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Florence Kelley and the Illinois Sweatshop Law

Document 7

PROSECUTIONS

       The first three months of this first half-year's work were devoted to ascertaining the condition and number of women and children in the workshops and factories of Illinois, and in making known the law to employers and employees. After three months of this preliminary work, it was decided to enforce the law in the courts. This is the more necessary because the number of employers is so vast that the ten deputies of this department cannot continually visit and revisit the same shops. The law must be obeyed by the people themselves, and not by reason of the incessant visitation of a very small corps of inspectors . . . .

       The diminution in the number of children employed is so marked since the policy of persistent prosecution of offenders has become widely known throughout the city and State, that it will be continued uninterruptedly until compliance with this law becomes as much a matter of course as compliance with the internal revenue law now is in the tobacco trade.

       Following is the record of prosecutions of offenders, beginning October 21, 1893.

1. Ravitz, Gustav, before Justice Eberhardt October 21; coatmaker at 273 Rumsey street for Cahn, Schoenbrun & Co., Pfaeizer, Sutton & Co., and Hart, Schaffner & Marx; charged with employing child under 16 years of age without affidavit; fined $5 and costs . . . .

11. Wertheimer, Samuel, before Justice Eberhardt November 14; cloakmaker at 535 W. Sixteenth street fo Joseph
Beifeld & Co.; charged with employing two children under 16 years of age without affidavits; first jury trial under the law;
found guilty and fined $3 and costs . . .

-- Florence Kelley, "Prosecutions," First Annual
Report of the Factory Inspectors of Illinois
, 1894

9.  Identify three results of the work of the factory inspectors.

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10.  To what extent have the inspectors succeeded in enforcing the law?

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