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Title: Guide to Hotel Housekeeping
Author: Palmer, Mary E.
Language: English
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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 "Guide to Hotel Housekeeping" ***

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Internet Archive/American Libraries.)







 Copyrighted 1908,



 Charleston. W. Va.



The greater part of the contents of this book was published, in
instalments, in The Hotel World, of Chicago.


My chief purpose in writing this book was to place a few guide-posts
along the route of hotel housekeepers to warn them against certain
errors common to women engaged in the arduous and difficult occupation
of keeping house for hotels.

If anything that I have set forth herein shall make the work of hotel
housekeepers easier, more inviting, or more efficient, thereby
contributing to the satisfaction of proprietors and to the comfort of
patrons, I shall feel amply repaid for writing this book.


 Hotel Ruffner,
     Charleston, West Va.
 March 1, 1908.


The average hotel manager is only too prone to complain of the
incompetency and the inefficiency of hotel "help."

It is true that it is difficult to secure skilled help, for there is no
sort of institution that trains men and women for the different kinds
of hotel work. Each hotel must train its own help, or obtain them from
other hotels.

Thus there is no uniform and generally accepted standard of excellence
in the different departments of hotel-keeping.

A good word should be said in behalf of the Irish-American girls, who
constitute a majority of the laundry help, waitresses, and chambermaids
in American hotels to-day.

With a high regard for honor and rectitude, handicapped by poverty, they
find employment, at a very early age, in hotels, and perform menial
duties in a manner that is greatly to their credit.

The Irish-American girls are not shiftless, remaining in one place for
years until they either marry or leave to fill better positions, which
is the privilege of every one living under the "Stars and Stripes."

Some improve their spare time in study, thereby fitting themselves to
become stenographers and bookkeepers. Some adopt the stage as a
profession, one instance being that of Clara Morris, who takes delight
in telling of the days when she washed silver in a hotel.

_An ex-Governor Peeled Potatoes._

Ex-Governor Hoard, of Wisconsin, boasts of the time when he peeled
potatoes in a hotel.

The success of hotel-keeping depends largely on the manager. He should
possess patience, forbearance, and amiability. He should know that the
best results are obtained from his help by kindness, and that good food
and good beds mean better service.

The manager should realize that the working force of a hotel is like the
mechanism of a clock: it has to be wound occasionally and set going. No
novice can operate this wonderful piece of mechanism; it requires a
skilled mechanic.

The proprietor of a hotel should be a good loser; for there are periods
of the year when the employes outnumber the guests, and the
balance-sheet shows a heavy loss.

One of the most successful hotel men of the writer's acquaintance is Mr.
Louis Reibold, formerly of the Bates House (now the Claypool),
Indianapolis, Ind. Mr. Reibold's fame rests in his liberal, kindly
treatment of his help. He never called them "help," but always referred
to them as "employes." Reception, reading, and writing-rooms were
furnished for their use, and he himself saw that good food was provided
and that the tables were spread with clean, white table-cloths once a

He remembered his employes at Christmas, each one receiving a gold coin,
some as much as $20.

When a girl in his employ lost her arm in a mangle, he presented her
with a house and lot, provided her with ample means to furnish the house
and to keep her the remainder of her lifetime.

Mr. Reibold is a multi-millionaire, and he has the admiration and love
of every woman and man that ever worked for him.


Employes, such as housekeepers, clerks, cashiers, stenographers,
stewards--though few stewards use the privilege--and bartenders, are
permitted to take their meals in the main dining-room.

Other office-employes take their meals in the officers' dining-room,
from the same bill of fare used in the main dining-room.

Chambermaids, bell-boys, and other "help," are served in the "helps'
hall," from a separate bill of fare. Their food is good, as a rule; when
it is not, the fault usually lies with the chef in the kitchen. All
proprietors want their help to have good food.

The housekeeper can do much to make the help comfortable. She can see
that their rooms are kept clean and sweet, and free from vermin. She can
give them soft pillows and plenty of warm covering. It is her duty to
add to their comfort in every way she can.

In a majority of hotels, the help are roomed and fed equally as well as
are the patrons.


Every profession or trade is made up of two classes: the apprentice and
the skilled workman. The young woman looking for a position as hotel
housekeeper should not forget that careful training is fully as
important and necessary in her chosen vocation as it is in medicine or
cooking; that she must learn by slow and wearisome experience what it
has taken years for the skilled housekeeper to acquire.

The apprentice may stumble on the road to success and may even fall by
the wayside. In order to succeed, she must give her time wholly to her
occupation. She must be thankful for the successes that come to her and
not fret over the failures, remembering that hotel housekeeping, like
all other occupations, demands experience, patience, and perseverance,
as well as skill, in its followers.

The profession is overcrowded with novices to-day; they are the ones
that have demoralized the profession--if the word, profession, may be
applied to hotel housekeeping. The failure of many housekeepers is due
to the lack of proper training; it is only the skilled housekeeper that
wins lasting approval.

A trained nurse must remain in a training school at least three years,
possibly four, before she is given a certificate to care for the sick.
The chef of the hotel kitchen, in all probability began his career as a
scullion, serving at least ten years' apprenticeship in minor situations
in the kitchen. The housekeeper must not be above gaining knowledge in
the laundry and the linen-room. A woman that is ambitious to become a
good housekeeper should first serve as a chambermaid. If she is wise,
she will secure the good graces of the linen-woman by offering to help
her mend the linen, hem the napkins, sort the linen, and mend the

In this way, a clever chambermaid may learn many useful things that will
help her to a better position. From the linen-room, it is only a step to
the position of a housekeeper. When a housekeeper leaves on her
vacation, or is called away to fill another place, or drops out on
account of illness, the linen-woman may seize the opportunity of showing
her executive ability. After she has worked faithfully in the linen-room
for three years, there is not much danger that a linen-woman of ability
will fail to find employment as a housekeeper. If she should have any
trouble getting a situation, one way out of the difficulty is to offer
her services one month on probation to a hotel man in need of a
housekeeper; and, if she is granted a trial and mixes brains with her
enthusiasm, she will receive a housekeeper's salary at the end of the

Just what a housekeeper's work should be is a vital question. We hear of
housekeepers meddling in the steward's department and with the affairs
of the office. This is, at least, no less wrong than the idea that the
housekeeper owes servile obedience to all other heads of departments.

The essential requirements of a housekeeper are the same, whether she is
in a hotel with the capacity of a thousand guests or in a hotel of two
hundred rooms. The young housekeeper, looking for a position in a
first-class hotel, should read the following requirements, which were
submitted to the writer by the manager of a first-class Western hotel a
few years ago:

_A Housekeeper's Requirements._

 Must be morally correct.
 Must have a dignified and respectable appearance.
 Must have executive ability.
 Must have a good disposition and try to get along with the help.
 Must be a good listener and not a talker.
 Must be quiet, giving orders in a firm but low tone.
 Must be loyal to the management.
 Must be courteous to guests.
 Must not worry the management with small matters.
 Must refrain from gossiping.

Neatness in dress is essential to the success of a hotel housekeeper.
She should take great pains to be always well groomed, and neat in her
attire. If she finds herself growing coarse or commonplace-looking, her
fingernails in mourning, and her hair unacquainted with soap and water,
she should at once set about to remedy the defects. It is her duty, as
well as her privilege, to dress as well as she can, not by donning all
the colors of the rainbow or by useless extravagance, but by modest and
harmonizing shades and by appropriate apparel. It behooves the woman to
make herself as good-looking as possible, for good looks pay. Obliging
manners are also a stock in trade. Grit, grace, and good looks can
accomplish wonders, especially the good looks.

Ignorance and ambition make an unprofitable combination. There are
housekeepers filling positions to-day that have never been taught to do
a single useful thing correctly; they can not darn the linens, they can
not sew, they can not upholster a chair, they can not wait on the sick,
nor can they settle the slightest dispute without sending for the
manager. The housekeeper should know how these things are done, in order
to impart her knowledge to others; for any housekeeper that has any
respect for her calling considers herself an instructor.

There is no special hour set for the housekeeper's appearance in the
morning. It is safe to say that she will make a greater "impression" and
last longer by rising at 6 o'clock. Late rising is one of the rocks on
which many a housekeeper has been wrecked.

_Cheerfulness and Good Manners._

Every housekeeper should make the "good morning" her bright keynote for
the day. She should not say, "Hello, Mollie," to a girl named Mary.
Though the girl may be only a scrub-girl, she knows a breach of
etiquette; and a girl that bears the beautiful name of Mary does not
want it changed to "Mollie."

A cheerful "good morning" should be the beginning of each day, by the
housekeeper. It makes everybody feel pleasant, and the maids can work
faster and easier when their hearts are full of pleasantness.

The successful housekeeper does not win her laurels by merely perfecting
herself in her work, but also by careful study of the lives of others in
her charge, and how to promote their happiness.

Getting along with help requires tact, poise, and balance. The
housekeeper should bestow praise where it is due. She may give a gentle
pat on the back to some faithful employe, and yet keep her dignity. A
hard task may be made lighter by it, and monotonous labor robbed of its
weariness. The old and persistent notion that housekeepers are an
irascible tribe--if it was ever true--is not true now.

The question here arises--What qualities of mind and heart should a
housekeeper possess to be successful?

Nobody has discovered a rule--to say nothing of a principle--whereby a
housekeeper's success may be determined. It is reasonable to claim that
the permanent success of any housekeeper lies in her skill and in the
confidence and esteem of her employer. She has learned that skill is
acquired by serving an apprenticeship, and that esteem and confidence
are won by character. Everybody who touches a sterling character comes
at last to feel it, and the true hotel man has come to know that the
housekeeper of skill and character is his friend. After the relation of
friendship has been established between the manager and the housekeeper,
a "go-between" has no place; to speak plainly, there is no legitimate
function for a tattler.

The young housekeeper should not become discouraged, excited, or
worried, but learn to "manage." She should sit down quietly and think it
over. She should have a system about her most ordinary duties, and never
put off till to-morrow what may be done to-day. Tomorrow may never come,
and, if it does come, it will bring other duties equally as important.
Every field of labor has its drawbacks. The greater the work, the
greater the hindrances and the obstacles seem to be.


It is a truism that there should be no hostilities between the heads of
the different departments of a hotel. Everything works more smoothly and
satisfactorily when pleasant relationships exist between the different
departments of any business.

A housekeeper feels stronger if she thinks that she is of sufficient
importance to her employer to have her views receive some consideration.
She takes up her daily tasks with an added sense of responsibility, and
with a desire to do still better work.

No housekeeper is perfect. It cannot be wisely assumed that any
housekeeper will possess all the requisite qualifications for successful
housekeeping, nor can she develop them all, no matter how ambitious,
industrious, and naturally fitted for the work she may be. But
"Knowledge is power," and she that has the most of it, coupled with the
greatest ability to utilize it, enjoys advantages that will contribute
largely to her success.

_Keeping a Position._

A housekeeper studies not only to secure a good situation, but also to
avoid losing it. "Good enough" is not her motto; "the very best" are her
constant watchwords. Some one has said: "A housekeeper is born, not
made." The "born housekeeper" is a spasmodic housekeeper. As a rule, she
is not evenly balanced. A housekeeper with plain common sense,
susceptible to instructions, willing to obey orders, is the housekeeper
that leaves the old situation for one of better pay. There must be, of
course, a foundation on which to build. The stones of that foundation
should be self-control, self-confidence, education, neatness in dress,
and cleanliness. None of these is a gift, but an accomplishment that can
be developed more or less according to the individual.

Good manners are very essential. Politeness alone will not bring about
the desired results in any profession, but it has never been known to be
a hindrance. Manners that will be accepted without criticism in one
woman, will be odious and objectionable in another. Too much familiarity
breeds contempt. An employer would better be approached with dignity and

_The Charm of Neatness._

Few housekeepers realize the charm of the neatly dressed woman. The hair
should always be neatly arranged and not look as if it was about to fall
on her shoulders. The binding of her skirt should not show ragged in
places. These are little things, but they weigh heavily in the general
results. The well-groomed woman knows that the neglect of these things
is full of shame to womankind.

