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UC-NRLF




EMO SOS



WANTED

AYOUNGWOMANTODO

HOUSEWORK



BY THE SAME AUTHOR



AUTOMOBILE FRENCH. 12MO. CLOTH.

$1.00 NET.
A new and revised edition.

All owners of automobiles and all travelers in
France will find this little handbook of much
value. Each page gives a vocabulary and a few
short sentences that are most useful to those who
are compelled to speak French.

A special feature of this book is the introduc-
tion of words and modern terms, hitherto unpub-
lished in English and French text books, relating
to the army, navy, aeroplanes, and especially to
automobiles.

MOFFAT YARD & COMPANY



WANTED

A Young Woman to Do

HOUSEWORK



BUSINESS PRINCIPLES APPLIED
TO HOUSEWORK

By
C. HELENE BARKER

Author of '"Automobile French"




NEW YORK

MOFFAT, YARD & COMPANY
1917






Copyright, 1915, by
C. HELENE BARKER
Entered at Stationers' Hall

Second Printing



W. F. BRAINARO

IOOK MANUFACTURE)!
NEW TO*K



PEEFACE

This little book is not a treatise on Domestic
Science. The vacuum cleaner and the fireless
cooker are not even mentioned. The efficient
kitchen devised in such an interesting and clever
way has no place in it. Its exclusive object is
to suggest a satisfactory and workable solution
along modern lines of how to get one's house-
work efficiently performed without doing it one's
self.

If the propositions that she advances seem at
first startling, the writer begs only for a patient
hearing, for she is convinced by strong reasons
and abundant experience, that liberty in the
household, like social and political liberty, can
never come except from obedience to just law.

C. H. B.



CONTENTS



PART I

CAUSES OF THE PRESENT UNSATISFACTORY CONDITION
OF DOMESTIC LABOR

PAGE

Ignorance and Inefficiency in the Home 1

Difficulty of Obtaining Women to Do Housework . . .11
The Disadvantages of Housework Compared with Work in

Factories, Stores, and Offices 19

PART II
BUSINESS PRINCIPLES APPLIED TO HOUSEWORK

Living Outside Place of Employment 31

Housework Limited to 8 Hours a Day 47

Housework Limited to 6 Days a Week 61

The Observance of Legal Holidays 75

tra Pay for Overtime 81

PART III
EIGHT HOUR SCHEDULES IN THE HOME

Eight Hour Schedules for One Employee 93

Eight Hour Schedules for Two Employees 109

Eight Hour Schedules for Three Employees 121



PART I

CAUSES OF THE PRESENT UNSATISFAC-
TORY CONDITION OF DOMESTIC LABOR

Ignorance and inefficiency in the home.
Difficulty of obtaining women to do housework.
The disadvantages connected with housework compared
with work in factories, stores, and offices.



IGNORANCE AND INEFFICIENCY IN
THE HOME



IGNORANCE AND INEI FICIENCY IN THE HOME

THE twentieth-century woman, in spite of her
progressive and ambitious theories about wom-
an's sphere of activity, has allowed her house-
keeping methods to remain almost stationary,
while other professions and industries have
moved forward with gigantic strides.

She does not hesitate to blazon abroad with
banners and pennants her desire to share with
man the responsibility for the administration of
the State, but she overlooks the disquieting fact
that in the management of her own household,
where her authority is absolute, she has failed to
convince the world of her power to govern. )(,
When confronted with this accusation, she as-
serts that the maintenance of a home is neither
a business nor a profession, and that in conse-
quence it ought not to be compared with them
nor be judged by the same standards.

Is it not due perhaps to this erroneous idea
1



*, I ***

* * \ .* *

rt '



HOUSEWORK



that housekeeping is a failure to-day? For the
fact that it is a failure cannot be hidden, and
that it has been a failure for many years past
is equally true. Kecent inventions, and labor
saving utensils, have greatly facilitated house-
work, yet housekeeping is still accompanied with
much dissatisfaction on the part of the employer
and the employee.

There are only a few women to-day who regard
domestic science in the light of a profession, or
a business, although in reality it is both. For
what is a profession if it be not the application
of science to life? And does not work w r hich one
follows regularly constitute a business?

