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Title: Work for Women
Author: Manson, George J.
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Work for Women" ***

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                  WORK FOR WOMEN


                 GEORGE J. MANSON

                    NEW YORK
               G. P. PUTNAM'S SONS
             27 & 29 WEST 23D STREET

                 COPYRIGHT BY
             G. P. PUTNAM'S SONS


When a woman, either from choice or through necessity, makes up her
mind to work for a living, and has selected the employment that seems
most suited to her, she probably asks herself such questions as these:
"Is there a good chance to get work? How long will it take me to make
myself competent? Are there many in the business? How much do they
earn? How hard will I have to work? Are there any objections against
entering this employment; if so, what are they?"

To answer, as far as it is possible, these and similar questions is
the object of this little book. Some of the most important avocations,
professions, trades, businesses, in which women are now engaged,
have been selected, and the effort made to enlighten the would-be
woman-worker as to the practical points of interest connected with
each occupation. The information thus given has, in each case, been
gained from the most reliable sources.

In the winter of 1882-3 I contributed to the columns of the New York
_Christian Union_ a series of articles under the title of "Work for
Women." They were written with the aim of furnishing to women useful
information in regard to various industries in which the gentler sex
are successfully seeking employment, and met with considerable favor
from the readers of that excellent journal. Through the courtesy of
Rev. Lyman Abbott and Hamilton W. Mabie, editors of the _Christian
Union_, the publishers of this book are allowed to use the title of
that series. It should be stated, however, that the chapters in the
present book are made up from new investigations, and that none of
them are reproductions of any of the articles in the series alluded

G. J. M.



  INDUSTRIAL DESIGNING                                              1

  SHORT-HAND WRITING                                               10

  TELEGRAPHY                                                       20

  FEATHER CURLING                                                  29

  PHOTOGRAPHY                                                      37

  PROFESSIONAL NURSING                                             47


  THE DRAMA.--LECTURERS AND READERS                                73

  BOOK-AGENTS                                                      97

  DRESS-MAKING--MILLINERY                                         109

  TEACHING                                                        116

    Market Gardening, Poultry-raising, Bee-keeping, House-keepers,
    Cashiers, Button-hole Making, Floriculture, Authorship,
    Type-writing, and Working in Brass                            123



A great many women have, or think they have, a taste for art. They can
make a pretty sketch, or draw a landscape quite fairly, and so they
think they will "take up" art as a profession. And nearly all of them
fail of success. The trouble seems to be that they lack originality;
they are mere copyists, and too often very poor reproducers of the
things they copy.

One branch of art--that of industrial designing--offers golden
opportunities to make an excellent living in a pleasant way, but,
before deciding to enter it, a woman should be very sure indeed that
she has the necessary qualifications to pursue the study successfully;
otherwise her time will be wasted, and probably her heart will be so
discouraged that she will be sadly unfitted for any kind of work for
a long time to come.

It is _industrial_ art of which I am speaking. A few introductory
words may be necessary, for the benefit of some persons ignorant in
the matter, to show what women are doing, or rather successfully
attempting to do, in that line at the present time.

Industrial or technical designing means designing for wall-paper,
lace, silk, chintz, calico, oil-cloth, linoleum, book-covers,
embroidery, wood-carving, silver-ware, jewelry, silks, handkerchiefs,
upholstery goods, and carpets of all grades, from ingrains to
moquettes. Up to within a very short period all this work has been
done by men, principally foreigners; but talented and enterprising
women saw that they were able to do the work equally well, and it is
only a question of time when women will entirely monopolize this field
of industry.

It will be seen at once that the woman who is ambitious to become an
industrial designer must have, first of all, originality. She must
have good taste and an eye for color. Drawing must come natural to
her. The mere ability to copy pictures, or make sketches from nature
is not enough. She must be full of ideas, and for some of the work
mentioned (notably carpet designing) she must have what might be
called a combining mind--that is, the ability to get ideas from
several designs, and by combining them together, make something new.
It must be confessed that this kind of ability is rare. Very few men
possess it, and fewer women. Manufacturers of carpets and wall-papers
say that they have to import nearly all their help of this kind from
Europe; they cannot find in this country the right kind of men to do
the work.

But because a woman has not this talent for originating largely
developed, she should not be discouraged from becoming an industrial
designer. If she has even a little talent in that direction she may
find, after taking a few lessons, that the study is very congenial to
her, and that she has more ability than she imagined. The kind of
designing of which I am particularly speaking in this chapter is
designing for carpets, oil-cloths, and wall-paper. That seems to be
the most popular at the present time, though there is a good chance
for skilled workers in the other branches to which allusion was made.

It is surprising what a demand there is for new designs in carpets,
wall-paper, and oil-cloths. One would suppose that a single design
would last for a long time; but such is not the fact. The demand of
the public is continually for novelty; the fashion changes in these
matters, just the same as it does in bonnets and dresses, and each
manufacturer is competing with his neighbor to get something pretty
and original. A good design can always be sold at a good price; an
ordinary or a poor design has no chance at all.

There are two schools in New York where industrial designing is taught
to women. They are both carried on by women, and both present their
claims to the public under very favorable auspices. Some of the
instruction, however, is given by men--practical workers in the
various branches of art--who lecture on the special subject with which
they are familiar. Here are some of the subjects of these lectures:
"Conventionalization in Design," "Practical Design as Applied to
Wall-paper," "Principles of Botany" (delivered by a lady), "Historical
Ornament in Design," "Harmony in Color in Design," "Design as Applied
to Carpets," "Geometry in Design," "The Influence of Color in Design,"
"Purity of Design," "Oriental Influence in Design," "Plant Forms:
their Use and Abuse." This last lecture was delivered by a lady. But
the pupil gets most of her learning in the class-room, the lectures
being considered simply as adjunct to the regular system of

In one school the first term begins October 2d, and closes December
22d. The second term begins January 4th and closes March 30th. The
post-graduate course commences April 2d, and ends May 25th. Those
pupils who have no knowledge of drawing are obliged to enter the
elementary class. Those who enter the advanced classes are obliged to
present specimens of free-hand drawing, such as flowers from nature,
ornamental figures or scrolls. During the year each pupil in the
elementary class must complete nine certificate sheets, of uniform
size (15 x 22 inches), one each of geometrical problems, blackboard
and dictation exercise, enlarged copy in outline, conventionalized
flowers in a geometrical figure, applied designs, outline drawing from
objects, outline drawing from flowers, historical ornament, botanical
analysis. In the flower painting class, three outline drawings, and
four paintings of flowers from nature. In the carpet class, one each
of a two-ply ingrain on the lines, three-ply ingrain on the lines,
tapestry sketch, body-Brussels sketch, moquette sketch, optional
sketch (for either stair-carpet, rug, chair back and seats, hall
carpet, or borders, body-Brussels working design on the lines,
tapestry working design on the lines.)

The terms of tuition in this school per term are: for the elementary
class, $15; the advanced class, $25; the teachers' class, $15. Ten
lessons in wood-carving and designing for book-covers cost $12. Six
lessons in embroidery cost $5, and for a course of instruction
in flower-painting the charge is $15. The materials used in the
elementary class cost from $7 to $10, and for the advanced classes
from $10 to $12. The elementary class studies an hour and a half a day
three times a week; the advanced class the same length of time twice a

According to the prospectus of this school, it takes three years to
become thoroughly proficient. One year is spent in the elementary
class, and in obtaining a knowledge of flower-painting and making
simple designs for calico, muslin, stained glass, inlaid woods,
jewelry, etc. The second year is devoted to making advanced designs
for oil-cloth, linoleum, silk, and carpets. The third year is spent in
doing practical work under the supervision of the principal and her
assistants. It would not seem to be necessary for a pupil to return to
the school the third year for this purpose. After her first two years'
instruction she ought to be able to put her knowledge to business use,
and seek to sell her work among the various manufacturers.

In the other school to which I have referred the terms for tuition in
drawing are $12 for a term of three months--thirty-six lessons. In the
design class the fee is $20. The method of instruction is
substantially the same as in the school first mentioned.

And now comes the interesting question, How much can a woman make in
this profession, after she has become thoroughly qualified? I do not
think she can hope to get a permanent salaried position, at least just
at present. For this profession, albeit a good one, is a new one for
women; it is less than two years since the first school was started.
Men still hold the best positions, and they receive large salaries,
from $1,000 to $4,000 a year. In the present condition of affairs,
hedged in as the female industrial designer is by the masculine doubt
of the employer as to her ability, and the masculine jealousy of the
employé whose work she seeks to do, it would be the best plan for her
to do piece-work at her own home, or office. Her earnings, under this
plan, cannot even be stated approximately. The pay for a good carpet
design would be $20 to $30, and the design can be made in two and a
half days. Wall-paper designs bring $10 to $15; an oil-cloth sketch,
$8 or $10--the technicalities to be mastered in this latter branch are
not so great as in the others.


The custom of employing women as amanuenses has grown very largely of
late years. It is said on good authority that, fifteen years ago,
there were but five females in the city of New York who made their
living by writing short-hand; at the present time there are, as nearly
as can be estimated, between one hundred and fifty and two hundred.

"Which is the best system of short-hand?" is generally the first
question asked by the person desirous of entering this profession. And
that is a very difficult question to answer, and many of the answers
that have been given to it have been very far from honest.

In the first place, it must be stated that there are about a score of
"systems" of short-hand before the public, each of which has its
defenders and advocates. Each is highly recommended in commendatory
letters from this or that distinguished court or newspaper reporter.
Each can show, and does show, first-class notices from prominent daily
and weekly papers, and each has a circle of followers who loudly
proclaim that the particular system they follow is not only the best
in existence, but really the only one worth learning. In the search
after short-hand truth, it is but natural that the would-be learner
gets bewildered, and asks, "What shall I do?"

The system of short-hand practised by the vast majority of writers,
both in this country and in England, is phonography, invented by Isaac
Pitman, of Bath, England, in 1837. That system is based on an alphabet
representing the sounds of the language, instead of the ordinary
alphabet we use in spelling words. Since 1837 there have been many
phonographic text-books written by as many different authors, and each
author has added a hook here or a circle there, lengthened this
stroke, or made that one heavier; and that accounts for the variety of
"systems." The fact is, they are all based on the original phonography
of Isaac Pitman, who himself, by the way, was the first to set the
example of making changes and "improvements." For all _practical_
purposes phonography is no better now than it was thirty years ago. I
dwell upon this point, for I know "the best system" has been a sad
stumbling-block to many young people who were naturally anxious to
start on the right road.

Which system, then, is the best? Answer: any system will answer the
purpose of the woman who desires to become simply a phonographic
amanuensis. And it is only of that branch of work of which I write,
for though there are a few female court reporters in the country, the
number is so small and the positions so exceptional in many respects
that it is not worth while to speak of woman's employment in that

Let not the student, then, waste any time in listening to or reading
arguments in favor of the various systems, but go to a bookstore and
get some one of the various manuals on the subject, and begin to
study. These books cost from fifty cents to a dollar and a quarter

A teacher is not really necessary, but will prove a help, provided he
has a practical knowledge of the art. The trouble is, however, that
many of the so-called teachers of phonography have never done any
actual reporting in their lives, and their advice and suggestions are
not of much value. The best way for the pupil would be to get the
assistance of some man engaged in actual reporting. One lesson from
such a person would be worth a dozen from some of the teachers who
advertise to teach short-hand, or who are connected with the various
colleges. The price for such service cannot be accurately stated.
Short-hand schools and colleges have "courses" of one hundred and
twenty lessons, charging $75 for the same. Students can and do learn
at these schools, but the cheaper and more sensible way for the
student learner to do would be to get the help of a teacher, as I have
suggested, and then only as it was needed. The text-books I have
mentioned are very plain, and a teacher really cannot do much to make
them plainer. In six months' time, if the pupil is diligent, she
should be able to write eighty words a minute, and enter upon actual
work, when, with practice, her speed will gradually increase. If she
can reach a speed of one hundred and twenty words a minute, she will
be as good as the average; if she can reach one hundred and fifty
words a minute, she will do what few women ever accomplish.

She need have no fear about getting a position, if she has made
herself competent. The demand for good workers in this profession is
constant and increasing. Out of several large classes taught by a lady
teacher in New York not one pupil failed, when qualified, to secure a
position. A gentleman connected with a large corporation, who employs
two lady amanuenses, and obtains positions for others, says that he
could secure situations for two or three a week.

It should be added, however, that a knowledge of working on the
type-writer should accompany the ability to write phonography. This
instrument has come into such general use that no detailed description
of it is here required. Briefly, it may be said that it is an
instrument to print letters and documents with despatch, and it is
worked with keys like a piano. To learn this art of type-writing
requires but a very short time, and there are schools or offices in
most of the large cities where it is taught.

