Puslapio vaizdai
PDF
„ePub“

wastes the most susceptible years in mere The educated poor - the thousands who have routine, and makes any genuine education of “seen better days” and who have no training brain and heart and hand the almost unattain. which can serve them when evil days have come able thing.

– form often the most hopeless class of would-be Few of the recruits who fill the new build- earners. Cultivated, yet cultivated in that halfing have any knowledge of the various forms way fashion which is one of the curses of Ameriof industrial training which have kept pace can society, they had ample power for pretty with the work of the Association and are now work which could not stand before any genu

[graphic][merged small]

in more definite shape than anything yet at- ine criticism. So long as it meant merely the tempted since the organization of Dr. Felix production of ornamental nothings for their own Adler's most successful work. Such training houses, - sketches, draperies, embroideries, for the children of the poor began as a branch decorated china, and the myriad possibilities of practical philanthropy, and the endeavor of bric-à-brac - they were safe, for critics and to teach domestic industrial arts to children criticized were alike ignorant. But when an whose home-life held no possibility of such artistic production to be judged by artists beknowledge. The Kitchen Garden Association, came the question, once more the inherent formally incorporated in 1880, had its origin falsity of the system of modern education in the endeavor of Miss Emily Huntingdon to demonstrated itself, and the wretched victims apply some of the principles of Froebel's kin- found themselves compelled to accept a fresh dergarten system to domestic service, her training and to demolish with all speed such theory taking form in an admirable little book foundations as they had counted firm and sure. published in 1878. Twenty-nine classes and The Decorative Art Society and the Associated 990 children were taught in New York alone Artists came to the rescue of the best order during the first year, the results demonstrating of intelligence in these directions, and with the the entire practicability of the idea, and 13 other Woman's Exchange have acted as a high cities at once organized similar classes. training-school, the work accomplished in the

Here then stand two phases of the work last ten years showing what quick perception already accomplished for women in New York. and patient effort have worked together to They deal chiefly with a class to whom self- produce the results we see. In the Woman's support was from the beginning a necessity. Exchange the object was simply to offer a place For another class no less needy, yet shrinking where the handiwork of gentlewomen, of whatfrom any public recognition of such need, there ever nature, might be put on sale. Later, when was no provision, until wise heads and gentle success had become certain, the clear-headed hearts a few years ago made a way of escape. projector of the undertaking told of her consternation at the first meeting, when “thirty almost worthless articles covered a small table, and letters in great numbers waited to be answered, from anxious women, wanting to know what would sell."

Naturally the Exchange became instantly a school. General intelligence did its usual good service as background, and out of sharp necessity was born the inspiration that gave invention and skill. Anything and everything good of its kind, from a pickle to a portière, found place in one or another department, and the

[graphic]
[ocr errors]

PHOTO-NEGATIVE RETOUCHING AND DRAWING FROM CASTS.

best fits the word, has faced every obstacle of ignorance, prejudice, and a false standard of taste, and one after another seen them diminish to the vanishing-point. It was perfectly

evident that the time was ripe for a more Exchange has been forced to enlarge its bor- thorough education in artistic work, not alone ders, the cheerful house at 329 Fifth Avenue as a means of help to workers to whom such overflowing with the handiwork of women. In outlet of energies was the only practicable one, seven years it has sent to its consignees but as a necessity for the people at large. $19,074.06, one woman alone receiving in a The tyranny of the Puritan creed trampled year over $1000, and eight societies have been out and well-nigh obliterated any æsthetic established in other cities on the same plan. sense, and our homes represented a conse

The Associated Artists have taken but one crated ugliness against which few revolted, side of the same work,—all that could properly because few had the trained eye to distinguish come under the head of decorative art,-and ugliness from beauty. Yet an instinctive protest have done work of inestimable value in edu- was made. The æsthetic sense was not dead, cating not only the worker but the buyer. A but sleeping; but save for the few who traveled, new sense has been born in both. The presid- and thus discovered what part beauty had in ing officer, whose instinct for beauty is only less life, there was small hint of awakening till the strong than her nice sense of what definition Decorative Art Society began its work. The

Vol XXXVIII.- 30.

[graphic][merged small]

sense of harmony and fitness in color and tarian sneers. Industrial art is a prime essenfabric was an American possession, gradually tial of the new industrial training, and is the discovering itself in the dress of our women, first hint to the child of this generation of the but our houses defied every law of taste. We beauty that coming generations will own. For have yet an infinite deal to learn. We still such possession industrial education in its overload with ornament and are apt to meas- largest sense is the only foundation. With the ure by quantity rather than quality; but the many who accept it, as I have lately written tide has turned. The “impassioned seekers elsewhere, “it stands merely an added capacafter the invisible truth and beauty and good- ity to make money, and if taken in its narrowness” counted any earthly type a distraction est application this is all that it can do. Were from the contemplation of the heavenly. But this all, it would be simply an added impetus they were idealists — the disciples, not of things towards the degeneration that money-making as they are, but of things as they ought to be; for the mere sake of money inevitably brings. and the time came when idealism asserted it. But at its best, perfected as it has been by paself in other lines than the religious, and men tient effort on the part of a few believers, it is claimed the long-withheld inheritance in every far more than this. Added power to earn comes form of art. Everywhere the sense of beauty with it, but there comes also a love of the work was groping its way to the light, and if its itself, such as has had no place since the great first glimpses held slight distortions, they were guilds gave joyfully their few hours daily to the at least prophecies of something better to cathedrals whose stones were laid and cementcome.

