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About The North Platte semi-weekly tribune. (North Platte, Neb.) 1895-1922 | View Entire Issue (May 26, 1916)
lai About ihe Flowers On Your
luiiuiur iiab,i Mucins
Most artificial flowers are made by
children in .disease-infested tenement
houses under very bad working condi
tions. Efforts made to stop the evil
F ALL tho artificial flowers made In tho
h 'n"ci1 States 74 per cent are mado In
Now York city, nays a government ro-
port. A report of tho Consumers' lcaguo
of that city Allows that n largo propor
tion of theso flowers aro made In tene
ment houses and that most of tho work
ors aro children whoso age rango from
cloven down to four. It would ho
shocking to somo to sco with their own eyes how tho
boautlful flowers which adorn their hats aro niado
by tho tiny hands of young children, somo of them
inoro babies, who work from early morning until lato
at night and cam from ten to fifteen cents n day.
Yet tho purposo of this article In not to shock any
one's sensibilities, but to lay baro facts and describe
conditions as they aro, says Israel Zovin in tho Now
Somo ten or twelve years ago a few men and worn
on woro sitting in the assembly room of a settlement
houso llstonlng to tho talk of o charity Investigator,
who, among other things, told a story of how, on a
cold wlntor night, a poor family woro sitting huddled
togotlicr round a small stovo and burning up u pack
of old papers, which tho JoblcsK head of tho family
bad dug up in somo place.
"That was tho only fuel thoy woro ablo to get," tho
investigator said. "Tho children woro clapping tholr
hands with Joy, feeling tho warmth of tho flames
penetrating tholr frail bodies.
"Suddenly ono of tho childron, a thoughtful Ilttlo
girl, stopped for a niomont and, becoming serious,
asked her mother: 'Mamma, dear, plcaso tell mo, what
do thoso poor children who havo no old papers do
on a cold night llko this?"
Tho women and men
wuguoa; they thought It
was clover! But there was
ono man who did not laugh
All night tho vision of
thoso palo, emaciated chil
dron sitting around tho
stovo haunted him, and for
a long timo ho was tor
tured by tho heartache of
feet of tho grim Joko, Ho
is now ono of tho chlof
workers of tho movomont
to abolish child labor.
It is not pleasant, theso
facts relating to tho work
of childron. Somo of thorn
almost challenge credlbll
Ity. For how could nny
mother allow her tiny
baby, tbroo or four years
old, who is ovon too young
for tho kindergarten, to sit
indoors nil day long and work making imitations
of flowers tho, child has never seen?
8ome Startling Cases,
And yot I havo seen children bogln to learn to
mako artificial flowers when they were only two
years old. I do not Buy that childron of that ago
aro compelled or coaxed by tholr mothors to work,
but it is this way.
Tho baby sits In n chair by tho tablo wntching
mother nnd tho other children work. Tho baby
strotchOB out its ImndB, grnbblng n petal or a loaf
To satisfy his deslro tho mother gives tho baby
a few potnls, showing him how to pull them apart.
At throo or four tho child la already nu olllclont
workor, ablo to earn about ton cents a day.
Hero aro some of tho fucts:
A mother and two daughters, living and work
ing In a roar tenement, bo dark that an oil lamp
must bo kept burning all day in order that thoy
may sco to work, mako forget-mo-not wreaths.
Thoy receive seven cents for one dozen .wroaths,
and can earn $4.20 ovory 15 days,
A frail, dollcato mother of livo childron sits at a
tablo In tholr two-room Hat from morning until
lato at night putting artificial borrlos on stoma.
Sho earns from ten to fifteon cents a day.
In a four-room flat, whore throo childron havo
died of tuberculosis and two others woro sufforfng
from it, a mothor and an olovon-your-old girl raado
artificial rosea at J5 conta a gross.
I In ono homo on a Suturduy morning four chil
dren, ten, nine, six and four yeaxs old, woro found
sitting by a tablo near tho ono window making
vhorrlos, Thoy had been there slnco bIx o'clock In
tho morning, and worked each day until eight
o'clock nt nlffht.
