ERIC Number: ED230951
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1983-Aug
Reference Count: 0
The "Unsavory Researches" of Helen Campbell: A 19th-Century Journalist's Investigation of Urban Women's Poverty.
In 1886, the New York "Tribune" ran a series of articles by Helen Campbell, "The Prisoners of Poverty," which investigated the sufferings of working women in New York's slums. Initially a fiction and housekeeping writer, Helen Campbell's home economics orientation first pointed her toward the problems of the poor. In the late 1870s, she wrote a series of nonfiction narratives that were brought together in a book entitled "The Problem of the Poor," which marked her beginnings as a journalist, social investigator and social critic. Shortly before the "Tribune" series, Campbell published a novel attempting to learn about and help the poor. It was in the "Tribune" series, however, that Campbell reached maturity as a writer who identified with and understood the women she described: victims of the low-paying fiercely competitive garment trade. Commentary by the "Tribune" reiterated that the series was to provoke social action and to point out the intense competition in the garment industry as the chief reason for its impoverished workers. Gradually, Campbell expanded her series to include the living conditions of the workers, women in the fields other than the garment trade, the complex causes of slum women's problems, and the difficulties in solving them. She began suggesting solutions--some from the "best" of socialism--that, while alienating the "Tribune," marked her development as a social reformer. (HTH)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Information Analyses
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Campbell (Helen); Journalism History; United States
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (66th, Corvallis, OR, August 6-9, 1983).