Lately, I’ve been studying Victorian train travel. I assure you that deciphering Victorian train schedules is no easy task. If I were a Victorian traveler, I would never arrive anywhere on time for having taken numerous wrong trains.
here is no situation in which a lady is more exposed than when she travels, and there is no position where a dignified, lady-like deportment is more indispensable and more certain to command respect.
Have a strong pocket made in your upper petticoat, and in that carry your money, only reserving in your dress pocket a small sum for incidental expenses. In your traveling satchel carry an oil skin bag, containing your sponge, tooth and nail brushes, and some soap; have also a calico bag, with hairbrush and comb, some pins, hairpins, a small mirror, and some towels. In this satchel carry also some crackers, or sandwiches, if you will be long enough upon the road to need a luncheon.
In your carpet bag, carry a large shawl, and if you will travel by night, or stop where it will be inconvenient to open your trunks, carry your night clothes, and what clean linen you may require, in the carpet bag. It is best to have your name and address engraved upon the plate of your carpet bag, and to sew a white card, with your name and the address to which you are traveling, in clear, plain letters upon it. If you carry a novel or any other reading, it is best to carry the book in your satchel, and not open the carpet bag until you are ready for the night. If you are to pass the night in the cars, carry a warm woolen or silk hood, that you may take off your bonnet at night. No one can sleep comfortably in a bonnet. Carry also, in this case, a large shawl to wrap round your feet.
There is scarcely any situation in which a lady can be placed, more admirably adapted to test her good breeding, than in the sleeping cabin of a steam-boat. If you are so unfortunate as to suffer from sea-sickness, your chances for usefulness are limited, and patient suffering your only resource. In this case, never leave home without a straw-covered bottle of brandy, and another of camphor, in your carpet-bag.
Today I’ve excerpted from the 1919 article “War’s Deadlier Rival, the Flu,” by Samuel Hopkins Adams. The article oddly begins on page 16 of Collier’s Weekly and is the fourth headline down on the cover. Please, please, please do not take the numbers or the science in this article as facts. The epidemic lasted until 1920, and there has been much subsequent scientific research into its origins and overall global devastation. I merely want to offer you a contemporary account of the epidemic, as well as some images.
Current with the world war, and culminating in a mortality far above it, runs another agency of death. The pandemic of influenza has been less sensational than the flaming scourge of war; but it has been vastly more destructive. Now that its second seasonal onset has passed in this country and presumably the great majority of those liable to it have been infected, it is possible to reckon up roughly the account for the United States.
Conservatively speaking, for every American killed by the Germans, ten were killed by the flu. The total of those dying in battle or afterward from wounds is under fifty thousand. Nearly five hundred thousand had died of the epidemic up to the 1st of January. (The Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, which has compiled the only detailed figures on a large scale, reckons, on the basis of its records, that the total influenza deaths for the nation up to January 1, 1919, were upward of 470,000.) Fifty thousand more is a very moderate estimate for this spring’s recurrence; twice that number is probably nearer the truth. Even reckoning the total human cost of the war, those dead from sickness and accident as well as from wounds, influenza’s mortality record is as six to one, compared to war’s.
Compared with other epidemics in America, the present visitation stands forth in still more startling relief. Though figures for the great grippe epidemic of 1889-90 (practically the same disease as the flu) are unreliable and fragmentary, it may be safely stated to have been less than half as deadly as the present onset. But parallel this flu with a pestilence of a more sensational character, the famous “yellow jack” of 1878 which centered in New Orleans and swept through the South spreading terror and paralyzing commerce. More people succumbed in a single week of flu in Philadelphia than died in the whole course of the 1878 pest in New Orleans; and the flu deaths of one week in New York and Philadelphia together exceeded the total yellow fever mortality of the entire nation in the “plague year.”
After the pandemic of thirty years ago, influenza, while it still existed here as it did the world over, sank to a low level and stayed there until 1914. In that year the deaths from influenza rise to two typical, seasonal “peaks,” one in the early winter, another in the spring. In 1915 these “peaks” are somewhat more marked. The following year shows a still higher rise, and in 1917 there appears so decided an increase that the absence of expert medical commentary upon it is surprising. The spring of 1918 brought with it a definite epidemic in our camps. It was of a mild type and, at the time, unrecognized. So far as is now known there was no epidemic elsewhere in the world.
What happened then?
