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Social Work History of Social Work and Social Welfare, 1900–1950
by
Paul H. Stuart
  • LAST MODIFIED: 25 October 2017
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780195389678-0257

Introduction

The terms social work and social welfare came into common use early in the first half of the 20th century, describing an emerging occupation and social institution in Europe and the United States. Social workers assisted in childcare, assisted the poor, and presented evidence for improving nations’ emerging social welfare systems. A half-century characterized by industrial growth, urbanization, and two world wars led to movements to consolidate and expand social welfare systems. By midcentury, the welfare state seemed well on the way to institutionalization, and social workers in many nations looked forward to their participation in the expansion of social services. But the domination of the nations that won World War II was challenged by divisions between the victors as a new Cold War pitted the USSR against the West. Colonialism would soon be in retreat, and anti-communist campaigns ravaged progressive social work in the United States, which was emerging as the leader of the anti-communist West. This bibliography gathers works that describe the origins of modern social welfare and social work in the first half of the 20th century, as well as their transformation over the course of that half-century.

General Overviews

Included here are works that provide general, cross-national overviews of the development of social welfare programs and the profession of social work between 1900 and 1950. Since most accounts focus on the development of social welfare and social work in Europe and the United States, many emphasize the importance of Christian traditions and neglect other religious traditions, especially Islam and Judaism. This section is divided into sections on Social Welfare, Social Work, Islam, and Judaism.

Social Welfare

The works listed in this section approach the history of social welfare from a variety of disciplines. Lindert 2004 provides a cross-national review of public spending for social welfare from the 18th century to the late 20th century. Flora 1983 and Flora 1988 are compilations of data on social welfare in the 19th and 20th centuries. Rimlinger 1971 discusses the development of social security programs in the United States and Europe. Rodgers 1998 discusses cross-national exchanges about social welfare in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Germany introduced the first social insurance programs in the 1880s, and several works provide cross-national comparisons of welfare state development. Köhler and Zacher 1982 presents five case studies of the development of social insurance programs in Austria, Britain, France, Germany, and Switzerland from 1881 to 1981. Ritter 1986, Hennock 1987, and Hennock 2007 compare developments in Germany and Britain before World War I, focusing on German influence on the British Liberal social reforms enacted between 1906 and 1914. Orloff 1993 compares the development of public pension programs in Britain, Canada, and the United States between 1908 and 1935.

  • Flora, Peter. 1983. State, economy, and society in western Europe, 1815–1975: A data handbook in two volumes. Vol. 1, The growth of mass democracies and welfare states. Frankfurt: Campus Verlag.

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    This volume provides a compilation of data on the rise of national states, mass democracy, government and military personnel, resources, and welfare in western European nations from 1815 to 1975.

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  • Flora, Peter. 1988. State, economy, and society in western Europe, 1815–1975: A data handbook in two volumes. Vol. 2, The growth of industrial societies and capitalist economies. Frankfurt: Campus Verlag.

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    This volume provides a compilation of data on population and families, urbanization and housing, economic growth, the division of labor and inequality, and trade unions in western European nations from 1815 to 1975.

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  • Hennock, E. P. 1987. British social reform and German precedents: The case of social insurance, 1880–1914. New York: Oxford Univ. Press.

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    This book focuses on the British discussion of German social insurance programs before World War I and the influence of German models on the Liberal government’s social policy reforms of 1906–1914.

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  • Hennock, E. P. 2007. The origins of the welfare state in England and Germany: Social policies compared. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. Press.

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    This book compares early German and English welfare state development to 1914. The author discusses public poor relief policies and industrial injury, sickness, invalidity, old age, and unemployment insurance programs. He argues that national insurance has played a larger role in Germany than in Britain.

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  • Köhler, Peter A., and Hans F. Zacher, eds. 1982. The evolution of social insurance, 1881–1981. New York: St. Martin’s.

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    This volume presents analyses of the evolution of social insurance in Germany, France, Great Britain, Austria, and Switzerland between 1881 and 1981 as part of the Max Planck Society for the Advancement of Science’s project on international and comparative social law.

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  • Lindert, Peter H. 2004. Growing public: Social spending and economic growth since the eighteenth century. 2 vols. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. Press.

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    In a cross-national review of social spending from the 18th century to the late 20th century, Lindert finds that the England exceeded all other countries in spending for poor relief in the early 19th century, and the United States and Prussia exceeded other counties in spending for public education by the mid-19th century. Contrary to much economic and popular thinking, he finds that social spending contributed to, rather than limited, economic growth. Vol. 1, The Story; Vol. 2, Further Data.

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  • Orloff, Ann Shola. 1993. The politics of pensions: A comparative analysis of Britain, Canada, and the United States, 1880–1940. Madison: Univ. of Wisconsin Press.

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    This comparative analysis of Britain, Canada, and the United States focuses on the timing and content of old age pension reforms adopted by the three nations between 1908 and 1935.

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  • Rimlinger, Gaston V. 1971. Welfare policy and industrialization in Europe, America, and Russia. New York: Wiley.

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    This book presents a comparative study of the development of social security programs, emphasizing Germany, the United States, and the Soviet Union, from the 19th century to the mid-20th century.

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  • Ritter, Gerhard A. 1986. Social welfare in Germany and Britain: Origins and development. Translated by Kim Traynor. Leamington Spa, UK: Berg.

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    This book compares German and British social security program development before World War I. It includes reviews of the growth of German social insurance programs between 1871 and 1914, and of Britain’s development of state social insurance between 1906 and 1914.

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  • Rodgers, Daniel T. 1998. Atlantic crossings: Social politics in a progressive age. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Univ. Press.

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    In this book, Daniel T. Rodgers provides an account of interaction between Europe and the United States from the 1870s to World War II, focusing on discussions of “the social question”: issues of poverty and its alleviation.

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Social Work

Although most writing on the history of social work is focused on developments in specific countries, a few accounts describe international developments or provide comparative accounts. The History of Social Work website is a unique resource, promising to provide a site for cross-national information on the development of social work. Woodroofe 1962 provides an early example of a cross-national history, describing the development of social work in England and the United States. Lees 1971 argues that social workers continued to be concerned with social reform during the second quarter of the 20th century, focusing on international social work organizations and English and American social workers. Abbott 1947 discusses American social workers who contributed to international social welfare. De Jongh 1972 and Kendall 2000 discuss the development of social work education programs, while Salomon 1937 and United Nations, Department of Social Affairs 1950 report on international surveys of social work education programs.

  • Abbott, Edith. 1947. Three American pioneers in international social welfare. The Compass 27.4: 32–35.

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    This article provides biographical sketches of Jane Addams, Grace Abbott, and Julia Lathrop that emphasize their contributions to international social welfare.

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  • de Jongh, Jan F. 1972. A retrospective view of social work education. In New themes in social work education: Proceedings of the XVI International Congress of Schools of Social Work, The Hague, Netherlands, 8–11 August 1972. 22–36. New York: International Association of Schools of Social Work.

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    This article provides an overview of the development of social work education in the 20th century, emphasizing three themes: (1) the function of schools of social work, (2) the role of universities in education for social work, and (3) the need for a variety of levels in social work education.

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  • History of Social Work.

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    History of Social Work is a website under development by Jan Steyaert, a Dutch/Flemish academic, and Kevin Harris, a UK social work practitioner. Following the success of a Dutch/Flemish website on the history of social work (a link is available on this website), it was decided to develop an international website, which currently includes short bibliographies and a select list of publications on the history of social work, including 19th-century precursors.

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  • Kendall, Katherine A. 2000. Social work education: Its origins in Europe. Alexandria, VA: Council on Social Work Education.

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    The focus of most of this volume is on developments in Britain, but a chapter reviews the beginnings of social work education in each continent, not only in Europe.

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  • Lees, Ray. 1971. Social work, 1925–1950: The case for a reappraisal. British Journal of Social Work 1.4: 371–379.

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    In this essay, Lees, a social work instructor in London, argues that the then-traditional understanding of the history of social work in the second quarter of the 20th century is incomplete because it neglects the profession’s continuing commitment to social reform. He illustrates this point by examining the development of social work in Britain, the activities of international social work organizations, and the career of American social worker Charlotte Towle (b. 1896–d. 1966).

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  • Salomon, Alice. 1937. Education for social work: A sociological interpretation based on an international survey. Zurich, Switzerland: Verlag für Recht und Gesellschaft.

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    This is a report of a worldwide survey of social work education conducted by the German social worker Alice Salomon (b. 1872–d. 1948) for the International Committee of Schools of Social Work. It includes essays on social work education in five major countries (Belgium, France, Germany, Great Britain, and the United States), shorter discussions of other regions, and a list of social work schools by country.

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  • United Nations, Department of Social Affairs. 1950. Training for social work: An international survey. Lake Success, NY: United Nations.

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    This international survey, completed under the direction of Katherine A. Kendall, includes descriptive information and an international directory of social work training and education programs.

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  • Woodroofe, Kathleen. 1962. From charity to social work in England and the United States. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul.

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    In this volume, Woodroofe presents a history of social work in England and the United States from the Victorian Era to the 1950s.

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Islam

Charity (zagat) is one of the five pillars of Sunni Islam and is a required practice of Shiʿa Islam. Islamic societies continued to emphasize charitable giving during the 20th century. Singer 2008 provides a concise introduction to the history of charity in Islam, from the time of the Prophet to the 20th century. Bonner, et al. 2003 provides essays on charity in the Middle East. Singer 2002 provides a history of a specific charitable endowment from the 16th century to the 20th century. Elfenbein 2015 reviews the writings of an influential Egyptian Islamist theorist on social welfare.

  • Bonner, Michael, Mine Ener, and Amy Singer, eds. 2003. Poverty and charity in Middle Eastern contexts. Albany: State Univ. of New York Press.

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    This volume includes essays on charity in the Middle East from the time of the Prophet (c. 600 CE) to the 20th century. A conclusion by Natalie Zemon Davis, a historian of European charity, compares charity in the Islamic Middle East to charity in Christian Europe.

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  • Elfenbein, Caleb. 2015. Full bellies and sincere intentions: Re-reading Sayyid Qutb as a theorist of human welfare. Journal of the American Academy of Religion 83.4: 1024–1057.

    DOI: 10.1093/jaarel/lfv055Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This article explores the writings of Islamist writer Sayyid Qutb (b. 1906–d. 1966) on social welfare. Qutb, an Egyptian intellectual, was influential in the Muslim Brotherhood’s opposition to the regime of General Abdul Nassar and was executed in 1966.

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  • Singer, Amy. 2002. Constructing Ottoman beneficence: An imperial soup kitchen in Jerusalem. Albany: State Univ. of New York Press.

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    This book describes the history of the Haṣṣeki Sultan ʿimaret, a soup kitchen established as a pious endowment by Hurrem Sultan (b. 1502–d. 1558), the wife of Sultan Süleyman I in the 1550s, as a way to understand Ottoman beneficence.

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  • Singer, Amy. 2008. Charity in Islamic societies. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. Press.

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    This volume provides a succinct introduction to a complex topic.

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Judaism

During the first half of the 20th century, most international social welfare activity was concerned with responding to the threats of World Wars I and II to the Jewish population of Europe. World War I disrupted the lives of many Jews, especially those living in eastern Europe, where many of the Jews of Europe lived and where the war was particularly devastating to civilian populations. During the interwar period, eastern Europe continued to be an unstable and difficult environment for many. The rise of the Nazi Party to power in Germany had catastrophic consequences for Jews, initially in Germany and eventually throughout Europe. Much of this history is described in Mazower 1998. A number of works discuss American Jewish philanthropy and the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC, aka “the Joint”). Handlin 1964 provides an accessible history of the Joint’s first fifty years. Two works focus on relief efforts during World War I. Granick 2014 discusses the work of the Joint and the Hebrew Sheltering and Immigrant Aid Society in eastern Europe and Palestine, and Tessaris 2010 focuses on the Joint’s activities in Lithuania. Beizer 2015 discusses the Joint’s activities in Russia during and after the war. Bauer 1974 and Hecht 2010 focus on the interwar period, and Bauer 1981 focuses on World War II. Kochavi 1989 and Webster 1993 discuss the Joint’s activities in the years immediately following World War II.

  • Bauer, Yehuda. 1974. My brother’s keeper: A history of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, 1929–1939. Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society of America.

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    This book is a history of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee’s efforts to assist European Jews during the 1930s.

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  • Bauer, Yehuda. 1981. American Jewry and the Holocaust: The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, 1939–1945. Detroit: Wayne State Univ. Press.

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    This book is a history of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee’s efforts during World War II to rescue Jews from the Nazis. The author finds that limited funds, a legalistic approach to refugees, and an allied war policy that aimed at victory rather than saving lives limited the organization’s efforts. However, even with the limitations, Bauer concludes that the organization did a lot of good.

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  • Beizer, Michael. 2015. Relief in time of need: Russian Jewry and the Joint, 1914–24. Bloomington, IN: Slavica.

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    This book is a history of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee’s efforts to aid Russian Jews during and after World War I, under czarist, revolutionary, and Communist governments.

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  • Granick, Jaclyn. 2014. Waging relief: The politics and logistics of American Jewish war relief in Europe and the Middle East (1914–1918). First World War Studies 5.1: 55–68.

    DOI: 10.1080/19475020.2014.901183Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This article discusses the challenges and opportunities faced by American Jewish relief organizations in providing relief to Jewish people in Europe and Palestine during World War I. The author focuses on the efforts of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee and the Hebrew Sheltering and Immigrant Aid Society.

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  • Handlin, Oscar. 1964. A continuing task: The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, 1914–1964. New York: Random House.

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    This book, by a distinguished American historian, provides a brief history of the first fifty years of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee.

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  • Hecht, Dieter J. 2010. The Jewish World Relief Conference in Carlsbad, 1920 and 1924: A Struggle for European Jewish Self-Determination. Judaica Bohemiae 45.1: 51–69.

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    This article discusses two meetings of the Jewish World Relief Conference in Carlsbad, Czechoslovakia, in the early 1920s. The conference attempted to marshal Jewish relief organizations to assist eastern European Jews after World War I.

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  • Kochavi, Arieh. 1989. British response to the involvement of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee in illegal Jewish immigration to Palestine. Immigrants and Minorities 8.3: 223–234.

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    The author argues that the British authorities were unable to prevent the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee from aiding illegal Jewish immigrants to Palestine after World War II because of the concern of American diplomats for the welfare of displaced persons.

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  • Mazower, Mark. 1998. Dark continent: Europe in the twentieth century. London: Penguin.

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    This is a general history of Europe from 1919 to 1997. Mazower emphasizes the central importance of the rise of fascism and World War II to the 20th century.

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  • Tessaris, Chiara. 2010. The war relief work of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, 1915–1918. East European Jewish Affairs 40.2: 127–144.

    DOI: 10.1080/13501674.2010.494044Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) was created early in World War I to relieve the distress experienced by Jewish war victims in eastern Europe. This article focuses on the activities of the JDC in Lithuania.

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  • Webster, Ronald. 1993. American relief and Jews in Germany, 1945–1960: Diverging perspectives. Leo Baeck Institute Year Book 38:293–321.

    DOI: 10.1093/leobaeck/38.1.293Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This article examines relations between the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (the Joint) and Jews in displaced persons (DP) camps in Germany after World War II. Webster contrasts the Joint’s “humane goals” with the goals of the traumatized DPs and the conflict within the Joint between “doves” and “hawks”—those favoring gradual adaptation of DPs to German society, and those favoring rapid assimilation, respectively.

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Reference Works

Works in this section include collections of biographies, historical dictionaries, and encyclopedias. Trattner 1986 provides biographical essays on persons who were prominent in the development of social welfare and social work in the United States. Barker 1984 provides a more limited set of biographies for English social welfare reformers. Barbuto 1999 is an encyclopedia of the American settlement house movement. Mizrahi and Davis 2008 is the current edition of the standard encyclopedia of the social work profession in the United States. Herrick and Stuart 2005 is an encyclopedia of the social welfare history of Canada, Mexico, and the United States. Healey and Link 2012 provide entries on many aspects of international social work.

  • Barbuto, Domenica M. 1999. American settlement houses and progressive social reform: An Encyclopedia of the American settlement movement. Phoenix, AZ: Onyx Press.

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    This encyclopedia provides entries on many aspects of the settlement house movement in the United States.

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  • Barker, Paul, ed. 1984. Founders of the welfare state. London: Heineman.

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    This volume includes essays on sixteen English social welfare reformers of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, with an introductory essay by historian Asa Briggs and a summarizing essay by town planning professor David Donnison. Suggestions for further reading are included. Available online.

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  • Healey, Lynne M., and Rosemary J. Link, eds. 2012. Handbook of international social work: Human rights, development, and the international profession. New York: Oxford Univ. Press.

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    This handbook of international social work includes an entry on the history of the global social work profession by Healey, which emphasizes common cross-national themes in origins, education, and efforts to gain recognition as a profession, and an entry on the International Council on Social Welfare (ICSW; originally the International Conference on Social Work), established in 1928, by Denys Correll.

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  • Herrick, John M., and Paul H. Stuart, eds. 2005. Encyclopedia of social welfare history in North America. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.

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    This reference work includes entries on the history of social welfare in Canada, Mexico, and the United States from the colonial period through the 20th century. It includes guides to archival sources and chronologies of social welfare for each of the three nations.

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  • Mizrahi, Terry, and Larry E. Davis, eds. 2008. Encyclopedia of social work. 20th ed. 4 vols. New York: Oxford Univ. Press.

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    Issued by various publishers as the Social Work Year Book between 1929 and 1960, and as the Encyclopedia of Social Work since 1965, each edition of this reference work covers social work and social welfare in the United States at the time of publication, often with biographies of historical figures and a chronology. The Social Work Year Books (1929–1960) are available online on the University of Minnesota’s UMedia Archive.

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  • Trattner, Walter I., ed. 1986. Biographical dictionary of social welfare in America. New York: Greenwood.

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    This is a collection of biographical essays on over three hundred leaders in social welfare in the United States, from the colonial era to the 20th century, written by historians and social workers. It includes a chronology of significant events in the history of American social welfare and lists of subjects by date and place of birth.

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Conference Proceedings and Journals

Conference proceedings provide a primary source for understanding the development of social welfare, as do journals. This section is divided into two sections, Conference Proceedings and Journals.

Conference Proceedings

The National Conference of Charities and Correction, later the National Conference of Social Work, was the major meeting place for social workers in the United States during the first half of the 20th century. The National Conference was the birthplace of many other organizations, including the International Conference of Social Work. The National Conference Proceedings is a unique resource, the record of the annual meeting of a major conference of social workers in North America. Bruno 1957 is a history of social work and social welfare in the United States based on the National Conference proceedings. Dr. René Sand (b. 1877–d. 1953), a Belgian physician and social worker, suggested an international conference of social workers during a visit to the 1923 National Conference of Social Work. Four meetings of the International Conference of Social Work (ICSW) were held between 1928 and 1948: the first in Paris in 1928, the second in Frankfurt-am-Main (1932), the third in London (1935), and the fourth in Atlantic City and New York (1948). Associated with the ICSW was the International Association of Schools of Social Work (IASSW), which was founded at the 1928 ICSW. The Proceedings of the first and second ICSW are available in libraries and are a rich source of information on social work in the interwar period. Kendall 1998 provides an insider’s account of the first half-century of the IASSW. Kniephoff-Knebel and Seibel 2008 reviews the IASSW’s first decade. Eilers 2007 is an appreciation of René Sand, and Seibel 2008 provides biographical sketches of the presidents of the IASSW, including Sand and Alice Salomon.

  • Bruno, Frank J. 1957. Trends in social work, 1874–1956: A history based on the Proceedings of the National Conference of Social Work. 2d ed. New York: Columbia Univ. Press.

