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to $2.20 per pupil for the dozen and a half girls as well as
twenty men and women from the immediate neighborhood
who formed a night class.

Tamassee showed on a practical basis what could be done
through a vacation school for the unlettered working girl.
Tamassee was not nearly large enough to accommodate the
numbers who clamored to attend. It was also too inacces-
sible among its remote hills. The following year the Metho-
dists loaned Lander College for the vacation school, state
and church thus joining forces. For this second session,
which was open to girls over fourteen and women who did
not have a chance in youth, none to be above fifth grade,
ninety enrolled ; two were from towns, nine from the coun-
try, seventy-nine from cotton mills.

Lander Opportunity Schools were successfully held in
August, 1923 and 1924. They were no longer regarded
as uncertain experiments but a firmly fixed part of South
Carolina's educational system. In 1925 Lander underwent
repairs. The Baptists offered Anderson College which was
accepted with gratitude and used again in 1926.

Meanwhile there was a demand for a summer school
for men, paralleling the sessions for women. Erskine Col-
Irge, belonging to seceders from the Presbyterian church



who formed their own denomination, has been used. The
summer group at Erskine measure this month's study in
terms of supporting a family, of more money in the pay
envelope. They have a real incentive to get all they can*
from the course. Jesse T. Crawford, superintendent of
Riverside Manufacturing Company at Anderson, says, "Of 1
the young men we have sent to these schools, three have-
risen to the position of section men in their respective rooms \
while one has been made night overseer since his return." '
With such hope ahead, no wonder men attend classes all
morning, despite enervating heat, doggedly study every
afternoon in groups under the campus trees, and at their
own urgent request have brief classes again at night. Teach-
ers find they instruct not merely the five stipulated class-
room hours but unceasingly till bedtime. Teachers at both
Anderson and Erskine are chosen for their human sympathy,
their genuine interest in the project as well as pedagogical
attainments, for the whole enterprise depends for its success
on the tact and understanding of the teacher.

As to the school's personnel and background, South Caro-
lina's cotton mill class contains almost no foreign-born. It
is composed mainly of rural people, tenant farmers who
either failed to make a living from the land or succumbed
to town lure and the prospect of steady wages. Social
workers, teachers and kindergartners who come in direct
contact with mill children testify to their intelligence. Good
mentality is to be found among mill youngsters and among
their elders as well.

Class sessions in both schools are intensely practical. Courses
of study are related closely to home needs and problems.
Men's advanced arithmetic classes teach the application of
figures to textile calculations in carding, spinning and weav-
ing; an understanding of taxes; thrift through saving and
insurance. The women's deal with the computing of do-
mestic purchases, keeping household accounts, marketing.
Home economics teaches the rules for a balanced diet and
how to plan family needs, matters in which mill housewives
are lamentably uninformed. Commencement night at An-
derson includes a style show in which each pupil walks
across the stage in a dress she has made herself often her
very first attempt the teacher announcing its cost, ranging
from fifty-nine cents to three dollars, and its material, usu-
ally gingham manufactured in South Carolina mills where
the girls work.

A THLETIC sports, drills and games under trained rec-
/~\. reation leaders aim to develop the bodies of pupils who
under the strain of making a living have forgotten how to
play, if they ever knew. Play is an integral part of South
Carolina's adult education program ; these people seem fairly
starved for wholesome amusement.

Outwardly, Opportunity girls differ little from the aver-
age year-round students, ranging in appearance from heavy,
stolid types of faces to faces as delicately lovely as cameos.
This same variation is perceptible among the older students.
A middle-aged woman of pleasant, refined countenance
moved with dignity through Anderson's halls as if she might
be a resident trained nurse in her spic-and-span white uni-
form, borrowed, it turned out, from her trained nurse
daughter. This woman was, unbelievably, a beginner who
had gone to school only a few weeks in her distant youth.
Big, jolly, fine Mrs. Kinard, fifty-three and a farmer's wife,
won Anderson's medal awarded the best all-round pupil;



July 15, 1927



THE SU RV Y



417



Mrs. Kinard's previous schooling totaled two summer adult
sessions of four weeks each in her home county of Aiken.
Widowed Mrs. Byrum, Anderson's grandmother in point
of age with sixty-three energetic years behind her, was al-
ways ready for anything, not a particle weighted down by
the cares of raising ten children out of the seventeen born
to her, the youngest, a girl of eighteen, being with her at
school. Those who attend one summer invariably long to
come back, and they have the missionary spirit of wanting
others to share this amazing joy. One reached Anderson
announcing, "Here I am. And here's two I brought."

