Charles Richmond Henderson.

Modern methods of charity; an account of the systems of relief, public and private, in the principal countries having modern methods online

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coordination and cooperation between public and private relief
agencies and among private forces. The results were then con-
sidered demoralizing. A central clearing house was proposed
with the same field officers. The government did little more than
codify existing laws up to 1891. While there is a tacit coopera-
tion of agencies, there is evidently no legal basis for it.


Contributions to this chapter :

Causes and conditions of social need, Professor C. J. Bushnell, Ph. D

Extent and conditions of public relief, Ibid.

Laws and methods of public relief, Ibid.

Charity work of women, Florence Ashcraft, A. B.

Care of Children, Ibid.

Salvation Army and Volunteers of America, F. G. Cressey, Ph. D.

The remainder by C. R. Henderson.


Publicity is the first law of social life. The best corrective
of social evils is not official coercion nor even private liberality,
but first a fair public knowledge of social conditions. Few
persons have any adequate idea of the magnitude of the poor-
relief problem in such modern countries as the United States.
The well-to-do and intelligent too often tend to bury themselves
in their own private afifairs and to think of the world at large
as mainly composed of those similarly favored. The poor and
unenlightened are even more limited in their outlook and in their
understanding of the burdens of the world.
Causes and Conditions of Social Need.

I. Wages and Cost of Living. — Any careful study of wages and
of the cost of living among manual laborers in this country,
although such conditions compare favorably with similar ones
elsewhere, is not wholly reassuring. Professor Mayo-Smith in
his work on "Statistics and Economics" shows that in 1890 an
income of $520 a year was necessary to sustain the average work-
ing class family unless such important articles as beef and milk
were dropped from the diet. A comparison of the average per-
centage of increase of money wages of skilled workmen^ with the

^This is shown by the United States Labor Bulletin of July i, 1900, and other




cost of living of typical laboring communities^ — particularly in
Chicago — would indicate that real wages of unskilled workmen
in the United States in recent years have indeed maintained a
very precarious standing. Official reports in recent years show
that in many parts of the country incomes of working class fami-
lies have been very considerably below $520 a year, — being for
miners $285- and even $232^, for slaughter-house employes from
an average of $347.36 for unskilled labor to an average of $512.47
for skilled labor*, and for skilled mill hands $350, for unskilled
$180.^ The report of the Bureau of Labor Statistics of Ohio for
1898 says : "The average daily wages during one hundred and
fifty days' work was $1.27. The average yearly wages amounted
to $192, as against $221.56 in 1896." And it should be remem-
bered in this connection that the Massachusetts Bureau of Labor
Statistics in its report for 1896 showed that the average Massa-
chusetts workingman was unable to support the average work-
ingman's family.®

Standard of Living of a Dependent Family in Chicago, IQ04. —
"According to nationality and other complicating causes the esti-
mates generally ran from 75 cents to $1.25 per week per person
in an ordinary family, exclusive of rent, the lower range being for
those nationalities which were the most economical in the matter
of food." If the earned income is less than $1 a week per person
the family must suffer hunger and enfeeblement or receive chari-
table relief.'^

reports to have been, between the years 1895 and 1900, for a large number of
important industries 6.8 per cent.

^ As estimated upon the basis of the Seventh Annual Report of the Depart-
ment of Labor, page 864, and Bulletin No. 55, United States Dept. of Agriculture,
Office of Experimental Stations, this increase appears to have been 10.66 per
cent, for articles constituting 76.5 per cent, of a laboring family's total expenses
between the years 1897 and 1900.

^ C. B. Spahr, "Outlook," Sept. 29, 1900.

'Illinois State Bureau of Labor Report for 1900, with deduction for days un-
employed according to the statement of the miners' union.

* C. J. Bushnell, American Journal of Sociology, Vol. 7, No. 4, page 458.

"The Twelfth Annual Report of North Carolina Dept. of Labor.

' See details in Special Report, 12th Census of United States, Employees and
Wages, 1903.

