Title Page
 Table of Contents
 List of Tables
 List of Illustrations
 Chapter I: Introductory
 Chapter II: Method of this...
 Chapter III: Physical condition...
 Chapter IV: The crippled and...
 Chapter V: Industrial accidents...
 Chapter VI: The insane, feeble-minded,...
 Chapter VII: Homeless old men
 Chapter VIII: Occupations of the...
 Chapter IX: Seasonal and casual...
 Chapter X: Chronic beggars
 Chapter XI: The inter-state migration...
 Chapter XII: Confirmed wanderers...
 Chapter XIII: Homeless, vagrant,...
 Appendix A: Supplementary...
 Appendix B: The cheap lodging houses...
 Appendix C: Homeless min in...
 Appendix D: Ordinance regulating...
 Appendix E: Regulations governing...

Group Title: One thousand homeless men: a study of original records
Title: One thousand homeless men
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00073178/00001
 Material Information
Title: One thousand homeless men a study of original records
Physical Description: 2 p.l., vii-xxiv, 374 p. : incl. tables. plates. ; 21 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Solenberger, Alice (Willard), d 1910
Publisher: Charities publication committee
Place of Publication: New York
Publication Date: 1911
Subject: Criminals   ( lcsh )
Poor   ( lcsh )
Unemployed   ( lcsh )
Genre: non-fiction   ( marcgt )
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00073178
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: aleph - 000600195
notis - ADC9192
lccn - 11013151


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Table of Contents
    Title Page
        Page iii
        Page iv
        Page v
        Page vi
        Page vii
        Page viii
        Page ix
        Page x
        Page xi
        Page xii
        Page xiii
        Page xiv
        Page xv
        Page xvi
    Table of Contents
        Page xvii
        Page xviii
    List of Tables
        Page xix
        Page xx
        Page xxi
        Paeg xxii
        Page xxiii
    List of Illustrations
        Page xxiv
    Chapter I: Introductory
        Page 1
        Page 2
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
    Chapter II: Method of this investigation
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
        Page 29
        Page 30
        Page 31
    Chapter III: Physical condition of homeless men
        Page 32
        Page 33
        Page 34
        Page 35
        Page 36
        Page 37
        Page 38
        Page 39
        Page 40
        Page 41
        Page 42
        Page 43
    Chapter IV: The crippled and maimed
        Page 44
        Page 45
        Page 46
        Page 47
        Page 48
        Page 49
        Page 50
        Page 51
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        Page 63
        Page 64
        Page 65
        Page 66
        Page 67
        Page 68
    Chapter V: Industrial accidents in relation to vagrancy
        Page 69
        Page 70
        Page 71
        Page 72
        Page 73
        Page 74
        Page 75
        Page 76
        Page 77
        Page 78
        Page 79
        Page 80
        Page 81
        Page 82
        Page 83
        Page 84
        Page 85
        Page 86
        Page 87
    Chapter VI: The insane, feeble-minded, and epileptic
        Page 88
        Page 89
        Page 90
        Page 91
        Page 92
        Page 93
        Page 94
        Page 95
        Page 96
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        Page 105
        Page 106
        Page 107
        Page 108
        Page 109
        Page 110
        Page 111
    Chapter VII: Homeless old men
        Page 112
        Page 113
        Page 114
        Page 115
        Page 116
        Page 117
        Page 118
        Page 119
        Page 120
        Page 121
        Page 122
        Page 123
        Page 124
        Page 125
        Page 126
        Page 127
        Page 128
    Chapter VIII: Occupations of the men
        Page 129
        Page 130
        Page 131
        Page 132
        Page 133
        Page 134
        Page 135
        Page 136
        Page 137
        Page 138
    Chapter IX: Seasonal and casual labor
        Page 139
        Page 140
        Page 141
        Page 142
        Page 143
        Page 144
        Page 145
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        Page 149
        Page 150
        Page 151
        Page 152
        Page 153
        Page 154
        Page 155
    Chapter X: Chronic beggars
        Page 156
        Page 157
        Page 158
        Page 159
        Page 160
        Page 161
        Page 162
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        Page 183
        Page 184
        Page 185
        Page 186
        Page 187
        Page 188
    Chapter XI: The inter-state migration of paupers and dependents
        Page 189
        Page 190
        Page 191
        Page 192
        Page 193
        Page 194
        Page 195
        Page 196
        Page 197
        Page 198
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        Page 200
        Page 201
        Page 202
        Page 203
        Page 204
        Page 205
        Page 206
        Page 207
        Page 208
    Chapter XII: Confirmed wanderers or "tramps"
        Page 209
        Page 210
        Page 211
        Page 212
        Page 213
        Page 214
        Page 215
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        Page 235
        Page 236
        Page 237
        Page 238
    Chapter XIII: Homeless, vagrant, and runaway boys
        Page 239
        Page 240
        Page 241
        Page 242
        Page 243
        Page 244
        Page 245
        Page 246
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        Page 257
        Page 258
        Page 259
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        Page 267
        Page 268
        Page 269
        Page 270
        Page 271
        Page 272
        Page 273
        Page 274
        Page 275
        Page 276
    Appendix A: Supplementary tables
        Page 277
        Page 278
        Page 279
        Page 280
        Page 281
        Page 282
        Page 283
        Page 284
        Page 285
        Page 286
        Page 287
        Page 288
        Page 289
        Page 290
        Page 291
        Page 292
        Page 293
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        Page 296
        Page 297
        Page 298
        Page 299
        Page 300
        Page 301
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        Page 303
        Page 304
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        Page 307
        Page 308
        Page 309
        Page 310
        Page 311
        Page 312
        Page 313
    Appendix B: The cheap lodging houses and their relation to the health of homeless men
        Page 314
        Page 314a
        Page 314b
        Page 314c
        Page 314d
        Page 314e
        Page 314f
        Page 315
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    Appendix C: Homeless min in Minneapolis
        Page 330
        Page 331
        Page 332
        Page 333
        Page 334
    Appendix D: Ordinance regulating lodging houses in Minneapolis
        Page 335
        Page 336
        Page 337
        Page 338
        Page 339
        Page 340
        Page 341
    Appendix E: Regulations governing sanitary conditions in lodging houses, adopted by the Minnesota state board of health, January 11, 1910
        Page 342
        Page 343
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Full Text




Baiversity of Fli (



Copyright, 1911, by


I 3,



HE untimely death of Mrs. Solenberger in
December, 1910, after she had practically
completed this work, but before it was ready
for the press, has made a Foreword seem necessary.
It had been Mrs. Solenberger's intention to write
a preface and to, add one more chapter summing
up her conclusions. Since she was not able to
do these final things, it is left for another to tell
briefly the circumstances that led to the study here-
in presented, and to indicate the probable message
of the unwritten last chapter.
In 1900 Mrs. Solenberger (then Miss Willard)
was given charge of the Central District of the
Chicago Bureau of Charities. The territory in
the South Side of the city which it covered in-
cluded within its borders what is called the "loop
district" and the very important lodging house
section that lies just beyond it. The general
office of the Bureau, which was situated within
the loop, referred all homeless applicants to the
Central District office, as did later the four other
South Side districts. For these reasons about one-
third of the applicants dealt with at the Central
District office were homeless men. Mrs. Solen-
berger found that they were being treated in an

inadequate manner. Accepting the conditions in
the district as they were, she, with her associates,
gradually evolved a new plan of treatment of the
men. This consisted in applying to them the
methods, with certain adaptations, used in the
investigation and treatment of families. These
methods became the practice of the office. Such
was the genesis of this study.
It was in no superficial way that Mrs. Solen-
berger undertook her responsibility. Intensively
and extensively it led her on until she had at her
command all the remarkable data contained in
this book. During the first three strenuous years
not much was thought of beyond the way to in-
crease the efficiency of the work. Not only did
this mean greater care, greater skill, greater
sympathy in dealing with applicants, but an ever
enlarging knowledge of conditions in that sordid,
dirty, and unpleasant South Side lodging house
neighborhood,-a neighborhood possessing, how-
ever, a curiously quickening and vibrant atmos-
phere for those who, like Mrs. Solenberger, really
knew it. Here and there, scattered throughout
this book are references to volunteered clues not
only from the police, but from lodging house
keepers and guests, which resulted time and
time again in assistance that enabled her to
trace men and boys and to learn the whole
unvarnished truth about them when that truth
vitally affected treatment. Her very quests, the
splendid spirit of her work,-intelligent, not to

be hoodwinked, but human, natural, and dis-
cerning,-promoted a mutual understanding, fail-
ing which no one may hope to get very far with
that most elusive and impulsive creature, the home-
less man. Indeed, Mrs. Solenberger's point of
view in dealing with the men themselves has been
so fundamentally subjective that her account of
lodging house conditions, partly drawn from visits
with health officials later, does not seem to belong
to the main body of the study, and will be found
in a separate chapter in the Appendix. Valuable
as it is, it is not a part of Mrs. Solenberger's
peculiar and unique contribution to the subject of
homeless men. Others could have performed this
service; no one else is yet equipped to give us the
far more significant message.
How soon Mrs. Solenberger herself realized the
values of the gradually accumulating knowledge
whose written record lay in the case histories in
her district office, no one can say. The writer's
recollection is that as early as the autumn of 1902
she was seeking advice in the preparation of
tentative schedules for this study. Then, as well
as later, she regretted that she did not know at the
beginning of her work what she could learn only
from experience; namely, the importance of
certain lines of inquiry in connection with home-
less men, not alone for purposes of social investiga-
tion but for better constructive work. She has
frankly indicated in the text where the absence of
such knowledge in certain instances has reduced

the significance of her conclusions. Nevertheless
there may be an indirect benefit in the limitations
of these earlier days. For, take it in the large, the
amount of constructive work done for homeless
men from one end of these four years to the other,
-a work based merely upon knowledge and in-
sight,-is so far ahead of that performed by many
similar agencies whose equipment is perhaps
greater, that it is worth while to be able to assert
that only an ordinary desire efficiently to perform
the task at hand supplied the impetus, and an
ordinary district staff provided the equipment.
At the beginning of the work there was no long
look ahead to its possible uses as a study and in-
From Mrs. Solenberger's retirement from the
Central District in 19o3 to this year of grace 1911
may appear to some a long lapse of time. But
her contribution to her subject was steadily
growing in these years; no year was wasted.
During them, among other things, the subsequent
careers of many of these men and boys have been
traced, and the results of different kinds of treat-
ment in permanency of improvement or the re-
verse, have been clearly revealed. To have ac-
cepted as final the knowledge of these men's lives
as they stood at the end of 1904 or 1905 or 1906,
would in many instances have considerably in-
creased the margin of possible error.
Then again, there has been the steady, intensive
work of drawing out of the silent, pregnant records

the wealth of human illustration, which so vividly
backgrounds and justifies Mrs. Solenberger's more
general statements based upon the statistical
analyses. And through it all has been the steady
persistent purpose to read into the records of these
men only that which could be read into them, the
critical scrutiny, almost as if by another, of each
statement, to test whether it was exaggerated or
was securely and properly based.
Turning now to a more detailed consideration
of Mrs. Solenberger's methods, it should be said
that she applied herself to her task with but one
preconceived idea and one prejudice. She be-
lieved that the personality-by-personality method
of the charity organization movement had been too
little used with homeless men and boys, and that
until we employ this method with them, neither
our theories regarding vagrancy nor our efforts to
reduce it will be based upon a solid foundation of
knowledge. Our social responsibilities toward in-
dividual wanderers and toward the families from
which they come, will also remain unfulfilled.
The writer distinctly remembers that Mrs. Solen-
berger early indicated this principle as the central
purpose of her study. She had no thesis to prove;
her discriminating analysis, of facts reveals this
again and again. But she marshalled these facts
so as clearly to show that the homeless man prob-
lem could in no way be treated different. from
the problem of the famjJy. Certain factors, it is
true, 'peculiar to these men require attention.

