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fied are eligible to the office of county superintendent of common schools without regard to sex. [Sch. Law, 1887.]
Washington-Women over the age of twenty-one years, resident of the school district for three months immediately preceding any district meeting, and liable to taxation, are legal voters at any school meeting. They are also eligible to hold or be elected to any school office. [Sch. Laws, 1885-86.]
WYOMING-Every woman of the age of twenty-one years, residing in the Territory, may, at every election to be holden under the laws thereof, cast her vote, and her rights to the elective franchise and to hold office shall be the same under the election laws of the Territory as those of electors. [Revised Statutes, 1887.]
All States marked with a star, thus (*), were Territories at date of laws. In Montana, those women who pay taxes will vote on all questions submitted to the vote of tax-payers. In Washington and South Dakota, the question of giving women full suffrage is hereafter to be put to vote, and on this question women already qualified as voters for any purpose can also vote. In Kansas, women have now the right to vote at municipal elections, and in Wyoming women have had full suffrage on the same terms as men for twenty years. The constitution of Wyoming, besides the equal suffrage provision, establishes the reading test, as in Massachusetts, and the Australian ballot for voters. At this present time of writing, Wyoming's admission to the Union as a State is pending in Congress. The House of Representatives has voted the Territory qualified for statehood, and to give her admission. It is believed the Senate will confirm this action and that the bill will be signed by the President, when Wyoming will enter the sisterhood of States with equal suffrage for men and women incorporated in her constitution.*
The States and Territories which, according to the latest issue of their school laws, do not give women any voice in school affairs are nineteen, viz. : Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, North Carolina, South Carolina, Ohio, t Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia, Alaska, Indian Territory, and New Mexico.
In Texas, the school officers are chosen by petitions to the
* Wyoming was admitted to statehood, with equal suffrage for men and women incorporated in her constitution, by an Act of Congress, July, 1890.
† And yet coeducation had its birth in Ohio (Oberlin, 1833). -ED.
county judge for their appointment, and he appoints those whose petitions are most largely signed. These petitions women can sign on the same terms as men, and thus practically vote without leaving home. The question of liquor license is decided in Arkansas and Mississippi in the same manner. In the territory of Utah women had full right to the elective franchise, and to hold office for many years. But in the winter of 1886– 87, women suffrage was abolished, and the Territory redistricted for voting purposes. This was done by the Edmunds bill as a means to destroy polygamy. In Washington, women had exercised the right of suffrage conferred on them by the territorial legislature for two or three years. They were deprived of it by the decision of a territorial judge, some two years since, who gave an adverse decision on the question, when it came before him. His unjust act was performed in the interest of the liquor saloons, whose hostility to woman suffrage is immitigable everywhere.
It will be seen, therefore, that there are thirty-one States and Territories which have conferred the franchise on women in some form, from the petition-vote of Texas, Mississippi, and Arkansas, to the full suffrage exercised by the women of Wyoming for twenty years. This has been accomplished not by the fanaticism of a few abnormal and unbalanced women, as many superficial objectors declare. It is the legitimate outgrowth of the principles of Republican government, and has come naturally from the evolution of woman as a human being, which has proceeded through the ages. No one who has studied the question can lack faith in its ultimate success, and the beneficent results it is sure to accomplish. For the ballot in the hands of woman is the synonym of her legal equality with man, and legal justice has always preceded social equity. Woman has wrought more of good than evil in the world during her ages of ignorance, bondage, and degradation. What then may not be expected from her in righteousness and helpfulness, when she is accorded freedom, equity, and opportunity!
In treating of woman's industrial career in America the subject falls naturally into periods, each one of which seems to possess some distinct characteristic. These periods can in no sense be considered arbitrary divisions, for the changes in woman's industrial position in America have been the result of slow transitions from one state to another. The fact that is emphasized is, that certain causes can be observed which had the effect at stated times of forcing old conditions to give way to new. By taking up in their order each of these epochshaping factors, we can discern most easily the part women have played in the progress of American industries.
The first of these periods embraces those years of primitive social conditions when people labored to supply the simplest needs of life; when men were engaged principally in agriculture and commerce, and women carried on the work of manufacturing clothing, and attending to the wants of the household. In those days, almost every family owned a loom, spinning-wheel, reel and knitting-needles, and the family com. fort depended largely on the degree of skill and industry with which these manufacturing implements were handled. In some homes, hundreds of yards of “homespun” were made yearly. The New York Mercury for 1768 credits one family, living in Newport, Rhode Island, with having within four years “manufactured nine hundred and eighty yards of woolen cloth, besides two coverlids (coverlets), and two bed-ticks, and all the stocking yarn of the family."