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    Chronologically organized, this volume serves as both a history of the National Conference of Social Work and of social work and social welfare.

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  • Eilers, Kerstin. 2007. René Sand (1877–1953) and his contribution to international social work, IASSW-president, 1946–1953. Social Work and Society: International Online Journal 5.1.

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    This article provides a biographical sketch of René Sand, with a good bibliography.

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  • International Conference of Social Work. 1929. Proceedings of the First International Conference of Social Work, Paris, July 8–15, 1928. 3 vols. Paris: International Conference of Social Work.

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    This conference was one of several comprising the “International Social Welfare fortnight” held in Paris, 2–13 July 928. The chair was Dr. Alice Masarykova of Czechoslovakia. The other conferences held during this fortnight were: the International Housing and Town Planning Congress, the International Congress on Statutory and Voluntary Assistance, and the International Child Welfare Congress.

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  • International Conference of Social Work. 1933. Proceedings of the Second International Conference of Social Work, Frankfurt-am-Main, July 10–14, 1932. Karlsruhe: Verlag G. Braun.

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    The Second International Conference of Social Work was held in Frankfurt-am-Main, Germany, in conjunction with the International Conference of Schools of Social Work, 10–14 July 1932. Chaired by American social worker Mary van Kleeck, its theme was the Family and Social Work.

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  • Kendall, Katherine A. 1998. IASSW: The first fifty years, 1928–1978, and a tribute to the founders. Alexandria, VA: International Association of Schools of Social Work.

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    This is a history of the first half-decade of the International Association of Schools of Social Work, written by a participant in the organization.

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  • Kniephoff-Knebel, Anette, and Friedrich W. Seibel. 2008. Establishing international cooperation in social work education: The first decade of the International Committee of Schools of Social Work. International Social Work 51.6: 790–812.

    DOI: 10.1177/0020872808095251Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This article reviews the first three meetings of the International Conference of Social Work (1928, 1932, and 1935), the 1929 meeting of the International Committee of Schools of Social Work, and the study of social work education conducted by Alice Salomon (Salomon 1937)—all elements of international communication in social work in the 1928–1938 decade.

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  • Seibel, Friedrich W., ed. 2008. Supplement: Presidents of IASSW, 1928–2008. Social Work and Society: International Online Journal 6.1: 112–233.

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    This is a collection of biographical sketches of the presidents of the International Association of Schools of Social Work from its founding in 1928 to 2008. Included are an introductory essay by Lynn M. Healey and biographical sketches of the two individuals who served as president before 1950, Alice Salomon (president from 1928 to 1946) and René Sand (1946 to 1953).

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  • University of Michigan Division of Library Information Technology. National Conference on Social Welfare Proceedings, 1874–1982.

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    The National Conference, which had various names during its lifetime, was, during the late 19th century and first half of the 20th century, the major annual conference in the United States for persons active in state charities, charity organizations, child saving, and settlement house work. The Proceedings are available online on the University of Michigan Division of Library Information Technology website.

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Journals

A number of social work journals include articles on the history of social work and social welfare, including the British Journal of Social Work and the Social Service Review. The Survey was the leading social periodical in the United States for most of the period from 1912 to the 1940s; its issues serve as primary sources for accessing the history of social work and social welfare. Chambers 1971 is a history of the Survey and its editor from 1912 to 1952, Paul U. Kellogg. Diner 1977 is a history of the Social Service Review, the leading academic journal in American social work. Breul and Diner 1980 is an anthology of essays on social welfare history that originally appeared in the Social Service Review. Skehill 2008 is a special issue of the British Journal of Social Work on the history of social work.

  • Breul, Frank R., and Steven J. Diner, eds. 1980. Compassion and responsibility: Readings in the history of social welfare policy in the United States. Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press.

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    A collection of essays on the history of social welfare policy in the United States, from the colonial era to the Progressive era, that were originally published in the Social Service Review. The title is taken from Ralph E. Pumphrey’s essay “Compassion and Protection: Dual Motivations in Social Welfare,” which originally appeared in the journal in Social Service Review 33.1 (1959): 21–29.

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  • British Journal of Social Work. 1971–.

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    The British Journal of Social Work is the leading journal of social work in Great Britain and occasionally publishes historical articles.

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  • Chambers, Clarke A. 1971. Paul U. Kellogg and the Survey: Voices for social welfare and social justice. Minneapolis: Univ. of Minnesota Press.

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    This is a biography of Paul U. Kellogg, editor of the Survey magazine from 1912 to 1952. The Survey was, for many of these years, the most widely read social work magazine in the United States. Chambers provides an introductory chapter, “The Origins of Social Work Journalism,” which discusses social work journals published before 1912.

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  • Diner, Steven J. 1977. Scholarship in the quest for social welfare: A fifty-year history of the Social Service Review. Social Service Review 51.1: 1–66.

    DOI: 10.1086/643470Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Diner provides a narrative of the history of the Social Service Review, established by the University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration in 1927, relating it to changes in social welfare, the social work profession, and the changing editorial leadership of the journal.

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  • Skehill, Caroline, ed. 2008. Special issue: Looking back while moving forward: Historical perspectives in social work. British Journal of Social Work 38.4: 619–835.

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    This special issue on the history of social work includes articles on the history of social work in England, Finland, Germany, Scotland, Switzerland, and the United States.

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  • Social Service Review. 1927–.

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    Since its establishment in 1927 as “a quarterly journal devoted to the scientific and professional interests of social work,” Social Service Review has published articles and source material on the history of social work and social welfare. Most articles have concerned the United States and Britain during the 19th and 20th centuries, but other countries and periods are represented. An index of Volumes 1–40 (1927–1966) appears in Volume 41, no. 1 (March 1968).

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  • The Survey. 1897–1952.

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    The Survey, which was published under various names, was a leading social work periodical in the United States during the first half of the 20th century.

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Bibliographies

Askeland 2006 provides a bibliography of writing on the history of child welfare in the United States. Trattner and Achenbaum 1983 is a bibliography of social welfare history writing in the United States. Prucha 1977 and Prucha 1982 provide bibliographies on writing on Indian-white relations in the United States. Several Oxford Bibliographies in Social Work articles include sources relevant to the development of social welfare and social work between 1900 and 1950, including “History of Canadian Social Welfare,” “Poverty,” “History of Child Welfare and Child Protection in Europe,” “History of Social Work in Northern Ireland,” “History of Social Work in the Republic of Ireland,” “History of Social Work in the United Kingdom,” “Severe and Persistent Mental Illness: Adults,” “Social Justice and Social Work,” and “Women and Macro Social Work Practice.”

  • Askeland, Lori, ed. 2006. Children and youth in adoption, orphanages, and foster care: A historical handbook and guide. Westport, CT: Greenwood.

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    This volume includes original essays, documents, and bibliography, with a focus on the United States.

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  • Prucha, Francis Paul. 1977. A bibliographical guide to the history of Indian-white relations in the United States. Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press.

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    This bibliography covers works on Indian-white relations in the United States from the colonial period to 1975. Books, dissertations, journal articles, and pamphlets are included.

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  • Prucha, Francis Paul. 1982. Indian-white relations in the United States: A bibliography of works published 1975–1980. Lincoln: Univ. of Nebraska Press.

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    This volume is a supplement to Prucha 1977, providing a bibliography of works on Indian-white relations in the United States published between 1975 and 1980.

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  • Trattner, Walter I., and W. Andrew Achenbaum, eds. 1983. Social welfare in America: An annotated bibliography. Westport, CT: Greenwood.

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    Organized topically, this annotated bibliography of writings on the history of social welfare in the United States includes sections on infant and child welfare, the problems of youth, the domestic crises of adulthood, the economic woes of adulthood, and old age, in addition to sections on general works and an agenda for future research in social welfare history.

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Document Collections

Fremantle 1956 includes the texts of numerous papal encyclicals from the early days of the Roman Catholic Church to the 20th century. Bremner 1971 and Bremner 1974 are extensive collections that provide a wealth of documents on the welfare of children and youth in the United States from 1866 to 1973. Pumphrey and Pumphrey 1961 provides a selection of documents on the development of social welfare and social work in the United States from the colonial period to the mid-20th century. Leighninger 2000 is a selection of important documents that illustrate the beginnings of social work education in the United States. Livingston 2002 provides the text of US social welfare laws, most of them from the 20th century. Prucha 2000 is a collection of documents on US Indian policy. Lubove 1966 provides the text of three important English documents from the 19th and early 20th century. Sklar, et al. 1998 is a collection of documents on the social question produced by middle-class women in Germany and the United States in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

  • Bremner, Robert H., ed. 1971. Children and youth in America: A documentary history. Vol. 2, 1866–1932. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Univ. Press.

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    This volume, second in a series of three, reprints documents that trace the history of the nation’s changing provisions for its youth during the period from the end of the Civil War to the beginning of the New Deal.

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  • Bremner, Robert H., ed. 1974. Children and youth in America: A documentary history. Vol. 3, 1933–1973. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Univ. Press.

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    This volume, third in a series of three, reprints documents that trace the history of the nation’s changing provisions for its youth during the period from the Great Depression to the early 1970s.

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  • Fremantle, Anne. 1956. The papal encyclicals in their historical context. New York: Putnam.

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    A collection of papal encyclicals, “circular letters” of the Bishops of Rome addressed to Roman Catholics, this volume includes excerpts from many encyclicals. The full text of Pope Leo XIII’s Rerum Novarum on the relation between capital and labor is included, as is a list of papal encyclicals issued between 1740 and 1954.

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  • Leighninger, Leslie. 2000. Creating a new profession: The beginnings of social work education in the United States. Alexandria, VA: Council on Social Work Education.

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    In this volume, Leighninger has collected excerpts from documents that illustrate the origins and early development of social work education in the United States. The editor provides introductory comments for the documents.

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  • Livingston, Steven G. 2002. Student’s guide to landmark congressional laws on social security and welfare. Westport, CT: Greenwood.

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    A convenient compilation of major 19th- and 20th-century US laws on social welfare, with brief introductions.

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  • Lubove, Roy, ed. 1966. Social welfare in transition: Selected English documents, 1834–1909. Pittsburgh: Univ. of Pittsburgh Press.

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    Three important English documents are reprinted in this volume, with introductions by John Duffy and Samuel Mencher: the Poor Law Reports of 1834 and 1909 and the Chadwick Report on the Sanitary Condition of the Labouring Population of Great Britain (1842).

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  • Prucha, Francis Paul, ed. 2000. Documents of United States Indian policy. 3d ed. Lincoln: Univ. of Nebraska Press.

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    This book presents a collection of 19th- and 20th-century documents of US Indian policy.

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  • Pumphrey, Ralph E., and Muriel W. Pumphrey, eds. 1961. The heritage of American social work: Readings in its philosophical and institutional development. New York: Columbia Univ. Press.

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    This is a collection of primary source documents on the development of social welfare and social work in the United States from the colonial era to the 1930s.

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  • Sklar, Kathryn Kish, Anja Schüler, and Susan Strasser, eds. 1998. Social justice feminists in the United States and Germany: A Dialogue in documents, 1885–1933. Ithaca, NY: Cornell Univ. Press.

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    This is a collection of documents, including published essays and reports, by and about the social question in the United States and Germany in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, written by middle-class women involved in social reform.

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Textbooks

Listed here are several textbooks on the history of social welfare and social work in the United States that were initially published between 1950 and 1980. Most attempt to describe the evolution of social welfare and social work from the colonial era to the time of publication. Cohen 1958 relates developments to changes in American social thought. Day and Schiele 2013 has a broader focus, from prehistory to the present, but focuses on the United States. Healy 2008 is a textbook on international social work that includes a section on history. Leiby 1978 provides an institutional history, focusing on major developments in public and voluntary social welfare. Stern and Axinn 2012 and Trattner 1999 are standard texts, widely used in undergraduate and graduate social work programs in the United States.

  • Cohen, Nathan E. 1958. Social work in the American tradition: Field, body of knowledge, process, method, and point of view. New York: Holt, Rinehart, and Winston.

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    Cohen, the first president of the National Association of Social Workers, describes the evolution of the social work profession in the United States in the context of American society and social thought from the colonial period to the mid-20th century.

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  • Day, Phyllis J., and Jerome Schiele. 2013. A new history of social welfare. 7th ed. Boston: Pearson.

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    This textbook covers the development of social welfare from the earliest forms of human organization in prehistoric times to the 21st century. However, the bulk of the narrative focuses on developments in North America from the European invasion and colonization to the Obama administration, beginning in 2008.

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  • Healy, Lynn M. 2008. International social work: Professional action in an interdependent world. 2d ed. New York: Oxford Univ. Press.

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    This textbook on international social work includes a chapter on the history of the social work profession and a chapter on international professional action, each with a useful bibliography. A chronology of “Milestones in the International History of Social Work around the World” is provided in an appendix.

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  • Leiby, James. 1978. A history of social welfare and social work in the United States. New York: Columbia Univ. Press.

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    Leiby provides an account of the development of social welfare in the United States from 1815 to 1972, and of the profession of social work from the late 19th century to the 1970s, with an emphasis on state services.

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  • Stern, Mark J., and June Axinn. 2012. Social welfare: A history of the American response to need. 8th ed. Boston: Pearson.

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    This textbook covers the history of social welfare in the United States from the colonial era to the early 21st century. Originally authored by Axinn and Herman Levin, primary source documents are included at the end of each chapter.

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  • Trattner, Walter I. 1999. From poor law to welfare state: A History of social welfare in America. 6th ed. New York: Free Press.

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    A standard history of social welfare in the United States from the colonial era to the 20th century, this textbook is widely used in social work education programs.

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Anthologies

Anthologies include works that reprint essays published elsewhere and works that include essays prepared for inclusion in the work. Horden and Smith 1998 includes essays on caregiving from ancient times to the 20th century. Beier and Ocobock 2008 presents papers on vagrancy and homelessness from the 14th to the 20th century. Bock and Thane 1991 and Koven and Michel 1993 focus on women and the rise of welfare states in Europe in the first half of the 20th century. Gilchrist, et al. 2009 includes articles on youth work. Platt 1989 includes papers on the development of social welfare in three “settler societies”—Argentina, Australia, and Canada. The papers in Hills, et al. 1994 assess Britain’s Beveridge Report and its influence on social welfare systems in many countries. Van Kersbergen and Manow 2009 includes papers on religion and social welfare in Europe and the United States. The essays in Weir, et al. 1988 discuss politics and social welfare policy in the United States. McCarthy 2001 includes discussions of women and philanthropy in many nations.

  • Beier, A. L., and P. Ocobock. 2008. Cast out: Vagrancy and homelessness in global and historical perspective. Athens, OH: Ohio Univ. Press.

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    This book includes papers presented at a conference on the history of vagrancy and homelessness held at Princeton University. It includes essays on Brazil, China, England, Europe, the United States, and colonial India and Africa, from the 14th century to contemporary times.

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  • Bock, Gisela, and Pat Thane, eds. 1991. Maternity and gender policies: Women and the rise of the European welfare states, 1880s-1950s. London: Routledge.

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    This volume includes essays that explore the relationship between welfare state development and women’s movements in seven European countries: Britain, France, Norway, Sweden, Franco’s Spain, pre-Fascist and Fascist Italy, and Imperial, Weimar, and Nazi Germany.

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  • Gilchrist, Ruth, Tony Jeffs, Jean Spence, and Joyce Walker, eds. 2009. Essays in the history of youth and community work: Discovering the past. Dorset, UK: Russell House.

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    This is a collection of essays on the history of youth work, mostly in Britain, with essays on the United States and Northern Ireland.

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  • Hills, John, John Ditch, and Howard Glennerster, eds. 1994. Beveridge and social security: An international retrospective. Oxford: Clarendon.

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    This volume of papers presented at a conference on “Social Security Fifty Years after Beveridge” at the University of York in September 1992 includes papers about Beveridge and the writing of the report, as well as the impact of the report on social welfare policy in Britain, Australia, Germany, Holland, Israel, Poland, and Sweden.

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  • Horden, Perregrine, and Richard Smith, eds. 1998. The locus of care: Families, communities, institutions and the provision of welfare since antiquity. London: Routledge.

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    This collection includes papers presented at the 1992 meeting of the Society for the Social History of Medicine on “Communities, Caring, and Institutions.” An introductory chapter on care in ethnography and antiquity is followed by essays on social care in Britain, France, and Italy from the 16th to the 20th century, and essays on care for children and the elderly in Britain, China, and South Africa in the 20th century.

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  • Koven, Seth, and Sonya Michel, eds. 1993. Mothers of a new world: Maternalist politics and the origins of the welfare states. New York: Routledge.

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    Collected in this volume are papers on the influence of women’s movements on the development of social welfare programs during the early 20th century in Australia, Britain, France, Germany, Sweden, and the United States.

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  • McCarthy, Kathleen D., ed. 2001. Women, philanthropy, and civil society. Bloomington: Indiana Univ. Press.

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    This volume is a collection of papers on women and philanthropy in various countries, commissioned by the Indiana University Center for the Study of Philanthropy. Most of the papers include discussion of the role of women in philanthropy in the 20th century. Topics include women and philanthropy in Australia, Brazil, Egypt, France, India, Ireland, Norway, Palestine, and South Korea, in addition to the philanthropic activities of Jewish women in the United States.

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  • Platt, D. C. M., ed. 1989. Social welfare, 1850–1950: Australia, Argentina and Canada compared. London: Macmillan.

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    The essays in this collection were initially presented at a conference on “Social Experiments in Regions of Recent Settlement,” held at the Australian Studies Centre, University of London, 5–7 January 1985. Included are papers on charity, health, housing, and labor policy in the three countries, in addition to comparative essays on immigration, responses to the Great Depression of the 1930s, and changes in the role of the state.

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  • van Kersbergen, Kees, and Philip Manow, eds. 2009. Religion, Class Coalitions, and Welfare States. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. Press.

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    The essays in this book examine religion as a factor in welfare state development in Europe and the United States.

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  • Weir, Margaret, Ann Shola Orloff, and Theda Skocpol, eds. 1988. The politics of social policy in the United States. Princeton, NJ: Princeton Univ. Press.

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    This is a collection of essays that discuss politics and social welfare policy in the United States.

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United Kingdom

The United Kingdom of England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland enacted national poor law legislation in the 16th century and developed innovative approaches to social service, the charity organization society and the settlement houses in the 19th century. The first half of the 20th century was no less eventful. The Liberal government of 1906–1914 developed a set of social welfare reforms and the Beveridge Report of 1942 influenced post-World War II social welfare developments throughout the world. This section is divided into two sub-sections, Social Welfare, and Social Work.

Social Welfare

The Liberal government’s reforms of 1906–1914 modified the Poor Law and added important social insurance programs. The Beveridge Report of 1942 proposed a comprehensive welfare state, which the Labour government enacted following World War II. This section is divided into four sub-sections, General Treatments, the Poor Law, the Beveridge Report, and After World War II.

General Treatments

This section includes works that provide an overview of the development of public policy toward the poor in England. De Schweinitz 1942 provides an accessible one-volume history of English legislation on social welfare from the 14th to the mid-20th century. Owen 1964 provides a survey of English philanthropy from the 17th to the 20th century. Wickwar 1936 provides a history of the social services, and Gilbert 1966 focuses on the development of social insurance.

  • De Schweinitz, Karl. 1942. England’s road to social security: From the Statute of Labourers in 1349 to the Beveridge Report of 1942. Philadelphia: Univ. of Pennsylvania Press.

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    This volume provides a one-volume history of public assistance policy in England from the Statute of Labourers (1349) to the Beveridge Report (1942), by an American social work educator.

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  • Gilbert, Bentley B. 1966. The evolution of national insurance in Great Britain: The origins of the welfare state. London: Michael Joseph.