A curious but perfectly logical process. The germ which had been gathering power quite slowly in a robust and well-fed population—witness the very gradual rise of the mortality figures—was transferred to a soil far more suitable to its development, the war-harried, undernourished, abnormal peoples of Europe. It gathered momentum and virulence together.
France, where it was first introduced, did not suffer very severely in the early stages; nor did Spain, whither it was immediately transmitted, manifesting itself in May, 1918, very widely, though in mild form, and withholding its real power until the following September when it ravaged the whole kingdom. Probably through the taking of prisoners the infection crossed the French border into Germany, and here found, in the ill-fed civilian population, the ideal condition for its increase. By July its ravages were so destructive that the German medical authorities, despite the demands exercised by the war upon the medical fraternity, were holding “influenza congresses” to devise means of defense, military plans having been seriously deranged by the epidemic. By August the flu had reached its serious stage in France and all Europe became swiftly and formidably involved. There followed the return to America.
The influenza germ … , a comparatively unimportant agent of disease and death, impotent, up to that time, to raise our mortality rates to a point where any notice was attracted, came back surcharged with deadly power. It had acquired a malignity unequaled in the former history of the disease.
Before the unparalleled swiftness of its spread, methods of prevention collapsed. It could not be stopped. It could not even be checked. In one short week, the scourge swept like a driven flame across eastern Massachusetts and down into Rhode Island and Connecticut. Before the second week was over most of New England was ablaze with it, the infection was raging through eastern New York, eastern Pennsylvania, and New Jersey, and there were far-spread, unaccountable, small plague spots in Alabama, Wisconsin, Illinois, Utah, Texas, and on the Pacific Coast. Within six weeks of the time when the epidemic nature of the disease was recognized, there was no State, there was hardly a county in the whole United States, unstricken. What could our public health system do against such an onset?
Washington newspapers carried display advertisements, calling for volunteer gravediggers, and a local sash and door factory was commandeered by the District authorities and set to turning out coffins at top speed. Three hundred dollars a week was offered in Albany for trained nurses, with no takers. In Alabama relief parties going out through the country found whole families dead in remote houses, so suddenly smitten that they had been unable to get help. This occurred also in the rural districts of western Pennsylvania, the worst stricken section of the country, where in the six weeks of the epidemic’s height 1 per cent of the population died of it, a figure unequaled in American mortality records. Starvation threatened in many cities owing to the crippling of local traffic and the helplessness of the sick; but here the local Red Cross organizations, happily keyed up to a war basis of efficiency, were able to save the situation by a system of central food supply and volunteer deliveries. In the opinion of the highest health authorities, the war emergency alone enabled the country to come through the flu emergency without far greater disaster; since we were organized physically to meet special conditions, and braced, mentally and psychologically, to endure the strain and resist the panic which might otherwise have beset us.
Mystery enshrouds various manifestations of the disease. Its greatest fatality was among those in the strongest years of life; between the ages of twenty and forty, when the human organism is supposed to exhibit the highest form of resistance. Why this should be so, science cannot tell. It was markedly more deadly to men than to women. For what reason? No reason which the experts can agree upon
What underlies this phenomenon? Something beyond present determination. The experience of the military camps shows, very broadly speaking, that, attacked by flu, the husky athlete died, the undervitalized indoor man recovered; the country boy succumbed, the city boy got well: just the reverse of what might be expected. The fact that very few people beyond the age of forty-five died suggested that this portion of the population had had the grippe in the great epidemic of 1889-90, and so were immunized. But if immunity is the explanation, why have deaths of children under fifteen, in the present epidemic, been so few, comparatively? Certainly they are not immunized by any former attack. Another phase of the mystery! The typical, and most formidable, phenomenon of the pestilence has been its “explosive” quality. In a great majority of the cities and smaller communities the infection, after entering, developed slowly for a brief period and then “exploded” into an appalling mortality for two or three weeks, when it swiftly subsided, an added feature being that the explosions were, generally speaking, nearly simultaneous over a great part of the country, taking place in mid-October and up through early November.
Susanna’s Note: World War I ended in November 1918.