No child' abovo four or live 1b consldorod too
young to work. Tho hours for all, whethor chil
dren or adults, aro determined not by law, not by
physical wolfaro, but by tho amount of work tho
factory glvos out to bo done. If thero Ib an oxtra
amount of work tho whole family work from half
past flyo In tho morning until ten or olovou at
night, and oomotlraoa even until ono or. two o'clock
in tho morning, Btopplng only long enough to oat
their scanty meal of spaghetti, dry bread and cot
foo, on which thoy Boom to subsist.
Breaking the Labor Law.
In tho 105 families studied by tho Investigator
for tho Consumers loaguo G01 childron wcro found.
Wore than 18 per cont of theso woro fourteon
years and over and woro contributing something
to tho family Incomo; about 30 per cont woro five
years and under, too young to work, though In u
few cases children of this ago woro found helping
with tho flowers. Out of tho remaining 40 per cont
betwoon tho ages of bIx and fourteen who might bo
found helping 14 per cont woro busily at work at
tho timo of tho Investigator's call. At least 14 por
cont, thon, ot tho childron who woro ablo to do UiIb
work woro violating tho child labor law ot Now
How many moro could bo Includod in this Hat it
was impossible to ascortaln. Many families woro
visited during tho morning, when tho children
woro at school, and It was only through tho word
of the mother that wo woro ablo to dotormlno
whothor or not tho children helped with tho flow
ers after Bchool hours, For tho most part only
cases of childron who woro actually fojind at work
were listed. Theroforo, tho estimate Is a very con
Tho tenement houses whero most ot tho flowers
are made aro of tho worst typo, with dark nnd
shaky stairways. Tho crowded tenomont houses
of tho "congested East side," of which so much
hna boon snld In print, aro palaces in compari
son to thoso rickety old structures. And in them
tho children ot sunny Italy spend tholr days and
nights. Ostensibly it Is tholr Inherent lovo for
flowers that is drawing them to this work.
It is not an onay matter to got tho confidence ot
somo ot tho women and to mako thorn auswor
questions. Thoy aro always suspicious that visi
tors aro from tho board of health with a mission
to mako trouble In somo houses no amount of
arguing or 'coaxing will bring results not ovon
tho assurnnco of tho children who return from
school nnd nro nppenlcd to.
However, thoro are aorno who nro quite willing
to talk and to shed light on the situation.
Thoy are not groody, but thoy are very ambi
tious, and it is tholr ambition that Impels tbem to
utilizer, every possibility of making monoy.
Average $8 a Week.
Thy aro all honest, hard-working people Tho
children nro orderly and respectful, and thoro was
a world of lovo in tho mothers' oyea on seeing
them return from school and resumo tholr work
separating potnls and pasting leaves on stonis.
Tho earnings of heads of tho famllloa woro found
to nvcrugo eight dollars a week, which, uccordtng
to tho standard of living in that locality, 1b a fair
incomo. A good many of tho mon work In flower
factories and from them thoy tako work homo.
Tho othtirs aro mostly shoemakers, bootblacks and
Ono of tho places whore children woro found at
work aftor school hours had a restaurant and pool
room on tho ground floor of tho building In which
tho family lived. When thoro nro no diners in tho
rostaurunt tho long dining tablo 1b covored with
wreaths and bunches ot cherries and forgot-mo-nots,
a mothor and her children working diligently
at them. Tho proprietor ot this restaurant was
also in tho rag business.
In ono place n young woman, Murgarlta nozzonl,
who looked quite different from tho gonoral typo
she bolng blondo and, having bluo eyes was at
work with hor Ilttlo girl, who soomed to bo a will
ing nnd ambitious helpor. Little Olovanna, throo
yoars old, looked llko n mlnlnturo of hor mother
golden hnlred and oyes of the color ot violets. "1
don't want hor to help mo." tho mother said, "but
sho Insists on doing that." And sho nccontuatod
hor words by bonding over tho child and kissing
her with nil tho fondnoBs of a mothor.
Tho children ono moots horo In tho stroots aro
all pretty, but their bonuty fades boforo maturity.
Tholr physical development is Btunted by lcmg
hours of work and vory Ilttlo play. Their child
hood doos not last long. A ,glrl who Is married at
fourteen 1b no raro case. Horo they mako tho
stop from childhood right to manhood and woman
hood, skipping over tho porlod of youth and maid
enhood. Why Tony Sells Flowers.
