The Definitive Dwiggins no. 29—Where’s WAD?

As much as I admire W.A. Dwiggins, I had no idea that he had super powers allowing him to be in two places at the same time. But yesterday I discovered that the Twelfth Census of the United States (1900) records him as living in Chicago as well as Cambridge, Ohio.

The popular view of the census is that enumeration takes place on a single day (often dubbed “Census day”), thus providing a “snapshot” of the country’s populace, both in place and on the move. Thus, wherever an enumerator finds an individual on that day, that is where the individual is listed as “residing,” even if that place happens to be a hotel rather than the individual’s actual home. ”Census day” for the enumeration of the Twelfth Census enumeration was June 1, 1900. And Dwiggins was simultaneously in Ward 3 of Cambridge, Ohio and Ward 30 of Chicago.

1900 Census page Cambridge June 8, 1900.

Cambridge Township [Ohio] (Cambridge City, Ward 3), Twelfth Census of the United States, Schedule No. 1, sheet no. 10. Enumerated June 8, 1900 by Salathiel B. Rose.

The census record for Cambridge (shown above) lists Dwiggins on line 29. He is part of a household with William Scott, Don Scott and “Etta Dwigins” residing at 114 North 10th Street. “Etta Dwigins” is Eva Dwiggins, his mother while William Scott was his uncle (widower of Eva’s sister Carrie) and Don Scott was his cousin. This living arrangement is not new information, though the exact address is.

1900 census Chicago

Town of Lake (City of Chicago, 30th Ward), Twelfth Census of the United States, Schedule No. 1, sheet no. 17. Enumerated June 12, 1900 by B.J. Hall.

The census record for Chicago (shown above) lists Dwiggins on line 91 as a roomer in a boardinghouse run by Benjamin Hall and his wife Margarette [sp?] at 600 West 62nd Street. The other sixteen people, whose ages range from  25 to 57, are all boarders like Dwiggins. There is one subtle difference between the two records with Dwiggins listed as an “Art Student” in Cambridge and as an “Artist” in Chicago. I believe the former is more accurate as Dwiggins had only begun his studies at the Frank Holme School of Illustration six or seven months earlier.

The explanation for the existence of two 1900 census records for Dwiggins lies in the instructions given to the enumerators of that census. [1]

108. Column 3. Name of each person enumerated.—Enter the men, railroad men, etc., if they habitually return to their homes in name of every person whose usual place of abode (see paragraph 111) is in the family or dwelling place for which the enumeration is being made. The census day, that is, the day as of which the enumeration is made, is June 1, 1900. Include, therefore, every person living on June 1, 1900, or during any part of that day, and omit children born after that date.

109. It is intended that the name of every man, woman, and child whose usual place of abode on the first day of June, 1900, was within your district shall be entered on the population schedule, but no entry is to be made of a child born between the first day of June, 1900, and the day of your visit, say June 5, June 15, etc., as the case may be. (See paragraph 94.)

110. On the other hand, every person who was a resident of your district upon the first day of June, 1900, but between that date and the day of your visit shall have died, should be entered on the schedule precisely as if still living. The object of the schedule is to obtain a list of the inhabitants on the first day of June, 1900, and all changes after that date, whether in the nature of gain or loss, are to be disregarded.

111. The census law furnishes no definition of the phrase “usual place of abode;” and it is difficult to guard against the danger that some persons will be reported in two places and others not reported at all. Much must be left to the judgment of the enumerator, who, if he will take the pains, can satisfy himself, in the great majority of instances, as to the propriety of including or not including doubtful cases in his enumeration of any given family.

112 . In the case of boarders at hotels, students at schools or col- and inmates of iustitutions, ascertain whether the person con- cerning whom the question may arise has at the time any other place of abode within another district at which he is likely to be reported. ,”,P”HlTIf)v men are to be reported at their land homes, no matter how long they may have been absent, if they are supposed to be still alive. Hence, sailors temporarily at a sailors’ boarding or lodging house, if they acknowledge any other homewithin the United States, are not to be included in the family of the lodging or boarding house. [2]

Paragraph 109 acknowledges that the enumeration may take longer than a single day and paragraph 111—in the text underlined—allows that such an extension may result in individuals being counted twice or not counted at all. Dwiggins clearly fell into the first category since the Cambridge enumeration actually took place on June 8 and the Chicago enumeration occurred four days later.

121. In the case of families reported “Out” at the first visit, but enumerated at a later visit, no spaces should be left blank on the population schedule for the entries concerning the members of such a family, as you can have no knowledge, in most cases, of the number of members constituting the family, and hence of the number of lines to be left blank. The enumeration of the family is to be made on that sheet of the population schedule on which you are at work on the day when the information concerning such family is finally obtained by you.

122. In the case, however, of boarders, lodgers, or other persons living in a family, for whom no information can be obtained at the first visit, but which is supplied later, either in person or through the lady of the house, you should duly enter the name of such person as a member of the family so enumerated, and arrange to secure by a second or third visit, if necessary, the information needed to complete the record for such person. It is important that the person should be recorded by name at least as a member of the family with whom he resides, as otherwise the enumeration of that family will be incomplete, and if omitted from its proper place on the population schedule, such person is likely to be counted, when finally enumerated, as a family of one, which is not the fact. [3]

These two paragraphs from the set of instructions for enumerators provide a further explanation for Dwiggins being doubled up. Dwiggins must have been visiting his mother on June 8 in Cambridge and then have returned to Chicago before the census taker arrived at the boardinghouse on June 12. The census taker had to record him as a boarder for a second time to make sure the boardinghouse enumeration was complete.

I have been aware of the Cambridge census record for Dwiggins for many years. Although valuable, I had been disappointed that the census record was not for Chicago since I have been trying to learn more about the short time that he spent in that city as a student and young designer. The second census record is thus more than a minor oddity; it is another piece of the puzzle I am constructing about Dwiggins’ time at the School of Illustration and, afterward, as a partner with a young Frederic W. Goudy.

Note: I received the information about the Chicago census record from a contact in Ohio who came across it while pursuing a lead on Dwiggins’ youthful artistic influences for me. Oddly enough, a week or so earlier, I had been speculating to myself about the possibility of someone being listed more than once in a census with the unspoken hope, buried deep in the back of my head, that if any such person existed it would be wonderful if it was Dwiggins. I never thought such a fantasy would come true.


[1] 200 Years of U.S. Census Taking: Population and Housing Questions, 1790–1990 (Department of Commerce, United States of America, November 1989), pp. 40–45 reproduces the instructions to enumerators for the Twelfth Census (1900) census.
[2] 200 Years of U.S. Census Taking, p. 40.
[3] 200 Years of U.S. Census Taking, p. 41.