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A POET’S FUNNY FAD, Issue 15650, 14 November 1914
A POET’S FUNNY FAD
ESTABLISHES A “ BABY BUREAU.” Most people who make a business of writing or talking about human welfare problems condemn unorganised charity, and perhaps they aro right ae regards a majority of cares, but there are some notable exceptions to the rule. One of these is the work of Mr Judd Mortimer Lewis, staff poet of tho Houston ‘Poet,’ who is helping to lessen tho need of orphan asylums. Air Lewis wxi).es a column of versa and jokes every day, but he finds time to [dace many homeless babies iu babvloss homes. Experience ( has convinced nim that persons working j independently can do muctr more satisfac- | tory work than home-finding cocietics such j as aro operating in many of tiro States. He says that lie has placed no less than j two-score babies since ho started his •• baby bureau ” six years ago, but that “ every homo in which I have placed a little one has been thoroughly, patiently, personally investigated. I know that every homo in which I place a baby is all right." Air Lewis says the daily newspaper is tho best medium on earth for a clearing-house between the orphan asylums and foundling homes and the babyleas homes. Tho newspaper man has no trouble in finding out from local institutions what babies there are for 'adoption. He can write descriptions of the babies which will reach thousands of re adorn, and after a while he will be de,pended upon—become a sort of institution himself. Being a poet, Mr Lewis has very little money to spend, but fortunately his work does not require much capital. Kind-heaned women of Houston frequently render personal assistance to the “bureau.” Air Lewis's work has already been, mentioned, but that was before any detailed account of it was ever written in quotal.de form. If you have any doubts about its being a real human interest story, read this from Mr Lewis’s pen.: “What is needed more than anything in che work is people. People give a dollar or two dollars or a thousand or a million dollars to charily, then go their ways with their nose in the- air and a ’holier than thou’ look that would be the funniest tiling ever put into this column if 1 could only corral it. They think they have played thunder. And they piobably have. I read of a case in Chicago reoentlv of n wi<lrvw*Hl ivVcvthov who v. Hri iu need* of help, and applied Vo organised | charity. Tho record of the case shows i that she received 300 dollars iu driblets, and 5,000 dollars were spent investigating; her case! Our chanty is not organised ; j it is the most unorganised thing you ever , saw'. There aro no salaries, and there is no hesitation. 'When a baby is thing homeless on life’s troubled sea we get to. it. Nobody calls a secretary, who callo j another secretary, who calls another .-cc- | rotary, who calls another secretary, niul . so oil until someone, is finally tound to I visit tho case, and ten chances to one tne | baby has died and been buried, or haul grown up and raised a IteniJ by the time the investigator has arrived. I Ins biieincos is not in need of money or of salaried officials. What it wants is you ; it needs vou to put- some of your own sell into tn- 1 business. Put yourself into it! A lady who gives much of her time to this won; visited two foundlings with tne the other day, and owl-eyed, monkey-fated little humans they wore. They were liot properly assimilating their food. The boy had "a well-shaped head and good features, but he was gaunt from starvation, and wrinkled until ho looked a thousand years old. The lady with me exclaimed: ’(Mi. Thotmes 111- !’ Aikl ho actually looked like a mummy of Thotmes or Raineses. I tell you, in a time like this is when a fellow needs a friend. If 1 had the wealth necessary 1 would build a moori baby home. Every foundling should linvc the attention of‘a physician and a trained, nurse, and be loved and fattened for a month or two before prospective parents ! were permitted to see it. I have never J vet. seen a foundling home which bathed, changed, ted, and eared for every baby j all tho timeaart. should be cared lor. Lm v j evidently do the very best they can, but : their best does not seem to me to be quite good enough. Perhaps I'm too panicuUu. ]£ you will give money to a charity your money may do the charity some good, but the charily won’t- do you a bit of good. And real charity must, benefit, him who gives as well as him who receives. .. n in, fellows ; the charity is fine!” The demand for babies always exceeds the supply. Mr Lewis has placed babieo as far away ns Florida and Georgia, imt the greater part of hi© work is confined to Houston and Texas. In another issue of the ‘Post’ Mr Lewis tel is more about , his experiences-: “The people who procure a baby through mv efforts must- ’ring tine' :•« rc , garde morality, kindliness, and cleanliness. If they have a child of their own, their references must be exceptionally fine, for they me unusual people indeed who can give an adopted baby a square <V?al Mndier such circuiristanoes. they need not be wealthy ; there is as much, sometimes more, lovo lu the homo of the laborer as in the home, of the millionaiie. That a child is illegitimate almost never cute any figure with tho people who are looking for a baby to adopt. If the child is a normal, healthy child a home can t easily be found for it. The demand is ; almost altogether for girl babies—for light- | haired, blue-eyed girl babies, generally; and as more girls than boys are offered for adoption, supply and demand seem to fit perfectly. 1 can always find a home for a boy baby. I have placed four boys very happily. Some people worry them ©elves unnecessarily aoout heredity. If tho child inherits a healthy body I believe it hj all they should ask. It is my theory t«nt environment amounts to a great deal more in the proper raising of a child than does heredity. Once from an Eastern city I received a letter from a little, woman who said she and her husband had been married six months; that her Husband waa 21 years of ago, and that her age was 18; and they wanted to adopt a light-haired, blue-eyed baby girl, and would I find them such a baby? I wrote the little woman to hang up her stocking when Christmas came mound, and to "write a letter to Santa Clans, and i to utter a little prayer when the shades | of night came down, and not to write to j me again for a year ; then if they still j wanted a baby I would get busy. 1 never ! heard from them again. A woman on a j Pennsylvania farm urote mo that she , would like to adopt a friendless, destitute boy about 16 years old. I wrote her that she did not want to adopt a boy ; what sire wanted was a hired man. A woman in Nevada wrote to me to find her a crippled, helpless little boy or girl—a child that | would always need her, and that would ■ love her oca never be able to do without her- Once we supplied a baby to a home, and when the now little mother undressed tho new little baby she found a little note in it* stocking! ‘I am giving you my baby. I don’t know who you arc; I can never know who you aro. That ie my punishment. Put, oh, caa\ you not, will you not, arrange through the once from whom you get my Bill© girlie so that I mav make it littlo clothes and things from time to time? I do not ask to know where rny baby is, not even to know how it is getting "along, just to know that it will be permitted to wear the things that my hands make and that my tears have fallen upon.’ Do you imagine there would be anything to fear from heredity in the caeo "of that child? If you fear to come into contact with broken and breaking hearts, keep out of the baby busines.''.”
A POET’S FUNNY FAD, Issue 15650, 14 November 1914
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