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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 81

Nothing Without Labor

Front Cover

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Wm. R. George

Wm. R. George

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"Nothing Without Labor"


Printed and Published by The George Junior Republic Freeville, New York

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General View

General View

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The George Junior Republic Association



  • Thomas M. Osborne,
  • Auburn, N. Y.


  • Eben E. Olcott,
  • New York City.


  • A. G. Agnew, 22 William
  • St., New York City.

Asst. Treasurer,

  • William A. Adair,
  • New York City.


  • Joseph Burden,
  • New York City,


  • William P. George,
  • Freeville, N. Y.

General Superintendent,

  • Calvin Derrick,
  • Freeville, N. Y.

Asst. Superintendent,

  • Glenn R. Morton,
  • Freeville, N. Y,

Field Secretary,

  • Theo. G. Davis, 22 Wm. St.
  • New York City.
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  • Frederick Almy,
  • Buffalo, N. Y.
  • Rev. John Hutchins,
  • Litchfield, Conn.
  • Louis Krumbhaar,
  • Syracuse, N. Y.
  • Thomas M. Osborne,
  • Auburn, N. Y.
  • R. Montgomery Schell,
  • New York City
  • Theodore Wickwire,
  • Cortland, N. Y.


  • Philip Cabot,
  • Boston, Mass.
  • John F. George,
  • New York City
  • Prof. J. W. Jenks,
  • Ithaca, N. Y.
  • V. Everit Macy,
  • New York City
  • Eben E. Olcott,
  • New York City
  • F. W. Richardson,
  • Auburn, N. Y.
  • Stuart Wood,
  • Philadelphia Pa.


  • A. G. Agnew,
  • New York City
  • James. J. Higginson,
  • New York City
  • J. D. Pennock,
  • Syracuse, N.Y.
  • Jacob G. Smith,
  • Syracuse, N.Y.
  • Evert Jansen Wendell,
  • New York City
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The Massachusetts Cottage

The Massachusetts Cottage

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"Nothing Without Labor"

The George Junior Republic.


The George Junior Republic was founded by William R. George in the summer of 1895. It is located at Freeville, Tompkins County, N. Y.., nine miles from Ithaca, on the Lehigh Valley Rail Road.

A Junior Republic.

It is a town or colony of young people; an organization that aims to instil into the minds of boys and girls principles of self-reliance and self-government, by giving them actual powers and duties of citizenship in a minature state wherein are operating the same economic, social and civic conditions that they will find outside on leaving the Republic. It is merely a frank acceptance of existing conditions. It is not an institution with inmates, where officers have absolute authority over them; it is not a school with instructors and rules; it is what its name signifies—a Junior Republic; A Republic of the children, by the children and for the children.

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Historical Sketch.

While Mr. George was engaged in business in New York City he devoted much time to the study of social conditions, especially in relation to children. Between the years 1890 and 1895 he spent his summers in fresh air work, taking from two hundred to two hundred and fifty boys and girls each year to Freeville, N. Y,

An obvious difficulty arose. The farmers demanded protection against the lawless visitors from the city. There was necessity for control. Moreover a strong tendency to pauperism showed itself; the children were receiving food and gifts of clothing, which they soon demanded as a right. So these things were led, first to a system of punishment, (the prison), and second to the cardinal doctrine of the Republic, "Nothing Without Labor." Finding by actual experience the existence of a keen sense of justice, and seeing the advantage of retiring from his self-appointed position of arbitary dispenser of punishment, Mr. George established a Jury. Then it was discovered that the boys made better policemen than their elders.

Late in the summer of 1894 while examining the results of his work Mr. George suddenly discovered the plan he had been working toward was nothing more or less than a junior Republic. The work was so much more satisfactory than that of the previous years that it was decided to continue the summer work in the future on principles of self-support and self-government. page 3 During the summer of 1895 it became evident that the training of the lives of children was being carried out successfully and it was decided to make the work permanent. When the large party returned to the city in September, Mr. George and five boys remained at Freeville forming the nucleus around which the Republic has been built.

