Thomas A. Smith.

Twelfth Annual Report of the Bureau of Statistics and Information of Maryland. 1903. Thomas A. Smith, Chief. (Volume 1904) online

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title "Public Education," by adding fifteen sections under the new
sub-title "School Attendance," to follow Section 123, and to be
numbered as Sections 124, 125, 126, 127, 128, 129, 130, 131, 132,
133, 134, 135, 136, 137, 138, respectively.

Section i. Be it enacted by the General Assembly of Maryland,
That the following sections be and they are hereby added to Article
77 of the Code of Public General Laws, title "Public Education,"
under the sub-title "School Attendance," to follow Section 123, and to
be numbered and designated as 124, 125, 126, 127, 128, 129, 130, 131,
132, 133, 134, 13s, 136, 137, 138, respectively.


Sec. 124. Every child between eight and twelve year.s of age .shall
attend some day school regularly as defined in Section 131 of this sub-
title during the entire period of each year the public day .schools in the
city or county in which such child resides are in session unless it can
be shown that the child is elsewhere receiving regularly thorough
instructions during said period in the studies usually taught in the
said public schools to children of the same age; provided, that the
superintendent or principal of any school, or person or persons duly
authorized by such superintendent or principal, may excuse cases of
necessary absence among its enrolled pupils; and, provided, further,
that the provisions of this section shall not apply to a child whose
mental or physical condition is such as to render its instruction, as
above described, inexpedient or impracticable. Every person having
under his control a child between eight and twelve years of age shall
cause such child to attend school or receive instruction as required by
this section. Children over twelve years of age and under the age
of sixteen years, and every person having under his control such a child
shall be subject to the requirements of this section, unless .such chil-
dren are regularly and lawfully employed to labor at home or else-

Sec. 125. Any person who has a child under his control and who
fails to comply with any of the provisions of the preceding section
shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor, and be fined not exceeding
five dollars for each offence.

Sec. 126. Any person who induces or attempts to induce any child
to absent himself unlawfully from school, or employs or harbors while
school is in session any child absent unlawfully from school, shall be
deemed guilty of a misdemeanor, and be fined not more than fifty

Sec. 127. The Board of School Commissioners of Baltimore City
and the several Boards of County School Commissioners shall appoint,
and may remove at pleasure, persons to be known as "Attendance
Officers." The number to be appointed for the City of Baltimore shall
ont exceed twelve, and the number for any county shall not exceed
three. Their compensation shall be fixed and paid by the County Com-
missioners of the respective counties and by the Mayor and City Coun-
cil of Baltimore City, as the case may be.

Sec. 128. It shall be the duty of each attendance officer, and he
shall have full power, within the city or county for which he may be
appointed, to arrest without warrant any child between eight and six-
teen years of age found away from his home and who is a truant
from school, or who fails to attend school in accordance with the pro-
visions of this sub-title. He shall forthwith deliver a child so arrested


either to the custody of a person in parental relation to the child or
to the teacher from whose school such child is then a truant; but if
the child be a habitual or incorrigible truant, he shall bring him before
a justice of the peace for commitment by him to a "Parental School,"
as provided for in the next section, or to some other institution to
which disorderly children may be committed. The attendance officer
shall promptly report every such arrest and the disposition made by
him of the child so arrested to the School Commissioners of. the said
city or county, respectively, or to such person or persons as they may

Sec. 129. The Mayor and City Council of Baltimore, and the sev-
eral Boards of County Commissioners may establish schools, to be
known as Parental Schools, for children between eight and sixteen
years of age who are habitually truants from school or from instruc-
tion. They may also provide for the confinement, maintenance and
instruction of such children in such schools, for such period and under
such rules and regulations as they may prescribe, not exceeding the
remainder of the school year. Justices of the peace may commit such
children to such parental schools, but no person convicted of any
crime, or of any offence, other than truancy, shall be committed thereto.

Sec. 130. It shall be the duty of the Police Commissioner?) of Bal-
timore city, at the same time that the census of legal voters in said
city is taken under their direction, as provided by Section 17 of Ar-
ticle 23 of the Code of Public General Laws, also to cause to be made
by the members of the force under their control, annually, a separate
record of the full name, age, color and sex of every child between six
and sixteen years of age, in each precinct of the said city, and the
place where, and the year and month when such children last attended
school, together with the name and address of the parents, guardians
or persons in parental relation, and of employers of such children,
which record shall be furnished by said Police Commissioners to the
Board of School Commissioners of Baltimore City; whosoever has
under his control a child between said ages and withholds information
in his possession from any officer demanding it, relating to the items
aforesaid, or makes any false statement in regard to the same, shall be
deemed guilty of a misdemeanor, and be fined not more than twenty

Sec. 131. It shall be the duty of the principal or head teacher of every
public school or private school in this State to report immediately to
the School Commissioners of the county where such school is located,
or of Baltimore city, if located therein, or to an attendance officer or
other official designated by such commissioners, the names of all chil-
dren enrolled in his or her school who have been absent or irregular
in attendance three days, or their equivalent, without lawful excuse,
within a period of eight consecutive weeks.


