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SAFEGUARDS FOR CITY YOUTH AT
WORK AND AT PLAY



THE MACMILLAN COMPANY

NEW YORK BOSTON CHICAGO DALLAS
ATLANTA SAN FRANCISCO

MACMILLAN & CO., LIMITED

LONDON BOMBAY CALCUTTA
MELBOURNE

THE MACMILLAN CO. OF CANADA, LTD.

TORONTO



SAFEGUARDS FOR CITY
YOUTH

AT WORK AND AT PLAY



BY
LOUISE DE KOVEN BOWEN



WITH A PREFACE
BY

JANE ADDAMS






THE MACMILLAN COMPANY
1914

All rights reserved






COPYRIGHT, igi4

BY THE MACMILLAN COMPANY
Set up and clectrotyped. Published November, 1914.



TO THE DIRECTORS,

THE SUPERINTENDENT,

THE ATTORNEY AND THE OFFICERS

OF THE JUVENILE PROTECTIVE ASSOCIATION

OF CHICAGO WHO HAVE WORKED SO
UNTIRINGLY FOR THE PROTECTION OF
YOUNG PEOPLE AND WHO HAVE SO LOYALLY
SUPPORTED EVERY EFFORT OF
THEIR PRESIDENT



341173



PREFACE

THE following pages give a graphic description of
the sordid and careless conditions under which thou-
sands of young people habitually live, and of the
valiant efforts of a small group of citizens to enlist
public agencies, state, county and city, to provide at
least a minimum of protection.

Although the observations and experiences here
recorded are confined to Chicago, the book is perhaps
chiefly valuable because of the unforgettable impres-
sion it makes upon the mind of the reader that the
huge commercial cities of our day exhibit so little con-
cern for the morale of the next generation.

This is perhaps not surprising, when we realize
that cities containing millions of people are, after all,
so new a thing upon the face of the earth that they
are not yet equipped with such fundamentals as park
spaces and efficient transportation.

Conscious of this, groups of public-spirited citizens
in Chicago and elsewhere have organized City Plan-
ning Committees to consider the development of the
modern city upon a large scale. They have become
convinced that the undirected self-interest of the in-

vii



Vlii PREFACE

dividual citizen cannot be counted upon to bring order
and beauty out of the mass of hastily planned build-
ings and haphazard streets. In the same spirit other
groups have come to feel the need of a wide-spread
agency which should survey the city as a whole in order
to study conditions as they affect the morals of the
young and to provide adequate public safeguards for
the children and youth hi Chicago they number
882,000, a huge city in themselves whose protection
has not yet been considered a matter of civic obliga-
tion.

The present disordered situation demonstrates that
adequate protection is not secured through the solic-
itude of parents, the sectional activity of educators,
the self-interest of employers nor through the profit-
seeking of pleasure purveyors. To consider moral
needs from a city wide point of view the Juvenile Pro-
tective Association was organized in Chicago. Its
prosaic beginnings are somewhat analogous to the
City Planning movement which while it does not con-
sist in the regulation of tenement houses and the pro-
visions for sanitary alleys cannot succeed in a city
where these have not been obtained nor can it spring
out of a public opinion unmindful of them. Although
Beauty expressed in architectural order, wide green
spaces and gracious water fronts was the final out-
come of the City Planning movement, the first appeal



PREFACE IX

was of necessity to the more primitive instinct of
self-preservation; the most prosaic laws regulating
the height of buildings, the abatement of the smoke
nuisance and the collection of refuse which were the
outcome of such an appeal, finally bore a distinct re-
lation to Beauty itself.

The first years of the Juvenile Protective Associa-
tion were devoted to securing that groundwork of
legal and civic protection in which American cities
are so sadly lacking, but the safeguards urged by the
author of this book bear a direct relation to the spirit-
ual powers of the future citizens of Chicago. She in-
sists that the basic safety of youthful health and
morals must be secured by the civic authorities unless
all the efforts of Education and Philanthropy, so
constantly undertaken on behalf of city youth, are to
be brought to nought. That however well-considered
these efforts, they cannot be successful with young
people who are already morally debauched.