'Co-operation, March 26, 1904, p. 97. Cf. P. Roberts, Anthracite Coal Com-


2. Lack of Employment. — One of the most serious causes of
this poverty is the involuntary idleness into which many thou-
sands of honest and capable workmen are annually forced, owing
to the present widespread unconsciousness of the conditions of
demand and supply and to the frequently unintelligent, hostile
organization of industry. In 1885 the Massachusetts Bureau of
Labor Statistics showed that in that year 26.6 per cent, of all
the persons engaged in gainful occupations in the State were
unemployed at their principal occupation 4.1 1 months. Accord-
ing to the United States Census of 1890 the total number of per-
sons who were unemployed at their principal occupations during
any portion of the census year was 15.3 per cent., or 3,523,730
of the total number engaged in gainful occupations in 1890. In
1893 and 1894 Bradstreet's Commercial Agency estimated the
number of unemployed in thirty-eight leading cities of the United
States at 581,950. The New York Labor Bulletins show by
quarterly reports that unemployment among the trades unions
of that State (and therefore among the more skilled workmen)
ranged from 1897 to 1900 usually at not less than 10 per cent.,
and sometimes at nearly 30 per cent, of the membership of the
unions reporting.

3. Employment of Women and Children in Industry. — Another
serious cause of poverty, at once a sign of progress and an at-
tendant of social evils, is the increasing employment of women
and perhaps of children in public occupations, resulting in re-
duction of the scales of wages in those industries.^ For every
woman clerk employed in the United States in 1870 there were
in 1890 170. The United States census report of the employ-
ment of women and children seems to be defective,^ but correct-
ing the figures given, in accordance with Pennsylvania and Mas-
sachusetts factory inspectors' reports it would seem that in 1870
13.19 per cent, of all children in the United States ten to sixteen

munities, wages of miners in Pennsylvania. On pp. 264-265 the distress arising
from accidents.

^ Saleswomen in our large department stores earn as a rule less than $5 a
week, which they arc expected to supplement as best, or as worst, they can. Cf.
Miss A. M. MacLean, American Journal of Sociology, 1899, May, page 721

* Cf. H. L. Bliss, American Journal of Sociology, 1897, page 3C6.


years of age were at work. In 1880, 16.82 per cent., and in 1890,
21.62 per cent, ten to seventeen years of age were at work. The
Illinois Bureau of Labor Statistics report for 1899 shows that the
number of children under sixteen at work increased in one year
from 11,845 to 13,646, — a more rapid increase than that of the
adults employed. The percentage of women to the total number
of employes also increased in one year from 18.2 per cent, to
18.3 per cent.

4. Sanitary and Social Conditions of Labor in Communities. —
One of the greatest if not the greatest cause of all poverty, crime
and dependence is the condition of home and neighborhood sur-
roundings in which we find large numbers of the laboring popu-
lation, especially in the great cities. The sickening squalor, ill
health, and degradation of these slum districts of the cities are
often due to the brutal cupidity of landlords who keep their tene-
ments crowded to suffocation by ignorant and infected humanity
who pay the most remunerative rent returns for their miserable
accommodations.^ In Baltimore the slums contained in a recent
year 18,048 individuals living in 15,195 rooms, an average of 1.19
persons to a room, and of 3.7 rooms to a family. Chicago shows
an average of 1.35 persons to a room in similar districts. New
York 1.38 persons, Philadelphia 1.47^ persons. The Eleventh
Census of the United States indicates that the number of persons
to a room in the slums of the large cities is usually almost double
the number for the city as a whole. Chicago had 15.51 persons
to a dwelling in the slums, and New York 36.79 persons. Rates
of rent for these miserable quarters are, in New York slums, for
families occupying five rooms, an average monthly rental of
$21.39, four rooms $15.38, three rooms $11.12, two rooms $7.86,
one room $5.04 per month. Although the rates are lower in some
Western cities they are frightfully severe, requiring, as we have
noticed, as high as one-third of the income of the tenants. Nor is
the element of expense the worst evil connected with this con-
dition, for as the Tenement Commission says, "It results in keep-

' It is not very uncommon in the larger cities for these slum tenements to
return an annual rental of from twenty to twenty-five per cent of the total valua-
tion of the property, at the expense of frequently one-third of the tenant's income.