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    Gilbert describes the evolution of social welfare programs in Britain from the 1880s to the 1950s, placing particular emphasis on the Liberal Party’s social welfare legislation of 1906–1914 and the ideas of the Fabians.

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  • Owen, David. 1964. English philanthropy, 1660–1960. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Univ. Press.

    DOI: 10.4159/harvard.9780674183193Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Owen’s book is a survey of English philanthropy from the 17th to the 20th century, with particular emphasis on the 19th century.

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  • Wickwar, W. Hardy. 1936. The social services: A historical survey. London: Cobden-Sanderson.

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    This volume provides a survey of the development of various social welfare services in Britain, including poor relief; education; public health; protection against natural contingencies such as old age, premature death, and disabilities; and protection against economic contingencies such as unemployment.

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The Poor Law

The English Poor Laws, first enacted in the late 16th century, although frequently amended, stood as the primary governmental poor relief statute until the 20th century. The works listed in this section discuss the Poor Law in the early 20th century. Webb and Webb 1929 provides a detailed account of the operation of the New Poor Law to 1929. Woodroofe 1977 reviews the work of the Royal Commission on the Poor Law (1905–1909). Moore 1977 discusses philanthropy in Britain before World War I. The Workhouse is an extensive site with some material on the early 20th century.

  • Moore, Michael T. 1977. Social work and social welfare: The organization of philanthropic resources in Britain, 1900–1914. Journal of British Studies 16.2: 85–104.

    DOI: 10.1086/385705Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This article surveys philanthropic thought and practice in the Edwardian Era. Moore finds that, in addition to the Charity Organisation Societies, new movements, such as the Guilds of Help and the social welfare movement, emerged to shape social welfare reform in the early 20th century.

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  • Webb, Sindey, and Beatrice Webb. 1929. English Poor Law history, Part II: The last hundred years. 2 vols. London: Longmans, Green.

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    These volumes, Volumes 8 and 9 of the Webbs’ 11-volume English Local Government, trace the development of the English Poor Law beginning with the Royal Commission of 1832–1834 that led to the New Poor Law. The work concludes with the Local Government Act of 1929, which abolished the Poor Law guardians created by the Act of 1834 and returned control of poor relief to local governments.

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  • Woodroofe, Kathleen. 1977. The Royal Commission on the Poor Laws, 1905–09. International Review of Social History 22.2: 137–164.

    DOI: 10.1017/S0020859000005472Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    In this article, Woodroofe reviews the work and final majority and minority reports of the Royal Commission on the Poor Laws, both of which recommended a departure from the Poor Law traditions of the 19th century. Although the Liberal government did not take up the recommendations in the years before World War I, Woodroofe concludes that the report was a precursor to the development of the welfare state in the 1940s.

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  • The Workhouse: The Story of an Institution.

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    This website, developed by Peter Higgenbotham, provides a wealth of information about English workhouses from the 17th to the early 20th century. The site also includes links to the texts of the English, Irish, and Scottish Poor Laws, which provided the legal sanction for workhouses.

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The Beveridge Report

The Report of the Interdepartmental Committee on Social Insurance and Allied Services (1942), known as the Beveridge Report after the chair of the committee, Sir William Beveridge, was a blueprint for social welfare reforms carried out by the Labour government that took office after World War II. Beveridge 1942 provides the text of the report. Harris 1997 is the standard biography of Beveridge. Fennell 1990 discusses the wartime environment that gave rise to the report, and Wickwar 1943 provides a contemporary assessment of the report.

After World War II

After World War II, the Labour Party won control of Parliament in the election of 1945. Between 1945 and 1951, the Labour government enacted measures that followed the recommendations of the Beveridge Report. George 1968 reviews the development of social welfare programs to the 1960s. Lowe 1999 provides a comprehensive look at the development of the welfare state in Britain, and Timmins 1995 provides a political history of social welfare in the United Kingdom from 1942 to 1992.

  • George, Victor. 1968. Social security: Beveridge and after. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul.

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    George discusses the development of social welfare programs in Great Britain from the Beveridge Report of 1942 to the 1960s.

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  • Lowe, Rodney. 1999. The welfare state in Britain since 1945. 2d ed. Basingstoke, UK: Macmillan.

    DOI: 10.1007/978-1-349-27012-5Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This book provides a comprehensive look at the British welfare state, including theoretical models of the welfare state and policymaking, the origins of programs of employment, social security, health care, housing, and the personal social services. Threats to the welfare state resulting from economic stress in the 1970s and the conservative resurgence are also considered.

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  • Timmins, Nicholas. 1995. The five giants: A biography of the welfare state. London: HarperCollins.

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    A political history of social welfare in the United Kingdom from 1942 to 1992 by a journalist, organized around Labour and Conservative regimes. Part I discusses the writing of the Beveridge Report (1942), and Part II discusses its implementation by the postwar Labour government (to 1951).

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Social Work

In Britain, the profession of social work emerged from the work of the London Charity Organisation Society, a voluntary organization established in 1869. By World War II, psychiatric social work was established as a social work specialization. The London Charity Organisation Society (COS), founded in 1869, established a new principle in voluntary poor relief that was copied in other cities in Britain and the United States. Bosanquet 1914 provides a history of the London COS by a participant, which can be supplemented by Lewis 1995. Woodroofe 1958 examines the career of C. S. Loch, the long-time secretary of the London COS. Timms 1964 includes information on the origins and early development of psychiatric social work in Britain. Toynbee Hall, established in 1884, was the first settlement house. Its success inspired the creation of social settlements in the United States and elsewhere. Abel 1979 provides a review of the early history of the settlement.

  • Abel, Emily K. 1979. Toynbee Hall, 1884–1914. Social Service Review 53.4: 606–632.

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    This article reviews the philosophy and practice of Samuel Barnett, the founder and first warden of Toynbee Hall, the first settlement house, founded in London’s East End in 1884.

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  • Bosanquet, Helen. 1914. Social work in London, 1869 to 1912: A history of the Charity Organisation Society. London: J. Murray.

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    This history of the London Charity Organisation Society was written by a participant, Helen Bosanquet (b. 1860–d. 1926).

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  • Lewis, Jane. 1995. The voluntary sector, the state, and social work in Britain: The Charity Organisation Society/Family Welfare Association since 1869. Aldershot, UK: Edward Elgar.

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    A history of the organization founded as the Charity Organisation Society (COS) in London in 1869. Part I describes the ideals and practice of the COS in the late 19th century and new forms of charity organization in the early 20th century. Part II discusses the work of the Family Welfare Association, as the organization was called after World War II, emphasizing the development of casework technique.

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  • Timms, Noel. 1964. Psychiatric social work in Great Britain (1939–1962). London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.

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    This is a survey of psychiatric social work and psychiatric social workers in Great Britain, focusing on World War II and the postwar years. It includes a valuable chapter on the origins and development of psychiatric social work and includes information on professional associations, training, careers, work in child guidance clinics, mental hospitals, and community care, as well as the relation of psychiatric social work to the social work profession.

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  • Woodroofe, Kathleen. 1958. C. S. Loch. Social Service Review 32.4: 400–413.

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    This article provides a review of the life and career of C. S. Loch (b. 1849–d. 1923), secretary of the London Charity Organisation Society from 1875 to 1913.

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Europe

This section is divided into subsections, on General Treatments, Czechoslovakia, France, Germany, and Poland.

General Treatments

Satka and Skehill 2011 is a collection of papers on the history of social work in Europe.

Czechoslovakia

Masaryk 1980 is the autobiography of the leading Czech social worker of the interwar period.

  • Masaryk, Alice Garrigue. 1980. Alice Garrigue Masaryk, 1879–1966: Her life as recorded in her own words and by her friends. Edited by Ruth Cooper Mitchell and Linda Vlasak. Pittsburgh: Univ. of Pittsburgh Center for International Studies.

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    This is an autobiography of Alice Masaryk (b. 1879–d. 1966), founder of the Czechoslovakian Higher School of Social Work (1918) and president of the first International Conference of Social Work (1928).

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France

France developed a philosophical basis for a nonsocialist welfare state in the 1890s. Hayward 1959, Hayward 1961, and Béland 2009 discuss the idea of solidarity. Bourgeois 1896 provides the classic statement of the idea. Horne 2002 discusses the Musée Social, a French institution that developed social policy proposals in the early 20th century. Dutton 2002 provides an account of the origins of the French welfare state.

  • Béland, Daniel. 2009. Back to bourgeois? French social policy and the idea of solidarity. International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy 29.9–10: 445–456.

    DOI: 10.1108/01443330910986243Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Béland discusses the idea of solidarity as the philosophical basis for social welfare measures in the French Third Republic (1870–1940), and the revival of the idea after World War II.

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  • Bourgeois, Léon. 1896. Soladarité. Les classiques des sciences sociales. Paris: Armand Colin et Cie.

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    This statement of the principles of solidarity was written by Léon Bourgeois, the first Radical prime minister of France (1895–1896). It charted a middle ground between individualism and socialism and provided the ideological basis for the development of the French welfare state. Bourgeois, who favored international organization before World War I, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1920.

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  • Dutton, Paul V. 2002. Origins of the French welfare state: The struggle for social reform in France, 1914–1947. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. Press.

    DOI: 10.1017/CBO9780511497018Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A study of the evolution of social welfare policy in France from World War I to the aftermath of World War II. Dutton discusses the influence of French ideas of solidarity and mutual aid and the influence of German and British social insurance programs.

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  • Hayward, J. E. S. 1959. Solidarity: The social history of an idea in nineteenth century France. International Review of Social History 4.2: 261–284.

    DOI: 10.1017/S0020859000001371Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Hayward traces the development of the idea of solidarity from the French Revolution of 1789 through the 19th century. Solidarism, which he suggests initially balanced an “individualistically-conceived liberty,” would become the ideological basis for the French welfare state.

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  • Hayward, J. E. S. 1961. The official philosophy of the French Third Republic: Leon Bourgeois and solidarism. International Review of Social History 6.1: 19–48.

    DOI: 10.1017/S0020859000001759Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This article provides a discussion of the origins, doctrine, and agenda of solidarism, as set forth in Léon Bourgeois’s Soladarité (1896).

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  • Horne, Janet R. 2002. A social laboratory for modern France: The Musée Social and the rise of the welfare state. Durham, NC: Duke Univ. Press.

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    This book is a history of the Musée Social, a private French institution established to study social questions and make recommendations regarding public policy. The Musée focused on urban planning, public health, social insurance, and other topics. Horne concludes that its studies in the early 20th century were precursors to modern social welfare policy in France.

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Germany

Germany implemented its first social insurance programs in the 1880s. Eghigian 2000 provides a history of the implementation of German social insurance programs. Hong 2005 explores the recent historiography of the development of the German welfare state. Salomon 1983 and Salomon 2004 are German- and English-language versions of the autobiography of the leading early-20th-century German social worker.

  • Eghigian, Greg. 2000. Making security social: Disability, insurance, and the birth of the social entitlement state in Germany. Ann Arbor: Univ. of Michigan Press.

    DOI: 10.3998/mpub.16716Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    In this history of the German social security system, Eghigian devotes most attention to the period from 1884 to 1933, which he considers the “pivotal moment” in the emergence of the welfare state (p. 21). Germany implemented sickness and accident insurance in 1884 and old age insurance in 1889.

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  • Hong, Young-San. 2005. Neither singular nor alternative: Narratives of modernity and welfare in Germany, 1870–1945. Social History 30.2: 133–153.

    DOI: 10.1080/03071020500082645Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This article explores the recent historiography of the development of the German welfare state between German unification and World War II. Concepts of modernity, culture, and normalization and otherness influence much of this recent work.

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  • Salomon, Alice. 1983. Charakter is Schicksal: Lebenserinnerungen. Basel: Beltz.

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    This is a German translation of the autobiography of Alice Salomon (Salomon 2004, in this section).

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  • Salomon, Alice. 2004. Character is destiny: The autobiography of Alice Salomon. Edited by Andrew Lees. Ann Arbor: Univ. of Michigan Press.

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    Alice Salomon (b. 1872–d. 1948), a founder of the social work profession in Germany, wrote her autobiography in English while she was living in exile in the United States after 1937. Unpublished during her lifetime, the autobiography was discovered in 1981, translated into German and published in 1983, and then published in English in this edition. It includes an introduction by the editor.

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Poland

During the interwar period, Polish Jews struggled with the best way to care for dependent children. Lifton 1988 is a biography of Janusz Korczak, a Polish author and educator. Meir 2009 discusses Jewish orphanages in the early 20th century, and Martin 2015 discusses the work of Korczak and his associate Stefania Wilczyńska.

Africa

Only scattered material is available on the development of social welfare and social work in Africa between 1900 and 1950. Martínez-Antonio 2014 describes the introduction of the Red Cross/Red Crescent Society to Morocco in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Healy-Clancy 2012 discusses the contributions of women’s organizations to the African nationalist movement in South Africa. Seekings 2008 explores the contributions of the Carnegie Commission of Inquiry into the Poor White Problem in South Africa (1929–1932) to the development of social services, and Digby 2012 reviews the work of the Gluckman National Health Services Commission in South Africa during World War II.

  • Digby, Anne. 2012. Evidence, encounters and effects of South Africa’s reforming Gluckman National Health Services Commission, 1942–1944. South African Historical Journal 64.2: 187–205.

    DOI: 10.1080/02582473.2011.651623Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This article reviews the information on South Africa’s health-care system gathered in the early 1940s by South Africa’s National Health Services Commission, headed by Dr. Henry Gluckman (b. 1893–d. 1987). The commission recommended reforms that would have resulted in an integrated national health-care system, but the author contends that provincial governments insisted on retaining control of health care rather than permit a national system.

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  • Healy-Clancy, Meghan. 2012. Women and the problem of family in early African nationalist history and historiography. South African Historical Journal 64.3: 450–471.

    DOI: 10.1080/02582473.2012.667830Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The author argues that African women’s organizations played an important part in the development of nationalist thinking among Africans in South Africa. Although they focused on traditionally women’s topics—home and family—these organizations promoted a new understanding of family, community, and nation that informed the emerging nationalist movement of the first half of the 20th century.

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  • Martínez-Antonio, Francisco Javier. 2014. Resilient modernisation: Morocco’s agency in Red Cross projects from Hassan I to the Rif Republic, 1886–1926. Asclepio 66.1: 1–11.

    DOI: 10.3989/asclepio.2014.06Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Martínez-Antonio discusses the creation of a Red Cross/Red Crescent Society as a Moroccan modernization project.

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  • Seekings, Jeremy. 2008. The Carnegie Commission and the backlash against welfare state-building in South Africa, 1931–1937. Journal of South African Studies 34.3: 515–537.

    DOI: 10.1080/03057070802259688Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    By the late 1930s, the Republic of South Africa boasted a well-developed welfare state, although its benefits were available only to whites and “coloured” people, or persons of mixed race. Seekings assesses the contribution of the Carnegie Commission of Inquiry into the Poor White Problem in South Africa (1929–1932) to the development of social welfare in South Africa and finds that its role has been exaggerated by other historians.

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Asia

Desai 2005 discusses the development of social welfare services in an Indian province in the late 19th and early 20th centuries under indirect British rule. Van Bergen 2014 discusses the Dutch East Indies Red Cross in the interwar period. Ratchatapattanakul 2013 discusses external pressures encouraging Siam’s government to introduce public health measures. Xia and Guo 2002 traces the development of social work education in China before 1952. Jung and Petersen 2014 reviews the history of Islamic charitable organization in Jordan.

  • Desai, Manali. 2005. Indirect British rule, state formation, and welfarism in Kerala, India, 1860–1957. Social Science History 29.3: 457–488.

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    This article examines the development of social welfare services under indirect British rule in Kerala before the independence of India (1947) and the impact of this development on state welfare programs developed after independence.

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  • Jung, Dietrich, and Marie Juul Petersen. 2014. “We think that this job pleases Allah”: Islamic charity, social order, and the construction of modern Muslim selfhoods in Jordan. International Journal of Middle East Studies 46.2: 285–306.

    DOI: 10.1017/S0020743814000117Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This article, which is based on fieldwork in Jordanian charitable organizations, includes a review of the history of Jordanian charitable organizations, which predate the creation of the Kingdom of Jordan in 1946.

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  • Ratchatapattanakul, Nipaporn. 2013. Public health in modern Siam: Elite thinking, external pressure, and popular attitudes. Journal of the Siam Society [Bangkok] 101:177–192.

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    This article finds that public health measures prior to 1932 were undertaken by the royal family and other elites under a Buddhist idea of achieving merit through charity; in the early 20th century, however, pressure from Chinese and European trading partners suggested the idea that public health was a responsibility of the state.

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  • van Bergen, Leo. 2014. On the “war track” and “peace work”: The Dutch East Indies Red Cross between the colonial wars and the Second World War. Asclepio 66.1: 1–14.

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    This article describes the efforts of the Dutch East Indies Red Cross to maintain preparedness for assistance in wartime during an era of peace, between the Dutch victory in the colonial wars (1907) and the World War II Japanese invasion in 1942, preparations that were “too little, too late.”

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  • Xia, Xueluan, and Jing Guo. 2002. Historical development and characteristics of social work in today’s China. International Journal of Social Welfare 11:254–262.

    DOI: 10.1111/1468-2397.00222Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This article provides a discussion of social work in China from its introduction in 1922 to the present. The first section describes the development of social work to 1952, when the new Communist government abolished both sociology and social work.

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Canada

This section is divided into two subsections, Social Welfare and Social Work.

Social Welfare

The nation of Canada resulted from the British North America Act of 1867, which created a confederation of provinces centered on Canada East (Quebec) and Canada West (Ontario), which had formed the pre-confederation Province of Canada. Between 1900 and 1950, Canadian social welfare policy was transformed from a residual system dominated by religious charities to a nascent welfare state. Critical influences included the two world wars and the Great Depression, but religious motivations, industrialization, and urbanization were also important. Guest 1980 provides a general history of Canadian social welfare. Snell 1996 discusses the response of older Canadians to changes in the nation’s aging policy. Struthers 1994 reviews the development of social welfare in Ontario, Canada’s largest and most prosperous province. Goldsborough 2011 describes the development of the Winnipeg Foundation, a secular nongovernmental charity. Christie and Gauvreau 1996 argues that a Protestant reform network was critical in the creation of social welfare policy in the interwar period. Wars provided critical impetuses for change: Morton 1999 discusses the activities of the Patriotic Fund in Montreal during World War I, and Morton and Wright 1987 discusses programs for veterans of World War I. Marsh 1975, originally published in 1943, provided a blueprint for post-World War II social welfare. Shewell 2004 is a history of Canadian Indian policy and administration. Graham 1996 analyzes Canadian historical writing on social welfare.

  • Christie, Nancy, and Michael Gauvreau. 1996. A full-orbed Christianity: The Protestant churches and social welfare in Canada, 1900–1940. Montreal: McGill-Queen’s Univ. Press.

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    This study focuses on efforts of the Methodist and Presbyterian churches to achieve “the complete Christianization of Canadian life” (p. xiii). The authors conclude that a reform network dominated by Protestant churches was “the central pillar supporting the creation in Canada of social policy” (p. 247).

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  • Goldsborough, Gordon. 2011. A remedy for wooden legs and dead hands: The early years of the Winnipeg Foundation. Manitoba History 66:39–45.

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    This article provides an account of the development of the Winnipeg Foundation, from its founding in 1921 to 1951. The foundation established the Winnipeg Community Chest in 1922 and supported the University of Manitoba School of Social Work, health care, and child welfare, among other social programs.

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  • Graham, John R. 1996. An analysis of Canadian social welfare historical writing. Social Service Review 90.1: 140–158.