"I am a grandfather. I am a great grandfather, but I
am not too old to learn. Four weeks ago I came to Erskine
Opportunity School hardly knowing my ABC's, but," and
inexpressible exultation soared in his voice, "I can read and
write now!"

So proclaimed T. T. Campbell, a farmer of sixty-three,
to whom books had heretofore been sealed, at Erskine's first
commencement. In order to reach Erskine on the opening
day, Mr. Campbell got up at three o'clock and walked five
miles from his home to the college. Miss Gray found this
out and awarded him a scholarship that he might avoid such
strenuous commuting. After his first Sunday at home he
said to his teacher, "Yesterday was the shortest day I ever
spent. First I figgered some and then I read my Bible.
Then I figgered more and read again and the first thing
I knew it was sunset." The blessedness of being able to
occupy himself when time had hung so heavily before !

Erskine's oldest pupil the third summer, W. R. Sullivan,
a loom fixer in the Joanna Mill at Goldville, might easily
have been mistaken for a retired business man rather than
one courageously acquiring first reader knowledge. And
Erskine's youngest, that same session, merrily smiling Cullen
McCune, though only thirteen, helped support his widowed
mother and seven younger brothers by work in a laundry.

Both schools have attained the hoariness of alumni asso-



ciations. Erskine's president is an American legionnaire.

A few pupils pay their own way, saving regularly during
the year toward this goal. Several girls who live near the
town of Anderson stay at the college four days a week,
then go home and work in a mill the remaining two days
in order to earn enough on which to return. Many civic,
religious and patriotic organizations, as well as public-
spirited individuals give scholarships amounting to twenty-
dollars each. So far meals have been kept within twelve
dollars and fifty cents per person, the rest going toward
necessary incidentals. Methodists and Baptists annually
donate two hundred and fifty dollars each for general ex-
penses. The state pays the faculty, consisting of a dean
and five teachers at each school. James P. Gosset, a textile
manufacturer, has each summer sent from his mills forty
operatives, twenty men to Erskine, twenty women to Lander,
later Anderson, paying all expenses. Best of all, he sup-
ports the men's families in their absence. Mr. Gossett empha-
tically says, "The money invested in these schools is, in my
opinion, the best investment we have ever made." Alexander
Long, another forward-looking textile executive, sends one
employe from each of his chain of mills and will lend money
to others desiring to attend. B. E. Geer, president of
Judson Mills and a trustee of Duke Foundation, declares,
"Pupils who attend Opportunity Schools come back not only
better workers but better citizens." So the outlay must
be decidedly worth while.

At commencement regret is heard on every side that the
end has come. "Why, I'm just beginning to learn," they
say wistfully, "If I could go on another four weeks right
now, I could read and rigger real well."

Many continue to attend special schools in their own
localities where adult teachers fan this ember of learning
and its consequent self-respect into steady, unquenchable
flame that is translated into community improvement and
state advancement.



Clothes, Money and the Working Girl



By HATTIE E. ANDERSON



VOLUMES have been written about the working
girl, her wages and her standard of living. She
has been pictured as a poor, worried creature
hurrying to the sweatshop, or as a "flapper"
painted and powdered and reckless. Obviously
much that has been written comes from unreliable sources
and is not founded on facts. A study of actual conditions
with careful interpretation of the findings has been made
by the Milwaukee Vocational School. In Milwaukee the
working girls of the city attend the vocational school on a
part-time basis between the ages of fourteen and eighteen
years. The school comes in contact with more than 5,500
working girls a week.