Mrs. Solenberger has recognized these at their full
value. For instance, she has by no means mini-
mized the far-reaching results that will flow from
the closing of the railroads to the brake beam or
freight car dead-head. Nor has she minimized
the need of inter-state agreements if no inter-state
law be possible, to prevent "passing-on." On the
other hand, she has shown us through the hbio-
graphies of these very realmenand boys,_how
interwoven into them are all the social and ndi-
vidiual causes of deterioration which are found in
the family itself. Because the same moving forces
exist among men, the same method must be used,
though naturally with some variations and some
additional agencies. How strikingly she reveals
the blameworthy principle upon which some.way-
farer's lodges and woodyards are run, the principle
of assuming that when a youth or a man is given
and accepts work (made for him) that there the
agency's responsibility ends. Here we learn the
bitter lesson that activities like these are encourag-
ing some men to break still further away from the
responsibilities to which they should return. In
so far as no reputable charity organization society
would consider that it had dealt adequately with
a family by giving the manwoJk. and going no
deeper beneath the surface of his need, just so far
should it and every other agency dealing with
homeless men consider that they have failed, when
they do this and nothing more for the wanderer.
For in this last case the improbability that mere

work will be a means of the wanderer's rehabilita-
tion, is indicated by the very homelessness of his
It is altogether probable that some such purport
expressed in much more felicitous phrase would
have been Mrs. Solenberger's message in the sum-
ming-up chapter never written.
The genesis and the message have been given.
A word as to the scope. One thousand records
of homeless men have been carefully analyzed for
all that they have to show as to the causes of
homelessness, the characteristics of the homeless,
their individual treatment, their environment,
and the social remedies. In addition, certain
broad questions touching the problem of all the
homeless are treated sometimes with sidelights
from sources other than the author's own exper-
ience, but at no time without illustration from this
particular regiment.
Among Mrs. Solenberger's papers were found
rough drafts of two paragraphs which she evi-
dently intended to include in a preface, and which
are given with slight annotations:
"The writer acknowledges valuable advice and
assistance in the preparation of this volume re-
ceived from Mr. Francis H. McLean, Field Secre-
tary, Charity Organization Department, Russell
Sage Foundation; Mr. James Mullenbach, Super-
intendent Chicago Municipal Lodging House (now
Assistant Superintendent United Charities of
Chicago); Dr. William A. Evans, Commissioner

of Health of Chicago (1910); Mr. William C. Ball,
Chief Sanitary Inspector, Chicago Health Depart-
ment; Dr. Adolf Meyer, Professor of Psychiatry,
Johns Hopkins University; Dr. V. H. Podstata,
Superintendent (1909) Illinois Northern Hospital
for the Insane, Elgin, Illinois; Dr. O. C. Wilhite,
General, Superintendent (1909) Cook County
Institution, Dunning, Illinois; Mr. John Koren,
Expert Special Agent, United States Census; and
many others to whom she wishes to extend thanks.
"A very large amount of help has also been given
by the charity organization societies and associated
charities of cities from one end of the country to
the other. The writer is especially grateful to the
secretaries and agents of these societies who with
invariable courtesy and promptness have upon
request made recent investigations and reported
all that could be learned at the present time re-
garding some five hundred of the one thousand
men whose cases are here considered. Without
this help given by more than fifty different Amer-
ican and Canadian societies many of the facts pre-
sented in this study could not have been secured."
It is difficult adequately to value Mrs. Solen-
berger's work. Consciously limited as it is in
scope, it is accurate in that field. It portrays
clearly where society has failed, where the indi-
vidual has failed. Inevitably, further light must
alter or amend some of her conclusions, but this
light must come from studies as intensive, as pains-
takingly accurate as hers. The book is alike valu-

able to him who has realized the problem and to him
who has not. It should develop a discerning interest
among those who have scarcely thought of the
homeless man. It should serve as a most useful
guide for any one who is seeking to further by
whatever means a more normal life for these
wandering atoms of society. Offering no general
panacea, Mrs. Solenberger has yet indicated varied
ways in which progress lies. Her work speaks
with the convincing and compelling power of


FOREWORD, by Francis H. McLean .vii
I. Introductory I
II. Method of This Investigation 14
III. Physical Condition of Homeless Men. 32
IV. The Crippled and Maimed 44
V. Industrial Accidents in Relation to Vag-
rancy 69
I. The Insane, Feeble-minded, and Epileptic. 88
Homeless Old Men 112
III. Occupations of the Men 129
IX. Seasonal and Casual Labor 139
X chronic Beggars 156
XI. The Interstate Migration of Paupers and
Dependents 189
XII. Confirmed Wanderers or "Tramps" 209
-XIII. Homeless, Vagrant and Runaway Boys .239


JANUARY II, 1910 342


I. General Data Concerning iooo Homeless
Men 20
A. Ages, by Groups
B. Nativity
C. Conjugal Condition
D. Amount of Education
II. Defects and Diseases Among 627 Men 36
III. General Data Concerning 86 Men Crip-
pled by Disease 46
A. Ages, by Groups
B. Causes of Crippling
C. Amount of Self-support
IV. Causes of Crippling (excluding cases where
it was caused by illness or where men
claimed industrial accidents) 50
V. General Data Concerning 55 Men Claiming
Industrial Accidents 78
A. Number Injured, by Condition
B. Amount of Self-support Before and
After Injury
C. Amount of Self-support Before and
After Injury-By Condition
VI. General Data Concerning 89 Insane, Feeble-
minded, and Epileptic Men go
A. Nativity
B. Amount of Self-support
C. Confirmed Habits of 65 of These Men
D. Length of Time Known to the Office

VIII. General Data Concerning 132 Homeless Old
Men 114
A. Ages, by Groups
B. Nativity
C. Occupations
D. Amount of Self-support at Time of
IX. General Data Concerning 135 Chronic
Beggars 164
A. Ages, by Groups
B. Conjugal Condition
C. Nativity
D. Previous Occupations
X. General Data Concerning 220 Tramps 216
A. Ages, by Groups
B. Conjugal Condition
C. Nativity
D. Amount of Self-support
E. Verification of Stories
XI. General Data Concerning 117 Homeless,
Vagrant, and Runaway Boys 240
A. Ages
B. Nativity
C. Occupations
D. Physical and Mental Condition

i. One Thousand Homeless Men. Conjugal
Condition-By Age Group 277
2. One Thousand Homeless Men. Length of
Time in the City Before Application to
Bureau 277
3. College Men. Conjugal, Physical, arid Men-
tal Condition, Habits, and Occupations.-
By Nationality 278
4. Data on Special Groups of Diseases and De-
fects 279

5. Tuberculous Men. Nationality, Cnjunital
Condition, and Occupation.-By A 2e Group 280
6. Blind and Deaf Mcin. Amount of Self-support
Before and After Injury.-By Condition 281
7. Men Crippled by Disease.-B\ Causes and Age
Group 282
8. Men Crippled by Disease. Amount of Self-
support Before and After Injury.-By Con-
dition 283
9. Men Crippled Through General Accident or
From Birth. Amount of Self-support Before
and After Injury,-By Length of Time
Since Accident 284
to. Men Permanently Crippled Through General
Accident or From Birth. Amount of Self-
support Before and After Injury.-By Con-
dition 285
.l, Men Who Claimed Industrial Accidents. Oc-
cupations Before and After Injury .286
12. Men Who Claimed Industrial Accidents.
Amountof Self-support Before and After In-
jury.-By Length of Time Since Accident 287
13. Thirty-two Permanently Injured Men Who
Claimed Industrial Accidents. Amount of
Self-support Before and After Injury.-By
Condition 288
14. Brief Diesct of Cases of 17 Men Permanently
Injured in Actual and Probable Industrial
Accidents 289
15. Insane, Feeble-minded, and Epileptic Men.
Legal Residence 290
16. Foiy-eight Insane, Fceble-minded, and Epi-
leptic Men. Additional Handicaps 291
17. Insane Men. Trades and Occupatiuns 291
18. Homeless Old Men.-Bv Conjugal Condition
and Willingness and Ability of Children to
Aid Them 292

19. Occupations of 91 Men Skilled or Partly
Skilled in More Than One Line of Work 293
20. Occupations of the iooo Homeless Men .295
A. Professional Men 295
B. Business Men, etc. 295
C. Clerical Workers and Salesmen 295
D. Skilled Workers 295
E. Partly Skilled 297
F. Miscellaneous .297
G. Unskilled 298
H. No Work Record 298
I. Work Record Not Known 298
21. Number and Kinds of Applications Made by
the iooo Homeless Men and the 135 Chronic
Beggars 299
22. Chronic Beggars. Physical and Mental Con-
dition 300
23. Occupations Once Followed by Chronic Beg-
gars of Class II 300
24. Brief Digests of Cases of the 1 Beggars of
Class I I 301
25. Brief Digests of Cases of 16 of the Beggars of
Class IV 302
26. Physical and Mental Condition of the Tramps 304
27. Location (Urban or Country) of Previous Resi-
dence, Character of Homes, and Family Re-
lations of 63 Runaway Boys 304
A. Location of Home (City or Country) .304
B. Character of Homes 305
C. Family Relations of Homeless, Vagrant
and Runaway Boys 305
28. General Data Concerning 200 Minneapolis
Homeless Men 306
29. Occupations of Homeless Men in Chicago
and Minneapolis compared 307

30. Minneapolis Homeless Men. Physical and
Mental Condition 308
31. Minneapolis Homeless Men. Trades and
Occupations 309
32. Minneapolis Homeless Men. Eleven
Industrial Accident Cases 310
33. Minneapolis Homeless Men. Twenty-two
Deformed, Injured, Crippled, and Mained 312


(Eight full-page illustrations preceding Appendix B, p. 314)
Room 6 by 7 feet high, one of few having outer air and
light. Wire netting above, supplemented by newspapers.
Sides of corrugated iron.
Third floor. Main aisle, showing cross aisle at end lead-
ing to fire escape obstructed by stove. Space between
stove and corner of rooms 22 inches. Main aisle 30 inches
One of cross aisles obstructed by posts. Space between
posts and wall of rooms 20 inches.
Top (fourth) floor. Majority of windows boarded up and
otherwise obstructed. Reasonably clean; no bedding,
only bare boards.
Third floor, showing new arrangement of beds (?). Clean,
well lighted and ventilated. No bedding is provided.
First floor, showing wash room with cement floor, wash
sinks, and shower bath. Taken after enforcement of
Health Department regulations.
Room on second floor containing four cots. No com-
munication with outer air or light; very dark and dirty;
air foul.
Fourth floor. Aisles 30 to 36 inches wide, space between
beds 6 to 36 inches. Windows on both ends. Air space
less than required by Illinois law.


HE homeless man has probably figured as
a member of human society since its be-
ginning. He is mentioned in earliest tra-
dition and history; he appears in the literature
of every race and nation. We cannot conceive
of a period in which men have not been forced
to ask aid of their fellows, or in which old age,
sickness, and death have not acted as causes of
dependence. It is probable, too, that from the
very beginning faults of character led some to
depend upon others from choice and not from
necessity. The "sturdy beggar" was.by nomeans
unknown to the ancients, and laws for his suppres-
sion very early appear upon thejtatute books of
The modern tramp also had his prototype in
earlier centuries. In fact, in the nomadic days of
the race whole nations took to tramping. Later,
the ranks of the crusaders as well as the ships of
the early navigators contained men impelled to
embark by the love of adventure quite as much as
by the ardor of religion and patriotism. The

vagrant of today has but.inherited the wanderlust
of the past.
But though the beggar and the tramp are not
peculiar to our own time and nation, it is none the
less true that there has been a remarkable in-
crease in the number of these men in the United
States during the last two decades. Previous to
the Civil War, the word "tramp" did not appear
upon the statute books of any state in the Union.
Today nearly all recognize his existence and en-
deavor to cope with the problem he presents.
Twenty years ago a few small cheap lodging
houses, built for the accommodation of homeless
working men, might have been found in some half
dozen of our largest cities. Today there are a
number of such lodging houses in every large city
in the country; they house not only hundreds and
thousands of "homeless" workingmen, but also
large numbers of tramps, beggars, and petty
A number of theories have been advanced in
recent years to account for this increase of the
homeless and vagrant in America. Various meth-
ods of solving the problems due to this increase
have been suggested, none of which have as yet
been very generally adopted or have proved strik-
ingly successful when tried. Certain cities and
towns by rigid enforcement of severe laws have been
able to rid themselves for a time of these vagrants,
but invariably other nearby cities have received
those who have been cast out and the problem as a

whole has remained unsolved. The army of tramps
has continued to increase.
That this will be the case until similar laws are
passed and-similar methods used in almost or
quite all the states of the Union, is now coming
to be generally recognized by those who must deal
at first hand with these men. Just what these
laws and methods should be, however, in order to
be effective, is still open to debate. The chief
difficulty, perhaps, lies in the fact that, familiar
figure as the tramp has become, very few persons
really know much about him or about the condi-
tions under which he exists today, nor do they
know the causes of his vagrancy or the results of
such efforts to reform or reinstate him as have
already been made in different parts of the country.
It was with the hope of discovering facts that
might throw light upon these questions and aid in
bringing about a more general understanding of
them that the present study was undertaken.
The term "homeless man" might be applied to
any man who has left one family group and not yet
identified himself with another. It might include
hundreds of men living in clubs, hotels, and board-
ing houses, and its use would not necessarily imply
a forlorn or penniless condition. But for the
purpose of this study the term will be used to
designate those men of the homeless class who
live in cheap lodging houses in the congested part /
of any large city; and the particular thousand
chosen for this study were applicants at the Chicago

Bureau _of Charities for some form of assistance
during the years 1900 to 1903 inclusive. By no
means were all these men really homeless. A num-
ber were married men with homes elsewhere, who
had come to Chicago for work or for other reasons
and who had met with misfortunes which finally
led to their application for assistance. Often the-
only request of such men was for transportation
back to their homes. Included, also, among the
thousand were runaway boys, criminals, deserting
husbands, and other applicants who for various
reasons did not wish to return to their homes; the
majority, however, were unattached single men to
whom the term "homeless" could be rightly
The histories of these men, both before and for
some time after they asked charitable help, have
been traced. Many had applied for aid in a dozen
or more cities and many have reapplied since
1903; a number are still known to the Bureau.
The later histories of others who have not made
recent application, have been investigated by
correspondence and by personal interviews during
the preparation of this volume; so that, while the
original applications of the men occurred from
seven to ten years ago, the study of their cases has
extended to the present period. A number of the
facts brought out by this investigation have been
tabulated and classified and are here presented,
Some account is also given of the efforts that the
organization made to put the men applying for its

help on their feet, or to secure adequate assist-
ance for those incapable of self-support. these e
efforts were restricted by the laws and the facili-
ties for dealing with dependents which now exist;
thatbbetter laws and better facilities are urgently
needed if better results are to be hoped for should
be demonstrated by the chapters that follow.
Little attempt has been made in the study to
point out the causes of dependence or vagrancy in
the individual cases. The contact of the charity
agent with applicants is too brief and in the ma-
jority of instances his knowledge of their real
histories too superficial to warrant making very
positive deductions. Moreover, even in cases
that are carefully inquired into, opinions as to
causes undergo frequent changes. In the first
interview, a certain cause may be the most ap-
parent; investigation brings to light another far
more important. A few months' acquaintance
with the man may lead the agent to change both
his first and his second impression as to cause,.and
after an experience of several years, during which
one plan of help after another has been tried and
has failed, and traits and characteristics unsus-
pected at first have been found to bear important
relation to the man's inability to adjust himself to
the world in which he lives, the agent may realize
that all his earlier impressions were wrong, and
that only now is he able to estimate fairly the
many elements which have contributed to the
manfs dependence.