    DOI: 10.1086/604169Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    In this discussion of writing on Canadian social welfare, Graham identifies three stages: (1) to 1970, accounts that demonstrate sympathy for the motives of social welfare leaders; (2) 1970–1981, more critical accounts, influenced by the new social history; and (3) since 1980, accounts that are more diverse in topics and interpretations.

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  • Guest, Dennis. 1980. The emergence of social security in Canada. Vancouver: Univ. of British Columbia Press.

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    The themes in this history of the development of Canadian social welfare from the colonial period to the 1970s include the shift from a residual to an institutional concept of social welfare, the development of a “social minimum,” the redefinition of the causes of poverty, the growth of participatory citizenship, and the influence of the British North America Act (1867), which gave Canada a federal political system.

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  • Marsh, Leonard. 1975. Report on social security for Canada. Toronto: Univ. of Toronto Press.

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    This report, first submitted to the Canadian government’s Advisory Committee on Reconstruction in 1943, provided a blueprint for the development of social welfare services in Canada after World War II. The 1975 University of Toronto Press edition includes an introduction by Marsh, which puts the report in the context of prewar and postwar developments.

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  • Morton, Desmond. 1999. Entente cordiale? La Section montréalaise du fonds patriotique canadien, 1914–1923: Le bénévolat de guerre à Montréal. Revue d’histoire de l’Amérique française 53.2: 207–246.

    DOI: 10.7202/005553arSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This article describes the activities of Montréal’s Patriotic Fund, a private charity that provided assistance to soldiers’ families, during World War I. In French.

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  • Morton, Desmond, and Glenn Wright. 1987. Winning the second battle: Canadian veterans and the return to civilian life, 1915–1930. Toronto: Univ. of Toronto Press.

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    This history of the adjustment of Canadian veterans to civilian life after World War I focuses on organizations of veterans and the shaping of the Canadian government’s veterans programs. The authors conclude that the veterans’ movement laid the groundwork for “a more generous, humane, and caring society” (p. 225) later in the 20th century.

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  • Shewell, Hugh. 2004. “Enough to keep them alive”: Indian welfare in Canada, 1873–1965. Toronto: Univ. of Toronto Press.

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    The author describes the development and administration of federal Indian policy in Canada from the 19th century to the mid-20th century. He divides the history into periods of subjugation (1873–1944) and the emergence of an Indian welfare bureaucracy (1945–1960), followed by a transitional period (1959–1965).

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  • Snell, James C. 1996. The citizen’s wage: The state and the elderly in Canada, 1900–1951. Toronto: Univ. of Toronto Press.

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    This book examines the response of older Canadians and their families to changes in public provision for the elderly in the first half of the 20th century, a period in which residential institutions for the aged were created and then replaced by public pensions, mandatory retirement was introduced, and older Canadians organized politically.

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  • Struthers, James. 1994. The limits of affluence: Welfare in Ontario, 1920–1970. Toronto: Univ. of Toronto Press.

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    This volume presents a history of social welfare in Ontario between 1920 and 1970, years in which the province experienced “abundance and rapid economic growth” (p. 3).

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Social Work

The profession of social work developed in Canada during the first half of the 20th century. Beginning in urban areas, social workers replaced volunteers, who were often motivated by their religious faith, in the provision of assistance to the poor. Pitsula 1979 and Graham 1992 describe the professionalization of charitable activity in Toronto. Kennissen and Lundy 2011 reviews the 20th-century history of the Canadian social work profession, and Moffatt 2001 explores the construction of social work knowledge in the interwar period. Samson 2014 explores the participation of three female-dominated professions, including social work, in the implementation of Alberta’s eugenic sterilization policy. Struthers 1983 explores the influence of gender in salaries and work assignments in Canadian social work. Biographies of early social workers include Rooke and Schnell 1987, on Charlotte Whitton, and Morton 2014, on Jane B. Wisdom. Struthers 1981 discusses Whitton’s role in the formulation of Canadian public assistance policy during the Great Depression.

  • Graham, John R. 1992. The Haven, 1878–1930: A Toronto charity’s transition from a religious to a professional ethos. Histoire Social/Social History 35.50: 283–306.

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    This article provides an account of The Haven, a social agency founded by evangelical Protestants in 1878, which became dominated by professional social work after World War I.

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  • Kennissen, Therese, and Coleen Lundy. 2011. One hundred years of social work: A history of the profession in English Canada, 1900–2000. Waterloo, ON: Wilfred Laurier Univ. Press.

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    This history of the social work profession in Anglophone Canada provides an account of the development of the profession from the 1880s to the first decade of the 21st century.

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  • Moffatt, Ken. 2001. A poetics of social work: Personal agency and social transformation in Canada, 1920–1939. Toronto: Univ. of Toronto Press.

    DOI: 10.3138/9781442670402Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Examines how knowledge was constructed in social work during the interwar period based on case studies of four prominent Canadian social workers: E. J. Urwick, Dorothy Livesay, Carl Addington Dawson, and Charlotte Whitton.

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  • Morton, Suzanne. 2014. Wisdom, justice, and charity: Canadian social welfare through the life of Jane B. Wisdom. Toronto: Univ. of Toronto Press.

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    This book is a biography of pioneer Canadian social worker Jane B. Wisdom (b. 1884–d. 1975), who was involved in the social work profession during its formative years.

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  • Pitsula, James. 1979. The emergence of social work in Toronto. Journal of Canadian Studies 14.1: 35–42.

    DOI: 10.3138/jcs.14.1.35Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Pitsula finds that by 1921, paid social work had taken over the management of poor relief from volunteers.

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  • Rooke, P. T., and R. L. Schnell. 1987. No bleeding heart: Charlotte Whitton: A feminist on the Right. Vancouver: Univ. of British Columbia Press.

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    This book is a biography of Charlotte Whitton (b. 1896–d. 1975), a leading Canadian social worker before World War II who became the conservative mayor of Ottawa after the war, the first woman to serve as mayor of a major Canadian city.

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  • Samson, Amy. 2014. Eugenics in the community: Gendered professions and eugenic sterilization in Alberta, 1928–1972. Canadian Bulletin of Medical History 31.1: 143–163.

    DOI: 10.3138/cbmh.31.1.143Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This article discusses the implementation of Alberta’s Sexual Sterilization Act (1928–1972) by three female-dominated professions: teaching, public health nursing, and social work.

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  • Struthers, James. 1981. A profession in crisis: Charlotte Whitton and Canadian social work in the 1930s. Canadian Historical Review 62.2: 169–185.

    DOI: 10.3138/CHR-062-02-02Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The author argues that Charlotte Whitton, executive director of the Canadian Council on Child and Family Welfare, influenced the development of a public welfare system in 1930s Canada that provided employment for social workers but that failed to serve the poor.

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  • Struthers, James. 1983. “Lord give us men”: Women and social work in English Canada, 1918 to 1953. Historical Papers 18.1: 96–112.

    DOI: 10.7202/030901arSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This article explores the origins of a gendered division of labor in Canadian social work, in which women served in client-facing positions and men served as administrators and educators.

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Latin America

Ramacciotti 2015 explores cross-national influence in social welfare policy, using Argentine references to Chilean and Peruvian occupational accident legislation as a case example. Ehrich 2005 describes the work of a child-saving organization in Uruguay. Guy 1998 discusses conflicts between child welfare advocates in the pan-American child rights movement.

  • Ehrich, Christine. 2005. To serve the nation: Juvenile mothers, paternalism, and state formation in Uruguay, 1910–1930. Social Science History 29.3: 489–518.

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    The article describes the work of the Asociacíon La Bonne Garde, a state-subsidized private organization that housed pregnant juveniles and placed them as domestic servants in the homes of the well-to-do.

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  • Guy, Donna J. 1998. The politics of Pan-American cooperation: Maternalist feminism and the child rights movement, 1913–1960. Gender & History 10.3: 449–469.

    DOI: 10.1111/1468-0424.00113Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This article explores conflicts between maternalist feminist campaigners for child welfare from the United States and Latin American countries in the early and mid-20th century.

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  • Ramacciotti, Karina Inés. 2015. Transnational dialogues between specialist and institutional knowledge in occupational accident legislation, first half of the twentieth century. História, Ciências, Saúde-Mangainhos 22.1: 1–19.

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    This article explores the influence of the experience of Chile and Peru in the development of occupational accident legislation in Argentina in the first half of the 20th century. While the experience of the United States and European nations had some influence, the author argues that the experience of neighboring Latin American nations was also relevant in social welfare policy development.

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United States

The United States initiated a national program of social welfare during the first half of the 20th century, much of which was delegated to state governments. Private philanthropy grew as well, resulting in the development of influential philanthropic foundations and federated fund-raising organizations that specialized in spreading the donor pool widely. Social work, a primarily volunteer activity in the 19th century, became a full-time occupation and, by midcentury, a unified profession. Ethnic and racial groups within the American population did not always participate fully in the changes in the social welfare system; many developed separate or parallel systems of mutual help. This section is divided into ten subsections, General Treatments, African Americans, Asian Americans, Jewish Americans, Mexican Americans, Native Americans, Philanthropy, Puerto Rico, Social Welfare, and Social Work.

General Treatments

Included in this section are works that provide coverage of the development of social welfare and social work in the United States. Katz 1986 provides an overview of social welfare history from the early 19th century to the 1980s. Abramovitz 1988 covers much the same ground from the perspective of the treatment of women by the social welfare system. Bremner 1956 describes America’s awakening to poverty as a social problem beginning in the late 19th century. Ehrenreich 1985 reviews the intersecting stories of social welfare and social work from the 1890s to the 1980s. Abrams and Curran 2004 examines the intersection of maternalism, professionalization, and issues of race and gender in the history of social work. Piven and Cloward 1971 argue that public welfare has functioned to control the poor in order to insure a supply of low-wage labor. Trattner 1983 includes essays by American historians attempting to assess this assertion. The Social Welfare History Project is a rich website with a wealth of information on the development of social welfare and social work in the United States from the colonial era to the present.

  • Abramovitz, Mimi. 1988. Regulating the lives of women: Social welfare policy from colonial times to the present. Boston: South End Press.

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    This book provides a history of women and social welfare in the United States from the colonial period to the 1980s.

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  • Abrams, Laura S., and Laura Curran. 2004. Between women: Gender and social work in historical perspective. Social Service Review 78.3: 429–447.

    DOI: 10.1086/421920Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The authors review recent writing on gender and the history of social work and describe three major themes: professionalism, maternalist foundations for social welfare policy and social work practice, and the intersection of race and gender. They conclude that these three themes provide an agenda for future research in the history of social welfare and social work.

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  • Bremner, Robert H. 1956. From the depths: The discovery of poverty in the United States. New York: New York Univ. Press.

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    Provides an account of how Americans began to identify poverty as a social problem, beginning in the late 19th century.

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  • Ehrenreich, John H. 1985. The altruistic imagination: A history of social work and social policy in the United States. Ithaca, NY: Cornell Univ. Press.

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    This is a history of social work and social reform in the United States from the Progressive Era to the 1980s.

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  • Katz, Michael B. 1986. In the shadow of the poorhouse: A social history of welfare in America. New York: Basic Books.

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    This book, a synthesis of writing on the history of social welfare in the United States, examines the development of social welfare in the United States from the early 19th century to the 1980s. Major themes include the development of the poorhouse and the support provided by charity organization societies, the development of new approaches from the 1890s to the New Deal, and the War on Poverty and the War on Welfare in the late 20th century.

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  • Piven, Frances Fox, and Richard A. Cloward. 1971. Regulating the poor: The functions of Public welfare. New York: Vintage.

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    In this review of the history of relief efforts in Europe and the United States since the 16th century, Piven and Cloward argue that the function of relief in capitalist societies is to provide a source of cheap labor by controlling the poor. An updated edition was published in 1993.

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  • The Social Welfare History Project.

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    This website was developed by Jack Hansen, Ph.D., and is now hosted by the Virginia Commonwealth University Libraries. The Social Welfare History Project includes a wide variety of original and reprinted articles on all aspects of the history of social welfare and social work in the United States.

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  • Trattner, Walter I., ed. 1983. Social welfare or social control? Some historical reflections on regulating the poor. Knoxville: Univ. of Tennessee Press.

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    Original essays by five American historians—John K. Alexander, Raymond A. Mohl, Muriel W. Pumphrey, Ralph E. Pumphrey, and W. Andrew Achenbaum—assess the argument advanced by Piven and Cloward 1971 based on their research on 18th-, 19th-, and 20th-century public welfare programs. The volume includes a comment by James Leiby and a response by Piven and Cloward.

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African Americans

In the first half of the 20th century, American society was segregated by race, in the North as well as the South. Historians have examined African American participation in social welfare organizations and the difficulties of advocacy in a segregated environment. Kramer 2006 examines the program of New York City’s White Rose Mission, an agency that assisted African American women who came to the city to work, at the start of the century. Bynum 2008 discusses the influence of the Social Gospel on Reverdy Ransom, an African American clergyman in the early 20th century. Carlton-LaNey 1994 and Carlton-LaNey 2001 provide collections of original articles on many aspects of Progressive Era African American social welfare; Carlton-LaNey 1999 is a summary statement of the heritage of Progressive Era African American social welfare leaders. Barrow 2007 discusses one African American leader’s critique of the New Deal. O’Donnell 2001 discusses the career of an African American Chicago social worker. Hamilton and Hamilton 1997 contends that civil rights organizations pursued a dual agenda of equal rights and social welfare during the New Deal and after.

  • Barrow, Frederica H. 2007. Forrester Blanchard Washington and his advocacy for African Americans in the New Deal. Social Work 52.3: 201–208.

    DOI: 10.1093/sw/52.3.201Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Forrester Blanchard Washington (b. 1887–d. 1963) was an African American social worker and social work educator. This article focuses on his work as Director of Negro Work for the Federal Emergency Relief Administration in 1934, his critique of New Deal policies, and his resignation from the federal government.

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  • Bynum, Cornelius. 2008. “An equal chance in the race for life”: Reverdy C. Ransom, socialism, and the Social Gospel movement, 1890–1920. Journal of African American History 93.1: 1–20.

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    This article reviews the career of Reverdy C. Ransom (b. 1861–d. 1959), a bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal Church and a civil rights activist, tracing his involvement with the Social Gospel and institutional church movements in the Progressive Era.

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  • Carlton-LaNey, Iris. 1999. African American social work pioneers’ response to need. Social Work 44.4: 311–321.

    DOI: 10.1093/sw/44.4.311Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    In this article, Carlton-LaNey discusses the activities and motivation of African American social work leaders during the Progressive Era.

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  • Carlton-LaNey, Iris, ed. 1994. Special issue: The legacy of African-American leadership in social welfare. Journal of Sociology and Social Welfare 21.1.

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    This special issue of the Journal of Sociology and Social Welfare includes nine articles on various aspects of African American social welfare history, including social work education for African Americans, programs of voluntary agencies, and community organization in African American communities, most from the Progressive Era. The issue concludes with an article on teaching African American social welfare history by Wilma Peebles-Wilkins.

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  • Carlton-LaNey, Iris, ed. 2001. African-American leadership: An empowerment tradition in social welfare. Washington, DC: NASW Press.

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    This book includes sixteen articles on the history of African American social welfare, in settlement houses, rural and urban areas, public welfare agencies, social work education, and other settings. Most of the articles are on the Progressive Era.

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  • Hamilton, Dona Cooper, and Charles V. Hamilton. 1997. The dual agenda: Race and social welfare policies of civil rights organizations. New York: Columbia Univ. Press.

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    The authors, a social worker and a political scientist, argue that since the Great Depression, civil rights organizations have pursued a dual agenda, campaigning for equal treatment for African Americans and improvements in the social welfare system.

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  • Kramer, Steve. 2006. Uplifting our “downtrodden sisterhood”: Victoria Earle Matthews and New York City’s White Rose Mission, 1896–1907. Journal of African American History 71.3: 243–266.

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    This article describes the work of the White Rose Mission, founded by African American writer and activist Victoria Earle Matthews (b. 1861–d. 1907) in 1897. The mission worked with young African American women who had recently arrived in New York, assisting their adaptation to the city.

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  • O’Donnell, Sandra M. 2001. “The right to work is the right to live”: The social work and political and civic activism of Irene McCoy Gaines. Social Service Review 75.3: 456–476.

    DOI: 10.1086/322223Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    O’Donnell uses the career of Chicago African American social worker and civic leader Irene McCoy Gaines (b. 1892–d. 1964) to illuminate social conditions for African Americans and the social service system in Chicago in the first half of the 20th century. Gaines was a social worker and a leader in women’s clubs and African American community organizations.

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Asian Americans

For many Asian Americans, citizenship rights were cloudy during the first half of the 20th century as a result of late-19th-century immigration legislation restrictions that were affirmed by the Immigration Act of 1924. These restrictions made the citizenship status of even native-born Asian Americans precarious and no doubt facilitated the relocation of Japanese Americans to internment camps during World War II. Urban 2007 reviews the work of a social work agency, the San Francisco International Institute, with Asian immigrants and first-generation Asian Americans; Park 2008 and Park 2013 examine the participation of social workers and social work agencies in the World War II internment of the Japanese Americans.

  • Park, Yoosun. 2008. Facilitating injustice: Tracing the role of social workers in the World War II internment of Japanese Americans. Social Service Review 82.3: 447–483.

    DOI: 10.1086/592361Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This article discusses the activities of social workers and social work agencies in the World War II internment of Japanese Americans. Most social workers acquiesced in the internment of persons of Japanese birth and Japanese descent, including American citizens, during World War II, and social work agencies, including the federal Bureau of Public Assistance and state public assistance agencies, assisted in the relocation process.

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  • Park, Yoosun. 2013. The role of the YWCA the World War II internment of Japanese Americans: A cautionary tale for social work. Social Service Review 87.2: 477–524.

    DOI: 10.1086/671987Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This article analyzes the Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA) program in relation to the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II. Although the YWCA was a uniquely antiracist social service organization, the author finds that the organization accepted and participated in the federal government’s relocation program.

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  • Urban, Andrew. 2007. Rooted in the Americanization zeal: The San Francisco International Institute, race, and settlement work, 1918–1939. Chinese America: History and Perspectives 20:95–101.

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    This article discusses the work of the San Francisco International Institute, established in 1918, with Asian immigrants and first-generation Asian Americans in San Francisco in the 1920s and 1930s. Although the institute was sympathetic to the aspirations of its clients, it promoted a narrow and racialized understanding of assimilation.

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Jewish Americans

Jewish communities in the United States have supported a variety of social service programs, directed toward both local activities and international social welfare. Berger 1976 provides an overview of these efforts from the 18th to the 20th century. Bauman 2003 discusses women’s social service organizations in the 19th and 20th centuries. Goren 1970 describes the organization of the Kehillah, a traditional form of community organization, in New York in the early 20th century as a way to organize the Jewish community. Moore 1978 discusses the replacement of the Kehillah by the Jewish Federation of New York City, a federated fund-raising organization. Raphael 1978 describes the operation of the Jewish Federation of Columbus, Ohio.

  • Bauman, Mark. 2003. Southern Jewish women and their social service organizations. Journal of American Ethnic History 22.3: 34–78.

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    This article examines the history of Southern Jewish women’s social service organizations in the southern United States during the 19th and 20th centuries. Despite some regional differences, Bauman finds that Jewish women’s participation in organizations in the South was similar to organizations in other parts of the nation.

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  • Berger, Graenum. 1976. American Jewish communal service, 1776–1976: From traditional self-help to increasing dependence on government support. Jewish Social Studies 38.3–4: 225–246.

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    Berger traces the development of Jewish communal services in the United States to the 20th century. A major theme is the secularization of programming as the result of increasing financial dependence on nonsectarian funding organizations and on government.

