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The President's Homes Commission
Appointed by President Theodore Roosevelt
Gen. Geo. M. STERNBERG, U. S. A., President
Geo. M. KOBER, Secretary
John B. SLEMAN, JR., Treasurer. Wm. H. Baldwin
James Bronson Reynolds Frederick L. Siddons
S. W. Woodward Prof. Geo. W. Cook
T. C. Parsons Whitefield McKinlay
Emmett L. Adams Miss Mabel T. Boardman
P. J. Brennan Mrs. Thomas T. Gaff
Wm. F. Downey
Geo. M. Kober
Frederick L. Siddons
S. W. Woodward
Committee on Building of Model Houses
Geo. M. STERNBERG, Chairman T. C. Parsons
Whitefield McKinlay Geo. W. Cook
John B. Sleman, Jr. P. J. Brennan
Miss Mabel T. Boardman
Committee on Improvement of Existing Houses and Elimination of
Unsanitary and Alley Houses
WM. H. BALDWIN, Chairman S. W. Woodward
F. L. Siddons T. C. Parsons
Emmett L. Adams
Wm. F. Downey
Geo. M. KOBER, Chairman
Emmett L. Adams Wm. F. Downey
Mrs. Thomas T. Gaff
Miss Mabel T. Boardman
FREDERICK L. SIDDONS, Chairman
Wm. H. Baldwin
S. W. WOODWARD, Chairman
John B. Sleman, Jr. Mrs. Thomas T. Gaff
P. J. Brennan
Miss Mabel T. Boardman
Report of the Committee on Social Bettermen
The Committee on Social Betterment has realized throughout i work that the question of health is intimately connected with the physica social and moral welfare of all persons whose only income is the produc of their daily labor. Health is the chief asset of the working man, an no greater calamity can befall him than when his earning capacity i impaired, or arrested, by reason of sickness or disability. It means is many instances the utter financial ruin of the family and is doubtless on of the most potent causes of poverty and distress.
Many of the diseases are incident to occupations and environment and industrial efficiency and earning power can be promoted by appropriate safeguards and adequate protection of the men, women and children engaged in gainful occupations.
It has been the aim of the Committee to emphasize, therefore, the causes and prevention of industrial diseases and also of some of the principal preventable diseases, like tuberculosis, pneumonia, typhoid fever, sexual diseases, etc.
The Committee has also studied the standards of living in 1,217 families; of these 476, or 39 per cent, had a family income of $500 or less per annum; 159, or 13 per cent, had an income of from $500 to $600; 153, or 1272 per cent, from $600 to $700; 153, or 12/2 per cent, from $700 to $800; 89, or 7 per cent, from $800 to $900; 93, or 8 per cent, from $900 to $1,000; and 94, or 8 per cent, had an annual income of over $1,000.
The results of these fairly accurate returns concerning income and expenditures and general standards of living are set forth in a special report by Mr. G. A. Weber, of the Bureau of Labor, who was appointed Statistician to supervise the work. The data with reference to the expenditures for rent, food, liquor, tobacco, sickness and death, including expenditures for patent medicines; number of working hours, wageearners' lunches, insurance, installment purchases, usury, etc., are of interest and importance.
In addition to presenting such topics as “How to keep well and capacitated for work,” the Committee in its efforts to improve the homes and better the lives of the industrial classes, believes that special atten
tion should be given to the question "How to live well and cheaply,” and for this purpose invoked the aid of Dr. C. F. Langworthy, Expert in Nutrition of the United States Department of Agriculture, who cheerfully consented to prepare a special article on "Good food at reasonable cost.” Miss E. W. Cross of the department of domestic science of the McKinley Manual Training School has worked out dietaries and menus for families with an income of $1.50 a day.
Believing that a survey of the causes which lead up to low standards of living would not be complete without reference to the Alcohol question, the tobacco and drug habits, the great nostrum evil, and the usury evil, special studies have been made of these subjects and the results with suitable recommendations will be found in our report. Miss Mabel T. Boardman has prepared an excellent article on recreation and inexpensive amusements; Mr. James Bronson Reynolds has prepared the article on the business relations of wage-earners, and Mr. Wm. F. Downey has written the article "How to Benefit the Poor in the Slums.” The thanks of the Committee are also due to Dr. Paul B. Johnson, Professor H. W. Wiley, Dr. Lyman F. Kebler, of the Bureau of Chemistry, for valuable material, and to General Sternberg for a careful revision of the manuscript. Respectfully submitted,
GEO. M. KOBER, Chairman Committee on Social Betterment. WASHINGTON, D. C.
December 1, 1908.
A careful survey of the situation justifies the following recommendations:
(1) The enactment of model factory and labor laws for the employees of the Government and for the District of Columbia. Such laws, apart from regulating the hours of labor, should also make adequate provisions for the sanitation of workshops, for employer's liability in case of accidents and for a comprehensive system of industrial insurance for all Government employees and employees in the District of Columbia. (See pp. 72-92 of Report submitted February 4, 1908.)
(2) The appointment by the President of a special board composed of Architects and Sanitarians now in the employ of the Government for the purpose of evolving model plans and building regulations for Government workshops and office buildings so that no such buildings will hereafter be erected without due regard to air space, ventilation, light, heating, temperature, humidity, sanitary conveniences, and other provisions, including sanitary supervision referred to in a previous Report,
(3) The establishment in the National Museum, and in connection with Museums in Industrial centers generally, of a special section devoted to exhibits illustrative of the hygiene of occupations, habitations, food, safety appliances and other collections for the promotion of industrial and social betterment of wage earners, along the lines indicated on pp. 85 and 86 of the Report, February 4, 1908. It may be found necessary to house such exhibits ultimately in a special building.
(4) While it is gratifying to record a very deep interest in the public schools of Washington in all matters related to social and industrial life, the Committee is of the opinion that even greater emphasis should be given in the curriculum to manual training and domestic science because the practical knowledge thus acquired not only inspires respect for manual labor and domestic service but constitutes in fact the foundation stone for intelligent work and home-making.
(5) The importance of a thorough practical training in domestic science is nowhere more evident than in a study of our family groups whose income is less than $700 a year. While conditions on the whole indicate a fierce struggle for existence, some splendid examples of neat and healthful homes, of thrift and happiness could be cited for the emulation of less competent neighbors.