The reader of this book will find the record of va-
rious municipal and social experiments and the sugges-
tions for many others but the author constantly insists
that their promoters have a right to pre-suppose a
well-administered system of civic protection.

She does not claim, for instance, that women police
and the careful regulation of dance halls, which she
recommends, will in themselves supply adequate



X PREFACE

pleasure for the 86,000 young people who nightly at-
tend public dances in Chicago, but she does contend
that we may thus remove the basest temptations, the
unforgivable surroundings and the most flagrant out-
rages against decency, so that the multitude of young
people innocently craving the amusement to which
their scanty years entitle them, may secure it with a
certain degree of safety.

The Association ever depending upon fresh knowl-
edge and new experience has endeavored to equip
itself with a wide and familiar acquaintance with the
young people of Chicago and their needs and to work
out methods applicable to each new situation which
confronts it.

Each phase of its activity raises anew the question :
How have we let it happen that care for the moral
safety of the oncoming generation is the latest of all
our civic undertakings? That public effort on behalf
of schools and libraries to stimulate the intelligence, on
behalf of health measures to control the diseases of
childhood, absorbed the attention and activity of the
community for so long a time before we were even
aware of youth's moral need for the most elementary
public safeguards?

The book is further valuable in that the author has
presented the significance and implications of the dis-
coveries made by the Association of which she has so



PREFACE XI

long been president, with an interpretation singularly
free from the morbid and sentimental. She gives a
sense of reality to the movement represented by such
agencies as the Juvenile Protective Association and
in a measure she prepares the temper of that public
opinion upon which the success of any movement de-
pends. For unfortunately we have no other phrase
save "public opinion" for that outlook on the world
which marks each age for what it is the summary of
its experiences, knowledge and affections in which are
found the very roots of social existence. Yet public
opinion has a curious trick of suddenly regarding as a
living moral issue, vital and unappeasable, some old
situation concerning which society has been indifferent
for many years. The newly moralized issue almost as
if by accident, suddenly takes fire and sets whole com-
munities in a blaze, lighting up human relationships
and public duty with a new meaning, in the end trans-
forming an abstract social ideal into a political demand
for new legal enactments.

When that blaze actually starts, when the theme is
heated, molten as it were with human passion and de-
sire, it is found that there are many mature men and
women of moral purpose and specialized knowledge
who have become efficient unto life. Among them are
those who have long felt a compunction in regard to
the ill-adjustment of which society has become con-



xii PREFACE

scious and are eager to contribute to the pattern of
juster human relations.

Perhaps because the Juvenile Protective Associa-
tion has embodied this new compunction in regard
to the civic protection of youth, it has been able from
the start to count upon the cooperation of public-
spirited women, when, true to its origin of a voluntary
committee supplementing the work of a public court,
it has continually induced public authorities to as-
sume new obligations.

The members of the Association, as many other
public-spirited citizens who have advocated sorely
needed social changes, who have made volunteer ex-
periments as to their practicability and who have
finally created public sentiment in their favor, know
only too well that social reforms are never embodied
in law until long after the need of them has been
universally admitted; that such laws are only enacted
years after the victims of existing conditions have
passed through great suffering and even then always
in the teeth of opposition from those who profit by the
existing status. They have learned that only political
pressure will finally set in motion the heavy machinery
through which the written statute may be changed.

The Association therefore welcomed as a reinforce-
ment to all of its aims the vote of a quarter million
women, so newly granted in Chicago, confident



PREFACE xiil

that the women's vote would hasten the day when
just dealing and "the issue of things " should go
together.

The following record of a finely sustained social
effort has been made by the president of the Associa-
tion who gave most generously of her time, money
and ability during every day for seven years. She
brought to the perplexing task a clear mind and a
spirit both ardent and generous. Every page of this
book is warmed by her personal devotion and great
concern. The studies given here of conditions, af-
fecting the development of city youth, are a distinct
contribution to that organized effort which is des-
tined to be more imperative and far reaching than
the movement for City Planning.

It is indeed the spiritual supplement of that move-
ment, without which City Planning must always re-
main meaningless and cities themselves become an
ever increasing menace to the highest hopes of civil-
ization.

