The Bitter Cry of the Children

The Bitter Cry of the Children

About this book

With an introduction by Walter I. Trattner, and the introduction to the 1906 edition by Robert Hunter.

Excerpt from The Bitter Cry of the Children

I count myself fortunate in having had a hand in bringing this remarkable and invaluable volume into existence. Quite incidentally in my book Poverty I made an estimate of the number of underfed children in New York City. If our experts or our general reading public had been at all familiar with the subject, my estimate would probably have passed without com ment, and, in any case, it would not have been considered unreasonable. But the public did not seem to realize that this was merely another way of stating the volume of distress, and, consequently, for several days the newspapers throughout the country dis cussed the statement and in some instances severely criticised it. One prominent charitable organization, thinking that my estimate referred to starving children, undertook, without delay, to provide meals for the children. In the midst of the excitement Mr. Spargo kindly volunteered to investigate the facts at first hand. His inquiry was so searching and impartial and the data he gathered so interesting and valuable that I urged him to put his material in some permanent form. The following admirable study of this problem is the result of that suggestion.

I am safe in saying that this book is a truly power ful one, destined, I believe, to become a mighty factor in awakening all classes of our people to the necessity of undertaking measures to remedy the conditions which exist. The appeal of adults in poverty is an old appeal, so old indeed that we have become in a measure hardened to its pathos and insensitive to its tragedy. But this book represents the cry of the child in distress, and it will touch every human heart and even arouse to action the stolid and apathetic. The originality of the book lies in the mass of proof which the author brings before the reader showing that it is not alone, as most of our charitable experts believe, the misery of the neglected or the actively maltreated child that should receive attention. Even more important is the misery of that one whose whole future is darkened and perhaps blasted by reason of the fact that during his early years of helplessness he has not received those elements of nutritious food which are necessary to a wholesome physical life.