Frances E. (Frances Elizabeth) Willard.

Occupations for women. A book of practical suggestions, for the material advancement, the mental and physical development, and the moral and spiritual uplift of women online

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Online LibraryFrances E. (Frances Elizabeth) WillardOccupations for women. A book of practical suggestions, for the material advancement, the mental and physical development, and the moral and spiritual uplift of women → online text (page 29 of 44)
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any woman. Her lectures
before .scientific societies
in London have been
heard with extraordinary
interest. Her work sup-
plements that of Mr.
Stanley, which was purely
geographical, by giving a
side no male traveler could
have ever reached — the
customs, habits and home
life of the women and chil-
dren . Mrs. Sheldon
brought back with her an
immense variety of objects
which .she uses to illustrate
her lectures, and which
give graphic interest to
her picturesque narrative.

Along the same line of effort is the work of Marie Robinson Wright, of
Georgia and New York. She was reared in luxury with slaves at her command
to gratify every wi-sh, until .she was almost a young lady. At the age of sixteen
she married, and by the time she was twenty she was the mother of two children,
and the ravages of war had devastated the fair Georgia country so that neither



husband nor father had any property left. She had to go to doing her own work
and taking care of her own babies — a rather dismal prospect for a high-bred, high-
spirited Southern girl of twenty, was it not ? She did not dream then that some
day she would be a distinguished traveler, nor that she would be received by
foreign potentates with every mark of respect and distinction.

When she was left a widow a few years after, she found that she must do
something for the support of herself and her young children. And so it
happened that she struck out into a new path. Not all at once, however. She
went to the office of the little magazine called the Sininy South — not with poor
poems and worse stories in her pocket, but with a proposition that met the
wants of the publishers. She asked for the privileges of traveling and soliciting
subscriptions. Doubtless she would have liked to be a famous author as well as
anybody else, but she had good common sense, and she knew that the business end
of the magazine offered her a much quicker opportunity.

She was engaged at once, and for two or three years made a good living for
herself and babies, and very materially increased the circulation of the periodical.
So successful was she that a chance came from t his work to go on to the New York
World, not as a sensational reporter, nor even as editorial writer, but to travel through
the Southern cities and v/rite them up for the big city daily. This work was even
more successful, and her great feat of writing an article descriptive of the resources
and development of Mexico, for which the Mexican government paid the paper
the sum of twenty thousand dollars, is one of the most remarkable in the
annals of modern journalism. At the World's Fair in Chicago, she was again
given an opportunity to distinguish herself by getting the illustrated edition of the
Fair, again making several thousand dollars.

' ' But why should I go on making enormous sums of money for other
people?" she asked herself. "Have I not now sufficient ability and experience
to stand alone ?' '

She decided to trs', and in 1895 with her daughter, Miss Ida Dent Wright, for
her sole companion, she went again to Mexico. Secretarj^ of State Mariscal and
President Diaz were already her warm admirers, for splendid courage and
womanly independence were never more strongly combined with all femmme
graces— and to them she went with her plans. Both these executives furnished
her with letters to every governor in ^Mexico, and the President ordered, not only
a military escort wherever needed, but that special trains and steamboat facilities
should be given her throughout the country. Then she spent a year in thoroughly
inspecting and studying the country. Besides thousands of miles of railway and
steamboat traveling, Mrs. Wright and her daughter went nearly nine hundred
miles in mountain regions, on mules, attended by military escort, and penetrating
regions where none but native women have ever been seen. The result of her



experiences has been put in a large illustrated book on Mexico, which is the most
comprehensive and altogether the most beautiful book on Mexico ever written in
any language, and which was ordered in advance by Mexican officials to the
number of Sooo.

In addition to this, or as a result of her success, Mrs. Wright has been
invited to Costa Rica to prepare a similar book for the government, and later she
will make a thorough tour of South America for the same purpose.