A lady can learn phonography as young as sixteen, or at the mature age
of thirty-five; but it is almost needless to say that the art can be
mastered much easier at the former than the latter age. At one of the
schools in New York where it is taught free to women no pupils are
received under the age of eighteen. It is a study that requires
considerable application, a good memory, nimble fingers, and quick
apprehension. There are some people (and this remark applies to both
sexes) who would never be able to learn enough short-hand to be of any
practical service. But the study is nothing like as difficult as it
has often been represented to be. Every thing depends on the student.
If she makes haste slowly, and learns even a little thoroughly every
day, she will soon find herself mastering the theoretical part of the
art, and if she practises constantly, in season and out of season,
what she has properly learned, the secret of short-hand success is
hers. The necessity of practice cannot be overrated. Hence it is that
a teacher is ordinarily of little use. The exercises in the latest
manuals on this subject are very well arranged, and it would seem that
the art could not be presented in a plainer way than it is at

The pay of a lady amanuensis at the start is seldom more than $8 a
week. It is not to be supposed that she is fully competent when she
starts at that rate; that is to say, she will not be able to write
very rapidly, and she will be liable to make mistakes in transcribing
her notes. The actual practical experience which she will get in her
first situation will very soon serve to correct these faults. It
might, at first thought, be supposed that few persons would desire to
employ inferior help of this kind; but such is not the fact. Editors,
lawyers, occasionally doctors, and some classes of business men who
are obliged to make rough drafts of papers which go at once to the
printer, are often glad of such help. Their short-hand writer can
write fast enough to save some of their time, at a moderate charge,
and it is immaterial as to the appearance of the "copy" sent to the
printer, so long as it can be plainly read by him. But of course the
lady will soar higher than a salary of $8 a week, and just so soon as
she has become more expert, she will be able to obtain a position
requiring greater speed in taking notes and more accuracy in writing
them out. Her salary will then be $10 or $12 a week, and finally $15 a
week. It is not likely she will earn more than $18 a week, though
mention is made of some ladies who are making $20 or $25 a week, but
the situations are exceptional, and, it may be added, the ladies are
exceptional ladies. They have some peculiar business ability aside
from being able to write short-hand. The employer of one, for
instance, can merely indicate by two or three words the kind of letter
he wants written to a certain correspondent, and the lady clerk,
having simply received the idea, will write a satisfactory letter. If
a woman could possess herself of a thorough knowledge of phonography,
be able to work rapidly on the type-writer, and have a fair knowledge
of bookkeeping, she could be certain of obtaining a good position at
an extra large salary, say $1,500 a year; but there is no doubt that
she would have to work hard for the money.

The hours of work in most all offices are from nine in the morning
until five in the afternoon. The employment is not more arduous than
any other sedentary occupation. In large offices an amanuensis will
receive from thirty to sixty full-page letters in a day and transcribe
them on the type-writer. She could not do so much work without the aid
of that instrument.

It is sometimes the case that a woman can take dictation work for
professional people who only occasionally need such assistance, and be
paid for it by the "job." In such a case the rate of pay for taking
and transcribing the notes will range from six to twenty cents per
hundred words, depending partly on the class of work, but more
particularly on the liberality of the employer.


There is one thing favorable to young women who want to become
telegraph operators: the qualifications required for success in this
line of business are very simple. An ordinary common school education,
with a special ability to spell well, and to write plainly and more or
less rapidly, is all that is required in a pupil before commencing to
learn this art. This may account for the large number of young ladies
who, of late years, have sought employment in this field of labor.
Another thing, it is office work, with just enough bustle and activity
about it to keep it from being dull, with the occasional chance, in
times of public excitement, of its being exceptionally interesting.

In the city of New York there are, at the present time, about two
hundred ladies engaged in this occupation. They are nearly all
employed by the Western Union Telegraph Company, three fourths of the
number being employed at the main office of the company. Here and
there a lady may be found employed in a broker's office, a position,
by the way, which is considered exceptionally good, the pay being
generous, with the sure chance of the employé receiving a present at
the Christmas holiday-time. But the great majority of women are
employed by the companies, in hotels, in the smaller stations situated
throughout the city, and throughout the country in the offices located
in various villages and towns.

Instruction in telegraphy has become a special feature in about forty
colleges in different parts of the Union, and in several special
schools, among which the New York Cooper Union School of Telegraphy
is preëminent. Instruction in this last institution is free, and the
Western Union Telegraph Company is so far interested in the success
of the school, that when operators are needed, graduates of the Cooper
Union are preferred over anybody else. The school is always crowded;
it is difficult to gain admission, and situations are not provided by
the company alluded to for all the graduates. Last year (1882) one
hundred and sixty applied at the regular examination of the school and
passed, but they could not be admitted to the class for want of room.
The school admitted sixty pupils during the year. The number receiving
certificates was twenty-eight. Some time since the Kansas State
Agricultural College added telegraphy as a branch of industrial
education, using Pope's "Hand-book of the Telegraph" as a text-book.

Women can learn to become telegraph operators at almost any age. Young
girls of fifteen have successfully studied the art, and women as old
as forty have also learned it. But the age which is recommended by
good judges as being the best, is not younger than eighteen, nor
older than twenty-five.

The time it takes to learn to become an operator depends, of course,
on the aptness of the pupil, her general intelligence, and previous
education. Some learn very readily, others after months of study never
become sufficiently proficient to take positions.

The course of instruction, in most of the institutions where
telegraphy is taught, covers a period of six months. It is said, on
good authority, that practising four or five hours a day for a period
of six months, will enable a young woman to master the art. Probably
telegraphy is, in this respect, very much like phonography--a person
may learn the principles of the latter science in a comparatively
short space of time, but to avail himself really of its advantages, a
great deal of practice is required. The principles of telegraphy are
far simpler than those of phonography, but the necessity for practice
is equally important. Young girls learn easier than women over the
age of thirty, and yet there are several instances of women past the
age of forty, who have quickly qualified themselves to become

The salary of lady telegraphers ranges from $25 to $65 per month. In
the office of the Western Union Telegraph Company they commence with a
salary of $25 per month; the highest wages paid being $60 a month,
unless in some special cases, where they take full charge of important
offices, when they are given $75 a month.

What is called a "good" position may be either in the city or the
country. In fact, the term good, used in this connection, is a purely
relative term. For instance, the salary may be larger in a city, but
the expense of living will be greater, and the work more arduous than
it will be in some small country town, where the wages will be lower.
But, as a rule, the positions in the city seem to be preferred,
probably on the general principle that most young people prefer the
excitement and gayety of metropolitan life to the more quiet and
healthful enjoyments of country towns. During the summer months
positions at the various watering-places are particularly sought
after, the pay of the operator being $30 a month and her board. In the
large city hotels, where business is quite brisk and important, the
salary is from $40 to $50 a month. Operators in the country towns and
villages receive from $30 to $40 a month. But, as was stated above,
the brokers' offices supply the positions most sought after by
telegraph operators. There are very few of these positions. The salary
paid an operator in such a situation is from $75 to $90 a month. The
hours of work are light, being from 9.30 A.M. to 3 P.M. A woman,
however, to hold a position of this kind must be thoroughly competent,
and not only rapid, but accurate in her work. She must, too, be a
woman in whom the utmost confidence can be placed, and possessed of
that rare womanly gift--the ability to keep a secret; for she is, in
reality, a sort of confidential clerk.

A gentleman occupying a high position in one of the leading telegraph
companies in New York says, that telegraphy is a good occupation for a
young woman, and, provided she has no talent to do any thing better,
it will furnish her a reasonably pleasant, profitable, and sure means
of employment. But the opportunities of eventually getting a large
salary, or of obtaining an enviable position, do not exist in this
field of work. Women, he says, do not make good managers. They do not
seem to possess the ability, so common even with many ordinary men, of
grasping the varied details of a large business, and conducting it
with system and regularity. In the company alluded to, there are
ladies who have been employed for the last twenty years, but they are
receiving no more pay now than they received ten years ago, and ten
years from now their salary will be no higher than it is at the
present time, if, indeed, it is as much.

It might be thought by some, that from the comparative ease with which
this art is acquired, many might take it up as a temporary means of
subsistence, and leave it, either for some better employment, or to
assume matrimonial relations. But this is not the fact. The occupation
seems to be one in which few die, and none resign. It should be added,
however, that with the growing use of the telegraph by private
individuals, and the starting of new telegraph companies, good
operators may be reasonably sure of obtaining positions.

Telegraphy is generally learned at some business college, or some
school which makes a specialty of teaching it. The lady who desires to
become an operator should be very careful in making her selection
among institutions of this kind. The Cooper Institute School is not
included in this remark, but attention is called to the many firms
throughout the country, who advertise largely in the weekly papers, to
teach telegraphy in an astonishingly short space of time, and, it may
be added, at astonishingly high rates of tuition. Some of these
schools are good, but many of them cannot be recommended. Before
entering any one of them, the would-be pupil should get the honest
advice of some man or woman who is engaged in the business, and who
knows something of the character of the institution she proposes to


Fashion has, of late years, made feather curling a good trade for
women, and fashion, at almost any moment, may make it a very poor
business. For the last thirty years feathers have been used every
year, but, until within a very short time, their use has been confined
to the fall and winter season. During the past four or five years they
have been in great demand during the spring and early summer, taking
the place of flowers for ornamental purposes. As a consequence, the
occupation of feather curling has offered unusual good opportunities
for girls and women to earn a living,--that is to say, as female
workers are paid in the trades.

There are several processes used in preparing the feathers before
they are ready for sale. Some of this work is done by men, but the
larger part of it is done by girls and women. When the feathers arrive
from abroad, they are of a dull brown color, and the first process
consists in washing them thoroughly with a peculiar kind of chemical
soap. Then they are wrung through an ordinary clothes-wringer, and
tied on to lines and hung out in the hot sun to dry, or put in a
drying room if the weather is not favorable. The work of washing and
wringing is done by men; the tying on to the lines by little girls.
After this men put them in big vats where they are dyed, black, blue,
red, yellow, or any other color that may be desired, and again dried.
Then comes the work of the women, who first scrape the rib of the
feather to make it soft and pliant. This is done with a piece of
glass. Then they are curled with a blunt knife. After this they are
packed in boxes and are ready to go from the wholesaler to the jobber,
from the jobber to the retailer, and from the retailer pass to the
purchasers whose hats they are meant to adorn.

Except in rare cases, the people employed at this business are paid by
the piece, and all ages are represented in the different branches of
the industry. There are girls as young as fourteen, and women as old
as forty. The little girls tie the feathers on to the lines, and make
from $2 to $5 a week. The work of preparing and curling the feathers
pays the best, and women who devote themselves to this branch make
from $10 to $40 a week. This last sum is large pay; but it must be
stated that those who make it do so in the busiest season, and they
work hard, not only during the day, but at night, or, may be, they
have some one at their homes to whom a portion of the work is sent
from the shop, and in that way they are assisted to receive such large
pay. Nevertheless, if a woman thoroughly understands the trade, she
can always be sure of making good wages. Some exceptionally proficient
women will average $30 a week the year round. Take a hundred expert
workers, and each of them will average $15 to $20 a week during the
twelve months. The little girls never earn very much, because the work
they can do is limited to "stringing" the feathers, which is the
technical term for tying the feathers on a line.

When a girl enters the establishment, she generally works the first
two weeks for nothing, then the superintendent is able to see what she
can do, and she makes $2, $3, or $4 a week, as the case may be; in six
or eight months she ought to be quite expert at the business. To be
successful she must have good taste. She should be able to "lay" the
feather out nicely, so that it will have a graceful appearance when
it is finished. And then she must have good judgment in putting the
feathers together, for it may not be known, but it is the fact, that
the plume which appears on the hat to be a single feather is made
up of a number of small pieces; this good judgment, then, consists,
as one manufacturer frankly stated, in not being wasteful in
selecting,--in short, in being careful not to pick out too many good
pieces. Though there are a great number of girls in this business,
there are very few who possess all these qualifications. That class of
help is of course a great saving to the employer, and consequently is
always sure of employment. One man said that on account of high rent
alone he wanted to hire all such women. "We have to economize our
room," he remarked, "and one such woman would be worth to us half a
dozen poor workers, who would take up just six times as much space and
waste a lot of material in the bargain. Such expert workers will make
three or four times as much as other women, doing the same kind of

The trade is a healthy one, or, to speak more accurately, there are no
special features about it to make it unhealthy. Probably the worst
feature about it is the crowding together of so many girls and women
in one large room. They sit on benches, or stools, without backs,
working at a long, low table that runs the length of the apartment. On
damp days the windows have to be shut, making the atmosphere of the
place close and unwholesome. But the rooms are generally large, with
high ceilings. Five hundred girls are employed in the largest
establishment of the kind in New York. The nominal hours of work are
from eight in the morning until six in the evening, though very often,
in the busy season, the girls are required to work at night as late as
half-past seven or eight o'clock.

There are a few women in New York who profess to teach feather
curling; I say "profess," for I have it on good authority that some of
them have no practical knowledge of the business, and aim only at
securing a generous tuition-fee from the pupil. Now and then, however,
a teacher can be found who is able to impart the necessary knowledge.
It has been charged by women that those who learn privately in this
way are not able to secure good positions in any of the feather
curling establishments, the allegation being that the proprietors of
the same have formed a "ring" to exclude such help. From such
investigation as I have made in regard to this matter, I do not
believe that this statement is correct. Doubtless many such pupils,
after working for a short time in such establishments, have been
discharged, but I think the real reason has been that they were not
competent to do the work. And it can readily be imagined that the
facilities for learning a trade like this would be far better in a
large house, where several hundred girls were employed, or even fifty
or seventy-five girls, than they would be in a class of half a dozen
pupils, who had probably between them about as many feathers upon
which to work. It would be much pleasanter to learn the trade from a
teacher; but there are many practical objections against the
feasibility of so doing. If the girl has not worked herself up from
the very foot of the business, and does not have a knowledge of its
preparatory stages, she will be likely to find that if a feather has
been misplaced, or is out of order in any way, she could not put it in
proper shape as well as one who had commenced at the beginning of the

Rather than have any girl or woman hastily decide to learn this
trade, I will, at the risk of repetition, briefly recapitulate: the
earnings are good if you are thoroughly competent; and this may be
said to be true of the future, although there is a prospect, probably
a very strong prospect, that feathers may not be in such demand as
they have been, and as they are now. You will have to work hard to
make good pay. The work is tolerably cleanly, but your associates, if
you are particularly nice in your ideas of companionship, may not
always please you. If you are competent you may be able to take work
home, but the facilities for doing it, and the want of that spirit of
competition which prevails, to a great extent, in a large work-room,
may not enable you to do so much work.


It is a little singular that in a great city like New York, there
should be but one lady photographer, while in the western part of our
country there are quite a number. The photographers I speak of do all
the work of making a picture,--posing the sitter, preparing the
chemicals, and operating the camera. One reason why there are so
few ladies in this business is the fact, that up to within a short
time it has been a very disagreeable occupation on account of the
nature of some of the chemicals that were used--they would soil the
hands very easily, and the stains could not be removed. But recent
improvements in the art have removed this objection, and prominent
male photographers predict that it will not be long before their
business will be largely carried on by women.