Boston, at the height of the epidemic, showed a death rate about six times its normal; Philadelphia, ten times its normal; Baltimore, about eight and a half times its regular mortality, and Washington about the same. New Orleans, with a high regular death rate, multiplied that by more than six. Pittsburgh went to six times the standard rate. Albany rose to six times the normal, San Francisco to five times, New York to about the same, and Chicago to four times. But while this was typical, other cities exhibited no explosive phenomena whatever. Instead they showed a general level, markedly higher than the normal, but never shooting up to a decided “peak.” Herein was another peculiar feature. Why should New Orleans have blown its figures sky-high while Atlanta maintained a steady rate which hardly rose to one-quarter of the New Orleans high figure? What caused Chicago to explode, whereas the maximum at Grand Rapids never rose above double the normal rate, and Milwaukee kept her epidemic in hand almost as well? Why should Pittsburgh rise to six times its standard, and Columbus to only three times its normal? How explain the fact that Philadelphia’s high figure was two and a half times that of New York?
To one clue to the puzzle, thus far developed from any authoritative source, has been brought out by Dr. Raymond Pearl of the Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health, working in collaboration with the United States Public Health Service. It is found that, almost invariably, the cities which showed the explosive flu rates have regularly an abnormal number of deaths from the common organic causes: that is, tuberculosis, heart disease, and kidney ailments.
Where the population is of weak organic constitution, the epidemic spreads and kills swiftly, as in Boston, Baltimore, Washington, Albany, New Orleans, and notably Philadelphia. Where the mortality from these standard causes is low the flu failed to make severe inroads, as in Birmingham, Grand Rapids, Columbus, Atlanta, and Milwaukee. It remains to be seen whether this showing, which appears quite definite and convincing in this country, is borne out by the reports (if they are ever forthcoming) from other parts of the world. General figures for the world epidemic are not yet available. Perhaps they never will be. The civilized world was too preoccupied with war to keep mortality records. In general, it is known that the destruction wrought by the pandemic varied in different countries only according as the people were strong or weak, for reasons of food supply, proper housing, and general condition, to resist it. One of the foremost of American hygienists, who has traveled in Europe studying conditions since the armistice, told me that in his opinion one year of flu and its sequelae killed more than four years of war in the combatant countries of Europe. Geographically there seems to have been no limit to the spread. Wherever ships touched, there the influenza was disseminated.
In British India five million victims died a heavier toll in few short weeks than the bubonic plague had taken in twenty years, all told. China reported a devastating onset shortly after. The South African’s went down before it as if it were cholera. It swept the European armies, both in camp and at the front. Even Switzerland’s well-fed, carefully housed troops developed it so generally that from 75 to 90 percent of the total fell ill. The contagion was shipped to Australia and New Zealand and thence was diffused throughout the South Sea Islands. In German Samoa between 80 and 90 percent of the populace was down at the same time and more than half the Government officials died. An infected steamship touched at Rio de Janeiro in October. Within a week there had developed from that one source between two and three hundred thousand cases. Within six weeks there were upward of 700,000 cases. The city was paralyzed. The whole medical, hospital, and burial machinery collapsed. Traffic stopped. There was no street-car service. Deliveries even of food were abandoned. A correspondent writes me that it was a common thing to see driverless cabs being drawn about the streets by starving horses in search of fodder! All South America was subsequently infected.
Barcelona, Spain, reported 1,200 deaths daily when the scourge was at its height. The medical expert of the London “Times” estimated that the twelve highest weeks of the pandemic represented a loss of 6,000,000 lives in all; but at the time of his reckoning many countries were still untouched or unreported. Not since the “black death” of the Middle Ages has there been anything to compare with the flu’s ravages.
I’m excerpting from a very special book today. You may recognize the story as you read along. I won’t display the book’s title and authors until the end of the post.
MY wife and myself were born in different towns in the state of Georgia, which is one of the principal slave States. It is true, our condition as slaves was not by any means the worst; but the mere idea that we were held as chattels, and deprived of all legal rights—the thought that we had to give up our hard earnings to a tyrant, to enable him to live in idleness and luxury—the thought that we could not call the bones and sinews that God gave us our own: but above all, the fact that another man had the power to tear from our cradle the new-born babe and sell it in the shambles like a brute, and then scourge us if we dared to lift a finger to save it from such a fate, haunted us for years.
My wife’s first
master was her father, and her mother his slave, and the latter is still the
slave of his widow.
Notwithstanding my wife being of African extraction on her mother’s side, she is almost white— in fact, she is so nearly so that the tyrannical old lady to whom she first belonged became so annoyed, at finding her frequently mistaken for a child of the family, that she gave her when eleven years of age to a daughter, as a wedding present. This separated my wife from her mother, and also from several other dear friends. But the incessant cruelty of her old mistress made the change of owners or treatment so desirable, that she did not grumble much at this cruel separation.
