The Project Gutenberg eBook, Vocational Guidance for Girls, by Marguerite Stockman Dickson

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Title: Vocational Guidance for Girls

Author: Marguerite Stockman Dickson

Release Date: April 9, 2005 [eBook #15595]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1


E-text prepared by Audrey Longhurst, Jeannie Howse,
and the Project Gutenberg Online Distributed Proofreading Team




J. Adams Puffer, Editor


By J. Adams Puffer


By C. Park Pressey


By Edwin Tenney Brewster

"Vocational guidance seeks the largest realization of the possibilities of every child and youth, measured in terms of worthy service."

Camp Fire Girls

Photograph by Brown Bros.

Camp Fire Girls
The lessons of patriotism, kindness, and industry taught by the Camp Fire Girls' organization make it a power for good




Author of "From the Old World to the New," "A Hundred Years of Warfare. 1689-1789," "Stories of Camp and Trail," "Pioneers and Patriots in American History"

Chicago New York



  A Foreward ix
I. Woman's Place In Society 3
II. The Ideal Home 18
III. Establishing A Home 27
IV. Running The Domestic Machinery 49
V. The Educational Agencies Involved 75
VI. Training The Little Child 86
VII. Teaching The Mechanics Of Housekeeping 102
VIII. The Girl's Inner Life 122
IX. The Adolescent Girl 130
X. The Girl's Work 151
XI. The Girl's Work (Continued)—Classification Of Occupations 163
XII. The Girl's Work (Continued)—Vocations As Affecting Homemaking 194
XIII. The Girl's Work (Continued)—Vocations Determined By Training 203
XIV. Marriage 218
Suggested Readings 241
The Index 243


Louisa M. Alcott 221
Ruth McEnery Stuart 223
Louise Homer And Her Family 225
Margaret Junkin Preston 227
Colonel And Mrs. Roosevelt With Members Of Their Family 229
Julia Ward Howe And Her Granddaughter 231
Caroline Bartlett Crane 233
Alice Freeman Palmer 235
Amelia E. Barr 237


Fortunate are we to have from the pen of Mrs. Dickson a book on the vocational guidance of girls. Mrs. Dickson has the all-round life experiences which give her the kind of training needed for a broad and sympathetic approach to the delicate, intricate, and complex problems of woman's life in the swiftly changing social and industrial world.

Mrs. Dickson was a teacher for seven years in the grades in the city of New York. She then became the partner of a superintendent of schools in the business of making a home. In these early homemaking years there came from the pen of Mrs. Dickson a series of historical books for the grades which have placed her among the leading educational writers of the country. During the long sickness of her husband she filled for a while two administrative positions—homemaker and superintendent of schools.

Her three children are now in high school and are beginning to plan for their own life work. With the broad training of homemaker, wife, mother, teacher, writer, and administrator, Mrs. Dickson has the combination of experiences to enable her to introduce teachers and mothers to the very difficult problems of planning wisely big life careers for our girls.

The book is so plainly and guardedly written that it can also be used as a textbook for the girls themselves in connection with civic and vocational courses. The only difficulty with the book for a text is that it is so attractively written on such vital problems that the student will not stop reading at the end of the lesson.

J. Adams Puffer

"Vocational guidance has for its ideal the granting to every individual of the chance to attain his highest efficiency under the best conditions it is humanly possible to provide."



"How to preserve to the individual his right to aspire, to make of himself what he will, and at the same time find himself early, accurately, and with certainty, is the problem of vocational guidance."



Woman's Place In Society

Any scheme of education must be built upon answers to two basic questions: first, What do we desire those being educated to become? second, How shall we proceed to make them into that which we desire them to be?

In our answers to these questions, plans for education fall naturally into two great divisions. One concerns itself with ideals; the other, with methods. No matter how complex plans and theories may become, we may always reach back to these fundamental ideas: What do we want to make? How shall we make it?

Applying this principle to the education of girls, we ask, first: What ought girls to be? And with this simple question we are plunged immediately into a vortex of differing opinions.

Girls ought to be—or ought to be in the way of becoming—whatever the women of the next generation should be. So far all are doubtless agreed. We therefore find ourselves under the necessity of restating the question, making it: What ought women to be?

Probably never in the world's history has this question occupied so large a place in thought as it does to-day. In familiar discussion, in the press, in the library, on the platform, the "woman question" is an all-absorbing topic. Even the most cursory review of the literature of the subject leads to a realization of its importance. It leads also into the very heart of controversy.

Suffrage parade in Washington

Photograph by Brown Bros.

Suffrage parade in Washington. Women will parade or even fight for their rights

It is safe to say that no woman, in our own country at least, escapes entirely the unrest which this controversy has brought. Even the most conservative and "old-fashioned" of women know that their daughters are living in a world already changed from the days of their own young womanhood; and few indeed fail to see that these changes are but forerunners of others yet to come. They know little, perhaps, of the right or wrong of woman's industrial position, but "woman in industry" is all about them. They perhaps have never heard of Ellen Key's arraignment of existing marriage and sex relations, but they cannot fail to see unhappy marriages in their own circle. They may care little about the suffrage question, but they can hardly avoid hearing echoes of strife over the subject of "votes for women." And however much or little women are personally conscious of the significance of these questions, the questions are nevertheless of vital import to them all.

The "uneasy woman" is undeniably with us. We may account for her presence in various ways. We may prophesy the outcome of her uneasiness as the signs seem to us to point. But in the meantime—she is here!

Naturally both radical and conservative have panaceas to suggest. The radicals would have us believe that the question of woman's status in the world requires an upheaval of society for its settlement. Says one, the "man's world" must be transformed into a human world, with no baleful insistence on the femininity of women. It is the human qualities, shared by both man and woman, which must be emphasized. The work of the world—with the single exception of childbearing—is not man's work nor woman's work, but the work of the race. Woman must be liberated from the overemphasized feminine. Let women live and work as men live and work, with as little attention as may be to the accident of sex.

Says another, it is the ancient and dishonored institution of marriage which must feel the blow of the iconoclast. Reform marriage, and the whole woman question will adjust itself.

Says still another, do away with marriage. "Celibacy is the aristocracy of the future." Let the woman be free forever from the drudgery of family life, free from the slavery of the marriage relation, free to "live," to "work," to have a "career." Men and women were intended to be in all things the same, except for the slight difference of sex. Let us throw away the cramping folly of the ages and let woman take her place beside man.

Not so, replies the conservative. In just so far as masculine and feminine types approach each other, we shall see degeneracy. Men and women were never intended to be alike.

Thus we might go on. Without the radicals there would of course be no progress. Without the conservatives our social fabric would scarcely hold. Between the two extremes, however, in this as in all things, stands the great middle class, believing and urging that not social upheaval, but better understanding of existing conditions, is the world remedy for unrest; that not new careers, but better adjustment of old ones, will bring peace; that not formal political power, even though that be their just due, but the better use of powers that women have long possessed, is most needed for the betterment of mankind.

It is not the province of this book to enter into controversy with either radical or reactionary, but rather to search for truth which may be used for adjusting to fuller advantage the relation of woman to society. First of all must be recognized the fact that the "woman movement" deserves the thoughtful attention of every teacher or other social worker, and indeed of every thoughtful man or woman. The movement can no longer be considered in the light of isolated surface outbreaks. It is rather the result of deep industrial and social undercurrents which are stirring the whole world.

In our study of the modern woman movement, which as teachers in any department of educational work we are bound to make, the fact is immediately impressed upon us that home life has undergone marked changes. Conditions once favorable to the existence of the home as a sustaining economic unit are no longer to be found. New conditions have arisen, compelling the home, like other permanent institutions, to alter its mode of existence in order to meet them.

Briefly reviewing the causes which have brought about these changes in home life, we find, first, the industrial revolution. A large number of the activities once carried on in the home have removed to other quarters. In earlier times the mother of a family served as cook, housemaid, laundress, spinner, weaver, seamstress, dairymaid, nurse, and general caretaker. The father was about the house, at work in the field, or in his workshop close at hand. The children grew up naturally in the midst of the industries which provided for the maintenance of the home, and for which, in part, the home existed. The home, in those days, was the place where work was done.

With the invention of labor-saving machinery came an entire revolution in the place and manner of work. The father of the family has been forced by this industrial change to follow his trade from the home workshop to the mechanically equipped factory. One by one, many of the housewife's tasks also have been taken from the home. To-day the processes of cloth making are practically unknown outside the factory. Knitting has become largely a machine industry. Ready-made clothing has largely reduced the sewing done in the home. In the matter of food, the housekeeper may, if she chooses, have a large part of her work performed by the baker, the canner, and the delicatessen shopkeeper. Even the care of her children, after the years of infancy, has been partly assumed by the state.

The home, as a place where work is done, has lost a large part of its excuse for being. Among the poorer classes, women, like their husbands, being obliged to earn, and no longer able to do so in their homes, have followed the work to the factory. As a result we have many thousands of them away from their homes through long days of toil. Among persons of larger income, removal of the home industries to the factory has resulted in increased leisure for the woman—with what results we shall later consider. Practically the only constructive work left which the woman may not shift if she will to other shoulders, or shirk entirely, is the bearing of children and, to at least some degree, their care in early years. The interests once centered in the home are now scattered—the father goes to shop or office, the children to school, the mother either to work outside the home or in quest of other occupation and amusement to which leisure drives her.

Glove Making

Photograph by Brown Bros.

Glove making. Women, like their husbands, have followed work to the factories

A second change in the conditions affecting home life is found in the increased educational aspirations of women. Once the accepted and frankly anticipated career for a woman was marriage and the making of a home. Her education was centered upon this end. To-day all this is changed. A girl claims, and is quite free to obtain, an education in all points like her brother's, and the career she plans and prepares for may be almost anything he contemplates. She may, or may not, enter upon the career for which she prepares. Marriage may—often does—interfere with the career, although nearly as often the career seems to interfere with marriage. Under the new alignment of ideals, there is less interest shown in homemaking and more in "the world's work," with a decided feeling that the two are entirely incompatible.

Employees leaving the Elgin Watch Company factory

Keystone View Co.

Employees leaving the Elgin Watch Company factory. Thousands of women are away from their homes through long days of toil

The girl, educated to earn her living in the market of the world, no longer marries simply because no other career is open to her; when she does marry, she is less likely than formerly, statistics tell us, to have children—the only remaining work which, in these days, definitely requires a home. Marriage and homemaking, therefore, are no longer inseparably connected in the woman's mind. Girls are willing to undertake matrimony, but often with the distinct understanding that their "careers" are not to be interfered with. To them, then, marriage becomes more and more an incident in life rather than a life work.

A typical tenement house

Photograph by Brown Bros.

A typical tenement house. Congestion means discomfort within the home and decreasing possibility for satisfying there either material or social needs

A third disintegrating influence as affecting home life is the great increase of city homes. Urban conditions are almost without exception detrimental to home life. Congestion means discomfort within the home and decreasing possibility for satisfying there either material or social needs; while on every hand are increasing possibilities for satisfying these needs outside the home. Family life under such conditions often lacks, to an alarming degree, the quality of solidarity which makes the dwelling place a home. No longer the place where work is done, no longer the place where common interests are shared, the home becomes only "the place where I eat and sleep," or perhaps merely "where I sleep." The great increase of urban life during the last half century is thus a very real menace, and, since the agricultural communities constantly feed the towns, the menace concerns the country-as well as the city-dweller.

satisfying material and social needs

Photograph by Brown Bros.

In the cities there are increasing opportunities for satisfying material and social needs outside the home

Believing that for the good of coming generations the true home spirit must be saved, we shall do well to admit at once that the old-time home was an institution suited to its own day, but that we cannot now call it back to being. Nor would we wish to do so. There is no possible reason for wishing our women to spin, weave, knit, bake, brew, preserve, clean, if the products she formerly made can be produced more cheaply and more efficiently outside the home.

There is danger, however, of generalizing too soon in regard to these industries. There is little doubt that in some directions, at least, the factory method has not yet brought really satisfactory results. How many women can give you reasons why they believe that it no longer "pays" to do this or that at home as they once did? Do the factories always turn out as good a product as the housekeeper? If they do, does the housekeeper obtain that product with as little expenditure as when she made it? If she spends more, can she show that the leisure she has thus bought has been a wise purchase? Is she justified in accepting vague generalizations to the effect that it is better economy to buy than to make, or should she test for herself, checking up her individual conditions and results?

The fact is that the pendulum has swung away from the "homemade" article, and most of us have not taken the trouble to investigate whether we are benefited or harmed. It may be that investigation will show us that the pendulum has swung too far, and that, in spite of factories mechanically equipped to serve us, some work may be done much more advantageously at home. It is even possible, and in some lines of work we know that it is a fact, that homes may be mechanically equipped at very little cost to rival and even to outclass the factory in producing certain kinds of products for home consumption.

Spinning, weaving, and knitting are doubtless best left in the hands of the factory worker. But, under present conditions, buying ready made all the garments needed for a family may be an expensive and unsatisfactory method if the elements of worth, wear, finish, and individuality are worthy of consideration, just as buying practically all foodstuffs "ready made" presents a complex and disturbing problem to the fastidious and conscientious housewife. There is at least a possibility that it would be as well for the home of to-day to retain or resume, systematize, and perfect some of the industries that are slipping or have already slipped from its grasp. It is possible to reduce some processes to a too purely mechanical basis.

Linen-mill workers

Keystone View Co.

Linen-mill workers. Spinning and weaving, whether of cotton, linen, silk, or wool, are more satisfactorily done by factory workers than in the home

A woman lived in our town who wasn't very wise.
She had a reputation for making homemade pies.
And when she found her pies would sell, with all her might and main
She opened up a factory, and spoiled it all again.

Nonsense? Yes—but with a strong element of sense, nevertheless.

Entirely aside, however, from the industrial status of the home, unless we are to see a practical cessation of childbearing and rearing, homes must apparently continue to exist. No one has yet found a substitute place for this particular industry. It is a commonly accepted fact that young children do better, both mentally and physically, in even rather poor homes than in a perfectly planned and conducted institution. And we need go no farther than this in seeking a sufficient reason for saving the home. This one is enough to enlist our best service in aid of homemaking and home support.

From earliest ages woman has been the homemaker. No plan for the preservation of the home or for its evolution into a satisfactory social factor can fail to recognize her vital and necessary connection with the problem. Therefore in answer to the question "What ought woman to be?" we say boldly, "A homemaker." Reduced to simplest terms, the conditions are these: if homes are to be made more serviceable tools for social betterment, women must make them what they ought to be. Consequently homemaking must continue to be woman's business—the business of woman, if you like—a considerable, recognized, and respected part of her "business of being a woman." Nor may we overlook the fact that it is only in this work of making homes and rearing offspring that either men or women reach their highest development. Motherhood and fatherhood are educative processes, greater and more vital than the artificial training that we call education. In teaching their children, even in merely living with their children, parents are themselves trained to lead fuller lives.

"The central fact of the woman's life—Nature's reason for her—is the child, his bearing and rearing. There is no escape from the divine order that her life must be built around this constraint, duty, or privilege, as she may please to consider it."[1] It is the fashion among some women to assume that it is time all this were changed, and that therefore it will be changed. They look forward to seeing womankind released from this "constraint, duty, or privilege," and yet see in their prophetic vision the race moving on to a future of achievement. The fact, however, ignore it as we may, cannot be gainsaid: no man-made or woman-made "emancipation" will change nature's law.

It was well that after centuries of repression and subjection woman sought emancipation. She needed it. But the wildest flight of fancy cannot long conceal the ultimate fact. Woman is the mother of the race. "The female not only typifies the race, but, metaphor aside, she is the race."[2] Emancipation can never free her from this destiny. In the United States, where woman has the largest freedom to enter the industrial world and maintain herself in entire independence, the percentage of those who marry is higher than in the countries where woman is a slave. Ninety per cent of the mature women in our country become homemakers for a certain period, and probably over 90 per cent are assistant homemakers for another period of years before or after marriage.

Any vocational counselor who fails to reckon first with the homemaking career of girls is therefore blind to the facts of life. All education, all training, must be considered in its bearing on the one vocation, homemaking. The time will come when the occupations of boys and men must likewise be considered in relation to homemaking, but that problem is not the province of this book.

Women will bear and rear the children of the future, just as they have borne and reared the children of the past. But under what conditions—the best or those less worthy? And what women—again, the best or those less worthy? Has woman been freed from subjection, from an inferior place in the scheme of life, only to become so intoxicated with a personal freedom, with her own personal ambition, that she fails to see what emancipation really means? Will she be contented merely to imitate man rather than to work out a destiny of her own? We think not. When the first flush of freedom has passed, the pendulum will turn again and woman will find a truer place than she knows now or has known.

Two obstacles to the successful pursuit of her ultimate vocation stand prominently before the young woman of to-day: first, the instruction of the times has imbued her with too little respect for her calling; second, her education teaches her how to do almost everything except how to follow this calling in the scientific spirit of the day. She may scorn housework as drudgery, but no voice is raised to show her that it may be made something else. With the advent of vocational guidance, vocational training of necessity follows close behind. And with vocational training must come a proper appreciation, among the other businesses of life, of this "business of being a woman."

Must we then educate the girl to be a homemaker, and keep her out of the industrial life which has claimed her so swiftly and in which she has found so much of her emancipation? No, we could not, if we would, keep her from the outside life. We must rather recognize her double vocation and, difficult though it seem, must educate her for both phases of her "business." She will be not only the better woman, but the better worker, because of the very breadth of her vocational horizon.

Training for homemaking, then, must go hand in hand with training for some phase of industrial life. Vocational guides must consider not only inclination and temperament, but physical condition and the supply and demand of the industrial world. They will consider the girl not merely as an industrial worker, but as a potential homemaker. They will, therefore, also study the effect of various vocations upon homemaking capabilities.

How then shall the teaching of this double vocation be approached? How shall we, as teachers of girls, make them capable of becoming homemakers? How shall we make them see that homemaking and the world's work may go hand in hand, so that they will desire in time to turn from their industrial service to the later and better destiny of making a home? This book offers its contribution toward answering these questions.


[1] Ida M. Tarbell, The Business of Being a Woman.

[2] Lester F. Ward, Pure Sociology.


The Ideal Home

That we may understand, and to some extent formulate, the problem which we would have girls trained to solve, we must of necessity study homes. What must girls know in order to be successful homemakers?

A historical survey of the home leads us to the conclusion that although times have changed, and homes have changed, and indeed all outward conditions have changed, the spiritual ideal of home is no different from what it has always been. The home is the seat of family life. Its one object is the making of healthy, wise, happy, satisfied, useful, and efficient people. The home is essentially a spiritual factory, whether or not it is to remain to any degree whatever a material one. "Home will become an atmosphere, a 'condition in which,' rather than 'a place where,'" says Nearing in his Woman and Social Progress. "The home is a factory to make citizenship in," writes Mrs. Bruère.

But although this spiritual significance of home has always existed, we are sometimes inclined to overlook the fact. Because conditions have changed, and because our external ideals of home have changed and are still changing, we fail to see that the foundation of home life is still unchanged.

"I sometimes think that many women don't consciously know why they are running their homes," says Mrs. Frederick, author of The New Housekeeping. We might add that many of those who do know, or think they know, are struggling to attain to purely trivial or fundamentally wrong ideals. It seems wise, then, for us to face at the outset the question "What is the ideal home?"

An attractive living room

Keystone View Co.

An attractive living room in which there is that atmosphere of peace so conducive to a happy family life

Laying aside all preconceived notions, and remembering that changes are coming fast in these days, let us look for the ideals which may be common to all homes, in city or country, among rich or poor.

A well-arranged kitchen

Photograph by Brown Bros.

A well-arranged kitchen forms an important part of the smoothly running mechanism of the ideal home

First of all, the home must be comfortable, and its whole atmosphere must be that of peace. In no other way can the tension of modern life be overcome. This implies order and cleanliness, beauty, warmth, light, and air; but it implies far more. It means a home planned for the people who will occupy it, and so planned that father's needs, and mother's, and the children's, will all be met. What does each member of the family require of the house? A place to live in. And that means far more than eating and sleeping and having a place for one's clothes. There must be not only a place for everything, but a place for everybody in the ideal house. The boys who wish to dabble in electricity, the girls who wish to entertain their friends in their own way, the tired father who wishes to read his newspaper "in peace," the younger children who want to pop corn or blow bubbles or play games, all must be planned for. There will be no room too good for use, and no furnishings so delicate that mother worries over family contact with them. There will be a minimum of "keeping up appearances" and a maximum of comfort and cheer. There will be little formal entertaining, but many spontaneous good times. In addition to being comfortable, the ideal home must be convenient. There will be places for things, and every appliance for making work easy.

old-fashioned kitchen

Photograph by Brown Bros.

Contrast this old-fashioned kitchen with the modern one shown on the opposite page

The ideal mother, who is the mainspring of the smoothly running mechanism of the ideal home, will be scientifically trained for her position. Her "domestic science" will no longer be open to the criticism that it is not science at all, nor will she feel that her business is unworthy of scientific treatment. Always she will keep before her the object of her work—to make of her family, including herself, good, happy, efficient people. She will not be overburdened with housework, for overworked mothers have neither time nor strength for the higher aspects of their work. She will know how to feed bodies, but also how to develop souls. She will clothe her children hygienically, but she will teach them to value more the more important vestments of modesty and gentleness and courtesy. She will require obedience, but, as their years increase, the requirement will be less and less obedience to authority and more and more obedience to a right spirit within.

The wise mother will teach her children the true value of work

Photograph by Brown Bros.

The wise mother will teach her children the true value of work by making them wish to work with her

She will work for her children and will make them wish to work with her, teaching them the true value of work and sacrifice. She will play with them, for their pleasure and development, and she will also play, in her own way, for her own rejuvenation and her soul's good. She will study each member of her family as an individual problem, and, abandoning forever the idea of pressing any child's soul into the mold that she might choose, will rather strive to aid its growth toward its natural ideal. She will strive to hold and to be worthy of her children's confidence, that they may turn to her in those times that try their souls. But she will always respect the personal liberty of either child or husband to live his own life.

She will interest herself in the interests of husband and children, that she may remain a vital factor in their lives; and she will make the home so delightful as to reduce to a minimum the scattering influences that tend to destroy home life. She will weave intangible but indestructible ties of affection, holding all together and to herself. She will keep her interest in the outside world, so that she may better prepare her children to live in it and may resist the narrowing influence of her enforced temporary withdrawal. She will take some part in civic work and social uplift, and, when her years of child rearing are ended, in the leisure of middle age she will return to the less circumscribed life of her youth, bending her matured energies to the world's work.

The father of this ideal family will be first of all a man happy in his work. The plodding, weary slave to distasteful labor can be ideal neither as husband nor as father. Overworked fathers are quite as impossible in our scheme as overburdened mothers. In ideal conditions the father will have time, strength, and willingness to be more of a factor in the home life than he sometimes is at the present time. More than that, his early education will have included definite preparation for homemaking, so that his coöperation will be intelligent and therefore helpful. He will know more than he does now about the cost of living and he will assist in making a preliminary division of the year's income upon an intelligent basis. He will recognize the necessity for equipment for the homemaking business and will contribute his share of thought and labor to improving the home plant.

He will be a companion as well as adviser to his boys and girls and will retain their respect and love by his sympathetic understanding and his remembrance of the boy's point of view. In all his dealings with his children he will be careful that interference with his comfort and convenience or the wounding of his pride by their shortcomings does not obscure his sense of justice. He will be a student of child nature and will keep in view the ultimate good and usefulness of his child. He will regard his fatherhood as his greatest service to the state.


Pals. The wise father will be companion as well as adviser to his children

The children reared by this ideal father and mother in their ideal home will grow as naturally as plants in a well-cared-for garden. With examples of courtesy and kindness, of cheerful work and health-producing play, ever before them in the lives of their parents, they may be led along the same paths to similar usefulness. Their educational problems will be met by the combined effort of teachers and parents, and natural aptitude as well as community needs will dictate the choice of their life work.

That this ideal family is far removed from many families of our acquaintance merely proves the necessity of training for more efficient homemaking, and indeed for a better conception of homemaking ideals and problems. If we are to teach our girls and our boys to be homemakers, we must consider carefully what they need to know. If we are to counteract the tendencies of the past two or three decades away from homemaking as a vocation, we must show the true value of the homemaker to the community, and the opportunities which domestic life presents to the scientifically trained mind.

Education for homemaking necessarily implies teachers who are trained for homemaking instruction; and we may pause here to notice that no homemaking course in normal school or college can be sufficient to give the teacher true knowledge of ideal homes. She must have seen such homes, or those which approximate the ideal. Perhaps she has grown up in such a home. More probably she has not. If not, it must then necessarily follow that the lower have been the ideals in the home where the teacher had her training, the more she should see of other homes, and especially of good homes. Her whole outlook may be changed by such contact; and with her outlook, her teaching; and with her teaching, her influence.

If all girls grew up in ideal homes, it seems probable that homemaking would appeal to them quite naturally as the ultimate vocation. Indeed, we know that many girls feel this natural drawing, in spite of most unlovely conditions in their childhood homes. The task of mother, teacher, and vocational counselor (who may be either) in this matter is a complicated one. Some girls are not fitted by nature to be homemakers. Some may with careful training overcome inherent defects which stand in the way of their success. Some have the natural endowment, but have their eyes fixed on other careers. Some have unhappy ideals to overcome. The fact, however, confronts us that at some time in their lives a very large majority of these girls will be homemakers. It is the part of those who have charge of them in their formative years to do two things for them: first, to train them so that they may understand the tasks of the homemaker and perform them creditably if they are called upon; second, to teach all those girls who seem fitted for this high vocation to desire it, and to choose it for at least part of their mature lives.


Establishing A Home

Certain very definite attempts are being made in these days to meet the evident lack of homemaking knowledge in the rising generation. And since definiteness of plan lends power to accomplishment, we cannot do better than to analyze as carefully as possible the various lines of knowledge required by the prospective homemaker in entering upon her life work.

What are the problems of homemaking? And how far can we provide the girl with the necessary equipment to make her an efficient worker in her chosen vocation?

Country life and city life are apparently so far removed from each other as to present totally different problems to the homemaker and to the vocational educator of girls. And yet underlying the successful management of both urban and rural homes are the same principles of domestic economy and of social efficiency. The principles are there, however widely their application may differ. While we may wisely train country girls for country living, and city girls to face the problems of urban life, we must not lose sight of the fact that country girls often become homemakers in the city and that city girls are often found establishing homes in the country. Nor should we overlook the truth that some study of home conditions in other than familiar surroundings will broaden the girl's knowledge and fit her in later life to make conditions subservient to that knowledge.

Both rural and urban homemakers must be taught to appreciate their advantages and to make the most of them. They must also learn to face their disadvantages and to work intelligently toward overcoming them.

The country homemaker has no immediate need of studying the problems of congestion in population which menace the millions of city-dwellers. The country home has plenty of room and an abundance of pure air. Yet it is often true that country homes are poorly ventilated and that much avoidable sickness results from this fact. The country home is often set in the midst of great natural beauty, yet misses its opportunity to satisfy the eye in an artistic sense. Its very isolation is sometimes a cause of the lack of attention to its appearance to the passerby.

The farmer's wife has an advantage in the matter of fresh vegetables, eggs, and poultry, but the city housekeeper has the near-by market and finds the question of sanitation, the preservation of food, and the disposal of waste far easier of solution.

The city housewife is often troubled in regard to the source of her milk supply; the country-dweller has plenty of fresh milk, but frequently finds it difficult to be sure of pure water.

The country homemaker often lacks the conveniences which make housekeeping easier; the city woman is often misled, by the ease of obtaining the ready-made article, into buying inferior products in order to avoid the labor of producing.

The family in the farming community often has meager social life and lack of proper recreations; the city-dweller is made restless and improvident by an excess of opportunities for certain sorts of amusement.

Thus each type of community has its own problems. But practically all of these problems fall under certain general heads which both city and country homemakers should consider as part of their education. The present turning of thought toward training in these directions is most promising for the homes of the future.

A country home

Photograph by Brown Bros.

A country home which, though set in the midst of natural beauty, yet fails to satisfy the eye in an artistic sense

what a few artistic touches may do to enhance the natural beauty of the surroundings

Courtesy of Mrs. Joseph E. Wing

In contrast to the illustration above, this home shows what a few artistic touches may do to enhance the natural beauty of the surroundings

It is one of the misfortunes of existing conditions that the city and the country are not better acquainted with each other. Scorn frequently takes the place of understanding. The town or village girl goes out to teach in the country school, knowing little of country living and less of country homes. It is difficult, if not impossible, for such a teacher to be an influence for good. Especially as she approaches the homemaking problem is she without the knowledge which must underlie successful work. It is important that the city girl under such conditions should make a special effort to study country life and country homes in a sympathetic, helpful spirit.

Perhaps our analysis of homemaking problems can take no more practical form than to follow from its hypothetical beginning the making of an actual home.

No more inspiring moment comes in the lives of most men and women than that in which the first step is taken toward making their first home. There is an instinctive recognition of the greatness of the occasion. But ignorance will dull the glow of inspiration and wrong standards will lead to wreck of highest hopes. Let us, therefore, be practical and definite and face the facts.

A home is to be established. The first question is: Where? To a certain extent circumstances must answer this question. The character and place of employment of the breadwinner, the income, social relations already established, school, church, library, market, water and sanitary conditions, must all be considered. Yet even these regulating conditions must receive intelligent treatment. How many young homemakers have any definite idea as to what proportion of the income may safely be expended for shelter? How many can tell the relative advantages of renting and owning?

