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sometimes in ovens out of doors, polenta, herbs, garlic, onions, Italian beans, peas, soup, homemade wine, and cheese are and remain their chief articles of diet. Wholesome enough and so well cooked that there are very few dyspeptics, they do not appeal to the American palate. The brick outdoor oven, built in beehive shape, and once rather common, is disappearing. Among the Sicilians about Hammonton nearly every family still retains one of these quaint structures. At Vineland they have never been universal and are giving way to the patent stove. Peppers are used for seasoning, but meat is not common on their tables, and the butcher's wagon seldom stops more than once a week before any of their homes.
As to clothing, the tendency to work in the fields barefooted, and bareheaded often, is characteristic. Even on holidays and occasions of visits to town the women are less neatly or tastefully dressed than Americans, although in American fashion from hat to shoes. The dress of the men differs little either at farm or at market from the clothing of the New Jerseyman. The children born in America are rapidly acquiring American ways and fashions, and those born in town are not readily distinguished from others of the same station in life.
The women and children almost without exception work in the fields with the men. They weed, hoe, prune, tie up or set out plants, pick berries, or gather beans and potatoes. None use horse tools or have anything to do with the work animals on the farm. When not at school and work is slack at home, the children work for the neighbors or in the shops and factories, adding their wages to the family income.
There is little intermarriage with native whites of other races; very much less now, it is said, than some years ago. Marriages take place early within their own race, usually resulting in large families.
The children tend more or less to drift to the cities or towns; partly because of the social advantages, partly for the ready money received regularly, partly because of the long hours, isolation, hard work, and uncertain returns from the farm. It is a noticeable fact, however, that more remain on the land than those belonging to native families, and that the young men are taking hold in cooperative endeavors, attempting newer methods of culture, introducing better machinery, more modern homes, and less drudgery on the farm. A number find employment in the city, of course, usually in factories or some skilled trade, and a few enter the professions.
OPPORTUNITIES FOR EMPLOYMENT.
Several small manufacturing industries in Vineland employ a number of Italian hands. The largest of these industries are the shoe companies, of which there are two. These will illustrate very well the type of opportunity offered for outside employment.
One shoe factory employs about 300 hands. Of these about 150 are Italians-about 100 men and 50 women and girls. The wages are largely piece wages and vary from $3 to $13 per week. A high average is $6; many of the men earn less than $6, and those who earn more than $10 are comparatively few. There are some skilled workmen who earn up to $18.
Another shoe factory employs a total of 125 employees. Thirtynine are Italians--21 males and 18 females-earning as follows:
10 women earn $4.50 to $6 a week.
In this shop all employees are paid piece wages. In both shops a sort of apprenticeship system is in vogue, a skilled worker taking in a raw hand and teaching him certain operations, the value of the apprentice's service being added to the teacher's wage until the raw hand becomes capable of handling the work himself. A good many newly arrived Italians enter the shops in this way.
The Italian workmen are recruited partly from the farms, partly from farmers' families who have moved to town, and partly from the newly arrived immigrants. The majority of the men are said to take up the work for life, although a good many come in when farm work is slow, or use the shop earnings to apply to the purchase of land. In the berry season it is difficult to keep the girls, who wish to get out into the fields and earn the greater wage possible on the berry farms. Some, too, go home to help their parents gather the crop.
The testimony is that the Italians work harder and more faithfully than the Americans on the same class of work and often earn higher wages, but they are slower, less skillful, especially on machines; that few can handle complicated machines effectively; and that many are handicapped by ignorance of the English language. Few acquire positions of responsibility, although there have been Italian foremer..
The railroad section men, except the bosses, are all Italians. A number of these own small tracts of land and raise their own berries and vegetables, with a surplus for market. The unskilled day laborers, the street gangs, the scavengers, all the odd job men are South Italians. Their wages run up to $1.50 or $1.60 per day. These occupations have exerted some effect on farm labor, both in reducing hours and increasing wages. On piecework or for himself the Italian is faithful, hard working, and very patient; he will compare favorably with any laborer. By the day or week he is not nearly so trustworthy, and if they could be obtained, most employers declare they would prefer other laborers.
Some of the other industries in Vineland employing Italian labor
3 factories-wrappers and clothing..
1 pearl-button factory..
1 macaroni factory.
1 canning factory.
1 rug (Smyrna) factory.
2 glass factories-doing little business now-formerly employed.
Perhaps 1,000 persons all told (including the shoe factory hands above mentioned) are employed in Vineland factories; 450 of them
are Italians who work at almost all seasons of the year. This of course does not take account of railroad men or other day laborers.
In the glass, clothing, hosiery, canning, and grape juice factories and in the iron works and machine shops the Italian workman is found; none of these shops are large, but in the aggregate several hundred Italian laborers are employed.
The characteristics of the Italian laborer need not be further dwelt upon. It is to be noticed, however, that of the North Italians very few are engaged in day labor in the village. There are some of the young people who are employed in the factories and a good many farm laborers, but most are farmers. The Sicilian is the unskilled pick and shovel man.
Of the retail stores groceries, feed stores, general merchandise, hardware, tobacco, and fruit stores and the like-many are operated by Italians. The best plumbing firm and the largest hardware store in Vineland are both Italian. Almost all the skilled trades are represented by Italians and there is a druggist, pharmacist, a doctor in embryo, and an Italian lawyer in the borough. These firms enjoy the patronage of Italians largely, but have a fair American trade as well.
