US 1900 Census Takers from Green Forest Arkansas Tribune, March 22 1900
Preparations for Taking It By the Department
In the Census building at Washington a great room is now the scene of bustling activity, the work of preparing portfolios for use by enumerators in the coming count of the population being fairly under way. These portfolios, of whitish-brown pasteboard, hinged together with black cloth are eighteen inches long and ten wide and tied with four sets of tape. For convenient, accurate and rapid enumeration the United States have been divided into 300 supervisor's districts, and these in turn into about 50,00 enumeration districts, or E. D.'s, as they are called in the census office. Each of the 50,000 enumerators is yet to be appointed, so on the portfolios a blank space is left for his name.
The last census found the unhappy enumerator loaded down with from ten to thirteen schedules, each having voluminous instructions to master which required considerable mental ability and power of memory.
Four schedules, not ten, cover enumerators' inquires in 1900 schedules requiring information about population, vital statistics, manufacturers and agriculture. In cities the enumerators will seldom need the agricultural, or in rural districts the manufacturing schedule, so he infrequently carry more than three.
Frequent complaints and charges of inaccuracy in preceding censuses have arisen form distrust of the enumerators. Not infrequently the gross ignorance of an enumerator rendered his work valueless.
Of the 50,000 enumerators for whose appointment and work the census office must be held responsible, it can have no direct knowledge, but it has prepared and will send out a test schedule which each candidate is expected to fillout according to accompanying instructions. From this schedule, when completed and returned, and idea of his ability to comprehend and follow instructions will be obtained. For his honesty and integrity those who recommend him must be held responsible.
A general realization by American citizens of their personal interests in a successful protection of the canvass by which this white-tape army should arouse sentiments of local interest and pride, and in each enumeration district citizens would concern themselves about the selection of their registrar and local arbiter.
The white-tape army should be made of men who are quick, competent, courteous, tactful and truthful. Ten hours a day for two weeks in urbin (sic), and four in rural districts they will spend in gaining entrance to those impregnable castles the homes of American citizens. To prove their victory, correct replies to all the schedule questions must be recorded for each of these castles. The white-tape soldier will have no chance for glory or preferment. He must find courage in feeling that peace hath its victories, and that the world knows nothing of its greatest men. When he shall have completed his dutiesincidentally making enemies for life of village gossips, who did not want to tell their own ages, but demanded to read those of everybody elsehe will receive a compensation which the director of the census is endeavoring to fix at such a rate that each energetic enumerator may earn at least $6 a day under the conditions prevailing in his district.
Now that the high tide of prosperity leaves few men of the required ability unemployed, the enlistment of this white-tape army should awaken feelings of local and individual responsibility. Enumerators are to be residents of the districts where they perform duty. Voters in each district should satisfy themselves that suitable selections of enumerators are made. IF the local and national value of the service were better understood, the enumerator's office would attain greater dignity in the public estimation, and each district would assure itself against injury through mistaken recommendations or appointments.
The following persons were endorsed for positions as census enumerators:
Carrollton Township R. M. Ramey
Long Creek C. C. O'Neal
Yocum C. B. Mann
Cedar J. L. Ruble
Dry Fork J. K. Howard
Polo J. W. Rickman
Hickory L. E. Harbert
Prairie W. D. Crawford and R. A. Kendall
Kings River Oscar Miller
Liberty A. J. Russell
Omega P. M. Davis