Report on Social Economy Exhibits, Louisiana Purchase Exposition Committee, February 8, 1906


Department O, Social Economy, Dr. Howard J. Rogers, Chief; Miss Jane Addams, Chicago, Ill., Department Juror.

This department comprised 13 groups and 58 classes, the group headings being: Study and investigation of social and economic conditions; Economic resources and organization; State regulation of industry and labor; Organization of industrial workers; Methods of industrial remuneration; Cooperative institutions; Provident institutions; Housing of the working classes; The liquor question; General betterment movements; Charities and correction; Public health; Municipal improvement.

Miss Addams says in her report as department juror of the above:

The general advance in social betterment has been very marked in the eleven years intervening since the Columbian Exposition, at Chicago, and women have not only shared that advance, but have [page 2] undoubtedly contributed more than their proportionate share, if tested by the proportionate value of their exhibits at Chicago and at St. Louis. This is also true if tested by the social economy exhibits made in Paris in 1900, where I was a juror in the department of social economy. No separate exhibit was there made of the work of women save that implied in the exhibition of women's philanthropic societies. At the Louisiana Purchase Exposition their separate exhibits were not only larger, but more definite and coherent. The work of women was as much appreciated when placed by the side of men as if it had been installed by itself, and the results would have been no better if separately exhibited. Certainly nothing in the entire department at St. Louis was more successfully installed and attracted more favorable attention than the Twin City Museum, which occupied an entire building upon the Model street and was under the direction of Mrs. Condé Hamlin, of St. Paul, who had also planned it from the beginning and was made commissioner. It was certainly a notable achievement to have one such exhibit as that standing absolutely upon its merits and dealing with the civic and general social conditions as they are constantly developing in our large and growing cities. It had suggestions of activities along a dozen lines which make for amelioration of urban conditions as they bear hardest upon the people of the most crowded quarters.

To quote from the report of another on this subject: "It is now a well-established fact that women most effectively supplement the best interests and the furthering of the highest aims of all government by their numberless charitable, reformatory, educational, and other beneficent institutions which she has had the courage and the ideality to establish for the alleviation of suffering, for the correction of many forms of social injustice and neglect, and these institutions exert a strong and steady influence for good, an influence which tends to decrease vice, to make useful citizens of the helpless or depraved, to elevate the standard of morality, and to increase the sum of human happiness."

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