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f re&*, Cambribge 



Published October iqcb 


IN 1897 the author of these sketches pub- 
lished a book entitled "Domestic Service." 
It was an attempt to consider certain his- 
torical and economic aspects of a common 
occupation and its aim was to induce others 
to investigate by scientific processes a neg- 
lected field of inquiry. It distinctly dis- 
claimed any and all attempts to square the 
circle by proposing a plan to do away with 
all difficulties in the present condition of 
household service. 

The book was not one of "the six best 
sellers" of the season, it was never dupli- 
cated by a public library, and it never 
secured a lodgment at the Tabard Inn. 
A modest second edition, not yet exhausted, 
represents its present rating in the authors' 
" Bradstreet's." The book was a disappoint- 
ment to many housewives who had noted 

1 G4628 


its appearance because they had hoped to 
find in it a sovereign remedy for all domes- 
tic ills. Instead of that they found only 
rather repellant footnotes, statistical tables, 
appendices, and bibliographies. "What 
connection," they probably asked, "exists 
between the far-away fact that there is one 
domestic employee to every one hundred 
and fifty-six inhabitants in Oklahoma and 
the near-at-hand fact that there is a dearth 
of good cooks in Pantopia?" But Moses 
Coit Tyler, beatissima memoria, once in- 
structed a class of college seniors about to 
begin the study of certain works in English 
literature that the initial step in all literary 
criticism was to find the author's object and 
to judge him by his success in attaining that 
object; that an artist who intends to paint 
a landscape must be judged by his success 
in landscape painting, and not criticised 
because the landscape is not a figure piece. 
To the charge therefore that a book of 
three hundred odd pages contained no 
panacea with virtues attested by hundreds 


of housekeepers whose domestic ills had 
been cured by its application, the apolo- 
getic answer might be made that the writer 
professed to be only a seeker after facts, 
not a domestic physician, she therefore 
craved judgment on the facts collected, 
not on the cure-all unsought and therefore 

But the author had secretly craved a 
hearing from the economists, although 
conscious that she was not one of the guild 
and therefore might be open to the charge 
of trespassing on the domain of others. She 
had also secretly hoped for a hearing from 
her fellow-workers in the field of history, 
although conscious that the proportion of 
history to economics in the book was in 
inverse ratio. Gaining admission to the 
salon, however, does not prevent the work 
of an amateur from being "skyed," and 
"Domestic Service" was hung above the 
line. To the economists whose attention 
may have been called to the book, it doubt- 
less seemed unreasonable that one who 


had apparently always been connected 
with work in history should meddle with 
economics; to the historians, it probably 
seemed apostasy to wander, even for a 
moment, from the path of history. Ergo 
mea apologia. 

In September, 1887, 1 became associated 
with Vassar College with the understand- 
ing that I was to give instruction in history 
and economics. The work in history 
proved unexpectedly heavy and it was 
therefore necessary for me to defer taking 
up the work in economics until the follow- 
ing year. The same conditions existed for 
three successive years and I then definitely 
abandoned all thought of undertaking 
regular work in economics. But although 
unable to carry out all that had been ex- 
pected, it seemed possible to make some 
compensation and therefore at the end of 
the first year an investigation of domestic 
service was planned. A series of schedules 
was drawn up and these were distributed 
to the members of two successive classes 


graduating from Vassar College. The pub- 
lication of the results of the investigation 
was delayed in order to incorporate with 
them certain returns of the United States 
Census of 1890 and these were not available 
until late in the year, 1896. 

A second explanation may be needed 
concerning the choice of the subject. A 
residence in several communities differing 
somewhat widely in geographical location 
and in industrial conditions had disclosed 
the fact that in every place the demand for 
capable household employees was greatly 
in excess of the supply, largely, it was com- 
monly believed, because in each place the 
conditions were "peculiar." These unusual 
and peculiar conditions were the competi- 
tion of factories, the competition of shops, 
the loneliness of farm life, the loneliness 
of a great city, the inaccessibility of sub- 
urbs, the heat of the Western prairies, the 
dampness of the sea-shore, the life of a 
college town, and numerous variants of 
these general principles. All of the condi- 


tions that most attract to a place other 
residents and all the conditions most favor- 
able to other occupations seemed to be 
always attended with fatality in the case 
of domestic employees. But as the union 
of the seven colors of the rainbow forms 
white light, was it possible that all these 
peculiar conditions could be reduced to a 
single fundamental cause that should ex- 
plain the discrepancy between demand 
and supply ? 

Another consideration in favor of select- 
ing domestic service as a reasonable subject 
for investigation lay in the accessibility of 
the material. Every household, whether 
with or without domestic employees, could 
add its contribution to the inquiry. More- 
over, in an age that collects everything 
from baggage tags and cigar ribbons to 
old china and old masters, could not a zeal 
for collecting be turned in the direction of 
collecting the hitherto untabulated experi- 
ences of different households ? 

But it is true that while the material was 


accessible, it was not on that account neces- 
sarily procurable, and the investigation 
was undertaken with some realization of 
the difficulties to be encountered. Yet if, 
deferring to the example of the British 
"Who 's Who," carpentry, cabinet-making, 
mountaineering, gardening, spectroscopy, 
and animal chemistry are by some con- 
sidered as recreations while to others they 
would imply tasks difficult of achievement, 
could not, for college women, this collection 
of material be classed as recreation, al- 
though to others it might seem a burden- 
some task? 

It is possible that another element may 
more or less consciously have been a factor 
in determining the choice. College educa- 
tion is not even yet universally accepted 
as necessary and desirable for women. If 
Society should in a sense expect an apology 
from college women for having removed 
themselves from general society and passed 
four years in college halls, could not that 
apology take the form of making some 


small contribution to a domestic question 
even though those who rendered the quasi- 
apology did not altogether recognize its 
necessity ? 

Another consideration akin to this lies 
in the frequent assumption by Society that 
all women marry. Cold, enduring statis- 
tical tables, as well as observation, go to 
show that there is an error in this assump- 
tion, and when this fact is pointed out, 
Society, forgetting that there are some who 
would but cannot, and others who can 
but will not, attributes the discrepancy 
between theory and reality to college edu- 
cation for women. If a few college women 
could add something to our knowledge of 
how household affairs are conducted, would 
that contribution serve to atone for both 
voluntary and involuntary neglect of matri- 

But an apology implies not only an 
explanation of the past but a promise for 
the future, the erring one must err no 
more if absolution is to be given. The 


economist may pardon the poacher, but 
he must poach no more. The historian 
may forgive the one who has wandered 
from the fold, but the wanderer must in 
future remain within the pale. Yet how 
shall the collector of experiences be diverted 
from his diversion of collecting? The 
collector of old mahogany depletes his 
bank account and turns his modest dwell- 
ing into a veritable second-hand shop, but 
still his pony chaise is tied before every 
farmhouse that has advertised an auction 
sale of household effects. The lawyer 
whose country estate produces green peas 
that yearly cost him five dollars a peck, 
cheerfully proclaims that it pays to be a 
gentleman farmer. The New York mer- 
chant hunts in Montana and charges up 
to profit and loss the expressage on the 
game secured. The luxuries of one are the 
necessities of another, the recreations of 
one are laborious occupations for his neigh- 
bor, a habit once formed holds its victim 
in an ever-tightening grasp. If then, in 


spite of apology and all that it implies, 
the collector of experiences still accumu- 
lates much that to others may be of little 
practical benefit, if she still indulges in 
what her friends deem an extravagant 
luxury, if she still finds her recreation in 
what others may consider an onerous 
pursuit, if the habit once formed of con- 
necting with the present the facts and 
experiences of the past cannot apparently 
be broken off, if at times she still poaches 
and still wanders, she will once more claim 
indulgence if perchance there be any to 
grant it. It has been in anticipation of this 
indulgence that these sketches are re- 
printed. If they seem slight, it is hoped 
that behind the shadow will be found the 
substance of a great, and still unsettled 
problem. The hope that lies still beyond 
is that the household may in time to come 
be recognized as a legitimate field for 
scientific investigation. 










The author takes pleasure in acknowledging the courtesy of The 
Atlantic Monthly for permission to print the chapter on ".Recent Pro- 
gress in the Study of Domestic Service; " of the New England Magazine 
for that on "Education in the Household;" of the Boston Cooking 
School Magazine for the chapter on "Sairey Gamp and Dora Copper- 
field;" of The Chautauquan for that on "Economics and Ethics in Do- 
mestic Service; " of The Outlook for that entitled "Put Yourself in his 
Place;" of the Craftsman for the chapter on "Our Kitchen;" and of 
The Forum for that on "The Woman's Exchange." The author also 
acknowledges the kind permission of The Macmillan Company to re- 
print several passages from her work on Domestic Service. 



A LADY recently called at the house of a 
friend who answered in person the ring at 
the door. With careworn expression and 
flurried manner she apologized for the con- 
fusion that apparently reigned in the house, 
saying : 

"My parlor maid is upstairs ill, not ill 
enough to go to the hospital, too ill to work, 
too far from home to go there, yet needing 
attention from me. My waitress is having a 
fit of the sulks, and I have sent her out to do 
an errand and get some fresh air. The cook 
is just now not on speaking terms with her 
husband, the coachman, and is seeking 
a divorce, so that one or the other must go. 
The footman came home drunk last night, 
and had to be discharged this morning. 
My house is at sixes and sevens, my hus- 
band lunched downtown, my mother has 


taken the children and the nursery-maid 
home with her, guests arrive this evening, 
and I have spent the day in a vain search 
for help in the house. I belong to a club 
studying household economics, and have 
allowed it to turn a search-light on all my 
household affairs in the interests of society 
at large. I am now ready to call a halt, to 
refuse to have my domestic arrangements 
considered a hunting-ground for theorists, 
to pronounce all such clubs vain mockeries, 
snares, and delusions, inventions of the 
enemy for squandering time, and showing 
the bitter contrast between abstract theory 
and concrete reality. The only club I am 
interested in must provide on tap maids 
who never get ill or sulky, cooks without 
a temper, and coachmen and footmen of 
unimpeachable habits." 

It is possible that such conditions are not 
confined to "the uninhabited districts west 
of Schenectady," and that elsewhere there 
may be despairing housekeepers ready to 
cry out against all serious study of domestic 


questions, because such study has not yet 
had an immediate and practical bearing on 
the management of their individual house- 
holds. It is, indeed, not improbable, for 
there is in every clime the tradition of a 
time when household helpers were abun- 
dant, competent, and cheap, a golden age 
when harmony reigned in the household 
and domestic discord was unknown. Has 
this peaceful condition been rudely broken 
up by the meddlesome interference of do- 
mestic busy-bodies? Has progress been 
hindered by the club studying household 
economics, by the investigator seeking for 
facts, by the theorist trying to square the 
ideal with the real, and by students of social 
conditions anxious to explain the present by 
the past ? Is the only remedy for present 
ills the suppression of all discussion, since 
discussion breeds contempt and unhappi- 
ness ? Is the club to revert to Browning, 
the investigator to confine himself to the 
comparatively safe field of ancient history, 
the theorist to live in the future, and the 


student of social conditions to content him- 
self with flower missions and soup-kitchens ? 
If it can be shown that conditions are worse 
than they have ever been before, and that 
discussion and investigation are responsible 
for this deterioration, then assuredly the 
club should change the field of its activity, 
and all discussion of the household affairs 
should cease. 

But the immediate dissolution of the 
club studying household economics is not 
imminent. The premises on which its 
detractors base their criticisms are false, 
and hence the conclusions deduced from 
these premises are illogical and unreason- 
able. All literature goes to show that an 
ideal condition of domestic service exists 
and has existed only in the castles of 
Spain. And recent literature and recent 
legislation do show that some little pro- 
gress has been made in the study h of do- 
mestic service as an occupation, in spite 
of the fact that individual housekeepers 
still have and always will have trials and 


perplexities that at times seem almost 
overwhelming. The Hudson empties its 
waters into the ocean, yet twice each day 
the mightier force of the ocean tide turns 
the current back upon itself, in winter 
it bears upstream the moving mass of ice, 
and in summer it makes its overbalancing 
power felt almost to the very source of 
the great river. 

The individual housekeeper feels only 
the force of the household current that 
bears her helpless to her destination, she 
forgets the still stronger force of society 
that makes itself felt over and beyond that 
of the individual home. 

In balancing the accounts of domestic 
service and in asking what has been ac- 
complished in the past ten years in the di- 
rection of improvement, it must be frankly 
said at the outset that it is probably just 
as difficult to-day to secure good household 
employees as it was ten years ago, per- 
haps even more difficult; that wages are 


probably even higher than at that time; 
that the service rendered is no more effi- 
cient; that recommendations are no more 
reliable; that cooks still have tempers; that 
coachmen sometimes drink; that maids 
have "followers;" that nursery girls gossip 
in the parks with policemen ; that new em- 
ployees engaged fail to keep the engage- 
ment; that valuable china is broken, and 
that household supplies are wasted. 

But if the work of these years has not 
borne immediate fruit, it has not been 
without results that will sometime come 
to fruition. These results are seen in the 
distinct, positive, and direct improvement 
in the literature of the subject; flippancy 
is giving place to seriousness in consider- 
ing the relations of mistress and maid; 
historical and statistical investigations of 
the question have multiplied and become 
more thorough and elaborate ; substantial 
facts are supplanting sentimentality and 
visionary theories in the discussions on the 
subject; a diagnosis of the case is being 


made, and the prescription of a remedy 
is withheld while the examination is pro- 
gressing; humble-mindedness and willing- 
ness to learn are now found where for- 
merly there were absolute certainty and 
positiveness of conviction in dealing with 
the question ; in a definite way an improve- 
ment in legislation has been made, disre- 
putable methods of employment agencies 
have been exposed, social oases have been 
planted in desert places, and, in general, 
a concrete method of procedure has been 
substituted for polite abstractions and in- 
nocuous generalities. All this means that 
a long step forward has been taken within 
the past decade. 

The great improvement in the character 
of the general literature of the subject is 
seen in the gradual disappearance of the 
fault-finding, the sentimental, the goody- 
goody magazine article, and the appearance 
in its place of genuine contributions to the 
subject, like those recently made to the 
"Atlantic Monthly " by Miss Jane Seymour 


Klink and Miss Frances A. Kellor. Miss 
Jane Addams in "A Belated Industry" 1 
has dealt most thoroughly with the eco- 
nomic phases of the subject, as has Mrs. 
Mary Roberts Smith in her admirable 
article on "Domestic Service; the Respon- 
sibility of Employers." 2 Mr. Bolton Hall 
has set forth most vigorously the employee's 
side of the case in "The Servant Class on 
the Farm and in the Slums;" 3 while a sym- 
posium on the subject by a group of men 
has recently discussed in an impartial man- 
ner many of the difficulties of the situation. 
Pure literature also makes its contribu- 
tion, and Mrs. Mary Hartwell Catherwood 
has recently given a charming picture of "A 
Convent Man-Servant." 4 Nothing could 
prove more effectively the change in the 
attitude of the public mind toward the sub- 

1 American Journal of Sociology, i, 556-559, March, 1896. 
Cf. the chapter entitled "Household Adjustment," in Miss 
Addams's Democracy and Social Ethics, 1902. 

2 The Forum, August, 1899. 

8 The Arena, September, 1898. 

4 The Atlantic Monthly, January, 1897. 


ject than does the contrast presented be- 
tween such a sketch, drawn with light and 
sympathetic pen, and that given in the satires 
of Dean Swift and of Defoe. The very 
absence of the figure of a domestic servant 
in the modern novel, and in current popular 
literature in every form, is in itself an indi- 
cation of a changed attitude of the pub- 
lic mind toward the question as a whole. 
Figaro, and even Sam Weller, are almost 
as far removed from us as are the servants 
of Potiphar and of the Queen of Sheba. 

The attitude of the daily press toward 
the subject of domestic service certainly 
leaves something yet to be desired, the 
stock jests on the impertinent maid and the 
ignorant mistress, like those on the mother- 
in-law and the summer girl, die hard, but 
they will go in time. 

The historical investigations of the sub- 
ject have been few in number, but they have 
been of great value. Mr. Albert Matthews 
has placed all students of the subject under 
obligation to him by his exhaustive study, 


" The Terms Hired Man and Help," 1 as 
Mr. James D. Butler had previously done 
by his investigations on "British Convicts 
shipped to American Colonies," 2 and Dr. 
Karl Frederick Geiser by his work on 
" Redemptioners and Indented Servants in 
the Colony and Commonwealth of Penn- 
sylvania." 3 

The public library is always first to 
create as well as to satisfy a demand for 
literature on subjects of general interest. 
It is therefore not surprising to find that 
the Providence Public Library as far back 
as 1893 issued a bibliography of all works 
and magazine articles on domestic service, 
which has been followed by the still more 
exhaustive reference-list published in 1898 
on the general subject of domestic science; 
and that the Salem Public Library has a 
similar list. The New York State Library 
has published a comprehensive biblio- 

1 Publications of the Colonial Society of Massachusetts, vol. v. 

2 American Historical Review, n, 12, October, 1896. 

3 New Haven, Connecticut, 1901. 


graphy of the whole subject of domestic 
economy, and it sends out, to all parts of 
the state, traveling libraries of the best 
volumes on the same subject, the list of 
the volumes included being in itself an 
excellent guide to the study of household 
economics. But the greatest of all steps in 
advance has been made by those libraries 
that have changed the classification of works 
attempting to treat scientifically the sub- 
ject of domestic service from the class of 
Domestic Economy to that of Economics 
proper. The change seems slight, but it is 
a recognition of the intimate relation that 
exists between domestic service and other 
forms of industry. 

The statistician, like the librarian, is also 
quick to create as well as to respond to the 
demand for information of a serious nature, 
and this has been shown in the growing 
recognition of the importance of domestic 
service as a field for statistical research. 
Among the most thorough of these statis- 
tical investigations is that carried on by 


Miss Isabel Eaton, recently fellow of 
the College Settlements' Association, in 
regard to negro domestic service in the 
seventh ward of Philadelphia. 1 Miss Eaton 
has made an exhaustive study of one phase 
of the subject in a limited area, considering 
not only the number of negroes thus em- 
ployed, but the methods of living, savings, 
and expenditures, amusements and recrea- 
tions, length and quality of the service, 
conjugal condition, illiteracy, and health. 
The work has been done in a thoroughly 
scientific manner, and the results form an 
admirable presentation of negro service in 
a single ward of one city. 