A tenement district

Keystone View Co.

A tenement district. One of the greatest disadvantages in urban life is the overcrowding in tenement houses

Probably the first consideration in selection is likely to be whether the home is to be permanent or merely temporary. When the occupation is likely to be permanent, the greatest comfort and well-being will usually result from establishing early a permanent home; and this involves a long look ahead to justify the selection of a site. Not only must health and convenience be considered, but future questions relative to the expanding requirements of the homemakers and to the education and proper upbringing of a family as well. Then, too, young people must usually begin modestly from a financial standpoint, and they are therefore cut off from certain locations which they may perhaps desire and which they might hope to attain in later years. In the country, where the livelihood is often gained directly from the land, a new element enters into selection and must to some extent take precedence over others. Soil considerations aside, however, we have health, beauty, social environment, educational advantages, and expense to consider; and we should establish certain standards in these directions for our young people to measure by.

Considerations of health must include not only climatic conditions, but questions of drainage, water supply, time and comfort of transportation to work, and the sanitary condition of the neighborhood.

Prospective homemakers must learn, too, the value of reposeful surroundings and of some degree of natural beauty. They must recognize the value also of desirable social environment—that is, of such moral and intellectual surroundings as will be uplifting for the homemakers and safe for the future family. They will, it is hoped, learn that a merely fashionable neighborhood is not necessarily a desirable environment. The church, the school, the library, and proper recreation centers are also to be considered in one's social outlook. They are all distinctly worth paying for, as also is a good road.

With the site selected, the great problem of building next confronts the homemaker. Here again the principles of selection should be sufficiently known to young people, boys and girls alike, to save them from the mistakes so commonly made and frequently so regretted.

The people who can afford to employ an architect to design their homes are in a decided minority, and the only way to insure good houses for the less well-to-do majority is to see that the less well-to-do do not grow up without instruction as to what good houses are. The great tendency of the day in building is fortunately toward increased simplicity and toward a quality which we may call "livableness." This tendency we shall do well to fix in our teaching.

In general, the good house is plain, substantial, convenient, and suited to its surroundings. Efficient housekeeping is largely conditioned by such very practical details as closets and pantries, the relative positions of sink and stove, the height of work tables and shelves, the distance from range to dining table, the ease or difficulty of cleaning woodwork, laundry facilities, and the like. Housekeeping is made up of accumulated details of work, and adequate preparation for comfort in working can be made only when the house is in process of construction.

Not less are the higher and more abstract duties of the homemaker served by the kind of house she lives and works in. In a hundred details the homemaker should be able to increase the efficiency of the "place to make citizens in." A common mistake in building produces a house which adds to, rather than lessens, the burdens of its inmates. More often than not this is the result of a misapprehension of what houses are for.

There are many large mansions in our villages and cities built for show and display of wealth in which no one will live today. These houses are being torn down and sold for junk. The modern home is built for one purpose only, a home.

We must therefore teach our boys and girls that houses are for shelter, work, comfort, and rest, and to satisfy our sense of beauty, not to serve as show places nor to establish for us a standing in the community proportionate to the size of our buildings. We must teach them to measure their house needs and to avoid the uselessly ornate as well as the hopelessly ugly. We must teach them to consider ease of upkeep a distinctly valuable factor in building. But most of all must the homemaker be taught that the comfort and well-being of the family come first in the making of plans.

Few persons possess sufficient originality to think out new and valuable arrangements for houses; therefore we must see that their minds are rendered alert to discover successful arrangements in the houses they are constantly seeing and to adapt these arrangements to their own needs. Unless their minds are awakened in this direction, the majority will merely see the house problem in large units, overlooking the finer points of detail which mean comfort or the opposite.

I recall spending a considerable number of drawing periods in my grammar-school days upon copying drawings of houses. I recall that we became sufficiently conversant with such terms as front elevation, side elevation, and floor plan to feel that we were deep in technical knowledge. But I do not recall that anyone suggested any question as to the suitability of these houses for homes, or opened our minds to consideration of the fact that house building was a proper concern for our minds. It was merely a case in which educative processes failed to function. They do things better now in many schools. But we should not rest until all of our prospective homemakers have opportunity to obtain practical instruction in home planning and building.

Matters pertaining to heating, ventilating, and plumbing are easily taught as resting upon certain definite, well-understood principles. Here the personal element is less to be considered, and scientific knowledge may be passed on with some degree of authority. Our courses in physics, chemistry, and hygiene can be made thoroughly practical without losing any of their scientific value. Especially in our rural schools should matters of this sort receive careful and adequate treatment. In times past it was considered inevitable that the country-dweller should lack the advantages, found in most city houses, of a plentiful supply of water, radiated heat for the whole house, proper disposal of waste, and arrangements for cold storage. We know now that these things are obtainable at less cost than we had supposed; and we know also that it is not lack of means, but lack of knowledge, which forces many to do without them. In many a farm home the doctor's bills for one or two winters would pay for installing proper systems of heat and ventilation. Everything that tends to increase the comfort and safety of home life must be taught, as well as everything that tends to lessen the labor of keeping a family clean, warm, and properly fed.

Accurate figures should be obtained to set before the boys and girls who will be homemakers, showing the cost, in time, labor, and money, of running a heating plant for the house as compared with several stoves scattered about in the dwelling. To accompany these we must have more figures, showing the comparative time spent in doing the necessary work incidental to the operation of each type of apparatus. We must consider the comparative cleanliness of both types of heating plants, with their effect, first, upon the health of the family, and secondly, upon the amount of cleaning necessary to keep the house in proper condition. We must compare types of stoves with one other, hot-air, steam, and hot-water plants with one another, and various kinds of fuels, both as to cost and as to efficacy.

The water question is one of real interest to both city-and country-dweller, although the chances are that the country-dweller knows less about his source of supply than the city-dweller can know if he chooses to investigate. The city-dweller should know whence and by what means the water flows from his faucet, if for no other reason than that he may do his part in seeing that the money spent by his city or town brings adequate return to the taxpayer. For the rural homemaker, of course, the problem usually becomes an individual one.

A dangerous well.

Photograph by Brown Bros.

A dangerous well. The rural homemaker must make sure that his water supply is at a safe distance from contaminating impurities

Is the water supply adequate? Is the water free from harmful bacteria? Is the source a safe distance from contaminating impurities? Are we obtaining the water for household and farm purposes without more labor than is compatible with good management? Is not running water as important for the house as for the barn? How much water does an ordinary family need for all purposes in a day? How much time does it take to pump and carry this quantity by hand or to draw it from a well? How much strength and nerve force are thus expended that might be saved for more important work? Does lack of time or strength cause the homekeeper to "get along" with less water in the house than is really needed? Is there any natural means at hand for pumping the water—any "brook that may be put to work," any gravity system that may be installed? If not, are there mechanical means available that would really pay for themselves in increased water, time, and comfort for all the family?

Much strength and nerve force are expended which might be kept for more important work

Photograph by Brown Bros.

Where water must be pumped and carried by hand much strength and nerve force are expended which might be kept for more important work

A brook put to work may be utilized in supplying water to a farmhouse

Photograph by Brown Bros.

A "brook put to work" may be utilized in supplying water to a farmhouse

From a consideration of water supply we pass naturally to questions of the disposal of waste, and here again is found a subject too often neglected both in town and in rural communities. In the city the problems are not individual ones in the main, but rather questions of the best management and use of the public utilities concerned. Does the average city householder know what becomes of the waste removed from his door by the convenient arrival of the ash man, the garbage man, the rubbish man? Does he know whether this waste is disposed of in the most sanitary way? Does he consider whether it is removed in such a way as to be inoffensive and without danger to the people through whose streets it is carried? Does he know anything of the cost to the city of waste disposal? Is it merely an expense, and a heavy one, for him in common with other taxpayers to bear? Or is the business made to pay for itself? If not, is it possible to make it pay? Does any community make the waste account balance itself at the end of the year?

An objectionable garbage wagon

Photograph by Brown Bros.

An objectionable garbage wagon. Disposal of waste is a subject too often neglected both in urban and in rural communities

This new covered garbage wagon subjects the public to no danger

Photograph by Brown Bros.

This new covered garbage wagon subjects the public to no danger

In the country, once more we face the individual problem rather than that of the community. Here proper provision for the disposal of waste often necessitates more knowledge of the subject than is possessed by the homemaker, or sometimes it requires the installation of apparatus whose cost seems prohibitive. A careful consideration of these matters will possibly disclose the fact that a smaller expenditure may accomplish the desired purpose. Or, if this is not true, it may be found that the end accomplished is worth the expenditure of what seemed a prohibitive sum. A water closet, for instance, has not only a sanitary but a moral value. We must somehow educate people to understand and to believe that the basis of family health and usefulness is proper living conditions, and that some system of sewage and garbage disposal is a necessary step toward proper living conditions. With the urban population these matters are removed from personal and immediate consideration, but every rural homemaker must face his own problems, with the knowledge that since his conditions are individual his solution must be equally his own.

In the matters pertaining to decoration within the house as well as beautifying its surroundings, the country-and the city-dweller meet on equal terms. Their problems may differ in detail, but the principles to be studied are the same. Here our art courses must be made to contribute their share to the homemaker's training. We must strike the keynote of simplicity, both within and without, and must teach girls especially the value of carefully thought-out color schemes and decorating plans, to be carried out by different people in the materials and workmanship suited to their purses. They must learn that expense is not necessarily a synonym for beauty; they must know the characteristics of fabrics and other decorative materials; and they must be trained to recognize the qualities for which expenditure of money and effort are worth while.

In the designing of school buildings nowadays close attention is paid to beauty of architecture, symmetry of form, convenience of arrangement, and durable but artistic furnishings. All unwittingly the child receives an aesthetic training through his daily life in the midst of attractive surroundings.

Many of our rural schools are doing excellent work in teaching children to beautify the school grounds. Some, of them go farther and interest their pupils in attacking the problem of improving outside conditions at home. Every child whose mind is thus turned in the direction of attractive home grounds has unconsciously taken a step toward one branch of efficient homemaking. If it were possible to give pupils the foundation principles of landscape gardening, they might learn to see with a trained eye the problems they will otherwise attack blindly.

An example of the newer architecture

An example of the newer architecture. An artistic approach to a school has a daily effect on the mind of the child

Rural school with flower bed

Photograph by Brown Bros.

Rural school with flower bed. Many of the rural schools are doing excellent work in teaching children to beautify the school grounds

With the house built and ready for its furniture, the selection of the latter becomes both part of the scheme of decoration and part also of the domestic plans for securing comfort and inspiring surroundings. The same principles of beauty and utility, restfulness, comfort, and suitability, are called into requisition. The trained housewife will have an eye toward future dusting and will choose the less ornate articles. The same person, in her capacity as the mother of citizens, will see that chairs are comfortable to sit in, that tables and desks are the right height for work, that book cases and cabinets are sufficient in number and size to take care of the family treasures. She will use pictures sparingly and choose them to inspire. Perhaps, most of all, the woman with the trained mind will know how to avoid a superfluity of furniture in her rooms. She will be educated to the beauty of well-planned spaces and will not feel obliged to fill every nook and corner with chairs or tables or sofas or other pieces of furniture which merely "fill the space."

An artistic living room

Photograph by Brown Bros.

An artistic living room. The principles of beauty and utility, restfulness, comfort, and suitability, must all be considered in the furnishing of a home

Before furnishing is considered complete, the housekeeper must take into account the matter of operating apparatus. Perhaps a large part of this important department of house equipment has been built into the house. The water system, the sewer connection or its substitute, and the lighting apparatus are already installed, so that the turn of a switch or a faucet, the pull of a chain, sets one or all to work for us. We are now to consider whether we shall buy a vacuum cleaner or a broom and dustpan; a washing machine and electric flatiron or the services of a washerwoman, or shall telephone the laundry to call for the wash. Shall we invest in a "home steam-canning outfit" at ten dollars, or make up a list for the retailer of the products of the canning factory? Shall we have a sewing machine, or plan to buy our clothing from "the store"?

Once upon a time practically the only labor-saving device possible to the housekeeping woman was another woman. To-day many devices are offered to take her place. Our homemaker must know about them, and must compare their value with the older piece of operating machinery, the domestic servant. She must know what it costs to keep a servant, in money, in responsibility, and in all the various ways which cannot be reduced to figures.

Already the pros and cons of the "servant question" have caused much and long-continued agitation. The woman of the future should be taught to approach the matter with a scientific summing up of the facts and with a readiness to lift domestic service to a standardized vocation or to abandon it altogether in favor of the "labor-saving devices" and the "public utilities." Certain of our home-efficiency experts assure us that all "industries in the home are doomed." If this is true, the domestic servant must of necessity cease to exist. Most persons, however, cannot yet see how "public utilities" will be able to do all of our work. We may send the washing out, but we cannot send out the beds to be made, the eggs to be boiled, or the pictures, chairs, and window sills to be dusted. The table must be set at home, and the dishes washed there, until we approach the day of communal eating places, which, as we all know, will be difficult to utilize for infants and the aged, for invalids, and for the vast army of those who are averse to faring forth three times daily in search of food. For a long time yet the domestic servant, or her substitute, will be with us, doing the work that even so great a power as "public utilities" cannot remove from the home.

Contrast the bad taste displayed

Photograph by Brown Bros.

Contrast the bad taste displayed in the furnishing of this hopelessly inartistic room with the simplicity shown in that on page 43

At present there is much to indicate that the servant's substitute, in the form of various labor-saving devices, will eventually fill the place of the already vanishing domestic worker. Whether this proves to be the case will rest largely with these girls whom we are educating to-day. The pendulum is swinging rather wildly now, but by their day of deciding things it may have settled down to a steady motion so that their push will send it definitely in one direction or the other.

There is no inherent reason why making cake should be a less honorable occupation than making underwear or shoes; why a well-kept kitchen should be a less desirable workroom than a crowded, noisy factory. But under existing conditions the comparison from the point of view of the worker is largely in favor of the factory. Among the facts to be faced by the homemaker who wishes to intercept the flight of the housemaid and the cook are these:

  1. Hours for the domestic worker must be definite, as they are in shop or factory work.
  2. The working day must be shortened.
  3. Time outside of working hours must be absolutely the worker's own.
  4. The worker must either live outside the home in which she works, or must have privacy, convenience, comfort, and the opportunity to receive her friends, as she would at home.

In short, the houseworker must have definite work, definite hours, and outside these must be free to live her own life, in her own way, and among her own friends, as the factory girl lives hers when her day's work is done.

That women are already awaking to these responsibilities is shown by the increasing number who choose the labor-saving devices in place of the flesh-and-blood machine. Many of these women will tell you that they make this choice to avoid the personal responsibility involved in having a resident worker in the house. There is comfort in not having to consider "whether or not the vacuum cleaner likes to live in the country," or the bread mixer "has a backache," or the electric flatiron desires "an afternoon off to visit its aunt." It is the same satisfaction we feel in urging the automobile to greater speed regardless of the melting heat, the pouring rain, or the number of miles it has already traveled to-day. Perhaps the future will see machines for household work so improved and multiplied that we can escape altogether this perplexing personal problem of "the woman who works for us."

Whether or not we escape this problem when we patronize the laundry, the bakeshop, the underwear factory, is a matter for further thought. To many it seems a simpler matter to face the problem of one cook, one laundress, than to investigate conditions in factory, bakery, and laundry, to agitate, to "use our influence," to urge legislation, to follow up inspectors and their reports, to boycott the bakery, to be driven into the establishment of a coöperative laundry whether we will or no, in order to fulfill our obligations to the "women who work for us" in these various places. True, our duty to womankind requires that we do all these things to a certain extent so long as the public utilities exist, but with the multiplication of utilities to a number sufficient to do a large portion of our work, it would seem that women would be left little time for anything else than their supervision and regulation.

Problems relating to the establishing of a home would once have been considered far from the province of the teacher in the public school. Formerly we taught our children a little of everything except how to live. Now we are realizing that the teacher should be a constructive social force. Living is a more complicated thing than it once was, and the school must do its share in fitting the children for their task. All these matters we have been considering—the selection of a home site, building, decorating, furnishing, sanitation, and all the rest—represent constructive social work the teacher may do, which, if she passes it by, may not be done at all. College courses should prepare the teacher for such work, but even the girl who is not college-trained will find, if she seeks it, help sufficient for her training. And the work awaits her on every hand.


Running The Domestic Machinery

With a home established, the problems confronting the homemaker become those of administration. The "place for making citizens" is built and ready. The making of citizens must begin.

One of the fundamental requisites for the efficient operation of the home plant is that the homemaker shall have a firm grasp upon the financial part of the business. To estimate the number of homes wrecked every year by lack of this economic knowledge is of course impossible; but you can call up without effort many cases in which this lack was at least a contributing element to the wreck.

Keeping expenditures within the income is only the ABC of the financial knowledge required, although, like other ABC's, it is essential to the acquirement of deeper knowledge. It is not enough that the housekeeper merely succeeds in keeping out of debt. She must know what to expect in return for the money that she spends, and she must know whether or not she gets it. She must have definitely in mind the results she expects, and she must know why she spends for certain objects rather than for others.

In the days of famine and fear, the individual was fortunate who had food, shelter, and a skin to wrap about his shivering shoulders. In these days it is not enough to have merely these things. Certain standards of civilized life must be met, and we shall find that it requires judgment and skill to apportion our funds properly.

The common needs of civilized mankind are usually roughly classified as follows: food; shelter; clothing; operating expenses, including service, heat, light, water, repairs, refurnishing, and the general upkeep of the plant; advancement, including education, recreation, travel, charity, church, doctor, dentist, savings.

The exact proportion of any income devoted to each of these is of course a matter conditioned by the needs of the particular family as well as by its tastes and desires. Figures are obtainable which throw light upon proportions found advisable in what are considered typical cases. We may learn the minimum amount of money which will feed a man in New York or in various other cities and towns. We may find estimates as to the prices of a "decent living" in various parts of the country. Home-economics experts will furnish us with figures which may be used as a basis for apportioning this amount among departments of household expenses. That the figures offered by these experts differ more or less widely need not disturb us. It is perhaps too early in such work for final authoritative estimates.

The following apportionment is taken from Chapin's The Standard of Living among Workingmen's Families in New York City and has to do with the minimum income required for normal living for a family of father, mother, and three children on Manhattan Island:

Food $359.00
Housing 168.00
Fuel and light 41.00
Clothing 113.00
Carfare 16.00
Health 22.00
Insurance 18.00
Sundry items     74.00

"Families having from $900 to $1,000 a year," concludes Dr. Chapin, "are able, in general, to get food enough to keep body and soul together, and clothing and shelter enough to meet the most urgent demands of decency." Regarding incomes below $900, he says, "Whether an income between $800 and $900 can be made to suffice is a question to which our data do not warrant a dogmatic answer."

The two apportionments given below have been made by the federal government and concern the maintenance of a normal standard in two industrial sections of the country. In each case the family is assumed to be, as in Dr. Chapin's estimate[3], made up of father, mother, and three children.

  Fall River,
Georgia and   
North Carolina
Food $312.00 $286.67
Housing 132.00 44.81
Clothing 136.80 113.00
Fuel and light 42.75 49.16
Health 11.65 16.40
Insurance 18.40 18.20
Sundry items      78.00      72.60
  $731.90 $600.74

These estimates do no more than suggest the minimum upon which the various items of living expense can be met and the proportion to each account. People who can do more upon their incomes than merely live must look farther for help.

Mrs. Bruère in her Increasing Home Efficiency offers the following as a minimum schedule for efficient living:

Food $   344.93
Shelter 144.00
Clothing 100.00
Operation 150.00
Advancement 312.00
Incidentals      46.85

"When the income is over $1,200," Mrs. Bruère adds, "the family has passed the line of mere decency in living and entered the realm of choice. Their budget need not show how the entire income must be spent, but how it may be spent to gain whatever special end the family has in view."

That any estimated schedule for any income will fit exactly the needs of any family of father, mother, and three children in any given town in the United States no one supposes, but it is at least a basis upon which to work. And perhaps the main point from an educational standpoint is that it is a schedule at all.

The happy-go-lucky, spend-as-you-go style of housekeeping does not constitute efficiency. The homemaking expert we are training will have a better plan. She will have been long familiar with the idea of apportioning incomes. She will have applied the tests of efficient decision to her personal income before she has to attack the problem of spending for a family. The ideal homemaker of the future will be a woman who has had a personal income, and preferably one that she has earned herself and learned how to spend before she enters upon matrimony and motherhood.

By the less scientific plan of merely recording what one has spent, when the spending is over, it is more than likely that some departments of home expenditure will gain at the expense of others. If we can afford only $150 for rent, and we pay $200, it is evident that we must go without some portion of the food or clothing or advancement that we need. If we dress extravagantly, we must pay for our extravagance by sacrificing efficient living in some other direction. The budget is not entirely or even in large measure for the sake of saving, but rather for the sake of spending wisely. When women become as businesslike in the administration of home finances as they must be to succeed in business life, or as men usually are in their business relations, home administration will be placed upon a secure financial footing and will gain immeasurably in dignity thereby.

Feeding and clothing a family are perhaps the fundamentals of the homemaker's daily tasks. And upon neither of them will the application of scientific principles be wasted. It is not enough that we merely set food before our families in sufficient quantity to appease the clamoring appetite. Children and adults may suffer from malnutrition even though their consumption of food is normal in quantity three times a day. No housewife is properly fitted for her task unless she has some knowledge of dietetics.

Teaching housewives food values

Photograph by Brown Bros.

Teaching housewives food values. No housewife in these days need lack the knowledge of dietetics which will fit her for her task

Many a notable housewife who has perhaps never even heard of dietetics has nevertheless a practical working knowledge of some or many of its principles. There are traditions among housewives that we should serve certain foods at the same meal or should cook certain foods together. Often these time-honored combinations rest upon the soundest of dietetic principles. On the other hand, many cooks feed their families by a hit-or-miss method which as often as not violates all the laws of scientific feeding, and which farmers long ago discarded in the feeding of their cows.

Blackburn College students preparing dinner

Blackburn College students preparing dinner. Fortunately girls may study dietetics in the school that teaches them the law of gravity and the rules for forming French plurals

Fortunately the girl who so desires may now learn something of these feeding laws in the same school that teaches her the law of gravitation or the rules for forming French plurals. Fortunately, also, the girls of to-day seem inclined to undertake such study. It is not too much to expect that the girl of the future will be able to set before her family meals scientifically planned or food wisely and economically purchased, well cooked, and attractively served. Nor is it too much to expect that teachers will be able to do these things and to instruct others how to do them. That this ideal requires considerable and varied knowledge is clear at the outset. The serving of a single meal involves: (1) knowledge of food values, (2) skill in making a "balanced ration," (3) knowledge of market conditions, (4) skill in buying, with special reference to personal tastes and financial conditions, (5) knowledge of the chemistry of cooking, (6) skill in applying chemical knowledge, (7) skill in adapting knowledge of cooking to existing conditions, (8) knowledge of serving a meal and practice in service.

The fact that a large proportion of deaths is directly due to digestive troubles is certainly food for thought. Such a statement alone would warrant action of some sort looking toward increased knowledge of food values and food preparation. It is not necessarily because people live upon homemade food that their digestions are impaired, as we so often hear stated nowadays, but because we have taken it for granted that, given a stove, a saucepan, and a spoon, any woman could instinctively combine flour, water, and yeast into food. There is little dependence upon instinct in producing the bread of commerce. Bakers' bread is scientifically made, no doubt; but there is no reason why the homemade article may not also be a product of science. And there will always be this difference between the baker and the housewife: the baker's profit must be expressed in dollars and cents, while that of the housewife will be represented in increased force and efficiency in the family that she feeds. With such differing ends in view, the processes and results of each must continue to differ as widely as we know they do at present.

It is now some years since Charlotte Perkins Gilman wrote of woman's work:

Six hours a day the woman spends on food, Six mortal hours!
      *       *       *       *       *
Till the slow finger of heredity
Writes on the forehead of each living man,
Strive as he may: "His mother was a cook!"
A Blackburn College student mixing bread

A Blackburn College student mixing bread. There is no reason why homemade bread may not be the product of science

Many women now doubtless spend less time on cooking than when Mrs. Gilman wrote; perhaps her scorn has borne fruit. But the implication that being a cook is unworthy loses all its force unless it can be shown that "his mother was nothing but a cook." Even so, there are worse things one might be. It is true that women should not spend six hours out of the working day on merely one department of their household work. Yet the ill-fed family is out of the race for a place among the efficient. Let us then teach the coming woman to use less time, more science, and all the labor-savers there are available, and still accomplish the same, or perhaps better, results.

That the question of clothing is equally fundamental, perhaps few of us will acknowledge. Yet we must not underrate its importance. Food furnishes the fuel with which to support the fires of life. Clothes, however, contribute not only to comfort and health, but to mental well-being and self-respect. So long as we mingle with our fellow men in civilized communities, raiment will continue to require "taking thought." That much of the feminine part of the population devotes an undue amount of thought to certain aspects of the clothing question we cannot deny. It is equally certain that many women, if not most women, devote too little thought to other phases of the problem.

Present conditions seem to indicate that the average woman, of any class of society, places the "prevailing mode" first in her personal clothing problems. How to be "in style" absorbs much attention and time. Surely it is overshadowing other very important considerations relating to dress. When American women have awakened to the real importance of these considerations, we shall observe a better proportion in studying the clothes question.

As a scientific foundation upon which to build her practical knowledge of how to clothe herself and her family, the girl of the future must be trained to an understanding of (1) the hygiene of clothes, (2) art expressed in clothes, (3) the psychology of clothes, (4) ethics as affected by clothes, (5) personality as expressed by clothes.

There is no stage of life in which hygiene, art, psychology, and ethics do not apply to clothes. The practical knowledge built upon these as a foundation will guide the girl in choosing clothes which are suitable to the occasion for which they are designed, are not extravagant in either price or style, give good value for the money expended, express the individuality of the wearer, and exert an influence uplifting rather than the reverse upon the community at large.

Class in dressmaking at Blackburn College

Class in dressmaking at Blackburn College. With women scientifically trained in the matter of clothing, we shall do away with much of the absurdity of dress

With such a girl, the fact that "they" are wearing this or that will be always a minor consideration. With women trained in matters of clothing, we shall no longer be confronted by the absurdity of identical styles for thick and thin, short and tall, middle-aged and young, rich and poor. We shall no longer see dress dominating, as it does to-day, the entire lives of thousands of women. From the woman of wealth who spends a fortune every season upon her wardrobe, all the way down the money scale to the young girl who strains every nerve and spends every cent she can earn to buy and wear "the latest style," slavery to fashion is an evil gigantic in its proportions and far-reaching in its results.

We have no right to interfere with the woman's instinct to make herself beautiful. Rather we should encourage it, and should carefully instruct her in her impressionable years as to what real beauty is. It is almost safe to say that at present the principle by which the modern woman is guided in deciding the great questions of feminine attire is imitation. Incidentally, we may remark that nobody profits by such a mistaken foundation except the manufacturer, who moves the women of the world about like pawns on a chessboard merely to benefit his business. The society woman brings the latest thing "from Paris." The large New York establishments sell to their patrons copies of "Paris models." The middle-class shops and the middle-class women copy the copies. The cheap shops and the poor women copy the copy of the copy. Every copy is made of less worthy material than its model, of gaudier colors, with cheaper trimmings, until we have the pitiful spectacle of girls who earn barely enough to keep body and soul together spending their money for garments neither suitable nor durable—sleazy, shabby after a single wearing, short-lived—yet for a few ephemeral minutes "up to date."

How far this heartbreaking habit of imitation extends in the poor girl's life we can hardly say. She marries, and buys furniture, crockery, and lace curtains cheap and unsuitable, like her clothes, always imitations and soon gone, to be superseded by more of the same sort. What thoughtful woman desires to feel herself part of an influence which leads to so much that is insincere, uneconomical, wasteful both of raw material and of the infinitely more important material which makes women's souls? What teacher of young girls has a right to hold back from setting her hand against the formation of habits so undesirable?

And what of the vast output of the factories which turn out cheap cloth, cheaper trimmings, imitations of silk, imitations of velvet, ribbons which will scarcely survive one tying, shoes with pasteboard soles, and all the other intrinsically worthless products which now find ready sale? When women have been educated to a standard of taste, of suitability, of quality, which will forbid the use of cheap imitations of elegant and costly articles, will not the world gain in bringing such factories to the making of products of real worth instead of their present output?

The mother of the future will bring to bear upon the clothing question not only more knowledge, but more serious thought, than she does to-day. For the children she must provide comfortable, serviceable play clothes in generous quantity, that they may pursue their development unhampered in either body or mind. She must know the hygiene of childhood and the psychology of children's clothes. For the growing girls there must be a proper recognition of the growing interest in adornment, avoiding the Scylla of vanity on one hand and the Charybdis of unhappy consciousness of being "different from the other girls" on the other. For the sons there must be careful provision for the athletic life so dear to the boy, together with due recognition of the approaching dignities of manhood, with special care for the small details which mark the well-groomed man.

As in the matter of the food supply, there must be knowledge of markets and skill in buying. And, as in that case, there should be knowledge of the process of transforming materials into the finished product. Processes involving a great degree of technical skill, such as the tailor's art, the average woman will not attempt; but the simpler forms of garment making present no special difficulty to those who wish to try them or who find it expedient to do so.

Buying clothing ready made

Photograph by Brown Bros.

