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Newspaper Page Text
COULDN'T MAKE A CO ON STATE
Gertrude Wells lies quite still on a
Jittle white cot in the County hos
pital today. The nursesdon't know
whether she will live or whether she
will pass on to the place she sought
when she took ten mercury tablets a
day or so ago.
Wednesday Gertrude was one of
the thousand salesgirls who glide
about all day long over the thick
green rugs in Stevens' ladies' store
on State street. She sold costly,
wonderful dresses that she couldn't
expect to wear; she took rolls of
money from jeweled fingers of soci
ety women and wrapped up the
pretty clothes for them.
Her wage was one typical of State
street; it never seemed to be enough
to pay the rent for the little flat at
311 S. Kedzie av., where she stayed
with her aged mother. She couldn't
eat what she wanted and her dresses
were not the kind she sold every day
at Stevens' on State street
Gertrude, she is just 23, grew tired
of the daily grind under the electric
lights at Stevens'. Month after
month she found it harder to get
along on the State street wage. It
seemed she always had to deny her
self some little things she wanted.
Wednesday night the girl was
tired out after the long day's work,
but she couldn't sleep. She tossed
about in her bed all night long, and
when morning came she- didn't go to
Instead she told her mother she
was sick, and when the aged parent
left the house that morning she ran
to the bathroom and swallowed ten
mercury tablets. Three are enough
to cause death.
They hurried her to the private
hospital of Dr. Katherine Corcoran
at 3159 W. Jackson blvd. and gave
her treatment to save the life she
was willing to cast off. When she
was able to speak she told the doc
tors of her struggle to get along and
her failure to find happiness. j
The hospital where she now lay
was a pnvate one a nlaco 'o- peo
ple with money and not for State
street department store girls. So
they called the ambulance of the
Fillmore street police station.
On the long, jerky ride to the
County hospital, where all poor peo
ple are taken in, Miss Wells told Dr.
B. A. Aisenstadt about her failure to vf
live fairly with a slim pay envelope
between her and starvation.
The doctor helped carry her into
the big hospital that cares even for
State street salesgirls. Then he
went back to the station and wrote a
report to his chief. "Lack of money
for rent and necessities" was one of
the reasons to which he ascribed her
There were other causes for her
despondency, he explained in his re
port, but dread of the pinching,
grinding life of a State street shop
girl was the big reason.
Chas. A. Stevens & Bros, own the
great building between Mandel's and
Marshall Field's, on State street It
runs through to Wabash av.
The Stevens are rich, every one
of them. They have a dozen auto
mobiles in the family to make sure
that none of them may have to walk
about In the midwinter slush.
They go to church, nearly every
one of them. Chas. A., member of
the Stevens firm, is one of the" pil
lars" of St Paul's Universalist
church, at 30th and Prairie av. He
pays his share of the $5,000 salary
they give their minister for his
He's a good church man. He sends
his son and daughter to church al- -
most every week and they both sit v7
through the sermon and then teach
Sunday school afterward.
A. Stevens used to be leader in
this same Sunday school. Many
times he stood up before the little
children and sang from hymn books.
Then he led them in prayer.
His son later was head of the
church school on Sunday and man-