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Title: New Homes for Old
Author: Breckinridge, Sophonisba Preston
Language: English
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       *       *       *       *       *

    _Americanization Studies_

    Frank V. Thompson, Supt. of Public Schools, Boston

    John Daniels

    Robert E. Park, Professorial Lecturer, University of Chicago
    Herbert A. Miller, Professor of Sociology, Oberlin College

    Peter A. Speek, in charge, Slavic Section, Library of Congress

    Michael M. Davis, Jr., Director, Boston Dispensary

    Sophonisba P. Breckinridge, Professor of Social Economy,
    University of Chicago

    William M. Leiserson, Chairman, Labor Adjustment Boards,
    Rochester and New York

    Robert E. Park, Professorial Lecturer, University of Chicago

    THE IMMIGRANT'S DAY IN COURT. (In preparation)
    Kate Holladay Claghorn, Instructor in Social Research,
    New York School of Social Work

    AMERICANS BY CHOICE. (In preparation)
    John P. Gavit, Vice-President, New York _Evening Post_

    SUMMARY. (In preparation)
    Allen T. Burns, Director, Studies in Methods of Americanization

    _Harper & Brothers Publishers_

       *       *       *       *       *









       *       *       *       *       *


    Copyright, 1921, by Harper & Brothers
    Printed in the United States of America

       *       *       *       *       *


The material in this volume was gathered by the Division of Adjustment
of Homes and Family Life of Studies in Methods of Americanization.

Americanization in this study has been considered as the union of
native and foreign born in all the most fundamental relationships and
activities of our national life. For Americanization is the uniting of
new with native-born Americans in fuller common understanding and
appreciation to secure by means of self-government the highest welfare
of all. Such Americanization should perpetuate no unchangeable
political, domestic, and economic regime delivered once for all to the
fathers, but a growing and broadening national life, inclusive of the
best wherever found. With all our rich heritages, Americanism will
develop best through a mutual giving and taking of contributions from
both newer and older Americans in the interest of the commonweal. This
study has followed such an understanding of Americanization.


This volume is the result of studies in methods of Americanization
prepared through funds furnished by the Carnegie Corporation of New
York. It arose out of the fact that constant applications were being
made to the Corporation for contributions to the work of numerous
agencies engaged in various forms of social activity intended to
extend among the people of the United States the knowledge of their
government and the obligations to it. The trustees felt that a study
which should set forth, not theories of social betterment, but a
description of the methods of the various agencies engaged in such
work, would be of distinct value to the cause itself and to the

The outcome of the study is contained in eleven volumes on the
following subjects: Schooling of the Immigrant; The Press; Adjustment
of Homes and Family Life; Legal Protection and Correction; Health
Standards and Care; Naturalization and Political Life; Industrial and
Economic Amalgamation; Treatment of Immigrant Heritages; Neighborhood
Agencies and Organization; Rural Developments; and Summary. The entire
study has been carried out under the general direction of Mr. Allen
T. Burns. Each volume appears in the name of the author who had
immediate charge of the particular field it is intended to cover.

Upon the invitation of the Carnegie Corporation a committee consisting
of the late Theodore Roosevelt, Prof. John Graham Brooks, Dr. John M.
Glenn, and Mr. John A. Voll has acted in an advisory capacity to the
director. An editorial committee consisting of Dr. Talcott Williams,
Dr. Raymond B. Fosdick, and Dr. Edwin F. Gay has read and criticized
the manuscripts. To both of these committees the trustees of the
Carnegie Corporation are much indebted.

The purpose of the report is to give as clear a notion as possible of
the methods of the agencies actually at work in this field and not to
propose theories for dealing with the complicated questions involved.



    Publisher's Note                                           v

    Foreword                                                 vii

    Table of Contents                                         ix

    List of Tables                                          xiii

    List of Illustrations                                     xv

    Introduction                                            xvii

         I. FINDING THE NEW HOME                               1
              The First Adjustments                            1
              Homes Studied                                    6
              Dissolving Barriers                             14

        II. FAMILY RELATIONSHIPS                              19
              Separated Families                              20
              Keeping Boarders                                23
              The Man Without a Family                        27
              The Single Woman                                29
              The Migrant Family                              32
              From Farming to Industry                        34
              The Wage-earning Mother                         39
              Changed Duties of a Mother                      43
              Paternal Authority Passing                      47

       III. THE CARE OF THE HOUSE                             54
              New Housekeeping Conditions                     54
              Demands of American Cookery                     58
              Water Supply Essential                          60
              Overcrowding Hampers the Housewife              62
              Women Work Outside the Home                     65
              Housing Improvement                             66
              Government Building Loans                       75
              Instruction in Sanitation                       80

        IV. PROBLEMS OF SAVING                                85
              Present and Future Needs                        85
              Unfamiliarity with Money                        88
              Irregularity of Income                          91
              Reserves for Misfortunes                        92
              The Cost of Weddings                            98
              Christenings and Fête Days                     103
              Buying Property                                105
              Building and Loan Associations                 109
              Postal Savings Banks                           111
              Account Keeping                                115

         V. THE NEGLECTED ART OF SPENDING                    117
              The Company Store                              119
              Shopping Habits                                122
              Modification of Diets                          130
              Furniture on the Installment Plan              134
              New Fashions and Old Clothes                   135
              Training Needed                                138
              Co-operation in Spending                       141

        VI. THE CARE OF THE CHILDREN                         149
              The Unpreparedness of the Immigrant Mother     150
              Breakdown of Parental Authority                153
              Learning to Play                               157
              Parents and Education                          159
              Following School Progress                      163
              The Revolt of Older Children                   169
              Relations of Boys and Girls                    174
              The Juvenile Court                             181

              Safety in Racial Affiliations                  188
              Local Benefit Societies                        192
              National Croatian Organizations                196
              Care of Croatian Orphans                       199
              Organizations of Poles                         201
              Polish Women's Work                            203
              Lithuanian Woman's Alliance                    209
              Ukrainian Beginnings                           215
              Growth of National Organizations               218

      VIII. AGENCIES OF ADJUSTMENT                           222
              Immigrant Protective League                    223
              A National Reception Committee                 227
              The Public School                              230
              The Home Teacher                               236
              Settlement Classes                             238
              Co-operation of Agencies                       240
              International Institutes                       243
              Training for Service                           248
              Home Economics Work                            254
              Government Grants in England                   263
              The Lesson for the United States               266
              Mothers' Assistants                            268
              Recreational Agencies                          272

        IX. FAMILY CASE WORK                                 277
              The Language Difficulty                        280
              Standards of Living                            286
              Visiting Housekeepers                          289
              Knowledge of Backgrounds                       298
              Training Facilities Needed                     301
              The Transient Family                           304
              Need for National Agency                       307

            APPENDIX                                         313
              Principal Racial Organizations                 313
                Czech                                        313
                Danish                                       314
                Dutch                                        315
                Finnish                                      315
                German                                       316
                Hungarian                                    317
                Italian                                      318
                Jewish                                       319
                Jugoslav                                     324
                Lithuanian                                   326
                Polish                                       327
                Russian                                      329
                Slovak                                       330
                Swedish                                      331
                Ukrainian                                    331
              Menus of Foreign Born                          333
                Bohemian                                     333
                Croatian                                     335
                Italian                                      335
                Slovenian                                    340

            INDEX                                            343


    TABLE                                                     PAGE
       I. Number and Per Cent of Families Carrying Life
            Insurance and Average Amount of Policy
            According to Nativity of Head of Family             94

      II. Number and Per Cent of Immigrant Home
            Owners in Different Chicago Districts              107


    The Coming of New American Home Makers            _Frontispiece_

    A Railroad Camp for Immigrant Workers in a
       Prosperous Suburban Community, 1920           _Facing p._   4

    An Immigrant Railway Worker Lives in this
       Car with His Wife, Six Children, and Three
       Dogs                                               "        4

    Even a Boarding House of Eighteen Boarders
       in Five Rooms is More Cheerful than a
       Labor Camp for Men Alone                           "       24

    Almost at the End of the Journey                      "       32

    Floor Plan of Houses in Poland                      _Page_    55

    This Pump Supplies Water to Four Families        _Facing p._  60

    A Community Housing Plan                            _Page_    73

    Italians Have Their Own Financial Center and
        Labor Market in Boston                       _Facing p._ 110

    It's a Long Way from This Elaborate Czecho-Slovak
        Costume to the Modern American
        Styles                                            "      136

    A Slovak Mother, Newly Arrived                        "      150

    Immigrant Children Acquiring Individual Initiative
        in a Montessori Class at Hull House               "      160

    Who Will Welcome Them?                                "      192

    Lithuanian Mothers Have Come to a Settlement
        Class                                             "      238

    A Case-work Agency Found Four Girls and
        Eighteen Men Boarding with This Polish
        Family in Four Rooms                              "      288


The following study is the result of effort on the part of several
persons. Miss Helen R. Wright, formerly research assistant of the
Chicago School of Civics and member of the staff of the Massachusetts
Immigration Commission of 1914, had much to do with the planning of
the inquiry, the framing of such schedules as were used, and the
organization of certain portions of the information gathered. Through
Miss Laura Hood, long time a resident of the Chicago Commons, it
proved to be possible to obtain many intimate views with reference to
the more subtle questions of family adjustment in the groups that are
of special interest in such an inquiry as this.

Certain questions of uniformity in method and style of presentation
were determined by the editorial staff of the Study of Methods of
Americanization. For the final drafting of a considerable portion of
the study, especially in the earlier chapters, the members of this
editorial staff are responsible, though the writer is glad to
acknowledge full responsibility for all conclusions drawn or
recommendations offered.

                                     SOPHONISBA P. BRECKINRIDGE.

    _April_ 15, 1921.




The great westward tide of immigration has again begun to rise.
Annually to the ports of entry and to the great inland centers of
distribution come thousands of immigrant families, strange men and
women with young children, unattached girls, and vigorous, simple
lads. With few exceptions no provision by native Americans has been
made for their reception in their new places of residence. Communities
of kindly-intentioned persons, because of their lack of imagination
and their indifference, have allowed the old, the young, the mother,
and infant to come in by back ways, at any hour of day or night.
Frequently they have been received only by uncomprehending or
indifferent railroad officials or oversolicitous exploiters.


It is not strange that in most American communities there is no habit
of community hospitality. Communities are in themselves transitory
and fluid. Many of the native born have as yet become only partially
adjusted to their physical and social environment. At least the
childhood of most of our older generation was spent under the
influence of those who had either migrated or immigrated. "_Nous
marchons tous._" We are all "pilgrims and strangers." Some have come
sooner, and some have come later, and except for the colored people
and those in territory acquired in 1848 and in 1898, all have a common
memory of having come deliberately either _from_ something worse or
_to_ something better. All have come from where they were into what
was a far country.

While the earlier arrivals are making their own adjustments, there are
knocking at their gates strangers from a more distant country speaking
a foreign tongue, accustomed to totally different ways of living and
working. Their reception, however, need not be an impossible task. On
their arrival they are formally admitted, and information as to their
origin and destination must be supplied. Methods could be devised for
receiving them in such a way as to make them feel at ease, and for
interpreting to them the changed surroundings in which they must find
a home and a job in the shortest possible time.

If discomfort and confusion were the only distress into which the
strange group fell, the situation might be only humiliating to our
generous and hospitable spirit and could be easily remedied. But the
consequences of failure to exercise hospitality at the beginning
endure in lack of understanding on the part of both groups. The
immigrant fails to find natural and normal ways of sharing in the life
of the community, and becomes skeptical as to the sincerity of
perfectly well-meaning, but uninformed, professions on the part of the
older residents. Spiritual barriers as definite, if not as easily
perceived, as the geographical boundaries of the "colonies" formed in
the different sections of our cities, develop.

This is often true in connection with the foreign-born men and
tragically more true of the women. One Italian woman in Herrin,
Illinois, for example, who had lived nineteen years in this country,
told an investigator for this study that she had never received an
American into her home as a guest, because no American had ever come
in that spirit. A Russian woman had lived in Chicago for nine years
and had, so far as she knew, not become acquainted with any Americans.
Several instances were found in which efforts have been put forward to
secure the united effort of the whole community, and yet large groups
of immigrants have remained substantially unaware of these efforts and
were entirely untouched by them.

There are several other attitudes, too, that have perhaps blinded some
to the need of provision for community hospitality. One attitude might
be characterized as that of the "self-made man." Hardship may have
either of two different effects. In one person it will develop
sympathy, compassion, and a desire to safeguard others from similar
suffering. In others it may lead to a certain callous disregard of
other people--a belief that if one has been able to surmount the
difficulties others should likewise be able. If not, so much the
worse. This kind of harshness characterizes the attitude of some of
those immigrants who have come at earlier dates toward those who have
come later.



It is like the occasional successful woman who is indifferent to the
general disadvantages of her sex, and to the negro who makes for
himself a brilliant place and argues that color is no handicap. In
talking to women about bringing up their children, it was a
significant fact that some of the women who had had no trouble with
their own children said that where there is trouble it is the fault of
the parents. The following comment, for example, was on the schedule
of Mrs. D., a Polish woman who has been in this country since 1894,
and has three children, aged twenty-five, twelve, and six. "If a child
is not good, Mrs. D. blames his mother, who does not know how to
take care of children. She thinks they are too ignorant."

There is also the sense of racial, national, or class superiorities.
The virtue of the Anglo-Saxon civilization is assumed; the old, as
against the new immigration, is valued. There are many who crave the
satisfaction of "looking down" on some one, and it makes life simpler
if whole groups--"Dagoes," "Hunkies," "Polacks," what you will--can be
regarded as of a different race or group, so that neither one's
heartstrings nor one's conscience need be affected by their needs. The
difficulty is increased by a similar tendency of immigrants to assume
the superiority of their people and culture and so hold aloof from the
new life. This assumption of superiority on both sides tends to hinder
rather than to further mutual understanding.

Clearly, if we are to build up a united and wholesome national life,
such attitudes of aloofness as have persisted will have to be
abandoned. If that life is to be enriched and varied--not monotonous
and mechanical--the lowly and the simple, as well as the great and the
mighty, must be able to make their contribution. This contribution can
become possible, not as the result of any compulsory scheme, but of
conditions favoring noble, generous, and sympathetic living. The
family is an institution based on the affection of the parents and
their self-sacrifice for the life and future of their children. Of
all institutions it exemplifies the power of co-operative effort, and
demands sympathetic and patient understanding. This is perhaps
especially true of the foreign-born family.

This discussion of the family problems of the foreign-born groups in
relation to the development of a national consciousness and a national
unity is based on the belief that no attempts at compulsory adjustment
can in the nature of things be successful. Sometimes the interests of
the common good and of the weaker groups demand for their own
protection the temporary exercise of compulsion, but the real solution
lies in policies grounded in social justice and guided by social


The material in this study is of a qualitative sort. No attempt has
been made to organize a statistical study. The problems of family life
do not lend themselves to the statistical method except at great cost
of time and money.

A large body of data with reference to conditions existing during the
decade just prior to the Great War, exists in the reports of several
special government investigations, especially the report of the United
States Immigration Commission, that of the United States Bureau of
Labor relating to conditions surrounding women and child wage
earners, and that of the British Board of Trade on the "Cost of Living
in American Towns." The regular publications of certain government
bureaus, especially the United States Children's Bureau, the Bureau of
Home Economics in the United States Department of Agriculture, and the
United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, were found useful. These
publications have been studied so far as they discuss the problem of
family life. Their contents are presented only in illustration or in
confirmation of statements made.

The material collected is of two kinds. First, there are facts dealing
with the different agencies organized to help in solving these
problems. This information was gathered largely by correspondence.
Questionnaires were sent to case-work agencies dealing with family
problems, which are members of the American Association for Social
Work with Families and Home Service Bureaus of various Red Cross
Chapters, asking their methods for attacking these difficulties and
their advice as to the best methods worked out. The supervisors of
Home Economics under the Federal Board for Vocational Education were
asked to what extent they had included foreign-born housewives in
their program and the special plans that had been worked out for them;
the International Institutes of the Young Women's Christian
Association were asked to describe their work with married women.

The methods of certain agencies in Chicago--the United Charities, the
Immigrants' Protective League, some of the settlements--were studied
more carefully through interviews with their workers and through a
study of individual records. Officers of the national racial
organizations were interviewed about their work on family problems. In
addition to these a limited number of co-operative stores in Illinois
were studied. Mining communities in Illinois, Pennsylvania, and West
Virginia were visited, as well as certain of the newer housing
projects, such as Yorkship Village in New Jersey, Hilton Village in
Virginia, Bridgeport, Connecticut, Lowell and North Billerica,
Massachusetts and several towns in New Mexico.

The government investigations already referred to had made certain
needs of the foreign born very clear. It seemed unnecessary to go over
that ground again, but it was necessary to know whether those needs
still existed. An attempt was made to learn this through interviews
with leaders of various national groups and by obtaining schedules
from a limited number of selected families. A word should be said as
to the information obtained from these sources. The leaders selected
were, in the first instance, men and women whose leadership in their
own group had been recognized by election to important offices in
their national organizations. These men and women then frequently
suggested others whose position was not so well defined to an
outsider, but whose opinion was valued by members of the group.

Most of the persons interviewed were able to speak English readily.
They were people who were close enough to the great mass of immigrants
to be familiar with their problems, their needs, their shortcomings,
and their abilities, and at the same time were sufficiently removed
from the problems to be able to view them objectively. Some were
persons of more educational and cultural background than the majority
of immigrants, some of them had been born in this country or had come
when they were young children; but there were more who came to this
country from the same Old-World conditions as the majority of their
countrymen and had worked their way through the same hard conditions.
They were probably exceptional in their native ability.

No attempt was made to fill out a questionnaire from these interviews.
An outline was prepared of points to be covered, but frequently no
attempt was made to adhere to the outline. Rather, these persons were
encouraged to talk on the family problems in which they were most
interested, and to which they had given most thought--to enable us to
see them as they saw them with their knowledge of the Old-World
background from which their people had come. They were also asked to
suggest possible ways of meeting the more pressing needs of their

Adequate expression can never be given to the obligation under which
those busy men and women who gave so generously and graciously their
time and their thoughts have placed us. Our very great indebtedness to
them is acknowledged, as without their aid this study in the present
form would have been impossible. The demand made upon them could be
justified only by the hope that the contacts thus established may
prove in some slight degree profitable to them if only in giving them
assurance that there are those to whom their problems are of real

The women from whom family schedules were obtained were slightly
different, and the information sought from them was obtained in a
different way. They were for the most part women who did not speak
English well enough to carry on an extended conversation in it. While
they were not very recent immigrants and hence were not going through
the first difficulties of adjustment, most of them were women who had
not yet worked their way through to the same place reached by the
women with whom the more general interviews were had. They were, in
general, very simple people, too absorbed with working out their
problems to have had much time for reflection. We asked them to tell
us of their early experiences and difficulties as they recalled them,
and of their present ways of treating some of the problems. This
information was taken in schedule form.

Not enough schedules were obtained to be of statistical value--there
were only ninety in all--but the families chosen are believed to be
more or less typical. They were selected with the advice of leaders of
their group or were known to our foreign-speaking investigators, who
had a wide acquaintance in several groups. That is, we have tried so
far as possible to see the problem with the persons, if not through
the eyes of the persons whose fellow countrymen we wished to know.

We do not mean to suggest that other and very important groups might
not have been studied, but we tried to learn of others; and sometimes
because we could not find the clew, sometimes for lack of time, it
proved impossible to go farther. We feel that we have obtained an
insight into the situation among the Polish in Chicago and in Rolling
Prairie, Indiana; the Lithuanians, Bohemians, Slovaks, Croatians,
Slovenians, nonfamily Mexicans, Russians--both family and
nonfamily--and Italians in Chicago; Italians in Herrin and Freeman,
Illinois, and Canonsburg and Washington, Pennsylvania; and the
Ukrainians in Chicago and in Sun, West Virginia.

Besides the large body of evidence with reference to these groups, we
have suggestions from many interested and kindly persons of other
groups. The Magyars and the Rumanians, particularly, we should have
liked to know better, and we have had most suggestive interviews with
certain of their leaders. We were not able, however, to follow the
leads they gave, and therefore do not claim to speak for them, except
to express the feeling of the need for greater understanding and

With reference to those groups discussed, it should be noted that
some, such as the Polish, Bohemian, Lithuanian, Italian, are among the
largest of the great foreign colonies in Chicago, the growth of a
long-continued immigration. They live in the different sections of the
city, in crowded tenement districts, or in more recently developed
neighborhoods for whose growth they are responsible. The Croatian and
Ukrainian groups are newer groups, and are therefore poorer. The
Croatians are moving into houses which the Bohemians are vacating. In
the Russian and Mexican groups we have the current evidence that the
old problem of the nonfamily man is still with us.

The Poles in Rolling Prairie, Indiana, are a prosperous farming
community living in modern farmhouses with yards and orchards. There
are women still alive who can tell of the earlier days, when just
after their arrival they lived in one-room houses made of logs and
plastered with mud. Then they helped their husbands to fell trees and
clear the land. Like other pioneer women, these women have contributed
to the "winning of the West." The grandmothers tell of these things.
The mothers remember when, during the winter, the children went to
school for a few months, they were laughed at because of their meager
lunches, their queer homemade clothes, and their foreign speech. The
young people now go to school at least as long as the law requires and
sometimes through high school.

The mining towns in Illinois and Pennsylvania need not be described.
Their general features are familiar. Although extended information
with reference to the life of the various groups was not obtained,
mention will be made of certain facts that are of importance to this

While the numbers are not great, it is hoped that certain methods may
be worked out for approach to the problems of the groups studied, that
will prove suggestive in attacking the problems of other groups not
included here. No two groups are alike; but the experience with one or
with several may develop the open-minded, humble, objective attitude
of mind and that democratic habit of approach that will unlock the
doorway into the life of the others and exhibit both the points at
which community action may be desirable and the direction such action
should take.


The purpose of this book is to help in the adjustment of immigrant
family life in this country. The immigrant will feel America to be his
own land largely to the extent that he feels his American home to be
as much his home as was his native hearth. To define what makes a home
is harder even than to achieve one. Perhaps more than any other human
institution the home is a development, the result and component of
innumerable adjustments. This growth comes about largely
spontaneously, without conscious effort on the part of its members,
except that of living together as happily as possible.

There is among most housewives, whether native or foreign born, a
certain complacency about housekeeping and bringing up children.
Housekeeping is supposed to come by nature, and few women of any
station in life are trained to be homemakers and mothers. The native
born, in part consciously through their own choice and in part blindly
moved by forces they do not understand, have been gradually moving
away from the old tradition of subordination on the part of the wife
and of strict and unquestioning obedience of children. In the general
American atmosphere there are suggestions of a different tradition.

In the old country the mother knew what standards she was to maintain
and, moreover, had the backing of a homogeneous group to help her. In
this country she is a stranger, neither certain of herself nor sure
whether to try to maintain the standards of her home or those that
seem to prevail here. As a matter of fact, these difficulties are
usually surmounted, so that by the time the foreign-born housewife has
lived here long enough to raise her family she has learned to care for
her home as systematically and intelligently as most of her
native-born neighbors, who have not had her difficulties. Sometimes
they have learned from the members of the group who have been here
longer; and sometimes they have learned by going into the more
comfortable American homes as domestic servants.

In the American domestic evolution a scientific and deliberate factor
has been introduced. Students of family life have conducted inquiries
into domestic practices, needs, and resources, and applied the
researches of physiologists, chemists, economists, and architects. The
result has been the discovery of certain standards and requirements
for wholesome family life. It must be admitted that the attempt at
formulation of standards for family life encounters difficulties not
found in the field of education or of health, where the presence and
service of the expert are fairly widely recognized. For many reasons
the subject of the _minima_ of sound family life has been more
recently attacked and is, in the nature of things, more difficult of
analysis and especially of formal study. The impossibility, for
example, of applying to many aspects of the family problem the
laboratory methods of study or of examining many of the questions in a
dispassionate and objective manner, must retard the scientific
treatment of the subject.

There are, however, some aspects of family life with reference to
which there may be said to be fairly general agreement in theory if
not in practice in the United States. The content of an adequate food
allowance is generally agreed upon by the students of nutrition, and
the cost and special features of an adequate diet for any group at any
time and place can therefore be described and discussed. In the matter
of laying the responsibility for support of the family on the husband
and father, at least to the extent of enabling the children to enjoy
seven years of school life and fourteen years free from wage-paid work
and the resulting exploitation, there is wide agreement embodied in

Such standards are becoming gradually adopted and incorporated into
domestic life through the slow processes of suggestion, imitation, and
neighborly talks already mentioned. While the slow establishment of
social standards is required for a complete and adequate adjustment of
family life on the basis of specialists' discoveries, many systematic
and formal efforts can be made which will forward and accelerate the
process. These efforts can help to remove the feeling of strangeness,
perhaps the greatest obstacle in adjusting home life; they should seek
to connect with the appreciations and sense of need already felt by
the women who are to be influenced.

There is necessity for thorough inquiry into what are the points of
contact in these problems for immigrant women; what are their present
customs and standards in which the specialists' knowledge can be
planted with the prospect of a promising combination of seed and soil.
This study indicates how great is the need of search for the
possibilities of just such organic connections. Pending such further
studies, this report can do two things:

First, it can exhibit, so far as possible, the difficulties
encountered by foreign-born families in attaining in their family
relationships such satisfaction as would constitute a genuine feeling
of hominess, and make the immigrant home an integral part of the
domestic development in this country.

Second, the report can suggest the deliberate and systematic methods
which can be effective in introducing the immigrant family and
specialists' standards to each other. The services of social agencies
have been largely in this field, and it is hoped that they may find in
this book lines for increased usefulness. Incidentally, evidence will
be presented to show that, in allowing many of these difficulties to
develop or to remain, the community suffers real loss, and it is hoped
that in the following chapters suggestion will be found of ways by
which some of these difficulties may be overcome and some of the waste
resulting from their continued existence be eliminated.



It is impossible to discuss the problems of adjustment of the family
life of the immigrant to life in this country without taking notice of
several factors that complicate the problem. There is first the
disorganization in family life that is incident to the migration
itself. The members of most of the families that come to this country
are peasants who are almost forced to emigrate by the fact that the
land they own will not support the entire family as the children grow
up and establish families of their own.

There was, for example, among the families visited for this study, a
family from the Russian Ukraine. The man's father was a peasant farmer
with six acres of land and a large family of children. The income from
this small property was supplemented by hiring out as laborers on the
large estates near by. As the boys grew up they left home. Two had
already come to America when the father of this family left in 1910.
At the time he left there were thirteen people trying to get their
living from six acres of land.

Another family from the same country were trying to live on the income
from the farm of the man's father, who had four acres of land and five


In such families, and even in less extreme cases, it is evident that
the cash needed for the emigration of the whole family is difficult to
secure. It often happens, therefore, that the family does not emigrate
as a group, but one member--usually the man--goes ahead, and sends for
the rest as soon as he has earned enough to pay their passage. It is
then some time, usually from two to four years and occasionally
longer, before he is able to send for his family.

One Ukrainian man interviewed in this study came in 1906, leaving his
wife and four children in the old country. He had difficulty in
finding work he could do, wandered from place to place, never staying
long in one place, and it was eight years before he had saved enough
to send for his family. Another man, a Slovenian, came in 1904, and
was here seven years before he sent his wife money enough so she could
follow him.

Separations of this kind are often destructive of the old family
relationships. What they mean in suffering to the wife left behind has
been revealed by some of the letters of husbands and wives in a
collection of letters in _The Polish Peasant_,[1] especially in the
Borkowski series. These are letters written by Teofila Borkowski in
Warsaw, to her husband, Wladek Borkowski, in America, between the
years 1893 and 1912. During the early years the letters usually
thanked him for a gift of money and referred to the time when she
should join him in America. "I shall now count the days and weeks. May
our Lord God grant it to happen as soon as possible, for I am terribly
worried," she wrote in 1894.

As time goes on the intervals between the gifts grew longer, and she
writes imploring him to send money if he is able, as she is in
desperate need of it. In 1896 she had been ill and in the hospital.
"When I left the hospital I did not know what to do with myself,
without money and almost without roof ... so I begged her and promised
I would pay her when you send some money" (p. 353). And in 1897 she

     For God's sake what does it mean that you don't answer?...
     For I don't think that you could have forgotten me
     totally.... Answer me as soon as possible, and send me
     anything you can. For if I were not in need I should never
     annoy you, but our Lord God is the best witness how terribly
     hard it is for me to live. Those few rubles which you sent me
     a few times are only enough to pay the rent for some
     months.... As to board, clothes, and shoes, they are earned
     with such a difficulty that you have surely no idea. And I
     must eat every day. There are mostly days in my present
     situation when I have one small roll and a pot of tea for
     the whole day, and I must live so. And this has lasted almost
     five years since you left (p. 353).

She is pathetically grateful when money is sent. Thus in 1899 she

     I received your letter, with twenty rubles and three
     photographs, for which I send you a hearty "God reward!" I
     bear it always in my heart and thought and I always repeat it
     to everybody that you were good and generous, and you are so
     up to the present (p. 358).

Her sufferings are not confined to financial worries and lack of a
place to eat and sleep. There is apparently a loss of social prestige
and a falling off of friends. The letters also show what was evidently
a real affection for her husband, and that at times his silence was
even worse than his failure to send money. Thus in 1905, when the
money and the letters were very irregular, she writes a letter (p.
362) in which no reference is made to her economic situation. After
asking if he received her last letter, she continues:

     It is true, dear Wladek, that you have not so much time, but
     my dear, write me sometimes a few words; you will cause me
     great comfort. For I read your letter like a prayer, because
     for me, dear Wladek, our Lord God is the first and you the
     second. Don't be angry if I bore you with my letters, but it
     is for me a great comfort to be able to speak with you at
     least through this paper.

Her financial situation grows steadily worse, and in 1912 she writes
that she is "already barefooted and naked." The series closes with a
letter from a friend stating that she is ill and in the hospital, "not
so dangerously sick, but suffering very much ... and very weak from
bad nutrition and continuous sorrows." He closes: "And please write a
little more affectionately. Only do it soon, for it will be the best
medicine for your wife, at least for her heart" (p. 368).


The life of the man who has come ahead has been made the subject of
special study from time to time,[2] especially with regard to the
housing conditions in which he lives--as a lodger or a member of a
nonfamily group of men. It has been shown in all these studies that
whatever the plan worked out, he adapts himself either to a life of
intimate familiarity with women and children not his own, or to a life
in which children and women have little part.

In connection with the present study, the living conditions of some of
the Mexicans and Russians in Chicago were studied. As in the past, the
men were found living in one of the following ways: as a lodger in the
family group, as a boarder paying a fixed sum for room and board, or
as a member of a group of men attempting to do their own housekeeping.
The Mexicans studied included 207 men, of whom 197, or 95 per cent,
are unmarried. The Russians included 112 men, of whom 65, or 58 per
cent, had wives in Russia. It is interesting to note that 136 of the
207 Mexican men were boarding, usually with a Mexican family, 37 were
lodgers, and 34 were doing co-operative housekeeping. Among the
Russians, on the other hand, there were 25 doing co-operative
housekeeping, and 85 living with family groups, of whom only a few
paid a fixed sum for room and board, while the others paid a fixed
rate for lodging and the food bill depended on the food that was


Four variations were found in the method of paying for food: (1) The
landlady buys all the food for the group and her family on one
account. The total bill is divided by the number of boarders plus the
head of the family, the wife and children getting their food as
partial compensation for her services. (2) Each lodger has his own
account book, in which is entered only the meat purchased for him. He
pays this account himself. The other food purchased is entered in the
landlady's book, and divided in the same manner as before. (3) Each
lodger has his own account and buys what he wants. Instead of paying
for what he has bought, he pays his share of the total food bought
during the week. (4) Each lodger has his own account, the family
has its own, and each pays his own.

Whatever expedient is adopted as a substitute for normal family life,
the result is unsatisfactory. The men studied almost without exception
preferred living as boarders with a family group, if possible. This
preference is easily understood, as it meant less work for the men,
who, in co-operative groups, had to do women's work as well as their
own, and it also seemed a closer approximation to normal living. For
the sake of these advantages they were willing to put up with housing
conditions that were worse than those of the men who tried
co-operative housekeeping. Thus 56 per cent of the Russian men in
co-operative groups had the four hundred cubic feet of air per man
that is required by law, and only 35 per cent of those living with
family groups had this requirement.

The presence of a lodger in the family, moreover, is attended with
great discomfort to the family. He is given the best accommodations
the house affords and the family crowds into what is left. Thus, in
the family groups with whom the Russians were living, only 18 per cent
of the adult members of the family had the four hundred cubic feet of
air required by the city ordinance for a person over twelve, as
compared with 35 per cent of the boarders or lodgers, and forty of the
fifty-three children in the groups were deprived of the two hundred
cubic feet of air space that is prescribed for them.

The people with whom we have conferred in this study have said again
and again that the lodger in a family meant restriction and
deprivation for the family, and especially for the children. One
Lithuanian woman who came to this country when she was two years old,
says she well remembers the "utter misery" of her childhood, due to
the lodgers. They were given all the beds and any other sleeping
arrangements that could be contrived, and the children slept on the
floor in any corner. Their sleep was often disturbed by people moving
about. Sometimes they were wakened and sent to the saloon to get beer
for a group of lodgers who sat up late playing cards and drinking. She
remembers, too, the constant quarreling over the food bill, and thinks
that is very common.

The complicated system by which the accounts are kept, to which
attention has already been called, makes suspicion on the part of the
lodger only too easy. Several people have spoken of the unsteady
character of the lodger and the practice of staying up late, drinking.
One of the women interviewed said that the family life was much
easier, now that it was no longer necessary to keep lodgers, for when
there were lodgers in the house they always had beer, and her husband
would drink with them. Other people have spoken of the women drinking
with the lodgers, and it was said that anyone who read the
foreign-language newspapers would see many such advertisements as: "I
am left alone with my three children; my wife has gone off with a
lodger. Anyone having information, please communicate with..."


Life in a men's co-operative housekeeping establishment is usually
more difficult, for upon them falls the burden of maintaining
cleanliness in the household, and in many cases preparing their own
meals. Some of the Mexican men visited at nine o'clock in the evening
were preparing food for the next day's lunch. An important
consideration here is the high cost of living under such conditions.
The immigrant woman may not be a skillful buyer, but the immigrant man
is evidently a most extravagant one. Among the Mexicans, for example,
it was found that the men living in co-operative groups paid
practically as much for the food which they themselves prepared as the
men living in boarding houses paid for board and room. Their food cost
seven to eight dollars per man per week.

These studies showed the same lack of opportunities for wholesome
recreation and for meeting nice girls, as well as the same
restlessness of the men as did earlier studies. This was especially
noticeable among the Mexicans, who spoke with longing of their Mexican
dances that lasted two days and were held almost every week-end, and
of the band concerts to which they could often go. No matter how poor
their furniture, most of them had one or two musical instruments which
they played, and usually there was one phonograph for the group. They
found these poor substitutes for group music, where they could have
not only the music but the social time.

In brief, these studies of nonfamily men in 1919 show that the problem
of adequate housing and some form of normal social life for the men
who come ahead of their families is a recurring one. The nationality
of the group changes as one immigration wave succeeds another. With
the change in nationality come minor changes in the needs and desires
of the group, but the main problem remains the same. It should never
be forgotten that the impressions these men receive during their early
life in the United States form the basis of their judgment concerning
American life. Moreover, the life they lead during this period of
separation from their families must inevitably affect their family
relationships when family life is re-established, whether it be in
this country or in the country from which they come.

The first national recognition of the needs of the men was evident in
the plans of the United States Housing Corporation.[3] These provided
for separate lodging houses for men, where each man had a room of his
own, with an adequate amount of air space, and where bathing and
toilet facilities were provided. Recreational needs were met by having
a smoking room, reading room, and billiard room in each house, and,
unless provided elsewhere in the community, bowling alleys in the
basement. It has been repeatedly emphasized to us that the men would
not be satisfied unless a lodging house for them were run by some one
who could speak their language, knew their national tastes, and could
understand their problems. The availability of houses of this type to
the immigrant men in nonfamily groups would depend to a great extent
on their administration, but it is apparent that such a housing plan
is not impossible of attainment.


It is not always the man who comes alone to this country. Often the
girl comes in advance of the others and sends money back to bring over
her parents and younger brothers and sisters. Attention has been
called again and again to the hazards for the girl thrown on her own
resources in a strange country among people she does not know, whose
language she does not understand.[4]

She has, in fact, the same problem to solve as the man who has come
alone, but she is further hampered both by economic and social
handicaps. She is probably from a country where the life of a woman
has been protected and circumscribed, and to find herself in a country
where the conditions and status of women are freer, makes both for
confusion and complications. A false step is of more serious
consequence to her than to a man, and without guidance and assistance
she may sometimes take this in ignorance or thoughtlessness.

Equally changed are her living conditions here. She has the same ways
of living open to her that are open to the man--boarding or lodging
with a family group or setting up a co-operative household with a
group of girls. The girl living in the latter way does not have as
many difficulties as the man in the same situation, for women are used
to doing housework. Yet if men find it too difficult to be both wage
earners and housekeepers, it is surely too hard for girls.

If, on the other hand, the girl finds lodging with a family group,
life is not much easier, for she is expected to help with the
household tasks, even though she is charged as much as the man
lodger, who usually is exempt from any household responsibility. The
inevitable assumption that any extra tasks of housework or sewing
should fall to the women may make for a disproportionately long and
tedious day for the woman lodger. The compensation of having the
protection and sociability of a family group may thus be outweighed by
the burden of overwork. Added to this, the prevalent necessity of
overcrowding the households with boarders, puts a hardship upon women
that often is not felt by men.

The need of providing adequate and safe lodging for the girl away from
home has been felt in many places and by numerous organizations. Too
often facilities have appealed only to the native born or thoroughly
initiated immigrant girl. The International Institute of the Young
Women's Christian Association has helped immigrants to find suitable
homes. This has local branches in more than thirty cities, many of
which are helping to meet the housing problems of the immigrant girls.

The government, in its housing projects, provided accommodations for
the single girls similar to those provided for single men. They built
boarding houses for from seventy-five to a hundred and fifty girls,
with separate rooms and adequate toilet and bathing facilities. Each
floor had a matron's office, so placed as to overlook the entrance
and access to the sleeping quarters, and there was either a reception
parlor or alcove for every twenty women, or a large parlor with
furniture arranged for privacy in conversation. An assembly hall was
provided with movable partitions and set stage. Kitchenette, sitting
room, and sewing room were provided on at least alternate floors, and
the building contained an infirmary and laundry for the use of the

Information is not at hand as to whether any of these houses were used
by groups of immigrant girls. Similar houses could, however, easily be
made useful for them if care were taken to put them in charge of some
one who understood the problems of the foreign-born girl. More
desirable still are projects undertaken by groups of foreign-born
women themselves.[6] In this way the problems and tastes of the
different nationality groups are taken into consideration, confidence
and co-operation on the part of the girls more easily won, and an
independent and ultimately self-directed plan will be realized.



Even when all the family has reached this country the problems of
migration have not always ended. Many families do not establish a
permanent home in the first place in which they settle, but move from
place to place, and in each place there is a new set of conditions to
which to adjust themselves. Of the ninety families visited in Chicago
for this study, information on this point was obtained from only
forty-two. Nineteen of these came directly to Chicago, but
twenty-three had lived in other places. Five of them had been in the
Pennsylvania mining district around Pittsburgh, two had been in North
Dakota on a farm, two had been in a New Jersey manufacturing town, and
the others had been at widely different places in other cities--New
York, Philadelphia, Galveston, Texas, Boston--in small towns in the
Middle West, and on plantations in Louisiana.

Some had moved several times. A Polish family, for example, had lived
first in Boston, then in New York City, then somewhere in Canada,
before they finally settled in Chicago. Another Ukrainian family, from
Galicia, lived first in one mining town in Pennsylvania, then in
another in the same state, and later moved to Chicago. The mother, who
is a very intelligent woman, described her first impression of America
when she, with her four children, arrived in the little mining town.
She said that immigrants were living there, everything was dirty and
ugly, and she was shocked by the number of drunken men and women she
saw on the streets, "having not been accustomed to see them in the old
country." She wished to return immediately and did not even want to
unpack her belongings. For a whole year she lived amid these squalid
surroundings, until her husband got work in another town where
conditions seemed a little better.

Sometimes these changes mean family separations, as the man again goes
ahead, as he did in coming to this country. The experience of a Polish
family is typical. When the family first came to this country they
went to Iron Mountain, Michigan, where the father worked in the ore
mines until he lost his health. Then a sister of his wife, who was
living in South Chicago, invited him to visit her family, and offered
to get work for him in the steel mills. He came, living with his
sister-in-law, and after a few months obtained work in the mills. Then
the mother and children followed him.


Another fact to which attention should be called is the adjustment in
family life required by contact with the modern industrial system.
Some of the immigrant groups come from countries more developed in an
industrial way than others, but none of the newer groups come from any
country in which the factory system has become so prevalent as in the
United States. In the old country the family still exercised
productive functions as a unit. It had access to tillable land, and
was an essential part of an industrial system that is still
organically related to the stage of development of the country. It
had, therefore, within itself, the sources of self-support and
self-determination. The civilization of which it was a part may be a
declining civilization; but the conditions of life were those to which
the wife and mother were accustomed. She took them for granted, felt
at home among them, and was not conscious of being overwhelmed by

In the modern American industrial community, however, the family as a
whole is generally divorced from land. It is not a unit in relation to
the industrial organization, but in its productive function is usually
broken up by it. For the family must live, and yet its income is
dependent, not upon its size nor the volume of its needs, but upon the
wage-earning capacity of the man under the prevailing system of
bargaining. That the resulting income has often been wholly
inadequate, even according to the modest standards set by dietetic
experts and by social investigators, is testified to by an enormous
body of data gathered during the decade preceding the Great War.[7]

It is unnecessary to review these studies in detail, but attention may
be called to the findings of the Immigration Commission. Of the
foreign-born male heads of households studied, 4,506, or 34.1 per
cent, earned less than four hundred dollars a year at a time when
dietetic experts agreed that five hundred dollars was a minimum below
which it was dangerous for families to fall. Seventy per cent earned
less than six hundred dollars.

These figures may be said to come from "far away and long ago," but
while there has not been time for widespread inquiry, there is a
considerable body of evidence indicating that the same condition
prevails to-day. Wages have increased greatly during the war, but with
the increase in prices there is doubt as to whether real wages have
increased or decreased. Certainly the increase has been irregular and
uneven, affecting the workers in some industries much more than in

The New York State Industrial Commission made a study of the average
weekly earnings of labor in the factories of the state. They found
that between June, 1914, and June, 1918, wages had increased 64 per
cent.[8] The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics made a study of
food. Taking the year 1913 as the base, or 100, wages in 1907 were 92
and the retail prices of food, 82, and in 1918 wages were 130 and food
168. That is, the price of food increased much more rapidly than the
average union wage scale between 1907 and 1918.[9]

As a result of these low earnings, the wife and children in many
immigrant families have been forced into the industrial field and even
then the resulting incomes have often been inadequate. The Immigration
Commission found that almost one third of the foreign-born families
studied had a total family income of under five hundred dollars, and
almost two thirds had incomes less than seven hundred and fifty

Not only is the family income often inadequate and composite, but
precarious and uncertain. The need for food is a regularly recurring
need; the demand for labor may be seasonal, periodically interrupted,
and in time of crisis wholly uncertain.

Although child labor laws have been enacted in many states and by the
United States Congress, they are comparatively recent. Their absence
in earlier years has had its inevitable effect on many foreign born.
Many of the leaders in the immigrant groups who came here when they
were still children, tell of stopping school and going to work. One
Lithuanian woman, who is among the more prosperous of the group in
Chicago, said that she stopped school when she was twelve, and went to
work in a fruit-packing concern, working ten hours a day and earning
five dollars a week, which she gave to her father. Another worked as a
cash girl in a downtown store at the age of thirteen. Similarly, in
one of the Russian families now living in Chicago, the girls were
fourteen and nine when they came to this country and settled in a New
Jersey town. The older was sent to work at once, and the younger a
year later. Now, after nine years in this country, neither girl can
speak English.

The present laws are not always efficiently enforced, and the child of
the foreign born suffers especially from such failure to enforce the
law. In one of the mining communities of Illinois, visited in the
spring of 1919, Italian boys as young as twelve were found working in
the mines. In New Mexico, children of twelve and ten, and even
younger, were taken out of school each year in the spring to go with
their fathers to work on other men's farms or to herd sheep. Our
investigator was impressed, in Rolling Prairie, with the need of
including agriculture among the occupations from which young children
are prohibited as wage earners.


Of the mother's work, notice must be taken. People interviewed in this
study were almost unanimously of the opinion that immigrant women were
adding to the family income in many cases. If the children are too
young to be left alone, the father's inadequate income is supplemented
by taking lodgers. Too often, however, the mother works outside the
home for wages.

Indeed, a number of people were of the opinion that the employment of
women has increased during the war. Among the more recently arrived
Bohemians, for example, it was said that mothers of small children
were going to work as never before, because taking lodgers was not
possible, as single men have not been coming in such large numbers
since the war. The older settlers felt that they must take advantage
of the relatively high wages offered women to make payments on
property. Lithuanian observers say that partly because of prejudice
against it, Lithuanian married women have not gone out of their homes
to work until recently. With the war, the increased cost of living,
the higher wages offered to women, and the appeal that was made to
their patriotism, many women had gone into industry, especially to
work in "the yards." Ukrainian and Slovenian women are also said to be
working in large numbers, but Croatian women are still said to stay in
their homes and contribute to the income by taking lodgers.

In addition to this testimony, which was obtained from leaders of the
national groups, there is also the information obtained from
individual families. Of the ninety women from whom information was
obtained in Chicago, twenty were working outside their homes and
twenty-four had lodgers at the time of the study. When it is
remembered that these families were those who have worked their way
through the first difficulties, these figures become doubly

There is, for example, a Ukrainian family from the Russian Ukraine. It
consists of the parents and four children between the ages of three
and fifteen. Ever since the family came to the United States they have
had one or more lodgers to help them pay the rent. At present they
have three men paying four dollars a month each; and as the father,
who had been working in the stockyards for nineteen dollars a week,
was discharged two months ago, the wife has been working in a spring
factory to support the family.