The numbers have increased gradually but steadily, until now many more applications are received than can be accepted. For two summers after the organization of the permanent work, companies of boys and girls were brought to the Junior Republic for the months of July and August. After this the temporary camp work was abandoned as it was found to be far less satisfactory, and much more expensive than the permanent work.

Principles of Work.

The Republic is now an all-the-year-round home for children founded on the belief—

First—That a boy or girl may break a law, or commit offense, and still not be, necessarily, what is known as "bad" or "criminal".

Second—That as a rule a boy or girl who commits an offense against social or civic laws, is possesed of many of the qualities, courage, leadership, self-reliance, will, which if rightly directed will make the strongest character and the best citizens. And that to direct and page 4 develop these qualities and to instil the sense of responsibility, honor, self respect and the respect of the rights of others or in a word to make a citizen, requires more than arbitrary authority.

Third—That to separate a child who has broken the law, or who is criminally inclined, or an unmanageable child from the normal environments of educational, commercial, social, civic, religious and home conditions, and commit him at an impressional age for a definite period to an institution where he is thrown in constant contact with the hardened criminal, where he is restrained by rigid discipline from acting upon his own initiative, and where his individuality is lost id numbers—will never prepare him for the problems and responsibilities of life and citizenship which will confront him upon his release from that institution.

Fourth—But that to develop a sense of responsibility the child must have responsibility placed upon it; to overcome pauperism the child must learn self-support; and to respect law and order, the child [unclear: most] practice self-government.


The equipment of the Republic has gradually increased until now the Association owns and controls over 350 acres of land. On this is a little village of some twenty-five buildings. Ten are cottages where citizens live. Besides these page 5 there are, a beautiful chapel, a modern school house; a government building, (in which are the court room and the boys jail); a girls jail; a bakery; a carpenter shop; a furniture shop; a plumbing shop; a printing office; the general store, with the Citizens National Bank and the executive offices on the second floor; a steam laundry building, including the steam heating plant which supplies heat for a large number of buildings; the barns and dairy buildings: and the hospital. Mr. George's residence is also in the Republic and in one wing of this is the library of about two thousand volumes.

The equipment throughout is simple but good. The purpose is to instil into the minds of the boys and girls a sense of economy and healthful living. The property is entirely free from debt and it is the policy of the trustees to work and expand as the funds permit, and not to mortgage the property which is now free from all encumbrances.

Home Life.

The boys and girls live in families of ten or twelve in a cottage. These make up family groups of boys, or girls as the case may be, with a lady or a lady and her husband, as its head. This system of family or home groups has a salutary effect upon the little community, and although not bound by blood relationship, there are ties of friendship stronger than one might page 6 expect. The plan admits of a far more normal training than the old dormitory system. It takes away to a large degree the atmosphere and evils of an institution.


Upon arrival at the Republic the boy or girl becomes a "citizen;" an active factor in the life of the little community. No rules are placed over him except the economic forces that are at work in the great Republic, and such laws as may have been made by his fellow "citizens". He is not told to do 'this' or to go 'there'. He must act as he would were he becoming a citizen of any town in the country. He must secure a position by which he can earn enough to pay all his expenses, board, lodging, laundry, tax, etc. The motto of the Republic is "Nothing without Labor". There is work for all to be found in the number of shops, on the farm, in the cottages or in the government. After securing his own job, for which he is paid in the equivalent of United States currency, he must arrange his board and lodging in one of the cottages. In this way he learns how to be self-supporting and self reliant. He pays for all he gets, nothing is gratuitous.

All boys and girls are not of the same earning capacity. So the cottages are run at different rates to accommodate them. The boy earning enough can secure the best accommodations, page 7 while he that is inclined to be indolent or lazy must put up with poorer fare. If a boy entirely neglects work there is no one to make him industrious, but he is in danger of arrest for vagrancy and of being placed in jail where he will have to work for the government and not for himself.

