For the Woman of Culture
THE RENTAL LIBRARY—A circulating library, whether conducted in a village, a store, a city apartment house, a hotel lobby, or in an office sky-scraper building can be operated in spare time at a good profit.
This is especially true at the present time because of the current drop in public library appropriations. Harry M. Lydenberg, President of the American Library Assn., in a recent article in the New York Sun says, "The country is rapidly becoming book poor. No other branch of municipal activity has felt the axe more sharply than libraries, and library economies have come chiefly in book purchasing departments. In many communities, average readers are wearing books out faster than they can be replaced."
At the same time, with the decrease in book purchasing by public libraries, people are being more and more educated to read and desire current books. Recently, The Saturday Evening Post, and a number of other magazines of wide national distribution inaugurated for the first time book review columns. These book columns now reach millions of new readers. Hitherto, literary criticism was restricted to but a few of the leading newspapers and literary publications.
At the present time there are 2,900 rental libraries. Most of them are located in the larger cities and are branches of regular book stores. It is conservatively estimated by the writer that there is room for one or more circulating libraries in every town and suburb in this country. Especially in the thousands of towns that are too small to support a regular bookshop.
A library in a private house which is easily accessible and centrally located, can be run on a part time basis. It is a business particularly suitable for a person with family duties. A good income can be made on a very small investment.
The owner of a circulating library need not necessarily depend on a central location. A house to house canvass in your town with a dozen books and a printed descriptive list of your other books will bring you numerous new customers. Also a small weekly ad in your local newspaper, or an occasional letter with a list of new books mailed or delivered to special groups of residents will bring you satisfactory results. As a rule borrowers are often glad to suggest names of possible new subscribers.
To be successful the rental library must be run on well established business principles. It is important to know which books to buy,—fiction, biography, detective, etc.; how many of the most talked of books or "best sellers" should be on hand; what to charge; how to keep records of borrowers; what to do with old books; where to buy books and on what terms; the finances required to operate; best methods of publicity, etc.
The National Association of Book Publishers, 347 Fifth Avenue, New York City, will be glad to mail on request all information necessary to enable you to operate a circulating library successfully. They will supply you with attractive library signs and posters without charge.
The American News Co., 131 Varick St., New York City, with branches in every large city in the United States is the best source of supply for rental library books. An inquiry to the American News Company in New York or to any of its branch offices will bring you information as to the best selection of rental library books. From that source you will be able to obtain recommendations as to the investment necessary to begin the rental library business.
ANTIQUE AND CURIOSITY SHOP—The number of antique collectors in this country is amazing, and is increasing all the time. Whether the craze for antiques is due to the American development of a more nationalistic spirit with a constant interest in products of his own craftsmen, or whether informational articles on antiques have made antiques popular is hard to say. We do know, however, that there are literally thousands of Americans today who visit antique shops regularly looking for bargains.
If you live on a main highway near any of the summer resorts or summer colonies, and if you have a spacious home where you can spare one or two front rooms, you will find that in antique and curiosity shop will more than repay you for the few hours work required daily.
An old colonial house is the proper atmosphere to attract the passer-by.
Obtain a good supply of old brasses, coppers, pewter, and silver articles. Also obtain a supply of rugs, old clocks, pictures, pressed glass, daguerreotypes in their charming frames, etc.
There are a large number of wholesale antique dealers in some of the larger cities who will supply you with a variety of antiques on consignment. Your investment should be very little.
The Antique Magazine, published in New York City contains information and advice on this subject. Your library also has a number of references on this subject.
INTERIOR DECORATING—Given good taste, constructive imagination, a love of artistic work, a love for feel of silk and satin, blending of colors, and a gift for understanding people, any woman in almost any locality that isn't a wilderness or a desert, can make money doing interior decorating.
If you find women visitors and friends admiring your selection of furniture, pictures, and the general arrangement of your own home, then you can rest assured that you have native ability for this kind of work and that you will make a great success at it.
A great many books have been written on this subject of interior decorating. The following which may be had at your public library or purchased direct from the publisher will give you sufficient advice and information to enable you to start in the profession of interior decorating:
House Furnishing and Decoration, McClure and Eberlein, New
Also investigate the extension courses given by your state university. It may include a correspondence course on interior decorating.
