Tobacco Bag Stringing
Emma Garrett

GARRETT, MRS. EMMA, 28 years of age; married; seven children; resides at 3011 Williamsburg Ave., Richmond, Virginia. Children: Charles, aged 13 in school. Lottie, aged 12, in school. Evelyn, aged 10, in school. Robert, aged 9, in school. James, aged 7, in school. Lily, aged 5, in school. Edward, aged 4, at home.

INCOME: Husband is on relief, receiving $39.20 per month.

HOME CONDITIONS: Rents three downstairs rooms for $5.00 a month. The rooms were very dirty and scantily furnished. They consist of two bedrooms and a kitchen. Only one of the bedrooms is furnished, having a bed, two small wooden chairs and a table, and a large chest which was filled with clothes and odds and ends. This room is occupied by her husband and herself. The furniture in the other bedroom consists solely of two broken-down beds; four children sleep in one and three in the other. All of the children were at home at the time of inspection and three of them were without shoes or socks, as was the mother, who stated that she only had two dresses. She spends a total of $30.00 a month on food for the seven children, her husband and herself. She states that they cannot buy milk. The children drink tea and coffee. Two of the children had very bad colds. She stated that she did not have money for medicine. She has no ice box and perishable foods are used as soon as they are bought. A wood stove is used for cooking. Electricity and coal costs about $4.00 a month. She is unkempt and unable to work in a factory on account of her children, as well as lack of training. In addition to cooking and caring for the children, she supplements her husband's relief payments to the extent of about $9.00 a month from the stringing of bags, which she uses to pay the rent, coal and electricity. She states that "she enjoys stringing bags and if they are taken away from her she will have to have some kind of utside relief because she will not be able to work away from home." She has been stringing bags for thirteen years.

[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.]