JANE ADDAMS
HULL-HOUSE

CHICAGO



CONTENTS

CHAPTER PAGE

I. INTRODUCTION i

II. Civic PROTECTION IN RECREATION 12

III. LEGAL PROTECTION IN INDUSTRY 52

IV. LEGAL PROTECTION FOR DELINQUENTS 94

V. LEGAL SAFEGUARDS FOR THE DEPENDENT .... 128

VI. PROTECTION AGAINST ILLEGAL DISCRIMINATION . . 160

VII. NEED OF FURTHER PROTECTION 202

INDEX 231



SAFEGUARDS FOR CITY YOUTH AT
WORK AND AT PLAY



SAFEGUARDS FOR CITY YOUTH
CHAPTER I

INTRODUCTION

DURING the last few years, there have been great
changes all over the world among educators and
philanthropists in regard to the treatment of chil- j ,
dren. The emphasis has gradually been shifted from
punishment to prevention and from prevention to]
vital welfare. This changed attitude toward children
was slow to register itself in legal machinery, but
in 1899 the first Juvenile Court Law in the United
States was passed by the Illinois legislature and be-
came effective the first day of July in that year when
a Juvenile Court was established in Chicago. The law
provided for the organization of the Court and for
the probation system, but because it failed to provide
for the salaries of the probation officers, a few public-
spirited citizens organized a Juvenile Court Com-
mittee and for eight years paid the salaries of the
probation officers. In order to keep the children
out of the police stations, this same Committee also

i



' 'SAFEGUARDS FOR CITY YOUTH



maintained, with intermittent help from the city and
county, a detention home through which about
twenty-six hundred children passed yearly. For eight
years therefore the members of this Committee had
every opportunity to know the children who were
annually brought into the Juvenile Court of Chicago.
/^>The Committee discovered that they were all or-
dinary, everyday children, some neglected and
abused, some disorderly and unmanageable, some
runaways and vagrants, some mentally deficient and
some only mischievous. Almost all were underfed
and poorly nourished and possessed some chronic
physical defect, evinced by their pinched faces,
their stooping shoulders and narrow chests, their
weak eyes and twitching mouths.

The Committee found that these children were
taken into court for all kinds of offenses, baiting
peddlers, throwing stones, breaking windows, running
away from school, fighting, playing craps or baseball
on the street, or gathering coal as it fell from the
trains passing through the coalyards. To these coal-
yards little girls were often sent by their mothers as
late, or rather as early, as three o'clock in the morning.

Of the children brought into court for more serious
offenses, such as petty larceny, the Committee learned
that sometimes a child, having had only coffee and
bread for many days, had stolen food in order to satisfy



INTRODUCTION 3

his appetite; or a boy whose father regularly kept his
wages had revolted and taken what he considered
his own earnings; or a little girl, given only the barest
necessities of life, had pilfered the finery her heart
craved; or an adventurous youth had stolen money
from his employer in order to bet upon the races or to
invest in a get-rich-quick concern.

The Committee also learned to know the nearly
five hundred girls who were brought in each year on
the charge of immorality. Whether these girls hac^
been taken from the streets, the disreputable dance
halls or theatres, they all told the same story, that
they had been in search of amusement.

I recall a thin and wretched child, brought into the
court one day, who held in her arms what I thought
must be her doll until I saw that it was a baby, the
child's own baby. She was not quite fourteen years
old and she had forgotten even the name of the father
of her child.

Sometimes the souls of the Committee were tried
with the senseless complaints brought against inno-
cent children; one woman had a boy arrested be-
cause he persistently climbed upon her piazza and
made faces at her, although upon inquiry it developed
that the first time he had climbed upon her porch to
get a ball which he had inadvertently tossed there,
she had thrown hot water upon him; another woman



4 SAFEGUARDS FOR CITY YOUTH

who kept chickens had a small boy arrested be-
cause every time he met her on the street he would
flap his arms and crow like a rooster, which hurt her
feelings.

