New York Times
GRAND JURY SERVICE GUIDED ROCKEFELLER
Work in 1910, He Says, Was Cause of Forming the Bureau of Social Hygiene
HE BLAMES MAN FOR EVIL
His Society Will Attack the Greatest Menace to the Perpetuation of the
In a statement yesterday explaining in detail the aims of the Bureau of Social Hygiene, through which he hopes to find a solution of the social evil in this and other large cities, John D. Rockefeller, Jr., expressed the opinion that man, not woman, is responsible for its organized commercial phase.
"The idea of establishing a permanent organization to cope with the social evil in this city," said Mr. Rockefeller, "was the outgrowth of my service of six months as foreman of the Special White Slave Grand Jury appointed in New York City at the beginning of 1910. I came at that time to realize the extent and horror of the evil and to believe that it constituted one of the great and vital world problems of the day. In the judgment of eminent medical men, it forms, from the point of view of disease, the greatest single menace to the perpetuation of the human race. Therefore, as a result of conference with many people, the Bureau of Social Hygiene was established.
"Under the direction of the bureau, George J. Kneeland, who conducted the investigation carried on by the Chicago Vice Commission, made a comprehensive study of vice conditions in this city, and Abraham Flexner spent nearly a year abroad investigating the method of dealing with this problem in the leading cities of Europe. He will make further studies of a number of larger cities of this country.
"As each of these studies is completed it will be published, and until this is done the bureau deems it unwise and premature to express any conclusions as to a method of dealing with the social evil in this city. It is hoped that the press and the public will be disposed to await the results of these studies before formulating conclusions."
As to whether the unfortunate woman is a victim or a contributor to her own vicious career, Mr. Rockefeller said:
"I say unhesitatingly that in the vast majority of cases she is a victim. Prostitution as now conducted in this country and in Europe is very largely a manís business; the women are merely tools in the hands of the stronger sex. It is a business run for profit, and the profit is large.
"It is my belief that less than 25 per cent of the prostitutes in this country would have fallen if they had had an equally good chance to lead a pure life. That they have been dragged into the mire in such large numbers is due to a variety of circumstances, among which are poverty, low wages, improper home conditions and lack of training, the desire to gratify the natural craving for pretty things, &c; but while all these and many others may be contributing causes, man is chiefly responsible for their fall.
"Thus far the work of the bureau has been financed by its members and a few interested friends, and this will continue to be the case until a larger and more formal organization is considered advisable. To its future financial policy, it is not now necessary to give attention. As its needs grow, there are numbers of men and women in this city, who, I am confident, stand ready to join in meeting them.
"While the bureau expects to publish all of its important studies, it is obvious that its preliminary work can best be done without publicity. The bureau holds itself ready to enter any field of investigation or work not already occupied effectively by other organizations which seem likely to contribute to the main purpose for which it has been established."
Mr. Rockefeller said last night that he had nothing to add to this statement at the present time. When Paul M. Warburg of the firm Kuhn, Loeb & Co. and Starr J. Murphy, the well-known lawyer, who, with Miss Katherine Bement Davis, Superintendent of the New York State Reformatory for Women at Bedford Hills, N. Y., comprise the other members of the bureau, were approached for further details as to the scope and nature of the investigations to be undertaken, it was said that the bureau had decided to have all statements originate with Mr. Rockefeller.
"The other members of the bureau have pledged themselves not to discuss the work of the bureau of publication," explained Mr. Warburg, "and all statements will have to come from Mr. Rockefeller personally."
WHITMAN LAUDS ROCKEFELLER
Tells of Special Grand Jury Service at Bible Class Dinner.
District Attorney Whitman told how John D. Rockefeller, Jr., first became interested in the white slave investigation as foreman of the special Grand Jury that bore his name at the sixteenth annual dinner of the Young Menís Bible Class of the Fifth Avenue Baptist Church last night at the CafťBoulevard.
Mr. Whitman added that the work done by that Grand Jury rightfully deserve a place in history.
It was the biggest dinner that the class, of which Mr. Rockefeller is Vice President and the moving spirit, ever held, 220 being present. Mr. Whitman and Mr. Rockefeller were seated side by side at the speakersí table, and although he had asked to escapt from making an address, Mr. Rockefeller paid high tribute to Mr. Whitman, but did not refer to his own work, except to say that he feared he did not deserve all the praise that had been heaped upon him. Dr. Addison Moore was toastmaster, and the other speakers were Dr. Simon Flexner, Director of the Rockefeller Institute of Medical Research, and Dr. Darlington, former Public Health Commissioner of New York City.
When District Attorney Whitman rose to speak there was an outbreak of applause which lasted more than a minute.
"Donít stop on my account." said Mr. Whitman when he could make himself heard, and then the applause started again.
"Iím going to tell you how I first met your former leader, Mr. Rockefeller," he continued. "You known, Mr. Rockefeller and I ascended to office together.
"George Kibbe Turner had been telling the world of the conditions in New York as he thought they existed, and the court had called a Grand Jury together, made up of men representative of all walks of life, to investigate conditions and to report on these conditions as they found them.
"The Judge called forward one of the younger men, and he called to the District Attorney at the same time, Strangely enough, but itís true, that young man had come there to get excused altogether from duty. Judge OíSullivan said to him:
"Iím not going to excuse you. Instead, Iím going to appoint you foreman."
"Then Mr. Rockefeller explained that he had had little experience in Grand Jury duty, and that it was important that he should be absent from the city. The Judge insisted that there was only one man whom the entire city would be likely to trust as the head of this Grand Jury at that time, and under the conditions which existed, and that man was Mr. Rockefeller.
"Mr. Rockefellerís work didnít stop there. Most of you read the newspapers today and you know and realize what has been done without ostentation and with becoming modesty. Itís a work that is going to be a vast service to the whole world, and to those who perhaps in all the world need most the support and help of their fellow-men.
"I remember those weeks and months which were only the beginning of this work, the greatest along these lines which has ever been carried on, and I am glad to honor him."
"When Mr. Whitman talked of our coming into office at the same time hew was talking of babies, not crime," said Mr. Rockefeller. "I have five and he has but one, and he is jealous."
Then he told a story about the birth of one of his children having delayed a session of the Special Grand Jury.
"When my fourth child came into the world and the Grand Jury was in session," he said, "and I telephoned to the judge, asking him to intercede and hold things up for a half an hour until I felt I could return to duty. Little children always seem to get right down to the heart of men, and I will never forget the warmth of the congratulations which were heaped upon me by those worthy men, even the oldest of them."