In regard to "bumping up against" the bell-boys, clerks, stewards, and
stenographers, the wise housekeeper is shrewd enough to "stand in." She
"turns the other cheek," which may sometimes be a difficult task to

Remember that no one on earth can ever succeed in life and hold a
"grudge." The inability to forgive his enemies lost James G. Blaine the
White House.

If a bell-boy is caught doing something detrimental to the success of
the management, the housekeeper should write a note to the clerk, or the
captain of the watch, and inform him of the bell-boy's misdeeds. This
will be sufficient from the housekeeper.

On assuming the duties of a new field, the housekeeper may remember
merely a few important duties; for instance, she must carefully
scrutinize the time-book and learn all the maids' names and stations.
Next learn the location of rooms and become familiarized with every
piece of furniture in them. Then, step by step, she should build up the
general cleanliness of the house. This is by far the most important of
all the requisites pertaining to hotel housekeeping. Guarding against
difficulties encountered with the employes and with the managers' wives
is secondary.

A housekeeper that can not take orders is not fit to give them; if the
manager asks for the removal of an offensive employe, the housekeeper
should immediately get rid of the objectionable person. If the
housekeeper fails in deference to the manager's wishes, is not that good
evidence that she is not a good soldier? She should be eager to maintain
the dignity of her position--must maintain it in fact--and do as high
service as possible for the management. Yet she can not always carry out
her own ideas. The manager has his ideas about matters, which right or
wrong, must be respected. The housekeeper carries out the manager's
orders. If the hotel fails to bring a profit or give satisfaction, the
manager alone is held accountable.

_About Hiring Help._

To dismiss a maid is a very easy matter; to obtain a substitute that
will perform the duties assigned her in a manner that will prove more
effectual, is not so easy.

    To fire or not to fire, that is the question
    Whether 'tis easier on the impulse of the moment
    To suffer the terrors and exactions of the haughty maids,
    Or take up arms against their impudence
    And with pen and ink end them.
                   To lie, to sleep--

    Worry no more, and by good management to dispatch
    The cares and thousand little details
    Housekeepers are heir to--'tis a consummation
    Devoutly to be wished.

The employment-agency is the housekeeper's recruiting station. She gets
most of her help from this place. The housekeeper should always consult
the manager when other help is to be hired. Everyone knows that old
employes are always best, even if they do spoil the new ones. The
housekeeper endeavors to keep the help as long as she can, using
persuasion, kindness, and forbearance, striving to teach them the best
and easiest way to do their work, bearing with their imperfections,
overlooking a great deal that is actually repulsive, not expecting to
find in the hard-working individual the graces of a Marie Antoinette, or
the inherent qualities of a Lady Jane Gray.

The housekeeper should not only be scrupulously honest herself, but
should insist that the maids be honest. It is true that almost
irresistible temptations and opportunities to steal are constantly
thrown in the way of the maids; and those that are steadfastly honest
deserve great credit.

If a maid is neat and clean in appearance and does her work well--these
qualities cover a multitude of sins. From the standpoint of many
housekeepers, too much curiosity and gossiping are the chiefest and
quickest causes--next to the neglect of work--for a maid's dismissal. A
housekeeper is usually disliked by the maids that do not want to do
their work, just as a stepmother is hated by some stepchildren,
regardless of her kindness and her consideration for their welfare.
Employes in any business prefer to take their orders from the person
that pays them their money. For this, they are not to be blamed; but if
the proprietor or the proprietor's wife wishes to retain the services of
a good housekeeper, and be relieved of the trying ordeal of training the
help, he or she will not encourage tattling from the housekeeper's


Implicit confidence should exist between the housekeeper and the
proprietor's wife. This does not mean that the proprietor's wife should
take the housekeeper automobile riding. Any proprietor's wife that
enters into such a degree of intimacy with any of her husband's employes
distinctly displays the hallmarks of plebeanism. The writer does not
want to become an iconoclast, but she believes that all business should
be conducted on a business basis. There must be an unwavering loyalty to
the interests mutually represented, at all times and under all

The proprietor's wife that goes to the help's dining-room or to the
laundry, presumably to press a skirt or a shirt-waist, but in reality to
see what she can see and to hear what she can hear, is disloyal to the
management. She will always have poured into her ears stories that will
annoy her and keep her worried. There are maids in a hotel always ready
to "keep the pot boiling." Such a proprietor's wife not only encourages
malicious slander and tattling, but she will soon be asking questions of
the inferior help about the housekeeper's management. Soon the
inferiors will be giving the orders instead of the housekeeper, and the
discipline will be spoiled. Besides, the proprietor's wife will be told
imaginary wrongs, and exaggerated stories concerning some maid employed
in the hotel, which will necessitate the maid's discharge. Whether the
story is real or imaginary, the proprietor's wife is not benefited by
the stories she has heard. She should ask herself: Is this loyalty?
Isn't it unmistakably the earmark of commonality?

No housekeeper will object to taking orders from the proprietor's wife.
The progressive housekeeper is always polite to her employer's wife,
though not to the extent of being deceitful. The housekeeper must bear
in mind that what is of vital importance to the proprietor of a hotel is
of equal importance to the proprietor's wife. The housekeeper tries to
work in harmony with them both, which means success of the highest
order. To do this, the housekeeper must retain her dignity, often under
the most exasperating circumstances. The proprietor's wife is privileged
to frequent any part of the hotel she may choose to, but how must a
housekeeper feel to see her conversing in the most familiar tones with
the waitresses and the chambermaids, and to know that she is listening
to malicious slander of the lowest kind. A housekeeper can have no
control over the employes where the discipline is thus ruined, or where
there is so much unpleasantness arising from unwise interference over
trifles, by the proprietor's wife, or from officious meddling by the
families of the prominent stockholders.

_Tact Can Not be Taught._

"Bumping up against" the proprietor and proprietor's wife or family is
one of the most perplexing problems that the housekeeper has to solve.
The ability to combat with such a problem can not be imparted by
teaching. It has to exist in the housekeeper herself, in the peculiar,
individual bent of her nature. No amount of preaching and teaching can
ever endow a housekeeper with the ever ready wit characteristic of the
"Irish tongue."

The savory reply, "O, Mrs. B., you are a dream of loveliness!" would be
sweet to some ears while to others it would be a "harsh discord." It is
impossible to teach which ear would or would not be the receptive one.
Any attempt on the part of the housekeeper to work up these qualities,
"by rule" would only be a failure Even the "Golden Rule" fails sometimes
to bring about desired results. The better plan, perhaps, for the
housekeeper to adopt is to live her own life, and not try to imitate
others. If she tries to be great, she will be nothing; if she tries to
be plain, simple, and good, she may be great.


There is no royal road to success for the hotel clerk, steward, manager,
or housekeeper. The hotel business is peculiar in many respects; it
teaches conspicuously the great importance of character.

There is no ingenious system that the housekeeper may adopt to insure
her success. Getting into trouble or keeping out of it is largely a
matter of luck, influenced by the kind of help that she is able to
secure. But, first and last, her success depends on her character--her
own energy, industry, intelligence, and moral worth.


When inspecting rooms, the housekeeper will notice that the room is
completed with the following necessaries: One bed, one foot blanket. One
rocking chair and two straight chairs. One writing table and a scrap
basket. One cuspidor. One dresser. One clothes tree or wardrobe. One ice
water pitcher and two glasses on a tray. If there is no bathroom, or
stationary hot and cold water, there must be a commode, a wash bowl and
pitcher, soap dish and clean soap. One slop jar, one chamber. Four face
towels. If there is a bathroom, one bath mat and toilet paper in the
holder. One small mirror. One cake of bath soap and two bath towels are
needed. On the dresser in every guest room should be a box of safety
matches and a candle. Candles are so cheap, and candle holders may be
purchased for a trifle, which will answer the purpose as well as silver.
No one who has lived in hotels but knows how annoying it is to be left
in total darkness for half an hour, on account of a burned out fuse,
when they are dressing for the theatre and in a hurry to complete their

The clerk in the office with the room rack in front of him has no
conception of the rooms except that they are in perfect order. Perfect
order does not only mean that the bed is neatly made, the floor clean
and all the furniture dusted; soap, towels, matches, candles and glasses
in their places, but everything must be in perfect working order. Let
the housekeeper's inspection begin then with the door. The lock must be
in order, and the key work properly. It is embarrassing to the clerk to
have to listen of a morning to such complaints as "my door would not
lock, and I was compelled to push the dresser in front of it to insure
safety." But this "kick" is often heard in first-class houses. The
transoms next should receive attention--see if they will open and close.
Next the electric lights; they must all be in order and burn brightly.
The dresser drawers must move readily, and be perfectly clean. The
windows must be carefully examined to see if they open and close easily,
and they must have no broken cords. A housekeeper's intelligent
attentions to these details will greatly aid the clerk in prompt service
to the guests, and will insure to the hotel the service that will be its
own best advertisement.


There are only two classes in a hotel among its employes; one class is
quite perfect and pure as angels, while the others are black sheep and
altogether unspeakable. There is no transition, no intermediate links,
no shading of light or dark. A hotel employe is either good or bad, and
this rigid rule applies not only to moral character, but intellectual
excellence also is measured by the same standard. In a large hotel of,
say 250 employes, everybody seems to know everybody and everything about
everybody. Everybody knows that he is watched, and gossip, both in the
best and worst sense of the word, rules supreme. Gossip is, in fact,
public opinion, with all its good and all its bad features. Still, the
result is that no one can afford to lose caste, and everybody behaves as
well as he can. The private life of hotel employes is almost blameless.
The great evils of society do not exist; now and then a black sheep gets
in, but his or her life soon becomes a burden, everybody knows what has
happened and the employes, being on a whole so blameless, are all the
more merciless on the sinners, whether their sins are great or small.

What most impresses one in hotels is the loyalty among employes. No one
tells them what to do or what to say, or what not to say, or what not to
do, yet you will observe that one who professes to be your friend will
not say unfriendly things behind your back. This condition is noticeable
among those of inferior rank, as well as among managers, stewards,
clerks and housekeepers. As a rule, one table in the main dining room is
reserved for the officers, clerks, stewards, cashiers, bookkeepers,
checkers, stenographers and housekeepers. Most of them have been taught
a few rules of life wisdom by their seniors. At any rate, few of them
are seen with their elbows on the table. They are observant enough of
social forms to eat pie with a fork, and their teaspoon is always in the
saucer; they eat slowly and take time to triturate. There is always one
"wit" to make one sorry when the meal is ended. Many hotel employes
possess intellectual powers to a great degree. Many clerks are college
graduates. The housekeeper is not, as some have said usually a member of
the broken down aristocracy, some one who has seen better days, whose
duty it is to walk through the halls with a "persimmon" countenance, in
search of the evildoer; never was a statement more false. Hotels employ
a house detective to look after its morals. A housekeeper is more apt to
be an assistant, who has been promoted to the very responsible position
of housekeeper.

_Relationship Between Housekeeper and Women Patrons._

A simple acquaintance is the most desirable footing with all persons,
however desiring. The unlicensed freedom that usually attends
familiarity affords but too ample scope for the indulgence of selfish
and mercenary motives on the part of the women patrons. It would be safe
to say that the housekeeper owes to all women patrons the courtesy and
consideration due one woman from another. It has been said that woman's
inhumanity to woman makes countless millions mourn. But this condition
is happily fading away; within the last decade women have been improving
in manners and morals toward each other. The housekeeper should take the
initiative, consider the "roof as an introduction" and assume a kindly
interest in the welfare of the women guests.

Politeness is the sweetener of human society and gives a charm to
everything said and done. But a housekeeper may be called on to
sacrifice her duty to her employer. In this case she must not let any
weak desire of pleasing guests make her recede one jot from any point
that reason and prudence have bid her pursue.

