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The Making of a Trade School   By: (1860-)

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First Page:

THE MAKING OF A TRADE SCHOOL

By MARY SCHENCK WOOLMAN

Director of Manhattan Trade School for Girls Professor of Domestic Art, Teachers College, Columbia University

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WHITCOMB & BARROWS 1910 BOSTON

Copyright 1909 By Teachers College

Thomas Todd Co., Printers 14 Beacon Street Boston

CONTENTS

PART PAGE

I. ORGANIZATION AND WORK 1

II. REPRESENTATIVE PROBLEMS 38

III. EQUIPMENT AND SUPPORT 53

IV. OUTLINES AND DETAILED ACCOUNTS OF DEPARTMENT WORK 58

THE MAKING OF A TRADE SCHOOL

PART I

ORGANIZATION AND WORK

History

The Manhattan Trade School for Girls began its work in November, 1902. The building selected for the school was a large private house at 233 West 14th Street, which was equipped like a factory and could comfortably accommodate 100 pupils. Training was offered in a variety of satisfactory trades which required the expert use of the needle, the paste brush, and the foot and electric power sewing machines.

Beginning with twenty pupils on its first day, it was but a few months before the full 100 were on roll and others were applying. In endeavoring to help all who desired instruction the building was soon overcrowded. It thus became evident that, unless increased accommodation was provided, the number already in attendance must be decreased and others, anxious for the training, must be turned away. It was decided that even though the enterprise was young the need was urgent, demanding unusual exertion. It would therefore be wise to make every effort to purchase more commodious quarters. In June, 1906, the school moved to a fine business building at 209 213 East 23d Street, which could offer daily instruction to about 500 girls.

The movement owes its existence to the earnest study that a group of women and men, interested in philanthropic, sociological, economic, and educational work, gave to the condition of the working girl in New York City. They were all intimately acquainted with the difficulties of the situation. Early in the winter of 1902 this committee made a special investigation of the workrooms of New York. They were but the more convinced that (1) the wages of unskilled labor are declining; (2) while there is a good opportunity for highly skilled labor, the supply is inadequate; (3) the condition of the young, inexpert working girl must be ameliorated by the speedy opening of a trade school for those who have reached the age to obtain working papers; (4) if public instruction could not immediately undertake the organization of such a school, then private initiative must do it, even though it must depend for its support upon voluntary contributions. The result was that an extreme effort was put forth and the following November the first trade school in America, for girls of fourteen years of age, was begun.

The first Board of Administrators, composed largely of members of the original committee of investigators, was as follows:

President, Miss Virginia Potter; Vice Presidents, Dr. Felix Adler, Mr. John Graham Brooks, Mrs. Theodore Hellman, Mrs. Anna Garlin Spencer, Mrs. Henry Ollesheimer; Treasurer, Mr. J. G. Phelps Stokes; Secretary, Mr. John L. Eliot; Assistant Secretary, Miss Louise B. Lockwood; Director, Professor Mary Schenck Woolman.

Purpose and Scope

The immediate purpose of the school was to train the youngest and poorest wage earners to be self supporting as quickly as possible. It was decided to help the industrial workers rather than the commercial and professional, as the last two are already to some extent provided for in education. The function of the school was, therefore, that of the Short Time Trade School, which would provide the girl who must go to work the moment she can obtain her working papers (about fourteen years of age) with an enlightened apprenticeship in some productive occupation... Continue reading book >>




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