Only when a considerable number of men of like
characteristics or habits are studied together is it
practicable to say with any degree of certainty
that some particular social or industrial cause or
some individual trait produces vagrancy. In fact,
even in such groups the individuals who compose
them present contrasts in matters of physical and
mental health, of training, temperament, and
moral standards, so striking and so extreme that
any but very broad generalizations as to causes are
necessarily precluded.
A study of the homeless men who apply to a
charitable society will inevitably produce differ-
ent results from a study of the men who apply at a
municipal lodging house, at a down town mis-
sion, or at a soup house. The proportion of the
mentally or physically handicapped will be greatest
in the group soliciting relief; able-bodied workmen
will be most numerous among those who seek
shelter at the municipal lodging house; the pro-
portion of frauds and, parasites will probably be
largest among the applicants at the mission or at
the soup house. Those who frequent the cheap
lodging houses would probably supply the greatest
variety of types; but since it is impossible to make
a study there, the applicants at a well equipped
charity office which works with modern methods
will doubtless include a greater variety of types of
lodging house men than are accessible to investigas
tion through any other channel.
All large cities and some small ones in these

days have cheap lodging houses in which men may
secure a night's lodging at a' cost of from ten to
twenty-five cents. With the exception of Greater
New York, the city of Chicago has a greater
number of such houses and a larger floating tran-
sient population than any other city in the United
States. The reasons for this are many. Situated
in the heart of the Mississippi Valley at the foot
of Lake Michigan it attracts to itself during a part
of the year thousands of harvest hands from the
Northwest, deck hands from the lake boats, rail-
way construction laborers, men from the lumber
camps of the North, and men from all over the
Central West who are employed in seasonal trades
of many sorts.
In normal times men of this class who come to
Chicago need not long remain unemployed if they
wish work. One seasonal trade may soon be
fitted into another. The period between the
closing of navigation in the autumn and the begin-
ning of work in the lumber camps is not long. In
February the ice-cutting season opens and this
furnishes employment to thousands of men at a
time of year when in many other cities work for
unskilled laborers is especially scarce. The growth
of Chicago is so rapid and constant that public
works and private building practically never
cease. One form of work resulting from this
,growth is what is designated as "wrecking." Old
buildings, or sometimes comparatively new and
good ones, are torn down to make way for newer

and larger structures. The amount of such work
in Chicago is considerable and gives employment
to large numbers of men. During the course of
the ordinary winter there are numerous heavy
snowfalls, and the removal of snow from the down-
town streets affords temporary employment for
On either side of Clark and State Streets on the
South Side; on Canal, Desplaines, and Madison
Streets on the West Side, and on lower Clark and
Wells Streets on the North Side, there are rows of
cheap lodging houses. For the man who lacks even
the small amount required for admission to these,
the Municipal Lodging House doors are always
open, and every man who comes to Chicago hon-
estly seeking work knows, or soon finds out, that
he will have little difficulty in securing food and
shelter without the need of begging for them in
the interval before he finds employment. The
Municipal Lodging House of Chicago has prob-
ably done more extensive work than any other
institution of its kind in the country in finding
positions for men who apply for lodging. Alto-
gether, no city in the UnitedStates offers. more
favorable opportunities for winter employment for
the unskilled, or cheaper food and.shelter than does
Chicago. It is not strange, therefore, that the
city- attracts unemployed labor from all over the
Among tramps and vagrants also Chicago is a
favorite rallying place. It is the greatest railway

center in the country; trains from all points of the
compass hourly pull into its freight and passenger
stations and bring their quota of homeless men.
Many of these make it their headquarters for the
greater part of the year. The vagrancy laws are
as a rule rather laxly enforced and begg-ing i a safe
as well as a lucrative business. And here, as in
most other large cities, politicians are likely at
election times to add to the comfort and security
of a floating population whose votes may usually
be counted upon in return for small favors. In
this as in other cities, too, there are mingling with
the less harmful tramps the more dangerous yegg-
men and petty criminals, numbers of whom find it
comparatively easy to hide themselves among the
homeless throngs in the lodging houses.*
Altogether, viewing the population of the cheap
lodging houses from the standpoint of the social
worker, it may be stated that it includes four dis-
tinct though constantly merging classes of men.
No exact census of the total number of homeless men of various
types in the lodging house districts of Chicago has been taken, but
.40,000 is considered a conservative estimate by several careful stu-
dents of the question who are closely in touch with local conditions.
This number is somewhat increased at election times and very greatly
increased when word goes out, as it did during the winter of 1907-8,
that relief funds were being collected and free lodgings and food
would be furnished to the unemployed. In December, January,
February, and March of that winter all private lodging houses were
filled to overflowing and the Municipal Lodging House, its annex,
and two other houses which it operated gave a total of 79,411 lodg-
ings to homeless men as compared with 6930 for the same months of
the winter before, an increase of 72,481. The Health Department,
which took charge of the municipal lodging houses and made a care-
ful study of local conditions during the winter of 1907-8, estimated
the number of homeless men then in Chicago to be probably not less
than o .

These classes may be summarized as follows:
(i) Self-supporting. All men of whatever trade or
occupation who support themselves by their own exer-
tions. Some are employed all the year; some are
seasonal workers; others casual laborers; but all are
(2) Temporarily dependent. Runaway boys; stran-
gers who lack city references and are not yet employed;
men who have been robbed; victims of accident or illness;
convalescents; men displaced by industrial disturbances,
or by the introduction of machinery; misfits; foreigners
unacquainted with the language and not yet employed;
and other men without means who could again become
self-supporting if tided past temporary difficulties.
(3) Chronically dependent. Contains many of the
aged, the crippled, defoFmed, blind, deaf, tuberculous;
the feeble-minded, insane, epileptic; the chronically ill;
also certain men addicted to the continuous and ex-
cessive use of drink or drugs, and a few able-bodied but
S almost hopelessly inefficient men.
(4) Parasitic. Contains many confirmed wanderers
or tramps; criminals; impostors; begging-letter writers;
confidence men, etc., and a great majority of all chronic
- beggars, local vagrants, and wanderers.

The first group is composed of able-bodied men
who work all or most of the year and who expect to
support themselves by their own exertions. In the
second group are men capable of self-support, but
temporarily and in many cases quite accidentally
dependent. In the third are men who formerly
belonged to the first and second groups but who,
on account of age or chronic physical or mental
disability, or for other reasons, such as the excessive
use of drink or drugs, or extreme ignorance and
inefficiency, have become continuously dependent

upon the public for support. Men of this class
may sometimes again become at least partly self-
supporting and are not parasitic in spirit. In the
fourth group are the parasites, the men, whether
able-bodied or defective, who make a business of
living off the public and who apparently do so
from choice rather than from nece.sit\. Some are
thieves and criminals, some clever impostors and
beggars who live by their wits; still others are
only "tramps," not necessarily criminal, but never-
theless anti-social.
This classification takes the self-supporting,
self-respecting, able-bodied lodging house resident
of average morality as the type nearest-approach-
ingthe normalciljzeni. Men of the second group
fall temporarily below this normal standard but
may be brought back to it unless they are forced
by circumstances still farther below normal and
into the third group. All three of these groups are
constantly contributing to the fourth, the dis-
tinctly abnormal, with which society must deal
along corrective and repressive lines.
In the study of individual cases which follows,
it will be seen that men of all four classes are in-
cluded, and attention will frequently be called to
the steps by which the men of the first two classes
descend to the ranks of the chronically dependent
and parasitic. But for convenience in considering
so large a group as a thousand, and also, it is be-
lieved, for greater clearness, the men will not be
classified for study according to the degree and

character of their dependence but will instead be
divided according to some common characteristic
into small groups, such as insane men, aged men,
boys, beggars, etc.
In every group will be found men who belong to
each of the four classes mentioned. Among the
aged men,-for instance,* some are self-supporting,
some temporarily dependent, some continuously
dependent, and a few have been tramps or vagrants
since their youth and are still dependent quite as
much from choice as from necessity. By studying
in a group by themselves the cases of all those
over sixty, a clearer picture of homeless old men
is presented than would be the case if they were
classified with others according to the nature and
amount of their dependence.
In explanation of the fact that several important
phases of vagrancy are barely mentioned in these
pages, and that methods of prevention and cure of
certain evils closely related thereto have hardly
been considered, it should be stated that this work
is not presented as a general treatise on the sub-
ject, or as a study of the methods of dealing with
vagrants in this country, or as a solution of the
problems involved in their treatment. In order to
cover the ground at all adequately, it has been
necessary to hold closely to the immediate sub-
ject and to omit the description and discussion of
many interesting matters relating to the vagrancy
problems as a whole. This was an investigation of
See Chapter VII, Homeless Old Men.

typical homeless men in the second city of America;
the conditions there were the conditions under
which such men live in many American cities;
the efforts made in their behalf were made under
the laws and with the facilities then and now
available. No inductive treatment of investigated
cases of individual homeless men has ever been
attempted as a means of throwing light upon the
general problem of vagrancy in America. It has
seemed worth while, therefore, not only to make
this study but to present its results in a form so
detailed as to enable each reader to appreciate for
himself its bearing upon the larger subject.
/ > e

ONE of the district offices of the Chicago
Bureau of Charities* is located within half
a dozen blocks of the heart of the lodging
house section of the lower South Side, and during
the four years in which the writer was connected
with the society (from 1900 to 1903 inclusive)
practically all applications of homeless men to the
main office of the Bureau or to any of the South
Side offices were referred to that district.
When the office was first opened in the neighbor-
hood a great many men applied out of curiosity to
see what they could get and how far they could
deceive the workers in charge. These men
belonged to the class which makes a business of
living at the expense of the public. Keen ques-
tioning by trained workers almost immediately
disclosed this fact and such men soon ceased to come
in any considerable number, although a few ap-
plied during every month of the year. That this
class of men had thus "sampled" the office and
Since this study was undertaken the Chicago Bureau of Charities
and the Chicago Relief and Aid Society have amalgamated under the
name of the United Charities of Chicago, but for the sake of clearness,
the original title is here used throughout. Homeless men are now
interviewed and aided at the main office of the society and not at the
Central District office above mentioned.

had come to respect and avoid it on account of the
strict investigation of their stories, was learned
afterward from certain of the men themselves.
Something in the manner of the interviews, how-
ever, led these "rounders" and impostors to re-
cognize that the spirit of the office was one of
sympathy and helpfulness for real need, and
this first "sampling" was soon followed by ap-
plications from men of another sort whose stories
were true, whose needs were real, and who were
of a far more helpable type than the earlier
These men were frequently referred to the office
by men who had themselves been helped, but
almost as frequently by those to whom material
aid had been refused. Sometimes the sender was
identified, but more often the applicant could only
say, "A man in the lodging house sent me," or
"A fellow told me you helped men if they were
sick or anything." In one instance a young boy
made the following statement: "The fellow who
sent me told me not to lie to you. He said that
you would not hold it against me-that you might
help me anyway if I needed it, but that you'd
find the lie out and I'd be ashamed that I had
done it." No single fact gave the district workers
a better opportunity to know these men and the
conditions under which they lived than that the
men themselves felt kindly toward the office and
referred to it other men who were really helpable.
The Bureau of Charities made and still makes a

special effort to help unemployed men find work,
and on this account still a third class of applicants
came to the district office,-men who asked noth-
ing but employment, who were capable of self-
support, and who were neither dependents nor
vagrants. Such men frequently had some slight
mental, physical, or temperamental handicap.
Sometimes they were immigrants unacquainted
with the language; sometimes strangers without
city references or knowledge of how to go about find-
ing the work they were able to do. Perfectly able-
)bodied men, capable offending work for themselves,
Sdianot often apply; on the few occasions when
- they did, nospecial efforLwasmade. tQ._hel then,
as the employment department of a charity office
differs from an ordinary employment agency, and
its reason for being is only that it may assist men
S to find work who might otherwise become appli-
Scants for.relief.
The Bureau of Charities for a number of years
had an arrangement with the Western and Central
Passenger Associations by which persons whose
cases were investigated and recommended by the
Bureau might secure railroad transportation at
half rates. It was very difficult to secure such
transportation otherwise than through the recom-
mendation of the Bureau, and the railroad offices
and depots, the police and city departments, and
many other agencies that received appeals for
passes or half rates, referred the applicants direct
to the Bureau office.

