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The times dispatch. (Richmond, Va.) 1903-1914, June 22, 1913, Image 6

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Persistent link: http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn85038615/1913-06-22/ed-1/seq-6/

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I How Good Women Can Organize to Keep Women Good
Miss Alice C. Smith, Rockefeller's Protegee, Probation
Officer of "The Night Court for Women," Presents a
Theory for Solving the Problem of the Unfortunates.
MISS ALICE C. SMITH has been called
"The Night Court for Women.." Be
muse she 1b there every night from
the opening session at 8 o'clock until the court
closes at 3 in the morning she knows more
about the unfortunate women who pass before
the bar of justice than do the Judge* who Bit
then1 for ten nights every month.
For twelve years she has done the work of
n probation officer In New York City. She
believes that at least fifty per cent of them
can be brought back to right living. She says
that up to the age of twenty-five the work of
reclaiming them ifl not only possible, but.
By Alice
?n Y experinnce among the unprotected
y| girls of a great city has taught me
^ many lessons, but the greatost of these
is not that the custody of the welfare and fu
ture of such girls is wholly In the hands of the
city, nor in the power of the merchants or fao
tory owners who employ them, but In greatest
measure It lies among the good women of th.e
I have never known among the unprotected
class la this city a woman whose case was
hopeless. The difference among them Is that
one may be more hopeful than another. That
is all. I and the good women who, with purse
und influence, have helped me in my work
know that at least half of the unfortunates wh0
rome under our care are sure to be brought
beck to wave of honor and usefulness.
When the case of a girl who has yielded to
the temptation of city streets Is given to me I
Feek first the cause of the trouble. In 60 per
cent of these cases I find that the cause was a
poor home?"poor," not in the sense of poverty,
though that it ha? its influence, but poor in the
sense of being inadequate to the girl's needs,
poor in the sense of the Ignorance of parents
about the condition of life as It is to-day.
Life is lived differently than it was in their
youth, and in the probably small town whenco
they came. They do not know what fierce white
light of temptation beats upon their daughters.
In nearly all of these homes I find the parents
p.re good people, but they do not know. And be
cause they do not know the girl faces alone the
two terrible temptations. One is likely to as
sail her when she goes out to find work, the
other when she goes to the streets In search of
Parents should not be In too great a hurry
to get the girls working papers. But hard con
ditions force them to do this early, sometimes
even before the age when the working papers
fire due. And the horror of the situation is
that the girl from school goes out alone and un
guided in search of work. In this city and
others this lonely, danger-dogged search Is un
necessary, did the parents but know. There is
r.o home in the city but can have contact with
fonie good woman whose pleasure and duty it
is to point out to girls safe places to work, or
dangerous localities or persons from whom to
avoid employment. In every church of any
given patience, comparatively easy. After that
ago they are liable to be hardened and hope
Miss Smith Is a member of John D. Rockefel
ler's church, the Fifth Avenue Baptist. So much
was he impressed by the value of her work
among erring girla that for two years he per
sonally paid her salary until the city created
the office ehe Alls and her name waa placed on
the municipal payroll.
What MIbs Smith has learned about the
problem of the unprotected girl In cities and
how to solve the problem she tells for thl*
newspaper. t
C. Smith.
faith there are visiting committees of women
who are glad to give this aid. If the parents do
not know such women they can apply to the
pastor of the church, and he will send such a
woman to them. Also there is the Charity Or
ganization and the Association for Improving
the Condition of the Poor. "W omen of theBe
organizations car, and do, by thMr knowledge
of the city, prevent such a fate as that which
befell flfteen-year-old Ruth Wheeler, who was
murdered while seeking work.
The other danger point (that of the streets)
the parents do not know of or do not fully real
ise. Reared in villages, these parents, many of
them foreigners, are likely to think of the
streets as playgrounds?and so they are, but
playgronnds' of vice.
