Tobacco Bag Stringing
Mrs. Alice Johnson

MRS. ALICE JOHNSON, Wilkes County, N.C., has 4 children. She is 38 years old and her husband is about 40.

INCOME: Husband works for P.W.A. 16 days a month for $25. The P.W.A. gives them a small food allowance, but this is their only income besides earnings from stringing bags, which is about $15.00 a month when there are any bags to do. Rent is $3.00 a month. They don't raise any food; therefore their food is $10.00 a month which is all they can afford. There has been a good deal of sickness in the family so they owe quite a few doctors bills. They aren't able to get ahead financially on account of bills.

HOME CONDITIONS: The house has 4 rooms and is kept in good condition. However, there are no conveniences or luxuries. All in all they would be fairly well off if they didn't owe any money. There is not enough land to do any farming but they have a cow and 8 chickens. Wife has been stringing bags since she was a child and gets restless when she has no bags to work on. She doesn't get cash for this work, but takes it out in trade. She earns about $25.00 a month. Some of the storekeepers who act as distributors for the bags do not get paid for doing this; therefore, they will only pay the stringers in goods and collect cash from the local agents for themselves on the bags they deliver which they have collected from the stringers.

[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.]