"A Self Support Problem." by Miss Julia S. Tutwiler.
|MRS. JULIA S. TUTWILER.|
Katie will spend one-third as much of the year out of college as in college if she is ever so fortunate as to get there. She will have in some places even more than that proportion of leisure time during the year. In my own state, she will have thirty-six weeks in college and sixteen out of college. Now suppose, instead of closing the college buildings for these four months, we were to keep them open, as you so wisely propose to do with your new University–at least to keep open the dormitory and refectory (I have in view the old-fashioned type of college). Suppose a sufficient number of college officials to be kept on duty for guardianship and protection, then let all the pupils who need self support engage daily in some profitable industry in buildings belonging to the college and reserved for this purpose. There might also be a night school, for backward pupils who wish to prepare for a particular class, but this feature should be carefully looked after that it may not become an injury, and should never be allowed to occupy more than two hours. No wages should be paid in money. The employee should have board and lodging, and should be credited on their board for next year with the amount of wages which they earn after deducting the actual cost of board and lodging. They should sign a contract, agreeing to these conditions, and to the further one that in case of their not remaining, to obtain payment of their wages in board, these should be forfeited to the college.
But the objection may be made that the capital invested in this industrial plant must lie idle for three-fourths of the year. Even if this should be the case, it would not be nearly such poor economy as the prevailing practice of letting thousands of college buildings remain unemployed for one-fourth of the year. Why have not our practical communities in all these years felt a little trouble at this great waste of the capital invested in that plant? But we will not imitate the college in this respect. We will try to arrange our industrial plant so that there shall be no unnecessary lying idle of capital. There are several ways in which this might be done. I will not stop to enumerate them all, but will only make one or two suggestions. Our industry might be operated by relays of pupils, each having three months of work and nine months of study. The companionship of the workers and students will be helpful to both.
However, there is one industry in which capital necessarily lies idle during the very months in which Katie has leisure. This is the canning factory. If I have been correctly informed but a small capital is needed to establish a canning factory which will employ twenty girls and have an output of five hundred cans daily. Twenty-five acres of tomatoes and a few acres of corn, strawberries and peas will keep this factory busy for four months. The work is light and well suited to girls. In Michigan there are said to be two factories carried on entirely by women without the aid of even a boy. The pay is much more than Katie could earn by housework or sewing, and she has not yet learned any skilled labor. In Michigan I learned that from one dollar to a dollar and a half per day is the usual wages for girls. If Katie can earn seventy-five dollars during the summer, and if the college is one where she is charged only the actual cost of food and fuel, tuition being free, she will be able to pay by far the greater part of her next term's school expenses. A benevolent [Page 38] man or woman is often reported to have given five thousand dollars to found two or three scholarships in some girls' colleges. The same amount invested in an industrial plant to be attached to a college would pay for the education of a hundred girls, or rather would enable them to pay for their own education, a much nobler form of benevolence. Now, here are sisters from the East and West and the North and South, and I ask them to tell me whether such a plan has ever been attempted anywhere, and if so, with what success?
I cannot close without expressing my sense of the great blessing to womanhood of this wonderful opportunity of thus taking counsel together and unbosoming ourselves to each other. So many women have schemes for the helping of their sex, or still better, of their race, fermenting in their brains and hearts, and are brain-sick and heart-sick for the lack of advice and sympathy. Here, for the first time, but not, thank God, for the last time, we have come together from the ends of the earth to this magic city to listen to each other's plans and hopes, and give wise warning or kindly encouragement.
When angels oped at God's command,
With weeping, Eden's portal,
And our sad parents, hand in hand,
Forsook its joys immortal,
Our mother's deep prophetic soul,
Made wise by pain and sadness,
Beheld the coming ages roll,
Bereft of pristine gladness.
She saw our sickness, grief and tears,
Her breast maternal sharing,
Each bitter pang through future years
Her race should bear–are bearing.
To high resolve that hour gave birth
Her burning tears repressing,
She vowed to ope once more for earth
Lost Eden's gates of blessing.
And since to realize her vow
Hath woman ever striven.
Each mother to her child till now
This secret task hath given.
But man grew jealous as she strove,
And barred her pathway ever,
Nor understood what depth of love
Inspired the high endeavor.
Yet still her earnest spirit rose
Above his scorn undaunted
To struggle on, till should unclose
Once more the gates enchanted,
And give for sickness, grief and tears,
Our mortal lot attending,
Succession sweet of blissful years
In life immortal ending.
See, strong Evangelists and brave,
In sight the gates Elysian!
The earnest now of all ye crave,
Soon, soon its full fruition!
Miss Julia Strudwick Tutwiler is a native of Tuscaloosa, Ala. She was born August 15, 1841. Her parents were Henry Tutwiler, LL. D., of Virginia, and Julia Tutwiler, nee Ashe, of North Carolina. Miss Tutwiler was educated at a French boarding school in Philadelphia, Pa., at Vassar College, at a Normal Seminary in Germany, and has visited Europe three times, remaining at one time three years for the purpose of studying and writing. Her special work has been in the interest of the education of girls. At present she is principal of the Alabama Normal College for girls. In religious faith she is a strong believer in Christianity, and is a member of the Presbyterian Church. Miss Tutwiler was a member of three of the World's Congresses which met in Chicago during the summer of 1893: The Congress of Representative Women, the Educational Congress and the Congress of Charities and Corrections. Her postoffice address is Livingston, Ala.
* The title under which the address was delivered was "Is Self-Support Possible for Girls During the Years of Secondary Education."