THE NURSERY-KINDERGARTEN—As a result of the depression millions of women find it necessary to devote the major part of their time at work away from the home. As a result they are beginning to look with much favor upon the nursery where they can "park" their children of pre-school age.
Also, mothers with one child who realize the importance of having that child play with other children of the same age in supervised activity, are looking more and more with favor on the nursery kindergarten that is well organized.
The U.S. Office of Education reports that there are only 210 such nursery schools in this country. In view of conditions it is evident that every town, suburb, and city could use to great advantage one or more of such nursery schools.
Here is a field open to thousands of women who have children and who could make money playing with them.
Any woman of moderate education and intelligence who has a spacious home, and grounds that can be converted into a play yard can operate a nursery for little children of pre-school age. This can be done as a part time occupation, as the nursery school hours are usually from 9 to 12. If the school hours are extended to 5 o'clock, a capable assistant can be employed.
The best way to obtain children for such a school is to start with a small nucleus of your friends, neighbors, and your own children, if you have any. Then advertise in your local paper, or send out letters and descriptive literature to all prospective women who have children of pre-school age.
Certain fundamentals, of course, are very necessary to run such a school satisfactorily. It is important to understand child psychology, child guidance problems, play room and play yard equipment, etc.
This information can be easily acquired in short time. A course of study in any of the University Extension courses is advisable, although not necessary. A careful, studied reading of the following books will equip any intelligent woman with the essentials:
The Management of Young Children: W. Blatz and R. Bott.
William Morrow & Co., New York City. 1930.
A MOTHER'S CLASS IN CHILD GUIDANCE—Mothers are arriving more and more at the realization that a young child's education begins long before school or even kindergarten age. During the first few years of his life a child learns more in a shorter space of time than he learns at any other time. Instead of doing everything for him we should help him to help himself. His clothing, his playthings, his furniture, everything which he uses should be designed to make him self-independent.
With a growing realization and an acceptance of the fact that the pre-school years are of the greatest importance and may lead to success or failure, a happy or a disagreeable disposition in later years, mothers everywhere are hungry for information on child guidance.
An intelligent woman, if she has ability to lecture, can after a few months' study organize a class of mothers and deliver lectures on the various problems of the child and answer questions on children's problems.
The United States Department of the Interior will supply with considerable information on this subject.
The following periodicals are also well worth while:
The Parents' Magazine: 353 Fourth Avenue, New York City.
OTHER ACTIVITIES WITH CHILDREN—If you love children and understand their problems through experience and study you will find further ample opportunity to earn spare time money in a dozen other different ways:
1. During the summer months you can easily qualify as a camp mother, or as a counsellor for a group of children, or as a head counsellor.
2. With very little teaching experience, if you are a child specialist, you will qualify to teach backward children who cannot keep up with their classmates at school.
3. You can entertain children at your own home by the hour or by the day when the mother wants to go on a shopping trip out of town and wants to leave her child with a dependable person. You should have toys and other equipment for this.
4. You can have Saturday afternoon classes in nature study and take a group of children to the zoos, parks, or woods. Teach them how to recognize birds, trees, plants, animals, etc. Answer the children's questions, and help them to satisfy and arouse their curiosity. Or take them to the beach and encourage them to collect shells, and other specimens.
5. If you have a spacious summer home in the country or at the seashore, board four or five children during their summer vacation. As a spare time proposition do not take more than a few children. Otherwise, you will have to employ counsellors.
6. A little study will qualify you to become a specialist in arranging and organizing parties for children. This calls for a knowledge of games, decorations, favors, and novel refreshments. Read Putnam's Book of Parties, by M. Aspinwall, published by Putnam's Sons, New York.
7. Entertain hotel children during the summer months. This should be an added attraction offered as a service by hotels. Parents with children will prefer a summer hotel where there is some form of organized play and entertainment for their children.
8. A knowledge of child psychology will likewise qualify you to be a child welfare worker. If there is a children's aid society, or social welfare committee or parent-teacher association in your town, interest them in employing you for a few hours a day or a few days a week to investigate and report on the numerous child problems in your community. For guidance in organizing child welfare work in your town write to the Russell Sage Foundation, 133 E. 22d Street, New York City.
9. Become a "Camp Fire" Secretary in your town. Your experience and education qualifies you to direct the activities of the girl scouts in your community. This calls for additional ability such as directing dramatics, athletics, dancing, craft work of all kinds.