Similar thorough investigations of special 
aspects of the question have been carried on 
by Miss Mary W. Dewson and Miss Edith 
G. Fabens for the Women's Educational 
and Industrial Union of Boston, and by 
Miss Gertrude Bigelow, fellow of the Asso- 

1 Isabel Eaton, "A Special Report on Domestic Service," in 
The Philadelphia Negro, by W. E. B. Du Bois. Publications 
of the University of Pennsylvania. Philadelphia, 1899. 


ciation of Collegiate Alumnae, at the School 
of Housekeeping. They have collected 
statistics in regard to the hours of labor in 
domestic service, the social conditions of 
domestic service, household expenses, and 
the relative cost of home-cooked and of 
purchased food. The results of these inves- 
tigations have been collected by the Massa- 
chusetts Bureau of Statistics of Labor, and 
the reports based on them have been com- 
mented on by the press. Scientific informa- 
tion in regard to the subject has thus been 
widely circulated, and this must have been 
effective in changing somewhat the attitude 
of the public mind toward the subject as 
a whole. Mention must also be made of the 
"Twentieth Century Expense Book," pre- 
pared by Miss Mary W. Dewson; its wide- 
spread use would be of service in affording 
opportunity for a comparative study of 
household expenses. 

It was early recognized that some of 
the most difficult factors of the problem 
concerned the intelligence office, and inves- 


tigations on a somewhat limited scale were 
carried on in several cities; but, largely 
owing to political considerations, it was 
not deemed advisable to publish the results. 
The most thorough and systematic inves- 
tigation undertaken in this direction has 
been that of Miss Frances A. Kellor, whose 
"Out of Work," based on a study of more 
than seven hundred agencies, has laid bare 
the evils of the present system of securing 
new employees, as seen by employer, em- 
ployee, and manager of the agency. A body 
of facts has thus been made available that 
must prove of the highest service in any 
attempt to cope with the notorious evils 
attending many agencies. 

The state bureaus of labor have in sev- 
eral instances done valiant service to the 
cause through the official investigations 
carried on. As far back as 1872 the Mas- 
sachusetts Bureau of Statistics of Labor 
devoted four and a half pages of its annual 
report to domestic labor. But the first 
real investigation of the subject made by 


' a state bureau of labor was probably that 
undertaken by the Minnesota Bureau in 
1890. This has been followed by special 
investigations in other states, notably 
Kansas and Michigan, and in Canada. 
Moreover, it must be remembered that 
many bureaus, while making no special in- 
vestigation of domestic service, have inci- 
dentally considered the subject in connection 
with their investigations of general labor 
questions. Most of all is encouragement 
to be found in the comprehensive inves- 
tigation recently carried on under the direc- 
tion of the Industrial Commission. 

These investigations enumerated have 
been of a severely scientific, statistical na- 
ture, and have been carried on by state or 
national organizations. But other studies 
no less important have been made by or- 
ganizations of a purely private or of a semi- 
public character. Notable among these 
has been the Association of Collegiate 
Alumnae, several branches of which have 
been most active in making studies of 


domestic service, both as a special field for 
investigation and also in connection with 
the larger subjects of home economics and 
domestic science. Students in colleges and 
universities have made special studies in 
the same field, and in some instances have 
made distinct contributions to the subject. 
This work has been of most value, however, 
in the indication it has given of a desire on 
the part of college-trained investigators to 
make domestic service a subject of serious 

Domestic service has been until very 
recently a field untouched by the statistician 
and investigator. The studies already 
made show not so much what has been 
done as how much yet remains to be done. 
But the territory is already being occupied. 
Trained investigators are mapping out the 
field, workers are at hand, and in a few 
years we shall have a body of facts that 
will afford a sufficient basis for scientific 
deductions in regard to the condition of 
domestic service in the entire country. 


Opinions may honestly differ as to 
whether it is advisable to substitute in 
schools and colleges subjects along the line 
of household affairs for other subjects 
more properly classed as liberal studies. 
But it is interesting to note how much has 
been done in this direction. Courses in 
household economics have been given in 
recent years in the state universities of 
Illinois, Nebraska, Ohio, and Wisconsin, 
as well as in the Leland Stanford Junior 
University, while Columbia University 
through Teachers College has offered simi- 
lar work. 

In many agricultural colleges, and in 
seminaries and academies like those in 
Auburndale, Massachusetts, and Paines- 
ville, Ohio, there are such courses in the 
curricula. On the other hand, there can 
be no question whatever as to the propriety 
and necessity of introducing, as has already 
been done, courses in domestic science 
into the great technical schools, such as 
Pratt, Drexel, and Armour institutes. 


The School of Housekeeping established 
in Boston in 1897 under the auspices of 
the Women's Educational and Industrial 
Union went still further, in that it was not 
so much a technical school as a more 
truly genuine professional school for the 
training of experts in the great profession 
of housekeeping. The honorable record it 
made while an independent institution gives 
reason to believe that, now that it has been 
merged in Simmons College, it will go on 
to still greater achievements under the new 
conditions. The establishment of similar 
schools elsewhere has been much discussed, 
while in some places there have been spo- 
radic efforts to establish classes in house- 
hold training. Indeed, it must be said that 
in certain classes of fashionable schools it 
is at this moment the latest fad to have 
instruction in all household matters, quite 
as much as in art and music. 

Study and investigations have led to 
organization, and the first association in 
the field was the National Household 


Economic Association, formed in 1893, 
with branches in many states, some of 
which did admirable work. 

The Lake Placid Conference that met 
first in 1899 is not strictly an organization, 
but an informal gathering of workers who 
have discussed the subject particularly on 
its scientific side, since the attendance has 
been largely made up of those interested 
in the educational and scientific side of 
household economics. Its proceedings 
give an admirable summary of the latest 
scientific discussions of the subject. 

The most recent as well as the most 
important of all such organizations has been 
that of the Inter-Municipal Research Com- 
mittee formed "for the purpose of studying 
existing phases of household work, to aid in 
securing fair conditions for employer and 
employee, and to place their relations on 
a sound business basis." Much has already 
been accomplished by it, especially in the 
direction of investigating employment agen- 
cies, establishing a bureau of information, 


and studying the conditions under which 
colored girls from the South are brought to 
the North to enter domestic service. Its 
programme for the future lays out a con- 
stantly enlarging sphere of activities. 

All these investigations and educational 
measures have been undertaken in the 
belief that household employment has its 
economic side, like other forms of industry. 
The widespread recognition of this fact has 
been a most significant advance, since 
earlier discussions of the subject had con- 
sidered only the ethical factors involved. 
But an interesting reversion to the more 
purely ethical consideration of the question 
has been seen in the various efforts to fol- 
low the injunction of Charles Reade: "Put 
yourself in his place." A number of young 
women have entered domestic service in 
disguise, and from personal experience 
have narrated the life of a domestic em- 
ployee. It may well be questioned whether 
the actual results reached are commensu- 
rate with the effort expended; the experi- 


ment has meant months of unnatural life 
and strained relationships, and in the end 
we probably know little more in regard to 
the condition of domestic employees than 
could be known by turning the inner light 
of our own consciousness on our own house- 
holds and those of our acquaintances. But 
the experiment has been interesting as 
indicative of a determined effort to look at 
the subject from every point of view. 

It is not surprising, in view of all the 
agitation of the question in our own country, 
to find that a similar interest has been 
aroused elsewhere. In Germany, that 
home of conservatism in all domestic affairs? 
an elaborate statistical investigation has 
been carried on by Dr. Oscar Stillich, and 
its results published in an exhaustive work 
entitled " The Status of Women Domestics 
in Berlin." l Nor again is it surprising to 
find that neither official nor domestic Berlin 
has taken kindly to the investigation, since 

1 Die Lage der weiblichen Dienstboten in Berlin, von Dr. 
Oscar Stillich. Berlin. 1902. 


bureaucracy has in it no place for private 
initiative, and the Kinder, Kuchen, Kirchen 
theory of domestic life has resented what 
has been deemed unwarranted interference 
in private affairs. But it is a matter of 
congratulation that the author has been 
of undaunted courage, and that his work 
stands as a thoroughly scientific investiga- 
tion, and therefore the most valuable con- 
tribution yet made in any country to the 
theory and condition of domestic service. 

Two things of special encouragement 
must be noted. One is the changing atti- 
tude of domestic employees themselves 
toward their own occupation, and the other 
is the introduction of men into a field where 
it has always been held that by divine 
ordinance women ruled supreme. 

The number of domestics who have 
shown any interest in the question is indeed, 
as yet, infinitesimal in comparison with the 
total number in the occupation, but five 
righteous men shall save the city. Here 
and there one is found who realizes that 


domestic employees must be ready to help 
themselves if help is to come from others, 
that it is possible for them to improve the 
conditions of domestic service through 
their own efforts, that respect for any 
occupation comes, as those connected with 
it command respect for it, through their 
own attitude toward it. This is as yet 
realized by so few that no appreciable 
results can be seen with the naked eye, but 
the leaven is working. 

A very welcome and appreciable change 
has come through the practical interest in 
the question shown by men. They have 
lectured and written on the subject, and 
have listened to the lectures on it given by 
women. This means that the subject is 
being recognized by them as worthy of 
study and discussion and as of importance 
to all to men and to women alike who 
are interested in the welfare of society. On 
its practical side also the interest of men is 
making itself felt. Chafing-dish courses 
have been opened for men, where they have 


learned the preparation of the luxuries of 
the table, as the rough-and-ready experi- 
ences of camp-life in summer vacations and 
in military campaigns have taught them 
how to prepare the necessities of life. 
Young men in college and young men 
living in bachelors' apartments are proud of 
their attainments in afternoon teas and 
chafing-dish suppers, while men trained as 
nurses learn the preparation of delicacies 
for the sick. It is true, indeed, that cooking- 
classes are but indirectly connected with 
domestic service, but everything that breaks 
down artificial barriers, and permits the 
free industrial entrance of both men and 
women into whatever occupation they pre- 
fer, is a direct gain to every line of work. 
Any one whose attention has been turned in 
the direction of securing household em- 
ployees must constantly come in contact 
with the fact that there is a considerable 
number of men engaged in household 
employments for remuneration. 

Does this enumeration of the progress of 


the past ten years seem indeed like an Ho- 
meric catalogue of the ships ? It may, yet 
the ships are bound for a definite haven, 
and must in time enter port. 

If one lasting gain of these years has 
come to be an appreciation of the necessity 
of diagnosing the disease before prescribing 
a remedy, it must follow that the remedy 
prescribed fits the disease. Has it been 
shown as a result of exhaustive and exhaust- 
ing investigation that the great barrier to 
the entrance of competent men and women 
into domestic employment is the social one, 
- it follows that efforts are being turned 
toward leveling this barrier. If we have 
learned that the loneliness of the life is in 
sharp contrast to the opportunity for com- 
radeship presented in other industrial pur- 
suits, we have thereby learned to ward 
against this loneliness by encouraging 
means of wholesome recreation. When 
scientific research has disclosed the plague 
spots in the employment agency and the 
intelligence office, restrictive legislation has 


followed. If it has been found that the 
weak and the ignorant have been taken 
advantage of by the strong and the know- 
ing, efforts for moral regeneration have 
been put forth. Since we have realized 
that in the household, as elsewhere, it is 
impossible for the blind to lead the blind, 
technical schools have offered instruction in 
household affairs to employers of house- 
hold employees. 

Yet when we look over the field still to be 
reclaimed in the interests of comfortable 
home life, more than enough causes for 
discouragement remain. Housekeepers 
still carry on their households in defiance 
of all business methods; ignorant women 
boast that they " have never so much as 
boiled an egg in their life," and complain 
that their cooks will not stay with them; 
idle women spend their time in playing 
bridge, and wonder why their maids are 
discontented; men boast at their tables of 
their shrewdness in obtaining something 
for nothing, and cannot understand why 


petty thieving goes on in their households; 
society receives the once, twice, and thrice 
divorced, but draws the social line at the 
cook and the butler; communities tolerate 
by the score the places where domestic 
employees, as others, can find recreation 
and amusement of every questionable 
kind, but the communities can yet be 
counted on one hand where they can obtain 
genuine, wholesome, attractive recreation; 
the church, with a few exceptions, is prone 
to close its doors, except for Sunday and 
midweek evening service, and to expend 
its efforts on fine music, with church sup- 
pers to foot the bills, forgetting the 
poverty of interests in the lives of so many 
in the community. 

But when all has been said, it must be 
felt that the balance shows much to the 
credit of domestic service, a balance 
due to the capital invested in it through 
the study of conditions made by both men 
and women. In no country are these con- 
ditions so favorable as they are in America 


to-day. England has its well-trained, ob- 
sequious butler, Germany has its police 
regulations of servants, France has its 
chef, Italy has hopeless machines who are 
"really servants." America has none of 
these, but it has men and women who 
believe that if the future holds for us a 
solution of the problem it lies, not in the 
direction of reproducing on American soil 
the English flunkey, or in the introduction 
of German governmental control, or in 
increasing the number of French chefs 
who shall give us endless varieties of new 
soups and salads, or yet in crushing all 
interest in life out of the hearts and souls 
of those who serve us, as a pitiless fate 
seems to have done in Italy; but men and 
women who believe that the solution lies 
in the path of hard, toilsome investigation, 
to which students must come without 
prejudice and with a fearless acceptance 
of the results of such investigations. 

In no country are the conditions of 
domestic service so hopeful as they are 


to-day in America, and it is in large part 
due to our theory of education which has 
been in practical force for more than a gen- 
eration. Men and women receive the 
same school, college, and university train- 
ing, and this training enables women to 
order their households, on their mechanical 
side, in the same systematic way that the 
business enterprises of men are managed. 
The result of this is that matters pertaining 
to the household command the respect as 
well as the sentimental consideration of 
men, and that men and women are more 
and more becoming co-workers in all efforts 
to secure improvement. Each year the 
proportion of housekeepers with trained 
minds increases, and in the same propor- 
tion the number increases of housekeepers 
who make intelligent demands on their 
employees, who do not encourage poor 
service by tolerating it, who realize their 
responsibility to other households, and 
understand that "every irresponsible mis- 
tress makes life more difficult for every 


other mistress and maid." It is at least 
significant that this progress has been made 
in a country where the education of men 
and women is precisely the same, and that 
the least advance has been made in those 
which arrange a special curriculum for 
women and which profess to train girls and 
young women specially for domestic life. 
America holds that education means for 
women, as well as for men, intellectual 
training rather than the accumulation of 
information without it, and that the value 
of this is seen, in the case of women, in 
the intelligent study they are everywhere 
making of household affairs. 

When the vital question in Italy was 
that of independence from Austria and of 
unity under an Italian government, Maz- 
zini said, with a sublime appreciation of 
the principle involved, "Without a country 
and without liberty, we might perhaps 
produce some prophets of art, but no vital 
art. Therefore it was best for us to con- 
secrate our lives to the solution of the 


problem, 'Are we to have a country ?" It 
is possible to have peace and contentment 
in individual households along with igno- 
rance of the economic laws that govern the 
household, but there can be no radical 
reform in domestic service in this or any 
other country that does not recognize the 
inseparable connection between domestic 
service and all other forms of labor, and 
that does not make this fact its starting- 
point. If the difficulties in the present 
situation, which are all too evident, are 
to be overcome, it can only be by devoting 
our energies, as did Mazzini in Italy, not 
so much to temporizing in our households 
as rather to the slow methods of careful, 
patient investigation of the conditions with- 
out. The immediate gain to ourselves may 
be slight, but those who come after us may 
reap the benefits. 



IT is reported that a distinguished for- 
eigner was once visiting a well-known 
woman's college, and after listening to the 
explanation of the work carried on there, 
inquired of its president, "Pardon me, but 
how does this affect the chances of the 
young ladies?" Some years since several 
persons were speaking of the recent mar- 
riage of a college woman and the remark 
was made, "What a pity to have so fine an 
education wasted in keeping house!" Not 
long ago a college woman was discussing 
the education of women with a young 
German Ph.D., and found that her argu- 
ments in its favor were met by her opponent 
with the triumphant question, "But can 
these young women cook?" 

These three incidents, which could be 
multiplied in kind indefinitely, are illus- 
trations of the somewhat contradictory but 
current opinions regarding the mutual re- 


lations of education and household affairs. 
It is apparently the common belief, first, 
that educated women never marry; second, 
that if they do marry, their education is 
wasted; third, that if such women marry 
and do not consider their education wasted 
in the household, the education received 
has at all events given evidence of nothing 
either useful or practical. 

It is not surprising that the mental agility 
involved in reaching these somewhat di- 
verse conclusions finds its parallel in the 
remedy usually proposed for alleviating so 
distressing a condition. If college women 
never marry, but find when they do marry 
that their education is wasted because they 
have not learned in college how to bake 
bread, then, it is argued, let us have com- 
pulsory teaching of domestic science in the 
public schools and send our daughters to 
private schools. 

The beneficial results of the introduction 
of domestic science into the public schools 
would undoubtedly be very great, did any 


one understand very clearly what is included 
under the head of domestic science, were 
any one at present prepared to teach it, 
and were it quite evident who should study 
it. At present these difficulties would seem 
to militate against the widespread intro- 
duction of this subject into our educational 

If it is asked what is meant by domestic 
science, there is a temptation to make the 
irrelevant reply that historians, economists, 
political scientists, and sociologists are still 
attempting to delimit their respective fields, 
each claiming that its territory includes that 
preempted by the other three. It is as 
difficult to define the domain of domestic 
science as it is that of sociology. Does it 
include the architectural construction of a 
house ? May it perhaps go back of the con- 
struction and include the selection of a site ? 
Does it even involve the principles in the 
choice of a suitable residential city? Is it 
possible that behind this lies the question of 
selecting that state of the Union that is 


most advantageous ? If the problem is to 
be worked backwards, it must also be 
worked forwards, and it must be decided 
whether the interior decoration of a house 
comes within the jurisdiction of domestic 
science. Would this comprise instruction 
in wood-carving, pyrography, china paint- 
ing, and basketry ? But it seems reasonable 
to pass from the house itself to the activities 
carried on within it. Should these activities 
be separated into different classes, such as 
those pertaining to the care of the house, 
the preparation of food, the making of 
clothing, the physical care of children, the 
instruction of household helpers, the enter- 
tainment of guests, the training of husbands 
and wives ? If this or any other classifica- 
tion is made, should domestic science con- 
sider one, all, or any combination of these 
classes ? 

But one of the tendencies of the time is 
toward intensive work, and the courses in 
domestic science should perhaps reflect that 
tendency. If so, should we not look for 


courses to be offered in napkin embroidery, 
Hardanger work, and Mexican drawn 
work, in the preparation of wheatena, toast 
water, and flaxseed tea, in the making of 
cheese fondu, pineapple canapes, and orna- 
mental frosting ? Should not the mysteries 
of thin sauces, medium sauces, and thick 
sauces be elucidated ? If on the other hand 
the opposite tendency is observable, should 
we not expect courses in the formal and 
informal entertainment of guests and the 
philosophy of a menu, even that of a bill of 

The difficulties of the situation are com- 
parable only to those of the Bellman who 

"Had only one notion for crossing the ocean, 

And that was to tingle his bell. 
He was thoughtful and grave but the orders he gave 

Were enough to bewilder a crew. 
When he cried 'Steer to starboard, but keep her head 

larboard ! ' 
What on earth was the helmsman to do ? " 

But granting that some agreement could 
be reached as to the content of the term 


domestic science, there would still remain 
the question as to how instruction in it 
could be given. We have learned in nearly 
every other department of education the 
extreme difficulty of teaching what we do 
not know, but we still cling to the supersti- 
tion that it is possible to teach domestic 
science in private and public schools when 
the university has not as yet made the 
household the subject of scientific or eco- 
nomic investigation. The one or two 
notable exceptions to this statement do not 
invalidate its general truth. 