And so tired, weary young woman, do not get discouraged no matter how
dark the outlook. The clouds may hang low at times, but they are sure to clear
away and perhaps your sun may be mounting toward a zenith of whose brightness
you little dream. Only keep up courage and determine to do your best to
develop the highest qualities of which you are capable, and you cannot fail.



HERE is one cheer)' little woman in a large city who has

started out to earn her living in a most original way — as

an entertainer of invalids and convalescents. So far as is

known, she is the only person who makes it a profession to

bring even laughter into the house. The little woman is a

brave soul who was left a widow with a son to educate, a

boy in his early teens. At the death of her husband she found herself possessed

of little else than a mortgaged home. Something had to be done, but what it

was to be was a most perplexing query.

" I tried everything I could think of," she said, "but I did not succeed in
doing anything to speak of. At last I was companion for three months to a
woman who was suffering from a severe case of nervous prostration. I kept her
mind from her troubles. It came near killing me, but she lived and the physician
said it was I who saved her. Then I happened to think it would not be a bad
plan to go into the cheering up business for a living. I made the attempt, and
have been quite successful. Most of my — what shall I call them — clients? —
simply want to talk, and they are happ3' to get a good listener. I go regularly to
see one woman who talks the entire hour on religion. Doubtless she has tired out
every one in the family, and they have little patience in hearing the same thing
over and over again. All that I find it necessary to do is to listen interestedly and
just take the opposite side once in a while to give her a bit of excitement, and
she enjoys it immensely. Sometimes I succeed in interesting her in other things,
and I consider that quite an achievement, something to be proud of.

' ' There is an elderly man whom I visit who is perfectly happy if I will only
listen while he talks politics. Now I cannot argue on politics, although I am not



absolutely ignorant on the subject, but I can listen, and I understand enough to
object occasionally to some of his views, and so keep him interested. There is
nothing like a little well-timed objection to keep a political enthusiast entertained.

" It is surprising how grateful an invalid is for any attention; they are the
easiest people in the world to entertain, anything which diverts them, and takes
their mind off themselves and their own condition makes them happ3% and it is
a delight to do this. I am happ}^ myself in the accomplishment of my endeavors.
I think one reason why I have been so successful is that I have never bothered
any of my clients b}' asking them w^hat they wanted. If there has been no one
to tell me, I have found out for m5'-self. Some want music, and for them I play
the piano and sing; others like to be read to, and to others I just talk, telling
them what is going on in the world. Of course, I have to read the papers and
keep up in current events, and that is good for me, as well as for those for whose
sake I do it. Some want me to plaj- games, others want to learn some new stitch
in embroider}', knitting or crochet, and these I have to learn in order to teach
them. So a'OU see, it is no small task to get ready to play. But the best part is
the eagerness with which my arrival is awaited. There is no familiar friend who
receives a more cordial welcome than I do. It is worth every bit of bother and
thought which you have given to getting prepared for a visit to see the glad smile
break over a listless, wearied face as the door opens to admit you to the invalid's
room. I wonder more women do not take up this plan of earning mone3^ there
is such genuine satisfaction in it."

The unexpected ways are oftenest the successful waj's, and many a woman —
yes, and man, too — owes her good fortune to an accident. Not, m}^ dear girls,
that I would have you sit around in Micawber fashion waiting for the accident to
happen, for it is only when one is active that accidents of this kind occur, but
when you are looking for one thing you ma}^ chance to stumble over another. If
you do, please regard the circumstance as of value, and do not pass it over
without taking advantage of it, for this very thing may be your opportunity which
presents itself in this unceremonious manner. Just, indeed, as it did to Mrs.
Sarah D. Kelly, of Chicago, who is making a living as a scientific packer.

