Tobacco Bag Stringing

Report on Tobacco Bag Stringing Operations in North Carolina and Virginia, 1939

1720 Perry Street,
Richmond, Virginia.

Mr. Bronson.

Dear Sir;-

Please do all you can to help us have our bags to string in our homes. I have been an agent for bags, for the past eight years. I had a home well furnished and was just starting in the store business eight years ago when I was burned out and lost everything I had, stock in store, furniture, clothing and everything I possessed, including valuable jewelry. My husband had no job and could not get any. He is old and unable to work. I had two little children to support, when Millhiser Bag Co. game me a position as agent, in handling bags for them. I bought furniture and furnished my home, paid my rent, water and light bill from the money I earned through the bag agency. Since I haven't been able to get the bags to supply my bag-stringers, my husband I string bags all our spare time. That is the only way we can earn money to pay our rent, water and light bill, and help pay for food. The city give us $2.50 per week for groceries, to fee [sic] three, that amounts to about 83 cts. apiece per week. You know it is impossible for me to buy substantial food for that amount. I have over two hundred ladies that string for me when I can get the bags to supply them. They all need the money they earn from stringing bags. If the bags are discontinued being strung in the homes there will be great suffering among the people throughout Richmond, Petersburg and the surrounding counties. Most of the people stringing bags consist of old ladies that could not get work in any factory, crippled ladies that are not able to earn money in any other way. Besides it is a pleasure for them to have the bags to string to keep their minds occupied. Ladies that have infants or small children that they could not leave to go out to work in factories. If the bags are taken away from the people more expense will fall on the government, for the people cannot find work and besides so many are disabled to work on anything but stringing bags. Their rent have [sic] to be paid, besides food and other necessary things. The people are perfectly satisfied with their home work of stringing bags.

Please do all you can to help us keep the work in our homes. Thank you from the bottom of my heart, for your kind and generous cooperation.

Very truly,


[Source: "Tobacco Bag Stringing Operations in North Carolina and Virginia." Richmond, Va.: 1939. North Carolina Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.]