This essay by John Harvey Kellogg appeared in Association Men, the official publication for Y.M.C.A. leaders during World War I. The piece caught my eye because so many people I encounter have an almost unreasonably nostalgic view of the past that does not make sense when looking at the world through the words of people living at the time. “People are people” and that has always been true.
The Decay of American Manhood
By J.H. Kellogg, M.D.,
Battle Creek, Michigan
History records nothing so wonderful as the development and progress of this great nation in the last hundred years.
But a blight has struck us.
American manhood is decaying.
We are going morally at a terrifying rate.
We have foes at home more deadly and destructive than our European enemies.
Davenport has shown that one in every hundred men is mentally defective, insane, epileptic, habitually criminal, or feeble-minded.
Recent military examinations have brought out most appalling facts.
Major Orr, a medical officer of the regular army, tells us that two to three out of every four applicants for the army are rejected as physically unfit.
Draft examinations show more than half our young men unfit for military training.
The examinations of the Life Extension Institute show only one man in a hundred wholly free from disease and physically fit. (more…)
The chapter excerpted below was part of a booklet titled Fifteen Studies by Practical Teachers – Prize Winners in the National Educational Contest of 1905.
The studies were:
- Personality as a Factor in Teaching
- The Value of Psychology in Teaching
- How Best to Develop Character in Children
- How Best to Gain and Keep Control of Pupils
- How to Teach Children to Think
- Advantages of Memory Work
- How Best to Teach Concentration
- How to Develop the Conversational Powers of Pupils
- The Place of Biography in General Education
- The Art of Story-Telling and Its Uses in the School Room
- Nature Studies: The Various Methods of Teaching Nature
- The Teaching of Phonetics
- The Value of Word Study and How to Direct it
- The Educational Influence and Value of Manual Training
- How Best to Acquaint Pupils with What is Going on in the World
Margaret Sanger, birth control crusader, feminist and reformer, was one of the most controversial and compelling figures of the 20th century. The first volume of “The Selected Papers of Margaret Sanger,” titled “The Woman Rebel, 1900-1928,” documents the critical phases and influences of an American feminist icon and offers rare glimpses into her working-class childhood, burgeoning feminism, spiritual and scientific interests, sexual explorations, and diverse roles as wife, mother, nurse, journalist, radical socialist and activist.
In spite of the some perceived negative aspects of her determination to be a martyr for the birth control movement, Sanger was a positive social force in testing and denouncing the Comstock law. The law, named for Anthony Comstock, a postal inspector who had lobbied Congress to forbid the distribution of obscene materials throughout the United States, equated birth control and sex education with obscenity. (more…)
The Woman’s Page of New Ideas in The Saint Paul Globe for July 24, 1904 contained an extensive list of ways a “girl” can earn money while in college.
Some Things a Girl Can Do to Work Her Way Through College
- Do stenography and typewriting, report lectures, etc., etc.
- Give dancing lessons in the college or to women and children in the vicinity.
- Take charge of the college telephone at certain stated times, or attend in the library.
- Frame pictures.
- Make shirtwaists.
- Play the gymnasium piano.
- Help to take care of the laboratory apparatus.
- Clerical work for the professors.
- Tutoring – If she is strong in any special branch, such as mathematics or language.
- Hairdressing and shampooing.
- Expert manicuring.
- Trim hats.
- Make neckwear.
- Take orders for negliges and kimonos.
- Sell letter paper, soap, tooth powder or face cream as an agent.
- Make curtains, draperies and couch covers.
- Make sofa pillows.
- Clean gloves and freshen faded millinery.
- Take an agency for visiting cards engraved cards of different kinds and invitations.
- Make tissue paper trifles for college festivities, and run “a line” of novelties in general.
- Make gymnasium suits and other athletic garments.
- Make pincushions, bureau covers, table covers, etc., for girls’ rooms.
- Make a specialty of novel lamp shades and work them out in tissue paper, silk, beads, silk gauze, and the like. Candle shades, too, are sometimes In demand
- Darn stockings and mending in general.
- Brush and press clothes.
- Design book plates’ for book enthusiasts.
- Decorate rooms.
- Cater for dormitory receptions.
- Prepare end sell “souvenirs” made up of photographs representing interesting phases of the college year.
- Do shopping on commission in town.
SOME THINGS A GIRL CAN DO TO WORK HER WAY THROUGH COLLEGE
–The Saint Paul Globe, July 24, 1904
To give you some idea of what it took to gain admission and graduate from a respectable women’s college back then, take a look at the Admission and graduation requirements from the Pennsylvania College for Women Catalogue for 1900.
Behind the Veil is a wonderful resource for anyone interested in life in the south as experienced by African-Americans struggling to make a life for themselves under unfair and repressive laws.
The Behind the Veil Oral History Project was undertaken by Duke University’s Center for Documentary Studies from 1993 to 1995. Funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities, the primary purpose of this documentary project was to record and preserve the living memory of African-American life during the age of legal segregation in the American South, from the 1890s to the 1950s.
Herbert Block, 1958
Over the span of three summers, teams of researchers conducted oral history interviews with more than one thousand elderly black southerners who remembered that period of legal segregation. The tapes and selected transcripts of the 1,260 interviews in this collection capture the vivid personalities, poignant personal stories, and behind-the-scenes decision-making that bring to life the African-American experience in the South during the late-19th to mid-20th century. It is the largest single collection of Jim Crow oral histories in the world.
Four hundred and ten of the 1,260 interviews have been digitized and made available on this site totaling about 725 hours of recorded audio. One hundred and sixty five of the interviews include transcripts comprising more than 15,000 pages of text.
Source: About – Behind the Veil: Documenting African-American Life in the Jim Crow South – Duke Libraries