By Lucy Parsons (1879)

Entry 3496


From: holdoffhunger [id: 1]


Revolt Library Feminism Workingwomen

Not Logged In: Login?

Comments (0)
Images (1)
(1853 - 1942)

IWW Founder, Anarchist Activist, and Labor Organizer

: In addition to defending the rights of African-Americans, Lucy spoke out against the repressed status of women in nineteenth century America. Wanting to challenge the notion that women could not be revolutionary, she took a very active, and often militant, role in the labor movement... (From:
• "I learned by close study that it made no difference what fair promises a political party, out of power might make to the people in order to secure their confidence, when once securely established in control of the affairs of society that they were after all but human with all the human attributes of the politician." (From: "The Principles of Anarchism," by Lucy E. Parsons.)
• "The land and all it contains, without which labor cannot be exerted, belong to no one man, but to all alike." (From: "The Principles of Anarchism," by Lucy E. Parsons.)
• "People have become so used to seeing the evidences of authority on every hand that most of them honestly believe that they would go utterly to the bad if it were not for the policeman's club or the soldier's bayonet. But the anarchist says, 'Remove these evidence of brute force, and let man feel the revivifying influences of self responsibility and self control, and see how we will respond to these better influences.'" (From: "The Principles of Anarchism," by Lucy E. Parsons.)

On : of 0 Words


 Photo by ILO, CC BY-NC-ND License

Photo by ILO,
CC BY-NC-ND License

To the Editor of The Socialist: Believing it to be a principle of human nature for people to want to know what others think of them, I would like, for the benefit of workingwomen especially, to lay before your many readers a few extracts from an article entitled “Hints to Young Housekeepers,” printed in Scribner’s Magazine for January, 1879, as follows:

Choice of Servants

Unless they (the servants) have grown old in your service, it is better that servants should not be over forty, for many reasons. Cooks, chambermaids, and laundresses should be strong and active, wholesome and honest-looking, with clean hands, and no long backs, and reject finery. The better educated are more likely to understand their responsibility, and do their duty. For a waitress, you want good looks, an active and neat person, and quick motion.

Engagement of Servants

After making all inquiries, take the servant upon a week’s trial. If not satisfied, extend it to a month, unless she is recommended by someone upon whose word you can depend. No servant has a right to throw a household into disorder by leaving without due notice. Make an agreement with the one you are engaging—in writing, if possible—that she must give you due notice of her departure, or forfeit a week’s wages. She should claim the same notice of dismissal, unless for misconduct.

Of course, there is never any “misconduct” on the part of the “mistress,” and any claim on the servant looking to a contingency of that kind would be considered the height of impertinence, that could only be appeased by peremptory dismissal, without “recommendation.” Still, there is an old adage somewhere, to the effect that “what is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.” But I will continue to quote:

Never send for a servant who is already in a place (situation) or allow any person to apply to you who has not given due notice to her former mistress. I have known several instances of servants being offered higher wages to leave their “present employer”; it is a kind of burglary, and should be punished.

Treatment of Servants

Require careful performance of their duties, strict obedience to your orders, respectful manners, and willing service. They must have time to do their washing and keep their clothes in order, or they cannot be clean and tidy. Treat them with kindness, but never with familiarity. If they are sad and moody, take no further notice of it than to suggest (if practicable) that the usual holiday should be taken on that day, rather than on the one appropriated to them. Allow them to see their friends in the evening, not in the daytime, for it interrupts work.

Too many servants is a greater evil than too few. They had better be fully employed than not have enough to do.

Duties of a Cook

If a cook could be persuaded [forced] to wear short clothes, short sleeves, strong shoes, a large apron, and clean collar, she would add much to her comfort and yours.

Now, girls, you can judge of how you are to be fed while in the bondage of aristocracy, for the aforesaid magazine gets it down to a nicety, thus:

A quarter of a pound of tea is sufficient for each person for the week, unless you give coffee, too, when one pound of coffee and half the quantity of tea will be sufficient. A pound of sugar is enough for each servant, a candle a week for each servant’s bedroom, and one for the cook for the cellar and closets.

Now, Mr Editor, I should much like to comment on the above audacious and gratuitous advice, but am afraid I have already gotten to the “boiling” space. I am in hopes the above items will draw from some of your many lady readers a far more pungent comment than I am capable of rendering. But if no one else does, I, perhaps, will attempt to analyze a few of them at some future time.

From :


Back to Top
An icon of a book resting on its back.
February 1, 1879
Workingwomen — Publication.

An icon of a news paper.
July 20, 2019; 4:40:28 PM (America/Los_Angeles)
Added to

An icon of a red pin for a bulletin board.
February 14, 2022; 6:37:48 PM (America/Los_Angeles)
Updated on

Image Gallery of Workingwomen

Back to Top


Back to Top

Login through Google to Comment or Like/Dislike :

No comments so far. You can be the first!


Back to Top
<< Last Entry in Feminism
Current Entry in Feminism
Next Entry in Feminism >>
This is the last item.
All Nearby Items in Feminism
Home|About|News|Feeds|Search|Contact|Privacy Policy