" I have made a good living at this work for more than six years," said Mrs.
Kelly when asked about it. "I have managed to support and send to school
three children, besides laying up a few hundred dollars in the bank against a
rainy day. My .story does not differ much, in the main, from that of many
another woman left a widow with children to support and no money to do it
with. I looked about for work, and approached a man, whom I had known, in
the hope of getting into his office. There was no opening, and he frankly told
me there was no chance for me in the office, but he said that his wife had been
suddenly taken ill and they were to move the next week. If I would not be


insulted by the proposition, he would lie glad to have nie go to his house, take
charge of the things and see to the packing and moving. I can assure you that I
was not insulted, but glad enough of any opportunity to earn money for my
children, and I undertook the work readily. When I had finished I was pretty
sure that I had found my vocation.

' ' I had cards printed and distributed them among firms who made a specialty
of moving furniture. Then I went to some of the best real estate offices and fur-
niture houses, explained my business and asked them to speak a good word for
me when an opportunity offered. But I did not then sit down and wait for my
customers; I looked out for myself, and when I heard of a family who expected
to move I called and offered my services. Naturally, I met with rebuffs at first,
for people had never heard of such a thing, and told me so. But, fortunately for
me, there are delicate and busy women, who find it impossible to superintend the
packing and moving of their furniture and valuables. These women recognized
the convenience of my proposition and gave me work.

' ' You avsk me to tell you how I go about the packing for the average well-
to-do family. Pretty much as I do for their richer neighbors. They are expected
to find all the boxes and barrels necessary, but when I go through the house if I
find there are not enough I order what are needed. I have an index book, and
after numbering each end and all four sides of every box and barrel, I enter the
numbers in my index book, and under their respective numbers I give a complete
list of their contents. Suppose I read you the contents of a box or barrel from
this book made out for a family for whom I have just finished storing and packing
furniture. They have gone abroad for several years. Box No. 5 is on page 13,
and contains four etchings, one pair of rowlocks, a pair of skates, three games, a
box with wedgewood candlesticks, six copies of Harpef s Magazine for 1896, two
bundles of letters (H. P.), the Pathfinder , Oliver Optic series, and so on, dozens
more of miscellaneous articles. This seems a motley collection, but they fitted in,
and in that way saved space. When possible, I pack the contents of a room
together, but where they do not fit in they must go elsewhere.

" Frail objects should be packed in cotton, excelsior or wrapped in several
thicknesses of paper or cloth, then, when possible, put into pasteboard boxes and
securely tied up before packing with other articles. Pictures and engravings
should be carefully wrapped, first in soft paper, then in several folds of newspapers,
tied securely with twine and placed around the four sides of the box. The box
should then be packed as firmly as possible with miscellaneous articles, so keeping
the pictures in position, and thus insuring their safety. I omitted to say that in
placing the pictures in the boxes the glass must face the sides of the box. Books,
magazines, pamphlets, and all those things which every housekeeper has stored
away, seldom used, yet valued for various reasons and kept from year to year,


may be used as filling. By this plan everything can be securely packed, and
nothing need be left behind."

Mrs. Kelly not only gave her own story, but she kindly gave so much of her
methods that any woman who is moved by her example to undertake the work
will see the way to do it successfully. There should certainly be an opening in
every city and large town for at least one scientific packer.

Another young woman makes a good income as a teacher of athletics. During
the winters she has large classes in the various cities, confining herself chiefly to
physical culture, pure and simple. She teaches the proper use of the muscles, the
correct way of breathing, walking, running, standing, sitting, sleeping, and, in
fact, she treats every point of that important study which is so essential to the
health and development of every girl. She makes a special point of posturing,
as it applies to holding one's self well and walking correctly. There are too
many women nowadays who walk badly and sit ungracefully, and the most
sensible of them realize the importance of improving in this respect, and they
are willing to pay well to be taught.

In the summer she teaches other branches of athletics. Swimming, diving,
floating, all the fancy strokes, and turns out graceful swimmers. She takes
parties for horseback exercise, teaches cross country riding, and directs the
dressing for this exercise. She teaches tennis and golf, in short she is up on all
points of athletics which interest w^omen, and is an expert in them. She is well
bred, dresses in perfect taste, talks interestingly, and has no end of tact. All
these are necessarj' for the successful teacher in these special branches. This
special girl saj^s that there is plentj' of room for more teachers along the line which
she has chosen, and she says, still farther, that the prices obtained are preci.sely
the same as those paid to a man for the same kind of instruction.