Then there is a Polish family, composed of the parents and four
children under fourteen, two of them children of the man by a former
wife. The father has been in this country since 1894, but his wife
has been here only since 1910. For two years after their marriage the
wife worked at night, scrubbing from 6.30 to 9.30 p.m., and received
twenty-four dollars a month. Then there was an interval while her
children were babies, during which she did not work, but the family
lived on the earnings of the father. For the last two years, however,
his work has been slack, first because of a strike, and later due to
an industrial depression in his trade, and the mother is again at
work, this time in a tailor shop, earning ten dollars a week.

The effect of the mother's work in decreasing the child's chances for
life has been made clear by the studies of the Children's Bureau in
Johnstown,[10] Montclair,[11] and Manchester,[12] in all of which a
higher rate of infant mortality was shown for children of mothers
gainfully employed.

The effect of the mother's work on the family relationship and the
home life of the family group is, of course, not measurable in
absolute terms. The leaders of the various national groups, however,
have repeatedly emphasized the fact that the absence of the women from
the home has created entirely new problems in the family life. They
have pointed out that while the peasant women have been accustomed to
work in the fields in the old country, their work did not take them
away from their homes as the work in this country does. If they were
away there was usually some older woman to take care of the children.
Here the work of the mother frequently results in neglect of the
children and the home.

In recognition of this fact attempts have been made to solve the
problem. Among Slovenians it was customary, before the war made it
impossible, to send the children back to the old country to their
grandmothers to be cared for. One priest said he had seen women taking
as many as twelve children to a single village. The Ukrainians in
Chicago have talked of establishing a day nursery to look after their
children, but the people are poor, and it has not been possible to
raise the money. In the meantime children are not sent to the day
nurseries already established, but are commonly taken to neighbors,
some of whom are paid for taking care of ten or twelve children. This
arrangement constitutes a violation of the city ordinance requiring
day nurseries to be licensed, but is evidently a violation quite
unconsciously committed by both parties to the transaction.

A group of nonworking Lithuanian women heard that neglected children
were reported to the settlement in the neighborhood. One of the women
investigated, and found many children locked in houses for the day,
with coffee and bread for lunch. One child, too small to shift for
himself, was found with his day's supply of food tied around his neck.
The women decided to open a nursery in charge of a Lithuanian woman
who would be able to speak to the children in their own language, as
few children below school age spoke English. The original plans were
to accommodate ten or twelve children, but as soon as the nursery
opened there were so many women wanting to leave their children there
that it took as many as thirty children. The nursery was maintained
for about eighteen months, and was then closed because of the
difficulty of raising the necessary funds.

Some such plan must be developed that takes care of the foreign-born
mother's work if she is forced to supplement the family's income
outside of the home. The organization of family life that has grown up
parallel with the industrial system assumes her presence in the home.
When misfortune makes this impossible some provision for caring for
the children must be found.


Another changed condition in the life in this country is that the
family group is usually what the sociologist calls the "marriage"
group, as distinguished from the "familial" group, which is generally
found in the old country. The grandmothers and maiden aunts, who were
part of the group in the old country, and who shared with the mother
all the work of the household, are not with them in this country. The
older women are seldom brought on the long journey, and the maiden
aunt is either employed in the factory system, or she sets up a house
of her own, so that in any event her assistance in the work of the
household can no longer be relied on. It is perhaps the grandmother
that is missed the more, because it was to her that the mother of a
family was wont to turn for advice as well as assistance.

This decrease in the number of people in the household is not
compensated for by the diminution in the amount of work, which is
another fact of changed conditions. For in this country the housewife
no longer spins and weaves, or even, as a rule, makes the cloth into
clothing. She does not work in the fields, or care for the garden or
the farm animals, all of which she was expected to do in the old
country. The loss of the older women in the group, however, means that
what tasks are left must all be done by her.

The duties of the housewife may not be as many, but the work they
involve may be more. This is true, for example, in the matter of
feeding the family. In Lithuania soup was the fare three times daily,
and there were only a few variations in kind. Here the family soon
demands meat, coffee, and other things that are different from the
food she has cooked in the old country.... Occasionally the situation
is further complicated by the insistence of dietetic experts that the
immigrant mother cannot feed her family intelligently unless she has
some knowledge of food values. In other words, the work of the
housewife was easy in the old country because it was well done--if it
was done in the way her mother did it--and conformed to the standards
that she knew. It could thus become a matter of routine that did not
involve the expenditure of nervous energy. Here, on the other hand,
she must conform to standards that are constantly changing, and must
learn to do things in a way her mother never dreamed of doing them.
And there is the new and difficult task of planning the use of the
family income, which takes on a new and unfamiliar form.

In spite of all that has been taken out of the home the duties of the
housewife remain manifold and various. She is responsible for the care
of the house, for the selection and preparation of food, for spending
the part of the income devoted to present needs, and for planning and
sharing in the sacrifices thought necessary to provide against future
needs. She must both bear and rear her children. The responsibilities
and satisfactions of her relationship with her husband are too often
last in the list of her daily preoccupations, but by no means least in
importance, if one of the essentials of a home is to be maintained.

The enumeration of the tasks of any wife and mother throws into relief
the difficulties of the foreign-born mother. The all too frequent
cases where homes are deprived of her presence emphasize how
indispensable she is. All case-work agencies have had to grapple with
the problem of families suffering this deprivation. It is these
motherless families that make us realize how many tasks and
responsibilities fall to the lot of the mother.

There was a motherless Russian family, consisting of the father and
six children, the oldest a girl of thirteen and the youngest a
five-month-old boy. For a time the family tried to get along without
asking advice of an outside agency. The baby was placed with friends,
and the thirteen-year-old girl stopped school to care for the
five-room flat and the other four children. In a short time the family
with whom the baby was placed wanted to adopt him, and refused to keep
him longer on any other condition. At this time the Immigrant's
Protective League was appealed to for help in placing the baby where
he would not have to be given for adoption. They found the father
making a pathetic attempt to keep the home and children clean, and
the oldest girl, Marya, trying hard to take her mother's place. The
best plan they were able to work out for the family was institutional
care for the youngest two children, nursery care outside of school
hours for the next two, and the two oldest left to take care of
themselves, although given lunch at the school. Marya, of course, was
sent back to school, and she and her father share the housekeeping.


A third change should be taken into account. There is a marked
difference between the general position of women and children in
relation to the authority of the husband and father in this country
and that in the old country. It is indicated in both general opinion
and express statutory amendment in this country, although not in the
so-called common law. The latter, in common with practice in the
native lands of immigrants, provided that marriage gave the husband
the right to determine where the domicile should be, the right
"reasonably to discipline" wife and children, the right to claim her
services and to appropriate her earnings and those of the children,
the right to take any personal property (except "_paraphernalia_" and
"_pin money_") she might have in full ownership, the right to manage
any land she might become entitled to, and the right to enjoy the
custody of the children, regardless of the maintenance of his
conjugal fidelity, in the absence of such obscene and drunken conduct
on his part as would be obviously demoralizing to the young child.

There existed no adequate provision for enforcing the father's
performance of either conjugal or parental obligations, and the result
has been the development of two bodies of legislative change. One of
these has granted to the wife certain rights as against the husband,
on the theory that the wife retains her separate existence after
marriage and should retain rights of individual action. The other body
of statutes imposes on the man the duty of support, making abandonment
or refusal to support punishable by fine or imprisonment, or both.

The theory of this legislation is that the support of wife and
children is to be a legally enforceable duty, which may rightly be
laid upon the man because of his special interest and special ability.
Moreover, through the establishment of the juvenile court, the
community has undertaken, not only to say that support must be given,
but to set a standard of "proper parental care" below which family
groups are not to be allowed to sink and still remain independent and
intact. By creating the juvenile probation staff, an official
assistant parent is provided. In the same way, by authorizing
commitment of children to institutions, the dissolution of the home
that falls persistently to too low a standard is made possible.

The common law, as accepted in the various states, was not entirely
uniform, but it was substantially the universal family law; now the
states differ widely in the body of statutory enactments developed in
this field. All have some laws recognizing the claims of children to
have their home conditions scrutinized--though they may have no
express juvenile-court law, all recognize to some extent the separate
existence of the married women--though only twenty-one have given the
mother substantial rights as against the father over their children,
and they all recognize the parent's duty to secure the child's
attendance at school, and have imposed some limitation on the parent's
right to set his young child to work. In other words, in all the
states the idea of the separate existence of the wife and of the
interest of the community in the kind of care given the child has been
embodied in legislation.

These statutes have been enacted by legislatures composed largely, if
not exclusively, of men, and register the general change in the
community attitude toward the family group. An unlimited autocracy is
gradually becoming what might now be termed a constitutional
democracy. But the law of the jurisdictions from which most of the
immigrant groups come, undoubtedly represents a theory of family
relationship not widely different from that underlying the common law.
The South Italian group, in which the right of the father to
discipline wife and daughter is passed on to the son, may represent an
extreme survival of the patriarchal idea; but almost all the
foreign-born groups hold to the dominion of man over woman, and of
parents over children.

Immigrant groups evidence their realization of the changed conditions
in different ways. Among the Ukrainians in Chicago, for example, it is
said that, whereas in the old country the men kept complete control of
the little money that came in, here they very generally turn it all
over to their wives. Some of them have laughed, and said that America
was the "women's country." Among other groups, notably the Jugo-Slav
and the Italian, there is said to be a general attempt to keep the
women repressed and in much the same position they held in the old
country. Sometimes the woman perceives the difference in the situation
more quickly than her husband. Then if he attempts to retain the old
authorities in form and in spirit, she may submit or else she may
gradually lead him to an understanding. But she may not understand and
yet may rebel and carry her difficulty to the case-work agency.

One of the settlements in Chicago is said to have become very
unpopular with the men in its neighborhood, as it has the reputation
of breaking up families, because women who have been ill treated by
their husbands have gone to the settlement to complain, and have there
been given help in taking their complaints to court.

The Immigrant's Protective League in Chicago receives many complaints
from women who have learned that their husbands have not the right to
beat them or their children. One Lithuanian woman, who had been in
this country six years, came to the league with the statement that her
husband often threw her and their eight-year-old son out of the house
in the middle of the night. Another Lithuanian woman living in one of
the suburbs took her three children and came to Chicago to her
sisters, because her husband abused her, called her vile names, and
beat her. When the husband was interviewed he agreed not to do so
again, and his family returned to him.

Of course, the theory underlying even the feminist "married woman's
property laws" included not only her enjoyment of rights, but her
exercise of legal responsibility; but the restrained exercise of newly
acquired freedom is evidence of high social and personal development.
And the women in the foreign-born groups come from the country, the
village, the small town. They have had little education, their days
have been filled with work, so that there has been little time for
reflection, they come from a simple situation in which there was
little temptation to do wrong. They find here, on the other hand, a
situation which is complex in the extreme, and in which there are
elements that tend to make matters especially difficult for women.

Attention has already been called to the confusion created by the
lodger in the home and the special temptation to the woman to desert
her husband for the lodger. The relative scarcity of women in the
group, the presence of large numbers of men who cannot enter a legal
marriage relationship because they have wives in the old country, the
spiritual separation that often results from physical separation
caused by the man's coming ahead to prepare a place--all these are
undoubtedly factors that enter in to make difficult the wise use of
her freedom. Native endowment, moral as well as physical and mental,
varies among these women as among other women. Confronted with this
confused and difficult situation, the change from the old sanctions,
the old safeguards, even the old legal obligations, is difficult.

It is inevitable that a few will find themselves unequal to the task
of readjusting their lives. The father of one family came to the
Immigrant's Protective League in Chicago, asking help because his wife
had turned him out of his home. He said that she drank and was
immoral. Instead of caring for the home and the two-year-old child,
she spent her time behind the bar in her brother's saloon, having "a
good time" with the customers. She had deserted six weeks before, but
he had found her and had had her in the Court of Domestic Relations,
where he had been persuaded to take her back. He said she was still
drinking and still neglecting the child. Shortly after asking the help
of the league, the father ran away, taking with him the child whom the
mother left alone in the house while she went to the "movies."

The women who assert themselves in their new rights are in a small
minority. A young Polish woman complains that the women of her group
are too submissive even in this country, and "bear beatings just as
their mothers did in the old country." In the great majority of
foreign-born families, as in all families, the question of the legal
rights of the woman is never raised. The habits and attitudes formed
under the old system of law and customs are carried over into the life
in the new country, and are changed so gradually and imperceptibly
that no apparent friction is caused in the family group. Moreover, in
many cases where the woman perceives her changed position she is able
to make her husband see it too, and she herself is able to work her
way through to a new understanding. It is interesting to note that the
women of the foreign-born groups who have worked their way through are
now bending their energies toward helping the women who have not yet


[1] Thomas and Znaniecki, _The Polish Peasant_, vol. ii, pp. 298-455.

[2] See _Report of U. S. Immigration Commission_, vol. viii, pp.
662-664. Also _Report of Massachusetts Immigration Commission_, 1914,
pp. 64-69. Also "Studies in Chicago Housing Conditions," _American
Journal of Sociology_, vol. xvi, no. 2 (September, 1910), pp. 145-170.

[3] United States Department of Labor, _Report of United States
Housing Corporation_, vol. ii, p. 507.

[4] See Annual Reports of the Immigrants' Protective League, 1909-18;
Massachusetts Immigration Commission, 1914, pp. 58-64; Abbott, Grace,
_The Immigrant and the Community_, pp. 55, 56, and 68 fol.

[5] _Report of the United States Housing Corporation_, vol. ii, p.

[6] See John Daniels, _America via the Neighborhood_, chap. iii.

[7] See among other studies Chapin, _The Standard of Living Among
Workingmen's Families in New York City_ (Russell Sage Foundation
Publication, 1909), p. 234; Byington, _Homestead, the Households of a
Mill Town_ (Russell Sage Foundation Publication, 1910), p. 105;
Kennedy and others, _Wages and Family Budgets in the Chicago Stock
Yards District_ (University of Chicago Settlement, 1914), pp. 78-79;
_Eighteenth Annual Report of the U. S. Commissioner of Labor_; U. S.
Bureau of Labor, _Report on Condition of Woman and Child Wage Earners
in the United States_, vol. xvi, "Family Budgets of Typical
Cotton-mill Workers," pp. 142, 250; _Report of the U. S. Immigration
Commission_, vol. xix, p. 223.

[8] _United States Bureau of Labor Monthly Review_, July, 1919, p. 48.

[9] _Ibid._, March, 1919, p. 119.

[10] "Infant Mortality, Results of a Field Study in Johnstown,
Pennsylvania," U. S. Children's Bureau Publication No. 9.

[11] "Infant Mortality, A Study of Infant Mortality in a Suburban
Community," U. S. Children's Bureau Publication No. 11.

[12] "Infant Mortality, Results of a Field Study in Manchester, New
Hampshire," U. S. Children's Bureau Publication No. 20.



The work that the housewife must do in the care of the house is the
maintenance of such standards of cleanliness and order as are to
prevail. It includes the daily routine tasks of bedmaking, cooking,
sweeping, dusting, dishwashing, disposing of waste, and the heavier
work of washing, ironing, and periodic cleanings.


The foreign-born housewife finds this work particularly difficult for
many reasons. In the first place, housekeeping in the country from
which she came was done under such different conditions that it here
becomes almost a new problem in which her experience in the old
country may prove of little use. The extent to which this is true
varies from group to group. To understand the problems of any
particular group, careful study should be made of the living
conditions and housekeeping practices in the country from which it

Some of the women with whom we have conferred have described
housekeeping as they knew it in the old country. These descriptions
are suggestive of the character of the change and the difficulties
involved. Mrs. P., a Polish woman from Posen, for example, said that:

     Houses in the village in which she lived were made of clay,
     with thatched roofs, clay floors, and about ten feet high.
     They were made in rows, for four families or two families,
     with one outer door opening from a hall into which the doors
     from all the dwellings opened. Each dwelling had one small
     window, and a fireplace. Water was out of doors. In the
     four-family house there were two chimneys. The outside door
     did not open into the road.


     The floors were covered with sand, and new sand was put on
     when the room was cleaned. The fireplace had a hook from
     which hung the kettle, and in one corner was the oven, a
     little place set off by a board covered with clay. Walls were
     whitewashed. Mrs. P. said that the housework is much more
     difficult in this country, with the cleaning of woodwork,
     washing windows, care of curtains, carpets, and dishes, and
     more elaborate cooking. In the old country the family washing
     was done only once a month, except in cases where there were
     small children. Then it was done weekly; and if the family
     lacked sufficient clothing, the washing had to be done
     oftener. There the meal was one dish, from which the entire
     family ate; here there is a variety of food and each person
     has his own plate and eating utensils, so that even the
     dishwashing is a greater task. In coming to this country many
     women do not see that the windows need washing or that the
     woodwork should be cleaned, etc.

     The beds were made of boards covered with straw, not as a
     straw mattress. Sheets were laid over the straw to make it
     softer. Each person had two pillows, very large and full, so
     that they sleep in a "half sitting" position. Feather beds
     are used for warmth, and no quilts or blankets were known in
     the old country.

Lithuanian women, likewise, have pointed out that at home most of the
women worked in the fields, and that what housekeeping was done was of
the simplest kind. The peasant house consisted of two rooms, one of
which was used only on state occasions, a visit from the priest, a
wedding, christening, or a funeral. In summer no one sleeps in the
house, but all sleep out of doors in the hay; in winter, women with
small children sleep inside, but the others sleep in the granary.
Feather beds are, in these circumstances, a real necessity. Thus the
bed that is found in this country is unknown in Lithuania, and the
women naturally do not know how to care for one. They not only do not
realize the need of airing it, turning the mattress, and changing the
bedding, but do not even know how to make it up properly.

Other processes of housekeeping--dishwashing, scrubbing, and
washing--prove equally difficult, and it is said that most of the
women do things in the hardest possible way, chiefly because the
processes are different here and they lack the technique to do their
work in the easier way. Naturally, too, when work in the fields has
occupied most of their time, they lack also habits of order and
routine in their household tasks.

The Italian women, especially those from southern Italy and Sicily,
have also spoken of their difficulties in housekeeping under new
conditions. In Italy the houses, even of the relatively well-to-do
peasants, were two-room affairs with earthen floors and little
furniture. The women had little time to give to the care of the house,
and its comfort and order were not considered important.

The experience in doing the family washing is said to typify the
change. In Italy washing is done once a month, or at most, once a
fortnight, in the poorer families. Clothes are placed in a great vat
or tub of cold water, covered with a cloth on which is sprinkled wood
ashes, and allowed to stand overnight. In the morning they are taken
to a stream or fountain, and washed in running water. They are dried
on trees and bushes in the bright, Italian sunlight. Such methods of
laundry work do not teach the women anything about washing in this
country, and they are said to make difficult work of it in many cases.
They learn that clothes are boiled here, but they do not know which
clothes to boil and which to wash without boiling; and as a result
they often boil all sorts of clothing, colored and white, together. In
Italy washing is a social function; here it is a task for each
individual woman.


Cooking in this country varies in difficulty in the different national
groups. In the case of the Lithuanians and Poles, for example, the
old-country cooking is simple and easily done. Among others it is a
fine art, requiring much time and skill. The Italian cooking, of
course, is well known, as is also the Hungarian. Among the Bohemians
and Croatians, too, the housewives are proverbially good cooks and
spend long hours over the preparation of food. Croatian women in this
country are said to regard American cookery with scorn. They say that
Croatian women do not expect to get a meal in less than two or three
hours, while here all the emphasis is on foods that can be prepared in
twenty or thirty minutes.

It is not always easy to transplant this art of cookery, even if the
women had time to practice it here as they did at home. The materials
can usually be obtained, although often at a considerable expense, but
the equipment with which they cook and the stoves on which they cook
are entirely different. The Italian women, for example, cannot bake
their bread in the ovens of the stoves that they use here. Tomato
paste, for example, is used in great quantities by Italian families,
and is made at home by drying the tomatoes in the open air. When an
attempt is made to do this in almost any large city the tomatoes get
not only the sunshine, but the soot and dirt of the city. The more
particular Italians here will not make tomato paste outdoors, but
large numbers of Italian families continue to make it, as can be seen
by a walk through any Italian district in late August or early

In general, in the groups in which cooking was highly developed, a
great deal of time was devoted to the preparation of food. If the
housewife wishes to reduce her work in this country, she finds that
some of the ingredients which make our cooking simpler are unknown to
her. The Bohemians, for example, do not know how to use baking powder,
and the same is true of the women in Lithuanian, Polish, and Russian
groups, where the art of cooking is less developed.

With this lack of experience in housekeeping under comparable
conditions, the foreign-born housewife finds the transition to
housekeeping in this country difficult at best. As a matter of fact,
however, the circumstances under which she must make the change are
often of the worst. She is expected to maintain standards of
cleanliness and sanitary housekeeping that have developed with modern
systems of plumbing and facilities for the disposal of waste that are
not always to be found in the districts in which she lives. Even a
skillful housewife finds housekeeping difficult in such houses as are
usually occupied by recently arrived immigrants.


In the first place, there is the question of water supply. Cleanliness
of house, clothing, and even of person is extremely difficult in a
modern industrial community, without an adequate supply of hot and
cold water within the dwelling. We are, however, very far from
realizing this condition. In some cities[13] the law requires that
there shall be a sink with running water in every dwelling, but in
other cities even this minimum is not required. The United States
Immigration Commission, for example, found that 1,413 households out
of 8,651 foreign-born households studied in seven large cities, shared
their water supply with other families. Conditions have improved in
this respect during the last decade, but it is a great handicap to
efficient housekeeping if water has to be carried any distance.
Further inconvenience results if running hot water is not available,
which is too often the case in the homes of the foreign born.


Cleanliness is also dependent, in part, upon the facilities for the
disposition of human waste, the convenient and accessible toilet
connected with a sewer system. These facilities are lacking in many
immigrant neighborhoods, as has been repeatedly shown in various
housing investigations. For example, in a Slovak district in the
Twentieth Ward, Chicago, 80 per cent of the families were using
toilets located in the cellar, yard, or under the sidewalk, and in
many cases sharing such toilets with other families. One yard toilet
was used by five families, consisting of twenty-eight persons.[14] The
danger to health, and the lack of privacy, that such toilet
accommodations mean have been often emphasized. In addition, it
enormously increases the work of the housewife and makes cleanliness
difficult, if not impossible.

There is also the question of heating and lighting the house. Whenever
light is provided by the oil lamp, it must be filled and cleaned; and
when heat is provided by the coal stove, it means that the housewife
must keep the fires going and dispose of the inevitable dirt and
ashes. In the old country the provision of fuel was part of the
woman's duties; and in this country, as coal is so expensive, many
women feel they must continue this function. Here this means picking
up fuel wherever it can be found--in dump heaps and along the railroad
tracks. A leading Bohemian politician said that he often thought, as
he saw women prominent in Bohemian society, "Well, times have changed
since you used to pick up coal along the railroad tracks."


The influence of overcrowding on the work of the housewife must also
be considered in connection with housekeeping in immigrant households.
That overcrowding exists has been pointed out again and again.
Ordinances have been framed to try to prevent it, but it has
persisted. In the studies of Chicago housing a large percentage of the
bedrooms have always been found illegally occupied. The per cent of
the rooms so occupied varied from 30 in one Italian district to 72 in
the Slavic district around the steel mills. The United States
Immigration Commission found, for example, that 5,305, or 35.1 per
cent, of the families studied in industrial centers used all rooms but
one for sleeping, and another 771 families used even the kitchen.

Crowding means denial of opportunity for skillful and artistic
performance of tasks. "A place for everything and everything in its
place," suggests appropriate assignment of articles of use to their
proper niches, corners, and shelves. One room for everything except
sleeping--cooking, washing, caring for the children, catching a breath
for the moment--means no repose, no calm, no opportunity for planning
that order which is the law of the well-governed home. Yet there is
abundant evidence that many families have had to live in just such

The housework for the foreign-born housewife is often complicated by
other factors. One is the practice to which reference has been already
made of taking lodgers to supplement the father's wages. In discussing
this subject from the point of view of the lodger, it has been pointed
out that the practice with reference to the taking of boarders and
lodgers varies in different places and among different groups. The
amounts paid were not noted there, but they become important when
considered together with the service asked of the housewife. Usually
the boarder or lodger pays a fixed monthly sum--from $2 to $3.50, or,
more rarely, $4 a month--for lodging, cleaning, washing, and cooking;
his food is secured separately, the account being entered in a
grocery book and settled at regular intervals.

Sometimes the lodger does his own buying, but the more common custom
is to have the housewife do it. Occasionally he does his own cooking,
in which case payment for lodging secures him the right to use the
stove. More rarely, as in some of the Mexican families visited in
Chicago in 1919, he is a regular boarder, paying a weekly sum for room
and board.

Just what keeping lodgers means in adding to the duties of the
housewife can be seen from the following description of the work of
the Serbo-Croatian women in Johnstown, Pennsylvania:[15]

     The wife, without extra charge, makes up the beds, does the
     washing and ironing, and buys and prepares the food for all
     the lodgers. Usually she gets everything on credit, and the
     lodgers pay their respective shares biweekly. These
     conditions exist to some extent among other foreigners, but
     are not so prevalent among other nationalities in Johnstown
     as among the Serbo-Croatians.

     In a workingman's family, it is sometimes said, the woman's
     working day is two hours longer than the man's. But if this
     statement is correct in general, the augmentation stated is
     insufficient in these abnormal homes, where the women are
     required to have many meals and dinner buckets ready at
     irregular hours to accommodate men working on different

     The Serbo-Croatian women who, more than any of the others, do
     all this work, are big, handsome, and graceful, proud and
     reckless of their strength. During the progress of the
     investigation, in the winter months, they were frequently
     seen walking about the yards and courts, in bare feet, on the
     snow and ice-covered ground, hanging up clothes or carrying
     water into the house from a yard hydrant.


Another factor that renders housekeeping difficult is the necessity of
doing wage-paid work outside the home, to which reference has already
been made. Women interviewed have repeatedly emphasized the
difficulties that this practice creates in connection with the

A recent study of children of working mothers, soon to be published by
the United States Children's Bureau, carried on at the Chicago School
of Civics and Philanthropy, obtained the testimony of the mothers as
to the difficulties involved. This study showed that in many cases the
household duties could not be performed at the proper time; 60 women,
for example, of the 109 reporting on this question, said that they did
not make their beds until night; 105 said their dishes were not washed
after each meal, but in 41 cases were washed in the mornings, and in
56 not until night. Three washed them in the morning if they had time,
and five left them for the children, after school.

Many women who worked outside the home did their housekeeping without
assistance from other members of the family. This meant that they had
to get up early in the morning and frequently work late at night at
laundry or cleaning; 49 women, for example, washed in the evening; 25
washed either Saturday, Sunday, or evenings.


Enough has probably been said to show that the work of caring for the
house under the conditions existing in most immigrant neighborhoods,
is unnecessarily difficult for the foreign-born housewife. The most
obvious point at which these burdens might be lightened so that the
housewife could have time for other duties, would appear to be through
improvement of housing. With an awakened realization of this fact,
both on the part of the foreign-born woman herself and the community
of which she is an inevitable part, will come the solution of these
difficulties. A protest, however inarticulate or indirectly expressed
by her, will find its response in a growing realization that plans for
improvement must be developed.

The several housing projects that have already been offered are
suggestive of the problems and possibilities along this line rather
than useful as hard-and-fast solutions. They not only meet the needs
of the more inadequate immigrant housing conditions, but provide
improvement upon most native-born conditions. In this connection
interest naturally centers on the war-time housing projects of the
United States government, on the experiment of the Massachusetts
Homestead Commission at Lowell, and on certain enterprises carried out
by so-called limited dividend companies. The first two are especially
interesting, in that they recognize that supplying houses to the
workers is not a function that can be wholly left to private

It is not possible to discuss these projects in detail, nor is it
necessary.[16] It is sufficient to consider them here with reference
to the contributions they might make in helping the immigrant
housewife. In the first place, they provide for a toilet and a bath in
every house, and a supply of running water that is both adequate and
convenient. In the matter of kitchen equipment there is an attempt to
provide some of the conveniences. Both provide a sink and set
wash-tubs equipped with covers. They must be set at a minimum of
thirty-six inches from the floor in the United States plans. Both make
provision for gas to be used for cooking, although the coal stove is
accepted. The kitchens in the Massachusetts houses are also provided
with kitchen cabinets, with shelves under the sink, and with a drain
for the refrigerator.

In other ways also consideration for the housewife is evidenced.
Electricity is urged for lighting, passages through which furniture
would not go are avoided, the size of the living room is adapted to
the sizes of the most commonly purchased rugs, etc. Study of the
Massachusetts plans reveals other interesting features, such as the
care given to the location of the bathroom and the attention to the
size of the doors, so that the mother at work in her kitchen can watch
the children at play in other rooms.

Both projects are interesting also in that they realize the necessity
of a "front room" or parlor, and prescribe a minimum number of
bedrooms--three in the Massachusetts, and two in the United States
experiment. Both require closets in every bedroom wide enough to
receive the men's garments on hangers, and rooms of such size that the
bed can stand free of the wall and out of a draught. It is evident
that the plans for houses in both projects provide very definite
improvements in the matter of the conveniences to which the immigrant
is not accustomed in the houses at present available to him.

Some limitations, however, become apparent by comparing them with the
recommendations of the Women's Subcommittee of the Ministry of
Reconstruction Advisory Council, England. That committee emphasizes
the importance of electricity for lighting, and urges "that a cheap
supply of electricity for domestic purposes should be made available
with the least possible delay." The American plans agree that
electricity is the preferred lighting, but gas is accepted by the
United States government, although not by the Massachusetts plan.
There is no suggestion of developing a cheaper supply of electricity.

The English women also suggest the desirability of a central heating
plant as a measure that would lessen the work of the household, afford
economies in fuel, and render a hot-water supply readily available.
They urge, therefore, further experimentation with central heating.
The American plans have no suggestions to make at this point, but
accept the coal stove or the separate furnace in the higher-priced
houses as the means of heating. While they provide for hot water, no
suggestions are made as to how this is to be supplied. It is
presumably done by a tank attached to the range, which means that hot
water is not available when there is no fire in the range; that is, in
summer and during the night. It should also be noted that these plans
make no suggestions for co-operative use of any of the equipment of
the household.

There is another point at which the architects and builders failed to
take sufficient notice of the problem of lightening the women's
work--namely, in their attitude toward the separate family home as
compared with the multiple family dwelling. The Massachusetts
Commission was, by the terms of the Act creating it, limited to the
provision of one or two-family houses; the United States government
standards were definitely against the building occupied in whole or in
part by three or more families.

     Tenement and apartment houses are considered generally
     undesirable, and will be accepted only in cities where,
     because of high land values, it is clearly demonstrated that
     single and two-family houses cannot be economically provided,
     or where there is insistent demand for this type of multiple

This judgment, however, has by no means met with universal approval.
Those architects who think in terms of the woman's time and strength
consider the merits of the group and of the multiple house. For
example, those who planned the Black Rock Apartment House Group in
Bridgeport, Connecticut, the open-stairway dwellings, the John Jay
dwellings on East Seventy-seventh Street, New York City, and the
Erwin, Tennessee, development, maintain that the advantages of the
separate house in privacy, independence, and access to land can be
secured by the multiple arrangement. Not only can economies in the use
of the land be practiced, but protection and assistance for the women
and children can be obtained, and there is the possibility of devices
for convenient and collective performance of many tasks.

It is unnecessary to review the arguments for the one or for the
other. It is evident that the group house, and perhaps the multiple
house, offer such inducements in the economy of space and the
possibility of assigning areas of land to definite and anticipated
uses, that their further adaptation to family needs must be
contemplated. It is generally assumed that the family group wants the
separate house. The question of interest for this study is one of the
desire of the immigrant groups in this respect. Their preference
should be an indispensable element in the formulation of housing

There is not, however, a great deal of evidence on this subject. The
fact that immigrants live in the city in the congested districts may
only indicate that they have had no choice in the matter. Most of the
officers of certain immigrant building and loan associations
interviewed for this study thought there was a preference for the
single-family dwelling when it could be afforded. That also is the
belief of the investigators in this study, who think that the use of
multiple houses indicates not the immigrants' desires, but their
acceptance of what is before them, and that the dream of almost every
immigrant family is to have a house of its own, to which is attached a
little garden.

How far the desire for the separate house is confused with the desire
for the garden would be difficult to say. It is certain, however,
that in general the immigrant has known only one way to have the
garden, and that was by having a separate house. There is universal
agreement that especially the foreign-born family desires access to
land for whose cultivation they may be responsible, and whose produce
both in food and in flowers they may enjoy. Recently, however, certain
architects have been interested in working out plans by which this
advantage might be retained for dwellers in group or tenement houses.
They have pointed out that one advantage of the group and multiple
house is the setting free of spaces to be more skillfully adapted to
the size and composition of the family.

Attention may be called to certain devices that are urged by
experienced architects in the matter of the use of land. For example,
in the Morgan Park, Minnesota, development of the Illinois Steel
Company, the architects have developed interesting plans in connection
with their low-cost houses. These are all group houses, with a front
space opening on an attractively planned street. At the rear of the
house is a latticed porch--a small area graveled, but not grassed--and
then the alley. Across the alley is the rear garden, which may thus be
fenced in and kept separate from the house lot.


(Reprinted by permission from the Journal of the American Institute of
Architects, June, 1919)]

Interesting suggestions on this point are to be found in the two
articles, to which prizes were given by the American Institute of
Architects in the June and July, 1919, numbers of their journal. There
is much experimentation yet to be done, as the question of the
separate house with its separate plot of ground is by no means a
settled one. It is particularly desirable that the interest of the
foreign born be enlisted, both that they may contribute to the
solution of the question and that they may become acquainted with all
the possibilities of access to the land which are being worked out.

In spite of some defects and the need for further experimentation
along the lines suggested above, there is no doubt that the projects
of Massachusetts and of the Federal government mark a very real
advance. The most pressing need is to construct a sufficient number of
these houses so that they may be available for immigrant groups. One
means of doing this is by the employer's building houses for the
workers to buy or to rent. Although this has sometimes been found to
help solve the housing situation, factors may enter that limit its
usefulness. The industrial relationships between employer and employee
may be such that subsidy for housing by employer would hinder rather
than help. Where a community is largely comprised of one industry it
may be very unwise for the industry to go so far toward the control of
community affairs. Labor unrest in the northern iron ranges can be
traced in part to such company provision of housing and sanitation.

The limited dividend company, organized not for profit, and operating
under the careful supervision of a governmental department, is another
solution. This agency has been particularly successful in
Massachusetts under the stimulus as well as under the supervision of
the Massachusetts Homestead Commission, and is undoubtedly capable of
further development.


Another possibility is that the local or state government advance the
money and enable the worker to buy his own home. That is the plan
adopted by the Massachusetts Homestead Commission in its experiment at
Lowell. It is also one of the policies adopted by the Canadian
government, which will loan money to provincial governments to be
advanced for building houses on land owned (a) by the provincial or
municipal government, (b) by the limited dividend company, (c) by the
workman himself. This latter plan would probably commend itself most
readily to the foreign-speaking groups.

Direct loans by the local government to the worker are advocated in
the careful and thorough plan worked out by Mrs. E. E. Wood.[17] One
suggestion is a proposed amendment to the Postal Savings Law,
authorizing loans from postal savings deposits to workers with annual
incomes not in excess of twelve hundred dollars. The investigation of
the application is to be in the hands of the nearest local housing
board. A suggested amendment to the Farm Loan Act is that housing
loans be made by the Farm Loan Board on the same terms on which farm
loans are now authorized. It is interesting to note that this plan
contemplates the continued activity of the building and loan
associations with which the foreign born are already familiar. It
suggests that the first loan be given by the government and the
association be content with a second mortgage, receiving in return the
greater stability that is secured from a transaction carried on under
governmental supervision.

According to Mrs. Wood's report, before 1915, 700,000 houses had been
built or acquired in the United States through the aid of building and
loan associations.[18] She thinks that the moderately paid wage
earner, but not the unskilled worker, was benefited. This conclusion
is disputed by officers of four building and loan associations in
Chicago interviewed in connection with this study. That the
associations reach the foreign-speaking groups seems to be evident
from the names in the Annual Report of the auditor of the state of
Illinois for 1918. The Bohemians had the largest number of societies,
and the Poles were second. The Italians alone of the large national
groups were unrepresented.

Mrs. Wood's plan also calls for a national housing commission in the
Department of Labor, to be created under congressional act, with
organization and powers analogous to those exercised by the Federal
Board for Vocational Education. For the use of this commission it is
proposed that a fund be created by the issue of bonds, from which
loans could be made to certain designated agencies for the clearance
of congested areas and the increase of housing facilities.

The Federal legislation is to be supplemented according to Mrs. Wood's
plan by state legislation, including:

1. A restrictive housing law, a constructive housing law, and a Town
Planning Act. This plan contemplates a state commission on housing and
town planning through which the Federal aid for the state would be
made available; to which should be intrusted the responsibility of
investigating and approving or disapproving housing schemes proposed
by local agencies and associations.

2. A state fund similar to the Federal fund is proposed, and definite
suggestions for its use are worked out. For the local authorities,
local housing and town-planning boards, probably with the county as
the basis of organization, are proposed.

This housing fund, composed of the Federal fund, the state fund, and
in some cases local funds, is to be used to make loans to
municipalities, housing organizations that are not organized for
profit, limited dividend companies, co-operative associations, or even
employers. The plan contemplates that the lowest paid wage earners,
among whom are numbered a large per cent of the foreign born, should
continue to rent; but the landlord should not be a private individual
seeking to make profit from providing the workers with shelter.

The plan also takes note of the plan for co-partnership ownership
adopted by the United States Housing Corporation. The main features of
this arrangement are:

1. Ownership vested in a local board of trustees bound to operate the
property in the interest of the tenants and until the property is
fully amortized in the interest of the government.

2. Formation of a tenants' association to which all residents of three
months are eligible on payment of small yearly dues. This association
to elect a tenants' council to act as directors of the association, to
confer with the board of trustees, and to carry out such duties as
trustees direct.

3. Any tenant may become a co-partner by applying for bonds to the
amount of 25 per cent of the value of his dwelling, and accompanying
his application with a cash subscription of one half per cent of this.

4. Tenant co-partners are given a voice in the management by the right
to elect trustees, the number increasing with the amount of
subscriptions to bonds.

5. Tenant co-partners granted remission of one month's rent a year.

6. Tenant co-partners leaving or desiring to discontinue as
co-partners have the right to sell their bonds to trustees at par.

Mr. A. C. Comey, the author of the plan, says of it:[19]

     Such a co-partnership scheme as this will present to workmen
     a unique opportunity for saving, for not only will they get
     as high a rate of interest as a safe investment justifies,
     but they will be to a large degree custodians of their own
     security and will thus be able to protect their investments
     in much the same way as actual home owners. On the other hand
     they will avoid most of the pitfalls of home owning, such as
     loss through deterioration of a neighborhood, forced sales in
     case of departure, and inability to realize on assets locked
     up in private homes. Moreover, they will tend to develop a
     high degree of community spirit, usually so lacking among
     apartment dwellers, and thus take more interest in public
     affairs and become better citizens generally.

These are advantages which it would be especially desirable for the
foreign-born groups, as many of them have experienced the pitfalls of
home ownership. It is a complicated system and would have to be
explained in detail to the various groups. The medium for such
explanations is at hand in the foreign-language press and in the
immigrant societies, and the effort that it would involve is surely
worth making. It should also be noted that it is not so complicated a
system as the land tenure in many of the countries from which the
immigrants come.


The subject of housing reform as a means of easing the housewife's
task was considered first, as it is useless to talk of helping her in
her work until she is given some of the conveniences with which to
work. It is evident, however, that that is not all that is necessary
for the foreign-born housewife. She is not accustomed to the use of a
house of the size contemplated by the proposed plans--the Italians,
Lithuanians, Poles, Russians, Hungarians, and doubtless others have
known only the one and two-room house--and there is always the
possibility that, given more rooms, they may be used to take in more
lodgers. Such was the case, for example, in the relatively adequate
houses provided by the United States Steel Corporation at Gary.

It is not necessary, however, to use the method of that corporation,
and turn out of the houses persons who need instruction in the use of
the house. Persuasion and instruction in the uses of the special
features of the house could have been tried. It might have been
possible for the rent collector or a sanitary inspector with a social
point of view to establish friendly relations on their regular visits
to the families. With confidence gained and tact displayed, much in
the way of education could be accomplished. To construct houses so
that each room can serve one and only one purpose would in part meet
the difficulties. Above all, patience and a realization of the
difficulties that the foreign-born housewife meets, are essential.

A point on which some architects lay special stress in the structure
of low-cost houses is the devotion of the entire first floor to
cooking and living uses--not sleeping. That is, the living room,
dining room, and kitchen are either combined or so open into each
other that no temptation is offered to close off part for sleeping
purposes. The bedrooms are then on the second floor, each room having
only one door, and the bathroom and the storage space are slightly
elevated above the second and offer no temptation to be used for
purposes other than those for which they are designed. If, then,
families inexperienced in the use of modern accommodations come into
the community, they may perhaps be helped to an understanding of
modern devices by the experience of living in houses arranged in this

Both the rent collector, if it be a case of tenancy, and the building
official, if it be a case of ownership, should not only understand the
principles of sanitation and hygiene, but should understand the people
they serve. To render the best service to immigrant groups, such
officials must speak the language of the group and understand
something of its peculiarities. They should, in fact, be public
assistant housekeepers, through whose assistance the gradual and
voluntary initiation of our foreign-born neighbors into community life
can take place. New standards of efficiency and new amenities can be
developed. Our community life might, then, be freed from the old
physical dangers connected with human adjustment to physical
surroundings, and take on new dignities suitable to a democratic and
adequate life for the whole people.

There remain the difficulties described at the beginning of the
chapter, which come from the fact that the processes of the work of
caring for the house are different in this country from those in the
country from which the foreign-born housewives came. These
difficulties are not so easy to solve as those of housing. They are
undoubtedly surmounted as time goes on, but it is a gradual process.
Many forces are at work. Necessity is probably the primary one. The
foreign-born woman early learns to use American cooking utensils and
fuel because they are all she can get. She has to feed her family with
the only food the store at the corner furnishes. American furniture
and furnishings soon attract her attention, and she is curious as to
their purposes and uses.

In part, the foreign-born housewives have learned from one another;
that is, from the members of the group who have been here longer; and
in part they have learned by going into the more comfortable American
homes as domestic servants. Those who have done the latter are,
usually, the girls who come alone or the elder daughters of the
family. In some communities, such as a Bohemian community near Dallas,
Texas, it is said to be well understood that the girl will learn
domestic science by a kind of apprenticeship in the home of her
employer. When she has learned what she thinks sufficient, she leaves
to practice in her own home and to show her family how things should
be done. The limitations and difficulties of domestic service for the
inexperienced immigrant have been well set forth in the reports of
various protective societies.[20] But the foreign-born women with
whom we have conferred in this study have repeatedly emphasized the
advantages that come from being shown how to do housework under the
conditions in this country. Yet women of the "new" immigrant groups
enter domestic service much less than those from the "old" ones.

In the end, no doubt, many foreign-born housewives have learned to
care for their homes and raise their families as systematically as
their American neighbors, who have had fewer difficulties to contend
with. It is, however, a wasteful system which leaves the instruction
of the immigrant housewife to the chance instruction she can gain from
fellow countrywomen who have themselves learned only imperfectly. If
the community only realized what the difficulties were for the
housewife from a different civilization, it would undoubtedly stretch
out a friendly and helping hand to assist her over the first rough
path. Whatever form this help takes, it must be offered in the spirit
of friendly co-operation, and not of didactic superiority, if the
desired result is to be gained.


[13] Details may be secured from the National Housing Association, 105
East Twenty-second Street, New York City.

[14] Chicago Housing Studies, _American Journal of Sociology_, vol.
xx, p. 154.

[15] Children's Bureau Publication No. 9, "Infant Mortality,
Johnstown, Pennsylvania," p. 29.

[16] See Edith Elmer Wood, _The Housing of the Unskilled Wage Earner_;
_Report of Massachusetts Homestead Commission_; _Reports of United
States Housing Corporation_.

[17] Edith Elmer Wood, _Housing of the Unskilled Wage Earner_, chap.

[18] Edith Elmer Wood, _Housing of the Unskilled Wage Earner_, p. 233.

[19] _Survey_, June 28, 1919.

[20] See _Annual Report of the Immigrants' Protective League,
1910-1911_, and Abbott, _The Immigrant and the Community_, chap. v,
"The Special Problems of the Immigrant Girl."



There has been in the past much harsh and thoughtless criticism of the
foreign-born groups, because of the extent to which they have seemed
able and willing to subordinate present necessities and enjoyments to
provide for certain future contingencies.


Many of those who come to this country are in debt for their passage.
Others have left near relatives at home who must be helped to come
over. Some have come, intending to establish themselves and to be
married here. Some expect to take back a part of their earnings to
better the condition of those left behind. Their coming, whether to
stay permanently or to return, often does not relieve them of their
obligations to the group in the old country.

One of the strongest impressions that the reader gets from the letters
in _The Polish Peasant_ is that of the frequency with which relatives
in the old country ask for money from the one who has gone ahead. It
is not only his wife and children, or aged parents, that ask for
money, but all the members of the wider familial group, and sometimes
even friends with no claim on the score of kinship.

The purposes for which they ask money are various; in the Borek
series, for example, a son of the family is asked to send money
because the family is in debt and has taxes to pay; to send money for
the dowry of his sister; for a forge; for a sewing machine, and for a
phonograph. He is also told that if he sends money home it will not be
wasted, but will be put out at interest. Other claims for money are
put forward in other series, possibly the most common one being a
request for a steamship ticket. The letters show clearly that it is
customary to send money for fête days, "name days," or birthdays,
Christmas, Easter, and other occasions. A failure to do so brings
reproach coupled with a reminder that others who had gone from the
village had sent money. In the Wrobelski series the family ask money
from the member in this country for a new church at home. Every Sunday
the priest reads aloud the names of those who have contributed. It
therefore seems to the immigrant imperative that from his present
earnings certain amounts shall be set aside.