A typical case is this: Mary, tired after her
day's work, goes out alone or with a friend for a
walk. Without knowing it, or meaning to be,
she is a bit "fresh." She Invites attention. A
stranger saunters past and says, "Hello." She,
Interested and flattered, and Ignorant, answers
"Hello." Generally he asks in what direction
she is going, and if she answers he asks if ha
may go, too. He asks her where she will be the
next evening, and she probably answers that
she will be walking at the same time and place.
He meets her again. He proposes having a
drink. Perhaps the having a drink is a nov
elty to her, and she accepts. After three or
four more walks and drinks a new face and
figure are on their way to join the procession
that passes the judge's bench in the Night
Court for Women.
That could have been prevented If the par
ents had made it possible for her to receive
friends in her home, and If they had made her
know that the man who does not ask to see her
in her own home, but proposes other meeting
places, is a scoundrel.
Fifty per cent of the women who come before
the judge for sentence and hear "Blackwells
Island, thirty days," are there because they
came from such poorly managed homes. The
remedy? Yes, I have thought of it. Society
owes to every working man with a largo fam
ily to support a wage of S25 a week. The mid
dle-aged man's labor is worth that to society.
He requires it to care well for his family, send
his children to school until they are entitled
to working papers, or after, and provide that
corner for the girls which shall keep them oft
the street*.
Bnt society will be slow to gfv? them this, bo
what 1b the other remedy? It is that the good
women of every district In the city organize a
girls' club; let the girls know that they may
come there and meet their friends. The good
women of whom I hare spoken can. In rotation,
spend an evening there as chaperon. The girls
can give parties there. There will be a piano
and some one to play. There can be dancing.
But there wfll be the watchful eye of the good
woman, who apprehends the dangers the girls
do not know.
Public schoolrooms, which are vacant and un
used two^thlrds of the time, could well be util
ized for the purpose. The settlement houses
and the religious organlz-atlons can open their
buildings for tne purpose. Their heads can
say, "Come here and bring your friends. You
may consider thlB your home parlor or sitting
room." But there should always be present a
chaperon, perhaps not known as such, but
rather as a friend of girls.
Thirty per cent of my charges have turned
from the right path because they could not
live on the average wage paid to girls?six
dollars a week. A girl needs nine dollars a
week. Tired of the struggle to make six dol
lars stretch over the expense territory which
requires nine dollars, she, dreading sickness,
shrinking from the spectre of being laid off.
which makes Christmas Eve so sad a time for
many girls, for that is the time when, the holi
day rush being over, thousands receive their
blue envelopes, she listens to some girl who
works beside her, or to some strange woman of
elegant appearance, if she was not painted,
who tells her how 6he can eke out her wages.
Often they do not tell her. They say, "Come
up and S9e me, and we will talk over your
troubles." And the hard path opens for her.
Hard, did I say? Indeed, yes. Not one?Ire
peat It, not one?of the unfortunate women
continues in the wrong life because she likes
it. I have heard hundreds of them say. "How
fine it is to he a good woman." And when I
have said, "Why not become one?" th^y have
answered: "It is easy for a good woman to
a?k that."
Public Bentlment, bulwarked by the law,
should require the employers 10 pay girls a liv
ing wage. In this city it Is nine dollars.
If a girl's work is worth anything it is worth
that. If you could not afford to pay a servaut
four or five dollars a week you would do with
out her. The constant temptation because of
the insufficient Ealary should be removed from
a girl's path.
The remaining 20 per cent of my charges
have joined the army of unfortunate women
through what I classify as unschooled senti
ment. They think they are in love with the
first stranger who says "Hello" to them. This
can be prevented by their taking their ad
mirers to the girls' club I have described. Let
Mary meet her voting man there. Perhaps her
friend Jane will be there with her young man
at the same time. Mary has a chance to com
pare her young man with others. He Is not
the only man she knows, and she sees htm in
circumstances in which. If he is dross, the dross
will reveal Itself as not pure gold. The chape
ron can gently and tactfully assist in this
I have shown yon the causes that make the
girl who comei to the Night Court a problem.
