Image provided by: University of Nebraska-Lincoln Libraries, Lincoln, NE
About The independent. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1902-1907 | View Entire Issue (Nov. 6, 1902)
THE NEBRASKA. INDEPENDENT.
something in our voices that tella of
sympathy, and we are friends. We
,walhr along together till we reach the
foot of Randolph street, and then one
of them, the smaller of the two, starts
off down Michigan avenue alone. She
lives on State street, near Twenty
ninth, and this is where she and her
companion part company every night.
"Good night, Clara," she says in a
thin, tired voice.
"Good night," we all answer, and
she is off in the darkness.
The other child Polly Smith her
name is lives at 3137 South Morgan
street, and we are going to accom
pany her. As we pass along to catch
our car a street clock tella us it Is
nearly 8:30. On the car we will find
out what story Polly has to tell.
"How old are you, Polly?"
The look of trust changes in a mo
ment to another look too old and too
unpleasant to see. In a moment she
answers "Over 14," and tfce parrot-like
response shows how carefully she has
been schooled in this untruth. Then
she buries her head in" her hands and
bursts into tears.' The factory has not
yet crushed out of her the little child's
resort to crying. We are policemen,
she knows we are, and we have come
to arrest her and send her off to
But no, we are not policemen, and
the motherly woman with us takes the
child to her, soothes her fears and
makes her see that we are friends.
Then Polly tells her story. It is worth
your attention, you mothers and fath
ers with little ones of your own grow
in? up about you, who at this moment
when she speaks her short life tale
are tucked safe in bed guarded by
hearts that love them. It is worth
your attention, gentlemen of the mer
cantile world, who draw your checks
and add to your bank accounts by
grace of her little trembling hands.
It is worth your attention, you stu
dents of sociology. It is worth your
attention, women of clubland, who
seek every week to solve problems re
lating to the uplifting of your sex. It
is worth your attention, you, - all of
you, who have hearts that beat in your
breasts, consciences that speak some
times of other things than worldly
gain, hands that might be brought to
aid the weak and the helpless if they
realized the import of this twentieth
Here is an American child, born in
America of American parents not
disclosing a problem, you see. that can
be shelved as "an evil of immigra
tion." She is "14 years old." that is,
she still sticks to that statement, add
ing to it the other part of her lesson,
"I've got an afdavit." In reality she
is no more than 12, and she does not
look more than 10. But she has an
affidavit given to her for 25 cents by
a notary public, and eagerly accepted
bv her employers at its face value,
though any man looking at her with
nn eye apart from the earning value
to him of her little life would know
ic for a lie in a moment and shrink -in
shame from the thousrht of making
money out of the child before him.
She is "hfrod" by the firm of Soauld
insr & Merrick, the biggest tobacco
ir" Ti"fact"rers in the west. She starts
work at 7 in the morning, and in or
der to be on time has to get out of
' her cot at a little after 5 and leave her
home at 6. She works labeling cigar
packages, standing on her feet every
moment of the time, and slaving in
cessantlv to keep up with the output
of the women at bae-filHng machines
opposite her. At noon she has half
an hour for lunch a cold morsel car-i".r-d
from home and she works again
from 12.30 to 6 at nisrht. when the
gfiirroos rules under which she labors
give her fifteen minutes for "supper."
Then, taking up her sticky labels once
more, she keeps at it till 7:45, when
the bell tells her that her day's task is
over. After washing herself, she
leaves the factory and reaches her
home a 9 o'clock.
She has been away from 3137 South
Morgan street for fifteen hours, and of
thct time she has worked actually
twelve iv.ll hours.
And her "wages?" Well, they vary
from $3.25 to $4 a week, and out of
th-.it ha3 to come her daily car fare.