_Birds of Passage._

One of the most striking conditions in modern hotel life is that few
hotels retain their heads of departments any great length of time, while
the inferior working class remains in one hotel for many years, and
often for a lifetime. This significant state becomes more marked from
year to year, and the question arises: What has brought about such a
changed condition? The traveling public surely is gratified to see a
familiar face behind the desk, in the housekeeping department, and also
in the dining-room. In days past, clerks, stewards, and housekeepers,
were identified with the same hotel until a retirement from all active
life would see them replaced by others. But of late they seem to have
earned the title, "birds of passage."

Temperament creates the atmosphere of your surroundings, and if you
would remain in a fixed place, you should cultivate the respect of all,
and, if possible, their love, also. A nervous man or woman speaks in
haste and uses a sharp tone of voice over mere trifles, which, to an
ignorant mind, may have a tendency to create dislike, causing results
that may prove distinct barriers to his or her success as a manager or
housekeeper, whereas a placid man or woman could bring about the same
result with gentler tones, thereby preventing useless friction and

_Directing and Commanding._

Heads of hotel departments should cultivate their talents for directing
and commanding. Politeness, which belongs to all persons of good
breeding and is essential in the ordinary transactions of life, is so
minutely cultivated by the heads of hotel departments as to be
conspicuous in its absence; some are not even civil, which is the very
least that one person can be to another.

I do not mean to infer that an employe is to be forgiven if he gets
intoxicated and is late to his work every morning, nor that a sneak, a
thief, or an agitator should be excused. To handle help on the forgiving
plan in such cases, employers would become sentimental reformers and the
worst kind of failures. Sentiment may be comforting, but it is silly
when employed in business, under these conditions. Those that desire may
practice forgiveness, but when it costs time and money and brings gray
hairs to those that are doing the forgiving, it is better to keep as
near the line of sternness as possible. Everyone employing labor should
be very careful of his manner in expressing his disapproval of the
actions of subordinates. A reprimand should never be made in anger. If a
grave offense has been committed, reprimanding should be done with great
coolness and reserve, if you would look to future events and their
probable consequences. Impertinent and forward people may be checked by
cold reserve. Often the faculties for transacting business and the
talents for directing and reprimanding are considered by fond admirers
to be the gift of nature, when, in reality, they are the outcome of
self-control and education.

Chesterfield says: "If you are in authority and have a right to command,
your commands delivered in _sauviter in modo_ will be willingly,
cheerfully, and, consequently, well obeyed."

_Attention to Details._

Hotel housekeeping is a science. The crowning excellence, as all
acknowledge, lies in giving strict attention to small things. Successful
hotel-keeping is an artistic achievement in which everything is in its
right place, is of the proper grade, shade, quality, and cleanliness,
harmonizing in every particular.

Details are repulsive to the lazy or the listless. Let the housekeeper
feel the greatness of her position and the importance of her duties, if
she so desires to succeed. Enthusiasm is an element that can least be
spared--one that must accompany the housekeeper at every step.

The question has arisen whether the housekeeper should learn without
rules, by blundering experience, or should she take what the approved
experience of others has found to be the best. No one doubts the answer.
The true way is to submit to rules and regulations and methods of
experienced and practical hotel housekeepers that have made their
profession a life-long study.


The ocean is an everchanging wonder of kaleidoscopic views and no eye
ever wearies of its beauty. The earth arrays herself in such gorgeous
costumes so pleasing to man's sight that few there are who want to leave
her to try another. The child tires of the old ragdoll and cries for the
"Teddy bear." Put a new dress on the old ragdoll and it will again
become the favorite.

If a housekeeper is not progressive, her employer will tire of her. The
onward trick of nature is too much for the average housekeeper, and
gladly would she anchor, but to do so means to sink. She must keep up
with the times, she must travel the pace of progress.

There is nothing new under the sun, but there is constant metamorphosis.
Time brings changes. Competition is strong and housekeepers must be on
the alert for any accomplishment that will aid in their calling.

In America, life is a universal race for exalted positions. Then get out
of the rut and keep up the long list of illusions, of which a rapid
succession of changes and moods and styles and ideas is the secret.

You must keep busy. There is only one sin that you can commit; that sin
is idleness. Polish the old things and make them look like new. Do not
let your footsteps become so narrow that they will end in a
turkey-track. Keep up your practice of thoroughly cleaning rooms,
overhauling furniture, and sending out a mattress now and then to have
it repaired. Take up a carpet and have it cleaned. Give the radiators a
coat of bronze. Have the ceiling lights cleaned. Paste up the wall-paper
that is hanging from the wall. Polish the brass on the stairs. Put in an
order for some new material of which to make dresser covers.

_Decorative Dresser Covers._

The writer has just completed some very pretty dresser covers for the
parlor floor rooms, en suite. The work is fascinating, and the
linen-room girls and parlor-maids can lend a hand at making them. Any
kind of linen material can be adapted that can be laundered with ease
and success. Plain white linen is a well-deserved favorite and makes
thoroughly useful, as well as fashionable, dresser-covers. A cheaper
material can be found in linen toweling--just as pretty and just as
durable as the plain white linen.

The dresser cover just covering the dresser and not allowed to hang down
is the favorite mode just now. It can be simply hemmed; but a charming
and more attractive pattern is with scalloped edges and elaborated
ends. These scallops are made with a spool, medium size, No 50 being
especially suitable. Put the spool on the edge of the material and with
a lead pencil, draw a crescent and then another, clear across the end.
Pad the scallops with common white darning-cotton, using the old
fashioned chain-stitch. Before putting the work in the embroidery-hoops,
sew a strip of muslin, about six inches in width to the edge of the
dresser cover. This will aid in getting the work placed in the hoops and
will enable you to do smoother and more satisfactory work.

Embroider the scallops with linen embroidery floss, size "D," using the
buttonhole stitch. An eyelet at the termination and just above each
crescent will add materially to its effectiveness. Rip off the muslin
and launder before cutting out the scallops. This will prevent the ugly
fringe seen on so many embroidered dresser-covers.


Too many housekeepers of the present day neglect the small things. They
want to draw large salaries and let the house take care of itself, while
they visit with the guests and gossip and have a good time. The clerks
are kind and do not report to the manager the little complaints that
come to the office every day; but the housekeeper's conscience should
tell her that she is not earning her money.

The housekeeper that is above her profession, is not interested in her
work, and that is trying to get into some church society, had better not
engage in hotel housekeeping, for her housekeeping duties will require
her constant attention at the hotel. There will be some difficulties to
settle at all times, which will require her presence. Maids work better
when they are conscious of a vigilant overseer. They take more pride in
their work when they know that every nook and corner is being inspected
by the housekeeper. Especially is this true if the housekeeper is
successful in commanding the respect of her subordinates.

The housekeeper that lays the blame of some grave mistake on her
assistants is not worthy of the name of housekeeper. Had she been there,
attending to her affairs, it would not have happened, for she would have
prevented or stopped it.

The housekeeper, by diligence, attendance to her duties, and by
economies, figures greatly in the success of a hotel, and makes her own
position. The position does not make her. Then it is fairly reasonable
to suppose that such a housekeeper should make her own salary; that she
should command and receive her price; that she should be paid according
to the amount she is really worth, and not the fixed scale that the
hotel pays. If a housekeeper can show by her books, by her management,
and by her economies, that she is worth more than her predecessor, she
is entitled to more pay, and by all means should receive more pay. The
average salary paid a housekeeper is not enough to properly clothe a
housekeeper. After her laundry bills are paid, what has she left to lay
up for the "rainy day," to say nothing of an old age, when parsimony and
incompatibility of temper and "set ways" make her, in any place, an
unwelcome personage.

_The Faithful, Efficient Housekeeper._

The housekeeper that sticks to her post and is always looking after her
work is surely worth more to her employer than one that has worn the
carpet threadbare in front of her mirror, or one that puts in a great
portion of her time at the bargain-counter, or the theater, or with a
novel in her hand. Surely, the hard-working housekeeper, the one that
makes her occupation a study and is always at her post, is worth more to
her employer than the housekeeper that is trying to do society "stunts,"
to ring in with people of fashion, to "out-dress" them. But the majority
of hotels pay much the same salaries to housekeepers, good, bad, and

The progressive housekeeper that thus looks after her employer's
business every day, always at her post in the linen-room, is
uncomplaining, shoulders the blame, and is not always knocking on his
private-office door and entering complaints about this or that, is
surely worth more than thirty dollars a month to any hotel man. If he
does not think so, he should not blame the progressive, faithful,
reliable housekeeper, if she promptly accepts a position with better


The housekeeper, or her assistant, should go through every room twice a
day. In the morning, the housekeeper should take the house-plan, inspect
every room, and check up the rooms that have been occupied. If the bed
in a room has been used, and if there is baggage, she should check this
also, and should turn the report into the office by nine o'clock. Then,
in the afternoon, when the maids are supposed to have finished their
work, the housekeeper should take her pencil and pad and thoroughly
inspect every room and the maids' work. She may find a ragged sheet or
pillow slip; if so, she should make a note of it. Some room may be short
of a towel, soap or matches; she should make a note of this also. Around
the gas-jets and in the corners, she may find "Irish curtains"
(cobwebs); in the commode, she may find a vessel that was forgotten; in
a dresser drawer, a man may have left his cast-off hose, and suspenders.
Some maid may have swept the center of the room, while under the bed and
under the dresser there may be dust of two weeks' standing; in another
room, the housekeeper may find a bathtub forgotten--all of which she
should write on the pad. This work will occupy two hours of her time in
a two-hundred-room house. When the maids come on watch at six o'clock,
each one should be given instructions to go back and finish her work. In
some hotels, the maids do not go off duty of an afternoon, but continue
working until six o'clock. In this case, the housekeeper should issue
her instructions at once.


There are many ways to clean a room, but there is just one best way to
clean it thoroughly. "Dig out the corners" should be the watchword of
every successful housekeeper. She would rather the maid would leave the
dirt in a pile in the center of the room than fail to clean out the

If one word could be selected that means the most and needs the most
emphasis in the science of housekeeping, that word would be
"cleanliness." The first desideratum, therefore, of the chambermaid, is
the scrub-pail and a piece of oilcloth--some maids use a
newspaper--under it to protect the carpet. The first thing to do is to
clean the small pieces of furniture. If the furniture is new, it should
be only wiped with the dust-cloth. If it is old and marred, it should be
washed with warm water and soap, and oiled with a good furniture-polish.
It should then be set in the hall. The dresser drawers should be washed
and the marble cleaned with sapolio; the mirrors should be polished, the
windows washed, and the shutters dusted. The crockery should be cleaned
and put in the hall. The bed should be covered with a dust-cover. The
cobwebs should be swept down with a long-handled broom. The lace
curtains should be shaken, and either taken down or pinned up. The
closet should be swept out. The toilet-bowl should be scrubbed inside
and out with the toilet-brush, and a disinfectant powder put in. The
stationary wash-bowl should be scrubbed with sapolio, and the faucets
polished, not forgetting the chain. The bathtub should also be scrubbed
with sapolio, and the floor washed.

The door should now be closed and the sweeping begun. A very good plan
is to scatter wet paper over the floor to keep the dust down. The
corners should be dug out and the dirt swept to the center of the room
and taken up in the dust-pan. If the carpet is old, it should be sponged
with warm water and soap, to which a little ammonia has been added. The
carpet will look like new after this process. After the dust is well
settled, all the wood work in the room should be washed; the bed and
dresser should be washed and oiled, and all the furniture should be
symmetrically arranged, and the windows closed on account of storms.

One chambermaid can successfully look after eighteen or twenty rooms a
day. Not all of the rooms are occupied every night. The maid should take
advantage of the dull days to clean her rooms thoroughly; she should
clean one room every day.


Competition is great, and success will come to the best and cleanest
hotel. The traveler loves to slip into a bed with perfectly laundered
sheets that do not look as if the maids had sprinkled, folded, and
pressed them between the mattress, as chambermaids ordinarily do in
hotels where there is a scant supply of linen.

