Search America's historic newspaper pages from 1789-1924 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
3tnf j"W w
- -s-w.- "nnzt'St
1,000 MODERN MAGDALENES OUTLAWED IN A
DAY SCHEMING TO DEFY STATE
San Francisco, Cal., Jan. 4. Can
you imagine women and girls hun
dreds of them pleading tearfully,
pleading with the blunt eloquence of
dire need, begging hysterically, to be
allowed to go into the life of woman's
lowest estate because that seems to
them "the only way," rather than
"the easiest way?"
If you can you may appreciate one
of the gravest problems confronting
the authorities of this city on the eve
of the 1915 exposition.
It is the problem of treating intel
ligently and constructively the case
of the women who have been thrown
out of their redlight dens by the
abatement law ratified in this state
at the recent election and made ef
fective Dec. 15. Their profession, the
oldest in the world, and long toler
ated and licensed in San Francisco,
has suddenly been outlawed.
What is going to become of them?
"The aim of the law was primarily
at the property owners who fattened
off the shame of their tenants, but it
struck the women hardest.
To say that the women deserve no
pity; that they must accept the lot
they have elected, an attitude taken
by many of the good people here, is
not a solution. Rather, it is a stum
bling block, assert the officials upon
whom devolves much of the respon
sibility in the situation.
There are 837 registered denizens
of the tenderloin here.
Besides these there are hundreds
on "the waiting list" girls who have
begged Detective Thos. Furman, head
of the white slave department of -police,
to give them registry in the un
derworld. "It is largely the unemployment or
precarious employment of .many
women that is responsible," declared
"The would come in here and beg
and cry and plead to De allowed to
register, I -woUW try to reason wjth
them. I would tell them the terrible
consequences of such a life. I would
paint it in all its horrors. But they
would only continue to beg and plead.
"Many a girl was down to her last
The authorities are striving ear
nestly to Impress the people of this
city that the situation presented by
these women is one which can no
longer be ignored or whispered about.
It must be handled with eyes open
and with frank speech, as well as
Where will they go? What will
"I guess Til have to get a heavier
pair of shoes, that's all."
A girl with brown curls and purple
silk hose contemplated her thin suede
slippers. She meant she would walls
the streets to ply her outlawed trade.
"I used to be a waitress earning
$2.50 a week!"
Another One spoke, tall and blonde.
"I intend to remain in the city and
walk the streets," she said deter
minedly. 'Til pay my fines and go
to jail. No use going to another city,
the streets are full everywhere. Some
day, I suppose, I'll be found mur
dered. In a house a girl has 'some
protection. On the streets none. I'm
26 years old. I've been in this busi
ness for 10 years. My health is brok
en down. I couldn't work in a kitch
en, even if I would be taken in and
given a chance, which I know I
"Turning us all out at this
time," added a girl in gold stockings
and gilt slippers. "What sort of
heart have these 'good' people?
Many of the girls here have children
"The trouble with charitable peo
ple," she said, referring to an an
nouncement that money was being
raised to provide a home for these
Wicasis, 1a thai they do not get