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terests, of failure to find in the isolation of city life the
satisfactions for fundamental interests and desires. In short,
the city increases the opportunities for maladjustments and
at the same time destroys the inhibitions which make many
people feel that they have no right to take their own lives.

In any one community there are again variations in rates
as between classes and groups of people. In Europe and
America over a long period of time, the suicide-rate for
men has been from two to four times that for women. Thus
in 1920 in the United States registration area, there were
only 38.1 female suicides for every too male suicides. There
are three possible explanations, but which is the true one has
never been determined. Men may be subjected to more
disorganizing experiences than women ; they may break more
easily under the strain of maladjustment; or they may be
less resourceful in finding new adjustments.

There is a definite relation of suicide to age. In spite of
the scareheads which appear from time to time in news-
papers and magazines regarding child-suicide, there is little
suicide among children. The recent occurrence of several
dozen student suicides within a few months led to front-
page stories, editorials, sermons, street-corner comment and
parlor gossip with theories and explanations as numerous as
the commentators. It is probable that no one knows why
each individual boy or girl committed suicide or tha amount
of influence which the stories of the first suicides had on
succeeding ones. It seems certain, however, that the suicides
represent a temporary occurrence, in which the romantic
and sensational newspaper stories may well have played a
part through setting a pattern by which other, already
disturbed, young people found a final solution to their
problems. There seems little evidence that these suicides
represent a trend or are indicative of the general conduct
of college students.

If the term "children" be taken to include all ages up
to twenty, it is true that there are very few child-suicides
in the United States, and the suicide of a young child is so
rare as to be almost accidental. In 1920 there were eighteen


milhon children under the age of ten in the registration
states; one committed suicide during the twelve months.
This year is typical. Out of every 100,000 children between
the ages of ten and nineteen, only two committed suicide
in 1920; while between the ages of twenty and twenty-nine,
ten people out of every 100,000 committed suicide; and
between the ages of thirty and thirty-nine 14 out of every
100,000. The highest rate was found at the advanced age
of eighty to eighty-nine years, when thirty-four suicides
occurred per 100,000 people. This statement does not mean,
of course, that children and young people are never unhappy
nor maladjusted, but that, apparently, they have sufficient
resiliency and hope to struggle on. It is the older person who
admits defeat and allows his despair to rule him.

Of especial importance where cities are concerned is the
variation in suicide-rates of groups of different national and
cultural backgrounds. As a whole, immigrants in the United
States have a much higher suicide rate than native-born
Americans and a much higher rate than their countrymen
in Europe. The following figures for the United States
registration area in 1910 (the only year for which data
were available) are corroborated by more recent figures for
New York City and Chicago.


Place of Birth Suicides per 100,000

All countries
United States
All foreign countries










- '


























9 '




2 '

S '

4 '

5 1

II 'B '13 14 15 '







England and Wales





All other foreign countries



When these figures are compared with the rates for
European countries it appears that while all immigrant rates
are double or treble the European rates, the immign
groups with the highest rates come from the Europe;
countries with the highest rates, while those with low rate-
come from European countries with low rates
with them to America whatever attitudes or philosophy t
have previously acquired concerning suicide. The extreme
hieh rates in America are undoubtedly due to difficult!
of adjustment. In this connection it is important to r,
that he immigrant suicides do not often occur soon aft,
in this country, but after the as hved

orn nave 'been found to contribute to gangs, to


rtii^t5 " < c "" i ""' - **" 235)

The Common Welfare

WHEN the levee broke on May 4 at Duck-
port, opposite Vicksburg on the Louisiana
side of the Mississippi River, the American
Red Cross knew that it was in for another
big batch of refugees numbering not less
than 35,000 and not more than 50,000 persons. It knew
also, while the water was first rushing through the break,
just where was the nearest land high enough for a refugee
camp and, as to the future, it knew about when and where
the water could be expected to re-enter the Mississippi and
what effect it would have on the crucial situation down-
stream, where for many miles some of the poorest of the
levees would have to meet the incredible pressure of this
greatest of all the Mississippi floods.

All of this information comes out of the tightly-woven
relations established under the Mississippi Flood Committee
appointed by President Coolidge with Secretary Hoover
as chairman. In this particular case the information came
from the maps of the Army engineers. The forces and
equipment which word of the new crevasse instantly brought
to the threatened area, indicates the committee's widely
ranging services Red Cross workers and nurses and boats,
Coast Guard launches with their trained crews from the
waters off Maryland and New Jersey, Army engineers,
Navy aviators, doctors from the Army and the Public Health
Service, social workers from local chapters of the Red Cross.
The mobilization was as quick, intelligent and sure as the
team play of infielders when a grounder starts toward
second base.