When the first hard times are past and the members of the immediate
family are reunited, there comes the reaction to the experience of
depending on the money wage. There arises the fear of disaster growing
out of interruption of the income, or misfortune involving especially
heavy expenditure.

The United States Treasury Department in its "Thrift" campaign lays
down the doctrine _save first_ and _spend afterward_.[21] This is what
the members of the foreign-born groups have long been doing, and
probably this policy is the only possible basis for a rational use of
one's resources. Yet doing this gives rise to comment on the "low
standard of life." And thrift often seems to border on miserliness.

Indeed, the problem is by no means so simple as the use of the
categorical imperative would indicate. The whole question of deciding
between the claims of the present and of the future is a very
difficult one. The economist gives us little definite help. He lays
down the so-called "rule of uses" and tells the housewife so to apply
her resources that the utility extracted from any unit may be at least
as great as if that unit were applied elsewhere. Now the foreign-born
housewife, like other housewives, has certain resources of money and
time and strength, and these she wishes to distribute wisely. But she
labors under many disadvantages, of which it is only fair to take


In the first place, her income is in an unfamiliar form. There is
first the fact that the money units are strange to her. A woman who
recently came over, being called on to make an unexpected payment,
handed her purse to a fellow traveler, asking that the required amount
be taken out. In the second place, for many there is the difficulty
growing out of the exclusive dependence upon money payments, when
before there were both money and the products of the land.

The fact should always be kept in mind that, to the extent to which
the foreign born are from rural districts, they have the difficulty
experienced by all who are forced to adjust themselves to an economy
built on money, as distinguished from an economy built on kind. In the
country where things are grown, there is little opportunity for
acquiring a sense of money values.

It is then peculiarly difficult to value in terms of the new measure
those articles with which one has been especially familiar under the
old economy. For example, when vegetables and fruits have been enjoyed
without estimating their value, it is difficult to judge their value
in money. While meat was before thought out of reach, it may be
purchased at exorbitant rates under the new circumstances, because one
has no idea of how much it should cost. Evidence as to this kind of
difficulty is found among all groups. It takes the form, sometimes, of
apparent parsimony, sometimes of reckless and wasteful buying.

The Lithuanians seem, for example, to experience difficulties of this
kind everywhere. The small farmer in Lithuania was accustomed to an
irregular cash income at harvest time. Sometimes it carried over from
one year to another, while young stock was growing. He had little need
of money except for extraordinary expenses, such as those for farm
machinery, or building. The local store, which was usually
co-operative, carried only such imported articles as salt, sugar,
spices, tea, and coffee. All other foods were produced at home or
secured through neighborly exchange. All the clothing for the family
was of home manufacture, even to the cloth. If a boy were sent to
school in the nearest large town, his board was paid with poultry and
dairy products.

The tenant laborer had house rent free, a garden, a cow, a few pigs,
and all the poultry he cared to raise, in addition to the yearly wage
of from 125 to 150 rubles a year.

Other farm laborers had board and clothing in addition to their wage
of 25 rubles a year. Women received 3 rubles a year for farm labor,
in addition to board and all ordinary clothing. The food provided by
the farmers was coarse and monotonous, but it was plentiful and
nourishing. Laborers were housed in two-room log or board houses, with
thatched roofs; farm workers without families slept in the farmer's
granaries and ate at a common table.

To the inexperienced peasant the daily wage of $1.50 and $2 in the
United States seemed ample, but it was not long after the family
arrived before it was found inadequate. The situation becomes still
more confusing if employment is seasonal and irregular. In Lithuania,
contracts were made by the year and unemployment was unknown. Through
apprehension they begin to adopt a low standard of living in order to
economize, a practice now common in many Lithuanian communities in
this country. They have never paid rent in their native country, so
one of their first instincts is to economize at that point in the new
country by taking lodgers.

Among other national groups there are evidences of the same
difficulties. Bohemian women, it is said, buy recklessly at first,
spending money for jewelry and all sorts of things they see for sale
in the neighborhood stores. Ukrainian women control the expenditure of
the family income here, but in the village life in Galicia they never
had much money to spend; the table was supplied from the farm,
clothing was of home manufacture, furniture was seldom bought. They
are, therefore, when they first come, little fitted by previous
experience for wise expenditure of the family income.


To these difficulties are added those connected with the uncertainty
and irregularity of wage payments and with the length of intervals
recurring between these payments. The ways in which periods of
unemployment and consequent cessation of income are met are
illustrated by the following experiences described by those with whom
we have conferred.

The story of how the mother or children have gone out to work, of how
boarders have been taken into the home, savings have been spent, money
has been borrowed from friends, or charity has been accepted, occurs
over and over in the experience of all the national groups. A
Ukrainian mother tells how she and the older children at various times
have worked during the father's unemployment. A few years ago, when it
lasted for two years, she was no longer strong enough to work, and
they sold their home in order to keep the children in school.

Another Ukrainian family has of late depended upon the earnings of the
children and savings, but there have been times when they had nothing
in the house but water, and could not buy food. A Polish mother
borrowed money of the Jewish grocer when her savings were gone and her
earnings insufficient. One Bohemian family had to draw on their
savings in the building and loan association during a year of


It is easy, then, to understand how out of the most meager present
income some provision for possible disasters will be attempted. The
urgency of this claim of the future explains the fact that the
possession of a balance at the end of the year constitutes no evidence
that the income for the year has either been adequate or been regarded
as adequate. The social investigator has found savings taken from the
most inadequate incomes; and judgment has been sometimes passed on the
"low standard of life" of the immigrant, when a moment's sympathetic
consideration of the problem would have discovered the explanation in
the ever-present fear of being caught unprepared.

The occasions for which this provision is made are, to be sure, not
all of the nature of an unexpected disaster; they are, often, the
ordinary events of life. There is, first, the constant possibility of
sickness and of death. After the establishment of the family group,
these perhaps make the first claim on the family's savings. The fear
of these events may be so great that even the well-being of the
children in the present may be sacrificed. For example, a Polish widow
with two children, who was being supported by the United Charities in
Chicago, was found to have a bank account of $192.57 which she had
saved from her allowance of $3 a week in addition to her rent. When
the visitor talked with her about it, she explained that she was
afraid of dying and leaving her children unprovided for, and that her
husband had always told her to put away part of her income.

While the need for providing for dependents is thus felt, most wage
earners realize that they cannot during their own lifetime lay aside
enough money to provide for their children. The most that they can do
is to provide some life insurance. Even this, in most cases, must be
entirely inadequate, since the premiums mean a great drain on the
family's resources.

In a study of 3,048 families in Chicago, the Illinois Health Insurance
Commission found that 81.9 per cent of all the families carried some
kind of life insurance. The average amount of the policy, however, was
only $419.24. The following table shows for the various nationalities
in the group the per cent carrying insurance and the average amount of
the policy.[22]



                                 |   TOTAL   | PER CENT  |  AVERAGE
                FAMILY           | FAMILIES  | INSURANCE | OF POLICY
    All families                 |   3,048   |    81.9   |  $419.24
                                 |           |           |
    United States, colored       |     274   |    93.8   |   201.48
    Bohemian                     |     243   |    88.9   |   577.58
    Polish                       |     522   |    88.5   |   353.48
    Irish                        |     129   |    88.4   |   510.72
    United States, white         |     644   |    85.2   |   535.56
    German                       |     240   |    85.0   |   416.49
    Lithuanian                   |     117   |    79.5   |   170.38
    Scandinavian                 |     232   |    75.4   |   401.58
    Other                        |     225   |    75.1   |   410.96
    Jewish                       |     218   |    63.8   |   465.09
    Italian                      |     204   |    57.8   |   403.94

It is interesting to note that the Bohemians are among the national
groups showing the largest per cent (88.9) of families having
life-insurance policies. They also show the largest average policy
($577.58) of any national groups, including the native-born white.

The method by which this particular provision is made is often through
the fraternal order, the benefit society, and the form of commercial
insurance known as industrial insurance. The fraternal orders that are
used by foreign-born groups are usually societies of their own
national group, such as the Polish National Alliance, the Croatian
League of Illinois, the Lithuanian National Alliance. They differ
from the benefit societies, such as the Czecho-Slav Workingman, the
Znanie Russian Club, and the Congrega di Maria Virgine del Monte
Carmelo, in that the fraternal orders are organized under the state
laws governing fraternal insurance societies, are incorporated, and
usually have a more than local membership. Most of the benefit
societies are small local societies without national affiliation,
often not observing good insurance principles and without the needed
succession of young lives.

These types of insurance were made the subject of special study by the
Illinois Health Insurance Commission of 1919. The judgment of the
Health Commission as to the value of these organizations is, that the
fraternal societies, although they are democratic, co-operative, and
nonprofit-seeking organizations, thus being particularly attractive to
wage earners, are often not on an actuarially sound basis.[23] The
benefit societies of the foreign born present an even more precarious
means of providing for future needs.[24] Sooner or later they find
that the dues must be increased, their membership declines, and the
period of decay sets in.

Industrial insurance provides a safer method than either of these, but
it presents a number of other disadvantages.[25] The policies are
usually small, sufficient only for burial expenses, and the rates are
relatively high because of the bad risk among the wage earners, and
especially because of the expense of weekly collections. Here, as
everywhere, the poor who must buy in small quantities get relatively
less for what they pay.

It is often urged against industrial insurance that it makes no real
provision for dependents, and merely pays for a somewhat elaborate
funeral. It must be borne in mind that the funeral, however modest, is
an expense that often places the family in debt, and that even the
thriftless will try to make some provision for it. The following
expense account of the funeral of a Polish man is typical of the
accounts received during this inquiry, and exhibits no unusual
expenditure when compared with American customs:

    Embalming                        $ 11.00
    Casket                             65.00
    Crape and gloves                    2.50
    Candles                             3.00
    Hearse                             11.00
    Carriage                            9.00
    Grave                              12.00
    Outside box                         6.00

        Total                        $119.50

It is a matter of common knowledge that unscrupulous undertakers often
obtain possession of the insurance policy and make the charge for the
funeral equal to the whole amount. This may, in part, explain the
criticism that the funerals in foreign-born families are often
unnecessarily expensive. An Italian woman interviewed, the president
of one benefit society and a member of four others, speaks of going to
buy a casket at the time of the death of a friend during the influenza
epidemic. The cheap, wooden casket cost $150. The next day, when she
went with another friend to the same undertaker, the casket which had
been $150 cost $175. She could not understand how such prices could be
allowed, and exclaimed, "The government regulates prices of flour and
sugar, and why not such things as the cost of coffins in times like

There may also be expenses connected with the service itself. In some
churches the tolling of the bells must be paid for by the mourners,
and sometimes it is the poorest who will insist that the bells be
tolled the longest. In a church in South Chicago it is said that the
parishioners paid for the chimes with the definite understanding that
the bell-tolling at funerals should no longer be a special charge. The
need of provision against sickness and death is keenly felt in every
immigrant community. One of the older women, who had been frequently
called into the homes in cases of sickness and death, said that in
sickness there was never money for the doctor, or night clothes, or
bedding, and in case of death never enough of anything.


After providing for sickness and death, a family must lay aside the
sum necessary to secure an advantageous marriage for the daughter, and
to meet her family's share of the wedding. Similarly, the young man
anticipates marriage as a natural development in his life. It is
interesting to consider the share of the cost borne by the girl's
family and that borne by the young man, and to notice also certain
customs connected with the wedding itself that contribute toward the

The customs connected with weddings which have grown up in the old
country may, when transplanted, mean an expense which seems entirely
out of proportion to the family's economic status, especially when
American customs are added to those of the native country. An Italian
woman says that weddings were, as a rule, much simpler in Italy than
in the United States. There a maid of honor and "other frills," such
as automobiles, flowers, and jewelry, were unknown. A large feast,
usually of two days' duration, was customary, and is continued here,
even in a city. A hall must be rented for the dance, and when food
prices are high the cost is enormous.

To avoid the expense of renting a hall which would cost $100 for six
hours, a recent Italian wedding reception in Chicago was held in the
butcher shop owned by a cousin of the bridegroom. The living rooms in
the rear were used for the dinner, and the shop itself became the
ballroom. The floor was crowded, and the children had to be turned out
into the street to play, but the enjoyment of the party was evidently
not at all lessened by the somewhat incongruous surroundings. The fact
that there is near by not only a great settlement where a comfortable
hall might have been available, but likewise a park house similarly
equipped, is perhaps indicative of a failure of these institutions to
meet the very needs of the neighborhood they are designed to serve.

It is an Italian custom for the father of the bride and the father of
the bridegroom to share the expense of the feast, although the
bridegroom sometimes pays for the music and the hall, and the bride's
family furnish the food. An Italian pastry dealer says that the amount
spent for pastries varies from $15 to $120, and an equal amount is
spent in home baking. For well-to-do families the expenditures may be
much larger; for example, one family recently spent $200 for pastry

There is, however, a feature of the wedding feast which reduces the
cost to the family. It is customary, when the party is assembled
after the wedding, for the bride to be placed on a "throne," and the
guests place their presents of money in her lap. Money is usually
given, although useful articles for the home are sometimes included.
The greater the number of guests invited perhaps the lower the net
cost of the ceremony.

The other principal expense of the Italian bride's family is for the
bridal linen and the girl's underwear. These, of course, vary with the
circumstances of the family. These articles are usually the
accumulation of several years.

The bridegroom pays the other costs. He buys not only the household
furniture and his clothing, but the wedding ring, earrings, a gift for
the bride, and some of her clothing. If the girl is poor he may even
buy her underwear and the linens. It is said that these things often
cost all the bridegroom's savings, and that the couple start married
life with nothing saved for emergencies. The expense of the bridegroom
in a recent Italian wedding in Chicago was $2,000.

It is the custom for the man to buy for the bride a complete costume
for two days--the wedding day and the eighth day--when the newly
married couple return the calls of the wedding guests. An Italian
saleslady in a store in the Italian district says that the amount
usually spent on the bride's clothes is $200 or $250. The very least
spent in these days is $100, and the outfit may cost as much as $500.
When the family is a recently arrived one, the man usually accompanies
the girl or her mother to the store and pays the bills on the spot.

Among other groups as well as among the Italians it seems to be
customary for the bridegroom to bear part of the expense of the
wedding and of the bride's outfit. The Polish bridegroom often gives
$50 to the bride, and she buys her clothes, linens, and the food for
the feast. The Russian girl gives a white handkerchief to the groom,
and he pays for her dress.

Another item in the expenses of a wedding is the cost of photographs.
It is the custom in most foreign-born groups to have large
photographs, not only of the bride and groom, but of the whole wedding
party. The Polish people also have another picture of the bridesmaid
taken with the best man. These photographs cost as much as $30 a dozen
and at a higher rate if less than a dozen are ordered. The number
ordered depends on the economic condition of the family, but the
minimum is six of each. The pictures of the bridal party are the
largest and most expensive and are usually given only to the immediate
family and the attendants. The smaller pictures of the bride and groom
are given to all the friends and relatives, especially those in the
old country. This is an important means of keeping up the connection
with those at home. An enlarged and colored copy framed in an ornate
gilt frame is usually ordered for the newly married couple, and is an
added expense.

The cost of automobiles is also important. The bridal party, and
sometimes the guests whom it is desired to honor, are taken to the
church, then to the photographer's, and then to the hall where the
feast and dance are held. Sometimes as many as six automobiles are
observed drawn up in front of one of the little photographers' shops
in an immigrant district.

Many people seem to think that the festivities among the foreign born
are becoming simpler. The extravagance is perhaps again a question of
the transition to a money economy. The ceremony in the old country was
an occasion for great celebration, with feasting and dancing for
several days, but was perhaps not expensive when the necessary
articles were produced at home or received in exchange for home
products. Here the immigrant family does not at first realize the real
value of the money which seems so plentiful, and the old customs are
not only carried out, but elaborated because of the added feeling of

In many ways the old customs are now being modified. Among the Polish,
for instance, the guests used to give presents of money, practically
buying a dance with the bride. The custom has been frequently abused
here, as the men have divided their gifts into small parts and
demanded many dances with the bride, often causing her to dance so
much as to cause serious fatigue. For this reason we heard of one
bride who simply "walked with the plate" instead of dancing. Another
story is told of a wedding in a Polish community, at which the men
threw dollars at a plate. The one who was successful in breaking the
plate might dance with the bride.

This Polish custom of giving money gifts offsets to a large extent the
cost of the wedding. Among three Polish families visited, one whose
wedding cost $200 collected $60; another spent $150 and collected
$160; and a third spent $200 and collected $300. But this custom, too,
tends to disappear in the second generation. A young Russian couple,
for instance, were opposed to a regular collection, but the parents,
who consider it the blessing to their daughter, could not resist each
leaving a ten-dollar bill as they left. The young people were
embarrassed, but the other guests quickly followed the suggestion, and
$100 was collected.


This naïve solicitation of gifts is also practiced on the occasion of
the christening of the infant. An unmarried godmother may be preferred
because, having no children of her own, she is more able to make
handsome gifts at the time and to continue her contributions. One
young Russian girl, whose marriage with the father of her unborn child
was arranged by a social worker, asked the new friend to serve as
godmother, and then expected an outfit for the infant in christening
robes, little veils, and other articles, costing about $75.

Observers interested in customs in immigrant districts say that the
custom of soliciting gifts at christenings was modified during the
war. Among Polish families, for example, each guest used to make a
present in money to the child who was christened. During the last few
years it has become more and more customary for the collection to be
taken for the benefit of Polish war orphans. The amount collected is
then announced in the paper and serves as a source of prestige to the

There are also numerous fête days and religious celebrations which
call for special expenditure. It is impossible to consider all these
here, but attention should be called to an important event in the
religious life; namely, the occasion of the first communion. The
expenses for the confirmation of a boy are not great. He usually has a
new suit and wears a flower in his buttonhole. He must have beads,
prayer book, and, if he is Polish, a candle.

One little Polish girl who made her first communion in the summer of
1919 had an outfit that cost her $30. This did not represent the
entire cost, as she had several parts of the outfit given to her; her
godmother made the dress, although the little girl herself furnished
the material; the veil with the wreath of flowers was given her by a
nun who had taken an interest in her, and the candle, which it is
still customary in Polish churches to carry, was given by a cousin who
is a nun. She had to buy the material for her dress, white slippers,
stockings, and long white gloves, beads, flowers, and photographs. If
she had herself borne all the expense, a minimum estimate of the cost
would be $50.


A third motive for saving is the desire for home ownership or for
acquiring land. There is no doubt that to own a home of their own is
the desire of most immigrant families. Many of them come from
countries where the ownership of land carries with it a degree of
social prestige that is unknown in more highly developed communities
of the modern industrial civilization.

Representatives of the Bohemians, Lithuanians, Poles, and Italians
have all emphasized the fact that their people want to own their own
homes, and bend every energy toward this end, so that the whole family
often works in order that first payments may be made or later payments
kept up. The Croatians, Slovaks, Hungarians, and Slovenians are also
said to be buying houses, although, as they are newer groups, they
have not yet done so to the same extent as the other groups. The
Serbians, Rumanians, Bulgarians, and Russians in Chicago are, on the
other hand, said to be planning to return in large numbers to the old
homes in Europe, and hence are not interested in buying property in
this country. Their feeling for the land and their desire to own their
homes in the country in which they decide to settle is said to be as
strong as in the other groups.

The longing for home ownership was apparent in the family schedules we
obtained, and in studies of housing conditions[26] in certain
districts of Chicago we find additional evidence of the immigrants'
desire to own their own homes, and the way in which this desire leads
many to buy, even in the congested districts of the city. The
following table gives the number and the percentage of home owners in
eight selected districts. It will be noted that the percentage of
owners varied from eight in one of the most congested Italian
districts known as "Little Sicily," to twenty-four in the Lithuanian

The strength of the desire for homes can also be measured by the
sacrifices which many of the families make to enable them to acquire
property. It means in some cases the sacrifice of the children's
education, the crowding of the home with lodgers, or the mother's
going out to work. In fact, immigrant leaders interviewed seem to
think that women's entrance into industry during the war was largely
due to the desire to own their own homes. After the title to the house
is acquired, it is often crowded with other tenants to help finish the



                                          |        | NUMBER |
                   DISTRICT               | TOTAL  |   OF   |  PER
                                          |FAMILIES| OWNERS |  CENT
    Bohemians--10th Ward                  |   295  |   36   |   12
    Polish--16th Ward                     | 2,785  |  355   |   13
    Italian--"Lower North" Side           | 1,462  |  119   |    8
    Italian--19th Ward                    | 1,936  |  208   |    9
    Polish and other Slav--South Chicago  |   545  |  100   |   18
    Lithuanian--4th Ward                  | 1,009  |  241   |   24
    Slovak--20th Ward                     |   869  |  148   |   17
    Polish, Lithuanian, other Slavic--29th|        |        |
      Ward, Stockyards District           | 1,616  |  298   |   18

The housing studies in Chicago furnish many illustrations of this
sacrifice.[27] For example, among the Lithuanians in the Fourth Ward,
there was a landlord who lived in three cellar rooms so low that a
person more than five feet eight inches tall could not stand upright
in them. The kitchen, a fair-sized room with windows on the
street--though its gray-painted wooden walls and ceiling served well
to accentuate the absence of sunlight, was merely gloomy, but the
other two rooms were both small and dark, with tiny lot-line windows
only four square feet in area. In one of these rooms, 564 cubic feet
in contents, the father and one child slept; the other, which
contained only 443 cubic feet, was the bedroom of the mother and two
children. One of the highly colored holy pictures common among the
Lithuanians and Poles, though it hung right by the window, was an
indistinguishable blur.

The agency through which the purchase is made may be either the
real-estate dealer of the same national group, or, more commonly, the
building and loan association. The real-estate agents to whom the
foreign-speaking immigrants go are like the steamship agents, the
immigrant bankers, the keepers of special shops. Those who are honest
and intelligent render invaluable services; those who wish to exploit
have the same opportunity of doing so that is taken advantage of by
the shyster lawyer, the quack doctor, the sharp dealer of any kind who
speaks the language and preys upon his fellow countrymen. Reference
has been made in an earlier chapter to the services rendered by the
building and loan associations in enabling the foreign born to obtain
homes. They also render services in providing the means for safe
investment for those with only small sums to invest.


These societies are frequently organized along national lines. For
example, among those listed in 1893 by the United States Commissioner
of Labor[28] are the Bohemian Building and Loan, organized February 1,
1886; the Bohemian California Homestead (February 15, 1892); the
Bohemian National Building Loan and Homestead (January 30, 1888); the
Bohemian Workingmen's Loan and Homestead (April 20, 1890); the Ceska
Koruna Homestead (May 6, 1892); the King Kazimer the Great Building
and Loan (January 27, 1886); the King Mieczyslaus the First National
Building Loan and Savings Bank (June 3, 1889); King Zigsmund the First
Building and Loan (April 15, 1891). December 1, 1918, there were 681
such organizations in Illinois; 255 of these were in Chicago and the
majority were conducted and patronized by the foreign born.

The following is briefly the method by which the building and loan
associations perform the two services of providing for investment and
lending money on homes:[29]

     The stockholder or member pays a stipulated minimum sum, say
     one dollar, when he takes his membership, and buys a share of
     stock. He then continues to pay a like sum each month until
     the aggregate of sums paid, augmented by the profits, amounts
     to the maturing value of the stock, usually $200, and at this
     time the stockholder is entitled to the full maturing value
     of the share, and surrenders the same.

     A shareholder who desires to build a house and has secured a
     lot for that purpose, may borrow money from the association
     of which he is a member. Suppose a man who has secured his
     lot wishes to borrow $1,000 for the erection of a house. He
     must be the holder of five shares in his association, each
     share having as its maturing value $200. His five shares,
     therefore, when matured, would be worth $1,000, the amount of
     money which he desires to borrow.... In a building and loan
     association the money is put up at auction, usually in open
     meeting on the night or at the time of the payment of dues.
     Those who wish to borrow bid a premium above the regular rate
     of interest charged, and the one who bids the highest premium
     is awarded the loan. The man who wishes to build his house,
     therefore, and desires to borrow $1,000, must have five
     shares of stock in his association, must bid the highest
     premium, and then the $1,000 will be loaned to him. To secure
     this $1,000 he gives the association a mortgage on his
     property and pledges his five shares of stock. To cancel this
     debt he is constantly paying his monthly or semimonthly dues,
     until such time as the constant payment of dues, plus the
     accumulation of profits through compounded interest, matures
     the shares at $200 each. At this time, then, he surrenders
     his shares, and the debt upon his property is canceled.


In some cases the sums paid are fifty or even twenty-five cents a
week, and the shares may be $100 instead of $200. Among some groups
shares are taken in the name of each of the children, and the
investment constitutes an educational fund. There are those,
however, for whom the building and loan has not provided adequate
opportunity for deposit and safe investment. It is probable that the
building and loan has proved most efficient for the income group
$1,500-$1,800. For the group below that, home ownership is for the
time impossible. As a device for saving, for both the lower and higher
income groups, who come from countries familiar with similar devices,
the postal savings banks are supposed to offer efficient, honest, and
convenient service.


These banks were established under an act that went into effect June
25, 1910. Under this law, as amended May 18, 1916, persons over ten
years of age may deposit any amount, providing the balance to the
credit of one depositor does not exceed $1,000. Two per cent interest
is paid on deposits, and there is provision for exchange of deposits
for United States bonds of small denominations.

The facilities thus provided were immediately taken advantage of by
the foreign-born groups, and the postal savings banks became almost
banks for the foreign born. That is, in September, 1916, 375,000, or
80 per cent, of the total number of depositors were persons of foreign
birth, and they owned 75 per cent of the deposits. In proportion to
population the deposits were in 1916 about eleven times as great as
those of the native born (due allowance being made for the age of the
two population groups). The Greeks, Italians, Russians, and
Hungarians, all coming from countries in which there are postal
savings arrangements, found it especially easy to make use of them.

The department felt, however, that the facilities could be greatly
extended, even among the foreign born. Therefore, circulars describing
the organization, methods, and advantages were distributed. They were
written in the following languages: English, Bohemian, Bulgarian,
Chinese, Croatian, Danish, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hungarian,
Italian, Japanese, Lithuanian, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Russian,
Ruthenian, Serbian, Slovak, Slovenian, Spanish, Swedish, and Yiddish.

In spite of the fact that this system is characterized not only by
security, but also by certain democratic and convenient features
especially serviceable to many foreign born, there are certain
limitations to which Professor Kemmerer has called attention in the
following statement:

     As a matter of fact, the interest rate paid is so low that it
     makes a very weak appeal to the class of people who deposit
     in the postal savings banks. Their motive is primarily
     security. The government is now realizing large profits from
     the postal savings system--for 1916 the estimated profit was
     $481,816--and this profit is coming from a class of people in
     the community, the thrifty poor, from whom it is bad social
     policy to take it. Of course it would be administratively
     impracticable to pay interest to depositors on average daily
     balances--no savings banks do that. Would it be expecting too
     much, however, to ask for our postal savings depositors the
     allowances of interest on half yearly or even quarterly
     balances? Moreover, is it unreasonable to ask the Board of
     Trustees, in view of the nomadic character of our
     foreign-born population which patronizes the postal savings
     system most, to devise a simple system of transfer by which a
     depositor who is changing his place of residence may transfer
     his postal savings account without forfeiting his accumulated
     but yet undue interest?[30]

Not only should the postal savings bank law be amended, rendering it
more flexible and more attractive, but there should also be enacted in
those states in which no such legislation is yet on the statute books,
laws regulating the conduct of banks, steamship companies, and all
agencies receiving deposits or otherwise performing banking functions.

It is clear that the foreign born, during the early years of their
residence in the United States, encounter all the difficulties of
others whose incomes are inadequate and precarious, and are also the
easy victims of special forms of exploitation. In addition, they find
themselves unfamiliar with the standards and customs connected with
the great events of family life. In the matter of weddings and
funerals and other ceremonial occasions there is no reason to expect
them to be wiser, more economical, and farsighted than the native-born

In the adjustment between future and present needs, foreign-born
housewives need, as most housewives need, instruction in the art of
spending, in the selection of food and clothing, and the variety of
demands for which provision must be deliberately made in a modern
industrial community. In an earlier and simpler situation provision
for these needs was made without conscious effort.

In this connection it is interesting to note that the "Thrift
Leaflets" prepared by the United States Department of Agriculture and
the Department of the Treasury for the war saving stamps thrift
campaign, urged care in the use of articles and dealt with prevention
of waste rather than with saving. Obviously, if goods were more
carefully used, more could be saved and invested in the securities
thus being indirectly urged. It is conceivable, however, that wise use
may mean the purchase of better food, the selection of more
satisfactory clothing, and the enjoyment of better housing, rather
than investment in government or any other securities. The thrift
campaigns of the United States Treasury proposed standards of saving
only for those receiving an income of $1,200 or more, with the
exception of unmarried persons earning as much as $780.


The basis of sound saving or spending is the account book, carefully
kept over an interval of time, allowing comparison between the outlay
and enjoyment as experienced at different periods. Such account books
are being urged by the extension departments of the state agricultural
colleges in co-operation with the Departments of Agriculture.

Most account books that have been so far devised are, however, quite
difficult and uninteresting, even for the American housewife,
demanding classifications of items which require too much time and
consideration. An account book on a weekly basis, providing very
simple divisions of the expenditures of the household, and giving
space also for the personal expenses of the various members of the
family, has been published by the Committee on Household Budgets of
the American Home Economics Association.[31]

These books could be easily issued in different languages and be made
available for the foreign-born housewife. She, like all housewives,
would be benefited by seeing what she is spending her money for. It
would lead to a definite planning of her expenditures. By this means
it could be suggested that things may have changed in value for her in
the new country. Old wants are replaced by new ones, and a new system
of saving and spending might be worked out.


[21] Haskins, _How Other People Get Ahead_, Savings Division, United
States Treasury Department, p. 4.

[22] _Report of the Health Insurance Commission of Illinois_, p. 223.

[23] _Report of the Health Insurance Commission of the State of
Illinois_, pp. 443-483.

[24] _Ibid._, pp. 523-532.

[25] _Ibid._, pp. 483-497.

[26] Chicago Housing Conditions, _American Journal of Sociology_, vol.
xvi, p. 433; vol. xvii, pp. 1, 145; vol. xviii, p. 509; vol. xx, pp.
145, 289; vol. xxi, p. 185.

[27] Chicago Housing Conditions, ix, "The Lithuanians in the Fourth
Ward," _American Journal of Sociology_, vol. xx, p. 296.

[28] _Ninth Annual Report of the United States Commissioner of Labor
on Building and Loan Associations_, p. 56.

[29] _Ibid._, pp. 12-13.

[30] Kemmerer, _Postal Savings Banks_, pp. 100-104.

[31] _Thrift by Household Accounting and Weekly Cash Record Forms_,
published by the Committee on Household Budgets, American Home
Economics Association, 1211 Cathedral Street, Baltimore, Maryland.



Saving is the problem of _over there_, and of the future. Spending is
the problem of _here_ and _now_, and in the expenditure for present
needs as well as in saving for future wants the foreign-born housewife
meets with special difficulties. She is handicapped by the kinds of
places at which she must buy, because of language, custom, and time
limitations, as well as the grade of article available. Through the
complicated maze of choices open to her she must steer her way to
obtain for her family the highest returns for an all too small
expenditure. The art of spending, too often neglected by her
native-born sisters, takes on added difficulties for the untrained
immigrant woman.

From the point of view of the housewife the desirable thing is that
the transaction of buying her household goods and food and of
selecting her house, shall be as simple as possible. It should be made
easy for her to know the quantity and to judge the quality of any
article she considers, so that she may the more easily compare its
possible use to her with the use of other articles that might be
secured for the same amount of money. It is also important that she
have as definite ideas as possible as to the range of the demand for
different kinds of goods, so that she may buy as few as possible of
the goods on which the price of special risk is placed. In many cases
she needs really expert advice. In the absence of such help she may do
her buying in either of two states of mind. She may think that all
merchants are cheats, there "to do her and to do her first," or she
may think that she has a right to expect from the dealer frank and
kindly advice.

In the present state of the retail organization she may find either
attitude. In shops kept by her co-nationals she will naturally have
the utmost confidence. This puts the small neighborhood stores in a
position of peculiar privilege, and makes it doubly easy for them to
take subtle advantage of the unwary customer. Even when the dealer
takes no special advantage of his customer, in following the general
practice of the trade, he can create innumerable situations in which
her problem is rendered more, rather than less, complicated. The
indefinite package is substituted for the definite weight or measure.
The "bars" of soap vary in weight and in composition. The trade _mark_
used to tell her that X made goods whose quality she knew; the trade
_name_, based on incalculable sums spent in skillful advertising,
tells her nothing that is of intrinsic use to her. It connects a name
with a repeated suggestion that she buy. By the trading stamp, the
premium, and the bargain counter the merchant tries to persuade her
that she is getting more than she pays for. He appeals to the gambling
instinct and introduces into a drab life something of the excitement
of the roulette table.


In mining communities and other places in which there are "company
stores," there is the pressure exercised by the employer to force the
employee to deal only with the company store, even when there are
other stores in the neighborhood.

The United States Immigration Commission had something to say on this
point. It made it clear that, while there are instances of an employer
giving his employees a fair deal when he becomes merchant and they
purchasers, the combination of employing and merchandising functions
is often perilous. Even if the employee appears to have a choice, he
fears the loss of his job if he does not buy at the company store. The
evils connected with so-called "truck payments" have long been
recognized. They change only in form when the company check replaces
the old payment in kind.[32]

In some states this evil has been recognized by legislation
prohibiting the combination of industrial and merchandising functions.
Where such is the case, as in Pennsylvania, the statute is evaded. A
separate corporation is organized by the same individuals, or a store
is conducted by an individual who is a member of the mining
corporation. Where there is a "store" administered in any of these
ways, "company checks" may be issued between pay days. Or "store
books" may be issued, the items purchased being recorded, and deducted
on pay day from the wages of the employee.

The Immigration Commission published a table[33] of the expenditures
at such stores, the amounts deducted from the wages, and the
proportion of earnings left to be collected at the end of the month,
illustrating the confusing effect of these practices on the housewife
whose income should be a settled and regular amount. While some of the
Croatians and Magyars spent hardly a fourth or a third of their
earnings at the company store, others in the same national groups
collected on pay day less than a fifth or even less than a tenth of
their earnings. From this balance must come the payments for rent,
medical service, entertainment, school, for all things other than
food, clothes, and furniture.

It may be that in some cases the employee is able to secure at the
company store as good articles as he can obtain elsewhere and for the
same prices, but this is by no means common. In West Virginia it was
found necessary to enact legislation forbidding a company which ran a
store to charge its own employees higher prices than the employees of
other companies were charged.[34] The Immigration Commission found not
only that in some cases the stock was inferior and the prices high,
but that there was a sense of compulsion that made it almost
impossible to adjust income and needs.

It is hardly necessary to point out that the supply of housing
accommodations by the employer has the same influence as the supply of
food and clothing. The power as employer may be, and often is, exerted
to fix the conditions under which the family life goes on; and the
tenant is deprived of the experience of selecting, of choosing, of
balancing what one gives with what one gets.[35]

A similar objection may be raised to payment of wages by check. In the
old days, before the world went dry, one service the saloon was
frequently called on to render was that of cashing checks. Either
payment in "lawful money" or an opportunity to exchange at once for
lawful money is the only method of paying wages that gives the
housewife her full opportunity.


The immigrant housewife is restricted by her ignorance of places and
methods of marketing, and so feels the necessity of buying in the
immigrant neighborhood. Among the 90 Chicago families from whom
schedules were obtained, representing Bohemian, Croatian, Italian,
Polish, Russian, Serbian, Slovak, Slovenian, and Ukrainian groups, 72
purchased all their food in the neighborhood stores, 2 kept their own
stores, and only 16 were seeking bargains in other localities. Among
these 16, 5 were going to larger business centers near their
neighborhood, 4 bought in downtown department stores, 1 used a
mail-order house, 1 went to a well-established "cash and carry" store,
2 bought in the wholesale markets, and only 2 took advantage of the
co-operative association of their own group.

The 72 families who were marketing exclusively in their own
neighborhoods were patronizing for the most part stores owned by
foreign-speaking people or those employing foreign-born salesmen to
attract the housewives of particular groups. A Croatian woman says
that when she tries to do her marketing downtown she sees many new
things and would like to ask what they are used for, but she does not
know how to ask. In her neighborhood store the grocer can easily
explain to her. One Polish woman reads the advertisements in the
papers and buys where there is a sale. She thinks that an alleged
Polish co-operative is expensive and prefers the large department
stores, but for the first few years she bought everything in her
neighborhood where the clerks speak Polish.

The prevalence of the immigrant store may be illustrated by a detailed
study that was made of the Sixteenth Ward in Chicago. The population
of the ward is predominantly Polish, with an intermingling of Jewish,
German, and Slovak in the southern portion. In the twenty-five blocks
there are 113 retail stores, 44 of which are grocery and delicatessen
stores, meat markets, and bakeries. In one block there are 5 grocery
and delicatessen stores, and at least 1 in every block which has any
stores. Most of these shops are small and crowded, with family living
rooms in the rear. For the most part, the nationality of the
proprietor is that of the majority in the block, and there are only 14
proprietors of all the 113 stores who are not Polish.

The difficulty with the language, however, extends beyond merely
talking in the store. A Ukrainian mother, who admits being afraid to
go beyond her own neighborhood, is perhaps typical of many
foreign-born mothers to whom a trip to the central shopping district
is a strange and terrifying adventure.

There is also the question of the means with which to buy. An Italian
mother says that she buys at the chain store when she has the cash,
and at other times in the Italian stores where, although the prices
are higher, she can run a charge account. The system of buying on
credit at the local store is spoken of as practically universal in all
the foreign-born groups. The purchaser carries a small blank book, in
which the merchant enters in large figures merely the sum charged,
with no indication of what was bought or the amount. The account is
settled on pay day by the man of the family. There is, of course,
every chance for inaccurate entry. It is not surprising, then, that
one hears from many sources that buying food is generally extravagant.

Women often do the buying. Whether or not it is the more common among
foreign-born families than among native born for the children to be
sent to the store, we cannot say. Since the marketing is done so
largely in immigrant stores, there is perhaps not the need for an
English-speaking member of the family to do the purchasing. We find
among 89, 43 mothers who still do all their own buying, 32 who allow
the children to do part, 4 who share the task with the father, and
only 10 who never do any of the buying. In this last group of 10
families there are 7 in which the children do all the marketing and 3
in which it is done by the father.

Even the skilled housekeepers have little experience in buying. At
home they were used to storing vegetables in quantities; potatoes in
caves, beets and cabbage by a process of fermentation, other
vegetables and fruits by drying. In the United States this sort of
thing is not done. There is, in the first place, no place for storage,
and the initial cost of vegetables is high and quality poor, and the
women know nothing of modern processes of canning.

It is difficult to discover the general practice with regard to the
quantity of food bought at one time, since it must necessarily vary
considerably. Meat, milk, bread, perishable fruits and vegetables must
usually be purchased daily. As for staple food, the thrifty housewife
will buy in as large quantities as she can afford in order to save
both money and time.

Reference has been made, however, to the lack of storage space and the
consequent necessity of buying very little at one time. Thirty-three,
or two fifths, of the 81 foreign housewives who were interviewed on
this subject report that they buy food in daily supplies; 1 buys twice
a day and 1 for each meal. Forty, however, buy in larger quantities.
Twenty-nine for the week and 11 for a month at a time. Six say that
they buy whenever they have the money. It must never be forgotten that
among the lower-income groups, to have more in the house is to have
more eaten, and that cannot be afforded.

Besides the high prices, one of the other limitations of the
foreign-born neighborhood store is the low quality of the food. This
may be illustrated by a description of the markets in one Lithuanian
neighborhood back of the stockyards, where men are working at
low-grade labor in the yards, and the women are keeping lodgers, where
few speak English and not many ever go more than a few blocks from
home. The typical market in this neighborhood--and there are sometimes
as many as ten in a block--is a combined meat market and grocery
store. Such stores are found in the poorer neighborhoods of every

Stock in all these stores is the same; there is a great deal of fresh
meat, apparently the poorer cuts, scraps, etc.; shelves are filled
with canned fruits, canned vegetables, canned soups, and condensed
milk; there is much of the bakers' "Lithuanian rye bread," and
quantities of such cakes as are sold by the National Biscuit Company.
No fresh vegetables are to be seen in any of these stores. The reason
given by shopkeepers is that they are little used in the neighborhood
and that the truck wagons supply the demand.

Women who actually depend upon these stores and the truck wagons for
all their supplies find them very unsatisfactory. No really fresh
vegetables are to be found in either stores or wagons, they say. In
commenting upon this situation, several persons have expressed a
belief that the restriction of diet among Lithuanian immigrants was
largely due to the fact that the markets afford so little variety, and
that an effort to extend the stock in the stores would find a response
in the community.

These stores, however, are widely different from those found in
Italian neighborhoods. Practically all the food used by the Italian
families of one such neighborhood is bought in these stores. In this
district the population is as dense as back of the stockyards, and the
families have comparable incomes, the men being engaged in unskilled
occupations and their earnings being supplemented by the earnings of
women and children. The number of food stores in a block is about the
same as in the other district, but the stock carried differs greatly.
Here, in place of shops that carry only meat, canned goods, and
potatoes, cabbages, and beets, the greengrocery stores largely

There are four or five greengrocery shops to one meat market, and
these stores have a surprising variety of fresh vegetables and fruits
all the year. The variety of salad greens is remarkable. More Swiss
chard, mustard, dandelion leaves, endive, squash blossoms and leaves,
escarole, are to be seen in one little Italian store than in a half
dozen American markets. Legumes are in stock in great quantity and
variety--there are some little stores that do not handle
greengroceries, but carry large stocks of legumes. Every store has a
large case of different varieties of Italian cheese, and the variety
of macaroni, spaghetti, and noodles is amazing to an American. Fish is
frequently sold from stalls along the street, and on Friday fish
wagons go about through the district. Sometimes meat is sold from
wagons, but less to Italians than to other nationalities living in the

Certainly one effect of the organization of these shops on the basis
of nationality is to prevent the members of one group from gaining the
advantage of dietetically better practices followed in other groups.
The Lithuanian and Italian neighborhoods described happened to be in
widely separated districts of the city, but often similar differences
may be observed between two shops within the same block that serve
different national groups.

It is clear that the retail trade, being unstandardized, gives no help
to the immigrant woman in the matter of efficient buying. There is as
yet no fine art of service in this field based on careful accounting
of cost and service. Obviously there is great waste in the number of
stores, in the number of persons engaged in conducting them, in the
needless duplication of even such meager equipment as is found in
them. This waste will reflect itself in needlessly high prices which,
while they mulct the buyer, bring the seller little gain.

Evidently, then, little or no help is given through the system of
retail trading to the foreign-born housewife in the matter of adapting
the diet of her family to American or dietetic requirements. Yet food
demands a large share of the income. In the latest report on the cost
of living in the United States, in only 8 out of 45 cities were the
food demands met by less than 40 per cent of the entire expenditure in
the group whose incomes were between $900 and $1,200.[36] Those cities

    Pana, Illinois                           39.4
    Buffalo, New York                        38.9
    Wilmington, Delaware                     38.9
    Dover, New Jersey                        38.8
    Indianapolis, Indiana                    37.6
    Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota      37.6
    Steubenville, Ohio                       37.3
    Fort Wayne, Indiana                      35.6

The lowest proportion was in Fort Wayne, where over a third of the
income was required for feeding the families in this income group.


No extensive study of the dietary practices of the different groups,
either here or in the old country, has been undertaken, but
considerable evidence has been secured in substantiation of the fact
that their old-country practices are being modified in this country.
This is not being done consciously in response to dietetic
requirements, but often blindly in response to what seem to be
American customs or necessities. There has been some conflict of
testimony with regard to the changes in the Czecho-Slovak and Croatian
groups. The Italians are said by all to have made very slight changes
in their diet in this country. The Lithuanians, Poles, Russians, and
Ukrainians, on the other hand, are said to have made very radical

The modification that is spoken of most frequently and that is of
gravest concern to many of their leaders, is the increased use of
meat. Attention has already been called to the explanation of this in
the fact that the price of meat was prohibitive at home, and that
fruit, vegetables, and dairy products were enjoyed without expenditure
of money. The large number of stores in which meat is offered for
sale, although undoubtedly reflecting the general wishes of the
group, offers constant suggestion to the individual purchaser to buy
meat. The naïve belief that much meat must be eaten by men doing
manual labor is said to be another factor.

Excessive use of coffee is said by visiting housekeepers and others
familiar with dietetic problems to be one of the most serious faults
of the diet of many groups, especially the Slavic groups. It is a
general custom to put the coffee pot on the stove in the morning and
leave it there all day for any member of the family to help himself to
coffee when he wants it. This is entirely a new habit which has been
learned in America, as coffee was almost unknown in the poorer groups
in the old country. One explanation that was given by a foreign-born
woman was that these families were used to a diet of soup at home, and
that as they gave this up in this country they felt the need of some
liquid to replace it. One Polish woman who was asked if she had
changed her diet in this country, replied, "Naturally, at home
everyone had soup for breakfast, and here everyone has coffee and

Another change that was reported over and over again was the use of
more cakes and sweet rolls. This seemed to be considered a peculiarly
American change, as was evidenced by the families who reported that
they had not changed their diet, as they didn't like the American
diet of cakes. Some of them, indeed, were very scornful of what they
considered the American diet, saying among other things that they
could not afford to eat steak and chops every day, that they did not
like sweets, that their "men" would not eat "out of a can," that they
did not like fried things. Their ideas of American diet were gained in
part from the food in restaurants, in part from what the children
learned in cooking lessons in school, and in part from general
suggestions that they have picked up.

Undoubtedly misguided social workers who have tried to give advice on
diet without themselves knowing much about it, are responsible for
some of these ideas. In a certain mill town in Massachusetts, for
example, a social worker employed by the mill discovered what she
thought was the cause of the paper falling off the walls in the fact
that the people boiled their food. She therefore went in and taught
them to fry meat and other foodstuffs.

The problem of how far the immigrant groups should be encouraged to
modify their diet can be determined only after a careful study of
their dietary practices. The price and quality of food available to
immigrants must be ascertained. Their habits, customs, and preferences
must be thoroughly understood. There can be no question, however, that
help should be given them in making the modifications required by the
changed environment.

