Now Available!             

A Reprint Edition of


Report on condition of woman and child
wage earners in the United States

U.S. Department of Labor. 1910 to 1913*
19 volumes, 8,000 pages in 12 bindings

“Is the boy who is not allowed to take up an occupation until he is 14 very likely
by that time to have become a confirmed idler?” (v. 8)

“What is technically known as immorality is not the only offense of which
a woman may be guilty. It is possible for her to be a drunkard,
a thief, a counterfeiter, or a murderess.” (v. 15)

Individual volumes..................................................................$ 225
Complete set (save $200), 978-0-88354-250-7........................$2,500

Published: May Day 2006

All volumes printed on acid-free paper in library bindings .

According to C. P. Neill, Commissioner of Labor, the purpose of these reports was "to investigate and report on the industrial, social, moral, educational, and physical condition of women and child workers in the United States wherever employed, with special reference to their age, hours of labor, term of employment, health, illiteracy, sanitary and other conditions surrounding their occupation, and the means employed for the protection of their health, persons, and morals."

The reports, published between 1910 and 1912, were the product of a major investigation of unsafe and exploitative working conditions at a time when most American workers C especially women and children C suffered from poor working conditions and a lack of basic rights. The reports examine various industries, notably clothing and textiles, women in trade unions, the beginnings of child labor laws, family budgets, the history of women in industry, the relation of juvenile delinquency to employment, and many other subjects. There are 19 reports and each is self-indexed.

Quotations below are from the introductions in the volumes:

Vol. 1. Cotton Textile Industry, 1041 p. “The investigation...was carried on in four States of New England and in six States in the South, the States chosen being those where most of the cotton mills are located.... The mills investigated numbered 198.... Some of the largest mills...were investigated and some that were small.... The earnings of all children under 16 years of age, of all females 16 years and over, and of those males 16 years and over in occupations employing any children or women were copied from the pay rolls for a recent pay-roll period.... Information was also obtained concerning the age, conjugal condition, nativity, and race of each employee....” (RPI # W-1; 978088354-251-4)

Vol. 2. Men’s Ready-Made Clothing Industry, 878 p. “Among the manufacturing industries of the United States the manufacture of men’s clothing in 1905 ranked seventh in gross value of product, twelfth in net value of product, seventh in the number of wage-earners employed, and eighth in amount expended for wages.... The investigation...was carried on in the five cities of New York, Chicago, Baltimore, Philadelphia, and Rochester. In these cities 244 factories were investigated with a total labor force of 23,683 wager-earners.... The five cities manufacture 68.3 per cent of the men’s clothing made in the United States.... The relative per cent of the sexes found in this investigation differs considerably from that reported in the census.... Information was also obtained concerning the age, conjugal condition, nativity, and race of the employees....” (RPI # W-2; 978088354-252-1)

Vol. 3. Glass Industry, 970 p. “Glass making is one of the most ancient of manufacturing industries. For many generations it has been a large employer of child labor, and in more recent years it has become an important employer of woman labor. Essentially spectacular in its processes, it has everywhere attracted the attention of those interested in the problems of child labor; and it has thus played a large part in molding that public sentiment which is everywhere being expressed in laws. Obviously in an investigation of woman and child labor, glass could not be ignored.... The States covered are Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, Missouri, Kansas, West Virginia, Maryland, Virginia, Tennessee, Georgia, and South Carolina.... It may be estimated that the present investigation...included approximately 70 per cent of all the woman and child glass blowers in the United States during the year 1908.” (RPI # W-3; 978088354-253-8)

Vol. 4. The Silk Industry, 592 p. “The investigation...was carried on in the two States of New Jersey and Pennsylvania..., in Paterson [NJ], the most important center of the industry, not only in that State but in the entire country..., [and] in Lackawanna and Luzerne counties and a few mills also in Lehigh County.... For the employees of the Pennsylvania mills information was also obtained concerning the age, conjugal condition, nativity, and race of each employee.... In the Paterson mills the agents of the Bureau were not successful in securing all of this information...however, in all the Paterson silk mills, information relating to age, conjugal condition, nativity, and race was available in the unpublished records of the New Jersey census of 1905..., and has been tabulated for inclusion in this report.” (RPI # W-4; 978088354-254-5)