Sometimes the chambermaid will ask the laundryman for a pair of sheets
to make up a sample-room, as the guest wants to receive a customer. The
laundryman replies: "Well, just as soon as the machinery starts again,
you may have them." There has been a breakdown; the belt is off; or
something has gone wrong, and they have sent for the engineer to fix it.
Then the housekeeper must go to some unoccupied room and strip the bed
and use the linen for making up the bed in the sample-room, while the
guest walks the floor and frets over the delay. Much time is saved if
the hotel is supplied with plenty of linen.

Sheets that cover only two-thirds of the mattress do not add to the
cheerfulness and comfort of the guests. Many well grounded complaints
are entered about this. Special laws have been enacted in some states,
within the last year, regarding the length of sheets.

Occasionally a guest finds it expedient to make his bed over, if he
would have any comfort. The maid has put the double fold of the blanket
to the top; it is a warm night, yet he fears to throw the blanket
off--he might take cold. So he concludes to make his own bed, putting
the single fold to the top, that he may throw some of it back.


Good bed-making is the one trait par excellence in all good chambermaid
work. To make a bed artistically is one important feature, and to make
it so that the guest may rest comfortably is another, and, finally, just
how is the best way to make a bed is a question worthy of consideration.

In our big country of America, the traveler from Maine to California
sees many styles of bed-making. In New Orleans is seen the picturesque
canopy of pure white mosquito-netting tucked in neatly all around. In
Kansas City is seen the snowy spreads plaited half way to the foot with
numerous little folds. In New York is seen the pure linen hemstitched
sheets, turned back with a single fold.

To begin to make a bed, first, the mattress should be turned. The bottom
sheet should then be tucked in carefully by raising the mattress with
one hand and smoothing the sheet down with the other. The large hems
should always be at the head, in order that no one may be compelled to
lay his face where some one's feet have been. After the bottom sheet
has been tucked in at the head, it should be tightly drawn and tucked in
at the foot in the same way. Sheets should be long enough to tuck in one
foot at the head and one at the bottom. If it is a brass bed, the sheets
should be left to hang down.

After the bottom sheet is on perfectly, it is easy to make a pretty bed,
and one in which the guest may rest well. The top sheet should be put
on, and tucked in at the foot only. The blanket should be put on with
the single fold at the head. If the guest should get too warm, he can
throw half of the blanket to the foot and yet have sufficient covering.
After the spread is put on, a single fold as large as your hand should
be made, then another fold one foot in width should complete the
folding, and the spread should be neatly tucked in. The pillows should
now be smoothed evenly and placed up aright, and the bed is made.


To clean a painted canvas wall does not require so much skill as

A painted canvas wall is very easily cleaned. Many housekeepers have
them washed with ivory soap and water, and obtain good results. Others
add a little ammonia to the water, and still others use the powdered

The cost of painted walls are great, and it is a great saving to any
proprietor, if the housekeeper can successfully clean a painted wall
without calling the decorators.

Perhaps the most practical and most economical way to do the work and
obtain the best results is to wash the wall with water, in which has
been dissolved a cake of sapolio.

To proceed to clean the parlor walls: first, take out all the
bric-a-brac and tapestry and furniture; then take up the carpet. Have
the carpenter erect a scaffolding for the houseman to stand on. Have two
pails of hot water, and in one let a cake of sapolio dissolve. Keep the
other pail of water for rinsing. Have two large sponges, one for
cleaning and the other for rinsing. Souse the cleaning-sponge in the
pail in which the sapolio has been dissolved, then squeeze the water out
of the sponge. Then begin on the ceiling or in one corner, cleaning only
a small square at a time. After cleaning, rinse with the sponge from the
clean pail, not making the sponge too dry. Do not wipe the wall with a
cloth, but leave moist, after which have ready a pail of starch, and
with an ordinary paint or white-wash-brush, starch the square that you
have cleaned, before it is thoroughly dry. The starching-process is very
necessary. It will leave a gloss on the paint, and also preserves it the
next time it is washed; for, in this case, it will be the starch that
will be washed off instead of the paint. To make the starch take
ordinary laundry starch and dissolve one cupful in one pint of cold
water. Into this pour boiling water until it is as thick as cream and
let boil, stirring constantly.

The following is an excellent preparation for cleaning wall-paper, and
perhaps it might serve as well to clean walls hung with burlap:

 2 pounds of rye flour.
 ½ pound of wheat flour.
 1 handful of salt.

Mix well together with water and bake one hour in the oven. Then peel
and work back into a dough, adding ½ ounce of ammonia and ½ ounce of

This is not an expensive preparation and will clean papered or burlap
walls very nicely.

Calcimined walls will have to be re-decorated.

A good way to clean hardwood floors in halls where the carpet does not
entirely cover the floor, is to take a can of linseed oil and a small
woolen cloth and dip one end of the cloth in the oil, being careful not
to spill the oil on the carpet, or touch the edge of the carpet while
cleaning; this will remove the dust and dirt, after which the floor may
be polished with ordinary floor-wax put on with a flannel cloth and
polished with a brick, over which has been sewed a piece of Brussels

_How to Scrub a Floor._

What is prettier than a hardwood floor after it has been properly
scrubbed? To scrub a floor and get satisfactory results is a science. To
change the water frequently is one secret of success. "Elbow grease" is
another. Mops are impossible, and this is another subject on which the
housekeeper can wax eloquent. What is more disgusting than to see the
baseboards of a room smeared, or the dirt shoved in the corners with an
old dirty mop?

Before commencing to scrub, place every article of furniture on the
table and then sweep. Beginning in the rear of the door so as not to
track over the clean part until it is perfectly dry, scrub with a brush
a small section at a time; first wipe up with a damp rag and then with a
dry one. The New York Knitting Mills, of Albany, N. Y., furnish remnants
of cloth that are indispensable for scrubbing. Enough of these remnants
can be bought for $3 to last six months.

A little ammonia in the water will help to whiten the floors. The modern
skewers from the kitchen are very useful in getting into the corners of
the window sills and into the corners of the stair steps. A weak
solution of oxalic acid and boiling water will remove the very worst
kind of ink-stains from the floor.

Pads for kneeling on are made of burlap, and one is given to each
scrubber. The unnatural position that the scrubber assumes makes the
work laborious; the scrubber may change her position frequently by
getting clean water.


The worst kind of house-pests, if you do not know how to get rid of
them, but not the easiest to exterminate, are bedbugs. They do not
confine themselves to any section of the country, though the
International Encyclopedia gives the belief "that up to Shakespeare's
time they were not known in England," and that "they came originally
from India."

In Kansas, the bedbug is improperly called the chintz-bug, and is
believed to dwell under the bark of the cotton-wood tree. There is no
authentic truth for this belief.

The spread of the bedbug is mainly due to its being carried from place
to place in furniture and clothing. It has the power of resisting great
cold and of fasting indefinitely. The eggs of the bedbug are very small,
whitish, oval objects, laid in clusters in the crevices used by the bugs
for concealment; they hatch in eight days. Under favorable conditions
and slovenly housekeeping, their multiplication is extremely rapid. The
greatest trouble lies with the housekeeper who allows the bugs to
increase unchecked until they are so numerous in the floors and walls
that it is nearly impossible to kill them off.

It is useless waste of time to try to exterminate with Persian insect
powder, or sulphur candles. These remedies have been recommended by the
International Encyclopedia, but have not demonstrated their worth when
subjected to tests by careful experimental methods, by the author.

_Scientific Way of Extermination._

The only scientific and practical way to get rid of them is to clean
thoroughly, religiously, and scrupulously the room and every article in
it. Bedbugs are exceedingly difficult to fight, owing both to their
ability to withstand the action of many insecticides and owing also to
the protection afforded them by the walls and the woodwork of the room.

If the mattress is old, it should be burned. The bed should be taken
apart, the slats and springs taken to the bathroom and scalded, and then
treated with a mixture of corrosive sublimate and alcohol, liberally
applied, after which a coat of varnish should be given to the entire
bed--slats, springs and all. The carpet should be taken up and sent to
the cleaners. The paper should be scraped from the walls and sent to the
furnace and burned, and the walls should be left bare until the bugs
are exterminated. The holes in the walls and woodwork and the cracks
and crevices in the floor should be filled up with common yellow soap.
This is better than to fill them with putty; it is more practical and is
easier to handle. Use the thumb or an old knife to put the soap into the
holes; the workman should get the stepladder and go over the entire
ceiling, getting the soap into every crack and crevice. After this is
done, it will be impossible for the eggs to hatch or the bugs to get
out. This is the most important part of the extermination of bugs. The
floor should then be scrubbed, after which it should be well poisoned
with the mixture of corrosive sublimate and alcohol. Every piece of
furniture in the room should be washed and poisoned, and given a coat of

_Treating the Mattress._

If the mattress is too good to be thrown away, the following will be
found a good method to destroy the vermin in it: dissolve two pounds of
alum in one gallon of water; let it remain twenty-four hours until all
the alum is dissolved. Then, with a whisk-broom, apply while boiling
hot. This is also a good way to rid the walls and ceiling of bugs.
Getting on the stepladder, the workman should apply the wash with the
whisk-broom, never missing an inch of the entire ceiling and walls,
keeping the liquid boiling hot while using. It should be poured in all
the cracks of the floor, in the corners, over the doors and over the
windows. The operation should be repeated every day for two weeks, after
which the woodwork should be painted and the walls papered.

A strict watch should be kept on all the help's rooms, and any signs of
bugs should be promptly treated with the mixture of corrosive sublimate
and alcohol.

_Cleanliness a Necessity._

Cleanliness is a prime factor in ridding rooms of vermin. In many of the
hotels there is one woman appointed to look after the bugs, and she has
no other duty.

A good night's sleep is necessary to health and happiness. It can not be
found in a room with vermin. The housekeeper should keep up the
continual warfare against the standing army of bugs, and never allow the
enemy to take possession.

Roaches, or water-bugs, are easily exterminated. Hellebore sprinkled on
the floor will soon kill them off. It is poison. They eat it at night
and are killed. Some people object to having poison around. In that
case, powdered borax will prove an expedient eradicator.

A good way to keep rats from a room is to saturate a rag with cayenne
pepper and stuff it in the hole; no rat or mouse will touch the rag, not
if it would open a communication with a depot of eatables.

_A Nauseating Subject._

Of all the obnoxious being that get into a hotel, the one whose feet
smell to the heavens is the worst. Every housekeeper in America--heaven
bless them--if she has a normal and simple mind as fits her calling,
finds smelling feet an intolerable nuisance.

Health requires at least one bath a day for the feet, and when they
perspire freely they should be bathed twice a day. What must be said of
the maid who, on entering a room, compels you to leave it on account of
the sickening odor from her feet. In a case like this, the housekeeper
must "take the bull by the horns," tell the maid that "her feet smell"
and that "she must keep herself cleaner." The maid's feelings are not to
be spared in the performance of this important duty. After washing the
feet carefully twice a day for a week a cure will be effected. Clean
hosiery should be put on every day. A very good remedy for offensive
feet is a few drops of muriatic acid in the water when bathing the feet
before retiring to bed.


This is an age of surprises and scientific researches. The up-to-date
vacuum-cleaning machine is a huge debt to an ancient past. It is a big
improvement over the methods employed in days gone by. As a preventive
for moths, it has no equal. In hotels where this labor-saving device has
not been installed, carpets must be carried to the roof to be cleaned,
or sent to the regular carpet-cleaners, and soon converted into
ravelings. Carpets are very expensive, and, if you want your money's
worth from them, you must preserve them from moths. In order to do this,
they must be either vacuum-cleaned or taken to the roof every six months
and given a beating. After the moths get a start in a carpet it is
surprising to learn what vast inroads toward destruction they can make
in a few weeks. Moving the furniture and thoroughly sweeping and
brushing the edges with turpentine are good preventives. But nothing
will so effectually destroy them as does the vacuum-cleaning process.