Buying clothing ready made. The question of buying clothing ready made or of making it will find individual solution according to means, inclination, and ability

A wholesale assumption that it is only a question of a short time before all garment making will be done in the factory is probably without warrant. We read again and again of late, "The day of buying instead of making is here! We may like it or not like it, but the fact remains, it is here!" And then we look all about us, and find that the day is apparently not here for at least several thousands of people of whom we have personal knowledge. That discovery gives us courage to look farther. We find paper-pattern companies flourishing; dress goods selling in the retail departments as they have always sold; seamstresses fully occupied; and we conclude that for some time yet the question of buying or making will find individual solution, according to means, inclination, and ability. What we wish to guard against in the upbringing of our future mothers is the necessity of buying because of a lack of the ability to make. The woman trained to a knowledge of the making of garments is the only woman who can intelligently decide the question for her own household. The others are forced to a decision by their own limitations.

questions of food supply

Photograph by Brown Bros.

In a community preserving kitchen questions of food supply may sometimes be solved and community interests unified

Passing from the elemental needs, shelter, warmth, food, and clothing, we enter upon the most complex of woman's duties—adjustment of her home to community conditions and provision for her family's share in community life. That these more abstract problems frequently overlap the concrete ones already enumerated need not be said. It is impossible, even if we so desire, to live "to ourselves alone." We shall undoubtedly stand for something in the community, whether consciously or otherwise. If it were given us to know the extent of our influence, we should probably be appalled at the crossing and recrossing of the lines emanating from our daily lives.

In some households there are definite aims in the direction of community life. These differ widely. In many the question seems to be entirely, "What can I get from the community?" in some, "What can I give?" in a few, "What can I share?" Of the three, the last is without doubt the one which contributes most to community well-being.

A community Christmas tree

Photograph by Brown Bros.

A community Christmas tree. Even the younger children may be given the opportunity to take part in community work

The ordinary family of necessity touches community life at one time or another at certain well-defined points. The efficient homemaker must therefore make intelligent provision for these points of contact with the community.

Church and charity organizations have always been recognized in American life as community matters and have provided community meeting places and community work. Through them, especially in earlier days, women often found their only common activities. The school furnished the same common ground for the children. In the present time of multiplied activity these organizations still stand in the foreground. In them, both young and old find perhaps their best opportunity for "team work."

A parish in which all pull together is perhaps as rare as a school in which every child truly desires to learn. Yet neither is beyond the possibilities. To keep each family in a proper attitude toward these community institutions is part of the homemaker's work—and a delicate task it often is. It is not enough for a mother to adopt a cast-iron policy of indiscriminate approval of pastor or teacher, although that is often recommended. Do you remember your resentment as a child of the inflexible judgment "The teacher must be right"? Really there is no "must" about it, and the child knows that as well as we. The mother, therefore, who is able to review the matter in dispute calmly, justly, and withal sympathetically, and who indorses the teacher's action after such review, is a better conserver of the public peace than the prejudging mother.

Or suppose she fails to indorse the teacher's course. We have always been led to expect that this failure ruins forever the teacher's influence with the child. There are some of us, however, who doubt the immediate destruction of a wise influence, even if we should say, "No, I do not think I should have punished you in just that way. But perhaps you have not told me all that occurred. Or perhaps you overlook the fact that you had annoyed Miss —— until, being human like the rest of us, she lost her temper. Is it fair for you to treat your teacher in such a way that you cause her to lose her self-control?" It is usually possible for the wise mother to turn her fire upon the child's own error without outraging the childish sense of justice by indorsing something which does not really deserve indorsement.

There is, perhaps, no way in which the mother of a family can do so much for the community institutions as by keeping up her own interest in them and thus stimulating the other members of the family to a willingness to do their part in the work of uplift. Where everybody is really interested and working, the first great stumbling block in the way of public enterprises has already been surmounted.

In the case of the school, however, the well-trained mother will find additional work to do. We who have been teachers know how vainly we have sought for intimate acquaintance on the part of parents with the school. And we who have been mothers know something of the difficulties in the way of gaining such intimate acquaintance. In spite of, or perhaps because of, my long years of schoolroom experience, I am quite unable to conquer my reluctance to knock at a classroom door. There is an aloofness about being a school visitor which most mothers feel and few enjoy. However, it is possible to gain so much of sympathetic understanding by persistent visiting that I have found it worth while to disregard my reluctance.

So often we hear mothers say, "I try to visit school at least once each year." I wonder if they ever think of that one visit as an injustice to the teacher? Suppose that, as is quite probable, the visitor arrives at an inopportune moment, finding the children in the midst of work which won't "show off," or the air heavy with the echoes of a disciplinary encounter, or the children restless as the session draws to a close, or dull and listless from the heat of an unusually hot day. What the visitor needs to do is not to visit once a year, but to get acquainted with the school as she does with her next-door neighbor or her mother-in-law. Having done this, she may attend the meetings of the parent-teacher association with a consciousness of knowing something of the problems to be met and solved. Until she has formed such acquaintance she deals with unknown quantities and is therefore in danger of erroneous conclusions.

Mothers visiting a school garden

Mothers visiting a school garden. Mothers need to visit the schools often in order to know something of the problems to be met and solved by the teachers

It is interesting to see how completely both teacher and pupils take to their hearts the mother who really does get acquainted them. How easy it is to appeal to her for advice and help; and what a sense of familiar ownership she comes to have in the school. It is no longer merely "what my child is learning" or whether "my children are getting what they ought to get in school," but rather "what we are doing in our school."

The activities of women in the church usually follow along well-worn paths. The women help as they have always helped by their attendance at service, by their ladies' aid society or guild, by their missionary society, and by their aid to the poor of the town. Many struggling churches depend almost solely upon their women's work for support. That the woman whose problems we are studying should enter upon her church duties armed with wisdom is quite as necessary as that she should be earnest and enthusiastic. The church is not primarily a neighborhood social center. It is first of all a means for spiritual uplift. It must not, in a multiplicity of humanitarian activities, lose its character of spiritual guide. Its women will therefore be animated by a spiritual conception of the church and will base their activities in church work upon such a conception. The church built upon such a foundation will be foremost among local forces devoted to community service and will be a true force in the individual lives of its people. The women of the church need to use the church as an effective instrument for community betterment—not merely material welfare, but actual increase in spiritual worth. Perfunctory church attendance has little part in such a program. It calls rather for intelligent understanding of church problems and an application of spiritual ideals to everyday life.

Outside the organizations common to all communities the homekeeper finds that she must keep in touch with her particular neighborhood through its social life. It is here that her children are growing up, here that they find their friends, here that they give and take knowledge of themselves, of people, of ways to enjoy life and to meet its problems. Here perhaps they will find their life mates and will start out to be homemakers themselves. The mother of a family must know her community thoroughly. She must do her share toward making it a safe place and a pleasant place in which her children and other children may grow up, and in which she and her husband, other women and their husbands, may spend their lives. The mother who knows her children's friends, who makes them welcome at her house, who "gets acquainted" with their qualities good and bad, who is a "big sister" to them all, will not find herself shut out from her children's social life. If all the mothers were "big sisters" and all the fathers were "big brothers," neighborhood society would be a safer thing than it sometimes is.

Nor should all the social life center about the young people. The woman's club, the village improvement society, the men's civic league, all have their places. Club life will menace neither the man nor the woman whose first interest is the home; and every man and woman needs the stimulus of contact with other minds.

Sometimes it will happen that the homemaker finds work to be done in the line of community reform. Perhaps the roads are out of repair, or the cemetery is neglected, or the school building insanitary. Perhaps the water supply is not properly guarded, or milk inspection not thoroughly looked after. Perhaps industrial conditions in the town are not what they should be. Perhaps laws are not being enforced. New conditions require new laws. There may be loafing places on streets and in stores which are dangerous. The billiard halls may need a thorough moral cleaning and a moral man placed in charge. The public dance halls may need proper chaperonage. The moving pictures need state and national censorship to eliminate the careless suggestions leading toward both vice and crime. The homemaker must know under such circumstances how to stir public opinion, how to make use of her existing organizations, how to set on foot the various movements necessary for reform.

A road in DeKalb, Illinois, before improvements were made

Photograph by Brown Bros.

A road in DeKalb, Illinois, before improvements were made. Through the agency of improvement societies, homemakers may often bring about community reforms

The same road after repairs were made through the efforts of members
of the community

Photograph by Brown Bros.

The same road after repairs were made through the efforts of members of the community

In connection with the subject of the homemaker's place in the community we must return to the thought of woman as the buyer for the home and of her consequent influence upon the economic standards of the community. It is not unusual in these days to read or hear such statements as the following: "The woman was no longer producer and consumer.... She became the consumer and her entire economic function changed.... The housewife is the buying agent for the home." Like many statements in regard to woman and her function, this seems overdrawn, since woman in her capacity as homemaker is still a producer as well as a consumer in thousands of cases. That she will become, economically, merely a buying agent, some of us not only doubt, but should consider a certain misfortune, should it occur. The fact remains, however, that as buyer of both raw materials and finished products the woman spends a very large percentage (some say nine-tenths) of the money taken in by the retail merchants of the country. This gives, or should give her, a commanding position in the producing world. If the women of America should definitely decide to-day that they would buy no more corn flakes, or mercerized crochet cotton, or silk elastic, the factories now so busy turning out these products would be shut down to-morrow until they could be converted to other uses. Women often fail to realize their power in this direction. When they do realize it, they are able to accomplish quietly all sorts of reforms in the mercantile and industrial worlds. There need be no crusade against adulterated foods other than real education and the refusal of homemakers to buy from merchants who carry them in stock. The same remedy will apply to overworked and underpaid workers, to insanitary shops and factories. That it is the woman's duty to control these matters is a necessary conclusion when we consider her power as the "spender of the family income." Who else has this power as she has it?

We have already noted how this power might be used to regulate not only the quality but the character of products in the factories. If women merely passed by the outlandish hats, the high heels, the hobble skirts, of fashion, their stay would necessarily be short. The woman, therefore, if she choose, is absolutely the controller of production along most lines of food and raiment. That she shall use this controlling power wisely is one of her obligations. And to meet the obligation she must be wisely trained.

It would seem that the homemaker, as we have conceived her, has a part in most of the concerns of the community. We speak of "woman and citizenship." To many this means, perhaps, "woman and suffrage." Woman in politics is already an accomplished fact in fourteen western states. Suffrage has been granted her in the state of New York. That her political influence will widen seems a foregone conclusion. She must therefore be prepared for real service in civic concerns. Women have already applied their housecleaning knowledge and skill to the smaller near-by problems of civic life. As time goes on they must render the same service to state and nation.

We shall soon see nation-wide "votes for women," in our own country, at least. But whether we do or not, or until we do, woman and citizenship are, as they have always been, closely linked together. In every community relation the homemaker is the good, or indifferent, or bad citizen; and in every home relation she is the citizen still, and, more than that, the mother of future citizens.

In spite of the "uneasy women" who feel that the home offers insufficient scope for their intellectual powers, the executive ability required to run a home smoothly and well is of no mean order. "This being a mother is a complicated business," as one mother of my acquaintance expresses it. Can we afford to have homemaking underrated as a vocation, to be avoided or entered into lightly, often with neither natural aptitude nor training to serve as guide to the "complications"? It would seem not. We must then consider "guidance toward homemaking" as a necessary part of a girl's education and as a possible solution of the home problems on every hand.

We have thus far in this book concerned ourselves with making plain our ideal of girlhood and womanhood and with considering the problems which our girl and woman, when we have done our best to prepare her, will have to meet. We have thus far not concerned ourselves with the questions of how, when, and where the work of preparation is to be done. A clear vision of the end to be attained, not obscured by thought of the means used in reaching it, seems a necessity. From this we may pass on to careful, detailed consideration of agencies and methods. Knowing what we desire our girls to be, we may enlist all the forces which react upon girls to make them into what we desire.


[3] No studies of present-day conditions are available. The proportion spent for food, clothing, etc., will remain nearly the same. It is safe to multiply the above estimates by two to obtain the actual cost of living in the year 1919.


Guiding Girls Toward The Ideal

"A vocational guide is one who helps other people to find themselves. Vocational guidance is the science of this self-discovery."


The Educational Agencies Involved

The three agencies most vitally concerned in this problem of "woman making" are necessarily the home, the church, and the school—the home and the church, because of their vital interest in the personal result; the school, because, whatever public opinion has demanded, schools have never been able to turn out merely educated human beings, but always boys and girls, prospective men and women. And so they must continue to do. Nature reasserts itself with every coming generation. This being so, we must continue to "make women." If we desire to make homemaking women, the most economical way to accomplish this is to use the already existing machinery for making women of some sort. We cannot begin too soon, nor continue our efforts too faithfully. The school cannot leave the whole matter to the home, nor can the home safely assume that the "domestic science" course or courses will do all that is needed for the girl. Being a woman is a complex, many-sided business for which training must be broad and long-continued.

The teacher has perhaps scarcely realized her responsibilities or her opportunities in this matter. For years, and in fact until very recently, the whole tendency in education for girls has been toward a training which ignores sex and ultimate destiny. The teachers themselves were so trained and are therefore the less prepared to see the necessity for any special teaching along these lines. They may even resent any demand for specialized instruction for girls.

Yet we are confronted by the fact that the majority of girls do marry, and that many of this majority are woefully lacking in the knowledge and training they should have. Nor are these girls exclusively from the poor and ignorant classes. There is no question about the responsibility of the school in the matter. The state which "trains for citizenship" cannot logically ignore the necessity for training the mothers of future citizens.

"While I sympathize profoundly with the claim of woman for every opportunity which she can fill," says G. Stanley Hall in Adolescence, "and yield to none in appreciation of her ability, I insist that the cardinal defect in the woman's college is that it is based upon the assumption, implied and often expressed, if not almost universally acknowledged, that girls should primarily be trained to independence and self-support; and matrimony and motherhood, if it come, will take care of itself, or, as some even urge, is thus best provided for." This criticism, of existing educational conditions is quite as applicable to schools for younger girls as to those which Dr. Hall has in mind. There is no reason why both school and college may not fit girls for a broad and general usefulness, for "independence and self-support," and at the same time give them the training for that which, with the majority already mentioned, comes to be the great work of their lives.

Through all the lower grades of school life, and to a certain extent through the whole course, the methods of instruction used will be largely indirect. The child will-seldom be told, "This is to teach you how to keep house." I can think of no field in which this indirect method will produce greater results than the one we are considering.

Montavilla School garden, Portland, Oregon

Montavilla School garden, Portland, Oregon, where boys and girls raise vegetables for serving in the lunchroom. Here the science of growing things is taught as part of the "training for citizenship"

Montavilla School garden, Portland, Oregon

Lunchroom where vegetables grown in the Montavilla School garden are prepared and eaten

A model school home

Photograph by Brown Bros.

A model school home. One way of teaching children how to "keep house" is by means of the model home where they are given instruction in all the duties of the homemaker

The teacher, in most cases, must begin her homemaking training by realizing that her own example is by the very nature of things opposed to the homemaking principle, the unmarried teacher being the rule in most of our schools. Her first care, then, must be to counteract her own example. Her references to home life must be always of the most appreciative and even reverent sort. If, as is quite possible, she comes from unsatisfactory conditions in her own home, she must be doubly careful lest her prejudices be passed on to her pupils. She will find ways in which to let it be understood that her ideals of home life are not wanting, although she has not as yet—perhaps for some reason never will—become a homemaker. I have sometimes thought that teachers, in their effort to impress children in more direct ways, lose sight of the great effect of their unconscious influence. After all, it is what the teacher does, rather than what she says, that impresses; and what she is, regulates what she does. The teacher must, therefore, have the right attitude toward homemaking and domestic life. It may be of the greatest value in determining the force of her influence in this direction for the children to catch intimate little glimpses of her domestic accomplishments, of her sewing, or of her cooking, or of her quick knowledge and deft handling of emergency cases. The teacher whose influence is felt most and lasts longest is the one whose "motherliness" supplements her academic acquirements and supplies a sympathetic understanding of the child.

Canning tomatoes at the Montavilla School

Canning tomatoes at the Montavilla School. In such a class the mothers of future citizens are given training in one of the fundamental needs of the home—scientific cooking

Lunchroom where children benefit by the scientific
cooking of the vegetables they grow

Lunchroom where children benefit by the scientific cooking of the vegetables they grow

With innate motherliness as a basis, the teacher must build up a careful understanding not only of child nature, but of man and woman nature as the developed product of child growth. She must be a student of the "woman question" as a vital problem, always recognizing that the whole social structure inevitably depends upon the status of woman in the world. She must face without flinching her responsibilities in sex matters. She may, or may not, be called upon to furnish sex instruction to the girls under her care, but no rules can free her from her moral responsibility in striving to keep the sex atmosphere clean and invigorating. The "conspiracy of silence" on these subjects is broken, and we must accept the fact that modesty does not require an assumed or a real ignorance of the most wonderful of nature's laws. "The idea that celibacy is the 'aristocracy of the future' is soundly based if the Business of Being a Woman rests on a mystery so questionable that it cannot be frankly and truthfully explained by a girl's mother the moment her interest and curiosity seek satisfaction."[4] And what the mother should tell, the teacher must know.

Practical use of the teacher's carefully worked-out theories will be made all along the line of the girl's, and to a certain degree the boy's, education. The indirect teaching of the primary grades will give place in the higher grades to more direct dealing with the science, or, better, sciences, upon which homemaking rests. The classroom becomes a "school of theory." The home stands in the equally vital position of a laboratory in which the girl sees the theory worked out and in time performs her own experiments. The finest teaching presupposes perfect coöperation between school and home.

Mothers' and daughters' meeting on sewing day

Photograph by Brown Bros.

Mothers' and daughters' meeting on sewing day. Coöperation between the home and the school makes for the best teaching of domestic science

The first duty of the mother, like that of the teacher, is to preserve always a right attitude toward home life. The girl who grows up in an ideal home will be likely to look forward to making such a home some day. Or, if the home is not in all respects ideal, the father or mother who nevertheless recognizes ideal homes as possible may show the girl directly or otherwise how to avoid the mischance of a less than perfect home.

The prevalence of divorce places before young men and women sad examples of mismating, of incompetent homemakers, of wrecked homes. We can scarcely estimate the blow struck at ideals of marriage in the minds of girls and boys by these flaunted failures. Nor can we even guess how many boys and girls are led to a cynical attitude toward all marriage by their daily suffering in families where parents have missed the real meaning of "home." However practical we may become, therefore—and we must be practical in this matter—we must never overlook the need for parents to give home life an atmosphere of charm. No one else can take their place in doing this. Hence it is their first duty to make homemaking seem worth while.

The home must take the lead also in giving the idea of homemaking as a definite and scientific profession. The school may teach the science, but unless the home shows practical application of the scientific principles, it would be much like teaching agriculture without showing results upon real soil. Skillful teachers recognize the home as a valuable adjunct to their school equipment and are able by wise coöperation to use it to its full value.

The home, in its character of laboratory for the school of domestic theory, must possess certain qualifications. Like all laboratories, it should be well equipped. This does not mean necessarily with expensive outfit, but with at least the best that means will allow. It implies that the home shall be recognized as a teaching institution quite as much as the school. Like other laboratories, it must be a place of experiment, not merely a preserver of tradition. The efficient laboratory presupposes an informed and open-minded presiding genius.

First crop of radishes and lettuce at the Alameda Park School, Portland, Oregon, June, 1916

Courtesy of L.A. Alderman

First crop of radishes and lettuce at the Alameda Park School, Portland, Oregon, June, 1916. Even in the primary grades children may learn much about the science of growing things

Bringing exhibits to a school fair in Tacoma, Washington

Bringing exhibits to a school fair in Tacoma, Washington. Skillful teachers who recognize the home as a valuable adjunct to the school equipment encourage the children to make gardens at home

The greatest service that the home can render in the cause of training girls for homemaking is probably close, painstaking study of its own individual girl—her likes, dislikes, aptitudes, and limitations. Home-mindedness shows itself nowhere so much as in the home; lack of home-mindedness shows there quite as much. The results of such study should throw great light upon the problem of the girl's future. Combined with the observations recorded by her teacher during year after year of the girl's school life, this study offers the strongest arguments for or against this or that career. Frequent and sympathetic conferences between parent and teacher become a necessity. There is then less likelihood of opposing counsel when the girl seeks guidance toward her life work.

It is quite probable that, while the school undertakes to lay a general foundation for homemaking efficiency, the home, when it reaches the full measure of its power and responsibility, will be best fitted to help the girl to specialize in the direction most suited to her individual power. It can, if it will, give the girl individual opportunities such as the mere fact of numbers forbids the school to give.

The special work of the church in training the girl is necessarily that which has to do with her spiritual concept of life, the strengthening of her moral fiber. Here school, home, and church must each contribute its share. None of them can undertake alone so important and delicate a task. Any attempt to make arbitrary divisions in the work of these three agencies is bound to be at least a partial failure. Conditions differ so widely that we can only say of much of the work, "at school or church or in the home," or, better, "at school and church and home in coöperation." Each must supplement the efforts of the other, and where one fails, the other must take up the task. It really matters little where the work is done, provided that it is done. The ensuing chapters of this book are written in the hope that they may bring the vital problems of girl training and girl guidance home to both teacher and parent; and especially that they may convince both of the value of coöperation in the inspiring work of helping our daughters to make the most of their lives.


[4] Ida M. Tarbell, The Business of Being a Woman.


Training The Little Child

"Children are the home's highest product." That means at the outset that we have children because we believe in them, and that we train them, as the skilled workman shapes his wood and clay, to achieve the greatest result of which the human material is capable.

A factory's output can be standardized. An engine's power can be measured. But he who trains a child can never fully know the mind he works with nor the result he attains. We do know, however, that if it is subject to certain influences, trained by certain laws, the chances are that this mind which we cannot fully know will react in a certain way.

To attempt in a chapter to outline a system of training for children would be an attempt doomed to certain failure. Books are written on this subject, and the shelves of the child-study and child-training department in the libraries are rapidly filling. What I have in mind here is rather a single line of the child's development—that which leads toward making him a useful factor in the home life of which he forms a part. The boy or girl who fills successfully a place in the home of his childhood will be in a fair way to undertake successfully the greater task of founding a home of his own.

In the days of infancy and early childhood, training for boys and girls may be more nearly identical than in later life. A large part of the differentiation in the work and play of little boys and girls would seem to be quite artificial. We give dolls to girls and drums to boys, but only because of some preconceived notion of our own. The girls will drum as loudly and the boys care for the baby quite as tenderly, until some one ridicules them and they learn to simulate a scorn for "boys' things" and "girls' things" which they do not really feel.

Throughout this chapter, therefore, it is to be assumed that the training suggested is quite as applicable and quite as necessary for one sex as for the other.

Young mothers sometimes ask the family doctor, "When shall I begin to train the baby to eat at regular intervals, to go to sleep without rocking, in general to accept the plan of life we outline for him?" The answer seldom varies: "Before he is twenty-four hours old." It is therefore evident that all the basic principles of living, whether physical or mental, must have their foundations far back in the child's young life.

Helping with the housework

Photograph by Brown Bros.

Helping with the housework. The boy or girl who successfully fills a place in the home of his childhood will be in a fair way to undertake successfully the greater task of founding a home of his or her own

As a basis for all the rest, we must work for health. A truly successful life, rounded and full, presupposes health. Regular habits, nourishing food, plenty of sleep, are axiomatic in writings treating of the care of young children, yet it is surprising how often these rules are violated. "It is easier" to give the child what he wants or what the others are having; easier to let him sit up than to put him to bed; easier to regard the moment than the years ahead.

Already well started on his education

Already well started on his education

Aside from the physical foundation, the training that we are to give our little children will probably be based upon our conception of what they need to make them good sons and daughters, good brothers and sisters, good friends, good husbands and wives, and good fathers and mothers. In other words, it is the social aspect of life that we have in mind, and our social ideals. Whatever the boy "wants to be when he grows up," he is sure to have social relations with his kind. Whether the girl marries or remains single, she cannot entirely escape these relations. Indeed they are thrust upon both boy and girl already. What then do they need to enable them to be successful in the human relations of living?

We might enumerate here a long list of virtues that will help, but, since long lists shatter concentration, let us narrow them to four: (1) sympathy, (2) self-control, (3) unselfishness, (4) industry.

I do not mean to say that, with these four qualities only, a man will make a successful merchant or farmer, or that a woman will become a good housekeeper or a skillful teacher. But I do mean that in family relations these four qualities are worth more than intellectual attainments or any sort of manual skill. It is really astonishing to see how much these four will cover. We desire thrift—what is thrift but self-control? Tolerance—what but sympathy—the "put yourself in his place" feeling? Courtesy—what but unselfishness?

Let us, then, in the child's early years concentrate upon sympathy, self-control, unselfishness, and industry. You will doubtless remember Cabot's summary of the four requirements of man[5]—work, play, love, and worship. Suppose we could write on the wall of every nursery in the land:

Sympathy } in { Work
Self-control Play
Unselfishness Love
Industry Worship

Would not this writing on the wall be a fruitful reminder to the mothers?

The period of early childhood is the one in which the home may act with least interference as the child's teacher. Later, whether she will or no, the mother must share the work of training with the school, the church, and that indefinite influence we class vaguely as society. During these few early years, then, the mother must use her opportunity well. It will soon be gone.

How shall she teach such abstract virtues as sympathy, unselfishness, self-control? Recognizing the fact that the little child acts merely as his instinct and feelings prompt, she must make all training at this stage of his life take the form of developing the instincts. Probably the strongest of these at this time is imitation. Consequently most of the teaching must take advantage of the imitative instinct. The first care should be to surround the child with the qualities we desire him to possess. The mother who scolds, gives way to temper, or is unwilling or unable to control her own emotions and acts can hope for little self-control in her child. In the same way the father who kicks the dog or lashes his horse or is hard and cold in his dealings with his family may expect only that his child will begin life by imitating his undesirable qualities. This necessary supervision of the child's environment is a strong argument for direct oversight of little children by the mother. It is often difficult even for her to keep an ideal example before the child; and if she leaves it to hired caretakers, they seldom realize its necessity or are willing to take the pains she would herself. Especially is this true of the young and ignorant girls who are often seen in sole charge of little children.

This first step being merely passive education, it is not enough. We must not only set an example; we must go farther and strive to get from the child acts or attitudes of mind based upon these examples.

Let us take first the quality of sympathy, which is closely allied to reflex imitation. It is difficult to say just when the child merely reflects the emotions of those about him and when he consciously thinks of others as having feelings like his own. This conscious thought is, of course, the foundation of real sympathy, and it comes early in the child's life—probably before the fourth year.

Stories that broaden the child's conception of the lives and feelings of others

by Underwood & Underwood

Stories that broaden the child's conception of the lives and feelings of others are of value in training for sympathy

A little girl of three was greatly interested and pleased at the appearance of a roast chicken upon the family dinner table. She chattered about the "birdie" as she had done before on similar occasions. But when the carving knife was lifted over it, she astonished everyone by her terrified cry of "Don't cut the birdie. Hurt the birdie." No explanation or excuse satisfied her, and it was finally necessary to remove the platter and have the carving done out of her sight. Most children are naturally sympathetic when they have experienced or can imagine the feelings of others. The cruelty of children, is usually due to their absorption in their own feelings without a realization of the pain they inflict.

Training for sympathy then must consist of enlargement of experience and cultivation of imagination. Some mothers do not talk enough with their children. They talk to them—that is, they reprimand or direct them, but do not carry on conversations, as they might do greatly to the child's advantage. Telling stories is one of the most fruitful methods of training at this age. Even "this little pig went to market" has possibilities in the hands of a skillful mother. The bedtime story is a definite institution in many families. It deserves to be so in all. Beginning with the nursery rimes, the stories will gradually broaden in theme, and if their dramatic possibilities are at all realized by the story-teller, the children will broaden in their conception of the lives and feelings of others. Sympathy will thus in most cases be a plant of natural and easy growth.

Intercourse with other children and with the older members of the child's family will also furnish constant material for the thoughtful mother. The baby bumps its head, and the mother soothes it with gentle, loving words. It is more than likely that the three-or four-year-old will express his sympathy also. Surely he will if the mother says, "Poor baby. See the great bump. How it must hurt!" Or perhaps "big sister" is happy on her birthday. Again, the three-year-old is likely to show happiness also, and the wise mother will help the child by a timely word to take the step from reflex imitation of happiness to true sympathy. Nor must we overlook the occasions when some one in the nursery has been "naughty" and must be punished. "Poor Bobby! He is sad because he cannot play with us this morning. He feels the way you did when you were naughty and had to sit so still in your little chair. I am sorry for Bobby—aren't you? We hope he will be good next time, don't we?"

Kindergarten games

Photograph by Brown Bros.

Kindergarten games afford the intercourse with other children necessary to the child's development

Teaching self-control is quite a different matter from the foregoing, and one which requires infinitely more work and patience. The first step is, however, the same. If you would have sympathy, show sympathy. If you would have self-control in a child, control yourself. Remember the strength of the imitative instinct. Next, strive to obtain control in the young child in some small matter where control is easy. Any normal child will learn that control paysif you make it pay. Encourage the hungry child to stop crying while you prepare his food, but prepare it quickly, or he will begin to cry again to make you hurry. Mothers usually work hard to teach control of bodily functions, but often far less to obtain control of mental and moral conditions. Obedience, considered from time immemorial the chief virtue of childhood, is really only of value as it conduces to self-control in later life. The wise parent, therefore, while requiring obedience for the convenience of the family and the safety of the child, will lay far more stress upon teaching the child to control himself. The work must be done almost entirely by indirect methods during the early years. Offering artificial rewards and dealing out artificial punishments are the crudest forms of encouraging effort. The natural reward and the inevitable natural punishment are far better when they can be employed.