Vol. 5. Wage-Earning Women in Stores and Factories, 384 p. “How many of the girls employed in stores, mills, and manufacturing establishments, and other employments of like grade, are practically without homes in the large cities and dependent for a living upon their own earnings...? To answer these and immediately related questions, an investigation was made in New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, St. Louis, Boston, Minneapolis, and St. Paul.... The number of wage-earning women visited in these cities for the purposes of this study was 8,475....” bound with
Vol. 6. The Beginnings of Child Labor Legislation in Certain States; A Comparative Study, 225 p. Chapters include: Employment of children in the colonies. Public opinion and child labor in the nineteenth century. Children in the cotton industry; a historical sketch. Child labor legislation prior to 1860. Child labor legislation in four Southern States. (RPI # W-5-6; 978088354-255-2)

Vol. 7. Conditions under which Children Leave School to go to Work, 309 p. “The main part of this report consists of an intensive, though by no means an exhaustive, study of 622 children in seven different localities, taken from two northern and two southern States. To this is appended a more general study of certain features of the schools attended by these children.” Chapters: Reasons for leaving school and going to work. Circumstances possibly influential in causing children to leave school. Industrial experience of children. Legal conditions affecting the employment and school attendance of children. Retardation, repeating, and elimination. bound with
Vol. 8. Juvenile Delinquency and its Relation to Employment, 177 p. “Is there any relation between juvenile delinquency and juvenile employment? Is the working child more apt to go wrong than the school child...? There is a very general agreement...that the connection between early employment and delinquency is close and to a large extent causal. On the other hand..., [is] the boy who is not allowed to take up an occupation until he is 14 very likely by that time to have become a confirmed idler?” (RPI # W-7-8; 978088354-256-9)

Vol. 9. History of Women in Industry in the United States, 277 p. “Women have always worked, and their work has probably always been quite as important a factor in the total economy of society as it is to-day. But during the nineteenth century a transformation occurred in their economic position and in the character and conditions of their work. Their unpaid services have been transformed into paid services.... The story of woman’s work in gainful employment is a story of...monotonous machine labor, of division and subdivision of tasks until the woman, like the traditional tailor who is called the ninth part of a man, is merely a fraction...of an artisan. It is a story, moreover, of underbidding, of strike breaking, of the lowering of standards for men breadwinners.” bound with
Vol. 10. History of Women in Trade Unions, 236 p. “Women, from the beginning of the trade-union movement in this country, have occupied an important place in the ranks of organized labor. For eighty years and over women wage-earners in American have formed trade unions and gone on strike for shorter hours, better pay, and improved conditions. The American labor movement had its real beginning about the year 1825. In that same year the tailoresses of New York formed a union.... The principal sources for this study of the early history of organization among working women are the daily newspapers and a considerable number of pamphlets and labor papers located through the search set up by the American Bureau of Industrial Research.” (RPI # W-9-10; 978088354-257-6)

Vol. 11. Employment of Women in the Metal Trades, 107 p. “As a very large proportion of women employed in this group of industries are working as machine operators, the study is to a large extent a study of accidents to machine operators in the industries and establishments considered.... The investigation covered the chief manufacturing centers of the metal trades in the States of Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Iowa, and Missouri.” bound with
Vol. 12. Employment of Women in Laundries, 121 p. “A large number of laundries were visited, and a considerable number of the women employed were interviewed by a physician.” bound with
Vol. 13. Infant Mortality and its Relation to the Employment of Mothers, 174 p. “...the death rate of the census year 1900, in the registration states, in the case of infants under 1 year of age was more than eleven times as high as at all other ages of childhood and adult life.”(RPI # W-11-13; 978088354 -258-3)

