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

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

They want Neither Pity, Charity, Nor Tracts but Practical instruction

by: Nell Nelson | publication date: August 26, 1888 | Publication: Chicago Times | pages: 19

What the shop-girl and the factory-girl needs and must have if her welfare concerns society is training - a training that the scholastic stuffing of our public schools does not supply nor the limitation of the Sabbath schools permit.  The pupil children of 10 and 12 who at 14 and 15 swell the ranks of labor must be equipped for the battle of existence if pauper labor is to be averted.  The girl must have a sufficiency of physical culture not only to enable her to protect and preserve her health, but to promote it an to economize her strength for a future generation; she must be taught that if the injury done to her health must be atoned for by her children, and that her wifehood and motherhood is influenced and largely governed by her girlhood and young womanhood.  She must have her eyes and her fingers trained even at the expense of mentality, and some practiced science must be mastered before or in connection with the apostle's creed, the rule for at least common multiples and the population ofthe ten largest citites in the world.  If manual schools can not be opened to girls why not provide a vast kitchen garden where the bright motherly little maiden can mind real live babies, cook real dinners, knit real stockings and hoods, and hem napkins, quilts, rubber cloaks, and ragged garments that will be examined and paid for if satisfactory? 

Nell Nelson follows up her undercover reporting on the working conditions for women in Chicago's factories with a critique of the education provided to most children who enter the labor force as teenagers, particular the education provided to girls.

public domain