There have been a number of suggestions of the best way to accomplish
this. Visiting housekeepers or visiting dietitians have been suggested
and will be discussed later. It is highly probable that help must
first be given to immigrant women in their homes before they can be
persuaded to attend any classes or demonstrations outside of their
homes. They must gradually be persuaded to take advantage of the help
obtainable in this way.

That the whole problem of diets suited to special needs of people is
being considered is evidenced by the fact that it has been suggested
that food be sold by units of energy value. Dr. Graham Lusk, for
example, proposed at a time of great distress in New York that the
Health Commissioner attempt to persuade grocers to prepare "Board of
Health baskets" which would provide 10,000 calories daily for a family
of five at a minimum cost.[37] The United States Commissioner of Labor
indorses the idea in the following words, "There are no insuperable
obstacles in the way of selling bread, beef, pork, eggs, milk,
cabbage, onions, corn, sugar--by the 100 or 1,000 calories."[38]
Professor Murlin has advocated that manufacturers be compelled to
place on food containers the calorie content of the package.

If such a plan could be worked out, the dietetic virtues and
weaknesses of the different groups could serve as a basis for the
special form in which foodstuffs were marketed in different areas. Any
such project as applied to the foreign born is far from
accomplishment. It is suggestive of a new attitude which does not
continue to leave the matter of diet to chance.


In the purchase of furniture and of clothing there is the temptation
to buy on the installment plan. This plan is open to all the
objections ordinarily brought against buying on credit. The buyer is
tempted to overestimate his ability to pay in the future, and he may
not take the same trouble to calculate the actual value of his
purchase as when he pays money down. In the past the form of sale has
often been such as to place him peculiarly at the mercy of the seller,
who might find it more profitable to reclaim the possession of goods
on which a considerable share of the price has been paid than to
extend the time of payment and allow the payment to be completed.

The superintendent of the Bohemian Charitable Association says, for
example, that it is very common for newly married people to load
themselves with debt for household furniture, and that at least two
thirds of the stoves which are commonly bought on the installment plan
are taken back by the dealers before payments are finished. The
immigrant from the rural community may be quite unused to purchasing
furniture of any sort, and may be easily persuaded to buy what he
thinks is "American style."

The Lithuanian peasant, for example, had little furniture at home. In
the cottage of two rooms, one was used on the occasion of the visit of
the priest or at the time of a wedding or funeral, and contained
nothing but the shrine and the dowry chest of the daughters. The walls
were decorated with paper flowers and cheap lithographs. In Lithuanian
homes here one is struck by the fact that among the more prosperous
the same sort of furniture is seen in all the houses. This consists of
the heavy oak and leather sets of three or four large pieces usually
sold on the installment plan by stores in the immigrant districts. It
is not beautiful, and there is no reason to think that it is
distinctly American, but the immigrant is not in a position to know


Then there is the unsolved problem of clothing. As in the case of
food, so with dress; the general effect of the organization of the
department stores in the different neighborhoods can be only
misleading and confusing. Many misleading devices that would no longer
deceive the older residents are tried again on the newcomer.

The women at first find it difficult to judge of values and prices.
The local stores are there with the bargain counter and the special
sale and all the other devices. The Poles and the Lithuanians with
whom we have talked have dwelt especially on the helplessness of their
countrywomen in the hands of the unscrupulous merchant or the shrewd

Clothing presents to even the enlightened and the sophisticated a most
difficult problem in domestic management. "Fashion wears out more
garments than the man." The anthropologist, the physiologist, and the
sociologist are all concerned to explain why the clothing worn to-day
is often so unsuited to bodily needs as well as to the demands of
beauty and fitness.[39] To a very real extent practices of waste
prevail in the selection of clothing, and to that extent neither
reason nor art finds a place in the scheme. Where an attempt at
economy is made, the influence of the new science of hygiene is
impeded by old ideas of durability. So that from the well-to-do of the
community comes little suggestion that can be of service in
directing the expenditures for clothing of any other group.


The foreign born are faced with a particularly difficult problem. They
often come from places where dress served to show where one came from,
and who one was. In the United States, dress serves to conceal one's
origin and relationships, and there results an almost inexorable
dilemma. Follow the Old-World practice, and show who you are and where
you come from, and the result is that you remain alien and different
and that your children will not stay with you "outside the gates." Or
follow the fashion and be like others, and the meager income is
dissipated before your eyes, with meager results. The Croatians have
emphasized the waste of American dress and the immodest styles often
worn, while the Italians have chiefly dwelt upon the friction between
parents and children.

In some neighborhoods Jewish agents go about offering clothing on the
installment plan at prices much higher than those charged even in
inefficient neighborhood shops. Shoes are particularly a source of
difficulty, both those for the younger children and those for the
older boy or girl who goes to work. In some neighborhoods where the
older women go barefooted and are thought to do so because they wish
to cling to their Old-World customs, they are simply saving, so that
the children may wear "American shoes."

Certainly the foreign-born woman who undertakes to manage her family's
affairs in an American community is confronted by no easy task. The
question arises as to what might be done to render that task less
difficult. The dull of sight cannot lead the blind at a very swift
pace. But certain steps might be taken to simplify the problems for
all consumers, including the foreign born. In fact, whatever renders
the system of retail dealing less chaotic and less wasteful will
benefit all. The establishment of markets for foodstuffs at
appropriate places where grower and consumer can meet, and certain
costs of double cartage can be eliminated, is, for example, a
recognized item in reform of the present food traffic.


The importance of the spending function of the housewife must be
brought home more clearly to great numbers of women. Too few
native-born housewives realize that they have any problem to work out,
or that there may be an "art of spending." None of the ninety
foreign-born women interviewed had received any instruction in buying
except advice from friends or from their own children. What little
instruction they had received had been concerned only with cooking.
Not one of these women recognized any difficulty in buying except the
difficulty of speaking the language well enough to ask for things or
to understand how much they cost, or of getting the wherewithal to

It is by the slow process of continual suggestion that both women
consumers and distributing agencies will be awakened to the problem.
Evidence of this awakening is already apparent. Schools and colleges,
with their domestic-science and household-budgeting courses, are
raising the question among an ever-widening circle of people. Banks
and brokers with their special woman's department are advising and
suggesting ways of spending that save. Newspapers, magazines, and
clubs are discussing household problems. Organizations, public and
private, have worked out ways and means of helping women budget their
expenditures. So far these varied efforts have reached chiefly the
American women. But no one group is isolated to-day, and as some
awaken they set in motion the waves of thought and action that reach
their foreign-born neighbor. Her institutions of press and bank
respond with information and assistance. Inevitably better
housekeepers will result.

In the meantime, all possible assistance must be given. It is
therefore especially important to establish contacts between agencies
already responsible for developing an art in household management and
the leaders among the various foreign-born groups. Provision should be
made for young women from among those groups to obtain a higher
education than has been commonly thought necessary by them or than has
in many cases been possible from a pecuniary standpoint.

Much could undoubtedly be accomplished by the establishment in
connection with departments of home economics and household arts in
the various colleges of funds making possible the compilation of
material bearing on these particular points. Scholarships and
fellowships can be made especially available to young women from among
these groups who desire to pursue their education in these lines.

The household arts departments of the various universities are
attempting to plan a "standardized dress," the social workers are
developing a list of garments,[40] and an estimate of expenditures for
the use of case-work agencies in the care of dependent families,[41]
the Young Women's Christian Association is carrying on a health
campaign[42] directed particularly at the problem of proper shoes. In
the meantime the Sunday papers carry full-page advertisements
describing in specious and misleading terms the bargains in clothing
to be had the following day, and the merry round continues. The
tragedy works itself out both in the dissipation of the income and in
the friction created between parents and children, to which reference
will be made in another place.

But perhaps more important is the possibility of modifying the
practices of the retail trade itself. Restrictions have been placed
about the trade in such legislation as has been passed against
fraudulent advertising and other fraudulent practices, as well as by
the so-called pure food laws of the United States and of the various
states. And some influence has been exercised on the conditions under
which goods are made, or under which they are sold, by the Trade Union
Label League and by the Consumers' League. Neither of these
organizations would, however, directly touch the life of the
foreign-born housewife.


The question arises as to whether help is to be expected from
co-operative distribution, which has had such an extraordinary history
in England and been highly developed in a number of the other European
countries. There is always the temptation to recall the winter evening
in December, 1844, when twenty-eight weavers, of whom two were women,
opened in Toad Lane, Rochdale, Lancashire, a little shop, and began to
sell themselves the necessities of life. Their remarkable services in
England have not been confined to their business undertakings, but
have always included important educational activities.

In America there have for many years been a few co-operative stores,
some succeeding, some failing, most of them working out their plans
independently without connection with other similar stores from whose
experience they might profit. Within the last few years, however, the
number of such stores has greatly increased and the need for closer
union has been felt. This has resulted in the formation of the
Co-operative League of America. Education in co-operative buying is
its main purpose. At what appears to be the beginning of an important
period in the extension of the movement in this country it is worth
while to consider how far the existing co-operative stores in this
country are helping the foreign-born women.

Anything that assists her to lower the cost of living is beneficial.
Although sound practice dictates that consumer's co-operatives sell
their goods at prices current in their neighborhood, the profits to
the members appear in the return of a per cent of all purchases. In
proportion as the local stores are able to supply the housewife with
all her goods, the saving on the purchase of her daily needs will be
more appreciable. Her interest in the enterprise will make her demand
both greater variety and better quality of goods.

Moreover, there may be other than material gains to the foreign-born
woman from her contact with a co-operative. If it is one formed by her
countrymen, where her mother tongue is spoken, it may be her first and
for a long time her only contact with anything outside her home.
Natural timidity will readily be overcome if she can go around the
corner to a store kept by people who speak her language and understand
her wants. As confidence is established she may venture to other
neighborhoods or centers of distribution where more advantages can be
gained. But unless she gains the confidence which few immigrant women
have at first, she is an alien and isolated unit in a vast, strange
country. Eventually she may become a member of a co-operative store.

If she does this, perhaps the most benefit to the foreign-born woman
results. Her incorporation into this country may well be said to have
been started when she has become an active member of an institution
which is a part of American life. The benefits are those which result
to any individual from participation in a going concern. Sharing
responsibilities and evolving policies for a joint enterprise have
educational implications that no other activity can supply.

The question, then, may be raised as to the extent to which a
development of the co-operative methods in the United States may be
looked to as likely to become an important educational agency in
intelligent spending for the foreign housewife, enabling her to
develop in her task something of a technique. As to the possibility of
developing co-operative societies because the ordinary trade is
wasteful, it should be recalled that the retail trade in the United
States, while wasteful, is probably not less, but rather more
efficient than in other countries. Moreover, in the United States
there are often lacking those conditions that give rise to a sense of
a permanent division of interest between those who sell and those who
buy. In fact, when the foreign-language store exists, there may be a
tie between shopkeeper and purchaser.

In communities in which there is an apparent division of interest
between the foreign born and the native, or between two foreign
groups, the national bond may grow into a social bond that for a time
at least would serve as the basis for the collective action by one
group against the other group. If the dealers then belong to the
outside group, or if the dealers of the foreign-born group seem to
betray their fellow countrymen, there may develop a movement strong
enough to carry over into organization.

Among some groups, such as the Finns, the language constitutes a
permanent barrier for the adult members of the group, and with a
skillful and intelligent leadership the co-operative undertakings may
be expected to prosper for a very considerable period of time. The
immigrants have probably twice as many successful co-operative stores
as the native born.

In a community like a mining town, that is almost or altogether an
industrial community, with no leisure class, the pecuniary resources
of all are fairly well known to all, and the temptation to spend
conspicuously is therefore lacking. It will be recalled that these are
the communities in which the employers have specially abused their
power by forcing the employees to buy at company stores. In such
communities there are always considerable numbers of competent,
efficient, intelligent persons. Under a specially able leadership, a
special hardship through high prices, or a condition of special
exploitation, the co-operative store may be expected to develop. Then,
too, a sense of identity of interest may find its basis in trade-union
membership or in membership in a special trade, as was the case with
the miners in a store at Staunton, Illinois, where the union managed
the store for years at a profit.

With the exception of these few bonds, however, there are lacking in
most communities several elements present in the foreign experience
that have undoubtedly contributed materially to the success of
co-operative enterprises. There is, in the first place, the lack of
stability caused by the rapid movement from group to group. The older
people do not speak English; the children learn English and often do
not want to speak the language of their parents. They want to be
American and to buy as Americans buy. They therefore resent any
organization that tends to emphasize their foreign origin.

Also no sense of class consciousness among customers arouses
antagonism against retailers. In the cities, particularly where there
are large foreign colonies, the retail trade in those colonies,
especially the trade in foodstuffs, is largely in the hands of fellow
countrymen whose background is much the same as that of their
customers. Most of the stores are small, and the proprietors, who are
not skilled in modern business methods, do not make much more than a
living from their stores, so that there is no great contrast in
prosperity to arouse a feeling of antagonism.

On the contrary, the proprietor and his family usually live in the
district--often over the store--in much the same condition as the rest
of the group. They are friends of all, and by their knowledge of the
group can meet certain needs and appear to serve as a connecting link
between the separate group and the general community. How far the
desire of the more ambitious group members to open up a shop of their
own acts as a deterrent to interest in co-operation would be
difficult to estimate, but it seems probable that this has some

On the other hand, attention may be called to the fact that the retail
trade, and especially the marketing of food, has been so slightly
reduced to an art, it is still so empirically and wastefully carried
on, that there are many possibilities of reasonable success of
co-operatives. For a time, at least, this will be true if the
undertaking is on a modest scale and does not seem worthy of attack by
a relatively powerful group.

Among the obvious wastes are those connected with the transportation
(cross freights), the display and salesmanship, the marketing of
novelties, and the use of the indefinite measures. Besides these there
are the bad debts resulting from careless credit transactions, the
waste involved in deliveries of packages, the waste of the repeated
purchase of articles known to be regularly needed. Wherever any group
can be led to consider the wastes involved in these methods of doing
business, their good sense will make them perceive easily the folly of
persisting in those ways, and the practice of this minimum of
self-restraint will serve as a basis for a considerable balance, out
of which dividends may accumulate.

The use of the co-operative idea has, therefore, great possibilities
as the basis for discussing the wastes of the present system and for
deliberation as to the best or as to any possible way out. In other
words, experimenting in democratic organization in obtaining the
necessities of life is an important next step. As in the matter of
copartnership in relation to housing, co-operative distribution may
serve as a point of departure, an object lesson worthy of closer study
and experimental imitation. Especially would the experience of the
Women's Co-operative Guild be helpful in bringing the idea to the
attention of the influential women among the various groups.

The importance of doing this cannot be overestimated. For, as has been
so often suggested, the wastes of retail dealing, while probably not
so great here as in some other countries, are so enormous that great
economies are possible from even a slight rationalizing process.[43]
The development of a general consciousness of the nature and extent of
these wastes would in itself serve as a corrective. Moreover, the
experience of the co-operative enterprise may often be carried over
into legislative policy, and in this way give to the community the
benefit of the experiment tried by a group. Co-operators in England
have both initiated and backed such social legislation as the Trade
Boards Act, the provision for general maternity care under the
Ministry of Health, and other measures.


[32] See Freund, _Police Power, Public Policy and Constitutional
Rights_, secs. 319-321.

[33] _Report of the United States Immigration Commission_, vol. vi,
pp. 318, 319.

[34] _United States Immigration Commission Reports_, vol. vi, p. 95,
"General Survey of the Bituminous Coal Mining Industry." See also pp.
650, 651.

[35] _United States Immigration Commission Reports_, vol. vi, pp.
544-545, on the subject of "Housing by Employers." See Wood, _The
Housing of the Unskilled Wage Earner_, p. 114 ff.

[36] United States Bureau of Labor Statistics _Monthly Labor Review_,
May, 1917, p. 147, and June, 1919, p. 101.

[37] Lusk, _The Science of Nutrition_ (Third Edition), pp. 562, 570.

[38] United States Bureau of Labor Statistics _Monthly Labor Review_,
vol. ix (July, 1919), p. 4. The analogy is drawn between the sale of
food by calorie and the sale of coal by the British thermal unit.

[39] See Thomas, _Sex and Society_, chap. vii; Veblen, _Theory of the
Leisure Class_, chap. vii; Anthony, _Feminism in Germany and
Scandinavia_, chaps. v and vi, "Dress Reform."

[40] _The Chicago Standard Budget for Dependent Families_, p. 18.

[41] _Ibid._, p. 14.

[42] New York daily papers, September 18, 19, 20, 1919. Reports of
International Conference of Women Physicians under Auspices of Young
Women's Christian Association.

[43] See, for example, King, _Lower Living Costs in Cities_.



The care of the children is the most important of the mother's duties.
It cannot be thoroughly done under modern conditions unless the mother
has leisure to inform herself about conditions surrounding her
children at work and at play, and to keep in touch with their
interests, especially as they grow older. It includes caring for their
physical wants, bathing them and keeping them clean when they are
little, feeding them, providing their clothing, taking care of them
when they are sick; it also includes looking after their education and
training, choosing the school, seeing that they get to school
regularly and on time, following their work at school as it is
reported on the monthly report cards, encouraging them to greater
efforts when their work is unsatisfactory, praising them when they do
well, and, above all, giving them the home training and discipline
that they need. It is the mother who can teach the children good
habits, forming, as only the home life can form, their standards of
right and wrong; it means watching them at their play or seeing that
they play in a place that is safe without watching.

As they grow older it means a general supervision of their recreation
and their companions, judging surrounding influences, having in mind
the dangers that lie in the way of the unwary maiden and the perils of
the impetuous boy. Times have changed since she was young, and amid a
great variety of choice she must decide for her children which are
harmless influences and diversions. In the case of the older girls it
means the serious problems of clothes, of amusements, of earnings, of
prospective mating.

The mother shares many of these tasks with the father. Responsibility
for discipline, decisions, and training must be joint, but the actual
carrying out of these duties is the mother's. Usually the older
children help with the care of the younger, but the final
responsibility rests upon the mother.



Looking after the physical well-being of the children is primarily a
matter of maintaining them in health, and hence the discussion of
these problems is left to the division of this study devoted to that
subject. It is sufficient here to note that it is a peculiarly
difficult problem for the foreign-born mothers. Modern knowledge of
child feeding and modern ideas with regard to daily bathing are of
recent origin. In many of the countries from which these women come
they are unknown. A Croatian lawyer, who translated some of the
Children's Bureau publications, was very much interested in the one on
the care of the child of pre-school age. He told the investigator that
there was nothing like that in his country, and he hoped that this
translation might be used to reach the women in Croatia.

If this is true in matters that pertain to the physical welfare of
children, it is even more marked in matters affecting their education
and training. The modern idea is that the child should not be trained
and disciplined to be subservient to the parent, but should be helped
to develop his own personality. It is based on a greater respect for
the intelligence of the child and on the idea that the early placing
of the responsibility for his acts on the child himself will better
train citizens for a changing world, and especially for democracy.

These ideas are of comparatively recent formulation, many of them
dating from the impetus given to the study of the child by modern
psychology. Although of gradual growth, they have been for a long time
implicit in the current practices of the most enlightened section of
the community. They are understood by a relatively small part of the
community. They are acted on by much larger groups, so that it is
common to hear members of the generation that is passing lament the
lack of discipline of the children to-day.

The situation is complicated by the fact that many people who talk the
most about developing the child's personality stop in practice with
the removal of restraints, without attempting the more difficult task
of developing his sense of responsibility. The point to note is that
the native born, in part through their own conscious choice and in
part blindly moved by forces they do not understand, have been
gradually moving away from the old tradition of strict and
unquestioning obedience such as is exacted by military authorities.

With the immigrant parents the situation is very different. The
countries from which they come are not republics, and hence the
opportunities for training for intelligent citizenship have been
lacking, especially in the lower economic groups. The idea of the
government has often been rather to foster that training that makes
for good soldiers. Moreover, the civilizations from which most of
these people came were at the time static, so that the evils of blind
obedience and rigid conformity were not present to the same extent as
in our more rapidly moving civilization. Thus the tradition of
absolute obedience of child to parent remained practically intact.
Wherever this tradition existed the usual method of enforcement was
corporal punishment, generally inflicted with a strap. It is not
intended to assert that a great deal of child beating was prevalent in
the old country; in most cases the child learned quickly that the
penalty of disobedience was the strap, and threats became as effective
as its actual use.


The immigrant brings with him to this country this tradition of the
authority of the parent, with no thought of doing anything but
maintaining it here. There are, however, forces at work in this
country that tend to make this impossible. There are suggestions of a
different tradition in the general atmosphere. Many immigrants absorb
these suggestions unconsciously, as they absorb those of a wider
freedom for women. More important, however, is the development of the
child. Circumstances of his daily life force him to take the lead in
many situations. This has been pointed out in a study of the
delinquent child, where it is said:[44]

     Obviously, many things which are familiar to the child in the
     facts of daily intercourse in the street, or in the school,
     will remain unknown or unintelligible to the father and
     mother. It has become a commonplace that this cheap wisdom on
     the part of the boy or girl leads to a reversal of the usual
     relationship between parent and child. The child who knows
     English is the interpreter who makes the necessary
     explanations for the mother to the landlord, the grocer, the
     sanitary inspector, the charity visitor, and the teacher or
     truant officer. It is the child again who often interviews
     the "boss," finds the father a job, and sees him through the
     onerous task of "joining the union." The father and mother
     grow accustomed to trusting the child's version of what "they
     all do in America," and gradually find themselves at a great
     disadvantage in trying to maintain parental control.

In the face of this situation the conduct of the immigrant parent
generally follows along one of three very distinct lines: (a) he
modifies his methods in family discipline little by little, himself
unconscious of the implications, or (b) he stubbornly attempts to
retain the old authority undiminished, or (c) he abandons the old
system without having anything to put in its place. The first method
of behavior is probably the most common; it usually leads to little
difficulty within the family group if the parents' modifications are
made as fast as the child becomes aware of the newer ideas. The
attempt to maintain the old system in its entirety may also be
accomplished without disturbance if the child is willing, and probably
in most cases it is maintained without serious opposition on the part
of the child.

Abandoning the old system without substituting something better is
probably the least frequent reaction to the situation, but it is one
that is especially dangerous in immigrant groups. The native-born
parent who relaxes all discipline has this advantage over the foreign
born; in general he can at will demonstrate his superior knowledge,
and the child looks up to him and takes his advice, while the
foreign-born parent is peculiarly helpless because the child thinks
that his own knowledge, demonstrably superior in some things, extends
to all fields.

The relative frequency of these different modes of reaction would be a
difficult matter to determine. They were all evident from the facts
about discipline obtained from the families visited in this study. To
some extent the maintenance of the old system intact may be judged by
the prevalence of corporal punishment as a method of enforcing

A doctor of a Lithuanian district said that one thing he was very
anxious to see disappear was the strap, which could now be seen in
almost every home. Fifty-four of the eighty-seven families from whom
information was obtained said that they used whipping as a method of
punishment. In most of the cases there was nothing to indicate with
what the child was whipped, but in five it was definitely stated that
a strap was used. In very few cases was there any attempt to punish
the child in private. It was usually stated that the whipping was done
before all the other members of the family. Two or three families
stated that they did not whip the children on the street.

A significant fact was the frequently repeated assertion that the
children were whipped because they were too young to understand
anything else. An interesting state of transition was seen in some of
the thirty-three families who had abandoned whipping but had not given
up the idea of absolute obedience. It is evidenced in comments like
the following: "They are not whipped. Father threatens with a strap."
Or, "It [whipping] is not necessary. Father speaks, and children
obey." Some families had relaxed the discipline sufficiently to be
apparent to our investigators, who made such comments as "Children are
making a terrible noise, but nobody seemed to mind."

It has already been said that whatever the reaction, the training of
the children usually takes place without visible disaster to the
family group. This is especially true while the children are young. As
they grow older the dangers that are inherent in such a situation
become more marked. The figures on juvenile delinquency show that an
unduly large proportion of juvenile offenders are children of
foreign-born parents. This subject will be discussed more fully at a
later point in the chapter in connection with the problem of the older
boy and girl. It is important to emphasize here that the foundation
for later trouble is often laid while the children are young, and
hence consideration of the effect of modern ideas on discipline and
training should begin with the very young child.


One of the needs of the growing child that is much emphasized in
modern ideas of child culture is an opportunity for wholesome play.
The foreign-born mother, from a rural district in Europe, where
children were put to work helping the parents as soon as they could be
in any way useful, frequently does not recognize this need, and hence
does not even do those things within her power to secure it. From some
opportunities which she and the children might enjoy together, she is
cut off by lack of knowledge of English. A Bohemian woman, for
example, said that she did not go with her husband and the children to
the moving pictures, as she could not read the English explanations
and often did not understand the pictures.

Even when the need is recognized it is still a very difficult problem.
In the old country, when the child was too little to work, he could
play in the fields quite safe, in sight of his mother at her work. In
the city, however, especially in the congested districts, which are
the only ones known to immigrants when they first come, the child
cannot play in his own yard, for there is nothing that can be called
a yard. The alternatives are the city streets with their manifold
dangers, or the public playground. From the point of view of physical
safety as well as in giving a place for more wholesome play, the
public playground is obviously the more desirable.

The provision of playgrounds, however, is everywhere inadequate, in
some places much more so than in others. In Chicago, which is probably
better equipped in this respect than most cities, there are large
districts that have no easy access to a playground. Many of the women
that were asked where their children played said that they played on
the streets, not because the parents thought it safe, but because they
could not go to a playground alone and the mother had not time to take
them. It was interesting, too, to learn that some of the parents who
preferred the playground, and whose children played there, did not
think the children should be left there alone. In one Bohemian family
the grandmother took the two little boys to the playground and stayed
with them as long as they stayed.

In part, then, the problem of play space is a problem in housing
reform. All the newer housing projects make provision for a space for
this purpose, either by the individual yard or where the multiple
house is used, by one playground for every three or four families.
Housing reform, however, comes slowly and immediate relief could be
given by the provision of many more public playgrounds. It is obvious
that these must be so directed and supervised that children can be
left with perfect safety.

It would also be necessary to see that the foreign-speaking mothers
were informed of the advantages of the playground and convinced of its
safety for their children. The supervision of children's play in
streets and vacant lots could be greatly extended. The establishing
during certain hours of "play zones," from which traffic is excluded
and in which the younger children and their mothers could be taught
simple games and dances, has been found successful.


In the matter of education the state has relieved the parent of a
large part of the responsibility by legislation prescribing the ages
during which the child must attend school, and in some states the
grade he must reach before leaving school. In spite of this there
still rests with the parent the responsibility of choosing the school,
getting the child to school promptly and regularly, following his
progress, deciding whether he shall go beyond the time prescribed by

The choice of the schools means for most immigrant groups, a choice
between the public and the parochial school. In very large numbers of
cases the parochial school is chosen. The reason for this is only in
part the influence of the church, although this undoubtedly counts for
a great deal. The people we have interviewed in this study have
repeatedly pointed out that it is not only for religious education and
training that the foreign-born parent sends his child to the parochial
school, but that it is also because he wants him to learn the language
of his parents, the history and traditions of the country from which
he came, and to retain a respect for the experiences and associations
that remain of great importance to the parents.

Another reason that has often been given for sending the children to
the parochial school is the lack of discipline in the public schools.
This has been especially emphasized by Italians, but it has also been
spoken of by members of other groups. There can be no question that
the parochial school, under the tradition of authority maintained by
the church, is much nearer in its idea of discipline to the ideas the
immigrant brings with him from the old country, than is the public
school whose system of training the immigrant parent does not
understand and has not had made clear to him.


The problem of the immigrant parent with regard to the education of
his child is more difficult because of the change in the position of
the child in this country, which he usually does not understand. At
home the child was important, not as an individual, but as a member of
the family group, and home decisions about the child took into account
the needs of the family in the first place and only secondarily the
welfare of the child.[45]

This reversal of emphasis is confusing to the immigrant parents. Taken
in connection with the fact that many of the immigrants are from
countries where education is not compulsory, it leads them to
sacrifice the welfare of the child at many points. It seems of much
greater importance, for example, that the work of the household should
be done than the child should get to school every day. The study of
the reasons for absence in two of the immigrant neighborhoods of
Chicago[46] shows the frequency with which children are kept out of
school because of the needs of the family. Thus, of 1,115 children who
were absent from school during a certain period 131 were out to do
work at home; 81 were kept at home because of sickness in the family;
42 stayed home to interpret or run errands.

One boy, for example, was kept to watch fires for a sick father while
his mother "got a day's work"; another had stayed at home because his
sister's baby was in convulsions and his mother had not been able to
get him ready to go to school; John was staying at home because his
mother had gone to see a doctor and wanted him to look after the
children, who did not like to go to the day nursery; Bruno, aged
twelve, was found at home helping his mother wash, but he explained
that he had really stayed out to go "to tell the boss" that his father
was sick; Genevieve, aged twelve, who had been absent fourteen half
days and tardy twice within a month, was found alternately tending the
shop and taking care of three younger children and of a sick mother,
although her father was well able to hire some one to come in and help
care for the family while the little girl was at school.

In the rural districts the failure to understand the necessity of
complying with the compulsory education law is even more marked. In
the Rolling Prairie group of Polish families many of the children were
not sent to school until after two families had been fined for not
sending them. There was the expense for clothes and books, and the
extra work for the mother. The roads were bad, the children often had
no shoes, even in winter, and, above all, the parents had no
understanding of why they should go. After the prosecution, however,
the school law was obeyed.

The parents' attitude toward the problem of keeping the child in
school comes out quite naïvely in the answers given to visitors for
this study. The following comments, given in the quaint but forceful
English of our foreign-speaking investigators, show what is meant:

     Mother (a Russian woman with three children) visited school
     when teacher demanded her to send daughter to school when she
     wished her at home to help.

     Mother (a Polish woman with six children under fourteen)
     feels that children study too much and ought to help their
     parents more.

     Father (Italian) thinks there should be laws for protection
     of parents as well as child labor.


Following the child's progress at school is a difficult matter for
parents who themselves have not had the benefit of education, or even
for those who have been educated under a different system. It is,
however, not impossible for them to do so; by means of reports in the
language they can understand, by talking to the teachers or some one
of the school authorities who knows about the child's work, they can
keep closely enough in touch with his school record to enable them to
give help at the point where it is most needed.

Many of them do this in spite of the inherent difficulties and in
spite of difficulties which the school itself puts in their way. An
Italian father in a little Illinois mining town brought out with pride
the last report of his little girl and showed the visitor that she
had an average of 90 per cent. In the families studied in Chicago a
few were evidently trying to keep in touch with their children's
schooling. Thus of one family it is said:

"Mother not only goes to school entertainments, but follows up the
children's work with the teachers, consults them, and accepts their
advice." This family is Bohemian, and both mother and father are
well-educated leaders in progressive Bohemian circles in Chicago.

In another Bohemian family the parents were also making an effort in
this direction, but, being less well equipped, their difficulties were
greater. The schedule says:

     Mother never visits school as she cannot understand English.
     Parents are very much concerned about their boy who brought a
     poor mark from school. After family consultation, daughter
     visited teacher, who advised them to take the boy out of
     Bohemian school (a nationalistic school to which he went
     after school hours), because he might be overworked.

These are, however, exceptional cases in the families studied. Among
the Bohemians and Slovaks, to be sure, a considerable proportion of
the mothers visited the school occasionally or knew some of the
children's teachers. Among the families of the more recent immigrants
it was almost unheard of for the parents to visit the school. Of the
eleven Russian families studied not one reported any visits to the
school or contact with the teachers, and only two of the Ukrainian
families. One of these visited only when the children did not behave.
This mother said that she thought she should know more about her
children's school work, but that she had felt so much in the way when
she visited the school that she finally stopped going.

An almost inevitable consequence of this failure to make contacts with
the school is that the parents remain quite unaware of what their
children are learning there. An attempt was made in our study of
selected families to get the parents' opinion of the work the children
were given at school, but very few parents felt they knew enough about
the work to express an opinion. A few to whom reference has already
been made thought the children gave too much time to study and not
enough to helping their parents, one or two spoke of the lack of
discipline, a few others thought the schooling must be all right as
the children learned to speak English. A Ukrainian mother of two
children, the oldest eight, "believes that it must be good, for the
children speak English and the oldest girl can read and write."

Sometimes the failure to understand what the children are doing brings
unnecessary worry. A Hungarian mother, speaking of the education of
her children, expressed regret that they were not taught carpentry.
The visitor turned to the eleven-year-old boy and asked him if he
didn't have manual training. He replied that he did, but "she doesn't

A careful study of the answers to the questions in our attempt to get
parents' attitude toward the children's schooling shows, then, that
while a few exceptional parents have been able to follow their
children's schooling, the great majority of them have not. It suggests
that some of them are willing and ready to do it if only some of the
obstacles were removed, and that there are also a large number who do
not realize the necessity of it, and for whom something more must be
done. The opportunity of the school, and various devices for rendering
aid at this point, that have been tried, will be discussed in a later

The failure of the parents to understand not only means confusion and
worry for them, but for the child lack of the help and sympathy at
home that they might have. It becomes more serious as the child
reaches the age when he is no longer compelled by law to attend
school, and the decision as to whether or not he shall go on rests
with his parents. When the parents have not known about the work he
has been doing, and have no means of judging how much or how little he
has learned, they are obviously in no position to make a decision
about his further education.

There are many forces at work to influence the immigrant parent to
put the child to work at once. There is, first of all, in many cases,
economic pressure. Sometimes the child's earnings are actually needed
to make up the family budget for current expenditures. In some
families, however, his earnings are not so much needed as desired, to
help in buying property more often than for any other reason. In these
cases it seems clear that the attitude toward the child as a means of
contributing to the welfare or prestige of the family is a very
important factor. One Polish doctor with whom we conferred emphasized
this point. He said that the Polish parent expected to stop work at an
early age and live on the earnings of his children. Hence he took his
children out of school as soon as the law allowed, and had them start

Another factor that undoubtedly plays an important part is the
parent's own lack of education. Never having had any opportunity for
more than the most elementary education, it is only natural that it
should seem that a child who had spent seven years in school should be
fairly well educated. This attitude is strengthened if he has
succeeded without education or if the people whom he looks upon as
successful have had little education. He is further confirmed in this
attitude very often by his failure to realize the extent of the change
in conditions and the ever-increasing complexity of the situation
with which his child will have to deal. Thus he often fails to
understand that an education that was quite adequate for the simple
life in the old country is far from sufficient for life in this
country to-day.

Some of the people with whom we conferred were of the opinion that
many of the parents from groups oppressed in Europe failed to realize
the full significance of the freedom here. There the higher positions
and the professions had been closed to them on account of race or
class, and many of them were not aware that here they would be open to
their children if they could give them the necessary education and

There are, fortunately, forces at work to counteract this tendency to
take the children out of school at the earliest possible moment. There
is, too, among the foreign born, a very general desire to have their
children do office work rather than manual labor, and an understanding
that this means more than a grammar-school education. There is a
certain naïve faith in the benefits of education even though they are
not understood. This is particularly strong in people to whom the
schools have been closed by a dominant race in Europe--the Jews from
Russia, for example. And in proportion as the parents become educated
so that they feel their own limitations, they appreciate education for
their children and strive to give it to them. There is no doubt that
all these influences are felt in the foreign-born groups, but they win
out gradually against the force of the traditions by which the parent
is guided in his decision to take the child out of school.

The American community could hasten their action by helping the
foreign-born parents to understand. There have been some attempts to
enlighten the parents. The work of the Vocational Guidance Bureau in
Chicago should be mentioned in this connection. When a child wants to
leave school to go to work they explain to the parents the importance
of keeping the child in school, and suggest means by which this can be
done. This happens, however, only after the decision and plans have
been made to put the child to work. The bureau has been handicapped in
dealing with foreign-born parents by its lack of foreign-speaking

An attempt of a different order has been made to reach the Bohemian
farmers in Nebraska. A professor in the state university has for a
number of years gone out to these farming communities, urging in
public speeches given in Bohemian the necessity of higher education
for the children, and especially for the girls.


The problem of the older boy and girl is by far the most difficult of
the parents' problems. Reference has already been made to the fact
that it is as the child grows older that the difficulties of
maintaining the old system of parental authority become more apparent.
It is at this time that the child sees that system is out of date, and
then, if ever, he rebels against it. There is considerable evidence
that the parents, on the other hand, feel the importance of
maintaining their authority at that period of the child's life more
than at any other. There are several reasons for this, among the more
important being the fact that the child has reached an age when he can
be economically helpful to the family group, and that the parents see
dangers in his path. In other words, the maintenance of parental
authority seems to be tied up with the control of the child's earnings
and the maintenance of certain conventions regarding the association
between young people of different sexes.[47]

The immigrant parent very generally asserts his legal right to the
entire earnings of his minor child. In fact, the child often continues
the practice of giving up his wages until his marriage. Out of
forty-three families studied, in which there were children of working
age, thirty-five parents took the entire earnings of the children. The
amount that the parent should give back to the child is not fixed by
law or by custom, and it is at this point that conflict between the
child and the parents is likely to arise.

The parents frequently expect to continue to provide for the boy and
the girl of working age as they did when they were younger, and to
recognize their maturity only by giving them small sums weekly for
spending money. In the case of girls even this slight concession is
not made, and the girl has to ask her mother for everything she wants.
In only four of the thirty-five families in which the children turned
in all their earnings was an allowance of as much as $3 a week given.
In the others the working child was given 25 cents, 50 cents, or 75
cents a week, usually on Sunday, or was given no fixed sum but "what
he needs." In a Slovak family a girl of sixteen earning $13 a week,
and one of fourteen earning $9 a week, were each given 50 cents each
pay day; a boy of fifteen in a Slovenian family, earning $15 a week,
received 50 cents on Sunday; two Slovak girls of eighteen and sixteen
years, earning $45 and $80 a month, turned in all their earnings and
got back "what they asked for."

It is not surprising that a boy or girl should chafe under the system
even if the resentment stopped short of open rebellion. In the
families studied in which there was no evidence of friction it seems
to have been avoided either by such a firm establishment of the
authority of the parents while the child was young, that the child
had not yet questioned it, or by wise use of the child's earnings for
the benefit of the child. In several instances it was reported that
they gave the child "all she asks"; one girl was being given lessons
on the violin, which she specially desired. In these cases the issue
did not appear to have been raised, but we have no reason for thinking
the children were satisfied with the arrangement.

In other families the beginnings of friction could already be seen. A
Russian woman said that her two working girls, aged seventeen and
fourteen, did not need money, and in the presence of the investigator
refused the request of one for money for a picture show, telling her
that men would pay her way. The eight parents who did not take all
their children's earnings had not all changed their practices
voluntarily. In some cases it was done because the children refused
any longer to turn their earnings in.

When the parent takes the entire earnings of the child and continues
to bear the burden of support, there is probably no question on which
the ideas of the child and those of the parent are so likely to
conflict as on the question of clothes, especially clothes for the
girl. The chaotic and unstandardized condition of the whole clothing
problem has been pointed out in an earlier chapter, and attention has
been called to the fact that it is one of the causes of conflict
between parent and child.

It is only natural that the young girl should want to look as well as
possible, and it is to be expected that the girl of foreign-born
parents should quickly learn at school or at work the prevailing
opinion that to be well dressed is to be dressed in the latest
fashion. She is also in a position to observe how quickly the fashions
change, and thus early learns the unimportance of quality in modern
clothing. She undoubtedly underestimates its importance because her
models are not those on display at the highest-grade department
stores, where the beauty of the quality occasionally redeems in slight
measure the grotesqueness of form; she sees only the cheap imitations
displayed in the stores in her own neighborhood.

In her main contention that if she is to keep up with the fashions she
need not buy clothing that will last more than one season, she is
probably right. It is natural also that this method of buying should
be distressing to her mother, who has been accustomed to clothes of
unchanging fashions which were judged entirely by their quality. When
to her normal distress at buying goods of poor quality at any price
there is added an outrage to her native thrift, because the price of
these tawdry fashionable goods is actually greater than for goods of
better quality, it is not surprising that she and her daughter should
clash on the question of what to buy.

The question of shoes is said to be a special point of conflict. The
girls insist on costly high-heeled, light-colored boots, while the
mother sees that she could buy at less than half the price better
shoes, more sensible, and of better quality. The conflict is more
acute in proportion as the mother has lived an isolated life in this
country and has not herself tried to keep up with American fashions.
It is interesting to note that workers in the Vocational Guidance
Bureau in Chicago state that this desire of the girls for expensive
clothes is a leading motive in causing them to leave school to go to


The most serious of the problems in connection with the older boy and
girl is that of the relations between the sexes. In the old country
the situation was much more easily defined. The conventions were
fixed, and had changed very little since the mother was young. In
Italy, for example, daughters never went out with young men, not even
after they were engaged. The same is said to be true in most of the
other countries from which our immigrants have come. In Croatia,
Serbia, and Bohemia it is unheard of for a young woman to go out alone
with a young man.

Moreover, coming as so many of these people do from small villages or
rural communities, they have been used to a single-group life which is
impossible in a city. As one Italian woman has expressed it, work and
recreation went hand in hand in the old country. During the day there
was the work of both men and women in the fields in congenial groups,
and in the evenings songs and dancing in the village streets. The
whole family worked and played together with other family groups.

It is not intended to assert that there were no problems with young
people in the old country, for undoubtedly there, as everywhere, some
of the young would be wayward and indifferent to the conventions. The
point is that there the mother knew what standards she was to maintain
and had, moreover, the backing of a homogeneous group to help her. In
this country not only is she herself a stranger, uncertain of herself,
not sure whether to try to maintain the standards of her home or those
that seem to prevail here, but the community of which she is a part is
far from being a homogeneous group and has apparently conflicting
standards. The immigrant mother, then, has to decide in the first
place what standards she will try to maintain.

The old standards can scarcely be maintained in a modern community
where the girls go to work in factories, working side by side with
men, going and coming home in the company of men. It is manifestly
impossible for the mother to watch her daughter at work. In the old
country this was possible as long as she stayed on the farm. And when
at school and at work she is constantly thrown with men, it is
impossible to regulate her social hours by the old standards and to
see that they are all spent under her mother's eye. Moreover, any
attempt to do so is likely to provoke resentment, as a girl naturally
thinks that if she can take care of herself at work she is equally
well able to do so at play.

Furthermore, the character of the recreation has undergone almost as
great a change as the character of the work. With the change from the
country to the city, it has already been suggested that the old group
life with its simple pleasures, which the whole family shared, has
become impossible. If the mother then tries to see that her daughter
has social life in which she herself may share, she either cuts her
off from most of the normal pleasures of young people of her age, or
the mother finds herself in places where she is not wanted, and where
no provision has been made for her entertainment.

Most immigrant parents, except those from southern Italy, recognize
the impossibility of maintaining the old rules of chaperonage and
guardianship of the girls. One of the Slovak women with whom we
conferred said that in all her circle of acquaintance there was only
one mother who was attempting to bring her daughter up by the old
standards and was not allowing her to go places in the evening where
the mother might not accompany her. All the others were allowing their
daughters more freedom than they thought desirable, but they did not
know what else to do.

The Italian parents, on the other hand, try to guard their girls
almost as closely as they did in Italy. It is not especially to be
wondered at, for what the immigrant father or mother sees is usually
the worst in American city life. If the daughter could not be trusted
alone or unchaperoned in a village in which they knew most of the
people and all the places of amusement, is she any more safe in a city
in which, as one foreign-born mother says, "You don't know what is
around the corner from you"?

Moreover, realizing only the danger to the girl, and not being able in
his ignorance to explain to her or to protect her in any other way,
the father often resorts to beating the girl to enforce the obedience
which generations have taught him is due to him. The head of the
Complaint Department of the Cook County Juvenile Court in Chicago said
that while cases of immorality were very rare among Italian girls, the
attention of the court was called to a great many who rebelled at this
attempt at seclusion and ran away from home, often contracting hasty
and ill-advised marriages.

While most parents of other nationalities see that the old standards
cannot be maintained, there is a great deal of confusion as to what
standards are to be considered right. This is illustrated by the
following incident. A very intelligent Jugo-Slav woman, in discussing
the problem, said that she did not know what she would do in her own
family, as she hated to think of her girls adopting American
standards. The matter had been brought to her attention recently by
the conduct of two girls with a young Serbian officer who was visiting
in this country. As he walked up one of the boulevards two girls, who
were utter strangers to him, had flourished small feather dusters in
his face by way of salutation. This woman was very much surprised to
hear that the investigator disapproved of this; she had supposed it
was just our "American freedom."

As long as the mother does not understand this tradition of freedom
between the sexes nor realize its limits, it is natural that she
should accept her daughter's dictum that everything she wants to do is
"American" and that it is hopeless for the mother to try to
understand. In many of the families visited in this study it was
evident that the mother had completely given up trying to understand
either the conditions under which her children work or how they get
their recreation. One mother, for example, said that she knew where
her daughter worked when it was a well-known place, but otherwise not.
Another said that her children told her where they worked, but she
never remembered the names, for she knew that they would mean nothing
to her.

Several said they did not try to advise their children about their
work, because they knew they didn't understand. One Russian mother was
very much worried about the future of her two boys, aged seventeen and
thirteen. The older was working as a cash boy, earning twelve dollars
a week, and the younger was working outside of school hours, sewing
caps. The mother said that their father had learned one trade and
followed that, but that her children changed work every two or three
months. She seldom asked why they changed, because she did not
understand conditions in Chicago.

Most of the women confessed to being equally at sea with regard to
their children's amusements. Some of them accepted with resignation
the fact that they could not understand, saying, as one woman did,
that she thought they had too much freedom, but that young people
lived very differently here. Some of the mothers, on the other hand,
while thinking that young people in general had too much freedom,
thought that they did not need worry about their own children,
because they had been able to make companions of their daughters. A
few even were found who approved of the freedom allowed to young
people, but thought children should be taught "more morality."

It is scarcely possible to say too much of the failure of the American
community to assist the immigrant family at this point. It has neither
tried to make the fathers and mothers understand modern American ways,
nor has it exercised any community supervision so that the girl is in
reality safe at work and at play. Furthermore, some of the agencies
from whom the most help might have been expected have deliberately
passed over the mother to educate the child, hastening the process by
which the child becomes Americanized in advance of his parents.

