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P. J. McBride to Ralph Tennal - Page

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This letter was written in response to Ralph Tennal's earlier letter (dated December 2) to Gov. Arthur Capper, which had been referred to P. J. McBride, the Commissioner of Labor and Industry. In it, McBride responds to Tennal's concerns that the child labor law prevented children from learning the value of hard work. McBride politely states that the state legislature enacted this law, and thus complaints should be directed to the legislators. While he concurs with Tennal's assertion that children who are bored can get into mischief, McBride argues that "the solution to this problem is the proper control and direction of play and recreation of our children by parents and public welfare officials rather than by putting them at work in our industries." Consequently, child labor laws not only prevented abuses, but they also allowed children the free time deemed necessary for their development, as well as ensuring that these girls and boys receive a solid education. In closing, McBride encourages Tennal to rethink his position and help ensure compliance with these laws. Tennal had also written a letter about this issue on November 22, 1917.

Creator: Kansas. Governor (1915-1919: Capper)
Date: December 8, 1917

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P. J. McBride to Ralph Tennal - 1P. J. McBride to Ralph Tennal - 2P. J. McBride to Ralph Tennal - 3

P. J. McBride to Ralph Tennal - 1

This letter contains valuable information about why the regulation of child labor was so essential to children's well being. It emphasizes the fact that children perform better in school if they are allowed time for unstructured play. Also, this letter serves as an excellent case study of how Progressive Era ideas about child development played out at the local level. It could be grouped with the two letters written by Tennal, dated November 22 and December 8, 1917, which have been selected for this standard. When combined with the other letters from Sabetha citizens, such as Roy Hennigh and Emma Grimm, this could form a case study of how this law was applied in small-town Kansas.

KS:11th:1.4:Child labor laws (2005)

Item Number: 211815
Call Number: Governor's Office, Governor Arthur Capper, Correspondence Files, Numerical File Box 10 Folder 3
KSHS Identifier: DaRT ID: 211815

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