' Cf. The National Bureau of Labor Reports on the slums of great cities, and
the Massachusetts Bureau of Labor Report for 1892 on the tenements of Boston.



ing children up and out of doors until midnight in warm weather
because the rooms are almost unendurable ; making cleanliness
of house and street difficult ; filling the air with unwholesome
emanations and foul odors of every kind; producing a condition
of nervous tension ; interfering with separateness and sacredness
of home life ; leading to promiscuous mixing of all ages and sexes
in a single room ; thus breaking down the barriers of modesty,
and conducive to the corruption of the young and occasionally
to revolting crimes." The result is a frightful death rate and an
altogether inhuman life.

5. Relation of Factory Industry to Poverty. — ^\Vhy, it may be
asked, do people persist in living in such districts? The answer
is, chiefly because they have to live near their work in the fac-
tories. A careful study of these districts in any of our great
cities will show an intimate relation between them and the local
factories. Not that the factories are primarily or chiefly to blame
for these conditions, but the rapid, unregulated, and intensely
competitive development of modern industry has certainly neg-
lected if it has not aggravated the evils of the average working-
man's home and neighborhood surroundings. A recent study
of the stockyard district of Chicago in comparison with the ad-
joining wealthy district of Hyde Park shows a striking contrast
between the conditions of life in the factory district and those in
the well-to-do resident district.^ Regarding mortality condi-
tions, the study shows that the average death rates for the two
districts during the seven years from 1894 to 1900 are for all
deaths per thousand of the population in the Hyde Park district
10.65, i" the stockyard districts 14.21, and for children under five,
per thousand children of the population under six, in the Hyde
Park district 25.7 and in the stockyard district 38.7. This situa-
tion is typical for conditions in a large number of American cities.
The ratio of the population in these two districts is as about one
to two; the number of families in economic distress, however,
registered in the Bureau of Associated Charities during 1897, ^vas
for Hyde Park 98, for the Stockyards 1,726. In 1900 the figures
were 106 to 1,433. T'^^ figures for the average monthly rent per
family in 1900 would be about $25 for Hyde Park, as against $10
for the Stockyards, while the probable average income per

^American Journal of Sociology, Vol. 7, No. 3, page 289, ff.


family for the same year would be $2,500 in Hyde Park, as against
$500 at the Yards. In the former district 123/2 per cent, of pri-
mary and grammar grade pupils of the public schools in 1900
were in the first grade, and 8.3 per cent, were in the eighth grade,
whereas in the Stockyard district 17.9 per cent, were in the first
grade and only 3.6 per cent, in the eighth grade, showing the large
proportion in the latter district who leave school through lack
of ambition and the necessity of beginning the struggle for a
livelihood at an early age. The total number of arrests regis-
tered in the police stations in Hyde Park was in 1890, 1,440, and
in 1900, 845, while in the Stockyard district the numbers for cor-
responding years were respectively 6,160 and 5,084. The number
of saloons in 1900 in Hyde Park was 20, in the Stockyard district
500, while the proportion of the total population in the churches
in 1900 was for the Hyde Park district 23.9 per cent., and for the
Stockyard district 14.35 P^^ cent., the Catholics being much
stronger in the latter, the Protestants in the former.

The more individual and personal causes of poverty, namely,
ignorance, shiftlessness, intemperance, premature marriages, the
habits of gambling and borrowing are to be found not alone in
any one class of the community, but infect the whole social body,
deadening that spirit of devotion to social tasks by which alone
men become strong.
Extent and Conditions of Public Relief

Such are some of the facts which indicate the conditions of
social need. And how have we struggled to relieve this need?
Fairly accurate reports from seven or eight of the chief States
of the Union indicate a burden of public need and of public ex-
pense for charitable relief and correction which few persons unin-
formed of the facts realize or dream. The States of Alassa-
chusetts, Connecticut, New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan,
Wisconsin, and California, have been selected, both because they
may be considered representative of the public relief of the nation
as a whole, and because the charity and correction reports of
the great majority of the States, and even of the National Govern-
ment itself are exceedingly fragmentary and inadequate.