Remember, this is not the life of an
able-bodied man inured to hardships,
fatigue and loss of sleep. It is the
true story of one poor little child,
young enough to see paradise in the
fives of a doll, young enough, stunted
enough, pitiful enough to wring from
the hearts of men the. confession that
we are still selling human beings
There is not much more to tell about
Polly Smith. Her father is dead, but
her mother Is living and she has
, grown-up brothers and sisters. It Is
as hard to understand why they have
thrown the girl Into a struggle fierce
enough to wreck grown men as it is
to understand why men of reputation
have consented to become parties to
the bargain by welcoming her labor
If you plan to ride much during the
winter it's well to consider the ques
tion of warmth first, every time a
garment' for this cold season is pur
chased. Fortunately in cloaks the
warmest and most comfortable look
ing wrap Is always the most stylish.
A high storm collar, unless you have
a fur, adds to the appearance of the
There are jackets and half lengths
neatly made in Kersey or Cheviot,
some of them velvet trimmed or with
the new slot seams, at the following
$3.00 A MELTON JACKET in Ox
ford of castor, storm collar, flaring
$5.00 A VELVET TRIMMED 27
inch box coat, silk Romaine lined,
turned back cuffs, in tan, castor, or
$5.50 Castor, black, or tan KER
SEY; cuffs, pocket laps, collar and
revers trimmed with silk braid; high
storm collar; carved pearl buttons.
$6.00 KERSEY coat in castor only;
lapels inlaid with velvet leaf pattern,
corded back and front, turned back
$7.50 A 27-inch . KERSEY with a
yoke effect and cuffs, castor or red.
$10.00 A 19-inch BLACK KERSEY
coat made with slot seams piped with
satin. It has a velvet collar and is
lined with good satin. An extra
$10. THREE-QUARTER LENGTH
in black or castor Kersey; plain, but
$2.00 A NEAT JACKET In a pret
ty Scotch plaid of dull colors. All
$2.98 A BEAVER REEFER in
castor, red, and blue. The wide cape,
collar, and sleeves are trimmed with
$4.50 A FULL LENGTH COAT
with velvet yoke and cuffs, comes in
castor, red, or blue.
& If you really believe in com
fort, have a piece of fur for your neck
and if possible a muff for the hands.
They will keep the snow out and tho
warmth in so that a tramp in the cold
will be a pleasure. Here again the
really comfortable is the really styl
ish. Sherred CONY cluster scarf with
tails, $1.50. '-
Imitation Isabella FOX, a long boa
trimmed with tails, $4.50.
Imitation black LYNX, a long boa
trimmed with tails, $4.50.
Black sable OPOSSUM with tails,
Jt J is not purchased every sea
son and it pays to spend time, thought,
and even a little extra money in get
ting what you want. . . ,
Some of these mornings snow and a
north wind will unite against us and
then the housekeepers will have to
hurry out the warmest underwear for
every chick and child. They'll havo
no trouble In selecting from our large
full lines, for if we cannot meet their
wishes in one make we can quickly,
turn to another of different style.
Women's Pants and Vests
Heavy fleece lined, ecru or gray,
Wool plaited, light gray, usually
sold for half wool, 50c each.
60 per cent wool, light gray, 75c
The. celebrated Munsing, fleece lined,
50c each; part wool, 50c each; 80 per
cent wool, $1.00 each; all wool, $1.25
and $1.50 each.
Flat shaped vests and pants from
50c to $1.25 each.
Men's Shirts and Drawers
Cotton fleece, heavy weight, light
tan mixed, Ziyzc each. The equal of
most 50c garments.
Australian wool, natural color, 97c
Red medicated, $1.00 each.
Very fine all wool, natural gray, flat
shape, $1.50 each.
All wood ribbed, light tan, very
fine, $1.50 each.
as an aid to their profit-making.
In this one tobacco factory where
she works are sixty other little chil
dren, none of whom, it is possible to
believe, are 14 years old, though all
have certificates from notaries to that
effect. A hundred others are large
enough physically to" pass for the age
at which the law permits a child to be
employed, though even among these
are undoubtedly some who are really
under that age.