A group of children at the Mary Crane Nursery, Chicago

Courtesy of the United Charities of Chicago

A group of children at the Mary Crane Nursery, Chicago. Children acquire self-control by learning to help themselves

The child who overcomes his tendency to play before or during his dressing may be rewarded by some special morning privilege which will automatically regulate itself. In our family it is the joyful task of bringing in and distributing the morning mail. The child not dressed "on time" necessarily loses the privilege. We are not punishing, but "we can't wait." Lack of control of temper presupposes solitude. "People can't have cross children about." Quarrels inevitably bring cessation of group play or work—solitude again. The child's love of approbation may also be made of great assistance. Always we must remember that doing what we tell him to do is not after all the main thing. It is doing the right thing, being willing to do the right thing, and being able to hold back the impulse to do the wrong thing, that count. We are working "to train self-directed agents, not to make soldiers."

Unselfishness is a plant of slow growth. Indeed it is properly not a childish trait at all, and the most we can probably get is its outward seeming. But it is important that we at least acquaint the child with ideals of unselfishness. We must find much in the child to appeal to, even though altruistic motives do not appear until much later than this. The love of approbation will prove a strong help again, also the sense of justice with which children seem endowed from the beginning. "Help him because he helped you," or "Give her some because she always gives you part of hers," is often effective. Just as in the case of self-control, the child will learn to overcome his innate selfishness "if it pays" to do so. It may seem wrong to encourage any but the highest motive, but a habit of unselfish acts, resting upon a desire to win the approbation of others, is a better foundation upon which to build than no foundation at all. Purely disinterested or altruistic motives do not appear in the normal child much before the age of adolescence, and by that time selfishness, which accords so well with the individualistic instincts of the child, will have hardened into a fixed habit if not vigorously checked.

Care must be taken to lead the child toward unselfish acts, but not to force them upon him. The common courtesies of life we may require, but, beyond that, example, tactful suggestion, wisely chosen stories, and judicious praise will do far more than force.

The idea of kindness may be grasped by young children and, together with the great ideal of service, should be emphasized in their home life and in their intercourse with other children. The "only child" suffers most from lack of opportunity to learn these two great needs of his best self—kindness and service. Occasions should be systematically made for such a child (indeed for all children) to meet other children on some common ground. Playthings should be shared, help given and received, and the idea of interdependence brought out. "We must help each other" should be emphasized from early childhood.

Much must be made of the little helps the child is able to give in the home—bringing slippers for father, going on little errands about the house for mother, picking up his own playthings, hanging up his coat and hat, caring for the welfare of the family pets. Careful provision should be made for the child's convenience in performing these little services. There must be places for the toys, low hooks for the wraps, and constant encouragement and recognition of the small helper. Some day he may help you because he loves to help. Now he loves to be praised for helping.

Activity is a natural and absorbing part of a child's life. He is always doing something. It remains for the parent to direct this restless movement and to transform some of it into useful labor. Work, in the sense of accomplishing results for the satisfaction and benefit of the parent, is quite foreign to our plan for training the young child. But work for the child's own satisfaction and for the formation of the habit of industry must occupy our attention in large measure. The child's playthings should from his earliest days be chosen in recognition of his desire to do things and make things. The shops are filled with showy toys, mechanical and otherwise, and children find the toyshop a veritable fairyland. But once satiated with the sight of any particular toy, however cunningly devised—and satiety comes soon—the child forsakes the gorgeous plaything for his blocks, or paper and a pair of scissors, or even his mother's clothespins. He can do something with these.

Helping the little sister

Photograph by Brown Bros.

Helping the little sister. Children will learn unselfishness and kindness if they are early taught to help one another

The Montessori materials are perhaps the most thoughtfully planned in this direction of anything now obtainable; and no one having the care of young children should be without some knowledge of this now famous method. All the materials have this advantage: they offer definite problems and consequently afford the child the joy of accomplishment. A few of the occupations of life afford us unending enjoyment at every stage of the doing, but not many. It is rather the achievement of our end, the "lust of finishing," which carries us through the tiresome details of our work. The child must therefore be early introduced to the joy of accomplishment. Instead of unending toys, give him something to work with. He will appreciate your thoughtfulness, and he will find not only joy but real development in their use.

At first the child's work will consist of fragmentary efforts, but at a remarkably early age he will show evidence of a power of concentration and persistence which will make possible the accomplishment of finished undertakings. He begins to know what he wants to do and to exhibit considerable ingenuity in finding and combining materials. Most of all, he wants to imitate the activities he sees around him.

In the strain of modern life a widespread restlessness seems to have seized mankind. Whatever people do, they want to be doing something else, and the pathway of the average individual is strewn with crude beginnings, half-finished jobs, abandoned work. The child very easily falls into line with this tendency of his elders. Hence he needs definite encouragement to see clearly what he has in hand and to bring his industrial attempts to a worth-while conclusion. Avoid, even with a little child, that inconsiderate habit of "grown-ups" of calling the little worker away whenever you desire his attention or help, quite regardless of the damage you may do to his work by your untimely interruption. Keep the child, as far as possible, too, from undertaking tasks too difficult or requiring too much time for completion. Discourage aimless handling of tools. A cheerful "What are you making?" sometimes crystallizes hitherto rambling desires. A timely suggestion often meets with enthusiastic response.

Helping in the home tasks

Photograph by Brown Bros.

Helping in the home tasks. Wisely directed activity will teach the child both unselfishness and industry

The working outfit of a child under school age may or may not include kindergarten or Montessori material. Balls, blocks, pencils and paper, paste, colored crayons, scissors, a blackboard, a cart, a wheelbarrow, stout little garden tools, a sand tray or, better, in summer an outdoor sandpile, will furnish endless work and endless delight to a child or group of children. It is not so much what sort of material we use as the way in which we use it. Even at this age the child longs to be a producer, to "make things"; and his best development requires that we train this inclination. There is a prevalent notion that women especially are no longer required to be producers and that all our energies should be bent toward the sole task of making them intelligent consumers. There is, however, a joy in producing without which no life is really complete. And no scheme of education can be a true success which ignores or neglects the necessity of producing. The joy of work, the delight in achievement, should be the keynote of all industrial training. This should be kept constantly in view.

To most people there is something wonderfully appealing about the innocence of the little child. We watch with delight the marvelous development of the little mind keeping pace with the growth of bodily strength and dexterity. We are reluctant to see the day drawing near when the child must begin his long course of training in school. Sometimes we fail to recognize the fact that before school days come the child has already received a considerable part of his education; that the habits which will make or mar his future are often firmly implanted and in a fair way to become masters of the young life. An elaborate plan for the little child's training would probably be abandoned even if undertaken, since elaborate plans involve endless work. If, however, we attempt no more than I have outlined in this chapter, we have some reasonable chance of success. Given good health, with regular bodily habits, as a physical foundation, the child will have had much done for him if we have begun to build the habits of sympathy, self-control, industry, and service which will purify and sweeten the family relations of later years and make the one-time child worthy himself to undertake the important task of home building.

It is naturally a matter for regret that the teacher into whose hands the child comes first at school usually knows so little of the home training he has had or failed to have. Children whose parents have made little or no attempt to teach these fundamental qualities which we have had under discussion are sometimes forever handicapped unless the teacher can supply the deficiency. Children who have made a good beginning may lose much of what they have been taught unless the teacher recognizes and holds them to the ideal. The kindergarten or primary teacher needs to know the homes of her pupils; and the time is not far distant when the school will recognize the home as after all the first grade in school life. Then mothers will receive the inspiration of contact with the teachers and their ideals, not alone when their children reach school age, but from the time the first child arrives in the home. The Sunday school has its "cradle roll." The day school may emulate its example.


[5] Cabot, What Men Live By.


Teaching The Mechanics Of Housekeeping

Going to school marks an epoch in every child's life. Hitherto, however wide or narrow the child's contact with the world has been, the mother has been, at least nominally and in most cases actually, the controlling power. Now she gives her child over for an increasingly large part of every day to outside influence.

More and more we are coming to see that the evolution of a successful homemaker requires that the school as well as the home keep the homemaking ideal before it. And so the best schools of the country are doing. The greatest needs of the little girl's early school days would seem to be a definite understanding between teacher and mother of the share each should assume in the homemaking training. This necessitates personal conferences or mothers' meetings, or both.

The little girl of primary-school age points the way for both teacher and mother by her adaptation and imitation of home activities in her play. In primary grades girls are approaching the height of the doll interest, which Hall and others place at eight or nine years. A doll's house, therefore, may be made the source of almost infinite enjoyment and profit in these grades. Indeed it is hardly too much to say that no primary room is complete without one. Nor is there any reason why any school should remain without one, since its making is the simplest of processes. Four wooden boxes, of the same size, obtained probably from the grocer, the dry-goods merchant, or the local shoe dealer, will make a most satisfactory house if placed in two tiers of two each, with the open sides toward the front. This gives four rooms, which may be furnished as kitchen, dining room, living room, and bedroom. Windows may be cut in the ends or back, if the boys of the school are sufficiently expert with tools or if outside assistance can be secured for an hour or so.

The best results with the doll's house are obtained if the children are allowed to furnish it themselves, with the teacher's advice and help, rather than to find it completely equipped and therefore merely a "plaything" of the sort that children have less use for because they can do little with it. An empty house presents exciting possibilities, and perhaps for the first time these little girls look with seeing eyes at the home furnishings, for they have wall paper to select, curtains and rugs to make, and indeed no end of things to do.

The little girl adapts and imitates home activities in play

The little girl adapts and imitates home activities in play

It is perhaps scarcely necessary to call to mind the educational advantages possible in the planning and making of bedding, draperies, table linen, towels, couches and pillows, window seats, and other furnishings, as well as in the ingenuity brought into play in evolving kitchen utensils and in stocking the cupboards with the necessities for housekeeping. The free interchange of ideas should be encouraged, and the spirit of seeking the best fostered.

The conspicuous results in this work are two: we secure the child's attention to details of housekeeping, and we build up a foundation ideal of what housekeeping equipment should be. Children in poorly equipped homes may find the most practical of training in this way. My experience has been that teachers have only to begin this work in order to arouse enthusiasm in any class of little girls. Once begun, it carries itself along. There should be no compulsion in this work. Choice and not necessity must be the rule in all our training for homemaking. To compel a child's attention to that which she will later do voluntarily, if at all, will at the very outset defeat our purpose.

Making furniture for a doll's house affords educational advantages

Making furniture for a doll's house affords educational advantages in emphasizing the details of housekeeping

The finest sort of coöperation arises in this work when parents are led to provide the little girl at home with a doll's house fashioned like the one at school. Perhaps they may go a step farther and find space for a larger scheme of housekeeping, in the attic or elsewhere. Coöperation among the children means interchange of ideas, materials, and labor, most helpful to social ideals.

From the furnishing of the doll's house it is easy to pass to plays involving the activities of home life. Children delight in sweeping, dusting, washing dishes, arranging cupboards and pantries, and making beds in their miniature houses, and if their efforts are wisely directed, orderly habits easily begin to form. In all these varieties of work the children must be led to feel that there is a right way, and that only that way is good enough, even for play.

The great result of all play housekeeping is the formation of ideals. It is just as easy to learn at seven or eight the most efficient way of washing dishes as it is to defer that knowledge until years of inefficient work harden into inefficient habits. The teacher will find abundant and interesting studies in household efficiency in recently published books to inspire her guidance of the children's activity.

The step from washing play dishes at school to washing real dishes at home is easily taken, and children are delighted to take it. Here again the school and home may—indeed must, for best results—work together. Some schools are giving school credit for home work along domestic lines. That there are complex elements entering into the successful working out of such a plan one must admit. A school giving credit for work it does not see may put a premium upon quantity rather than quality. The teacher who asks her little pupils to wash the home dishes according to school methods may encounter adverse comment from certain parents who are quick to resent outside "management." Nevertheless, home practice in accordance with school theory is the ideal of any coöperative education in the mechanics of housekeeping; therefore some scheme must be worked out whereby the girls will practice at home, and, having learned to do by doing, will continue to do in the families where their doing will be a help.

Let us consider for a moment the present condition of the school-credit-for-home-work idea. Schemes are being worked out in various places, under one or the other of the following plans.

Plan I (often known as the Massachusetts plan). Each pupil, with the advice of his teacher and the consent of his parents, selects some one definite piece of work to do at home regularly, under direction of the school and with some study at school of the practical problems involved. School credit depends upon approval by the teacher on the occasion of a visit of inspection to the home.

Plan II (sometimes called the Oregon plan). This is more directly concerned with the cultivation of a helpful spirit than with perfect technique or broad knowledge. No attempt is made to correlate home and school work. Credit is given merely for the fact that the dishes were washed, the table set, or the baby bathed, the fact being properly certified by the parent. Whether the work was acceptably done or not rests entirely with the parent. In the carrying out of the latter plan blanks are usually issued to be filled out and handed in once a week or once a month. Each task carries a certain value in school credit.

That either of these plans possesses certain weaknesses doubtless even their makers would admit. But they are at least opening wedges. A plan might be worked out whereby little girls are taught one household task at a time, through their play housekeeping, after which credit may be given for satisfactory performance of the task at home. Later another household duty may be taught, and put into practice, with credit, at home, thus building up a body of known duties for which the little house-helper has been duly trained. For its highest efficiency such a plan would require more than consent on the part of mothers. Its success would depend upon coöperative leadership and its value upon the acceptance, for school credit, of only that work done in conformity with school ideals.

But at all events, whether school credit be given or not, the stimulus of interest in home tasks may be given strength by the teacher's wise suggestion, and thoughtful consideration of the matter in teachers' and mothers' meetings will insure coöperation of the most helpful sort. The tactful teacher will find ways to suggest to mothers that children be held up at home to the ideals of efficiency she has been at pains to put before them at school.

The suggestion has been recently made by several thoughtful educators that the noon hour, in schools where children do not go home for dinner, be made use of for the simplest of cooking lessons. The children who at seven are quite content to play house soon pass into the stage where they wish to see results from their work. They want to "make things," real things, that they or some one can use. Children of nine or ten can learn to cook cereals and eggs in various ways, to make cocoa, and to prepare other simple dishes. Their pride and delight in these accomplishments are intense. These activities are equally suited to the small rural school and to the consolidated schools which are happily taking the place of the one-room buildings. In both, the teacher may find the lunch hour a real educational force if it is used aright. If the teacher allows and guides these efforts in the schoolroom, she must keep in mind her "ideal of efficiency." Accurate measurements, logical processes, elimination of awkward and unnecessary movements, care in following directions, neatness, and precision are the real lessons to be learned.

A school garden

Photograph by Brown Bros.

A school garden. The possibilities for good through school-garden work are numberless

School gardens are perhaps already too familiar to require more than a word. Their possibilities for good are numberless. In them many children get their first insight into the joys of making things grow and are led by this joy to undertake the care of a home garden and to beautify the home surroundings as they had never thought of doing before. School-garden work leads to beautifying the school grounds, with resulting pride and interest in the school.

Accompanying the activities we have suggested, teachers will find a wide field in attractive stories of helpful coöperative home life. Extracts from many of Miss Alcott's stories, the Cratchits' Christmas dinner from Dickens' Christmas Carol, and many other delightful glimpses of home life can be read, or, better, dramatized, with little effort and with good results.

It may seem that the homemaking training here suggested for younger children is too desultory, too slight, in fact, to affect the situation much. But let us consider. Homemaking is an art, coming more and more to be based on a foundation of science. For it is undoubtedly true that, while the pessimists are telling us that the home is doomed, we who are optimists see coming toward us a great wave of homemaking knowledge which if seized upon will put the homemaker's art upon a surer foundation than it has ever been.

The elements of housekeeping are the ABC of homemaking. We shall do well to teach them early, incidentally, and with no undue exaggeration of their place in the scheme of living. We simply familiarize the girl, by long and quiet contact, with the tools of the homemaker, for future scientific use, just as we teach the multiplication facts for later use in the science of mathematics.

A definite list of the simple homemaking tasks suitable for little girls to undertake may not be out of place here:

  1. Setting the table. (A card list of table necessities is useful. Such a list may be given each little girl when she undertakes home practice work.)
  2. Clearing the table.
  3. Washing the dishes.
  4. Sweeping the kitchen. Sweeping the piazza.
  5. Dusting.
  6. Making beds and caring for bedrooms.
  7. Arranging her own bureau drawers and closets.
  8. Simple cooking.
  9. Hemming towels and table linen.
  10. Ironing handkerchiefs and napkins.

As the child grows older, methods of teaching grow increasingly direct. Even here we shall perhaps not talk a great deal about "preparing for homemaking." But we shall see that the tools grow increasingly familiar, and that ideals once taught are retained and added to. We shall see that our science, our mathematics, our art, all contribute to the acquirement of homemaking knowledge. We shall give a practical turn to these more or less abstract subjects.

Sewing and cooking classes are by this time a recognized part of grammar-school courses in many city schools. That they are not so firmly intrenched in the country schools is due usually to difficulties in the way of securing equipment and to the already crowded condition of the school program. The ideal remedy is the substitution of the consolidated school with its domestic science room and its specially trained teacher for the scattered one-room buildings. Wherever the consolidated school has come, it has been enthusiastically received and supported. No one wishes to go back to the old way. But in many localities the consolidated school has not come and cannot be immediately looked for; and in these places the need of the homemaking work is just as great. The teacher must find the way to give these girls what they need. If no other way presents itself, the teacher will do well to ask the help of the mothers of the neighborhood. Perhaps one who is an expert needlewoman will give an hour or two a week in the school or at her own home to carrying out the sewing course which the teacher cannot crowd into her own already overcrowded program. Perhaps another will do the same for the cooking, making her own kitchen for one afternoon a week an annex of the school. It is important, however, when such arrangements are made that they be recognized as school work, and if possible the courses followed should be planned and supervised by the regular teacher of the school. Thus only can they be held to standardized accomplishment.

The inadequacy of the "one-portion" method of teaching girls to cook has aroused serious thought, and remedies of various sorts have been applied. You know, perhaps, the story of the Chicago cooking-school student who "had to make seven omelets in succession at home last night" because one egg would not make enough omelet for the family. The first remedy tried was cooking for the school lunch room. This was, however, usually going from one extreme to the other, since the lunch room is as a rule maintained only in large schools. "Institutional cooking," some one calls it. Instead of one egg-cooking, it became one-hundred-egg cooking, and the difficulty of the average student in adapting school methods to family use was not by any means at an end.

The Central High School of Newark, New Jersey, has solved its problem by putting its girls to work, not at the task of providing the sandwiches, soups, and other luncheon dishes for its large lunch room, but at providing "family dinners" at twenty-five cents a plate for the faculty of the school. Other schools follow similar plans.

The grammar-school girls of Leominster, Massachusetts, serve luncheon to a limited number every day at their domestic science house. Here the girls do the marketing, cook and serve the meal, and keep the various rooms of the house in order. In Montclair, New Jersey, work of this same sort is done. In each of these cases the cooking is done as it would have to be in the home, not for one person, nor for hundreds, but for approximately a family-sized group.

Sewing courses also grow more and more practical. In some schools the girls make their own graduating dresses as a final test of their ability. Courses are definite, and girls completing them will have definite knowledge of everyday processes of hand sewing. The schools which add to their hand-sewing courses well-planned practice in the use of the sewing machine are further adding to the accomplishment of their girls. Those which go farther still and teach garment planning and making may consider their sewing courses fairly complete.

Teachers' luncheon cooked and served by pupils at the Clinton Kelly School, Portland, Oregon

Teachers' luncheon cooked and served by pupils at the Clinton Kelly School, Portland, Oregon. Other schools have adopted similar plans for teaching girls how to cook

The formation of ideals must go hand in hand with practice in manual processes. The girl must learn to know good work when she sees it, to know a properly constructed garment from one carelessly put together, and to value good work and construction.

Time was when domestic science meant sewing and cooking, and these alone. That time, however, is past. The care of a house is practically taught in many schools throughout the country by the maintenance of a model apartment in or near the school building. In Public School No. 7, New York City, grammar-school girls, many of whom are of foreign parentage and tradition, are thus introduced to the American ideal of living. The school is thus establishing standards of equipment, of food, of service, of comfortable living, that tend to Americanize quite as much as the establishment of standards of speech, of business methods, or of civic duties. The work done in this school is typical of that prevailing in hundreds of towns and cities.

A girls' sewing class

A girls' sewing class. Work in sewing offers unlimited possibilities

The question arises: How much of her housekeeping training should a girl receive before entering upon her high-school course? After careful consideration it seems wise to urge that the greater part of the practical household work be taught during the period from eleven to fourteen. This does not imply that homemaking training should cease at fourteen, but rather that after that age attention shall be centered upon the more difficult aspects of the subject—upon "household economics" rather than the skillful doing of household tasks.

In view, however, of the fact that the majority of girls never reach the high school, every bit of household science which they can grasp should be given them in the elementary school. Knowing how to do is only part of the housekeeper's work. Knowing what and when to do is quite as important. Elementary study of food values is quite as comprehensible as elementary algebra. Home sanitation and decoration are no harder to understand than commercial geography. The principles of infant feeding and care may be grasped by any girl who can successfully study civil government or grammar.

Shall we then crowd out commercial geography or government or grammar to make room for these homemaking studies? Not necessarily, although, if it came to a choice, much might be said for the practical studies in learning to live. Fortunately it need not come to a choice. There is room for both. We must, however, learn to adapt existing courses to the requirements of girls.

A model school home where all the practical details of housekeeping are taught

Courtesy of L.A. Alderman

A model school home where all the practical details of housekeeping are taught

A domestic science class at work in the model school home shown above

A domestic science class at work in the model school home shown above

There is arithmetic, for instance. Most of us have already learned to skip judiciously the pages in the textbook which deal with compound proportion, averaging payments, partial payments, and cube root. Now we must learn to insert the keeping of household accounts; the study of apportioning incomes; the scientific spending of a dollar in food or clothing value; the relative advantage of cash or credit systems of paying the running expenses of a home; the dangers of the "easy-payment plan"; the cost of running an automobile; comparison with the upkeep of a horse and wagon; comparison of the two from the point of view of their usefulness to a family; mortgaging homes, what it means, and what it costs to borrow; when borrowing is justified; the accumulation of interest in a savings account; the comparative financial advantage of renting and owning a home; the cost of building houses of various sorts; the cost of securing, under varying conditions, a water supply in the country home; and other locally important problems. We already have "applied science" in our courses, and we are making a strenuous effort to apply arithmetic; but we have not usually tried to apply it to the education of the prospective homemaker.

Take the one question of the "installment plan." Where, if not in the public school, can we fight the menace offered to the inexperienced young people of the land by this method of doing business? And where in the public school if not in the arithmetic class? Consider the possibility of lives spent in paying for shoes and hats already worn out, of furniture double-priced because payment is to be on the "easy plan," of families always in debt, with wages mortgaged for months in advance. The pure science of mathematics will be of little avail in fighting this possibility, but "applied arithmetic" can be a most effective weapon.

In our geography classes we may find time for the study of food and clothing products, of their sources, their comparative usefulness, and their cost. We may learn whether it is best to buy American-made macaroni or the imported variety; whether French silks and gloves are superior to those made in America; what "shoddy" is, what we may expect from it if we buy it, how much it is worth in comparison with long-wool fabrics, how to know whether shoddy is being offered us when we buy. Countless other matters concerning the markets and products of the world will repay the same sort of treatment.

One of the class exercises in the model school home shown on page 115

One of the class exercises in the model school home shown on page 115

The correct serving of meals forms part of the class work in this same home

The correct serving of meals forms part of the class work in this same home

Food questions are opened up by study of our meat, vegetable, and fruit supply. Every town may make this a personal and immediate problem. From whom did Mr. Blank, the local grocer, obtain his canned tomatoes? It is sometimes possible to follow up those canned tomatoes to their source. In one investigation of this sort they were found to have passed through six hands. The arithmetic class may pass upon the question of profits and comparative cost between this and the "producer-to-consumer" method.

The art work of the schools may also contribute generously to the body of homemaking knowledge. For the average girl the designing and making of Christmas cards and book covers, or even the prolonged study of great paintings, is a less productive use of time than the designing of cushion covers, curtains, bureau scarfs, or candle shades. In a certain town in New England considerable effort was expended in bringing about the introduction of art work in the schools a few years ago. A normal-school art graduate took charge of the work. It has now been abandoned because "the children took so little interest." And really, if you knew the conditions, you could not blame them They studied art and copied art and tried to cultivate an artistic sense in ways as remote from their daily lives as could apparently be contrived. And the pity of it all is that here were girls whose homes, whose personal dress, were crying out for the application of art; whose artistic sense was growing of failing to grow according as their individual conditions would allow; and the public school has passed its opportunity by.

Art, as applied to school work, is divided usually into appreciative and creative work. We place before children the best in picture and sculpture and music. Why do we not teach them also the foundation principles of good taste in matters less remote from the lives of many of them? Why not teach the girl something of artistic color combination? Why not apply the test of art to the lines of woman's attire? Why not study the contour of heads and styles of hairdressing?

Happily, in these days, these things also are being done. We have "manual arts" rooms and teachers by whose aid girls are taught to use the principles of design they study in their everyday planning of everyday things. A visitor to the Central School of Auburn, Washington, reports interesting work going on in such a room. On the blackboard was written:

The general aim of design work—order and beauty.
The three principles governing design are: Balance—Harmony—Rhythm.
Balance: opposition of equal forms.
Rhythm: movement in direction—joint action—motion.
Harmony: similarity.

In the room were girls doing various sorts of work—coloring designs on fabrics for curtains and pillow covers; making original designs for crocheted lace; hemstitching draperies; preparing color material for a primary room; while on a table in the center of the room were many finished articles, made by the girls and carrying out their principles of design—"not one of which," says the visitor, "but would serve a useful purpose in home or office."

House building, interior decorating, and furnishing are all worthy of serious attention in the art course. Simplicity, harmony, and suitability may well be taught as the principles of good taste. Girls must learn these principles somewhere to make the most of their homes by and by. And again the public school, and probably the elementary school, must do the work.

Physiology and hygiene are already contributing to the knowledge which makes for human betterment, but they also can be made to contribute much more than they have sometimes done. The physiology of infancy must be widely and insistently taught.

With proper education she [the young mother] would know the meaning of the words food and sleep; she would know something of their overwhelming importance upon the future being and career of her child, who in his turn is to be one of the world's citizens with full capacity for good or evil. Knowing what were normal functions, she would be able to recognize and guard against deviations from them. No day would pass in which she would not find opportunity to exercise self-restraint, keen observation and sensible knowledge in furthering the normal and healthful evolution of her child.[6]

The "little mother" classes in settlement houses, in community social centers, and in some public schools are doing excellent work in beginning this knowledge of infancy. No elementary school can really afford to miss the opportunity such work holds out. Have we any right to let a girl approach the care of her child with less than the best that modern science can offer in this most important and exacting work of her life? If not, it is again the public school which alone can be depended upon to do the work, and we must get at least the beginning of it done before the girl escapes us at the close of her elementary-school course.

If you are impatient with a program which presupposes that practically all women will be homemakers and mothers, either trained or otherwise, let me remind you that the majority of women do marry, that most of these and many of the unmarried do become homemakers, and that it will be far safer for society to train the few—less than 10 per cent—who never enter the career than to pursue the economically wasteful plan of assuming educationally that no women will be homemakers, or that if they are they can successfully undertake the most complicated, difficult, and most important profession open to women with no preparation at all, or with only what they have unconsciously absorbed at home in the brief pauses of the education which did not educate them for life.

The education for homemaking will never lose sight of the fact that girls must really be prepared for a double vocation, since it is a question whether or not they will become homemakers, and they must at all events be prepared for the years intervening between school and home. On the contrary, the education which prepares the homemaker will exercise special care in training for those intervening years, or for life work if it should prove to be such. Of all distinctly vocational training, it is only fair, however, that the homemaking training should come first, as a foundation for all later work. Whether the girl thus trained ever presides over a home of her own or not, the training will have made her a broader woman and a better worker, with a finer understanding of the universal business of her sex.


[6] Oppenheim.


The Girl's Inner Life

While we are occupied in teaching the girl the "ways and means" by which she is later to carry on the business of homemaking, we must not overlook the fact that, although ways and means are vitally necessary, it is after all the spirit of the girl which will supply the motive power to make the home machinery run. With this in view we must so plan the girl's training as to secure not only the concrete knowledge of doing things, but also the more abstract qualities which will equip her for her work.

False ideals and ignorance of housekeeping processes are responsible for thousands of homekeeping failures; but lack of fairness, of good temper, patience, humor, courage, courtesy, stability, perseverance, and initiative must be held accountable for thousands more. For these qualities, then, the girl must be definitely and painstakingly trained. In other words, we must work for the highest type of woman, spiritually as well as industrially.

It may seem that definite instruction in such abstract qualities as good temper or stability or fairness is difficult or perhaps impossible to Secure. Since, however, all the girl's intercourse with her kind affords daily opportunity for practice of these qualities, instruction may easily accompany and become a part of her daily life. The lack of these qualities handicaps the girl even in her school life and shows there plainly the handicap that, unless help is given her, she will suffer for life.