Sec. 132. No proprietor or owner of any mill or factory in this
State, other than establishments for manufacturing canned goods, or
manager, or agent, foreman or other person in charge thereof, shall
employ or retain in employment in any such mill or factory any per-
son or persons under sixteen years of age, unless he procures at the
time of such employment or retention in employment, and keeps on
file and accessible to the attendance officers of the city or county
where such minor is employed, a certificate of the principal or head
teacher of the school which such child last attended, stating that such
child is more than twelve years of age, and a like certificate of the
parent or guardian, or other person having control of such child; but
the first-named certificate need not be procured if such child has not
attended school in this State. He shall require such certificates, shall
keep them in his place of business during the time the child is in his
employment and shall show the same during his business hours to any
attendance officer who may demand to see them, or either of them;
and for each failure to comply with any of the provisions of this sec-
tion he shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and shall be fined not exceed-
ing one hundred dollars. Whoever continues to employ any such
child under sixteen years of age in violation of this section, after being
notified of such violation by an attendance officer, shall for every day
thereafter that such unlawful employment continues be fined not less
than five or more than twenty dollars, in addition to other penalties
prescribed by this section for such offences. A failure to produce on
demand to an attendance officer any certificate required by this section,
shall be prima facie evidence that the child who is or who should
have been mentioned in the said certificate is thus unlawfully employed.

Sec. 133. It shall be the duty of every parent, guardian or other
person having control of a child under sixteen years of agp, and of
every principal or head teacher of said school where such child last
attended, to furnish every employer of such child the certificates re-
quired by the preceding section. Such certificates, if in substantial
conformity of the requirements of that section, shall be prima facie
evidence of the facts required to be certified thereto as therein provided.

Sec. 134. Any parent or guardian or other person having control
of a child, or principal or head teacher who shall make any wilfully
false statement respecting any of the facts required to be certified to
as provided in Sections 132 and 133 of this sub-title, shall be deemed
guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be fined not more than fifty dollars,
or to be imprisoned not more than thirty days, or suffer both fine and
imprisonment in the discretion of the court.

Sec. 135. No person shall employ any minor over twelve and less
than sixteen years of age, and no parent, guardian or other person
having control of a child shall permit to be employed or retained in
emplojrment any such minor under his control, if the said minor cannot


read at sight and write legibly simple sentences in the English lan-
guage while a public evening school is maintained in the city or elec-
tion district or precinct in which such minor resides, unless such minor
is a regular attendant at an evening or otlier school ; provided, that
upon presentation by such minor of a certificate signed by a regular
practicing physician, and satisfactory to such officer or officers as the
School Commissioners for the county or city may designate, showing
that the physical condition of such minor would render such atten-
dance, in addition to daily labor, prejudicial to health, said officer or
officers so designated may issue a permit authorizing the employment
of such minor for such period and upon such conditions as said officer
or officers so designated as aforesaid may determine. Any person
who employs or retains in employment a minor in violation of the
provisions of this section shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor
and be fined for each offence not more than one hundred dollars, which
fines shall be paid to the School Commissioners for use in supporting
evening schools in such city or coimty. Any parent, guardian or other
person having control of such a child, who permits to be employed
any minor under his control in violation of the provisions of this sec-
tion shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor and be fined not more
than twenty dollars, which fines shall be also paid to the School Com-
missioners for use in supporting evening schools in such city and

Sec. 136. In any city or county where attendance officers may have
been appointed, it shall be the duty of the School Commissioners to
designate an attendance officer, who shall once or more frequently
in every year examine into the situation of the children em-
ployed in such mills and factories in said city or county, and to ascer-
tain whether all the provisions of this sub-title are duly observed and
report all violations thereof to the grand jury of the said city or county.

Sec. 137. Attendance officers may visit all establishments where
minors are employed in their several cities and counties and ascertain
whether any minors are employed therein contrary to the provisions
of this sub-title. Attendance officers may require that the certificates
provided for in this sub-title of minors employed in such establish-
ments shall be produced for their inspection.

Sec. 138. Any person violating any provision of this sub-title, where
no special provision as to the penalty for such violation is made, shall
be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor, and be fined not exceeding fifty
dollars for each offence; provided, however, that the provisions of this
Act shall be restricted to the City of Baltimore and Allegany County.