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  • Goren, Arthur A. 1970. New York Jews and the quest for community: The Kehillah experiment, 1908–1922. New York: Columbia Univ. Press.

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    The author describes an experiment in establishing a Kehillah, a traditional form of community organization, in New York City during the early 20th century as a means to promote the organization of the city’s Jewish community. The Kehillah was in widespread use in Eastern European Jewish communities.

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  • Moore, Deborah Dash. 1978. From Kehillah to federation: The communal functions of federated philanthropy in New York City, 1917–1933. American Jewish History 68.2: 131–146.

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    This article discusses the creation and first fifteen years of the New York Jewish Federation, a federated fund-raising organization dominated by wealthy donors that replaced the New York Kehillah, which she views as a democratic organization dominated by the working-class immigrant population.

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  • Raphael, Marc Lee. 1978. Federated philanthropy in an American Jewish community, 1904–1948. American Jewish History 68.2: 147–162.

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    This article discusses the creation and first half century of the Jewish Federation of Columbus, Ohio.

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Mexican Americans

Although the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo (1848) guaranteed US citizenship rights to Mexican citizens who chose to remain in territories ceded to the United States, Mexican Americans in the Southwest and elsewhere in the United States were subject to discrimination. During the recession of 1920–1921 and the Great Depression of 1929–1939, Mexican nationals, including some US citizens, repatriated to Mexico, sometimes voluntarily, but sometimes under coercion from local and federal agencies, including social service agencies. Kiser and Silverman 1973 provides an overview of Mexican repatriation during the depression. Betten and Mohl 1973 examines discrimination and repatriation pressures in northwestern Indiana. Valdés 1988 examines the effect of work, government and private agencies, and Mexican revolutionary nationalism on repatriation in Michigan. Rhinehart and Kreneck 1988 examines the personal decisions on the part of Mexicans in Houston, Texas, involved in the decision to repatriate. Two works take a longer view: McWhorter 2011 discusses the services of Houston settlement houses to Mexican Americans and others throughout the 20th century, and Mendieta 2012 tells the story of a northwestern Indiana self-help society from 1924 to 1956.

  • Betten, Neil, and Raymond A. Mohl. 1973. From discrimination to repatriation: Mexican life in Gary, Indiana, during the Great Depression. Pacific Historical Review 42.3: 370–388.

    DOI: 10.2307/3637683Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Mexican immigration to the United States increased after the 1924 Immigration Act restricted immigration from southern and eastern Europe. This article discusses the experiences of Mexican workers in northwestern Indiana in the 1920s and early 1930s. In the early years of the Great Depression, pressure for repatriation to Mexico increased. Repatriation was voluntary until May 1932, when public assistance agencies pressed their Mexican clients to repatriate.

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  • Kiser, George, and David Silverman. 1973. Mexican repatriation during the Great Depression. Journal of Mexican American History 3.1: 139–164.

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    This article provides an overview of Mexican repatriation during the Great Depression, based on records in the National Archives, newspaper articles, and contemporary scholarship. The Hoover Administration’s role is analyzed and case studies of repatriation efforts in Los Angeles, California, and the state of Michigan are presented.

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  • McWhorter, Thomas. 2011. Trailblazers in Houston’s East End: The impact of Ripley House and the Settlement Association on Houston’s Hispanic population. Houston History 9.1: 9–13.

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    This article describes the origins of Houston’s settlement houses and their service to Hispanic people from 1908 to the early 21st century.

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  • Mendieta, Eva. 2012. Celebrating Mexican culture and lending a helping hand: Indiana Harbor’s Sociedad Mutualista Benito Juάrez, 1924–1957. Indiana Magazine of History 108.4: 311–344.

    DOI: 10.5378/indimagahist.108.4.0311Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This article describes the mutual assistance and community-building activities of the Sociedad Mutualista Benito Juάrez in northwestern Indiana. The society, a chapter of a national organization, was founded in 1924 by recent immigrants from Mexico, and in 1956 it merged with two other organizations to form the Unión Benéfica Mexicana.

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  • Rhinehart, Marilyn, and Thomas H. Kreneck. 1988. “In the shadow of uncertainty”: Texas Mexicans and repatriation in Houston during the Great Depression. Houston Review 10.1: 21–33.

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    Based on letters written by Mexicans living in Houston and interviews with participants, the authors explore the motivations and uncertainty about repatriation of Mexican citizens living in Houston, Texas, in the 1930s.

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  • Valdés, Dennis Nodín. 1988. Mexican revolutionary nationalism and repatriation during the Great Depression. Mexican Studies/Estudios Mexicanos 4.1: 1–23.

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    Using Mexican repatriation from Michigan as a case example, the author analyzes the impact of three factors on repatriation: the role of work, the role of government and private agencies in Mexico and the United States, and the role of Mexican revolutionary nationalism.

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Native Americans

The federal government’s policy toward Native Americans, concerned with diplomatic and trade relations with the Indian tribes before the Civil War, shifted to a concern with assimilation in the late 19th century. During the 20th century, assimilation was challenged by proponents of self-determination. Hoxie 2001 describes the assimilation program. Barsh 1991 and Stuart 1977 provide overviews of US Indian policy. Stuart 1985 focuses on the administration of Indian affairs. The Michigan Law Review article “Tribal Self-Government and the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934” (1972) and Washburn 1984 discuss the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934, the most important 20th-century Indian legislation. See also Prucha 1977 and Prucha 1982, both cited under Bibliographies.

  • Barsh, Russell Lawrence. 1991. Progressive-Era bureaucrats and the unity of twentieth-century Indian policy. American Indian Quarterly 15.1: 1–17.

    DOI: 10.2307/1185205Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Based on a review of US Indian administration and policy in the Progressive period, Barsh concludes that continuity, rather than change, characterized US Indian policy in the 20th century. Assimilation and integration into the US economy and political system has been the goal, despite relatively minor changes in emphasis.

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  • Hoxie, Fred. 2001. A final promise: The campaign to assimilate the American Indians, 1880–1920. Lincoln: Univ. of Nebraska Press.

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    In this history of the federal government’s assimilation program, Hoxie divides the period into two parts: before 1900, reformers expected Native Americans to become fully assimilated to American life, while after 1900, they increasingly expected Native Americans to remain as a disadvantaged minority group. First published in 1984; 2001 edition with a new introduction.

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  • Stuart, Paul. 1977. United States Indian policy: From the Dawes Act to the American Indian Policy Review Commission. Social Service Review 51.3: 451–463.

    DOI: 10.1086/643524Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This article provides an overview of US Indian policy from the late 19th century to the 1970s.

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  • Stuart, Paul. 1985. Administrative reform in Indian affairs. Western Historical Quarterly 16.2: 133–146.

    DOI: 10.2307/969657Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The author argues that administration has been a neglected area in studies of Indian affairs and traces the administrative history of the federal government’s involvement with Native Americans in the 19th and 20th centuries.

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  • Tribal self-government and the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934. 1972. Michigan Law Review 70.5: 955–986.

    DOI: 10.2307/1287800Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This article provides a legislative history and discussion of the implementation of the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934. The review concludes that the act signaled a significant shift in US Indian Policy. Tribal corporate development is consistent with Native American traditions and provides a way for Native Americans to join the American economy.

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  • Washburn, Wilcomb E. 1984. A fifty-year perspective on the Indian Reorganization Act. American Anthropologist 86.2: 279–289.

    DOI: 10.1525/aa.1984.86.2.02a00040Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Washburn argues that the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934 represented a major shift in the goals of United States Indian policy, from forced assimilation to self-government. The act was written and implemented with the assistance of anthropologists, and Washburn calls for a reassessment of the act, which has been criticized as oppressive, by anthropologists and historians.

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Philanthropy

Philanthropy, or voluntary giving to promote good works, has been an important and enduring aspect of American social welfare and was essential for the development of social work in the United States. This section is divided into three subsections, General Treatments, Federated Fund-Raising, and Foundations.

General Treatments

Several works focus on philanthropy as a general topic of interest in American history. Curti 1957 calls for research on the history of American philanthropy. Bremner 1988 provides a concise introduction to the topic. Curti 1963 surveys American overseas philanthropy. Freidman and McGarvie 2003 is an anthology of writing on American philanthropy.

  • Bremner, Robert H. 1988. American philanthropy. 2d ed. Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press.

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    A one-volume history of the topic, from the colonial era to the 20th century, American Philanthropy is a good introduction by a respected historian of social welfare in the United States.

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  • Curti, Merle. 1957. The history of American philanthropy as a field of research. American Historical Review 62.2: 352–363.

    DOI: 10.2307/1845188Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The author proposes the history of American philanthropy as a new specialization in American history. Possible themes for such a history include religion and humanitarianism, changing economic and business organization, urbanization, social work, and emancipation and civil rights. He proposes a new periodization of the history of philanthropy based on these themes.

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  • Curti, Merle. 1963. American philanthropy abroad: A history. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers Univ. Press.

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    A survey of efforts by Americans to assist persons in other countries since the colonial era, much of this book focuses on the first half of the 20th century.

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  • Freidman, Lawrence J., and Mark D. McGarvie, eds. 2003. Charity, philanthropy, and civility in American history. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. Press.

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    Collected in this volume are essays on the history of philanthropy in the United States from the colonial era to the Cold War.

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Federated Fund-Raising

Beginning with early-20th-century Jewish federations and the war chests of World War I, federated fund-raising became an essential way of financing voluntary social services in the 20th century. Seeley, et al. 1957 and Brilliant 1990 review the history of federated fund-raising in the United States as introductions to their discussion of contemporary federated fund-raising. Community Chests and Councils 1937 presents a brief history of the community chest movement. Jacobs 1915–1916 surveys federated fund-raising in Jewish communities in the United States in the 1910s, and Lurie 1961 recounts the history of the Jewish federation movement. Szajkowski 1970 analyzes the impact of Jewish overseas relief on Jewish and secular federated fund-raising during and after World War I. Morris 2015 discusses payroll deduction as a highly successful source of funding for community chests between 1920 and 1950.

  • Brilliant, Eleanor. 1990. The United Way: Dilemmas of organized charity. New York: Columbia Univ. Press.

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    Although this book is primarily concerned with federated fund-raising in the 1970s and 1980s, it begins with two chapters on the history of federated fund-raising in the United States, from the charity organization societies to the 1960s.

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  • Community Chests and Councils. 1937. Yesterday and today with community chests: A record of their history and growth. New York: Community Chests and Councils.

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    This pamphlet presents a brief account of the history of community chests in the United States from the 1920s to the 1930s, together with a description of how the chests raised and distributed funds, and extensive statistical data on the spread of the community chest movement and its achievements.

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  • Jacobs, Joseph. 1915–1916. The federation movement in American Jewish philanthropy. American Jewish Year Book 17:159–198.

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    This article reports on a survey of the federation movement in American Jewish philanthropy in the early 20th century, based on a questionnaire sent to the forty-four federations established between 1895 and 1915.

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  • Lurie, Harry L. 1961. A heritage affirmed: The Jewish federation movement in America. Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society of America.

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    This book provides a history of the movement to establish Jewish federations of social service providers, from the organization of the earliest Jewish federations in the 1890s to the 1950s, followed by an assessment of the Jewish federation movement in 1960.

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  • Morris, Andrew. 2015. How the state and labor saved charitable fundraising: Community chests, payroll deduction, and the public-private welfare state, 1920–1950. Studies in American Political Development 29:105–125.

    DOI: 10.1017/S0898588X14000145Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Morris traces payroll deductions as a source of funding for community chests. Initiated in the 1920s, by the 1950s, contributions by individuals surpassed contributions by businesses as a source of funds raised by federated fund-raising organizations, largely as a result of the pervasive use of payroll deductions, according to the author.

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  • Seeley, John R., Buford H. Junker, and R. Wallace Jones Jr. 1957. Community chest: A case study in philanthropy. Toronto: Univ. of Toronto Press.

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    This book presents a detailed analysis of fund-raising by the Indianapolis Community Chest at midcentury. Part II includes discussions of the history of philanthropy in North America and in Indianapolis.

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  • Szajkowski, Zosa. 1970. The impact of Jewish overseas relief on American Jewish and non-Jewish philanthropy, 1914–1927. American Jewish Archives 22.1: 67–90.

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    This article explores relations between Jewish philanthropic organizations and secular organizations during and after World War I. Particular emphasis is placed on relations between Jewish organization and the developing secular federated fund-raising organizations, the war chests established during the war, and the postwar community chests.

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Foundations

Philanthropic foundations have been important in the development of social work and social welfare. Anheier and Hammack 2010 provides essays that explore the contributions of foundations to a broad range of causes in the 20th century. Hammack and Anheier 2013 is a general history of foundations in the United States. For social work and social welfare, the Russell Sage Foundation (RSF) has been particularly important, and a number of works explore the work of that foundation. Glenn, et al. 1947 is a detailed insiders’ history of the RSF, written by three long-time foundation officials. Hammack and Wheeler 1994 provides essays that focus on the RSF’s role in the development of social science and the tension between social science and social service. Crocker 2006 is a biography of the founder of the RSF.

  • Anheier, Helmut K., and David C. Hammack, eds. 2010. American foundations: Roles and contributions. Washington, DC: Brookings Institution.

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    This volume presents a collection of essays by historians exploring the contributions of philanthropic foundations to education, health care, social welfare, international philanthropy, the arts and culture, religion, and social movements in the 20th century.

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  • Crocker, Ruth. 2006. Mrs. Russell Sage: Women’s activism and philanthropy in Gilded Age and Progressive Era America. Bloomington: Indiana Univ. Press.

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    This is a biography of Olivia Sage (b. 1828–d. 1918), who was married to financier Russell Sage (b. 1816–d. 1906). In 1907 she endowed the Russell Sage Foundation, a major 20th-century foundation, serving as president of the Board of Trustees until her death.

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  • Glenn, John M., Lillian Brandt, and F. Emerson Andrews. 1947. Russell Sage Foundation, 1907–1946. 2 vols. New York: Russell Sage Foundation.

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    This authoritative history of the first four decades of the Russell Sage Foundation was written by three long-time staff members. Glenn, an attorney who had been a leader of the Baltimore Charity Organization Society, served as the director of the foundation from 1907 to 1931.

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  • Hammack, David C., and Helmut K. Anheier. 2013. A versatile American institution: The changing ideals and realities of philanthropic foundations. Washington, DC: Brookings Institution.

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    This history of philanthropic foundations in the United States attempts to place these institutions into the context of evolving American society and politics.

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  • Hammack, David C., and Stanton Wheeler. 1994. Social science in the making: Essays on the Russell Sage Foundation, 1907–1972. New York: Russell Sage Foundation.

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    The essays in this book review the history of the Russell Sage Foundation from its creation in 1907 to the 1970s. The tension between social science and social service is a focus of several of the essays.

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Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico became a territory of the United States after the Spanish American War (1898). Although the Jones-Shafroth Act of 1917 granted citizenship to Puerto Ricans, Puerto Rico, unlike the territories of Alaska and Hawaii, was not included in the social insurance or public assistance programs of the Social Security Act until the early 1950s. The Puerto Rican Emergency Relief Administration (PRERA), providing emergency relief, was created in 1935. Amador 2016 describes the efforts of PRERA social workers in the 1930s to persuade Congress to extend the Social Security Act to Puerto Rico. Morrissey 2006 discusses the delay in the extension of the act’s provisions to Puerto Rico.

  • Amador, Emma. 2016. “Women ask relief for Puerto Ricans”: Territorial citizenship, the Social Security Act, and Puerto Rican communities, 1933–1939. Labor: Studies in the Working-Class History of the Americas 13.3–4: 105–129.

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    This article reviews the efforts of Puerto Rican social workers employed by the Puerto Rican Emergency Relief Administration to persuade Congress to extend the Social Security Act of 1935 to Puerto Rico in the 1930s.

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  • Morrissey, Marietta. 2006. The making of a colonial welfare state: U.S. social insurance and public assistance in Puerto Rico. Latin American Perspectives 33.1: 23–41.

    DOI: 10.1177/0094582X05283513Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This article provides a discussion of the exclusion and eventual inclusion of Puerto Rico in the social insurance and public assistance provisions of the Social Security Act of 1935.

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Social Welfare

Often considered a laggard in social welfare, the United States did not enact comprehensive social security legislation until 1935, and the Social Security Act would not include health benefits until 1965. The first half of the 20th century was an eventful period in social welfare. States developed new programs in social insurance, childcare, and public assistance, and the nation developed programs for the veterans of two world wars. This section is divided into eleven subsections, General Treatments, Child Welfare Policy, Community Care, Community Studies, Health Insurance, Public Assistance, Veterans Policy, Before the New Deal, Work Relief, the Social Security Act, and World War II and After.

General Treatments

A number of works review several aspects of social welfare or develop hypotheses that can be applied to several areas of social welfare policy. Skocpol 1995 is a wide-ranging collection of the author’s writing on social welfare policy. Alston and Ferrie 1999 argues that southern agricultural interests influenced the development of a number of social welfare policies in the century following the Civil War. Beito 2000 discusses the social welfare activities of fraternal organizations. DeWitt 2010 discusses the varied origins of American social security programs; the Social Security History website, run by the US Social Security Administration, contains an extensive variety of supporting materials. Mink 1995 reviews social policy toward mothers in the interwar period.

  • Alston, Lee, and Joseph P. Ferrie. 1999. Southern paternalism and the American welfare state. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. Press.

    DOI: 10.1017/CBO9780511720529Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Alston and Ferrie examine the influence of southern agricultural interests on social policy in the century following the Civil War, focusing on the Social Security Act, the Farm Security Administration, and the Bracero Program of the 1940s.

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  • Beito, David T. 2000. From mutual aid to the welfare state: Fraternal societies and social service, 1890–1967. Chapel Hill: Univ. of North Carolina Press.

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    Beito examines fraternal societies as sources of mutual support in the United States. A wide variety of fraternal organizations are reviewed, and Beito finds that the mutual support provided by these organizations was a source of social welfare and medical services for large numbers of Americans.

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  • DeWitt, Larry. 2010. The development of Social Security in America. Social Security Bulletin 70.3: 1–26.

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    This article by the historian of the Social Security Administration describes the origins, legislative development, and implementation of the Social Security Act, focusing on old age insurance and associated programs.

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  • Mink, Gwendolyn. 1995. The wages of motherhood: Inequality in the welfare state, 1917–1942. Ithaca, NY: Cornell Univ. Press.

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    In this examination of social welfare policy from World War I to World War II, Mink examines maternalist social policy in the 1920s, focusing on mothers’ pensions and maternal and child health; cultural reform, focusing on education for immigrant and African American mothers; and maternalism in the New Deal and World War II.

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  • Skocpol, Theda. 1995. Social policy in the United States: Future possibilities in historical perspective. Princeton, NJ: Princeton Univ. Press.

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    In this volume of essays, the author discusses mothers’ pensions, the Social Security Act, the impact of World War II on social welfare, and other topics.

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  • US Social Security Administration. Social Security History.

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    This website, maintained by the Office of the Historian of the Social Security Administration, provides access to a wealth of information about the campaign for social security before the Social Security Act of 1935, the Social Security Act and other federal legislation, the Social Security Administration and other agencies involved in administering Social Security programs, and individuals involved in campaigning for and administering social security.

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Child Welfare Policy

In the first half of the 20th century, child welfare policy centered on controlling child labor, in addition to mothers’ pensions and the provision of child welfare services such as foster care and adoption. The federal Children’s Bureau, established in 1912, was at the center of policy development. Lindenmeyer 1997 is a history of the Children’s Bureau. Trattner 1970 is a history of the national effort to control child labor; Felt 1965 is a history of the New York Child Labor Committee. Sallee 2004 assesses the campaign in Alabama and finds that efforts focused on white children rather than African American children. Herman 2002 discusses the changing meaning of adoption in the early 20th century. The Adoption History Project is a large website with some documents and much information on 19th- and 20th-century child welfare organizations.