The Church has had its share, as may be seen from the statement of one
priest who holds a responsible position in the Church in Chicago. He
believes that the parents are usually too advanced in years to
assimilate or utilize whatever instruction is given them. In his
opinion the ignorance of the parent is responsible for many bad
tendencies in the children, but the difficulty can be corrected more
surely and satisfactorily by dealing directly with the children.

The attitude of the public schools is illustrated by an interview with
the principal of a public school in an immigrant neighborhood. He
says that his contact has been only with the children. The
foreign-born parents of the first generation are, in his opinion, "so
incorrigibly stupid" that any attempts to educate them are a waste of
time. The only possible way, he thinks, of reaching the parents is
through the children.


We should not expect the Juvenile Court, dealing as directly as it
does with problems resulting from the breakdown of family discipline,
to be itself a cause of breakdown. Nevertheless, interviews with court
officers show a certain lack of understanding and the use of methods
which, instead of relieving the situation, only aggravate it. When the
case of a delinquent girl, for instance, comes to court, the officers
believe that it has usually gone too far for the court to do anything
with the family. The child is often placed out in a family home,
always an American family; and the probation officer supervises the
child and the foster home, but pays no attention to the child's own
home, where younger children may be growing up in the same way and to
which, ultimately, the delinquent girl should be allowed and
encouraged to return.

The probation officers know very little of the old-country background
of the people with which they deal, and are often not clear as to the
differences in nationality. The foreign-born parent's ignorance of
laws and customs, and his inability to speak English, make him appear
stupid to the officer. As a result, he may be ignored as quite

In the absence of the court interpreter the child may be called upon
to interpret to the parent the whole proceedings in court. While this
is less common now than it was a few years ago, there is no reason to
believe that the child is less used as interpreter between the
probation officer and the parent at home.

From the records of the court proceedings it is often quite evident to
the reader that the foreign-born parent has little idea of the reasons
why he or his child should have been brought to court. In one Bohemian
family studied the eldest boy, aged sixteen, was in the State School
for Delinquent Boys. The parents seemed utterly unaware of the serious
nature of the boy's offenses and of the blot on his record. They
seemed to regard the school for delinquents somewhat as more
prosperous parents are wont to regard the boarding school. In fact,
they expressed regret that the boy was soon to be released. Yet this
boy had been in the Juvenile Court three times; the first time for
truancy, and the other two for stealing.

The attention of the community is usually called to the difficulties
of the foreign-born parents only when a complete breakdown occurs,
resulting in juvenile delinquency. This result is, however,
comparatively rare. Most families work their way through without
getting into a situation that calls public attention to their family
affairs. There is no question, however, that there is often a lack of
harmony in the home. Sometimes the child of working age leaves home,
to board perhaps in the same neighborhood or to contract a hasty

Occasionally there are situations in which the ordinary relations of
parent and child have been completely reversed, and the children have
assumed responsibility for the management of the home and the family.
For instance, the Juvenile Court was asked by the neighbors to
investigate conditions in a Polish family, in which a six-year-old boy
was said to be neglected. The investigation showed no real neglect
from the point of view of the court, but a situation that needed

The mother was a widow and had, besides the six-year-old boy, two
daughters aged seventeen and nineteen. Both girls were born in
Austria. The father had preceded his family to the United States, and
for five years the mother had worked and supported herself and the
children in the old country before he was able to send for them. He
seems not to have had a very good moral influence over the children,
but had been dead several years. The daughters were both supporting
the mother, who was doing one or two days' work a week. The daughters
turned over all their earnings to the mother, but said that she was a
poor manager and never had anything to show for it. They themselves
had managed to buy new furniture and clothes for themselves. They said
they were ashamed to go out with their mother, who remained
unprogressive, would not dress as they liked, and would not manage the
home as they wished. The girls told the officer that they did not take
her out with them, but gave her money to go to the "movies." Yet she
would do nothing but sit at home and cry.

At one time the boy was accused of stealing coal from a neighbor. The
oldest girl wanted her mother to investigate, but the mother would not
go near any of her American neighbors. The daughter herself found out
that the child had really taken the coal from a neighbor, and whipped
him. Gradually the daughters, especially the older one, have assumed
entire control of the family. The mother can no longer discipline even
the six-year-old boy. Since the daughter has undertaken to correct
him, he pays no attention at all to his mother. The probation officer
has tried to restore a more normal family relationship, and has tried
to help the girls to understand their mother's position. She still
speaks with pride of the five years in the old country when she
supported them alone, and when she was really of some use to them.

The older daughter threatened for some time to leave home if her
mother could not be more agreeable. When the court officer
remonstrated, she said that of course she would leave her furniture,
and could not be convinced that that would not entirely compensate.
Later she did leave home, and took some of her furniture. The family
are Catholics, but the mother no longer goes to church, and, though
the girls go, the priest seems to have had no influence over them.

Although the great majority of the foreign-born parents succeed in
bringing up their children without the children becoming delinquent,
the minority who are not successful is large enough to cause grave
concern. This has been shown in all figures in juvenile delinquency. A
study of delinquent children before the Cook County Juvenile Court
shows that 72.8 per cent of the 14,183 children brought to the court
between July 1, 1899, and June 30, 1909, had foreign-born parents.[48]
A special study of 584 of these, who were delinquent boys, showed 66.9
per cent with foreign-born parents.[49] A comparison of the nativity
of the parents of children in the Juvenile Court with the proportion
of each group in the married population of Chicago indicates that the
number of parents of delinquent children in the foreign-born group is
disproportionately large. That is, the foreign born form 57 per cent
of the married population of Chicago, while "at least 67 per cent of
the parents of delinquent boys of the court were foreign born, and
there is reason to believe that the true percentage is above 67."[50]

This preponderance of children from immigrant homes must not be taken
to mean that children of foreign-born parents are naturally worse than
the children of American parents. It confirms the fact that immigrant
parents have special difficulties in bringing up their children and
are in need of special assistance. It suggests very forcibly the
danger to the community in continuing to ignore their special needs.


[44] Breckinridge and Abbott, _The Delinquent Child and the Home_, p.

[45] See Thomas and Znaniecki, _The Polish Peasant_, vol. i.

[46] Abbott and Breckinridge, _Truancy and Nonattendance in the
Chicago Schools_, chap. viii, p. 129.

[47] See Jane Addams, _Twenty Years at Hull House_, chap. xi.

[48] Breckinridge and Abbott, _The Delinquent Child and the Home_, p.

[49] _Ibid._, p. 61.

[50] Breckinridge and Abbott, _The Delinquent Child and the Home_, p.
62. See _U. S. Twelfth Census Population_, vol. ii, p. 314, Table



In the former chapters an attempt has been made to set out some of the
difficulties encountered by foreign-born families who attempt to
establish themselves in the United States. The discussion has dealt
with the problem as though the community were one factor and the
immigrant family another factor, and as though the solution to be
arrived at could be discovered by bringing them into new relations to
each other. This treatment is justified, in view of the fact that even
a slight analysis makes it clear that certain modifications in
governmental and social machinery are highly desirable. When the
limitations imposed by the war on freedom of migration have been
removed, the possibility of dealing more wisely and more humanely with
incoming family groups must be considered.

In a very real sense, during any period when the volume of immigration
is considerable, the community _is_ one factor and the immigrant _is_
another factor, and a partial solution is to be found in a new
treatment of the relationships between these two. But in another sense
the discussion is inadequate and perhaps misleading. The relationship
between the community and the immigrant is not mechanical, but
organic. So soon as he is admitted, he is in fact a part of the
community, and what will be done, what can be done, depends in part at
least upon the extent to which that relationship is developed. The
currents of the community life must flow through and both enrich and
be enriched by the life of the newcomer. If these currents are
obstructed, he neither shares nor contributes as he might.

These channels of intercourse, however, have often been so obstructed
that contacts have been denied. That segregation and separation have
characterized the life of many of the groups for considerable periods
of time has become a commonplace, and it has been generally known that
the life of these different foreign-born groups was separate from the
general life of the community, and the life of one group separate from
the life of other groups. But the fact that within these separate
groups was developed often a fairly rich and highly organized life has
not been so widely recognized.


During the war, for example, the community became aware of the fact
that within these national groups there had developed more or less
powerful and efficient organizations formerly active in behalf of
political interests in the old country, capable, at least, of
fostering a spirit of clannishness, of perpetuating the language,
customs, and ideals of an alien population in the midst of American
life, and of keeping alive in this country national and racial
antipathies brought from Europe. Leaders in the European struggle came
to these groups and obtained pecuniary support and political
adherence. Recruiting for military service among the foreign born was
successfully carried on.

Leaders of active societies among the different Slavic groups have
stated quite freely that a spirit of unity and of nationality has been
consciously fostered in America by these societies, so that, when the
time came for the oppressed nation to strike for freedom in the
European struggle, the representatives of the race in this country
might stand solidly behind such efforts. It is impossible, after the
exhibition of the generous support given among foreign-born groups
during the war to the efforts of the United States, to raise the
question of their loyalty; but their separateness has been far
greater, their exclusion from many community efforts and activities
far more complete, than the leaders among them had realized.

The leaders among the foreign born do not wholly blame the leaders of
the "American" group; they seem to feel that immigrants who came at an
earlier date are in part to blame. These earlier arrivals knew what
immigration meant, and might have been expected to help open the way
for those who came afterward, but were, in fact, chiefly concerned to
get ahead and to leave old associations behind. This was the opinion
expressed by a Bohemian business man prominent in both local and
national organizations. He also said that the reason that had in the
past led to the formation and support of these organizations had
ceased to exist; but now that the European struggle against oppression
had ended for his people, and leaders understood how separate the life
of the foreign-born groups had been, these very societies could be
used to establish a variety of contacts and to develop among the
foreign born a wider interest in the United States and its problems.
Particularly the ability to act together learned during the war should
be used to develop effective co-operation.

As the organization of these societies is discussed in another volume
in this series, they will not be described here, except as they affect
the position of women and so exercise an influence upon the adjustment
of family life.[51]

Possibly the most significant fact revealed in the course of the
study has been the extent to which foreign-born groups have been
inaugurating and developing educational and social movements, and
establishing institutions and agencies, quite independent of the
Federal, state, or local agencies at work along the same general
lines. On the other hand, the national educational and welfare
movements carried on by the "American people" have ignored the
organization and leadership in the foreign-born community. This has
been the case to an amazing extent, even when the public efforts have
been ostensibly based upon studies of conditions existing in cities
with a population that is largely of foreign birth.

When no channels of communication between the immigrant and the larger
community seem to have been established, we have been concerned to
inquire how such channels can be most effectively created. The
barriers that through ignorance, indifference, and misunderstanding on
either side have been allowed to grow up must be broken down. We have
tried to follow up such avenues of communication as have opened
naturally before us, after becoming acquainted with some of the
leaders in the different groups.

The organizations with which we have become somewhat acquainted are
representative of the types found in all the main Slavic groups and
among the Lithuanians, Hungarians, Rumanians, and Greeks. Suggestions
applicable to them indicate a basis of co-operation with a very large
proportion of our foreign-born population.

A list of the principal racial organizations in the United States is
included in the Appendix. Information about local branches of these
organizations can usually be secured by correspondence.


The first incentive to organization among all the groups seems to have
been the precarious economic situation during the years of effort to
get a foothold here. The first association of the newly arrived
immigrant is one of mutual aid. "Benefit" will be found as the basis
of the important foreign-born organizations, no matter what new
purposes may have been taken on with the establishment and progress of
the group as a whole.

[Illustration: WHO WILL WELCOME THEM?]

In the interviews we have had with the leaders among the groups the
point has been repeatedly emphasized that Americans can never
appreciate the situation of immigrants during their first ten years in
this country. The strangeness, the poverty, the pressure to send money
home, the inadequate, irregular income, the restriction to the
low-skilled job--"there is in America, at first, nothing for an
immigrant but the shovel"--the lack of knowledge of money values and
ignorance of American domestic and social practices--these
conditions drive the immigrants into co-operative effort. The appeal
sent out by a Russian national society organized in 1912 begins with
some such words as these:

     While we are in this country we are doing the lowest kind of
     work, and many accidents happen to us; if we do not belong to
     an organization we are without help.... The purpose of our
     brotherhood is to help our brethren in a strange country.

Not even in associated effort can they always find security, however.
One of the reasons now being given very often by immigrants seeking
passage back to Europe is their feeling of uncertainty about their
future here. They say that America is all right so long as a man is
young and strong enough to do the hard work in the industries, but
they cannot see what is in store for them as they grow older, for they
cannot save enough to provide for themselves; in Europe, a little land
and a cottage are assurance of the necessities for old age.

There are, of course, many cases in which there is failure within the
group as there is neglect without. Exploitation of immigrants by their
fellow countrymen, and the evils of fraudulent banks, steamship
companies, "tally-men," are well known. At the same time there is a
great mass of neighborly service and of kindness of the poor to the
poor, and of the stranger to the more recent comer.

Benefit societies based either on neighborhood associations here or on
village association in Europe, soon grow up. These are usually
self-assessment societies, in which each member pays a small sum each
month, often only 25 cents. Out of the funds thus raised, a sick
benefit of from $3 to $5 a week is paid. On the death of a member an
assessment of from 50 cents to $1 is laid on the surviving members,
and the resulting sum is paid to the bereaved family, helping to meet
the funeral expenses.

Such societies are not incorporated, their officers are usually
without business training, and they are often unstable. They include,
however, a considerable proportion of the more recent immigrants, who,
through fear of falling into distress and dread of charity, are
influenced to keep up the membership. In addition to the money
benefit, these neighborhood societies often mean friendly interest and
help in nursing, in the care of the children, and in household work.
As the fees are low and as provision for the sick benefit seems very
important, a person often belongs to several such societies.

Owing to the instability of these organizations the effort is often
made to combine them and to establish them on a sound financial basis
as national fraternal insurance societies. These societies substitute
fraternal insurance for the sick and death benefit. As the immigrant
family gains a foothold in the new community the members are likely
to join a national fraternal insurance society or, in the second
generation, an organization of the type of the Catholic Order of
Foresters, Knights and Ladies of Security, Tribe of Ben Hur, or
Woodmen of the World.

The national fraternal insurance society is, among the Slavs, highly
organized. Often in one national group as many as three flourishing
societies will be found, with membership determined by religious or
political preferences. As they exist now, these societies are all much
alike, differing in the elaborateness of their organization in
accordance with the period covered by the immigration of the group or
with the strength of its cohesion in America. Leaders who wish to
communicate directly with the great body of their co-nationals in
America, do so through the channels provided by these organizations.

As the group develops a feeling of confidence, the insurance function
becomes less urgent. In fact, officers of the national societies
predict that the societies will gradually abandon the field of
insurance and develop along other lines. Many societies already admit
a considerable number of uninsured persons, who join in order to share
in other enterprises. It would be neither possible nor profitable to
describe all the groups, but the organization of a Croatian society
and the relation of women to certain societies in the Polish and
Lithuanian groups will be briefly discussed.


The strongest societies among the Croatians are the National Croatian
Society of 50,000 members, and the Croatian League of Illinois of
39,000 members, sometimes called the "New Society," which in spite of
its name is really a national organization.

The purpose of the National Croatian Society is set forth in its

     ... to help people of the Croatian race residing in America,
     in cases of distress, sickness, and death, to educate and
     instruct them in the English language and in other studies to
     fit them for the duties of life and citizenship with our
     English-speaking people, to teach them and impress upon them
     the importance and duty of being naturalized under the laws
     of the United States, and of educating their children in the
     public schools of the country; these purposes to be carried
     out through the organization and establishment of a supreme
     assembly and subordinate assemblies of the Croatian people
     with schools and teachers.

Those eligible to become members are:

     Croatians or other Slavs who speak and understand the
     Croatian language, of all creeds excepting Jews. All between
     the ages of sixteen and fifty may be admitted, provided they
     are neither ill nor epileptic nor disabled, are not living in
     concubinage, and have not been expelled from the national

The structure of the society is quite elaborate, and the conditions of
admission and of membership, the organization and conduct of the
lodges, the relations among the lodges and between a lodge and the
national society, are all carefully specified in the constitution and

Lodges are often organized on a sex basis, and in a community in which
there is a lodge for men and a lodge for women, no one of one sex can
be admitted to the lodge organized for the other. There is no special
notice taken of women's interests in the structure of the national
society, but there are local women's lodges, and women constitute
about one tenth of the total membership.

The functions of these local lodges, aside from their official
relation to the national organization, as specified by the by-laws,

     ... to assist those members who do not know how to read and
     write (either an officer or member shall, at least once a
     week, teach such members reading and writing); to establish
     libraries for members and gradually supply the same with the
     best and most necessary books; to hold entertainments with a
     view to building up the lodge treasury and to provide for
     brotherly talk and enjoyment.

The officers and members of some of the local lodges in Chicago have
endeavored to develop and extend the social and recreational features
of the lodges to meet what they believe to be one of the greatest
needs of their people, but the efforts have so far met with little

Failure has been attributed to conditions found in the community and
to the altered circumstances of family life in America. It has been
difficult to find suitable meeting places, as Croatian people have no
halls of their own and do not feel at home in the neighborhood
recreation center. Any kind of recreational activity planned is, of
necessity, so different from that to which these men and women are
accustomed, that it does not interest them at once. Large families of
small children make it impossible for men and women to take their
recreation together, or for women to leave their homes at all except
for a very short time.

Leaders whom we have consulted feel, however, that it is only through
the development of such organizations within the group that Croatian
women can be drawn into any social or recreational activities in
considerable numbers; for, because they feel peculiarly strange and
ill at ease when with persons who are not of Croatian origin, they
lead secluded lives.

The important projects of the National Croatian Society have been the
raising of funds for the establishment in each large colony of a
national headquarters under the name Croatian Home, and for the
erection and maintenance of an invalid home. A "National Fund," into
which each member pays a cent a month, is created for the "culture and
enlightenment of Croatians." The orphan children of members of the
society are given the preference in the distribution of any benefit
paid from the national fund.


The Croatian community in the United States has been peculiarly
confronted with the problem of care of orphan children. The estimated
number of orphan children is large in proportion to the number of
Croatian families because a very large proportion of the Croatian men
work at low-grade labor in the steel industry, in which fatal
accidents are common.

At the last convention of several of the national societies, the
representatives agreed to form a new national council especially to
undertake the care of orphan children and to raise funds for this
cause. The plan was formed to buy a tract of land in the vicinity of
Chicago, on which an orphan home and training school were to be
erected. The sum of $10,000 was devoted to the site and $100,000 to
buildings. As free thinking has spread rapidly among Croatians in
America, it was intended to establish a nonsectarian institution and
to take children of free-thinking parents away from the Roman Catholic
schools as well as to provide for children who should be later

Through contacts established in the course of this study, the leaders
in this group have been led to inquire concerning American methods of
child care. Attention was directed to the latest standard discussions
on the subject.[52] After some consideration of the method of caring
for dependent children by placing them in family homes, the Chicago
Croatian committee decided to delay action on the erection of a costly
institution, to take time for further study and to hold a conference
with the national committee representing the other Croatian societies
interested. In the meantime action has been taken to change the name
of the new national organization from the "Society for the Erection of
a Croatian Orphanage" to the "Society for the Care of Croatian
Orphans," and the by-laws of the society are being rewritten so that
the movement need not be committed to institutional care at the
outset, but will be free to choose in the light of the best
information at hand.

Some of the leading members of the committee are convinced that
placing-out should be included in their plan, but feel that it may
take some time to convince the Croatian people of this wish to delay
operation until the question can be freely discussed throughout the
whole Croatian community in America. Plans are now being made for the
national committee, representing all the societies interested, to
confer with the representatives of public and private child-placing
agencies. The question arises as to how relations may be established
between such organizations in the separate national groups and those
in the American community who are concerned with improved methods in
the care of dependent children. Until provision is made that such
information will be shared with members of groups like these as a
matter of course, there is great loss and waste.


The Polish people are, no doubt, the most highly organized of the
Slavic nationalities. It may be said that Chicago is their national
center in the United States, and the headquarters of the three great
national fraternal insurance societies, the Roman Catholic Union of
America, the Polish National Alliance, and the Polish Women's
Alliance. As these organizations are much alike in general plan, a
description of the organization, character, and methods of work of one
will give an idea of them all.

While these societies have always been divided upon political issues,
and while there has been at times considerable bitterness in the
antagonism between them, they have been able to unite their efforts in
important undertakings for the general welfare of the Poles throughout
the United States. Common interest in the Polish cause during the
war, too, has united them as never before, and there is every reason
for the confident expectation that they will co-operate in any new
projects undertaken for the benefit of the Polish community in

The Polish National Alliance is the largest single organization. In
addition to providing insurance, this society carries on, through its
national organization, extended work of a social and educational

There is, for example, among its "commissions," an Emigration
Commission for aiding immigrants, which is charged with the duty of
framing rules for the proper supervision of homes established for the
care of newcomers. Under this Commission the Alliance has maintained
immigrant aid stations in New York, Baltimore, and Boston. In New York
there is a home in which immigrant girls and women arriving alone may
be accommodated until relatives can be located.

The Chicago office co-operates with the offices at the ports of entry
in securing information about relatives of Alliance members, and in
case of special necessity arranges to have immigrants destined for
Chicago met at the station. As relatives are supposed to be notified
of the expected arrival before the women leave New York, the Chicago
office has done little in this direction. The need for such services,
however, has been made clear in the Annual Reports of the Immigrants'
Protective League, showing the numbers of unattended Polish girls
coming to Chicago to be much larger than the number in any other
national group.

The Polish National Alliance has been carrying on a number of
projects, both for the Polish people throughout the country and for
the local community in Chicago. During the war many forms of work that
had been developed for the service of Poles in the United States were
laid aside for the more urgent needs of the time, and the funds of
this organization were devoted to the support of the Red Cross and of
other relief work. When the needs especially arising out of the war
have been met and the necessity for sending relief to Poland is no
longer urgent, these projects, abandoned for the time, will be taken
up again. Polish immigration has for a time ceased. In the opinion of
the Poles in Chicago it will be very light for years after the war, so
that projects hereafter undertaken will be concerned with the welfare
of the community as it has become established in the United States.


There is a Women's Department, directed by a committee of fifteen
women members. The central government frames regulations for this
department "conformably to the requirements of a given moment." An
illustration of its activities can be found in a movement initiated to
maintain oversight of the employment of Polish girls and women. A
great many Polish girls go into domestic work in private homes and in
hotels and restaurants. Because girls from the rural districts in
Poland find customs and living conditions here so different the
societies have undertaken to study the problem. In order to
investigate places of employment the women found they must represent a
regularly licensed employment agency. Some delay in securing a license
has held up their work, but they plan to establish in the near future
a "Polish Women's Employment Agency."

Many cases came to their attention showing the need of protective work
and legal aid for workingwomen, so that in 1917 the "Polish Women's
Protective League" was organized to provide free legal advice and aid
to Polish workingwomen.

The official organ of the Polish National Alliance is a weekly
publication, _Zgoda_. There is a daily, the _Dziennik Zwaizkowy_, that
has a semi-official status. The Women's Department is represented in
the official organ by one page of ordinary newspaper size, without
illustration. In the daily paper one page each week is devoted to
items of especial value to women. Different material is used in the
two issues, but both give considerable space to such subjects as
household management, the care of children, and problems of health and

There is, in fact, a marked development among the Polish, Bohemian,
Slovenian, and Lithuanian groups, of a definite division between the
men's and the women's departments. This began first in the local
lodges as they grew from mere meetings for the payment of dues into
something more in the order of a center for the discussion of
questions of importance in group or family life, or for action on
those questions.

A woman who, more than eighteen years ago, organized one of the first
lodges in the Polish National Alliance said that in the lodges of
mixed membership women were supposed to have the same rights and
privileges as men. As a matter of fact, she said that they had no
voice in matters in which they felt their interest as women were
especially concerned; the women were always in the minority, and there
were very few who would even voice an opinion in the presence of men.

The older women in the community came, therefore, to feel that there
were many problems of vital interest and importance for the immigrant
woman upon which action would never be taken in the lodge meeting, in
which there was a mixed membership. They believed, too, that the
meetings of the local lodge might become a real source of help to the
newly arrived immigrant women. The women's lodge was therefore formed,
and to the first meetings came women who still wore the handkerchiefs
over their heads. Some of the more prosperous members protested that
they did not want such women as these in the lodge, but the leaders
insisted that their purpose in organizing women's lodges had been to
reach through them just such women. The leaders felt that women who
knew little of American life and customs would gradually acquire that
knowledge by coming into the lodge.

A lodge of this kind under the leadership of progressive women of the
older immigration has become a center in which are discussed many of
the questions the women have to face for the first time. The plan in
the Polish National Alliance is to have lodges so organized that women
from Russian Poland may be in one, those from Galicia in another, or
to organize lodges on the basis of the neighborhood association in the
United States.

It is hoped that by such a plan as this the more backward women may be
drawn into some of the social activities of the Polish community.
Although English has not been the language of the meetings, women have
been encouraged to learn English as soon as possible after their
arrival. The older women urge the younger women to acquire the
language. They have learned the importance of a knowledge of the
language to the mother of boys and girls who are growing up in
surroundings of which the mother knows little, and where custom and
convention are so different from those to which she was accustomed.

With the multiplication of women's lodges came the demand on the part
of the women for representation in the national organization. As a
result, the Women's Auxiliary has been given an official place, and
women have been elected to the national board of directors.

Polish women have felt that the welfare of the group as a whole is
largely dependent upon the fitness of the women to meet the new
situation. They have recognized the fact that, because of the national
attitude toward women, Polish women of the class represented by the
bulk of the immigration are very backward. They have therefore sought
to inaugurate a campaign for the education of women on a national

Another interesting development has been the growth of national
organizations for women alone. One of the earliest and best known of
these is the Polish Women's Alliance, an example of organized effort
of women to deal with their own problems on a national scale. The
leaders in this enterprise were women who, through their own
experiences as immigrants, and through contact with those who came
later, had come to realize both the nature of the problems women were
called upon to meet and the different position of women in America.

One of the women who had been active in inaugurating the movement
spoke of the extreme difficulty of such work in the Polish community
because of the prejudice against women's taking part in anything
outside of their homes. Some of the more advanced women thought that
the welfare of the whole Polish community was retarded by the
ignorance and indifference and prejudices of the women which kept them
clinging to Old-World methods and customs entirely unsuited to the new
conditions. They hoped that by building a clubhouse for women, with
library and reading rooms, a large hall for assemblies, and small
rooms for clubs and classes, they might gradually interest the women
in something outside their homes.

No one thought it possible, however, for women to organize in this
way, much less to carry on a national movement and to build a
clubhouse, as they have succeeded in doing. Some leading women felt
that education must come, if at all, through the women's own efforts,
and that the education involved in work for the organization more
nearly than any other experience touched the needs of these women, in
that it drew them out of their older habits and encouraged them to
take the initiative and so to gain the self-confidence they lacked.

The organization was at first possible only because of the benefit
features through which the support could be gained of men and women
who had no interest or confidence in such educational projects as
attempt to interest the women in clean streets, satisfactory disposal
of garbage, and improved housing conditions.

This movement does not represent hostility to the great joint
organization. Most of the women interested in developing the movement
have been members of the Polish National Alliance; but they have
thought that to give the women a sense of confidence it was necessary
to have a women's organization, quite independent of the men's. And
there have developed then the three relationships between men and
women: (1) the Women's Department as one of the divisions of work in
the Alliance; (2) the Women's Auxiliary to the men's society, and (3)
the National Women's Organization, in which men are not members.


The idea of the separate woman's organization finds an interesting
illustration in the Lithuanian Woman's Alliance. This national
society, independent of any other organization, was organized in 1915
in Chicago. Only Lithuanian Catholic women who are in good standing in
the Church are admitted. The society has now grown, until there are
over five thousand members in different Lithuanian communities
throughout the United States.

The society was organized for the education of Lithuanian women in
America. Those interested in the organization recognized that it would
be very difficult to obtain support for such a movement among women of
the type they most wished to interest unless it had the indorsement of
the Catholic Church.

There are two departments, an educational (_Absvieta_) and a benefit
(_Pasalpa_). It was recognized by the leaders that little appeal could
be made to women for an educational enterprise, for the majority of
women are too ignorant and indifferent; but like the Polish women they
knew that "benefit" would appeal to every immigrant woman, for all
belong to at least one friendly insurance society. The poorer women
and the more recent immigrants are associated in the little parish
self-assessment societies, in which each pays a small monthly fee,
usually twenty-five cents. Membership in a substantial fraternal
insurance society costs more than they can afford to pay.

The Lithuanian Woman's Alliance provides insurance for 35 cents a
month. The benefit department provides for the payment of a death
benefit of $150, and $5 per week will be paid upon request to any
member who is sick more than two weeks. In each case in which benefit
is granted, two visitors are appointed to make arrangements for
hospital care if necessary, and to render any other needed assistance.

The idea back of this organization has been to help immigrant women to
adjust themselves to the new circumstances of life in America; the
method chosen has been through education along general and very
practical lines, beginning at the point where the women themselves
have come to recognize their needs. The fact that few of these women
can read even in their own language makes it very difficult to reach
them. At present, however, the task seems less difficult than ever
before. The fact that fewer lodgers are taken, that in some cases the
higher wages have lessened the pecuniary problems--even the fact that
women have been drawn outside the home to work--these facts, together
with the activities of women in war work, have served to give them a
sense of identity with the American community; so that there is now a
greater demand for English lessons than ever before. Many women now
realize the necessity of speaking the English language, and women who
read in Lithuanian are eager to learn to read English so that they
"may know what is in the attractive-looking magazines they see on the
news stands."

The educational department is open to all women, whether they wish to
avail themselves of the benefit or not, but the benefit department is
open only upon condition that members also take part in the
educational movement. Dues in the educational department alone are ten
cents a month. The educational program is to be carried on through the
local lodge and the official organ, _Woman's Field_, issued monthly by
the central committee.

The magazine, aside from such space as is needed for official notices,
is devoted to educational material. A typical number includes articles
on questions of general interest to women everywhere. Emphasis is laid
on the necessity for women's learning English and assuming the duties
of citizenship. One page each month devoted to questions of general
hygiene and the care of children is edited by a Lithuanian woman
physician. A page or section is given to instruction in the
preparation of food, as the Lithuanians realize that one of the
gravest problems for their people here has been that of diet. Space is
given to articles about Lithuania, "so that the young people may know
that they need not be ashamed of their country."

The educational work planned for the local lodge includes instruction
along many lines. Classes are held two evenings a week in the parish
halls. The work of one of the more active lodges gives an idea of the
scope of the undertaking. This chapter numbers over fifty members.
Regular monthly meetings for the payment of dues and transaction of
business are held on Sunday afternoon in the parish hall. After the
business is finished there is a social hour.

Weekday classes have been held on two evenings each week; on one,
English and sewing classes are held; on the other, cooking and
housekeeping classes. Women who have had greater advantages in Europe
as well as in the United States give their services as teachers. All
courses are planned for women who have had very little opportunity in
either country; the president of one of the lodges said, in explaining
their program, "You know Lithuanian women are not high up like
American women--they do not know how to keep house or cook or take
care of babies."

On one evening in the week the whole time is devoted to housekeeping.
The church hall has been equipped with a gas stove, a set of cooking
utensils, dining-room table, linen, dishes, and silver. Lessons are
given in the preparation and serving of a meal. Some attention is
given to food values, but the object is mainly to show women how to
prepare wholesome food as economically as possible. Processes of
canning, preserving, and drying fruits and vegetables are
demonstrated, as they are wholly new to most of the women. The women
are also shown how to scrub, wash dishes, and care for clothing.

Reference might also be made to a local society organized by
Lithuanian women about twelve years ago on a mutual-benefit basis, for
educational purposes, which were stated in the constitution to be:

     ... to provide sick and death benefit; to organize Lithuanian
     women for a better and larger education; to provide evening
     and day classes in reading, writing, sewing, sanitary
     housekeeping, and the care of children; to provide lectures,
     books, and programs to interest women in health and
     education; to encourage friendship among Lithuanian women,
     and provide social life; to provide scholarships for students
     seeking higher education; to encourage writers; to encourage
     women to read the newspapers in Lithuanian and English.

These women, who have all been in the United States for a considerable
period, and know the needs of the newcomers, have fitted up a
housekeeping center in the public park center in their neighborhood.
They have a kitchen and dining-room equipment consisting of a stove, a
set of cooking utensils, and a dining table with service. Here cooking
classes are held once a week, the lessons given by the women who are
skilled in cookery.

The attempt is made to create an interest in food values, in proper
cooking, and in wise spending. In housekeeping lessons, washing,
scrubbing, washing windows, and even dishwashing and the setting of
the table are taught. Classes in English have been organized, but
these women have suffered as others have suffered from a lack of
teachers skilled in teaching this kind of a group, and from a lack of
classroom material suited to their needs.

The Polish and the Lithuanian societies illustrate the organized
effort of women in those groups in which the group life is highly
developed, in which a number of women have become conscious of
separate needs and undertake to assist in the development of others of
their sex.


Among the Ukrainian women the beginnings of this process can be
observed, but in this case there is common effort on the part of the
most progressive men and women in behalf of the more backward women.
We are told that the Ukrainian women have much greater authority and
responsibility in the United States than in the Ukraine, so that some
men say that here "the laws are made for women." They spend the money,
discipline the children, and direct the household life. Many of the
women have been poorly fitted, by their inferior status at home, for
their new duties, and the Ukrainian Women's Alliance was organized in
1917 by both men and women in an attempt to meet this situation.

This organization, too, is based on the benefit idea, which all the
women can understand, but plans are already laid for a comprehensive
educational program to be carried out not only through educational
centers in the local lodges, but through a magazine of national
circulation. This is a complete innovation, as there has never before
existed among the Ukrainians a woman's association, nor has any
attention been paid to their interests in Ukrainian publications. The
organ of the Alliance had in October, 1919, put out four issues, and
met with so cordial a response that its next number was double the
size of the first numbers and the sales at news stands were sufficient
to cover the cost of these first numbers.

The contents of one number indicate the purposes sought by its
publication. Of the articles, one describes the organization of the
Alliance, one discusses the relation of the institution of the home to
the community, with special stress laid on the responsibilities of the
mother in the home, one explains the woman-suffrage movement and urges
the importance of woman's place in government. There is a department
devoted to diet, food values, and recipes, and one devoted to hygiene,
with special emphasis on child care.

In some of the other national groups the number of men is still so far
in excess of the number of women that the energies of the group seem
to have been absorbed in dealing with the problems of the men or of
getting a foothold as a group.


This does not apply to the Italian community. While benefit societies
among the Italians are very numerous, there has until recently been
little movement toward a national organization similar to those among
the Poles and Lithuanians. The deep division in dialect, custom, and
feeling between people from different sections of Italy accounts for
the number of societies as well as for the lack of affiliation among
them. Three of the largest societies in Chicago, in which membership
is largely Sicilian, are now affiliated, but no effort has been
discovered to make use of the organization as a basis for domestic
educational enterprise.

Women are admitted to many of the societies on the same terms as men,
but rarely attend meetings. There are many small self-assessment
societies for women alone, but they have no social or educational
feature; members seldom meet, and dues are often sent in by children.

The idea of using their own organizations as a means of carrying on
educational work among women is a novel one in the Italian community,
but it is being recognized as a possible method of attacking the great
need for education in maternal and infant welfare, in the care of
small children, and in sanitary housekeeping.

The Italian physicians, for example, realize that the women need
instruction, and the Italian Medical Association, in May, 1919,
planned a series of lectures for mothers, in Italian, on these
subjects, but found that there were great difficulties in reaching the
mothers with such material. It is therefore very important that every
device be tried for reaching the more intelligent women, who with the
helpful neighborliness that exists in all the neighborhoods would
share with their less-informed sisters the benefits of their aroused


It is clear, then, that highly organized societies established
primarily for mutual insurance often undertake educational and social
projects which tend to overshadow their original purpose as the
economic position of the members of the national group becomes more
stable. Leaders who are inaugurating national educational movements in
the less well-established groups are consciously using the benefit
feature because of its universal appeal, and employing the general
methods and machinery of the fraternal insurance organization.

Modification of the official machinery is the inevitable result of the
change in purpose. We find, for instance, that the local lodge,
originally only a meeting for the payment of dues, becomes a center
for discussion of problems of concern to the local community or to the
national group, and often the field in which the educational program
planned by the national society is carried out.

The official organ, designed to carry official communication and news,
tends to subordinate this function to the educational and cultural
features. To a certain extent it becomes a national educational
journal. It is to be noted that with the separation of men's and
women's lodges and the growth of the influence of women in the
national policy of the society, the section of the official organ
devoted to the interests of women is extended. The very real problem
of the immigrant woman in adjusting herself and the family life to the
new conditions here, is given greater consideration.

As these organizations have been so efficiently developed, and as the
leaders in the different groups hope for a united group where before
there has been a separate and segregated one, it seemed worth while to
consult the representatives of the different groups in some detail
with reference to the method of using educational material dealing
with family adjustment. The subject of child care seemed the most
obviously pertinent and interesting, and a section of the United
States Children's Bureau Study on the Pre-School Child was submitted
for their consideration with the question as to its adaptation to the
needs of the various groups.

All to whose attention it was called agreed that it was material of
the highest importance, and that if translated it would prove of
greatest interest. A translation was therefore presented to these
representatives for their consideration. Again, all agreed that the
only questions were the extent to which the material would have to be
explained in terms of foodstuffs and methods of care familiar to the
women in the different groups.

All agreed that the material should be given to the women in small
doses graphically presented. The installment plan should be the rule.
All agreed that illustrations would greatly add to the interest and
the ease with which the lesson would be understood. And all agreed
that a very effective way of arousing and maintaining interest would
be to call in to conference representatives of the different important
agencies, the Church, the school, the midwife, the doctor, to obtain
common consideration of the material with reference to its more exact
adaptation to the needs of the particular group.

Several editors agreed that much of the material could be used without
such conference if it were only skillfully translated--which is a
difficult and costly process. The Foreign Language Information
Service of the National Red Cross has begun this work, and finds a
hearty reception for its translations of such material. But the
editors likewise thought that such conferences as have been described
would have very great effect in securing co-operation in the use of
the material.

It is clear that the same general method could be applied to the use
of other similar material bearing on problems of family adjustment, or
on the other aspects of adjustment; but in the field of family
adjustment there is available a great body of information and
suggestion organized by the expert members of the various Federal
bureau staffs for the purpose of accomplishing just the end we have
under consideration. This is true not only of the work done by the
United States government, but by the state and city governments as

The development and maintenance of an agency which could make
available to foreign-speaking groups through their own organizations
the material already awaiting use, would correspond with the hopes and
the intentions of leaders among the various groups, facilitate their
work, and make possible a fine and a fruitful co-operation among
elements that have in the past been separate, if not hostile.


[51] See John Daniels, _America via the Neighborhood_.

[52] Such as the Russell Sage Foundation Studies: Slingerland's _Child
Placing in Families_; Hart's _Preventive Treatment of Neglected
Children_, and Ralph's _Elements of Record Keeping for Child-helping



In the first six chapters an attempt has been made to set out certain
difficulties with which foreign-born family groups are confronted on
arrival. It has become clear that certain services skillfully rendered
might prevent a great deal of needless suffering, discomfort, and
waste, and also greatly facilitate the adjustment of the family to the
new surroundings. The services that would be appropriate to the needs
of all housewives might be classed under (1) the exercise of
hospitality; (2) supplying information and opportunities for
instruction; (3) assistance in the performance of household tasks.
Suggestions that these services might prove useful are not based
wholly on theory, and attention may at this point be directed to the
work of certain agencies which have attempted to do these various

The suggestion has been frequently made that the immigrant should be
the object of certain protective care during the journey across the
ocean and on arrival.[53] The proposal here is that the community
would gain enormously through the creation of devices for the exercise
of a community hospitality. This should include the receiving and
distributing of new arrivals in such a way as to assure their being
put into touch, not only with their relatives and friends, but with
the community resources which could be of special service as well.

Attention has been called to the efforts put forth by organizations
among the foreign-speaking groups. The possibility of their more
efficient and wider activity should be always kept in mind. But the
work of the Immigrants' Protective League of Chicago, in behalf of
unaccompanied women and girls, illustrates both the nature of the task
and the way in which the development of such services requires a
familiarity with the governmental organizations and a capacity for
utilizing official agencies not to be found among the groups most
needing help.


The work of this society has been referred to a number of times, and
its methods and special objects should perhaps be briefly summarized.
Its organization in 1907 grew out of a desire to assist the immigrant
girls coming into Chicago, with special reference to their industrial
relations. The objects described in the charter of incorporation are,
however, much wider than this. They were:

     ... to apply the civic, social, and philanthropic resources
     of the city to the needs of foreigners in Chicago, to protect
     them from exploitation, to co-operate with the Federal,
     state, and local authorities, and with similar organizations
     in other localities, and to protect the right of asylum in
     all proper cases. (By-Laws, Art. II.)

The services of the organization have been taken advantage of by
members of all the national groups in Chicago, and these services have
included meeting immigrant trains and distributing arriving immigrants
to their destination in the city, prosecuting the agencies from which
the immigrant suffered especial exploitation, visiting immigrant
girls, securing appropriate legislation, and in general making known
to the community the special needs of the newly arrived immigrants.

The League has from the beginning made use of the services of
foreign-speaking visitors, and the volume and success of its work has
varied with the number of these visitors, the extent to which they
represented groups in need of special aid, and their skill as social
workers. At the time of the publication of the last report, the
following languages besides English were spoken by these visitors:
German, Bohemian, Italian, Lettish, Lithuanian, Magyar, Polish,
Russian, Slovak, and Yiddish. Many aspects of its work do not bear on
this discussion, but the following brief passages from the annual
reports indicate the way in which the work in behalf of unaccompanied
girls developed.

     During the past year and a half the League has received from
     the various ports of arrival the names and addresses of the
     girls and women destined for Chicago. All of these newly
     arrived girls and women have been visited by representatives
     of the League able to speak the language of the immigrant.
     Four, and part of the time five, women speaking the Slavic
     languages--German, French, Italian, and Greek--have been
     employed for this work. In these visits information has been
     accumulated in regard to the journey to Chicago, the depot
     situation, the past industrial experience of the girls, their
     occupation in Chicago, wages, hours of work, their living
     conditions, the price they pay for board, and whether they
     are contributing to the support of some one at home. On this
     basis the League's work for girls has been planned. (_Annual
     Report, 1909-10_, p. 13.)

     In these visits many girls needing assistance are found. The
     most difficult ones to help are those for whom the visitor
     sees a danger which the girl is unable to anticipate. Often a
     girl is a pioneer, who comes in advance of her family, and
     the friend or acquaintance whom she knows in Chicago
     undertakes to help her in finding her first job and a place
     to live, and then leaves her to solve the future for herself.
     If she should be out of work or in trouble she has no one
     whom she can ask for advice or help. In cases of this sort
     all that the visitor can do is to establish a connection
     which will make the girl feel that she has some one she can
     turn to in case of trouble or unemployment. (_Annual Report,
     1909-10_, p. 15.)

     Sometimes the League's visitor can do little more than offer
     the encouragement which the girl so much needs during the
     first few years in America. Usually she tries to persuade the
     girl to attend the nearest night school; sometimes she helps
     her in finding work, or a proper boarding place; sometimes,
     when the immigrant is educated, she has to quite sternly
     insist that any kind of work must be accepted until English
     has been learned. Some girls are discovered only after it is
     too late to prevent a tragedy. In the cases of two girls, one
     Polish and the other Bohemian, who had been betrayed by the
     uncles who had brought them to this country, the results were
     especially discouraging because the efforts to punish the men
     failed and one of the girls who had suffered so much from the
     uncle whom she thought she could trust was deported. (_Annual
     Report for the Year Ending January 1, 1914_, p. 11.)

It is clear that such a plan involved the distribution of information
from the ports of entry to the places of destination,[54] and the
development of instrumentalities through which the immigrant on
arrival at his destination can be placed in contact with those from
whom help of the kind needed could be expected. A nation-wide network
of agencies for such hospitality, with headquarters at the ports of
entry, is seen to be necessary from the descriptions of the services
to be rendered. The development of such machinery by the Federal
Immigration Service, as at present organized, may be unthinkable; but
with a change in personnel and with a wider understanding of the
nature of the problem, the apparently impossible might be realized.

In the meantime, the service need not wholly wait on this remote
possibility. There are agencies, both public and private, which with
enlarged resources might undertake a considerable portion of this task
and develop more completely both the methods of approach and a body of
persons skilled in this particular kind of service. Such work as that
done on a small scale by the Immigrants' Protective League is
especially instructive. The resources of that organization for all its
tasks have been limited, so that visitors have been only to a slight
extent specialized, except in the matter of language. But with
enlarged resources, so that a larger number and better trained
visitors might be employed, this gracious and important hospitality
might be widely exercised.


As this visiting developed among the different groups, several results
could be anticipated. Just as the needs of the unaccompanied girls
have been learned in this way, the needs of the families in the
different groups could become more exactly understood, and devices for
meeting those needs more efficiently worked out. It would perhaps be
possible to urge the woman to learn English when she is first
confronted with the strangeness of her situation, and before she
slips into the makeshifts by which she later is apparently able to get
on without learning English. Instruction in English might be made to
appear the path of least resistance, if it were made attractive and
available to the immigrant housewife at a sufficiently early moment.

These visitors might preferably be English-speaking members of the
foreign-speaking groups. If there were a sufficient staff, they might
also render many similar services to other women in the foreign-born
groups. They could persuade those who have not yet learned English to
come into English classes; they could organize groups for instruction
in cooking, child care, house and neighborhood sanitation; and
gradually accumulate both additional knowledge as to the need and
experience in meeting it.

A point to be emphasized in connection with this service is that it is
not related in any way to the problem of dependency, but is directed
wholly toward meeting the difficulties growing out of the strangeness
of the newcomer to the immediate situation. By developing a method for
lessening the difficulties connected with the migration of any group
from one section to another differing in industrial or social
organization, light would be thrown on analogous problems such as the
movements among the negroes from the South to the North during the
war, or of the mountain people to the cotton-mill villages at an
earlier date.

Another point to be emphasized is that while the method of approach
and of immediate service can be developed independently, and while the
amount of discomfort and genuine distress that can be prevented is
very great--as is shown in the experience of families whom such
organizations as now attempt work along this line have aided--the
opportunity for swift and efficient adjustment will be dependent on
the development of a body of educational technique.