The reasons are manifold why the 
university does not as yet investigate the 
household, although every other field of 
human knowledge and activity has appar- 
ently been taken into its libraries, its 
laboratories, and its workshops; but un- 
doubtedly one of the weightiest is the 
survival of the tradition that affairs of 
the household concern only women, that 
women work always through instinct and 
intuition, and therefore that the household 


is not a suitable field for scientific investiga- 
tion. But with the breaking down of the 
artificial barriers between the interests of 
men and of women, it is found that the 
affairs of the household do concern every 
member of it. Modern investigations in 
psychology are showing that the mental 
processes of women are precisely the same 
as those of men. It therefore remains for 
the university to recognize that the house- 
hold is worthy of investigation. That there 
is scope for such an inquiry would seem 
evident from the curriculum of an excellent 
school of domestic science, selected from 
among hundreds of other illustrations that 
might be given. Course I in Domestic 
Science places in conjunction lectures on 
food adulteration, bacteriology, furniture, 
decorations, textiles, and housekeeping in 
other lands an enumeration not saved 
even by alphabetical arrangement. 

But not only is there difficulty in deciding 
what should be included under the head of 
domestic science and how instruction in it 


should be given, but a third difficulty lies 
in deciding who should be instructed in the 
subject. If it is said that all young wo- 
men should receive such instruction, we 
are confronted by the fact that the young 
woman trained for domesticity takes up 
stenography and occupies a hall bedroom, 
or becomes a commercial traveler and 
spends her life in hotels and on railway 
trains; the girl taught sewing and cooking 
in the public school goes into the shop or 
the factory; the young woman who frankly 
acknowledges her engagement spends the 
time prior to her marriage in preparing her 
trousseau and in embroidering her initials 
on her household linen. The young woman 
who has prepared herself for the profession 
of law or of medicine decides to marry and 
goes into business partnership with her 
husband. It would seem as if all plans for 
teaching household economics in the college 
or in the public school with reference to 
preparing young women for their future 
careers as housekeepers must be futile until 


the orbit of the matrimonial comet can be 

Yet it must be recognized that college 
education has already done much for the 
household, and presumably for that some- 
what vague field denominated "domestic 


The housekeeper finds herself in the 
same position as does the lawyer, the phy- 
sician, and the clergyman. All are edu- 
cated side by side throughout a college 
course. In a subsequent professional 
career, the lawyer forgets his Greek, the 
physician his history, and the clergyman 
his mathematics; but there remains with 
each one a precipitate of far more value 
than the original compound. The lawyer 
is no longer able to conjugate a verb in ju, 
but his Greek has given him an accuracy 
and precision of thought that, other things 
being equal, has placed him professionally 
far in advance of his untrained associates. 
The physician has forgotten the various 
steps in the development of cabinet govern- 


ment in England, but his history has left 
him a ready sympathy in dealing with men 
and a vision into their future that will long 
outlive his knowledge of the facts of history. 
The clergyman can no longer demonstrate 
Sturm's theorem or Homer's method, but 
his mathematics has given him a clearness 
of reasoning that renders him an invincible 
opponent in all battles for the right. In all 
these cases the residuum of facts remaining 
from a college education is compara- 
tively small. Knowledge that is not con- 
stantly used passes out of mind, yet, like 
the food assimilated by the physical body, 
it serves its purpose in the mental strength 
and energy gained through it. Indeed, it 
may be said that information becomes more 
and more the dross, and education the pure 
metal remaining from a general school or 
college training. 

The embryo lawyer, the physician, the 
clergyman, have throughout a college 
course been pursuing parallel courses of 
training; it has given them little that they 


can make of immediate use in the office or 
the study, but it has laid the foundation for 
that special research necessary in every 
profession. The professional school builds 
on the training of the college, and it not 
only gives the information necessary in a 
professional career, but it opens the door 
to the vast field of investigation which it 
is one of the aims of every professional 
man to explore. 

Thus the housekeeper, forgetting her 
Latin, Greek, and mathematics, her French, 
German, and history, her biology, astro- 
nomy and economics, retains as the most 
valuable heritage of her education a train- 
ing in habits of accuracy, observation, good 
judgment, and self-control that enables her 
to be the master of any unexpected situa- 
tion that may arise. From the beginning 
of school life until the close of the college 
course the conditions surrounding the 
young man and the young woman are 
similar. Each has the benefit of all the 
information and the general educational 


training the college can give. To each 
alike the three great professions of law, 
medicine, and theology open their doors 
and invite special study and investigation. 
But if the young woman, turning her back 
on these attractive fields of work, desires to 
study the household in a similar profes- 
sional way, she finds it a terra incognita. 
She realizes that absolutely nothing has 
been done in any educational institution 
toward investigating its past history, its 
present conditions, or its future needs. It 
is said in another field that every lawyer 
owes a debt of gratitude to his profession 
which can be paid only by some personal 
contribution to the sum of knowledge in 
his profession. One of his aims, there- 
fore, as is that of every professional man, 
is to leave the world richer in his own field 
through the investigation of its unexplored 
parts. Thus law, medicine, and theology 
grow by virtue of the accumulated wisdom 
of those engaged in their pursuit. But 
the housekeeper finds that housekeeping as 


a profession has made no advances. It has 
not grown through the accumulated wisdom 
of past generations as have the so-called 
learned professions. Whatever advances 
it has made have come from impetus given 
it by other occupations through their own 
progress. Housekeeping affairs have been 
passive recipients of general progress, not 
active participants in it. 

If, then, domestic science is to be made 
a subject of serious study and is to be ac- 
corded a permanent place in the school cur- 
riculum, if the household is to profit by the 
educational progress of the day, it can only 
be after the university has taken the initia- 
tive and has made all matters pertaining to 
the house and home a subject of scientific 



IN a Western city, somewhat addicted to 
the formation of literary clubs and reading- 
circles, is a company of women who meet 
for the study of history, closing the after- 
noon's work with a discussion of current 
events. In alluding to these discussions, a 
member once said, " No matter what subject 
is introduced, we always drift off to the 
woman question." The half -jesting remark 
has in it more of wisdom than of criticism. 
The so-called "woman question" is not, as 
was once popularly supposed, synonymous 
either with woman suffrage or with the 
higher education of woman it is as broad 
and as deep as the thoughts and activities of 
woman. It was inevitable that for many 
years efforts should be made to open new 
occupations to women, to give them better 
preparation for their work, and to secure 


fair remuneration for service well done. It 
was inevitable, because, however much 
some sociologists may wish it otherwise, the 
fact remains that woman is and must be to a 
certain extent a wage-earner. These efforts 
have been reasonably successful; almost 
every avenue of work is open to women, and 
almost every coveted opportunity for pre- 
paration is hers. The reaction, however, 
has come, and the pertinent question is 
being asked, "Why has so little been done 
to improve the work of woman in those 
fields which have always without question 
been considered legitimately hers?" 

A glance at our periodical literature does 
indeed show unusual interest in all ques- 
tions affecting domestic life. Economists 
are asking why the wages paid for domestic 
service are higher than those paid the aver- 
age woman in other occupations, and why, 
in spite of this, the demand for household 
workers is greater than the supply. Phil- 
anthropists are puzzled to know why girls 
prefer to live in crowded tenement -houses 


on the merest pittance rather than enjoy 
many of the comforts of home life as a 
household employee. Experienced house- 
keepers find life a burden when it becomes 
necessary to change the divinity who rules 
the kitchen or the nursery, and wonder why 
it is so difficult to secure efficient help. 
Educated women without homes who desire 
to learn the principles of domestic science 
can find no explanation for the fact that 
the United States with its hundreds of 
thousands of schools affords scarcely one 
where this subject can be studied as a 
serious profession as is law, medicine, or 
theology. None of these questions has been 
satisfactorily answered. The editor who 
discourses of "half-baked writers on politi- 
cal economy" settles one of them by saying 
that there is no reason whatever why women 
should dislike domestic service. But the 
autocratic assertion has not visibly increased 
the number of women desiring employ- 
ment as house-servants. The benevolent 
individual who has not yet learned that 


thousands of girls have neither mothers nor 
homes, blandly answers another of these 
questions by saying, "Let girls learn 
housekeeping at home." The world at 
large cuts the gordian knot and says, "It is 
an unfortunate condition of affairs, but we 
cannot reform all evils at once." 

Before considering the relation that col- 
lege women sustain to the general subject of 
domestic science, it must be noted that the 
subject is one of general interest. 

It is of interest to all women, because so 
large a proportion of them marry and 
become actively engaged in housekeeping; 
the number of married women who do not 
keep house is possibly equaled by the 
number of unmarried women who do. 
Moreover, the majority of women whose 
primary occupation is not housekeeping 
are at various times called upon to spend 
a portion of their time in household duties. 
It is of interest to all men, whether they 
have a full appreciation of it or not, because 
all questions affecting the house and the 


home are so inextricably bound up with all 
questions of life. 

It must be assumed at the outset that 
there is a necessity for improvement in the 
conduct of household affairs. As the house- 
hold is at present organized, the duties of 
the housekeeper are multifarious. The 
ideal housekeeper must have a knowledge 
of culinary affairs. Not only must she 
know how to make food palatable, but she 
must understand its nutritive and its eco- 
nomic value. She must be able to superin- 
tend the cutting and making of ordinary 
garments. She must understand the over- 
sight of her household employees; the de- 
tails of marketing; the principles of laundry 
work; the keeping of household accounts; 
the care of the sick. She must know how to 
care for the house and all of its furniture, 
from attic to cellar. She must be master of 
all these special lines of work, and know a 
thousand and one things about the house- 
hold not enumerated. She must not only 
be the housekeeper, but the homekeeper. 


She must furnish her house with taste, and 

often at the same time with economy. She 

should understand the principles of the 

^kindergarten, and not shrink from apply- 

/ ing the fundamental ideas of ethics and 

psychology to the training of children. 

She must at all times be ready to perform 

her social obligations in the circle in which 

she moves. 

It is generally assumed that the only 
preparation necessary to become proficient 
in these multiform tasks is found in the 
instinctive love of domestic life common to 
all women. But this of itself does not make 
a woman a successful housekeeper anymore 
^ than a taste for medicine renders a young 
man a skillful surgeon, or a talent for law 
constitutes a learned jurist. There has been 
a growing recognition of this fact, but at the 
same time it is said that the home training 
of every girl ought to be sufficient. There 
are many reasons why this is not so. If we 
apply the principles to the case of girls who 
become household employees, it is seen to 


be at fault. It is from the ranks below the 
so-called middle class, to use an invidious 
phrase, that the great army of household 
employees is recruited. It is impossible for 
a girl belonging to this class to go into a 
family whose social advantages have been 
greater than her own, and become at once 
an adept in the conventional forms of table 
service, an expert cook, or a good general 
houseworker. She has had neither the 
means, nor the opportunity, to gain even 
a knowledge of what duties will be required 
of her, to say nothing of knowing how to 
perform them. An incompetent mistress is 
unable to give the necessary instructions ; 
a competent one has often neither the time 
nor the patience to undertake such training, 
and indeed it ought not to be expected of 
her any more than it is supposed that 
a banker who desires an expert accountant 
will teach the applicant the process of 
addition and subtraction. 

If, on the other hand, it is assumed that 
the home training in domestic affairs is 


sufficient for girls of the middle and upper 
classes, there is also danger of error. It 
is often quite as difficult to give regular 
instruction in the home in these matters as 
it is in the ordinary school branches. The 
Law School of the University of Michigan, 
after thirty years' experience, said a few 
years since in regard to the previous reading 
of law: "It is not often that the student 
receives the needed assistance except in 
law schools. The active practitioner, en- 
grossed with the care of business, cannot, 
or at least, as proved by experience, does 
not, furnish the students who place them- 
selves in his charge the attention and as- 
sistance essential to give a correct direc- 
tion to their reading, and to teach them 
to apply it usefully and aptly in their 
subsequent professional life." This same 
principle too often applies in regard to 
housework, even when the teacher is the 
mother. The most competent mothers 
often have the most incompetent daugh- 
ters it is far more easy to do the work 


than to teach another how to do it. Some- 
times it is assumed that the daughter can 
learn, as the mother has learned, by the 
hard road of experience. It is, also, too 
often a question of how the blind shall lead 
the blind. Again, many girls are early left 
without homes, and thus deprived of the 

There are evidences of some apprecia- 
tion of these facts. Cooking-schools spring 
up spasmodically, where in "ten easy 
lessons" the mysteries of theoretical and 
practical cooking are disclosed. Some of 
our fashionable boarding-schools, ever on 
the alert to foresee a public demand, 
announce courses in domestic science. 
Charity schools in our larger cities attempt 
to teach girls cooking and sewing in con- 
nection with arithmetic and grammar. 
The great interest in industrial education 
has had its influence. In some cities cook- 
ing and sewing have been made a part of 
the required work in all the public schools, 
not so much, however, from a desire to 


teach these branches as from a belief that 
the hand as well as the brain needs training. 
New York is the home of the kitchen-gar- 
den, where the thought of the originator 
has been to teach the children of the poorer 
classes how to make their own homes 
brighter, rather than to train them to do 
housework for remuneration. In many of 
our large cities schools have been estab- 
lished to give domestic training, but this 
training, unfortunately, is often given more 
in name than in reality. All these forms 
of activity are indications of a desire to 
help lessen, wholly or in part, the wide- 
spread ignorance of domestic work and 
aversion to it. 

Several reasons for this ignorance have 
already been suggested. Housework has 
always been classed in the category, not of 
skilled but of unskilled labor. Nor has it 
in every-day business life received that 
practical consideration which the ponder- 
ous volumes on the influence of woman 
would lead one to expect. Popular senti- 


ment has not yet demanded that when a 
woman marries she shall possess at least a 
theoretical if not a practical knowledge of 
household science; it is deemed sufficient if 
she acquire it after marriage at an enormous 
cost of time, patience, energy, sometimes 
even of domestic happiness. Nor has 
public opinion demanded that every woman 
who does not marry should have a general 
knowledge of domestic affairs ; it is assumed 
that she has no use for such knowledge, 
either practically or as an accomplishment. 
When popular opinion insists that every 
woman who marries shall have a practical 
familiarity with these subjects as strongly 
as it insists that every man who marries 
shall be able to provide a comfortable home 
for a wife; when public opinion insists that 
every woman, whether she marries or not, 
shall have an education so symmetrical 
that she can fulfill any duty which as an 
individual she may be called upon to per- 
form, then will more serious efforts be made 
toward lessening this ignorance. 


This lack of knowledge explains to a 
certain extent why so many are unwilling to 
perform household work. It is natural 
to dislike work that brings failure, to enjoy 
what brings success. The average girl who 
"hates to sew" and "hates to do house- 
work " would often find pleasure in both 
did she but have systematic knowledge con- 
cerning the work. The city boarding-house, 
crowded with women who "can't endure 
housekeeping," is one product of this com- 
bination of ignorance and aversion. In 
New York City there are said to be but 
thirteen thousand families in individual 
houses. The rest of the population are 
crowded into tenements, rookeries, board- 
ing-houses, flats, and hotels. 

But there are other reasons besides igno- 
rance that explain this aversion to house- 
hold work. There is a well-founded belief 
that the majority of women dislike both 
manual labor and self-supporting labor, 
and this fact applies both to housekeeper 
r and to housemaid. We have passed the 


stage when it is permitted a man to say, 
"The world owes me a living." We not 
only allow a woman to say this in effect, 
but we sometimes praise her for her woman- 
liness in saying it. How often one hears 
the remark, "Her father has abundant 
means, it is unnecessary for her to support 
herself." The average woman without 
family cares is self-supporting because dire 
necessity compels, not because honorable 
work is the birthright inheritance of every 
human being. Again, the mistress of the 
household constantly speaks of the routine 
work of the house as drudgery, and the 
houseworker, whose chief interest in it is 
one of dollars and cents, coins a still harsher 
term, and calls work a curse. 

This ignorance and aversion are too 
widespread, and have existed too many cen- 
turies to be removed in a single generation, 
nor can we expect any one remedy to prove 
a panacea. But we may ask how far the 
efforts made have proved successful. The 
cooking-school is now in vogue, and doubt- 


less has done much to teach new ways of 
preparing food, but the cooking-school has 
the same relation to the general subject of 
household science that an evening class in 
arithmetic has to a college education. The 
mistress learns a few things in a general 
way, and the maid does not care to learn at 
all. It is ephemeral in its nature, and while 
it attracts public attention to the need of 
more thorough instruction on the subject, it 
is far from going to the root of the question, 
even of how to teach cooking. The same 
may be said in general of domestic economy 
in our fashionable schools. Sewing and 
cooking as taught in charity schools do 
apparently give practical help in teaching 
the children of the poor to assist in the care 
of their own homes ; but this work, like that 
done in the public schools on the same lines, 
distinctly disclaims any desire to give tech- 
nical information. In the public schools the 
object of instruction in sewing and cooking 
is purely an educational one, and it is an 
incidental result scarcely to be expected 


when it leads girls to look upon housework 
as a means of support. 

It has long been a belief with many, and 
one that it has been most difficult to give up, 
that schools for the training of domestic 
servants would do more than anything else 
to solve the domestic service problem, and 
thus indirectly provide for the overflow in 
shops and factories. In all of our large cities 
the experiment has apparently been faith- 
fully tried. The theory has seemed unex- 
ceptionable, labor and expense have not 
been spared to carry it out, but the result 
has been, if not an utter failure, at least 
far from commensurate with the effort 
expended. In one school personally visited 
accommodations for twenty were found. 
When asked what was done in case there 
were more than twenty applicants for mem- 
bership in the class, the superintendent re- 
plied that no such difficulty ever arose, as 
their numbers were never full. The answer 
was at least significant. 

In one city the Women's Guild organized 


cooking-classes with the thought of domestic 
service in mind. In a demonstration course 
where only ten cents a lesson was charged, 
the average attendance was never more than 
fifteen or sixteen, the greatest number ever 
attending being thirty-two. In a course of 
practical lessons in cooking, given at equally 
reasonable rates, the class numbered only 
four or five. One of the most efficient 
managers of such schools says after twenty- 
five years of experience that she is forced to 
believe that nothing in this line can be done. 
Similar testimony comes from a gentleman 
of wide practical knowledge of philanthropic 
work in New York City, and on the theo- 
retical side from a lady widely known for 
her writings on economic subjects. Miss 
Mary Rankin Hollar has recently investi- 
gated one hundred schools and classes 
where domestic training is supposed to be 
given. She finds that less than ten per cent 
give systematic work, and only two have 
any maids in their classes. 1 In the light of 

1 Bulletin Inter-Municipal Research Committee, Nov. 1905. 


these and of similar facts the conclusion 
must be accepted that the question cannot, 
certainly at present, be settled by estab- 
lishing training-schools for employees, no 
matter how thoroughly equipped or how 
reasonable in charges these schools may be. 
The conclusion seems to be that all these 
efforts, from fashionable cooking-school to 
charity kitchen-garden, have not been able 
to remove, scarcely to lessen, either igno- 
rance or prejudice. 