My old master had the reputation of being a very humane and Christian man, but he thought nothing of selling my poor old father, and dear aged mother, at separate times, to different persons, to be dragged off never to behold each other again, till summoned to appear before the great tribunal of heaven. But, oh! what a happy meeting it will be on that day for those faithful souls. I say a happy meeting, because I never saw persons more devoted to the service of God than they. But how will the case stand with those reckless traffickers in human flesh and blood, who plunged the poisonous dagger of separation into those loving hearts which God had for so many years closely joined together—nay, sealed as it were with his own hands for the eternal courts of heaven? It is not for me to say what will become of those heartless tyrants. I must leave them in the hands of an all-wise and just God, who will, in his own good time, and in his own way, avenge the wrongs of his oppressed people.
My old master also
sold a dear brother and a sister, in the same manner as he did my father and
mother. The reason he assigned for disposing of my parents, as well as of
several other aged slaves, was, that “they were getting old, and would
soon become valueless in the market, and therefore he intended to sell off all
the old stock, and buy in a young lot.” A most disgraceful conclusion for
a man to come to, who made such great professions of religion!
This shameful conduct
gave me a thorough hatred, not for true Christianity, but for slave-holding
My old master, then, wishing to make the most of the rest of his slaves, apprenticed a brother and myself out to learn trades: he to a blacksmith, and myself to a cabinet-maker. If a slave has a good trade, he will let or sell for more than a person without one, and many slave-holders have their slaves taught trades on this account. But before our time expired, my old master wanted money; so he sold my brother, and then mortgaged my sister, a dear girl about fourteen years of age, and myself, then about sixteen, to one of the banks, to get money to speculate in cotton. This we knew nothing of at the moment; but time rolled on, the money became due, my master was unable to meet his payments; so the bank had us placed upon the auction stand and sold to the highest bidder.
My poor sister was
sold first: she was knocked down to a planter who resided at some distance in
the country. Then I was called upon the stand. While the auctioneer was crying
the bids, I saw the man that had purchased my sister getting her into a cart,
to take her to his home. I at once asked a slave friend who was standing near
the platform, to run and ask the gentleman if he would please to wait till I
was sold, in order that I might have an opportunity of bidding her good-bye. He
sent me word back that he had some distance to go, and could not wait.
I then turned to the auctioneer, fell upon my knees, and humbly prayed him to let me just step down and bid my last sister farewell. But, instead of granting me this request, he grasped me by the neck, and in a commanding tone of voice, and with a violent oath, exclaimed, “Get up! You can do the wench no good; therefore there is no use in your seeing her.”
On rising, I saw the
cart in which she sat moving slowly off; and, as she clasped her hands with a
grasp that indicated despair, and looked pitifully round towards me, I also saw
the large silent tears trickling down her cheeks. She made a farewell bow, and
buried her face in her lap.
My wife was torn from
her mother’s embrace in childhood, and taken to a distant part of the country.
She had seen so many other children separated from their parents in this cruel
manner, that the mere thought of her ever becoming the mother of a child, to
linger out a miserable existence under the wretched system of American slavery,
appeared to fill her very soul with horror; and as she had taken what I felt to
be an important view of her condition, I did not, at first, press the marriage,
but agreed to assist her in trying to devise some plan by which we might escape
from our unhappy condition, and then be married.
We thought of plan
after plan, but they all seemed crowded with insurmountable difficulties. We
knew it was unlawful for any public conveyance to take us as passengers,
without our master’s consent. We were also perfectly aware of the startling
fact, that had we left without this consent the professional slave-hunters
would have soon had their ferocious bloodhounds baying on our track, and in a
short time we should have been dragged back to slavery, not to fill the more
favourable situations which we had just left, but to be separated for life, and
put to the very meanest and most laborious drudgery; or else have been tortured
to death as examples, in order to strike terror into the hearts of others, and
thereby prevent them from even attempting to escape from their cruel
taskmasters. It is a fact worthy of remark, that nothing seems to give the
slaveholders so much pleasure as the catching and torturing of fugitives. They
had much rather take the keen and poisonous lash, and with it cut their poor
trembling victims to atoms, than allow one of them to escape to a free country,
and expose the infamous system from which he fled.
The greatest excitement prevails at a slave-hunt. The slaveholders and their hired ruffians appear to take more pleasure in this inhuman pursuit than English sportsmen do in chasing a fox or a stag. Therefore, knowing what we should have been compelled to suffer, if caught and taken back, we were more than anxious to hit upon a plan that would lead us safely to a land of liberty.