Through all these ways, as well as from ministers
and private individuals all over the city and through
personal applications from the men themselves,
large numbers of homeless men of many types came
to the attention of the office in the course of a
year, and opportunity for acquaintance with, and
study of, this class was greater than would ordi-
narily be the case.*
In almost every instance when a homeless man
applied for aid, an investigation was made, not
merely to learn the truth or falsity of his story,
but also to find out how best to help him back into
normal social and industrial relations. Theoretic-
ally, an investigation was made in every case re-
ferred to the Bureau of Charities. Practically, no
investigation beyond the original interview was
made in a certain percentage of the cases of home-
less men. For example, a man applied for half-rate
transportation to St. Louis and admitted upon
being questioned that he was able-bodied;, that
he had had no one but himself to support; that
he had held a good position, paying $2.50 a day, up
to the previous day, and that he had left it volun-
tarily. Manifestly, his was not a case to receive
charitable assistance. His request was refused
and no investigation made. Another instance,
also representative of a type, was that of a man
who asked to be sent to Colorado because he had
In the Central District office from 20 to 25 per cent of all appli-
cations were those of homeless men. In the Ii other districts of
the Bureau the percentage of homeless applicants during the same
period was only 2 to 3 per cent.

tuberculosis. He admitted that he had no money;
that he had neither friends nor relatives in Colo-
rado able to assist him, nor any elsewhere who
would send him money for living expenses. He
was, moreover, too ill to be self-supporting there.
Under the circumstances, it would have been cruel,
rather than kind to have granted his request and.to
have shipped sick and penniless.man to a.-om-
munity upon which he had no claim and which
would promptly have shipped him back. Other
forms of assistance were offered an. every effort
made to make the man understand why his request
was denied, but he refused other help and withdrew
his application. He had not given enough infor-
mation to enable the office to make an investiga-
tion, and he never returned. Necessarily, his.case
was dropped.
Another type of case which was not investi-
gated was that of men who applied only for work
at a time when the office was overwhelmed with
serious calls for aid of all sorts from families
in the district. Such men were questioned, their
statements recorded, and they were given sugges-
tions as to places where they might apply for
employment. They were also asked to return if
they did not find it or were in real need, but in the
stress of more important work, the statements
they made about themselves, while recorded, were
not always verified. All such cases and any others
which, for similar reasons, were not investigated,
have been omitted from this study. The thou-

sand cases have otherwise been taken just as they
stand in the files and entirely without special selec-
But even in the "investigated" cases the amount
of information secured varies greatly. Reasons
for this variation lie in the fact that not all the
interviews with the men were taken by agents of
equal ability and training, nor had the inter-
viewers exactly similar ideas of what kind of
information was important to secure for the
records. But what one might have wished to
know in regard to a man and what one was able
to learn were often found to be two very different
things. It was not always possible to get all the
information desired without needlessly offending
and alienating the applicant. When a man asked
only to be directed to a place where he might work
for his lodging and when he seemed to be decent
and self-respecting, the agent was hardly justified
in asking him a series of minute questions as to
his past history, his schooling, the age at which
he began work, etc. Such facts and many others
were secured in hundreds of cases where the men
were known to the office for several months or
years, but there were others in which the investiga-
tion had to be confined to one or two work refer-
ences, and the knowledge gained of such men was
comparatively slight.
In other instances the men gave false references
or addresses, and about all that could be learned
regarding them was that their stories were not true.


Io to 14................. 19
15 to 19................. 98
20o to 24................. 129
S25 to 29................. 104
30 to 39.... ............ 200
40 to 49 ............... 185
50 to 59 ................. i 8
6 to 69.................. 85
70 or over............... 47
Not known.............. 15
Total. .............. 1ooo

Single................... 740
M arried................. 78
W idowed ................ 116
Divorced. ............... 15
Separated................. 49
Not known .............. 2
Total............... ooo

American (including 41 Ne-
groes) ................. 625
German ............... 92
English ................ 66
Irish.................. 61
Canadian............... 25
Scandinavian.... ....... 24
Other .................. 74
Not known.............. 33
Total ................ ooo

Illiterate. ............. 52
Common school.......... 872
College.................. 51
Education not known ..... 25
Total................ ooo

A few of the men were too ill and some too old or
too insane to answer questions intelligently. It is
to be regretted that the item "not known" must
appear so frequently in the statistical tables of this
study, but the fact should be borne in mind that
both interviews and investigations were originally
made, not for future statistical purposes, but with
the idea of learning the points in each case essential
to a knowledge of how best to help the particular
applicant; from a statistical standpoint, therefore,
*The parents of 558 of the ooo000 men were American; of 406,
foreign born; and of 36, not known. Of the 625 men born in Amer-
ica, the parents of 558 were American, and of 55, foreign born; of 3
the parentage was mixed, and of 9, not known.

the records from which the tables have been made
up were frequently found wanting.
As will be seen by the accompanying table, 625
of the one thousand men (584 white and 41
colored), were born in America; 342 were foreign
born,* and of 33 the birthplace was not known.
Nineteen out of the thousand were between ten
and fourteen years of age; 98 between fifteen and
nineteen; the largest number in any one group
being the 129 young men between the ages of
twenty and twenty-four. Among the aged, nine
were between eighty and ninety-five.t
In noting the nationality, the ages, and the
conjugal condition of the men, their own state-
ments have been taken. In doing this we have run
the same risk as do the makers of the United
States Census; namely, that certain of the men
may not have told the truth on these points. But
as the instances would probably be rare in which
they would have had any reason for misrepresent-
ing their ages or nationality, and as such items are
usually not absolutely verified in similar tables,
that risk has been of necessity ignored.
Regarding their conjugal condition, it is probable
that there were some instances in which married
The birth places of the foreign born men were as follows: Canada,
25; England, 66; Ireland, 61; Scotland, 8; Wales, 3; Scandinavia,
24; Denmark, 3; Holland, 7; France, 12; Switzerland, r; Germany,
92; Austria, 6; Hungary, 3; Russia, 5; Poland, 5; Roumania, 4;
Italy, 8; India, 3; West Indies, 2; Greece, Syria, Persia, and Trans-
vaal, each i.
t For additional data concerning the iooo men, see Appendix A,
Tables i and 2, p. 277.

men who had deserted their families claimed to be
single, and a few single men who, in order to use a
pitiful story for begging purposes, claimed to be
married. But it was, as a rule, comparatively easy
for the Bureau's agent to verify or disprove these
statements, and it is unlikely that any considerable
number of such errors are listed among the cases
tabulated in this study. A letter to a relative or
even to an employer in the home town was almost
sure to bring out the existence of a family if the
man had one; and the familiarity of the agents
with the fact that men past thirty sometimes mis-
represent their conjugal state led the interviewers
usually to ask, "Where is your wife?" or "How
much of a family have you?" rather than "Are you
married?" or "Have you a family?" In this way
men were sometimes led to admit the existence of
families which otherwise they might have failed
to mention. Classified by conjugal condition, .the
number in each group was as follows:*
Single 740
Married 78
Widowed 16
Divorced 15
Separated 49
Not known 2
Total 000

In cases where the man was in friendly touch
with his wife and family, expecting soon to return,
For table giving conjugal condition of the men classified by age
groups, see Appendix A, Table i, page 277.

he was entered as "married" in distinction to
"widowed," "divorced," or "separated."
Under "separated" are entered the cases of men
legally separated from their wives; those who had
deserted their wives; cases where separation was
by mutual consent; also the cases of men whose
wives had deserted them. It is unfortunate that
the exact number of each of the four classes in-
cluded under "separated" cannot be given, but
while certain of the men admitted having left
their families, very few would own to having
deserted them. They claimed that they had left
in order to find work and professed the intention
of returning soon. This claim was made even in
a few instances by men who admitted that they
had not written to their homes nor heard from
them in five years or more, and who acknowledged
that their wives knew nothing of their whereabouts.
Unquestionably, a number of these men had, in
fact, left their homes with the sole intention of
seeking work, but having failed to find it and hav-
V ing in time become tramps and vagrants, had, felt
ashamed to return in their pennilessand degraded
Condition. They had continued to wander until
even vague intentions of going back "some day"
had left their minds and all responsibility for the
support of their families had been abandoned.
Effort was often made to persuade men of this
class to return to their families, but I do not recall
an instance in which it was successful. The 258
men who at the time of their applications were, or

had been, married, owned to having 256 living
children, of whom 144 were under sixteen.
Two facts regarding the conjugal condition of
these men are, perhaps, noteworthy. One is the
great predominance of single men, due in part to
the large number of young men in the thousand
studied. The other fact of interest is that among
this thousand men the widowers are. nearly !four
times as numerous as among the male population
at large.* It is the writer's belief that, while this
percentage of difference would be found to be
somewhat less in a study of men in lodging houses
instead of among men who are applicants for
charity, the number of widowers per thousand
would still be found greater than among the
general population. A large number of the, men-
dated their vagrancy from the. deaths of, their
wives and the breaking up of their homes which
Merely as a matter of interest,-for the item
probably has no intrinsic value,-the number of
instances-in which the stories told by the men were
found to be true or false has been recorded.
In 126 cases we were unable to prove or disprove

Per cent
Single ......................23,666,836 6o.6
Married................... 14,003,798 35.9
Widowed .................... 1,182,292 (3
Divorced.................... 84,903 .2
Not known .................. 121,412 ;3
Aggregate men ...............39,o59,241 1oo.o

the men's initial stories, either because through
age or for some other reason they were unable to
give definite references, or because the persons
to whom we were referred had moved and could
not be found or else did not reply to letters. Ex-
cluding the 126 whose stories could not be verified,
of the remaining 874 cases the stories of 703 were
found to be true, and 171 false.* Expressed in
percentages, the stories of the one thousand men
were mainly true in 70 per cent of the cases;
mainly or wholly false in 17 per cent; and could
not be verified in the remaining 13 per cent.
These figures do not mean as much as would
appear at first glance. The fact that his initial
story could not be verified rarely meant that we
knew nothing about the applicant; for sometimes
his case was dealt with by the office continuously
for several months or even years, and enough was
learned of his character to enable us to judge
pretty clearly as to the truth or falsity of his first
statements. For similar reasons the fact that the
man's first story was false does not imply that
falsehood has been mingled with truth in the items
classified in the tables accompanying this study.
Upon investigation, some facts jn regard to a
man's life could usually, beleafned: ."
For example, a. id .'f. seventeen who .'c1ii4d
.' '
In addition 'th'e explanation of this statenant giyen by the.'
author it should b'e.adled that unfkilattieu ionimg vnqMl41tave elicited ,.
a very differensttslAt. The 705 men:W main true, we.fitelped to tell thettdith b'y'a'n intelligent and sym-
pathetic inqufty.-Editor.

to be an orphan came to the office one day and
asked to be given employment upon a farm in the
country. He said that he had always lived in the
country and did not like the city;,that he was used
to farming and had come to the city out of curiosity
two weeks before but now wished to go back.
This was the lad's story; but from a man friendly
to the office who was living in the same lodging
house, we learned that this boy was a runaway
from a good home in Chicago. We soon learned
further that both his parents were living; that
he had been born and brought up in Chicago, and,
with the exception of attendance at an occasional
Sunday school picnic, had never seen the country
in his life-and, of course, had had no experience
on a farm. Every word of the boy's story was
false and yet there are few cases among those
tabulated in this study upon which more complete
information of all sorts was obtained. The boy
is now twenty-three years old, is a confirmed va-
grant, and still occasionally comes to the atten-
tion of the Bureau.
It would be pleasant to be able to record that
all the original stories found to be true meant that
the men who toJd them were really truthful; but
the coui'f, loj agb.."t'6k .cognizance of the fact
St.a.~~ lhre' is '"he' trtit,;;..tg .whole truth, and
:'.'iotfhing but the truth"; too'rmuAS therefore, must
.'.*not be d-r89 h.ed'.to:hat.e:a.counts of ~te men whose
initial state'ri C4s.r 'e.'.rue." Ttvi.-were fre-
quently led to tell the exact truth ifio'rder that

they might be more likely to receive help after
their stories had been investigated, but such
truth by no means meant the whole truth, as the
following story will indicate:
A man came to the office on crutches, which he
used on account of a recently broken leg. He told
us the story of the accident, how and where it
had occurred, and gave the name of the hospital
in which he had been treated. These statements
were found to be exactly true. He gave the names
of three firms for which he had worked and of one
personal friend, as references. All these spoke
well of him. He also referred us to his record as
a soldier, which we found to be excellent. After
all these points had been verified, probably almost
any one would agree that this case might be con-
sidered "investigated" and that the agent knew
the man well enough to deal intelligently with his
problem. The case looked simple. Here, appar-
ently, was an honest workman temporarily unable
to support himself on account of an accident which
he could not have foreseen nor avoided. That
out of good wages he had not saved enough to
carry himself through a rainy day was a point
against him, but in this respect he was not different
from hundreds of other strong, young fellows, with
only themselves to support, who go on from year
to year spending all they parn. Light work which
he could do seated and which would enable him
to earn his living until he could discard the crutches
and return to his trade, would undoubtedly be the

only aid required in order to reinstate him in a
position of self-support.
But what were the facts with which at this point
we were not acquainted? This man had neglected
to tell us that he was a periodic drinker of long
standing; that during his drinking spells he had
several times stolen money,-though at other times
he was honest; that he had served a term in the
penitentiary for the last offense of the sort and that
a warrant for his arrest was even then in the hands
of the sheriff of an Illinois town. He had also
neglected to mention that he had been married;
that his wife was now dead, but that he had a
little child dependent upon him who was in the
care of his mother. He had further failed to give
the names of certain employers, friends, and rela-
tives whose statements regarding him would
necessarily have been quite different in character
from those of the few persons whom the agents of
the Bureau had been permitted to interview.
The experience with 'this case was one of a
number which taught the district workers that as
a source of real information in regard to an appli-
cant, "work references," though necessary, are
of less value than relatives. An interview with a
single near relative is far more enlightening and
The length of time that men were known to the
office,* like the truth or falsity of their statements,
One day, 194 men; 2 days, 49; 2 days to I week, 143; I week to
i month, 192; 1 month to 6 months, 163; 6 months to I year, 58;

is very likely to mislead the reader who is not
familiar with all the facts. A man may be en-
tered as known to the office five or six years and
yet the information in regard to him may be very
meager. This is especially true of professional
beggars who are repeatedly reported to the office
by people from whom they beg, but about whom
little can be learned; and of tramps who drop in
once or twice a year for several years, but-never
give much information about themselves. On the
other hand, acquaintance with some of the men
was continuous for long periods. A few have
been known from the early days of the Bureau to
the present time. In one instance a lad who first
came to its attention at the age of seven as a
younger child in a dependent family, is now known
to the Bureau as a confirmed vagrant of eighteen,
although there is but slight record of him during
the interval. As a general rule, more was known
of men who are entered as "known to the office"
during several months or years, than of those who
applied but once or twice. This, however, was by
no means always true. Code telegrams* to and
from charity organization societies of other cities
were frequently used in the investigation of
cases requiring immediate action, and considerable
information was sometimes secured about a man
i year to 2 years, 55; 2 years to to years, 141; over to years, 5.
Total, looo. For length of time the men were in the city before
making application to the Bureau, see Appendix A, Table 2, p. 277.
See footnote on Transportation Code, in Chapter XI, Inter-
state Migration of Paupers and Dependents, p. 208.
f 29

within a few hours' time and his case finally dis-
posed of in less than a day. There are a few
instances of men who applied but once at the office,
but who made statements which enabled the agents
to trace the whole history of their lives. These
facts must be kept in mind by the reader or he will
be liable both to overestimate the importance of
the truth or falsity of a man's statements and to
underestimate the value of statistics based upon
the study of men who were known to the office but
a short time.
No place in which to enter the amount of the
applicant's education was specified upon the
record cards of the Bureau, and this information
was not always asked for. The items have
therefore been made up from our general knowl-
edge of the men after our investigations, and may
be summarized as follows:
Illiterate 52
Common School. .872
College 51
Education not known 25
Total 1000