Such a child was Tony, who at thlrtoen becamo
tho broadwinnor for tho family, selling llowors
real flowers by day and helping his mothor make
artlilclal flowers by night Tony was never a boy:
ho never playod In tho strooto with othor childron,
novor throw a ball in thp air. Tony's father kept a
fruit stand on a corner, whoro he nlBo shlnod shooa
"GATLING GUN" PARKER
Surprise nnd concern woro folt
when it was learned that a United.
States army mnehlno gun had failed
to work during tho raid mndo by Villls
ta3 on Columbus, N. M. Promptly tho
war department set about preventing'
a repetition of that breakdown by
sending to tho border tho army's ma-chino-gun
expert, MnJ. John Henry
Parker of tho Twenty-fourth infantry,
variously known in tho scrvico ns "Oat
ling Gun Parker" or, more intimately,
"John Henry." Major Parker has a
noteworthy record, bocauso ho is tho
man who demonstrated tho possibili
ties of tho machino gun.
This happened 18 years ago, dur
ing Shafter's campaign, which cul
minated in tho fall ot Santiago do
Cuba. Tho man in tho street may not
bo awaro of It, but Lloutonant Parker
for such ho was then has been
credited with turning tho tide of bat
tlo at a critical period and making tho-
capture and the retention of San Juan hill possible. More than that, his
modest Ilttlo dotachment effectually halted the operating of a formidablo
battery that might easily havo put many of Shatter's fleldpicccs out of action.
In short, Lioutounnt Parker showed tho military world for tho lirst timo
Just what tho machino gun could bo relied upon to do in tho hands of capable
men. Ho anticipated nnd actually predicted the part that the machine gun
has played in tho present struggle in Europe.
Long beforo tho war with Spain Lieutenant Parker grasped tho tactical
value of tho machino gun, and becamo so insistently an advocate of tho
weapon that ho talked about it upon every possible occasion.
Ho drew up plans for a suitable carriage, so that tho machino gun.
ordinarily equipped with only a tripod, might havo tho fullest mobility and
keep right along with the most advanced troops.
So persistent was Parker in riding his hobby that other army officers
thought him something of a boro and sometimes avoided his company. But
'his enthusiasm nnd theories havo been fully Justified, first by tho wprk of his
machine-gun detachment In tho Spanish-American war, and now, even moro
fully, by tho developments ot tho great conflict in Europe.
VARDAMAN ON "FLUNKIES"
and roasted lieunuts. You could see him at this
stand in tho early morning boforo peoplo went to
work and lato at night after thoy returned homo
from tho theater. He was thero in all kinds of
weathor, and ho had been on tho same spot for 15
years. During this period his wifo and later hla
children holped to swell his bank account by mak
ing artificial flowers. When tho war bogau there
was n run on tho bank where Tony's fathor kept
his savings. Tho bank was closed, and then the
poor man's reason gave way. Ho was taken to an
inBano asylum, and Tony, not being able to keep
up his father's business, took to soiling flowers as
And Tony is not tho only "man" at tho early age
Owners of flower factories find it moro profitable
to havo work done In tho tenements by women and
children. Tho flower factories give out parts ql
flowers petals, leaves, and stems to be made up
Into whole flowors and wreaths by tho workers In
tholr homes. Usually tho oldest child in tho fam
ily calls, for these parts, which she carries homo lc
a hugo pasteboard box. When tho flowers aro donf
sho brings them bnck to the factory and the "bosa
pays hor for tho work.
The petals, which usually come from the factor)
In bunches, mUBt bo separated and then pasted to
gather with tho leaves and stems. Sometimes there
are as many as nlno pieces which must be Joined
before tho flowers nro ready to bo returned to tin
factory. Buds are made by tying pieces of sill
over a round ball ot cotton. Tho work, thougt
Blow and tedious, Is not hard and can be dono vrltt
very llttlg skill nnd practice, Whole families wen
found busily working around a tablo in the kitcber
or living room pasting and twisting and buncbiiif
tho gayly colored flowers, which sometimes give tin
only bright note to an otherwise desperately dlni;)
Worst Paid Work.