A contributor to a London magazine, writing some years ago, on the
subject of the employment of women in photography, said: "I have
pleasure in bearing testimony to the fact, that in photography there
is room for a larger amount of female labor; that it is a field
exactly suited to even the conventional notions of woman's capacity;
and further, that it is a field unsurrounded with traditional rules,
with apprenticeship, and with vested rights, and it is one in which
there is no sexual hostility to their employment." These remarks may,
with perfect safety and propriety, be applied to photography in this

There are several branches of the art in which women and girls have
always been engaged, viz., the mounting of photographs, the retouching
of negatives, and the coloring of photographs.

The mounting of photographs is apparently a very simple kind of work,
consisting simply in trimming the photograph and pasting it upon the
card-board. But, simple though it seems, it requires great neatness
and considerable skill, if the work is to be done fast, and rapidity
of execution is a prerequisite to employment in nearly all the
large galleries. As an illustration that it is not a very simple
accomplishment, it may be mentioned that out of forty young ladies
who came to work on trial for a prominent photographer, he could find
only nine who were suitable to fill positions. The pay for this work
is not very munificent, ranging from $6 to $10 per week.

The retouching, or taking out the marks or spots on negatives, is a
much more difficult branch of work. The pay, however, does not seem to
be as large as it should be, considering the amount of skill required.
Young women receive from $8 to $12 a week. A man doing the same kind
of work, and working the same number of hours, would be paid $16 a
week. There have been cases where ladies have received larger
salaries than the sums just mentioned, but such instances are rare.

The coloring of photographs is the most important, or rather the
highest paid, of the three branches of work that have been mentioned.
It is said that to be successful at this calling one must have some
taste for drawing, and what is commonly called a good eye for color.
Very few photographers employ colorists on a salary, for the reason
that they do not have enough work to keep them constantly employed.
There are probably but eight or ten galleries in New York where
colorists are employed all the year round. The truth is, that it is
not alone necessary to be a good colorist--one must be very good; and
if very good, she can have her studio and take work from the galleries
as well as from private parties. Photograph coloring has come to be
considered as important as portraiture. Another qualification for
success in the work, therefore, should be the rare ability not only
to preserve, but sometimes to make, a likeness.

There is one branch of the picture-making business that has grown to
large proportions within the past fifteen years; it is what is called
the "copying" business. There are many establishments in various
cities of the Union that constantly advertise for agents to collect
pictures. The agent goes through the rural districts, visiting each
dwelling, and inquiring of the inmates if there are any old pictures
of living or deceased friends that they would like to have copied,
enlarged, and colored. In nearly every farm-house there are such
pictures--old daguerreotypes of long-lost aunts, uncles, and
grandfathers, "old-fashioned photographs" of mother, together
with newer photographs of the living taken by the perambulating
picture-taker, and taken so badly with the use of bad chemicals that
they are fast fading away. Out of this motley group the family will
be pretty sure to select one or two pictures which they will deem it
worth their while to have copied and enlarged.

When the agent has collected a sufficient number of pictures in this
way, he sends them by express to the home office, where the work is
done. Some years ago I chanced to know a gentleman who was in this
business; in fact, he claimed to have originated it, and, as he was
a shrewd, smart Yankee, born and brought up in the State of New
Hampshire, I never had the temerity to question his statement. He had
a good-sized brick building in a pleasant little New England city, and
employed a countless number of agents, who travelled in all parts of
the country, and, if I remember right, he had nearly a score of
ladies, whose business it was to color the pictures and to touch some
of them up into something resembling life, after they had been copied
and enlarged. I use these statements with due deliberation, and say
that the effort was made to give them the appearance of something
resembling life, for often they looked like mere blurs. Here and
there a nose would be gone, or an eye would be missing, the lower part
of the face would be entirely absent, but would be counterbalanced,
or, rather, overbalanced, by a heavy head of straight, black hair.
These, of course, were very bad specimens, but they came to the office
in the regular course of business, and had, to use the Yankee
expression of the proprietor, to be "fixed up." These worst specimens
were given to a middle-aged single lady, who really had a genius for
making something out of nothing,--at least in the matter of pictures.
It should be mentioned, however, that the worst of them were generally
accompanied with some written description of the subject. But we may
well believe that such crude data were of but little service to the
artist. The salaries of these colorists were from $13 to $25 per week.
The lady I have just mentioned received the latter sum, and often made
a few more dollars weekly by doing extra work. At present, she and
another lady from the same establishment, conduct an art school in a
city near New York, and are very prosperous.

There are now opportunities for doing this same kind of work, but
there is not so much of it to do,--thousands of "active" agents having
very thoroughly worked in the best districts of the country. Still,
there is something to do, and the salaries paid, though not so high as
I have mentioned, are fair.

As I have written above, few photographers in New York employ a
colorist on a regular salary. The largest sum paid to a woman is $25 a
week, and that is given by probably the most prominent photographer in
the city. Others receive from $20 down to $12 a week. But there are
quite a number of ladies who have studios, and who work on their own
account, among them a firm of two sisters, who employ a dozen young
women as assistants. Without a doubt, this plan, provided the woman is
competent in the art, and has good business qualifications, is the
best and most lucrative course to pursue.

There has been lately introduced a new process of coloring pictures
for which very strong claims are made. It is said that the "secret"
can be learned in one lesson; the cost of the instruction is but $5.
The method consists in the application of water colors to any kind of
picture on paper. Some photographers say there is nothing new in the
method, and that the pictures will not stand the light of the sun;
others claim that it is a good process, and say that the pictures are
both brilliant and effective. The teacher of the art asserts that he
can, in half a day, paint a picture, and give all the necessary
effects. With the usual method, he says, a colorist would require two
days and a half. The process has not yet been introduced among
photographers, but several ladies are soliciting work at private
houses, receiving, it is said, $4 and $5 for painting a panel picture,
and making a good living at the work. For obvious reasons I do not
enter into the particulars of this method, or even mention the name by
which it is known. That, however, can easily be learned from almost
any photographer, and the searcher for information can then satisfy
herself as to whether the business is worth a trial.


It may not be known to many that, of late years, nursing has come to
be a regular profession. Women are trained to become nurses by going
through a regular course of study in what are called training schools,
and they receive on their graduation a diploma signed by an Examining
Board and a Committee of a Board of Managers. For some women this is
an excellent occupation. The work is rather hard, but the pay is
exceptionally good.

At the present time there are seventeen of these training schools in
the United States. There is one in each of the following cities: New
Haven (Conn.), Chicago, New Orleans, St. Louis, Syracuse (N. Y.),
Washington (D. C.), Burlington (Vt.), and there are three in Boston,
two in Brooklyn (N. Y.), three in New York City, and two in

In order to gain admission to any of these institutions certain
conditions of admission have to be complied with. First of all, the
woman must have good health, she must be unmarried or a widow, she
must furnish satisfactory references as to moral character, and have a
fair common-school education. All these are essential prerequisites.
Her age must not be under twenty or over forty-five. In the Boston
schools the rule is between twenty-one and thirty-five; in Brooklyn,
twenty-one to forty; in New York City, twenty-five to thirty-five; in
Philadelphia, twenty-one to forty-five, and in Washington City, the
same as it is in Brooklyn.

Aside from these qualifications, the woman who would enter upon this
employment must have considerable "nerve," for she will be obliged to
witness some very painful sights, and often be called upon to render
assistance in some very dangerous surgical operations. And yet, at
the same time, while possessing the necessary amount of self-control
to go through her duties properly, she must be possessed of that
gentleness, forbearance, and good temper, without which the most
scientific nursing will be of little avail. She may shudder at the
first operation in the hospital, even faint, but that is no sign that
she will not be able to overcome her want of self-control. Some of the
best surgeons have confessed to the same weakness at the beginning of
their professional experience. The nurse will soon get used to seeing
such unpleasant sights, and, as it was the case with the grave-digger
in Hamlet, custom will make her business "a property of easiness."
She, too, will learn that "the hand of little employment hath the
daintier sense."

The pupil, having made her application to the superintendent of the
school, is required to answer, in writing, certain questions; to give
her name; to state whether she is single or married; to give her
present occupation; her age last birthday, and date and place of
birth; her height and weight; to state where educated; to tell whether
she is strong and healthy, and has always been so; whether her sight
and hearing are good; whether she has any physical defects, or any
tendency to pulmonary complaint; if she is a widow, to state if she
has any children, their number, ages, and how they are provided for;
to tell where she was last employed, and how long she was employed,
and to give the names of two persons as references, one of whom must
be her last employer, if she has been engaged in any occupation. And
then she signs her name to the statement, declaring it to be correct.

If the answers are satisfactory, and there is a vacancy in the school,
she goes on trial for a month, and if, at the end of that time, she
decides that she likes the position, and the superintendent finds she
is able to fulfil the duties properly, she is engaged. For this
"trial" month she receives no pay, but gets her board and lodging
free of expense. Having been accepted as a pupil, she signs articles
of agreement to remain two years and obey the rules of the school and
hospital. All the schools are connected with some hospital; they are
not always in the same building, but in the immediate vicinity. The
pupils reside in the Home, or school, and in the large schools--the
one connected with Bellevue Hospital, for instance--there are two sets
of nurses, one set doing day duty, and the other going on at night.
The day nurses are on duty from 8 A.M. to 8 P.M., with an hour off for
dinner, and some additional time for exercise or rest. They have one
afternoon during the week, half of Sunday, and a two weeks' vacation
during the summer. If sick, they are cared for gratuitously.

The course of instruction covers two years, when the pupil, after
passing a satisfactory examination, graduates and receives a diploma.
Then she chooses her own field of labor.

In one of the large New York schools the course of instruction

1. The dressing of blisters, burns, sores, and wounds; the application
of fomentations, poultices, cups, and leeches.

2. The administration of enemas, and use of catheter.

3. The management of appliances for uterine complaints.

4. The best method of friction to the body and extremities.

5. The management of helpless patients; making beds; moving, changing,
giving baths in bed; preventing and dressing bed-sores; and managing

6. Bandaging, making bandages and rollers, lining of splints.

7. The preparing, cooking, and serving of delicacies for the sick.

They are also given instruction in the best practical methods of
supplying fresh air, warming and ventilating sick-rooms in a proper
manner, and are taught to take care of rooms and wards; to keep
all utensils perfectly clean and disinfected; to make accurate
observations and reports to the physician of the state of the
secretions, expectoration, pulse, skin, appetite, temperature of
the body, intelligence--as delirium or stupor,--breathing, sleep,
condition of wounds, eruptions, formation of matter, effect of diet,
or of stimulants, or of medicines; and to learn the management of

This teaching is given by physicians, some of whom are connected with
the hospital, while others, often prominent men, occasionally give
lectures. The superintendent, assistant superintendent, and head
nurses also give practical directions to the pupils as to the
management of the sick.

Each school has its favorite text-book on nursing. One of the most
popular works is the "New Haven Hand-book of Nursing," which is used
in the East and West, and in New York. In the New York schools the
"Bellevue Manual" is also used. Among the other text-books studied in
the different schools throughout the country are "Anatomy and
Physiology," "Domville's Manual," "Woolsey's Hand-book for Hospital
Visitors," "Williams and Fisher's Hints to Hospital Nurses," "Lee's
Hand-book for Hospital Sisters," "Cutter's Anatomy and Physiology,"
"Putnam's Manual," "Huxley's Physiology," "Smith on Nursing,"
"Frankel's Manual," "West on Children," "Notes on Nursing," by
Florence Nightingale, "Draper's Anatomy, Physiology, and Hygiene,"
"Bartholow's Materia Medica," and "Miss Veitch's Hand-book for
Nursing." The Boston and New York schools use the largest number of
text-books, averaging six. At one of the schools in Philadelphia,
but one book is used; in Connecticut, Chicago, and Washington two
text-books are studied.

While the nurse is receiving her training she is boarded free of
expense, and receives a stated salary per month during the time she is
in the school. The amount varies throughout the country. In New Haven
it is $170 for the term of eighteen months. In Chicago, $8 a month
for the first year, $12 a month for the second year. In Boston, at two
of the schools it is $10 a month for the first year, and $14 a month
for the second year. At the third school it is $1 a week for the first
six months, $2 dollars a week for the second six months, and $3 a week
for the last four months. Brooklyn, $9 a month for the first year, $15
a month for the second year. In New York, at the Charity Hospital on
Blackwell's Island, it is $10 a month for the first year, and $15 a
month for the second year; at Bellevue Hospital, $9 a month for the
first year, $15 a month for the second year; at the New York Hospital,
it is $10, $13, and $16 a month for the first, second, and third six
months, respectively. In Syracuse $10 a month. In Philadelphia, $5 a
month for the first six months, $10 a month for the second six months,
and $16 a month for the second year.

It will be seen at a glance that this is merely nominal pay, but it
must also be borne in mind that the nurse is receiving instruction in
what is to be to her a profession. Then, again, she is under little
or no expense; she is boarded, lodged, has her washing done in the
institution, and the dress or uniform which she is obliged to wear
costs but a trifle, the material of which it is made being generally
what is called "seersucker."

After the nurse has received a certain amount of training, she is
deemed competent to go out to private service. She receives no extra
pay for this, her salary being paid into the institution, which, in
that way, is enabled partly to maintain itself.

When she goes to a private house, she carries with her a certificate
of recommendation signed by the lady superintendent of the school.
When she returns to the school, she brings with her a report of her
conduct and efficiency, either from one of the family or the medical
attendant. While engaged in this service, the people employing her
must allow her reasonable time for rest in every twenty-four hours,
and when her services are needed for several consecutive nights, she
is to have at least six hours in the day out of the sick-room. Except
in cases of extreme illness, she is to be allowed opportunity to
attend church once every Sunday.