In those days neither wealth nor position afforded women an excuse for idleness. Nor did their labors cease with the home. It was considered so unbecoming to be unemployed that even hours of social enjoyment were devoted to useful occupations. During the enforcement of the non-importation acts, when, among other things, cloth and stockings were prevented from coming into this country from England, a letter written from Newport tells of a social gathering where “it was resolved that those who could spin ought to be employed in that way, and those who could not, should reel.” At a similar meeting in Boston, “a party of forty or fifty young women, calling themselves · Daughters of Liberty,'” amused themselves at the house of their pastor with spinning, during one day, “two hundred and thirty-two skeins of yarn, some very fine." No woman considered herself too elegant
To guide the spindle and direct the loom, or knit the stockings which, since stocking-frames were interdicted as articles of import, had to be made for the whole peo. ple by slow process of hand. As indicative of the simple and industrial habits of Mrs. Washington, it is related that when, in 1780, a party of the leading ladies of Morristown called upon her by appointment at her husband's headquarters, Mrs. Washington appeared before them in a plain gown of “linsey Woolsey," and, while she entertained them with pleasant con. versation, her busy fingers never ceased plying the knittingneedles.
Prior to and long after the Revolution, stocking knitting was an industry large enough to claim most of what were termed woman's “spare moments.” With the assistance of child and slave labor, large quantities were made for sale or exchange. Legislators, to stimulate busy fingers to fresh exertions, offered bounties for their increased production. In Virginia, prizes of fifty pounds of tobacco (the currency then) were given “for every five hundred pairs of men's and women's stockings produced, worth from three to five shillings the pair, with the privilege of buying them at an advance of seventy-. five per cent. on those prices."
Except among a few German settlers in Pennsylvania, no attempt was made for many years to change stocking-making from a domestic into a factory industry. Until 1826 the manufacture of stockings remained woman's almost exclusive province. Then knitting machines were set up in several of the States, but, as if there was some peculiar fitness ir. this remaining woman's department, the employees in knittingworks have always been, even down to 1889, “ nearly all women and children.”
Never did women woṣk harder than during this domestic
period of labor. The slave women of the South, in addition to going through all the processes of manufacturing woolen and cotton cloth, which they afterward cut and made into garments, attended to both in and out-of-door labor. They tilled the rice fields, planted tobacco, sowed the cotton seed, and helped with the harvesting. The women in the North, though not “put into the ground," as the early adventurers termed field-work, engaged energetically in other industries. History tells of women who helped build their own homes, wielding the ax and carrying the water to mix mortar with which to build chimneys. On the farms, it was women who raised the garden truck of vegetables and herbs, attended to poultry breeding, milked the cows, made butter and cheese, did the sewing, and performed all the household chores now classed in industrial statistics as “domestic service.”
Outside the strictly necessary occupations of manufacture, household service, clothing, and garden-work, from quite early times women in America turned their attention to speculative labor and to trade. When James the First, thinking to utilize mulberry trees that were indigenous to our soil, forwarded silkworm cocoons to America, when dazzling dreams of wealth to come from the successful culture of the silkworm were indulged in by people on both sides of the Atlantic, and when bounties of money and tobacco were offered for spun and woven silk, according to its weight and width, most of these prizes were obtained by women. The success obtained by women in feeding the worms, and reeling, spinning, and weaving the silk, caused this industry, during the varying fortunes that preceded the establishment of silk-weaving as a factory industry, to be carried on mainly by them. History has preserved the names of three women famous before the Revolution as silk-growers and weavers : Mrs. Pinckney, Grace Fisher, and Susanna Wright. While silkworm culture was a failure in spite of all the fostering care bestowed upon it, and none of the pioneers realized any of the golden visions of rivaling the productions of Spain and the Indies, the efforts made by them paved the way for future cultivation.
Along with the silk industry, another of scarcely less importance was growing up quietly in New England. This was the manufacture of straw goods, the products of which now amount to many millions annually. Straw, applied to so many purposes to-day, owes its origin as an article of manufacture to a young Massachusetts girl. In 1789 Miss Betsy Metcalf discovered the secret of bleaching and braiding the meadow