The twenty-fourth annual report of the State Board of
Charities of Massachusetts for 1902, together with the report
of the Board of Prison Commissioners for the same year^



and of the State Board of Insanity for 1901 show that in
that State there were in one year, in all public relief and
correctional institutions^ and under agencies for dealing with
vagrants and other public dependents, 112,779 persons, and that
there were in 1902 in 365 out of a total of 443 private charitable
institutions in the State, 302,951 persons wholly or partly sup-
ported by charity (235,180 were relieved and maintained free of
charge), making a total of 415,730 dependents, delinquents and
defectives in the State for one year.^ The public expense of
maintenance was $5,094,651.86. The private expense for the 365
private institutions reported was $6,611,314.17, making a total
expense of maintenance of $12,121,696.03. At 5 per cent, interest
this would involve a capital of $242,433,920.60. (The total
value of investments reported by the private institutions
alone was $22,392,937.95.) The total value of the property
involved as reported by the private institutions was $16,161,-
965.57, and of property, as estimated, for the public institu-
tions was about $30,000,000, making a total of property in the
State involved in the care of the delinquent, dependent, and
defective classes of $46,161,965.57. Interest upon this property
invested at 5 per cent, would be $2,308,097.27, or a total burden,
including expense of maintenance and interest upon property,
of $14,429,793.30 annually — an average of $23.51 for every family
in the State. These figures may mean more to us when we con-
sider them in connection with the figures of the United States
census of 1900 respecting expenses and values of property in
other departments of life. Comparing in this way we find that
the total expenses of the charitable and correctional work of the
State exceeds every year by nearly a million dollars the total
current expenses for all the public schools of all the cities of
more than 8,000 inhabitants in the State. We find that one-
seventh of the population is abnormally dependent upon the sup-
port of producers, and that the capital involved is more than one-

^ Correctional institutions usually contain perhaps i-6 to 1-4 of all State
abnormal dependents.

* As some of these may be and doubtless are repeaters applying to and re-
ported from more than one institution more than once, the actual number of
different dependents may be considerably less, and is so estimated for other States


third that invested in all the manufacturing establishments of
this famous manufacturing State, and five times the value of all
property used for all the city schools of the State. The aggre-
gate public relief expense for the cities and towns alone for the
last twenty years has been $44,140,636.00. The yearly average
number of cases of dependence has been 27,314. The net aggre-
gate expense to the cities and towns has been in the same period
$40,411,248, an average annual cost of $2,020,562. The average
annual number of cases of vagrancy for this period was more than
170,000, at an aggregate expense of more than $638,000 — nearly
$32,000 annually. In the one year ending September 30, 1902,
there was a total of more than 25,000 prisoners committed under
sentence, and nearly 96,000 arrests — 58,000 of which were for
drunkenness alone.

From the reports of the Board of Charities of Connecticut for
1901 and 1902 and a special report from the secretary of the board
it appears that there were in the State in that year 69,932 de-
pendents, delinquents, and defectives aided or maintained at a
public expense of $2,006,537. Judging from the Massachusetts
and other reports one may safely place the private dependents
at 30,000, making a total for the State of nearly 100,000^ at a
total cost of about $4,000,000, which would be equivalent to a
total burden of more than $5,000,000, or nearly $28 per family
annually. This means that more capital is involved in the support
of these abnormally dependent classes in the State than the total
value of all the farm property in the State, at more than twice the
annual current expense of the public schools of all the cities of the
State, and that at nearly one-ninth the population of the State is
thus abnormally dependent.

From a special report and the Annual Report of the State
Board of Charities of the State of New York for 1902 it is offi-
cially stated that there were in that State during the year 110,000
persons under public relief and correction at a public expense
of $16,000,000. The number reported in the private institutions
of relief alone was about 10,000, exclusive of tramps and vagrants,
which if included with unreported work of churches and similar
organizations would probably swell the total to 160,000, at a total
annual expense of $25,000,000, involving upon a 5 per cent, basis

* Including 22,089 vagrants reported.


a capital of $500,000,000. The value of public and private prop-
erty reported as invested in these institutions of relief and cor-
rection was $100,000,000, making a total capital involved of $600,-
000,000, and a total annual burden of expense to the State of
$30,000,000, or $18 per year for each family. These are large
figures, especially when we consider that the current expense for
these purposes is more than $4,000,000 greater than that for all
the city schools in the State ; and that the capital involved is
nearly three times the value of all the farm products of the State,
and more than one-third of all the capital invested in manufac-
tures in the State.