Any man able to read and write has been en-
tered as having had a common school education,
except such as are known to have had college
training besides.* In the majority of cases the
knowledge obtained of the amount of education
For facts of interest about the college men in this group, see
Appendix A, Table 3, p. 278.
30 *

was not accurate enough to make possible a
separation of high school from common school,
although in 35 instances the men are known to have
had high school training and the actual number of
such men is probably much greater. My personal
impression from acquaintance with the 872 men
whose cases were entered under "common school"
is that a large proportion of them had had but a
slight amount of schooling. This impression is
based upon the. histories of the men, the ages at
which they went to work or began to wander, and
upon other facts which bore direct relation to the
amount of their schooling. Only 52 of the men
were known to be illiterate; that' is, unable to
read or write even in their own languages. Of
these, 26 were of foreign birth. The feeble-
minded in the group, of whom there were 20, have,
of course, increased the number of illiterates.
The 25 recorded as "not known" were probably
illiterate, but lacking definite knowledge, I have
not so entered them.




HE statistics which have been gathered in
regard to conditions of health among the
thousand men here studied would seem to
prove that a very large percentage of this class are
physically or mentally below normal. It must,
however, be borne in mind that these statistics
relate after all to a group of homeless men who are
not in all respects typical of the mass of such men
in lodging houses,* since all of them have applied
for relief. In general charity work, sickness has
been found to be one of the commonest immediate
causes (rarely the only cause) of need, and this
seems to be true of charitable work for homeless
men; a very large proportion apply for help
because they are temporarily or permanently
disabled by accident or disease.
If, as has been already suggested, a study could
be made of homeless men in lodging houses
instead of among applicants for charity, the per-
centage of those in good health would undoubtedly
See Appendix B, p. 314, for a study of Chicago lodging houses
and their relation to the health of homeless men.

be much higher. No statistics, however, are avail-
able for purposes of comparison. No physical
examination has ever been made of men in the
lodging houses of any city; and although in a few
municipal lodging houses physicians have been
employed to examine the lodgers, they have, as a
rule, examined and made records only of men who
appeared, or claimed to be, ill. No systematic
record has been kept of the number of the crippled,
maimed, epileptic, feeble-minded, or the deaf and
the blind among the lodgers. In the very few
municipal lodging houses in this country where a
physician has been in regular attendance, he has
been employed chiefly if not wholly to watch for
and to prevent the spread of contagious diseases
among the men.
Although the figures here presented as to the
amount of defectiveness and disease among home-
less men are more complete than any that can be
discovered for purposes of comparison, these also
are incomplete, for no private charitable society
has the right to insist (as might a municipal lodging
house) that every man who applies shall be ex-
amined by a physician,-nor is this necessary; and
although agents of the Chicago Bureau were in-
structed to note the physical and mental condition
of every applicant, the statements of those who
appeared to be and claimed to be in good health
were not ordinarily corroborated. In attempting
at the present time to follow up the cases of two-
thirds of this group of a thousand men I have found
3 33

that several have since died from diseases which
must have been far advanced when they applied,
although there were no visible evidences of disease
at that time, and the men having made no com-
plaint of being ill were not sent for examination.
Such men are listed in this study among the able-
bodied. So, also, are those who claimed to be
suffering from rheumatism, heart disease, or other
ailments, but who did not go to the physicians to
whom they were sent nor return to the office of the
Bureau. It would be unfair to conclude that none
of these were actually ill. A chance meeting with
friends who gave the needed help may have relieved
them of the necessity of returning to the Bureau
for further aid, and other quite as legitimate
reasons may explain their not going for examina-
tion. Nevertheless, in this study such men have
not been given the benefit of the doubt but have
been classed with the able-bodied.
When a man applied for aid who was, or claimed
to be, unable to support himself on account of his
physical or mental condition, the society felt
justified in taking the position that he should not
receive aid, other than emergent, unless he was
willing to allow his condition to be passed upon
by a physician in order that we might know just
how ill he was and the probable time when he would
again be able to work. All such men and any
others who seemed to be ill and who were willing
to go, were sent to dispensaries or to private
physicians. About a third of the examinations

were made at the dispensaries of St. Luke's and
other South Side hospitals; the remaining two-
thirds by private physicians in friendly touch
with the work of the office. Not infrequently, the
assistance of a famous surgeon, alienist, or other
specialist was secured. In a few doubtful cases
several physicians were consulted.
Self-evident defects, like the loss of a limb, were
entered upon the records without further corrob-
oration than was necessary to ascertain that a
sound arm was not bound to a man's side, leaving
his coat sleeve empty, or, in other cases, that
similar deceits were not practiced. A few such
cases were found and there were other "fake" or
"phoney" cripples (to use the men's own terms) as
well as a number of "hospital rounders." These
have been listed in the tables of beggars, frauds,
and impostors, in Chapter X.
The examining doctors were invariably asked
to determine the physical ability of the men to
earn their own living, and frequently the reports
returned to the office related only to this question;
as, for instance, "This man is suffering from a
chronic organic disease which will incapacitate
him for heavy labor for the remainder of his life,
which probably will not be long. I should advise
some light employment to occupy his mind, but
doubt whether he will ever again be able to be
self-supporting. Good food and freedom from
worry will prolong his life." Or, still more
informally, "I found John Smith whom you re-

Number of
Condition Instances
Insanity* ................ .................... .52
Feeble-Mindedness*. .............................. 19
Epilepsy*. ....................... ............... 18
Paralysis......... .... ........................ 40
Other Nervous Disorderst.......................... 21
Tuberculosis ..................................... 93
Rheumatism ................. .................. 37
Venereal Diseases................................. 21
Other Infectious Diseasest.... ................. 15
Heart Disease ................................... 14
Diseases of Organs other than Heart ............... 19
Crippled, Maimed,t or Deformed-from Birth or by
Accidents............................ ...... 168
Rupture ...................................... I
Cancer... ............................... 6
Blind-including partly blind..................... 43
Deaf-including partly deaf. ............ ......... 14
Defective Health-through use of Drink and Drugs... 16
Defective Health-from lack of nourishment and other
causes ................................ ... 24
Convalescent ................................... 33
Aged* .......... .......... ....... ....... .. 35
All other known diseases or defectst................. 7
Doubtful ..................................... 16

Total instances............................ 722
Total Number of Different Men in Defective Health or
Condition. ........... ............ .......... 627

ferred to my office today a very sick man and have
placed him in St. Luke's Hospital."
The nature of these statements and the fact

See special chapters dealing with the insane, feeble-minded, and
epileptic, and with the aged.
t For additional data with regard to these groups, see Appendix A,
Table 4, p. 279.
t In addition to these 168 there were 86 men crippled or maimed
by diseases, making a total of 254 in all. See Chapter IV, The
Crippled and Maimed.
Special data concerning the blind and deaf will be found in
Appendix A, Table 6, p. 281.

that men were sometimes referred to the Municipal
Lodging House for a night's lodging and that
reports received from that institution later stated
that its physician had found them to be ill and had
sent them to a hospital, will account for the item
"doubtful" in Table II.
No one of the men has been listed as suffering
from a specific disease or defect, whose condition
was not either self-evident or vouched for by a
written or verbal statement by the physician who
examined him. So far as it goes, therefore, the
list of diseases and defects given in Table II, and
the proportions in which they appear, may be
depended upon as a proximately accurate, with
the exception of vene eal diseases and tuberculosis.
In regard to the for er, unless a man had open
sores, trouble with his eyes, or lameness not other-
wise accounted for, vhich led the interviewer to
suspect the presence o0 syphilis or kindred ailments,
he was not sent to a physician for examination and
the disease escaped noting. With so chance a
method of detection, the number of such cases
given is unquestionably too small. A man en-
tered as blind or as crippled may also have been
syphilitic without that fact being discovered.
Locomotor ataxia, in a majority of cases a conse-
quence of syphilis, and certain forms of paralysis
sometimes so, are both common among men of de-
fective health in lodging houses.
Tuberculosis, the other disease of which there
were undoubtedly more cases than the figures

indicate, is difficult to recognize in its earlier
stages, and unless a man complained of being ill,
or his general appearance suggested the disease,
he was not examined for it. Ninety-three of the
men were, however, definitely known to be suf-
ferers,* and a number of cases of chronic bronchitis
may have developed into tuberculosis later; and
pneumonia convalescents living perforce in the
infected rooms of lodging houses must frequently
have had the seeds of tuberculosis already at
work in their systems at the time they applied to
the Bureau for aid.
Forty of the 93 tuberculous men gave Chicago
as their legal residence and of these at least 30 are
known to have been living in lodging houses for
one year or more at the time they came to us. It is
of course not possible to say positively where any-
one suffering from a germ disease breathed in the
infection that caused his illness, but, although in
44 cases (most of them non-resident) we knew that
the men were afflicted with tuberculosis before
they entered the lodging houses, in 38 cases there
was a reasonable doubt as to whether this was the
fact. In ii instances we knew, almost beyond
question, that the men were in perfectly sound
health previous to their taking up residence in
the Chicago lodging houses, and the presumption
is that they contracted the disease within them.
One man of the II we knew for three years, and
For facts concerning nationality, conjugal condition, and occupa-
tions of the tuberculous men, classified by age group, see Appendix A,
Table 5, p. 280.

tuberculosis developed during the last six months
of that period. Another man, known to the office
two years, developed the disease in the last three
months of our acquaintance with him. Another,
known two and a half years and for different
reasons examined three times during that period
by our physicians, showed symptoms of the disease
only upon the last examination but died of it at
Dunning* two months later. Several young boys
from whose parents we learned that they had been
in perfect health when they left home and that no
member of their families was tuberculous, de-
veloped the disease after a year or less of tramping
and lodging house life. It is manifestly impossible
to prove that any of these men, or many others
whose records are similar, acquired the disease in
the lodging houses, but from the chronically
unsanitary condition of those houses there is every
reason to believe that they did so.
Although 627 men of the thousand were, by the
methods of investigation and examination which
have been noted, found to be diseased or defective,t
the handicaps of many were slight, not really
affecting their working power to any appreciable
extent; those of others were temporary, not
affecting it for long. One hundred and ninety-
five of the thousand were addicted to the excessive
The Cook County Infirmary (almshouse) is situated at Dunning.
t Classified by ten-year periods, the ages of these men were: Under
20 years, 41; 20 to 30 years, 137; 30 to 40 years, 130; 40 to 50 years,
134; 50 to 60 years, 85; 60 to 70 years, 55; above 70 years, 37; not
known, 8. Total, 627.

use of drink and known to be drug users. In all
these cases the earning power of the men was more
or less affected by these habits, but in only 16
instances (those included in Table II) was their
health so seriously affected that their physical
condition, as well as the habit itself, handicapped
them in matters of employment. Thirty-three
convalescents have been included in the table be-
cause although dismissed from the hospitals as
"cured" they were, in reality, so far from well that
in some cases they would have been incapable of
self-support for a number of weeks, even under
the best of circumstances, while under those in
which they are forced to live in the lodging houses,
complete recovery is often long postponed or even
unattainable in the end.
Whether a physical condition is temporary or
permanent is not easy in the beginning to deter-
mine, and Whether such condition be trifling or
important can be judged only in relation to the
particular man affected. For example, the loss of
one eye did not affect the working ability of a day
laborer, but the same loss suffered by a railroad
engineer prevented him from securing work at his
trade and was the chief cause of his dependence.
Similarly, the loss of a finger or two would not
incapacitate a sewer digger, but it threw out of
employment and was an important contributory
cause of the vagrancy of a certain factory man, to
manipulate whose machine those particular fingers
had been essential. In both instances, these slight

handicaps formed active causes of dependence
until the men succeeded in readjusting themselves
to new trades or new forms of employment. Such
adjustment for certain of the older men was found
to be quite as difficult as was that in the cases of
men whose labor had been displaced by the intro-
duction of machinery. In fact, the physical handi-
cap proved the greater obstacle.
Lesser injuries than the two cited sometimes had
far-reaching and unexpected results. A man on
his way to newly-found and much-needed work
one day gave an expressman a lift in handling a
heavy trunk. By some awkwardness it slipped and
crushed his right thumb. A trifling accident, per-
haps, but the sore thumb, although given the best
of surgical care from the beginning, not merely
lost the man the permanent job to which he was
going when the accident occurred, but kept him
from any other work for several weeks. In another
very similar case, an injured thumb was not given
proper care and the man ultimately lost his left
To what extent the defects and diseases listed
in this and the three following chapters were due
to causes related to the vagrancy of the men, is
a question hard to decide with any certainty.
Exposure and irregular living probably caused
the dysentery from which a few of the men suffered.
Similarly, the mode of life may have caused the
rheumatic lamenesses with which 37 men were
afflicted. The insanity of certain of the men

undoubtedly bore direct relation to lack of food,
worry, and irregular habits, and it is well known
that the number of seizures from which an epileptic
suffers is increased by idleness and worry. In a
few other ways the vagrant lives of these men may
have been either directly responsible for their
physical or mental conditions or largely contribu-
tory to them. On the other hand, in numbers of
cases such conditions were themselves the causes
and not the effects of the vagrancy. This was
especially true of the men who had met with
industrial or other accidents involving the loss of a
hand or a foot. Several men were known to have
been fully self-supporting before such accidents
occurred, but to have become partly or totally
dependent afterward.*
In other cases the physical or mental condition
of a man seemed to. be both a cause and an effect
of his vagrancy. Take, for instance, a case in.
which from a spirit of adventure a young fellow
starts out to beat his way on the railroad. Within
a few months he meets with an accident which
necessitates the amputation of his right arm or
both his legs. He is ever afterward a cripple, and
being, for a time at least, necesslrily dependent,
he develops into a confirmed vagrant. Here the
physical handicap is caused by the vagrancy and
itself produces further vagrancy. The same is true
when a man suffering from a slight mental disorder
See Chapter IV, The Crippled and Maimed; and Chapter V,
Industrial Accidents. See also Appendix A, Tables 9-13, pp. 284-

wanders away from his friends and starts out on
the "road." Within a month his mode of life has
greatly aggravated his insanity and he wanders
on in this condition for months or even years unless
some one stops him and assures his proper care.
No attempt has been made, therefore, to classify
the defectiveness of the men according to causes.
The relation of their physical condition to their
economic dependence is a little less difficult to
trace and will be indicated in some of the special
studies which follow.


