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SOURCES OF INFORMATION.
In collecting original data the sources of statistical information used were: (1) The employer or industrial establishment; (2) the individual employee; (3) the family or household of the employee; and (4) records of local officials, organizations, and institutions. More general data bearing upon the tendencies exhibited by immigrant races in American communities and other facts not susceptible of statistical presentation were secured by direct observation or by interviews with responsible persons among the native American and alien population.
METHODS OF INVESTIGATION,
The general method employed in the study of immigrants in industry was to proceed upon the basis of certain selected industries, the geographical extent of the investigation being conditioned upon the geographical distribution of the industries studied. In no case was an investigation made with a community or locality as its sole basis. Communities or localities were studied for the reason only that they represented localization or specialization in certain branches of mining or manufacturing. In the beginning of the
field work of the industrial investigation it was considered impossible to secure a general census or conduct an exhaustive industrial investigation east of the Rocky Mountains. Most of the immigrants of recent arrival were living and working in this territory, and it was thought that a detailed investigation would require an outlay of funds and a period of time beyond the field plans of the Commission. Moreover, the decision was reached that intensive studies would be more profitable and yield better results for a given outlay of time and money than broader and more superficial investigations. The investigations in the East were therefore planned along special lines. Special topics were assigned for investigation and agents in numbers corresponding to the importance and scope of the subject to be investigated were charged with the work of collecting the necessary data. Among these special topics, those of industrial significance were as follows: (1) Trade unions; (2)
( abor and employment agencies; (3) the floating immigrant labor supply; (4) immigrant banks and steamship agencies; (5) exploitation; and (6) economic effects of immigration.
After the industrial field work had been started along these independent and special lines, it was soon discovered that for a given expenditure of time and money a larger extent of territory could be covered and information secured for a greater number of families and individuals by placing the special investigations, so far as the field work was concerned, under the same supervision. At the same time, it was seen that the original plan for presenting for publication the material collected under special topics could still be maintained. Moreover, by combining under a centralized control the different
a From the various sources mentioned above data were obtained in a uniform way by a series of schedules. A reproduction of each of the schedules used, together with the instructions followed by the field agents in compiling answers to the inquiries made, may be found in Appendix A, Abstracts of Reports of the Immigration Comgroups of agents in the field, it was also evident that overlapping of territory and duplication of travel would be obviated, for the reason that the agents in a community could secure information upon all topics to be studied and render unnecessary the visiting of the community by each of the several agents who might be pursuing special lines of inquiry. It was also soon made evident that the special inquiry into the economic effects of immigration was basic and that other investigations of industrial import should be grouped around and worked along with the fundamental economic inquiry.
The so-called economic investigation was originally planned to show the economic effects resulting from the injection of large numbers of recent immigrants into the industrial system of the United States, the reasons for the employment of immigrants, racial displacements caused by their employment, and other questions of similar import. In brief, the investigation had for its object the study of the effects of recent immigration upon American workmen. The methods employed were: (1) To select representative communities in which leading industries were localized and to which recent immigrants had come and had found employment in considerable numbers; and (2) to make, by the use of the schedules outlined above, a detailed census of the employees of the local industries, and an intensive study of working and living conditions in the communities thus selected, for the purpose of fulfilling the objects of the investigation. By exercising sufficient care in selecting communities of a representative type in leading industries, it was thought that the economic effects of recent immigration could be adequately ascertained.
The economic investigation was started during the early summer of the year 1908. As the field work advanced it soon became evident that the investigation of the economic effects of immigration, as stated before, was fundamental relative to the other industrial studies, and that much time and expense could be obviated by bringing the other special topics of inquiry under the same supervision as the economic investigation. This policy was finally decided upon and the different branches of the industrial work grouped together, so far as the gathering of the data was concerned. In conducting the work, the special investigations, as of immigrant banks and employment agencies, were based so far as possible upon the localities in which the economic investigation was being conducted, and all classes of field work were made to contribute to each other, thus preventing overlapping of territory, duplication of travel by field agents, and other items of unnecessary expense.
In connection with the policy of expediting the work and decreasing the expense of the field work, an additional fact came to lightthe possibility of extending the investigation to cover a wider range of territory, a greater number of industrial establishments, and a larger number of employees. In the economic investigation as before explained it was planned to make a census of the employees of the industrial establishments in the communities selected for study. This census was to be made by means of individual schedules which were distributed and filled out through the cooperation of the establishments and their employees. The idea suggested itself, therefore, of going beyond the communities selected for intensive study and by securing the cooperation of large corporations and employers to obtain data from a large number of industrial workers at small expense to the commission. The data thus obtained would cover more cases and consequently it was thought would make it possible to draw conclusions along certain lines. With these objects in view the special investigations were merged into the economic investigation, the economic investigation itself extended, as above described, and designated as the industrial investigation. The change of plan was inaugurated in September, 1908, after the economic investigation had been in progress only a few months.
With the exception of the extension of the territory in which to collect data from individual employees, the same general plans were followed in the industrial investigation as had been adopted in the economic.
Representative communities were selected for detailed study by the following methods: (1) By preliminary reports made under the direction of the agent in charge of the investigation; (2) by studying the manifests of incoming aliens in order to ascertain the destination of large groups or numbers; and (3) by consulting the special reports of the Census Bureau on manufactures in order to ascertain the localization of leading industries. By way of illustrating this method a concrete case may be cited. By consulting the Census reports, it was ascertained that locality A, Pennsylvania, from an industrial standpoint, was 81 per cent glass, or, in other words, of all the industrial activities carried on, and of all capital employed in locality A, the glass industry embraced over four-fifths. It was, therefore, clear that as regards the glass industry locality A was a typical and representative community, and this fact was corroborated by reference to trade lists and directories. The only question which remained, therefore, was as to the status of locality A from the standpoint of recent immigration. In this connection a preliminary report revealed the fact that a large percentage of the population, as well as the employees of the local glass factories, were made up of races which had recently come to the United States. Consequently locality A was selected for detailed study in connection with the glass industry as a representative immigrant community. In the case of a few communities the procedure as described above was reversed, for the reason that communities were at first suggested for investigation because a study of the manifests of incoming aliens disclosed the fact that large groups of immigrants gave the localities as their destination. Under this reversal of procedure, however, the basis of selection was practically the same.
The communities thus selected were made the basis for investigating the families and households of the industrial workers and were also studied with great thoroughness with the object of securing material for the special report on the economic effects of immigration. An agent in charge of the individual card work was first assigned to the community selected with instructions to secure the consent of the industrial establishments for the taking of a census of their employees. After the cooperation of the officials of the local industries had been secured, and if the schedules distributed to the employees were filled out and returned with the usual prompt