Bessie (Mrs. John) and Marie van Vorst's "The Woman Who Toils: Being the Experiences of Two Gentlewomen as Factory Girls"

Bessie (Mrs. John) and Marie van Vorst's "The Woman Who Toils: Being the Experiences of Two Gentlewomen as Factory Girls"

Author: 
Bessie (Mrs. John) van Vorst
Marie van Vorst

The sisters-in-law van Vorst, both writers and "gentlewomen," which is the perspective they emphasize, moved through a series of factory jobs to experience life in the working class. They took jobs in a Pittsburgh factory, in a New York mill town, as clothing workers in Chicago, in a shoe factory in Massachusetts, and in mills in the South.

Book Excerpt: 
"Any journey into the world, any research in literature, any study of society, demonstrates the existence of two distinct classes designated as the rich and the poor, the fortunate and the unfortunate, the upper and the lower, the educated and the uneducated--and a further variety of opposing epithets. Few of us who belong to the former category have come into more than brief contact with the labourers who, in the factories or elsewhere, gain from day to day a livelihood insufficient for their needs. Yet all of us are troubled by their struggle, all of us recognize the misery of their surroundings, the paucity of their moral and esthetic inspiration, their lack of opportunity for physical development. All of us have a longing, pronounced or latent, to help them, to alleviate their distress, to better their condition in some, in every way . . . ."
Year of Publication: 
Sun, 1903-02-01
Rights Information: 
Public domain.
City of Publication: 
New York City & Toronto
Book Publisher: 
Doubleday, Page & Company (NY) & George N. Morang, Co., Ltd. (Toronto)