Her school work offers ample opportunity for the cultivation of patience and perseverance. Teachers must combat vigorously the "give-up" spirit, and the troublesome "changing her mind" which leads the girl along a straight path from "trying another" essay subject or embroidery stitch as soon as difficulties present themselves to trying another husband when the first domestic cloud arises. Play hours as well as work hours are invaluable in teaching the girl the difficult art of getting along with the world. The educational value of games is largely found in their social training. Experience teaches that children require long and patient instruction to enable them to play games. They have to learn fairness, courtesy, good temper; honesty, kindness, sympathy. They have to learn to be good losers and to consider the fun of playing a better end than winning the game.

Play hours

Photograph by Brown Bros.

Play hours as well as work hours are invaluable in teaching the girl the difficult art of getting on with the world

Games must be carefully distinguished from the more general term play. All play not solitary has recognized social value; games, because the idea of contest is involved, have a special value of their own. Close observation of young children in their games, especially when unsupervised, shows us self supreme. According to temperament, the child either pushes his way savagely to the goal or furtively seeks to win by cunning and craft. He must win, regardless of the process. How many of these unsupervised games end in "I sha'n't play," in angry bursts of tears, or even in blows! How many fail upon close scrutiny to show some less assertive child, who never wins, who is never "chosen," who might better not be playing at all than never to "have his turn"!

Hunter High School girls playing hockey in Central Park, New York

by Underwood & Underwood

Hunter High School girls playing hockey in Central Park, New York. The educational value of games lies in the fact that they teach fair play, self-control, and proper consideration of others

During the individualistic period games must be for the satisfaction of individualistic desires. Team work must await a later development of child nature. But while each child may play to win, his future welfare demands that his efforts be in harmony with certain principles.

  1. He must respect the rules of the game.
  2. He must "play fair."
  3. He must control anger, jealousy, boastfulness, and other of the more elemental emotions.
  4. He must consider the handicaps suffered by some players, and see that they get a "square deal."

Girls' games and boys' games at this period happily show little differentiation. Almost any game not prejudicial to health serves to call into action the moral forces we strive to cultivate. The game to a certain extent typifies the larger life—the life of effort, contest, striving to win. Self-control and proper consideration of others in the one must serve as a help in fitting for the other.

Drill work as well as games is beneficial to health and also teaches self-control

Courtesy of L.A. Alderman

Drill work as well as games is beneficial to health and also teaches self-control

Teachers are often inclined to overlook or undervalue the training of girls in games. The fact is that girls especially need this training as the woman's sphere in present-day life is widening. Men have always had contact with the world. Women have in times past had to content themselves with a single interest involving contest—the social game.

How far we may safely go in utilizing the game element—that is, the contest or competition element—in school work is a question for thought. The "rules of the game" are less easy to enforce here; jealousies are harder to control; handicaps are more in evidence and less easy to make allowance for in contests; the discouragement of failure may have more serious results. The mere fact of class grouping involves a natural competition, healthful and beneficial and wisely preparatory for future living. More emphasis than this upon rivalry may produce feverish and unhealthful conditions, far removed from the mental poise we desire for our girls. The school can give the girl few things finer than the ability to attack work quietly and yet with determination and a sense of power to meet and overcome obstacles.

The school and the playground form the growing girl's community life. In them she must learn to practice community virtues, to shun community evils, and to accept community responsibilities. For her the school and the playground are society. Here she will take her first lessons in the pride of possessions, in the prestige accompanying them, in the struggle for social supremacy, in doubtful ideals brought from all sorts of doubtful sources. Here she will find exaggerated notions of "style" and its value, impure English, whispered uncleanness in regard to sex matters, and surreptitious reading of forbidden books. Here also she will find worthier examples—clean, pure thought, honesty and fair dealing, pride of achievement rather than of externals, fine ideals exemplified in the best homes. And no finer or more delicate task lies before teacher and mother than the guidance of the girl in her choice.

A school playground

Photograph by Brown Bros.

A school playground. The school and the playground form the growing girl's community life

A model playground

Photograph by Brown Bros.

A model playground. The model playgrounds in the parks are doing much to aid the playground movement

Going to school is rightly considered an epoch in the child's life. No longer confined to the narrow circle of home and family friends, the child may lose all the tiny beginnings of desired virtues in this larger life. Or, on the contrary, when the school recognizes and continues home training, or supplies what has not been given, these foundation virtues may be so applied to the old problems in new places as to form a foundation for the life conduct of the girl and the woman that is to be.

Take the question of sex knowledge, so widely agitated of late. We cannot guard our girls against contact with some who will exert a harmful influence. We can only forearm them by natural, gradual information on this subject as their young minds reach out for knowledge, so that sex knowledge comes, as other knowledge comes, without solemnity or sentimentality on the one hand or undue mystery and a hint of shame on the other. No course in sex hygiene can take the place of this early gradual teaching, answering each question as it comes, in a perfectly natural way, and with due regard for the child's wonder at all of nature's marvelous processes. The little girl who knows presents no possibilities to the perverted mind which seeks to astonish and excite her. And if she knows because "my mother told me," the guard is as nearly perfect as can be devised.

Upon this foundation the formal course in sex hygiene may be built. Such a course will then be a scientific summing up, with application to personal ideals and requirements. It can easily, safely, and wisely be deferred until the adolescent period.

Teachers and mothers can find scarcely any field more worthy of their thoughtful concentration than the cultivation of good temper in the girls under their care. The number of marriages rendered failures, the number of homes totally wrecked, by sulking or nagging or outbursts of ill-temper, can probably not be estimated. Neither can we count the number of innocent people in homes not apparently wrecked whose lives are rendered more or less unhappy by association with the woman of uncertain temper. Think of the families in which some undesirable trait of this sort seems to pass from generation to generation, accepted by each member calmly as an inheritance not to be thrown off. "It's my disposition," one will tell you with a sigh. "Mother was just the same." Surely the time to combat these undesirable traits is in childhood, and probably the first step is for the mother, who looks back to her mother as "being just the same," to stop talking or thinking about inherited traits and at least to present an outward show of good temper for the child to see.

Then there is the teacher, who is under a strain and who finds annoyances in every hour which tend to destroy her equanimity. Her serenity, if she can accomplish it, will prove an excellent example. And little by little the mother and the teacher who have accomplished self-control for themselves may teach self-control and the beauties of good temper to the little girls who live in the atmosphere they create.


The Adolescent Girl

Adolescence, the critical period of the training of the boy and girl, presents a complexity of problems before which parents and teachers alike are often at a loss.

The adolescent period, the growing-up stage of the girl's life, is physically the time of rapid and important bodily changes. New cells, new tissue, new glands, are forming. New functions are being established. The whole nervous system is keyed to higher pitch than at any previous time. Excessive drain upon body or nerve force at this time must mean depletion either now or in the years of maturity.

But, on the other hand, the keynote of the girl's adolescent mental life is awakening. Her whole nature calls out for a larger, fuller, more intense life. Home, school, society, dress, all take on new aspects under the transforming power of the new sex life stirring and perfecting itself within. The world is beckoning to the emerging woman, and her every instinct leads her to follow the beckoning hand.

Now, if ever, the girl needs the influence and guidance of some wise and sympathetic woman friend. It may be—let us hope it is—her mother; or, failing that, her teacher; or, better than either alone, both mother and teacher working in sympathetic harmony.

Camp Fire Girls

Photograph by Brown Bros.

Camp Fire Girls. Outdoor life is one of the best means of safeguarding the girl's health

The first care demanded for the maturing girl is the safeguarding of her health. School demands at this age are likely to be excessive under existing systems of instruction. In many ways the secondary school, in which we may assume our adolescent girl to be, merits the criticism constantly made, that it works its pupils too hard or, perhaps more accurately, that it works them too long. Nothing but the closest coöperation between parents and teachers can afford either of them the necessary data for working out this problem. It can never be anything but an individual problem, since girls will always differ whether school courses do so or not, and adjustment of one to the other must be made every time the combination is effected. Some schools content themselves with asking for a record of time spent on school work at home. Many parents merely acquiesce in the girl's statement that she does or doesn't have to study to-night, and the matter rests. Other schools and other parents go into the question with more or less detail, but usually quite independently of each other in the investigation. It is only very recently that anything like adequate knowledge of pupils has begun to be gathered and recorded to throw light upon the home-study question.

School girls naturally divide into fairly well-defined classes: the girl who is overanxious or overconscientious about her work, the girl who intends to comply with rules but has no special anxiety about results, and the girl who habitually takes chances in evading the preparation of lessons. How many parents know at all definitely to which class their girl belongs?

The same girls may be classified again with regard to activities outside the school. They may help at home much or little or not at all. They may have absorbing social interests or practically none. They may be in normal health or may already be nervous wrecks from causes over which the school has no control.

There is no question about the value of definite information on all of these points gathered by home and school acting together for the best understanding of the child. The modern physician keeps a carefully tabulated record of his patient's history and condition. The school should do the same thing and should prescribe with due reference to such record.

It frequently happens, however, that the schoolgirl's health is menaced less by her hours of school work than by misuse of the remaining portion of the twenty-four hours. No mother has a right to accuse the school of breaking down her daughter's health unless she is duly careful that the girl has a proper amount of sleep, exercise in the open air, and hygienic clothing, and that her life outside the school is not of the sort that we describe in these days as "strenuous."

It is this strenuous life which our girls must be taught to avoid. Any daily or weekly program which is crowded with activities is a dangerous program for developing girlhood. The very atmosphere of many modern homes is charged with the spirit of haste, and parents scarcely realize that the daughter's time is too full, because their own is too full also. They have no time to stop and realize anything. A quiet home is an essential help in preserving a girl's health and well-being.

A mountain camp

by Underwood & Underwood

A mountain camp. Good health is conserved by outdoor games and exercise

It need scarcely be said that the children of a family should be troubled as little as possible with the worries of their elders. Parents are often unaware how much of the family burden their sons and daughters are secretly bearing, or how long sometimes they continue to struggle under the burden after it has mercifully slipped from father's or mother's shoulders.

Good health means buoyancy, a springing to meet the future with a tingle of joy in facing the unknown. The adolescent period is essentially an unfolding time, in which probably for the first time choice seems to present itself in a large way in ordering the girl's life. In school she is confronted with a choice of studies or of courses. To make these choices she must look farther ahead and ask herself many questions as to the future. What is she to be? Nor is she loath to face this question. Some of the very happiest of the girl's dreams at this time are concerned with that problematical future. There was a day when girls dreamed only of husbands, children, and homes. Then, as the pendulum swung, they dreamed of careers, a hand in the "world's work." Now they dream of either or both, or they halt confused by the wide outlook. But of one thing we may be sure—our girl is dreaming, and she seldom tells her dreams.

It is during this period in a girl's life that she is most likely to chafe at restraint, to picture a wonderful life outside her home environment, and to demand the opportunity to make her own choice. As she goes on through high school, she longs more and more for "freedom," quite unconscious of the fact that what seems freedom in her elders is, in reality, often farthest removed from that elusive condition. Her imagination is taking wild flights in these days. Sometimes we catch fleeting glimpses of its often disordered fancies, although oftener we see only the most docile of exteriors standing guard over an inner self of which we do not dream.

The wise mother and the wise teacher are they whose adolescent memories, longings, misapprehensions, and mistakes are not forgotten, but are being sympathetically and understandingly searched for light in guiding the girls whose guardians they are. They recognize once and for all that normal girls are filled with what seem abnormal notions, desires, and ideals. They recall how little they used to know of life, and the pitfalls they barely escaped, if they did escape. Thus only can they keep close to the girl in spirit and help her as they once needed help. They respect her longing for freedom of choice and they teach her how to choose. It is of little use to attempt to clip the wings of the girl's imagination, however riotous. The wings are safely hidden from our profaning touch. Instead we must teach her to dream true dreams and to choose real things rather than shams.

A study room

A study room. The life of the adolescent girl is by no means bounded by the schoolroom walls

At this time the girl's life often seems to the casual observer to be bounded by her schoolroom walls. As a matter of fact, however, school work appeals to her much less than it has probably done earlier or than it will do in her college days. Dress is becoming an absorbing subject. "The boys," however little you may think it, are seldom far from her thoughts. Intimate friendship with another adolescent girl perhaps affords an outlet, beneficial or otherwise, for the crowding life which is too precious to bear the unsympathetic touch of the world of her elders. Or perhaps the girl becomes solitary in her habits, living in a world of romance found in books or in her own dreams, impatient with the world about her, feeling sure she is "misunderstood."

What can home, school, and society in general do for the adolescent girl, that her awakening may be sweet and sane, that her future usefulness may not be impaired or her life embittered by wrong choice at the brink of womanhood?

Any wise plan for the training of girls "in their teens" must include provision for:

  1. Outdoor play and exercise. In the country this is much more easily accomplished. City problems bearing on this question are among the most acute of all concerning boys and girls.
  2. Systematic attention to the work of the schoolroom. Thus the girl acquires habits of concentration and industry that she will need all her life.
  3. Some manual work in kitchen, garden, sewing room, or workshop. Here the girl's natural tastes and inclination may be discovered and trained.
  4. Food for the imagination. Books, music, pictures, inspiring plays. The Campfire Girls' movement is valuable in its imaginative aspect.
  5. Attention to dress. Laying the foundation for wise lifelong habits.
  6. Healthful social intercourse under the best conditions with boys and with other girls, both at home and at school. Croquet, tennis, skating, offer fine opportunities for such intercourse. "Parties," dancing, present more difficulties, but have their value under right conditions. Not all "fun" should include the boys. Athletic contests between girls do much to develop a neglected side of girl nature.
  7. Companionship with her mother, or some other woman of experience. Nothing can quite take the place of this. The girl is sailing out upon an uncharted sea. She needs the help of someone who has sailed that way before.
A botanical laboratory in Portland, Oregon

A botanical laboratory in Portland, Oregon. Through systematic attention to the work of the schoolroom the girl acquires habits of concentration and industry

  1. Preparation for marriage and motherhood. Much that the girl should know can come to her through no other medium than that indicated in the preceding paragraph—confidential intercourse with the woman of mature years. For the sake of the girls who fail to find this woman elsewhere every school for adolescent girls should have on its faculty a woman who will "mother" its girls.
  2. Acquaintance with the lives of some of the great women of history, as well as of some who have lived inspiring lives in the girl's own country and time. A long list of such women might be made.
  3. Some unoccupied time. Our girl must not be permitted to acquire the bad habit of rushing through life.
  4. Study of vocations and avocations for women. Avocations—the work which serves as play—should be wisely studied, and some avocation adopted by every girl.
A quiet retreat

Photograph by Brown Bros.

A quiet retreat. Every girl needs some unoccupied time in order that she may not acquire the habit of rushing

Part of this training girls everywhere in this country may get if the opportunities open to them are seized. The proportion of purely mental work and of handwork will vary according to the locality in which the girl finds herself. In general, however, such matters receive more consideration than the more complex ones of direct social bearing.

How a girl shall dress, with whom and under what conditions she shall find her social life, what she shall know of herself, of woman in general, of the opposite sex, what her relations with her mother shall be—these things are more often than not left to chance or to the girl's untrained inclination.

The dress question rests fundamentally upon the personal question, What do clothes mean to the girl? Behind that we usually find what clothes mean to her mother, to her teachers, to the women who have a part in her social life. Instinct teaches the girl to adorn her person. Environment is largely responsible for the sort of adornment she will choose. To bring the matter at once to a practical basis, what standards shall we set up for our girls to see, to admire, and to adopt as their own?

"Well dressed" may be interpreted to mean simply, or serviceably, or conspicuously, or becomingly, or fashionably, or cheaply, or appropriately, according to the standard of the person who uses the term. It would necessarily be impossible to establish a common standard for any considerable group of women, since individual conditions must govern individual choice. A wise standard for girls and their mothers, however, will conform to certain principles, even though the application of the principles be widely different.

These principles may be expressed somewhat as follows:

  1. Beauty in dress is expressed in line, color, and adaptation to personal appearance, not in expense.
  2. Fitness depends upon the occasion and upon the relation of cost to the wearer's income.
  3. Simplicity conduces to beauty, fitness, and to ease of upkeep.
  4. Upkeep, including durability and cleansing possibilities, is as important a consideration in selecting clothes as in selecting buildings and automobiles. Freshness outranks elegance.
  5. Individuality should be the keynote of expression in dress.

Conformity to the foregoing principles in establishing a personal standard will of necessity prevent slavish imitation and the striving to reach some other woman's standard which bears again and again such bitter fruit. The erroneous notion fostered by thousands of American women, that if you can only look like the women of some social set to which you aspire you are like them for all social purposes, is a fallacy, in spite of its general acceptance. We might as well expect blue eyes, straight noses, or number three shoes to form the basis of a social group.

The mother or the teacher who bases her instruction in this matter on the assumption that pretty clothes of necessity breed vanity and all its attendant evils is merely sowing the seed of her influence upon stony ground when once the girl discovers her belief. Nature is telling the girl to make herself beautiful. It is not only useless but wrong to set ourselves against this instinct. Instead we must show her what beauty in clothes means, and how to attain it without paying for it more than she can afford, in money, in time, or in sacrifice of her spiritual self. The school does its share when it teaches the general theory of beauty, with practical illustration in study of line and color schemes. The individual teacher and the mother have to impart the far more delicate lessons concerning influence and cost—mental, moral, and spiritual—in other words, the psychology of clothes.

Our girl must grow up fully cognizant of what her clothes cost. When she desires, as she doubtless will desire, silk petticoats, and an "up-to-date" hat, and high-heeled shoes, and an absurdly beruffled dress, and a wonderful array of ribbons, she must discover what each and every one of these things costs and whether it is worth the price. The high heels sometimes cost health; the conspicuous dress may cost the good opinion or the admiration of those who value modesty above style; the silk petticoat may be bought at the cost of mother's or father's sacrifice of something needed far more; the trimming on the hat may have cost the life of a beautiful mother bird and the slow starvation of her nestlings. Nothing the girl wears costs money only.

She must also learn that fine clothes are out of place on a girl whose body is not finely cared for; that money is better expended for quality than for show; and, most of all, that clothes are secondary matters, when all is said.

Wisdom and sympathy and tact are never more needed than in this sort of teaching. The principles of good dressing cannot be laid down baldly and coldly, like mathematical rules, for the guidance of a girl palpitating with youthful and beauty-loving instincts. The mother who says, merely, "Certainly not. You don't need them. I never had silk stockings when I was a girl," is failing to meet her obligations quite as much as the mother who allows her daughter to appear at school in a costume suited only to some formal evening function. There are mothers of each of these sorts.

The wise mother whose daughter has developed a sudden scorn for the stockings she has worn contentedly enough hitherto does not dismiss the subject in the "certainly not" way, however kindly spoken. She treats her daughter's request seriously, asks a few questions, in the answers to which "the other girls" will probably figure largely, and talks it over.

"Of course, there is the first cost to consider. The price of three or four pairs of silk stockings would give you a dozen pairs of fine cotton. Yes, I know there are cheaper silk ones to be had, but their quality is poor. We should scarcely want you to wear coarse, poorly made ones. And of course you know silk ones do not last so long. They are pretty, and pleasant to wear, and cool, I know. How would it do to have silk ones to wear with your new party dress, and keep on with the cotton ones for school? We don't want to be overdressed in business hours, you know. Then, it seems to me, it is a little hard on the really poor girls at school if the rest of you are inclined to overdress. They are so likely to get into the habit of spending their money for cheap imitations of what you other girls wear—or if they are too sensible for that they are probably unhappy because they have to look different. Wouldn't it be kinder not to wear expensive things to school at all?"

The object is not so much to keep the girl from having unsuitable garments as to teach her to see all sides of the clothes question, to realize her responsibilities, and to learn to choose wisely for herself.

It is highly desirable that mothers keep up their own standards of dress as they approach middle life and their daughters enter the adolescent period. Some women even make the mistake of dressing shabbily that they may gown their daughters resplendently. They are educating their daughters to a false standard and to a selfish life.

Teachers also probably seldom realize how wide an influence they may exercise upon their adolescent girl pupils in the matter of dress. Many a girl forms her standard and her ideal from what her teacher wears. Teachers must accept their responsibility and make good use of the opportunities it gives them.

It is approximately at the time of her awakening to the beautifying instinct that the girl begins to take a special interest in social matters. Here again she needs wise guidance, and usually more guidance and less direction than most girls get. The American mother is prone in social questions to trust her daughter too much, or not enough, and to train her very little.

Skating offers fine opportunity for healthful social intercourse

by Underwood & Underwood

Skating offers fine opportunity for healthful social intercourse

In many cases adolescent society centers about the school. There are the everyday walks and talks of the boys and girls, the games and meets and contests, with their attendant social features, the literary societies and debating clubs, the school parties and dances. The school thus comes to assume a considerable part in the boy's and girl's social training, much more than was the case twenty or even ten years ago; and the whole trend of educational movement in this matter is toward doing more even than it now does.

In some cases schools have merely drifted into this social work, without definite aims and without conspicuously good results, just as some parents have drifted into acceptance of the situation, with little oversight and a comfortable shifting of responsibility.

Games form an important part of the adolescent girl's life

Games form an important part of the adolescent girl's life

When this sort of school and this sort of parent happen to be the joint guardians of a girl's social training, it usually happens that the girl discovers some things by a painful if not heartbreaking trial-and-error method, and other things she quite fails to discover at all. Most of all, she needs her mother at this time—a wise, interested, companionable mother, who knows much about what goes on at school parties and at school generally, but who never forces confidences and, indeed, who never needs to; an elder sister sort of mother, who helps. And she needs also teachers who supervise and chaperon social affairs with a full realization that social training is in progress and that lives are being made or marred.

There are schools and there are mothers who look upon every phase of school life as contributing to the educative process, and these find in the social affairs of the school their opportunities to teach some vital lessons. Some schools are lengthening the free time between periods, merely for the purpose of adding to the informal social intercourse between pupils.

Wise teachers as well as wise mothers will see that the social phase of school life, especially in the evening, is not overdone. Not only health but future usefulness and happiness suffer if the girl "goes out" so much that going out becomes the rule and staying at home the exception. It is not usually, however, the social affairs of the school alone which cause the girl to develop the habit of too many evenings away from home. It is the school party plus the church social, plus the moving pictures, plus the girls' club, plus the theater, plus choir practice, plus the informal evening at her chum's, plus a dozen other dissipations, that in the course of a few years change a quiet, home-loving little schoolgirl into a gadding, overwrought, uneasy woman.

Unless one has tried it, it is perhaps hard to realize how difficult it is for an individual mother to regulate social custom in her community even for her own daughter without causing the girl unhappiness and possibly destroying her delight in her home. No girl enjoys leaving the party at ten when "the other girls" stay until twelve. Nor does she enjoy declining invitations when the other girls all go. But what the individual mother finds difficult, community sentiment can easily accomplish. The woman's club or the mothers' club or the parent-teacher association, or better yet all three, may profitably discuss the question, and may set about the creation of the sentiment required.

Quite as important as "How often shall she go?" is the question "With whom is she going?" There are two ways of approaching the problem here involved. One requires more knowledge for the girl herself, that she may better judge what constitutes a worthy companion. The other is reached by the better training of boys, that more of them may develop into the sort of young men with whom we may trust our daughters.

Parents who take the time and trouble to acquaint themselves with the boys in their daughter's social circle will find themselves better able to aid the girl in her choice of friends. The very best place for this getting acquainted is the girl's own home, to which, therefore, young people should often be informally invited. Nor should parents neglect occasional opportunities to observe their daughter's friends in other environment—at the church social or supper, at entertainments, at school, or on the street. Fortunately the revolt against a dual standard of purity for men and women holds promise of a larger proportion of clean, controlled, trustworthy boys.

It will never be quite safe, however, to trust either our boys or our girls to resist instincts implanted by nature and restrained only by the artificial barriers of society, unless we keep their imaginations busy, and unless we implant ideals of conduct high enough to make them desire self-control for ends which seem beautiful and good to themselves. The adolescent period is especially favorable for the formation of ideals, and a high conception of love and marriage will probably prove the truest safeguard our boys and girls can have.

The reading of the period is of special importance. At no other time of life will altruism, self-sacrifice, high ideals of honor and of love, make so strong an appeal as now. Adolescent reading must make the most of this fact. Some of the great love stories of literature and biography should be read, especially one or two which involve the putting aside of desire at the call of a higher motive. At least one story involving the world-old theme of the betrayed woman—The Scarlet Letter, perhaps, or Adam Bede—should be "required reading" for every adolescent girl, and should after reading be the subject of thoughtful and loving discussion by the girl and her mother in one of the confidential chats which should be frequent between them.

Girls must learn from their mothers and teachers to distrust the boy who shows any inclination to take liberties, and they must also learn that girls, consciously or more often otherwise, daily put temptation in the way of boys who desire to do right, and invite liberties from the other sort. Restraint, in dress, in carriage, in manners, and in conversation, must be made to seem right and desirable to the girl, for her own sake and no less for the good of the other sex. This of course means that teachers must set fine examples before the girl in their own dress and deportment.

To counteract the dangerous tendencies which have become intensified by the wholesale breaking of social customs during the war, it is necessary that parents and teachers give very careful attention to the dress of girls and to the demeanor of boys and girls of the adolescent period. Many teachers are improperly dressed and setting the wrong example. Many parents are dressing carelessly and sending their girls to high school improperly dressed. The boys are tempted—yes, are forced—to observe the bodies of their girl classmates, in study-rooms, halls, laboratories, and on playgrounds. These girls who are immodestly dressed are not only exposing themselves to danger and inviting familiarities, but are tempting the boys to go wrong. Many of the tragedies in our schools can be traced to this source.

To handle this very serious and very difficult problem it is necessary that all mothers of high-school boys and girls organize and cooperate with principals and teachers. The task is gigantic, for the customs and suggestions which are responsible for present-day conditions are many and permeate our magazines, books, moving pictures, dances, and nearly all social gatherings.

Many superintendents, teachers, and parents have been very seriously studying these social and moral problems and making plans to start reforms at once in the public schools. The most practical method thus far presented appears to be the requirement of uniform dress for all girls in the upper grades and in high school. This custom is already established in some of our best private schools. Uniform dress has a very democratic training which commends it. It is less expensive than the present varied styles. It is practical, for it avoids discrimination which would lead to many private difficulties.

The girl has now reached the time when her bits of knowledge of sex matters, gained gradually since the first stirrings of curiosity in her little girlhood, should be gathered, summarized, and given practical application to the mature life she will soon enter upon.

Thoughtful investigation does not lead to the conclusion that girls need especially a detailed physiological presentation of the subject so much as a study of the psychological aspects of the sex life. Personal purity is primarily a matter of mind.

Girls who all their lives have been familiar with the mystery of birth, who at puberty have been instructed in the delicacy of the sexual organs and processes and in the care they must exercise to bring them to normal development, are now ready to be taught the vital necessity of subordinating the animal to the spiritual in the sex life.

It may seem unwise and unnecessary to put before young girls so dark and distressing a subject as the social evil. Yet I know of no way to combat this evil without teaching all girls what must be avoided. When girls realize that the social evil

  1. Rests upon a foundation of purely unrestrained animal instinct;
  2. That a single sexual misstep has ruined thousands upon thousands of girls' lives;
  3. That ignorance or the one misstep has led thousands to a permanent life of shame;
  4. That such a life means, sooner or later, sorrow, impaired or destroyed health, disgrace, and early death to its woman victims;
  5. That the social evil destroys the efficiency and the moral worth of men;
  6. That it sets free deadly disease germs to permeate society, causing untold misery among the innocent,

then, and not until then, can they be taught

  1. To recognize and fear animal instinct unrestrained by higher motive;
  2. To guard their own instincts;
  3. To hold men to a high standard of social purity and to help them attain it.

Nor does this teaching necessitate morbid consideration of the subject. It will, in fact, in many cases clear away the morbid curiosity and surreptitious seeking after information in which untaught girls indulge. Skillfully and delicately taught this knowledge as an important and serious part of woman's work, girls will be sweeter and more womanly for the knowledge of their responsibility to society and to their unborn offspring.

Schools that attempt such a course for girls are finding their chief difficulty in discovering people properly endowed by nature and properly trained to teach it. To give such work into any but the wisest hands invites disaster. To make it a study of the physical basis of sexual life is disaster in itself. Service, through making one's self a pure member of society, and through helping others to keep the same standard—this must be the keynote of the teaching, an education toward social efficiency and social uplift.


The Girl's Work

The adolescent girl, already the product of a general training which has aimed at all-round development of body, mind, and spirit, is now ready for the specializing which shall place her in tune with the world of industry and help her to make for herself a permanent and useful place in society. Henceforward the girl's training must face her double possibilities. She must not be allowed to have an eye single to making an industrial place for herself; nor can those who educate her fail to see the double work she must do.

Any consideration of the subject of girls' work outside the home or work in the home for financial return must begin with a general survey of the field of industry, discovering what women have done and are doing, together with the effects of gainful occupation upon the character and efficiency of women.