Outside of Vineland one of the largest industries is the glass works at Minatola, a village on the Central of New Jersey and the West Jersey and Seashore railroads, 5 miles northeast of Vineland. The industry is only fifteen years old; the village contains about 600 inhabitants, nearly all connected in some way with the glass works. About 450 hands are employed when the works are running full capacity. Of these 129 are Italians-125 men and boys and 4 women. Probably five-sixths of these are unskilled laborers who earn from $4 to $8 a week. A few men work on blowing machines and earn $12 or more. Instances of $18 to $20 a week on piecework are not unknown. The works run ten months of the year and are closed down in July and August. During these two months the men all work on the neighboring farms, either on their own little places or for their neighbors. The breathing spell in the open air is excellent, and the earnings are even better than in the glass works. Several men have bought farms and work in this industry during the winter only. Almost every family has at least an acre of ground on which they raise some vegetables and a few crates of blackberries. The men are reported less intelligent than the American and not so trustworthy. "They lose their heads," said a foreman who had worked with them for years, "and for that reason very few make capable laborers." As a matter of fact there is a good deal of prejudice exhibited, and the American glass blowers jealously guard their occupation and will not allow an Italian to enter the field. Nearly all of the Italians in Minatola are Sicilians or Calabrians; almost none are North Italians. There is also a small establishment which makes women's wrappers, employing some 30 women and girls; 20 to 25 of them are Italians, earning from $3 to $6 a week. This establishment gives employment to the women of the village whose brothers and fathers work in the glass factory.
Very few young women go into domestic service or into hotels as waitresses or chambermaids. They are not adapted to housework, apparently, and would much rather go into the fields or factories.
Several Italian beneficial societies exist in Vireland and vicinity. The purposes of these are much alike. Payment of small monthly dues, generally about 50 cents, secures a sick benefit of $5 or $6 or less a week and a certain death benefit to members of the order. The table below presents approximate statistics for 1908:
TABLE 18.-Beneficial societies, membership, value of property, etc.
In addition, there are several educational, sporting, and political clubs. Italian brass bands are organized in East Vineland, New Italy, and Landisville. These are entirely Italian in membership. There are some Italian members of the Masonic and Odd Fellows lodges; the Royal Arcanum and Union Brothers have a large Italian contingent; and many of the well-known orders admit Italians freely. Socially, there is not a great deal of mingling with the Americans, except among the native-born Italians and the younger Americans who live in the borough and have grown up together. Even so, at the social dances, parties, receptions, and the like not many Italians are found, although the social mingling becomes more marked year by year, and there is more or less intermarrying.
In the country, owing to the segregation of the Italians in districts, the separation socially is even more noticeable. Recreations are few; weddings, Sunday visiting or gatherings of relatives, church holidays, occasional social functions under the auspices of the church or the beneficial societies, outings to town, and rather infrequent neighborhood dances or parties include most of the social and recreative enterprises. Their amusements include the entire family. Domestic ties are strong, and the family is the unit. Divorce is very infrequent and domestic troubles are seldom aired in court. The family type is patriarchial, founded on economic cooperation. Father, mother, and children contribute to the support of the whole; the interests are mutual, the father supreme; while there is division of labor, it is based on strength and adaptability rather than on household and outdoor tasks. There is no division of interests and, so far as she can understand English, the wife or daughter knows as much about agricultural methods, markets, and returns as her husband or brother.
In religion, fully 95 per cent of the Italians, foreign and nativeborn, are Roman Catholics. In Vineland there is one Catholic church, in New Italy two, in Landisville one, and one at Minatola. In addition there are two Presbyterian missions, one in Vineland, with a small church property and one at Minatola. The Minatola organization is small, has no church edifice and no stated pastor. In some respects this sect is akin to the Waldensian.
The public schools of Vineland Borough and Landis Township are comparatively adequate and excellent. At present there is a total attendance of 2,200 children. Fifty-six teachers are employed and 20 school buildings, including the high school, are occupied. Two additional two-room schools are now being built in the Italian settlement. No race census has ever been taken, and it is difficult to ascertain the proportion of Italian children.
The Italian children are bright and learn very readily, as readily as the American, but most of them leave school at the age of 14, whether they have completed the eight grades or not. When a truant officer was first employed a few years ago he experienced much difficulty in enforcing the compulsory-attendance law. Now that the parents realize that the law must be complied with, there is little trouble. When country children stay out it is to work rather than to play truant.
There are very few who enter the high school and still fewer who complete the course; not more than three Italians have been graduated in the history of the school. It is to be noted that the total membership of the graduating classes in the high school averages but 20, or less than 1 per cent of the total school attendance, even so if the racial averages of the lower grades held, at least one-third of these should be of Italian parentage. In this respect educators contrast them unfavorably with the Jewish children, who learn with avidity, almost with precocity, and are likely to finish the entire school course with honors, excelling their American classmates. There is absolutely no prejudice against Italian pupils. Even in those schools where the races are not evenly balanced numerically the children study and play in perfect harmony, as a general rule. Nor is there any prejudice against teaching them. In the districts in the New Italy section, where the constituency is almost entirely Italian, the teachers have found much difficulty in securing boarding places. To overcome this, four or five of the teachers live in Vineland and the school board provides a livery team with which they drive out the 4 to 6 miles daily.
The librarian of the free public library of Vineland reports an increasing interest on the part of the Italian children in books and magazines, although not nearly so great as among American children. In some of the factories magazines placed in the racks are read with avidity by the employees, but very few subscribe for magazines or