In order to secure detailed information regarding the workings of the
vacuum-cleaning system for hotels, I wrote to a gentleman in Milwaukee,
who is probably the best informed man on that subject in the country.
Besides being in the vacuum-cleaning business, he is a hotel man himself
and therefore knows how to meet the needs of the hotel housekeeper. I
quote a part of his reply:

_System Explained by an Expert._

"The vacuum-cleaning system in a hotel will pay for itself every year by
reducing the cleaning force and by increasing the life of carpets, rugs,
hangings, upholstery, and decorations, whether paper, fresco, or paint.

"In hotels where this system is in use--and their number is increasing
every month--carpets and rugs are cleaned on the floor. Right here is a
big saving. First, taking up and relaying carpets is expensive. There is
nothing that wears them out quicker than this sort of handling and the
beating and "tumbling." Vacuum-cleaning not only saves this, but saves
the daily wear and tear of grinding in the dirt and wearing off the nap
with a broom. Third, with the vacuum-system, valuable rooms are never
put out of commission while the carpets and rugs are away being cleaned.

"Not only are the carpets and rugs kept cleaner by the vacuum-system,
but everything else is cleaner because dust is kept down. The
housekeeper of a certain hotel told the owner that since he put in the
vacuum-system, the transoms had to be washed only one-fourth as often as
before. Now, the dust on those transoms came out of the air. It settled
everywhere, but it showed plainly only on the transoms. With the
vacuum-system, there is only one-fourth as much dust to settle on the
walls and decorations, and even that little is quickly removed with the
vacuum-wall-brush. Dust on the walls is what causes the unpleasant,
musty smell of many hotel rooms. Keeping walls clean means less frequent

_Purifies Nearly Everything._

"Upholstered furniture is quickly and thoroughly cleaned by the
vacuum-method. Dust is removed not only from the surface, but also from
the folds and creases and even the interior of the cushions. Moths and
their eggs are sucked out from their hiding places under the upholstery
buttons or in the corners.

"Mattresses and pillows are kept clean and sweet by vacuum-treatment.
Passing the cleaning tool over the surface prevents dust from
accumulating and sifting in. It sucks out the stale dusty air inside and
draws in fresh air, thus preventing that unpleasant musty smell which
hotel beds sometimes have.

"By the vacuum-method, tapestries and hangings are kept fresh and bright
without the trouble and expense of taking them down. One hotel manager
told me his vacuum-system saved him $10 every time he cleaned the
hangings in his dining-room, for it used to cost him that sum to have
them re-draped.

"By means of a special brush, wood and tile floors can be cleaned
without the dust of dry sweeping, or the muddy aftermarks of sawdust.

_Vacuum Always on Tap._

"The most and recent important improvement in vacuum-cleaning consists
in having the vacuum or 'suction power' always 'on tap' on every floor.
At convenient points in the corridors, nickel-plated taps are placed. To
these, the housemen or maids can quickly attach the rubber hose
connected with the cleaning-tools. Opening a valve turns on the suction
or vacuum. Then, as fast as the tool is moved over the surface to be
cleaned, dust and dirt are sucked through the hose into the pipes and
away to an air-tight dust-tank in the basement. The 'on tap' vacuum is
always ready for use. No need to telephone or send word to the engineer
to start that pump or to stop it when the work is done.

"Although the vacuum, or suction, is kept on tap all the time,
practically no power is consumed except when the cleaning is going on.
Even then the amount of power used--whether it be steam or
electricity--is automatically proportioned to the number and the size
of the cleaning tools in use. Whenever you lay down the sweeper to move
a chair, just so much less power is consumed while the tool is idle. If
one sweeper is in use, only one-tenth as much power is needed as when
ten sweepers are working. The little upholstery tuft-cleaner consumes
only one-ninth as much power as the carpet-sweeper. This means a great
saving of power and is a great improvement over the old vacuum-methods,
by which it was impossible to keep the vacuum on tap and by which, once
the apparatus was started, full power was consumed, no matter how many
sweepers were at work."


The linen-woman has in her care all the beautiful and expensive linen in
the hotel; if she is careless in counting it when sending it to the
different departments, careless in counting it after it has been
returned, there will be a deficit in the "stock-report" at the end of
the month. The linen-room is a position of trust. The linen-woman should
be as accurate in counting her employer's napkins and table-cloths as
the cashier is in counting his employer's dollars.

The following set of rules and essential requirements are suggested for
the management of the linen-woman:

1. She must be prompt to open the linen-room at 6:30 a.m.

2. Must not leave the linen-room without notifying the housekeeper.

3. Must sort the linen.

4. Must see that no damaged article of linen is sent out to the

5. Must mend all the linen.

6. Must keep track of the linen.

7. Must keep the linen-room books.

8. Must mark the new linen before sending it out.

The linen-room is the housekeeper's pride. What is more pleasing to a
housekeeper than to look into a well-kept linen-room. This room is the
housekeeper's "stock-exchange," the room where all her business
transactions take place. It is also her home. She has her geraniums in
the window and her desk in one corner. She has her sewing-machine, and
telephone, and a bright rug or two on the spotless floor. The linen-room
is the place where the housekeeper is found or her whereabouts made

The room should be thoroughly cleaned every Saturday, and swept and
dusted every day. It requires skill and labor to keep a well regulated
linen-room looking neat and pretty. Linen-shelves are scrubbed, not
papered. All heavy articles, such as spreads, blankets, pillows, and
table-felts should be kept on the top shelf. The water-glasses,
ice-water pitchers, extra slop jars, washbowls and pitchers, should also
be kept on the top shelves, and covered with a dust-cover. The other
shelves should be scrubbed, and the sheets, slips, face-towels, and
bath-towels used for the guest-rooms, put on a shelf by themselves. The
helps' linen should be put on another shelf. The table-linen should be
placed by itself, and so on--a place for everything and everything in
its place.

_How Linen is Mended._

The table-cloths should be mended first before they are sent to the
laundry. The best way to mend table-linen is first to fill the holes
with darning-cotton, just as you would if you were darning a stocking;
then loosen the presser-foot of your sewing-machine and darn it down
neatly with the machine. If the hole is very large--say as large as your
hand--the better way is to cover the hole with darning-net before
filling it in with the darning-cotton; then it may be finished on the

When the table-cloths are too bad to mend, the large ones can be cut
down into small ones and the small ones into tray-covers. Old napkins
can be sewed together and used for cleaning-cloths. Table-linen is very
expensive and the careful housekeeper will easily save her salary above
that of a careless one by properly taking care of the linen.

_How Coffee Bags Are Made._

The coffee-bags should be made from the stewards' dictation. No two
stewards will have them made the same. Bath-towels, when damaged, may be
made into wash-cloths, and used in the public baths. The cases for
hot-water bags are made of white flannel.

A supply of soap, matches, toilet-paper, and sanitary powder, should be
kept in the linen-room, where it is convenient for the maids.

The progressive housekeeper will not allow the stock of linen to grow
too small. She will see that it is replenished each month.

The linen-room should be opened at 6:30 a.m. and closed at 10:00 p.m. If
it is a commercial hotel, the linen should be portioned among the maids,
in the morning. The linen issued in the morning should be charged to
each girl on the slate. The maids should count the soiled linen on their
floor, pin the count to the bundle, and bring it to the linen-room,
where the linen-woman again should count it and give each maid credit on
the slate. The linen-woman should deduct the clean linen issued in the
morning from the soiled linen returned, and, if the linen-room owes the
maid, she should be given her linen at once. After that, the maid should
get only one piece of clean linen for one of soiled. If the maid brings
in no soiled linen, she should not get any clean. In this way, the
linen-woman will be able to keep track of the linen. She will be able to
tell the manager where every piece of linen is at any time of the day.

The dining-room linen should be issued in the same way. The linen-woman
should be able to tell by her books how many napkins are in the
dining-room, how many are in the laundry, and the number that are on the
shelf in the linen-room.

It may not be an innovation, but a blackboard in the linen-room will be
of great assistance to the housekeeper in copying the changes that are
sent up from time to time during the day. The board may be freshly
ruled every day, with as many columns as there are maids, and the maid's
name, or number, should be written above her column.

As the changes are sent up on a pad by the clerks, the linen-woman
should copy them on the board, putting each maid's changes under her
name. The maids should take the chalk and draw a straight line through
their changes, indicating that the rooms have received proper attention.
As there are few hotels that have not had some trouble about reporting
changes, it would be a splendid idea for the clerk to insist on the
housekeeper or the linen-woman signing for the changes. The fact that
the clerk can produce his duplicate, showing the time to the very minute
he sent the change, is not proof that the change was received in the
linen-room. The bell-boy may be a new boy, and may have taken the
change-slip to some other part of the house. But if the housekeeper, or
the linen-woman, signs the pad on which the changes have been sent up,
and the pad is returned to the office, the housekeeper or the
linen-woman will have to furnish some other excuse for the room being
out of order, than that she did not get the change.

The housekeeper should see that an accurate account is taken every month
of all the linen, and correctly entered on the linen-room stock-book.
This account should show the new linen purchased during the month. The
following form is suggested for the stock-book for the linen-room:

Inventory of Linen-Room for month ending January 1, 1908.

                  |Total No.   | Plus|     |    |      ||
  Jan. 1, 1908.   |last count  | new |Grand|Worn|      ||
                  |Dec. 1, 1907|stock|Total|out |Stolen||Net Total
  Sheets          |    800     |  50 | 850 | 25 |      ||  825
  Slips           |            |     |     |    |      ||
  Spreads         |            |     |     |    |      ||
  Face-Towels     |            |     |     |    |      ||
  Bath-Towels     |            |     |     |    |      ||
  Table-Cloths    |            |     |     |    |      ||
  Napkins         |            |     |     |    |      ||
  Side-Towels     |            |     |     |    |      ||
  Tray-Towels     |            |     |     |    |      ||
  Tops            |            |     |     |    |      ||
  Kitchen-Towels  |            |     |     |    |      ||
  Glass-Towels    |            |     |     |    |      ||
  Roller-Towels   |            |     |     |    |      ||
  Bar-Towels      |            |     |     |    |      ||
  Wash-room Towels|            |     |     |    |      ||

Paradise, indeed, to the housekeeper, is the hotel that has its
reserve-linen closet, where, in case of accident in the laundry, she may
find linen to put the rooms in order. On the other hand, how very
discouraging it is where there is only one set of linen for the beds and
the maids must wait until the linen is back from the laundry before they
can put the rooms in order. In such hotels, the housekeeper spends much
of her time running to and from the laundry.

When a new linen-woman is installed in the linen-room, the housekeeper
should write out all the details of the duties required of her,
regardless of any previous experience she may claim to have had.


A table-cloth should be long enough to hang over the table, at least
eighteen inches on all sides. Pattern cloths are prettier than the
piece-linen. They are more expensive, but it pays to buy the best for
hotel use. Linen, to have sufficient body to wear well, should have a
certain weight to the square inch. Table-linen should weigh at least
four and one-half ounces to the square yard. All pattern-cloths have the
napkins to match. The napkins and table-cloths should have a tiny,
narrow hem. They are best hemmed by hand, but this can not be thought of
for hotels.

It takes the same amount of money to purchase the unbleached linen as it
does to buy the bleached. The Irish bleached linen is of a more snowy
whiteness than that of Germany. This is owing to the climate of Ireland,
which is particularly adapted by sunshine and rain for natural

_Table-Linen Most Important._

The table-linen is more important than the bed-linen, and should receive
the first consideration in the laundry.

It should be carefully counted and sorted by the linen-woman at night,
after dinner, and should be ready for the laundryman who must rise very
early in the morning in order to have the table-linen ready for the
laundry-maids that come on duty at seven o'clock.

A table-cloth should be folded lengthwise twice, then doubled, putting
both ends together, then folded, and it will be ready for the shelf.
Napkins should be put through the mangle three times and left without
folding, so the linen-woman can easily sort them.

_Removing Stains._

Fruit-stains in linen may be removed by pouring boiling water through
the stained spot. Lemon juice and salt will remove iron-rust.