The United States Census reports for 1910 give the following figures:

Year Number of Females Ten Years and Over
Engaged in Gainful Occupations
1880 2,647,157
1890 4,005,532
1900 5,319,397
1910 8,075,772

It is thus seen that gainful occupations for women have increased greatly in the thirty years covered by the report. At present 21.2 per cent of all females, or 23.4 of all over ten years of age, are engaged in work for wages. Further tabulation brings out the fact that, whereas the age period from twenty-one to forty-four shows the largest percentage of men employed in gainful work, women show the largest proportion of their numbers so employed during the age period from sixteen to twenty. Evidently the girls are at work. The figures follow:

Males Ten Years And Over   Females Ten Years And Over
Age Period Per Cent   Age Period Per Cent
10-13 16.6   10-13 8.0
14-15 41.4   14-15 19.8
16-20 79.2   16-20 39.9
21-44 96.7   21-44 26.3
45 and over 85.9   45 and over 15.7

Compare with these figures the following table:

Ages At Which Women Marry[7]
11.2 per cent., or 1/9, of all women marry before 20
47.3 per cent., or 1/2 of all women marry before 25
72.4 per cent., or 3/4 of all women marry before 30
83.3 per cent., or 5/6 of all women marry before 35
88.8 per cent., or 8/9 of all women marry before 45
92.1 per cent., or 11/12 of all women marry before 55
93.3 per cent., or 14/15 of all women marry before 65
93.8 per cent., or 15/16 of all women marry before 100

It will be observed that since the percentage of women at work decreases after twenty, the number of women who marry and presumably become homemakers is very largely increased.

These figures would seem to indicate that girls go to work early, that as yet industry does not largely prevent marriage, and that marriage does in many or most cases stop women's industrial careers.

Inquiry as to what women are doing in the industrial world elicits important facts. It would seem that Olive Schreiner's "For the present we take all labor for our province" is very nearly a bare statement of attested fact. The Census report includes 509 closely classified occupations. Women are found in all but 43. Even allowing for the inaccuracy of such figures, and passing over the occupations which take in only an occasional woman, it is seen that "woman's sphere" can no longer be arbitrarily defined. The following facts and figures for women give us food for thought:

Farm laborers (working out) 337,522
Iron and steel industries 29,182
Chemical industries 15,577
Clay, glass, and stone industries 11,849
Electrical supply factories 11,041
Lumber and furniture industries 17,214
Steam railroad laborers 3,248
female farm laborers

Photograph by C. Park Pressey

The 1910 Census showed over three hundred and thirty thousand women employed as farm laborers. This number did not include wives or daughters of farm-owners

The foregoing facts concern occupations which were once associated entirely with men. If we enter the ranks of more womanly work we shall find:

Dressmakers 447,760
Milliners 122,070
Sewers and sewing-machine operators 231,106
Telephone operators 88,262
Nurses 187,420
Clerks and saleswomen in stores 362,081
Stenographers and typists 263,315
Bookkeepers, cashiers, and accountants 187,155
Cooks 333,436
Laundresses (not in laundries) 520,004
Teachers 478,027

These are of course merely a few among the four hundred and fifty kinds of work in which women are found. Any survey of women's work comes close to a general survey of industry. We shall find that in some occupations the proportion of men is much larger than that of women. In others women have made rapid strides. The accompanying diagram shows that in professional service, in domestic and personal service, and in clerical occupations women are found in largest numbers. In domestic and personal service the women outnumber the men more than two to one. In professional service there are four women to five men, a large proportion of the women being teachers. In the clerical occupations we have one woman to each two men, in manufacturing one woman to six men, in agriculture one woman to seven men, and in trade one to eight. The occupations for women have been changed somewhat by the new industrial conditions forced upon us by the war, but it is very probable that in a few years the industrial world will return to its normal status before the war for both men and women.

Proportions of men and women in the United States engaged in special occupations

Proportions of men and women in the United States engaged in special occupations


by Underwood & Underwood

Farmerettes. During the World War women at home and abroad rendered especially valuable services in agricultural work

If it is true that women are claiming and will continue to claim "all labor" for their province, the claim must rest upon one of two assumptions: Either women are physically, mentally, and morally identical in their capabilities with men, or differences in physical, mental, and moral make-up must be considered as not affecting work. Most of us are not yet ready to agree to either of these premises. We must therefore believe that some occupations are more suitable for one sex than for the other. The fact is, however, that only a small group of radical thinkers have made the opposite claim. Women are found, it is true, in a large number of the occupations in which men are found. But they are there for some other reason than that they claim all labor as their sphere. Some are driven by the stern necessity of doing whatever work is at hand; some by ignorance of their unfitness, or of the unfitness of the work for them; some by the spirit of the age which says, "Come, be free. Try these things that men do. See if they suit you. Find your sphere."

Probably, however, this last reason for entering unsuitable occupations is the one least often underlying the choice. Girls select vocations in the main as boys do. Until very lately chance has been the ruling element far oftener than anything else.

Studies in industry are now for the first time giving us adequate information as to requirements for efficiency, working conditions, wages, living possibilities, and the effects, moral and physical, of various occupations upon both men and women. The problems arising out of the crossing and recrossing of these various elements are as yet but vaguely understood. The great gain lies in the fact that their solution is being sought.

The community is of necessity interested in workingwomen as it is in workingmen. Without these workers the community does not exist. When they are ill-paid, overworked, underfed, discontented, or inefficient, the community necessarily suffers. When they work under proper conditions, the community shares their prosperity. It is thus coming to be seen that the condition of workers is the concern of all the members of the community.

Factory workers

Photograph by Brown Bros.

Factory workers. Sewers and sewing-machine operators to the number of over 230,000, according to the 1919 Census, are employed in the United States

In the case of the woman worker, however, and especially of the young woman worker, the community has a further interest because of the service that women render as the mothers of the next and indeed of all future generations. If, then, it is shown that women are physically unfit for certain occupations that men may follow with safety, it becomes the business of the community to protect women, even against themselves if necessary, and to deter them from entering such lines of work.

The community must make use of various agencies in bringing about the proper relations between women and their work. It may use legislation, thereby securing, for example, factory inspectors to improve the sanitary and moral conditions in the places where women and girls are employed. It may use the school, the library, and various civic improvement forces to inform both girls and their parents as to conditions under which girls should work. It may employ vocational guides to make proper connections between women and their work.

For all these agencies to do satisfactory work, the first requisite is knowledge of conditions. This means skillful work upon a vast and rapidly increasing body of facts, and wide dissemination of the results of such work.

Unemployed utilizing their spare time to make themselves more efficient

by Underwood & Underwood

Unemployed utilizing their spare time to make themselves more efficient. The community may make use of the schools for such purposes

We may not stop here to consider what legislatures have done and are doing to improve conditions, other than to mention that the number of hours that women may work is restricted in some states, as is night work, and that a minimum wage is required in some.

Our question, however, is not so much what is forbidden women in the way of work, as what women and girls will choose to do of the work which is not forbidden. Facts as to what women are doing concern us mainly as material from which to deduce information of value to the girls who have not yet chosen.

A serious obstacle to wise choice on the part of young girls who are pushing into industrial occupations is the uncertainty of their continuing as workers outside the home. The average length of the girl's industrial life is computed to be only about five years. She enters upon work at an age when it is often impossible to tell whether she will marry or remain single. She is usually unable to know whether or not she will desire to marry. The great majority of girls have therefore no stable conditions upon which to build a choice. The work girls choose and their instability in the work they enter upon are direct results of these unstable conditions. Many girls feel the need of little or no training, and apply for any work obtainable, merely because they anticipate that their industrial career will soon be over.

A government report on the condition of woman and girl wage-earners in the United States gives the following facts concerning 1,391 women working in stores:

Average length of service 5.17 years
Average wage:  
     First year $4.69 per week
     Second year 5.28 per week
     Tenth year 9.81 per week

Among 3,421 factory women investigated:

Average length of service 4.46 years
Average wage:  
     First year $4.62 per week
     Second year 5.34 per week
     Tenth year 8.48 per week

These stores and factories were presumably filled by girls who seized the most available source of a weekly wage regardless of all but the pay envelope. Few of them remained more than five years, and those who did remain did not receive adequate increase in their pay by the tenth year for workers of ten years' experience.

A cotton-mill worker

Photograph by Brown Bros.

A cotton-mill worker. Unfortunately in the factories girls are too often influenced by the pay envelope rather than by any special fitness for the work they are to do

The whole industrial situation as it concerns women would indicate that women even more than men show lack of discrimination in seeking to place themselves, and that the sources of information for them have been few if not entirely lacking. Happily these conditions are changing. We have now to teach girls to avail themselves of the information and the guidance at hand and to learn to discriminate in their choice of work.

Girls must realize that unskillful, mechanical work, done always with a mental reservation that it is merely a temporary expedient, keeps women's wages low, destroys confidence in female capacity, and has definite bearing not only on the individual woman's earning capacity, but on her character as well. Girls must learn to choose in such a way that their work may be an opening into a life career or may be an enlightening prelude to marriage and the making of a home.

Some of the women who uphold the doctrine of equality between the sexes make the mistake of thinking and of teaching that there can be no equality without identical work. They take the attitude that unless women do all the sorts of work that men do, they are unjustly deprived of their rights. Our contention is rather that women have higher rights than that of identical work with men. They, above all other workers, should have the right of intelligent choice of work which they can do to the advantage of themselves, their offspring, and the community. Such a choice will ignore the question of sex as a drawback, accepting it, on the other hand, merely as a condition which, like other conditions, complicates but does not necessarily hamper choice. No girl need feel hampered by her sex because she chooses not to do work which fails either to utilize her peculiar gifts or to lead in what seems to her a profitable direction. No girl should feel that her industrial experience, however short, has nothing to contribute to the home life of which she dreams. No girl need waste the knowledge and skill gained in industrial life when she abandons gainful occupation for the home. Homemaking education, with industrial experience, ought to make the ideal preparation for life work.

This, however, can be true only when the girl's industrial experience is of the right sort. Girls must therefore be led to choose the developing occupation. It is a part of the world's economy to lead them to this choice.


[7] From Puffer, Vocational Guidance, based on Census figures.


The Girl's Work (Continued)—Classification Of Occupations

It is well at the outset to recognize that vocation choosing is at best a complicated matter which, to be successfully carried out, demands not only much information, but information from different viewpoints. It is not enough to insure a living, even a good living, in the work a girl chooses. We must take into consideration the girl's effect upon society as a teacher, nurse, saleswoman, or office worker; and no less, in view of her evident destiny as mother of the race, must we consider society's effect upon her, as it finds her in the place she has chosen. In other words, will she serve society to the best of her ability, and will her service fit her to be a better homemaker than she would have been had no vocation outside the home intervened between her school training and her final settling in a home of her own making?

This double question must find answer in consideration of vocations from each of several viewpoints. We may classify occupations open to girls (1) from the standpoint of the girl's fitness, physical and psychological; (2) from the standpoint of industrial conditions, the sanitary, mental, and moral atmosphere, and the rewards obtainable; (3) as factors increasing, decreasing, or not affecting the girl's possible home efficiency or the likelihood of taking up home life; (4) from the standpoint of the girl's education; (5) from the standpoint of service to society.

Our first classification concerns the girl's fitness for this or that work. The everyday work of the world in which our girls are to find a part may be separated into three fairly well-marked classes: making things, distributing things, and service. The first question we must ask concerning a girl desirous of finding work is, then: Toward which of these classes does her natural ability and therefore probably her inclination tend? Natural handworkers make poor saleswomen; natural traders or saleswomen are likely to be uninterested and ineffective handworkers. The girl whose interests are all centered in people must not be condemned to spend her life in the production of things; nor, as is far more common, must the girl who can make things, and enjoys making them, spend her life in merely handling the things other people have made, as she strives to make connection between these things and the people who want them. Then there is the girl who is efficient and who finds her pleasure in "doing things for people." Service—and we must remember that service is a wide term, and that no stigma should attach to the class of workers which includes the teacher, the physician, and the minister—is clearly the direction in which such a girl's vocational ambition should be turned.

It would be idle to assert that all women are suited to marriage, motherhood, and domestic life, although there is little doubt that early training may develop in some a suitability which would otherwise remain unsuspected. When, however, early training fails to bring out any inclination toward these things, we may well consider seriously before we exert the weight of our influence toward them. Home-mindedness shows itself in many ways, and it should have been a matter of observation years before the girl faces the choice of a vocation. It is usually of little avail to attempt to turn the attention of the girl who is definitely not thus minded toward the domestic life. On the other hand, the girl who is naturally so minded will respond readily to suggestions leading toward the occupations which require and appeal to her domestic nature. The great majority of girls, however, are not definitely conscious of either home-mindedness or the opposite. They are in fact not yet definitely cognizant of any natural bent. It is these girls who are especially open to the influence of environment, of what may prove temporary inclination, or of false notions of the advantage of certain occupations in choosing a life work. These are the girls, too, who are likely to drift into marriage as they are likely to drift into any other occupation, and whose previous vocation may have added to or perfected their homemaking training or, on the other hand, may have developed in them habits and traits which will effectually kill their usefulness in the home life. These, then, are the girls who are most of all in need of wise assistance in choosing that which may prove to be a temporary vocation or may become a life work. The temporary idea must be combated vigorously in the girl's mind. Many an unwise choice would have been avoided had the girl really faced the possibility of making the work she undertook a life work. The temporary idea makes inefficient workers and discontented women.

There is in most cases, especially among the fairly well-to-do, no dearth of assistance offered to the young girl in making her choice. Much of the advice, unfortunately, is not based on real knowledge either of vocations or of the girl. Knowledge is absolutely necessary to successful judgment in this delicate matter.

From a large number of letters written by high-school girls let me quote the following typical answers to the question: Why have you chosen the vocation for which you are preparing?

"Ever since I could walk my uncle has been making plans for me in music."

"My first ambition was to be a stenographer, but my father objected. My father's choice was for me to be a teacher, and before long it was mine too."

"My ambition until my Junior year in High School was to be a teacher. From that time until now my ambition is to be a good stenographer. My reason for changing is due partly to my friends and parents. My parents do not want me to be a teacher, as they consider it too hard a life."

"I have been greatly influenced by my teacher, who thinks I have a chance [as a dramatic art teacher]. I am willing to take her word for it.".

"Mother says it is a very ladylike occupation" [stenography].

"My music instructor wishes for me to become a concert player, or at least a good music teacher, and I now think I wish the same."

These answers all show the customary ease of throwing out advice, and also the undue significance attached by girls to these probably inexpert opinions.

Parents often fail in their attempts to launch their children successfully. Sometimes they attempt unwisely to thrust a child into an occupation merely because "it is ladylike," or the "vacation is long," or "the pay is good," regardless of the child's aptitude or limitations. Quite often they await inspiration in the form of some revelation of the child's desires, regardless of the demand of society for such service as the child may elect to supply or the effect of the vocation upon the child's health or character. Undue sacrifice on the part of parents has without question swelled the ranks of mediocre physicians and lawyers and clergymen. It has doubtless produced thousands of teachers who cannot teach, nurses who are quite unsuited to the sick-room, and office workers who have not the rudiments of business ability.

It would seem that truly successful guidance in a girl's search for a vocation can come, like much of her training, only from wise coöperation of school and home. Teacher and parent see the girl from different angles. Their combined judgment will consequently have double value.

As the time of vocational choice approaches, school records should cover larger ground than before, and should be made with great care, with constant appeal to parents for confirmation and additional facts.

The record should cover:

1. Physical characteristics: Height; weight; lung capacity; sight; hearing; condition of nasal passages; condition of teeth; bodily strength and endurance; nerve strength or weakness.

2. Health history: Time lost from school by illness; school work as affected by physical condition when the girl is in school; probable ability or inability to bear the confinement of an indoor occupation; any early illness, accident, or surgical operation which may affect health and therefore vocational possibilities.

3. Mental characteristics: The quality of school work; studious or active in temperament; best suited for head work, handwork, or a combination; ability to work independently of teacher or other guide; studies most enjoyed; studies in which best work is done; evidences, if any, of special talent, and whether or not sufficient to form basis of life work.

4. Moral characteristics: Honesty; moral courage; stability; tact; combativeness; leader or follower.

5. Heredity: Physical statistics in regard to parents, brothers, sisters, grandparents, uncles, aunts; occupations followed by these, with success or otherwise; family traditions as to work; special abilities in family noted.

6. Vocational ambitions.

7. Family resources for special training.

Without some such record as this—and it need scarcely be said that the one given here is capable of wide adaptation to special needs—teachers, parents, or other friends of the girl are poorly equipped for giving advice as to the girl's future. And yet it is common enough for such advice to be thrown out in the most casual manner, with scarcely a thought of the ambitions awakened or of the future to which they may lead.

"You certainly ought to go on the stage," chorus the admiring friends of the girl who excels in the work of the elocution class. And sometimes with no other counsel than this, from people who really know nothing about the matter, the girl struggles to enter the theatrical world, only to find that her talent, sufficient to excite admiring comment among her friends, has proved inadequate to make her a worth-while actress.

"Why don't you study art?" say the friends of another girl; or, "You like to take care of sick people. Why don't you train for nursing?" or, "You're so fond of books. I should think you would be a librarian"—quite regardless of the fact that the girl advised to study art has neither the perseverance nor the health to study successfully; that the one advised to be a nurse lacks patience and repose to a considerable degree; or that the one advised to be a librarian is already suffering from strained eyes and should choose her vocation from the great outdoors.

Knowledge of the girl must, however, be supplemented by a wide knowledge of vocations to be of real value to the teacher or parent who is preparing to give vocational counsel. Final choice may be reached only after the girl and the vocation are brought into comparative scrutiny, and their mutual fitness determined. In rare cases the choice may be made by the swift process of observing a great talent which, in the absence of serious objections, must govern the life work. Oftener the process is one of elimination, or of building up from a general foundation of the girl's abilities and limitations, and her possibilities for training sufficient to make her an efficient worker in the line chosen.

A knowledge of vocations presupposes, first of all, a grasp of the essentials of the work, and hence the characteristics required in the worker to perform it. What sort of girl is needed to make an efficient teacher, nurse, saleswoman, or office worker? How may we recognize this potential teacher without resorting to a clumsy, time-wasting, trial-and-error method? These are matters with which schools and vocational guides all over the country are occupying themselves. Perhaps we cannot do better than to examine somewhat these requirements for some occupations toward which girls most often incline.


The girl who is by nature a maker of things may be a factory worker, a needlewoman, a baker, a poultry farmer, a milliner, a photographer, or an artist with brush or with voice, or in dramatic work. She is still one who makes things. We see at once how wide a range of industry may open to her.

How shall we know this type of girl? First of all, by her interest in things rather than in people. With the exception of, the singer and the dramatic artist, whose production is of an intangible sort, the girl who makes things is a handworker by choice. The extent to which her handwork is touched by the imaginative instinct of course measures the distance that she may make her way up the ladder of productive work. The girl's school record will usually show her best work with concrete materials. She draws or sews well, has excellent results in the cooking class, works well in the laboratory. At home she finds enjoyment in "making things" of one sort or another. She displays ingenuity, perhaps, in meeting constructive problems. If so, that must be considered in finding her place.

Handwork for women includes a wide range of occupations. Let us now examine some of these kinds of work.

In the packing room of a wholesale house

In the packing room of a wholesale house. The untrained girl finds it easy to obtain factory work

Factory work. This term covers many departments of manufacturing industries. In the main, however, they may be classed together, since in practically all of them the worker contributes only one small portion of the work incidental to the making of candy, or artificial flowers, or coats, or pickles, or shoes, or corsets, or underwear, or anyone of a hundred different products, some one or several of which may be found in nearly every American town.

The great advantage of factory work, as the untrained girl sees it, is that it is usually easy to obtain and that it promises some return even from the start. Hence a large proportion of untrained girls who leave school as soon as the law allows enter the factories near their homes.

The great disadvantages of factory work, laying aside for a moment many minor disadvantages, are that it not only requires no skill in the beginner, but that it produces little if any skill even with years of work and offers practically no advancement for a large proportion of the workers. It should therefore, be reserved for girls of less keen intelligence, and other girls should if possible be guided toward other occupations.

Teachers must make themselves thoroughly familiar with working conditions in local factories, since there will always be girls who, because of their own limitations or the limitations of their environment, will find themselves obliged to take up factory work. Under the teacher's guidance girls should make definite studies and prepare detailed reports of local conditions with respect to working hours, character of work, wages, possible advancement, dangers to health, moral conditions, advantages over other occupations open to girls with no more training, and disadvantages. Girls should at least go into factory work with their eyes open, that they may pass their days in the best surroundings available.

Dressmaking. The possibilities for the girl entering upon work connected with dressmaking with the ultimate object of becoming a dressmaker herself are far wider than in the case of the machine worker in shop or factory. The immediate return for the untrained girl is far less, but the farsighted girl must learn to look beyond the immediate present. Not all girls, however, will make good dressmakers. Not all, even of the producing type of girl, will do so. Certain definite qualities are required. The girl who would succeed as a dressmaker must possess ingenuity, imagination, and the visualizing type of mind. She must see the end from the beginning, and must be able to find the way to produce that which she visualizes. She must be a keen observer. She must have confidence in her own power to create. She must possess manual dexterity, artistic ideas, and, if she aims at a business of her own, a pleasing personality and keen business sense.

A millinery class

Photograph by Brown Bros.

A millinery class. Millinery requires of the girl a certain degree of creative ability

Millinery. Millinery requires in its workers the same general type of mind required for dressmaking, and in addition a certain millinery faculty or creative ability. The girl who can make and trim hats usually discovers her own talent fairly early in life.

Arts and crafts. This somewhat elastic term we use to include a wide range of occupations which have to do with articles of use or ornament which are handmade and which require skill in designing or in carrying out designs. Embroidery, lace making, rug and tapestry weaving, basketry, china painting, wood and leather work, handwork in metals, bookbinding, and the designing and painting of cards for various occasions are familiar examples of this kind of work. Photography, map making, designing of wall paper and fabrics, costume designing and illustrating, making of signs, placards, diagrams, working drawings, advertising illustrations, book and magazine illustrating, landscape gardening and architecture, interior decorating, are other lines offering work to men and women alike.

The range of work here is no greater than the range of qualities which may be happily and usefully employed in arts and crafts. All branches of the work, however, are alike in demanding a certain degree of artistic sense and deftness of manual touch. An accurate, observant eye is an absolute essential, and, for all but the lowest and most mechanical lines of work, imagination, originality, and an inventive habit of mind make the foundation of success. In some lines a fine sense of color values must underlie good work, in others the ability to draw easily. All work of this sort requires the ability to do careful, painstaking, and persevering work. Given this ability and the artistic sense before mentioned, the girl's work may be determined by some special talent, by the special training possible for her, or by the openings possible in her chosen line of work within comparatively easy access.

A youthful farmer

Photograph by C. Park Pressey

A youthful farmer. The Census figures for the year 1910 report one-fifth of all women employed in gainful occupations as engaged in the pursuit of agriculture and animal husbandry

Agriculture. The Census figures which report one-fifth of all women gainfully employed as engaged in agriculture and animal husbandry are somewhat startling until we observe that southern negro women make up a very large number of the farm workers reported. Even aside from these, however, there are many women who are finding work in gardening, poultry raising, bee culture, dairying, and the like. The girl who is fitted to take up work of this sort is usually the girl who has grown up on the farm or at least in the country and who has a sympathy with growing things. She is essentially the "outdoor girl." She must be willing to study the science of making things grow. She must be able to keep accounts, that she may know what she is doing and what her profits are. Above all, she must have no false pride about "dirty work." Properly such a girl should have entered upon her career even before she has finished her formal education, so that "going to work" means merely enlarging her work to occupy her time more fully and to bring in as soon as possible a living income.

In this sort of work the girl possessing initiative and an independent spirit will naturally do best, since there are comparatively few opportunities for such work under supervision. Care must, however, be exercised by vocational guides in suggesting, and by girls in choosing, the independent career. Usually it is the girl who has shown promise in independent work at school or at home that will make a success of such work later in life. The girl who relaxes when the pressure of compulsion is removed will not be a success as "her own boss." It goes without saying that the girl who does well as her own superior officer will be happier to do work upon her own initiative than merely to carry out the plans made by others. Agricultural work will sometimes offer her exactly the conditions she desires. Many successful farm-owners are women, and their work compares favorably with that of men.

Food production. It is common, in these days, to meet the assertion that the preparation of food, once woman's undisputed work, has been almost if not quite removed from her hands; and that, even where she may still contribute to this work, she must do so in the factory, the bakery, the packing house, or the delicatessen shop. There are, nevertheless, still many women who are fitted for cooking and kindred pursuits who will not find an outlet for their abilities in any of the places mentioned. In the main, factory production of food is like factory production of other things—a highly differentiated process, in which the individual worker finds little satisfaction for her desire to "make things" and little, if any, opportunity to contribute from her ability to the final result.

In the canning factory she may sit all day before an ever-moving procession of beans or peas, from which she removes any unsuitable for cooking. Or it may be an endless procession of cans, upon which she rapidly lays covers as they pass. In the pickle factory she may pack tiny cucumbers into bottles. In the packing house she may perform the task of painting cans. None of these occupations is more than mere unskilled labor. None is suitable for the girl who likes to cook, and who can cook. The number of such girls is already fairly large and will undoubtedly increase as the domestic science classes of our schools do more and better work.

An up-to-date factory

An up-to-date factory. In the factory the work is necessarily routine, and the individual worker finds very little satisfaction for her desire to make things

Opposed to the theoretical statement that food is or at least to-morrow will be prepared entirely in the public-utility plants outside the home is the practical fact that home-cooked food, home-preserved fruits and jellies, and home-canned vegetables and meats find ready sale and that women who can produce these things do find it profitable to do so. There is, consequently, a field for some girls in such work.

Cooking class at Benson Polytechnic School for Girls, Portland, Oregon

Cooking class at Benson Polytechnic School for Girls, Portland, Oregon. In spite of the statement that foods will be prepared in the public utility plants, the trained, accurate worker may find a ready sale for home-cooked foods

Not all girls, on the other hand, who have taken the domestic science course are fitted to take up this work, even if a market could be found for their work. Only the expert, that is, the precise, accurate, painstaking cook, can secure uniform results day after day. Only the rapid worker can do enough to insure pay for her time. Only the girl with a keen sense of taste can properly judge results and devise successful combinations. Only a business woman can buy to advantage and compute ratios of expense and return. This combination, of course, is not to be found every day.


Salesmanship. Passing from the class of work which has to do with making things to that group of occupations which has to do with the distribution of various products to the consumer, we shall naturally consider, first of all, the saleswoman. In any given group of young and untrained girls drawn as in our schools from varying environment and heredity, the natural saleswomen will probably be in the minority. I do not mean that girls may not often express a desire to "work in a store" as apparently the easiest and most immediate employment for the untrained girl. This may or may not indicate that the girl has a commercial mind. The girl who is really interested in commercial undertakings is easily distinguished from her fellow workers in any salesroom. She is not the girl who lingers in conversation with the girl next to her while a customer waits, or who gazes indifferently over the customer's head while the latter makes her choice from the goods laid before her. To the real saleswoman every customer is a possibility, every sale a victory, and every failure to sell distinctly a defeat. The fact that we see so few girls and women of this type behind the counters in our shopping centers is sufficient indication that many girls would have been better placed in other occupations.

Hardware section of a department store

Photograph by Brown Bros.

Hardware section of a department store. Salesmanship offers large opportunities to the real saleswoman, who considers every customer a possibility

We find, however, in 1910, the number of saleswomen reported as 257,720, together with 111,594 "clerks" in stores, many of whom the report states are "evidently saleswomen" under another name. There are also about 4,000 female proprietors, officials, managers, and floorwalkers in stores, and 2,000 commercial travelers. This gives us a large number of women who are engaged in the sale of goods. For the girl of the commercial mind, salesmanship in some form presents certain possibilities, although there is far less chance for her to rise in this work than for a boy. She must begin at the most rudimentary work, as cash or errand girl, and her progress will necessarily be slow. She will require an ability to handle with some skill elementary forms of arithmetic, an alert and observing mind, an interest in and some knowledge of human nature, and good health to endure the confinement of the long day. She will be fortunate if she finds a place in one of the stores in which a continuation school is conducted. At such a school in Altman's department store in New York the girls pursue a regular course designed to be especially helpful in their work, and are graduated with all due formality, in which both public-school and store officials take part. Such a school helps girls to feel a pride in their work and to feel that they are under observation by those who will recognize and reward real endeavor. Filene's in Boston and Wanamaker's in New York and Philadelphia are other notable examples of such schools.

In a government report previously quoted we find interesting figures as to the possibility of advancement for the saleswoman. In a study of twenty-six of the largest department stores in New York, Chicago, and Philadelphia, employing more than 35,000 women, the workers were classed as follows:

  Per Cent
Cash girls, messengers, bundle girls, etc 13.2
Saleswomen 46.2
Buyers and assistant buyers 1.2
Office and other employees 39.4

"It will be seen," adds the report, "that the opportunity for reaching the coveted position of buyer or assistant buyer is small."

The disadvantages and dangers of salesmanship for girls, other than small pay and improbability of much advancement, we shall consider in a later chapter. We may say here, however, that these disadvantages and dangers, for the really commercially minded girl, are to a certain extent neutralized by her nature and possibilities. She is the girl whose mind is more or less concentrated on "the selling game." Her nerves are less worn because of a certain exhilaration in her work. She is the girl who passes beyond the underpaid stage and is able to live decently and to rise to a position of some responsibility, partly because of her concentration and partly because she has been able to resist the influences about her which make for mediocrity or worse.

Office work. The girl emerging from high school and looking for work is usually on the lookout for what in a boy we call a "white-collar job." Especially in the case where the girl has been kept in school at more or less sacrifice on the part of her parents, both they and the girl feel that the extra years of schooling entitle her to a "high-class" occupation of some kind. Girls are far less willing than boys to "begin at the bottom" and work up through the various stages of apprenticeship to ultimate positions near the top. They resent being asked to take the "overall" job and fear mightily to soil their hands.

