Letter from Jane Addams to Ellis Meredith
Topic of the letter: Prohibition of child labor.
Ellis Meredith; gift, 1925.
"January 30, 1899Mr. Dear Miss Meredith, I do not feel in the least certain that anything I can say will help the ladies of Denver to solve the problem of the child street vendor. Here in Chicago nothing has been done, although our situation is much worse, since here the girl peddler is permitted to visit saloons and other low resorts as long and as late as they are open. However, as you say, it ought to be easier to do something in the smaller city, and I would suggest that an ordinance might be more easily secured, and it might be more effective, than a factory act. During the four years that Mrs. Kelley, of Hull-House, was factory inspector she succeeded in getting the prohibition of employment of children in workshops, factories and sweatshops extended until children in mercantile establishments, laundries and officers were included, but not peddlers. in the legislature of 1895 and again in 1897 the bills introduced for her included street peddling as among occupations to be prohibited children under 14 years of"
"HULL-HOUSE335 Halsted Street Chicago age, but in both legislatures that section was stricken out because the representatives of farming districts insisted that their constituents must have the right to send their boys with farm and vegetable products upon the peddlers wagons. In Massachusetts and New York the same experiences have been met, and you might encounter the same obstacle in Colorado. If, on the other hand, there is a strong sentiment among the good citizens of Denver against the sale of papers by small boys, an ordinance prohibiting street peddling might meet with such favor; and if it were enacted those to whom its enforcement would be committed would administer it more effectively than State inspectors could do. The minimum age, I should suggest, should be the same as in other occupations. It may be that this is not good advise for Colorado, but I offer it as the best at my command, and it is based upon our failure in Illinois. Yours very sincerely, Jane Addams
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Ellis Meredith Collection, MSS.427, History Colorado, Denver, Colorado.