Appended to the rules of the Bellevue Hospital Training School, in
regard to this subject, are the following remarks:

"It is expected that nurses will bear in mind the importance of the
situation they have undertaken, and will evince, at all times, the
self-denial, forbearance, gentleness, and good temper so essential in
their attendance on the sick, and also to their character as Christian
nurses. They are to take the whole charge of the sick-room, doing
everything that is requisite in it, when called upon to do so. When
nursing in families where there are no servants, if their attention be
not of necessity wholly devoted to their patient, they are expected
to make themselves generally useful. They are to be careful not to
increase the expense of the family in any way. They are also most
earnestly charged to hold sacred the knowledge which, to a certain
extent, they must obtain of the private affairs of such households or
individuals as they may attend."

The field of employment which has just been described, offers great
opportunities for the proper kind of women to make an independent
livelihood. The work is hard and confining, but the pay, as women are
paid, is very good. A trained nurse never receives less than $20 a
week, her board being, of course, included, and more often she will
get $25, or even $30, a week; in fact, she can command her own price,
and that price will depend upon the wealth and liberality of her
patrons, and the ability which she brings to bear on the case in hand.
Good nursing is very often more important than good doctoring, and
thousands of people are willing to pay liberally for such exceptional
help. The demand for trained nurses far exceeds the supply, and,
provided a woman has made herself fully competent in this peculiarly
appropriate branch of women's work, the extent of her employment will
only be limited by her physical strength to render the services


Men who employ women in trades and businesses where they have to work
for some length of time before they become skilled laborers have one
very strong objection against female help. "No sooner," they say,
"do we really begin to get some benefit from the woman's work,
after having borne long and patiently with her sins of omission and
commission, than along comes a good-looking young fellow and marries

For this reason women sometimes find it difficult to obtain entrance
into the most desirable establishments where trades can be learned.
And yet these same employers are not hostile to female labor; on the
contrary, they are strongly in favor of it, but they say that they
are not willing to encourage it to the extent of sacrificing the
necessary time and trouble in making a woman perfect in a trade, and
then seeing her leave them to enter upon the presumably more congenial
duties of matrimony.

The woman, therefore, who desires to learn a trade may find this
difficulty meeting her at the threshold. All employers, however, are
not alike, and some establishment can generally be found where a woman
can learn the first principles of the occupation she wishes to follow;
as soon as she has attained a reasonable degree of proficiency in it,
she can get a position in a larger and better establishment, where the
pay will probably be higher and the surroundings more agreeable.

Of the three employments mentioned at the head of this chapter
proof-reading is probably the most pleasant. A woman to be properly
qualified must have a good education, and must have graduated from
the printer's case. A great many young women who know nothing about
the compositor's trade think they can be good proof-readers, but they
may have a good collegiate education, and if they are not familiar
with the practical details of printing, as they can be learned
in a printing establishment, they will never amount to much as
proof-readers. This is the class of proof-readers who "get interested"
in what they are reading; they are on the look-out for bad sentences
which, having found, they promptly proceed to correct, a self-imposed
duty for which they receive no thanks from either their employer or
the author whose language or style they seek to improve. A good
proof-reader reads mechanically. The moment she takes a personal
interest in what she is reading, or becomes critical on the matter in
hand, she is apt to overlook typographical errors of the most common
sort. Of course, she must be a first-class speller and have a good
knowledge of punctuation, though how far she will have to apply the
latter knowledge will depend very much on what kind of proof she is
reading. If she is engaged in an establishment where books are printed
exclusively, she will find that authors, as a rule, have their own
systems of punctuation, with which (supposing the authors to be men
and women of ability) she will not be expected to interfere. But if
she is engaged on newspaper or general work, she will have ample
opportunity to display her knowledge and exercise her judgment in the
matter of punctuation. In all important work female proof-readers
seldom read the second or revised proof. That is generally given to a
male proof-reader of large experience, who gives the matter a critical

The pay of good women proof-readers is from $15 to $20 a week. Those
who receive the latter sum are capable of reading "revises." Now and
then a woman receives exceptionally good pay for this kind of service.
A prominent American historian paid a lady proof-reader $30 a week;
but she was unusually well educated, and capable of often making
valuable suggestions to the author.

No encouragement can be given to the woman desirous of becoming a
proof-reader who will not learn the practical details of the calling
in a printing establishment.

In connection with proof-reading it may be mentioned that young girls
or young women find employment as "copy-holders." Their duty is to
read aloud to the proof-reader the copy of the author. If they can
read rapidly and correctly they can earn about $8 a week.

       *       *       *       *       *

Female compositors are now largely employed in job and newspaper
offices, but it is only fair to state the objections to their
following this trade. In some establishments they are obliged, like
the men, to stand at their work. Physicians state, and the experience
of the women themselves proves, that this is very detrimental to
health. It has been urged by women, also, that in printing-offices
they are forced to hear profane and improper language from their male
companions, who sometimes, doubtless, in this way, harass the women,
sometimes with the purpose of expressing their dissatisfaction at the
employment of female labor. But too much weight should not be given to
this complaint. In all the large, well-regulated establishments such
conduct would not be tolerated, provided the men and women worked in
the same room, which, however, is rarely the case; as a rule, the
female help are set off in an apartment by themselves.

Employers who have employed female compositors say that they cause a
great deal of trouble. They have to have a separate room, and require
to be waited upon a great deal, especially if they are learning the
trade, while men readily get along by themselves. They are sure to
lose more or less time through sickness, and that, too, very often in
the busiest season, when there is great pressure of work, and their
services are in especial demand. Of late, the female compositors in
one of the largest establishments in New York demanded to be paid the
same rate as the men. The demand was not acceded to, and the
proprietors came very near discharging all their female compositors,
urging the objections which have just been stated, together with the
general objection to the employment of female help stated in the
beginning of this chapter.

Notwithstanding all these objections, however, which a woman can weigh
and take for what they are worth, the trade of a compositor is a very
good one. Among men, a type-setter has always been considered the most
independent of mortals. If he is thorough master of his trade, he is
always sure of work, and with the great development of our country,
there is hardly a spot to which he may drift where he will not find a
printing-office and an opportunity to earn money. Numerous instances
might be related of printers who, being of a roving disposition, have
travelled all over the United States, earning their living as they
went. The trade is just as good, or nearly as good, for a woman. She
is never paid, it is true, the same rate that the men receive, but if
she is a quick worker she can make much more money in a week, as a
compositor, than she could at many other occupations. She can never
hope to perform as much work as a first-class male compositor; that is
a physical impossibility.

Good compositors in the large New York establishments where books are
printed (and it is only in such places that women are employed in the
large cities), earn from $14 to $15 a week. The poor ones average $9
and $10 a week. Sometimes good women make more than $15 a week,
earning as much as $18 or $20 a week. This kind of work, it must be
understood, is paid by the piece, so that how much a woman earns
depends entirely on her ability.

In many small cities and country towns, especially throughout New
England, young women are employed as compositors in newspaper
offices. Their rate of pay is never as high as it is in the cities,
but their living expenses are proportionately less, so that really
they are just as well off. It would seem, indeed, that such situations
were to be preferred. There is less noise and hurry in such small
establishments, and, therefore, less wear and tear on the human
system. The papers are generally afternoon papers, and, therefore, the
work is all done in the daytime. The women are allowed to sit at their
work. In such situations they will be able to earn from $5 to $12 a

It is, at present, difficult for a woman entirely ignorant of the
trade, to get into any of the large establishments in New York, where
such help is engaged, for the purpose of learning to become a
type-setter. If her ambition lies in this direction, and she lives
outside the large cities, she could do no better than obtain an
introductory knowledge of the art in some country newspaper office,
or, failing in that, get the necessary practical instruction in some
job office, in either city or country.

       *       *       *       *       *

Certain parts of the work of bookbinding are monopolized by young
girls and young women. They are employed in folding, collating,
sewing, pasting, binding, and gold-laying. There is probably no large
establishment in the country where men are employed to do this kind of
work. The industry seems to be peculiarly adapted to young women who
are quick with their hands.

Employés in this trade are paid by the piece, with the exception of
the collaters, who receive a stated salary of $8 a week. "Collating,"
it may be mentioned for the benefit of those who are not familiar with
the term, means the gathering together of the various folded sheets or
sections of the book, and seeing that the pages run right, preparatory
to their being handed over to the sewers, who stitch them together.
The pay of folders, binders, pasters, and sewers will average, during
the year, from $6 to $7 a week. Gold-layers are paid by the hour and
make a dollar or two more a week. This average, it must be understood,
is for the whole fifty-two weeks. Some weeks the girls make $12 and
$15, other weeks not one third as much. Girls as young as fourteen
years are employed, and women forty and fifty years of age may be
found working beside them. Nine hours and a half constitute a day's
work. Some girls will make more than the average named. Those are the
steady workers who, to use the expression of one employer, "work just
like a man and don't care to hurry home and crimp up to see company in
the evening." Such employés will, the year round, average each week
two or three dollars more than the ordinary run of help.

It is said that there is always work in this trade for competent
women. But it is a trade that no woman of ambition would want to
enter, unless she was unable to find any thing better to do.
There is no chance to rise in the business and get a better paying
position, for the rule is to employ male foremen. In only one large
establishment in New York is there a woman occupying such a position.
It is proper to state, however, that she gives perfect satisfaction,
that her employer would not replace her for a man, and that he
believes other bookbinders will eventually see the advisability of
having a female instead of a male overseer. A man, it is said, is apt,
in giving out work, to favor the pretty girls at the expense of the
plain-looking damsels, thus creating jealousy among the employés,
while a woman is not influenced in that way.

The proprietors of the large bookbinderies make every effort to secure
a respectable kind of help, but young women of loose principles, and
sometimes, it is to be feared, of actual immoral character, get
employment at the trade, and, when they do, their influence is any
thing but good on their companions. It must, however, be largely a
girl's own fault if she allows herself to associate with such company.
During working hours, of course, nothing but business is attended to.
Lunch is eaten in the establishment, and during the lunch hour the
girls gather together in little knots and talk about the last picnic
or the coming ball. But the place is so large, that a girl of reserved
manners can generally keep by herself, or select such companions as
she prefers.

The trade is not difficult to learn, the work is neat and clean, the
rooms where the girls work--that is, in the large bookbinderies--are
commodious, well lighted, and airy. If a young woman, getting her
board free at home, wanted to make a little money by working only a
few months, or a year, she could probably accomplish this object by
entering a bookbindery.


A woman need not have the genius of a Rachel, a Modjeska, or a Clara
Morris, to be able to make a good living in the theatrical profession.
Probably the great majority of young ladies who go upon the stage are
inflated with the notion that they are creatures of wonderful genius,
and for this reason they fail; they are so taken up with the good
opinion they have of themselves that they will not go through the
necessary amount of work, in the subordinate positions, to perfect
themselves for places up higher. They want to fly before they can
walk. It would seem as if common-sense deserted a woman the moment she
felt a desire to go upon the stage.

An old theatrical agent whose views were sought on this subject did
not offer much encouragement to the aspirants for dramatic honors. I
will give a paraphrase of his views so that the gentle reader may have
the benefit of the pessimistic presentation of the question.

The great majority of young ladies, he observed, "who sought positions
had been members of some amateur dramatic company, which they had
joined from a love of recreation and amusement. The friends of a young
woman continually spoiled her by undeserved praise, and, finally, she
believed herself capable of taking the highest and most difficult
parts, and forthwith rushed to the nearest theatrical manager or
dramatic agent and sought a position. In the majority of instances
such young ladies had not the slightest amount of ability; besides,
experience in an amateur dramatic company was of no benefit. People
might come to an agent with the highest recommendations from stage
instructors, or actors who had taken upon themselves the task of
giving them instruction--who had spoken of them as 'promising
pupils'--and yet, when they came to go upon the stage, they did not
show the slightest degree of talent for the profession. An amateur
experience was no criterion to go by."

"When," said the dramatic agent, "I managed the tour of Mr. ----
(mentioning the name of one of our leading tragedians), I had to
select the company which was to support him. Yielding to the
solicitations of an old friend I engaged a young lady who had been
studying with Miss ----, one of the brightest stars on the American
stage. Miss ---- told me that she considered her a most promising
young woman, and had it not been that her manager had already selected
her company, she would have been glad to have had her in her own
company. She felt sure if I took her I would be pleased. I engaged
her, and was never more mistaken in my ideas in all my life. She
thought she could act, but she did not know the first principles of
acting. Offended at my plain criticisms on her efforts she went to Mr.
----, the star, and complained that she thought I was prejudiced
against her, and had been unjust and unkind. But Mr. ---- repeated,
kindly but plainly, the substance of what I had said. She had left a
good paying position to seek dramatic fame only to find dramatic
failure. At the end of the season she became convinced of the truth of
our criticisms, and quit the stage forever."

It must be stated here that the stage is largely run on what is called
the "combination" plan, and a very poor plan it is. In the old times
the theatres had what were called "stock" companies; that is, the
company was made up of a certain number of members, each member having
a particular line of "business," and keeping to that line year after
year, in the same company, which remained in the same theatre. At the
present time there are only two "stock" companies in the United
States. The great majority of theatrical enterprises are called
"combinations." In old times the actor had to suit himself to the
play; nowadays the play is written to suit the actor. A comedian can
sing and dance, or "make up" good as a Jew, a Negro, or an eccentric
German, and forthwith he gets some author to write a play for him in
which his "strong" points will be made to plainly appear. Then he
selects his company, picking out men and women that he may deem
suitable for the characters they are to assume. Then the company is
christened "The Great Jones Combination," or "The Great Scott
Combination," as the case may be, and off it starts for a more or less
successful tour throughout the country.

Sterling, old-time actors like John Gilbert, William Warren, Joseph
Jefferson, and men of that school, lament the decadence of the "stock"
company system. But, in the dramatic as in the real world, we must
take things as we find them, and the fact is that there is very
little chance for a young lady who would be an actress to get a
thorough knowledge of her art--that is, thorough as it is understood
by those in the front rank of the profession, who have reached their
position by following the old methods.