Office girls at work

Office girls at work. The successful office worker must be neat and accurate and have a temperament in which pleasure in arrangement takes precedence over joy in production

Twenty-five years ago a large proportion of high-school graduates went at once into the teaching force, where they succeeded (or not) in "learning to do by doing," without professional training of any sort. Now, however, teaching as a profession is in many places fortunately reserved for the girls who prepare in college or normal school; and a larger proportion of girls who cannot have this professional training are looking for other occupations. Office work attracts a large number, and, with present-day business courses in high schools, many girls find employment as stenographers, typists, cashiers in small establishments, bookkeepers, or general office assistants. In any of these positions girls without special training or experience must begin at very low wages. Whether they rise to higher ones depends to some extent at least upon the girls themselves.

What sort of girl shall we encourage to enter office work? Not the girl whose talent lies in making things, for to her the routine of the office will be a weary and endless treadmill entirely barren of results; nor the girl who requires the stimulus of people to keep her alert and keyed to her best work; nor the girl who cannot be happy at indoor work. Office work seems to require a temperament in which pleasure in arrangement takes precedence over joy in production; in which neatness, accuracy, and precision afford satisfaction even in monotonous tasks. Coupled with these a mathematical bent gives us the cashier or accountant or bookkeeper; mental alertness and manual dexterity, the stenographer; a talent for organization, the secretary.

Girls who enter upon office work directly from high school must be content with rudimentary tasks and must beware lest they remain at a low level in the office force. Girls with more training may begin somewhat farther up, the best positions usually going to those whose general education and equipment are greatest. Stenographers are more valuable in proportion as their knowledge of spelling, sentence formation, and letter writing is reinforced by a feeling for good English and an ability to relieve their superiors of details in outlining correspondence. It is not enough that bookkeepers know one or several systems of keeping business records, or that cashiers manipulate figures rapidly and well. More important than these fundamental requirements is the determination to grasp the details of the business as conducted in the office in which they find themselves and to adapt their work to the needs of the person whose work they do. General knowledge and the ability to think not only supplement, but easily become more valuable than, technical training.

The successful secretary

Photograph by Brown Bros.

The successful secretary must have a talent for organization

A careful study of local conditions as they affect office positions will enable girls and their guides to have a better conception of requirements and rewards in this field. A valuable study of conditions among office girls in Cleveland has recently been published which sheds considerable light on the ultimate industrial fate of the overyoung and poorly trained office worker. A more general study is found in the volume on Women in Office Service issued by the Women's Educational Union of Boston.


The third, or service, group of workingwomen covers without doubt the widest range of all. Here we find the domestic helper (or servant, as she has usually been called), the telephone operator, the librarian, the teacher, the nurse, the physician, the lawyer, the social worker, the clergyman or minister. All degrees of training are represented, and many varieties of work, from the simplest to the most complex.

Strictly speaking, service has to do with personal attendance and help, but it is constantly overlapping other lines of work. The household assistant is not only a helper, but at times a producer; the telephone operator and the librarian are distributors as well as public helpers; the secretary is an office worker, although she is a personal assistant to her employer as well. For successful work in any of these lines, however, a girl must possess certain definite characteristics, to which her peculiar talent or tendency may give the determining direction as she chooses her work.

In service of any sort the girl is brought into constant relation with people. Hence she must be the sort of girl to whom people and not things are the chief interest of life. She should have an agreeable personality, that she may give pleasure with her service; she needs tact, that she may keep the atmosphere about her unruffled; she needs to find pleasure for herself in service, seeing always the end rather than merely the often wearisome details of work. Beyond these general qualities we must begin at once to make subdivisions, since the additional traits necessary to make a girl successful in one line of service differ often widely from those required in any other line. We must therefore take up some of the lines of work in more or less detail.

Domestic work. The untrained girl who naturally falls into the service group has a rather poor outlook for congenial and successful work as conditions exist. With ability which she perhaps does not possess, and with training which she cannot afford, she would naturally become a teacher, a nurse, a private secretary, a librarian, or a social worker. Without training, she finds little except domestic service open to her; and domestic service finds little favor with girls, or with students of vocational possibilities for girls.

These are unfortunate facts. For the untrained girl of merely average abilities, with no pronounced talent or inclination, but with an interest in persons and a pleasure in doing things for people, helping in the tasks of homemaking ought to prove suitable work. It is, however, the one vocation for the untrained girl which requires her to live in the home of her employer, thus curtailing her independence, rendering her hours of work long and uncertain, and cutting off the natural social environment possible if she returned to her own home at the end of the day's work. The social position of girls in domestic service, especially in the towns and cities, is peculiarly hard for a self-respecting girl to bear. It is in large part a reflection upon her sacrifice of independence. The derisive slang term "slavey" expresses the generally prevalent public contempt. It is small wonder that a girl fears to brave such a sentiment and as a result avoids what is perhaps in itself congenial work in pleasanter surroundings than most noisy, ill-smelling factories.

Almost all the conditions surrounding the domestic worker are such that it is practically impossible to say except of each place considered by itself whether or not it is a suitable and desirable place for a girl, or whether work and wages are fair. Practically no progress has been made in standardizing household work. The factory girl knows what she is to do and when she is to do it and how long her day is to be. The housework girl seldom knows any of these things with any degree of certainty. Any plan which will make it possible to regulate these matters according to some recognized standard, and which will enable domestic workers to live at home, going to and from their work at regular hours as shop, factory, and office employees do, will help very materially to solve the problem of opening another desirable vocation to the untrained girl.

The untrained girl who is willing to accept a difficult and trying position in a private kitchen with the idea of making her work serve her as a training school for better work in the future may make a success of her life after all. Such a girl will have good observing powers and ability to follow directions and gauge the success of results. She will have adaptability, patience, and a very definite ambition. For domestic service may be a stepping stone.

For the high-school girl a better opening may sometimes be found as a mother's helper. Many women who find the ordinary household helper unsatisfactory give employment to girls of refinement and high-school training who are capable of assisting either with household tasks or with the care of children. Girls in such positions are usually made "one of the family," and are sometimes very happily situated. Their earnings are often more than those of other girls of their intelligence and training who are in offices or stores; but there is of course little chance of advancement, and there is still the prejudice against domestic work to be reckoned with. Here, as with household assistants, the greatest drawback is probably lack of standardization of work and of working conditions.

The girl who wishes to become a "mother's helper" must have a natural refinement and some knowledge of social usage if she is to be a sharer in the family life of her employer. She must use excellent English, must know how to dress quietly and suitably, and must not only know how to keep herself in the background of family life, but must be willing to remain somewhat in the shadows.

Probably no better field for the investigation of these trying questions could be found than the high school. The ranks of employers of domestic help are being constantly recruited from the girls who were the high-school students of yesterday and have now taken their places as housekeepers. The high school then, where the problem may be approached in an impersonal manner quite impossible later when the question has become a personal one, is the proper place in which to study the domestic service question and to attempt its standardization.

The higher positions involving domestic work are more in the nature of supervisory employment. Many women are employed as matrons in hospitals, boarding schools, and other institutions, as housekeepers in hotels, club buildings, or in large private establishments. These positions of course call for women who are not only thoroughly familiar with the work to be done, but are skilled in managing their subordinates who do the actual work. They require women who have administrative ability, knowledge of keeping accounts, proper standards of living and of service, and initiative.

For the woman who has a desire to enter business for herself there are openings in the line of domestic work. From time immemorial women have managed lodging and boarding houses, sometimes with good returns. They are also the owners and managers of tea rooms, restaurants, laundries, dyeing and cleaning establishments, hairdressing and manicure shops, and day nurseries. All these occupations can be followed successfully only by the woman of business ability and some technical knowledge. They require not only knowledge but aptitude on the part of the worker. They are usually undertaken only by women of some experience, and are the result of some earlier choice rather than the choice of the vocation-seeking girl.

The true teacher

The true teacher represents a high type of social worker

Teaching. The teacher differs from the person who has merely an interest in human kind in the abstract, because she has a special interest in one particular class of human beings—those who are most distinctly in the process of making. She is interested in children, or she should not be teaching. This, however, is not enough. The girl who wishes to teach must possess certain well-defined characteristics. Her health must be good, and her nerve force stable. Temperamentally she must be enthusiastic and optimistic, but capable of sustained effort even in the face of apparent failure. Her outlook must be broad, and her patience unfailing. Intellectually she must be a student, and if she possess considerable initiative and originality in her study, so much the better. She must not, however, become a student of mathematics or history or languages to the exclusion of the more absorbing study of her pupils, nor even to so great a degree as she studies them. The true teacher represents a high type of social worker. Many girls enter upon the work of teaching badly handicapped by the lack of some of these essential qualities and are in consequence never able to rise to real understanding and accomplishment of their work.

Teaching in these days is a broad vocation, covering many different lines of work; probably no occupation for girls is so well known with both its conditions and rewards as this. In general, more girls than are by nature fitted for the work stand ready to undertake it. There is nevertheless difficulty for school officials in finding real teachers enough to fill their positions. For the right girl, teaching has much to offer.

Library work. The librarian in these modern days is a most important public servant, and many openings in library work are to be found. The services to be performed range from purely routine work to a very high type of constructive service for the community. In the small libraries an "all-round" type of worker is required. In the larger ones specialties may be followed. In these larger libraries there are to be found permanent places for the routine workers. In smaller ones each worker should be in line for even the highest type of constructive work.

The routine worker in the library is merely an office worker, and the same girl who would do well at the mechanical tasks of an office will do well here. The real librarian is of a different sort. She must have the neatness, precision, and accuracy of the office worker, to be sure; but to these she must add a broad conception of the place of the library in the community, and must display initiative and originality in bringing it to occupy that place. She must know books; she must know people. She must be in touch with current history, and be alert to place library material bearing upon it at the disposal of the people. She must have quick sympathies, tact, the teaching spirit (carefully concealed), and much administrative ability. And she must be trained for her work.

A well-equipped library

Photograph by Brown Bros.

A well-equipped library. The successful librarian must be scientifically trained
for her work

Nursing. The nurse is in many ways like the teacher, and the girl who has the right temperament for successful teaching will usually make a successful nurse, temperamentally considered. Her mental traits, or perhaps more exactly her habits of thought, may be somewhat different. The teacher must be able to attend to many things; the nurse must be able to concentrate on one. Originality and initiative are less to be desired, since the nurse is not usually in charge of her case directly, but rather subject to the doctor's orders. She must, nevertheless, be resourceful in emergencies, and of good judgment always. She should be calm as well as patient, quiet in speech and movement, a keen observer, and willing to accept responsibility. Absolute obedience and loyalty to her superiors is expected, and a high conception of the ethics of her calling. Underlying all these qualifications, the nurse must have not only good health but physical strength.

Princess Mary of England in the Great Ormond Street Hospital, London

by Keystone View Co.

During the World War nursing offered to women perhaps the largest opportunities for service. Here is shown Princess Mary of England in the Great Ormond Street Hospital, London

Social work. This term covers many occupations which overlap the work of the teacher, the nurse, the secretary, the house mother or matron, and even that of the physician and lawyer. The field of work is a large one, including settlement leaders and assistants, workers in social and community centers and recreation centers, vacation playgrounds, public and private charities, district nurses and visiting nurses sent out by various agencies, deaconesses and other church visitors, Young Women's Christian Association leaders and helpers, missionaries, welfare workers in large manufacturing or mercantile establishments, probation officers, and many others.

Settlement work at Greenwich House, New York

Photograph by Brown Bros.

Settlement work at Greenwich House, New York. The settlement worker to succeed must be truly altruistic

The social worker must of course have the same suitability for teaching or nursing or any other of the various tasks that she may undertake as has the teacher or nurse or other person who works under different auspices. She must have in addition a truly altruistic spirit, a deep earnestness which will survive discouragement, and a real insight into the circumstances, handicaps, and possibilities of others. This insight presupposes maturity of thought; and the young girl must serve a long apprenticeship with life before she is at her best as a social worker. It sometimes seems as though no field was so exactly suited to the abilities of the married woman who has time for service, or the mother whose children are grown, leaving her free again to teach or nurse the sick or bring justice to the little child as she was trained to do in her youth.

Less common vocations for women—but still often chosen after all—are reserved for those whose abilities are so specialized and so striking that they compel a choice. Singers, artists with brush or pen, the natural actress, the journalist or author, need usually no one to guide their choice. Our great difficulty here is not to open the girl's eyes to her opportunity, but to restrain the one who has not measured her ability correctly from attempting that which she cannot perform. The same is true of girls who aspire to be physicians, lawyers, or ministers. Some few succeed in all these vocations. Many more have not the scientific habits of mind, the stability, or the endurance to make a successful fight for recognition against great odds.

Many girls mistake what may be a pleasant and satisfying avocation for a life work. For the girl who will not be held back, there may be a life of achievement ahead, with fame and all the other accompaniments of successful public life; or there may be the disappointments of unrealized ambition. We must see that girls face this possibility with the other.


The Girl's Work (Continued)—Vocations As Affecting Homemaking

Choice of vocation is far from being a simple matter for either boy or girl; but for the girl who recognizes homemaking as woman's work, double possibilities complicate her problem more than that of the boy. The girl must prepare for life work in the home, or life work outside the home, or a period of either followed by the other, or perhaps a combination of both during some part or even all of her mature life.

It is the part of wisdom for us to study vocations in their relation to homemaking. Will the girl who works in the factory, for instance, or who becomes a teacher or a lawyer or a physician, be as good a homemaker as she would have been had she chosen some other occupation? Will she perhaps be a better homemaker for her vocational experience? Or will her life in the industrial world unfit her for life in the home or turn her inclination away from the homemaker's work?

These questions have somehow fallen into the background in the steady increase of girls as industrial workers. "Good money" has usually come first, and after that other considerations of social advantage, working conditions, or local demand. Marriage and motherhood are still recognized as normal conditions for most women, but we let their industrial life step in between their homemaking preparation in home and school, with the result that many lose physical fitness or mental aptitude or inclination for the home life. We treat marriage as an incident, even though it occurs often enough to be for most women the rule rather than the exception. At some time in their lives, 93.8 per cent of all women marry.

The first broad classification of vocations in their relation to homemaking is: (1) those which are favorable to homemaking, (2) those which are unfavorable, (3) those which are neutral.

It must, however, be recognized at the outset that few hard-and-fast lines between these groups can be drawn, and that "the personal equation" is as important a factor here as in most personal questions. It is true, nevertheless, that helpful deductions may be drawn from facts which it is possible to gather concerning the physical, mental, and moral results of pursuing certain occupations as a prelude to marriage and the making of a home.

In a general way, economic independence, that is, the earning of her own living by a girl for several years before marriage, tends to increase her knowledge of the value of money and to make her a better financial manager. Probably this same independence makes a girl slightly less anxious to marry, especially since in most cases she has hitherto been expected to give up her personal income in exchange for an extremely uncertain system of sharing what the husband earns. Independence of any sort is reluctantly laid aside by those who have possessed it. This very reluctance on the part of girls ought to be a force in the direction of economic independence of wives, a most desirable and necessary condition for society to bring about. Gainful occupation has then much to recommend it and little to be said against it as part of the training for matrimony.

Certain occupations, however, are so essentially favorable to the girl's homemaking ability and to her probable inclination to make a home of her own that we do not hesitate to recommend them as the best directions for girls' vocational work to take, other things being equal. We have already said that the girl distinctly not home-minded is more safely left to her own inclinations. She would not be a success as a homemaker under any circumstances. Other girls may be made or marred by the years which intervene between their school and home life.

The value of domestic work of any sort as a preparation for
homemaking is generally admitted without argument.

by Underwood & Underwood

The value of domestic work of any sort as a preparation for homemaking is generally admitted without argument.

The value of domestic work of any sort as a preparation for homemaking is generally admitted without argument. Closely in touch with a home throughout her maturing years, the girl may undertake her own housekeeping problems with ease and efficiency. Conditions as they often exist, however, especially for the younger and untrained domestic worker, do not allow the girl to obtain other experience quite as necessary if she is to become not merely a housekeeper but a true homemaker. The untrained girl who enters upon domestic work at fourteen or fifteen should have opportunity—indeed the opportunity should be thrust upon her—of attending a continuation school, where the special aim should be to counteract the narrowing tendency of work which revolves about so small an orbit. Ideals of home life are either lacking or distorted in the minds of many working girls, and when such girls become wives and mothers they strive for the wrong things or they fall back without striving at all, taking merely what comes. They fail to be forces for good in their family life.

Demonstration by teacher in domestic science

Demonstration by teacher in domestic science. Teaching affords excellent preparation for the prospective homemaker.

Teaching and nursing may be grouped together as excellent preparation for the prospective homemaker. It may be contended that the teacher and the hospital nurse spend years outside the home environment and that their minds are turned to other problems than those of housekeeping. This contention is undoubtedly true; and if we were striving merely to make housekeepers, it might be worthy of serious consideration. The home, however, as we have defined it, is a place in which to make people, and both the nurse and the teacher serve a long apprenticeship in this sort of manufacture. Expert workers in either line concern themselves with the bodies and the minds of their pupils or patients. They, together with physicians, lawyers, and social workers, have opportunities which can scarcely be equaled for learning by observation and experiment about the human relations that will confront them in their own homes. They learn to be resourceful and to meet the emergencies of which life is full; they have the advantage of trained minds to set to work upon the administrative problems which underlie successful home life.

Women medical students

by Underwood & Underwood

Women medical students. Physicians and surgeons have unusual opportunities for learning by observation and experiment about the human relations that will confront them in their own homes

A question may arise as to the physical fitness for marriage and motherhood of the girl who has given her nerve force to the exacting and often depleting work of nurse, teacher, or physician. It is unquestionably true that nurses and teachers do often wear out after comparatively few years at their vocation, although of the majority the opposite is true. This merely means that conditions surrounding these vocations should be studied with a view to their improvement, if necessary, since we believe the vocations to be suited to women and women to the vocations.

Office work may prove an excellent training for certain phases of homemaking work. Neatness, accuracy, precision, the doing again and again of constantly recurring tasks, all find their place and use in the housekeeper's routine. The calm atmosphere of the well-kept office even when typewriters and calculating machines are rattling is a better preparation for an orderly home than the rush of the department store or the factory. Purely routine workers, who put little or no thought into their daily tasks, will enter upon homemaking lacking the initiative that homemakers need. But the able office worker is not merely a follower of routine. The greatest lack of office work as preparation for a homemaking career is that the girl's interests during so large a part of her day are led away from the home and all that pertains to it. She works neither with people nor with the things which go to make homes. Probably, on the whole, office work in a general way may be classed as a neutral occupation, which neither adds to, nor reduces, in any great degree the girl's possibilities as a homemaker.

Salesmanship for girls, especially in the great department stores of the cities, is a vocation of at least doubtful advantage for the home-minded girl to pursue as a step in her training for managing her own home. In the quiet of the village store, with few associates in work, and with one's neighbors and fellow townsmen for customers, salesmanship takes on a somewhat different aspect. But the city store means usually hurry, excitement, nerve strain, a long day, with quite probably reaction to excessive gayety and hence more nerve strain at night. It means spending one's days among great collections of finery which tend to assume undue importance in the girl's eyes. It means constant association with people who spend, until spending seems the only end in life. It means almost always pay lower than is consistent with decent living if the girl must depend alone upon her own earnings. And none of these things tends toward steady, skillful, contented wifehood and motherhood in later years. This question of underpaid work is of course not found alone in the department store. But, wherever it is found, we may be sure that it tends on the one hand toward marriage as a way of escape from present want, and on the other toward inefficiency in the relation so lightly assumed.

The factory girl is in many respects in a position parallel to that of the saleswoman. She earns too little to make comfortable living possible. She too must leave home early and return late, wearied by the monotony of a day in uninteresting surroundings, with neither energy nor inclination for anything other than complete relaxation and "fun." This desire for relaxation leads her often away from a crowded, ill-supported home in the evenings, until the habit settles into a confirmed disposition. This is a decided handicap for a homemaker. Coupled with the mental inertia resulting from years of mechanical work without thought, it provides poor material from which to make steady, responsible, efficient women. We have already noted, however, that factories differ widely. It follows of necessity that the girls who work in them come from their work with all grades of ability.

The actress, the artist, and the literary woman are usually spoken of as far removed from the true domestic type. This I cannot believe to be true, except in individual cases. All these women, as makers of finished products, stand far nearer to the traditional type of woman than many others we might name. The life of the actress tends more than the others perhaps to break home ties, but in the case of real talent in any direction ordinary rules do not apply. The actress, the artist, and the writer are much more likely to carry on their work after marriage than the teacher, the office worker, or even the factory woman. Many of them succeed to a remarkable degree in doing two things well. Many more, of course, are less successful, but we must not overlook the fact that the failures are more noised abroad than the successes.

It is a matter for regret that most women, upon leaving an industrial career for marriage, drop so completely out of touch with their former work. In the case of the untrained woman, who has received little and given little in her work, it is a matter of no moment; but when years have been given to skilled labor, it is economic waste to have the skill lost and the process forgotten. Many times the woman finds herself after a short life in the home obliged to earn a living once more for herself or it may be for a family. She returns to her teaching or her office work or a position in the library; but she is no longer, at least for a considerable time, the expert she once was. Why should not the former teacher keep up her interest in educational literature and the new ideas in what might have been her life work? Would it not be well for the one-time stenographer to keep a gentle hold upon the quirks and quirls which once brought to her her weekly salary? A young mother of my acquaintance who was a concert violinist of much ability has found no time for more than a year to practice, "since baby came," and thousands of dollars spent in making her a player are being thrown away. To some this might seem the right thing. She has found "the home her sphere." To others it seems a serious waste. We advocate often that the middle-aged woman who has reared her children should return in some way to the work of the world outside the home. In the case of the trained woman her training should be made of use in such return. She should, however, beware lest her tools are rusty from disuse.

We may not perhaps leave the questions involved in a discussion of vocations as they affect homemaking without noticing that certain occupations are considered especially dangerous to the moral stability of girls. Nursing, private secretaryship, and domestic service present dangers in direct proportion as they bring about isolated companionship for the girl and a male employer. Girls must not enter these employments without the knowledge of how to protect themselves from lowering influences.


The Girl's Work (Continued)—Vocations Determined By Training

The question of vocation choosing begins to make itself felt far down in the grammar school, first among the retarded and backward children who are old for their grades and are merely waiting and marking time until the law will allow them to leave school and go to work. These children are usually either mentally subnormal or handicapped by foreign birth and so unable to grasp the education which is being offered them.

As soon as they are released the girls go to the factory, to the store, or to help with some one's baby or with the housework. No other places are open to them, and their possibilities in any place are few. They cannot rise because they are mentally untrained.

The upper grades of the grammar school lose annually many children who would be able to profit by the help the school offers to those who can remain. Some drop out because they see no need of remaining when the factory will employ them without further knowledge. Others chafe at spending time on what seems to them, and what sometimes is, quite unrelated to the life they will lead and the work they will do. Some leave reluctantly, because their help is needed in financing a large family. Many go gladly, because they will begin to earn and to have some of the things they ardently desire. And until yesterday the school paid little attention to their going, regarding it as one of the necessary evils. Still less attention did it pay to what these pupils became after they left. The school's responsibility ended at its outer door.

Now that these conditions are being changed, the school is finding responsibilities and opportunities on every hand. The foreign-born are taken out of the regular grades where they cannot fit, and are taught English by themselves first of all. The subnormal children are studied for latent vocational possibilities, and where minds are deficient, hands are the more carefully trained for suitable work. Courses are being revised with a view to holding in school the boy or girl who wants practical training for practical work. Secondary schools have taken their eyes off college requirements long enough to consider fitting the majority of their pupils to face life without the college. Studies of vocations are being made; vocational training is being offered; vocational guidance is at last coming to be considered the concern of the school.

Vocational work is sometimes concentrated in the high school, but this is reaching back scarcely far enough, since those who do not reach high school need help quite as much as the older ones, while those who expect to continue their training can do so better if they have some idea of the goal to be reached.

What are the options that the grammar-school teacher may present to the girls under her care?

First of all, as we have already said, the school records must be kept with care and discrimination, so that the teacher may know the girl to whom she speaks. With the records in hand, she will ask herself the following questions:

1. Is further training at the expense of the girl's family possible? Do the girl's abilities warrant effort on her parents' part to give her further opportunity?

2. Could the girl's parents continue to pay her living expenses during further training if the training were furnished at the expense of the state?

3. Could the girl obtain training in return for her personal service, either with or without pay?

4. Would the girl be able to repay in skill acquired the expense of her training, whether borne by herself, her parents, or the state?

A flower-making class for girls of various ages

Photograph by Brown Bros.

A flower-making class for girls of various ages. There is no reason why vocational work should not begin in the grammar school

Lines between obtainable work for the trained and the untrained girl are fairly sharply drawn, and the possibilities for each type must be clearly understood by the guide. If it is evident that training cannot be obtained before the girl must begin to earn, the choice is necessarily a narrow one. The factories in the neighborhood should be thoroughly studied, and, under the guidance of the teacher, girls should prepare detailed reports with respect to their working conditions. The "blind-alley" job should be plainly labeled, that it may not catch the girl unaware. Girls who must take up factory work should at least be enabled to choose among factories intelligently, and if possible should be fortified with an avocation that will supply them with the interest their daily task fails to inspire and that will provide an anchor against the instability toward which the factory girl tends.

Millinery class in a trade school

Millinery class in a trade school. Where trade schools do not offer such training, there are opportunities for apprentice work for girls

The possibilities for apprentice work with dressmakers or milliners or in other handwork should also be made known. Girls begin here, as in the factory, at simple and monotonous tasks, but the possibilities of advancement are far greater and mental development is unquestionably more likely. The ability acquired by such workers, as they progress, to undertake and carry through a complete piece of work is not only satisfying to the workers themselves, but of value in later years. They learn to analyze their constructive problems and to work out the various steps of the work to its ultimate conclusion—a knowledge which the factory girl never attains.

Some few girls will need to be shown the possibilities which lie in independent productive work. For the girl who has talent or even merely deftness in manual work, coupled with initiative and some degree of originality, such work may bring a better return than working for others. Most girls, however, lack courage to start upon independent work, especially if they are in immediate need of earning and are untrained. It often happens, however, that they do not appraise at its true value the training they have received. The grammar-school girl, under present methods of teaching, is often fully qualified to do either plain cooking or plain sewing, but since she does not desire to enter domestic service, she considers these accomplishments very little or not at all in counting her assets for earning. Some girls have found ready employment and good returns in home baking, in canning fruit and vegetables, or in mending, making simple clothes for little children, or in making buttonholes and doing other "finishing work" for busy housewives. Work of these sorts, undertaken in a small way, has often assumed the proportions of a business, requiring all of a young woman's time and paying her quite as well as and often better than less interesting work in shop or factory. A girl of my acquaintance earns a comfortable living at home with her crochet needle. Another has paid her way through high school and college by raising sweet peas.

The untrained girl who loves an outdoor life has fewer opportunities than other girls unless she is capable of independent work. If she is capable of this and has sufficient ability to study her work, gardening and poultry or bee culture may open the way for her to work and be happy. School gardens, poultry clubs, and canning clubs have shown many a girl what she may do in these ways.

Some girls have built up a good business canning fruits and vegetables at home

Courtesy of U.S. Department of Agriculture

Some girls have built up a good business canning fruits and vegetables at home

Many times too little is realized of the possibilities of these grammar-school girls who are crowded by necessity into the working ranks. We cannot shirk our responsibilities in regard to them, however, although they escape from our school systems and bravely take up the burden of their own lives. Quite as many of these girls as of more favored ones will marry and be among the mothers of the next generation. The work they do in the interval between school and home will leave its impress even more strongly than upon the girl whose school life lasts longer and who is therefore older as well as better equipped when she enters upon her work. Few of these younger girls in times past can be said to have done anything other than drift into work which would make or spoil their lives and perhaps those of their children after them. It is well that the responsibility of the school toward them is being recognized and met.

A prosperous poultry farm

A prosperous poultry farm. Poultry farming opens the way for the girl who loves an outdoor life to work in the open and be happy

A distinct duty of the grammar-school teacher is to make known the facts concerning short cuts for grammar-school girls to office work. Unscrupulous business "colleges" sometimes mislead these immature girls into believing that a short course taken in their school will enable the girls to fill office positions. Facts are at hand which show the futility of attempting office work under such conditions, and teachers should be very careful to see that all the facts are in the possession of their pupils.

In the early days of high schools usually the only distinction, if any, in courses was "general" and "classical." To-day we have many courses, or in the larger cities different schools fit boys and girls for varying paths in life. The college-preparatory course or the classical high school leads to college. The commercial course or school leads to office work. The manual training or industrial or practical arts course or high school leads to efficient handwork. The trade school leads to definite occupations. The difficulty now is to help girls choose intelligently which course or school will best meet their requirements. This involves vocation study in the grammar school.