I have shown you the preventives. The cure
Is to put her In a good boarding place, or send
her home; give her a chance to begin over
again. Let me toll you of some typical cases
of the 2,500 In which cure has been wrought,
and In this way.
One of the girls who came before the Judge In
the Night Court, and who was placed in my
charge, wo will call Jennie. I found that she
had a bitter habit of mind.
"What is the uee of talking to me. Miss
Smith?" she exclaimed whon I had taken her
to the side room next the judge's chambers,
where I have a preliminary talk with my
charges. "You can't do anything for me. No
body can. I was started wrong. The cards
were dealt wrong to me when I was born."
I learned that tho girl's mother was an aban
doned woman. The girl's father had killed a
man because of her mother, and was at that
time an inmate of an asylum for the criminally
insane. Had he not become insane he would
have been sent to death In the chair. He has
elnoe died the terrible death of a raving
I told the girl that environment Is more pow
erful than heredity. She sneered at the possi
bility of her having a chance to reform. She
was placed In a good, clean boarding house and
her body and mind rebuilt. Then we found
work for her at a living wage, and because she
was a bright girl she soon advanced from this
popition to a better one.
Her employer, a millionaire, fell In love with
her. 'He asked her to become his wife. She
refused^and when he insisted upon knowing
frankly the story of her misfortune withhold
ing nothing. A broad-minded man, who be
lieved In the single standard of morality for
men and women, he married her. Before
they were married she said:
"I will give you another chance to escape
what cannot be a happy marriage for you.
Come with me to the home." She mentioned
a refuge for women such as she had been.
Together they called upon the sister superior
and talked of the girl's chances for a good and
happy life. The surrounding? and the sugges
tion of the depths to which the woman he loved
had fallen had no visible effect upon her suitor.
"And now do you still wish to marry me?"
shr> asked.
"I do," was his reply. n
Nine years ago they were married. They
have lived happily together ever since. Tho
wife has taken her younger brothers and sis
ters from the homo where they were exposed
to the mother's evil influence, and cared for
them under her own roof, bringing them up to
be good men and women, which they could not
have been had they remained at home.
She keeps closely In touch with my work.
She comes often to see me. She has often told
me that If I had trouble in finding temporary
homes for the girls to bring them to her, and
she gives liberally to the cause of rescue.
Her husband knowa of the friendship, and
that it bogan in the courtroom, and sends hor
to me for advice in the little problems of home
She goes (o Europe every year. She has
three automobiles. She is often seen at the
opera. She In one of tho hundsoracst young
matrons in New York, and lias become 0110 of
the best.
Mrs. Martin was one of a large number of
*omeu who aro deserted by their husbands.
He left her with a sick babe. For weeks slio
tried to get work to support herself and tho
ch\ld. She failed, and one day. when the child
cried from hunger, she grew desperate. Whoa
she was brought into court she told her story
and begged for a chance. We gave her tho
chance by finding work for her. She is living
an honest life in a home Bhe has made for her
Belt and the child. If we had taken tho
child from her her destination would have
been the gutter.
The case of Margarot Storrs is the story of
one of the poor homes which are the greatest
factors producing the class of women with
whom I deal. Margaret was brought into
court as a first offender. Her father was with
her. The judge begged her father to give his
consent to place her In an Institution. Tho
father refused. He said the family needed her
wageB. Magistrate Barlow's voice rang through
the courtroom:
"It rests with you," he said to the father.
"She Is under age, and I cannot place her in an
institution without your consent. Unless you
do this she will go down the ladder rung by
rung. You know the way. First Broadway,
then Sixth avenue, then the Bowery, then
Chinatown, then Potter's Flet<i."
The Court could do nothing. If she hnd been
placed on parole I would have placed her in
one of the clean working girls' homes, of which
we are getting such a number in the city.