It has long been felt by some two score teachers of
clothing classes in the school that the instruction should be
more closely correlated with actual conditions in the com-
munity. It fell to my lot to coordinate the efforts of the
teachers in conducting a clothing survey among our girls.

We prepared a questionnaire to find what the average
working girl really wears, what she earns, what she spends



for clothing and whether or not she budgets her money.
This clothing questionnaire was so framed that each girl
could readily report the number and kind of garments she
possessed, the initial cost, the length of time she wore a
garment, the cost per year, whether it was ready-made or
home-made, who selected her clothing and how it was
paid for.

The purpose of the questionnaire was fully explained to
groups of about twenty girls as they came to their clothing
classes. Then each girl filled out her questionnaire without
any prompting from the teacher and without signing her
name. The returns were studied by the teachers and the
results tabulated and interpreted. In this group of 1,318
girls, we found that 46.3 per cent of their earnings was
spent for clothing.

There were striking revelations regarding several articles
of clothing, particularly silk hosiery. The number ranged
all the way from six pairs to an almost unbelievable figure
122 pairs a year. Surely they did not wear them out!
No, they were passed on to mother or vounger sisters.

MISSOURI LIBRARY OWlWJ
p/uo



418



THE SURREY



July 15, 1927



Four pairs of oxfords and pumps and three hats a year
were bought by the average, though the numbers ranged
from two to a half dozen or more. Many younger girls
did not own silk dresses. The older girls reported silk
dresses in their wardrobes, an average of two each, although
some owned a dozen or more.

IT was illuminating to find from the survey that 65 cents
of every dollar spent for clothing went for outer clothing,
23 cents for accessories, and only 12 cents for underclothing,
although much of the underwear was silk, which means
fewer articles purchased for the amount of money spent.
For these 12 cents they purchased from one to four pieces
of underclothing, including brassieres, silk vests, bloomers
and slips.

The average of fifteen pairs of silk hose a year seems
high. One must remember, however, that hosiery is one
of the most important articles of feminine apparel in these
short-skirted days. Many people have been misled by highly
artificial budgets in magazines and other publications which
arbitrarily allow five or six pairs of hose a year. The
working girl, approaching the age of eighteen, should be
intensely interested in her clothing, and much that might,
at first glance, seem frivolous is really a natural expression
of her desire to look her best. We came to a similar
agreement as to the 23 per cent of the clothing dollar spent
for accessories. The modern wage-earner wants to keep
up with the community standards for well dressed girls.
Galoshes, gloves, belts, pins, handkerchiefs, scarfs and
cosmetics are essential to the achieving of this natural
ambition.

The average earnings of the group were $404.02 a year.
The range was from $100 to $1,000, the lower figure being
due to irregular employment. The questionnaire covered
the method of buying: 87 per cent of the girls went shop-
ping with their mothers, indicating close family cooperation,
ii per cent selected their own clothing, while 2 per cent
made no report on this item.

The survey showed that 91 per cent of the girls paid
cash for their clothing, 7 per cent carried charge accounts
and 2 per cent bought on the installment plan.

The close correlation between the last two paragraphs
is obvious. That is, as long as the mothers assist in the
selection of clothing the girls avoid the habit of charging
or buying on the installment plan. This is an important
economic safeguard for the young working girl.

There is much discussion of the modern girl's use of
cosmetics. We found that our girls are spending a trifling
sum for powder, rouge and lipsticks. While some buy such
"beauty aids" to excess, there are many who use no cos-
metics. It is very easy to condemn a whole group when
one extreme case passes in review. We felt that the typical
girl has been unduly criticized in this respect.

WHP'N the survey was completed, it was not filed and
forgotten. We decided it should be put to use. Some
matters turned up by the study were not only surprising
but revealed a definite piece of work for the school to do.
Lively discussions arose among the pupils as to how much
a girl earning ten to twelve dollars a week should spend
for clothing. Most of them turned their checks over to
their parents each pay-day and the parents bought what
they felt the girls needed. The girls were amazed when
they figured out that their clothing averaged nearly half



of what they earned and in many cases more than their
whole income. They were faced with such questions as,
What would I do if I were living away from home?
How could I meet other expenses, when my clothing bill
alone exceeds my pay check?