In Pennsylvania, according to the report of the Board of
Public Charities and Commission on Lunacy for the year end-
ing September 30, 1901, there were in the State in that year in
receipt of public relief and under correction, exclusive of vagrants,
90,401, at a public cost to the State of $15,398,630.61. This would
mean probably a total number in public and private support of
at least 110,000 at a total expense of about $26,000,000 and involv-
ing a capital of more than $500,000,000, or more than half of
the value of all the farming property of the State, one-third of
all manufacturing capital, and fifteen times the value of the public
property invested in the public schools. The cost per family for
the State would be in the neighborhood of $20 a year, or three
times that expended for the schools of all the cities.

The twenty-sixth annual report of the Ohio State Board of
Charities for the year ending November 15, 1901, gives a total
of 169,560 public charges for the year at a public expense of
$5,034,886. This would indicate, as estimated in the same man-
ner as for the above State, a total of abnormal dependents in the
State of about one-twentieth of the population, and the use of a
capital equal to that of the value of all the farm products of the
State and to one-third the value of all the capital employed in
manufacturing in the State — an annual burden per family of
about $12, more than twice that expended for all city public

In the State of Michigan the reports of the Superintendents
of Poor for 1901 and of the State institutions for 1902 indicate
that approximately 68,000 persons are dependent for public relief
and maintenance on the State. For these in 1901 the Board of


Charities approved an expenditure (for 2 years) of $1,698,250.39
(omitting the expense for jails, hospitals, vagrants, and other
such items). This would in all probability place the total num-
ber of abnormal dependents in the State at near 100,000.

The fifth biennial report of the State Board of Control of
Wisconsin for the year ending September 30,1900, seems to indi-
cate a more cheerful condition of affairs for that State. This
may, indeed, be due partly to an incomplete development of
charitable and correctional organizations in the State, partly to
an incompleteness of records and reports, and partly, perhaps,
to the smallness of public want and criminality in the State due
to efficiency of administration and methods of relief and to fav-
orable conditions of age and economic position in a young State
far from the ports where defective immigrants are crowded
together. The figures are : 9,285 persons receiving public
relief and correction in the State, at an expense for the year of
$598,566.24. This would mean probably 14,000 to 15,000 ab-
normal dependents at an annual expense of over a million dollars,
and a burden per family of, perhaps, $3 or $4 annually.

In the State of California the only available source of infor-
mation was the report of the State Comptroller for 1899 and 1900,
which gives the total public expense of the State institutions of
charity and correction for the year as $2,667,057.41, which would
be equivalent in all probability to a total burden for abnormal
dependents in the State of at least $10 per family annually, twice
what is contributed to the current expenses of all the public
schools of the cities of the State,

The total reported public expenses for the maintenance of the
dependent, delinquent, and defective classes (chiefly in State
institutions) in these eight States alone as discussed above was
thus, for one year $48,135,392.51. For seven of these States (ex-
cluding California) the total number of abnormal public depend-
ents was 609,895, or one forty-second of the total population
of these States. The population of these States was about one-
third of the country as a whole. If the same proportion of public
dependents were maintained for the other States of the Union,
the total number in the country would be more than 1,800,000,
in receipt of public relief. But in all probability the proportion
of dependents is not high in other States. Judging from this



showing, however, the total number of pubhc and private abnor-
mal dependents in the United States must be not far from 3,000,-
000, or one twenty-fifth of the total population of the country,
at an annual expense of nearly $200,000,000, or one-tenth of the

Online LibraryCharles Richmond HendersonModern methods of charity; an account of the systems of relief, public and private, in the principal countries having modern methods → online text (page 40 of 73)