Sec. 2. And be it further enacted, That this Act shall take effect
on September i, 1902.

Approved April 8, 1902.



That these laws have been ineffective, or that they have not
in any way interfered with the employment of children in
manufacturing or mercantile pursuits in this State is well
known. But the continued agitation and discussion of the
subject, joined to the protests of organized labor, has enlisted
the sympathies of many women and men, who are trying to
make better conditions for the little toilers and the big ones.
These ladies have formed what is known as the Consumers'
League, with headquarters in New York, and branches in
nearly all large cities throughout the Union. The object of
the League is first to ascertain the conditions surrounding the
manufacture of certain wearing apparel and then refuse to
buy it unless made in proper environment, by well paid labor.
The Baltimore branch of this League employed Mr. Chas. F.
Ranft, a graduate student of Johns Hopkins University, to
make an investigation of the employment of women and chil-
dren, under the supervision of and assisted by this Depart-
ment, during the summer months of 1903. The undertaking
was much larger than the association could possibly have an-
ticipated. Women and children are employed in every avenue
of trade and manufacture, and a close investigation of every
establishment where they could be found would involve the
work of a year, with a large force of employees. This being
impossible, and with the view of securing information as to
the general factory condition of these persons, the factories
in certain industries were selected as being the best types of
factory employment of women and children. Those employed
in the sweat-shops are in so much worse condition and their
environment having been so fully investigated and reported
upon in this and previous reports that it was not thought
necessary to "¬І0 over the same ground again.

It should be well understood, however, that the investiga-
tion shows the conditions existing under the most favorable
circumstances, and that the industries investigated are those
in which there is little neighborhood or household manufactur-


ing done except on partially made goods, and where great
capital is invested in large plants and huge buildings, necessi-
tating improved machinery, etc.
These industries are as follows :

Manufacturing of Coat Pads.

Making of Ladies' Wrappers.

Making of Ladies' Skirts.

Making of Corsets.

Making of Ladies' Waists.

Making of Boys' and Children's Wear.

Manufacturing Overalls, Drawers and Shirts.

Manufacturing Shirts.

Manufacturing Shoes.

Manufacture of Umbrellas.

Manufacturing Cigars, Cigarettes, etc.


We shall take up the industries for analyzation in the order
named, keeping in mind at all times that they do not repre-
sent the conditions of all engaged in the industry.

The eleven industries that were examined show a total list
of employees of 11,028; of whom 1,899 ^^^ males and
9,129 are females. Of these numbers 68 males and 576 fe-
males are reported by the employers to be under sixteen years
of age and only one female under twelve years of age. It is
very hard to believe these statements, which are made by the
employers. If the Compulsory Education Law was fully
enforced in the city every one of these manufacturing estab-
lishments should have on file, subject to inspection, certificates
from the parents or teachers of all the children in these various
industries, but only one factory had any such certificates on
file, and this one had only sixty-eight such certificates for up-
wards of 300 children employed.

We desire to be positive in the statement that we do not be-
lieve these figures indicate the number of children employed
in these industries of fourteen years of age or under, as re-
quired by the Act of 1902, Chapter 566. The Act alluded to



does not put it in the power of this Bureau to enforce the law,
and we jnust assume, that like all other Acts of the Legisla-
ture coming under the category of police regulations, the
same should be strictly enforced by the police department.
Just how this is to be done it is not for us to say. It is also a
fact that these industries are among the best regulated in the
community that employ female and child labor.

The wages paid in the various industries are problematical.
It is impossible to secure absolute data from the various em-
ployers, as the great majority refuse to allow an inspection of
their pay rolls, but by reference to the census of 1900, the fol-
lowing averages for some of the industries are ascertained :


Average Wages

Paid per Annum

to Women

Average Wages

Paid per Annum

to Children

Women's Clothing, Factory product


Shirt Making

Tobacco, Cigars and Cigarettes ....

Boots and Shoes


Other Industries





The home surroundings of many of these employees are far
from being as good as the environment of the factory ; that is
to say, the factory is kept cleaner, there are more conveniences
there and altogether a stricter regard for the health of those
engaged therein than is sometimes found in the homes of the
very poorest in the poorer districts.


This industry is one of the new occupations in which women
and children are especially employed. Indeed, very few em-
ployees in the pad industry are other than children from ten to
sixteen years of age.

There are only three such factories in the city of Baltimore,
one of which is in excellent shape and entirely modern, while
the other two are dwellinsfs converted into factories. These

ii6 RRPORT OP thh; bureau of

three factories employ a total of 804 hands, of whom 746 are
females and 58 males, and of this number of females,
148 are under sixteen years of age, and one is reported under
twelve years of age. It should be remembered, however, that
these figures are given by the employers, and it is the opinion
of this Bureau that very many more than are herein reported
are twelve years of age, or under.