But, after puzzling
our brains for years, we were reluctantly driven to the sad conclusion, that it
was almost impossible to escape from slavery in Georgia, and travel 1,000 miles
across the slave States. We therefore resolved to get the consent of our
owners, be married, settle down in slavery, and endeavour to make ourselves as
comfortable as possible under that system; but at the same time ever to keep
our dim eyes steadily fixed upon the glimmering hope of liberty, and earnestly
pray God mercifully to assist us to escape from our unjust thraldom.
We were married, and prayed and toiled on till December, 1848, at which time (as I have stated) a plan suggested itself…
slaveholders have the privilege of taking their slaves to any part of the
country they think proper, it occurred to me that, as my wife was nearly white,
I might get her to disguise herself as an invalid gentleman, and assume to be
my master, while I could attend as his slave, and that in this manner we might
effect our escape.
After I thought of the plan, I suggested it to my wife, but at first she shrank from the idea. She thought it was almost impossible for her to assume that disguise, and travel a distance of 1,000 miles across the slave States. However, on the other hand, she also thought of her condition. She saw that the laws under which we lived did not recognize her to be a woman, but a mere chattel, to be bought and sold, or otherwise dealt with as her owner might see fit. Therefore the more she contemplated her helpless condition, the more anxious she was to escape from it. So she said, “I think it is almost too much for us to undertake; however, I feel that God is on our side, and with his assistance, notwithstanding all the difficulties, we shall be able to succeed. Therefore, if you will purchase the disguise, I will try to carry out the plan.”
But after I concluded to purchase the disguise, I was afraid to go to anyone to ask him to sell me the articles. It is unlawful in Georgia for a white man to trade with slaves without the master’s consent. But, notwithstanding this, many persons will sell a slave any article that he can get the money to buy. Not that they sympathize with the slave, but merely because his testimony is not admitted in court against a free white person.
Therefore, with little difficulty I went to different parts of the town, at odd times, and purchased things piece by piece, (except the trowsers which she found necessary to make,) and took them home to the house where my wife resided. She being a ladies’ maid, and a favourite slave in the family, was allowed a little room to herself; and amongst other pieces of furniture which I had made in my overtime, was a chest of drawers; so when I took the articles home, she locked them up carefully in these drawers. No one about the premises knew that she had anything of the kind. So when we fancied we had everything ready the time was fixed for the flight. But we knew it would not do to start off without first getting our master’s consent to be away for a few days. Had we left without this, they would soon have had us back into slavery, and probably we should never have got another fair opportunity of even attempting to escape.
Some of the best slaveholders will sometimes give their favourite slaves a few days’ holiday at Christmas time; so, after no little amount of perseverance on my wife’s part, she obtained a pass from her mistress, allowing her to be away for a few days. The cabinet-maker with whom I worked gave me a similar paper, but said that he needed my services very much, and wished me to return as soon as the time granted was up.
However, at first, we
were highly delighted at the idea of having gained permission to be absent for
a few days; but when the thought flashed across my wife’s mind, that it was
customary for travellers to register their names in the visitors’ book at
hotels, as well as in the clearance or Custom-house book at Charleston, South
Carolina —it made our spirits droop within us.
So, while sitting in
our little room upon the verge of despair, all at once my wife raised her head,
and with a smile upon her face, which was a moment before bathed in tears,
said, “I think I have it!” I asked what it was. She said, “I
think I can make a poultice and bind up my right hand in a sling, and with
propriety ask the officers to register my name for me.” I thought that
It then occurred to
her that the smoothness of her face might betray her; so she decided to make
another poultice, and put it in a white handkerchief to be worn under the chin,
up the cheeks, and to tie over the head. This nearly hid the expression of the
countenance, as well as the beardless chin.
The poultice is left
off in the engraving, because the likeness could not have been taken well with
My wife, knowing that she would be thrown a good deal into the company of gentlemen, fancied that she could get on better if she had something to go over the eyes; so I went to a shop and bought a pair of green spectacles. This was in the evening.
We sat up all night discussing the plan, and making preparations. Just before the time arrived, in the morning, for us to leave, I cut off my wife’s hair square at the back of the head, and got her to dress in the disguise and stand out on the floor. I found that she made a most respectable looking gentleman.