On May i there were, in round figures, 250,000 men,
women, and children living in Red Cross camps in seven
states. And, such is the amazing sweep of this disaster,
before the new camp was started at Vicksburg and almost
a week before the crest of the flood was due at New Orleans,
the earliest camps, far upstream in Illinois, were already
being evacuated. And, such are the conflicting pluses and
minuses of the thing, it may well be that this particular
break saved a long stretch of poor levees built by counties
which have been content to take the minimum of federal
aid and thus reduce their own costs, much as some parts
of these United States have been content to take as little
as possible of the Sheppard-Towner money and gamble on
their babies' lives. So these poor farmers had gambled that
the old river would never go over its highest recorded flood
stage of the past.

This flood is the ninety-second disaster, big or little, in
which the Red Cross has had a hand usually the right
hand in twelve months. They say that the field men
have grown web-footed, and the situation at Washington
headquarters is tersely put in the answer made to a sten-
ographer applying for a job, who asked what her hours
would be: "Eight A. M. to one A. M. and Sunday too."
They are telling rare stories at headquarters in Wash-

ington of the money-raising campaign. There was the
urgent, elderly man who came in simply fired with the
thought that thousands of refugees must be scrambling
through the woods, tortured by poison ivy, to be saved
only by a lavish use from the relief fund of his sure
cure for this devastating itch. There was the fellow who
offered to give a trainload two trainloads of his very
perishable food-product on the simple condition that the
cars be covered with banners bearing his name and that of
the Red Cross and run off as a movie news reel. And there
was the community chest representative who blew in with
the challenge that in his city they raised all their money in a
single yearly campaign and on a scientific basis showing
the need; and what scientific statement of the need could
they give him before he would accept the quota allotted
his city?

The President's appeal for a second five million dollars
for the relief 'fund came out when the first five had been
passed by more than a million. The two sums, it is likely,
will do no more than meet the emergent relief expenses for
food, shelter, clothes, medicine. Rehabilitation, with a
property loss of two hundred to three hundred millions,
must await later plans.

HHHE United Parents' Association of Greater New York
J_ functions as "the connecting link between the educator,
the experimenters, the research organizations and the general
public." This means, of course, a program of parental
education, in the broadest sense of that popular term. The
year's work of the organization, as summed up by the presi-
dent, Robert E. Simon, at the recent annual business meet-
ing, is a mine of suggestions to similar groups in small
American towns as well as large cities organized to "co-
ordinate home and school." The New York association
has grown from 67 member organizations to 114 in the
past year. This means that it has enrolled about 40,000
parents of public elementary and high school children and
also of pupils in a group of famous private schools. The
membership fee is ten cents a year, which is supplemented
by contributions to meet the annual budget of $36,000.
The projects for the closing year included a study of
teachers' salaries and the support of the Rice-Dick bill
which adds $16,500,000 to the state budget for education ;
after-school athletic centers; study groups for the mental
and physical health of children ; English classes for foreign
mothers; and school lunches. A new field work division has
been created, which offers advice on new buildings, improve-
ments and educational projects. One of the primary func-
tions of the United Parents' Association is "to acquaint the


May 15, 1927


general public with the work being done by research organ-
izations." It carries the results to its membership through
i weekly bulletin, The School Parent, through public meet-
'ngs and through its study groups. Its speakers' bureau has
Hied 274 calls during the past year, on such subjects as
icalth, child training, recreation, home work, intelligence
testing and methods of teaching. One of the most interest-
ng experiments of the year was the exhibit of public school
art held at the Metropolitan Museum. This was in con-
tection with Open School Week, during which nearly half
i million parents made use of the opportunity of watching
the city's public schools in operation.


AT A TIME when organized labor is making such
/"\. notable efforts to establish sound cooperative relations
>vith management as those described elsewhere in this issue
p. 210), it seems tragic that public opinion as authorita-
ively expressed by the courts should hedge the unions about
>vith legalistic restrictions that throw them back upon the
Id brute fight for existence. In the case of the Bedford
^ut Stone Company and others, against the Journeymen
tone Cutters' Association, the United States Supreme Court
as rendered a judgment which in the dissenting opinion of
ustice Brandeis, Justice Holmes concurring, makes of "the
German Law and the Clayton Act an instrument for im-
>osing restraints upon labor which reminds of involuntary
ervitude." For many years, the plaintiffs had contracts
vith the association. In 1921, they refused to renew the
ontracts because certain rules or conditions proposed by the
ourneymen were unacceptable. Then came a strike, fol-
lowed by a lockout, during which the employers organized
"a so-called independent union." They became the "declared
enemies" of the union. "They were seeking to destroy it."
The constitution of the Stone Cutters' Association pro-
vides that "no member of this association shall cut, carve
or fit any material that has been cut by men working in
opposition to this association." In self-defense, the union
enforced this rule upon its members on building construc-
tion work throughout the country. This, the majority of
the court, relying principally on the authority of Loewe
vs. Lawlor the famous Danbury Hatters' case and
Duplex Printing Co. vs. Deering, held to be in unreasonable
restraint of interstate trade, and so enjoinable under the
Sherman and Clayton Acts. Justice Brandeis points out that
the issue in the Hatters' case was not, as here, the mere
refusal to finish a product partly made by members of an
opposing union, but the general boycott, invoking the power
of the consumer as a weapon of offensive warfare. The
question upon which the Court divided in the Duplex case
was whether the Clayton Act had forbidden federal courts
to issue an injunction in cases where a union invoked both
the boycott and the sympathetic strike to attain its ends.
"The conduct there condemned was not, as here, action taken
for self-protection against an opposing union installed by
employers to destroy the regular union with which they
long had had contracts." The Stone Cutters in this case
invoked neither the boycott nor the sympathetic strike. They

