XIV-"City Slave Girls" - Nell Nelson - Chicago Daily Times

XIV-"City Slave Girls" - Nell Nelson - Chicago Daily Times

Nell Nelson Continues To Expose the Slave-Grinding Hell-Holes of Chicago

by: Nell Nelson | publication date: August 12, 1888 | Publication: Chicago Times | pages: 1-2

The birthright of an American girl may be a glorious attribute on the deck of a trans-atlantic steamship or the floor of a London ball-room, but it is not worth the flop of a brass farthing in the cloak factories of Chicago.  It was high noon by the Jesuite college clock when I got to the rear of 230 West Twelfth street, where David Kafasick has his shop.  Nobody in but an old man.  His face is seamed with wrinkles: he has a big nose the color and texture of a mushroom: his head and half his face is covered with hair of chinchilla shades: his back is humped at the shoulders and his clothes are fithy and worn.  I ask for work and am told that no hands are needed.  He has a pocket that hangs across his waist and into which he puts rags, pieces of thread, hooks and eyes, pins, buttons, and the empty spools that he on the floor about the vacant machine-chairs.  I watch the silent old man as he drags his loos slippers across the floor, and behold I have the key to wealth! But it doesn't profit me worth a copper.  So I survey the premises.  

Part of the Times's undercover series on working conditions for women in Chicago's factories, based on undercover time spent working as a laborer by "Nell Nelson"

public domain