Administrative History

The General Wage Investigation was carried out by the Commission to provide background information for reports and recommendations regarding wage legislation. Field agents employed by the Commission used standard-form data cards to collect and compile detailed information about the wages and personal history of employees in four representative industries: department stores, shirt and collar factories, paper box factories, and confectionery factories. The field agents interviewed employees and employers and consulted company records to compile the information, which was entered on one or more of twelve card forms. According to Commission records, over 200,000 data cards were filled out. Of these, only about 70,000 remain. Most of the cards contain information relating to New York City area factory employees; relatively few data cards remain from outside the City.

Additional information about the General Wage Investigation - including a detailed description of how the cards were used to compile and collate data into statistical reports - is contained in the Fourth Report of the Factory Investigating Commission, Volume II, Appendix IV: Report of the Wage Investigation, pages 1-50.