Tea, coffee, chocolate, and fruit-stains should be removed as soon as
possible by pouring boiling water over them. After fruit-stains have
been washed a few times in soapsuds, they become as firmly fixed in the
linen as though they were dyed there, and can only be removed by a
bleaching process. A good bleach can be made by taking one pint of
boiling water to one teaspoonful of oxalic acid and one teaspoonful of
ammonia. One teacupful of ammonia to a wash will keep the table-linen

The care of the table-linen is a very important feature of the
housekeeper's work. In many hotels, the housekeeper is required to
purchase the linen. Fashion changes in table-linen as in other things. A
careful study of facts and figures has proved that, in proportion to the
population, the United States of America consumes more linen than any
other country in the world. It is not, however, a leader in the
production of flax. Russia takes the lead in this industry. The United
States grows flax for the seed and not for the fibre; hence very little
weaving is done in this country.

_Kinds of Linen._

Linen has a variety of names, as Holland, damask, et cetera. Damask
linen was first made in Damascus--the oldest city in the world--and was
figured in fruit and flowers. A long time ago linen made in Scotland was
sent to Germany to be bleached; hence the name Holland.

The old-time way of bleaching was long and expensive, sometimes taking
an entire summer. After it was bleached by a natural process of open
air, dew, and sunshine, it was then treated with an alkaline, and then
buttermilk. It was left lying on the grass for a month, and sprinkled
frequently with water and sometimes sour milk.

At the present time, linen can be bleached in two weeks. The cost of
bleaching is much less and linen fabric is one-half cheaper than
formerly. The chemicals used in the modern process of bleaching greatly
injures the fibre, and linen is not so durable as it was under the
old-fashioned way of bleaching.

_How to Test Linen._

The housekeeper in selecting linen at the counter may test the linen by
ravelling out some of the threads. The threads that form the woof as
well as the warp should be strong, and long thread linen. Never buy
linen that is stiff and glossy, as it will be thin after it is
laundered. Linen should be substantial, but pliant when crushed in the
hand. Never buy a table-cloth that is part linen and part cotton, as the
shrinkage of linen and cotton fibre varies greatly, which causes the
threads to break, and the table-cloth will soon be full of holes.


"Order is Heaven's first law," sang the poet, and to keep order in a
hotel seems not such an Herculean task. System makes work easy, and the
superintendent of the laundry must insist on the work being
systematically performed.

Soap and water are the most important materials used in the laundry
work. To do good work with little or no damage to the linen, soft water
and good soap are absolutely necessary. In many parts of the United
States, the water is permanently hard, and is a perplexing question to
laundry workers. The first thing to do is to soften the water. It can
not be made soft by boiling, and must be treated with chemicals which
must be used before the soap is added. When soap is used in hard water
before it has been softened, the soap unites with the minerals in the
water, and clings to the linen like a greasy scum. Borax is the best
softening agent for hard water.

To soften water with borax, use one tablespoonful to each gallon of
water. A tablespoonful of ammonia and one tablespoonful of turpentine
to each washing will keep clothes white. Hard water may be softened with
potash or sal soda, which is much cheaper than borax and ammonia, but
potash and sal soda are both corrosive and very injurious to the linen.
Great care must be used in softening water with these alkalines. If they
are not thoroughly dissolved before using in the washer, little
particles are apt to escape the solvent action of the water and stick to
the linen and form brown spots which soon become holes.

_Good Soap a Necessity._

Soap is the next cleaning agent to be considered. You can not have
pretty, white linen without good soap. A good soft soap for use in hotel
laundries can be made from the refuse fat from the kitchen. This soap
will effect the cleaning of the hotel bed and table-linen, but for
bundle-washing, flannels, and prints, a milder soap is generally used. A
very good soap for washing flannels and prints may be made from the
pieces of soap that are collected from the rooms.

How linen is laundered and to be able to give a scientific reason for
each step are the very first things a housekeeper should learn. No
housekeeper is worthy of the title if she is unskilled in laundry
tactics. Yet how few housekeepers there are that could give even a
recipe for making bleach, to say nothing of the most effective way to
use it so as to cause the least injury to the fabric? Few housekeepers
know little or anything of the benefits of the scientific researches
that have been made to render laundering easy.

The linen must be carefully sorted and counted in the linen-room by the
linen-woman. In hotels where the houseman gathers the linen from the
different floors and carries it direct to the laundry, the laundryman
has been known to dump it in the washer without sorting it. This is the
source of many a lost pillow, blanket, nightshirt, and even pocketbooks
and jewelry. Guests often put their valuables under the pillow or in the
pillowslip and forget them. These valuables sometimes escape the
chambermaid's eyes in her haste to strip the beds. Sometimes a new
waiter in the dining-room will use a napkin to wipe his tray; these
greatly soiled napkins should be rinsed out before they are put in the

_Why the Hotel Laundry Work is Discolored._

Is it any wonder that the sheets and table-linen soon get that brown
color? All the soft water in the kingdom will not bring about the
desired results if the linen is not carefully sorted. The napkins should
be put in one pile, those that are badly soiled with mustard or gravy in
another pile, and the table-cloths in another. Napkins and table-cloths
that are stained with tea, coffee, chocolate, or fruit, should be laid
aside and boiling water should be poured through the stains before they
come in contact with soap, as the soap will help to set the stains

The laundryman should rise early and have the first washing from the
extractor before the laundrygirls make their appearance, which is
usually at seven o 'clock.

The table-linen should receive the first attention. It is the least
soiled, the most expensive, and it may be needed before the bed-linen.
The napkins and table-cloths should not remain long after they are
shaken out. They will have a finer gloss if they are mangled immediately
after being taken from the extractor.

One reason that linen gets that dirty brown color is because it has not
been properly rinsed before adding the blueing. The soap should be
thoroughly rinsed from the linen before the blueing is put in the
washer. How many hotel laundries send the linen to the linen-room damp
and steaming and smelling of soap? Is it any wonder that the linen is
soon full of holes and worn out?

Two tablespoonfuls of kerosene in a washing will greatly aid in
cleansing, though more soap must be used in this case.

In many laundries, there is not sufficient help. There should be at
least two girls employed to shake out and two at the mangles, in a
200-room house. Where there is bundle-washing it will require even more
help than this.

The kitchen-linen should be washed by hand on the board and not put in
the washer.

The housekeeper should be allowed plenty of help to properly do the

_Bleaching Linens._

When clothes have become yellow by the use of impure water or any other
cause, the snowy whiteness must be restored by a bleaching process.
Chloride of lime and oxalic acid are powerful agents, and, if not
quickly removed from the fabric, they will corrode and do much injury to
the linen. Turpentine has some power as a bleacher as also has borax.
Blueing will aid in keeping the clothes white, but do not use too much.
There are a variety of blueings to be had. The indigo blue is the best.

Starch will greatly aid in keeping clothes clean. It is made mostly from
rice, wheat, corn, or potatoes. Only a little starch should be used with
delicate fabrics. They should be no stiffer than when they are new. The
starch should be completely dissolved in cold water before adding the
boiling water. Stir the starch constantly while the boiling water is
being poured in. A few things may be put in to give a gloss, and to make
the iron run smooth; among them are paraffine, lard, kerosene, and gum

_How to Iron._

Before commencing to iron, have ready a bowl of water and a cloth for
smoothing wrinkles and rubbing away any soot or spots that may get on
the garment. Have a piece of paraffine tied in a cloth to rub over the
iron, and a knife for scraping any starch from the iron that may stick
to it in the process of ironing.

Put much weight on the iron and do not raise it from the garment but
move it quickly over the surface. When a wrinkle is made, dampen it
again with a wet cloth and smooth again with the iron. Always iron in a
good light so that scorching may be avoided. A garment should be ironed
quickly; otherwise it will dry out and much time will be wasted in going
over it with the damp cloth and changing the irons.

In ironing a white duck skirt, stretch it in shape quickly while it is
damp and iron it into shape, else it will be long here and short there.
When ironing a ruffled skirt, always iron the bottom ruffle first and
turn it back while ironing the others. Iron around hooks and eyes and
not over them. Never iron a crease in a garment unless it is necessary.
A crease will mar the effect of the garment and also cause the threads
to break sooner, thereby making holes.

_Recipe for Making Bleach._

An inexpensive recipe for making a good bleach to be used every day will
be found in the following:

Fill a clean barrel half full of boiling water and put into it ten
pounds of chloride of lime and stir until well dissolved. Dissolve ten
pounds of caustic soda in boiling water and stir in the barrel. Fill the
barrel with boiling water and stir. Let it settle and skim the little
white particles from the surface, as these are what rot the clothes. Use
one gallon of the bleach in a washing.

Although laundering is one of the last kinds of work to receive the
benefits of scientific research, much effort has recently been made to
present easy and effective ways of laundering. The "how" and "why" has
been learned. It is no difficulty for the housekeeper to hire a
laundryman and to install him in his work with the words: "This is the
laundry; you will meet with many difficulties in your line, but you must
work out your own salvation."

_How Curtains are Washed and Mended._

Take down the lace curtains that you are going to wash and shake them
well so as to get all of the dust from them. Put them in cold water to
soak. Then wash by hand in warm suds, to which has been added one
teaspoonful of ammonia. Do not rub them, squeeze dry and rinse through
two waters. Do not blue them. If they are of an ecru shade, put a little
coffee in the water and they will look like new. Starch and stretch
loosely on the curtain frames while they are wet. The holes can be drawn
together while on the bars so they will never be noticed after they are
dry, and it is a far better way to mend curtains than darning them on
the machine after they have dried. Cream-colored curtains may be washed
in the same way. Colored madras and silk curtains can be cleansed in
gasoline. Great care must be taken, as gasoline is explosive. The
curtains should be taken to the bathroom, and the door should be bolted
and kept bolted until the curtains are cleaned and the gasoline is
washed down the sewer. The curtains are then taken to the roof and aired
for half a day.

Embroidered and lace-trimmed pieces should be taken from the line while
only half dry and immediately ironed, to secure the best result. To
raise the embroidery, iron on the wrong side over several layers of
flannel covered with a sheet of old linen.

Never iron lace with the point of the iron, if you would have it look
like new. Pull and pat it into place, picking out the loops with a
hairpin, or with a pointless darning-needle or bodkin. Dampen it with a
wet cloth and press with the reverse iron, using its "heel" only.

When ironing circular centerpieces and table-cloths, see that the iron
moves with the straight grain of the cloth. If this method is followed,
the circular edge will take its true line. Guard against ironing on the
bias or on a curve, lest the linen stretch hopelessly out of shape.
Never fold a piece of this character after ironing it.


If the management does not provide the housekeeper with rules, she is
safe in formulating the following:

1. Maids must report for duty at 7:00 a.m.

2. Maids must lock all doors when leaving rooms.

3. No maid is allowed to transfer chairs or furniture from one room to
another by order of the guests, unless they have an order from the

4. Maids must report at once any articles which are misplaced or taken
from the rooms.

5. Keep all soiled linen in closets.

6. Maids must not leave any article of soiled linen lying in the halls.

7. Maids must not leave their brooms, feather dusters, dust-cloths, or
sweepers, in the halls at any time during the day.

8. Any article found in the rooms must be brought to the linen-room,
with the number of the room and date when found.

9. All keys found left in rooms and doors must be sent to the office.

10. When a tray of dishes is left in a room, the maid must ring for a
bell-boy and have him notify the headwaiter or report it to the
housekeeper who will telephone the headwaiter.

11. All ink, paper, and pens left in the rooms must be put in the wire
ink and stationery-receiver.

12. The watch-girls must report at 6 p.m. and remain until 10 p.m. or
later, if required.

13. All torn blankets and spreads must be brought to the linen-room for

14. Maids must not receive men friends in their rooms.

15. The housekeeper will relieve the linen-woman while she goes to her


1. Maids must report at 8 a.m. and remain until 1 p.m.

2. Watch-girls must report for duty at 1 p.m. and remain until 9 p.m.

All of these rules can not be, at all times, strictly enforced by the
housekeeper. She will make such modifications as are made necessary by
circumstances. But rules she must have, and she must insist on their
being observed.