My wife had no
ambition whatever to assume this disguise, and would not have done so had it
been possible to have obtained our liberty by more simple means; but we knew it
was not customary in the South for ladies to travel with male servants; and
therefore, notwithstanding my wife’s fair complexion, it would have been a very
difficult task for her to have come off as a free white lady, with me as her
slave; in fact, her not being able to write would have made this quite
impossible. We knew that no public conveyance would take us, or any other
slave, as a passenger, without our master’s consent. This consent could never
be obtained to pass into a free State. My wife’s being muffled in the
poultices, &c., furnished a plausible excuse for avoiding general
conversation, of which most Yankee travellers are passionately fond.
When the time had arrived for us to start, we blew out the lights, knelt down, and prayed to our Heavenly Father mercifully to assist us, as he did his people of old, to escape from cruel bondage; and we shall ever feel that God heard and answered our prayer. Had we not been sustained by a kind, and I sometimes think special, providence, we could never have overcome the mountainous difficulties…
Read more about William and Ellen Craft’s courageous journey to freedom, which took them all the way to England, in their book.
I’ve been organizing, provisioning, cooking, and trying to stay positive. I need a break! I’m posting information concerning essential Victorian room furnishings and other domestic advice from this fabulous work:
emember that to govern a family well, you must first govern yourself.
If you wash Monday, bake Tuesday, iron Wednesday, clean Thursday, mend Friday, and bake Saturday. Of course you will be somewhat governed by the peculiar situation of the family; but it will be found to be a good plan to have a regular routine for each day. If you keep but one servant, it will be found more convenient to wash Tuesday, putting the clothes in soak Monday. There can then be a nice cold dinner prepared for washing day, and the same can be arranged for ironing day.
HINTS TO YOUNG HOUSEKEEPERS, IN SELECTING HOUSE AND FURNITURE.
In selecting a house choose
one not only within your means, but with reference to the number of persons in
A large, empty house is only
a burden, especially when good servants are scarce, and means limited. If
possible, obtain one with a good hall, the principal rooms opening from it: rooms
interfering with others are a great annoyance to housekeepers, as it is
impossible to keep a room tidy when used as a thoroughfare by members of the
family without frequent use of broom and duster, which is a constant wear on
carpet and patience. The dining-room ought either to open out of the kitchen,
or be separated by a hall; each should have a closet opening from them; and the
kitchen have a passage to the cellar, and an outside door. The parlor is the
most pleasant facing north, and should be independent of the other part of the
house. The nursery is most convenient on the principal floor. Small bedrooms
are preferable with closets to large ones without. Spring and rain water should
be near the kitchen. Furniture appears well in small, that would hardly be
called respectable in large, rooms.
Furnish your house with uniformity; nothing
looks more vulgar than a splendidly furnished parlor, while the remainder of
the house is hardly decent.
Decide how much you can
afford to spend on furniture ; commence in the kitchen, and go through the
house, making a list of all necessary articles, with their prices. If, after
this is done, you find the sum appropriated not expended, select the
superfluities, being careful not to crowd the parlors.
NECESSARY KITCHEN FURNITURE.- Range, or stove,
for cooking; pot and kettle with covers; two small kettles with oval bottoms;
tin boiler with steamer; tea kettle and steeper; coffee pot and mill; dripping
pan and spider ; gridiron and meat fork; preserving kettle and saucepan ;
griddle and pancake turner; iron ladle and spoons; knives, with forks strong
and large ; butcher and bread knife; dippers, quart and pint, colander and
large skimmer; waffle irons with rings; butter ladle and potato pounder; bread
board and rolling pins; sieve, cake pans, and grater; mixing and baking pans,
for bread; milk pans and strainer; milk pail and small skimmer; pie plates and
pudding bakers; pepper shaker and wooden salt dish; flour dredge and cooky or
biscuit cutter; bowls of common ware and dishes; jars for soda, cream of
tartar, and spices; canisters, or bottles, for tea and coffee; tin box for
bread, and one for cake; jugs for molasses and vinegar; spring and rain water,
cleaning, and swill pail; iron ash pail and firebox ; shovel, tongs, and match
safe ; kitchen table and chairs; candlesticks and snuffers; broom, dust pan,
and scrubbing brush ; bottle cleaner and stove brush ; boxes with handles for
sugar, etc. ; wash-boiler, and wash-tubs; clothes line, washboard, and clothes
pins ; flat irons, ironing blanket and sheet; skirt and bosom board; clothes
basket; knife and spoon basket; market and chip basket; dish pans and towels.
With these necessary
articles, the writer closes the list, although there are many conveniences not
enumerated, which are pleasant to use.