were innocent alike of trespass and of breach of contract.

hey did not picket. They refrained from violence, in-
timidation, fraud and threats. They refrained from obstruct-

1 otherw 1S e either the plaintiffs or their customers in

ttempts to secure other help. They did not plan a boycott

against any of the plaintiffs or against builders who used

the pontiffs' product. On the contrary they expressed

ntire willingness to cut and finish anywhere any stone

quarried by any of the plaintiffs, except such stone as had

been partially "cut by men working in opposition to" the


In earlier cases, the Supreme Court had so interpreted
the mind of Congress as declared in the Sherman law as
to permit "capitalists to combine in a single corporation
50 per cent of the steel industry of the United States
dominating the trade through its vast resources" ; to permit
another group of capitalists "to combine in another corpora-
tion practically the whole shoe-machinery industry of the
country, necessarily giving it a position of dominance over
shoe-manufacturing in America." Justices Brandeis and
Holmes hold that it would, indeed, be strange if Congress
had by the same act willed to deny to members of a small
craft of workingmen the right to cooperate in simply
refraining from work, when "that course was the only
means of self-protection against a combination of militant
and powerful employers."

Yet this strange construction prevailed with a majority
of the court, which has thus raised a fresh barrier in the
way of the substitution in American industry of reasoned
cooperation between management and men for the old spirit
of warfare. How can unions which are thus forced to fight
for existence be expected to develop the type of leadership
and to accumulate the resources necessary to the fulfillment
of a sustained policy of union-management cooperation?

HOW much this emerging tendency toward cooperation
is in need of public encouragement, appears from the
brave efforts of the bituminous miners and operators of
Illinois to win for it a sympathetic hearing even among their
own constituencies. Early in April, after the Miami confer-
ence between the United Mine Workers and the operators
of the Central Competitive Field had broken down be-
cause of the miners' refusal to consider the operators'
demand for a reduction of wages from the Jacksonville
scale (Survey, April 15), the Illinois operators, passing upon
an appeal for cooperation from the president of District 12
of the United Mine Workers, expressed, as an alternative
to the demand for a reduction in wages, a willingness to
meet with the miners to consider modifications in existing
working arrangements which would lower the cost of
production. As the Coal Age understands it, Illinois
producers do not insist upon a slash in the Jacksonville rates
if their competitive position can be improved by changes
in other directions. "They are interested," says the Coal
Age, "not so much in what a man may receive for his day's
toil as in what the production cost is per ton of coal."
Unfortunately, the public press seems not to have caught the



May 15, 1927

significance of this remarkable innovation in the bituminous
industry, so that the Illinois group are left to feel their
way without the support of public opinion.

The response of the Illinois operators to the invitation
of the miners' local leader would seem to demonstrate the
mistaken judgment of John Lewis, national president of
the United Mine Workers, in leaving a similar proposal
for the dying hours of the Miami conference between the
miners and the operators of the Central Competitive Field,
when no one would take him seriously. In an open letter
to the Federal Council of Churches, in comment upon a
special issue of the Information Service of the Council's
Department of Research and Education devoted to The
Bituminous Wage Controversy, Mr. Lewis insists that his
proposal was the only constructive suggestion laid before
the conference, and that "it offered a basis for effective co-
operation between employer and employe a policy that
must in the long run, be adopted in every industry." Had
such a proposal been incorporated in the Jacksonville
agreement in 1924 and had Mr. Lewis made it the basis
for his appeal to the public to interest themselves in the
affairs of the United Mine Workers, his position and that
of the miners in their present difficulties would be stronger
than it is. It is well to remember, however, that a major
cause of delay in the maturing of this newly declared policy
is that the miners like the stone cutters have had their
resources depleted by fights for existence largely occasioned
by court decisions which like the decision of the Supreme
Court cited above "remind of involutary servitude."