Many women, however, do not regard house-
keeping even as a serious occupation, and few
have devoted as much time, thought, and energy
to mastering the principles of domestic economy
as of late years women of all classes of society
have willingly given to the study of the rules and
ever changing intricacies of auction bridge.
Some consider their time too valuable to devote
to domestic and culinary matters, and openly
boast of their ignorance. Outside engagements,



INEFFICIENCY IN THE HOME 3

pleasures, philanthropic schemes, or work, mo-
nopolize their days, and the conduct of the house
devolves upon their employees. The result is
rarely satisfactory. It is essential that the
woman who is at the head of any concern, be it a
business, a profession, or a home, should not only
thoroughly understand its every detail, but in
order to make it a success she must give it her
personal attention each day for at least a portion
of her time.

It is a popular impression that the knowledge
of good housekeeping, and of the proper care of
children, comes naturally to a woman, who,
though she had no previous training t>r prepara-
tion for these duties, suddenly finds them thrust
upon her. But how many women can really
look back with joy to the first years of their
housekeeping? Do they not remember them
more with a feeling of dismay than pleasure?
How many foolish mistakes occurred entailing
repentance and discomfort! And how many
heart-burnings were caused, and even tears shed,
because in spite of the best intentions, every-
thing seemed to go wrong? And why? Simply



4 nOUSEWOPJv

because of ignorance and inefficiency in the home,
not only of the employee, but of the employer
also.

That an employee is ignorant and unskilled
in her work is often excusable, but there is ab-
solutely no excuse for a woman who has time
and money at her command, to be ignorant of
domestic science, when of her own free will she
undertakes the responsibilities of housekeeping,

Nearly all women take interest in the furnish-
ing of their homes, and give their personal at-
tention to it with the result that as a rule they
excel in household decoration, and often produce
marvels of beauty and taste with the expendi-
ture of relatively small amounts of money.

Marketing is also very generally attended to
in person by the housewife, but she is using the
telephone more and more frequently as a sub-
stitute for a personal visit to butcher and grocer,
and this is greatly to her disadvantage. The
telephone is a very convenient instrument, espe-
cially in emergency, or for ordering things that
do not vary in price. But when prices depend
upon the fluctuations of the market, or when the



INEFFICIENCY IN THE HOME 5

articles to be purchased are of a perishable na-
ture, it must be remembered that the telephone
is also a very convenient instrument, for the mer-
chant, who is anxious to get rid of his bad stock.
The remaining branches of housekeeping ap-
parently do not interest the modern housewife.
She entrusts them very generally to her em-
ployees, upon whose skill and knowledge she
blindly relies. Unfortunately skill and knowl-
edge are very rare qualities, and if the house-
wife herself be ignorant of the proper way of
doing the work in her own home, how can she
be fitted to direct those she places in charge of
it, or to make a wise choice when she has to se-
lect a new employee? Too often she engages
women and young girls without investigating
their references of character or capability, and
Avhen time proves what an imprudent proceeding
she has been party to, she simply attributes the
consequent troubles to causes beyond her con-
trol. If the housewife were really worthy of
her name she would be able not only to pick out
better employees, but to insist upon their work
being properly done. To-day she is almost



6 HOUSEWORK

afraid to ask her cook to prepare all the dishes
for the family meals, nor does she always find
some one willing to do the family washing. She
is obliged to buy food already cooked from the
caterer or baker, because her so-called " cook "
was not accustomed to bake bread and rolls, or
to make pies and cakes, or ice cream, for previous
employers, from whom nevertheless she received
an excellent reference as cook. Of course in
cities it is easy to buy food already cooked or
canned and to send all the washing to the laun-
dry, but it helps to raise the " high cost of liv-
ing " to alarming proportions, and it also en-
courages ignorance in the most important
branches of domestic economy.

In spite of the " rush of modern life," a woman
who has a home ought to be willing to give some
part of her time to its daily supervision. Eter-
nal vigilance is the price of everything worth
having. If she gave this she would not have
so many tales of woe to relate about the laziness,
neglectfulness, and stupidity of her cook and
housemaids. There is not a single housewife to-
day who has not had many bitter experiences.



INEFFICIENCY IN THE HOME 7

One who desires information upon this subject
has only to call on the nearest friend.