There is a young woman in Buffalo N. Y., who has made a reputation as a
window dresser. It would seem as though the decorative taste of women might
stand many of them in stead in a vocation like this. Why have not more tried
it ? It must be a pleasant and attractiv.e mode of gaining a livelihood, and surely
the average woman has as much taste as the average man. Why not employ it
in this fa.shion ? Here is a suggestion for some girl to act upon.

An English woman has taken up the business of cleaning bicycles. She
goes from house to house, so that no one need to take the cycle to a shop for
repairs. She carries an a.ssortment of cheese-cloth cleaners of various sizes, well
permeated with oil, and bits of flannel to use in polishing. She adju.sts handle
bars, saddles, tightens nuts, pumps up and fills tires, trims and fills the lamp
and puts it securely in place, and tests everything to .see that it is firm. She is
familiar, not only with all the tools used about awheel, but with every piece which
goes into it, and its proper relation and position with regard to every other piece,




aiul iiiiderstands tin.- myslcries of gearing. She finds herself a very welcome
visitor at the houses wliicli she visits at stated intervals, for the new duty of
attending to llie wheel of her mistress does not belong to the liouseniaid, nor, in
fact, to any member of the household staff as yet.

Trimming and cleaning lamps and keeping them in order, and cleaning silver
are two branches of labor that some girls might find remunerative. Very few
servants know how to take care of the beautiful, decorative lamps which are such
an important part of furnishing now, even in houses which have gas or electric
lighting. The lamp is an ornament, and, for many purposes, its light is prefer-
able, but it is such hard work to keep it in order, complain the mistresses. Get a
dozen or more of these mistresses to let you come daily, for a small consideration,
and take care of these lamps. If 3'ou have time, you might undertake the silver
also, receiving an additional sum, of course, for the service. You need only work
during the morning hours, and you would not only solve a vexed question for the
house-mistresses, whom you assist out of a difficult}-, but you gain a nice little
income for yourself.

You may call this a chapter of hints, if 3-ou like, only some of 3'OU must find
one that is worth the taking, or all the work of dropping them will have been in
vain, and one does not like to work with no return, it is disheartening.





/}\;^;^^INCE the establishment of school kitchens in connection with
the public schools, a new field has been opened up to young
women, and it is a field that is constantly broadening and
that will continue to develop for some time to come.

And not only are public schools requiring teachers of
cooking but communities everywhere are asking for teachers
and lecturers on this subject, and ever}^ helpful, philanthropic institution into
which girls are received, are establishing classes in cooking, and naturally they
must have trained teachers.

This movement is a comparatively new one and that is the reason why there
are more openings in it than there are in many of the occupations. It is but a
few years since the first cooking schools were regularly established and it is only
about ten years since they were tried as an experiment in the public schools of
Boston, which was the first city to introduce cooking as a regular branch of public
school instruction.

And its establishment and its carrying on to success was due to one woman.
And to this woman all the women in the United States owe a debt of gratitude.
For, although Mrs. Mary Hemenway began her work in Boston, it did not end
there. Mrs. Hemenway was a New Yorker by birth, her father being one of the
.staunch men of a half century ago. In her young womanhood Miss
Tibston was wooed and won by Mr. Augustus Hemenway, of Boston, and after her
marriage she was closely identified with the city of her adoption. Mr. Hemenway
was one of tlie famous New lingland merchants and his fortune was splendid,
ranking him among the many time millionaires, and when he died, leaving the
use of the larger part of the fortune which he accumulated to his widow, he




cautioned her against so using her means as to make two persons miserable in
the endeavor to give happiness to one. He knew the generous heart she
possessed, and he knew also the evils which attended misap])lied benevolence,
and knowing both these things he gave the word of caution which proved the
wise word of direction.