The workrooms are all in a clean condition and there is
only one instance where there is less than the required num-
ber of cubic feet of space to a person, that being in a modern

In one of the factories reported on it will be observed by
the table that follows that the ventilation is very bad and that
the drainage of the water closet is to a well. While the num-
ber of hours of labor required per day in all cases is ten, it is
to be noticed that only a half hour is allowed for lunch, and,
therefore, very little fresh air or recreation can be secured by
these children during the day.

In one of the buildings reported on it will be noticed that
there are only two water closets to a building in which ninety
persons are employed, and the means of egress in case of fire
is hardly sufficient.

Taken as a whole the factory conditions in the coat-pad
industry is only better today than it was a year ago.

In no case were the requirements of the law passed at the
last session of the Legislature, known as the Compulsory
Education Law, being complied with. In only one of these
factories were there any certificates from the parents or
teachers showing the age of the child, and very little depen-
dence can be placed upon the statements made by the em-
ployers or the children as to their ages.

Factory No. i shows the worse conditions in this industry.
The employees of all these factories are the children of the
poorest class in the community, and the conditions at home
are probably no better than that in the factory, if as good.

The work consists in sewing together two or three or more
pieces of cotton cut in the proper shape and covered with fibre
or other thin material, which is used by the clothing trade in


the manufacture of coats. The children stand in front of a
long bench all the time they are at work, and baste tliesc pieces
together, after which they are passed to the machine operator,
who stitches them together on the machine. Of course, those
who are working at the sewing machines are not under as
severe a strain as the younger children, who stand all day
gathering the pieces together and basting them. The work
is nearly all done by the piece, prices varying according to
the quality and the number of pieces of cotton to be inserted
in a pad. Improvements have been continually made in the
manufacture of these pads until now a large portion of the
work is done by machine which was formerly done by hand.

The proprietors of these three factories are Americans by
birth, and owing to the nature of the industry it will not ex-
tend, even with the growth of the clothing trade, into a house-
hold or neighborhood industry.

Mr. Ranft has made some personal investigation into the
homes of the child employees of these factories, and the fol-
lowing interviews will probably give the reader a better oppor-
tunity of judging of the conditions and environment of these
children than cold figures or tabulated statements.

A carpi:t wEavisr's i^amily.

The first visit to the home of a little girl of fourteen years
brought the mother from her daily task at the washtub to
relate how her husband, a cripple and a carpet weaver by
trade, had averaged only five months' work during the year,
and that of the ten children living, the youngest two years
old and the oldest twenty-two years old; three worked, one
keeps house, while the rest are yet in a state of dependency.
Though husband, wife and children work at their best, the
combined expenses of house rent, fuel, doctor's bills, life
insurance and living requisites leave no chance for saving,
and her positive statement is that only by hard struggling the
needs of the family are met. The little girl averaged $3
per week, and this was declared to be a very pronounced help
to the general fund. An additional reason for the little girl
going to work was her avowed dislike for school, from which


she was taken and assigned to work when only twelve }'ears
old. The impression created is one of a houshold that requires
each member to contribute his share in order to make conditions
meet, suggesting, however, the possibility that by relatively
more moderate demands, education could extend a greater
number of years to the younger members of the family.


The mother of a little girl of fourteen years declared that,
although her husband earned $10 per week, the little gifl's
$2.50 per week, and, receiving from other sources an amount
which made the income about $i6 per week, she is barely
able to make this income meet the expenditure. The house
is owned by the family, but the expense attached to the life
of eight children, one of whom is chronically ill, means doc-
tor's bills, life insurance, a full food supply and many inci-
dentals demanded by health and vigor. The little girl has
been taken from work and now goes to school, but this the
mother declares was not Without additional economy and
work on her own part. It is the mother's desire to equip
her children with the greatest amount of education that can
be had under the prevailing conditions, and it is also undoubt-
edly true that the economy of the household is conducted by
the mother, for the father, addicted to the use of intoxicants,
can hardly be relied upon as the more capable administrator
of family affairs.


A child of twelve years at work only four weeks, was the
means of support of herself and widowed mother, who occupy
two rooms in the home of a private family, where the mother
washes and irons for the living of both. The work at the
factory did not agree with the little one and she is back to
school, while the mother is making an earnest effort to main-
tain her right to live.


At the home of a little girl of thirteen the surroundings
point to a comfortable condition of life where the father earns


Online LibraryThomas A. SmithTwelfth Annual Report of the Bureau of Statistics and Information of Maryland. 1903. Thomas A. Smith, Chief. (Volume 1904) → online text (page 11 of 30)