WO hundred and fifty-four men, or more than
a fourth of the one thousand studied, were
either temporarily br permanently crippled
or maimed. The disclosure of.so large a proportion
of handicapped men will probably provoke ques-
tions in the minds of most readers, both as to
whether a similar proportion would be found among
other thousands of the homeless and shifting popu-
lation, and as to what may have been the causes
and what are the effects of all this crippling of men.
It is not possible to compare the ratio of crippled and
maimed in this group with that of the homeless men
at large, because there are no statistics available
in regard to the latter; but for the reasons men-
tioned in a previous chapter, there is little question
but that the percentage of crippled and maimed
is larger among homeless men who have asked
charity than it would be found to be among home-
less men in general; a fact which should be con-
stantly keptlin mind lest one fall into the error of
drawing unwarranted general conclusions from
statistics which relate only to a particular, and in
this regard a peculiar, group of men. But whether

or not the number of cripples per thousand is
smaller among the homeless men in the lodging
houses than in this group, the causes of crippling
and the ratios in which they appear, and the indi-
vidual and social results of it, would be much
the same wherever homeless men might be studied.
It has, therefore, seemed worth while to study with
some care the histories of these 254 crippled men.

Illness was found to be responsible for a very
large percentage of the crippling and maiming of
this quarter-regiment of men, although a number
who were in fact disabled by illness claimed to have
been injured in industrial or general accidents.
Forty men were paralytic; 21 had muscles so
knotted and misshapen from rheumatism that they
were seriously handicapped; 1o were suffering
from locomotor ataxia; six were at least tempo-
rarily crippled by venereal diseases; six had tu-
berculous spines, had lost limbs, or were in other
ways crippled or maimed through the ravages of
tuberculosis, and three were crippled by other
diseases. Eighty-six men in all, or 34 per cent of
the 254, were thus crippled or maimed by dis-
Because of the lack of information on the records,
it is not possible in a majority of these cases to go
behind the diseases themselves to the underlying
causes which produced them. Among the men

Under 30................. 12 Paralysis................. 40
30 to 39 .............. 17 Rheumatism.............. 21
4o0 to 49 ................. 23 Locomotor ataxia.......... to
50 to 59 ................ 9 Tuberculosis ............. 6
6o or over. ............... 15 Venereal diseases.......... 6
Other ................... 3
Total................ 86 -
Total...... .......... 86

(1) Self-supporting before (2) Self-supporting after
injury injury
Entirely .................. 46 Entirely.................. 3
Partly.................... 4 Partly................... 25
Not at all ................. 23 Not at all ................. 58
Not known............... 13
Total................ 86
Total................ 86

who were victims of paralysis, locomotor ataxia,
and venereal diseases, a number admitted that
their habits and vices had alone been responsible
for their present physical conditions. Only 17
of the 56 men suffering from these three forms of
disease were, or, so far as we could learn, had ever
been "hard drinkers"; but that licentiousness was
a cause of their condition in many cases there can
be but slight question, even though our investiga-
tion of the previous histories of the men was not
such as would necessarily disclose the existence of
that vice.
In the cases of three men only among the 40
paralytics was the nature of the work in which
they had been engaged responsible for their
See also Appendix A, Tables 7 and 8, pp. 282 and 283.

disease. Lead poisoning caused the paralysis of
two men, who had been painters, and chronic
bowel disorder caused by exposure produced it in
the third, who had been a soldier. A fourth man
claimed to be suffering from telegrapher's paraly-
sis; but since, in tracing his history back for
fifteen years, we were unable to learn that he had
had any record of work, and since, moreover, he
had been a tramp and a heavy drinker for at least
that number of years, he should probably be
included among the men who were the victims of
their vices rather than among those who sacrificed
health in pursuance of their daily work.
Twenty, or only one-half, of the paralytics are
known to have been entirely self-supporting*
previous to the strokes which crippled them. Of
the remainder, 12 were tramps and vagrants and
had earned little or none of their own support;
two had been partly self-supporting; one had
been paralyzed in his childhood, and of five we do
not know the facts as to self-support before
paralysis. Following their paralysis, 31 were
entirely dependent, seven partly self-supporting,
and only two were able by peddling to be indepen-
Among the 21 men crippled by rheumatism were
eight whose work during the major part of their
lives had been of such a nature that it probably
caused the disease; but two of the men had been
For data concerning amount of self-support among the men.
crippled by disease, see Table III, and Appendix A, Table 8, p. 283.

tramps for several years prior to our acquaintance
with them, and their wanderings may have been
partly responsible for their crippled limbs. Four-
teen of the rheumatic cripples, or two-thirds of
the whole number, had good work records and
were without bad habits, a larger proportion than
was the case among the paralytics. Only four
men were drunkards, one was an opium eater,
and two were tramps; but out of these seven,
four had had excellent work records before they
became crippled. Thirteen of the rheumatic
cripples had been fully self-supporting before
becoming too lame to work, three had not sup-
ported themselves, and of five we know too little
to make positive statements on this point. Since
being crippled 13 were totally dependent, eight
partly self-supporting, and not one was entirely

Excluding the 86 men crippled by illness there
remained five who had been born crippled and
163 who had been crippled by accidents of various
sorts. The exact nature of these accidents cannot
be given in every instance, because the victims of
them were frequently tramps and vagrants,-men
who at the time of our acquaintance with them
had already become parasitic beggars,-and it
was impossible to learn the truth about their

injuries. Men injured while tramping claimed to
have met with industrial accidents; men injured
in drunken brawls in saloons claimed to have
slipped and fallen on icy sidewalks. All manner of
false claims were made; and while to prove that
they werefalse was sometimes not very difficult,
it was exceedingly difficult, if not impossible, to
learn just what the form of accident was which
had crippled the man. Out of the whole number
(254) of crippled and maimed, 55 men (21.7 per
cent) claimed to have met with industrial acci-
dents. A larger proportion of these men mis-
represented the facts about themselves than did
any other class of the crippled. For this, and for
other reasons, it has seemed best to study the
histories of these 55 men in a separate chapter,*
and their cases are omitted from the tables and
from the text of the remainder of this chapter.
This leaves II 3 men who were crippled from birth
or who became so through accidents not directly
For a large number of these accidents, neither
society nor the men themselves can be held re-
sponsible; they were accidents, pure and simple,
which could not have been foreseen or prevented,
and cannot be charged to bad industrial conditions,
to indifference on the part of authorities to the
welfare of citizens, nor to the individual careless-
ness or recklessness of the men who suffered them.
In almost one-half of the cases, however, the men's
See Chapter V, Industrial Accidents.

While stealing ride or "beating"
w ay ........................ 13
Hurt on As passengers .................. 4
Railways Walking on tracks .............. 2
Not known how (tramping sus-
pected).................... 3
Falls of various sorts .............................. 18
Accidents in childhood ............................ 7
Born crippled or maimed .......................... 5
Street car accidents............................... 6
Runaway horses ................................. 3
Run over by vehicles ............................. 2
Injured by jumping from windows during hotel fires.... 2
Hurt in saloon fights while intoxicated .............. 2
Hurt, not known how, while intoxicated ............. 2
Flesh tears and blood poisoning from rusty wire and
nail.................... ............. .......... 2
Bullet w ounds.................................. 2
Feet frozen ..................................... 2
Knocked down and robbed (arm broken)............ I
Kicked by a horse................................ .
Struck by a falling timber......................... I
Thumb crushed by truck falling on it .............. .
Leg amputated after a battle of the Civil War...... I
Exact cause of crippling not known ................. 33*

Total.................................... 113

Of these 33 men the exact cause of whose crippling is not known
the following facts are of interest: Seventeen were men who are
known to have been dependents, tramps or beggars for a number of
years before the accidents which,crippled them occurred. Three
were quite young tramps and beggars of whom too little is known to
say whether their crippled condition was caused by their vagrancy or
not; no work record could be discovered, however, and injuries
while tramping are strongly suspected. Seven men with broken
arms or legs, sprained ankles or other injuries are known to have met
with general and not industrial accidents, since in each case these
occurred when the men were unemployed. Of the six remaining
cases three were respectable old men, three self-respecting and self-
supporting younger men. Our records show nothing of cause of in-
jury in these six cases and industrial accidents may have been the
causes of crippling in one or more of these instances.
t Of these, 82 were permanently crippled; 31 temporarily or the
extent of injury not known.

habits of drink, wandering, and vagrancy must be
held as mainly responsible for the accidents which
crippled them. This estimate is based upon a
careful study of the records of the men, and
includes io instances in which men admitted that
they were intoxicated when they were injured, and
15 trespassing or tramping accidents on the rail-
roads. It also includes a number of other cases
where the men were habitual drunkards or con-
firmed tramps, and in which there was every
reason to regard individual causes as responsible
for the injuries suffered. For instance, one of
the two men crippled by having both feet frozen
met with this accident while locked for two days
in a box-car in which he was stealing a ride dur-
ing a spell of zero weather.
However, whether the original cause of this
crippling was social or individual, or purely acci-
dental, a man's adjustment to his changed con-
dition, and his ultimate position in the industrial
world, seem to depend in very large part upon
his own spirit and temperament and his general
attitude toward life. The man who was a vagrant
and a tramp before his injury is likely to be one
after it, and will often use his handicap as his most
valuable begging asset. The man who was a worker
will in most cases be a worker still, if not totally in-
capacitated by his injuries or overwhelmed by dire
poverty or friendlessness.* The actual amount of
For table showing amount of self-support before and after injury
of the 13 men, classified by length of time since accident, see Ap-

his physical handicap itself, apparently, has less
to do with a man's failure to be self-supporting
after an accident, than those qualities within him
which are hard to describe but which make for
character; this accounts for the fact that three
men of this group who had lost both legs were
fully self-supporting, and that five who had lost
one or two fingers were parasitic and used.these
comparatively trifling handicaps as .excuses for
dependence. Speaking generally, the man who
earns no part of his own support after he meets
with an accident, and who makes no effort to do so,
has a moral lack in his character which is more
truly responsible for the fact of his vagrancy than
is his physical lack of an arm or a leg.

Among the cripples living in the cheap lodging
houses, as among the men in general, some will be
found who belong to each of the four main classi-
fications mentioned in the opening chapter. Some
will be continually self-supporting; others will be
occasionally or temporarily dependent, but may
easily be brought back to self-support; others are
chronically dependent from necessity; and still
others are willing parasites, although their injuries
may be slight or temporary. Of the II3. men
crippled by general accident or from birth, 49
belonged to the temporarily dependent ("help-
able") class, 27 were chronically dependent, 31
pendix A, Table 9, p. 284. For similar data concerning 82 men
permanently crippled, classified by condition, see Appendix A, Table
10, p. 285.

parasitic, and of the remaining six too little was
known to classify. As might be expected from
the fact that they are physically handicapped,
these crippled and maimed men, more frequently
than the able-bodied, shift for short periods from
one group to another. The processes that tend
to demoralize and force them into the lowest class
are more clearly discernible in these cases than
among the able-bodied men, since it is probable
that among the handicapped the causes of vagrancy
in a large proportion of cases are objective rather
than subjective.