Plans are under way to assist the girls in standardizing
their wardrobe expenditures. This will enable each one to
make suitable selections, to give her clothing proper care
and stay within her means. The girls are carrying this
information to their homes. It will be recalled that 87
per cent of the mothers" assisted in the selection of the girls'
clothing. These mothers have taken a keen interest in the
survey findings and are enthusiastic in their support of the
work being done at school.

There are many questions we, as teachers, are asking
ourselves about the wage-earning girl and her clothes. If
the survey shows that she is extravagant, is she to be
criticized? Shall we condemn a young girl for buying the
pretty clothes so alluringly displayed in the shop windows?
Is the home to blame? Has the school failed in its job?
Can the church exert a helpful influence? Have the news-
papers and magazines a responsibility in molding the
opinions and attitudes of society at large? Are conditions
really bad, or is this merely an expression of the normal
desires of youth?

We believe that other educational agencies can do for
their communities what the Milwaukee Vocational School
is attempting in gathering the facts on which to base
answers to such questions and in helping adolescents to set
intelligent standards by which to measure expenditure and
plan wardrobes.






AMONG the numerous organized efforts at better inter-
national understanding through student exchange and student
tours under the leadership of students and teachers of the
countries visited, the four journeys through Soviet Russia
planned for the summer by the National Student Federation
and the Open Road, Inc., are of special interest. The begin-
ning was made last year by a small group of students who, in
spite of the discouragement and, in some cases the active op-
position, of their teachers planned and actually put through a
tour of Soviet Russia "on their own" which did not hit the
tourist high-spots but gave them many vital contacts with the
life of the country. The tours this year, much better organ-
ized, will be received by the students of Russia. The an-
nouncement states that "the aim of the tours is to provide a
cultural opportunity for a limited number of particularly quali-
fied American students . . . with a program varied enough to
give the student a sense of the scale and multi-sided life of the
Soviet Union, and at the same time to make the experience of
the individual intense enough to have educational value."

THE United Parents Association of
Greater New York has recently published
a "catechism" which not only gives detailed
information about the organization in
brief and readable form but provides a
convenient outline guide for similar groups
in large cities. Copies may be obtained
by addressing an inquiry to the central
office, 152 West Forty-second Street, New York, N. Y.




Books in Our Alcove

Let's Cooperate but How?

THE CONSUMERS' COOPERATIVE MOVEMENT IN ILLINOIS,
by Colston B. Warm. University of Chicago Press. 420 pp. Price $3.50
postpaid of The Stiney.



THIS book, I feel safe in saying, is the most carefully
conducted and exhaustive study of cooperative societies
in one section of the country that has ever been made
in the United States and, to anyone having a spark of in-
terest in the subject, cannot help but make a real appeal.
Mr. Warne covered the state of Illinois in an old Ford car
visiting every single cooperative society as well as scores of
towns and villages where cooperative societies had previously
lived and died. The atmosphere of every chapter is the atmos-
phere of sharp industrial conflict in mining towns, at railroad
junctions or in the farming community. The value of the book
is further heightened by the fact that Illinois is the best single
state in the Union in which to make a study of cooperation.
There is no other section which has had a greater number of
cooperative experiments, nor more heart-breaking disasters,
nor closer affiliation with the labor movement, nor more brazen
attempts on the part of the promoters to build fake cooperative
movements in America.

