Linked with Ishbel Maria Aberdeen – England (1857 – 1939).

Published on Digital Library, written by LADY ISHBEL ABERDEEN (1857 – 1939), date maybe 1893 – Encouragement of Home Industries”, by Ishbel Maria Marjoribanks Gordon, Marchioness of Aberdeen and Temair (1857-1939). Publication: Eagle, Mary Kavanaugh Oldham, ed. The Congress of Women: Held in the Woman’s Building, World’s Columbian Exposition, Chicago, U. S. A., 1893. Chicago, Ill: Monarch Book Company, 1894. pp. 743-746).

The tendency of the present day is to organize, perhaps to over organize, but in this case it is certainly necessary to make some arrangement whereby the country workers can be put on a level with town workers, and whereby those scattered in rural districts can obtain good designs and can be put in touch with a good market. A considerable movement to endeavor to effect this has been noticeable in the British Isles during the last years, and several associations has been the result. There has been the Royal School of Art Needlework, under Her Royal Highness, Princess Christian, which has had for its object to train workers and to spread beautiful designs and work and the taste for them, and the result of that school and of the sister school in Ireland may be seen in the British show case in this building.

Then there is the Recreative Evening Schools Association, which has for its object to enable boys and girls who have left school to continue their education, and they, recognizing the fact that simple plodding book-work is very unattractive to young people who have been working all day, have introduced into their system the instruction of various crafts and hand-work, as well as other kinds of recreative instruction. The Home Arts and Industries Association touches, however, the country districts of which I have spoken more directly than the other two I have mentioned. They have in the last few years started over five hundred classes in England, Scotland and Ireland, where wood-carving, metal work, embossed leather, basket-work, and such like have been taught. This association has done much good, its aims have been chiefly from the artistic and moral standpoint, rather than from the commercial, though it holds most successful exhibitions and sales annually.

The Scottish and the Irish Industries Associations with which I am chiefly associated, lay great stress on the commercial side, as well as on the educational. Roughly speaking, we may say that both associations have two main aims, one being to open up a market for the goods produced by the peasant workers of Scotland and Ireland, the other being to educate them to keep on producing better and better work and such work as will meet the demands of the public.

In both associations we pride ourselves on not being charitable societies; we are educational and commercial, and we are striving, only striving, to help the people to help themselves through honest work, and in both associations we unite persons of all politics and creeds.

It is to objects such as I have mentioned that every penny of the surplus from the Irish Village will be devoted. I have had more than one opportunity of speaking in Chicago of the object of the Irish village, and of the association which erected it, [Page 746] before now. I only wish, therefore, to take this opportunity of thanking you, ladies, and through you the public of Chicago, for the kind interest that you have taken in our work as there exemplified.

I can assure you that the kindness shown, both by the people of Chicago and by the press, has been very warmly appreciated by the people of Ireland, and on their behalf, of our association and for myself, I tender you my most grateful thanks. I am proud, indeed, of the success of the village, and I am free to speak of that success, as it is mainly due to first, the preliminary organization of the late Mr. Peter White, and then to the wonderful executive ability, tact and untiring zeal shown by Mrs. Peter White. I am proud, too, in a special way of the village, for it can be truly said to represent the people of Ireland, in as much as it has the personal support of every class, creed and politics in Ireland, from the leaders downward. This is, indeed, a proud boast to make, but it is a true one, and it has been a very marked feature of our association throughout and one which it will be our constant aim to preserve. If corroboration of my word on this point is required, it can be had from the Lord Mayor of Dublin on the one side, and the Hon. Horace Plunket, M. P., on the other, who are both in Chicago at this time, and who are both on our committees.

But there is another thing in connection with the village of which I am most thankfully proud. I am proud that the people of Ireland have been so well represented as they have been by the village staff. The enthusiasm, the true patriotism, the loyal unselfishness and brightness which they have thrown into their work, is past all praise, and their country may well be proud of them … (full long text).

(This chapter has been put on-line as part of the UILD-A-BOOK Initiative at the Celebration of Women Writers. Initial text entry and proof-reading of this chapter were the work of Volunteer Mary Mark Ockerbloom).

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