JF Ptak Science Books Quick Post
- (There are several posts on this blog relating to child labor--a simple search in the Google box will bring up a few.)
What a dirty little pamphlet this is--at least that's the way it feels in my hands. The author, Sara Birchall, takes to task the results of a survey that finds 10,000 child toilers" in New York (in 1937). The push behind the survey was for the passage of a constitutional amendment banning all child labor. Birchall makes the case that the "quaint statistics" are incorrect, and that state in themselves have taken great leaps to end the child labor menace, and therefore the need for a federal involvement ("boondoggle") was happily unnecessary.
I don't know what the National Child Labor Committee (founded 1904) had to say about this in particular. They were certainly active in the push for a constitutional amendment, though that effort would be pretty much d.o.a. in the mid 1930's. Ironically just a year after this missive was written came the Fair Labor Standards Act, which very heavily favored child labor laws pushed by the NCLC. In the weight and gravitas of the issue, Birchall's effort left a mean, red-knuckled impression on me, saying the federal initiative wasn't worth the effort and that the whole deal could be handled at the state level. That was sort of true, though my guess is that things might have happened quick for a couple of generations of child laborers had there been a cohesive national plan.