  • Adoption History Project.

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    The Adoption History Project is a large website with a timeline, information on organizations and individuals, and links to other websites.

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  • Felt, Jeremy P. 1965. Hostages of fortune: Child labor reform in New York State. Syracuse, NY: Syracuse Univ. Press.

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    This is a history of the New York Child Labor Committee’s efforts to control child labor in New York State between 1902 and 1941.

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  • Herman, Ellen. 2002. The paradoxical rationalization of modern adoption. Journal of Social History 36.2: 339–385.

    DOI: 10.1353/jsh.2003.0017Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    In this article, the author describes the early-20th-century “campaign to rationalize kinship” through the reimaging of adoption. As modern adoption practice emphasized a “matching process,” adoption proponents proclaimed a new “kinship by design.”

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  • Lindenmeyer, Kriste. 1997. “A right to childhood”: The U.S. Children’s Bureau and child welfare, 1912–46. Urbana: Univ. of Illinois Press.

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    This is a history of the US Children’s Bureau from its founding in 1912 to 1946, when the bureau was transferred from the Department of Labor to the Federal Security Agency. Lindenmeyer focuses on maternal and child health, child labor reform, juvenile delinquency, mothers’ pensions, the Great Depression, and World War II.

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  • Sallee, Shelley. 2004. The whiteness of child labor reform in the New South. Athens, GA: Univ. of Georgia Press.

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    In this history of efforts to control child labor in Alabama, Sallee shows that reformers emphasized occupations and industries that employed white children. Child labor legislation focused on white children and did not regulate agriculture or domestic service, where most African American children were employed. Sallee discusses the efforts of the Alabama Child Labor Committee, founded in 1901, and the National Child Labor Committee, established in 1904.

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  • Trattner, Walter I. 1970. Crusade for the children: A history of the National Child Labor Committee and child labor reform in America. Chicago: Quadrangle Books.

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    This is a history of efforts to control child labor in the United States, focusing on the National Child Labor Committee, formed in 1904 following a meeting between the New York and Alabama Child Labor Committees.

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Community Care

Although the goal would not be realized until after the enactment of the Community Mental Health Act of 1963, and then unevenly, reformers began to advocate for community care for previously institutionalized populations in the early 20th century. These works examine the movement toward community care in the first half of the 20th century. Rothman 1980 discusses the turn toward community care for people with a variety of problems during the Progressive Era; Grob 1983 focuses on the mentally ill. Grob 1991 discusses the impact of World War II and the postwar movement for community mental health. Grob 1994 is a one-volume account of mental health policy in the United States from the colonial era to the 1990s. Trent 2017 is a history of social policy toward intellectually disabled people from the colonial era to the 21st century.

  • Grob, Gerald N. 1983. Mental illness and American society, 1875–1940. Princeton, NJ: Princeton Univ. Press.

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    A continuation of the account of mental health policy begun in the author’s Mental Institutions in America: Social Policy to 1875 (1972), this volume describes the development of mental health policy from the late 19th century to the Great Depression.

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  • Grob, Gerald N. 1991. From asylum to community: Mental health policy in modern America. Princeton, NJ: Princeton Univ. Press.

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    A continuation of the account of mental health policy begun in the author’s Mental Institutions in America: Social Policy to 1875 (1972) and continued in his Mental Illness and American Society, 1875–1940 (1983), this volume describes the development of mental health policy from World War II to the 1970s.

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  • Grob, Gerald N. 1994. The mad among us: A history of the care of America’s mentally ill. New York: Free Press.

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    This book is a one-volume account of the development of mental health policy in the United States, from the colonial era to the 1990s.

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  • Rothman, David J. 1980. Conscience and convenience: The asylum and its alternatives in Progressive America. Boston: Little, Brown.

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    In this book, in some ways a sequel to Rothman’s The Discovery of the Asylum (1971), the author discusses the Progressive Era turn toward community care of people who had been institutionalized in the 19th century, including criminals, juvenile offenders, and the mentally ill.

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  • Trent, James W., Jr. 2017. Inventing the feeble mind: A history of intellectual disability in the United States. 2d ed. New York: Oxford Univ. Press.

    DOI: 10.1093/med/9780199396184.001.0001Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This is a revision of Trent’s Inventing the Feeble Mind: Mental Retardation in the United States (1994). It provides a history of the care and treatment of individuals with intellectual disabilities in the 19th and 20th centuries.

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Community Studies

A number of works illuminate the workings of social welfare policy in specific communities. Feldman 2003 provides a discussion of social services in Los Angeles from 1850 to 2000. Henthorn 2011 examines Houston agencies serving mothers in the Progressive Era. Davidson and Fisher 1996 examines the Houston Council of Social Agencies, a Community Chest social planning agency, from the 1920s to the 1970s. Williams 2009 describes voluntary and local government relief efforts in Tucson, Arizona, in the first years of the Great Depression. Tanner 2007 and Twiss and Obermiller 2014 examine the impact of World War II industrial mobilization on workers in Tampa, Florida, Pittsburgh, and Cincinnati.

  • Davidson, John, and Robert Fisher. 1996. Social planning in Houston: The Council of Social Agencies, 1928–1976. The Houston Review: History and Culture of the Gulf Coast 18.1: 1–28.

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    The authors provide a summary of the activities of the Houston Council of Social Agencies, established in the 1920s as a planning agency supported by the Community Chest. They conclude that the council engaged in progressive social planning.

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  • Feldman, Frances Lomas. 2003. Human services in the City of Angels: Part I. Southern California Quarterly 85.2: 145–204.

    DOI: 10.2307/41172161Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The first of three articles on this topic (Part II: Southern California Quarterly 85.3: 301–360; Part III: Southern California Quarterly 85.4: 439–478). In these articles, Feldman, a retired social work professor at the University of Southern California, provides a narrative on the development of social services in Los Angeles from 1850 to 2000. Part I covers the period from 1850 to 1920, Part II from 1920 to the 1960s, and Part III from 1970 to 2000.

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  • Henthorn, Thomas C. 2011. “A nation’s need—good and well trained mothers”: Gender, charity, and the new urban South. Frontiers 32.1: 71–101.

    DOI: 10.5250/fronjwomestud.32.1.0071Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This article describes the modernization of social services and charity in early-20th-century Houston, Texas. Reformers imposed gendered and racialized understandings of appropriate roles on Anglo, African American, and Mexican American recipients of assistance.

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  • Tanner, Stacy Lynn. 2007. Progress and sacrifice: Tampa shipyard workers in World War II. Florida Historical Quarterly 85.4: 422–454.

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    This article examines the impact of the expansion of the Tampa shipyards during World War II on workers, emphasizing the entry of new workers, childcare, housing, and transportation.

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  • Twiss, Pamela C., and Phillip J. Obermiller. 2014. “Civilians came second”: The impact of World War II defense plants on African American and Appalachian neighborhoods in Pittsburgh and Cincinnati. Appalachian Journal 41.3–4: 284–309.

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    This article examines the impact of World War II defense mobilization on African American, Appalachian white, and European immigrant people in Pittsburgh and Cincinnati during and after the war. The authors discuss employment opportunities, the development of housing and transportation programs, and community integration.

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  • Williams, James A. 2009. Before the New Deal: Private charity and government efforts to help the poor in Tucson, 1929–1933. Journal of Arizona History 50.2: 103–124.

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    This article chronicles the efforts of private charities and local governments to assist the poor in Tucson, Arizona, during the first four years of the Great Depression.

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Health Insurance

The provision of public health insurance was a goal of some reformers in the Progressive Era, and of President Harry Truman after World War II. Anderson 1968 reviews the public and private financing of health services in the United States from the late 19th century to 1965. Walker 1969 describes the Progressive Era campaign for national health insurance; Numbers 1978 discusses the response of physicians. Hirshfield 1970 discusses the failed campaign for compulsory health insurance during the New Deal; Poen 1979 discusses President Truman’s renewal of the campaign after World War II. Doherty and Jenkins 2009 analyzes the failure of a congressional campaign for national health insurance after the 1948 elections. Mitchell 2003 discusses the failed single payer plan of California governor Earl Warren in the 1940s. Marmor 1996 examines four “moments” in American history when national health insurance seemed likely but was not enacted.

  • Anderson, Odin W. 1968. The uneasy equilibrium: Private and public financing of health services in the United States, 1875–1965. New Haven, CT: College & Univ. Press.

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    This study provides an analysis of changes in health services and public policies in the United States from the late 19th century to the enactment of the Social Security Amendments of 1965. The author emphasizes the effects of increased middle-class purchasing power, discoveries in medical science, the rise of third-party payment systems in health care, and increasing government involvement in financing health services.

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  • Doherty, Kathleen, and Jeffrey A. Jenkins. 2009. Examining a failed moment: National health care, the AMA, and the U.S. Congress, 1948–50. Paper presented at the 2009 Meeting of the Southern Political Science Association.

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    This paper explores the failure of congressional advocates to secure passage of a national health care program between 1948 and 1950, despite seemingly propitious conditions, using roll call analysis and analysis of interest group mobilization.

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  • Hirshfield, Daniel S. 1970. The lost reform: The campaign for compulsory health insurance in the United States from 1932 to 1943. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Univ. Press.

    DOI: 10.4159/harvard.9780674498082Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The goals of this book are to describe the origins of the midcentury system of medical care in the United States, particularly the lack of compulsory health insurance, and to understand the ideas and attitudes of the participants in the debates.

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  • Marmor, Theodore R. 1996. The politics of national health insurance: Lessons from the past? Journal of Interdisciplinary History 26.4: 671–679.

    DOI: 10.2307/205046Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Marmor discusses four “moments in American History” when the enactment of a national health insurance program seemed imminent: the Progressive Era, the New Deal, the Fair Deal, and the Nixon administration. In each moment, support for a national health insurance program seemed overwhelming, but in each case reform efforts failed.

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  • Mitchell, Daniel J. B. 2003. Earl Warren’s California health insurance plan: What might have been. Southern California Quarterly 85.2: 205–228.

    DOI: 10.2307/41172162Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This article describes California governor Earl Warren’s proposed single payer state health insurance plan and his unsuccessful effort to secure its enactment. Warren served as governor of California from 1942 until 1953, when President Eisenhower appointed him Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.

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  • Numbers, Ronald L. 1978. Almost persuaded: American physicians and compulsory health insurance. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Univ. Press.

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    This book focuses on the attitude of US physicians toward compulsory health insurance during the 1910s. Despite generally favorable attitudes at the beginning of the decade, most physicians opposed compulsory health insurance by the end of the decade.

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  • Poen, Monte M. 1979. Harry S. Truman versus the medical care lobby: The genesis of Medicare. Columbia: Univ. of Missouri Press.

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    This book provides a discussion of President Harry S. Truman’s campaign to enact comprehensive health insurance between 1945 and 1953. Poen considers Truman’s proposals as a forerunner to Medicare, enacted in 1965.

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  • Walker, Forrest A. 1969. Compulsory health insurance: “The next great step in social legislation.” Journal of American History 56.2: 290–304.

    DOI: 10.2307/1908125Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    In this article, Walker describes the Progressive Era campaign for national health insurance and explores the reasons for its failure.

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Public Assistance

Public assistance had a long history in the United States before the Social Security Act of 1935, which created federal grants in aid to support three categories of state public assistance programs: Old Age Assistance, Aid to the Blind, and Aid to Dependent Children (ADC). Kelso 1922 is a history of public welfare programs in Massachusetts from the colonial era to 1920. Goodwin 1997 examines the implementation of the Illinois Mothers’ Pension program in Chicago from 1911 to 1930. Toft and Abrams 2004 examines the views of three Chicago social work leaders of the status of mothers’ pension recipients. Brown 1940 begins an examination of public relief in the United States in the 1930s with a review of public assistance before the Great Depression. Martinez-Brawley 1987 provides a biographical sketch of Josephine Brown. American Public Welfare Association 1941 is an account of the first decade of the organization of public welfare officials.

  • American Public Welfare Association. 1941. APWA, our autobiography. Chicago: American Public Welfare Association.

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    The American Public Welfare Association (APWA) was an influential organization of public welfare officials that lobbied for improved relief standards. This is a description of the first decade of the APWA, 1930–1940, written by APWA research assistant Mrs. Alice MacDonald.

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  • Brown, Josephine Chapin. 1940. Public relief, 1929–1939. New York: Henry Holt.

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    This volume provides a comprehensive survey of public assistance in the United States during the Great Depression. The author was an administrator with the Federal Emergency Relief Administration (FERA) during the 1930s. Part I reviews public assistance before the Great Depression, followed by sections on unemployment relief, 1929–1933, the FERA, and the first years of the public assistance programs created by the Social Security Act of 1935.

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  • Goodwin, Joanne L. 1997. Gender and the politics of welfare reform: Mothers’ pensions in Chicago, 1911–1929. Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press.

    DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226303918.001.0001Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This is a history of the implementation of the Illinois Mothers’ Pension program in Chicago from 1911 to 1929.

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  • Kelso, Robert W. 1922. The history of public poor relief in Massachusetts, 1620–1920. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.

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    Kelso, the former director of the Massachusetts Department of Public Welfare, provides an account of the development of public poor relief in Massachusetts from the colonial era to the early 20th century. The Poor Law, the Law of Settlement, and the trend toward centralization beginning with the creation of the state board of charities in 1863 are emphasized.

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  • Martinez-Brawley, Emilia E. 1987. From countrywoman to Federal Emergency Relief administrator: Josephine Chapin Brown, a biographical study. Journal of Sociology and Social Welfare 14.2: 153–185.

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    This article provides a biographical sketch of Josephine Chapin Brown (b. 1887–d. 1976), a social worker, Federal Emergency Relief administrator, and author of Public Welfare, 1929–1939 (1940).

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  • Toft, Jessica, and Laura S. Abrams. 2004. Progressive maternalists and the citizenship status of low-income single mothers. Social Service Review 78.3: 447–465.

    DOI: 10.1086/421921Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Based on an analysis of the published writings of three progressive maternalists—Jane Addams, Sophonisba Breckinridge, and Edith Abbott—the authors conclude that these reformers’ traditional views of motherhood resulted in a view of less than full citizenship for recipients of mothers’ aid.

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Veterans Policy

The United States fought in two world wars in the first half of the 20th century, and veterans policy has been an important part of social welfare policy. Ortiz 2010 examines the political activity of World War I veterans during the interwar period and their influence on the enactment of the GI Bill for World War II veterans in 1944. The bill itself is reviewed in Altschuler and Blumin 2009 and Frydl 2009.

  • Altschuler, Glenn C., and Stuart M. Blumin. 2009. The GI Bill: A new deal for veterans. New York: Oxford Univ. Press.

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    The GI Bill, enacted in 1944, revolutionized post–World War II American society. Altschuler and Blumin emphasize the educational and home loan provisions of the law.

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  • Frydl, Kathleen J. 2009. The GI Bill. New York: Cambridge Univ. Press.

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    This is a history of the implementation of the GI Bill, based on research in the records of the Veterans Administration.

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  • Ortiz, Stephen R. 2010. Beyond the Bonus March and the GI Bill: How veteran politics shaped the New Deal era. New York: New York Univ. Press.

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    This book examines the political activity of World War I veterans and veterans’ organizations from the end of World War I to the enactment of the GI Bill in 1944, and their impact on the New Deal of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Ortiz focuses on two major veterans’ organizations, the American Legion and the Veterans of Foreign Wars, and the political development of veterans’ policy.

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Before the New Deal

New Deal social welfare programs were the result of campaigns for improved social welfare programs that began during the Progressive Era and reforms enacted in the states and by the federal government. The essays collected in Skocpol 1992 examine a number of these campaigns and reforms. Lubove 1968 examines campaigns for social security programs in the thirty-five years before the Social Security Act’s enactment; Nelson 1969 examines unemployment insurance. Rubinow 1913 provides an account of social insurance by its leading advocate in the United States. Sugarman 1996 reviews the precursors of the Social Security Act.

  • Lubove, Roy. 1968. The struggle for social security, 1900–1935. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Univ. Press.

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    This book provides an account of the campaign for social security legislation in the United States, culminating in the Social Security Act of 1935. Separate chapters discuss opinions and programs for workmen’s compensation, health insurance, mothers’ pensions, the aged, and the unemployed.

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  • Nelson, Daniel. 1969. Unemployment insurance: The American experience, 1915–1935. Madison: Univ. of Wisconsin Press.

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    This is a history of the campaign for unemployment insurance in the United States from the Progressive Era to the Great Depression. Early-20th-century European plans for unemployment insurance were not popular in the United States; Nelson discusses the roles of economists, labor union leaders, and state legislators in forging plans that ultimately resulted in the unemployment compensation provisions of the Social Security Act of 1935.

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  • Rubinow, Isaac Max. 1913. Social insurance, with special reference to American conditions. New York: Henry Holt.

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    This book presents a comprehensive review of social insurance programs and argues for their adoption in the United States. Rubinow (b. 1875–d. 1936) was a physician and an economist who campaigned for social insurance programs in the United States.

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  • Skocpol, Theda. 1992. Protecting soldiers and mothers: The political origins of social policy in the United States. Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press of Harvard Univ. Press.

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    Skocpol argues that historians of social welfare have neglected important precursors of the Social Security Act. In this book, she provides discussions of Civil War veterans’ pensions, the failure of union-inspired social legislation, protective legislation for women workers, mothers’ pensions, and the Sheppard-Towner Act of 1921.

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  • Sugarman, Tammy. 1996. Long-term origins of the Social Security Act of 1935. Proceedings of the South Carolina Historical Association 1996:1–10.

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    This article provides a review of precursors to the Social Security Act of 1935, notably Civil War pensions, employer and union retirement pensions, voluntary charities, and state programs.

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Work Relief

The New Deal turned to work relief as an initial way to relieve the unemployed. In the view of some, work relief participants had an anomalous status, neither relief recipients or workers. Amenta 1998 argues that work relief was a bold response to the problems of the Great Depression. Howard 1943 provides a detailed examination of the largest work relief program, the Works Progress Administration (WPA). Goldberg 2005 chronicles the efforts of the Workers Alliance of America to organize WPA workers in the late 1930s. Rose 1990 contends that New Deal work relief programs slighted women and placed them in stereotypical women’s jobs.

  • Amenta, Edwin. 1998. Bold relief: Institutional politics and the origins of modern American social policy. Princeton, NJ: Princeton Univ. Press.

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    In this history of New Deal work relief, Amenta argues that the United States adopted a bold policy of providing work to the unemployed during the 1930s, but that the policy was largely abandoned when the nation entered World War II.

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  • Goldberg, Chad Alan. 2005. Contesting the status of relief workers during the New Deal: The Workers Alliance of America and the Works Progress Administration, 1935–1941. Social Science History 29.3: 337–371.

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    Recipients of New Deal work relief programs occupied an intermediate position between relief recipients and public employees. This article examines the efforts of the Workers Alliance of America to organize Works Progress Administration workers between 1935 and 1941.

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  • Howard, Donald S. 1943. The WPA and federal relief policy. New York: Russell Sage Foundation.

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    This is a comprehensive review of the Works Progress Administration (WPA), the major federal work relief program during the Great Depression, established in 1935. Howard (b. 1902–d. 1982) was WPA director of research and statistics from 1935 to 1936, when he joined the Russell Sage Foundation as director of the Department of Social Work Administration.

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  • Rose, Nancy E. 1990. Discrimination against women in New Deal work programs. Afilia 5.2: 25–45.

    DOI: 10.1177/088610999000500203Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Based on a review of data produced by New Deal work relief programs, including the Civil Works Administration, the Federal Emergency Relief Administration, and the Works Progress Administration, the author finds that federal work programs of the 1930s supported patriarchy by providing fewer work opportunities to women, paying them less than men, and employing them in gender-specific occupations.

