Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Census Takers Have Female Problems

The Oakland Tribune of Apr. 23, 1910, reported three women's responses to the census taken that year:

The census takers are having their troubles. What seemed to be on first sight an easy task to handle is becoming tangled with all the foibles of diverse human nature. Some people fill out their slips humorously, and a great many do not fill them out at all. One old maid is reported to have flung her cat at a census man as "an impertinent questioner who couldn't mind his own business," and another, a married lady, objected to putting herself down as having eight children because her figure was still good. The following story comes from Superintendent Baldwin in regard to a suffragette. The lady, it seemed, had neglected to fill out her census slip until the census taker arrived. Doing so then, she put her sex down as "suffragette."

The census taker objected. "That won't do," he argued. "Put either 'male' or 'female.'"

"Very well, then," she said seriously. "I'll put 'suffragette' as my occupation."
—News Letter.
I wonder which the average man in 1910 would have preferred: having a cat flung in his face or talking to an ardent suffragette?

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