It has been made clear that there are certain kinds of information
that should be given to the newcomers, with reference, for example, to
the change in the legal relationships within the family group, the new
responsibilities of the husband and father, and the rights of wife and
children to support. Attention has been called to the need of giving
instruction regarding sanitary and hygienic practices, with reference
to the new money values, and to the new conditions under which
articles of household use are to be obtained, to the requirements in
food and clothing, particularly for the children, in the new locality
as compared with that from which the family comes. And, as has been
suggested, above all there is always the question of teaching English.

Sometimes the necessary facts can be conveyed briefly and immediately.
Sometimes patient individual instruction will be necessary. Sometimes
group or class instruction will be the proper device. It is highly
important, then, that these various forms of instruction be developed
into a technique. Courses of instruction to be given according to
these different methods to those for whom a particular method is
appropriate must be organized, and a body of teachers developed.

The question then arises as to the extent to which this task has been
undertaken and the agencies that have undertaken it. As to the first
great body of material, it may be said to have been ignored. Only when
one is summoned to the Juvenile Court of Domestic Relations, or when
one learns of another's being summoned, is the body of family law
called to the attention of the group. In English, in cooking, and
child care, some agencies have attempted instruction. They are the
public school, organizations like the Immigrants' Protective League,
the State Immigration Commission, the social settlement, recreation
centers of various kinds, the Young Women's Christian Association in
its International Institutes. The possibilities in the work of these
agencies are numerous.


The public school touches the foreign-born family at two points:
First, in the compulsory education of the children, and second, in
the opportunities that it offers to the adult members of the family to
learn English, to fit themselves for citizenship, and to adjust their
lives to the new community.

The adaptation of the public schools to these tasks belongs properly
to another section of this study.[55] In so far, however, as the
school contributes through its attitude toward the parent to a
breakdown in family discipline, and in so far as it tries or does not
try to instruct the foreign-born housewife in the art of housekeeping,
it is concerned with problems that are primarily family problems. It
may be of interest, then, to cite certain evidence obtained from
foreign-born leaders and typical foreign-born families as to the
relationship existing between the schools and foreign-born parents,
the methods used by the schools in the education of foreign-born
women, and their apparent success or failure.

Reference has already been made to the place that the school sometimes
plays in the breakdown of family discipline, because of ignorance on
the part of the teachers concerning the social and domestic attitudes
prevailing among the foreign-born groups.

The school has, in fact, been able to take so little account of the
mother that so long as things run fairly smoothly she is usually
unable to realize that she has any place at all in the scheme. Again
and again, to the question as to whether she visits the school where
her children go, comes the answer, "Oh no, my children never have any
trouble in school." As long as they are not in trouble she is not
called into consultation. She may even be made to feel quite unwelcome
if she is bold enough to visit the schoolroom, so she very soon comes
to the conclusion that the education of her children is really none of
her business.

Sometimes the teacher thoughtlessly contributes to the belittling of
the parent in the eyes of the child. An Italian man tells the story of
a woman he knew who whipped her boy for truancy and then went to
consult the teacher. But instead of a serious and sympathetic talk,
the teacher in the child's presence upbraided the mother for punishing
the child. The child of foreign-born parents, as well as the
native-born child, often learns in the public school to despise what
is other than American in dress, customs, language, and political
institutions, and both are thus influenced to despise the foreign-born
parent who continues in the old way.

There is, of course, often a failure on the part of the teacher to
uphold the dignity and authority of the parents in the native-born
group, and the need of bridging the gap between school authorities and
parents has been recognized by the organization of the Parent-Teachers'
organization as well as of the Patrons' Department of the National
Education Association. It may be that at a later date, when certain
general fundamental questions of co-operation have been dealt with,
devices for meeting the difficulties of special groups of parents will
be developed.

On the subject of courses of instruction attention has been called to
the many points at which the foreign-born housewife needs instruction
and assistance in familiarizing herself with the new conditions under
which she lives. When there exists such a universal and widely felt
need which could be filled by giving instruction in a field in which
the material is organized and available, the opportunity of the school
is apparent. Not only courses in English, in the art of cooking, in
the principles of selection and preservation of food, but those
describing the peculiarities of the modern industrial urban community
as contrasted with the simple rural community, could be planned,
methods of instruction could be developed, and regular curricula could
be organized.

There are, to be sure, certain inherent difficulties to be met in the
instruction of housewives. The old saying, "Man's work is from sun to
sun, but woman's work is never done," has been so long accepted as the
expression of the inevitable that it is difficult to persuade anyone,
most of all the housewife herself, that she can manage to give an
hour or two a day to learning something new. Her time seems never her
own, with tasks morning, afternoon, and night.

Nor is it only a question of overwork. Undoubtedly careful planning is
uncommon, and the tradition that woman's place is in the home has its
effect. In fact, there is a vicious circle; she cannot study because
her housekeeping is too arduous, but it is so partly because she does
not take time to learn better ways of doing her work.

There is, moreover, among most housewives, whether native or foreign
born, a certain complacency about housekeeping and bringing up
children. Housekeeping is supposed to come by nature, and few women of
any station in life are trained to be homemakers and mothers. If they
take any training it is generally designed to fit them to earn a
living only until they are married. They do not realize how useful
certain orderly instruction might be.

Moreover, instruction for foreign-born housewives must include the
subjects needed for homemaking as well as English. Having survived the
first hard adjustments it is difficult to persuade the foreign-born
mother that she has any need for speaking English when housekeeping is
all that is expected of her. The situation is often complicated, too,
by her age at immigration and her lack of education in the old
country, which make her particularly ill-fitted for ordinary
classroom instruction.

Besides these difficulties there are certain prejudices to be met. The
middle-aged woman does not wish to study English in classes with her
children of working age or others of their age. She dreads the
implication of this association. Many of the foreign-born mothers also
have a hesitancy about going into classes with men, as they feel a
mental inferiority, and many prefer not to be in classes with students
from other national groups.

The most frequent criticism by immigrant leaders interviewed is the
inelasticity of the public-school methods. The classes are usually
held three or four nights a week, and no housewife should be expected
to leave home as often as that. The groups are composed of both men
and women and of all nationalities, disregarding well-known prejudices
that have already been mentioned.

A more fundamental criticism than these has reference to the failure
to adopt or devise new methods of instruction for persons who cannot
read or write in their own language, and who have arrived at a period
in their lives when learning is extremely difficult. The classes are
often conducted in English by day-school teachers, who are accustomed
to teaching children and who are entirely unfamiliar with the
background of the immigrant woman and her special problems.

There are reports also of the unwillingness of the school authorities
to relax formal requirements, with reference to the minimum number for
whom a class will be organized. Often it is necessary to "nurse the
class." In Chicago sixteen women have in the past been deprived of a
class because the Board of Education refused at the time to open the
schools to groups of less than twenty.


The home teacher in California is an interesting educational device,
of which much is to be expected. The Home Teacher Act, passed by the
state legislature April 10, 1915,[56] permits boards of school
trustees or city boards of education to employ one "home teacher" for
every five hundred or more units of average daily attendance. The home
teacher is

     to work in the homes of the pupils, instructing children and
     adults in matters relating to school attendance and
     preparation therefor, also in sanitation, in the English
     language, in household duties, such as purchase, preparation,
     and use of food and clothing, and in the fundamental
     principles of the American system of government and the
     rights and duties of citizenship. She is required to possess
     the following qualifications:

     1. A regular teacher's certificate under the State Education

     2. Experience in teaching and in social work.

     3. Good health.

     4. Ability to speak the language of the largest group in the

     5. Complete loyalty to the principal of the school.

     6. Tact and patience for a delicate task.

     7. Ingenuity in adapting all circumstances to the main

     8. An incapacity for discouragement.

     9. Comprehension of the reasons and objects of the work.

     10. Finally, above all and through all, a sympathetic
     attitude toward the people, which involves some knowledge of
     the countries and conditions from which they came, and what
     "America" has meant to them.[57]

Her salary is paid from the city or from district special school

The law authorizing the use of home teachers was enacted largely
through the efforts of the State Commission of Immigration and
Housing, and was from the first intended to be used for the benefit of
foreign-born families. The first experiments were financed by the
Commission of Immigration and Housing and by private organizations,
such as the Daughters of the American Revolution, the Council of
Jewish Women, and the Young Women's Christian Association. According
to the latest report[58] there are twenty official home teachers at
work in eight cities of the state. The Commission says of the purpose
of this plan:

     The interpretation of the need in California departs from
     that conceived elsewhere. There have been so-called home
     teachers in a dozen cities, of several Eastern states, for a
     number of years, but their purpose is to do follow-up work
     for absent, irregular, subnormal, or incorrigible children,
     and they are more properly visiting teachers. The home
     teacher, as we conceive her purpose, seeks not primarily the
     special child--though that will often open the door to her
     and afford her a quick opportunity for friendly help--but
     _the home_ as such, and especially the mother who makes it.
     This discrimination as to aim and purpose cannot be too much
     emphasized, or too consistently maintained, for the care of
     abnormal children, important as it is, can by no means take
     the place of the endeavor to Americanize the _families_ of
     the community.[59]


The social settlements are in many cases situated in congested city
districts, and they have always dealt very directly with the family
groups in their neighborhood. Settlements have, in fact, probably more
than any other social agency, tried to become acquainted with the
Old-World background of their neighbors in order to establish friendly
relationships. The settlement ideal has included the preservation of
the dignity and self-esteem of the immigrant, while attempting to
modify his habits when necessary and giving him some preparation for


Classes in English and Civics, mothers' clubs, and housekeeping
classes have been part of the contribution of the settlement to the
adjustment of family life. Seventeen settlements in Chicago, for
example, have conducted during the last year 36 clubs and classes of
this kind for non-English-speaking women. Among these there are 9
English classes, 8 sewing classes, 10 cooking classes, and 9 mothers'
clubs, with varied programs.

These classes have been conducted with a flexibility that is often
lacking in the public-school classes. They are usually held in the
daytime at the hour most convenient for the group concerned, and by
combining social features with instruction the interest of the women
is maintained longer than would otherwise be possible.

Sometimes the classes are conducted in a foreign language, but they
are generally taught in English, occasionally with the assistance of
an interpreter. The classes are usually small, so that considerable
personal attention is possible. The season during which it seems
possible to hold such classes lasts from September or October until
June, and it seems necessary to expend considerable effort each year
in order to reorganize them.

Trained domestic-science teachers are used for most of the cooking and
sewing classes. The English teachers and mothers' club leaders are,
however, usually residents in the settlement or other volunteers with
little training or experience in teaching adults. They often find it
quite difficult to hold the group together. Very valuable work is
done, however, especially in the cooking classes. Many such classes
were organized to teach conservation cooking; for instance, in an
Italian class, the women were taught the use of substitutes for wheat
that could be used in macaroni; in another the cooking teacher took
Italian recipes and tried to reproduce their flavors with American
products which are cheaper and more available than the Italian

What is gained in flexibility may, of course, be counterbalanced by a
loss of unity. The settlement teaching lacks, on the whole, a unity
and organization that the public school should be better able to


Sometimes co-operation among several agencies may be advantageous in
meeting the various difficulties presented by the task of teaching
adult foreign-born women. Such co-operation was developed between the
Immigrants' Protective League of Chicago, the public schools, the
Chicago Woman's Club and the Women's Division of the Illinois Council
of Defense.

The Board of Education of Chicago, in 1917, passed a resolution to the
effect that whenever twenty or more adults desired instruction in any
subject which would increase their value in citizenship, the school
would be opened and a trained teacher provided. The Immigrants'
Protective League then undertook to organize groups who would take
advantage of this opportunity and to keep the groups interested after
they had been organized.

The Chicago Woman's Club and the Council of National Defense undertook
to supply kindergarten teachers to care for the children whose mothers
were in the class, and the Visiting Nurse Association supplied nurses
to examine the children, to advise mothers with reference to their
care, and to make home visits when the condition of the children
rendered this necessary.

The League visitors made very definite efforts to organize campaigns
for acquainting the housewives of various neighborhoods with the
opportunity thus provided, and for persuading the women to "come out."
The services of the foreign-born visitors have been particularly
valuable in the work of organization. These visitors certainly put
forth valiant efforts in behalf of the plan. The Lithuanian and
Italian visitors, for example, made in three instances 40, 96, and 125
calls before a class was organized, and even then less than twenty
enrolled for each class. They have found it necessary to make visits
in the homes of women whom they hoped to draw out, and have also used
posters, printed invitations, and advertisements in foreign-language
newspapers. Nor have their efforts ceased when the class was
organized. Often misunderstandings occur, the attendance begins to
dwindle, and great efforts must be made to discover the cause and to
bring back the members.

The classes organized in this way have usually been small, composed of
housewives of a single national group. Considerable individual
attention is given the members of the class, and the foreign-speaking
visitors attend the classes so that they may interpret when necessary.

The plan has been carried out, of course, on an extremely restricted
stage. The efforts have been limited almost entirely to English and
cooking classes, and instruction in other phases of household
management has been quite incidental.

The teachers supplied by the Board of Education have not, of course,
always possessed social experience and training. The classes are
sometimes short lived. In the case of a Lithuanian cooking class, to
which the teacher came too late to give the lesson, or too weary to
give the lesson, it was necessary to reorganize the group. Where the
teachers change, the group will dwindle, and the efforts of the
visitor will have been substantially wasted.

The subject matter is often poorly adapted to the needs and desires of
the foreign housewife. A new domestic-science teacher, for instance,
gave to a group of Lithuanian women seven consecutive lessons on pies,
cakes, and cookies, in spite of the organizer's request for lessons
on "plain cooking." At times, as has been pointed out, the teacher is
wholly ignorant as to the habits and tastes of the immigrant. There
is, sometimes, an ill-advised attempt to substitute American dishes
for foreign dishes instead of modifying or supplementing the
well-established and perfectly sound dietetic practices of the
foreign-born group.

The Lithuanian visitor of the Immigrants' Protective League, in
speaking of the difficulties she had encountered in keeping together
the classes she organized for the public school, says she has often
been able to get together a group of women who want lessons in English
and in cooking. The plan has been to give cooking lessons in English.
The women have come, perhaps, three or four times. The first lesson
would teach the making of biscuits; perhaps the second dumplings; the
third sweet rolls. The teacher would be very busy with her cooking and
talk very little. Then the women would not come back. They did not
want to learn to make biscuits, about which they cared nothing; they
were busy women and were aware that they were not getting what they
wanted or needed.


Another specialized agency for work with the foreign-born groups is
the International Institute of the Young Women's Christian
Association. This association has attempted in a short period of time
to develop over a wide area this form of service, so that between the
spring of 1913 and March, 1919, there had been established 31 of these
organizations, most of them in industrial centers in different parts
of the United States. In general, their work, as outlined in the
After-War Program of the association, includes (1) a foreign-language
information office, (2) home visiting for newly arrived women and
girls, (3) case work in connection with legal difficulties, sickness,
and emergencies, and (4) work with groups, including organized classes
and informal gatherings. The last are to be especially designed for
women and girls unable or unwilling to attend night schools, and there
is to be a persistent urging upon the public school of the importance
of socialized methods in work for women.

The use of foreign-language visitors is considered to be one of the
most important features of these undertakings. Although few of the
institutes have been able to secure enough workers to reach all the
language groups in the community, provision can usually be made for
the most numerous groups. Among the 18 replies to questionnaires sent
to these institutes only 4 show less than 3 languages spoken by
visitors, 10 have as many as 4 or more, and 4 have 8 or 9 languages.

These 18 institutes employ 76 foreign-language visitors. Forty-six of
these are themselves foreign born. These visitors represent a great
variety in training and experience, but the institute secretaries
think that on the whole they are more valuable than native-born
visitors would be even if these native-born visitors were more highly
trained. The training of these particular visitors, while varied and
often apparently inadequate, is on the whole surprisingly good.
Fifteen of the 46 have had some college training; 3 have had
kindergarten training, and 4 nurses' training. Eight have had previous
case-work experience; 4 have lived in settlements. Eight have taken
training courses given by the association, varying from a few weeks to
several months at the national headquarters. A number have had
religious training of one kind or another, 2 in a school for
deaconesses, 12 as prospective missionaries, and 1 in a theological

The 18 International Institutes report the establishment of 134 clubs
or classes in which married women are members, having an enrollment of
894 foreign-born married women. The subject most generally taught is
English. Among 134 clubs and classes, 101 are organized exclusively
for the teaching of English, and 7 others combine English with cooking
or sewing.

Some attempt is made to teach housekeeping in classes. Ten of these
are organized for cooking or sewing, 7 for English and cooking or
sewing, and there are 13 mothers' clubs with subjects of such general
interest as health, the care of children, and home nursing. In
addition to the organized clubs and classes, most of the institutes
have given lectures in foreign languages to larger groups of women
subjects such as "Women and the War," "Liberty Bonds," "Thrift," "Food
Conservation," "Personal and Social Hygiene," "The Buying of
Materials," and "What the English Language Can Do for You."

Most classes are composed of a single national group, but classes are
reported in which there are Polish and Ruthenian, Slovak and Polish,
Greek and Lithuanian, Armenian and French, and Portuguese, Magyar and
Slovak, and "mixed" nationalities. English is used in practically all
classes which are primarily for the teaching of English. Fourteen of
the institutes, however, have foreign-speaking workers to interpret
whenever the women do not understand the teacher. In answer to the
question as to the success of the institute in connecting married
women with classes in public evening schools, three reply that they
have had no success because the public schools do not use
foreign-speaking workers and the women cannot understand the teachers
who speak only English.

The institutes conduct vigorous campaigns to acquaint the mothers with
their work, using posters, printed invitations, announcements at
schools, notices in foreign papers, and particularly home visits by
foreign-speaking workers.

With regard to home visiting it appears that there has not yet been time
to work out a program for the teaching of improved standards of
housekeeping, personal hygiene, and proper diet. The institutes,
however, lend their foreign-speaking visitors as interpreters to other
agencies organized for particular phases of work in the home, such as
Visiting Nurse associations, Infant Welfare societies, Anti-Tuberculosis
societies, and Charity Organization societies.

A very real effort is often made to reconcile foreign-born mothers and
Americanized daughters. Those responsible for some of the institutes
realize very keenly the significance of the problem, and impress upon
the children they meet their great interest in the Old-World
background of the parents, their appreciation of the mother's being
able to speak another language besides English, their pleasure in
old-country dances, costumes, and songs. They try in every way
possible to maintain the respect of the daughter for her foreign-born
mother. In home visits they try also to explain to the mother the
freedom granted to American girls, the purpose of the clubs for
girls, and the need for learning English themselves to lessen their
dependence upon the children.


It is obvious that the efficiency of the work of these various
organizations can rise no higher than the level of efficiency and
training of the workers available for such service. It is, therefore,
most important that the materials necessary for the rendering of these
services be made available at the earliest possible moment. Such
materials include compilations of data with reference to the different
groups, courses of study developed so as to meet the needs and
educational possibilities of the women, devices such as pictures,
slides, charts, films, for getting and holding attention of persons
unused to study, often weary and overstrained and lacking confidence
in their own power to learn.

It is also clear from the experiences of these various agencies that,
while giving this instruction is essentially an educational problem,
it is for the time so intimately connected with the whole question of
understanding the needs of the housewife in the different foreign-born
groups, of developing a method of approach and of organization, and of
trying out methods of instruction as well as experimenting with
different bodies of material, that for some time to come
experimentation and research should be fostered at many points.

There should, for example, be accumulated a much larger body of
knowledge than is now available with reference to the agencies
existing among the foreign-born groups in the various communities from
whom co-operation could be expected; there should be a much more exact
body of fact as to the needs of the various groups of women; at the
earliest possible moment the material available with reference to
these household problems, child care, hygiene and sanitation,
distribution of family income, should be put into form available for
use by the home teacher, the class teacher, the extension workers, and
the woman's club organization. In the Appendix are some menus of four
immigrant groups, which illustrate the kind of material which would be

By stipends and scholarships promising younger members from among the
foreign-born groups should be encouraged to qualify as home teachers
and as classroom and extension instructors in these fields. This would
often mean giving opportunity for further general education as
preliminary to the professional training, for many young persons
admirably adapted to the work come from families too poor to afford
the necessary time at school. Scholarships providing for an adequate
preparation available to members of the larger groups in any
community, would give a very great incentive to interest in the
problem and to further understanding of its importance on the part of
the whole group.

In addition to scholarships enabling young persons to take courses of
considerable length, there might be stipends enabling older women of
judgment and experience to qualify for certain forms of service by
shorter courses. Those who can speak enough English could take
advantage of certain short courses already offered by the schools of
social work. Others who do not speak English could be enabled to learn
enough English and at the same time to learn to carry on certain forms
of service under direction.

As has been suggested, lack of resources in face of an enormous volume
of educational work is one factor in this lack of teachers trained to
meet the needs of women in the foreign-born groups and of material
adapted to their class or home instruction. The question, then, has
been raised as to whether the supply both of teachers and of material
could be increased and whether, if these resources were available,
they would be utilized by the great national administrative agencies
to which reference has been made.

The following plan has been approved as thoroughly practicable by
leading officers and members of the American Home Economics
Association, including several heads of departments of home economics
in the state colleges, by other educators interested in the field of
home economics, as well as by representatives of the States Relations
Service, the Bureau of Home Economics Department in the United States
Department of Agriculture, the Federal Board of Vocational Education,
and the Home Economics Division of the United States Bureau of
Education. The unanimous judgment of those consulted is that if such a
plan could be carried out for the space of three years, the Federal
service would be vivified and enriched and the educational
institutions enabled to develop training methods from which a
continuous supply of teachers and teaching material could be expected.


     I. Creation of committee composed of officers of American
     Home Economics Association, representatives from the United
     States Department of Agriculture, Bureau of Home Economics,
     the States Relations Service, the Home Economics Division of
     the United States Bureau of Education, the heads of
     departments of home economics in the state colleges, the
     technical schools and teacher-training schools, Federal Board
     for Vocational Education.

     II. Increasing supply of teachers and teaching material.

       1. Provision for assembling material in food, household
       management, including expenditures, and child care,
       particularly, and adapting this material to the needs of the
       members of the different foreign-born groups, by supplying
       salaries for two persons experienced in teaching, who would
       devote themselves to the preparation of classroom material,
       leaflets, charts, etc.--$2,400

       2. The granting of stipends to graduate students who would
       work at institutions approved by the committee and who would
       do practice teaching with such groups. In the assignment
       both of the stipends and of the institutional patronage, the
       interests of both urban and rural women would be taken into
       account by supplying scholarships for ten graduate students
       to teach under supervision and to assemble material under
       direction, these to be awarded by the committee with due
       regard to needs of rural and urban women--$750

       3. Securing the services of several highly skilled
       home-economics teachers, under whose supervision the
       practice teaching, and the preparation of these students
       would be carried on, and developing through advice teaching
       centers for the use of such material wherever possible, by
       supplying salaries for four persons to supervise and direct

       4. Securing teachers who are experienced housewives, who
       with short courses might assume certain teaching functions,
       supplying stipends, $75 a month for four months ($300) for
       fifty women who, selected under rules drawn up by the
       committee, would take short training courses, to be
       organized under the direction of individuals or departments
       or institutions approved by the committee

     III. There would, of course, be necessary a director of the
     work, who could be either one of the salaried teachers chosen
     as leader or an executive secretary. In any case clerical
     expenses and the costs of certain items incident to the
     instruction would be required.

     The experiment should be assured for a term of three years.

The problem can be dealt with adequately only by state-wide and
nation-wide agencies, and should as soon as possible be taken over by
nonsectarian educational agencies. But the public-school system is at
present wholly without the equipment necessary for the performance of
these functions. It is not only not national; it is in many states not
even state-wide in its supervision and standards. In Illinois, for
example, the school district is the unit, and until a board was
created in 1919 to deal with the problems of vocational training, the
control exercised by the state was negligible.

The situation in an Illinois mining town illustrates the waste
resulting from treating these questions as local questions. The town
referred to is a mining town, lying partly in one and partly in
another county. The only public school available is in one county, and
it is said to be overcrowded. The road from a settlement in the other
county to the school is said to be impassable all winter or in bad
weather. It leads over a mine switch that is dangerous as well.

The parents complained that the small children could not go so far,
that there were no play facilities, that the location was secluded, so
that it was dangerous for girls, that the term was too short, and that
the attendance of the children seems unimportant to the school
authorities. As the community was almost altogether Italian, the
parents would have preferred a woman teacher for the girls over ten or
twelve years of age. A more intelligent and a more incisive indictment
of an educational situation than this criticism expressed by the
Italian families in this remote mining community could hardly have
been drawn.

It is inevitable that similar dark spots should continue, so long as
no central agency is responsible for the maintenance of a minimum
opportunity everywhere. Of course it is not to be expected that those
jurisdictions that so neglect the children will care for the adult.
Many states have the central agency that could take over the work. And
there exist Federal agencies able with enlarged resources to adapt
their work to meet many of these needs. The United States Children's
Bureau has published bulletins in simple form containing such
information as every woman should have concerning the care of mothers
and young children. Only the lack of resources has kept that bureau
from undertaking to bring these facts to the knowledge of all mothers,
including the foreign born.[60]


In the so-called States Relations Service of the Department of
Agriculture, established under the Smith-Lever Act,[61] and in the
Federal Board for Vocational Education, there are agencies which, if
developed, can establish national standards in these fields and do
work of national scope. These acts constitute, in fact, so important a
step in the direction of nationalization of these problems that items
in the statutes creating them may be of interest here.

The first of these Acts provides for co-operative effort on the part
of the United States Department of Agriculture and the state
agricultural colleges. There is an agency provided to "diffuse among
the people of the United States useful and practical information on
subjects relating to agriculture and home economics, and to encourage
the application of the same." This Act refers especially to the needs
of the rural population, and the work done under it consists of
instruction and practical demonstration in agriculture and home
economics to persons not attending or resident in the agricultural

The methods should be such as are agreed on by the Secretary of
Agriculture and the officials of the state colleges benefiting under
the earlier Act of 1862.[62] To carry out this co-operative effort, an
appropriation was provided, beginning at $480,000--$10,000 for each
state--and increasing first by $60,000 and then by $500,000 annually,
until after seven years a total of $4,500,000 was reached, the
increase to be distributed among the states in proportion to their
rural population.

By the Smith-Hughes Act of February 22, 1917, both teachers and
supervisors, as well as training for teachers and supervisors in the
fields of agriculture, home economics, industrial and trade subjects,
were provided.[63] The Federal Board for Vocational Education
consisted of the Secretaries of Agriculture, Commerce, and Labor, the
United States Commissioner of Education, and three citizens appointed
for terms of three years, at $5,000 a year. One of these three is to
represent the agricultural interests, one the manufacturing interests,
and one labor.

The board was given power to make studies, among other subjects, of
home management and domestic science. While instruction under the
first of these Acts may be given by means of home demonstrations, it
is limited under the second Act to such as can be given in schools and

This Act provides for co-operative effort between the Federal
government and the states. The large sum of $200,000 for the support
of the board, and considerable sums for certain minimum contingencies,
were appropriated. Major appropriations were provided for, beginning
with $500,000 for paying salaries for teachers and supervisors in
agriculture, and increasing by $250,000 until the sum of $3,000,000
was reached, to be distributed in proportion to rural population
among the states on condition that the states take appropriate action
consenting to the Act and appropriating dollar for dollar (Section 2).

A similar appropriation was provided for the teaching of trade, home
economics, and industrial subjects, beginning with $500,000,
increasing by $250,000 annually, until the amount of $3,000,000 was
reached, this to be appropriated in proportion to the urban population
in the various states. Certain minima were prescribed, and it was laid
down that not more than 20 per cent of the amount allotted for
salaries should go to teachers of home economics (Section 3). No part
of the appropriation is to pay for buildings or for work done in
private institutions (Section 11).

In the same manner as in the earlier Act an initial appropriation of
$500,000 was made toward meeting the cost of training teachers and
supervisors in agricultural trade, home economics, and industrial
subjects, these to increase by installments of $200,000 and then by
$100,000, until $1,000,000 was reached, to be distributed among the
states in proportion to population. Certain conditions were prescribed
as to the action to be taken by the states, and the appropriation by
the state of "dollar for dollar" toward the training of these persons
was required.

Questionnaires regarding the application of their work to the needs of
foreign-born groups were sent to the State Supervisors of Home
Economics functioning under these Acts, but few replies were received.
In general, the replies indicate that the work has in many cases not
been extended to meet the needs of foreign-born housewives. A few
replies, however, are illustrative of what might be done with
increased resources and effective interest on the part of the state
and of the local community. From Lake Village, Arkansas, came the
following graphic account of the work of the home demonstration agent:

     I was very much interested in having you write to me
     concerning the work with the Italian women in Chicot County.
     When I first came into the county I was entirely
     inexperienced as far as this kind of work goes, but in time I
     saw that the Italians needed help and I wanted to give them
     what they needed most.

     I became acquainted with the Catholic priest, as he was an
     Italian and could help me in talking and becoming acquainted
     with the people. The priest proved to be a very interesting
     man and helped me very much. In a short time I learned to
     speak a few words of Italian, which pleased the people very
     much. They seemed to feel that I was their friend, and
     wherever I saw a dusky face in town or country I would greet
     them with the words, "_Como stati_," which is to say, "How
     goes it?" or, "How are you?" and I would be answered with an
     engulfing grin and a flow of jargon, not a word of which I
     could understand, but with smiles and nods I would go on,
     having won a friend.

     The first work I did among the Italians was to go into their
     homes and look at their gardens, show them how to prune
     their tomato plants, dry their fruit and vegetables, can
     their tomatoes and beans, and bathe their babies. Not long
     after there were sewing and "cootie"-removing demonstrations,
     as well as removing head lice and care of heads and bodies
     taught with actual demonstrations.

     All of my work has been taken with the most cordial attitude,
     and the methods have been adopted and used. This year I hope
     to have more work done among them than last, on the same line
     and others.

     They now come to me when they are in trouble or in need of
     help, and this makes me feel that they consider this office
     is their friend, not a graft or money-making concern.

In Akron, Ohio, a home demonstration agent, under the Department of
Agriculture and the Ohio State University Home Economics Department,
has been definitely attached to a public school in Akron's most
foreign-born district. Her special project is home demonstration work
with foreign-born women, and each lesson is a lesson in English as
well. The worker hopes to have an apartment equipped as a plain but
attractive home, where all this work can be done.

The home supervisor in Massachusetts reports that the state-aided,
evening practical arts classes have offered instruction to groups of
foreign-born women in Fall River and in Lowell. In Fall River there
were classes in cooking and canning for French women, and classes in
home nursing for a Portuguese group. In Lowell there were classes in
cooking for Polish women, and classes in cooking and dressmaking for
Greek women. These classes were conducted by foreign-speaking
teachers, with the help of interpreters.

The work of the Syracuse Home Bureau included four projects: (1)
Garden project, (2) Nutrition project, (3) Clothing project, and (4)
Publicity project. The outline of the work under (2) and (3) is given


     1. _Home Demonstration Work._ In co-operation with the
     Associated Churches and Charities--United Jewish Charities
     and School Centers--the agent goes into the home, making
     herself a friend of the family, taking necessary supplies
     with her, but using whatever utensils the housewife may have.
     She demonstrates simple, nourishing, economical foods,
     teaches the proper feeding of children, etc. She also
     suggests food budgets and plans their use. The leader of the
     organizations reports that much is being accomplished with
     families which otherwise could not be reached. Help with
     clothing work is also given sometimes.

     2. _Group Demonstrations._ In co-operation with the
     Americanization work and churches, where this seems
     desirable, to groups of women.

     3. _Class Work in Cookery._ In co-operation with units from
     the Girls' Patriotic League, International Institute, and

     4. _Education in Food Values._ Talks have been given at
     various schools in regard to proper luncheons and menus
     submitted to assist in this work. Conferences have been held
     with Y. W. C. A. manager in regard to luncheon combinations.
     Menus for the week, with grocery order, have been submitted
     for the use of social workers. Aid is being given in planning
     the meals for undernourished children at a special school.
     Talks are to be given to the children.

     5. _Home Bureau Day._ Friday afternoon is "at home" day for
     members and their friends at the Thrift Kitchen. Talks or
     demonstrations are given each week, and an exhibit in the
     window during the week corresponds with the subject.

     6. _Classes for Volunteer Aids._ Classes for volunteer aids
     are being formed. These are to be two types. One class for
     experienced housewives, to deal particularly with the problem
     of presentation, and another class for college girls, to give
     them the simple principles of food values and preparation,
     taking up at the same time the method of presentation. It is
     hoped to use these aids particularly in the home
     demonstration work, which is already developing beyond the
     capacity of the trained workers.

     7. _General Use of the Thrift Kitchen._ The kitchen is
     engaged by various church committees to do cooking in large
     quantities for church suppers. Various organizations use it
     to prepare special foods for institutions. We are encouraging
     the use of the kitchen by any individual or organization for
     any purpose. The only charge is for the gas used, besides a
     nominal charge of five cents for the use of the kitchen. The
     work is done under the supervision of one of the agents.


     1. _Sewing Classes._ In co-operation with units from the
     Girls' Patriotic League, International Institute, and
     factories. A sewing unit often follows a cooking unit with
     the same group.

     2. _Sewing Demonstrations._ These are being given at some of
     the home demonstrations, as the need arises.

     3. _Millinery Classes._ In co-operation with the Girls'
     Patriotic League, International Institute, and factories.

     4. _Millinery Demonstrations_ are being held for mothers'
     clubs connected with the church, and home demonstrations are
     given when needed.

The Rolling Prairie community mentioned above, too, benefited from a
co-operative "County Project" work undertaken in 1913-14, under the
supervision of Purdue University. A course given during the year in
the rural schools was continued during the summer, open to all
children over ten and required of graduates from the eighth grade. The
County Superintendent of Schools, the County Agent under the
university (States Relations Service) and County Board of Trustees (La
Porte County) sent teachers into all parts of the county teaching the
boys farming, stock raising, and gardening, and the girls canning,
sewing, bread making, cooking vegetables, and laundry work, or if they
preferred, gardening. The teacher gave an hour and a half every ten
days at the home of each child.

At the end of the summer there were exhibits and prizes in the shape
of visits to the state fair, to the university, to Washington, or to
the stock show in Chicago. The Polish children who took prizes and who
went to the university (some of them had never been on a train) became
enthusiastic about going to high school and college, and some are
going to high school. The fact that they took prizes interested the
whole group, and the experiment affected the agricultural and domestic
practices of the community. The sad ending to the story is that the
township trustees have never been willing to assume again the expense
of the teachers' salaries, but the possibilities in the co-operative
method are evident.

The States Relations Service and the work of the Federal Board for
Vocational Education are based on the so-called principles of the
"grant in aid," which gives promise of both developing and encouraging
local initiative and of obtaining "national minima" of skill and
efficiency. Certainly the lack of any national body and often the lack
of any state machinery with power to encourage local action and with
facilities for gathering and comparing data, reduced the rate at which
progress is made. For example, the device of the home teacher planned
by the California Commission on Immigration and Housing, was only
slowly taken over by the education authorities of California.


The experience of the English Board of Education may be noticed in
this connection. Owing to the interest in national vigor aroused by
the rejection of recruits during the Boer War, England took steps to
provide food for the underfed school children and medical supervision
of the health of the school children. This resulted in the
accumulation of a great body of evidence showing the need of
improvement in the conditions and household management in the homes
from which these children came. Both schools for mothers and infant
classes have been recognized as appropriate extensions of the work of
the education authority, and the national character of the problem
has been embodied in provision for the grant in aid.[64]

The conditions on which grants to schools for mothers and infant
classes are made, set a standard for those communities desiring help
from the central authority, and furnish a basis of judgment as to the
work of any local authority. Those conditions are stated as follows:

     A school for mothers is primarily an educational institution,
     providing training and instruction for the mother in the care
     and management of infants and little children. The imparting
     of such instruction may include:

     (_a_) Systematic classes.

     (_b_) Home visiting.

     (_c_) Infant consultations.

     The provision of specific medical and surgical advice and
     treatment (if any) should be only incidental.

     (_d_) The Board of Education will pay grants in respect of
     schools for mothers, as defined in Article II of their
     Regulations for the year 1914-15, subject to the following

     (I) That an institution will not be recognized as a school
     for mothers unless collective instruction by means of
     systematic classes forms an integral part of its work;

     (II) That grant will only be paid in respect of "infant
     consultations," which are provided for women attending a
     school for mothers;

     (III) That grant will only be paid in respect of expenditure
     on "home visiting" of children registered at a school for
     mothers if neither the sanitary authority nor County Council
     undertake to arrange for such visiting;

     (IV) The fact that a school for mothers receives a grant or
     assistance from a sanitary authority (or a County Council) or
     its offices will not disqualify it from receiving a grant
     from the Board of Education.

Thus the institutions included under the title "schools for mothers"
have for their main object the reduction of infant sickness and
mortality by means of the education of the mothers. They train the
mother to keep her baby in good health through a common-sense
application of the ordinary laws of hygiene. The training may be given
by means of personal advice from doctor or nurse to individual
mothers, by home visiting, and by means of collective teaching and
systematic classes.[65] It is necessary to distinguish these "schools
for mothers," which were educational, from the maternity centers
maintained by the Local Government Board, intended to provide prenatal
care of expectant mothers.

During the year 1917-18, two hundred and eighty-six such schools for
mothers received aid from the central authority. The work of
representative schools, as described in the medical officer's
report,[66] includes instruction in hygiene, principles of feeding,
needlework, and boot repairing.

In the same way the infant classes or nursery schools are to be
distinguished both from day nurseries which may, if they comply with
stated conditions, receive grants, and from infant consultations.[67]
It is interesting to note that these items in the educational program
are closely related to the plan under which _Mothercraft_ is taught to
(1) the older girls in the public elementary schools, and (2) the
girls between fourteen and eighteen in the secondary and continuation
schools. Under the stimulus of the possible grant in aid from the
central authority and of the supervision and advice of the central
authority, this work is developed by the local authority. The day
nursery or infant class is made to serve the purpose of training the
older girl as well as of training and care of the young child.

The argument here is not affected by the fact that under the recent
Act providing for a Ministry of Health, these functions are
surrendered by the education authority to the New Ministry of Health,
as are those of the Local Government Board. Certain functions remain
educational, and must develop in accordance with educational
principles. Others are sanitary and call for inspection and


It is not suggested that the development in the United States be
identical with that in England. It is true that there are two
specialized agencies referred to under which such work could be
developed. Should a United States Department of Education or of Health
be created, conceivably such functions could be assumed by either; and
it is most interesting to notice that, with reference to this very
problem, the method is already recognized as important and embodied in
the educational program of the state of Massachusetts. Under a statute
enacted in 1919,[68] the State Board of Education is authorized to
co-operate with cities and towns in promoting and providing for the
education of persons over twenty-one years of age "unable to speak,
read, and write the English language."

The subjects to be taught in the English language are the fundamental
principles of government and such other subjects adapted to fit the
scholars for American citizenship as receive the joint approval of the
local school committee and the State Board of Education. The classes
may be held not only in public-school buildings, but in industrial
plants and other places approved by the local school committee and the
board. In the words of the Supervisor of Americanization,[69] "this
provides for ... day classes for women meeting at any place during
any time in the day. The establishment of such classes is especially

The development of the Federal agencies will probably be most
efficiently stimulated if a considerable amount of such work is
attempted by local authorities and such social agencies as have been
described. If not only local educational bodies, but schools for
social work, organizations like the Immigrants' Protective League and
the Department of Home Economics, the State Immigration Commissions,
and the Young Women's Christian Association, could train efficient
visitors, prepare and try out lesson sheets on the essential topics,
and develop teaching methods, the different branches of the Federal
service would undoubtedly be able to avail themselves of such material
and of such personnel as would be supplied in this way.[70] The plan
outlined earlier in the chapter for educational work for foreign-born
women would be a step in this direction.


Attention has been called to the fact that many housewives, either
because the husband's income is inadequate or because their standard
of family needs is relatively high, or because there is some special
family object to be attained, become wage earners and are away from
their home during the hours of the working day. The devices used by
these mothers for the care of the family during their absence have
been described. The previous discussion has also made clear the fact
that for many women of limited income who do not attempt wage earning,
the task of bearing children and of caring for the home is too heavy,
especially during the time when the children are coming one after the
other in fairly rapid succession.

The visiting nurse may help in time of illness; the midwife may come
in for a few days immediately after the child is born; the man may be
very handy and helpful; the older girl or boy may stay at home from
school; but it is evident that some agency should be devised for
rendering additional assistance to such mothers. The day nursery
suggests itself, and its possibilities are easily understood; but it
is an agency that has been developed in response to the demand of
married women for the chance to supplement the husband's earnings, or
of widows and deserted women to assume the place of breadwinner.

For the kind of assistance we have in mind, some such agency as the
mother's helper, proposed by the English Women's Co-operative Guild,
is suggested. This proposal was developed as an item in a program for
adequate maternity care, but has been extended in its application so
as to include all women who are attempting to carry the burden we have
described. It expresses the widening recognition that the volume of
tasks expected of the housewife as mother and caretaker is greater
than one woman can be expected to perform. It rests also on the
conviction that such assistance is professional in character and
should be standardized in skill.

Experiments in this field might well be undertaken by the same
agencies that attempt to receive and introduce the newly arrived
groups, and as rapidly as the method becomes established the functions
could be taken over by the appropriate specialized agency, whether
public or private.[71] For example, the two following recommendations
recently offered by official bodies in England illustrate the need to
which we are calling attention. The first is taken from a memorandum
prepared at the request and for the consideration of the Women's
Employment Committee.


     Closely linked with the problem of skilled midwifery, care of
     the working mother is the problem of arrangement for her
     domestic life during her disablement.

     In the _Home Helps Society_ a movement has been inaugurated
     which, if widely extended on the right lines for clearly
     subsidiary purposes, would prove of incalculable benefit to
     working mothers, and so to the general community. The scheme
     provides, on a contributory basis, the assistance of trained
     domestic helpers for women who are incapacitated, especially
     in illness or childbirth, from attending to the normal duties
     of the home. A Jewish society has been in existence for
     twenty years to meet the needs of poor Jewesses in the East
     End of London, but the general scheme came into existence
     under the Central Committee for Employment of Women to
     provide employment for women who have been thrown out of work
     owing to the war. Three months is considered an average
     period of training, but a shorter time is sanctioned in
     special cases. The women are trained under supervision in the
     homes of families and in certain approved institutions. In
     the Jewish society no special period of training is demanded.
     If a candidate is competent upon appointment she is sent out
     at once. In Birmingham similar help is afforded by what is
     known as the "nine days'" nursing scheme, and Sheffield has a
     provision for a municipal allowance to a mother needing such
     help in a special degree. North Islington Maternity Center
     has a local scheme for home helps, managed by a subcommittee.
     Encouragement has been given to these schemes by the
     sympathetic interest in them of the medical women acting for
     the London County Council as inspectors, under the Midwives'
     Act. Similar arrangements have been proposed in various parts
     of the country.

The second is from the Report of the Women's Advisory Committee of the
Ministry of Reconstruction on the Domestic Service Problem.


     After meeting several times this committee came to the
     conclusion that, in the light of the evidence that had been
     given before them, it was not advisable for them to proceed
     further without reference to the committee which was dealing
     with the question of subsidiary health and kindred services,
     as the question of the provision of Home Helps intimately
     affected that committee also.

     The committee on Home Helps passed the following resolution:

     That with a view to preventing sickness which is caused by
     the unavoidable neglect of children in their home, the Local
     Government Board should be asked to remove the restriction
     which at present confines the provision of Home Helps to
     maternity cases, and to extend the scope of the board's grant
     for the provision of such assistance in any home where, in
     the opinion of the local authority, it is necessary in the
     interests of the children that it should be given, and agreed
     that if the Subsidiary Health and Kindred Services Committee
     were prepared to adopt it in their report it would be
     undesirable to continue their own sittings.

     The resolution was adopted by that committee, and the Home
     Helps' Committee was dissolved.

     We are not unconscious of the great need that exists for
     further preventive measures in connection with health
     services, more especially as regards children, and we think
     that the question of Home Helps must first be explored in
     this connection. We are of the opinion, however, that as
     regards help with domestic work, the position of the wives of
     professional men with small incomes, and of the large army of
     men of moderate means who are engaged in commerce and
     industry is becoming critical, and that some form of
     municipal service might help to solve this most difficult


The public parks, playgrounds, and recreation centers, and the social
settlements, constitute the main community provision for the social
and recreational activities of immigrant groups living in the
congested sections of industrial cities. Certain problems in the
adaptation of the services and resources of such agencies to the needs
of an immigrant neighborhood have been brought out in our
consultation with representative men and women from various
nationalities living in different sections of Chicago.

The history of Dvorak Park may serve to indicate the nature of some of
these problems. Established when the population of the district it was
designed to serve was almost exclusively Bohemian, this small park was
given its distinctively Bohemian name, and the district chosen was
Bohemian. It became at once a popular recreation center for the
neighborhood, as the facilities provided in the playground and field
house were admirably suited to the needs of the people. Representative
men and women who have kept in touch with the later immigrants of
their nationality speak with greatest enthusiasm of the value of the
park to the Bohemian community. Its services in relieving the monotony
of the lives of immigrant women, and especially of mothers of large
families, is noteworthy.

For those to whom it is accessible it provides a type of entertainment
which they really enjoy. It is said, in fact, that women who begin
going to the park take a new interest in life. The moving pictures are
especially popular. The director, a man thoroughly familiar with the
lives of the families of the settlement, has sought to adapt the
service of the park to their needs. Special entertainments for women
with little children are given in the afternoon while older children
are in school, and mothers are encouraged to bring the babies. Mothers
who have begun going to the park themselves feel greater security in
allowing the older boys and girls to go to the evening entertainments
and dances because they learn that there is trustworthy supervision.

During the last few years, however, there has been a great change in
the character of the neighborhood surrounding Dvorak Park. Bohemians
have moved away, and their places have been taken by Serbo-Croatians.
The newcomers have found churches, schools, and public halls
established by the Bohemian people, and the impression has gone out
that the public park also is a national recreation center for
Bohemians. No criticism of the management of the park has been made by
leaders among the Croatians, who believe the director has earnestly
sought to meet the requirements of the two groups impartially,
frequently asking the advice and co-operation of well-known Croatian
men and women. They do feel that it is unfortunate that the popular
idea that the place is intended for Bohemians only is too deep to be
easily eradicated.