None of the 113 men who were cripples from
birth or who became so through general accident
could be considered fully self-supporting at the
time of their application to the Bureau of Charities;
but study of the records shows that 49 men (43
per centof the number), belonged to the helpablee"
class of lodging house men. They were readily
helped back into positions of self-support. They
did not require continuous assistance. Nineteen
had friends or relatives elsewhere able to care for
them, and were given transportation to them.
Of these, one was a man with both legs amputated
who found himself unable to get along in Chicago,
although in his native city, where he was well
known, he had worked up a paying business as a
bootblack. Returning this man to his home took

him out of the lodging house district, and saved
him from further dependence. A boy of eighteen
who was very seriously crippled was returned to
his parents, with whom he has since remained.
A man who had lost his left leg and left arm was
sent to friends elsewhere, who gave him permanent
employment. In Chicago he had been dependent.
A Negro from the far South, brought North
with others to take the place of strikers, was
accidentally left in Chicago when the rest of the
carload were returned by the company that had
imported them. Unused to the city, and handi-
capped by deformed feet, this man would soon
have become a dependent for life if he had not,
through the agency of the Bureau, been returned
to the South. So far as I have been able to
trace the cases today, every crippled man or boy
sent by the Bureau to friends or relatives was
permanently removed from the city lodging
houses; and, undoubtedly, the prompt removal
of these 19 men, the total cost of whose half-rate
tickets was not over $1oo, saved some from per-
manent vagrancy and all from much needless
The story of one other man in this group is
perhaps worthy of fuller mention, since it illus-
trates not only by what mere chances able-bodied
men may suddenly become helpless dependents,
but also shows how possible it is, even in very
serious cases, to save such men from chronic depend-
ence. A trained young workman came to Chicago

for employment. He was rather above the grade
of the average lodging house man, and therefore
looked up a rooming house in a respectable part of
town and had his trunk sent there instead of
locating in the downtown part of the city. On his
way to promised employment the day after his
arrival, he climbed onto a railroad embankment
which lay between himself and the factory just
beyond the tracks. If he had but walked a block
in either direction he might have passed safely
under the embankment, but this he did not know.
Just as he reached the top his hat blew off, and
without a glance in either direction he sprang
forward to catch it. As he did so he was struck
by an express train and hurled many feet. When
he recovered consciousness at the County Hospital,
two day's later, he found that one leg had already
been amputated and that the use of his right arm
was gone. Six weeks later he was dismissed from
the hospital, and made his way with difficulty to
his rooming place, only to find that his trunk had
long before been sold for storage and that the
blood-stained and torn garments which he had on
were his only possessions.
Among thousands of pitiful cases I do not recall
a man whose mental anguish was greater than this
man's when he first realized that at twenty-eight
he was crippled for life, and that at that mo-
ment he was penniless in a strange city, where he
must either ask charitable help or die. No care
and tactfulness of ours was able to lessen the

bitterness of grief, the agony of humiliation which
he suffered. It was some time before we could
persuade him to return to the little eastern city
from which he came. He had left it full of strength,
energy, and health, and the thought of returning
to be a burden upon his qld mother or friends, or
to enter in time the local poorhouse, was more
than he could endure. But in Chicago his only
alternative was to beg upon the streets,-being a
non-resident he was not eligible for admission to
the Cook County poorhouse.
Until replies to our letters to the East (which by
several mischances were long delayed) could be
received, the Bureau of Charities furnished food
and lodging. A peg leg (made for him by a.
sympathetic carpenter in the lodging house) and
a cane, soon enabled him to walk without crutches,
and a famous surgeon who was consulted about the
right arm gave promise of the ultimate return of
part of its usefulness. The letters written to the
superintendent of the Associated Charities of the
man's home town, enlisted his interest and help;
and when, four months from the date of his
accident, the man was given half-rate transporta-
tion back to his home, he went knowing that light
work awaited him on his arrival, and that he need
not be wholly dependent. During the 'current
winter, in answer to a letter of inquiry, the writer
has learned that this man has been entirely self-
supporting throughout the eight years since his

Equally successful results followed the giving of
prompt and adequate assistance to certain helpable
cripples who were not sent out of the city. A well
chosen peddler's outfit made two of these, each
of whom had lost an arm, self-supporting for as
long a period as we were able to follow them. For
a man of sixty-seven, with an injured hip, who
was able to earn a very small part of his own sup-
port, the Bureau secured from a sister in England
a pension of $5.oo a month for the remainder of
his life. Various forms of assistance were given to
Altogether, in the cases of 35 men out of the
49 of the helpablee" type of cripples, there is a
reasonable basis for belief that the aid given at
a critical time in their lives permanently saved
them from further dependence upon society and
from vagrancy, since in almost every instance it
was the man's self-respect which hung in the bal-
ance, as well as his economic independence.
For 12 of the other 14 apparently helpable men,
there is more of a question as to ultimate results,
since they were known to the office for periods
ranging only from one day to three or four weeks,
when they dropped out of sight and their subse-
quent histories could not be followed. Only of
the remaining two men must known failure be
reported. One, a Negro, had apparently when
we knew him been helped back to a position
of self-support, but has been unable to hold his
own and is today a tramp and a vagrant. In the

other case, for two years we watched and worked
against the gradual deterioration of a really fine
man; but the odds against him in the struggle for
independence were very great, and association
with idlers and beggars in the lodging houses
finally converted him into one of their number.
We failed utterly to save this man; but I have
included him with the helpable cripples, because I
believe that he had enough of self-respect and
ability when he first applied to the Bureau for help
to have been saved in the end if we could have
found the right sort of work for him and if he
could have been removed in time from the morally
poisonous atmosphere of the lodging houses.

Twenty-seven men in the group of 1 13 were at the
time of their applications to the Bureau totally and
continuously dependent but not parasitic in spirit.
Eight of these men were, with the Bureau's help,
made self-supporting for a time, but soon became
dependent and remained so for the rest of their
lives. In the case of five other chronic dependents
the burden of support was placed upon relatives
at a distance, or upon the communities elsewhere
of which they were legal residents. One of these
men had left the poorhouse at Milwaukee and
come to Chicago because he had the idea, which
seems to be held all over America, that no matter
how unfit a man may be, "any one can find work

in Chicago." Another was a deaf mute who had
frozen both feet. He was sent to relatives in New
A large percentage of these chronically depend-
ent cripples had an additional handicap of some
kind which accounted for their total dependence.
Two were over seventy years of age, seven were
between sixty and seventy, and two between fifty
and sixty. Age alone might not have incapaci-
tated these latter; but, as in addition they were per-
manently crippled, complete self-support proved
to be impossible. Two men of this group were
epileptic as well as crippled, two were mildly
insane, one was feeble-minded, and one very dull
mentally. One was a deaf mute, and five had
tuberculosis or some other chronic illness which
seriously affected them.
Several men in this group showed the results of
failure to receive needed help at the beginning of
their difficulties. Here is a typical story of one
man whose dependence was due to this cause.
He had always been fully self-supporting previous
to the accident in which he lost one leg just below
the hip. After the accident he became a street
beggar, but never overcame an intolerable sense
of shame and degradation. The man who sits on
a public street with his hat before him and begs
would seem, to most people, to be more shameless
and hardened in his profession than the man who
asks for a night's lodging at the door; but this
particular street beggar said that he himself had

chosen the former method because it saved him
from the shame of asking for help. "When I sit
there, anyone can see that I am helpless; I do not
have to speak."
Although this man had been begging for four
years at the time he came to the attention of the
Bureau, he had never become hardened to the
practice, and when offered adequate help if he
would stop it and co-operate in our effort to make
him self-supporting, he instantly agreed and kept
his promise even when by begging he could have
increased from four to ten-fold the meager earnings
which he made during the two years of attempted
self-support through which he struggled. Help
had come too late. The artificial leg which was
furnished him through the Bureau should have
been received four years earlier, before the muscles
of the stump had become flabby and almost useless.
He learned in time to walk without crutches but
never without a cane, and he always limped badly,
which made it difficult to secure work for him.
Possible employers frankly told the writer that
while they would be glad to help the man, the risk
of accident to a cripple in a factory is so great that
they could not afford to take it, lest a law-suit
for damages be the sequel of an attempt to "mix
philanthropy and business." Through personal
influence and with difficulty, three positions in
different factories where he might work seated
were secured for the man during a period of a year
and a half; but each, for reasons not connected

with his ability or persistence, was lost. A part-
nership in a small shop was then secured, which
bid fair for a time to solve his difficulties; but this
had to be given up on account of the failing health
of the man himself. Exposure, lack of food, and
the unsanitary conditions in the lodging houses
during the years before help came to him had
done their work, and he was obliged to abandon his
plucky fight for independence and go to the only
haven for such wounded soldiers-the county
poorhouse, where he died of tuberculosis two
months later. Every step in the history of this
man's life, both before and after his accident,
would indicate that if he had been given the aid he
needed immediately after the accident, he might
have been saved for many years of usefulness.
The importance of prompt and adequate relief
of some sort in the case of every self-respecting
cripple condemned to live in a lodging house can-
not be overestimated. The development of our
awakened social conscience will, undoubtedly, lead
in time to the passage of laws and to the adoption
of methods in all states which will insure both
better protection from accidents and needed sup-
port for the injured after accidents occur. In the
meantime, it is difficult to see how the men suffering
from general accidents today are to be provided
for except by means of an intelligent administra-
tion of adequate charitable relief. So long as our
hospitals dismiss cripples without an inquiry as
to how they shall subsist after leaving; so long as

municipal lodging houses, industrial homes, wood
yards, and other charitable agencies which come
in touch with these men after their dismissals
from hospitals, are content to furnish a night's
lodging or a day or two of inadequate work and
then allow the' men to drift on; and so long as
the few charities in the country which attempt to
deal adequately and humanely with them are sorely
handicapped by lack of means, by the indifference
of the public, and by the unwillingness of em-
ployers to give the men such work as they are
able to do, it is difficult to see how there can be
much change for the better in the conditions under
which the homeless crippled and maimed now live.

With men as seriously handicapped as are some
of the mendicant cripples seen on the streets, it is
sometimes a question as to how far they may be
able to contribute to their own support, even if
they are willing to make the effort. But when
numerous opportunities to earn at least a part of
their living are offered such men and refused,
there is no question but that the begging is con-
tinued from choice and not from necessity.
Among the 113 men crippled by general acci-
dent or from birth, 31 were of this type. Three had
lost both legs,-too serious a handicap to make self-
support possible, one may say. One of these, a
young lad, had parents able and willing to care

for him but he preferred to beg. Another had
artificial legs, and training in a trade in which, by
his own admission, he could have earned his
living had he so chosen. The third man had
received large damages from the railway company
responsible for his injury, but had squandered
the money and made no effort to find employment,
although he was well educated and could un-
doubtedly have supported himself by some form
of clerical work. This man took to begging at
once and apparently without even a passing sense
of shame, and he refused to give up the practice,
although offered his full support until a position
could be found for him.
We were not able in a single case to win a man
of this group of parasitic cripples back to a position
of self-support, although the injuries of four were
temporary and of to very slight. Every one of
the 31 listed as parasitic was offered at least one
opportunity for self-support; several of them
many; but all refused work because they could
make more money and make it more easily by
begging. Not that the men themselves always put
it in that way; a few claimed to prefer self-support
to vagrancy, but these invariably found some
excuse for giving up every position in which they
were placed, and in a few weeks' time returned
to their old begging stands and would make no
further effort for independence.
Some men claimed to be begging only to secure
money for an artificial leg, saying they would go to

work after obtaining one, but in no case when a
leg had been purchased did the begging cease.
An earnest recital of a desire to work as soon as an
artificial leg is secured proves to be productive of
such good results in the form of contributions from
the public, that it is the favorite begging story of
many one-legged mendicants. One man who is
still known to the Bureau has used the story for
eleven consecutive years, during which he has re-
ceived money enough to purchase scores of legs.
Not a few mendicant cripples who own artificial
legs wear them by day and unstrap them and beg
on the streets at night. There were even two in-
stances in Chicago where men wore their artificial
legs and were employed during the day but begged
at the theatre doors at night.
Five men in this group had no more serious
physical defect than the loss of from one to three
fingers,-in two cases from the right hand, in
three, from the left; a sixth man had a broken
finger; but all six based their pleas for charitable
assistance upon these comparatively slight handi-
caps. Five of the six, all but the man with the
broken finger, were well educated men for whom
there was no apparent excuse for dependence.
They were distinctly degenerate, and had been
beggars and tramps almost from boyhood. Two
were addicted to the drug habit and two were heavy
In the two groups helpablee and chronically
dependent cripples) previously discussed, there

were a number of men who were dependent because
of their injuries, but in only one instance in this
third group had a man descended to the ranks of
the parasites since and chiefly on account of his
handicap. Even in this case the injury was, per-
haps, only indirectly responsible for his downfall,
which came about not for lack of help at the time
of his accident, but rather because of the receipt of
too LI rge an amount of material aid at once.. He
was a Negro laborer whose left arm was partly
paralyzed through a railroad accident. He re-
ceived $200 from the railroad company, which
was the largest amount he had ever possessed at
one time. He spent it as rapidly as possible, for
drink and carousing, and when it was exhausted,
unable to stand again in the ranks as a laborer, he
became a drunkard and a tramp-vagrant.
.Six men out of the 113 were known to the office
too slightly and for too short a time to make pos-
sible any definite classification of their status [or
habits. Of these, however, two were known to be
tramps, and the stories of all six were either false
or unconfirmable, so it is probable that these too
must be added to the group of parasitic cripples.
Several questions will naturally arise in the
minds of people after reading thus far: "How can
we tell to which class the cripple who applies to
us belongs? We do not wish to help lazy im-
postors who could get employment or have other
means of support; but if, after all, only 31 or

possibly 37 out of a group of 113 men belong to
this latter class, shall we then not risk doing greater
harm to the majority of cripples in need by refusing
aid to all than by giving to all?" These questions
have been put to the writer so many times that it
is evident they must vex many sympathetic and
conscientious people. The instinctive desire to
help in some way causes them to revolt from the
negative mandate of certain pseudo-scientific
workers, who say "do not give," and who yet offer
no substitute for giving.
As a rule, but one answer can be made to the
first question. .The ordinary citizen cannot know
merely by interviewing a beggar to what class he
belongs, and to what extent, if at all, he should be
aided. If definite knowledge is desired,-and it is
the only basis of intelligent help,-investigation of
the case had better be turned over- to specially
trailed experts, of whom there are a few in almost
every city of the Union. These men and women
have met and dealt with hundreds of applicants
where the ordinary citizen has known but few, and
these few, as a rule, rather superficially.
As to the second question; there is a fallacy in
the argument of "helping the unworthy lest the
worthy be missed" which many people fail to
recognize. It lies in the supposition that the
"worthy" man to whom a few cents or even a few
dollars are given, is really helped by such aid.
Assistance in finding employment, support until
employed, removal from lodging house environ-