ed in love and hope and a knowledge of the To awaken even in faintest degree this sense beauty to come that long ago died out of any of beauty is an instant enlargement of the poor- work the present knows. The builders had small est life, and it is hardly possible to exaggerate book-knowledge. They could have been talked its influence on the utilitarian character of the down by any public-school child in the second average American, whose life is more barren of or third year. But they knew the meaning of beauty than that of any civilized people under beauty and order and law; and this trinity heaven. The old idealism had fallen and van- stands to-day, and will stand for many a genished in the struggle for life on a new conti- eration to come, as an ideal to which we must nent and the growing passion for getting on, return till like causes work again to like ends." and only in a rousing and quickening of the The factory dominates daily life. Wholesale sense in every child can there be hope of eman- manufacture, while it cheapens and gives to the cipation from the bondage that is the portion mass the “store clothes" craved by the counof all. To the student of social conditions this try lad, destroys all possibility of individual, fact demonstrates itself at once, and such stu- characteristic work. Reaction is inevitable, and dent alone can rightly estimate the value and thus the meaning bound up in the phrase "handimportance of a work at which the mere utili- made” has at last made itself plain, and the

[ocr errors]

true disciple of beauty revolts against the deadly work, because to my mind its importance as monotony of factory production and demands a reconstructing agent can hardly be overestithat the human hand shall once more lend its mated. What is true of one great city must, mysterious quality to the fabric which long ago with certain exceptions, be true of all, and the parted with it.

theories that hold regeneration for one hold Thus an invaluable part of the work pro- it for all. Were this article a catalogue of charijected as well as that accomplished by the As- ties, a minutely detailed account of the noble sociate Artists lies in the fact that this necessity work done by women for women, it would has been recognized, and that through their even then point to the same end. From the means we see again the opening for the slower Wilson Industrial School — the pioneer of much processes still in vogue in the mountains of of the work now going on under other names, the South, whose women have begun to ask to the latest trades-school, the one aim is to what will sell. And broader outlook still is restore to labor the place it held in the old the possibility that in every quarter of the days, when the poorest cottage possessed what United States women may come to see how we know now as works of art, and the

poorest they may associate themselves together, set- child had its inheritance of beauty for eye and tling upon what industry best suits their special ear. To all such beauty is still possible, and locality, and developing it to its highest point. once a national possession, grosser ideals fall Thus far all work has been hap-hazard, the away and new possibilities lie before every result of circumstance, seldom of concerted child of the Republic. The training-school unor deliberate action. A thousand opportuni- derlies any and all work of the future. The ties all untried await women who must earn, women who work to-day in countless ways but who have never yet sought to discover the seeking to alter existing conditions know this real meaning of organization. Practically it is as truth, and bend every energy towards reachbecoming the principle in all philanthropy; but ing the children and setting their feet in the it grows slowly, the intense individualism born only path that leads to freedom or fulfillment of our principles and institutions dominating of desire. We have had enough of charity. All all life and thought. The organized charities, that is needed now is simple justice a chance the Industrial Association, the many industrial for the child whose time to earn has not yet schools, the kindergartens managed on this come; a chance for the earner, for whom life system, are all demonstrations of what may can be made less barren. Accept this, and insticome when the laws of concerted action are tutionalism dies naturally. Reject it, and we retaught us from the beginning; and in accept- main at its mercy, and have no refuge save in ing this wisest type of socialism, the evils of never-ceasing additions to the long list, which, socialism fall away.

if it means honor to warm and tender hearts, I have dwelt at length upon this phase of means also unending shame to senseless heads.

[graphic][merged small]
[graphic][merged small]

ܙ

We want no more institutions. Rather we want mendous redemptive forces, and to bend every to empty those that already exist; and this will energy born of personal conviction to the same be done most effectually by precisely the order ends. Hope and desire and fruition seem of work imperfectly recorded here.

marching hand in hand in this new path. Is it It is not pessimism or even a momentary possible that it is still a side path, and that the despair that impels the final word which must king's highway to the Delectable Mountains have place. We want no more institutions, and has been missed? Can ardent souls have lost we want as little the palaces of pleasure which the way, and is the palace not the Palace of at present are the latest ideal in philanthropic the Interpreter, but the fortress in which Giant work, unless, indeed, these palaces be owned Despair still crouches, and from which he will and built by the people themselves. That still issue to destroy? It is hard to question there is need of them need not be affirmed, anything so beautiful, so filled with promise ; nor that in time every city will see great build- hard to doubt where the best that man can do ings dedicated to such happy uses.

for man would seem to be at work; and yet “ Every great city must have, every great never was there sterner need of question. Mancity will have in time, its 'People's Palace,'” hood is emasculated, freedom abolished, slavsaid an eager philanthropist not long ago. ery of mind and soul perpetuated by every new “Here we have the wealth to endow it, the form of charity; and there is no hint of anything poverty that needs such solace, and the philan- but charity in these free schools, free baths, free thropy to utilize the first for the benefit of the concert halls, and all the appliances of the second. Let us have more and more people's “palaces.” Could they be built like the great palaces.''

cathedral in New York, from the small conCan there be any question of the beauty, tributions of untold numbers, so that each the fitness, the justice of such action ? For the might feel his or her personal share in work writer the first doubt was silenced; but as, more and ownership, this curse of mere charity might and more, a question seemed involved, words be annulled. But the gift of one or of many, were spoken for a few, that have reproduc- to whom fortune may have come through a tion here only because time appears to seal lifetime of oppressing their fellows, holds small their truth, and to make such interrogation justice. Better such return than none; yet for the first necessity for every eager worker. Till many of these givers the very stones will cry it arises, it is the instinct of such worker to out and some day bear witness against them. urge the rich everywhere to give from their The man who sees before him a Palace of abundance towards the creation of such tre- Pleasure as the end for which he works is

« AnkstesnisTęsti »