In Chicago some of the older immigrant groups have made provisions for
their recreational needs by building national halls, auditoriums, and
theaters; and in groups representing later immigration, funds are
being raised for the same purpose. In many instances it is admitted
that the public recreation centers in the immediate vicinity of the
settlement afford adequate space and facilities for the requirements
of the group. The reasons given for failure to take advantage of such
opportunities or for duplicating such splendid community resources are
varied. When analyzed, they are on the whole indicative of
shortcomings in park management, which might be overcome if park
supervision could be made a real community function.

In a Polish district, for instance, the people in the vicinity of one
of the most completely equipped parks in the city have come to regard
it with suspicion as the source of a type of Americanization
propaganda too suggestive of the Prussians they have sought to escape.
In a Lithuanian district, officers of societies which make use of
clubrooms in the recreation centers say they prefer the rooms to any
they can rent in the vicinity, but they often feel in the way and that
their use of the building entails more work than attendants are
willing to give. The Lithuanians, too, speak of feeling out of place
in the parks. There has been little evidence that in any section of
the city people of foreign birth feel that as community centers these
parks are in a sense their own.

The social settlement, which shares with public recreation centers the
functions of providing for the social life and recreation of immigrant
communities, is confronted by many of the same problems, often
rendered the more difficult from the fact that it is usually regarded
as even more alien to the life of the group than the park, and its
purposes are less understood. Members of Polish, Lithuanian, Italian,
and Ukrainian groups, who have expressed their own appreciation of the
aims of the social settlement, and the highest personal regard for
settlement residents whom they have known, believe that the "American"
settlement can never reach the masses of people most in need of the
type of service it offers. Repression under autocratic government in
Europe and exploitation in America have made them suspicious, and they
are apt to avoid whatever they cannot understand.

It is believed that these types of service, undertaken with a more
thorough knowledge of the point of view of the immigrant and with the
indorsement and co-operation of recognized leaders of the groups to be
served, would much more nearly meet the needs of the people least able
to adjust themselves to the new situations.


[53] See Abbott, _The Immigrant and the Community_, chap. i; _Report
of the Massachusetts Immigration Commission_, 1914; _Reports of the
Immigrants' Protective League of Chicago_.

[54] As is contemplated in the Act creating the New York Bureau of
Immigration and Industry. See Birdseye, Cummin's and Gilbert's
_Consolidated Laws of New York Supplement, 1913_, vol. ii, p. 1589,
sec. 153; and _Laws of 1915_, chap. 674, sec. 7, vol. iii, p. 2271.

[55] See Frank V. Thompson, _Schooling of the Immigrant_.

[56] _Statutes of California, 1915_, chap. xxxvii. The home teacher
should not be confused with the visiting teacher; a device in social
case work.

[57] _A Manual for Home Teachers_ (published by the State Commission
of Immigration and Housing), 1919, p. 13.

[58] _Ibid._, p. 19.

[59] _A Manual for Home Teachers_, 1919, p. 8.

[60] See also Report of the Children's Bureau on "Children's Year" and
"Back to School Drive."

[61] 38 U. S. Statutes at Large, p. 372 (May 8, 1914).

[62] The so-called "Land Grant" colleges (1862). 12 U. S. Statutes at
Large, p. 503.

[63] 39 Statutes at Large, p. 929.

[64] See Report of the Chief Medical Officer of the Board of Education
for 1910 (Cd. 4986). See also Education (Provision of Meals Act,
1906), L. R. 6, Ed. 7, chap. lvii, widened in 1914 to include holidays
as well as school days, and enlarging the discretion of the
authorities as to the purpose. See also L. R. 7, Ed. 7, chap. xliii,
an Act to make provision for the better administration by the central
and local authorities ... of the enactments relating to education.

[65] Reports of Commissioners of Education, 1914-16, pp. 29-31.

[66] _Annual Report of the Board of Education_, 1917, pp. 12-13.

[67] _Annual Report of the Board of Education_, 1917, pp. 10-12.

[68] Acts of 1919, chap. 295.

[69] Mr. John J. Mahoney, see _Americanization Letter, No. 1_,
September 11, 1919, Department of University Extension, Massachusetts
Board of Education.

[70] See _First Annual Report of the Massachusetts Bureau of
Immigration_, p. 38.

[71] _Memorandum on Subsidiary Health and Kindred Services for Women_,
prepared by Miss A. M. Anderson, C. B. E., p. 5.



The discussion up to this point has dealt with the family which has
not fallen into distress. It has been confined to problems of
adjustment. But there are numerous families which fall into distress
and need the services of the social case-work agency. Because of
limitations of space and because the principles applying to their care
and treatment apply to other kinds of service, the following
discussion will treat only of agencies concerned with the care of
immigrant families in need of material aid. Of the 8,529 families
cared for by the Cook County agent, 6,226 were from the foreign
groups, and of the 569 under care by the Cook County Juvenile Court in
its Funds to Parents' Department, 386 were foreign born.[72]

Attention is called, however, to the fact that the special application
to the care of foreign-born families of the principles supposed to
guide the conduct of good agencies in their care of any family calls
for the elaboration of much more skillful devices and for much more
extensive and closely knit organization than has yet been developed.
This chapter deals only with these special applications of general
case-work principles.

The principles of care in any case of need are: (1) That such care
shall be based on adequate understanding of the immediate individual
problem; (2) that it shall be adapted to the special need; (3) that it
shall look toward the restoration of the family to its normal status;
and (4) that treatment, whether in the form of relief or service,
shall be accompanied by friendly and educational supervision and

These are no simple tasks when the family is English speaking, native
born, and when no particular difficulties arise from difference in
language and in general domestic and social habits. With the
non-English-speaking family, the agency is faced with difficulties at
each of these points. There is first the problem of getting at the
facts as to the nature and extent of the distress and the occasion of
the family breakdown.

In addition to the foreign-born families who actually need material
assistance there are many who, because they are laying aside part of
their income either to meet past debts or future needs, are living
below the standard prevailing in their community. This family needs to
be urged to spend more rather than to save. Unless the agency coming
in contact with it digs below the apparent poverty and finds the real
income, it will be tempted to give pecuniary aid rather than the
personal service the family is in need of. Its service must not result
in increased dependency.

Special care in applying this principle of all good case work needs to
be exercised in the case of the foreign-born family. Moving from one
continent to another, with almost every element in the situation
changed, makes the adjustment of the family to normal and healthy
standards a delicate and important one. We have been told, for
example, by thoughtful members of the Italian group, that in their
judgment their fellow-countrymen are often led, through unwise
alms-giving, not only to pretend to be poorer than they are, but to
live in conditions of squalor detrimental to their well-being.

In fact, in order to understand that normal state from which the
family departs when its members become applicants for aid from a
case-work agency, the representatives of the agency must have at
command facts with reference to the standards and practices prevailing
in the particular community from which the family under consideration
comes. Only then can the need of the family be estimated with any
degree of exactness.

When the facts are learned and the nature and extent of the need are
understood, there is the question of resources available for treatment
and the question of methods to be used in building and maintaining the
family life and in fostering the process of adjustment between its
life and that of the community as a whole.

To be able fully to utilize resources, to forecast the effect of
certain kinds of care, it is surely desirable for the agency to know
the life of the national group into which the family has come, the
resources to which the family itself has access, and the ways in which
others of the group expect care to be given.


The social case-work agency is faced, then, with several quite
different and quite difficult problems in equipment. There is first
the question of overcoming the language difficulty. The use of the
foreign-speaking trained visitor would probably be regarded as the
best way of doing this. The supply is so inadequate that the choice
has been generally between a person speaking the language and a person
knowing something of methods of case work. And unless the visitor is a
fairly competent case worker she would probably better be used as an
interpreter and not be given responsibility or allowed to make

The use of an interpreter gives rise to many difficulties.[73] Because
these difficulties are so universal and so important to the full use
of the opportunities lying before the case-work agency, an attempt was
made to obtain information as to the practice and as to the desires of
a number of case workers. Case-work agencies, the district
superintendents and visiting housekeepers in the United Charities, the
Jewish Aid, the Juvenile Court in Chicago, relief societies in other
cities, and the Red Cross chapters throughout the country, were

Six of the ten districts of the United Charities had foreign-speaking
visitors. There were 14 in all--3 Italian, 8 Polish, 2 Bohemian, and 1
Hungarian. Nine of these speak other languages besides their own. All
the Jewish Aid Society visitors speak Yiddish. The Funds to Parents'
Department of the Juvenile Court has no foreign-born workers, but the
Probation Department has 3--Polish, Italian, and Bohemian.

The five Red Cross chapters answering the questionnaire--New York,
Brooklyn, Rochester, Buffalo, and Philadelphia--all employ
foreign-speaking visitors--11 Italian, 8 Polish, 8 Yiddish, and 2

Sixty-one of the members of the American Association for Family
Welfare Work replied to questions about their methods of work and the
devices they had found successful. Twenty-eight of these were not
doing work with foreign born or were not doing work along the line
indicated. The other 33 described their work and their difficulties,
and made suggestions.

Twenty-two of the thirty-three agencies did not make use of the
foreign-language visitor, although Fall River in the case of the
French, and Topeka in the case of the Mexicans, overcame the language
barrier by the fact that their secretaries spoke the language of their
largest foreign-born group. Three others did not have foreign-born
visitors on their staff, but reported that they had foreign-born
volunteers. It is interesting to note that among the 22 cities without
foreign-language visitors there are 9 cities with over 100,000
inhabitants, and all but 2 of them have large immigrant populations.
The other 13 cities on the list are all places of less than 100,000
inhabitants, and it is probable that the case-work agencies in most of
them do not have more than one worker.

The case-work agencies in some cities with large foreign-born
populations come in contact with many of the foreign-born families in
distress, but not in sufficiently large numbers to take the entire
time of a visitor. In other cities, however, a large part of the work
is with foreign-speaking families. In Stamford, Connecticut, for
example, 70 per cent of the families cared for are foreign born, and
44 per cent are Italian. In Paterson, New Jersey, 120 of the 840
families were Italian.

Eleven case-work agencies did employ foreign-born or foreign-speaking
visitors. Eight of these were in cities of over 100,000
population--New York City, Philadelphia, Boston, Cleveland,
Pittsburgh, Milwaukee, Cambridge, and Grand Rapids. The other three
were in smaller places; Waterbury, with a population of 73,000, El
Paso with 39,000, and Kenosha with 21,000. While these 11 agencies do
employ foreign-speaking workers, it appears in every case that they
either do not have workers of all the groups with which they work, or
do not have enough foreign-language workers to do all the work with
the foreign-speaking groups. New York City, for instance, has 5
workers who speak Italian, of whom only 1 is an Italian and served in
the course of a year over 1,000 Italian families. Philadelphia has
only 1 foreign-speaking worker, who speaks Italian and some Polish. It
reports the number of families as 526 Italian, 229 Polish, 69 Russian,
and 43 other Slav.

There is, however, a decided difference of opinion as to the value of
the visitor from the foreign-born group. All the agencies testify to
the difficulty of getting workers with the same education and training
demanded of the English-speaking visitor. One of the district
superintendents of the United Charities of Chicago, who in despair of
her work with interpreters began to use foreign-born visitors, speaks
of success with exceptional individuals, but says:

     For the most part the foreign workers we have had have gained
     a certain facility in handling the general run of cases, but
     there is a discouraging lack of initiative or daring in their
     efforts. They seem to go just so far. It has seemed hard,
     too, to strike the happy medium in their attitude toward
     their own people; they seem either blindly sympathetic or
     peculiarly indifferent. In part I feel that this is an
     impression they give as a result of their lack of power of
     self-expression, and lack of confidence in themselves--this
     would undoubtedly be remedied by further education.

     As a result of my efforts with about ten foreign workers I
     have traveled a complete circle in my way of thinking. I have
     come back to the conclusion that we cannot get satisfactory
     results if we accept very much less in the way of scholastic
     training or life experience, than is required of other

Most of the agencies that have tried foreign-speaking visitors feel
that in spite of these disadvantages it is a gain to the agency to
have such visitors on the staff. This is especially true with those
agencies that have or have had visitors with educational equipment
that is comparable with that of most of their English-speaking
visitors. One agency, for example, has only one foreign-born visitor,
a Russian who speaks several languages and had a teacher's-training
course in Russia. The superintendent reports her "gratifyingly
successful in her work with foreign families."

The Charity Organization Society in another city is divided in opinion
about the foreign-born visitor. During the panic of 1914-15 they had a
Russian man who had had a good technical education at the University
of St. Petersburg, and two years in a medical school in this country.
The assistant case supervisor of that organization reports that he not
only accomplished a great deal with the unemployed men in the
district, but also helped the district workers to understand the
Russian, Slavic, Lithuanian, and Bohemian families in the district,
and "demonstrated what the possibilities might be if we could have
foreign-speaking people with requisite training and the proper spirit
to work intensively with the families." On the other hand, the
superintendent of this organization, who was not with them in 1915,
says that their experience with foreign-born case workers has not been
successful, and suggests as an alternative the instruction of American
case workers in foreign languages.

The New York society agrees that better results are obtained by having
native-born case workers learn the language of the group with which
they are to work. They have found it possible to have native-born
workers learn Italian, and have found them better workers than any
Italians they have employed who were people of less background and


Secondly, there is the problem of building up in the family asking and
receiving aid, domestic standards appropriate to the life in the
community. This raises, first, the question of the responsibility of
the case-work agency for the adjustment of the family life to such
standards in household management and in child care as might be
formulated on the basis of expert knowledge of community needs;
secondly, the question as to ways in which such adjustment may be
accomplished if the agency feels under an obligation to undertake it.

A number of the thirty-three case-work agencies which discussed this
subject indicated that they thought this task one that should not be
assumed by the case-work agency. Four agencies said they were doing
nothing in this direction, though one of these was looking forward to
the employment of a visiting housekeeper. One agency said that there
was no difference in this respect between the care of native born and
foreign born, and that all families were given such instruction as
occasion demanded.

Seven agencies met the problem by co-operating with some of the
public-health nursing organizations, especially the baby clinics, and
one of the agencies said that the nurses were doing all the
educational work possible. Four other agencies supplied milk and
co-operated with the public-health organizations of the community and
also with visiting housekeepers in the service of settlements.

Two supplied milk where it seemed necessary, and three co-operated
with agencies teaching food conservation. One of these supplied
interpreters, organized classes, and helped the agent of the County
Council of Defense to make contact with women in their homes. Another
co-operated with a class of college students who were making a dietary
study. The third had its own organization, which taught the use of
substitutes and their preparation, in war time. Its work differed from
that of others in that it was not organized for war-emergency purposes
and was under the control of the case-work agency.

Several agencies mentioned the fact that their visitors gave advice as
the case required, and it is probable that this is done in other
cities also. Such advice, of course, would not necessarily conform to
the standards formulated by home economics experts, but rather to the
common-sense standards of the community at large, or rather that
circle of the community from which the majority of charity visitors
come. The difficulties inherent in such a situation were recognized
by the secretary of one society, who wrote, "Our staff has made an
effort to become somewhat familiar with dietetics, but is having
difficulty with foreign families because of failures thoroughly to
understand their customs and the values of the food to which they are

Other agencies are not so definite in their view of the problem. Thus
one reports that they are not successful in their work on the diet
problem because "the Italians, Polish, and Lithuanians prefer their
own food and methods of preparing it." Another says, "They seem to
know their own tastes and _will_ do their own way mostly."

In Chicago some of the superintendents explain their difficulties in
raising housekeeping standards by characterizing the women as
"stubborn," "indifferent," "inert," "obstinate," "lazy," "difficult
but responsible," "easy but shiftless, and not performing what they
undertake." It is only fair to state that these were usually given as
contributing causes of difficulties. Most of the superintendents saw
clearly that the main difficulties were in the circumstances under
which the people had to live, and the defects in their own
organization, which was handicapped by lack of funds and workers.


There is little that need be said about the work of these agencies as
to other phases of the problem of housekeeping. Only one does anything
to help the women buy more intelligently, except in the way of such
spasmodic efforts as are made by visitors who have only their own
practical experience to guide them. Similarly, little is done to teach
buying or making of clothing except that in some instances women are
urged to join classes in sewing. One agency speaks of teaching the
planning of expenditure by the use of a budget.

Most of the agencies that leave the problem of diet to the
public-health nurse leave to her also the problem of cleanliness,
personal hygiene, and sanitation. The majority of the agencies report,
however, that their visitors are continually trying to inculcate
higher standards. One agency says it is the stock subject of
conversation at every visit. No agency reports any attempt to reach
the women in a more systematic way than by "preaching." One agency
only, that in Topeka, Kansas, reports anything that shows a
realization of the peculiar problems of the foreign-born woman in this
subject. In Topeka, American methods of laundry are taught to Mexican
women in the office of the Associated Charities.


On the other hand, there are twelve agencies that approach the
problem, or at least attempt to approach the problem of household
management from a scientific standpoint, so that the work done shall
be a serious attempt to adjust the standards of the foreign-born
women to the standards formulated by the home economics experts for
families "under care." There are several methods used in this work.
The first and most common is the employment of visiting housekeepers
by the case-work agency; another is that of referring families to
another agency especially organized to give instruction in the
household arts, such as the Visiting Housekeepers' Association in
Detroit; a third is the one used in New York City, that of a
Department of Home Economics within the organization, and still
another, used in Boston, is a Dietetic Bureau.

The cities in which there are visiting housekeepers in connection with
the case-work agency are Chicago, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Worcester,
Fall River, Cambridge, Stamford, and Springfield, Illinois. In
Brooklyn the visiting housekeepers are not employed by the case-work
agencies, but are student volunteers from Pratt Institute. The
visiting housekeeper in Springfield has worked almost exclusively with
English-speaking families, and the one in Worcester "has had at
different times foreign-speaking families." In other words, in two
cities with large foreign-speaking populations the visiting
housekeepers only occasionally helped immigrant families to adjust
their standards and methods of housekeeping to the new conditions
found in this country.

The work that is expected of a visiting housekeeper has been
frequently described. As it demands the combined qualifications of a
case worker and a skilled worker in home economics, an attempt was
made to learn the education and training of the various workers in the
field. Information was available in only a few cases, but these cases
seem to point to the fact that the visiting housekeeper is usually
trained for one phase of her work only--either as a case worker or as
a home economics expert. In either case she can be expected to give
the type of service her position demands only in the field in which
her interest and training lie.

Interviews with the five visiting housekeepers employed by the two
largest relief agencies in Chicago in general bear out the impressions
obtained from the statements of the agencies in other cities. None of
those in Chicago speaks the language of the people with whom she
works, though one agency is now training a young Italian girl to be a
visiting housekeeper.

Most of the visiting housekeepers claimed very slight knowledge of
what the diet of the family was in the old country, although they had
considerable knowledge as to what was customarily eaten here. They had
made very little study of the habits and tastes of their group; and
although they were agreed that in most families the diet was
inadequate, they had apparently not looked far for the cause.
Ignorance of food values and ways of preparing food seemed to them the
chief reason; poverty, racial prejudice, and laziness might be
secondary features.

Since the visiting housekeepers deal almost entirely with dependent
families under the care of a relief agency, their work in helping the
women provide for the clothing needs of the family is quite largely
concerned with making over old clothing.

In the effort to raise the standards of cleanliness and sanitation the
visiting housekeepers meet with great difficulty. One thinks the
greatest difficulty is indifference on the part of the housewife and a
lack of anything to which the visitor can appeal; another thinks that
her greatest difficulties are that the mothers are usually overworked,
that frequently they are kept worn out by having one child after
another in close succession, and sometimes a woman has had to contend
with a drunken husband. These cases she finds especially difficult to
deal with. Some of them lay stress on the economic factor and point to
the fact that most of these families are deprived of the conveniences
which would make housekeeping a comparatively simple task. As one of
the visiting housekeepers has said:

     With modern equipment, steam heat, electric utensils, and new
     and sanitary apartments, it is not a difficult task to keep
     the quarters fresh and clean, but in rickety, shadowy
     apartment buildings or houses where the floors are worn and
     rough, with no hot-water service, and too often without even
     gas for lighting, we can at once recognize the trials and
     handicaps which confront the housewife in the poorer

The visiting housekeepers interviewed saw many discouraging features
of their work. All stated that improvement came very slowly. One
worker stated that she had worked three years in her district and she
had some families under care all the time, but that she was just
beginning to see the results of her efforts. Others pointed out that
their constant supervision was essential, that as soon as they relaxed
their efforts at all the families dropped back to their old habits.
There was, however, general agreement that in time, by much
expenditure of effort, constant visiting, teaching, and exhorting,
they did help some families to a better standard of living.

It was impossible to get an estimate from most of them as to how many
families they thought they had helped, but the worker in one district
said that for the three years it would not be more than five or six.
Two workers who estimated the number of families with which they could
work at one time, put the number at between twenty and twenty-five,
and both thought that they could do much better with twenty than with
twenty-five. They did not know with how many families they were
working at present, but thought they were not trying to do intensive
work with many more than that number.

The explanation of failure may be that not enough care was taken to
make the Old-World habits of cooking and diet the starting point of
instruction in the use of American foods, utensils, and diets. Such
procedure would be based on sound pedagogy in starting from the known
and familiar and leading to the new and unaccustomed.

However, it may be true that even after sound methods have been given
a thorough trial, arduous effort still will fail to bring desired
results. Case-work agencies, however efficient, may not be fitted to
raise the standards of living in the homes of immigrant dependent
families. It may be taken care of by other community forces and only
be effected in the way that the independent family's standards are
changed and improved. The task for the case worker is to help the
family make the natural connections with their neighborhood and
community, which are the most effective means for creating and
sustaining social standards.

Certain limitations to the present work of the visiting housekeeper
appear in the above discussion. These are, the lack of persons with
combined training in case work, home economics, and knowledge of
immigrant backgrounds, the limited number of families with whom
intensive work can be done, especially if the visiting housekeeper
tries to do all the work with the families she visits, the hardship to
the family in the duplication of visitors if the visiting housekeeper
tries to render only specialized services to a larger number of

Attempts have been made to overcome these limitations while still
retaining the visiting housekeeper. In Cleveland the visiting
housekeepers do all the work with the families assigned to them, as
well as instruct the other visitors in the elementary principles of
home economics and give advice on individual families, as occasion
requires. Their work has been materially lightened by the adoption of
a standardized budget prepared under the direction of a well-known
expert in home economics. The superintendent of the Cleveland
organization expressed himself as well satisfied with the work of the
visiting housekeepers. It should be noted that one of the visiting
housekeepers in that city not only is a skilled case worker with good
training in home economics, but also is of foreign-born parentage and
speaks most of the Slavic languages.

In other cities, however, notably New York and Boston, case-work
agencies have given up the employment of the visiting housekeepers.
In New York there is a Home Economics Bureau and in Boston a Dietetic
Bureau. The organization of the two bureaus differs, but the
underlying principle is the same. Both are organizations of home
economics experts, who give advice to the regular case workers both as
to general principles and as to individual problems. They also make
studies from time to time of problems in national groups. As its name
would indicate, the scope of the New York organization is wider. It
takes up problems of clothing and other phases of household management
as well as of food.

The advantages claimed for this plan are that the home economics
experts can devote their time exclusively to their own field. The
visitors are thus enabled to advise the individual families with more
effect than can the specialized worker. The question as to the best
way of rendering to the family under care this combination of services
is by no means yet decided, and it is evident that further experiment
in the various methods is necessary. They are, in fact, not mutually
exclusive, and perhaps combinations of various kinds of the skill of
the home economics expert, of the skilled social worker, and a
generalized helper, may yet be developed.

A third task to which some agencies address themselves is that of
providing educational opportunities for the immigrant family. This
effort often consists first of inducing the mother herself to enter a
class, and, second, of securing the attendance of the children at the
public school rather than at the non-English-teaching parochial
school. The difficulties in the way of securing the mothers'
attendance at a class have already been described. It need only be
pointed out here that the case worker who has won the mother's
confidence may often persuade her to go when the stranger will fail.
Where a regular allowance is given and support for a considerable
period is contemplated, it has been treated as something in the nature
of a scholarship or educational stipend and conditioned on the
mother's fulfilling definite requirements in the way of better
qualifying herself to use the allowance.

The subject of establishing connections between the members of the
families and such educational opportunity has been somewhat confused
by the fact that the case-work agency often depends upon the
settlement to supply certain recreational facilities for the children
in the families, and there is a temptation to use the settlement club
or class rather than the school for the mother.

With reference to having the children attend the public school or the
school in which all instruction is given in English, it would be less
than frank to ignore the difficulty often occasioned in the past by
the nationalistic and separatist Church. The society may be faced
with a real dilemma here, since it desires the co-operation of the
Church and is loath to weaken any ties that may help in maintaining
right family life. And so, when the Church conducts the school in
which the mother tongue is used, and in which English is either
inadequately taught or not taught at all, the relief agency may be
practically forced into a policy involving the neglect of English in
the case of both mother and children.


These have been some of the fundamental difficulties in the
relationship between the case-work agency and the immigrant family.
The knowledge of the Old-World background and the impressions made by
the experience of emigrating that should illumine all the work of the
agency, are generally lacking to the case worker. Of course there are
brilliant exceptions. One district superintendent of the Boston
Associated Charities, for example, whose work lies in the midst of a
Sicilian neighborhood, will have no visitors who are unwilling to
learn the language and to inform themselves thoroughly concerning the
history and the habits of the neighbors.

Her office has been equipped so that it takes on somewhat the
appearance of a living room. It is made attractive with growing
plants; an Italian and an American flag are conspicuous when one
enters the room; a picture of Garibaldi and photographs of Italian
scenes are on the wall. Books on Italy are to be found in the office,
and with the aid of an Italian postal guide the superintendent has
made a card index of the home towns from which her families come. From
one town in Sicily of seventeen thousand inhabitants, 108 families
have come to the district office. Such an index is acquired slowly and
must be used with great discretion. It is of assistance to one who
understands how to use it, but it may suggest hopeless blunders to
workers unfamiliar with the group.

In making plans for the care of families, leading Italians, such as
physicians of excellent standing, with a practice in the district, a
member of the Harvard faculty who has unusual interest in his less
fortunate fellow countrymen, and others who have special knowledge
along certain lines, are consulted.

One of the workers connected with the Vocational Guidance Bureau in
Chicago has been trying an interesting experiment in the same
direction of establishing contacts with the group among which she
works. Many of the children who come to the Bureau for jobs are Polish
children. She is, therefore, taking lessons in the Polish language
from an editor of one of the Polish papers in the city, and through
his interest has secured board and room in a home for working girls
that is run by one of the Polish sisterhoods. In a month's time she
has learned a vocabulary of some hundred and fifty Polish words, and
has gained an insight into the Polish attitudes toward some of their
problems that she considers invaluable. She found the Polish people
with whom she consulted as to the best means of learning the language
very much interested and anxious to be helpful in any way in their

It is, in fact, clear that by the interpreter, or the foreign-speaking
visitor, or the American visitor who learns the foreign tongue, the
language difficulty must be overcome. In the case of the foreign-born
visitor it should be noted that workers coming from among the various
groups encounter difficulties not encountered by the American visitor.
They seem to the members of their group to enjoy very real power, and
they are often expected to grant favors and to exert influence. A
Polish visitor in the office of a relief society in Chicago finds it
very difficult to explain to her friends why they do not always
receive from her fellow workers what they ask.

In another neighborhood three Italian sisters, better educated than
their neighbors, have become visitors. One works for the Catholic, one
for the nonsectarian, charitable agency, and one for the
social-service department of the public hospital. They seem to have a
real "corner" on the aid given to applicants from their groups.


It is clear, then, that before case-work agencies can be adequately
equipped to perform these services, the supply of visitors trained as
has been suggested will have to be increased, and certain bodies of
material with reference to the various national groups will have to be
organized and made available in convenient form, both for use in
courses in colleges and schools of social work and in the offices of
the societies.

One way in which an effort might be directed toward bringing about an
increase in the supply of trained visitors would be the establishment
of scholarships and fellowships in schools of civics and of social
work, by which able persons from among the different national groups
might be encouraged to take advantage of such opportunities as those
institutions provide. This procedure has been elaborated in Chapter
VIII in connection with service to nondependent families.

Special funds might also be provided in connection either with the
various agencies or with schools of social work, which would render
possible the collection and organization of such facts as would be
valuable in understanding the problems presented by families from any
special group. This body of fact would, of course, increase as sound,
sympathetic, and thorough work was developed.

Such studies would include information about the communities from
which different groups come, as, for instance, the practice and
influences prevailing in different villages in southern Italy, in
Sicily, in northern Italy. The religious, national, and village
festivals differ in almost every place. A native of Villa Rosa now
receiving care from a public-health agency in Chicago has carefully
pointed out to a visitor the differences between the festivals of
Palermo and Villa Rosa. The different ways of preparing for and
meeting the great events of family life, such as death, marriage,
birth, are of vital importance.

Most important are the food practices, and the attitudes toward the
care and discipline of children. A similar point has been developed in
Chapter VIII and it need not be stressed. The fact is that while
really sound and thorough case work cannot be done without such
information, few agencies have such information, and all devices for
accumulating it should be made use of.

The gathering of this body of information and its application require
considerable time. In the meantime, while differences of opinion among
the existing agencies on such questions as the use of the foreign or
the native-born visitor who speaks the foreign language, the visiting
housekeeper, or the specialized bureau, are being worked out,
specialized agencies for dealing with the problems of the immigrant
family should be developed. Such agencies as the Immigrants'
Protective League could prove of very great service in discovering
promising visitors, in accumulating experience as to the nature of
those problems, and in furnishing opportunities to professional
students for practice work under supervision.

Further, there is the question of the resources within the group and
the ways in which they can be taken advantage of. Reference has been
made to the problem of securing and retaining the co-operation of the
national Church. There are often national charitable societies. The
case worker should be able to explain the methods and purposes of her
society to these immigrant societies; but often there is a complete
failure to interpret, and the two agencies go their separate ways,
sometimes after the demoralization of the family both try to serve.

A few years ago a group of foreign-born men, prominent in business and
politics in Chicago, organized a charitable association within their
own national group. They felt that the United Charities did not
understand their people and were not meeting their needs. These men
had no understanding of accepted case-work principles, and the
superintendent of the society herself says that she does not use
scientific methods and does not co-operate with the United Charities.
She doubts whether her organization is doing much good, but she sees
that the lack of understanding of the traditions and habits of the
people on the part of the United Charities cripples their work among
her people.


The case-work agency as now organized might be equipped with trained
foreign-speaking visitors and with visiting housekeepers or dietetic
experts who know their neighborhoods, and the needs of the situation
would still be far from fully met. It was pointed out in the first
chapter that many immigrant families have to change their place of
residence, often more than once, before they settle in a permanent
home. The nature of their hardships and the slender margin of their
resources have been pointed out. Special misfortune may therefore
befall them at any point in the experimental period of their journey,
as well as after they have reached their final and permanent place of

The important moment in social treatment, as probably in any
undertaking, is in the initial stages. "The first step costs." This
brings us to the enormously important fact that distress outside the
relatively small number of larger communities in which there are
skilled case-work agencies, either public or private, will probably
mean contact either with the poor-law official under the Pauper Act,
if it is a question of relief,--or with some official of the county
prosecuting machinery or of the inferior courts, if it is a question
of discipline.

The case of an Italian woman may serve to illustrate the contact with
both these groups of officials. Mrs. C. was married in 1902 in a
Sicilian village, at about sixteen years of age. In October, 1906, the
husband came to the United States. In November, 1907, she and her one
surviving baby, a girl of two, followed, going to the mining town in
western Pennsylvania where he was working. There they lived until
March, 1913, occupying most of the time a house owned by the company
for which he worked. About 1913 she moved with her children to a
near-by city, where, on June 3, 1914, she was arrested for assault,
and the next day for selling liquor without a license and selling
liquor to minors. After some delay she pleaded guilty and was
sentenced to pay the costs of the prosecution ($76.42), and released
on parole.

She then seems to have moved to a mining town in Illinois, and there
lived with Mr. A. as his wife until March, 1916, when he was murdered.
The union paid his funeral expenses of $186.75, and she also, as his
widow, received his death benefit of $244.33. Through the summer of
1916 the Supervisor of the Poor gave her $3 every two weeks. On May
20, 1916, she applied for her first citizenship papers, and on
September 1st she was awarded an allowance of $7 a month under the
Mothers' Aid law, this being granted her under her maiden name, as
mother of a child born in Illinois in 1915. She was helped not only by
the public relief agencies, but by the priest ($11); and the Queen's
Daughters, a church society of ladies, gave her the fare to Chicago,
where the Italian consul gave her money to go home again. The
undertaker and other kind persons gave her and the children aid.

By December the union and the county agent both thought it would be
well to shift the burden of her support, and gave her the fare back to
Chicago. By the time she reached Chicago she was a very skillful and
resourceful beggar. In Chicago she was a "nonresident," ineligible for
a year to receive public relief under the Pauper Act and for three
years under the Mothers' Aid law; and so she obtained from a
Protestant church, from the Charities, and from an Italian Ladies' Aid
Society relief of various kinds and in various amounts.

The story is a long and a continuing one. Two points are especially
important from the point of view of this study. One is that the burden
not only of her support, but of her re-education, fell ultimately upon
Chicago agencies, and the cost to them is measured as it were by the
inefficiency of her casual treatment at the hands of both the courts
and the less competent relief agencies along the way. The other is
that such varied treatment leaves its inevitable stamp of confusion
and disorganization upon the life of such a family. To find American
officials getting very busy over selling liquor without a license, and
at the same time ignoring adultery or murder committed in an Italian
home, must surely result in confusion with reference to American
standards of family relationship and to the value placed on life by
American officials.


Irrespective of whether the family is of the native-born or
foreign-born group, the problem of the case of those in distress
should not be regarded as solely a local problem. It is indeed of
national importance. Poverty, sickness, illiteracy, inefficiency,
incompetence, are no longer matters of peculiar concern to a locality.
The causes leading to these conditions are not local; the consequences
are not local. The agency that deals efficiently with them should not
be entirely local.

Yet at the present time there is lacking not only a national agency
and a national standard; there is often lacking a state agency and a
state standard.[75] In Illinois, for example, the Pauper Act is
administered in some counties by precinct officials designated by
county commissioners; in other counties by the township
officials.[76] The Mothers' Aid law is administered in Illinois by the
juvenile court, which in all counties except Cook County (Chicago) is
the county court. There is no agency responsible in any way for the
standardization of the work of these officials, and niggardly doles or
indiscriminate relief without either adequate investigation or
adequate supervision, often characterizes the work of both.[77]

Not all states are in as chaotic a condition as Illinois. A few states
have developed a larger measure of central control. Massachusetts,
California, and New Jersey, for example, secure a certain measure of
standardization in the administration of their Mothers' Aid laws by
paying part of the allowances, in case the central body approves--the
State Board of Charities in Massachusetts,[78] and California,[79] and
the State Board of Children's Guardians in New Jersey.[80]
Pennsylvania secures this by assigning to the Governor the appointment
of local boards and providing central supervision, while in other
cases there may be inspection, the preparation of blanks and requiring
reports. A member of the State Board of Education is supervisor of
the Mothers' Aid law administration in Pennsylvania.[81]

The case cited above illustrates the way in which the demoralizing
effects of unskillful treatment in Pennsylvania and then in Illinois
lasted into the period in which Chicago agencies tried to render
efficient service.

It would not be possible to develop at once a national or Federal
agency for rendering aid to families in distress. Nor would such an
agency be desirable if characterized by the features of the old poor
law. But the development of a national agency for public assistance
will undoubtedly be necessary before such problems as these can be
adequately dealt with. It should be based on such inquiries as the
United States Children's Bureau and other governmental departments can
make as to the volume and character of the need and the best methods
for dealing with that need. Undoubtedly the Grant in Aid, as proposed
in the bill introduced into the Sixty-fifth Congress to encourage the
development of health protection for mothers and infants, will prove
the quickest path to a national standard. Careful study into the kind
of legislative amendment necessary in the various states in order to
reduce the chaos now existing in the exercise of these functions
should also be made.

The present is in many ways an unfortunate moment at which to suggest
the necessity of developing such an agency. The War Risk Bureau,
created to provide certain services for the families of soldiers and
sailors and others in the service, through the failures and
imperfections of its service, has discouraged the idea of attempting
such tasks on a national scale. It should be recalled, however, that
the assignment of the War Risk Bureau to the Treasury Department
concerned with revenue instead of to the Children's Bureau concerned
with family problems, rendered it practically inevitable that such
limitations of skill would characterize its work. Neither a taxing
body nor a bank should be chosen for the supervision of work with
family groups.

The "home service" work of the American Red Cross constituted such a
national agency during the period of the war, and if the so-called
"peace-time program" is successfully developed, the need urged in this
chapter may be met.

The efficient local private agencies suffer in the same way from the
lack of a national agency and a national standard in case work. The
American Association for Social Work with Families, and the National
Conference of Social Work, attempt by conference and publication to
spread the knowledge of social technique and to improve the work done
by existing societies. But there are whole sections, even in densely
populated areas, in which there exists no such agency.

If, then, the benevolence and good will of the community are to be
embodied in such service for foreign-born families that fall into
distress as will not only relieve but upbuild the life of the family,
interpret to them the standards of the community, and help them to
become a part of the true American life, a national minimum of skill
and information must be developed below which the agencies for such
care will nowhere be allowed to fall. From the experience both of
these foreign-born families and of the communities into which they
finally come we learn again the doctrine laid down a hundred years ago
by Robert Owen, that the care of those who suffer is a national and
not solely a local concern.


[72] _Charity Service Reports, Cook County, Illinois_, Fiscal Year
1917, pp. 74, 350.

[73] Richmond, _Social Diagnosis_, p. 118.

[74] V. G. Kirkpatrick, "War-time Work of the Visiting Housekeeper,"
in the _Yearbook of the United Charities of Chicago_, 1917, p. 18.

[75] _Illinois Revised Statutes_, chap. cvii.

[76] _Illinois Revised Statutes_, chap. xxiii, sec. 298.

[77] Abbott, E., "Experimental State in Mothers' Pension Legislation,"
_National Conference of Social Work_, 1917, pp. 154-164, and _U. S.
Bureau of Labor Statistics Bulletin, No. 212_, p. 818. See also
_Institution Quarterly of Illinois_, March, 1916, p. 97.

[78] _Massachusetts General Acts, 1913_, chap. 763, sec. 3.

[79] _Deering's Political Code of California_, sec. 2283 fol., p. 571.

[80] _New Jersey Acts, 1915_, p. 206 fol.

[81] _Laws of Pennsylvania, 1914_, p. 118; _1915_, p. 1085.



The following list of racial organizations has been generously
compiled by the Bureau of Foreign Language Information Service of the
American Red Cross. Only those of national scope have been included,
with the exception of those starred, which, although not strictly
national, have a more than local importance. It contains those
organizations and societies doing benevolent, philanthropic or
educational work, and, in a few instances, those primarily political
or religious in character whose activities have been extended to
include other work.

The list was compiled in March, 1921, and, although it is reasonably
inclusive, the organizations, the officers, and the addresses are
constantly changing.


    Catholic Sokol Union
        5798 Holcomb Street. Detroit, Michigan

    Council of Higher Education
      Secretary: P. A. Korab
        Iowa State Bank, Iowa City, Iowa

    Czecho-Slavonian Fraternal Benefit Union
      Secretary: August R. Zicha
        516 East Seventy-third Street, New York City

    Czechoslovak National Alliance
      Secretary: Ferdinand L. Musil
        3734 West Twenty-sixth Street, Chicago, Illinois

    Czechoslovak National Council of America
      President: Dr. J. P. Percival
        3756 West Twenty-sixth Street, Chicago, Illinois

    National Federation of Czech Catholics in America
      Secretary: John Straka
        2752 South Millard Avenue, Chicago, Illinois

    Sisterly Benevolent Union, Supreme Lodge
      Secretary: Mrs. Marie Zemanova
        4934 Broadway, Cleveland, Ohio

    Society of Taborites
      Secretary: Fr. Cernohorsky
        3416 East Fifty-third Street, Cleveland, Ohio

    Sokol Gymnastic Organization of America
      Secretary: Thomas Vonasek
        1647 South St. Louis Avenue, Chicago, Illinois

    Union of Czech Women
      Secretary: Mrs. Marie Zemanova
        180 Forty-first Street, Corona, New York

    United Czechoslovak Legion of America
      Secretary: Lada T. Krizek
        3742 East 140th Street, Cleveland, Ohio

    Western Czech Fraternal Union
      Secretary: L. J. Kasper
        307 Twelfth Avenue East, Cedar Rapids, Iowa


    The Danish Brotherhood in America
      Supreme Secretary: Frank V. Lawson
        Omaha National Bank Building, Omaha, Nebraska

    The Danish Sisterhood in America
      Supreme Secretary: Mrs. Caroline Nielsen
        6820 So. Carpenter Street, Chicago, Illinois


    *Eendracht Maaht Macht
      President: G. Verschuur
        65 Nassau Street, New York City

    Nieuw Nederland
      President: A. Schrikker
        Netherland Consulate, New York City


    Finnish Apostolic Lutheran Church
      Office of National Secretary, care of Valvoja
        Calumet, Michigan

    Finnish Branch, Industrial Workers of the World
      Office of National Secretary, care of Industrialisti
        22 Lake Avenue, North, Duluth, Minnesota

    Finnish Congregational Church of the United States
      Office of National Secretary, care of Astorian Sanomat
        Astoria, Oregon

    Finnish Lutheran National Church
      Office of National Secretary, care of Auttaja
        Ironwood, Michigan

    Finnish Lutheran Suomi Synod Church of America
      President: Rev. John Wargelin
        Hancock, Michigan

    Finnish National Temperance Brotherhood
      National Secretary: Mrs. Hilma Hamina
        Ishpeming, Michigan

    Finnish Socialist Organization of the United States
      National Secretary: Henry Askeli
        Mid City Bank Building, Chicago, Illinois

    Knights of Kalova
      National Secretary: Matti Simpanen
        5305 Sixth Avenue, Brooklyn, New York

    Ladies of Kalova
      National Secretary: Miss Martha Hamalainen
        266 Pleasant Street, Gardner, Massachusetts

    Lincoln Loyalty League of Finnish-Americans
      Secretary: J. H. Jasbert
        1045 Marquette Building, Chicago, Illinois

    Swedish-Finnish Sick Benefit Society of America
      Secretary: John Back
        Box 27, North Escanaba, Michigan


    American Gymnastic Union (Turners)
      First President: Theo. Stempfel
        Fletcher American Nat. Bank, Indianapolis, Indiana

    German Beneficial Union
      Supreme President: Louis Volz
        1505-07 Carson Street, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

    National Federation of German Catholic Societies
      President: Michael Girten
        915 People's Gas Building, Chicago, Illinois

    North American Association of Singing Societies
      President: Charles G. Schmidt
        2000 Central Avenue, Cincinnati, Ohio

    North-Eastern Association of Singing Societies
      President: Carl Lentz
        77 Broad Street, Newark, New Jersey

    Order of Harugari
      Grand Treasurer: Henry F. Raabe
        30 Vanderveer Street, Brooklyn, New York

    Order of the Sons of Herman
      Grand Secretary: Richard Schaefer
        New Britain, Connecticut

    Workmen's Sick and Death Benefit Fund
      Seventh Street and Third Avenue, New York City


    American Hungarian Reformed Society
      Secretary: Steve Molnar
        269 Plymouth Street, Toledo, Ohio

    *First Hungarian Literary Society of New York
      Secretary: Joseph Partos
        317 East Seventy-ninth Street, New York City

    First Hungarian Miners Sick Benefit Society of Ben Creek
      Secretary: Stephen Beres
        Box 244, Cassandram, Pennsylvania

    *First Hungarian Sick Benefit and Funeral Society of New
      Secretary: Joseph Kopencey
        Box 511, New Brunswick, New Jersey

    *First Hungarian Sick Benefit Society of East Chicago and
      Secretary: Kovacs A. David
        620 Chicago Avenue, East Chicago, Indiana

    *Hungarian Public Association of Passaic
      Secretary: Julius Faludy
        127 Second Avenue, Passaic, New Jersey

    *Hungarian Rakoczi Sick Benefit Society of Bridgeport
      Secretary: Steve Koteles, Jr.
        626 Bostwick Avenue, Bridgeport, Connecticut

    *Hungarian Reformed Benefit Society of Pittsburgh and Vicinity
      Chairman: Andrew Hornyak
        600 Hazelwood Avenue, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

    *Hungarian Reformed Sick Benefit Society of Windber and Vicinity
      Secretary: Joseph Molnar
        542 R. Road Street, Windber, Pennsylvania

    Kohanyi Tihamer's Hungarian Workman's Sick Benefit Society of
          Hungary and America
      Secretary: Julius Sipos
        Box 240, Homer City, Pennsylvania

    Roman and Greek Catholic First Hungarian Sick Benefit Society of
      Secretary: Ignac Kiss
        R. F. D. No. 2, Box 346, Wheeling, West Virginia

    Saint Laszlo Roman and Greek Catholic Hungarian Sick Benefit and
          Funeral Society of Johnstown and Vicinity
      Secretary: John Angyal
        205 Third Avenue, Johnstown, Pennsylvania

    Saint Istvan Hungarian Workman's Sick Benefit Society of Snow Shoe
      Secretary: Antal Polczar
        Box 62, Clarence, Pennsylvania

    United Petofi Sandor Association
      Secretary: Bela K. Bekay
        2196-98 West Jefferson Avenue, Detroit, Michigan

    Verhovay Aid Association
      Secretary: Stephen Gabor
        Room 809-811 Markle Bank Building, Hazelton, Pennsylvania

    Workman's Sick Benefit and Literary Society
      Secretary: Joseph Kertesz
        350 East Eighty-first Street, New York City


    Italian War Veterans
      244 East Twenty-fourth Street, New York City

    Order of Sons of Italy in America
      President: Stefano Miele
        266 Lafayette Street, New York City


    Alliance Israelite Universelle
      150 Nassau Street, New York City

    Alumni Association of the Hebrew Union College
      Hebrew Union College, Cincinnati, Ohio

