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History of immigration-Period of residence in the United States of foreign-born

employees-Racial classification of employees at the present time--Reasons for the employment of immigrants-Methods used in securing immigrant labor-Effect of employment of immigrants upon former employees-Text Tables 125 and 126 and General Table 71).


The clothing industry of Baltimore has been a factor in the emp ment market of the city for nearly forty years. Prior to the year 1870, the making of clothing in the city was carried on in the homes of the operatives upon contracts let out by a few of the larger tailor shops, and in workshops conducted by journeymen tailors, who in all cases operated independently. This system was found'impracticable when an expansion of the industry became imperative to meet the trade demands, and about 1870 several farseeing operators undertook to organize the industry of the city along lines which had been adopted in New York, Boston, and Philadelphia. It was at that time that machines for cutting were introduced in the North Atlantic States and valuable improvements made on the sewing machines, which had been invented in 1850. Consequently but little difficulty was encountered in introducing what is now termed "factory

The impetus which the civil war had given to the manufacturer of ready-made clothing was taken advantage of, and by 1905 Baltimore was advanced to fourth rank among the clothing manufacturing cities of the United States.

The development of the industry was undertaken with German operatives almost exclusively. Germans had been employed in the clothing shops since the earliest days of the industry in the city, and to meet the demands for labor created by the expansion of the industry a large number of Germans were induced to immigrate from the northern States and from Europe. This race was almost exclusively employed in the shops during the period from 1870 to 1890. During the past thirty years, however, the heavy immigration from Russia of the Hebrews has brought a new people to Baltimore seeking employment.

No women had been employed in the organized workshops before the coming of the Russian Hebrews, but with the entrance of these people into the industry, and a few years later with the establishment of shops for the manufacture of women's wearing apparel, the employment of women in the clothing manufacturing establishments became general. Women of all races are now employed in the shops of the city. The majority of the Russian Hebrews who came to Baltimore had worked in the clothing shops of Russia and many of them were tailors by trade, so that very few, if any, entered any other industry outside of that of the manufacture of clothing: They entered the lowest occupationsin allestablishments, principally in tailoring departments, and the Germans confined themselves to the higher and more skilled occupations grouped under the cutting departments. This condition did not last long, for about 1895 the Russian Hebrews were confronted with opposition in the lower occupations by the entrance of the Lithuanians, followed in 1900 by a heavy immigration to the city of Bohemians, Poles, Italians, and a few of the other AustroHungarian races. All of the latter races entered the occupations in the tailoring departments, and the few Germans who had remained in the unskilled occupations were either forced up into the more skilled work, or out of the industry entirely. Since 1905 the immigration to the shops has been composed chiefly of Russian Hebrews, Lithuanians, and Italians, and these races constitute the present immigration. The Italians as compared with other races entering the industry during this period have shown the greatest annual increase.



The character of recent and past immigration to the clothing establishments in Baltimore may be seen in greater detail by reference to the following series of tables which show the period of residence in this country of foreign-born employees. The first table submitted shows, by sex and race, the per cent of foreign-born employees in the United States each specified number of years:

Table 125.—Per cent of foreign-born employees in the United States each specified number

of years, by sex and race.


[By years in the United States is meant years since first arrival in the United States. No deduction is

made for time spent abroad. This table includes only races with 80 or more persons reporting. The total, however, is for all soreign-born.)


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Table 125.Per cent of foreign-born em ployees in the United States each specified number

of years, by sex and race-Continued.

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Of the total number of employees 44.8 per cent have been in the United States less than five years; 24.8 per cent have been here from five to nine years, and a much smaller proportion have been here every other specified period. The female employees are more recent arrivals than the male. The greater proportion of the latter have been in this country under ten years; the greater proportion of the female employees have been here under five years.


Upon the basis of careful estimates, it was found that 16,000 wage-earners of both sexes were employed in the workshops of the clothing houses of Baltimore in 1909, divided by races, as follows:

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Detailed information was secured for 1,938 employees of both races, the number and per cent of each sex according to general nativity and race being submitted in the table next presented.

Table 126.--Employees for whom information was secured, by sex and general nativity

and race.

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Native-born of native father:


Native-born of foreign father, by country
of birth of father:


Foreign-born, by race:

Bohemian and Moravian.
Hebrew, Russian.
Hebrew, Other
Italian, North..
Italian, South
Austrian (race not specified).

Grand total....
Total native-born of foreign father..
Total native-born..
Total foreign-born...

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3.3 .1 .1 . 3.5 30. 2

1 48 373 26 61 65 157

3 1 34


19 213 19 29 30 68

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1.9 .0 .2 .0 2.3 25. 3 2.3 3.4 3. 6 8. 1 .4 .0 4.5


4 3.7

1 1 4 1

4.6 4.9 11.6


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.2 3. 2



3 62 1 4 5 2

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Of the total number of persons for whom information was secured, 68.8 per cent are foreign-born, 20.9 per cent are native-born of foreign father, 10.1 per cent are native-born whites of native father, and 0.2 per cent are native-born negroes of native father. Among the native-born of foreign father the largest proportion is of German parentage, while among the foreign-born the Hebrews predominate in point of numbers. Among the foreign-born and also among native negroes information was secured for a larger proportion of males than females. But for the native whites of native father and the native-born of foreign father information was secured for predominating proportions of females.

REASONS FOR THE EMPLOYMENT OF IMMIGRANTS. Immigrants were employed in the clothing shops of Baltimore because of the scarcity of other labor. Vatives have left the industry and only a very few are found even in the highest occupations. The majority of the natives working in the shops are women, who are chiefly in the establishments where women's wearing apparel is made. The immigrants seeking employment in the shops have had more or less experience in the clothing industry in Europe and may be considered as having a predilection for the work, and to possess a certain amount of skill. This fact has not influenced their employment to any great extent, however, for it was the scarcity of labor that made their employment necessary in the first instance, and which influences their employment to-day.


Advertising in the daily newspapers has been the method employed to secure immigrant as well as native labor. No employment agencies for the industry exist in the city, and when men or women are wanted notices are posted here and there in immigrant localities, advertisements placed in the papers, and the various foremen sent out among the races to try to induce them to accept work. The wages paid in the several shops are uniform, and the periods of work are about the same. This fact is well known, so that when labor is needed by any one house it is only necessary to advertise the need to secure persons looking for work. At the present time the demand for labor is greater than the supply, and many of the employers claim that it is almost impossible to keep their pay rolls full. The reason assigned for this condition is that the industry has developed faster than the number of clothing workers has increased.


Immigrants, as already pointed out, were the first people employed in the clothing shops of Baltimore, beginning with the Germans, who entered the country in large numbers immediately after the civil war. Since that time the Russian Hebrews, Lithuanians, Poles, Italians, and Bohemians have settled in the city and found employment in the clothing shops, displacing the Germans in the unskilled occupations, and forcing them up into higher work. It is also noticed that as the Russian Hebrews and Poles work up into the skilled occupations that the Germans leave the industry and enter new fields. This displacement seems to be self-displacement, as there is work for all-more work than there are laborers—but the Germans are progressive, and as the new races have engaged in the clothing industry they have risen in the scale of occupations, and in many instances have left the industry and found employment in other skilled trades.

48290°-VOL 11-11-27

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