On the other hand, the stage never offered so many opportunities for
bright young women with dramatic talent to make a living as it does at
the present time. Every city, both large and small, can boast of its
theatre or opera-house, and in many of the large towns throughout the
country there are town-halls arranged with a view to accommodate some
of the minor theatrical combinations.

The young lady who would succeed in making a fair living on the stage
must, first of all, be attractive. The stage appeals as much to the
eye as it does to the ear, and there is scarcely an instance of an
ugly actress being successful, or, indeed, even having the opportunity
of exhibiting herself on the stage.

It seems to be the general opinion among actors and theatrical
managers that the instruction received from professors of elocution is
of little or no account. As to the experience gained from performing
in amateur companies, there is a difference of opinion. The dramatic
agent whose views have just been given speaks, it will be seen, very
strongly against the amateur actor. Others, however, whose opinions
are entitled to great weight, say that experience gained in amateur
organizations is always valuable. The manager of one of the principal
theatres in New York--a theatre, too, that has had an unusually large
number of travelling companies on the road--told the writer that he
had employed a large number of amateur actors, and that some of the
greatest pecuniary successes had been made by actors and actresses
who had come to him from some amateur theatrical company. Of course,
the new-comers were not successful at first. They had to serve an
apprenticeship on the regular stage; but he meant to say that their
previous experience, amateur though it was, had been a benefit to
them, and that they had got along quicker than they would if they had
been without it.

"Utility business" is the kind of work a young woman going upon the
stage must first expect to do; or, to speak more accurately, according
to the technique of the profession, she will first be allowed to make
an "announcement." She will come on the stage and say, "My lady, a
letter," or make some other simple speech to the extent of one or two
lines. If she does this well, she will be given parts where there is
more to say, until, finally, she has reached thirty lines, at which
point she is capable of being entrusted with a "responsible" part. The
salary of this class of actresses ranges from $15 to $30 per week.

If she does not start in this line of business, she may be a "ballet
lady,"--not a dancer, but one of the group of ladies that make up the
ballroom or party scenes. In this case, she will start on a salary of
from $5 to $7 per week. If she is very pretty, she will get $7; if she
is an "ancient,"--that is, rather old and decidedly plain,--she will
get only $5. The ability to sing commands an extra dollar per week.
The manager of the theatre alluded to above said, that in one of their
companies they employed a young lady without previous theatrical
experience. She was, however, very quick to learn, and commencing on a
salary of $20 a week, she quickly made herself valuable. After a while
a part was given her in which she made "a hit," and her salary has
been increased until now it is $70 a week when she is travelling, and
$55 a week when she plays in New York City, the extra $15 given to her
when she is away being for hotel expenses.

There has been so much said and written on the morals of the stage
that it will not be necessary here to warn the young dramatic aspirant
that this is a branch of the subject which she should well consider.
That there are actresses who are good women, fulfilling nobly all
the duties of wives, mothers, and sisters, nobody pretends to deny.
But that the stage offers very strong and dangerous temptations to
young and pretty women is a fact which every one who knows any thing
about the subject will admit. These temptations are not in the
theatre itself. The profession of acting is conducted on purely
business principles. Life behind the scenes is dull, uninteresting,
matter-of-fact. The actors and the actresses are full of their work,
and the whole place is decidedly unromantic. But there are great
temptations from without the theatre, into the details of which it is
not necessary to enter. It is not necessary that she should yield to
these temptations, nor are they, probably, all things considered, any
greater or stronger than the pretty shop-girl has to meet. But if she
values her character she will, when she enters this profession, make
up her mind to devote herself thoroughly to work, and she will be
particularly careful about the acquaintances she forms with the
opposite sex, and above all avoid that large and growing class of
silly men, both young and old, who love to boast that they number an
"actress" among their female acquaintances.

In the _North American Review_ for December, 1882, there was published
a symposium on the subject of success on the stage. There are so many
young ladies whose ambition lies in the direction of the drama, and
the contribution referred to contained such wholesome advice, that I
am tempted to quote from it at considerable length. There were six
contributors: John McCullough, Joseph Jefferson, Lawrence Barrett,
William Warren, Miss Maggie Mitchell, and Madame Helena Modjeska. The
views of the lady contributors will be found of especial interest to
the readers of this book.

The article was addressed more particularly to those whose ambition it
is to reach the highest rank in the profession, but the extracts
contain many useful hints for those who are simply looking forward to
a respectable, well-paying "utility" position on the stage.

Miss Mitchell says:--

"To succeed on the stage, the candidate must have a fairly
prepossessing appearance, a mind capable of receiving picturesque
impressions easily and deeply, a strong, artistic sense of form and
color, the faculty of divesting herself of her own mental as well as
physical identity, a profound sympathy with her art, utter sincerity
in assuming a character, power enough over herself to refrain from
analyzing or dissecting her part, a habit of generalization, and at
the same time a quick eye and ready invention for detail, a resonant
voice, a distinct articulation, natural grace, presence of mind, a
sense of humor so well under control that it will never run riot; the
gift of being able to transform herself, at will, into any type of
character; pride, even conceit, in her work; patience, tenacity of
purpose, industry, good-humor, and docility. She must behave, in her
earlier years, very much as if she were a careful, self-respecting
scholar, taking lessons of people better informed than herself, with
her eyes and ears constantly open and ready to receive impressions.

"She should begin by getting, if possible, into a stock company, even
in the most inferior capacity, keeping within reach of the influence
of her home,--or by joining a reputable combination on the road.
Managers, no matter what may be said to the contrary, are always
eagerly looking for talent in the bud, and if a young girl, with
reasonable pretensions to good looks, who is modest and well-behaved,
and shows the slightest ability with a common-sense readiness to begin
at the bottom of the ladder, should offer herself for an engagement,
the chances are that she would get it with much less difficulty than
she imagined. There are, no doubt, numerous candidates, even for the
smallest positions on the stage, but those who possess even moderate
qualifications are extremely rare. Managers have, at present, to take
the best they can pick from a host of worse than interlopers.

"I do not think that novices reap any practical benefit from private
lessons. The neophyte learns not merely of her professional teacher,
but of her audience; and to be informed by the one without being
influenced by the other is to have very lopsided instruction. The
stage itself is the best, in fact, the only school for actresses.
It is a profession made up of traditions and precedents and
technicalities. Mere oral advice, or training in elocution or gesture,
counts for very little. They are, in fact, too often obstacles which
have to be eventually and with difficulty surmounted. In some
instances I have known 'instruction'--of this sort--to bring about as
prejudicial effects as if the victim had tried to learn the art of
swimming at a dancing academy, and then put the knowledge thus gained
into practice. The modulations of the voice and the language of
illustrative gesture ought to be either taught by example or
insensibly acquired by experience. To learn them by precept and rule
has for a result, usually, that woodenness and jerkiness which one
cannot help noticing in the 'youthful prodigies' of the stage. To be
an actress one has to learn other things than merely how to act, and
that is why nobody ever succeeded in the profession who tried to enter
it at the top. * * *

"The early bent of her studies and reading should be precisely the
same as that of any other woman aspiring to be liberally educated. She
should, if possible, speak French, at all events read it. She should
be familiar with English literature. She should cultivate an
acquaintance, through books and otherwise, with the highest as well as
the lowest forms of human society. Refinement and general information
ought to be the characteristics of every actress. * * *

"It would be bold for me to pretend to descry the chances of success
for the actress of the future. It is a lottery, this profession of
ours, in which even the prizes are, after all, not very considerable.
My own days, spent most of them far from my children and the comforts
and delights of my home, are full of exhausting labor. Rehearsals
and other business occupy me from early morning to the hour of
performance, with brief intervals for rest and food and a little
sleep. In the best hotels my time is so invaded that I can scarcely
live comfortably, much less luxuriously. At the worst, existence
becomes a torment and a burden. I am the eager, yet weary, slave of
my profession, and the best it can do for me--who am fortunate enough
to be included among its successful members--is to barely palliate
the suffering of a forty-weeks' exile from my own house and my family.

"For those of our calling who have to make this weary round, year
after year, with disappointed ambitions and defeated hopes as their
inseparable company, I can feel from the bottom of my heart. Each
season makes the life harder and drearier; each year robs it of one
more prospect, one more chance, one more opportunity to try and catch
the fleeting bubble in another field."

Madame Modjeska writes:

"* * * It would be a great mistake to choose the profession with the
idea that money comes easier and work is less hard in this than in any
other. There is little hope for the advancement of such aspirants.

"There is no greater mistake than to suppose that mere professional
training is the only necessary education. The general cultivation of
the mind, the development of all the intellectual faculties, the
knowledge how to think, are more essential to the actor than mere
professional instruction. In no case should he neglect the other
branches of art; all of them being so nearly akin, he cannot attain to
a fine artistic taste if he is entirely unacquainted with music, the
plastic arts, and poetry.

"The best school of acting seems to me to be the stage itself--when
one begins by playing small parts, and slowly, step by step, reaches
the more important ones. There is a probability that if you play well
a minor character, you will play greater ones well by and by; while if
you begin with the latter, you may prove deficient in them, and
afterward be both unwilling and unable to play small parts. It was my
ill-fortune to be put, soon after my entrance on the stage, in the
position of a star in a travelling company. I think it was the
greatest danger I encountered in my career, and the consequence was
that when I afterward entered a regular stock company, I had not only
a great deal to learn, but much more to unlearn.

"The training by acting, in order to be useful, requires a certain
combination of circumstances. It is good in the stock companies of
Europe, because with them the play-bill is constantly changed, and
the young actor is required to appear in a great variety of characters
during a short period. But it may prove the reverse of good in a
theatre where the beginner may be compelled for a year or so to play
one insignificant part. Such a course would be likely to kill in him
all the love of his art, render him a mechanical automaton, and teach
him but very little.

"Private instruction can be given either by professors of elocution or
by experienced actors. I know nothing of the first, as there are no
professors of elocution, to my knowledge, outside of America and of
England, and I never knew one personally. But speaking of private
lessons given by experienced actors, there are certainly a great many
arguments and instances in favor of that mode of instruction. Of
course, a great deal depends upon the choice of the teacher. But,
supposing he is capable, he can devote more time to a private pupil
than he can to one in a public school. Some of the greatest actresses
that ever lived owed, in great part, their success to the instructions
of an experienced actor, of less genius than themselves. Take, for
instance, Rachel and Samson. Strange to say, it happens often that
very good actors make but poor professors, while the best private
teacher I ever met was, like Michonnet, but an indifferent actor
himself. The danger is that the pupil in this kind of instruction may
become a mere imitator of his model. Imitation is the worst mode of
learning, and the worst method in art, as it kills the individual
creative power, and in most cases, the imitators only follow the
peculiar failings of their model.

"There are many objections to dramatic schools, some of which are
very forcible. There is in them, as in private teaching, the danger
of imitation, and of getting into a purely mechanical habit, which
produces conventional, artificial acting. Yet it is not to be denied
that a great number of the best French and German actresses and
actors have been pupils of dramatic schools, and that two of the
schools--those of Paris and Vienna--have justly enjoyed a great
celebrity. Of the schools I have known personally I cannot speak very
favorably. One point must be borne in mind; a dramatic school ought to
have an independent financial basis, and not rely for its support on
the number of its pupils, because in such a case the managers might
be induced to receive candidates not in the least qualified for the
dramatic profession.

"Of the three elements that, in my opinion, go to make up a good
dramatic artist, the first one, technique, must be acquired by
professional training; the second and higher one, which is art itself,
originates in a natural genius, but can and ought to be improved by
the general cultivation of the mind. But there is yet something beyond
these two: it is inspiration. This cannot be acquired or improved, but
it can be lost by neglect. Inspiration, which Jefferson calls his
demon, and which I would call my angel, does not depend upon us.
Happy the moments when it responds to our appeal. It is only at such
moments that an artist can feel satisfaction in his work--pride in his
creation; and this feeling is the only real and true success which
ought to be the object of his ambition."

       *       *       *       *       *

There is but very little chance for women to succeed as lecturers at
the present time. Some few years ago the country seemed to be overrun
with orators, both male and female. Probably the woman-suffrage
excitement had a great deal to do with this; at all events, there is
not much demand now for female eloquence. Twelve years ago a number of
distinguished women were before the public. Anna Dickinson spoke on
politics; since then she entered the dramatic profession. Susan B.
Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, spoke about woman-suffrage, a subject
which seems for the time to have died out. Olive Logan talked on
social topics; now she is in Europe. Mrs. Livermore is the only
female orator of that time who is now before the public, and she is
as successful now as she was then.

       *       *       *       *       *

As public readers, women who have a talent in that direction have an
excellent chance at the present time. "Readings" are getting to be a
very popular form of entertainment. The theatres are offering such
poor and trashy attractions that many educated people who want to be
amused, are forced to seek diversion in this way. The general spread
of culture is also, probably, creating a taste in this direction.

The lady who would succeed as a public reader must, like the actress,
be good-looking. The most successful lady readers now before the
public are physically attractive. Some of them are large, fine-looking
women, while others are petite; but no matter what the particular
style of beauty may be, they are all pleasing in their personal

The woman who wants to make public reading a profession will do all
she can to get her name and profession before the public. At first
she will give free readings before church societies. In this way she
will gradually become known, and, after a while, she will be able
to appear before some lyceum in the small outlying towns. If she
is favorably received she will be invited to come again, and so,
gradually, her name and fame will become known, and if she has the
necessary talent she will eventually command very good pay.

At first she will give free readings. Her readings for pay will, in
the beginning, bring her from $10 to $25 a reading. After that the
compensation will increase, according to her reputation as a reader.
The very best female readers, or "elocutionists," as they prefer to
term themselves, receive as much as $500 for one entertainment.

The social position which a lady occupies will have much to do with
her success. If she has a large circle of influential friends in good
social standing, provided, of course, she is talented, she will find
the road to success much easier than it otherwise would be.


