The Men in Holyoke Shops

by Laurel | July 30th, 2009

July 30, 1905, page 14
Association Investigating.

The officials of the Holyoke Young Men’s Christian Association are this year making a thorough investigation of the conditions surrounding the men in the various shops and factories with a view to learning their needs educationally, so that the educational work of the association, which is increasing each year, may be so framed as to be of more value to them. About 75 per cent of the mills and factories of Holyoke were visited by the officials — 35 in all, to be exact — and 123 superintendents, foremen or overseers interviews. These have been carefully tabulated both in groups of themselves, the textile mills being in one group, the paper mills in another, and so on, and a tabulation by totals made from these groups. Incident to the investigation for the purposes noted data of real sociological value have been learned.

Thus there are in the mills visited by the officials 5865 men and 444 boys employed. Strange to say, in all of these mills there were only 110 apprentices, and of these 65 were employed as apprentices in machine shops. In the paper mills of Holyoke visited 2061 men and 23 boys were employed and but two apprentices. The apprentice system seems to have nearly gone out, and further information tended to show that the “floating” class was abnormally large and that the mill operatives almost wholly changes in some mills within comparatively short periods of time. The Deane steam pump company is going back to the old apprentice system, and it is not wholly improbably that some other mills may have to take this matter up. The large number of women employed in the mills is another striking face, though no figures were obtained generally as to this. There were found large rooms in which scarcely a word of English was understood. The Poles seemed to be grouped together in the greatest numbers in their lack of knowledge of English. Numerically as far as the investigations of the official went, the French people lead in the number employed with 1740; the Irish are next with 1566, and Americans third with 879. The Poles are put at 639, but it is doubtless true that a fuller compilation would show their numbers to exceed this, although it should be remembered that, women not being included, the large number of Polish women who work do not appear at all in these reports.

Excerpt from The Springfield Republican.

One Response to “The Men in Holyoke Shops”

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