To the uninterested person, to the onlooker,
the helplessness of the woman who is at the head
of the home, her inability to cope with her do-
mestic difficulties, is often comic, sometimes pa-
thetic, sometimes almost tragic. The publica-
tions of the day have caricatured the situation
until it has become an outworn jest. The pres-
ent system of housekeeping can no longer stand.
One of two things must occur. Either the house-
wife must adopt business principles in ruling
her household, or she will find before many more
Years elapse there will be no longer any woman
willing to place her neck under the domestic
yoke.

If the principles set forth in the following , }
pages can be popularized in a comprehensive plan j
of which all the parts can be thoroughly under- I
stood both by the housewife and her employee, \
ignorance and inefficiency in the home will be
presently abolished.



DIFFICULTY OF OBTAINING WOMEN
TO DO HOUSEWOKK



DIFFICULTY OF OBTAINING WOMEN TO DO
HOUSEWORK

THE present unsatisfactory condition of do-
mestic labor in private houses is not confined to
any special city or country ; it is universal. \i
Each year the difficulty of obtaining women to
do housework seems to increase and the demand
is so much greater than the supply, that ignorant
and inefficient employees are retained simply be-
cause it is impossible to find others more com-
petent to replace them.

There is hardly a home to-day where, at one
time or another, the housewife has not gone
through the unenviable experience of being finan-
cially able and perfectly willing to pay for the
services of some one to help her in her housekeep-
ing duties, and yet found it almost impossible to
get a really competent and intelligent employee.
As a rule, those who apply for positions in house-
work are grossly ignorant of the duties they pro-
fess to perform, and the well trained, clever, and

11



12 HOUSEWORK

experienced workers are sadly in the minority.

Women and young girls who face the necessity
of self support, or who wish to lead a life of in-
dependence, no longer choose housework as a
means of earning a livelihood. It is evident that
there is a reason, and a very potent one, that de-
cides them to accept any kind of employment in
preference to the work offered them in a private
home. Wages, apparently, have little to do with
their decision, nor other considerations which
must add very much to their material welfare,
such as good food in abundance, and clean, well
ventilated sleeping accommodations, for these
two important items are generally included at
present in the salaries of household employees.
Concessions, too, are frequently made, and fa-
vors bestowed upon them by many of their em-
ployers, yet few young girls, and still fewer
w r omen are content to work in private families.

It is a deplorable state of affairs, and w r omen
seem to be gradually losing their courage to
battle with this increasingly difficult question :
How to 'obtain and retain one's domestic em-
ployees?



DIFFICULTY OBTAINING WOMEN 13

The peace of the family and the joy aiid com-
fort of one's home should be a great enough in-
centive to awaken the housewife to the realiza-
tion that something must be wrong in her pres-
ent methods. It is in vain that she complains
bitterly, on all occasions, of the scarcity of good
servants, asserting that it is beyond her compre-
hension why work in factories, stores, and offices,
should be preferred to the work she offers.

Is it beyond her comprehension? Or has she
never considered in what way the work she offers
differs from the work so eagerly accepted? Does
she not realize that the present laws of labor
adopted in business are very different from those
she still enforces in her own home? Why does
she not compare housework with all other work
in which women are employed, and find out why
housework is disdained by nearly all self sup-
porting women?

Instead of doing this, she sometimes avoids the
trouble of trying to keep house with incompetent
employees by living in hotels, or non-housekeep-
ing apartments; but for the housewife who does
not possess the financial means to indulge herself



J.4 HOUSEWORK

thus, or who still prefers home life with all its
trials to hotel life, the only alternative is to sub-
mit to pay high wages for very poor work or
to do a great part of the housework herself. In
both cases the result is bad, for in neither does
the family enjoy the full benefit of home, nor is
the vexatious problem, so often designated as the
" Servant question," brought any nearer to a so-
lution.

The careful study of any form of labor invari-
ably reveals some need of amelioration, but in
none is there a more urgent need of reform than
in domestic labor in private homes.

It is more for the sake of the housewife than
for her employee that a reform is to be desired.
The latter is solving her problem by finding work
outside the home, while the former is still un-
duly harassed by household troubles. With a
few notable exceptions, only those who are un-
qualified to compete with the business woman are
left to help the householder, and the problem
confronting her to-day is not so much how to
change inefficient to efficient help, but how to
obtain any help at all.