MARYLAND now joins the distinguished group of
advancing commonwealths which award double or
triple compensation to minors injured while illegally em-
ployed. The bill is signed and the penalty is mandatory,
thanks to the efforts of the Consumers' League and the
Maryland League of Women Voters. The group includes
Wisconsin, New Jersey, New York, and this latest new-
comer, first among southern states.

Missouri emerged at the November elections from the
mourning list of six states which had previously been shame-
lessly devoid of workmen's compensation, leaving therein
Arkansas, Florida, Mississippi, and North and South
Carolina. To achieve this emergence required three biennial
referenda, in 1922-24-26, whereby Missouri voters educated
themselves so far as to move next door, as it were, to the
four distinguished states above signaled. Unfortunately,
however, instead of providing at this hard-won victory
double compensation as a mandatory penalty for illegal em-
ployment of minors in industry, Missouri has contented her-
self with prescribing an addition for them of 50 per cent to
the usual single award.

Missouri voters by their referendum have, however, thus
taken a stand far in advance of the preposterously and
dangerously belated interpretation bestowed by their at-
torney-general last fall upon their state child labor law.
They scarcely seem to belong to the civilization represented
by the brutal levity with which their recent legislature
rejected a fairly modern child labor bill.

DISCOURAGING enough is the news from Penn-
sylvania that the legislature has failed to continue
the Children's Commission and that body therefore, deprived
of official sanction and appropriation, has ceased to be. Dur-
ing the past three years the Commission, "appointed to
study and revise the statutes of Pennsylvania relating to
children" has exemplified the patient process of fact-finding,
analysis, education, and finally legislative recommendation
which lie behind sound social evolution. Its monumental
report on the legal foundation of the courts of the state
for the handling of delinquent, dependent and neglected
children will furnish food for thought and for action for
many a year, while the coordinate studies of child dependency
and delinquency in seven Pennsylvania counties, prepared
by the executive secretary of the Commission, Neva R.
Deardorff, and published by the federal Children's Bureau,
give a cross-section of existing conditions. Had the com-
mission been continued for two years, as its members desired,
there would have been an opportunity not only to continue
these studies, but gradually to crystallize into legislation
the recommendations based upon them, as the progressive
course of popular information and opinion on such subjects
made action possible. A bill abolishing the indenture or
"binding out" of children passed the legislature, but the
other recommendations, which included measures relating
to the control of child placement, the licensing of maternity
homes, and the amendment of the juvenile court act, thus
suffer an untimely loss of their natural proprietor. How-
ever, the facts so painstakingly collected, the conditions they
depict, and the popular interest aroused by the efforts of
the Commission, still remain. If an active and able residuary
legatee can be found, the unfortunate effect of the break
may be minimized, and the work carried forward on the
foundation already laid.

"QRIGHTER aspects of this session of the Pennsylvania
\_) legislature appear in the achievement of the main ob-
jective of the Public Charities Association of that state
the unanimous passage of the bill to submit to the people
in 1928 a $50,000,000 bond issue for state institutions for
the insane, feebleminded, epileptic, and delinquent, com-
parable to the similar action taken by New York state two
years ago. The appropriation for the Mothers' Assistance
Fund also received a greatly needed increase, to $2,750,000,
authorized during the coming two years, enough, it is
estimated, practically to wipe out the present long waiting
lists of eligible applicants. Another bill of social importance
raised the minimum marriage age in the state to sixteen
years. The neighbors of Pennsylvania may find comfort
even in the demise of the Children's Commission through
the fact that Neva R. Deardorff, who has served the state
in various capacities during the past ten years as chief of
the Division of Vital Statistics of the Philadelphia Depart-
ment of Health and charities, as assistant director of the
Philadelphia Bureau of Municipal Research, as a member
of the faculty of Bryn Mawr College, and finally as exe-
cutive secretary of the Children's Commission now comes
to New York to take charge of the Research Bureau of the




Welfare Council of New York City. Miss Deardorff was
formerly an associate editor of The Survey. Robert E.
Chaddock will share in the work of the bureau as consultant.

fO the obviously crippled ranks of the lame, the blind,
i. and the deaf, patently in need of special service to help
them get work which they can do efficiently, other classes,
more recently recognized as handicapped, have been added
from time to time. The man with a damaged heart needs
help as surely as the man with a paralyzed arm, though his
difficulty is less obvious; so also the ex-tuberculous, who
must be guarded against a strain which again will break
down their resistance, and the men and women with mental
and behavior problems. Four of the large organizations
which deal with the employment of the handicapped in
New York City determined to find out where there was
overlapping, where gaps in their separate programs, and
addressed a request for a survey to the Department of In-

Online LibrarySurvey AssociatesThe Survey (Volume 58) → online text (page 46 of 130)