Dining-Room.—Table and chairs
according to family ; tea and dining set, full or not, as desired; knives and
forks for dinner and tea; tea and table spoons; mats and waiter; carpet or
oil-cloth on the floor; two high lamps, or candlesticks; small side table;
tablecloths and napkins; tea and coffee pot with stands; covers for meats, of
wire; castor, butter knife, and carver; fly broom, pitchers, and goblets.
Hall.—Oil-cloth, lamp, and
Almost all prices being fixed
to these articles according to their beauty and value, the purchasers must be
governed by their means and taste.
with furniture and crockery; bureau, washstand, washbowl, and pitcher; slop
jar, soap dish, foot bath, and two pint mugs; rocker, and other chairs;
footstool, stove, and window shades; looking-glass, and small table; carpet,
broom, and dust brush.
Library.—Book-case, with all conveniences for
writing ; table, chairs, and oil-cloth or carpet.
Spare Chamber.—Bedstead and furniture; washstand
and furniture; Foot bath, slop jar, teeth mugs, and towel rack; dressing
bureau, or table with glass; small stand, stove, chairs, windowshades, and
Bed-room.—Carpet, bedstead and furniture;
washstand, bowl, and pitcher; looking-glass, small table, and chairs;
Servants’ Rooms.—Bedsteads, chairs, small stand,
Every member of the family should have a bag for soiled clothes; where there are closets in the bed-rooms it is well to fasten them on the inside of the closet doors; take one yard and a quarter of dark drilling, fold it so as to make a bag a half-yard deep, with the quarter projecting beyond, bind it all around with strong colored tape, make loops in the corners to hang up by, and put them on the door with carpet tacks. A good method is to have a bag for each variety of patch, cotton, woollen, silk, etc., and sew a square patch on each bag, to show what they contain ; for instance, on the calico patch bag sew a square of print, on the silk, a silk patch, etc.; we find this the most convenient method of designating them, as we often have help who cannot read sufficient English to bring a bag with the contents written or printed on it.
A bag made in the form of the old-fashioned needle-books, with pockets just deep enough to hold shoes, and one in the same form for combs and brushes, will be found convenient. A paper bag should hang in the kitchen, containing refuse paper for covering cake, etc., when baking. One with bits of woollen and cotton for holders and iron wipers; and one to contain the bits of twine which come around bundles.
We ourselves would not know how to keep house without these bags. Every spring they are assorted, and all superfluous patches put with carpet or paper rags, which keeps them in good order the year round, and saves much needless trouble in hunting patches, buttons, etc., from among quantities of rubbish.
I am oddly fascinated by the piece “Salesgirls in New York” by Grace H. Dodge found in What Women Can Earn: Occupations of Women and Their Compensation, published in 1899. I can imagine the first chapter of a historical novel set at the turn of the last century about a young woman who arrives by train to New York City, desperate for work and to leave something or someone behind.
An Occupation Which Is Already Crowded. The Country Girl Advised to Stay Away From New York City. If, However, She Must Come, Then What She Ought and Ought Not to Do. Salaries. The Factories.
THE advice given by Punch to those about to marry is such a hackneyed one that I am almost afraid to use it. And yet I find that “Don’t” just expresses what I want to say to country girls who think about coming to New York City for employment. All the great centres of population, Boston, New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, and others, are crowded with women seeking for work, and the competition is so keen that inexperienced and friendless girls are overwhelmed by it, and they are beset with trials, disappointments and snares everywhere.
In all the great stores, and, indeed, in nearly every store, a city reference, as well as a city residence, is required, and those who have both are selected first. Girls who live in boarding and furnished-room houses are looked upon with disfavour, because the moral tone of the home is considered necessary to the welfare of young women. Furthermore, employers know well that their salesgirls cannot pay board and dress themselves on the wages they receive as beginners unless they live at home.
If the salesgirl is one of a family of wage earners she can pay a part of her salary into the general fund at home and retain part for dress, carfares and other petty expenses. But the girl without a city home has to depend solely on her small salary, and the consequent worry, to say nothing of her exposure to temptation, injures her commercial usefulness.
Cashgirls, of whom few are employed in these latter days, receive at the good stores when they begin work $2 a week, stockgirls, $3 to $3.50, and salesgirls, $6. At the latter figure some experience is expected from the clerk, which may have been in the service as cash or stock girl in the same store or as salesgirl in another one. Pay is advanced with the usefulness of the girl to $8 and $9. Hours of attendance are from 8 A. M. to 6 P. M. with three-quarters of an hour for luncheon, and a half-holiday, one day each week, for two months of the year. Every good house pays its employees for overtime during the Christmas holidays, either in money, suppers, or “days off ” later.