    American Jewish Committee
      31 Union Square West, New York City

    American Jewish Congress
      1 Madison Avenue, New York City

    American Jewish Relief Committee
      30 East Forty-second Street, New York City

    American Union of Rumanian Jews
      44 Seventh Street, New York City

    Baron de Hirsch Fund
      80 Maiden Lane, New York City

    Bureau of Jewish Social Research
      114 Fifth Avenue, New York City

    Central Conference of American Rabbis
      Temple Beth El, Detroit, Michigan

    Council of Jewish Women
      Executive Secretary: Mrs. Harry Sternberger
        305 West Ninety-eighth Street, New York City

    Council of Reform Rabbis
      1093 Sterling Place, Brooklyn, New York

    Council of Y. M. H. and Kindred Associations
      114 Fifth Avenue, New York City

    Dropsie College for Hebrew and Cognate Learning
      Broad and York Streets, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

    Eastern Council of Reform Rabbis
      1093 Sterling Place, Brooklyn, New York

    Educational League for the Higher Education of Orphans
      336 Engineer's Building, Cleveland, Ohio

    Federation of Bessarabian Jews in America
      52 St. Mark's Place, New York City

    Federation of Galician Jews and Bukovinian Jews in America
      66 Second Avenue, New York City

    Federation of Jewish Farmers of America
      175 East Broadway, New York City

    Federation of Lithuanian and Latvian Jews in America
      6 Ludlow Street, New York City

    Federation of Oriental Jews of America
      42 Seventh Street, New York City

    Federation of Russian and Polish Hebrews in America
      1822 Lexington Avenue, New York City

    Federation of Ukrainian Jews in America
      200 East Broadway, New York City

      55 Fifth Avenue, New York City

    Hai Resh Fraternity
      St. Joseph, Missouri

    Histadrut Ibrith
      55 Fifth Avenue, New York City

    Hebrew Sheltering and Immigrant Aid Society of America
      229-231 East Broadway, New York City

    Hebrew Technical Institute for Boys
      36 Stuyvesant Street, New York City

    Hebrew Technical School for Girls
      Second Avenue and Fifteenth Street, New York City

    Independent Order of B'nai B'rith
      1228 Tribune Building, Chicago, Illinois

    Independent Order of Brith Abraham
      37 Seventh Avenue, New York City

    Independent Order Brith Sholom
      510-512 South Fifth Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

    Independent Order Free Sons of Israel
      21 West 124th Street, New York City

    Independent Western Star Order
      1227 Blue Island Avenue, Chicago, Illinois

    Independent Workmen's Circle of America, Inc.
      9 Cambridge, Boston, Massachusetts

    Industrial Removal Office
      174 Second Avenue, New York City

    Intercollegiate Menorah Associations
      600 Madison Avenue, New York City

    Intercollegiate Zionist Association of America
      55 Fifth Avenue, New York City

    Jewish Academicians of America
      125 East Eighty-fifth Street, New York City

    Jewish Agricultural and Industrial Aid Society
      174 Second Avenue, New York City

    Jewish Agricultural Experiment Station
      356 Second Avenue, New York City

    Jewish Central Relief Committee
      51 Chambers Street, New York City

    Jewish Chautauqua Society
      1305 Stephen Girard Building
        21 South Twelfth Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

    Jewish Consumptive Relief Association of California
      207 South Broadway, Los Angeles, California

    Jewish Consumptive Relief Society
      510-512 Kittredge Building, Denver, Colorado

    Jewish National Workers Alliance of America
      89 Delancey Street, New York City

    Jewish People's Relief Committee
      175 East Broadway, New York City

    Jewish Publication Society of America
      1201 North Broad Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

    Jewish Socialist Federation of America
      175 East Broadway, New York City

    Jewish Socialist Labor Poale Zion of America and Canada
      266 Grand Street, New York City

    Jewish Teachers Association
      Secretary: A. P. Schoolman
        356 Second Avenue, New York City

    Jewish Teachers' Seminary
      252 East Broadway, New York City

    Jewish Teachers' Training School of the Misrachi Organization
      86 Orchard Street, New York City

    Jewish Theological Seminary of America
      531 West 123d Street, New York City

    Jewish Welfare Board
      149 Fifth Avenue, New York City

    Joint Distribution Committee
      20 Exchange Place, New York City

    Kappa Nu Fraternity
      2937 Schubert Avenue, Chicago, Illinois

    National Association of Jewish Social Workers
      Secretary and Treasurer: M. M. Goldstein
        356 Second Avenue, New York City

    National Conference of Jewish Social Service
      114 Fifth Avenue, New York City

    National Desertion Bureau
      Secretary: Charles Zusser
        356 Second Avenue, New York City

    National Farm School
      407 Mutual Life Building, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

    National Federation of Temple Sisterhoods
      62 Dutenhofer Building, Cincinnati, Ohio

    National Jewish Hospital for Consumptives
      3800 East Colfax Avenue, Denver, Colorado

    National Jewish Immigration Council
      18 Maiden Lane, New York City

    National Union of Jewish Sheltering Societies
      229-231 East Broadway, New York City

    Order Brith Abraham
      266 Grand Street, New York City

    Order Knights of Joseph
      311-312 Society for Savings Building
        Cleveland, Ohio

    Order of Sons of Zion
      55 Fifth Avenue, New York City

    Order of the United Hebrew Brothers
      189 Second Avenue, New York City

    Pi Tau Pi Fraternity
      New Orleans, Louisiana

    Progressive Order of the West
      406-407-408 Frisco Building
        Ninth and Olive Streets, St. Louis, Missouri

    Red Mogen David of America
      201 Second Avenue, New York City

    Sigma Alpha Mu Fraternity
      277 Broadway, New York City

    The Mizrachi Organization of America
      86 Orchard Street, New York City

    The Union of Orthodox Rabbis of the United States and Canada
      121 Canal Street, New York City

    The Workmen's Circle
      175 East Broadway, New York City

    Union of American Hebrew Congregations
      Cincinnati, Ohio

    Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America
      125 East Eighty-fifth Street, New York City

    United Order of True Sisters
      317 West 139th Street, New York City

    United Orthodox Rabbis of America
      121 Canal Street, New York City

    United Sons of Israel, Inc.
      18 Boylston Street, Boston, Massachusetts

    United Synagogue of America
      531 West 123d Street, New York City

    Women's League of the United Synagogue of America
      531 West 123d Street, New York City

    Young Judæa
      55 Fifth Avenue, New York City

    Z B T Fraternity
      237 West Eighty-eighth Street, New York City

    Zionist Organization of America
      55 Fifth Avenue, New York City

    Zionist Society of Engineers and Agriculturists
      122 East Thirty-seventh Street, New York City


    Carniolian Slovene Catholic Union
      1004 North Chicago Street, Joliet, Illinois

    Croatian League of Illinois
      2552 Wentworth Avenue, Chicago, Illinois

    Croatian Union of the Pacific
      560 Pacific Building, San Francisco, California

    Jugoslav Benevolent Society "Unity"
      408 Park Street, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

    Jugoslav Catholic Benevolent Union
      Ely, Minnesota

    Jugoslav Republican Alliance
      3637 West Twenty-sixth Street, Chicago, Illinois

    Loyal Serb Society Srbadia
      443 West Twenty-second Street, New York City

    National Croatian Society
      1012 Peralta Street, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

    Serbian Federation Sloboda
      414 Bakewell Building, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

    Serbian Orthodox Federation Srbobran Sloga
      Twelfth and Carsons Street, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

    Slovene Benevolent Society
      1064 East Sixty-second Street, Cleveland, Ohio

    Slovene Catholic Benevolent Association
      420 Seventh Street, Calumet, Michigan

    Slovene Croatian Union
      Fifth South Borgo Block, Calumet, Michigan

    Slovene Free Thinkers Association
      1541 West Eighteenth Street, Brooklyn, New York

    Slovene Workingmen's Benevolent Association
      634 Main Street, Johnstown, Pennsylvania

    *Slovenic Benevolent Society
      "St. Barbara"
        Forest City, Pennsylvania

    Slovenic National Benefit Society
      2657 S. Lawndale Avenue, Chicago, Illinois

    Southern Slav Socialistic League
      3639 West Twenty-sixth Street, Chicago, Illinois

    The Holy Family Society
      1006 North Chicago Street, Joliet, Illinois

    Western Slav Society
      4822 Washington Street, Denver, Colorado

    Young National Croatian Society
      President: Mark Smiljanich
        2857 South Ridgeway Avenue, Chicago, Illinois


    American-Lithuanian Catholic Press Association
      Secretary: Rev. V. Kulikauskas
        2327 West Twenty-third Place, Chicago, Illinois

    Auxiliary of Lithuanian Red Cross
      Secretary: Rev. Petraitis
        147 Montgomery Avenue, Paterson, New Jersey

    Knights of Lithuania
      Secretary: Vincas Ruk[vs]telis
        3249 South Halsted Street, Chicago, Illinois

    Lithuanian Alliance of America
      Secretary: Miss P. Jurgeliute
        307 West Thirtieth Street, New York City

    Lithuanian National Fund
      Secretary: J. Kru[vs]inskas
        222 South Ninth Street, Brooklyn, New York

    Lithuanian Patriot Society
      Secretary: J. Sekys
        101 Oak Street, Lawrence, Massachusetts

    Lithuanian Roman Catholic Alliance of America
      Secretary: J. Tumasonis
        222 South Ninth Street, Brooklyn, New York

    Lithuanian Roman Catholic Charitable Association
      Secretary: John Purtokas
        4441 South Washenaw Avenue, Chicago, Illinois

    Lithuanian Roman Catholic Federation of America
      Secretary: J. Valantiejus
        222 South Ninth Street, Brooklyn, New York

    Lithuanian Roman Catholic Women's Alliance of America
      President: Mrs. M. Vaiciuniene
        442 Leonard Street, N. W., Grand Rapids, Michigan

    Lithuanian Total Abstinence Association
      Secretary: Vincent Ba[vc]ys
        41 Providence Street, Worcester, Massachusetts

    St. Joseph's Lith. Roman Catholic Association of Labor
      Secretary: A. F. Kneizis
        366 West Broadway, South Boston, Massachusetts

    The People's University
      Secretary: Dr. A. L. Graiciunas
        3310 South Halsted Street, Chicago, Illinois


    Knights of the White Cross
      Care of Nora Lodge
        1733 North Kedvale Avenue, Chicago, Illinois

    Sons of Norway
      Secretary: L. Stavnheim
        New York Life Building, Minneapolis, Minnesota


    Association of Polish Women of the United States
      General Secretary: Mrs. L. H. Dziewczynska
        6723 Fleet Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio

    Polish Alliance of New Jersey
      General Secretary: J. Wegrocki
        84 Tyler Street, Newark, New Jersey

    Polish Falcons Alliance of America
      General Secretary: K. J. Machnikowski
        Cor. South Twelfth and Carson Streets, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

    Polish Military Alliance of the United States of America
      General Secretary: P. Balecki
        450 Pacific Avenue, Jersey City, New Jersey

    *Polish National Alliance of Brooklyn
      General Secretary: V. G. Nowak
        142 Grand Street, Brooklyn, New York

    Polish National Alliance of the United States of North America
      General Secretary: J. S. Zawilinski
        1406-08 West Division Street, Chicago, Illinois

    Polish Roman-Catholic Alliance
      General Secretary: J. Grams
        6924 Worley Street, Cleveland, Ohio

    Polish Roman-Catholic Association
      General Secretary: L. F. Szymanski
        755 Twenty-third Street, Detroit, Michigan

    *Polish Roman-Catholic Benevolent Association of Bay City
      General Secretary: J. Lepczyk
        1112 Fifteenth Street, Bay City, Michigan

    Polish Roman-Catholic Union
      984 Milwaukee Avenue, Chicago, Illinois

    Polish Socialists Alliance of America
      General Secretary: R. Mazurkiewica
        959 Milwaukee Avenue, Chicago, Illinois

    Polish Women's Alliance of America
      General Secretary: Mrs. J. Andrzejewska
        1309-15 North Ashland Avenue, Chicago, Illinois

    Polish Union
      General Secretary: J. Dembiec
        Room 824, Miners Bank Building, Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania

    Polish Union of America
      General Secretary: F. Zandrowicz
        761-765 Fillmore Avenue, Buffalo, New York

    Human Catholic Alliance of America
      General Secretary: W. Gola
        59 Fourth Street, Passaic, New Jersey

    The Polish Roman-Catholic St. Joseph Union
      General Secretary: A. Kazmierski
        2813 Nineteenth Avenue, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania


    League of Russian Clergy
      43 Reed Street, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

    North American Ecclesiastical Consistory
      Archbishop Alexander
        15 East Ninety-seventh Street, New York City

    Russian Brotherhood Organization of U. S. A.
      P. O. Box 475, Olyphant, Pennsylvania

    Russian Collegiate Institute
      219 Second Avenue, New York City

    Russian Independent Orthodox Brotherhoods
      34 Vine Street, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

    Russian Independent Society
      917 North Wood Street, Chicago, Illinois

    Russian National Organization
      P. O. Box 2066, Bridgeport, Connecticut

    Russian National Society
      5 Columbus Circle, New York City

    Russian Orthodox Catholic Mutual Aid Society
      84 Market Street, East, Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania

    Russian Peasants' Union
      324 East Fourteenth Street, New York City

    Russian Society "Nauka"
      222 East Tenth Street, New York City

    *Union of Russian Citizens
      1522 Fifth Avenue, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

    Women's Russian Orthodox Mutual Aid Society
      P. O. Box 512, Coaldale, Pennsylvania


    Catholic Slovak Sokol
      Secretary: Michael Kudlac
        205 Madison Street, Passaic, New Jersey

    First Catholic Slovak Ladies' Union of the United States
      President: Mrs. Frantiska Jakaboin
        600 South Seventh Street, Reading, Pennsylvania

    National Slovak Society in United States of America
      Secretary: Joseph Duris
        P. O. Box 593, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

    Slovak Gymnastic Union of Sokols
      Secretary: Frank Stas
        283 Oak Street, Perth Amboy, New Jersey

    Slovak Protestant Union
      President: Jan Bibza
        409 South Second Street, N. S., Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

    Tatran Slovak Union
      President: Samuel Vrablik
        2519 South Ridgeway Avenue, Chicago, Illinois

    The First Catholic Slovak Union
      President: Andrej H. Dorko
        Marblehead, Ohio

    Zivena, Benefit Society of Slovak Christian Women of the United
          States of America
      President: Mrs. C. E. Vavrek
        3 Stark Street, Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania


    American Society of Swedish Engineers
      Secretary: N. V. Hansell
        271 Hicks Street, Brooklyn, New York

    Scandinavian Fraternity of America
      P. O. Box 184, Spokane, Washington
        (Membership consists of Norwegians, Danes, and Swedes)

    The American Union of Swedish Singers
      President: Hjalmar Nilsson
        State Capitol, St. Paul, Minnesota

    The Order of Vasa
      President: Carl Festin
        610 East Seventy-fifth Street, Chicago, Illinois

    *United Swedish Societies of Greater New York
      President: John Olin
        Anderson's Assembly Rooms, Sixteenth Street and Third Avenue,
          New York City
          (Consists of two delegates from each local society)


    Providence Association, Inc.
      President: Eugene Yakubovich
        827 North Franklin Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

    The Ukrainian Federation of the United States, Inc.
      President: Miroslav Sichinsky
        166 Avenue A, New York City

    Ukrainian Mutual Aid Society, Inc.
      President: M. Porada
        3357 West Carson Street, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

    Ukrainian National Association, Inc.
      President: Simon Yadlowsky
        83 Grand Street, Jersey City, New Jersey

    Ukrainian National Committee
      President: V. B. Lotozky
        30 East Seventh Street, New York City

    Ukrainian Women's Alliance
      President: Mrs. C. Zubrich
        932 North Okley Boulevard, Chicago, Illinois

    Ukrainian Workingmen's Association, Inc.
      President: George Kraykiwsky
        524 Olive Street, Scranton, Pennsylvania

    Union of Brotherhoods
      President: George Hylak
        107 Grant Street, Olyphant, Pennsylvania


The following menus have been obtained from housewives who were glad
to share in an effort toward better understanding between foreign-born
groups and agencies either of adjustment or for case work. This small
body of material is illustrative of the kind of information that is
easily available to the agency and that would illumine the treatment
of the families under care.

The menus given are those actually used by housewives of different
nationalities during the periods indicated. A list of recipes will be
found in another volume of this Study.[82]


These menus were given by a Bohemian woman whose methods of cooking
have changed very little in America. She has learned new ways of
preserving vegetables and fruits, but uses those methods only when
they seem to her more inexpensive than her earlier practices. In other
respects the diet is said to be typical of the diet of a Bohemian
family of moderate income in Moravia.


    Oatmeal with milk.
    Coffee, bread with butter or jelly.

There is always fruit in the house and the child of five is given
bread and jelly at ten o'clock in the morning.


Usually a meatless soup is served for lunch, or a simple dish of rice
or vegetables. Eggs cooked in various ways, milk, bread, butter, and
jelly, and baked porridge called "kashe" made from farina, rice or
millet, cooked with milk and sugar and butter, are also used at lunch.


The dinner menus do not vary much. Soup made from meat stock is eaten
every week day except Wednesday, when there is roast meat and no soup.
On Sunday both soup and a roast are served. The meat from the soup is
served with a variety of sauces and gravies. Dumplings are used often
when Americans would serve potatoes. Rice and noodles are also used
instead of potatoes. Such vegetables as beans, spinach, carrots,
cabbage, kohl-rabi, sauerkraut, and salads are sometimes eaten with
the meat instead of the sauce with dumplings. The following are
typical menus:

    Meat with sauce and dumplings.
    Apple sauce or preserves.
    Coffee. Bread and butter.

    Meat with sauce and potatoes.
    Stewed fruit.
    Coffee with homemade raised tarts.

    Meat, beans, sauerkraut.
    Apple sauce.
    Coffee. Bread and butter.


The following menus represent the diet of a Croatian family of
moderate income. The family came from a village near Zara, and the
influence of the Italian customs upon the food habits of the
Dalmatians is indicated in the use of polenta.

August 6, 1919:


    One cup of coffee with one or two slices of bread. Coffee is
    made very strong, the cup filled two thirds full of hot milk;
    the coffee and some cream added.


    A soft-boiled egg, with bread.
    One cup of coffee.

The custom of having a second breakfast is Croatian. In this family it
has been possible to keep it up in this country because the hours for
a street-car conductor can be arranged to allow it.

DINNER--12.30 P.M.

    Beef soup with dumplings.
    Soup meat with sauce.
    Mashed potatoes (browned).
    Bread. Coffee.


    Soup with rice (from same stock as was used at noon).
    Bread. Coffee. Fruit.

August 7, 1919:


Early breakfast is always the same. The second breakfast varies
little; sometimes bread and cheese or bread and meat sandwiches are
eaten instead of the soft-boiled eggs.


    Lettuce salad.


    Spaghetti with tomato sauce.
    Bread. Coffee.

ITALIAN (Sicilian)

The following menus represent the diet of a Sicilian family from
Palermo. They have been in America over twenty years, but their diet
has changed little. There are ten persons in the family--the mother
and two unmarried daughters, a married daughter, her husband and four
children. The children are seven, five, and three years, and ten
months. Food for the children is prepared separately. For breakfast
they have cereal, milk, bread, and stewed fruit; for lunch, rice or
potato, bread, milk, and the green vegetables cooked for the family if
not cooked with tomato sauce. For supper the children have bread and
milk. It is not common in Italian families to make so much difference
in the diet for children; they are usually fed on the highly seasoned
dishes the family eat, but in this family the mother prepared special
food for her children, and her daughter is doing the same and planning
their diet even more carefully.

Summer menus:

Monday, August 11, 1919:


    Coffee or chocolate.
    Toast. Italian cookies.
    For children, bread and milk or oatmeal and milk.

The coffee is made strong, but is served with hot milk--the cup half
or two thirds filled with milk before coffee is poured in. Very often
nothing is eaten with the coffee.


    Cold sliced meat (left from Sunday).
    Tomato and lettuce salad.
    Bread. Fruit.


    Spaghetti with tomato sauce.
    Stuffed peppers.
    Bread. Fruit.

Tuesday, August 12, 1919:


    Same every morning.


    Stew made of long, slender squash, potatoes, onions.
    Bread. Fruit.


    Broiled veal.
    Fried potatoes.
    Fresh tomatoes with French dressing.
    Boiled string beans.
    Bread. Fruit.

Wednesday, August 13, 1919:


    Boiled greens with olive oil.
    Fresh tomatoes.
    Bread. Cheese.


    Macaroni with peas.
    Diced potatoes with tomato sauce.
    Breaded asparagus.

Thursday, August 14, 1919:


    Breaded fried liver.
    Sauce for meat made of vinegar, sugar, chopped orange rind, and
        bay leaves.
    Boiled greens with olive oil.
    Bread. Fruit.


    Macaroni à la Milanese
    Sauce of finocchi, bread crumbs, anchovi.
    Potato cakes.

Friday, August 15, 1919:


    Egg tamale.
    String beans, French dressing.
    Bread. Fruit.


    Fried fish.
    Fresh tomatoes.
    Cucumbers. Bread. Fruit.

Saturday, August 16, 1919:


    Potatoes and eggs.
    Greens with vinegar.
    Bread. Fruit.


    Broiled steak.
    Corn. Potatoes.
    Salad. Bread. Fruit.

Sunday, August 17, 1919:


    Coffee. Italian pastry.


    Homemade macaroni with tomato sauce.
    Veal pot roast.
    Corn. Eggplant. Bread.
    Fruit salad.

The menus given are typical of the diet during the summer. A great
variety of vegetables is used.

Winter menus:



    Coffee or chocolate.
    Bread, toast, or Italian cookies.


    Stew of spinach, lentils, and onions.
    Baked apples. Bread. Coffee.


    Macaroni with tomato sauce.
    Meat (left over from Sunday).
    Bread. Coffee or wine.


    Breakfast is always the same.


    Egg tamale (egg, cheese, and bacon).
    Baked potatoes.
    Bread. Fruit.


    Soup with macaroni.
    Meat with vegetables, potatoes, carrots, cabbage, onions, etc.
    Bread. Fruit.



    Salmon, lemon juice.
    Spinach with olive oil.
    Bread. Fruit.


    Macaroni with navy beans.
    Fried eggplant, with tomato sauce and cheese.
    Bread. Fruit.



    Soft-boiled eggs.
    Fried green tomatoes.
    Bread. Baked apples.


    Breaded pork chops.
    Potatoes. Spinach.
    Fruit Salad. Bread.



    Egg omelet.
    Chocolate. Bread.
    Stewed fruit.


    Fish with tomato sauce.
    Stuffed green peppers.
    Bread. Fruit.



    Broiled liver.
    Lettuce salad. Bread.


    Lima beans with celery, onions, and tomatoes.
    Stuffed artichokes.
    Bread. Coffee. Fruit.



    Coffee and Italian fried cakes.


    Macaroni with tomato sauce and chopped meat.
    Pot roast. Peas.
    Ice cream.


    Rice cooked in milk with egg.
    Cake. Coffee.


Menus given by a Slovenian woman show the diet of a family of moderate
income whose food habits have not been modified in America. Certain
European customs are observed; no desserts are served, and no baking
powder is used. Sweet cookies, raised with yeast, and fresh fruit, are
given to children who are allowed candy, so that they may not feel
deprived of sweets when they see other children eating candy at
school. The older children have learned to prepare new "American"
dishes at school, but these are not used at home, as the whole family
prefer the Slovenian diet.


    Coffee, bread and butter.
    (Breakfast is always the same.)

10 A.M.

    An egg, a sandwich, or a cup of milk for parents.
    Fruit for children.


     1. Rice cooked with mushrooms, celery, onions, and spice. In
     cold weather fifteen cents' worth of pork is cooked with the
     rice. Water with fruit juice to drink, or the water from
     cooked fruit.

     2. Buckwheat cakes, eaten with cooked dried fruit or jelly.

     3. Barley and beans cooked together. Colored beans are used,
     and must be tried to see whether they will cook in the same
     time as the barley. Olive oil, bacon or sausage, and a little
     garlic are added.

     4. Millet (kasa) cooked in milk with sugar, then baked in the
     oven fifteen minutes and served with milk.

     5. French toast.

     6. Corn-meal mush, fried, with sauerkraut. "A good quality of
     corn meal is used, bought in Italian districts." Boiling
     water is poured very slowly into a dish of meal, and allowed
     to stand twenty minutes. Mush is fried in butter, eaten with
     sauerkraut, cooked dried fruit or honey.

     7. Noodles with Parmesan cheese.

     8. Noodles with baked apples.

3 P.M.

    Coffee, bread with butter or jelly.
    (Coffee is very weak for children; a great deal of milk is added.)


    1. Beef soup with farina dumplings.
       Meat (from the soup) eaten with a relish.
       Potatoes. Turnips. Bread.

    2. Vegetable soup.
       Roast meat.
       Bread. Water.


[82] Michael M. Davis, _Immigrant Health and the Community_.



    Abbott, Edith, 153, 161, 186, 308

    Abbott, Grace, 223

      Adjusting immigrants
        American, 222-276
        Case work, 277-311
        Immigrant, 187-221
        Studied, 7-8

      Legislation, 38, 76, 254-257
      Workers, 34-35

    Akron, Ohio:
      Home Demonstration Agent, 259

    American Association for Family Welfare Work, 281

    American Association for Social Work with Families, 7, 310

    American Home Economics Association:
      Committee on Household Budgets, 115, 250-252

    American Institute of Architects:
      Articles on Housing, 72-74

    American Red Cross:
        Case Work, 281
      Home Service, 7, 310

      Agencies and instruments
        American organizations, 222-276
        Case-work organizations, 277-311
        Immigrant organizations, 187-221
      Factors, 14-18

    Anderson, A. M., 270

    Anthony, Katharine Susan, 136


    Baltimore, Maryland:
      Polish National Alliance, 202

      Postal Savings, 111-115

    Benefit Societies:
      Life and Health insurance, 94-95
      Organization, 192-196, 201

    Birdseye, Clarence Frank, 226

    "Board of Health Baskets," 133

      Relation to family problems, 23-27, 52, 63-64

      Customs in, 174

      Building and loan association, 76, 109
      Child care, 158, 164, 182
      Cookery, 59
      Dvorak Park, Chicago, 273-274
      Home ownership, 105, 107
      In Chicago, 11
        Nebraska, 169
      Life insurance, 94
      Menus, 333-334
      Postal Savings circular, 112
      Spending habits, 90, 122, 134-135
      Unemployment, 92

    Boston, Massachusetts:
      Boston Associated Charities
        Office of District Superintendent, 298
      Case-work agencies, 283, 295
      Dietetic Bureau, 296
      Polish National Alliance, 202

    Breckinridge, S. P., 153, 161, 186

    Bridgeport, Connecticut:
      Black Rock Apartment House Group, 70
      Study of housing project, 8

    British Board of Trade:
      Cost of living in American towns, 7

    Brooklyn, New York:
      Red Cross Chapter, 281
      Visiting housekeeper
        Pratt Institute, 290

    Brooks, John Graham, viii

    Buffalo, New York:
      Cost of living, 129
      Red Cross Chapter, 281

    Building Loans:
      Government, 75-80

    Building and loan association:
      Agency for buying homes, 109-111
      In Chicago, 76

      Home ownership, 106
      Postal Savings circular, 112

    Bureau of Education:
      Home Economics Division, 251, 268

    Bureau of Labor:
      List of building and loan associations, 109
      Report of U. S. Housing Corporation, 29, 32
      Statistics, 7, 129
      Women and child wage earners, 6

      Immigrant problem, 117-148


      Home teachers, 236-237
      Mothers' Aid Laws, 308

    California Commission of Immigration and Housing, 237-238

    Cambridge, Massachusetts:
      Case-work agencies, 283
        Visiting housekeepers, 290

    Case Work:
      With immigrant families, 277-311

    Case Workers:
      Foreign speaking, 281-286
      Training, 298-304

    Catholic Order of Foresters, 195

      Agencies, 8
        Board of Education, 241-243
        Building and loan association, 76, 110
        Case work, 281, 298-299
        Croatian, 197
        Elementary schools, 161-162
        Foreign born, 303-304
        Immigrants' Protective League, 8, 46, 51, 52, 203, 223-227,
            240, 303
        Playgrounds, 158
        Recreational, 273-276
        Settlements, 50, 239-240
        United Charities, 8, 281
        Visiting housekeepers, 290-291
        Visiting Nurses' Association, 241
        Vocational Guidance Bureau, 169, 174
        Women's Clubs, 240-241
      Delinquent children, 185-186
      Families, 93-94
      Homes, 33
      Housing, 62, 105-108
      Italian wedding, 100
      Russian women, 3
      Shopping habits, 122-123
      Study of races, 11-12, 50, 61
      Women in industry, 40

    Child Labor:
      Legislation, 37-38

      Care of, 4, 41-43, 149-186
      Croatian, 198-201

    Children's Bureau:
      Child care publications, 7, 219-221, 254
      Infant mortality studies, 41, 64

      Postal savings circular, 112

    Christenings, 103-104

      Chimes, 97
      Relation to parents, 180

      Cooking, 228, 233, 240-243, 259-260

      Case-work agencies, 283
        Visiting housekeepers, 290, 295

      Problem of parents, 135-141

    Comey, A. C., 79

      Recreation agencies, 272-276
      Relation to immigrant, 169, 180, 187-192, 223

    Company store, 119-122

    Consumers' League, 141

    Cook County, Illinois:
      Charity Service Report, 277
      Juvenile Court, 185-186, 277, 281

      American demands, 58-60
      Classes, 228, 233, 240-243, 259-260

      For immigrant education, 240-243

      Housekeeping, 24, 27-29
      In America, 141-148
      In England, 141-148

      Domestic relation, 53
      Juvenile, 181-186, 277, 281

      Customs, 174

      Child care, 151
      Cookery, 58
      Home ownership, 105
      In Chicago, 11
      League of Illinois, 94
      Menus, 334-335
      Organizations, 196-201
      Postal Savings circular, 112
      Spending habits, 122, 130, 137
      Women in industry, 40

    Croatian League of Illinois, 196

    Cummin, John, 226

      Czecho-Slovak workingman, 95
      Diet changes, 130
      Organizations, 313-314


    Dallas, Texas:
      Bohemian Community, 83

    Daniels, John, 32, 190

      Organizations, 314-315
      Postal Savings circular, 112

    Day Nursery:
      Lithuanian, 41

      Provision against, 92-93, 96

    Department of Agriculture:
      Bureau of Home Economics, 7, 251
      States Relation Service, 254-262
      Thrift campaign, 114

      Visiting Housekeepers' Association, 289

      Modification, 130-134, 249, 333-341

    Dover, New Jersey:
      Cost of living, 129

      Organizations, 315


    Earnings (_see_ Income)

      Built on money, 88

      Immigrant, 240-243
        Women, 265-266
      Parents' problem, 159-169

    El Paso, Texas:
      Case-work agencies, 283

      British Board of Trades, 7
      Domestic Service Problem, 271-272
      Government Grants
        Schools for mothers, 263-265
      Ministry of Reconstruction, 68, 271
      Rochdale, Lancashire Co-operative, 141
      Women's Co-operative Guild, 269
      Women's Employment Committee, 270-271

      Postal Savings circular, 112

    Erwin, Tennessee:
      Housing, 70

      Budget, 139


    Fall River, Massachusetts:
      Case-work agencies, 281
        Visiting housekeepers, 290
      Immigrant schools
        Classes for women, 259-260

      Adjustment by organizations
        American, 222-276
        Case work, 277-311
        Immigrant, 187-221
      Child care, 149-186
      Problem, 6, 14-18
      Relationships, 19-53

    Farm Laborers:
      Unfamiliarity with money, 89-90

    Farm Loan Act:
      Proposed Amendment to, 76

    Federal Board for Vocational Education:
      Supervisors of Home Economics, 7
      Work, 251, 256-262

    Fête Days:
      First communion, 104-105

      Organizations, 315-316
      Postal Savings circular, 112

    Foreign Language Information Service, 220, 313-332

    Fort Wayne, Indiana:
      Cost of living, 129

    Fosdick, Raymond B., viii

    Fraternal Societies (_see_ Benefit)
      Sound basis of, 94-95

      Postal Savings circular, 112

    Freund, Ernst, 119

      Expense, 96-97

      Buying, 134-135


    Gay, Edwin F., viii

      Life insurance, 94
      Organizations, 316-317
      Postal Savings circular, 112

    Gilbert, Frank Bixley, 226

      Conventions for, 174-175
      Delinquent, 181
      Safety, 180
      Work, 179

    Glenn, John M., viii

    Grand Rapids, Michigan:
      Case-work agencies, 283

      Organizations, 192
      Postal Savings banks
        Use of, 112

    Group life:
      In old country, 175
      In America, 175


    Hart, Hastings Hornell, 200

      Problems, 150-151

    Health Insurance Commission of Illinois:
      Study of Chicago families' life insurance, 93-95

      Ownership, 78-80, 105-111
      Relation to
        Child care, 149-186
        American organizations, 222-276
        Case-work organizations, 277-311
        Immigrant organizations, 187-221
      Studied, 6-14

    Home Economics:
      Work, 254-263, 289-298

    Home Visitors:
      International Institute, Y. W. C. A., 245
      Training, 248-250
      Work of, 247-248

    Hood, Laura, xvii

      Immigrant problem, 23-32, 54-84
      Play space, 158

      Duties, 43-47
      Instruction, 234-235
        Children, 149-186
        Housing, 23-32, 58-84
        Saving, 85-116
        Spending, 117-148

      Child care, 165
      Home ownership, 105
      Housekeeping problems, 80
      Organization, 191, 317-318
      Postal Savings banks, 112


      Building and loan organization, 109
      Child labor, 38
      Council of Defense, 240-241
      Co-operative stores, 8
      Italians, 3, 11-12
      Mining communities, 8
      Mothers' Aid Law, 308
      Pauper Act, 307
      Public schools, 253

    Illinois Steel Company:
      Employees' houses, 72

      "Old" and "New," 5
      Stream of, 1

      Adjustment, 1-2, 6, 193
      Co-operatives, 143-145
      Relation to community, 167-168, 180, 187-192, 223

    Immigrant Heritages, 1-186, 247-248
      Importance to case worker, 298-301

    Immigrant Newspapers (_see_ Separate Races)

    Immigrant Organizations:
      Life and Health Insurance, 94-95
      List of principal racial, 313-332
      Relation to family problems, 187-221

    Immigrants' Protective League, 230, 268
      Chicago, 8, 46, 51, 52, 203, 223-227, 240, 303

      Children, 170-171
      Inadequacy, 35-39
      Irregularity, 91-92

    Indianapolis, Indiana:
      Cost of living, 129

      Women in, 39-43
      Workers, 34-35

    Infant mortality:
      Study, 41, 64

        Fraternal, 93-95
        Industrial, 95-96

      Life insurance, 94

      Building and loan association, 77
      Case work with, 298-299, 305-307
      Child care, 163, 177-178
      Family problems, 50
      Home economics work in Arkansas, 258-259
      Housekeeping problems, 57-58, 65, 80
      In Illinois mining town, 253
      Life insurance, 94
      Medical Association, 218
      Menus, 335-340
      Organizations, 95, 217-218, 318
      Postal Saving banks, 112
      Saving problems, 92-93, 97, 105, 106
      Spending habits, 122, 124
        Clothing, 137
        Diet changes, 130
        Neighborhood stores, 127
        Studied, 11-12

      Backgrounds, 57-58, 175, 298-299, 302
      Houses, 57


      Postal Savings circular, 112

      Life insurance, 94
      Organizations, 319-324

    Jewish Aid Society:
      Case work, 281

      Child care, 178
      Family relationships, 50
      Organizations, 324-326

    Juvenile Court:
      Case work, 277, 281
      Child care, 181-186

    Juvenile Delinquency:
      Children of foreign-born parentage, 156, 181-186


    Kemmerer, Edwin Walter, 102

    Kenosha, Wisconsin:
      Case-work agencies, 283

    King, Clyde Lyndon, 148

    Kirkpatrick, V. G., 293

    Knights and Ladies of Security, 195


    Lake Village, Arkansas
      Work with Italians, 258

      Barrier in case work, 280-286

    Legislation, Federal:
      Agricultural, 76, 254, 256-257
      Housing (proposed), 77
      Mothers' Aid, 309
      Pure Food Acts, 141
      Restriction on Retail Trade, 141

    Legislation, Foreign countries:
      Government Grants, 264-265

    Legislation, State:
      Company stores, 120-121
      Education, 159, 265-266
      Home teacher, 236
      Housing (proposed), 77
      Mothers' Aid, 308
      Pure Food Act, 141
      Regulating banks, 113
      Restriction on retail trade, 141
      Wives' rights, 48-50

      Child care, 155
      Family problems, 26, 39-43, 51
      Home ownership, 105-106
      Housekeeping problems, 56, 58-59, 80, 107
      Life insurance, 94
      National Alliance, 94
      Organizations, 191, 209-215, 326-327
      Postal Savings circular, 112
      Saving problem, 89-90
      Spending habits
        Clothing, 136
        Diet changes, 130
        Furniture, 135
      Studied, 11

      Employment in, 89

    Lithuanian Women's Alliance:
      Organ, "Woman's Field," 212
      Work, 209-214

        In United States, 129
      Lowering through co-operatives, 142
      Standards, 286-289

    Lodgers (_see_ Boarders)

    Lowell, Massachusetts:
      Classes for immigrant women, 259

    Lusk, Graham, 133


    Mahoney, John J., 267

      Housing project--study in
        Lowell, 8
        North Billerica, 8
        Education--immigrant, 265-266
        Mothers' Aid Laws, 308
      Social worker in, 132

    Massachusetts Bureau of Immigration, 267

    Massachusetts Homestead Commission:
      Experiment at Lowell, 75
      Limited dividend company, 75

    Massachusetts Immigration Commission, 223

        Legislation controlling, 48-50
      Shopping by, 124-125
      Nonfamily, housing, 23-24, 27-29

    Menus, 333-341

    Merchants, 118-119

      Boarders, 64
      Civil status, 24
      Study in Chicago, 11

    Milwaukee, Wisconsin:
      Case-work agencies, 283

    Ministry of Reconstruction:
        Housing recommendations, 68

    Minneapolis, Minnesota:
      Cost of living, 129

      Immigrants' unfamiliarity, 88-91
      Payment in lawful, 121-122

    Morgan Park, Minnesota:
      Illinois Steel Company houses, 72

    Mothers, immigrant:
      Aid law, 308
      Assistants, 268-270
      Child care, 150-151, 164-165, 172-174, 178-180, 247
      Relation to family, 39-47


    National Croatian Society:
      Work of, 196-199

    National Conference of Social Work, 310

      Rural community
        Higher education in, 169

    New Hampshire:
      Manchester, study of infant mortality, 41

    New Jersey:
      Mothers' Aid Laws, 308
      Yorkship Village (Study of Housing), 8

    New Mexico:
      Child labor, 38
      Study of several towns, 8

    New York City:
      Case-work agencies, 283
        Visiting housekeepers, 290, 295
      Home Economics Bureau, 296
      John Jay Dwellings, 70
      Polish National Alliance, 202
      Red Cross Chapters, 281

    New York State Industrial Commission:
      Study of earnings, 36-37

      Organizations, 327
      Postal Savings circular, 112


      Change in, 34-35

      State University, 259

    Owen, Robert, 310


    Pana, Illinois:
      Cost of living, 129

      Problem with children, 149-186

    Paterson, New Jersey:
      Case-work agencies, 283

      Company stores, 120
      Infant mortality, Johnstown, 41, 64
      Italians, 12
      Mining communities, 8
      Mothers' Aid Laws, 308

    Philadelphia, Pennsylvania:
      Case-work agencies, 283
      Red Cross Chapter, 281

    Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania:
      Case-work agencies, 283
      Visiting housekeepers, 290

      Inadequate provision, 158

      House in, 55-56

      Building and loan associations, 77
      Child care, 4, 162, 163, 183-184
      Commercial co-operatives, 123
      Family relationships, 21-23, 33, 34, 53
      Home ownership, 105, 107
      Housekeeping problems, 54, 59, 80
      In Chicago, 11
        Rolling Prairie, Indiana, 11
      In industry, 40-41
      Life insurance, 94
        Dziennik Zwaizkowy, 204
      Organizations, 201-209, 327-329
      Postal Savings circular, 112
      Recreation, 158
      Saving problems, 93, 96, 102
      Spending habits, 122-123
        Clothing, 136
        Diet changes, 130
      Vocational Guidance, 299-300

    Polish National Alliance:
      Organs, 204
      Women's department, 203-207
      Work, 94, 201-203

    Polish Women's Alliance, 201, 207-209

      Postal Savings circular, 112

    Postal Savings banks, 111-115

    Postal Saving Law
      (proposed) Amendment, 76, 113

    Pratt Institute, 290

      Methods, 155-156


    Ralph, Georgia G., 200

      Agencies, 272-276
      Benefit societies, 197
      Juvenile, 157-159, 176, 177

    Richmond, Mary Ellen, 281

    Rochester, New York:
      Red Cross Chapter, 281

    Rolling Prairie, Indiana:
      Child labor, 38-39
      Co-operative county project, 261
      School attendance, 162

    Roman Catholic Union of America (Polish), 201

    Roosevelt, Theodore, viii

      Home ownership, 106
      Organization, 191

    Russell Sage Foundation, 200

      Child care, 163, 165, 172, 179
      Family problems, 23, 38, 46-47
      Home ownership, 106
      Housekeeping problems, 59, 80
      In Chicago, 3, 11
      Organization, 95, 191, 329-330
      Postal Savings banks, 112
      Saving problems, 103
      Spending habits, 122
        Diet changes, 130


    St. Paul, Minnesota:
      Cost of living, 129

      Instruction 80-84

      Problem, 85-116

      Life insurance, 94

    Schools, private:
      Selection by parents, 159-160

    Schools, public:
        Parents' relationship, 159-169, 180, 253
        Relation to home, 230-238
        Co-operation with agencies, 240-243

        Attendance, 162

      Customs, 174

      Home ownership, 106
      Spending habits, 122

      Dvorak Park, 273-274
      Housekeeping problems, 64
      Postal Savings circular, 112

      Relation to homes, 50, 239-240, 273-276

      Incentive for saving, 86, 92

    Slingerland, R., 200

      Child care, 164, 171, 176-177
      Home ownership, 105, 107
      Organizations, 330
      Postal Savings circular, 112
      Spending habits, 122
      Studied, 11

      Child care, 171
      Family problems, 20
      Home ownership, 106
      Menus, 340-341
      Postal Savings circular, 112
      Spending habits, 122
      Studied, 11
      Women in industry, 40

    Smith-Hughes Act, 256-257

    Smith-Lever Act, 254

    Social Workers:
      Relation to immigrant spending habits, 132, 140

    Society for Care of Croatian Orphans, 201

    South Chicago, Illinois:
      Church, 97

      Postal Savings circular, 112

      Immigrant problems, 117-148

    Springfield, Illinois:
      Case-work agencies
        Visiting housekeepers, 290

    Staunton, Illinois:
      Co-operative store, 145

    Stamford, Connecticut:
      Case-work agencies, 282-283
        Visiting housekeepers, 290

    State Immigration Commission, 267

    Steubenville, Ohio:
      Cost of living, 129

      Company, 67-69
      Co-operative, 141-143
        In Staunton, Illinois, 145
      Immigrant, 122-123, 126, 144

    Syracuse Home Bureau:
        Projects, 260-261

      Organizations, 331
      Postal Savings circular, 112


    Teacher Training:
      Work with immigrant women, 248-254

      Home, in California, 236-237

    Thomas, W. I., 136

    Thomas and Znaniecki:
      Letters from Polish Peasant, 21-22, 85-86, 161

    Thompson, Frank V., 231

      Government campaign, 87, 114

    Topeka, Kansas:
      Social work agencies, 281

    Trade Union Label League, 141

    "Tribe of Ben Hur," 195


      Alliance, 122
      Child care, 165
      Family problems, 20, 33
      In Chicago, 11, 50
        Sun, West Virginia, 12
      Organizations, 331-332
      Postal Savings circular, 112
      Savings problems, 90-92
      Spending habits, 122-123
        Diet changes, 130
      Women in industry, 40

    Ukrainian Women's Alliance:
      Organ, 216
      Purpose, 215-216

    United Charities:
      Case work, 281, 283
      In Chicago, 8

    United States Housing Corporation:
      Plan for copartnership ownership, 78

    United States Immigration Commission:
      Reports studied, 6
        Company stores, 120-121
        Earning, 36
        Housing, 60-61

    United States Steel Corporation:
      Houses, 80

    United States Treasury Department:
      Thrift campaign, 87, 114
      War Risk Bureau, 310

      Ohio State, 259
      Purdue, 261


    Veblen, Thorstein B., 136

    Visiting Dietitians:
      Modifying diets, 133
      Training, 248-252

      Hilton Village
        Housing project, 8

    Visiting Housekeepers:
      Agencies, 286, 289-298
      Modifying diets, 133

    Voll, John A., viii


    War, 35, 36, 187-188, 202-203

    Waterbury, Connecticut:
      Case-work agencies, 283

    Wedding customs, 99-100, 102-103
      Dowry, 86

    West Virginia:
      Legislation on company store, 121
      Study of
        Mining communities, 8
        Ukrainians, 12

    Williams, Talcott, viii

    Wilmington, Delaware:
      Cost of living, 129

      Croatian, 198
      Education, 234-236, 240-243, 265-266
      Employment, 65
      Family relationships, 47-53
      Lithuanian organizations, 209
      Polish organizations, 201-209
      Ukrainian organizations, 215-216

    Women's Co-operative Guild, 148

    Wood, E. E., 67, 75-77

    Woodmen of the World, 195

    Worcester, Massachusetts:
      Case-work agencies
        Visiting housekeepers, 290

    Wright, Helen R., xvii


      Postal Savings circular, 112

    Y. W. C. A.:
      Health campaign, 140
      International Institute, 7, 31, 230, 237, 243-248


       *       *       *       *       *

Transcriber's Notes:

Obvious printer's errors were repaired.

Hyphenation variants in the original were retained.

Appendix: [vc] is a "c" with a caron, [vs] is an "s" with a caron.

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