Vol. 14. Causes of Death among Woman and Child Cotton-Mill Operatives, 430 p. “This study was undertaken to secure the most accurate information obtainable respecting the death hazard to males and females incident to work in cotton mills, as compared with the corresponding hazard among individuals of like age who are not cotton-mill operatives.” (RPI # W-14; 978088354-259-0)

Vol. 15. Relation between Occupation and Criminality of Women, 119 p. “Is the trend of modern industry dangerous to the character of woman...? First, what is technically known as immorality is not the only offense of which a woman may be guilty. It is possible for her to be a drunkard, a thief, a counterfeiter, or a murderess. She may violate the postal laws, or sell liquor illicitly, or abuse her children.... This investigation...has been based upon records of penal institutions....” bound with
Vol. 16. Family Budgets of Typical Cotton-Mill Workers, 255 p. “The expenditures and income for a year are first given in full detail for a number of thoroughly representative cotton-mill families of the various types.” bound with
Vol. 17. Hookworm Disease among Cotton-Mill Operatives, 45 p. “In general, the physical condition of the people improves with their residence in mill villages, due largely to the fact that the change from life on the farm to life in the mill village results in a very great improvement in sanitary conditions.” (RPI # W-115-17; 978088354-260-6)

Vol. 18. Employment of Women and Children in Selected Industries, 531 p. “[In addition to the studies noted above,] there seemed to be a need for some more general study which, covering a wider field but going into less detail, should give some idea of conditions affecting the women and children employed in shops and factories outside of the industries specially investigated.... A selection was made of 23....” (RPI # W-18; 978088354-261-3)

Vol. 19. Labor Laws and Factory Conditions, 1125 p. “This volume presents the results of an investigation into the administration and operation of State labor laws.... It was decided to restrict the study to such labor laws as were applicable to factories and workshops.... 17 States were selected. The investigation had two objects: The study and analysis of the labor laws and the gathering of data relative to the actual conditions of labor employment in factories...where women and children are largely employed.” (RPI # W-19; 978088354-262-0)

Individual volumes...............................................................$ 225
Complete set (save $200), 978-0-88354-250-7........................$2,500

Published: May Day 2006

Also Available on Women Workers:

Twelfth Census: 1900. [Vol. 14] Statistics of women at work based on unpublished information derived from the schedules of the Twelfth Census. 399 p. (Special reports) ....................................................................................... $550
Women in selected occupations (servants and waitresses, laundresses, seamstresses, dressmakers, milliners, textile mill operatives, saleswomen, clerks and copyists, stenographers and typists, teachers, and farmers) according to geographic distribution, race and nativity, parentage, age, marital status, comparison with previous censuses, family relationship, and presence of other breadwinners in family. (Dub. # 272). RPI #84.

Fourteenth Census: 1920. Census Monographs # 9. Women in gainful occupations, 1870 to 1920. A study of the trend of recent changes in the numbers, occupational distribution and family relationship of women reported in the census as following a gainful occupation, by Joseph A. Hill. 1929. xvi, 416 p. Dub. # 548........................ $300

Sixteenth Census: 1940. Population [Supplement (Part 5 of 7)].
The Labor Force (sample statistics). Employment and family characteristics of women vi, 212 p. (Dub. # 995) RPI # 171................................................................................................................................ $400

This report presents data on the labor force status of women according to employment and family characteristics, e.g., marital status, number and age of children under 10 years old and under 5 years old, age, color, labor force status, relationship to head of household, years of school completed, monthly rental value of home, wage or salary income of husband, employment status and major occupation group of husband, employment status and occupation status of women in the labor force.
A reprint of this report has been bound with reprints of the following related reports comprised of sample statistics:
Employment and personal characteristics. vi, 177 p. (Dub. # 996).
Industrial Characteristics. iv, 174 p. (Dub. # 997).
Occupational characteristics. vi, 256 p. (Dub. # 998).
Usual occupation. iv, 63 p. (Dub. # 999).
Wage or salary income in 1939. vi, 194 p. (Dub. # 1000).

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