OCR Interpretation

The day book. (Chicago, Ill.) 1911-1917, September 22, 1914, LAST EDITION, Image 11

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

Persistent link: http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83045487/1914-09-22/ed-1/seq-11/

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morals court on cause of vice
By Jane Whitaker.
She stood beside one of a group of
six girls who were in the Morals
Court, having been taken in a raid
with a number of men, and her very
sweet face attracted me so strongly
that involuntarily I smiled at her to
be rewarded with a radiant smile in
"I wonder who she is?" I thought
idly and then voiced the question to
a social" worker in the court.
"She is Mrs. Florence B. Kirk of
the Juvenile Protective League," was
the answer. "She is here at the sug
gestion of Judge Goodnow to talk to
the girls and find out from them what
caused them to g6 astray to find
out from the girls what is the great
est cause of immorality and then see
if there is any preventive measure."
Later I stood beside Mrs. Kirk and,
introduced by the smiles we had ex
changed, began to talk to her of
some of the cases.
"Did you notice those six girls?"
she asked me. "They were so young
and fresh. I talked to them and ask
ed them why they were earning their
livings in this manner.
"One of them said: 'What else
could we do? I, myself, have never
worked. I would not be able to earn
a living any other way. And this life
has its fascination. It is an easy way
to get money."
"What conclusion have you arrived
at regarding the main cause of the
girls taking the 'easiest way' as it is
sardonically called," I asked her.
"I could not tell you yet," she an
swered. "I have only been here three
days and though I have found the
girls willing to talk to me and con
fide in me, my experience has been
too short to arrive at any conclu
sion." "Have you found that poverty has
a great deal to do with it?"
"More than you know," she an
swered quickly. "They want pretty
things, as some of them so quaintly
put it. That is a natural desire of
every young girl. They all long for
pretty things and for good food and
a little enjoyment, and some of them
have found they could not get these
things by working and so they drift
ed into this life.
"I was a little afraid they would
not talk to me. You see, it is rather
a difficult thing to ask a girl why
she has- gone, wrong. Many, many of
girls are still very modest and many
of them so ashamed when they are
brought into court.
"But they have confided in me
readily. Somehow they seem to want
to explain to somebody who will un
derstand and sympathize. We are go
ing to keep a record of the cause
that led each girl astray, but in no
case will the name of the girl be "given
and there will be no way to trace
her. We just want to find the cause
from the girls who are best able to
tell us.
"Dr. Anna Dwyer, the court physi
cian, always calls the girls 'little sis
ter,' " she continued, "and that is
what they are isn't it little sis
ters? Some of them have more child
ish minds than others, but all of
them are 'little sisters.'
"I like to stand beside them when
they are being questioned. I hope
that it will help them a little to know
that someone who has a deep inter
estin them, is there, and it helps to
have a woman's sympathy at such a
time, don't you think?"
"Yes," I said, ""it does help. The
pity of it all is that more women do
not sympathize."
"Perhaps that is because not all
women understand," she answered.
"After you have talked to them
awhile, you feel so very sorry. They
seem such victims of circumstance in
so many cases."
She smiled again, a rare, sweet
"Do you know that some of them
have called me 'mother'?" she asked.

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