The members of the Juvenile Court Comimttee
gradually discovered that the city was full of dan-
gerous spots for children. The disreputable dance
halls, poolrooms and saloons never closed their doors.
They were always open and the children were always
tempted. The demand for amusement was insistent,
the supply of facilities for innocent recreation was
inadequate, and so year after year the same thing
took place and a straggling procession of children,
living under the same conditions, exposed to the same
temptations, wended its way in and out of the Court.
The Committee gradually awakened to the fact that
although public-spirited citizens had been instru-
mental in the past in establishing institutions for the
care of delinquent children and in studying the proc-
esses by which criminals are punished, they had paid
much less attention to the processes by which crim-
inals are produced. kThey had been trying to sweep ,
back a river of crime, but they had done very little to /
build the preventive dams across the tiny streams
which continually swelled the volume of that river,
much less had they been concerned to purify the
fountain heads from which the streams arose, i



INTRODUCTION 5

When in 1907 the Committee secured the legislation
which placed probation officers on the pay roll of the
county and when the Juvenile Court was housed in
a new building which contained also the detention
home, the members of the Committee were ready to
organize themselves into an Association which should
make a determined attempt to minimize the wretched
conditions which constantly demoralized children.
Thoroughly convinced by their experience that there
are certain environments which the normal child can-
not withstand and to which society has obviously no
right to expose him, they organized a Juvenile Pro-
tective Association, although at that moment they
scarcely knew where the work of protection should
begin. They only felt thai something must be done
to build a fence at the top of the cliff in order to cheat
the ambulance, symbolized by the Juvenile Court,
waiting at the bottom of the precipice to rescue the
^childish victims.) The Committee was -determined
/ to reduce the number of children who day after day
and year after year were being brought into the
Juvenile Court. The Association stated in one of
its earliest publications: "Each year between 3,000
and 4,000 children pass through the Juvenile Court of
this city and about 1 1 ,000 other young persons between
the ages of sixteen and twenty pass through the other
*art$. Afl ftust art smcwtdtil tkt fclfcwiif ytai by



6 SAFEGUARDS FOR CITY YOUTH

another 15,000 children inheriting the same tenden-
cies, exposed to the same temptations, surrounded by
the same dreary environment, often physically and
mentally enfeebled by neglect.
^ " One fact is well established, a large proportion of
these children are innocent victims of vicious and un-
lawful neighborhood influences. Progress demands
that the procession of 15,000 children which moves
yearly through our courts, be shortened. This Asso-
ciation wants to get at the child before he goes down,
to remove temptations, to better conditions in his
neighborhood, to keep him from committing the mis-
demeanors and crimes that take him into the courts
to use formative rather than reformative measures."

It was obviously necessary to divide the city into
districts and gradually fourteen of these were organ-
ized. In each one a paid officer was placed whose
first duty it was to prevent can-rushing and cocaine
selling, to keep the children out of disreputable dance
halls, questionable ice cream parlors, candy stores
and photograph galleries, and to try in every way to
protect and safeguard them.

In each one of these districts there was also a local
league of interested citizens, whose duty it was to
know their own neighborhoods; to know how many
saloon keepers or tobacconists were selling liquor or
tobacco to young boys, how many poolroom keepers



INTRODUCTION 7

were harboring minors, how many disreputable
houses were enticing young girls and how many im-
properly conducted dance halls there were in their
ieighborhoods. It was also the business of these
citizens to know how many vacant lots might be
turned into gardens or playgrounds, how many
churches have rooms that might be opened for reading
rooms or for recreational purposes, and how many
schools might be used as social centres*

Each League developed methods fitted to its own
neighborhood. For example, in one district there were
a large number of factories. It was found that the
girl employees had no place to go to luncheon except
a saloon where, in order to get something to eat, they
were obliged to take something to drink. In that dis-
trict the League opened a rest and lunch room for
factory girls.