During the Civil War she was an active member of the Sanitary Commission,
and her large means made it possible for her to advance the State work most
materially. Then she turned her energies to the Freedmen.

It was about this time that she became impressed with the need and value of
industrial training in connection with the public schools. She realized, with
many others who were engaged in relief work among the poor, that what was most


needed among them was a practical knowledge of the best and most economical
manner of managing with what they had to do with, and the first step to meet
this need was the attempt to establish classes of sewing in the schools.

This attempt was met with the most determined opposition on the part of
teachers and committee. One of the principals said, when he heard of the new
movement: "Sewing in school! Well, the next we know thej- will be wanting
to set up cook stoves and teach the children to broil a beefsteak."

This remark has been recalled man}^ times since it turned out to be a
prophecy. And the fulfillment was brought about by the very woman who was,


more than any other, instrumental in introducing the sewing. To prove to the
school committee that the cooking classes were quite feasible and would prove
beneficial, she equipped and carried on the first one for two years at her own
expense, and, when finally the school kitchens became a part of the school
system, she continued for a while to support the first one, so that the committee
might have the more means for establishing others, and she also opened and
sustained a Normal Cooking School to prepare the teachers for the work which
by this time was adopted by other cities.

In precisely the same way she introduced the "Ling' ' sj'stem of gymnastics into
the public schools, giving the pupils a thorough physical training under competent
teachers prepared for the purpose at the Normal School of Gymnastics, which she
instituted and maintained, and which is still supported b}- a fund which she left for
the purpose, and where hundreds of young women have been trained for teachers.

She was one of the foremost in the work of savhig the Old South Church
from its threatened destruction, using both her means and her influence for the
successful attainment of this end. It was her thought that made this historic
building the centre of practical education in our national history-, and the
inculcation of public .spirit in the young people who were to be the future citizens
of the commonwealth. This she did by the impressive celebration of national
festival days, by lectures on American histor}-, by offering prizes for essay's on
historical subjects to graduates of high schools, and by the various methods,
which as " the Old vSouth work " has not only been plainly felt in the community
already, but has been followed in other cities of the country.

And yet it must not be suppo.sed that all of Mrs. Hemenway's work has been
local: this is by no means the case. Her .sympathies were as broad as the land,
and her field of endeavor was bounded by the oceans on either .side, with a limit the
other way of the lakes and the Gulf She was American to her fingers' ends, and
had in her nature no room for mere partisanship. Whatever was for the nation's
credit and interest appealed to her. She believed that the future well being of the
nation la}- in tlie proper education of the young of all classes and conditions.
Education was the key which was to unlock many of the present national difficul-
ties, education in the right directicm, which to her meant love of country', loj'alty
to principle, the divorcing of all personal, private interest from all public questions,
and the inculcation of a spirit and habit of industry. She did not believe in a
leisure, but maintained that all should labor for the good of the whole. vShe
set the example herself, not by labor in its lower sense, the toil merely for pay,
but in the broadest meaning, the con.stant thought and work for the uplifting of all
humanity, and the amelioration of much useless bitterness and suffering.

She \N-as the firm supporter of General Armstrong in his work at Ham])ton
for the education of the Negro and Indirui. Indeed, but for her hclj) the scliool



could not have attained the position which it holds. She was an ardent member
of the Indian Association, and it was through her interest in the cause of Indian
rights that she was first attracted to the work of Mr. Frank Cushing, who was a
student of the Zuni Indians, and so enthusiastic a one that he took up his abode
among them, and won their confidence and respect while studying their history.
In consequence of her friendship for him, she established the Hemenway South-
western Archceological Expedition, and Mr. Cushing' s important contributions to-

Online LibraryFrances E. (Frances Elizabeth) WillardOccupations for women. A book of practical suggestions, for the material advancement, the mental and physical development, and the moral and spiritual uplift of women → online text (page 29 of 44)