Find of the Month
January 2017 - WPA servant girl school
During the Great Depression, numerous projects were created by the federal government to train and employ the many jobless workers around the country. One such endeavor was the W.P.A.'s Household Service Demonstration Project. The project's Washington State supervisor, Mary Conrad, described it as follows:
This Project is designed for the purpose of training girls for household employment. Employable girls and women are taken from the Works Progress Administration rolls, and after training are placed in private industry, which procedure we hope will take several girls and women from the relief rolls of the City of Seattle.
City Council received the following letter of concern about the project from Local No. 2 of the Workers Alliance of Washington:
To the honorable City Council Seattle. This is to inform You that a resolution was adopted at our last meeting asking Your honorable body to take some action regarding W.P.A. project in the firm of a servant girl school. That after they complete the courses they are forced to accept employment with out regard to wages hours or conditions and if they do not accept are to be dropped from the relief rolls. We take the position that this practice is against the best interest of public morals and lowers the American standard of living of the women concerned.
Council placed the letter on file but does not appear to have attempted to influence the project's policies.