In another district it was found that there were
several notorious gangs of boys, one of which had its
headquarters in the vaults of an old, disused brewery,
where the boys kept their booty and from tune to
time added to it through successful "hold-ups." A
very young man was put on as an officer in that dis-
trict. He obtained the confidence of one of the gangs
and, becoming very friendly with them, he finally in-
duced them to visit the small park of the district
where he organized them into teams and put them



8 SAFEGUARDS FOR CITY YOUTH

into athletic competitions, pitting them against each
other. In another district where several young girls
were assaulted upon the street at night, it was found
that restaurants, bakeries and all-night lunch rooms
were in the habit of giving away broken scraps of food
between the hours of two and four in the morning and
needy families were sending their children for this
food. An officer from the League visited 148 of these
places and secured from the proprietors a promise
that they would change the hour of distribution to
seven in the morning. An investigation made three
or four months later showed that 147 out of the 148
proprietors had kept their promises.

The Association receives every year about 6000
complaints in regard to children. Some of these
complaints are in the form of anonymous letters call-
ing the attention of the Association to conditions
which are demoralizing children, or to children who
are going wrong because of some vicious environ-
ment, and it is from these cases that the Associa-
tion learns in what part of the city their activity
should be immediately applied. Their seven years
of experience have made it increasingly clear that it
is impossible to obtain any proper standards of public
morals unless there are well-considered legal provi-
sions. It is of course obvious that in many instances
the laws designed to safeguard young people are



INTRODUCTION g

ft tally inadequate. They are often wretchedly en-

rced and even designedly ignored by the very offi-
cials responsible for them. In spite of this, however,
the members of the Association have become con-
vinced that the modern city must not only continue
to enact laws to control and to regulate certain public
social and industrial activities, but that trained
and disinterested officials must be secured for their
enforcement.

Sometimes the dangers to which young people were
carelessly subjected were obvious, and again they were
only revealed as the results of careful investigation.

In seven years' experience as President of the
Juvenile Protective Association, I have been almost
equally impressed by the increasing bulk of its activ-
ity and its constantly varied character. During this
time, new causes for delinquency have been contin-
ually disclosed, as have unsuspected methods used by
depraved women and dissolute men to decoy youth to
its undoing.

When at the Board Meetings of the Association a
report has been given of so-called "house parties",
arranged for the purpose of entangling boys and girls
in evil relations, although the guests might have ac-
cepted the invitations quite innocently and even with
the permission of their unsuspecting parents, or when
a report was given of little girls who were decoyed into



10 SAFEGUARDS FOR CITY YOUTH

a photograph gallery in which the Association after-
ward discovered and destroyed forty thousand inde-
cent pictures, the members of the Board in all humil-
ity have often confessed to one another their chagrin
that well-meaning adults like themselves should have
remained ignorant of such conditions, allowing im-
mature young people to struggle with them as best
they might. Whenever the Association has had cause
to suspect wide-spread conditions which made for
juvenile delinquency, an investigation has been made
with the double view of securing publicity and of sug-
gesting remedies. Often only a more vigorous en-
forcement of existing laws was needed; in many other
cases the enactment of new laws was recommended
and in time secured. After the investigators had sub-
mitted their material to the superintendent of the
Association, it was put into pamphlet form under the
direction of a small committee from the Board of
Directors. As President of the Association, much ab-
sorbed in its ever widening usefulness, I have myself
with a few exceptions written the text of these various
investigations. In presenting them to the public in
the form of a book, I am not only assembling the
material written during the last few years, but I have
endeavored to show how one sincere effort of the
Association inevitably merged into another. I ven-
ture to hope that the book may present to the reader



INTRODUCTION



II



not only the information acquired through careful in-
vestigators but will make clear that the knowledge
thus secured inevitably became the driving force for
serious moral effort to the end that the untoward con-
ditions of city life might be ameliorated.

While these undertakings of the Association have
been classified into chapters on the basis of underly-
ing trends, in the main a chronological order of our
experiences has been followed.

It is inevitable that in such elusive and difficult
undertakings, the results should often have been baf-
fling and disappointing, but it is hoped that a sincere
recital of the work of a pioneer organization during
the first seven years of its existence may be of value
to the many Juvenile Protective Associations which
have been founded during the past few years in va-
rious parts of the United States and whose very exist-


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Online LibraryLouise de Koven BowenSafeguards for city youth at work and at play → online text (page 1 of 15)