In all the principal houses the girls dress in black in the winter and wear black skirts and shirtwaists in the summer.
Exceptionally bright girls usually become the
“head of stock ’’ or are given some other place of responsibility, and have
corresponding pay. Some stores employ women for buyers, and pay them from
$2,000 to $5,000 a year, and it is significant that they have all risen from
the ranks. They tell me in the stores that this must be so, and that no woman,
no matter what her general education and ability may be, can hope to obtain
such a place unless she has graduated from behind the counter, where she gained
her practical experience.
Among the best paying stores the health of the
employees is given special attention, but Wanamaker, I believe, stands alone in
having a trained nurse constantly at the store to attend them. The dry-goods
houses usually take care of their girls through the benefit funds started in
the stores, the money for which is obtained from fines paid by the tardy
workers and from the small sums they themselves pay in.
For a girl who is physically strong and intelligent there is a chance of employment in large cities in the factories. One such institution in New York City alone employs twenty-five hundred girls, and the conditions are usually good. I am not speaking of the “sweat-shops,” of course. Factory girls have one advantage—they are not obliged to spend their money for dress, nor are they exposed to the temptations caused by seeing money expended for frivolous things, which, after a while, actually look to the salesgirl as though they were necessities.
The earnings of a worker in the factories depend
upon her own skill. Indeed, $10 and $12 a week is not at all unusual pay. It is
true, however, that factories do not run steadily the whole year round. The
earnings of feather curlers and artificial flower
makers are better than those paid in some other industries, but I do not advise
a girl to work as either, because those trades are apt to develop certain forms
of disease. Most operatives are paid by the piece, so that earnings often run
higher than the scale just mentioned
Ferris’s factory, in Newark,
N. J., has an excellent luncheon-room for the girls, and provides overshoes and
umbrellas for them, and similarly kind treatment is accorded in many of the New
York City factories.
Every working girl should save some amount from her earnings every week. The Penny Provident Fund will accept the smallest sum, and some of the savings banks remain open until 7 or 7:30 P. M. for the especial convenience of working people. A girl might well avail herself also of some of the benefit societies which are so numerous in New York and other large cities. The New York Association of Working Girls’ Societies has a benefit fund, whereby a girl will receive during illness $8 a week for six consecutive weeks in any year, by paying into the fund 40 cents a month. For 25 cents she will receive $5 a week, and for 15 cents $3 weekly.
By joining one of the clubs, either of this society or the Young Women’s Christian Association, or of similar organizations, the working girl will have a social life, not otherwise open to her, and an opportunity for mental and spiritual improvement.
If a country girl must come
to New York, let her go to the women’s dressing-rooms of the railroad station
when she arrives and read the addresses of Christian homes which she will find
on the walls.
If she writes to the Manhattan East Side Mission, No. 416 East Twenty-sixth St., a woman will meet her, but if she does not do this, and she arrives in the city late, she would better spend the night in the waiting room, rather than go into the streets alone and ignorant of her way. In Philadelphia the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union looks after young travellers, and in Boston the Travellers’ Aid Society.
A girl should not enter into
conversation with any stranger, whether man or woman, and she would better
avoid asking for information from hackmen. The policeman on duty inside of the
station will always be willing to direct her.
The matron at St.
Bartholomew’s Girls’ Club House, No. 136 East Forty-seventh St., and the
Episcopal Sisters at the Shelter for Respectable Girls, No. 241 West Fourteenth
St., will be glad to welcome strangers. The Women’s Lodging House at No. 6
Rivington St., is a cheap and respectable place, which may also safely be
recommended. But, of course, these are only temporary stopping places.
Permanent boarding places should be found as soon as possible. The best way is
to apply at the board directory of the Young Women’s Christian Association, No.
7 East Fifteenth St.
Of course, our country girl must not come to town unless she has enough money to tide her over for at least two months. During that time, she can improve her acquaintance with the Christian women whom she will meet at the homes and clubs, and through them, and independent of them, but with their advice, she will seek for a place in the great workrooms of the city.
I had a little difficulty finding images for this post. In desperation, I downloaded some images from Les Modes in 1901 from Gallica. In the end, I didn’t need them, but I’m posting them anyway because they make me smile 🙂 As usual, click to enlarge. Enjoy!