Benson Polytechnic School for Girls, Portland, Oregon

Benson Polytechnic School for Girls, Portland, Oregon. The trade school leads to definite occupations. The girl with mechanical ability may find her vocation in millinery, dressmaking, or the various sewing-machine trades

The girl who terminates her formal education with her graduation from high school may find herself not very much better placed, apparently, than the girl who has dropped out of school farther back. Many openings into desirable occupations are still closed to her. Often her opportunities, however, are much greater than they seem. All facts go to show that the high-school girl makes more rapid progress in efficiency, and therefore in pay, than the younger girl, even when she seems to begin at the same work. Some fields, too, are open to her that are not usually possible for the grammar-school girl. In office work the high-school girl who has specialized in her training may make a very creditable showing. Many thousands of high-school graduates are received into telephone exchanges where with a brief period of practice they become efficient workers. A very few high-school girls become teachers in country schools without further training, but the number is decreasing every year. If she meets the age requirement, the high-school girl may enter a training school for nurses, gaining her specialized training in return for her services to the hospital.

The high-school girl who can spare time and money for some further training finds a larger field open; but, to make the most of what high school has to offer, her plans should be made as early as possible in the high-school course—at the very beginning if it can be managed. The girl must know what further training she is making ready for, must choose electives in high school to help her make ready, or possibly to offset the specializing of this later work by some general culture she may otherwise miss entirely. Vocation study, therefore, and vocational guidance must be quite as much a part of the course for the girl who will "train" for her special work as for the girl who goes directly from the secondary school to her vocation.

One high-school Senior writes: "My special vocation has not yet been chosen, but if it becomes necessary for me to earn my own living I should like to be either a nurse, a teacher, milliner, or director of a cafeteria. I would probably choose the position that was open at the time."

Here we have the girl who is in no hurry to choose, and who probably has a more or less vague notion of the comparative conditions, requirements, and rewards of the four vocations she mentions. In contrast to this, listen to a high-school student who has been studying herself and her possible vocation in much detail in class work. She says: "I find that I have made good school records only in subjects where I had materials I could see and handle. I have never done well in arithmetic or mathematics, but in drawing, physics, elementary biology, and domestic science I made good marks. I do not like to sew, because it tires me to sit still. I enjoy cooking and marketing.

"I like to plan meals and to make up new recipes. I hear that hospitals and institutions employ women at very good salaries to buy all the foodstuffs used in their kitchens. The expert dietitian also plans meals and arranges dietaries. I learn that Teachers College, Columbia, has courses of study leading to this profession, and I have written to ask for full information."

In the class of which this girl is a member, each girl is considering her future as this one is doing. Each gathers all available data in regard to the vocation she is studying. Her reports become a part of the class records. She makes as full a report as possible as to the duties and responsibilities of the occupation, the schools or training classes that prepare for it, the length and cost of preparation, possibilities of employment, salaries paid, and other details.

Since training cannot alter fundamentals, but merely builds upon the girl's nature and heredity, the same classifications obtain in the choice of the girl who can have training as in that of the girl who goes untrained to her vocation. There are still the producers, the distributors, and those who serve; and it is still important that the girl should find a place in the right group.

The producers will include the designers, the interior decorators, the expert dietitians, the municipal inspectors of food and housing, rural consulting housekeepers, state or country canning-club agents, the women who organize and carry on model laundries, either coöperative or otherwise, the managers of manufacturing enterprises, the farmers, the photographers, the artists, the journalists, and the authors.

The distributors are chiefly represented by the higher type of office workers, who are the "idea thinkers" of the business world, since they neither make nor handle products, but merely manipulate the symbols which stand for the products they seldom if ever see. The women who manage buying and selling enterprises for themselves usually belong to the trained group.

The service group among trained women is a large one, including nurses, teachers, doctors' and dentists' assistants, various social workers, librarians, secretaries and other confidential office assistants, directors or "house mothers" in school and college dormitories and in institutions, dentists, physicians, lawyers, ministers.

Within the group there is wide range of choice, differing qualifications are necessary, and varying training is to be undertaken. Girls, with the help of a vocational expert, should analyze their physical and mental qualities and habits, and should study somewhat exhaustively the vocation for which they seem to find themselves fitted.

"I should like to be a nurse, or a teacher, or a milliner, or the manager of a cafeteria" will not do, since those vocations presuppose some years of widely differing training. Perhaps the girl will narrow the choice to nursing or teaching. Then she must place over against each other the two professions—special qualifications required, length and cost of training, personal obstacles to be overcome, and especially the demand and supply of nurses and teachers in her locality. Upon these depends the girl's chance to succeed when she is fitted and launched.

The children's ward in a hospital

Photograph by Brown Bros.

The children's ward in a hospital. The nurse must be resourceful and possess good judgment

The student who takes up college work, not as a specialized training, but as a completion of her general education, stands somewhat by herself. Such a girl may perhaps put off vocational decision until she is part way through her college years. The college sometimes awakens ambitions and brings to light abilities not hitherto discovered; and even when this does not occur, the choice may be made from the highest and most responsible positions filled by women. From the college girls we draw our high-school teachers and college instructors, our doctors, lawyers, and preachers, in so far as these professions are filled by women.

Among the many vocations belonging to the service group teaching is
one of the most popular

Photograph by Brown Bros.

Among the many vocations belonging to the service group teaching is one of the most popular

We are confronted by the statement, made again and again and reinforced by formidable rows of figures, that the more training a girl receives, the less she is inclined to marry or, if she does marry, to have children. The fact seems undeniable that in our larger eastern women's colleges, at least, not more than half the graduates marry up to the age of forty, which we may accept as the probable limit of the marriage age for the average woman. The natural inference is that a college education in some way prevents or discourages marriage. This may or may not be true. To be quite fair, the statistics should cover the coeducational colleges as well as the colleges for women alone. Also some attempt should be made to discover how the likelihood of marriage is affected by the age at which girls finish their college course. Do the younger girls of a college class marry, while the older ones do not? Are the younger married graduates more often mothers than the older ones, or do they have more children?

The influence of the librarian extends far beyond the walls of the library

Photograph by Brown Bros.

The influence of the librarian extends far beyond the walls of the library

If it is true that training is interfering with marriage and motherhood for our girls, the next step is not necessarily, as some modern hysterical students of the question seem to suggest, that we immediately cut out the training which, in case they do marry, will make them far more valuable wives, mothers, and members of the community; but rather so to time and place the training, and if necessary so to alter its character, that any such tendency away from marriage will be removed and that the trained women of the college and professional school shall be available for the great work of mothering the nation of the future.

A final word as to the place of the vocational guide in the choosing of vocations may not be amiss. That every teacher should consider himself or herself a helper in this most important work we must agree; but that any teacher must walk carefully, and use the guiding hand but sparingly, is equally true.

The object of vocational help is not merely to keep the "square peg" out of the "round hole." The girl arbitrarily placed in a suitable occupation may never discover why she is there, and may be handicapped all her life by a deep conviction that she fits somewhere else. "Know thyself" is a good old maxim yet. The teacher or vocational guide is fitted by the place of observation she holds to help the girl to study herself and the possibilities that life holds out to such as she thus finds herself to be. The final choice should be made by the girl.



Marriage may, or may not, in these days, be the opening door into the homemaker's career. Many a young woman is a homemaker before she marries. On the other hand, women sometimes marry without any thought of making a home.

But, after all, it is safe to assume that marriage and homemaking do go hand in hand. The great majority of wives become managers of homes of one sort or another. Shall we then frankly educate our girls for marriage—"dangle a wedding ring ever before their eyes"? Or shall we regard marriages as "made in heaven" and keep our hands off the whole matter?

The proportion of marriages in the United States which terminate in divorce was in 1910 one in twelve. Divorce in this country is now three times as common as forty years ago. The success or failure of marriages cannot, however, be measured merely by the divorce test. We cannot avoid the knowledge that many other unhappy unions are endured until release comes with death. When we say unhappy marriages, we mean not only those which become unendurable, but all those in which marriage impedes the development and hence the efficiency of either party to the contract. Unhappy marriages include not only the mismated, but also those whose unhappiness in married life is due to their own or their mate's misconception of what marriage really means. It is obviously impossible even to estimate the number of marriages which are happy or unhappy; but we are safe in saying that the processes of adjustment in many cases are far harder than they ought to be, and that many marriages which seemingly ought to bring happiness fail of real success.

In view of the fact that so many marriages fall short of what they might be, it would seem that some sort of assistance to the girl in choosing a husband and to the young man in choosing a wife would be wise, such as the instruction we give boys and girls to enable them to be successful in the industrial world. In short, it is not enough to prepare girls for homemaking by making all our references to marriage indirect. Young men and women are entitled to more knowledge of marriage, its rights, privileges, and duties; they need to realize that in these days of complex living marriage is a difficult relation which requires their best energies and wisest thought.

The modern marriage differs from the marriage of earlier centuries in direct proportion as the status of woman has changed. The ancient marriage, and indeed the medieval one, and the marriage of our own grandmother's time began with submission and usually ended with subjection. But the modern marriage at its best is a spiritual and material partnership. It is the modern marriage at its best and otherwise with which we have to do.

Half a century ago girls married at eighteen or even earlier, took charge of their households, were mothers of good-sized families at twenty-eight or thirty, and were frequently grandmothers at forty.

Nowadays early marriage is the exception. For years the marriage age has been steadily rising, until some students profess to be alarmed at a prospect of marriage disappearing, the maternal instinct becoming lost by disuse, and the race finally becoming extinct. However, the maximum marriage age, at least for the present, seems to have been reached, and statistics show a slight dropping within the last two or three years.

The forces operating to fix the marriage age are exceedingly complex. The higher education of girls has undoubtedly been a large factor in the postponement of marriage. Its effect has been wrought in a variety of ways. The increasing years in schoolroom and lecture hall have been directly responsible in many cases. The ambitions aroused account for many more. The increased ability of girls to earn their own living and public acceptance of their doing so have practically removed "marriage as a trade" from the consideration of girls and their parents. Girls no longer need to marry in order to transfer the burden of their support from father to husband. Instead they may "go to work." And once at work they are often reluctant to give up a personal income for the uncertainties of sharing what a husband earns. Then, too, the broadening effect of education makes marriage in the abstract a less absorbing, momentous subject for the girl's thoughts. Also the rebound toward selfishness coincident with woman's "emancipation" leads girls to put off what they are sometimes led to consider a sacrifice of themselves. The tragedies of the divorce courts are directly responsible for many a girlish determination not to marry, a determination which is broken only when the first zest of mature life has passed and when the woman begins to long for the home ties she has resolved to deny herself and decides to take the risk. The increased cost of living and the ever-increasing responsibilities of rearing, educating, and launching a family of children lead many young people to postpone marriage until they can command a larger income. The strain of modern industrial life, with its fierce competitions and its early discard of the elderly and unfit, finds many girls who would otherwise marry burdened with the care of parents who can ill spare the daughter's help.

Louisa M. Alcott

The Halliday Historic Photograph Co.

Louisa M. Alcott

Miss Alcott's lifelong devotion to the interests of her family is a well-known story. She made a happy home for them, and at the same time attained marked success in the literary field.

If all these obstacles to early marriage could be overcome, the question of the wisest time for marrying might be approached fairly and squarely on its merits.

Too early marriage means immaturity in choice, with the possibility always of unfortunate mistakes and sad awakening. Too late marriage, on the other hand, means settled convictions which often result in that incompatibility which seeks relief in divorce. The plasticity of youth at least promises adaptability. The mature judgment of later years ought to afford a wise choice. Between extreme youth then and a too settled maturity is the wise time.

In order to approach the ideal in the marriage relation, the time of marriage should be so placed that the girl is (1) physically fit, (2) fully educated, (3) broadened by some experience with the world.

She must not be too old to bear children safely, or to rear them sympathetically as they approach the difficult years. She must not be physically worn by excessive industrial service, nor with enthusiasms burned out by the same cause. Probably between twenty-two and twenty-five the girl reaches the height of physical fitness. She may also by that time have completed a liberal education, and she may even have done that and also have put her training to useful service. It would be better if girls completed their college courses earlier than most do. However, since the great majority of girls do not have a college education, the generally increased age of marriage cannot rightfully be laid, as many seem to lay it, at the doors of the college women. Schemes of education in the future will undoubtedly try to remedy the defect of present systems in this respect. If most girls could finish their training in college or professional school at twenty, as some do now, the world would be rewarded by earlier marriages and probably more of them. There would be more children, reared by younger and more enthusiastic mothers. The more difficult professions, which could not be successfully undertaken by the girl of twenty, would then be reserved, as they generally are now, for the women whose ambition is unusually strong and absorbing. Attempts are frequently made to show that ambition is becoming an inordinately prominent quality in all women, but there are few facts to support so wide a contention.

Ruth McEnery Stuart

Photograph by Paul Thompson

Ruth McEnery Stuart

Mrs. Stuart was one of those in whom the talent for homemaking and the talent for creative literary work existed side by side. On her husband's plantation in Arkansas she found many of the types for the characters in her stories

The girl graduate of twenty, reinforced by from two to five years of work in the vocation she has chosen, is usually fit, physically and mentally, for marriage. More than that, she may by that age, usually, be trusted to know what she wants, even in a husband, if she is ever going to know.

In the day when girls married nearly always "in their teens," wise choice of a husband called for selection of a man considerably older than the girl herself. This disparity is less common in these days, and is really less desirable than it once was. The girl of the earlier time reached maturity of mind earlier than the girl of to-day with her prolonged education, and much earlier than the boy of her day did. He was still being educated in school or as an apprentice, and was hardly ready to undertake the responsibility of a family at an age when the girl's scanty education was long since completed and it was considered high time that her support was laid upon a husband's shoulders.

It used to be said, "Men keep their youth better than women," so that any disparity in age at the time of marriage was soon lost. This is no longer true as it was once. The early marriage, with early and excessive childbearing, overwork, and the numerous restrictions that custom laid upon her, were responsible for woman's loss of youth. These conditions no longer exist. The woman of forty or fifty can now usually hold her own with the man of her own age in point of youth.

Louise Homer And Her Family

Louise Homer And Her Family

Madame Homer's great success in the difficult art of operatic singing has by no means interfered with her career as a homemaker.

Another consideration in favor of more nearly equal age lies in the fact that formerly men did not look for wives who were their mental equals. They did not really desire mental equals as wives. To-day they do, or, if there still lingers in the minds of some of them the old notion that wives must be clinging vines, the lingering notion will soon be gone. The marriage of equality possesses too many advantages for both parties to be thrown aside. The wife who can think, who is mature enough to be capable of real partnership, is the wife surely of to-morrow, if not of to-day.

Among the forces that control marriage may be mentioned (1) physical attraction, (2) continued social relationships, (3) dissimilarity, (4) affection, (5) barter.

It is usually difficult to say of any marriage that any one of these forces alone caused the mating. It may have been physical attraction together with everyday companionship; or physical attraction and dissimilarity or strangeness, resulting in what we know as love at first sight. Or it may have been affection of slow growth, or affection with an element of appreciation of worldly advantage, or it may have been a little physical attraction with a great deal of desire for social position or wealth, or, ugliest of all, it may have been pure barter, without personal attraction of any sort. For these worldy advantages you offer, I will sell you my body and my soul.

To secure the finest marriages for girls we must insure three conditions: (1) high ideals of marriage among our adolescents, (2) better knowledge of men, and (3) wise companionships during the years from fourteen to twenty-five.

Margaret Junkin Preston

Margaret Junkin Preston

The South is justly proud of this poet of no mean rank who gave herself unstintedly to her home duties and responsibilities

Physical attraction on one or both sides is undoubtedly the greatest force in marriage selection. It is only when physical attraction exerts its influence upon a girl whose ideal of a husband is low or vague or incorrect that the danger is great. Physical attraction is not love, but it may be—often it is—the basis of love when it exists between two who are suited to a life together.

Generally speaking, girls will find married life easier, and their husbands will find life more satisfactory, when the two have been reared with approximately the same ideals. The girl who falls in love with a man largely because he is "different" from the boys among whom she has grown up often finds that very difference a stumbling block to domestic happiness. Marriages across such chasms where there should be common ground are more hazardous than between those whose education, social training, friends, and beliefs are of the same type. When they do succeed, they undoubtedly are the richer for the variety of experience husband and wife have to give each other; and, too, they show an adaptability on the part of one or both which argues well for continued happiness. Commonly, however, they do not succeed.

There are, also, deeper matters than these to be considered. Is this man or this woman worthy of lifelong devotion? Is the love he offers or she offers in return for the love you offer, the love that gives or the love that merely takes? Has he been a success at something, anything, that counts? Has he a sense of responsibility in marriage and the burdens it brings? Does he desire a home? Do his views as to children reflect man's natural desire to found a family or merely the selfish desire for the freedom and luxury which the absence of children may make possible? Has he a right to approach fatherhood—is his body physically and morally clean?

Colonel And Mrs. Roosevelt With Members Of Their Family

by Underwood & Underwood

Colonel And Mrs. Roosevelt With Members Of Their Family

Colonel Roosevelt's own family was preëminently one in which the father shared with the mother a keen sense of the responsibilities of marriage and the highest ideals of home life

These are serious questions with which to weight the wings of a young man's or a young woman's fancy. But the attraction which cannot stand before them is not safe as a basis for marriage. Many a young man or woman has willfully turned closed eyes to the selfishness or the irresponsibility which will later wreck a home, because attraction blinded common sense.

Barter, the lowest form of marriage, exists and has always existed whenever the material benefits that either husband or wife expects to derive from the connection are the impelling forces in the union. The woman desires wealth, social position, a title—or perhaps nothing more than security from poverty or the necessity of work outside the home, or perhaps no more than the mere security of a home itself. The man in other cases desires wealth, or social position, or a wife who will grace his fine home, or some business connection which the marriage will afford. And upon these things men and women build, or attempt to build, the foundations of home life.

It is not true of course that every girl of moderate means, or without means, who marries a man of wealth does so because of his money. Nor is it always true when the cases are reversed. Love may be as real between those two as between any others. But when it is true that the marriage is an exchange of commodities, it is no different from prostitution under other circumstances. In fact, it is prostitution under cover, without acceptance of the stigma which for centuries has been the portion of voluntary selling of the body to him who cares to buy.

Julia Ward Howe And Her Granddaughter

by Underwood & Underwood

Julia Ward Howe And Her Granddaughter

In the life of Mrs. Howe was exemplified the identity of ideals of husband and wife. They worked side by side in the literary field and in their philanthropic and reform work

Eugenics, a modern science which aims at race regeneration, lays down many laws and restrictions for those who are selecting their mates. By the following of these laws and restrictions in the selection of husbands and wives, undesirable traits in the offspring are to be weeded out and desirable; ones are to be fostered and increased. That these laws should be studied with the care used by breeders of plants and animals goes without saying. That if they are followed strictly the number of marriages would be materially reduced, at least for a considerable time, is doubtless true. That marriages in which eugenics has played the major part in selection will present new problems is probably equally true. If marriages were mere temporary unions, for the purpose of obtaining offspring, eugenic principles could not be too exactly nor too coldly applied to the selection of mates. But since marriage implies living together and becoming, or continuing to be, worthy members of the community, and since the offspring are fashioned no less by the conditions of their upbringing than by heredity, selection of mates must involve more than looking for eugenically perfect fathers and mothers for the generations yet unborn. Eugenics, however, is in infancy as a science, and, like the human infants it would protect, must react to the environment in which it finds itself and must feel the chastening hand of time before its value can be known. Agitation in the direction of allowing posterity to be "well born" can never be out of place. What being well born is and how it shall be attained is a worthy subject of research. As a cold, exact science, however, eugenics can never hope for application without some consideration of the personal equation which makes marriage at its best not a mating merely, but a joining of souls.

Choosing a husband or a wife is, after all, merely the beginning of the marriage problem. Good husbands are not discovered, but made, from originally good or perhaps indifferent or in rare cases from even poor material, by the reaction of married life upon what was previously mere "man." Even so with wives.

Caroline Bartlett Crane

Caroline Bartlett Crane

Mrs. Crane, an expert on sanitation, has successfully applied the principles of good housekeeping to civic affairs in many cities, and has thus made women more of a factor in the community at large

The successful marriage presupposes unselfishness, even carried if necessary to the point of sacrifice, but it must be unselfishness for two, not for one alone. Neither the "child wife" who must be carried as a burden, nor the complacent husband who forms the center of a smoothly revolving little world patiently turned by a silent wife, has any part in the marriage of equality—the only marriage worthy of the name.

The successful marriage calls also for freedom—again for two. Women sometimes hesitate to marry because the old idea of marriage involved loss of individuality, and they have little faith in men's readiness to accept any other idea. Men, on the other hand, fear to marry because the "new woman" demands so much for herself—development, a career, a chance to work out her own ideals of life. The man sees little in this for himself but the "second fiddle" which woman for centuries played to his first. Ideal marriages, however, do take place in which there is no sacrifice of personality—in which, indeed, each lives a fuller life than would have been possible without the marriage. For this to be realized, there must be full recognition of the responsibility of each for his or her own deeds, and a standing aside while each works out his destiny. This does not mean a separation of interests nor an abandonment of common counsel. It means merely that in individual matters each must have the freedom enjoyed before marriage took place. It must mean for women some sort of economic independence, and in addition a spiritual independence such as men enjoy. When this freedom is cheerfully given, and in return the wife gives a like liberty to the husband, the great incentive to concealments and deceptions or to nagging and controversy is removed. The petty annoyances of the day are lessened, trust is increased, and both man and woman find their strength increased rather than depleted by the relation.

Alice Freeman Palmer

Courtesy of George Herbert Palmer

Alice Freeman Palmer

Mrs. Palmer's was one of the ideal marriages in which husband and wife each lived a fuller life than would have been possible without the marriage. Happy in her home life, Mrs. Palmer yet had time to achieve a brilliant success in administrative educational work

Common interests are an almost certain safeguard in most marriages. Common duties are more often than not a source of difficulty. An untold number of matrimonial ventures fail because of inadequate responsibility in adjustment of expenses to income. Many more are rendered inharmonious by failure of parents to agree as to the management of children. In both these directions increased knowledge will do much to secure harmonious action. Family traditions are more than likely to clash when they are adopted as principles of family discipline. "Children must mind," says the father, in memory and emulation of his father's method with him. "Children must not be coerced," says the mother, who has been reared by a different method. Clearly a course in child psychology would have been of value to these parents in determining a common procedure. There is probably no subject upon which either father or mother finds it so hard to yield to the other's way as upon this. Each feels, and rightly, that the material to be trained is so precious, and that failure, if it comes, will be so stupendous, that neither dares do what seems wrong to his own mind. Nothing but common knowledge and a predetermined policy can solve this problem so near to the root of success or failure in marriage itself.

Girls are commonly taught too little of the duties of married women to their husbands. They look for a lifetime of unalloyed bliss. If they fail to realize their impossible dream, they turn their faces toward the divorce court. Many girls have had too smooth a pathway, too little of responsibility, and too little of disappointment, before undertaking the serious duty of establishing and maintaining a lifelong partnership. There has been little in their lives to prepare them for long-continued relations of any sort. On the other hand, the same girls have equally little idea of what they have a right to expect of marriage for themselves. Much of the necessary adjustment is left to chance.

Amelia E. Barr

Photograph by Paul Thompson

Amelia E. Barr

Far from interfering with her career, Mrs. Barr's home interests were the inspiration for it. Thrown on her own resources by the death of her husband, who sacrificed himself in a yellow fever epidemic in Texas, Mrs. Barr took up writing to make a living for her children

Scarcely any phase of woman's part in marriage is arousing more attention at present than the question of childbearing. Women, and especially educated women, are accused of sterility or of intentionally avoiding motherhood. They are said to believe that children interfere with their careers, that they can render greater service to the world in public work than in childbearing. They "prefer idleness and luxury to the care of a family." The "maternal instinct is fading." They threaten us with "race suicide," the "extinction of mankind," a silent world given over to dumb beasts who have not yet learned the principles of "birth control" and "family limitation." Thus on the one hand.

On the other: "The world is better served by the small family well reared than by the large one necessarily less well cared for." "Women are not merely the instruments of nature for multiplying mankind. They have a right to some time for living their own lives." "The maternal instinct has not faded, but merely come under control of a wisdom which directs that it shall not bring forth what it cannot care for."

And so on, with added arguments for either side.

In all these discussions of birth control the fathers or the husbands who desire not to be fathers are usually left in the background. As a matter of fact, however, men as well as women desire luxury and freedom from the care of a family. It is a general sign of the times, not a characteristic of one sex alone. Men as well as women fear for their ability to care for and educate large families. With the demands of our present complex existence bearing heavily upon them, one can scarcely wonder at the hesitation of either man or woman to add again and again to their already pressing cares. There is but one remedy—not to cut off education for women, as some suggest, but to learn the joys of a simpler life which will afford people time and strength and means to bear and rear their young. To this end let us teach our girls and our boys something of the essentials of a useful and a happy life, and teach them how to eliminate the non-essentials which waste their time and spirit.

Who can best instruct the girl in what we may call the ethics of marriage? Her mother? Usually the mother's viewpoint is too personal. Her teacher? Most of her teachers are unmarried and know little more about the subject than she does herself. A specially selected married teacher? Perhaps, but only if she is a deep student of human nature and of marriage from a scientific standpoint.

An ideal course for every girl somewhere before her education can be considered complete would cover "woman's life" as (1) industrial worker, (2) wife, (3) mother, (4) citizen, (5) civic force.

Here, without undue "dangling of the wedding ring," girls might study marriage as an important phase of woman's life. Such a course, simplified or elaborated to suit the circumstances of the girls who participate, might well be given in all girls' schools and colleges, in continuation schools, in settlement-house clubs and classes, in rural clubs and neighborhood centers. For, reduced to its simplest terms, marriage in the tenement rests upon the same principles as marriage in the mansion.

Happily married, or happy unmarried, with her life work stretching before her, the girl enters upon her heritage of work. We have trained her to be a homemaker, but we need feel no regret in regard to her training if she finds her life work in an office or a schoolroom or a hospital. She may never "keep house," although we hope that she will some time help to make a home. But, whether she becomes a homemaker or not, a true understanding and appreciation of the value of the home and a knowledge of the principles underlying its maintenance will make her a broader woman and a better worker than she could otherwise be. In the home, or wherever she may be, she cannot fail to show the girls who are growing up about her what home means to her and what it means to the race. And in her hands we may safely leave the future of the home.


General Books Which Introduce The Reader To The Larger Phases Of The Woman Movement

Bruére, Martha B. and Robert W. Increasing Home Efficiency. New York: Macmillan.

Colquhoun, Mrs. A. The Vocations of Woman. New York: Macmillan.

Gilman, Charlotte Perkins. Women and Economics. Boston: Small, Maynard & Co.

Key, Ellen. Love and Marriage. New York: Putnam.

Schreiner, Olive. Woman and Labor. New York: Frederick A. Stokes Co.

Spencer, Anna Garlin. The Challenge of Womanhood.

Tarbell, Ida M. The Business of Being a Woman. New York: Macmillan.

Some of these books are conservative, others very radical. They are recommended, not because the writer agrees with them, but because every mother and teacher who acts as a vocational counselor should know both conservative and radical points of view.


Bloomfield, Meyer. Readings in Vocational Guidance. Boston: Ginn & Co.

The following articles in this book are especially recommended:

"The Value, during Education, of the Life-Career Motive." By Charles W. Eliot.

"Selecting Young Men for Particular Jobs." By Herman Schneider.

"The Permanence of Interests and Their Relation to Abilities." By Edward L. Thorndike.

"Survey of Occupations Open to the Girl of Fourteen to Sixteen Years of Age." By Harriet Hazen Dodge.

Brewer, J.M. Vocational-Guidance Movement. New York: Macmillan.

Brewster, Edwin T. Vocational Guidance for the Professions. Chicago: Rand McNally & Co.

Bureau Of Education, Washington, D.C.

Bulletin 1913, No. 17. "A Trade School for Girls."
Bulletin 1914, No. 4. "The School and a Start in Life."
Bulletin 1914, No. 14. "Vocational Guidance Association."
Papers presented at the organization meeting, October, 1913.

Annual Reports of the Commissioner of Education:
1911, chapter viii, "A School for Homemakers."
1914, chapter xiii, "Education for the Home."
1915, chapter xii, "Home Economics."
1915, chapter xiv, "Home Education."
1916, chapter xvii, "Education in the Home."

Butler, Elizabeth Beardsley. Women and the Trades. New York: Charities Publication Committee.

———. Saleswomen in Mercantile Stores. New York: Survey Associates.

Davis, Jesse Buttrick. Vocational and Moral Guidance. Boston: Ginn & Co.

Department Of Commerce And Labor, Washington, D.C.:

Twenty-fifth Annual Report of the Commissioner of Labor.

Contains nineteen volumes on "Condition of Women and Child Wage-Earners in the United States." The most comprehensive study of conditions of women in industry before the war.

Bulletin No. 175. "Summary of the Report on the Condition of Women and Child Wage-Earners in the United States." Gives in condensed form the findings in the nineteen volumes.

Gowin And Wheatley. Occupations. Boston: Ginn & Co.

Hollingworth, H.L. Vocational Psychology: Its Problems and Methods. New York: D. Appleton & Co.

LaSelle and Wiley. Vocations for Girls. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co.

Leake, Albert H. The Vocational Education of Girls and Women. New York: Macmillan.

McKeever, A. Training the Girl. New York: Macmillan.

Pressey, C. Park. A Vocational Reader. Chicago: Rand McNally & Co.

This book shows the teacher the kind of stories that can be used for inspiration for grade-school girls.

Puffer, J. Adams. Vocational Guidance. Chicago: Rand McNally.& Co.

Women's Educational And Industrial Union Of Boston:

Vocations for the Trained Woman.
The Public Schools and Women in Office Service.



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