One day last week State Factory In
spector Davies, in willing response to
the request of the Record-Heraid,
went to this factory with an assistant
and secured in one hour the names of
over forty little children so palpably
under 14 years old that he has started
to prosecute the firm for accepting af
fidavits from applicants for work when
a sight of the bearers must have been
sufficient to convince any man of the
falsity of the documents. A word
about these amdavits later.
In the Spaulding & Merrick factory,
as in all establishments of the kind,
choking tobacco dust is everywhere.
Those unacquainted to its constant
presence cannot stop in the atmos
phere fo more than half an hour at a
time. "We can't go behind the rec
ord" that was the answer of the rep
resentatives of this firm when the ap
pearance of the children was pointed
out to them. When they were asked
if they did not know they were violat
ing the state law by permitting the
children to work over ten hours a day,
they answered that the situation was
"unfortunate." By this they meant
that orders for goods had been coming
in so fast that for three weeks it had
been necessary to work overtime.
"But, gentlemen," said the foreman,
with emphasis, "you must not lose
sight of the fact that we do the square
thing by these people. We give 'em
pay for overtime." And he drew him
self up with pride at the thought of
the firm's generosity.
Another little child whom we found
in the factory, Mary Hodjeska, could
not have been more than 10 years of
age. She lives with her parents at
642 Holt avenue, and, like Polly Smith,
gets up at 5 in the morning and
reaches home at 9 at night. "Can you
send me back to school, mister?" she
asked, her eyes filling with tears.
"Please, send me back to school." This
plea came from every quarter of the
great barnlike building. "I want to go
to school," said a little lad whose
home is at 3053 Keeley street. "The
work makes my head tired, and in the
night I lose me overtime 'cos I can't
see the packages on the table."
This is only one factory of hun
dreds where similar conditions exist.
Just across the Rush street bridge, at
42 Michigan avenue, is the establish
ment of the Ambrosia Chocolate
Cream company. Here, crowded into a
room not six feet wide and about fif
teen feet long, are seventeen little
girls, rolling and dipping chocolates.
They work from ten to eleven .hours a
day and earn from $2.25 to $3 a week.
Of these seventeen children only five
could spell their names when asked to
do so one day last week. All, however,
were certain of their age, and in an
swer to questions of the inspectors
stuck to the statement, "I was 14 last
Only two of them could tell when
their birthdays occurred, and of the to
tal number six did not know where
they were born. The . state officials
gave no warning of their approach,
and when they entered the place and
groped their way to the hidden, barred
off room where the children were
penned in, the manager followed
them with a bunch of affidavits in his
hand, evidently badly scared, but de
termined, as he informed them, "to
stick by his rights."
Stopping before a shriveled, fright
ened little child not more than 10
years old, Mr. Davies began to ques
tion her. The manager more than
once attempted to answer for her, but
he was ordered to stand aside.
. "How Jd are you?"
"Fourteen last birthday; I've got
"What grade in school were you in
before you began work?"
' The second."
A girl, evidently several years older,
was sitting next to her. She proved
to be a sister, and in answer to. the
usual question about her age she also
answered ."Fourteen last birthday."
Picking out three of the most flag
ran cases of employment of children
under age, the inspector took the man
ager up tc them and asked him whe
ther he could stand before them and
say t!.at any sane man could doubt
that they were under 11 years olcL
"Now, gents," was his reply, "this
ain't up to me at all. I've got here in
my hand affidavits for every one of.
these k1s and no court in the land
can't go behind them affidavits. I ain't
supposed to know whether the affidav
its is lies or not, and I ain't goin' to
In cases where these small children
are themselves the sole support of a
family people might be apt to wonder
whether the labor of the child might
ret be. justified by the surrounding
conditions. In answer to such a stand
it is only necessary to point out that
when society, with all its vast organ
ized works of charity, with all its tens
. XContlnued on Page 4.)
Powered by Open ONI