Canvassing for books is a business in which some men have been known
to make $10,000 a year, and a large number of other men have earned
$2,000 and $3,000 in the same length of time. This is an occupation
which, under certain conditions, is admitted to be just as suitable
for a woman as a man.

The newspapers have poked a great deal of fun at book-agents, and
their ridicule has, doubtless, deterred many a person from following
the occupation. A young man, a book-agent, once wrote for advice to
the editor of a New York paper. He said that he had followed the
calling for some time, and that he made, the year round, from $50 to
$60 a week. He liked the work of travelling from place to place, but
he had doubts as to whether his calling was a respectable one. Would
it not be better for him to get some other employment? The editor
promptly informed him that the work he was doing was not only
respectable but exceedingly useful; that many persons were glad to
see him present to their notice the new and useful books he was
endeavoring to sell; that his earnings were exceptionally large, and
that it would be a long time before he could hope to earn as much in
any other business. By all means he should remain a book-agent.

It is said by the publishers of books that women make excellent
book-agents; they cannot hope to make as much money as the very best
male agents, but if they have the necessary qualifications they can do
very well. The prerequisites required can be summed up under four

First of all, a woman must have pretty good health; if she has not,
she will not be able to go through the necessary amount of physical
exercise involved in the work. But it is not necessary that she shall
be perfectly sound in body. Many a woman enters the business because
she has a delicate constitution, and because she believes that the
exercise she will be obliged to take will do her good. And if her
ailments are not too serious, she is seldom disappointed in this

Second, she must have a great deal of what business men call "push,"
and what some people might term impudence. She cannot afford to be
nervous about going into stores, offices, and houses, and offering
what she has for sale. Nor will it go well with her if she is
bad-natured, and shows temper when she is not greeted cordially by the
master or mistress of the house. She must have smiles and pleasant
words for those who do not buy as well as for those who do.

Third, she must be a good judge of human nature, and on this one
commandment, probably, hangs all the law and the prophets of
book-canvassing. For, if she has been a student of mankind she will
use great judgment in her vocation. She will call at the proper time,
at the proper place, upon the kind of people who will most likely want
to see her, or rather the book she has to offer. She will, by her
demeanor, win the respect of the men, the admiration of the women, and
the love of the children. It seems like saying a great deal too much,
but it is a fact, that there are some lady book-agents whose calls are
remembered as angels' visits, so agreeable were they in their manners,
so charming in conversation. It must be admitted, however, that there
are not many such women roaming up and down through the country.

Last of all, she must have great perseverance, and work continuously.
Women get very easily discouraged, no matter what occupation they
pursue, if they do not very quickly see some substantial return for
their work. The idea that "hope springs eternal in the human breast,"
was certainly never meant to apply to women; nor, maybe, was it meant
to, seeing that it occurs in the "Essay on Man." The female book-agent
is very much depressed if she does not make good earnings at the
start. Her depression so affects her spirits that she cannot be as
industrious as she otherwise would, and so she does more and more
poorly until, finally, she gives up the business. Men agents do not,
as a rule, become discouraged so easy. They know that provided they
have got a good book, published by a good house, it is only a question
of time when they will be making good earnings. Women should go to
work in the same spirit.

If poor success is apt to discourage a woman (and, in what I say now I
am only the mouthpiece of several publishers I have seen), a run of
very good luck is liable to demoralize her. It is said that some lady
agents, after making a considerable sum of money in a short space of
time, will at once stop work, and, retiring to their homes, will not
think of following the employment until their means are exhausted.
Of course that is foolish. While they are spending their time in
idleness some new-comer has been assigned to the field they found so
profitable. When they return to work it is with a listless spirit,
and it will be quite a while before they can summon up that old-time
energy, which comes, in any vocation, from long and continuous

Women book-agents--and, in defence of this ungallant remark, I must
state again that "I say the tale as 'twas said to me"--women
book-agents are apt to waste a great deal of time in the spring and
fall in getting their wardrobes ready for the coming season. "Who ever
knew of a man," remarked a cynical publisher, "stopping work for two
or three weeks because he was going to have a suit of clothes made? No
one. And yet you will find a female book-agent stop canvassing in the
busiest season in order to superintend the making of her dresses." Of
course, all lady book-agents do not adopt this practice, but it is
well to allude to the custom, because it is very unbusiness-like, and
furnishes a hint in the direction of how not to succeed.

Two classes of women, publishers find, seek the employment of
book-canvassing. A great many young ladies enter the business--it
might be said skip into it--with all the gayety and with all the
inexperience of youth. These young persons are about eighteen or
nineteen years of age; they are buoyant of nature, full of hope,
bursting with self-confidence. They work a few days or weeks, then
abandon the business, tearfully proclaiming that it wasn't any thing
like what they thought it would be.

The really successful female book-agent belongs to the second class.
She is of middle age, sometimes single, sometimes a widow, or, it may
be, she is married, and is bravely assisting a sick or unfortunate
husband in the support of the family. Such a woman enters the business
with the idea of making it her vocation. If she is a single lady or a
widow, she is not on the look-out for a husband, when she should be
carefully watching for customers. Having passed the youthful stage of
life, she is apt to be a pretty good judge of human nature, and, at
all events, she will be quick to learn the ways and weaknesses of men
when she is thus forced to daily come in contact with them.

The earnings of this latter class of women are sometimes very large.
Of course, the reader understands that book-agents almost invariably
work upon a commission.

That commission varies. On some books it is only ten per cent.; on
others it is sixty per cent. The better the book the less the per
centage of profit; but, let it be remembered also, the better the
book, the more ease in obtaining subscribers. Some women make $50 a
week for many weeks running; some earn $30 a week the year round.
One lady made enough money in two years' canvassing to send her
boy to college, and to purchase a home. In fact, the earnings of
book-agents, even the best of them, cannot even be approximately
stated. It is sufficient to say that a woman with the proper
qualifications, who strictly attends to her business, who is
persevering, full of courage, and who works diligently, is sure
to succeed. No, there is one thing more needed--a good book.

There are a great number of subscription books offered to agents every
year, but out of the whole lot very few of them are of real value. And
yet, it is not necessary that a book should be, intellectually
speaking, first-class, in order to meet with a sale. Some books issued
by subscription at the present time cost $20 and $30 apiece. There is
a cyclopedia for which the price is over $100. Such books as these, it
has been found, must be sold by male agents only. It has also been
discovered that women are most successful in the sale of books of a
religious or semi-religious character, issued at a reasonable price.
The reason for this is apparent. They are brought in contact with the
female members of families, and in thus meeting members of their own
sex they are at no loss for interesting topics of conversation. For
the successful book-agent, it is needless to say, does not, the moment
she enters a house, present her wares and cry boldly "Buy"; she "leads
up" to the business in hand.

In selecting a book a woman should go to a first-class publisher and
pick out a work which, according to her judgment (and without much
regard to what he may say, because he may very often be wrong), will
meet a popular household demand. Let her beware of all the small
catch-penny kind of publications; reproductions, from old and worn-out
stereotype plates, of books that no one, who really cares for books,
will be likely to buy. There are so many good subscription books
coming from the press in the present day that there is hardly any
excuse for a woman who will waste her time in canvassing for poor
ones. Of course, the hasty books outnumber the books of real merit,
but there are enough of the latter to furnish employment to all the
women who will be likely to engage in this occupation.

To give an example of the kind of publisher to be avoided, I may state
that in a large Eastern city there is a man who makes it his business,
at certain seasons of the year, to advertise for young lady agents. He
always wants "_young_ ladies," and he always wants them to be without
experience. He publishes but one book, of which he is the putative
author. The young ladies receive their board and a trifle for spending
money at the end of every week, all living under one roof. Accounts
are settled only semi-annually. At the end of the first six months it
is very generally found that the young lady agent is in debt to her
publisher for board, and, at all events, whatever the statement of
affairs may reveal, she is told that her services are no longer
required, and a fresh and inexperienced damsel is at once secured to
take her place.

       *       *       *       *       *

While writing on the subject of agents, it may be well to put down
a suggestion made to the author of this little book by a prominent
florist. He said that it was surprising to him that ladies were not
employed to solicit orders for trees, flowers, and seeds, etc. To his
knowledge, no women were engaged in this occupation, and yet it seemed
to be one for which they were especially fitted. Agents of this
character, it appears, carry with them large books containing highly
illuminated drawings of the trees or plants they are endeavoring to
sell. A lady could appeal with particular propriety to females who
would be likely to be purchasers. The competition in the nursery
business has been very great during the past few years, but the
profits of agents are said to be good. As this is a new field of
female labor, it might be worth while for a woman who has a fancy for
such work to endeavor to secure an agency.


From the modest appearance of the thousands of dwellings throughout
the country that bear the legend: "Fashionable Dress- and
Cloak-making," no one would suppose it was a very lucrative
employment. Indeed, from the dingy and broken-down aspect of some of
the establishments referred to, grave doubts might be entertained as
to whether the inmates were able to earn the most modest kind of a
living. The fact is that the great majority of dress-makers who set up
in business for themselves are not very successful, for the reason
that, in most cases, they have a very superficial knowledge of the
trade, and cannot meet the demand for good work.

A really first-class dress-maker is always sure of work, in either
city or country. In order to be first-class she must have served an
apprenticeship with, or learned the trade of, a woman who is actively
engaged in the business. A great many women think they can get a good
knowledge of dress-making by the use of charts and patterns. This is
not the fact. Undoubtedly charts and patterns are very useful for
women who cut and make their own dresses, and they are aids in cutting
and fitting generally; but so many changes have to be made, depending
on the size and style of the woman to be fitted, and so much judgment
is required to be used, that competent critics say that they are of no
value to the professional dress-maker. One lady remarked that if all
women were perfectly formed, charts and patterns would be a great
help; but as the modern Eves come very far short of physical
perfection, not much help could be got from them.

Some authorities say that dress-making as a trade is not so good a
business in New York as it was some ten years ago. The large
dress-makers who employ considerable help are obliged to select the
best locations in the city for their establishments, where the rent is
very high, and to furnish their places in a style very much more
expensive than in former years. As a consequence they do not pay as
good wages as they once did, on account of having to lay out money in
these ways.

Another change from the old methods is that the work of dress-making
is, at the present time, divided into various departments. One woman
will make the skirt, another will finish it, another will work on the
sleeves, another will work the button-holes, and the fitting and
draping are branches by themselves. The woman who would receive the
highest wages to be obtained in this industry should master the whole
business, and make herself competent to do all, or nearly all, the
kinds of work which have just been mentioned. If she does do that, she
need have no fear about obtaining employment. There are thousands of
dress-makers in the country, but very few good ones. It is a trade of
which it may be emphatically said that there is "room at the top."

The dress-making season lasts from October 1st to February 1st; then
there is very little to do until March 10th, when business becomes
brisk and remains so until about the 1st of August. The hours of work
are from 8 A.M. until 6 P.M. In the busy season it is often necessary
to work in the evening. The pay ranges from $6 to $8 per week for
ordinary hands, while competent women receive $10, $12, and $14 a
week. The forelady in a dress-making establishment will receive $15 or
$20 a week. It is her duty to superintend the girls, to see that they
arrive on time, to give out the work, and to see that it is done
promptly and properly.

Some women who follow this calling prefer to go out to private
families and work by the day. For such service they receive $3 or
$3.50 a day. In many respects this is a pleasant method, but it has
its disadvantages. A woman is not always sure of how much she will
earn unless, after years of work, she has secured the custom of a
certain number of families, on whose patronage she can depend. There
is so much responsibility and worriment attached to this way of
working at the trade that the majority of dress-makers prefer to hire
themselves out by the week, and feel sure of receiving each Saturday
night a stated amount for their services.

The objection that applies to going out to private service is urged
against a woman going into the business on her own account. Besides,
in large cities it would require considerable capital to pursue such a
course. A dingy, insignificant little place could not hope to get much
custom, and to compete with the large establishments a woman would
have to be prepared to pay a high rent, lay out a large amount in
furniture, and then, probably, have to wait a long time before she
could be the owner of a good paying business. Still, if she has plenty
of capital, thoroughly understands the trade, and is enterprising in
her methods of securing business, there is no reason why she should
not succeed, provided she has a good location.

       *       *       *       *       *

Only the rich and the utterly incompetent patronize the milliner
nowadays. It seems that women are very prompt to attend the "openings"
in the spring and fall seasons, but the great majority of them do so
only to see the styles. They go home and, unless they are very poor
hands with the needle, make their bonnets themselves. A hat that would
cost $5 in the store, a woman of taste could make for $1.50; and one
that would cost $15 she could duplicate for a five-dollar bill.

An idea can thus be formed of the profits of the business, and the
suggestion will probably occur to the reader that it is a good
business to follow. If a woman could secure a good store, at a
reasonable rent, in a nice neighborhood, she would have a fair chance
of doing well. Of course it is to be supposed that she understands the
milliner's trade, and that she has gained her knowledge in a practical
way. It is seldom, however, that women are successful as proprietors
of such stores. Either they have made a mistake in selecting a
location, or their means become exhausted while waiting for custom
during the early dull days of their venture. It would take at least
$2,000 or $3,000 to start a millinery store. A woman of unusually good
taste and sound business judgment might get along with $1,000. The
best location in New York City would be between Fourteenth and
Thirty-third streets, and Broadway and Sixth Avenue; or on Broadway or
Sixth Avenue.


The profession of teaching would seem, at a first glance, to be
overcrowded. School committees who are charged with the duty of
selecting tutors are, it is said, overwhelmed with applicants for the
positions that are to be filled. Young women are constantly striving
to get places in academies, and the host of females who are seeking
situations in the public schools of New York is, indeed, mighty.
Notwithstanding this discouraging view, a thoroughly qualified teacher
need seldom be without employment. The women who have had a solid
systematic training in the English branches, and who, in addition to
mere mental qualifications, have the knack, or genius, it might be
called, of reaching the minds of the young, are very few. There are
plenty of superficially educated young women who "take up" teaching
as their profession. They are not thoroughly grounded in the very
rudiments of knowledge; they have no knowledge of, or sympathy with,
children; they go through their work in a purely mechanical spirit;
and they are utterly unfitted, in every way, for the profession they
have selected for themselves. The woman who makes teaching her
profession must have real ability, and feel herself thoroughly
_adapted_ for the calling.

