View the H-Urban Discussion Logs by month
View the Prior Message in H-Urban's December 2004 logs by: [date] [author] [thread]
View the Next Message in H-Urban's December 2004 logs by: [date] [author] [thread]
Visit the H-Urban home page.
This has been a very interesting thread. I thought I'd share a tidbit from Milwaukee. It is from the _Milwaukee Leader_, Milwaukee's Socialist daily newspaper, in 1923, from the Housing Clipping File, Legislative Reference Bureau, Milwaukee, WI (sheet 51, no specific month or day provided) City's Lonely Club Numbers 14,500 Persons "In Milwaukee's 1,800 rooming houses located in all sections of the city live 14,500 solitary beings, men and women of all ages who strive pathetically to disguise their loneliness in rooms of greater or less pretensions. They pay rent promptly or otherwise and maintain as best they can those standards of living which used to be called shabby gentility..." This news story reads more like a "human interest" piece, but it does discuss how women "roomers" at places like the YWCA were screened and supervised more carefully and that "hundreds of girls are beginning to band together in groups for the purpose of sharing apartments." Another article from the _Leader_ (2/19/29) mentions that Health Department inspectors combed the "want ads" of Milwaukee newspapers looking for ads that took in lodgers. In every home in Milwaukee where more than three roomers were kept, the owner or provider of "lodging" needed a license. Thus the (apparently) frequent visits from Health Department officials who found it necessary to "check up on all homes where roomers are kept." City officials in Milwaukee were more concerned with the preponderance of apartments from a functional and quality-of-life perspective than the social concerns of the "lodger evil," although, as the tone of the first piece suggests, the single lifestyle was perceived by its very nature to be somewhat deviant. Since Health Department inspectors enforced the lodging statutes that were on the books, maybe one place to find information about "lodgers" other than newspapers would be in their records, or in city council minutes that discuss these types of statutes. John McCarthy Marquette University