ment, surgical care, and general friendly interest,
these are the things he needs. They may be fur-
nished by any one sufficiently interested to supply
them, even better, perhaps, than by a charity or-
ganization society which, on account of the large
number of persons with whom it deals, cannot give
as much time to following up the necessities of the
particular applicant as can a private individual.
But if, for lack of means or lack of time on the
one hand, or through a feeling of inexperience on
the other hand, the ordinary citizen hesitates him-
self to take active steps for the man's restoration
to usefulness, and is unwilling to ignore his condi-
tion, he may refer him to the Charity Organiza-.
tion Society, or to whatever agency is doing similar
work in a similar way in his own city.
To refer the cripple to such a society, however,
and to do nothing more will probably help him as
little as would the gift of a small dole, because in
nine cases out of ten the man will either promise to
go and then not go, or he will say that he has been
there and that nothing was done for him. This
latter statement is usually not true and should be
verified. If the citizen cannot spare time to
accompany the man, he should telephone or write
a letter saying where he found him begging, if a
beggar, and include a slight desciiplion. and if
possible, an outline of his story. This will enable
the agent of the society to report at once if the
applicant is known to the office, and, should he
fail to appear, to find him later. The one-legged

street beggar whose .story is given on page 59,
told the writer that at least 50 people had referred
him to the Bureau of Charities during the four
years of his dependence. When asked why he
had not come he replied that he had not supposed
the Bureau could do anything for him;-it would
not help him to be referred to a wood yard, which
was where he thought ingle men were usually
sent; and he "knew it would not be right" to ask
for entire support, "no society could afford to
give that," and he had thought that we might pub-
lish his name as a pauper, which was something
he could not endure, even if he had "got pretty low
down." It required the assurance that his name
would not be published, the promise of a personal
letter to the superintendent, and the touch of
personal interest shown by the gentleman who
had seen him begging, before this cripple followed
the advice that he had so often received.
After a man has finally reached the office and
his story has been thoroughly investigated,-not
to find out whether it is true, but to gain as much
knowledge of his character and abilities as it is
possible to secure,-a plan for the permanent
improvement of his condition may be worked out
by the trained agent and the interested citizen;
and in carrying out this plan, if the man prove
to be helpable, the citizen will find opportunity to
expend as much of his time and money as he can
afford to give and as the case requires.


H E promptness with which vagrants in lodg-
ing houses take advantage of any occurrence
which will furnish them with a new or pop-
ular story to use in appealing for help, is a matter
for surprise even to persons familiar with the class.
Most of these men are well informed about current
events and many of them are inveterate newspaper
readers. They are quick to notice and to make
use of any item which suggests a new form of
After every great calamity, such as the Galves-
ton flood, the Baltimore fire, or the San Francisco
earthquake, alleged "victims" make their appear-
ance in various parts of the country. When the
Klondike region was much in the minds of people,
unfortunate Klondikers appeared in large numbers.
After the Iroquois Theatre fire in Chicago,
"stranded actors" who had never stood behind the
footlights, applied for aid. Similarly, any much
discussed subject in newspapers or magazines is
immediately seized upon and utilized. After the
appearance of the statement attributed to Dr.

Osler that men over sixty should be chloroformed,
there was a marked increase for a few weeks in
the number of men past that age who applied to
the Bureau of Charities, and many of them referred
to Dr. Osler's alleged dictum. Likewise, the cam-
paign against tuberculosis which has been given so
much publicity in newspapers and magazines has
caused many a sound-lunged vagrant to claim to
be afflicted with the White Plague. This is an
especially popular disease among those who appeal
for special transportation rates to the West. In
the same way the numerous articles which have
appeared in recent years upon the prevalence of
industrial accidents in the United States and their
alleged importance as a cause of vagrancy, have
led many tramp-cripples-to use stories of indys-
trial accidents as a ground for special appeals for
Such stories have apparently proved far more
effective in soliciting sympathy and aid than
would the recital of the mere facts regarding their
accidents. So quick are these men to follow
suggestion in the stories they tell that every claim
of an industrial accident made by a homeless man
Should bethoroughlyinvesigated3 Otherwise sta-
tistics on the relation between such accidents and
vagrancy, from whatever source they may come,
cannot be relied upon as accurate.
Fifty-five out of the 254 crippled or maimed men
in this thousand claimed to have met with injuries
while at work and connected with that work.

Assuming that these 55 were what they claimed to
be,-victims of work accidents,-it is evident that
about four out of five crippled vagrants came to
their injuries elsewhere than at work. But this
proportion of 55 to 254 cannot be accepted, because
the claims of these 55 men are not sustained by
the facts. In 28 out of the 55 cases every effort
was made to ascertain the truth of the men's state-
ments about the accidents. Of these 28, in only
six cases were we able to prove that such accidents
had actually occurred. Of the remaining 22, in
two instances we lacked sufficient data to prove
the men's stories: in four cases letters were unan-
swered; two men gave false addresses; 12 were
entirely unknown to the companies where they
claimed to have worked; while in one instance an
employer knew the man but no such accident as
claimed had occurred at the foundry mentioned,
and in still another the accident had occurred as
stated, but the man was a trespasser and not an
employee *
In the investigations we did not depend entirely
upon the statements made by employers but
attempted to prove the truth of the claims of the
men in many other ways. The following stories
will perhaps show more plainly than can readily
be described, both the methods of investigation
used and the types of stories which were told by
*,With regard to the general statements made by the 28 men
whose cases were investigated, these were found to be true in 13 cases,
false in Ii cases, and the statements of 4 of the men could not be

the 22 men whose claims were either proved to be
false or whose histories showed that the accidents
did not occur as claimed.
E. M., a man of forty, claimed to have been an
engineer on the -- Railroad and to have lost
his left arm in a collision occurring at a certain
time and place in the state of Washington. By
his prompt action in emergency he said that he
had saved the lives of 63 people. He said that he
was a member of the Brotherhood of Locomotive
Engineers and "well known to railroad men." He
stated that the railroad company had done nothing
for him, and that he was suing it for large damages,
the case being then in the hands of a "prominent
lawyer" in St. Paul, whose name he gave us. He
also gave us the name of the physician in Spokane
who had amputated his arm.
Statement by statement this detailed story was
disproved. There had never been an accident on
the -- Railroad at the place mentioned;
neither had there been one anywhere on the
line in the month and year mentioned. The man's
name was not registered as an engineer, nor as an
employee in any capacity, in any division of the
railroad. Neither could we learn that he was a
member of the Brotherhood of Locomotive En-
gineers. The physician said to have treated him
in Spokane was unknown in that city, nor was
there a lawyer, prominent or otherwise, of the
name he had given, listed in the St. Paul directory;
and no such suit was then pending. The man was

a peddler of small notions who probably used
peddling as a screen for begging. His apparent
familiarity with cities all through the Northwest
led us to suspect that he was a confirmed tramp,
and that he had lost his arm in the course of his
A second man, aged twenty-three, asked the
office to furnish his meals for the next ten days
at some restaurant, after which he felt sure that
an injury to his right leg would be sufficiently
healed to allow him to return to work, when he
would repay all that had been advanced. This
man had a straightforward way of talking and
appeared to be quite honest in his story, which
was to the effect that he had been hurt while in
the employ of the Elevated Railroad, some
months before. He claimed that the company
had done nothing for him, he having even paid
his own way in the hospital until his money gave
out. He said that he had entered suit against the
company and that his lawyer, a man of the name
of in the Monadnock Block, thought the
prospect of winning it was good.
There chanced to be a lawyer in the Monadnock
Block of the name mentioned, but he knew nothing
of this man and had no case for any client against
the elevated road. He suggested that the case
might be in the hands of his brother, who also
was a lawyer, and who had offices in the Unity
Building. This gentleman knew nothing of the
case, nor did another of the same name in another

building, nor was his case known to the only other
lawyer of that name in Chicago, who was also
interviewed. Further investigation proved that
no such suit had been brought against the
Elevated Company, and at the hospital we learned
that the man had been a charity- and not a pay-
patient, and that far from suffering from the
results of an accident, he was temporarily crippled
by a syphilitic ulcer on his leg! The man himself
admitted this later and owned that he had been a
rover for ten years and had never worked any-
A third man claimed to have met with an acci-
dent while in the employ of a certain railway, but
we found that he had been injured while "lying
asleep drunk on the tracks." Another, who
claimed to have lost a leg and an arm in a stone
quarry accident, described the quarry at his first
call as in Montana and a year later as in New
Hampshire. Every reference or clue that he gave
in each interview was carefully followed up, but
beyond ascertaining that he was a confirmed
tramp, nothing very definite could be learned
regarding him, and in this case, as in a number of
other alleged work-accident cases, tramping injuries
were strongly suspected.*
It is much to be regretted that out of the 55 men
who claimed to be suffering from injuries received
In 13 cases, or very nearly a fourth of those where work-accidents
were claimed, the histories of the men, as revealed by investigation,
strongly indicated that they had met with their injuries on the rail-
roads while tramping.

while at work, an attempt to verify their state-
ments concerning the accidents was made in only
half the cases (28 out of 55). These were almost
all cases in which the accident was of comparatively
recent occurrence, and where the truth as to its
exact nature, the damages received, and other
matters concerning it, were felt to bear sufficient
relation to the man's present problem, and to the
treatment of his case, to warrant careful investiga-
tion of the accident itself. When the injuries
which crippled him had been received from ten to
twenty or more years before,-and when, perhaps,
he frankly admitted the receipt of damages which
were now exhausted, or the promise of life em-
ployment, all claim to which he had forfeited by
his own acts,-a man's statements on these points
were accepted, and only matters more recently and
vitally connected with his case were investigated.
It is probable that in almost every instance where
a man claimed to have met with such an accident
the agent who first interviewed him questioned
him regarding it, and especially asked whether the
fault was his own and whether he had received
damages; but not appreciating the possible statis-
tical value of his statements on these points, the
agent made no record of them.
Almost the only test, therefore, which we have
of the truth of the claims made by the remainder
(27 out of 55) that they were crippled by work-
accidents, is that of the truth or falsity of their
general statements upon other matters. These

were found to be true in 19 instances, false in four,
and they could not be verified in the remaining
four. Undoubtedly, certain of the 19 men whose
statements in regard to recent matters were true,
told the truth about their injuries, but it will not
do to jump to the conclusion that all of them did
so and that 19 more should, therefore, be added to
our total of six proved industrial accident cases;
for this test, as explained in an earlier chapter, is
a most uncertain one, and it may be shown to be
practically worthless in this case because we found
upon investigation that three of these 19 men had
never had any work records at all, but had been
tramps and beggars from boyhood. A more
thorough investigation in other cases might have
proved a similar lack.
However, in addition to the six men whose
accident stories were found to be true, there were
20 cases out of the 55 in which investigation proved
that the men had been bona fide workmen of such
good character and habits (and our own further
acquaintance with them tended to corroborate
their apparent truthfulness in all matters), that
they should perhaps be given the benefit of the
doubt about their stories of injuries and counted
with the six.* If these probable but not proved
cases are counted with the verified ones, it makes
a total of 26 cases out of the thousand homeless
men, or 2.6 per cent, who had been injured while
For occupations before and after injuries of 55 men who claimed
industrial accidents, see Appendix A, Table i p. 286.

at work. If the six proved cases only are taken it
appears that but .6 per cent out of the thousand
met with such accidents. Of the 254 crippled
and maimed in the thousand, the percentage of
actual industrial accidents must lie between 2.3
per cent and 10.3 per cent.*
If a careful study of the cases of a number of
men who have met with industrial accidents were
to be made, it would probably show that a large
proportion of such accidents are occurring to
married men whose families succeed in caring for
them during the period of their disabilities, thus
preventing them from drifting into the vagrant
class. When in such cases standards of living are
lowered, and the earnings of children taken out of
school must be resorted to, the indirect results
may be revealed only in later years in the under-
mined vitality of these children. Yet this indirect
result may be far more serious than the direct one.
And such a study would probably also show that
so long as they are able in any way to support
themselves, unmarried workingmen who meet
with industrial accidents will continue to be just
what they were before they suffered such injuries-
workers, not idlers or parasites; for, as illustrated
by the study of individual cases in the previous

The group of crippled and maimed homeless men considered in
this study is numerically small, but proportionally it is large, since it
is almost certain that there is a larger percentage of cripples and
defective of all sorts among this particular thousand cases than would
be found in any thousand, chosen at random from among homeless
men in general, not all of whom had asked charity.

Condition Injured Off Total INJURY
Hand or arm................ 16 8 24 Self-supporting Before After
Leg orhip ............... 6 8 14 Entirely ....................... .27 II
Foot or ankle............... 3 I 4 Partly ....................... 3 to
Eyes ...................... I (blind) 2 3 N ot at all ....................... 5 32
Other defects ................................ 5 Not known. .................... 20 2
Double defects .............................. 5 -

Total ................................ 55

l oral .......................55


Condition Total
Entirely Partly aNot Not known Entirely Partly NotAl Not known

Injury to
Hand or arm........... 24 9 3 I 2 5 16 I
Leg or hip............. 14 8 I 4 4 2 8
Foot or ankle.......... 4 3 .. .. 2 .. 2
Eyes ................. 3 i .. .. I .. 2 I
Other defects .......... 5 2 1 i I I 2 I
Double defects........... 5 3 .. 2 2 3
Total ............... 55 27 3 5 20 II o 32 2

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