After one chapter devoted to a study of the nature of co-
operative organization and philosophy and a second two chapters
dealing with the history and its repeated successes and failures
between the early '7o's and 1910, we come to Mr. Warne's
thrilling narrative of the birth and early childhood, adolescent
struggles for adjustment, marriage, divorce and death of the
Central States Cooperative Wholesale Society. This institution
was founded in 1918 as a strict Rochdale cooperative wholesale
society owned and controlled by independent stores and by labor
unions ; then a year later it was reorganized as a highly cen-
tralized center for a chain system of dependent stores and
financed predominantly by trade union funds and controlled by
trade union officials. Within another year goods were being
distributed to more than eighty cooperative stores, and sales
exceeded the million dollar mark. In 1921 disintegration had
set in; in 1922 propaganda had started to divorce the control
of the cooperative from labor officialdom, receivers and bank-
ruptcy courts entered the scene and in 1923 our wholesale
emerged, soiled and bedraggled, a mere shadow of its former
self, as an independent Rochdale institution once more. In 1926
its place is being effectively filled by the Central States Co-
operative League, founded on the principle that unless substan-
tial educational work has been done there is no place for a
wholesale in the cooperative movement of the state. To the
student of labor problems the most interesting part of this
is the attempt of organized labor and Rochdale cooperation
to sleep in the same bed, with many and varied nightmares.
During these five hectic years the workers of the state lost
more than $456,000 trying to educate themselves in running
a cooperative wholesale.

Hardly less interesting is the story of the National Co-
operative Wholesale Association of Chicago with branches in
other sections. These institutions were sponsored by well-
meanine labor enthusiasts who were scant in business experience
and still weaker in understanding cooperative principles. Com-
plete failure again when 7,000 members lost $115,000 within
two years. Meanwhile down in the southern part of the state,
the farmers forces were united in the Farmers Cooperative and
Educational Union of Illinois and their Farmers Union Ex-
change at East St. Louis, another valiant attempt to organize
a cooperative central organization which was planted in un-
fertile soil and withered away. Surely there is no other part
of the country where the workers and farmers have experienced
so many grim tragedies in the efforts toward cooperation.

Between 1919 and '21 Harrison Parker organized his well-
known deed of trust concern, the Cooperative Society of
America with headquarters in Chicago. Mr. Warne describes
this interesting personality:
In this capacity Mr. Parker launched organizations in a way



which is nothing short of remarkable, showing not only an im-
pelling enthusiasm and organizing ability which swept aside every
obstacle before him, but also demonstrating an uncanny ability to
play effectively upon some of the most powerful of human emo-
tions. To the public he appeared' as a trained leader, enthused
with cooperation, sincere, devoted, willing to lead workers out of
the maze of modern economic problems. His plan, he claimed,
was that of the weaven of Rochdale, adapted to American condi-
tions. Agents and members were crusaders in a just cause, willing
to be persecuted in the struggle for a changed society. Financial
difficulties were no barrier, as one organization was deftly shifted
into another, and confidence was rapidly restored. The advertising
and sales methods used have seldom been surpassed in effective-
ness. An expert legal staff was- able to forestall attacks in the
courts. A social solidarity rapidly developed and subscriptions for
more than twenty-eight million dollars poured into his hands from
over ninety thousand people. Of all the ingenious methods used,
perhaps the most effective was the selling of his own personality
to the public. In speeches and in writings which had a ring of
sincerity, he played up his humble start as a newsboy on the
streets of San Francisco, his sympathy for the oppressed millions,
his apprenticeship to "big business" to fit himself as a leader of
the workers, his willingness to champion a cause even to the point
of martyrdom, and his straight living and belief in God which
gave him strength for the combat.

IN 1918 this gentleman had already collected from workers
subscriptions of $244,000 to his National Society of Fruit-
valers and had organized fifty retail stores. When that organiza-
tion failed he started the C. S. of A. which ultimately had 178
stores in operation and capital subscribed by 92,000 members
amounting to a total of $28,332,000. About half of this was
collected in cash and since the failure of the concern Mr. and
Mrs. Parker are reported to be living on Lake Shore Drive.

There is a wealth of statistical material and community
study. Seventy-five pages are devoted to detailed studies of in-
dividual societies in relation to the social and economic back-
grounds of their communities. There are upward of sixty
statistical tables. There is a detailed study of the various
difficulties which beset local societies and the movement as a
whole in such a state as Illinois: the factional and nationality
disputes in the mining communities, the long list of financial
problems, the difficulties of finding competent managers, the
conflicts between leading personalities, the problems of un-
employment and migration as they affect the cooperative stores,
the difficulties which arise when the same people try to ad-
minister trade union locals and cooperative business, the over-



Online LibrarySurvey AssociatesThe Survey (Volume 58) → online text (page 94 of 130)