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The Social Security Act

The Social Security Act of 1935 was the foundation for the American welfare state and has been the topic of many books and articles. The act established both social insurance programs and public assistance programs. The act was drafted by the Committee on Economic Security and implemented by the Social Security Board, later the Social Security Administration. Witte 1963 and Altmeyer 1966 are insider accounts by the chair of the Committee on Economic Security and the chair of the Social Security Board, respectively. Schlabach 1969 is a biography of Witte; DeWitt 1997 is a biography of Altmeyer. McKinley and Frase 1970 is a discussion of the early implementation of the Social Security Act by two participant observers. A number of authors have examined the Social Security Act’s failure to reduce income inequality. Cates 1983 examines the leadership of the program during its first twenty years. Lieberman 1998 and Quadagno 1984 emphasizes the importance of race, finding that the act was structured to reward participation in the economy. Poole 2006 compares the agendas of African American organizations, northern liberals, southern conservatives, and social workers on the act. DeWitt 2010 argues that many of the choices made reflected bureaucrats’ ideas about administrative simplicity.

  • Altmeyer, Arthur J. 1966. The formative years of Social Security. Madison: Univ. of Wisconsin Press.

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    Altmeyer (b. 1891–d. 1972) was a staff member of the Committee on Economic Security and served as a member and chair of the Social Security Board and as the commissioner of the Social Security Administration. This memoir describes the drafting of the Social Security Act of 1935 and its implementation, 1935–1953.

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  • Cates, Jerry R. 1983. Insuring inequality: Administrative leadership in Social Security, 1935–54. Ann Arbor: Univ. of Michigan Press.

    DOI: 10.3998/mpub.12596Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Through a study of the records of the Social Security Administration, Cates examines the failure of US Social Security programs to reduce income inequality.

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  • DeWitt, Larry. 1997. Never a finished thing: A brief biography of Arthur Joseph Altmeyer—The man FDR called “Mr. Social Security.” Woodlawn, MD: Social Security Administration.

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    This brief biography of Arthur J. Altmeyer by the historian of the Social Security Administration provides a useful outline of his life from his birth in DePere, Wisconsin, in 1891, to his service on the Committee on Economic Security (1934–1935), on the Social Security Board (1935–1946, chair from 1937–1946), and as commissioner of the Social Security Administration (1946–1953).

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  • DeWitt, Larry. 2010. The decision to exclude agricultural and domestic workers from the Social Security Act. Social Security Bulletin 70.4: 47–68.

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    DeWitt reviews the arguments of other historians who contend that the exclusion of agricultural and domestic occupations from the Old Age Insurance program reflected the power of southern members of Congress who had an interest in maintaining white domination of African American workers, most of whom worked in those occupations. DeWitt finds that Committee on Economic Security experts pushed for the exclusion “on grounds of administrative simplicity” (p. 64).

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  • Lieberman, Robert C. 1998. Shifting the color line: Race and the American welfare state. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Univ. Press.

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    The author examines the significance of race in the construction of three major programs created by the Social Security Act: Old Age Insurance, Unemployment Insurance, and Aid to Dependent Children.

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  • McKinley, Charles, and Robert W. Frase. 1970. Launching Social Security: A capture-and-record account. Madison: Univ. of Wisconsin Press.

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    Two participant-observers record the early implementation of the Social Security Act, 1935–1937. Topics include the budget and organizational structure established by the act, the field organization, grants in aid to the states, and the general management of the Social Security program.

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  • Poole, Mary. 2006. The segregated origins of Social Security: African Americans and the welfare state. Chapel Hill: Univ. of North Carolina Press.

    DOI: 10.5149/uncp/9780807856888Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    In this revisionist work, Poole considers the influence of African Americans, northern liberals, southern Democrats, and social workers in the federal Children’s Bureau on the Social Security Act of 1935.

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  • Quadagno, Jill S. 1984. Welfare capitalism and the Social Security Act of 1935. American Sociological Review 49.5: 632–647.

    DOI: 10.2307/2095421Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Quadagno uses the Social Security Act of 1935 as a case study to examine propositions about the relationship between interest groups and the state. She finds that the act was a conservative measure that tied social insurance benefits to labor force participation and left the administration of public assistance to the states. She concludes that the state functioned as a mediating body between interest groups with unequal power.

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  • Schlabach, Theron F. 1969. Edwin E. Witte: Cautious reformer. Madison: State Historical Society of Wisconsin.

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    This is a biography of Edwin E. Witte (b. 1887–d. 1960), a labor economist who served as executive director of the Committee on Economic Security.

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  • Witte, Edwin E. 1963. The development of the Social Security Act. Madison: Univ. of Wisconsin Press.

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    Witte was the executive director of the Committee on Economic Security (1934–1935), which was charged with writing the Social Security Act. This “memorandum” is an insider’s account of the drafting of the act and its legislative history.

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World War II and After

During World War II, the National Resources Planning Board released a report on postwar social welfare that was dubbed the “American Beveridge Plan” (National Resources Planning Board 1942). Olson 1983 discusses the fate of the report, which was not implemented. Berkowitz 1996 and Berkowitz 2003 are biographies of two leading postwar social security administrators, Wilbur J. Cohen and Robert Ball. DeWitt 2007 discusses decisions made by Congress about financing the Old Age Insurance program between 1939 and 1949.

  • Berkowitz, Edward D. 1996. Mr. Social Security: The life of Wilbur J. Cohen. Lawrence: Univ. Press of Kansas.

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    This is a biography of Wilbur J. Cohen (b. 1913–d. 1987), who began his career with service on the staff of the Committee on Economic Security and was subsequently a leader in the development of the Social Security program in the United States.

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  • Berkowitz, Edward D. 2003. Robert Ball and the politics of social security. Madison: Univ. of Wisconsin Press.

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    This is a biography of Robert Ball (b. 1914–d. 2008), who worked in the Social Security program in the 1940s and served as commissioner of Social Security from 1962 to 1973.

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  • DeWitt, Larry. 2007. Financing Social Security, 1939–1949: A reexamination of the financing policies of the period. Social Security Bulletin 67.4: 51–69.

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    In this article, the historian of the Social Security Administration argues that the 1939 amendments to the Social Security Act represented a turning point. The amendments transformed the Old Age Insurance program from a “modest retirement program” to a “family centered social insurance scheme” (p. 52). The amendments, which were enacted without significant actuarial input, froze planned increases in the payroll tax rate.

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  • National Resources Planning Board. 1942. Security, work, and relief policies. Washington, DC: Government Printing Office.

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    This report, sometimes called the “American Beveridge Plan,” was prepared by the Committee on Long-Range Work and Relief Policies of the National Resources Planning Board (NRPB). It provided a blueprint for continued expansion of social welfare programs after World War II. The report was submitted in December 1941, but not released until 1943, although it bears a 1942 publication date. Although the report was rejected, some of its recommendations were enacted, long after Congress abolished the NRPB.

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  • Olson, Keith W. 1983. The American Beveridge Plan. Mid-America 65.2: 87–99.

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    This article reviews the 1943 report of the National Resources Planning Board (NRPB), Security, Work and Relief Policies. The report reviewed the New Deal’s domestic accomplishments and recommended a permanent federal work program, programs for youth, strengthened social insurance programs, and a national public assistance program. Dubbed the “American Beveridge Plan” by friends and foes alike, the plan was criticized by conservatives in Congress, which ended appropriations for the NRPB.

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Social Work

In the United States, social work grew out of three late-19th-century social movements: charity organization, child saving, and settlements. Initially primarily a volunteer activity, paid positions became available in the 1890s, and by 1930 it was recognized as an occupation by the Census Bureau. Social work leaders pursued professionalization during the next twenty years, emphasizing the development of practice methods, research, and education. Women dominated social work, reflecting the profession’s roots in 19th century volunteer service and a gender stereotype that identified women with social care. This section is divided into eleven subsections: General Overviews, Women in Social Work, Charity Organization, Social Case Work, Child Welfare Practice, Community Organization, Group Work, Psychiatric Social Work, Research, Settlement Houses, Social Justice, and Social Work Education.

General Overviews

Included in this section are works that provide general histories of the social work profession in the United States. Warner, et al. 1930 reviews the development of social work from 1890 to 1930. Lubove 1965 describes the transformation of social work from a volunteer activity in the 1880s to a full-time occupation by 1930. Leighninger 1987 analyzes the professionalization of social work from the 1930s to the 1950s. Devine 1939 provides an insider’s account of social work in its very early decades. Walkowitz 1999 examines the history of social work to understand middle-class identity and professionalization. Niebuhr 1932 assesses the contribution of religion to social work. Wenocur and Reisch 1989 uses a political economy model to understand the development of social work, and Reisch and Andrews 2001 discusses radicalism in social work history. Lowe and Reid 1999 is a collection of papers on social work and poverty in the United States.

  • Devine, Edward T. 1939. When social work was young. New York: Macmillan.

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    In this volume, Edward T. Devine (b. 1867–d. 1948) provides his personal reflections on the development of the social work profession in the Progressive Era, from the 1890s to the 1910s. A leader in the early profession, Devine discusses charity organization, disaster relief, the New York School of Philanthropy, the Survey, tenement house reform, and tuberculosis prevention.

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  • Leighninger, Leslie. 1987. Social work: Search for identity. Greenwood, CT: Greenwood.

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    This book is a history of the social work profession from the 1930s to the 1950s. It emphasizes educational requirements, political action, public services, and the expanding knowledge base of social work. The narrative ends with the attempt to unify the profession by the formation of the National Association of Social Workers in 1955.

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  • Lowe, Gary R., and P. Nelson Reid, eds. 1999. The professionalization of poverty: Social work and the poor in the twentieth century. New York: Aldine de Gruyter.

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    This anthology includes eight original articles on social work and the poor in the United States, with an introduction by the editors.

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  • Lubove, Roy. 1965. The professional altruist: The emergence of social work as a career, 1880–1930. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Univ. Press.

    DOI: 10.4159/harvard.9780674420939Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Lubove provides an account of the transition of social work from a voluntary activity in the early 19th century to an occupation in the early 20th century. He emphasizes the declining importance of volunteers, the development of case work as a nuclear skill, the influence of psychiatry, financial federation, and the bureaucratization of social work agencies.

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  • Niebuhr, Reinhold. 1932. The contribution of religion to social work. New York: Columbia Univ. Press.

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    This volume includes six lectures on religion and social work delivered by Protestant theologian Reinhold Niebuhr as the Forbes Lectures at the New York School of Social Work in 1930.

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  • Reisch, Michael, and Janice Andrews. 2001. The road not taken: A history of radical social work in the United States. Philadelphia: Brunner-Routledge.

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    This book provides a history of radical social work in Progressive Era, the Great Depression, and the 1960s. Each period was followed by a reaction that weakened social work radicalism. The authors conclude with an assessment of social work radicalism in the last three decades of the 20th century.

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  • Walkowitz, Daniel J. 1999. Working with class: Social workers and the politics of middle-class identity. Chapel Hill: Univ. of North Carolina Press.

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    Rather than a history of social work, this study uses the history of social work to understand the concepts of middle-class identity and professionalization.

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  • Warner, Amos Griswold, Stuart Alfred Queen, and Ernest Bouldin Harper. 1930. American charities and social work. 4th ed. New York: Thomas Y. Crowell.

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    This is the 4th edition of American Charities by Amos Griswold Warner (b. 1861–d. 1900), originally published in 1894. However, the authors of this edition, Stuart Queen and Ernest Harper, “made no use” of the earlier editions, providing instead a review of the development of social work from the 1890s to 1930.

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  • Wenocur, Stanley, and Michael Reisch. 1989. From charity to enterprise: The development of American social work in a market economy. Urbana: Univ. of Illinois Press.

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    This history of social work examines professionalization using a political economy model. Social work is viewed as a commodity, and the effort to professionalize it is described as an effort to create a marketable commodity, which imposed political and ideological constraints on the selection of methods and the objectives of interventions.

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Women in Social Work

Throughout the history of the social work profession, most social workers, and most of their clients, have been women. Several historians and social work scholars have examined what this has meant for the profession’s history. Chambers 1986 contends that social work was led by a coalition of women and men in its formative years, from the 1980s to the 1920s; Andrews 1990 discusses the experiences of women in the profession’s “second generation,” from the 1920s to the 1950s. Kemp and Brandwein 2010 trace the complex interaction of feminism and social work in the 20th century. Kunzel 1993 traces the history of women social workers in maternity homes, which served women clients. Louis 2013 and Louis 2015 examine the experiences of émigré women in social work in the 1930s and 1940s.

  • Andrews, Janice L. 1990. Female social workers in the second generation. Affilia 5.2: 46–54.

    DOI: 10.1177/088610999000500204Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Andrews examines the “second generation” of female social workers, women who practiced between 1920 and 1950, by focusing on the careers of two prominent second-generation social workers, Helen Hall (b. 1892–d. 1982) and Harriett M. Bartlett (b. 1897–d. 1987).

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  • Chambers, Clarke A. 1986. Women in the creation of the profession of social work. Social Service Review 60.1: 1–33.

    DOI: 10.1086/644347Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Chambers argues that in its formative years (1890–1930), social work was led by a coalition of men and women. However, he contends that this alliance frayed in subsequent decades.

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  • Kemp, Susan P., and Ruth Brandwein. 2010. Feminisms and social work in the United States: An intertwined history. Affilia 25.4: 341–364.

    DOI: 10.1177/0886109910384075Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The authors describe the complex “intertwined history” of feminist movements and the social work profession from the late 19th to the early 21st century.

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  • Kunzel, Regina G. 1993. Fallen women, problem girls: Unmarried mothers and the professionalization of social work, 1890–1945. New Haven, CT: Yale Univ. Press.

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    This is a history of social work practice in maternity homes from the last decade of the 19th century to the end of World War II. At the turn of the century, evangelical reform-minded women established maternity homes, which came to be dominated by professional social workers by the first decade of the 20th century.

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  • Louis, Barbara. 2013. Gender and identity in exile: A European émigré in social work. National Identities 15.1: 51–66.

    DOI: 10.1080/14608944.2012.733154Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This article explores American social work as a refuge for women exiles from Nazi-occupied Europe, using the German-born American social worker Gisela Konopka as an example. Louis argues that social work provided more opportunities and “space for agency” than other fields. Konopka (b. 1910–d. 2003) arrived in the United States in 1941 and had a successful career as a social work academic after completing her master’s and doctoral studies.

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  • Louis, Barbara. 2015. A second chance in exile? German-speaking women refugees in American social work after 1933. PhD diss., University of Minnesota.

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    This dissertation provides an examination of the lives of five German and Austrian women émigrés who came to the United States in the 1930s and 1940s and entered the social work profession. Social work offered women refugees more opportunities than other professions, according to the author.

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Charity Organization

During the first two decades of the 20th century, the charity organization movement, initiated in the United States in 1877 when Stephen Humphreys Gurteen founded a Charity Organization Society (COS) in Buffalo, New York, was prominent in American social work. Watson 1922 is a history of the American charity organization movement, written as charity organization societies were being transformed into family counseling agencies. Sears 1923 is an introduction to friendly visiting, as social work with individuals was known. McFadden 2014 discusses case recording in the Buffalo COS.

  • McFadden, James J. 2014. Disciplining the “Frankenstein of pauperism”: The early years of Charity Organization case recording, 1877–1907. Social Service Review 88.3: 469–492.

    DOI: 10.1086/677761Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The author describes the founding of the Buffalo, NY, Charity Organization Society and provides a Foucauldian analysis of the methods of case recording developed by its founder, Stephen Humphreys Gurteen and its first general secretary, T. Guilford Smith.

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  • Sears, Amelia. 1923. The charity visitor: A handbook for beginners. 4th ed. Chicago: Chicago School of Civics and Philanthropy.

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    This is an introduction to friendly visiting by an administrator of the United Charities of Chicago. This edition includes a chapter on estimating family budgets by Florence Nesbit, a home economist with the United Charities of Chicago. First published 1913.

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  • Watson, Frank Dekker. 1922. The charity organization movement in the United States. New York: Macmillan.

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    The author, a professor of sociology and social work, provides an account of the charity organization movement in the United States, including its antecedents, history, principles, and practice, from the origins of the movement to the 1920s.

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Social Case Work

During the first half of the 20th century, social case work (which became known as social casework by the 1940s) was the most highly developed social work practice method, in large part due to the efforts of Mary E. Richmond, a former Charity Organization Society administrator who headed the Charity Organization Department of the Russell Sage Foundation from 1909 to 1929. Richmond was a prolific writer; Richmond 1917 was her magnum opus, providing a guide to information gathering and analysis for a generation of social caseworkers. Two biographers take stock of Richmond’s career. Lederman 1994 finds Richmond successful in spite of her unpopularity among contemporaries, while Agnew 2004 emphasizes Richmond as the central figure of social work during the first three decades of the 20th century. Other social case workers examined aspects of their work as well. Sheffield 1920 describes the construction of a social history, while Myrick 1931 focuses on the case worker’s interview with a client. Tice 1998 provides an example of the use of Progressive Era social case records as primary sources in a history of social work.

  • Agnew, Elizabeth N. 2004. From charity to social work: Mary E. Richmond and the creation of an American profession. Urbana: Univ. of Illinois Press.

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    In the first published biography of Mary E. Richmond (b. 1861–d. 1928), Agnew emphasizes the centrality of Richmond to the professionalization of social work and the identification of social case work as the nuclear skill of the new profession.

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  • Lederman, Sarah Henry. 1994. From poverty to philanthropy: The life and work of Mary E. Richmond. PhD diss., Columbia University.

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    This dissertation analyzes the personal life of Mary E. Richmond and her influence on the social work profession. Lederman argues that “the case work methodology of the unpopular Mary Richmond became more central to the social work profession than the social justice ideology of the popular reformers” (p. vi).

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  • Myrick, Helen L., ed. 1931. Interviews: A study of the methods of analysing and recording social case work interviews. Studies in the Practice of Social Work 1. New York: American Association of Social Workers.

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    This volume is a report of a study of interviewing conducted by a committee of the Chicago Chapter of the American Association of Social Workers, chaired by Helen L. Myrick, between 1925 and 1928. It includes an introduction, “The Place of the Interview in Social Case Work,” by Harry L. Lurie, who was a member of the committee.

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  • Richmond, Mary E. 1917. Social diagnosis. New York: Russell Sage Foundation.

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    Mary Richmond’s Social Diagnosis is an encyclopedic description of fact-finding and inference as it was practiced by social case workers in the 1910s.

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  • Sheffield, Ada Eliot. 1920. The social case history: Its construction and content. New York: Russell Sage Foundation.

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    This is an early discussion of the writing of the social case history, a basic part of social work record keeping, written by the director of the Boston Bureau on Illegitimacy.

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  • Tice, Karen W. 1998. Tales of wayward girls and immoral women: Case records and the professionalization of social work. Urbana: Univ. of Illinois Press.

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    The author explores the role of case records in the professionalization of social work in the first three decades of the 20th century by analyzing case records from a variety of child welfare and family agencies.

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Child Welfare Practice

Child welfare, or child saving, as it was known in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, was a central activity of the social reform movements that became social work. Ashby 1984 presents case studies of child-saving efforts in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Folks 1902 and Slingerland 1919 describe early-20th-century child welfare practice. Folks 1958 is a collection of Homer Folks’s writings, and Trattner 1968 is a biography of the child welfare pioneer and public health reformer. African American children were often neglected by the mainstream child-saving movement. Stenho 1988 describes the efforts of social work researchers Edith Abbott and Sophonisba Breckinridge to advocate for public responsibility for the inclusion of African American children in public child welfare programs. However, O’Donnell 1994 argues that these efforts may have diminished a strong self-help tradition in Chicago’s African American community.

