Part of the American History & Genealogy Project

Helen Marot 1865 ~ 1940

 


Helen Marot

Is an industrial reformer and worker in social economics. Miss Marot has been engaged in the work of social economics for the past sixteen years. Her first efforts in this direction was the forming of a small center for the use of all sorts and conditions of people interested in economic problems in Philadelphia, her native city. In this work she was assisted by Dr. David G. Brinton. Books and pamphlets were collected and a reading-room and gathering place for the discussion of these problems was opened. While this center was in active operation, lectures were delivered by Sidney Webb, of England, Ramsay MacDonald, M.P., and men from the Pennsylvania University.

During the existence of this circle Miss Marot compiled a handbook of labor literature which was most favorably received by bibliographers as well as sociologists. This was a selected and classified bibliography of the more important books and pamphlets in the English language at the time of its publication of 1897. In 1900 Miss Marot, in connection with Miss Caroline L. Piatt, made an investigation and report of the manufacture of men's clothing in Philadelphia. The part referring to readymade clothing was published by the United States Industrial Commission. The part relating to the manufacture of custom made clothes was published by the Pennsylvania Consumers' League and the Journeyman Tailors' Union. This was the first exposure of conditions under which the latter class of clothing is made. After this Miss Marot made some investigations in New York and in 1903 was asked to investigate conditions under which children worked for the New York Child Labor Committee which was just then being formed. The investigation led to the enactment of laws formulated by her associates and herself which placed New York in the lead in child labor reform.

This was the beginning of the child labor campaign throughout the country now led by the National Child Labor Committee. At this time Miss Marot's health broke down and she was forced to lay aside her work for over a year; she was then called to Philadelphia to take the secretary ship of the Pennsylvania Child Labor Committee. This committee made an extensive investigation of child labor and began a legislative campaign which resulted in the passing of a fine piece of legislation but which was declared unconstitutional on a slight technicality raised by those interested in vitiating the law. Miss Marot realized that the only method of eventually destroying this evil was in better educational facilities and new economic conditions. She left the Pennsylvania Committee and returned to New York to work with the New York Public Education Association. She was urged to accept the secretary ship of the Woman's Trade Union League of New York City, and gave up her educational work to accept this responsible office and today there is a membership of over fifty-two thousand in this league.

Miss Marot and her associates, who are largely college girls and students of social questions in sympathy with the cause of organized labor, aided and managed the strike of woman shirt-makers in New York last year, when forty thousand of these women united, formed a union and declared a strike. This was settled by their employers ultimately coming to a recognition of their claims and it was settled on a basis of increased pay and a recognition of their union. Miss Anna Morgan, the daughter of J. P. Morgan, was one of the moving spirits in aiding these women to obtain their rights. After the strike was over, about three thousand of the workers were still out of employment. It remained for the practical mind of Miss Morgan to make provision for these girls. Miss Morgan proposed to establish by subscription a shirtwaist factory which should be a model in every sanitary and architectural respect and operated under strictly union conditions and finally to have a profit-sharing system. Their first order was from Wellesley College, a thousand waists to be made by their special pattern.

Women of America

Source: The Part Taken by Women in American History, By Mrs. John A. Logan, Published by The Perry-Nalle Publishing Company, Wilmington, Delaware, 1912.

 

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