No woman, unless she has great "influence," can hope to obtain a
position in the public schools of New York. The western part of our
country seems to be a good field for well-qualified teachers, who
must, however, be endowed with some courage.

The country is a good place for a young lady to begin work. Positions
are more easily secured, and the qualifications required are not so
great as in the city.

In the schools throughout the country the salaries of female teachers
range from $300 to $1,200 a year. The smaller salary would be given in
a country school; the higher salaries would be paid in the academies
in the large towns, and in cities.

       *       *       *       *       *

Teaching young children by the Kindergarten method has become very
popular within the past few years, and there is quite a demand for the
establishment of Kindergarten schools. In New York young ladies can
learn this method of teaching in two schools; one a free school
connected with a society devoted to "ethical culture," and a private
school. The instruction given in the former is free, but the young
women are expected to devote part of the day to the free scholars.
This is an advantage, for it gives them a practical knowledge of the
method. During the week there are three theoretical lessons, each
lasting about two hours. So many are desirous of entering this
institution, that it has been found necessary to have a competitive
examination for the admission of candidates. In the private school the
price of tuition is $200. In Boston there are twenty kindergartens,
all carried on by a lady. The salary of the teachers there is $600. In
private families teachers are paid from $400 to $600; there is a good
demand for instructors in that quarter. The price obtained from
scholars taught in a kindergarten school depends solely on how much
they can afford to pay; probably $50 for the school year of nine
months would be the average price.

       *       *       *       *       *

The educational market is overstocked with teachers of languages.
There are so many poor, broken-down foreigners in America who are
perfectly competent to teach their respective languages, that there is
a very small chance for home talent. A good teacher, in the city of
New York, will receive $1 an hour; but there are some who will teach
as low as 25 cents an hour, and there are others who, through their
good address and social qualifications, will secure an entrance into
fashionable society, and receive as high as $5 an hour for doing no
better service than their poorer-paid sisters. In academies and
schools a lady teaching French and German will receive her board
and from $300 to $800 a year. She must have learned these languages
abroad, and have the real foreign accent, or she cannot obtain
employment at these rates. If she has obtained her knowledge in this
country, the salary will be from $300 to $500.

       *       *       *       *       *

Music is now so generally taught to children, that there is a good
chance for competent female teachers of the art to obtain scholars.
There is a wide range in the prices paid for tuition; some teachers
receive only 50 cents a lesson, and some as high as $8. Those who
receive the latter sum are women of very great ability, who train
young ladies to become public performers. The terms depend almost
altogether on the wealth of the teacher's patrons; among people in
moderate circumstances she will receive moderate pay, while the rich
will very often give twice the amount for the same service. The
ability and reputation of the teacher will have much to do with her

To become a thoroughly competent music teacher will take three or four
years' instruction. It is said that a good musical education can be
obtained as well on this as on the other side of the water. Many of
the foreign music teachers in this country are as good as can be
obtained abroad, and the European instructors, some critics say, do
not give as much time and attention to pupils as the American tutors.

       *       *       *       *       *

If a woman has a thorough knowledge of short-hand, she can do well, as
a teacher of the art, in almost any community. Many persons, even in
remote and small places, would learn phonography if the subject were
brought to their attention by an instructor. Clergymen, lawyers,
doctors, many women of leisure, young women who would study with a
view to being amanuenses--all such people could be obtained as pupils.
The teacher could give from fifteen to thirty or forty lessons, at a
charge of from fifty cents to a dollar a lesson. A great many learners
of this art prefer to have a teacher's help, though phonography can be
mastered without such aid.

       *       *       *       *       *

Teachers of the art of decoration--the ornamentation of China screens,
plaques, panels, etc.--and drawing, receive from $400 to $2,000 a
year. A course of two or three years' study will fit a properly
talented woman to be an art teacher. There is a fair demand for such
teachers in the large schools and academies throughout the country.



It would be impossible, within the limits of this little book, to go
into the details of all the employments suitable for women; only the
most important and best paying kinds of work have been mentioned in
detail. Some brief notes are here given of various occupations in
which females are now engaged, and in which they are meeting with more
or less success.

=Market Gardening.=--Some women make money by raising vegetables for
the city markets. The produce is sometimes sent by rail, but, as a
rule, it is brought in by trucks. This industry is not, as many might
suppose, confined entirely to foreigners. There are thousands of
American-born women throughout the country who are engaged in it, and
who are doing well. Mention is made of a woman who, starting with a
capital of $25, made a good living in this way, cultivating only an
acre of ground. Her husband plowed and prepared the ground, and in her
part of the work she had the assistance of the younger boys and the
older girls. During the past year she made more money than her husband
did from his farm. A woman could not expect to be successful in this
occupation unless she was unusually strong and healthy, and had the
taste for agricultural work very largely developed. Those who are born
and brought up in the country do the best.

The raising of =poultry= for the large city markets is a lucrative
occupation, or rather it can be made so, after a time, if the
poultry-raiser gradually increases her stock of fowls. Even if she
does not care to do this she can be pretty sure of a fair living.
About $300 would be required to start in this business--$100 for the
fowls, and the balance for the erection of appropriate buildings for
the animals.

=Bee-keeping.=--There is always a good market for honey, and those who
understand the art of raising bees can be sure of making a fair
living. Women can do just as well as men, and many ladies are very
successful. It would be necessary to start with not less than thirty
swarms of bees, at a cost of from $5 to $15 a swarm, or hive. If the
business is properly followed, it will increase in a very short time,
as the colonies multiply rapidly. There are excellent books showing
how this business can be carried on, but the theoretical knowledge
gained from them must be supplemented by practical knowledge gained
from experience.

=House-keepers.=--The demand for house-keepers is very small; that is
to say, there is very little chance for a strange woman to obtain a
position of that kind. There are plenty of house-keepers, but when one
is wanted she is generally found in the person of a poor relation or
struggling friend within the immediate social precinct of the family
who desire her services. Such positions, however, when they can be
obtained in the large cities, are looked upon as unusually good.
House-keepers are employed by widowers to take entire charge of a
house and look after the children, if there are any; by husbands with
sick and delicate wives; or by couples who are wealthy enough to
engage such service. They are paid from $30 to $100 per month, the
salary depending on the duties they are expected to perform, and the
wealth of the parties who employ them.

A house-keeper in a large hotel occupies a responsible position. She
must possess that rare feminine virtue--the ability to "get along"
with servants. The occupation is very confining, and such workers can
very seldom get, at one time, many hours' recess from their work.
Their wages run from $20 to $60 a month and their board; the larger
the hotel, the more responsible the position and the greater the pay.

=Cashiers in Hotels.=--It requires a great deal of "influence" to get
the position of cashier in a hotel; it is a situation that is very
much coveted. As the cashier is employed in the restaurant, it is only
in hotels that are conducted on "the European plan" where such
services are required. In such hotels the guests pay so much for their
room, and get their meals where they please, paying at the time for
what they get. As a rule, they patronize the restaurant connected with
the hotel. The cashier has to work long hours. For instance: one day
she will be on duty from 8 A.M. until 8 P.M. The next day from 7 A.M.
until 10 A.M.; then a recess until 5 P.M., then on duty until 12,
midnight. She receives her board and a salary of from $12 to $25 a
month. The board is always good. In the best hotels the cashier is
allowed to order what she pleases from the regular bill of fare; other
hotels have a special bill for the "officers" (as the better class of
help are called), and from this the selection of food has to be made.

=Button-holes.=--Ladies do not need to be told that the button-holes
in fine dresses are made by hand. This kind of work has become a
separate business, although there are some seamstresses who combine
the making of button-holes with their regular sewing. Dress-makers who
employ twenty-five or thirty needlewomen usually keep one button-hole
maker, paying her from $9 to $12 a week; very few pay the latter
price. Some women who work at this trade prefer to be paid by the
piece. In this case they are paid at the rate of two cents and a half
per button-hole. A good worker can make fifty button-holes in a day,
and earn $1.25. It would be a very smart woman who could make eighty,
and earn $2 a day. One trouble about working by the piece is that the
woman very often has to wait until the work is got ready for her. As
she is obliged to attend on several customers during the day she often
suffers from this loss of time, sometimes losing a customer through
the failure to keep an appointment, or being obliged to do a part of
her work at night.

The button-holes in white vests are done by hand. The pay is one cent
a button-hole, and a woman can make $1 or $1.25 a day. The work is
always done during the winter months, there is plenty of it to do, and
never any time lost in waiting.

=Florists.=--There are eight or ten ladies in New York and Brooklyn
who have charge of floral establishments. Most of them assist their
husbands; some are widows who have inherited the business. There is
one lady in Brooklyn who has built up a good business solely through
her own efforts. This is a very good occupation for women who love
flowers, who have good taste, an eye for color and the necessary
executive ability to carry on a business by themselves. Most of the
florists in New York and Brooklyn get their plants and flowers at
wholesale from nurseries on the outskirts, purchasing such stock
as they may require from time to time. Land is so valuable in the
city that florists have long since been compelled to give up the
cultivation of flowers; besides, the streets in the central and
business parts are so built up, both in New York and Brooklyn, that
the ground cannot be obtained at any price. Now, they have small
stores where they make a display of "samples" of the different
varieties of flowers.

The work is hard at times, the florist being obliged to remain up the
best part of the night to fill an order, given at the last moment, for
funeral or wedding pieces. The decorating of churches, halls, etc., is
tiresome work, especially where palms are used, and where it is
necessary to climb up and down ladders. The keeping of plants in pots
in the store requires a good deal of labor. Many women call and want
to see what the florist has got. She has to raise up the pots of
plants many times a day, and this is very tiresome to the wrists.

The amount of capital required to start the florist's business is
nothing like as much as it was before the large nurseries supplied the
florists with what they wanted at wholesale rates. The sum would
probably range from $200 to $1000, depending on the location, the
style in which the store was fitted up, and the amount of rent that
had to be paid. The profits are good, but vary, depending on the class
of custom the florist obtains; twenty-five per cent. is considered a
fair profit.

The lady florist would not, probably, care to devote much time to
potted plants. She could keep a few of the more common varieties,
which would be sufficient. Most of her business--and the best paying
part of her business--would consist in making bouquets, and selling
cut flowers. That is more profitable and pleasant than the selling and
propagation of plants, and would require much less manual labor.
Florists keep informed about their occupation by carefully reading the
catalogues issued by the various large wholesale dealers, in this
country, and in Europe, and the interesting and valuable books on
Floriculture that are issued from time to time.

To establish a regular greenhouse, and raise plants and flowers for
both the wholesale and retail trade, would require at least $5,000. A
woman to carry on the business in that way would have to be possessed
of a great deal of executive ability, give her whole personal
attention to the work, and be able to manage a considerable number of

The business is better in the smaller cities than in either New
York or Brooklyn. In Schenectady, it may be mentioned by way of
illustration that, six years ago, there were no florists; now
there are three.

=Authorship.=--Authorship has now become, very largely, a
matter-of-fact business conducted on business principles. If any woman
has any thing to say that is worth listening to she will have no
trouble in securing a publisher to reproduce her thoughts in book
form. The idea that publishers strive to crush budding genius has
long since been exploded. If they were guilty of doing that very often
their occupation would be gone.

The woman who has a manuscript to offer for publication should first
see that it is written plainly on one side of the paper. Then she
should select a publisher who issues books of the same general
character as the one she has written. Some publishers make a specialty
of light summer novels, some of society stories, some of scientific
books, and so on. The manuscript is read by a "reader," who passes
judgment upon it. If his opinion is favorable the publisher reads the
manuscript and decides whether he will undertake to publish it.

The book may be bought for a certain sum outright. Or, a certain
amount may be paid on publication, and an additional sum after the
book has attained a stated circulation; or, a royalty of ten per cent.
on what will be the retail price of the book may be given; or, the
author may pay for the cost of manufacturing the book, owning the
copyright, the plates, and the books printed, and paying the publisher
ten per cent. for taking charge of the publication and sale of the

Contributions for the daily and the weekly literary papers are paid
for at the rate of from $6 to $10 per one thousand words. Many young
women are ambitious to write for the story papers. There is but little
chance of success in this direction. Nearly all of the story papers
have a regular corps of contributors, who often write under several
different names, and who are paid a salary, or so much for each
"instalment" of a continued story. A publisher, however, will always
buy a "sensational" continued story if it is very good, and the fact
that the author is unknown will not count against its acceptance. A
continued story should contain not less than eight, nor more than
thirteen, instalments of about four thousand words each. The pay for
such a contribution would be from $10 to $20 an instalment. There is
a greater demand for short stories for the story papers, stories
containing from two to four thousand words. The price paid for such
tales would be $5 or $10.[A]

[Footnote A: The woman who contemplates authorship, or journalistic
work, is advised to consult "Authors and Publishers; a Manual of
Suggestions for Beginners in Literature." Price, $1.00. Published by
G. P. Putnam's Sons, 27 and 29 West 23d Street, New York. This is not
only the latest but the best book on the subject.]

=Type-Writing.=--Young women in the large cities do well working on
the type-writer. A girl with a good common-school education, who is
naturally bright, and quick with her fingers, can learn in four
months' time to work on the type-writer. In eight months she ought to
be an expert at the business. Some pupils might be required to
practise a year, or a year and a half, before they were thoroughly
competent. Forty words a minute is considered a good average rate of
speed. Salaries of lady type-writers in law, newspaper, and mercantile
offices range from $10 to $20 a week. A woman would have to be a very
expert type-writer, or have joined with the knowledge of type-writing
some knowledge of short-hand, to earn $20 a week. In railroad offices
type-writers are paid $60 a month. Type-writing offices, where
type-writing is done for the public by the job, and where this kind of
help is employed, pay $10 and $12 a week.