Industries and Occupations.

Among the industries will be found farming, which is the most prominent, and which gives employment to the largest number of "citizens". The work is under the direction of a capable man, and besides raising large and varied crops, a large herd of cattle and many pigs are kept. A number of "citizens" have taken op farming as a life work on leaving the Republic.

There are two departments in the bakery. One in which is produced the famous "George Junior Republic Wafer". Many thousands of pounds of these wafers are made by the "citizens" every year, and shipped to all parts of the country. They may be bought of Park and Tilford of New York, and Cobb, Bates and Yerxa of Boston, and at least one dealer in almost any large city. In the other department the boys bake bread and cookies which are sent to the surrounding towns. About fifteen hundred loaves of bread are baked every week.

In the carpenter shop, besides building when there is such going on in the Republic, and page 8 general repairing, the boys make fine mission furniture. This is both artistic and durable and has attracted much attention. Orders for both regular and special pieces are solicited and will receive prompt atttention.

All kinds of plumbing, steam fitting, and metal work are carried on in the plumbing shop.

The printing office publishes the Republic paper, "The Citizen", and all reports, pamphlets, etc. It also does job work.

Other occupations may be found in the laundry and cottages for girls, and in the government positions for both boys and girls. Each department is in charge of a competent person who, although in a large sense is an instructor, stands as an employer of labor in his or her relations to the "citizens".

Aim of Republics.

It must be understood that the republic aims chiefly at character building. We have been made a trade school because in the development of character productive labor plays a very important part. We are attempting to make the Republic self-supporting on the basis of the productive value of its "citizens". Much of the produce is consumed on the place. Amongst the older boys and girls there is quite a wage earning capacity but it must be remembered that they spend half of their time in school, while with the younger and new "citizens" the page 9 efficiency of wage earning is very limited owing to previous habits and conditions of life.

The average wage paid a "citizen" is ten cents an hour. The working day is from seven o'clock in the morning to six o'clock at night with an hour for dinner at noon. Most of the "citizens" spend half of this time in school, attending either in the morning or in the afternoon according to the classes to which they belong. They are not paid for attending school. Out of their wages they must pay for board, lodging, poll tax, laundry, clothing, and whatever else they may need or can afford. The Citizens National Bank offers an efficient banking system, and here the "citizen" deposits his pay check and defrays his expenses by checks in the usual


While the industries play a very important part in the work of the Republic, schooling is by no means secondary to them. The work in a well equipped school house is in charge of a corps of seven teachers. The curriculum includes the regular grade work, a college preparatory course. Although the children are backward in their studies they are by no means unintelligent and many make remarkable progress when once given the opportunity.


Church and State are absolutely separate. All page 10 religious training is non-sectarian. Services are held in the Republic Chapel every Sunday morning and evening, with a mid-week meeting on Wednesday night. Catholic services are held at least once each month. Although not compulsory the attendence at the services is excellent, and the religious life of the community is strong.


That phase of the Junior Republic which commands the greatest attention is the government. The plan is similar in many respects to the old New England town-meeting system. The community is entirely self-governing. The laws are made by the "citizens" in the town-meetings, one meeting being held each month. All children over fifteen years of age become "citizens" and are entitled to vote and hold office. The laws are those of the State of New York with certain local ordinances, to meet existing conditions. For example, there are laws against smoking profanity, etc. On Tuesday night of every week a session of Court is held, and all cases for the past week are tried before the "citizen" judge and often a jury of four. If convicted the prisoner is turned over to the "citizen" keeper who places him in jail, and directs the prison labor, Here he does not have the privilege of working for himself but for the government, and merely receives his prison fare.