There Is Trowmart Inn. for example, and tho
home maintained by Mrs. Jrederlck W. Van
derbllt. The three dollars a week necessary
for her board I would have gotten from some
friends of mine, who are willing to help de
serving cases. I would have placed her next
in one of the trade schools?Kay, the Manhat
tan Trade School?where nho could have been
taught something she best liked to do.
When she had learned millinery or shirtwaist
making or artificial flower making tho school
would have found work for her. That Is one
of the helpful features of the school, which, I
understand, was founded by Miss Grace Dodge,
Miss Virginia Potter and others.
I knew a girl whom at first cflort we failed to
save, but the next year she was wiser. I
have great faith In the sad wisdom that time
brings. You see, we keep at it. Often If w?
failed In a caso last year we succeed this. A
girl has lived twelvo months longer, has suf
fered more and learned more. Up to twenty
five 1 find reason for hope in every added year.
The two greatest needs of the unprotected
girls In this and other large cities are proper
places of amusement and small preventive or
protective Institutions. I have pointed out the
vast need and the simplicity of gir'.s" clubs as
a solution to tho amusement problem. As for
the small institution It succeeds where tho
large one falls, because of the per?o::nl ele
ment. The city is likely to deal harshly with
its problems. The Municipal Lodging House,
for instance, affords a night a shelter, but It U
too large and necessarily machine-like to per
mit of personal ministration of good, high
minded women. It cannot mother them, and
every girl needs motherlr.g.
[Editor's Note.?The author of this article Ib
president cf the Business Bourse, editor of the
Efficiency Magazine, an active member of the
Efficiency Society, and is retained as advising
e/pert by rrsny of the leading concerns as court
eel upon questions relating to office and execu
tive eMiclency.
Mr. McCormack s the Inventor of the orlgl'hal
typewriter tabulator, the unit voucher system,
etc.; in fact, he has possibly Invented more
'.sbor-saving dev:ces and systems for the office
trsn any other man.
He is well known throughout the country as
? lecturer on office efficiency, having given
illustrated lectures upon the subject In all the
leading cities, and is an ack-nowledged authority
u^or. all subjects relating to office management
c.d office efficiency.]
By H. S. .McCormack.
President of the Business Bourse.
?r V you rhi the 1 nitei States Government
\ places ;,cn:r uisprc-.ai an elaborate staff of
Kpe ialiMs who are backed by a very corn
pre hoLs-ivf. tr-yvteai of experimental stations, and
? wi.; .<?*.:pp:y you with pamphlets and
to i-klet.- o: ir.j-ti ik-ions ana will o'jerv.:s? he:p
} u'f.it.z t .??ntllic . .no.-.
!f you iire tro.or perplexed upon o Ties
v, a' :i r<-.ii!r-.s to lorestry. mining navigation
or. In 1 . ??. nliuf'St any Fubjct the Government
j- < i > f y a:.d yo;i are for^e-*, t/> appreciate
you !jr<- living in an ag* full of wonderful
But if, ou the other hand. you p.re trying to
etlabli-.h u l/i.sine-, <>t any Kiiifl don't expect to
receive s:.y assistance from L'ncie Sam.
Jt in tiie business of the country that xive* em
ployment to the millions that makes the Govern
ment possible. When business t.- good, lnei?- Sam
is well; but when business to poor, he Is very,
very fclcfl. And yet this moet Important part of
the country'!. activitU* In ignored by I one Sam.
Buidnefls meti are '.eft to blaze their own trails.
No lecturers are sent through tne country to htiow
them how business can be made more scientific;
no special trains with dn.ta and with Instructors
ere despatched about the country- such neces
BitieB are denied to business men, although they
pay the greatest revenue# to the country.
The waste through Inefficient business manage
ment and failures 'n large percentage of whlcn
can be avoided) has been terrific, for there Is an
enormous waste volume of office business done.
Every business has at least one office; many
businesses have dozens of offices. There are
S.94S.013 separate business offices in the country
ias shown by offices having telephones), or an
office to each 27 Inhabitant
Two million dollars a day Is my conservative
estimate, based on detailed persona! knowledge
of the situation, of the amount of money need
lessly expended in offices throughout the country.