Some women open offices and depend on job work. They receive five
cents a folio (one hundred words) for furnishing one copy of a
manuscript, eight cents a folio for two, and ten cents a folio for
three copies. Some charge ten cents per page (three hundred words) for
furnishing one copy, twelve cents for furnishing two copies, and
fifteen cents for furnishing three copies. Several copies of a page
can be taken at one time on the type-writer. This is an excellent
industry for women. No special talent is required, except that a woman
should be a good speller and have a fair knowledge of the rules of
punctuation. A new telegraph company that has just been started is, it
is said, going to employ lady type-writers in many of its offices to
take down the messages as they are received by the operators. This of
itself will create a great demand for lady type-writers.

=Wood-Engraving.=--It requires four or five years' study for a woman
to become competent in wood-engraving. After three years of hard work
she may hope to do some ordinary engraving for which she will receive
compensation. In the Cooper Institute (New York), where the art is
taught to women, the course of instruction covers four years. The
pupils work every day from 9 A.M. to 5 P.M. the year round, obtaining
theoretical instruction from a teacher twice a week.

For engraving a block a trifle larger than this page a woman will
receive $50. It will take her from three to five weeks to do the work,
depending on the amount of experience she has had in the business.
Some women occupy themselves on "catalogue work," _i. e._, engraving
the illustrations for mercantile books and agricultural catalogues.
At this branch of work they can make from $20 to $25 a week. There are
very few female wood-engravers at present. To women who have the
necessary talent, and who can afford to give the requisite amount of
time to the study of the art, wood-engraving will furnish a sure means
of making a living.

=Working in Brass.=--This is a new occupation for women that is being
taught in one of the technical schools in New York. A few women are
successfully doing some work in the business and receiving fair pay. A
lady who has a good knowledge of drawing can, it is said, after a
course of twelve lessons do marketable work. Pupils who are able to
make original designs do the best. A course of twelve lessons in the
school alluded to costs $10. The work is by the piece, and is paid for
according to the style of the pattern. For small leaves the pay is
from 60 to 70 cents each; leaves six inches in length $1 each; a panel
10 × 6 inches, $4 to $5, according to pattern. Tiles are popular and
well paid for. The work is very well suited for a woman, and her
earnings ought to run from $10 to $25 a week, depending altogether on
her talent. After taking lessons and learning the theoretical part of
the business it would be well for a woman to go, for a short time,
into some establishment where brass-work is done. There she would
probably get some practical hints that would be of great service.


                 Putnam's Handy-Book Series


                  BOOKS FOR THE HOUSEHOLD.

I.--=The Best Reading.= A Classified Bibliography for easy Reference,
with hints on the selection of books, on the formation of libraries,
public and private, on courses of reading, etc.; a guide for the
librarian, bookbuyer, and bookseller. The classified lists, arranged
under about 500 subject-headings, include all the most desirable books
now to be obtained either in Great Britain or the United States, with
the published prices annexed. New edition, corrected, enlarged, and
continued to August, 1876. 12mo, paper, $1.00; cloth             $1.50

"We know of no manual that can take its place as a guide to the
selector of a library."--_Independent._

=The Library Companion.= Annual Supplement to "The Best Reading." Five
volumes, for 1877, 1878, 1879, 1880, and 1881, each                 50

II.--=Hand-Book of Statistics of the United States.= A Record of the
Administrations and Events from the Organization of the United States
Government to 1874. Comprising brief biographical data of the
presidents, cabinet officers, the signers of the Declaration of
Independence, and members of the Continental Congress, statements of
finances under each administration, and other valuable material. 12mo,
cloth                                                            $1 00

"The book is of so comprehensive a character and so compact a form
that it is especially valuable to the journalist or student."--_N. Y.

III.--=What to Eat.= A Manual for the Housekeeper; giving a bill of
fare for every day in the year. 134 pages, boards                   50

"It can hardly fail to prove a valuable aid to housekeepers who are
brought to their wits' end to know what to get for the day's
meals."--_San Francisco Bulletin._

IV.--=Till the Doctor Comes, and How to Help Him.= By GEORGE H. HOPE,
M.D. Revised with additions by a New York physician. :: A popular
guide in all cases of accident and sudden illness. 12mo, 99 pages,
boards                                                              50

"A most admirable treatise; short, concise, and practical."--_Harper's
Monthly_ (Editorial).

V.--=Stimulants and Narcotics=; MEDICALLY, PHILOSOPHICALLY, AND
MORALLY CONSIDERED. By GEORGE M. BEARD, M.D. 12mo, 155 pages, cloth 75

"Dr. Beard has given the question of stimulants the first fair
discussion in moderate compass that it has received in this country.
* * * The book should be widely read."--_N. Y. Independent._

VI.--=Eating and Drinking.= A Popular Manual of Food and Diet in
Health and Disease. By GEORGE M. BEARD, M.D. 12mo, 180 pages, cloth 75

"The best manual upon the subject we have seen."--_N. Y. World._

VII.--=The Student's Own Speaker.= By PAUL REEVES. A Manual of
Oratory, comprising new selections, patriotic, pathetic, grave, and
humorous, for home use and for schools. 12mo, 215 pages, boards     75

"We have never before seen a collection so admirably adapted for its
purpose."--_Cincinnati Chronicle._

VIII.--=How to Educate Yourself.= A Complete Guide to Students;
showing how to study, what to study, and how and what to read. It is,
in short, a "Pocket School-master." By GEORGE CARY EGGLESTON. 12mo,
151 pages, boards                                                   50

"We write with unqualified enthusiasm about this book, which is
untellably good and for good."--_N. Y. Evening Mail._

IX.--=A Manual of Etiquette.= With Hints on Politeness, Good-Breeding,
etc. By "DAISY EYEBRIGHT." 12mo, boards                             50

"The suggestions and directions are given with taste and judgment, and
express the habits of good society."--_Louisville Courier-Journal._

X.--=The Mother's Register.= Current Notes on the Health of Children,
Part I., Boys. Part II., Girls. "The Mother records for the Physician
to interpret." From the French of Prof. J. B. FONSSAGRIVES, M.D. 12mo,
cloth                                                               75

XI.--=Hints on Dress.= By an American woman. 12mo, 124 pages, cloth 75

hints for the selection of a Home, its furniture and internal
arrangements, with carefully prepared price-lists of nearly every
thing needed by a housekeeper, and numerous valuable suggestions for
saving money and gaining comfort. By FRANK R. STOCKTON. 12mo, 182
pages, boards                                                       50

"Young housekeepers will be especially benefited, and all housekeepers
may learn much from this book."--_Albany Journal._

XIII.--=The Mother's Work with Sick Children.= By Prof. J. B.
FONSSAGRIVES, M.D. Translated and edited by F. P. FOSTER, M.D. A
volume full of the most practical advice and suggestions for Mothers
and Nurses. 12mo, 244 pages, cloth                                1 00

"A volume which should be in the hands of every mother in the
land."--_Binghamton Herald._

XIV.--=Manual of Thermometry.= For Mothers, Nurses, Hospitals, etc.,
and all who have charge of the sick and the young. By EDWARD SEGUIN,
M.D. 12mo, cloth                                                    75

XV.--=Infant Diet.= By A. JACOBI, M.D., Clinical Professor of Diseases
of Children, College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York. Revised,
enlarged, and adapted to popular use by MARY PUTNAM JACOBI, M.D. 12mo,
boards                                                              50

"Dr. Jacobi's rules are admirable in their simplicity and
comprehensiveness."--_N. Y. Tribune._

XVI.--=How to Make a Living.= By GEORGE CARY EGGLESTON, author of "How
to Educate Yourself." 12mo, boards                                  50

"Shrewd, sound, and entertaining."--_N. Y. Tribune._

XVII.--=Manual of Nursing.= Prepared under the instructions of the New
York Training School for Nurses, by VICTORIA WHITE, M.D., and revised
by MARY PUTNAM JACOBI, M.D. Boards                                  75

"Better adapted to render the nurse a faithful and efficient
coöperator with the physician than any work we have seen."--_Home

XVIII.--=The Blessed Bees.= An account of practical Bee-keeping, and
the author's success in the same. By JOHN ALLEN. Boards             75

"I scarcely looked up from the volume before I had scanned all its
fascinating pages."--Prof. A. T. COOK, in _American Bee Journal_,
1878, p. 422.

XIX.--=The Handy-Book of Quotations.= A Dictionary of Common Poetical
Quotations in the English Language. 16mo, boards                    75

"Compact and comprehensive. * * * An invaluable little
volume."--_Providence Journal._

XX.--=From Attic to Cellar.= A Book for Young Housekeepers. By Mrs.
OAKEY. 16mo, cloth                                                  75

"An admirable collection of directions and counsels, written by a lady
of large experience, in a style of perfect simplicity and great force.
* * * I wish it were in the hands of every housekeeper and every
domestic in the land."--H. W. BELLOWS, D.D.

XXI.--=Emergencies, and How to Meet Them.= Compiled by BURT G. WILDER,
M.D., Prof. of Physiology and Comparative Anatomy in Cornell
University. 16mo, sewed                                             15

"Invaluable instructions, prompt attention to which would often save
life or serious disaster."--_Providence Journal._

XXII.--=The Maintenance of Health.= By J. MILNER FOTHERGILL, M.D.
Third and cheaper edition. Octavo, boards                         1 25

"The most important book of its kind that has ever been published in
this country."--_Christian Union._

XXIII.--=The Art of Cooking.= A series of practical lessons by MATILDA
LEES DODS the South Kensington School of Cookery. Edited by HENRIETTA
DE CONDE SHERMAN. 16mo, cloth extra                               1 00

"The thoroughness of her preparation for the work which this
experience has afforded is seen in the marked success of the
experimental lessons that she is now giving. They are so clear and
methodical, her manipulation is so deft and easy, and the dishes
produced are so excellent, as to win the praise of all who hear
her."--_N. Y. Times._

XXIV.--=Hints for Home Reading.= A series of papers by EDWARD EVERETT
others. Edited by LYMAN ABBOTT. Together with a new edition of
"Suggestions for Libraries," with first, second, and third lists of
500, 1,000, and 2,000 volumes recommended as the most important and
desirable. 8vo, cloth, $1 00; boards                                75

"We warmly commend the book for the guidance not only of bookbuyers
but readers. Its suggestions are invaluable to both."--_Boston

XXV.--=First Aid to the Injured.= Prepared under the authority of the
First Aid to the Injured Society. By PETER SHEPHERD, M.D., and
BOWDITCH MORTON, M.D. Square 16mo, cloth extra                      50

"It is a book which ought to have a place in every family, and its
simple rules should be carefully studied and mastered by every
one."--_Providence Press._

XXVI.--=How to Succeed=, in Public Life, as a Minister, as a
Physician, as a Musician, as an Engineer, as an Artist, in Mercantile
Life, as a Farmer, as an Inventor, and in Literature. A series of
essays by Senators BAYARD and EDMUNDS; Doctors JOHN HALL, WILLARD
E. P. ROE. With an Introduction by LYMAN ABBOTT. 16mo, boards       50

"No book, we fancy, could more directly appeal to the mass of
Americans than one with this title. * * * Will find solid help in
these remarkable little essays that deal with great
expectations."--_N. Y. Herald._

XXVII.--=Work for Women.= Being hints to aid women in the selection of
a vocation in life, and describing the several occupations of
Short-Hand Writing, Industrial Designing, Photographing, Nursing,
Telegraphing, Teaching, Dress-Making, Proof-Reading, Engraving, etc.,
etc., etc. By George J. Manson. 16mo, boards                        60

"Full of useful suggestions."--_Philadelphia American._

XXVIII.--=Health Notes for Students.= By Prof. BURT G. WILDER, of
Cornell University. Uniform with "Emergencies." 16mo, paper 20

"The instructions are never extreme, and always sensible."--_Chicago

XXIX.--=The Home Physician.= A summary of Practical Medicine and
Surgery for the Use of Travellers and of Families at a distance from
Physicians. By LUTHER M. GILBERT, M.D., Attending Physician to the
Connecticut General Hospital. 16mo, cloth                         1 00

"Concise, comprehensive, and practical."--_St. Paul Dispatch._

XXX.--=Bread-Making.= A practical treatise, giving full instructions
for the making of bread and biscuits, 16mo, boards 50

  G. P. PUTNAM'S SONS,                            NEW YORK AND LONDON.

Transcriber's Notes:

Passages in italics are indicated by _underscore_.
Passages in bold are indicated by =bold=.

Other than the corrections listed below, printer's inconsistencies in
spelling, punctuation, hyphenation, and ligature usage have been

Two different versions of spelling for housekeeper and Hand-book occur
in this book (advertisements: housekeeper and Hand-Book; main text:
house-keeper and Hand-book).

The following misprints have been corrected:

  changed "Abbot" into "Abbott" in Preface
  changed "they are familliar," into "they are familiar." page 5
  changed "or eight o'clock," into "or eight o'clock." page 34
  changed "gratuitiously" into "gratuitously" page 51
  changed "month" into "months" page 55
  changed "treshhold" into "threshold" page 61
  added " after "to go by." page 75
  changed "negro" into "Negro" page 77
  changed "about woman suffrage, a" into "about woman-suffrage, a"
          page 94
  changed "Bee-Keeping.--There is" into "Bee-keeping.--There is"
          page 125
  changed "Type-Writing.--Young women" into "Type-writing.--Young
          women" page 135
  changed "excellant" into "excellent" advertisement
  changed "and 1881, each," into "and 1881, each" advertisement
  changed "134 pages, boards," into "134 pages, boards" advertisement
  changed "215 pages, boards," into "215 pages, boards" advertisement
  changed "16mo, paper," into "16mo, paper" advertisement

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