen. What is the
matter with her? She is young, but .
she hasn't the strength of the old
one. She could not stand the hun
ger. She lies too weak to move be
cause she is starved. And they won't
give, me work.
"What am I to do? Die like a rat
in a trap? Will they let us die. if ' they
won't let us. live? I don't know. I
have tried and there isn't any work."
She sat down and looked around,
vaguely. A woman suddenly opened
her purse and drew out a dollar bill,
and other purses emptied a. part of
their tiny hoards until five dollars
had been collected and pressed into
the woman's hands.
"It isn't only the old that can't get
work." A girl in shabby black looked
defiance, while a finger that had
forced its way through much darned
gloves tried to hide in the palm of
her hand which closed over it.
"When they , tell you that you're
too old, you know what you got to
face, but when you're young and
everybody says why don't you get a
job; when there's lots of jobs adver
tised in the paper, and you go to the
stores and you find it's just a scheme
to have a line of applicants appear
for the effect it will have on the em
ployes in 'the establishment, and
you've spent car-fare, it's it's
The stories varied a little; per
haps some of the women had been
through harsher experiences than
others, but the undercurrent of hope
lessness was the same.
"Studying the white slave question,
the wonder is that there are not more
fallen women," said Rose Schneider
mann, vice-president of the Women's
Trade Union League.
"This is the first meeting of unem-