The average housekeeper does not yet 
know the best, the easiest, the most prac- 
tical, or the most scientific way to manage 
her household affairs. Her work is often 
monotonous and wearisome, and must be 
so until its true place as a profession is 
acknowledged. The inexperienced house- 
keeper recognizes her own likeness only too 
faithfully drawn by Dickens in Bella and 
her struggles with "The Complete British 
Housewife." If she desires instruction, she 
finds it impossible to secure it in a system- 
atic way. Kind friends offer suggestions, 


the cook-book gives hints, and the "House- 
keepers' Guide" bridges over a temporary 
difficulty. But this combination of instruc- 
tion in regard to isolated facts in housekeep- 
ing is much like the attempt to learn a new 
language by memorizing words from the 

It is not strange that the novice still 
believes that housekeeping can be learned 
only by experience, nor, on the other hand, 
is it any more strange that in the effort to 
gain this experience she too often breaks 
down in health, or gives up the attempt 
and resorts to boarding. The cooking- 
school and the class in domestic economy, 
when taught in connection with a dozen 
other subjects, will not solve the question 
for her. 

While the mistress is unskilled in work, 
the maid will be unwilling to work. Bridget 
does not suspect that she does not rise to 
the social position to which she aspires 
because her conversation is ungrammatical, 
perhaps even vulgar, her manner insolent, 


her spirit rebellious, her dress untidy and 
devoid of taste. She attributes her ill 
success to the work in which she is engaged. 
The facts most obvious to her are that 
her mistress does not understand practical 
housework, yet is socially her superior. 
She at once draws the conclusion that house 
service is degrading. She tries to escape 
to other work less remunerative but more 
satisfactory, and if she is unsuccessful, re- 
turns to house-service, determined to secure 
every possible privilege. She will not 
spend even three months' time, or pay a 
nominal sum to learn housework, as a trade 
or profession. The training-school for 
domestic servants is a failure because they 
will not attend it. 

It is said that the only way to strike at 
the root of all these difficulties is to dignify 
labor; the practical question is, how this is 
to be accomplished. In the light of all that 
has been done to attain this end, and the 
reasons for the comparative failure which 
has followed, may we not say that one great 


difficulty has been the fact that reform has 
begun at the wrong end ? unless the chasm 
has been bridged between kitchen and 
parlor we cannot dignify labor in the 
kitchen alone. All true reform must be- 
gin at the top. This has been the exper- 
ience of every great movement that has 
looked toward the improvement of man- 

But what is the relation that college 
women bear to these problems of the house- 
hold? They cannot revolutionize society, 
nor would they if they could. They can- 
not bring about any reform either in mis- 
tress or in maid. It may be answered truly 
that they can do but little. They are few 
in numbers and they cannot assume the 
ability to settle questions with which previ- 
ous generations of women have not been 
able to grapple. But are they justified in 
shielding themselves behind these excuses 
and in refusing to look the question square- 
ly in the face ? Women have proved them- 
selves equal both mentally and physically 


to a college course, but if their training does 
not lead them to assist in the discussion of 
some of these vexed questions pertaining 
to the welfare of society, it may seriously 
be asked whether the higher education of 
women is worth all that it has cost. A 
statement as to what college women are now 
doing may perhaps be of help in answering 
what can be done. 

A few years since a carefully prepared 
paper read before the Association of Col- 
legiate Alumnse, showed that of the 2619 
women graduates of the fourteen colleges 
then represented in the association, thirty- 
eight per cent were married, thirty-six per 
cent were teaching, five per cent were en- 
gaged in other occupations and professions, 
and twenty per cent were " at home," that is 
engaged in no occupation for remuneration. 
Those married and at home, to whom the 
subject of domestic science is presumably of 
most interest, form fifty-nine per cent of the 
whole number, while the forty-one per cent 
engaged in teaching and other occupations 


are certainly not indifferent to it. With 
trained mind and a realization that oppor- 
tunity has brought responsibility, most often 
in a position where domestic affairs are 
those most prominently before her, the 
woman who is a college graduate is espe- 
cially well situated to turn her attention to 
this subject. 

What can she do ? She can prove, as she 
is proving, that her college education has 
not unfitted her for domestic pursuits. 
Before the college door was opened to them, 
the education of women was largely a 
matter of information and accomplish- 
ment. Within two generations systematic 
training has been substituted for the acqui- 
sition of information and the advantage of 
this change should be seen first in improved 
methods of domestic work. The college 
graduate who is married or who is at home 
can prove more effectually than any other 
class of graduates the practical utility of 
college education for women. She can 
prove how puerile is the assertion that the 


average girl does not need a thorough 
course of technical study, because her 
household duties will not demand a know- 
ledge of these subjects. The lawyer forgets 
his science, the business-man his classics, 
the theologian his mathematics, and the 
physician his metaphysics, yet each proves 
daily the value of these studies. So the 
college woman brings into every-day life, 
and may bring still more, the evidences of 
the advantage to her of a college course. 
She may go further, and show that re- 
sources within herself enable her to rise 
above much of the inevitable drudgery of 
household work, and thus overcome, in a 
measure, the common distaste for routine 

The college woman can do much by way 
of discussion. The love of study fostered 
by her college course shows itself after 
graduation in the formation of clubs and 
societies for literary work. There is scarcely 
a town that has not from one to a dozen, 
and there are few college women who have 


not belonged to one or more. There is a 
tendency, too, for college women to organ- 
ize among themselves select classes for the 
pursuit of favorite studies. All of these 
clubs are valuable up to a certain point 
in giving help through association, but in 
too many cases they seem examples of 
misdirected effort. Their great numbers 
show that women have time and interest to 
give to intellectual matters. Cannot college 
women divert a part of this zeal from the 
discussion, for example, of the tulip mania 
in Holland, into the channels of social and 
domestic science ? No company of political 
economists will ever work out for women 
"the servant-girl problem," or make it 
possible for women to learn systematic 
housekeeping. The college woman can do 
something not everything by showing 
that these subjects deserve consideration; 
that their proper place on the programme of 
the women's club is not the closing half -hour 
of informal conversation, but the post of 
honor as one of the chief subjects of thought 


and study. But she need not wait for the 
movements of the literary club; she can 
herself organize a society whose sole purpose 
shall be the discussion of ways and means to 
lessen the friction in the ordinary household 
between mistress and maid, to remedy the 
scarcity of competent help, to relieve the 
overburdened housewife, a society which 
shall attempt to understand the "sales- 
lady" situation, and to study the causes of 
the prejudice that still clings to household 
service as well as the means of removing it. 
She can help to show women that it is a 
matter of more vital interest to themselves 
and to society as a whole to discuss these 
topics than to seek after information that 
may not be worth the acquisition. 

There is another phase of the question 
the thoughtful consideration of which the 
college woman can urge. She can at least 
make the attempt her prospects of suc- 
cess may seem dubious to bring before 
her sisters the subject of the wise expend- 
iture of money. Women have bequeathed 


fortunes for every object from the endow- 
ment of theological seminaries to the estab- 
lishment of a hospital for invalid cats; they 
have multiplied buildings and apparatus 
that language and science might be taught 
according to the Presbyterian, the Baptist, 
or the Methodist creed. The college woman 
may at least suggest that a long-felt want 
has been that of a polytechnic, an institu- 
tion where the college graduate can learn 
household science as a serious profession, 
as an advocate or physician studies the 
principles of law and medicine. Such an 
institution, requiring a college degree for 
admission, and providing in a two years' 
course for instruction in sanitary science, 
physiology and hygiene, the care of the sick, 
cooking, marketing, the care of the house, 
sewing, the principles of the kindergarten, 
artistic house-furnishing, domestic econo- 
my, and such other subjects as belong dis- 
tinctively to the care of the house and home, 
would certainly have for a few years a 
limited number of students. An examina- 


tion, however, of all that has been done and 
of the underlying principles leads to the 
conclusion that more could ultimately be 
done in this way than in any other to dignify 
that part of labor connected with domestic 
occupations. It would most certainly not 
do everything no one thing could do that 
- but it would do much. 
In a word, the relation of college women 
to the question of domestic science is first of 
all the duty of recognizing the importance 
of the subject itself, and of its special im- 
portance to them as college women; and 
second, a duty of examination, of discus- 
sion, of intelligent study, of appeal to public 
sentiment, of effort to secure at no distant 
day the establishment of a technical school 
of domestic science which shall in no sense 
be a substitute for collegiate and academic 
training, but shall be built upon such train- 
ing as its most secure foundation. The 
present strain coming upon the majority of 
women is too great to be much longer borne. 
Relief must come, either in improved facil- 


ities for individual work, or in cooperative 
enterprises. The home must be preserved, 
and at the same time household work must 
be reduced to a minimum. College women 
owe it to themselves and to society to do 
their part toward attaining this end. 



A WHOLESOME corrective for the impatience 
with which we are wont to regard the lack 
of progress made in regard to all matters 
which concern the house and home was 
found at a recent International Health 
Exposition held in New York City. In one 
section was arranged an old-time sick-room, 
presided over by Sairey Gamp. The clock 
on the mantel pointed to the hour of mid- 
night, and the patient was presumably 
sleeping, but on a feather bed, under heavy 
comfortables, with thick draperies hanging 
about the large high-post bedstead. On 
a table by the bedside were the remedies 
administered, paregoric, salts, castor-oil, 
goose-grease, and other tradition-honored 
medicines. Another table bore the remains 
of the patient's supper, fried ham, bread 
and butter, cucumbers, and milk. Sairey 


herself reposed in an armchair, flanked, on 
one side, by the empty gin-bottle, and, on 
the other, by a pot of tea. 

In a neighboring booth was found a 
motley collection of old-time remedies. It 
comprised elderberry flowers for pleurisy, 
honey for insomnia, hornet's-nest tea for 
colds, baking-soda for the stomach and for 
bee-stings, cold potatoes for burns, and hot 
potatoes for ear-aches, cobwebs for hemor- 
rhage, a cat's skin for pneumonia, to be 
applied while the animal was still warm, 
and bags of camphor and assafoetida to be 
worn around the neck for protection against 
disease. All of these remedies are within 
the recollection of most persons who have 
not yet passed middle life. 

These two booths were the text from 
which the silent sermon of comparison was 
preached by the eighty booths containing 
the educational exhibits of the training- 
schools for nurses and of many modern 
hospitals. The old-time sick-room has 
given place to one not only attractive to the 


eye, but furnished with every scientific 
appliance for the prevention as well as for 
the cure of disease. In place of Mrs. Gamp 
is the trained nurse of to-day, attractive 
in dress, agreeable in manner, intelligent 
in mind, scientific in methods of work, 
a friend and a companion, as well as a staff 
and a dependence. The contrast could 
not be more world-wide. Yet the time 
required to revolutionize methods of car- 
ing for the sick has been scarcely more 
than thirty years. The exhibit shown of 
a ward in Bellevue Hospital, in 1872, is 
almost as far removed from a modern 
hospital ward of to-day as it is from Mrs. 

What is the explanation of the trans- 
formation of Mrs. Gamp into the trained 
nurse, and of the evolution of the modern 
hospital and the modern sick-chamber 
from the old-time crude, semi-barbarous 
methods of treatment ? 

The secret of it all lies in the one word, 
investigation. Investigation is the product 


of training, of education, of an eager and 
absorbing desire for knowledge, of minds 
open to conviction and ready to hold the 
judgment in suspense until it can be based 
on facts. The steps in the process of the 
evolution are equally clear. Given an in- 
vestigating spirit, it follows that every 
investigator must work with singleness of 
purpose, in his search for facts, that is, for 
truth; and that this truth, when found, is to 
be held, not as a personal acquisition, but 
as a good to be shared with all. Thus pro- 
gress is made, not through the individual 
efforts of isolated investigators, who are 
working along parallel lines, but it is made 
by geometrical progression, because each 
investigator is able to take, as a starting- 
point, the goal reached by his predecessor, 
and because he knows that he is cooperat- 
ing with all other investigators to secure the 
same end. Everywhere to-day scientists 
appreciate the fact that progress in science 
is conditioned on scientific investigation. 
They also appreciate the fact that this pro- 


gress can be made only as each investigator 
shares in the results obtained by every other 
investigator. Every scientific discovery 
made by one scientist becomes the common 
property of all. In this apparently simple 
fact lies the explanation of the disappear- 
ance of Sairey Gamp. 

"Martin Chuzzlewit" was published six 
years before the first part of "David Cop- 
perfield" was issued. But while Mrs. 
Gamp has become but a name, Dora 
Copperfield is still with us, and he would be 
a rash prophet who would venture to pre- 
dict the times and the seasons that wait 
upon her going. 

Why does Dora Copperfield still tarry? 
Again the explanation is not far to seek. 
The household has not yet become a field 
for investigation. It resents intrusion into 
its domain and regards investigators as 
Paul Prys. It is sensitive to criticism, and 
it considers a suggestion of change as an 
unwarrantable interference with its affairs, 
and as an attack on it by outsiders. It does 


not take kindly to new ideas, and it often 
rejects them on a priori grounds, not be- 
cause experiment has proved them wrong. 
Clothed in a mantle of virtue, it feels itself 
above criticism, because the home is of 
divine origin. 

Yet although intuition and instinct have 
so long been made to play the part in the 
household that ought to be taken by scien- 
tific investigation, it is not unreasonable to 
believe that a change must in time come. 
It is not many years since illness was attrib- 
uted to divine interposition, which to-day 
is known to be the result of impure water, 
defective drainage, insufficient nourish- 
ment, or lack of ventilation. We must in 
time, although the specific time cannot be 
predicted, come to believe that women's 
minds have been given them to use, and 
that nowhere can they be used more effect- 
ively than in the organization and manage- 
ment of a household. 

This comparison has been suggested, 
because the question is so often asked: 


Why can we not have trained domestics as 
we have trained nurses ? The answer must 
be that, in the present condition of affairs, 
the resemblance between nurses and domes- 
tics is only superficial. The trained nurse is 
the product, not of the family that has suf- 
fered from the lack of such trained service, 
but of the discovery by the medical pro- 
fession that its labors must be ineffectual if 
orders are not carried out by those who 
understand the reasons why these orders 
are given. The more rapid the advance in 
scientific investigation made in the medical 
world, the more rapid the advance made in 
all grades of service connected with the 
medical profession. Pressure is exerted 
from above and works downwards. More 
and more the subject of health becomes 
one of the prevention, rather than of the 
cure, of ill health. The distance between 
physician and nurse and nurse and patient 
grows less as each understands better the 
function each has to perform in securing 
good health. 


Some parts of the household have already 
been put on a scientific basis. It is to-day 
protected from impure water-supply, from 
defective drainage, from poisonous foods, 
from contagious diseases, but not through 
the efforts of the household itself. These 
benefits it has reaped through the labors of 
scientific experts who, through unwearied 
investigation, have discovered the means of 
preventing certain large classes of diseases. 
Sanitary engineering and sanitary chemistry 
have become professions through the work 
of scientific investigators. When house- 
keepers, through scientific investigation, 
have made a profession of housekeeping, 
then, and not till then, will trained service 
in the household be possible. 

It is very easy to see why progress in the 
household has up to this time been so slow, 
and why it has, for the most part, been 
made through forces exerted from without 
rather than from within. But the Chinese 
wall that has so long surrounded it is giving 
way, and the signs of the times point to 


another international exposition, when, side 
by side with Mrs. Gamp and the trained 
nurse, will be found Dora Copperfield and 
the new home, the product of the trained 
minds of scientific investigators. 



THE cynic observed yesterday that the 
interests of womankind were confined to the 
three D's Dress, Disease, and Domestics. 
To-day the bicycle has become a formidable 
competitor of dress and promises to do its 
part toward settling some of the disputed 
questions in regard to the rival it has par- 
tially supplanted. Biology is wrestling with 
disease, and bids fair to be the victor. 
Domestics still hold the field, but if business 
methods are introduced into the household, 
as it seems inevitable will be the case, the 
interests of women will have passed on and 
upward from the three D's to the three B's, 
and the cynic will be forced to turn his 
attention from woman to a more fruitful 

It is not indeed strange that the old con- 
ception of household service should have 


yielded so slowly its place in the thoughts of 
women. The whole subject of economic 
theory of which it is but a part is itself a 
recent comer in the field of discussion; 
it was scarcely more than a century and 
a quarter ago that Adam Smith wrote his 
' Wealth of Nations " and gave a new 
direction to economic thought. 

As a result of these economic studies of 
the present century something has already 
been done to improve industrial conditions 
outside of the household. They have led to 
improved factory legislation, to better rela- 
tions between employer and employee, to 
wide discussion of the principles on which 
business is conducted, but what has been 
accomplished has been brought about 
through an unrest and an agitation that 
have often brought disaster in their train. 

From this general economic discussion 
the household has been in the main cut off, 
largely because it has been considered as 
belonging to the domain of sentiment rather 
than of business, because the household has 


shrunk from all agitation and discussion of 
the questions with which it is immediately 
concerned, because it has refused to see 
that progress is conditioned on this agita- 
tion and discussion, because it has cried 
" Peace, peace, when there was no peace." 
It is this very aloofness that constitutes 
to-day the most serious obstacle in the way 
of any improvement in domestic service 
the failure on the part of men and women 
everywhere to recognize that the occupation 
is governed by economic law, that it is 
bound up inextricably with every other 
phase of the labor question, and that the 
initial step toward improvement must be the 
recognition of this fact. Housekeepers 
everywhere resent what they deem interfer- 
ence with their personal affairs; they betray 
an ill-concealed irritation when the eco- 
nomic side of the question is presented to 
them, and they believe, if their own house- 
hold machinery runs smoothly, that no 
friction exists anywhere and that their own 
responsibility has ceased. Nothing to-day 


is so characteristic of women as a class as 
their inability to assume an impersonal atti- 
tude toward any subject under discussion, 
while in methods of work they are prone 
to work from day to day and seldom plan 
for results to be reached years after a pro- 
ject has been set on foot. 

