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Newspaper Page Text
VIRGINIA BROOKS HANDED THE HAMILTON
CLUB SOMETHING THEY DIDN'T EXPECT
That-grand association of stand
patters known as the Hamilton Club,
now has an excellent idea of what it
feels like to ask for soft' soap and be
handed a wallop.
These latter days have been par-
lous ones for the Republicans of the
Hamilton Club anyhow. There has .
been 'insurrection among the young
er members. Theclub's one hero has
been retired to a private golf links.
The shadow of William Lorimer lies
heavy over every debate, and nobody
seems to love a'standpat Republican
Still, the club was getting along
nicely, if somewhat; obscurely, until
yesterday, when it make thejnistake
of asking Virginia Brooks to address
it on white slavery.
Just what ,the club expected Miss
Brooks to say is not known. But she
didn't say it.
William B. Austin, president of the
club, introduced Miss Brooks.
"There has been;" said Austin sad
ly, "much talk lately of white slav
ery. Miss Brooks has seen much, of
white slavery and the causes there
of. Shef is going to tell you a little
about the curse that is destroying the
social fabric of the nation."
Miss Brooks looked around at the
300 or so, sleek, well-fed, prosperous-looking-s
business men. And she
"Oh, you men of big affairs," she
began, "can't you see the handwrit
ing on the wall? Don't you under
stand what 'the big employers are do
ing? Can't you see how they are
crushing dovn the womanhood of
"What chance are you men giving
the working girls- to develop the fine
qualities that all of them have? Why
' don't you give them a chance?".
The members of the club fidgeted
in their seats. This' wasn't right This
jnere. girl was standing up .there -and
telling them to their faces that they
were responsible for the crushed
womanhood of the nation. And a mo
ment flater Miss Brooks made, it
"In particular," she said, "consider
what the' big State street department
stores are doing, how they are mak
ing mere machines of young girls,
machines that are ruthlessly cast
aside when they become so worn that
thejr cannot work' at top speed.
"Justbecause you employers know
that there are hundredsof girls so
poor, so needy, that jt is easy to get
girls cheap, do you think it right of
you just because you have the power
to , use it the, way you do?
"It is possible that the O'Hara com
mission will fail in what it has set
out to do. I don't know. But I do
know one thing, and that is that the
idea and the principle that economic
conditions must be held responsible
for vice and crime has sunk into the
very hearts of the people and never
will be erased.
"Julius Rosenwald, on the stand,
declared that environment and not
wages caused girls to go wrong. But
Rosenwald did not answer when he
was asked if it were not true that
environment could be bought.
"The mask has been torn from
some of our leading citizens, pur
'philanthropists.' The terror of the
situation of their girl employes has
become real to every man and woman
in the state, and even if the minimum
wage bill falls, I shall consider 'the
O'Hara commission successful be
cause of this.
"I am not going to try and say
what would be a proper minimum
wage. I do not know enqugh about
it. There are thousands of the peo
ple who do know. But I think a min
imum wage should be fixed, and not
only for women but for men as well.
"Can't you men of big affairs real
izejthatJthe be.tter.yqu pay yoju- jem-
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