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"Correspondence, September 1912", Item 002

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Mrs. Borden Harriman, Pres. R. Brickell Holmes, Sec'y and Treas Telephone Gramercy 1693 Sent Out by Woman's National Wilson and Marshall Organization Headquarters Fifth Avenue Building New York Advisory Board Senator Thomas P. Gore, Oklahoma Joseph E. Davies, Wisconsin Josephus Daniels, North Carolina W. G. McAdoo, New York Governor Shaproth, Colorado General Committee Mrs. Borden Harriman Mrs. A.S. Alexander Mrs. Caroline B. Alexander Mrs. A.S. Burleson Mrs. J. Sergeant Cram Mrs. Josephus Daniels Mrs. Joseph E. Davies

Mrs. J.B. Eustis  Mrs. Thomas P. Gore  Mrs. Frank Lyon Polk Mrs. Oswald Villard  Mrs. Willis J. Abbot  Miss Katherine Leckie  Mrs. Mabel Potter Daggett

A LETTER TO THE HOUSEKEEPER By Mabel Potter Daggett Dear Madam: Are you a housekeeper? If you are you, you have noticed the alarming increased in the cost of living. It is the one absorbing topic of conversation that scarcely escapes discussion wherever two or three women are gathered together. Everybody is talking about it, But you most of all are feeling effects of it. For you, as the manager of the housekeeping business in every home of the United States, are the ultimate consumer who does the purchasing and the paying for what your family eats and wears. Year by year you have seen prices going up. Have you ever found them coming down? You paid $20 this spring for a suit that once you could have bought for $10. Or if it was only a gingham apron, you paid 10c a yard for what used to be 6c. Breakfast bacon that once cost 10c a pound is now 24c to 28c, and even 30c. Beef is higher than at any other time in 45 years. Even a kitchen broom once 25c, now costs 40c. And it is the housekeeper who has to stretch the weekly pay envelope or the monthly salary to cover the high price mark. The price mark goes up out of all proportion to the pay envelope. Between the years 1896 and 1910 the average price of commodities rose 61% and the average price of wages not more than 20%. President Taft's dinner table represents an increase in price over President Mckinley's of from 25 to 300% for the separate articles of food. To meet it, the President got his salary raised from $50,000 to $75,000 a year, to say nothing of the stray $200,000 allowed for incidental White House expenses. But, perhaps, you are a housekeeper whose husband's salary hasn't so conveniently responded to his family necessities. Or perhaps you are a business woman who earns the pay envelope as well as spends it. In either event the cost of living interests you because it touches your pocketbook hard. Do you realize that the robbers of the American home are taking your money away from you every time that you go shopping, every day as you go to the market? But they do it through a skillful system that holds you up so that you never know what did it. It is time that every housekeeper should realize this. There are a good many causes that the economists talk about for this increased cost of living. And some of them we can't do anything about right away. But there is one fundamental cause that can be reached in November. It is the high tariff that enables the trusts to force up prices, because the tariff keeps foreign producers from bringing goods to the American market. Now you, as a housekeeper, perhaps have thought that the tariff was wholly a political question that concerned only politicians and the government at Washington. But you are mistaken. The tariff is your question more than any one's else. It is charged up in the price you pay for nearly every commodity. There is even a tariff on your sugar bowl. The sugar trust is enabled by reason of the high protective tariff to charge a little over two cents a pound more for sugar than if there were no tariff on it. This amounts in the course of a year to an average of $8.00 for each American family. Perhaps you can stand this tax. But there are workingmen's families to whom it means a week's wages. From these families and yours and everybody's family in the United States there is taken annually an average of $125 each in extra prices caused by the high tariff on the various commodities they purchase. The Democratic party wants to do something about this tariff question. They are eager and anxious to do to it. And you can help them. During the past year when the Democratic members of Congress got bills passed lowering the tariff, the Republican President, Mr. Taft, vetoed the bills. That is the Republican way. During all the years that the Republican party has been in power, the cost of living has continued to increase. (Col. Roosevelt did nothing to lower the tariff during his two administrations when he had the chance, and the cost of living continued to increase.) Surely no woman engaged in this business of housekeeping would be willing to try again the man who has already twice failed to help her reduce the expenses that are making the struggle for existence harder every day. No; other candidates may talk pleasantly about lowering the cost of living, but there is only one candidate who can be trusted to practice it when he gets to Washington. Woodrow Wilson, the Democratic nominee, is not only pledged to a reduction of the tariff, but this is a fundamental principle of the party that he represents. Remember that the tariff is costing you $125 a year. You, as a housekeeper need to have elected the President who will lift your burden. Then won't you use your influence toward his election? We want your name for enrollment with the Woman's National Wilson and Marshall Organization. Won't you sent it to us? We want as long a list as possible of the women who stand for Woodrow Wilson for the next President of the United States. If you do, whether you are a housekeeper or a business woman, or a college girl, send your name at once to the Woman's National Wilson and Marshall Organization, Room 1058, Fifth Avenue Building, New York City. {Seal at bottom of page with a number 12]