Eliminate one-third of three million offices as
being too small to be efficient, and eliminate an
other million, for the sake of argument, as being
100 per cent efficient, and It Is only necessary to
tave $1 a day per office to conserve two million
dollars a day.
This estimate of $1 saving does not represent
each person, but Instead represents an entire
office force; and, for the purpose of being conser
vative to a fault, but one-third of the effirdency
that might he asked for Is to be considered.
Even to those who have made but a limited
study of office work, the estimate of only $1 a
riav will appear ridiculous, because, the simplest
?r::i'ysis shows, for Instance, that the average
<ost of business letters is from 7c. to 11c. apiece,
and that It i? only the highly efficient office*
which handle correspondence at a cost of oc. or
b'-jc per letter.
Eliminate one-third of the unnecessary -work
that performed daily In business offices
throughout the country, and the Having will be
nine times greater than tho saving proposed
through the revision of the tariff.
Capitalize the energy lost through waste ef
fort or the needless work performed in business
offices, and there Ik enough energy available to
turn over the Panama Canal without expense to
the nation.
The number of nselenB, needless letters written
daily cannot easily he computed, hut the actual
loss in this direction runs Into the hundreds of
Business men who would not fill their pockets
wl'h silver dimes ea<\h morning and scatter them
right and left through the streets do countenance
and encoursige the employment of clerks who
thoughtlessly and needlessly write letters which
brli.g no return whatever to the senders.
Business men borrow money ana pay R or 8
per cent per annum for Its use, and then day by
day destroy the earning power of those dollars
by negligence, carelessness and thoughtlessness.
A hundred dollars Is Invested In n business
which Is supposed to earn 6 per cent, or $6.00, in
365 days; and the man who makes the invest
ment engages an extra clerk to do unnecessary
dera!. work and pays the clerk $12 a week, thus
destroying every week the annual earning power
of $200. This means that the earning power of
$S0o is lost ever^' month, or the earning power of
approximately $10,000 every year.
Make an analysis of the simplest office routine,
arid 1! is astounding to ascertain how much work
is done over and over. Writing and rewriting ap
pear io be the order of the day.
The fact that a man says he has a system does
not make it so- it a man believes himself or his
office efficient, it doen not reduce his expenses,
and no one is fooled but himself, while he is busy
making preparations for the receiver to step in.
When a man starts to analyze what Is going on
in his own office it is a healthy sign. If he begins
with the operation of making checks, he may find
that his bookkeeper does the following:
tit. Writes the check.
(J?. Copies the samo information upon the stun.
?. Makes an entry on bills or on voucher
cover of distribution.
(4i. Prepares some acknowledgment or receipt
or enters details in distribution record.
The various forms for making payments by
cheeks vary to such an extent that no set rule
governs ihe handling of these transactions; hut
repented Investigations prove thai from 3 to 7 op
erations are usually performed In connection
with fcvery hill and In some offices these op
erations are repealer! flay after day in the hand
ling of hundreds of bills passed for payment.
A set of unit forms will, without repetition or
any kind, eliminate two-thirds of the work now
performed In the payment of bills, by combining
the following operations into oue;
(1). Writing of cheek.
(2). Writing of receipt.
(3). Writing of voucher cover.
(4). Writing of register.
Writing of bookkeeper's distribution
It is, indeed, rare to And a firm with an effici
ent telegram system. The customary method Is
to write the telegram and retain a duplicate for
the flies; then write a letter and repeat therein
the contents of the telegram, which i3 but a
repetition of the work just done.
At the end of the. month that becomes one
of the great factors In increasing the cost of
clerical work necessary to check up the bills from
the telegraph ofTlce to find out who sent the
various telegrams.
A system of form duplicate copies will at on?
wni::ng take care of the following operations:
(1). Telegram.
'21. Office rnpv.
(3). Confirmation.
? 41- Office register.