DIFFICULTY OBTAINING WOMEN 15

The spirit of independence lias so deeply en- I
tered into the lives of women of all classes, that !
until housework be regulated in such a way as
to give to those engaged in it the same rights
and privileges as are granted to them in other
forms of labor, the best workers will naturally
seek employment elsewhere.



ler
Hy



THE DISADVANTAGES OF HOUSEWORK
COMPARED WITH WORK IN FACTO-
RIES, STORES, AND OFFICES



THE DISADVANTAGES OF HOUSEWORK COMPARED

WITH WORK IN FACTORIES, STORES, AND

OFFICES

HOUSEWORK, when carefully compared with
work performed by women in factories, stores,
and offices, shows to a remarkable degree how
many old fashioned ways of conducting her
household still cling to the modern housewife.
The methods that made housekeeping a success
in the time of our ancestors are not adapted to
the present needs of a society in which women
who earn their own living are occupying so much
more important positions than formerly. Large
stores and factories, requiring the cooperation
of many employees, have done more to open new
avenues of work for women than could have been
dreamed of in former times, when it was the cus-
tom for each family to produce at home as much
as possible, if not all, that was necessary for its
own consumption.

19



-

20 HOUSEWORK

Women, as a rule, are not taught self reliance,
and many who hesitate to leave their homes to
earn a livelihood, find that by doing work in
stores, factories, or offices, they are not utterly
separated from their families. The work may
be harder than they anticipated and the pay
small, but there is always the hope of promotion
and of a corresponding increase of wages. Busi-
ness hours are frequently long, but they are limi-
ted, and after the day's work is over, the remain-
der of the twenty-four hours is at the disposal of
the employees, who can still enjoy the happiness
and freedom associated with the life of their own
social circle. Besides they have one day out of
seven as a day of rest, and many legal holidays
come annually to relieve the overstrain.

With houseAvork it is very different. The
woman who accepts the position of a household
employee in a private home must usually make
up her mind to leave her family, to detach her-
self from all home ties, and to take up her abode
in her employer's house. It is only occasionally,
about once a week for a few hours at a time, that
she is allowed to make her escape. It is a recog-



DISADVANTAGES OF HOUSEWORK 21

nized fact that a change of environment has a
beneficial effect upon every one, but a domestic
employee must forego this daily renewal of
thought and atmosphere. Even if she does not
know that she needs it in order to keep her
mental activities alive, the result is inevitable:
to one who does nothing but the same work
from early morning until late at night and who
never comes in contact with the outside world
except four times a month, the work soon sinks
to mere drudgery.

As to promotion in housework it seems to be
almost unknown. Considering the many re-
sponsible positions waiting to be filled in private
families, nothing could be more desirable than
to instil into one's employees the ambition to
rise. An employee who has passed through all
the different branches of domestic science, from
the lowest to the highest in one family, must be
far better fitted to occupy the highest position
in that family than one who applies for the posi-
tion with the training and experience gained
only in other families where the mode of living
may be very different. Since there is no chance



22 HOUSEWORK

of promotion and in consequence of receiving
better pay, the domestic employee is often
tempted to seek higher wages elsewhere, and thus
the desire " to make a change," so disastrous to
the peace of mind of the housewife, is engendered
in her employees.

In domestic labor the hours of work are longer
than in any other form of employment, for they
are unlimited. Moreover, instead of having one
day out of seven as a day of rest, only half a
day is granted beginning usually about three
o'clock in the afternoon, or even later. And
legal holidays bring no relief, for they are prac-
tically unknown to the household employee. The
only way women engaged in housework in pri-
i vate families can obtain a real holiday is by be-
ing suddenly called away " to take care of a sick
aunt." There is an old saying containing cer-
tain words of wisdom about " all work and no
play " that perhaps explains the dullness so often
met with in domestic help.