This means that before any improvement 
in household affairs can come, the attitude 
of mind with which they are approached 
must undergo a radical change; both men 
and women must recognize the analogy be- 
tween domestic service and other forms of 
labor, and must work, not for more compe- 
tent cooks and parlor-maids in their indi- 
vidual households, not for any specific 
change for the better to-morrow, but for im- 
provements in the system improvements, 
the benefits of which will be reaped not by 
this but by subsequent generations. It is 
a fact from which we cannot escape that 
domestic service has been affected by his- 
torical and economic development, that it is 
to-day affected by economic conditions, that 


it must in the future be in like manner 
affected by them. That we do not all see 
these facts does not in the least alter their 
existence. Nothing is so inexorable as law. 
Law works itself out whether recognized or 
not. If we accept the workings of the law 
and aid in its natural development, peace 
and harmony result; if we resist the action 
of law and struggle against it, we do not 
stay its progress but we injure ourselves as 
the bird that beats its wings against prison- 
bars. "Delhi is far," said the old king of 
Delhi when told that an enemy had crossed 
his border. "Delhi is far," he answered 
when told that the enemy was in sight. 
"Delhi is far," he repeated when the enemy 
was at the gate. "Delhi is far," he still 
repeated when the sword of the enemy was 
at his throat. 

Yet certainly we may hope that another 
view is coming to prevail, and that house- 
keepers will not shrink from the storm and 
stress period that is the inevitable accom- 
paniment of discussion of household affairs, 


but will bring the courage of their convic- 
tions to bear on the discussion of the pro- 
blem. It is indeed encouraging to find so 
many of them beginning their studies of 
household affairs, not with a proposal of 
remedies that may chance to meet the dis- 
ease, but with a recognition of the existence 
of a great question to be investigated, with 
a determination to understand the problem. 
What is the problem that is presented to 
the housekeeper? To have a healthy, 
happy, virtuous and useful household. What 
are some of the external conditions neces- 
sary to such a household ? Palatable, nour- 
ishing food, regularity of meals, prompt and 
efficient service. With what tools has the 
young housekeeper heretofore been expected 
to grapple with the problem in her own 
home? Instinct, intuition, love of home, 
the cardinal virtues, especially meekness 
and humility, orthodox views in regard to 
the relation of the housekeeper to her home, 
and a belief that personal experience, how- 
ever restricted, is an infallible guide. 


What has been the result? Often dis- 
astrous failure, sometimes a measurable 
degree of success, always an unnecessary 
expenditure of time, money, and mental, 
physical, and spiritual energy. That most 
pathetic story in "Pratt Portraits," "A New 
England Quack," has had more than one 
counterpart in the household. The results 
of innocent quackery there may not always 
be so consciously pathetic, the effects may 
be more subtile, but they are none the less 
fatal. Dora Copperfield has been, unhap- 
pily for the race, no mere picture of the 

The problem should not in itself be an 
insoluble one ; a happy, well-ordered house- 
hold ought to be the normal condition of 
every home. But to expect to secure this 
end with the means given a young house- 
keeper is often to expect the impossible. 
Behind the housekeeper is not only personal 
ignorance but all the force of tradition; she 
must face difficulties so deep-seated as to 
seem almost inherent and ineradicable. 


One of the greatest of these difficulties is 
the belief that the subject is not worthy of 
consideration and that time and strength 
are wasted in discussing it. This attitude 
of mind is well illustrated by Lord Orrery's 
"Remarks on the Life and Writings of 
Swift," apropos of Swift's "General In- 
structions to Servants." * Lord Orrery may 
not indeed have been altogether free from 
malice and jealousy in penning these words, 
and he certainly showed himself deficient in 
a sense of humor, but whatever his motive, 
his comments on Swift's work illustrate 
fairly well a belief still prevalent. "How 
much time," Lord Orrery comments, " must 
have been employed in putting together such 
a work! What an intenseness of thought 
must have been bestowed upon the lowest 
and most slavish scenes of life! .... A 
man of Swift's genius ought constantly to 
have soared into higher regions. He ought 
to have looked upon persons of inferior 
abilities as children, whom nature had 

1 Works of Svnft, xi, 365-441. 


appointed him to instruct, encourage, and 
improve. Superior talents seem to have 
been intended by Providence as public 
benefits ; and the person who possesses such 
blessings is certainly answerable to heaven 
for those endowments which he enjoys 
above the rest of mankind. Let him jest 
with dignity, and let him be ironical upon 
useful subjects; leaving poor slaves to heat 
their porridge, or drink their small beer, in 
such vessels as they shall find proper." * 

Another great difficulty is the persistent 
refusal to consider domestic service as a 
question of general interest and a part of 
the labor question of the day. "What is 
needed," an English critic remarks, "is an 
infallible recipe for securing a good .16 
girl and for keeping her when secured." 
But alas, who shall give an infallible recipe 
for accomplishing the impossible? Who 
shall lay down the principle that will make 
coal-miners contented with low wages and 

1 Cited from Remarks on the Life and Writings of Swift, 
p. 179, in Works of Swift, xi, 365. 


long hours, that will make the employers of 
masons satisfied with bungling work that 
threatens life and limb, that will lull into 
ease a conscience aroused by the iniquities 
of the sweating system? Nothing can be 
more chimerical than to expect a perfect 
automatic adjustment of the household 
machinery while other parts of the indus- 
trial world are not in harmonious relation to 
each other. 

A third obstacle is the persistent belief 
that nothing can be done until this magic 
recipe has been discovered. If it is sug- 
gested that one measure of alleviation is to 
take a part of the work out of the household 
it is answered that it is useless to propose it 
because all work cannot be taken out of the 
household, because the plan would not 
work in the rural districts, because it would 
not meet the case in England, because it is 
expensive. Certainly all these are valid 
objections to considering the plan a sover- 
eign remedy. But to refuse to try a remedy 
that may prove of benefit in some house- 


holds because it will not work in all is quite 
the same as to refuse to administer a medi- 
cine in case of fever because it will not also 
cure consumption. 

The preceding is illustrative of another 
difficulty that is implied in it a funda- 
mental ignorance on the part of many house- 
keepers of the processes of reasoning. This 
is illustrated by the reasoning that many go 
through with in discussing the question : 

" Public laundries are in the hands of men 
whose standard of perfection in laundry- 
work is a smooth shirt-front and a stiff 
collar and cuff. This standard of perfection 
cannot be applied to the laundering of 
linen and children's clothing. Therefore, 
table-linen and children's clothing must be 
laundered in the house." 

" My mother's cook received a part of 
her wages in lodging and board. My cook 
receives a part of her wages in lodging and 
board. Therefore, my daughter's cook will 
receive a part of her wages in lodging and 


" Negro employees lodge out of the 
house at the South. White employees do 
not lodge out of the house in England. 
Therefore employees cannot lodge out of 
the house at the North." 

" Employees should be treated with con- 
sideration. My employees are treated with 
consideration. Therefore all employees are 
treated with consideration." 

"Some employees are incompetent. Good 
results cannot be secured with incompetent 
employees. Therefore good service is im- 

The only way of meeting this difficulty is 
found in the slow process of careful, system- 
atic education. What many housekeepers 
need is not so much instruction in cooking 
or domestic sanitation as training in cal- 
culus and quaternions, Herodotus and Livy, 
logic and geology. 

Still another hindrance is the tone of cer- 
tainty and finality that characterizes all 
discussions concerning the household. It 
is a part of the religious belief of many per- 


sons that every woman has been foreor- 
dained by Providence to be a wife, mother, 
and housekeeper, and that any deviation 
from this fundamental law is an infringe- 
ment on the designs of Providence. ' But 
some of us remember that scarcely more 
than fifty years ago Daniel Webster said in 
the United States Senate that slavery had 
been excluded from California and New 
Mexico by the law of nature, of physical 
geography, the law of the formation of the 
earth, and that he would not through the 
Wilmot Proviso take pains uselessly to re- 
affirm an ordinance of nature or to reenact 
the will of God. Many apparently believe, 
through the same specious reasoning, that 
to provide instruction in household affairs 
would be in a similar way to reaffirm an 
ordinance of nature. 

Not only does this tone of finality char- 
acterize the household when it is assumed 
that because the majority of women will 
always choose to be housekeepers, therefore 
all women must be housekeepers, but the 


same tone of finality also characterizes 
methods in the household. It is interesting 
to read to-day the objections raised fifty 
years ago to the use of anesthetics in sur- 
gery; it was argued that since pain was sent 
by heaven, it was sacrilegious to use any 
means of alleviating it. It may be of equal 
interest fifty years hence to read the pro- 
tests of our contemporaries against the pre- 
sent effort to combat instinct with science. 

Another difficulty is the inherent prone- 
ness of Americans to look for results before 
establishing the conditions on which alone 
results are to be based. The nervous haste 
that characterizes us physically as a nation 
also characterizes us mentally. We seize 
eagerly suggestions and scorn the slow 
processes through which alone suggestions 
can be made realities; then comes the in- 
evitable reaction and we drift into the fatal- 
istic tendency to put up with evils rather 
than fight against them. 

One other general difficulty is the as- 
sumption that any improvement in domes- 


tic service must mean putting the domestic 
employee on a plane of absolute equality 
with the employer. Yet nothing could be 
farther from the truth than this. It is 
doubtful whether equality ever meant 
either in America or in France what the 
rhetorical phrases of the Declaration of 
Independence and the Declaration of the 
Rights of Man would on the surface seem 
to imply. Certainly to-day we interpret 
equality to mean that all persons should 
have the opportunity of making of them- 
selves all that is possible; to jump at the 
conclusion that reform in domestic service 
means subscription to the literal interpreta- 
tion of the preamble of the Declaration of 
Independence is to make an unwarranted 
assumption. If, however, we were to 
accept the doctrine of equality, it would be 
with an appreciation of what it involves. 
The establishment of social equality would 
sometimes mean the elevation of the em- 
ployer to the natural social and moral 
position of the employee. Our present 


social status is well characterized by the late 
Lawrence Oliphant in "The Tender Recol- 
lections of Irene Macgillicuddy," where 
the heroine describes her mother, suddenly 
elevated in the social scale, as being very 
democratic toward all those who were 
socially above her and very aristocratic 
toward all those who were socially below 
her. It is specious, not genuine, demo- 
cracy that to-day blocks the progress of 
improvement in domestic service. 

These are general conditions that con- 
front any and all attempts to put the house- 
hold on a more reasonable basis. Not less 
serious are the specific economic conditions 
existing in the household. One of these is 
the truck system of wages. 

In every other occupation the truck sys- 
tem has disappeared; formerly the teacher 
boarded around, the minister received an 
annual donation party, and the tailor and 
the carpenter shared the home of the master 
workman. The more recent attempt to pay 
employees in part in orders for household 


supplies on an establishment kept by the 
head of a factory or a mill has met with the 
most bitter protest. The truck system of 
payment in general industry is antiquated 
and disadvantageous to both parties of the 
labor contract. But in the household it is 
accepted as one of the foreordained pro- 
visions of the household, and meets with 
neither protest nor objection. 

That the difficulties in the way of substi- 
tuting another method of payment are very 
great must be accepted by all, but to say 
that it is impossible to bring about a change 
before any attempt has been made is idle. 
Wherever negroes are employed the custom 
is almost universal for them to live in their 
own homes. In many families the experi- 
ment among white employees has been 
made successfully. It has been made on 
a somewhat extensive scale at the hotel at 
Saranac Inn, New York, where the em- 
ployees lodge in a large house fitted up 
attractively with a dining-room that is used 
for dancing, while a billiard-room and 


smoking-room are provided for the married 
men who board in the house with their 
wives. So far these experiments are only 
variations of the truck system; the negro 
employees sleep at home, but have their 
meals in the families of their employers; 
in Saranac Inn the boarding-house for 
employees is owned and managed by the 
proprietor of the hotel. But they are 
illustrations of the fact that in limited areas 
it has been found possible to take the em- 
ployee out of the house of the employer as 
far as lodging is concerned. To accomplish 
this must be the first step toward any modi- 
fication of the truck system. Fifty years ago 
the teacher who "boarded 'round" prob- 
ably looked on the truck system as an inev- 
itable accompaniment of the occupation. 
Teaching is being raised from an occupa- 
tion to a profession and one of the elements 
in the change is the fact that wages have 
been put on a different plane. 

Another economic difficulty that some 
persons have found lies in the fact that, as 


has been said, the substitution of contract 
for status is at once the object and the 
method of modern civilization, and that 
domestic service owes nearly all of its diffi- 
culties to the fact that it is based on status. 
The reason why it has not been transferred 
to contract is because it is part of family 
life and no one has as yet shown how the 
family can be preserved as an institution if 
its members rest their relations on contract 
and not on status. 

This may be true if the domestic em- 
ployee is to be considered a part of the 
family. Yet just here is the anomaly and 
the fallacy of the objection. The domestic 
employee is not, and cannot be, a part of 
the family; she never in all her history has 
had more than a semblance of such a rela- 
tionship and even that semblance has long 
since disappeared. The presence of the 
domestic employee in the family is not es- 
sential to the existence of the family; the 
domestic employee comes and goes, but the 
family remains. More than this, it must be 


said that the presence of the domestic em- 
ployee does something to destroy the integ- 
rity of the family life. Family life presup- 
poses the existence of congenial tastes and 
sympathetic relationships. It argues no- 
thing against domestic service as an occu- 
pation that those engaged in it are rarely 
those who would be chosen as life compan- 
ions or even as temporary companions by 
those with whom the accident of occupation 
has thrown them. 

Yet more than this must be said. The 
statement that family life cannot be pre- 
served if its members rest their relations on 
contract ignores the fact that the tendency 
in family life is precisely in this direction. 
The wife has her allowance, sons and daugh- 
ters are given their allowances, financial 
dealings between members of the same 
family are becoming more definite and 
even legal in their character, and the re- 
sult is not the disintegration of the fam- 
ily as it passes from status to contract, 
but a greater freedom of the individual 


members and therefore a more complex 
and perfect organization of the family rela- 

Another economic difficulty lies in the 
fact that so much of the service is largely 
personal in character, and that, therefore, 
payments are regulated by personal feelings 
and not by a recognized standard of pay- 
ment. The result of this is the obnoxious 
system of fees a system difficult to be 
done away with as long as employees ex- 
pect to receive them. Fees could be abol- 
ished by the action of the employers, but as 
long as they prefer to have their employees 
paid by other persons a practice that 
would be tolerated by no other class of em- 
ployers the initiative will not come from 
them. Fees could be abolished by the action 
of the individuals disposed to give them, 
but so long as men selfishly believe that 
money ought to purchase privileges that are 
not rights, the initiative will not come from 
them. Fees could be abolished by the con- 
certed action of employees, but so long as 


they are ignorant of economic principles 
and indifferent to the social results of the 
system, the initiative will not come from 
them. But one of the hopeful signs of the 
times is the recent statement that in Paris 
waiters are coming to appreciate the fact 
that fees ultimately must mean smaller 
wages, since employers not only refuse to 
pay their employees but demand a certain 
percentage of the fees received. The move- 
ment among the waiters to refuse fees and 
to insist on wages paid by employers is full 
of promise. 

What, then, are the conditions under 
which improvement in domestic service is 
possible ? 

First of all must come that attitude of 
mind that is willing to recognize not only 
the impossibility of separating domestic 
service from other parts of the household 
life, but still more the impossibility of sep- 
arating the economic conditions within the 
household from the economic conditions 
without, a willingness to give up a priori 


reasoning in regard to domestic employ- 
ments and to study the historical and eco- 
nomic development of the household. All 
superficial treatment of the question must 
fail of securing the desired results, and all 
treatment must be superficial that does not 
rest on the solid basis of economic history 
and theory. 

Granted, then, the existence of economic 
conditions in the household, the method of 
procedure is the same as in all other fields 
of action. In medicine the first step is to 
diagnose the case ; in law, to take evidence ; 
in mathematics, to state the problem; in 
science, to marshal the facts. No set of a 
priori principles can be assumed in the 
household with the expectation that the 
household will conform to them. Inves- 
tigation to-day stands at the door of every 
entrance into a new field and bars the way 
to any attempt to force a passage without 
its aid. The household has been slow to 
accept the inexorable fact that it must 
demolish its Chinese wall of exclusion and 


throw open its facts to investigation, but 
this is the inevitable end. 

Next to the household, the most conserv- 
ative element in society is the school. Yet 
the school is already yielding to the spirit 
of the times. It has been pointed out in a 
recent number of the "Atlantic Monthly" l 
that the profession of teaching, starting 
with a definite and final code of principles 
of education, has clung tenaciously to it, and 
it is but to-day that the occupation is real- 
izing that it can make progress only as 
progress is made in other fields, and that 
is through scientific investigation; only to- 
day is it coming to appreciate that all con- 
clusions to be valid must be based on facts. 
Every occupation has passed through the 
same experience and the law of progress 
that governs all development will work 
itself out in the household. Minds open to 
conviction and trained to scientific investi- 
gation are the prerequisites for an improved 
condition in domestic service. 

1 Frederic Burk, The Training of Teachers, October, 1897. 


Is it said that this discussion of the sub- 
ject has dealt only with its economic phases 
and has ignored the ethical side? Alas, 
life is everywhere one long protest against 
a varying standard of ethics. Shall we 
separate the ethics of household service 
from the ethics of the shop, the ethics of 
the factory, the ethics of the professions? 
Shall we be governed by one code in the 
family, by another code in the church, by 
a third code in the school, and a fourth code 
in the state ? Is the subject of ethics to be 
divided and pigeon-holed in compartments 
labeled "ethics for domestic service," 
"ethics for skilled labor," "ethics for un- 
skilled labor," "ethics for employers," and 
"ethics for employees?" Who shall sep- 
arate any question in economics, nay more, 
any question in life from its ethical phases ? 
Who shall declare that the ethical code for 
one is not the ethical code for all ? 

It is said that every book is but the elab- 
oration of a single idea. In a similar way 
all discussion of domestic service must have 


its beginning and its end with the idea that 
no improvement is possible that is not 
inaugurated by that class in society that 
sees most clearly the economic as well as 
the ethical elements involved in it, and that 
work by the slow methods of careful, patient 
investigation is the only way by which its 
difficulties, all too evident, may be lessened, 
not for ourselves but for those who shall 
come after us. 



To seek wisdom through a questionnaire is 
a time-honored expedient, while to give 
wisdom through questions has classic au- 
thority. It is therefore immaterial whether 
it is Experience or Inexperience that may be 
either seeking wisdom or that may have 
wisdom to bestow in this interlocution con- 
cerning a domestic problem that has already 
been involved to the n th power. 

What are the causes of our household 
troubles ? 

The causes are in part economic a 
household system governed by the same 
economic laws that govern other indus- 
tries, but resisting the action of these laws; 
in part social the attempt to form a 
chemical compound of public and political 
democracy with private and social aristo- 
cracy; in part educational the tradition 
that marriage acts as a solvent to change 


every ignorant, inexperienced young woman 
into an accomplished housekeeper, and 
that, therefore, mental training is for her a 
work of supererogation; in part religious 
the persistent maintenance of the belief that 
from the primeval chaos every woman has 
been foreordained to be a housekeeper, 
united with the rejection of the parallel 
belief that every man has been foreordained 
to be a tiller of the soil. 

But the situation in regard to household 
help has never been so critical as it is at the 
present time. 