All officers of the cabinet are elected by the page 11 "citizens"' at the National election time in November, the rest are appointed by the President. All offices are held (or one year. They are:—
  • President,
  • Vice-President, Ex-Officio Police Commissioners. Board of Health, President's Cabinet
  • Sec. of State, Ex-Officio Police Commissioners. Board of Health, President's Cabinet
  • Sec. of Treasury, Ex-Officio Police Commissioners. Board of Health, President's Cabinet
  • Boy Judge,
  • Girl Judge,
  • Boy District Attorney,
  • Girl District Attorney,
  • Police Officers,
  • Prison Keepers,

Athletics and Entertainments.

Pleasure and athletics are by no means forgotten in the Republic. Football, Baseball and Basketball teams are organized by the boys, which compete with teams from schools in the neighboring towns. The girls play Basketball among other games. Parties are held in the various cottages, and entertainments are given in the school house at intervals.


The question is quite naturally asked as to what success the system has met. Although the Republic is still in its infancy enough has been done to prove the great efficiency of the plan. Many children who were leading lives of idleness page 12 and crime have been placed on the road to good citizenship. Very few have proved failures. Of the boys who have gone out from the Republic may be found farmers, carpenters, plumbers, printers, bakers, pattern makers, book keepers, stenographers, salesmen, one an agent for a telegraph company, another a buyer for a New York Department Store, an expert in agricultural implements, and newspaper men. A number of boys have been through college and several are still there. Those who have graduated are now making for themselves places of honor and responsibility in the world. Two are lawyers, and one a civil engineer. The girls may be found in housework at home, married, in preparatory school, in domestic service, factories, dressmaking, etc. One has been teacher of dietetics in the Harrisburg State Hospital, now married to a physician.

Application for Admission.

Boys and girls over fourteen years of age and tinder eighteen years, of sound mind and body are accepted. Applications for admission should be made to the Superintendent, George Junior Republic, Freeville, N. Y., of whom all details can be learned.


It cost about $250 annually for each child at page 13 the Republic. As the average stay is three years the total expense of training a boy or a girl is about $750. This training is permanent. The child is taken at an impressionable age, when his character is forming into its final shape, and influence given during that period have lasting effects. Of over five hundred "citizens" who have gone out from the Republic only twenty have ever been committed to another institution and but one of these left the Republic with the consent of the authorities.

It costs the state of New York between $600 and $700 annually to care for each person under its charge. It costs between $250 and $300 annually for each "citizen" at the George Junior Republic. This sum does not aid in reforming him but merely supports the charge. Thus—it is cheaper to save children than to punish

Normal Growth.

The George Junior Republic was not conceived in its entirety and thrust upon the public untried. It has come out of a process of evolution. It has grown out of practical experience and is no theory. The respect and confidence of the public has been growing, for it has undoubtedly done more toward the saving of unfortunate and criminally inclined children than any other method.

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The Association, Trustees, Membership, etc.

The George Junior Republic Association under whose management the Republic is operated, is incorporated under the laws of the State of New York, and renders reports to the State Board of Charaities. Its trustees are successful business and professional men from various parts of the country. Any one paying $5 or more becomes it member of the Association for a year. $25 pays for a sustaining membership, and $250 for a life membership.


Visitors are always welcome at the Republic. There are no barriers about the grounds and no rules as to hours. Shaver's hotel at Freeville gives excellent accommodations to those wishing to stay more than a day, while Auburn, Cortland, and Ithaca can be made the basis of operations.


With the exception of a few whose parents are able to pay, the expenses of running the Republic is borne entirely by voluntary contributions. No state aid is received. At the present time the annual expenses amount to about $45,000 a year, $10,00 is received from tuition and other sources, leaving about $4.0,000 to be secured through contributions.

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An effort toward an endownment fund has been made. A gift of $5,000 toward this fund will provide perpetually for the support of one child at the Republic. Legacies and trust funds are invested in first mortages. The Farmer's Loan & Trust Co., of New York are Trustees of the Endowment Fund.


It is the earnest desire of the Association to increase its membership. Contributions of any amount will be gratefully received. All checks may be made payable to Mr. A. G. Agnew, Treas., 22 William St., New York City.