For many years business concerns could not get
nway from tbe old custom of filling orders from
original orders. So much delay and confusion
were caused through this method that finally the
more progressive firms saw the advantage of tak
ing two r.ipifs. The results secured were so sat
isfactory that the plan was extended to three and
four copies, arid many concerns are now making
from five to twelve copies, so that no rewriting of
orders is necessary.
While the agitation tans been going on abont
nhop management, and efficiency engineers have
been lowering the cost of production, the execu
tive office expenses and the selling expenses have
been mounting higher and higher, until now It Is
a well-known fact that It costs 66 cents to sell
and distribute articles which cost only 33 cents
to manufacture.
A sale can be made in an office?it may be a
doctor's office, a broker's office, or a real estate
office. It Is immaterial whether the sale amounts
to 10 cents. Jlfl or $10,000; the custom Is to make
n charge slip of some kind, according to the
transaction. The chnrge Flip goes to the book
keeping department, where the juggling process
really starts. The amount is entered, possibly In
a sales book, then becomes a journal entry, gets
Into the ledger, is carried to some distribution
record, gets upon a bill and goes down the line,
Is accumulated In a safes report; and, It may bo
that the same amount is placed to the credit of
some deportment. With every juggle of this item,
It is hoped that when the totals of the various
combinations of figures are added together the
correct grand toiai will be secured. If not, then
It means the old story of going back and taking
trial balances, then checking off until the dis
crepancy Is shown and all of the various ac
counts show uniform balance.
During the past fifteen or twenty years, un
fortunately, there has been a tendency toward
cumbrous systems which entail a lot of book
keeping and furnish a multiplicity of records, and
while these various reports and statistics are
all used in some cases, little tnor.ght has been
given to having the various operations combined
ho as to be accomplished at.one writing or with
one transaction.
A machine has been introduced Into the Oot
ernmentCensus Office which dispenses with hun
dreds of clerks; the work that formerly took ten
years to accomplish is now performed at less ex.
pense iu ten months.
What has been done by the Government In tn?
matter of handling the census can be done m
business house*. It will he possible to have little
punching machines, so that the 10 cent, $10 or
$10,000 item can be punched Into n card, which
card can be fed into an automatic machine, and.
without transcriptions of any kind, those IHtia
punched holes in a card will take care of tlio
seven or nine operations, which some firms con
sider so necessary and which entail so much work
in re writing and re-copying for the purpose of
becuring their various records.
From the time the raw material Is ordered
there is little else but office work?executives
buying goods, salesmen selling them, clerks writ
ing orders, others writing letters about the goods,
attending to the billing and keeping the books.
The railroads furnish office help to write many
bills for raw material, the refined material, trie
finished material; and the goods, from their raw
state to the time they are ready for delivory to
the consumer, are subjected to re-writing and a re
paid for by check possibly ten times, because
goods in their different stages must be paid for.
as well as transportation charges on them.
When the Government investigated the express
companies, they found that there were eleven
transcriptions, in part or in whole, that took plnc?
from the time Jones delivered a package to tho
company until it was received and receipted for
by Smith. The Government regulations have
eliminated a lot of that red tape and the public
are getting better service.
One of the leading textile concerns recently
conducted a test to ascertain the cost of writing
each bill. It was found to be 7 cents, and this
amount was independent of all selling costs,
telegrams, salesmen, bookkeeping, etc.
President Wilson took a big step in tho right
direction a few days ago, when he placed the
stamp of approval upon the work of the Efficiency
and Economy Commission.
The reports of this commission covered the
various departments in Washington which had
undergone an inspection. The investigations have
already resulted In the saving of hundreds or
thousands of dollars In Government offices
through the elimination of needless work.
There should bo established a Government erti
eiency bureau to gather data and statistics for
the business man to use in his office?there must
be time studies, tests and experiments along the
same scientific lines as are conducted In any
other Government department which has been
established along economic lines.
Retailers must be shown how Inefficient man
agement and inefficient distribution are ono of
the great factors in increasing the cost of living.

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