This statement has been found in one 
form or another in all literature, sacred and 
profane, from the times of Abraham and 
Achilles to the story of the last college 
graduate who has entered domestic service 
in disguise. 

Other countries do not have .the same 

On the contrary, the difficulty is uni- 
versal. It may vary somewhat in degree, 
but fundamentally the problem is the same 


the world over. Moreover, in no country is 
there so intelligent an understanding of all 
its factors as in America, for in no other 
country is found so great a mass of material 
for a comprehensive study of the subject. 
Statistical investigations have been carried 
on through national, state, and private 
initiative, and the information asked for 
has, for the most part, been cheerfully 
given because of the widespread desire 
among household employers to cooper- 
ate in every way with those undertaking 
these investigations. Material of every 
kind, ranging from the scientific accumu- 
lations of bureaus of labor to the hyster- 
ical deductions of sentimental observers, 
is all at hand. In Berlin a young man who 
recently carried on a statistical inquiry in 
regard to domestic service was nearly 
mobbed for his presumption so con- 
sidered in attempting to gather informa- 
tion that German housekeepers had 
guarded as sacredly as Tibet holds the 
Grand Lama. 


When will our present household difficulty 

The difficulty will end when every man is 
reasonable, when every woman is omni- 
scient, when every child is obedient, when 
we discover the philosopher's stone, when 
we drink of the Pierian spring, when we dig 
the treasure at the end of the rainbow, 
when we enter upon our inheritance in 
Spain, when the east meets the west. 

Meantime ? 

Dismiss the cook from your attention for 
a moment and study the kitchen. Is the 
baking-table on the opposite side of the 
room from the baking-utensils, while the 
baking-materials are kept in the pantry? 
Does an inventory of the cooking-imple- 
ments show one article for toasting and 
broiling, two battered saucepans for prepar- 
ing a five-course dinner, and a soup-kettle 
with a cover that does not fit? Is the 
pump on the left-hand side of the sink ? Is 
the sink three inches too low and in a dark 
corner where a blank wall is all that meets 


the eye of the one who works before it? 
Does the waste-pipe from the ice-chest lead 
into a pan that must be emptied daily? 
Must the ashes from the range be carried 
out of doors every day ? Is the range-coal 
too large and is the kindling-wood green? 
Does the oven-door refuse to shut tight and 
has the tea-kettle sprung a leak? Do the 
unprotected water-pipes freeze with zero 
weather ? Does the chimney fail to draw ? 
The results of these investigations may be 
the discovery that the household engineer 
has been expected to run his engine with 
insufficient fuel. What if the skillful en- 
gineer has made the same discovery? 

Occupy for a week in winter the room of 
the cook. Does the temperature hover near 
the freezing-point, while the rest of the 
house is warm? Is the mattress of husks 
and are the pillows of hen's feathers ? Does 
a row of hooks take the place of a closet ? 
Try the room for a week in midsummer. 
Is the temperature stifling hot ? Do flies 
and mosquitoes find joy in the screenless 


windows ? Are the facilities for bathing a 
small bowl and a pitcher without a handle 
on the top of a triangular wash-stand ? The 
two weeks' vacation in an unknown part of 
your own home may lead to the traditional 
mauvais quart d'heure. What if the em- 
ployee has spent a year under the protecting 
shelter of your roof ? 

Watch for a week the table conversation 
of your family and its guests. Count the 
number of times you hear the word 
"servant," and remarks in regard to 
"household drudgery," "menial service," 
"knowing one's place," and "superiority 
to housework." What if the household 
employee has also kept count ? 

Imagine that you can accept ten cents 
from a friend for doing an errand, half a 
dollar from a guest as he leaves the house 
and a dollar from another, and can flatter 
an unwelcome cousin in the hope of getting 
two dollars at his departure. Criticise 
mercilessly all of your friends after you 
have invited them to afternoon tea. Repeat 


at table all the gossip retailed by officious 
busy-bodies. Your own self-respect will be 
lowered. What if moral deterioration takes 
place in the kitchen under the same condi- 
tions ? 

But what can I do ? 

Try putting all the laundry-work out of 
the house; take up the carpets, paint the 
floors, put down rugs and send these out 
of the house to be cleaned, or clean house 
with a vacuum cleaning-machine ; reduce 
useless work and incidentally add to the 
attractiveness of your house by taking down 
portieres and paying storage on half of the 
bric-a-brac ; buy ice-cream and cake and all 
"extras" at the woman's exchange. These 
additional expenses will materially reduce 
your subscriptions to half-orphan asylums 
and to vacation funds for the indigent. 
What if this course saves you from hotel 
existence and enables others to keep their 
homes intact and to pay for their own vaca- 
tions ? 

Substitute praise for constant censure 


and the principle of cooperation for that 
of "giving orders;" see that the daily paper 
is on the kitchen-table before it is a week 
old and that the magazines are promptly 
supplied; encourage the singing-class, the 
flower-bed, basket-making, bead-work, in- 
door evening games, and out-of-doors 
recreation; at least make the effort to give 
in some form a new and wholesome inter- 
est to lives that may have been repressed 
and mentally starved. Friends may smile 
and call the plan quixotic. What if it 
encourages self-respect in the employee and 
therefore respect for his work ? 

Consider the kitchen with its accompany- 
ing rooms in the light of an economic plant. 
Give the same careful attention to its ar- 
rangement and equipment that the owner 
of a manufacturing establishment gives to 
the fitting-up of a new factory with all the 
latest labor-saving contrivances and facil- 
ities for work; study the plumbing and the 
water-supply with the zest of a scientific 
investigator and select the cooking- and 


baking-utensils with the interest of an artist. 
This course may curtail expenditures for 
the "den" and the relinquishment of the 
"cosy corner." What if thereby your house 
and home gain in unity for employer as well 
as for employee ? 

Abandon the attempt to maintain a 
Waldorf-Astoria style of living on a fif- 
teen-hundred-dollar salary ; abandon it, 
if you have the income to maintain it, if 
in maintaining it you are putting tempta- 
tion in the path of a weaker friend and 
neighbor. This may reduce your calling- 
list by two hundred names. What if you 
gain thereby peace of mind and a contented 
household ? 

Establish household settlements among 
the cottagers at Newport, in the vicinity of 
Central Park, on Riverside Drive, Com- 
monwealth Avenue, Euclid Avenue, and 
the North Shore Drive. What if successful 
settlement work in these localities should 
enable the families of millionaires to bridge 
the impassable chasm that now separates the 


dining-room from the butler's pantry and the 
reception-room from the linen-closet ? 

Will these temporary devices remove all 
friction in the running of my household 
machinery ? 

No, they will probably not even lessen 
it. But these and similar expedients may 
be of benefit to you, inasmuch as they may 
help you to carry out the commendable ad- 
vice of Charles Reade, "Put yourself in 
his place." They may also be of benefit 
to your granddaughter in enabling her to 
be a member of that ideal trades-union 
that between employer and employee. 



OUR kitchen is not that of a millionaire; 
it has not a tiled floor, enameled brick walls 
or glass shelves; it is not fitted with appli- 
ances for cooking by electricity or with 
automatic arrangements for bringing up 
coal and sending down ashes. It is a plain, 
ordinary kitchen, built new six years ago, 
and attached to an old house to take the 
place of the former basement kitchen. It 
was planned by the landlord and the car- 
penter for unknown tenants, and the gen- 
eral arrangement had to conform to the 
plan of a house built many years before. 
If, then, it has been possible, with these 
usual, every-day conditions to develop a 
kitchen that possesses convenience of ar- 
rangement and unity of purpose, it would 
seem that similar ends might be obtained 
in any kitchen, anywhere, by any person, 


through use of the same means, careful 

We are busy women who have learned, 
in other lines of work outside the household, 
the value of order and system, and when 
we began housekeeping we saw no reason 
why the application to the kitchen of the 
same principles that were used in arranging 
a study or a library should not produce the 
same ease and joy in the work of the house- 
hold. If a library, to be of service to those 
who work in it, must have its books classi- 
fied according to some clearly recognized 
principle, would not a kitchen gain in use- 
fulness if some principles of classifying its 
utensils were employed? If a study-table 
demands every convenience for work, 
ought not a kitchen-table to be equally well 
equipped? If the student can work more 
effectively in a. cool room than in one that 
is stifling hot, will not a cook produce better 
results if working in a well-ventilated 
room ? If the librarian needs special equip- 
ment, does not the butler need appliances 


adapted for his work? If the instructor 
needs the materials for investigation if his 
work is not to perish of dry rot, should not 
the houseworker have at hand all the 
materials needed if her work is to represent 
progress ? If the parlor gains in attractive- 
ness if its colors are harmonious, will not the 
kitchen gain if thought is given to appro- 
priate decoration ? 

It was the affirmative answer to these and 
similar questions that led to the evolution of 
our kitchen from a state of unadorned new- 
ness to its present condition. An indulgent 
landlord provided a model range, a copper 
boiler, a porcelain-lined sink, and a double 
shelf; we have added the gas-stove, the 
instantaneous water-heater, the electric 
fan, two double shelves and all the utensils. 
Thus equipped, what does our kitchen re- 
present ? 

To answer this question it is necessary 
to consider its general arrangement. The 
north side is filled by a window, the range, 
and the outside door. This with the ad- 


jacent east side, we call "the cooking side." 
Here are arranged boilers, sauce-pans, 
broilers, and all implements large or small 
needed for cooking. 

The south side is filled by the door lead- 
ing into the refrigerator-closet, the baking- 
table, and the door leading into the butler's 
pantry. This we call the "baking side," 
for here is the baking-table with its bins for 
flour and meal, its drawers for baking- 
spoons, knives and forks, and sliding shelves 
for baking and for bread-cutting. Above it 
are various small utensils needed in baking, 
together with spices, essences, and various 
condiments. A " kitchen indicator " show- 
ing articles needed from the grocer's hangs 
at the left of the shelf, a peg at the end 
holds the household bills, and pegs at the 
right are for shears, scissors, a pin-cushion, 
and a cushion for needles used in preparing 

The west side is the "cleaning side." 
This side is our special pride and delight, 
for here on a corner shelf is our electric fan, 


the drop-leaf table for drying dishes, the por- 
celain sink with its shining brass faucets, the 
nickel instantaneous water-heater, and our 
fine forty-gallon copper boiler. Here above 
the sink are collected the cleaning-brushes 
of various kinds, ammonia, borax, scouring- 
sand, and all cleaning preparations. The 
sink is set about three inches too low for 
comfortable use, a fault in sinks almost 
universal, and to remedy this defect a rack 
was evolved from four nickel towel-bars 
joined by connecting metal plates. Lack 
of wall space required that the shelf on this 
side of the room should be shared equally 
between the preparations for cleaning and 
the kitchen library, while the basket for 
newspapers and magazines occupies the 
end of the cleaning-table. But does not 
cleanliness of mind accompany cleanliness 
of material equipment ? 

The outside entry to the kitchen serves, 
in default of other place, as a cleaning- 
closet. Here are kept brooms, dusters, 
scrubbing-brushes, polishing-brushes, dust- 


ing-mops and cleaning-mops. Here also, 
easy of access, is kept the garbage-pail, 
three times each week emptied by the city 
garbage collector and three times each 
week scrubbed with hot soap-suds. 

This is our kitchen as regards its ground 
plan and its exterior aspect. But the stu- 
dent of history always looks behind the 
external surface and studies the record; 
hence our kitchen records a belief in a few 
principles that seem fundamental in a 

The first principle is that a kitchen should 
be absolutely sanitary in all its appoint- 
ments. This means not only filtered cistern 
water, a still for distilling water, a porcelain- 
lined sink, and an abundance of hot water, 
but it means an absence of cubby-holes and 
cupboards where articles may be tucked 
away and accumulate dirt. Everything is 
in the open, every part of the kitchen is kept 
spotlessly clean, and we have never seen 
a rat or a water-bug about the house. 

A second belief recorded by our kitchen 


is that of unity of plan. If the artist places 
before all else in importance the composi- 
tion of his picture, if the author believes 
that his book should be the elaboration of a 
single idea, if the engineer knows that every 
part of his engine fits by design into every 
other part, it would seem clear that the 
application of the same principle is essential 
in the household. If the kitchen is to sus- 
tain an organic relationship to the other 
parts of the house it must represent in the 
arrangement of all its details the same idea 
of unity of composition that is expressed in 
a painting, of unity of development that 
gives life to a book, of unity of design that 
makes the perfect engine. 

A third idea represented in our kitchen is 
that it must be equipped with every labor- 
saving device and with every convenience 
for work, if satisfactory results are to be 
secured. The first thought of the manufac- 
turer is for the equipment of his manufac- 
turing plant with every modern appliance. 
Can a perfect product come from imperfect, 


inadequate means of work in the household ? 
The application of this principle has of 
necessity involved many experiments, in- 
ventions will not work, or good ones are 
superseded by better ones, or a new need 
arises and must be met. Every week sees 
some article discarded because an improve- 
ment on it has been found. In the city of 
twenty-two thousand inhabitants in which 
we live automobiles have been used six 
years and approximately three hundred are 
now owned there and in the vicinity, but 
not one can be found of a pattern prior to 
that of three years ago. If an automobile 
must be disposed of because it is not of the 
most recent model, does it seem unreason- 
able to cast aside a twenty-five cent egg- 
beater that chafes the hands, a pineapple- 
snipper that wastes the fruit, an unsightly 
broken sauce-pan, and a patent water- 
cooler that will not cool the water ? 

But man does not live by bread alone, 
and a kitchen may be sanitary in all its 
arrangements, it may represent unity of 


plan, it may have every modern conven- 
ience, and yet it may lack the essential of 
attractiveness. The arts and crafts move- 
ment has not yet reached the kitchen, and 
it is thus almost impossible to secure cook- 
ing-utensils of good artistic design and 
color. But the second-hand store will often 
furnish a piece of good pottery, brass, or 
copper that may be utilized in the kitchen 
and serve the added purpose of increasing 
its attractiveness. 

Yet a kitchen may illustrate all of these 
principles and still lack those subtle fea- 
tures that establish, unconsciously, some 
connection between it and its predecessors 
in other times and in other places. If the 
theory of evolution has taught us not only 
in science but in art and in politics and in 
everything connected with our daily life to 
look behind the surface and to seek the 
origins of things, if it has taught us ever 
to look for the relationship between the 
present and the past, surely the kitchen 
must not be excluded from this process of 


thought. Apparently the work performed 
there each day has neither connection with 
the past nor outlook into the future, yet this 
is but a superficial aspect of the situation. 
The kitchen of to-day with gas-range and 
instantaneous water-heater is the direct 
heir of the kitchen of yesterday with coal- 
range and copper boiler, and of that of the 
day-before-yesterday, with open fire and 
cauldron. An attempt to maintain this con- 
nection with the past is sought through the 
photographs on the walls. Two views of 
early colonial kitchens give historic continu- 
ity with the past, a photograph of the inter- 
ior of a Dutch kitchen gives a touch of that 
cosmopolitanism that makes the whole 
world akin, while that of a famous hotel in 
New York City places us by prophetic 
fiction in the class of millionaires. 

Such is our kitchen. "Does it pay?" 
It has paid us. 



IT is the day of the illustrated edition, and 
even more the day of the illustrator. Happy 
is the author to whom is accorded the honor 
of an illustrated edition of his latest book. 
Still happier is he whose facile, practiced 
pen is called into requisition to illustrate 
the works of the great artists found in our 
monthly magazines. Unhappy is the one 
whose book no artist, even if gifted with 
imagination, can illustrate, and whose name 
no publishing house has ever entered on its 
card catalogue of pen illustrators of artis- 
tic sketches. But more fortunate times 
may await the unillustratable and non- 
illustrating author. A changing phrase- 
ology reflects a new rapprochement between 
author and artist and a breaking-down of 
the barriers that once confined each within 
definite limits. There are even indications 
that the present positions of author and 


artist may be reversed and that the non- 
illustrating author may become quite inde- 
pendent of the previously necessary artist. 
"Pen pictures," "sketches in black and 
white," "pastels in prose," all indicate the 
possibilities open to the author of combin- 
ing with his own vocation that of the artist 
whose existence thus becomes unnecessary 
to his own. Nay more, the unillustratable 
author may take heart, for as the skillful 
acrobat learns the feat of walking on his 
hands, so the literary trickster may achieve 
the paradox of illustrating works that can- 
not be illustrated. 

This theory has been the result of con- 
templating on the one hand the impossibil- 
ity of illustrating a modest book dealing 
with statistics and equally prosaic facts and 
of noting on the other hand the popular 
demand that every book shall be illustrated. 
How shall man attain unto the unattainable ? 

A reminiscent mood led the author to 
blow the dust from the top of her last book, 
written ten years ago and not yet, unhappily, 


out of its second edition, and to turn over 
its half -forgotten pages. She found a pass- 
ing interest in recalling her conclusions 
as they were laid bare on the pages of the 
book, but undreamed-of pleasures took 
form and shape as she remembered the 
circumstances under which each page had 
been written. Nay more, there opened out 
the vision of the unattainable illustrated 
edition. A series of pictures passed before 
her, far more interesting than the book 
they illustrated, and thus a prosaic work 
attained a place in that desirable class in 
which are found all books whose text seems 
only as a pretext for the artist's brush. 

The first picture was that of the receipt 
of a letter written in reply to a humble 
request for information in regard to the 
number of maids employed in the house- 
hold, the length of time they had been 
employed, and similar facts obvious to 
one's friends and neighbors. The letter 
was written on Tiffany's finest stationery, 
it bore a crest and a coat of arms so unde- 


cipherable as to be a guarantee of its high 
aristocratic lineage, and its perfume was 
that of Araby the Blest. But the letter was 
written in the third person and the in- 
formation it conveyed was not that which 
had been sought but the unexpected state- 
ment that the inquiry was impertinent and 
under no consideration whatever could be 
answered. Alas, the questioner had known 
that her questions would demand time and 
thought, but what artist, save the author, 
could depict the abyss into which the ques- 
tioner was hurled by the epithet "imper- 

The second picture also had a letter in 
the foreground. The quest for information 
had led to an appeal to the only authority 
known to the questioner, but it was to an 
authority of world-wide reputation, and the 
unknown questioner hesitated long. Would 
the great man heed the appeal, even if the 
questioner could justify herself in making 
it ? But the die was cast and the result was 
a long, kindly, painstaking letter not only 


giving in detail all the information sought 
but also suggesting similar by-paths to be 
explored. "Of such is the Kingdom of 

The third picture was that of a woman's 
club. The writer had never belonged to 
a woman's club, save for a brief period of 
nominal connection with one, and it had 
been with much trepidation that she had 
accepted an invitation to read a paper 
before one of these organizations. But she 
wrote an article in which she attempted to 
show by means of all the facts and argu- 
ments at her command that the establish- 
ment of training-schools for domestic em- 
ployees would not and could not remedy 
household ills. She valiantly read the paper 
and at the close of the hour one of the 
company thanked her heartily " for advo- 
cating the establishment of training-schools 
for servants." Was it the woman, or the 

The fourth picture is of a large corner 
room, with low ceiling, facing south and 


west. Its long table is covered with papers, 
reports, schedules, and census publications, 
and here, from early morning until late at 
night, during the hottest weeks of the early 
summer, the occupant of the room attempted 
to work out some of the economic laws gov- 
erning domestic service. Her fellow occu- 
pants of the large building were the numer- 
ous maids engaged in cleaning it. Their 
work also was difficult, but morning tea 
tided over the time between breakfast and 
dinner, and work for the day closed at four 
o'clock. How would an artist portray the 
question that came each night what 
would be the effect of an eight-hour day on 
economic investigation ? 