Tho price paid for the work is perhaps the low
est in any trudo. Prices vary from two cants i
gross for pasting leaves on stems to f 1,40 n groxi
for making flower wreaths. One girl of fifteen
who had troublo with her spine, was found at wort
putting berrios. on tho ends of uterus and reccivluf
for the work only ono cent a gross. Sho told the lu
vostlgator that sho made usually ten cents a day
"But whou my Ilttlo sister helps roe," she added
"I can mako fifteen cents a day."
It 1b these conditions that tho Consumers' loagui
Is striving to abolish. And tho activities ot tin
Consumers' league are not limited to the, flower in
dustry. Tho members of tho league aro working
hard to lmprovo conditions In other occupations in
which womon and young children aro employed,
nnd havo boon doing great work in educating tho
peoplo on tho dangers of woman and child labor
under unsanitary conditions
uy pointing oui tno dangers to the consumer
through goods mndo In dark and atrloss homes,
whero scarlet tover nnd other contagious diseases
woro found to exist, tho leaders of the league have
already accomplished many good rosults, But
thero Is much work to be done. Fow reallzo how
closely connected aro our own Uvea with Uio lives
ot tho workers along cortaln industrial linen. It
Is not only the health of the workers that is often
at Btake, but tho conditions are a menaco to the
consumers an well, and the danger to society Is
James K. Vardaman, Unitod States
senator from Mississippi, has said
mnny biting and even bitter things
during his public career, and tho other
day he took occasion to pay his re
spects to a certain class of citizens of
Washington, in tho course of an elo
quent plea for better citizenship made
beforo a mass meeting in Alexandria.
There nro more flunkies to tho
square Inch in Washington than I ever
Baw In my life," declared tho senator,
"and I verily believe that It you would
stuff a colored laborer's qveralls with
straw and label tho effigy 'congress
man' or 'Benator,' you would soon havo
half the population crawling to It."
Senator Vardaman said that a pub
lic ofllco should bo honored, but that
tho man In that office Bhould be hon
ored In accordance with his worth.
Honest, fearless, patriotic men and
women are needed at the ballot box
today, Senator Vardaman told his audi-
ence, and if mistakes have been mado in the past they may be righted in tho
future. The speaker expressed the fear that "in this nation dollar is tho god
and commerce the religion of too many,"
DEMOCRATS' PUBLICITY MAN
When the Joint flnanco and execu
tive campaign commltteo of the Demo:
cratic national committee selected
Frederick W. Steckman as director of
publicity for tho national committee in
tho coming presidential campaign, it
picked ono of the most experienced
and popular of the newspaper writers
and correspondents in Washington.
Mr. Steckman, who was born in
Princeton, Mo., thirty-six years ago,
first wont to Washington about 1904 as
correspondent of the St. Louis Repub
lic. For somo years now he has been
a political writer for the Washington
Post und besides has covored the ,capl
tol and tho Whlto Houso for the Now
Orleans Daily States. However, he be
gan his newspaper activities when ho
was less than ten years old.
' In 1912 Mr. Steckman was in
chnrgo of tho Chicago headquarters of
tho Democratic national committee,
and it was he who devised tho plan of
MiUll cfiirlbutlw;i for tho campaign from great numbers ot peoplo. Tho
fcdiewe ii'rlltd the commltteo more than ? 100,000. His excellent publicity work
MADDEN, LONG LOST BROTHER
Martin II, Madden, congressman
from Chicago, Is not only wealthy. Ho
(a aleo quite handsome. Nevertheless
he U not satisfied with his physical
make-up. Ho would be much bettor
pleased if he worn budt along moro
original lines. Tho trouble with him is
that ho looks llko too many peoplo. Ho
makes a specialty of being a ringer for
tho long-lout brothers.
On an average of onco a month ho
gets a letter from somcono who has
ueen his picture and claims him ao a
brother thought to havo hecn lost at
sea or strayed from homo years and
Ono day he heard lrcm a woman,
who said she had a locket with an
"M' on It, and containing a boyhood
plcturo ot hor long-lost brother that
looked exactly llko tho ono ot Maddon
in a Chicago paper. Maddon was
obliged to tell her that his congres
sional duties are too pressing to allow
him any timo tor being n long-lost brother this year. Thia is only a eamplo
Incident, ami Mr. Maddoa Is getting somewhat "peoved."
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