Excepting the linen-room position, that of parlor maid is the most
desirable situation that the hotel housekeeper can offer a girl. The
wages are usually better than those of a chambermaid, and her work is
not near so laborious. At all times, the parlor-maid is neatly dressed,
suave, serene, and courteous. A quiet and unobtrusive manner is
absolutely essential. She needs to take many steps during the day, and
thus youth and a slender figure are the first qualities in one who
wishes to make a success of the position. She meets people of wealth and
refinement and the ultra fastidious, hence her position is a responsible
one and requires a dignified appearance and demeanor. She must have
self-respect and must claim the respect of others. None of the
moralities must be omitted nor must she forget the daily bath, clean
underwear, and clean hosiery every day. The morning is the time for the
parlor-maid to do the cleaning, and she should wear about her work a
washable dress of percale or dimity, with a white apron. In the
afternoon and evening, this should be exchanged for a black skirt,
white waist, and white apron.

_Where Work Is Diversified._

She is expected to render quite diversified services. Her duties vary
with the mode of life of those by whom she is employed. She will
scarcely be called on to do all the work that is herein enumerated; but
the success of any hotel employe is largely due to the number of things
he or she is able to do well. A parlor-maid may raise her occupation to
a level with that of millinery or dress-making. There is room at the top
of the ladder for the expert parlor-maid just the same as there is for
any other person in any other calling.

In the small hotels, the parlor-maid usually cares for the proprietor's
private apartments. In addition to these, a suite next to the parlor may
be given her to keep in order. She can easily look after these rooms
where she has only one parlor. The cleaning of the ladies' toilet-room
and reception-hall and the ladies' entrance-stairs usually falls to the
parlor-maid. She must look after the writing-rooms, do the high dusting,
clean the tiles, clean the mirrors, polish the brass trays, clean the
cuspidors, wash the lace curtains, and sweep and dust. In washing
windows and mirrors, she should use warm water to which a little ammonia
has been added. She should not use soap, as the grease in the soap makes
the polishing difficult. Wipe with a dry cotton cloth and polish with a
chamois skin.

_Keeping Parlor in Order._

As the parlor must always be in readiness for the reception of guests,
it is thoroughly cleaned early in the morning. Once a week is often
enough for a thorough cleaning. Monday is the best day for it. The
furniture is moved into the hallway or into one corner of the parlor,
the parlor is swept and dusted and every article replaced before
breakfast. On week days, the corners are dug out with a whisk-broom and
the dirt taken up with the sweeper. The parlor is dusted frequently and
the cuspidors washed at least four times a day. She should wash the
cuspidors inside and out, using soap and water; then wipe with a dry
cloth. Leave a little clean water in the cuspidors, as this will make
the vessels easier to clean next time.

_Cleaning Brass Trays._

If the brass trays under the cuspidors are very badly stained, the
stains may be easily removed with a solution of vinegar and salt, to
which has been added a little flour. Have the mixture boiling hot; rub
the tray with the mixture with a flannel cloth, then wash the tray with
hot water and wipe dry with a cloth. After this, it may be polished with
a good mineral paste or some of the special preparations made for the
purpose, using a flannel cloth for polishing.

The high dusting is done with a long handled broom. Tie a bag made of
cotton flannel over the broom and brush the walls downward. Brush the
dust off the cornice and over the doors and windows. Then, using a clean
cheesecloth duster, go over the doors, window sills, mantles, and
furniture, changing the soiled dust-cloth frequently for a clean one.
The housekeeper must see that the parlor-maid is supplied with plenty of
clean dust-cloths.

_The Maid's Many Duties._

If the fireplace is finished with tile, the parlor-maid should wash
these with soap and water. She should polish the brass and replace it.
The curtains and silk draperies should be taken down and hung in the
open air and brushed with a whisk-broom. The rugs should be rolled up
and the houseman should take them to a flat roof where they should be
laid flat and swept. They should not be whipped or beaten, as "whipping"
will ruin an expensive rug. When sweeping the stairs of the ladies'
entrance, the parlor-maid should use the whisk-broom and dust-pan. The
ladies' toilet-room requires some care to keep it always neat and clean.
After sweeping the floor and dusting the doors, the bowls should be
washed inside and out with the toilet-brush and a disinfectant put in.
The stationary wash-basins should be scrubbed with sapolio and the
faucets polished. There should be kept always on hand clean towels and
soap, a comb and brush, a box of face-powder--the English prepared chalk
is the best for toilet-rooms. The public baths on the parlor floor come
under the parlor-maid's charge. She should keep the tubs and the floor
clean, and see that soap and towels are supplied.

The writing rooms should be cleaned before breakfast. The sweeping
should be done the first thing in the morning. The desks should be
supplied with fresh pen points, paper and ink once a day. The waste
paper baskets should be emptied as often as is necessary, and the
cuspidors should be cleaned at least four times a day.

_Keeps Assembly-Room in Order._

It is usually the parlor maid's duty to take care of the casino, more
familiarly called the assembly-hall. The casino floor requires very
careful cleaning. No scrubbing or sweeping with ordinary brooms is
permissible on a polished hardwood floor. It should be carefully swept
with a bristle broom and the dust taken up on the dust-pan. The floor
should then be dusted with a broom, over which has been tied the
cotton-flannel bag made for the purpose. If there are any spots on the
floor, they will have to be washed up, but this will take off the
polish; therefore, it must be restored by the weighted brush or weighted
box with Brussels carpet tacked on the bottom of it. The original polish
is restored by pulling the box back and forth over the floor. A
housekeeper will make a sad mistake if she attempts to scrub the
ballroom floor.

_Waxing the Ballroom Floor._

In most every hotel, it is left to the housekeeper to wax the ballroom
floor before the opening of the "hop." The wax is sprinkled over the

In very large hotels in large cities where there are three or four
public parlors, and where three or four parlor-maids are employed, their
work is confined to the parlors. The parlor-maid waits on the ladies,
helps them on and off with their wraps, and caters to their comfort both
physically and mentally; keeps the parlor clean, and does many little
acts which go to make a great big hotel seem like home.

_The Card and Wine-Rooms._

No drinks are served in the public parlors, public halls, or
cosy-corners. The wine-rooms are usually kept in order by the
parlor-maid. The bar-porter should come for the bottles and remove the
dishes. The parlor-maid should sweep and dust the wine rooms and wipe
the tables, if they are polished wood. If they are ordinary dining-room
tables, she should put clean table-cloths on them twice a day. The
wine-rooms are usually named for the cities: Chicago, New York,
Binghamton, Cincinnati, St. Louis, Denver, and New Orleans.

The card-rooms are kept in order by the parlor-maid. There is seldom
much furniture in a card-room, only chairs and tables. Sweeping and
dusting once a day and a clean cover for the table is all that is

To make a muslin cover for a poker-table, take a piece of muslin and cut
it round to fit the table, allowing six inches to hang down. Run a
casing on the edge of it, with a bias piece two inches wide. Run in the
casing, a drawing-string of common wrapping-twine. The drawing-string
must be as long as the muslin is around so it will not have to be
removed when laundered. After it is laundered, put it on the table and
pull the drawing-string, and tie under the table.

In small hotels where the parlor-maid is called on to perform all of
these manifold duties, she is assisted by the houseman.


Some person that does not know anything about the life of a chambermaid
will tell you that the "chambermaid has no protection, no morality, and
is without the influence of a fixed place or home atmosphere;" finally,
that "chamber-work is the most degrading occupation a girl can engage

If a girl is not capable of a higher calling, why should not she make
beds in a hotel when there is such a crying need from the hotel managers
for conscientious and painstaking work? It is not every girl that
Providence has blessed with a prima donna's voice. Not every girl can be
admitted on the vaudeville stage. Not all have had kind and wealthy
parents to send them through college and fit them for the higher

_Chambermaid Can Take Care of Self._

The proprietor is ever ready to protect the maids from undue familiarity
from the male patrons of the hotel. This is seldom necessary. The
average maid meets an incivility with a cold disdain that puts to rout
a second attempt. Men that wreck women's lives are found outside of

_Religion a Factor._

It is an undisputed fact that the Irish-American Catholic girls make the
best chambermaids. The comfort found in the Catholic religion
compensates for the loss of home ties. She is without any danger signal
save her own conscience, yet there does not exist on the face of the
earth a more moral class of girls than the Irish-American Catholic
chambermaids in the hotels of the United States.

She goes at her work determined to use her experience as a
stepping-stone to something higher. She encounters many pitfalls. She
makes a few mistakes, but during her stay in Yankeeland she has learned
President Roosevelt's maxim: "The man who never makes any mistakes is
the man who never does anything." She is consoled by it, and from her
pitfalls learns a lesson that enables her to avoid making the same
mistakes in the future.

_Not a Bad Day's Program._

At the Grand Union Hotel in New York City, and in hotels in other cities
in New York state, the writer has learned from observation that the
social side of the chambermaid's life is a pleasant one. She begins the
day at 7:15 and quits at 4:00, except the night she is on watch. She is
given a ten o'clock lunch; she has one hour for dinner, and at 2:30 she
is given fifteen minutes for a cup of tea. The night she is on watch,
she is served with a good dinner of chicken and all the good things the
hotel affords. She has every third Sunday off and may follow her own
will. She has time to cultivate acquaintances, and attend to her
religious duties.

_Christmas Time._

There is kindness and courtesy existing among the maids. When Christmas
day draws near, the festivities are looked forward to with eager
anticipation. Mysterious-looking bundles are coming in and going out.
Friends are remembered. The father and mother, brother and sister over
the water are not forgotten; and likewise the maids are not forgotten by
their employer. The dining-hall is wreathed in holly, the table is
loaded with all the season's delicacies. Trade is dull in the hotel, and
the time is given over to enjoyment.

_Chambermaids at Their Best._

There are evening parties in the "help's hall." The weekly "tips" or any
"stray coins" are invested in sugar and butter, and "fondant" is made
that would melt in your mouth. Then there is the "taffy-pull," the cups
of tea, and the "fortunes told," over the cups. The jokes go round, the
merry laughter resounds and gets so loud that the housekeeper, who has
retired, rises, and hastens to put a stop to the noise. Arriving on the
scene, she has not the heart to reprove them. Herein she tastes an old
joy of girlhood. It is Christmas. She slips back to her own room and
into bed again. The airs of "Killarney" and "The Wearing of the Green"
die away, and the house is quiet.


The housekeeper should furnish the houseman with a synopsis of his
duties every morning.

In addition to this, he has, of course, his regular duties--sweeping
halls, dusting, cleaning cuspidors, washing windows, hanging curtains,
moving furniture, laying carpets, and cleaning lights. Sweeping roofs
and keeping gutters clean fall to his share also. Fortunate indeed is
the housekeeper that can have a houseman for each floor. A skull cap and
an over-all suit would be appropriate apparel for the houseman.

       *       *       *       *       *

Any defective plumbing in bathrooms should be promptly reported by the
housekeeper. Sometimes a guest will justly complain that the faucet in
the bathtub is out of order, and the water trickling all night keeps him

A tray under the ice-water pitcher will save the table or dresser.

       *       *       *       *       *

The soul of the housekeeper faints within her when a guest complains
that he has been given a room reserved for "plain drunks." He calls
attention to the fact that the carpet is patched in thirteen places, and
at least as many patches of paper are in evidence on the wall.

       *       *       *       *       *

The sweepers require special care. The maids should bring them to the
linen room once a month where they are oiled. Never empty the sweeper by
pulling the pan down, as this breaks the spring, causing the pan to drop
lower than the brush, and the sweeper fails to pick up the dirt. A
Bissell sweeper in the hands of a skillful maid will last three years.

_Season for Repotting House-Plants._

September is the season for repotting house-plants. As flowers are such
important factors of civilization speaking to us of nature's God, it is
surprising that more plants are not seen in hotels, and that more
proprietors do not adopt this ingenious plan of beautifying their
dining-rooms and corridors, using palms instead of those cheap
artificial roses which are so conspicuous in third-rate hotels.