The fifth picture is one of a small room 
opening on an air-shaft, in a New York 
hotel. The occupant had arrived late, the 
hotel was crowded, and no other room was 
available. But it was not the smallness of 
the room, or the single window opening 
on the air-shaft that gave the occupant 
a chill on a July night, it was the fold- 


ing-bed. Her traveling-bag contained a 
new work on economic history, having a 
chapter on domestic service, and turning 
on all the electric lights, she read until 
daylight, never since quite sure whether it 
was devotion to history or craven fear of 
the deadly folding-bed. 

The sixth picture is one of a railway 
carriage in provincial France. The Ameri- 
can traveler, in search of information, had 
attempted to learn from her chance com- 
panion in the carriage somewhat of do- 
mestic service in France. Much valuable 
information was politely given, and then the 
tables were turned. But the interest of the 
French lady was centred, not in the status 
of domestic service in America, but in the 
personal status of her new acquaintance. 
That she was traveling alone might be 
accepted, though certainly to be deprecated. 
But what artist shall show forth the amaze- 
ment on the face of the French lady when 
she heard the affirmative answer to her 
question, " But surely it is not possible that 


Madame will find no one at the station to 
meet her?" 

The seventh picture is a series of dissolv- 
ing views that suggest the portrait of a 
lady standing with her back to the onlooker 
and gazing at her own face reflected in a 
mirror opposite. A few months after the 
book was published, its author, attracted 
by the title of an article, purchased a new 
review to while away a railway journey. 
She read the article and pondered. It 
seemed strangely familiar and soon she 
realized that it was in effect one of the 
chapters in her own book. It had not even 
suffered " a sea-change into something 
rich and strange," for the illustrations used 
were the same that the first author had 
collected from the experiences of her per- 
sonal friends, and to every one she could 
have attached a name, as presumably the 
second author could not do. The second in 
the series of dissolving views is of a corre- 
spondence with a gentleman who had given 
a course of lectures on domestic service in 


a remote city. The author of the book had 
expressed a desire to sit at the feet of Gama- 
liel and at length secured the loan of the 
manuscript from which the lectures were 
given. Probably a sea-change was not to 
be looked for in an interior city, and the 
author of the book rejoiced to find so much 
community of interest with the author of 
the lectures. The third in the series of 
dissolving views was of a certain bibliogra- 
phy. It had appeared in the first number 
of a new report on household affairs and 
the author was interested in it as a probable 
illustration of thought transference. Here 
was the title of a book she had consulted in 
the Bibliotheque Nationale and that pre- 
sumably was not to be found in American 
libraries. Here was the title of a curious 
book she had picked up when "bouquiner- 
ing" on the Quai Voltaire and had added to 
her private library. This was the title of 
another curious book found in a great 
university library, interesting, but of little 
value. This was the line-long title of a 


collection of technical German laws found 
in Saxony. Here was the title of an old 
book that had been valued as a family 
heritage, but of no special importance to 
any one else. The compiler of the so-called 
"books of reference" had overlooked the 
sub-title in the book "full titles of works 
referred to in the text" -and had not 
realized that the use of the word "biblio- 
graphy" had been demanded by the 
exigencies of type. To recommend for 
use as a working bibliography a list of 
"full titles of works referred to in the 
text,"- - was it perhaps donning an even- 
ing dress when starting for the golf-links ? 
The dissolving views have given the 
author the greatest pleasure of all the illus- 
trations of the book. There is a favorite 
jest concerning books that have been read 
only by the author and the proof-reader. It 
is indeed true that for the most part an 
author writes a book to please himself, not 
to gain readers. But there is a secret joy 
if two birds can be brought down with the 


same stone and a reader, other than the 
proof-reader, be found. The purchase of 
a book does not necessarily imply that 
the book is read, public libraries add the 
latest new books, private libraries are 
interested in first editions, and authors 
buy presentation copies for their friends. 
But none of these purchasers guarantee 
that the book purchased will be read. Was 
it not a cause for open rejoicing that not 
only one but three readers had been found, 
and more than that, that these three readers 
had not only been non-combatants, but 
had agreed so entirely with the views of the 
author ? 

The pleasures of a visit to Europe are 
often as is the square of the distance from 
the time of the visit. With the passage of 
the years, oblivion overtakes the moments 
when we agonized over the question whether 
the fee expected by the guide was a shilling 
or a pound, and the hours when we gazed 
at the fireless grate ; but with each recurring 
year the realities stand out with greater 


and growing vividness. Does not the flight 
of time bring to us all the realization that 
the real work of our hand is not the one 
that can be bought at the counter, but the 
unpurchasable illustrated edition ? 



FEW persons whose attention is attracted 
by the modest sign of the Woman's Ex- 
change, now found in nearly all our large 
cities, realize that a new competitor has 
appeared in the industrial market. Few 
even of those who have assisted in organ- 
izing and carrying on such exchanges 
know that they have been instrumental in 
introducing a new factor into economic 
problems. Yet in spite of unpretentious 
rooms and unconcern as to economic ques- 
tions, the Woman's Exchange has already 
had an appreciable effect on economic 
conditions, and must in future play a still 
more important part. 

1 This article was first published in The Forum, May, 1892. It 
is now republished without alteration from the original manu- 
script. In the intervening years some exchanges then existing have 
been abandoned, and new ones have been organized, but a some- 
what careful inquiry has disclosed no essential modifications of 
the principles for which the Woman's Exchange stood in 1892. 
The conclusions reached at that time therefore remain unchanged. 


The history of these organizations be- 
longs, however, to a history of philanthropic 
work rather than to that of economics. The 
first Woman's Exchange, the "Ladies' De- 
pository Association" of Philadelphia, es- 
tablished in 1833, was founded by persons 
"who labored earnestly to arouse in the 
community an interest in the hard and often 
bitter struggle to which educated, refined 
women are so frequently exposed when 
financial reverses compel them to rely upon 
their own exertions for a support." 1 In its 
foundation and its management it was con- 
trolled entirely by philanthropic motives; it 
was to enable women "who had seen better 
days," and suffered more from the preju- 
dices of society in regard to woman's work 
than from actual poverty, "to dispose of 
their work without being exposed to the 
often rough handling of shopkeepers, or to 
the then mortifying admission of their fan- 
cied humiliating condition." The second 

1 Annual Report of the Board of Managers of the Ladies 3 
Depository Association for 1890. 


exchange, the " New Brunswick, New Jer- 
sey, Ladies' Depository," founded in 1856, 
also was purely charitable in its motives, 
and it restricted its privileges to those who 
had been in affluent circumstances but were 
suddenly forced to become self-supporting. 
The first two exchanges were the product 
of a generation in which charities of every 
kind were largely regulated by sympathy 
alone, and it was twenty years before similar 
organizations were formed elsewhere. In 
1878 the "New York Woman's Exchange" 
was begun, and it added a new idea. Its 
aim was "beneficence, rather than charity," 
and it undertook "to train women unaccus- 
tomed to work to compete with skilled 
laborers and those already trained, and to 
sell the result of their industries ' ?1 It came 
at a time when the organization of charities 
was first being attempted, and the principle 
was being slowly evolved that the best way 
to help an individual is to help him to 
help himself. Its aim and its management 

1 Annual Report for 1890. 


show the influence of the present generation 
in its study of philanthropy as a social and 
economic question. 

Since 1878, the year which may be taken 
as the beginning of the period of the Wom- 
an's Exchange, nearly one hundred ex- 
changes have been organized, all, with 
scarcely an exception, growing out of phil- 
anthropic motives, but philanthropy gov- 
erned by the principles of the present day. 
The statement of the object of the exchange 
presented in their constitutions and annual 
reports will make this clear: 

"The object of this Association shall be to aid women 
by helping them to help themselves ; and in furtherance of 
this design, to maintain a depot for a reception and sale 
of woman's work, or of articles in her possession, of which 
she may wish to dispose, subject to the approval of an 
examining committee." Cincinnati, Ohio. 

"As a means of providing a way for industrious and 
needy women to help themselves without neglecting their 
homes and families, it is indeed a charity that cannot be 
too highly estimated and is worthy of substantial support." 
President's Report, Decatur, Illinois, 1890. 

"The prime object of the Woman's Industrial Exchange 


of Minneapolis is : First To assist women who must 
maintain themselves. Second To assist girls or women 
to pursue a course of study as a means of support." Fourth 
Annual Report, Minneapolis, Minnesota, 1888. 

"There are few charities that appeal more strongly to 
public sympathy than those whose aim is amelioration 
of the sufferings of women, for whom the struggle of life 
is beset by a thousand almost insurmountable difficulties." 
San Francisco, California. 

"The object of this Association shall be to maintain in 
the city of Little Rock, Arkansas, a place for the reception, 
exhibition, and sale of articles, the product and manufac- 
ture of industrious women, and to assist by such means 
as may be found efficient to that end said women to turn 
to personal profit their talent and industry for earning an 
honest livelihood ; to facilitate a sale of such articles as the 
women aforesaid may have or desire to dispose of; also 
generally to assist women in their efforts to earn an honest 
maintenance by their own industry, by and through such 
instrumentalities as the society may find conducive to that 
end." Little Rock, Arkansas. 

"In addition to the attainment of the chief object of the 
exchange, namely, assisting a needy woman to turn to 
personal profit whatever useful talent she may possess, it 
is also of some moment to have demonstrated the practica- 
bility and possibility of the work in other directions." 
New Orleans, Louisiana, 1888. 

"The exchange has, during the past year, been mainly 


supported by the exertions and untiring energy of the 
board of managers. The ladies in that way have demon- 
strated the Chrisitan charity that fills the good woman's 
heart when she is able to assist her sister woman." 
President's Report, Augusta, Georgia, 1891. 

"The object of this society is to furnish a depository for 
the reception, exhibition, and sale of articles made by 
ladies attempting to support themselves." Stamford, 

"The Philadelphia Exchange for Woman's Work is an 
institution formed by a number of women of Philadelphia 
for the purpose of helping women to help themselves." 
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Circular of 1890. 

"Among the number of charities which seem to be 
constantly increasing in our large city, we must again 
bring to the notice of its friends the Woman's Work 
Exchange and Decorative Art Society of Brooklyn." 
Annual Report, 1889. 

The object of the Woman's Exchange is 
thus seen to be charity, not charity pure and 
simple, but charity having a double end in 
view. The first and most important aim is 
the direction into remunerative channels of 
the work of "gentlewomen suddenly re- 
duced to abject penury," with the second- 
ary aim of encouraging "the principle of 


self-help in the minds of girls and women, 
who in the future, if necessary, will be 
helpful and not helpless when misfortune 
comes." In carrying out its object, the 
exchange receives under specified con- 
ditions all articles coming under the three 
general classes of domestic work, needle- 
work, and art- work. 

The domestic department includes all 
forms of food that can be prepared by the 
consigners in their own homes and sold 
through the exchange. These articles form 
a dozen different classes and comprise more 
than two hundred and fifty varieties. They 
include every form of bread, pastry, cake, 
small cakes, cookies, cold meats, salads, 
soups, special and fancy desserts, preserves, 
jellies, jams, pickles, sauces, and delicacies 
for the sick. 1 In the department of needle- 
work nearly a hundred different articles are 
enumerated by the different exchanges, 
and the number is practically without 

1 A very full list is given by F. A. Lincoln, Directory of Ex- 
cJianges for Woman's Work, pp. 24-26. 


limit, since it includes every form of plain 
and fancy sewing. The art department is 
for the special encouragement of decora- 
tive art, and its possibilities as well as 
actual achievements are very great. These 
three departments are found in all the 
exchanges, but each exchange, according 
to its locality and the consequent needs of 
the community, adds its own special line of 
work. A few receive scientific and literary 
work, others arrange for cleaning and 
mending lace, re-covering furniture, the care 
of fine bric-a-brac, writing and copying, the 
preparation of lunches for travelers and 
picnic parties, and a few take orders for 
shopping. All the exchanges have con- 
nected with them an order department, 
which is considered an especially satisfac- 
tory and remunerative part of their work. 

In fulfilling its aim, the exchange thus 
enters as a competitor into the industrial 
field, though without consideration on its 
own part of this side of its work; and it 
is as an economic factor, rather than as 


a charitable organization, that it is con- 
sidered in this chapter. The place it has 
already won in this field is shown by the 
fact that there are now in operation about 
seventy-five exchanges, a few in small 
places in thinly settled localities having 
been abandoned, and these are scattered 
through twenty-three states and the Dis- 
trict of Columbia. A few of them are 
carried on by private enterprise, and make 
no public report, and several organizations 
have as yet made no statement of their 
financial condition. Sixty-six of them, 
however, receive work from nearly sixteen 
thousand consigners, to whom they paid 
last year, according to their last annual 
reports, a total amount of more than 
$400,000. The following table shows the 
amount paid consigners by the ten largest 
Exchanges : 

New York Exchange for Woman's Work, $51,000 
Boston Women's Educational and Indus- 
trial Union, 34,510 
Cincinnati Woman's Exchange, 26,992 


San Francisco Woman's Exchange, 23,372 

Baltimore Woman's Industrial Exchange, 15,500 

Philadelphia Exchange for Woman's Work, 14,562 

Columbus Woman's Exchange, 13,000 

Minneapolis Woman's Industrial Exchange, 12,791 

Topeka Ladies' Exchange, 10,000 

Milwaukee Woman's Industrial Exchange, 9,824 

It is of interest also to note the total 
amount paid to consigners by different 
exchanges since their organization. 

The following table will show this : 

New York Exchange for Woman's Work 

(12 years), $417,435 

Cincinnati Women's Exchange (8 years), 175,130 
New Orleans Christian Woman's Exchange 

(10 years), 173,223 

Boston Woman's Educational and Indus- 
trial Union (6 years), 148,588 
St. Louis Woman's Exchange (8 years), 55,000 
San Francisco Woman's Exchange (5 years) , 50,000 
Rhode Island (Providence) Exchange for 

Woman's Work (10 years), 48,469 

Richmond (Va.) Exchange for Woman's 

Work (7 years), 27,324 

St. Joseph (Mo.) Exchange for Woman's 

Work (6 years), 19,233 

The Woman's Exchange regarded as an 


economic factor must be considered in three 
aspects: (1) As a business enterprise; 

(2) from the point of view of the producer; 

(3) from the standpoint of the consumer. 
Viewed purely as a business enterprise, 

the exchange is a failure. Having charity 
to a particular class as its object pure and 
simple, no other result could be expected. 
Aside from the few private exchanges that 
have been started as business ventures, but 
two or three are self-supporting. That at 
New Orleans has been self-supporting from 
its organization, and it has been one of the 
best organized and most successful of all 
the associations. Some of the organiza- 
tions go so far as to say that self-support 
has never been an object with them. 1 In 
the great majority of the exchanges a com- 
mission of ten per cent is charged on all 

1 "But it is not to be understood, because of this surplus, 
that the Woman's Exchange is in any sense self-supporting. 
Such is not to be expected, and has never been any part of our 
scheme. The surplus comes, as was always anticipated, from 
public benevolence." Third Annual Report Woman's Exchange, 
San Francisco, California. 


goods sold, but this sum is inadequate to 
meet current expenses. The exchange, 
therefore, relies for its support upon private 
contributions and the ordinary means 
adopted by other benevolent organizations 
for increasing their revenues. 

The treasurers' reports show that part of 
the funds at command have been derived 
from charity balls, calico balls, rose shows, 
chrysanthemum shows, flower festivals, 
baseball benefits, picnics, excursions, con- 
certs, bazars, lectures, readings, Valentine's 
Day cotillon suppers, concert suppers, 
club entertainments, carnivals, kermesses, 
sale of cook-books, flower-seeds, and 
Jenness-Miller goods, and in some in- 
stances from raffles. 

This fact alone separates the exchange 
from other business enterprises. Having 
no capital to invest, it must pursue a hand- 
to-mouth policy, and employ means for 
increasing its resources which would never 
be considered by other business houses. 
In a few cases where exchanges own their 


buildings and sublet parts of them, or 
where they are able to maintain a profitable 
lunch department, it is possible more nearly 
to make both ends meet. Under other 
circumstances the exchange becomes poorer 
as its business increases, and there is 
a fresh demand for subscriptions and 
entertainments to meet current expenses. 
It is true that the exchange does not wish 
to be considered a business enterprise and 
be judged by ordinary business rules, but 
the fact that it enters the business field as a 
competitor with other enterprises makes it 
inevitable that it be judged as a business 
house, and not as a charitable organization. 
The persistence with which different ex- 
changes iterate and reiterate the statement 
that their object is charity "to needy 
gentlewomen," and not financial return, is 
evidence of a consciousness of their pre- 
sent ambiguous position. As long as the 
exchange undertakes business activities, 
it cannot escape judgment by business 


The exchange has from the first ham- 
pered itself with many hard and pernicious 
conditions. The requirement is universal 
that all consignments shall be made by 
women. Valuable industrial competition is 
thus shut out, and the exclusion of men 
from the exchange is as unreasonable as 
the exclusion of women from competition in 
other occupations. There are many house- 
hold articles, the product of inventive and 
artistic talent, which are the handiwork of 
men and should find place in the exchange. 

The second restriction found in the 
majority of exchanges is that no consign- 
ments shall be received except from women 
who state that they are dependent for entire 
or partial support on the sale of the articles 
offered. Some of the early exchanges 
made at first the additional requirement 
that the work offered should be by women 
who had formerly been in affluent circum- 
stances but were rendered self-supporting 
by changes of circumstances. The latter 
requirement has now been abolished, and 


in a few of the more recently organized 
exchanges, especially in the exchange 
departments of the Woman's Educational 
and Industrial Unions, the requirement of 
the necessity of self-support has been 
abandoned. Some exchanges also modify 
this condition so far as to state that all the 
proceeds of sales made for those not de- 
pendent on their own exertions for support 
must be appropriated to charitable pur- 
poses, and at least one exchange apologizes 
for accepting articles from young girls who 
had the necessaries, though not the luxuries, 
of life, on the ground that since these girls 
give the results of their work to charity, 
the exchange is teaching them a valuable 

The principle is a pernicious one, and is 
never recognized in other enterprises. Just 
as long as society asks concerning any article 
"Does the maker need money?" and not 
"Is it the best that can be made for the 
price?" just so long a premium is put on 
mediocre work. It is a question never 


asked in other kinds of business; the best 
article is sought, regardless of personal 
considerations, and it is at least an open 
question whether in the end the interests of 
the individuals to be benefited by employ- 
ment are not thus best served. If the same 
principle were applied to the legal and 
medical professions, society would be de- 
prived of the services of many whose help 
is necessary for the preservation of its best 
interests. The application of the same 
principle elsewhere would cause every 
producer to withdraw from the industrial 
field as soon as he had gained a compe- 
tence. The result would often be that as 
soon as an individual had reached great 
skill in producing an article, he would be 
forced to step aside and yield his place to 

Moreover, society has a right to demand 
the best that every individual can give it; 
and just as long as the exchange persist- 
ently denies itself and its patrons the 
benefit of the best work wherever it is 


found, regardless of money considerations, 
just so long it will fail to secure the best 
economic results. It does not indeed con- 
cern itself with these results, but it cannot 
thereby escape them. 