10. If you can speak either French or German in addition to your knowledge of child problems you can qualify as a governess to children of a rich family.
11. Teach children at home who are temporarily crippled because of a long illness and cannot get to school.
Pre-school and Parental Education: National Society for the Study of Education, 28th Year Book, published by Public School Publishing Co. Bloomington, Ill. 875 pages.
Children's Rompers: Leaflet No. 11, 1927; Sun Suits for Children: Leaflet No. 24, 1928; Play Suits for Winter: Leaflet No. 54, 1929; published by the Bureau of Home Economics,. Washington, D. C. Free distribution.
Home Play: W. C. Bachelor, published by Playground and Recreational Association of America, New York City.
Interests of Young Children: Guidance Material for Study Groups, published by American Ass'n of University Women, Washington, D. C.
Parents and the Pre-school Child: W. E. Blatz and Helen Bott, published by William Morrow & Co., New York City, 1929.
A Practical Psychology of Babyhood: Jessie C. Fenton. Houghton Mifflin & Co., New York City, 1925.
The Right Toy for the Young Child: N. B. Taylor. Journal of the Ass'n of University Women, 22:29-33. Reprints are available.
Also write to the Office of Education, U.S. Department of the Interior, Washington, D. C., for additional list of free bulletins and pamphlets.
A WOMAN'S EXCHANGE—A woman's exchange is a place to which a woman may bring or send something she has made. The exchange sells it, keeps a commission for its services, and remits the balance to the woman who made the article.
If there is no woman's exchange in your town, here is your opportunity.
The exchange provides an outlet for the work of hundreds of thousands of women who cannot leave their homes, but who do have spare time in which they can make something to sell.
It can be an exchange where women bring bread, cakes, pies, jellies, jams, pickles, garden products, etc. It may have a mending and darning bureau which gives employment to a number of women in the community. Very often it can function as an employment bureau.
Probably the largest woman's exchange is in New York City. It has a beautiful building of its own, seventy salaried employees, and more than 2,000 women consigning goods to it to be sold.
A NURSE REGISTRY—Call upon all of the nurses in your town and nearby towns and arrange to have them register their names and addresses with you; also record their telephone numbers, if and where employed, and when the case will likely be finished.
Then call on the doctors in your town, inform them of the fact that you are starting a nurses' registry and that you want them to recommend patients to the Registry whenever it becomes necessary to employ nurses.
Having contacted both the nurses and the doctors, you are now ready for business. It is not necessary to have an office for this business. It can be readily done at home.
Any time a doctor or a patient calls for a nurse, you can refer to your list, telephone to those nurses available, and then notify the doctor or the patient that a nurse will report for immediate duty.
You charge those nurses for whom you find employment a commission on the wages earned during the time engaged.
This same principle could be applied in many other lines where one party seeks the other. For example, a registry could be organized to provide all types of domestic help, such as maids, cooks, housekeepers, etc.
A modest amount of advertising in the local newspaper would more than pay for itself. Once established, a business of this kind would require little time to operate.
IF YOU ARE SOCIALLY GIFTED—If you are a woman of fine social contacts, good background, and a knowledge of social customs and usages, you can earn a good income by making known your services as an "etiquette adviser," teaching women, especially among the "nouveau riche," such things as manners, posture, poise, and general social deportment.
Become a hostess assistant and help in the arrangement of dinner parties, bridges, afternoon teas, literary and musical evenings. This job also calls for a knowledge of unique menus, decorations, and entertainment.
If you are a good bridge or card player, cash in on the popularity of the present bridge craze. Give private lessons to the idle women in your community. Organize a bridge club and invite your neighbors to drop in and play. Charge 25 cents an hour.
CONDUCT TOURS—If you have had the experience of a European trip and if you are a seasoned and experienced traveler, you can keep yourself profitably occupied during the summer months by conducting tours of parties of school teachers, students, retired business men, or bored rich widows.
Communicate with the leading tourist agencies. Advise them of your intentions. They will give you rates, itineraries, and all other details. Then approach all those whom you consider prospective customers in your town and try to sell them the idea. Once you succeed in interesting a few, they will in turn interest their friends.
Note: To account for inflation, multiply prices by 8 to 10.