The stately palm lends an air of refinement that nothing else can give.
The greatest obstacle to the growth of house-plants is dust. The palms,
azaleas, and rubber plants may be sponged occasionally to keep them
clean and healthy. Other plants may be taken to the bathroom and given a
shower-bath. In the summer time, two or three times a week is often
enough for watering the house-plants. In winter, once a week is


The reasons why some people never rise above commonplace positions
should be made clear to all that seek employment or better conditions.
In every field, there are those that never take the initiative, and they
make up the great majority. They are apparently afraid of doing too much
work, or of making themselves generally useful, or of doing some bit of
work that has not been assigned them, for which they might not be paid,
forgetting that the world's greatest prizes are generally bestowed on
the individual who does the right thing without being told.

If we wait to be told our duties, we cease to be moral agents and are
mere machines, and, as such, stationary in place and pay.

If you would succeed, cultivate self-confidence, which is one of the
foundation stones of success. Rest assured your employer knows the
difference between "bluff" and the real thing. "Nerve" will not win in
the long run. It may accomplish temporary advantage, but there must be
something back of "nerve."

Practice self-control. If you can not control yourself, you can not
control others. When the commander riding in front of his army takes to
the woods in the face of the enemy, he can only expect his troops to
follow his example. Anger is an unbecoming mood. In serenity, lies

Keep busy. Improve each moment. Do not be afraid of too much work. The
office-boy that sits around watching the clock, as if he might be
waiting for his automobile to take him home, will never own the hotel.

The superintendent that has not enough patience to instruct properly a
beginner may lose valuable assistants and can not hope to achieve a
great enterprise.

Do not become discouraged and resign your position because it is not up
to your ideal. It may be better to bear with the ills you have than fly
to others you know not of.


It is hard to tell a housekeeper what to do or what not to do in case of
fire. No two hotels are alike, and no two fires occur in the same way.
Circumstances are to be considered first. Much depends on the location
and the progress of the fire, and whether it is night or day. It is an
old maxim "that fire is a good servant but a hard master." Shakespeare
wrote: "A little fire is quickly trodden out, which, being suffered,
rivers cannot quench." It is bad policy to delay sending in the alarm to
the fire department. Many persons put off this important duty until it
is too late. They reason that it might alarm the guests and cause a
panic and that they will be drowned out. Thus they battle with the
flames with the incomplete fire apparatus belonging to the hotel,
refusing the petition to turn in an alarm to the fire department until
the fire has gained such headway that it is impossible for even the
skilled firemen to put it out. Thereby jeopardizing the lives of the
hotel guests and also the lives of the firemen. No general in command
of an army, no hero in battle deserves more praise than do these
courageous men who hourly risk their lives to save lives and the
property of others. Minutes count for something in a fire. The fire
department can quickly and quietly put out a small fire, and the guests
of the hotel may never know that a fire has occurred until it is all
over. Panics usually follow when the people are face to face with the
flames, and not at the sight of the fire department in front of the
hotel. To a sensible mind, the fire engine and firemen should bring a
feeling of safety. A feeling that if the hotel is on fire, the fire will
soon be extinguished. Keep cool; don't run, and don't talk or give
orders in an excited tone. Should a fire occur in a single room, close
the door of that room to prevent the flames from spreading, and go to
the nearest fire hose rack, and attach the hose to the plug and take the
nozzle end to the door of the room in which the fire is started, then go
back and turn on the water. If the water is turned on before the hose
has been carried it will make the hose too heavy for one person to
carry, especially if you have to climb a stairway or go any great
distance; a fire hose when full of water is very heavy. The housekeeper
should never desert the hotel in case of fire. She has in her possession
keys to all doors. She is familiar with the location of windows and fire
escapes, and the location of the fire extinguishers and axes. She knows
the position of all stairways, particularly the top landing and scuttle
to the roof. She knows where all fire proof doors are located, where the
water pails are kept and she can render the firemen great service in
directing them to a more advantageous position. All doors should be
unlocked so that the firemen can have free access without breaking them
in and causing delay. The doors, however, should be kept closed to
prevent the fire spreading. The rapidity with which a building is
consumed by flames is due to the wind and the draughts from stairways,
open doors and windows and elevator shafts. The walls of elevator shafts
and all vertical openings should be built of non-combustible material,
such as brick and mortar and all elevators should be equipped with
automatic traps. In case of a fire on the first floor, the automatic
trap would fall when a certain degree of heat was reached and thus
prevent the fire from reaching the second floor, and the progress of the
fire would be delayed.

All fire hose should be tested every six months. A leak may have caused
the hose to become worthless. All hose should be attached to the fire
plug at all times and the little wrench for turning on the water should
be tied to the rack where the hose is kept. All these essentials should
be examined and carefully scrutinized by every housekeeper and
chambermaid. A fire can make great progress while some inexperienced
person is fumbling with and trying to attach the hose and turn on the
water. There should be a red light in the hall in front of the fire
escape window; a red light can be seen better than a white one. The view
of the fire escape window should never be obstructed by any kind of a

All hotels should have a stand pipe, it will reduce the rate of
insurance one-third.

Although few people know how to escape down a rope fire-escape, every
room in the hotel should be equipped with one. All fire departments
should have a life net; dropping into a life-net is not so hazardous as
sliding down a rope when one is ignorant of the proper way to do it. The
life nets are made of woven rope with springs, and are 10 feet in
diameter. The firemen hold this net and persons dropping into it can be

The Kirker Bender spiral tube fire-escape is the best and safest. In one
minute 200 persons can slide through the Kirker Bender, to absolute
safety. It is a very expensive fire escape, but expense should not be
considered when building fire-escapes. There should be a fire-alarm box
in every hall. Should a fire occur, on a floor where there is no
fire-alarm box, a messenger would have to be dispatched to the office
before the fire company could be notified. Some hotels have no fire-box
at all. The fire-box being located a block away from the hotel.
Fire-boxes can be put in hotels with very little expense. It is an old
saying--"An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." This is
especially true in the case of fire prevention. If the following
precautions are taken, fires from accident or spontaneous combustion
seldom occur.

_Fire Prevention._

Keep your hotel clean and never allow rubbish, such as paper, rags,
cobwebs, old clothing and boxes to accumulate in closets and unused
rooms. Don't allow coal oil lamps to be used by women patrons for the
purpose of heating curling irons. Never put up gas brackets so they can
be swung against door casings or immediately under curtains. Never keep
matches in any but metal or earthen safes. Never keep old woolen rags
that have been used in oiling and cleaning furniture, or waxing floors,
unless in a tin can with a tin lid.

_Origin of Fires._

Fires are the results of accidents, of spontaneous combustion, and of
design. If they have been accidental, the cause can generally be
discovered, and it will be found, that they might have been prevented.
Carelessness and negligence are the cause of over two-thirds of all

Electrical fires are caused from electric light wires lying against
wood or iron, or coming in contact with water. A stream of water thrown
on a heavily charged electric light wire will give a shock and may even
kill the fireman holding the nozzle. This is one reason why the electric
lights are cut off when a fire is raging and thus leaving people to
grope their way out through darkness. All hotels should have hall-ways
lighted by gas, and especially should a gas light with a red globe be
placed in front of all fire escape windows.

Should a fire occur at night the housekeeper should give orders to have
all doors unlocked and the gas lighted in the halls.


The greatest wonder to my mind is that more women that must of necessity
earn their livelihood, do not adopt the profession of hotel
housekeeping. What nicer or more profitable way can a woman earn her
living. Standing at my window of a stormy morning, I see many women
going early through the wind and snow, sometimes rain, to their work,
and I can not help comparing my daily tasks to theirs. Many of these
women stand all day behind the counters of some large dry-goods store,
where they are designated only as No. 1, No. 2, and so on. Some of the
women are going to work in silk mills, where the looms keep up a
deafening roar, and where, at their noon hour, they must eat a cold
lunch. These women get a small salary, on an average $8.00 a week, and
out of this they must pay their room, board and laundry bills.

I could not refrain from contrasting the hotel housekeeper's position
with that of other women-workers in cities. The housekeeper has a good,
warm room, clean bed, hot and cold bath, and the best eating that the
hotel affords. She may command the respect of all other employes in the
house, and may make many life-long friends. My advice to any young woman
seeking a situation is to start right at chamber-work, to keep her wits
sharp, and her head on her shoulders. To be sure, there are many
temptations, all of which the average girl should be able to resist. But
a chambermaid with a modest and reticent disposition may never meet with
any pitfalls, at least, no more than would be encountered in a dry-goods
store or factory. From chambermaid, she may get promoted to the
linen-room, where she will be shielded and protected from interlopers,
and will have plenty of leisure to sew or to mend for her own benefit.

She can save money, for she will have better pay in the linen-room. She
will also have better food, and will learn something of the executive
management of the hotel. Naturally, she will see more of the proprietor
or the manager, and will learn his ideas and principles, which knowledge
may be useful to her in later years. Time brings about many changes, and
hotels change proprietors, as well as housekeepers and managers. Often,
when a new manager makes his appearance, he will bring his housekeeper
or linen-room woman with him; in this case, the linen-room woman may
have to secure another situation. Now is her chance to take a step
higher on the ladder, by obtaining a position as housekeeper.


 Assembly Hall, 87

 Attention to Details, 34

 Birds of Passage, 32-33

 Character in The Hotel Business, 26

 Cleaning Rooms, 41-44

 Card and Wine Rooms, 88

 Cleaning Brass, 85

 Chambermaids, 90

 Evolution of the Housekeeper, 104-105

 Fires, Suggestions in case of, 98

 Fire Prevention, 102

 Fires, origin of, 103

 Gossip between employes, 29-30

 Housekeeper and the Help, 17-22

 Housekeeper's salary, 38-40

 Housekeeper, progressive, 35-37

 Housekeeper's Rules, 81

 Housekeeper, relationship between guests, 31

 Housekeeper, requirements of, 11-20

 Housekeeper, and co-operation, 17-22

 How to Make Beds, 47-48

 How to Clean Walls, 49-51

 How to Scrub a Floor, 51-52

 How to Get Rid of Vermin, 53-57

 Linen Room, Linen Woman, 63-68

 Linen, table, care of, 69-70

 Linen, removing stains, 70

 Linen, best kind, 71

 Linen, how to test, 72

 Laundry, making bleach, 73-80

 Miscellaneous subjects, 94

 Parlor Maid, 83-90

 Proprietor's Wife, 23-25

 Room Inspection, 21-28

 Vacuum Cleaning System, 58-62

 Waxing Ballroom Floor, 88

    |             Transcriber's Note:                 |
    |                                                 |
    | Inconsistent hyphenation and spelling in the    |
    | original document have been preserved.          |
    |                                                 |
    | Typographical errors corrected in the text:     |
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    | Page   8  succees changed to success            |
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    | Page  12  linen-en-room changed to linen-room   |
    | Page  14  housekeeperes changed to housekeepers |
    | Page  22  ordel changed to ordeal               |
    | Page  23  plebianism changed to plebeanism      |
    | Page  24  benefitted changed to benefited       |
    | Page  31  sweetner changed to sweetener         |
    | Page  33  admireres changed to admirers         |
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    | Page  44  symmetricaly changed to symmetrically |
    | Page  49  woll changed to wall                  |
    | Page  49  obmtain changed to obtain             |
    | Page  58  clening changed to cleaning           |
    | Page  59  sytem changed to system               |
    | Page  60  accumulationg changed to accumulating |
    | Page  63  line changed to linen                 |
    | Page  65  ow changed to How                     |
    | Page  67  line changed to linen                 |
    | Page  70  procees changed to process            |
    | Page  71  presen changed to present             |
    | Page  75  line changed to linen                 |
    | Page  75  pilow changed to pillow               |
    | Page  85  cupidors changed to cuspidors         |
    | Page  87  cosino changed to casino              |
    | Page  88  Balroom changed to Ballroom           |
    | Page  89  Binghampton changed to Binghamton     |
    | Page  96  occasionaly changed to occasionally   |
    | Page  99  headwas changed to headway            |
    | Page 100  prevtn changed to prevent             |
    | Page 102  an a floor changed to on a floor      |
    | Page 103  Carlessness changed to Carelessness   |

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