The hardest thing to submit to, however, from
the point of view of the woman employed in
housework, is the lack of freedom outside of



DISADVANTAGES OF HOUSEWORK 23

working hours. This prevents her from taking
part in her former social life. She is not al- '
lowed to go out even for an hour or two every
day to see her relatives and friends. To ask
them to visit her in her employer's kitchen is not
a very agreeable alternative either to herself or
her employer, and even then she is obliged to be
on duty, for she must still wear her uniform and
hold herself in readiness to answer the bell un-
til the family for whom she works retires for the
night.

With such restrictions it is not surprising
that the majority of women feel that they are los-
ing " caste " if they accept positions in private ;
families. There are two more causes to which
this feeling of the loss of caste may be attributed.
One is the habit of calling household employees
by their first name or by their surname without
the prefix of " Miss " ; the other is the custom of
making them eat in their employer's kitchen.
These are minor details, perhaps, but neverthe-
less they count for much in the lives of women
who earn their own living, and anything, how-
ever small, that tends to raise one's self respect,



24 HOUSEWORK

is worthy of consideration. Perhaps, too, while
the word " servant " ( a noble word enough in its
history and its moral connotation) carries with
it a stigma, a sense of degradation, among the
working women, it should be avoided.

Briefly summed up, then, the present disad-
vantages of housework compared with work in
factories, stores, and offices, are as follows :

Enforced separation from one's family.

Loss of personal freedom.

Lack of promotion.

Unlimited hours of work.

No day of rest each week.

Non-observance of legal holidays.

Loss of caste.

In the present comparison of housework with
work in factories, stores, and offices, a recital of
the advantages of domestic service, even under
the present method of housekeeping, must not be
omitted, for such advantages are important, al-
though unfortunately they do not outweigh the
present disadvantages. *

To the woman whose home ties Tiave been dis-
^ rupted by death or discord, and to the newly ar-



DISADVANTAGES OF HOUSEWORK 25

rived immigrant especially, housework is a great
boon, inasmuch as besides good wages, all meals
and a room to sleep in are given her. More-
over housework is the only form of labor where
unskilled work can command high wages. This,
however, is much more fortunate for the em-
ployee than for her employer.

Housework in itself is certainly not worse than
any other kind of manual work in which women
are engaged; it is often more interesting and
less fatiguing. It also helps a woman more
than any other occupation to prepare herself for
her natural sphere of life: that of the home
maker. A girl who has spent several years in a
well ordered family helping to do the housework,
is far better fitted to run her own home intelli-
gently and on economic lines than a girl who has
spent the same number of years behind a counter,
or working in a factory or an office.

Again, work in a private house is infinitely
more desirable, from the point of view of the in-
fluence of one's surroundings, than daily labor
in a factory or store. The variety of domestic
duties, the freedom of moving about from one



26 HOUSEWORK

room to another, of sitting or standing to do
one's work, are much to be preferred to the work
that compels the worker to stand or sit in one
place all day long.

If it be admitted, then, that housework is in
itself a desirable and suitable occupation for
women who must earn their living by manual
labor, it can not be the work itself, but the con-
ditions surrounding it that make it so distaste-
ful to the modern working woman.



PART II

BUSINESS PRINCIPLES APPLIED TO
HOUSEWORK

Living outside place of employment.
Housework limited to eight hours a day.
Housework limited to six days a week.
The observance of legal holidays.
Extra pay for overtime.



LIVING OUTSIDE PLACE OP
EMPLOYMENT



LIVING OUTSIDE PLACE OP EMPLOYMENT

THERE are many housewives who are very
much opposed to the adoption of a plan enabling
household employees to live outside their place
of employment. They claim that it is wiser to
keep them under constant supervision day and
night in order to prevent the introduction of dis-
ease or the acquisition of bad habits.

There is more risk of disease being introduced
into the home, and of bad habits being con-
tracted by allowing one's children to associate
with other children in schools, public or private,
and by letting them play in the streets and pub-
lic parks, where they mingle with more or less
undesirable companions, than by having the
housework performed by employees who come
each day to their work and return to their homes
at night when their duties are over. Neverthe-
less no sensible parents would keep their chil-
dren shut up in the house, only allowing them
to go out of doors for a few hours once a week,

31



32 HOUSEWORK

for fear of contagion or contamination, and yet
this is just what the housewife, has been doing
for years with her household employees under the
firm impression that she was protecting them


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