But aside from the injurious economic 
effects in thus limiting production, it places 
the whole idea of work on a wrong basis. 
It assumes that work for women is a mis- 
fortune, not the birthright inheritance of 
every individual, and that therefore they are 
to work for remuneration only when com- 
pelled by dire necessity. Moreover, every 
individual has the same right to work that 
he has to life itself, and to shut out the rich 
and the well-to-do from the privilege is as 
unfair to the individual as it is to society. 
Indeed, it may be assumed that the mem- 
bers of this class are, as a rule, better quali- 
fied for work than are other classes, since 
wealth has brought opportunities in the 
direction of education and special training, 
and society loses in the same proportion as 
it deprives itself of their services. It is true 


also that the higher the standard set in any 
department of work, the greater the im- 
provement in the work of all workers in the 
same field. 

But not only does the exchange deprive 
itself of positive good in thus refusing to 
accept the best wherever it is found, regard- 
less of money considerations it puts upon 
itself the positive burden of enforcing a 
questionable condition. "Necessity for 
self-support" is a relative term; and when 
the responsibility of the decision is put on 
the consigner, the danger is incurred on the 
one side of shutting out from the privilege of 
the exchange many who are unduly con- 
scientious, and on the other side of encour- 
aging deceit in regard to their necessities on 
the part of the less scrupulous. The ex- 
change must be ever on the alert to guard 
against imposition and fraud; and however 
much it may disclaim the idea, it must to 
a certain extent make itself the judge of its 
consigners' necessities. When this alterna- 
tive is forced upon it, it must perform a task 


difficult in proportion to its delicacy, and 
one that would be resented in the business 
world as an unwarranted intrusion into 
private affairs. 1 The exchange by the use 
of these methods prejudices itself in a busi- 
ness way in the eyes of many who would be 
valuable consigners. 

1 How difficult the task is may be inferred from the fol- 
lowing extracts from annual reports of two exchanges. 

"While we can by watchfulness avoid any considerable 
number of such transactions (consignment of goods by other 
than needy and distressed gentlewomen) on the part of the 
residents of this coast, we are utterly helpless in cases coming 
from the other side of the continent, for which reason I think it 
is just and prudent to stop such exhibits altogether." 

" A prevalent opinion in the community, and one that does 
us no little harm, is that we help many well-to-do women. 
It is a very difficult, as well as a very delicate matter to learn 
just how needy our depositors are; we do not attempt to do so. 
We assume that they need to earn money from the fact that 
they desire to become depositors. But we gradually become 
more or less familiar with their lives, and we can assure you, 
as a rule, our money is well paid out. 

"Sometimes people unwittingly make very damaging state- 
ments. A short time ago a lady remarked to a friend that the 
exchange was not accomplishing any good it only helped 
well-to-do women to earn pin-money, and verified her state- 
ment by giving the name of a wealthy lady who said she was 
a depositor. The matter was inquired into and the said name 
was found, but we also learned that the ticket had been bought 
to give to a needy woman, who became the depositor." 


A third restriction that has fettered the 
exchange has been the geographical limita- 
tion imposed by many organizations. Many 
receive no consignments from outside the 
state, some New England exchanges limit 
consignments to that section, a few restrict 
consignments to residents of the city, and 
others, while having consigners in all parts 
of the country, congratulate themselves, as 
does one association, that "two thirds of the 
proportion of money paid out goes to the 
ladies of this city." Still another exchange, 
on the Pacific coast, complains bitterly of 
the fact that articles have been sent to it by 
persons outside the state, and not depend- 
ent on their own labors for support, " but 
who would speculate upon the charitable 
spirit of the public," and its president's 
report recommends that it "prohibit ex- 
hibits from the East altogether." This re- 
striction undoubtedly grows out of the idea 
that the exchange is a dispenser of charity 
and should therefore aid first its own friends 
and neighbors. It is a spirit akin to that 


which in mediaeval and even in modern 
times has resented the entrance of new 
workers into any occupation or community. 
But it must again be insisted that while the 
exchange is theoretically only a benevolent 
association, it is practically a business house, 
and as such must be judged by business 
principles. The most successful business 
firm that should adopt the policy of purchas- 
ing its supplies only within the state or city 
would soon find its trade decreasing, while 
for a new house to adopt the policy would 
be suicidal. Even the present high protect- 
ive tariff is not so absolutely prohibitory as 
is this provision of many of the exchanges. 
Aside from other disadvantages, the plan 
prevents the infusion of new ideas so neces- 
sary to healthy growth, and it renders al- 
most impossible that market criticism which 
secures the best industrial results. It is in 
distinct violation of that principle of com- 
mercial comity between states which led the 
framers of the Constitution to prohibit both 
import and export duties on all goods ex- 


changed between the states, and to that 
extent is out of harmony with the recognized 
policy of the country regarding interstate 
exchange of commodities. 

A fourth economic difficulty is the fact 
that the exchange has no capital. It does 
simply a commission business, and it is 
a recipient of whatever goods are sent it 
which reach a certain standard; its attitude 
is therefore negative rather than positive. 
Its consigners are obliged to purchase their 
own materials in small quantities in retail 
markets, and therefore to place a higher 
price on their articles than would be the 
case could the materials be purchased by or 
through a central office. This lack of capi- 
tal and its passive attitude prevent the ex- 
change from keeping its finger on the pulse 
of the market; there is no connection be- 
tween supply and demand, and no way of 
establishing such connection. This diffi- 
culty, which is encountered in all business 
enterprises, is multiplied by the number of 
the consigners. The exchange refuses to 


accept articles if they do not reach a fixed 
standard, but not because the market is 
glutted. The loss accruing from an over- 
stocked market, it is true, falls immediately 
on the consigners rather than on the ex- 
change, but the exchange suffers directly 
through the loss of the commission retained 
on all goods sold, and indirectly in acquir- 
ing the reputation as a business house of 
keeping in stock articles not in demand and 
of failing to supply the market with others 
that are. 

The exchange as a business enterprise is 
also open to other criticisms. It is not self- 
supporting, and therefore gives a partial 
support to women who have come into 
competition with women not receiving the 
assistance of the exchange. The well- 
meant charity is thus instrumental in 
keeping at a low rate the earnings of women 
who do not receive such partial support. 
Many women are too much the victims of 
prejudice and false pride to come out openly 
as wage-earners, and to these the exchange 


gives its assistance, to the disadvantage of 
those who struggle on unaided by it. It 
has employed "gentlewomen" in its sal- 
aried positions, and by this restriction 
practically carried out, though not em- 
bodied in its rules, it has deprived itself of 
the services of some who would have been 
of valuable assistance through the business 
experience and executive ability they could 
have brought to bear on this work. It has 
required that all its consigners shall be 
known by number and not by name, thus 
allying itself, as regards one custom, with 
penal and reformatory institutions. The 
exchange by its limitations has encouraged 
the idea that women can work by stealth 
without being guilty of moral cowardice, 
and it has fostered the spirit that carries 
lunches in music-rolls, calls for laundry- 
work only after dark, and does not receive 
as boarders or lodgers wage-earning women. 
It has countenanced a fictitious social 
aristocracy by referring so uniformly to its 
consigners as "needy gentlewomen." It 


has said in effect, " work for remuneration is 
honorable for all men; work for remunera- 
tion is honorable for women only when 
necessity compels it." 

But while the exchange is open to serious 
criticism from a business point of view, it 
has accomplished much and has in it still 
greater possibilities. It has set a high 
standard for work, and insisted that this 
standard should be reached by every con- 
signer not only once or generally, but 
invariably. It has maintained this standard 
in the face of hostile criticism and the 
feeling that a charitable organization ought 
to accept poor work if those presenting it 
are in need of money. It has shown that 
success in work cannot be attained by a 
simple desire for it or need of it pecuniarily. 
It has taught that accuracy, scientific 
knowledge, artistic training, habits of ob- 
servation, good judgment, courage and 
perseverance are better staffs in reaching 
success than reliance upon haphazard 
- methods and the compliments of flattering 


friends. It has raised the standard of 
decorative and artistic needle-work by in- 
corporating into its rules a refusal to accept 
calico patchwork, wax, leather, hair, feather 
rice, spatter, splinter, and cardboard work. 
It has taught many women that a model 
recipe for cake is not "A few eggs, a little 
milk, a lump of butter, a pinch of salt, 
sweetening to taste, flour enough to thicken ; 
give a good beating and bake according 
to judgment." More than all this, it has 
pointed out to women a means of support 
that can be carried on within their own 
homes, and is perfectly compatible with 
other work necessarily performed there. It 
has in effect opened up a new occupation to 
women, in that it has taught them that their 
accomplishments may become of pecuniary 
value, and a talent for the more prosaic do- 
mestic duties be turned into a fine art and 
made remunerative. It has enabled many 
women who have a taste for household 
employments in their various forms to take 
up such occupations as a business, when 


they would otherwise have drifted into 
other occupations for which they have had 
no inclination. The exchange thus assumes 
a not unimportant place in the history of 
woman's occupations. The factory system 
of manufactures transferred the labor of 
many women from the home of the pro- 
ducer to the business establishment of a 
corporation. The anti-slavery agitation and 
the founding of Mount Holyoke Seminary 
and Oberlin College gave women a more 
prominent place as teachers and in the 
professions. The Civil War opened the 
doors of mercantile pursuits. It has been 
through the Woman's Exchange that women 
have been taught that a means of support 
lies open to them at their own doors; and 
thus the exchange has done something to 
relieve the pressure in over-crowded occu- 

The advantage that has been taken of 
this new idea is widespread. The sixteen 
thousand consigners on the books of the 
exchange are but a part of the still larger 


number of women who are turning to 
practical advantage their tastes for sewing 
and cooking in all of their various forms. 
Before the opening of the exchange, as 
still, indeed, women seeking remunerative 
employment were forced to go into one of 
the four great occupations open to women 
work in factories, teaching, domestic 
service, and work in shops. But it has been 
impossible for all women desiring occupa- 
tion to find it in these four great classes of 
employment. Many desire employment, 
but are forced to carry it on in their own 
homes; others have no taste whatever for 
any of the lines of work mentioned; and 
conditions under which many kinds of work 
are performed render other occupations 
obnoxious to others; still others prefer work 
which gives greater opportunity for the 
exercise of individual taste and ingenuity 
than do some of these occupations. Such 
women have found through the exchange a 
means of support and opportunity for work 
which they could not find elsewhere. They 


are learning that society is coming to respect 
more the woman who supports herself by 
making good bread, cakes, and preserves 
than the woman who teaches school indif- 
ferently, gives poor elocutionary perform- 
ances, or becomes a mere mechanical 
contrivance in a shop or factory. They 
are finding that the stamp of approval 
is ultimately to be put on the way work is 
done rather than on the occupation itself. 
Thus it is that hundreds of women from 
Maine to Texas and California are obtain- 
ing for themselves and others partial or 
entire support by making and offering for 
sale, either through business houses or 
private orders, cake, bread, preserved 
fruit, salads, desserts, and an innumerable 
number of special articles, in addition to 
the products of artistic needle-work and 
decorative art-work. Not only are these 
articles found in the large cities, but in 
country villages many women are engaged 
in such work and often find a ready sale for 
it without the trouble and expense of send- 


ing it to the city markets. In one village of 
only five hundred inhabitants one young 
woman makes and sells daily thirty loaves 
of bread. In a small Eastern village an- 
other bakes and sells daily from thirty to 
a hundred loaves of bread according to the 
season, and cake and pastry in the same 

The demand for work of this kind is as 
yet limited, and therefore the net profits are 
in most cases small; yet in some instances 
a fair competence has been secured. One 
person in a country town has made a hand- 
some living by making chicken salad which 
has been sold in New York City. Another 
has cleared four hundred dollars each sea- 
son by making preserves and jellies on pri- 
vate orders. A third has built up a large 
business, employing from three to five as- 
sistants, in making cake. Still another, 
living near a Southern city, has built up 
"an exceedingly remunerative business" by 
selling to city grocers pickles, preserves, 
cakes and pies. One cause given for her 


success has been the fact that "she has 
allowed no imperfect goods to be sold; 
everything has been the best, whether she 
has gained or lost on it." A fifth has netted 
one thousand dollars a year by preparing 
mince-meat and making pies of every de- 
scription; and a sixth has, with the assist- 
ance of two daughters, netted yearly one 
thousand five hundred dollars above all 
expenses, except rent, in preparing fancy 
lunch dishes on shortest notice and dishes 
for invalids. Still one more began by bor- 
rowing a barrel of flour, and now has a 
salesroom where she sells daily from eighty 
to a hundred dozen Parker House rolls, in 
addition to bread made in every conceivable 
way, from every kind of grain. More mod- 
erate incomes are made by others in putting 
up pure fruit juices and shrubs, in prepar- 
ing fresh sweet herbs, in making Saratoga 
potatoes, and consomme in the form of 
jelly ready to melt and serve. So successful 
have been these ventures that some of those 
engaging in them have acquired not only 


a financial profit, but a wide reputation for 
the superiority of their goods. In some in- 
stances the articles made are included in the 
catalogue of goods sold by the leading deal- 
ers in fine groceries in New York City. 

These illustrations have been taken from 
the single department of domestic work; 
similar ones could be given from the class 
of plain and fancy needle-work and decora- 
tive art work. Surely it is better for the 
individual and better for society that these 
persons should turn to useful account their 
various talents, rather than attempt to enter 
many of the overcrowded occupations and 
do work for which they have neither talent 
nor inclination. 

But not only is the exchange directly 
and indirectly of value to producers, it is of 
equal importance to consumers. It sim- 
plifies many housekeeping problems in 
families where there is more work than can 
be performed by one domestic employee 
and not enough for two, by making it 
possible to purchase for the table and other 


household purposes many articles made out 
of the house of the consumer. In a similar 
way it is of assistance in all families who do 
"light housekeeping." It also enables 
them to purchase articles ready for use 
which have been made under the most 
favorable conditions. A specific example 
of this is seen in the preparation of fruit for 
winter use. This is at present done in the 
family of each consumer, but the canning 
in cities, by individual families, of fruit, 
often in an over-ripe or a half-ripe con- 
dition, is as anomalous as would be the 
making to-day of dairy products in the 
same localities. The canning factory has 
come into existence to meet the demand, 
but the canning factory cannot meet the 
needs of private families, since the great 
perfection as regards results is secured only 
when articles are handled in small quan- 
tities. If all fruits could be preserved in 
the localities where they are produced, the 
consumer would gain not only in securing 
a better article than can now be produced 


after shipment, but the cost would ulti- 
mately be lessened, since fruit could be 
thus preserved at less expense than when 
it is shipped to cities and there sold at a 
price including cost of transportation and 
high rents. Ripe fruit demands the most 
speedy and therefore the most expensive 
modes of transportation; preserved fruits 
can be shipped at leisure, by inexpensive 
methods. The consumer must also be 
indirectly benefited as well as the producer, 
from the fact that such a policy would pre- 
vent a glut in the market of such perishable 
articles and the consequent discourage- 
ment on the part of the producer, some- 
times ending in a resolution to grow no 
more fruit for market, owing to the loss 
entailed. What is true of the purchase of 
fruit thus prepared is true also of numerous 
other articles. Scores of articles such as 
boned turkey, calf's-foot jelly, chicken 
jelly, chicken broth, chicken croquettes 
and chicken salad, pressed veal, mince- 
meat, bouillon, plum pudding and many 


miscellaneous articles could be thus pro- 
duced under more advantageous conditions 
than at present. Moreover, many aban- 
doned farms could be utilized as fruit 
farms, or for other purposes, which are 
now too remote from shipping centres to 
permit the transportation of ripe fruit, but 
could be made of use through the exchange. 
Another advantage gained by the con- 
sumers is that they are thus able to take 
advantage of specialized labor. This, 
again, is evident in the domestic depart- 
ment. The consumer is usually obliged to 
depend on the skill of a single cook or baker, 
while through the exchange the works of 
many producers are placed side by side in 
competition, and thus in the end the highest 
standard is secured. For both producer 
and consumer, therefore, the exchange is 
of advantage in thus affording an avenue 
for specialized work. It thus makes pos- 
sible to a certain extent the division of labor 
which has been but partially accomplished 
in the household. 


Another field of work open to the ex- 
change is in becoming a medium for the 
exchange of workers as well as of work - 
of affording a means of communication 
between workers in different lines or be- 
tween the producer and consumer. Very 
much of the work now done in the house by 
those living there could be done to better 
advantage by those coming in from outside. 
Special skill in arranging rooms, hanging 
pictures, preparing for lunches, teas, or 
other social entertainments, repairing fur- 
niture and wardrobes, fine laundry-work, 
special table-service, etc., could be per- 
formed for housekeepers by those who 
retain their own homes and yet are able and 
anxious to give a few hours daily to outside 
work. The exchange, through a bureau 
of information, could accomplish much for 
both those wishing work and those wishing 
workers, as well as in a business way for 
itself. In many ways, it is thus seen, the 
exchange is in harmony with the economic 
and industrial development of the time. As 


far as this is true it has in it the elements 
of permanence. Wherever it runs at right 
angles to present economic tendencies, it 
must be open to criticism and also contain 
in itself the germs of subsequent failure. 

If all idea of charity per se could be 
eliminated from the exchange, if the word 
"gentlewoman" could be dropped from the 
pages of its reports, the by-law limiting con- 
signers to self-supporting women stricken 
out, its consigners known by name instead 
of by number, and the idea abandoned 
that it is to help women to help themselves 
only "when misfortune comes;" if it could 
cease to be supported by donations, ker- 
messes, charity balls, and miscellaneous 
entertainments; if it could refuse to con- 
stitute itself a judge of its consigners' 
necessities ; if the name could be changed to 
Household Exchange, or one signifying the 
character of the goods sold rather than the 
nature of the makers; if, in other words, 
the Woman's Exchange could be put on a 
purely business basis and become self-sup- 


porting, it would cease to be what it now is, 
"a palliative for the ills of the few," and 
become what it aims to be, "a curative for 
the sufferings of the many." 

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