  • Ashby, LeRoy. 1984. Saving the waifs: Reformers and dependent children, 1890–1917. Philadelphia: Temple Univ. Press.

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    In this book, Ashby provides five case studies of child-saving projects in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

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  • Folks, Homer. 1902. The care of destitute, neglected, and delinquent children. New York: Macmillan.

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    Homer Folks (b. 1867–d. 1963), a child welfare and public health reformer, provides a review of child welfare services available at the turn of the 20th century, together with a review of developments in the 19th century.

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  • Folks, Homer. 1958. Public health and welfare: The citizen’s responsibility, selected papers. Edited by Savel Zimand. New York: Macmillan.

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    A selection of forty-nine of Folks’s papers, published between 1891 and 1946. Topics include child welfare, aging, public health, the New York Charities Aid Association, and social welfare. The volume includes a biographical sketch of Folks by the editor.

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  • O’Donnell, Sandra M. 1994. The care of dependent African-American children in Chicago: The struggle between black self-help and professionalism. Journal of Social History 37.9: 763–776.

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    O’Donnell reviews the African American community’s efforts to help dependent African American children during the Progressive Era and the assumption of responsibility for African American children by a public child welfare agency in the 1920s. She concludes that while professionalism helped some African American children, it reduced the control of the African American community over its children and damaged the tradition of black self-help.

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  • Slingerland, William H. 1919. Child-placing in families: A manual for students and social workers. New York: Russell Sage Foundation.

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    A 1919 manual of “best practices” in child foster home placement by a staff member of the Department of Child Saving of the Russell Sage Foundation.

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  • Stenho, Sandra M. 1988. Public responsibility for dependent black children: The advocacy of Edith Abbott and Sophonisba Breckinridge. Social Service Review 62.3: 485–503.

    DOI: 10.1086/644562Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Stenho reviews the efforts of Edith Abbott and Sophonisba Breckinridge, faculty members in the Chicago School of Civics and Philanthropy and its successor, the University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration, to stimulate public responsibility for dependent African American children between 1912 and 1934. She argues that these efforts provide a model for social workers today.

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  • Trattner, Walter I. 1968. Homer Folks: Pioneer in social welfare. New York: Columbia Univ. Press.

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    This is a biography of Homer Folks (b. 1867–d. 1963), a leading child welfare and public health reformer.

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Community Organization

Community organization as a social work practice method originated in the Charity Organization Societies’ efforts to organize private charities in the late 19th century and the efforts of settlement house residents to understand the neighborhoods in which they lived. The development of federated fund-raising provided a financial motive for social work agencies to engage in community organizing. Austin and Betten 1977 and Betten and Austin 1990 provide overviews of community organization ideas and practices before World War II. Laing 2009 examines efforts to organize African American communities, including the Universal Negro Improvement Association of the 1910s and 1920s. The social unit experiment in neighborhood organization is described by Mooney-Melvin 1978 and Shaffer 1971.

  • Austin, Michael J., and Neil Betten. 1977. Intellectual origins of community organizing, 1920–1939. Social Service Review 51.1: 155–170.

    DOI: 10.1086/643478Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This article reviews the development of thinking about community work in social work to 1939, when a committee chaired by Ralph Lane presented a report on community organization to the National Conference of Social Work. The authors examine the work of five “students and practitioners” of community work in detail: Joseph K. Hart, Eduard C. Lindeman, Bessie A. McClennahan, Walter C. Petit, and Jesse F. Steiner.

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  • Betten, Neil, and Michael J. Austin. 1990. The roots of community organizing, 1917–1939. Philadelphia: Temple Univ. Press.

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    Betten and Austin and other contributors provide a discussion of disparate efforts in community organization between World War I and the Lane Report of 1939. Contributors include, in addition to Betten and Austin, Robert Fisher, William E. Hershey, Raymond A. Mohl, and Mark Lee Raphael.

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  • Laing, Bonnie Young. 2009. The Universal Negro Improvement Association, Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and Black Panther Party’s lessons for understanding African American culture-based organizing. Journal of Black Studies 39.4: 635–656.

    DOI: 10.1177/0021934707299645Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Three efforts to organize African American communities, including the Universal Negro Improvement Association’s campaign (1914–1925), are analyzed to develop a theory of African American culture-based community organizing.

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  • Mooney-Melvin, Patricia. 1978. Mohawk-Brighton: A pioneer in neighborhood health care. Cincinnati Historical Society Bulletin 36.1: 57–72.

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    This paper provides a discussion of the National Social Unit Organization’s experiment in the neighborhood organization of health services in Cincinnati’s Mohawk-Brighton neighborhood.

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  • Shaffer, Anatole. 1971. The Cincinnati Social Unit experiment, 1917–19. Social Service Review 45.2: 159–172.

    DOI: 10.1086/642689Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This paper provides a discussion of the National Social Unit Organization’s experiment in the neighborhood organization of health services in Cincinnati’s Mohawk-Brighton neighborhood.

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Group Work

Group work emerged as a major social work method, along with case work and community organization, by the 1930s. Reid 1981, Alissi 2001, and Andrews 2001 provide discussions of the history of the use of groups in social work practice. Konopka 1958 reviews the ideas of Eduard C. Lindeman, a pioneer theorist of group work. Leonard 1991 provides biographical information on Lindeman. Follett 1998 provides a Progressive Era exposition of the promise of groups for democratic renewal; Tonn 2003 is a biography of Follett.

Psychiatric Social Work

Psychiatric social work originated in the United States as the result of increasing interest in the community as both a causal factor in mental illness and an environment for treating the mentally ill. Lunbeck 1994 reviews the history of the Boston Psychopathic Hospital, an early incubator for new approaches to the treatment of mental illness. Stuart 1997 reviews the movement toward community care, and Horn 1989 provides a history of the child guidance movement, which provided a community setting for mental health treatment.

  • Horn, Margo. 1989. Before it’s too late: The child guidance movement in the United States, 1922–1945. Philadelphia: Temple Univ. Press.

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    This is a history of the child guidance movement, initiated by the Commonwealth Fund in 1922 as a way to prevent juvenile delinquency and mental illness. The Commonwealth Fund supported child guidance clinics staffed by psychiatrists, psychologists, and social workers; supported the development of standards for the practice of clinical social work; and created fellowships to educate students preparing for careers in child guidance.

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  • Lunbeck, Elizabeth. 1994. The psychiatric persuasion: Knowledge, gender, and power in modern America. Princeton, NJ: Princeton Univ. Press.

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    Lunbeck uses the history of Boston Psychopathic Hospital, established in 1912, to discuss the transformation of American psychiatry and the creation of psychiatric social work in the early 20th century.

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  • Stuart, Paul H. 1997. Community care and the origins of psychiatric social work. Social Work in Health Care 25.3: 25–36.

    DOI: 10.1300/J010v25n03_03Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This article explores the relationships between the mental hygiene movement of the early 20th century, the turn toward community care in American psychiatry, and the early development of psychiatric social work.

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Research

Two works provide information on social work’s use of research in the first half of the 20th century. Zimbalist 1977 reviews specific landmarks in social welfare research, while Kirk and Reid 2002 review strategies used to improve social work practice using research.

  • Kirk, Stuart A., and William J. Reid. 2002. Science and social work: A critical appraisal. New York: Columbia Univ. Press.

    DOI: 10.7312/kirk11824Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    In this review of strategies to improve social work practice using scientific research, the authors provide a review of the history of the relationship between science and social work and specific historical reviews of a variety of science-based social work research methods.

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  • Zimbalist, Sidney E. 1977. Historic themes and landmarks in social welfare research. New York: Harper & Row.

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    This text provides a history of research in social welfare and social work, illustrated with excerpts from the research reports discussed in the book. Topics from the first half of the 20th century include the measurement of poverty, social surveys, statistics and index making, and early evaluation research in social work.

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Settlement Houses

Modeled on London’s Toynbee Hall, American settlement houses sprang up in American cities in the 1890s. Initially defined by residence, settlement houses were places in poor neighborhoods where well-to-do people “settled” and got to know their neighbors. Settlement houses provided recreation and cultural programming for their neighbors and were a source of information and data on American urban life. As settlement staff professionalized, the idea of residence faded. Trolander 1987 provides an account of the history of American settlement houses, emphasizing the changes brought by federated fund-raising, professionalization, and the shift away from residence. Davis 1967 assesses the settlement house movement’s contributions to reform in the Progressive Era, and Trolander 1975 examines settlement houses in the Great Depression. Crocker 1993 examines the programs of settlements in two Indiana cities. Lasch-Quinn 1993 examines the settlement house movement’s often troubled relationships with African Americans. Carson 1990 probes the ideas of the early leaders of the settlement movement. Addams 1910 describes the early years of Hull House, the most famous American settlement house, and Addams 2004 describes the contributions of Julia Lathrop, a Hull House resident. Wade 1964 is a biography of Graham Taylor, another Chicago settlement leader, and Coss 1989 provides a selection of the New York City settlement leader Lillian Wald’s writings.

  • Addams, Jane. 1910. Twenty years at Hull-House. New York: Macmillan.

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    This is Jane Addams’ own account of the first twenty years of Hull House, founded in 1889, which became the most famous settlement house in the United States.

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  • Addams, Jane. 2004. My friend, Julia Lathrop. Introduction by Anne Firor Scott. Urbana: Univ. of Illinois Press.

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    This is a biography of Julia Lathrop (b. 1858–d. 1932) up to her appointment as head of the US Children’s Bureau in 1912 by her friend and mentor Jane Addams. First published in 1935, it includes discussions of Lathrop’s residence at Hull House, her service on the Illinois State Board of Charities (1893–1899), the establishment of the Cook County Juvenile Court (1899), and her association with the Chicago School of Civics and Philanthropy (1908–1909).

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  • Carson, Mina Julia. 1990. Settlement folk: Social thought and the American settlement movement, 1885–1930. Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press.

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    By examining the ideas of prominent settlement house leaders, the author explores their use of Victorian Era ideas in early-20th-century urban America.

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  • Coss, Clare, ed. 1989. Lillian D. Wald, Progressive activist. New York: The Feminist Press at the City Univ. of New York.

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    Lillian Wald (b. 1867–d. 1940) was a nurse and the founder of the Henry Street Settlement and Visiting Nurse Service of New York in 1893. This volume includes a chronology, a play written by Clare Coss about Wald’s life, and excerpts from Wald’s letters and speeches written between 1893 and 1931.

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  • Crocker, Ruth. 1993. Social work and social order: The settlement movement in two industrial cities, 1889–1930. Urbana: Univ. of Illinois Press.

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    This is an examination of the programs and philosophy of seven settlement houses in Indianapolis and Gary, Indiana. The author finds that settlement houses promoted traditional women’s roles and were part of a larger movement to achieve social order in an industrializing economy.

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  • Davis, Allen F. 1967. Spearheads for reform: The social settlements and the Progressive movement. New York: Oxford Univ. Press.

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    In this history of settlement houses and Progressive reform, Davis argues that settlement houses led the municipal reform campaigns of the early Progressive movement, and that they entered into increasingly wide frames of action in the early 20th century—city hall, state governments, and the federal government.

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  • Lasch-Quinn, Elisabeth. 1993. Black neighbors: Race and the limits of reform in the American settlement house movement, 1890–1945. Chapel Hill: Univ. of North Carolina Press.

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    Lasch-Quinn provides an account of the relations between settlement houses and African Americans in the first half of the 20th century, and of the settlement-inspired neighborhood programs of African American churches, colleges, and other organizations serving rural and urban African Americans.

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  • Trolander, Judith Ann. 1975. Settlement houses and the Great Depression. Detroit: Wayne State Univ. Press.

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    This history of American settlement houses in the 1930s reviews social reform activities, relationships with boards and funders, the approach to unemployment and relief, housing, and race relations. The relationship between settlements and federated fund-raising is emphasized. Trolander includes an appendix listing settlements affiliated with the National Federation of Settlements, the United Neighborhood Houses of New York, and the Chicago Federation of Settlements in the 1930s.

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  • Trolander, Judith Ann. 1987. Professionalism and social change: From the settlement house movement to neighborhood centers, 1886 to the present. New York: Columbia Univ. Press.

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    This centennial history, published just after the 100th anniversary of the founding of the first settlement house in the United States, is a story of change in settlement personnel and programs. In the beginning, settlement houses were places where settlement house workers lived and got to know their neighbors. As settlement workers professionalized, residency declined and the influence of settlement houses diminished, in the author’s view.

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  • Wade, Louise. 1964. Graham Taylor: Pioneer for social justice, 1851–1938. Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press.

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    A biography of Graham Taylor (b. 1851–d. 1938), protestant minister and founder of the Chicago Commons Settlement House, established in 1894, and the Chicago School of Civics and Philanthropy, established in 1908.

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Social Justice

Social workers in the United States have espoused the goal of social justice since the Progressive Era. However, “social justice” has had various meanings. Included in this section are works that explore what social justice is and what the profession’s commitment has been. Reisch 2008 reviews the profession’s commitment to justice in the 20th century and finds it has been hampered by social workers’ difficulties with racial and cultural difference. Simon 1994 discusses social work’s tradition of empowering clients. Abramovitz 1998 reviews the struggle between individual adjustment and social reform in social work history. Crewe, et al. 2008 reviews the career of Inabel Burns Lindsay, an social work advocate for social justice. Wise 1909 advocates for a commitment to justice, not charity, a call echoed in Addams 1910 and Lapp 1928. Douglas 1934 explores the concept of social justice in the depths of the Great Depression; in Douglas 1935, the future US Senator considers the prospects for achieving social justice. Danto 2009 contends that Sigmund Freud’s commitment to social justice informed the social work profession in the 1930s and 1940s.

  • Abramovitz, Mimi. 1998. Social work and social reform: An arena of struggle. Social Work 43.6: 512–526.

    DOI: 10.1093/sw/43.6.512Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    In this article, Abramovitz reviews the struggle between adjusting clients to their environment and changing the environment to make it better for clients during the history of the social work profession.

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  • Addams, Jane. 1910. President’s Address: Charity and social justice. Proceedings of the National Conference of Charities and Correction 37:1–18.

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    In her Presidential Address to the 34th National Conference of Charities and Correction, Addams contends that the emphasis in the conference has shifted from charity to prevention, amelioration, and social justice. She explores the implications for social work, including the responsibility of social workers to provide data on social problems.

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  • Crewe, Sandra Edmonds, Annie Woodley Brown, and Ruby Morton Gourdine. 2008. Inabel Burns Lindsay: A social worker, educator and administrator uncompromising in the pursuit of social justice for all. Affilia: Journal of Women and Social Work 23.4: 363–377.

    DOI: 10.1177/0886109908323974Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The authors review the biography of Inabel Burns Lindsay (b. 1900–d. 1983), first dean of the School of Social Work at Howard University. They emphasize her commitment to cultural competence and social justice for all.

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  • Danto, Elizabeth Ann. 2009. “A new sort of salvation army”: Historical perspectives on the confluence of psychoanalysis and social work. Clinical Social Work Journal 37:67–76.

    DOI: 10.1007/s10615-008-0185-xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Danto argues that Freud’s deep-seated belief in social justice and the person-in-environment paradigm influenced the formation of social work in the first half of the 20th century. She criticizes historians and social work scholars who have found a bifurcation between micro and macro approaches.

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  • Douglas, Paul H. 1934. The concept of social justice in the light of today. Proceedings of the National Conference of Social Work 61:230–250.

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    The author, a professor of economics at the University of Chicago who served in the US Senate from 1949 to 1967, lists eight principles of social justice: (1) the right to be treated as an end, not a means; (2) the right to be well-born; (3) the right to health; (4) the right to knowledge; (5) the right to relative security; (6) the right to an even distribution of wealth and income; (7) the right to an even distribution of power; and (8) the right to privacy and differentiation.

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  • Douglas, Paul H. 1935. The prospects for social justice in the United States. Proceedings of the National Conference of Social Work 62:78–94.

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    The author considers threats to the aspirations of people in the United States: peace, plenty, security, and freedom. He calls for a consolidation of liberal and progressive movements to secure social justice.

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  • Lapp, John A. 1928. Justice first. New York: The Century Company.

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    This collection of essays emphasizes the importance of social justice in social work. The author, John A. Lapp (b. 1880–d. 1960), was president of the 54th National Conference of Social Work in 1927. The essay “Justice First” was the Presidential Address to the conference in 1927.

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  • Reisch, Michael. 2008. From melting pot to multiculturalism: The impact of racial and ethnic diversity on social work and social justice in the USA. British Journal of Social Work 38:788–804.

    DOI: 10.1093/bjsw/bcn001Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    In this article, Reisch contends that social work’s pursuit of social justice has been hampered by the “racialization” of American society. He discusses excluded groups’ organizational efforts since the Progressive Era and assesses the challenge of multiculturalism to social work in the 21st century.

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  • Simon, Barbara Levy. 1994. The empowerment tradition in American social work: A history. New York: Columbia Univ. Press.

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    Simon provides an account of social workers’ efforts to empower clients from the late 19th century to the 1990s. She finds that social workers empowered clients by fostering their “use of their own strengths in the process of searching for and consolidating enhanced self-esteem, health, community, security, and personal and social power” (pp. 1–2).

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  • Wise, Stephen S. 1909. The Conference Sermon: charity versus justice. Proceedings of the National Conference of Charities and Correction 36:20–29.

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    In the Conference Sermon presented at the 36th National Conference of Charities and Correction, Rabbi Wise argues that both religion and social service need to deal with the world as it is and that the goal should be justice, not charity. Charity, “as a substitute for justice . . . is irredeemably and hopelessly bankrupt” (p. 24).

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Social Work Education

Social work education in the United States began at the start of the 20th century, emerging from training and apprenticeship programs for charity organization workers and others involved in the burgeoning social services. Austin 1986 and Austin 1997 provide overviews of the history of social work education in the United States. Costin 1983 assesses the contributions of one social work educator, the University of Chicago’s Edith Abbott, to shaping social work education. Abbott 1942 includes papers by Abbot herself. Two items provide a picture of social work education at midcentury: Kendall 2002 includes a discussion of the development of social work education organizations by a participant, and Hollis and Taylor 1951 provides a comprehensive survey of social work education.

  • Abbott, Edith. 1942. Social welfare and professional education. Rev. ed. Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press.

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    This volume presents selected essays by Edith Abbott, long-time dean of the University of Chicago’s School of Social Service Administration (1924–1942) and a leader in social work education. Part I reprints the six papers on social work and social work education that made up the first edition; Part II includes five papers on problems of the Great Depression and New Deal. First edition published 1931.

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  • Austin, David M. 1986. A history of social work education. Austin, TX: Univ. of Texas School of Social Work.

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    This short monograph describes the history of social work education in the United States from the 1890s to the 1980s. The book includes a chronology and a bibliography.

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  • Austin, David M. 1997. The institutional development of social work education: The first 100 years—and beyond. Journal of Social Work Education 33.3: 599–612.

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    In this article, Austin provides an accessible introduction to the history of social work education in the United States, its antecedents in the late 19th century, the early schools (1898–1929), conflict and transformation in the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s, and expansion in the 1960s and after.

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  • Costin, Lela B. 1983. Edith Abbott and the Chicago influence on social work education. Social Service Review 57.1: 94–111.

    DOI: 10.1086/644074Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Costin argues that Edith Abbott (b. 1876–d. 1957) and the University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration had a major influence on the development of social work education. Abbott favored university education for social work that included a broad background in the social sciences and an emphasis on research.

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  • Hollis, Ernest V., and Alice L. Taylor. 1951. Social work education in the United States: The report of a study made for the National Council on Social Work Education. New York: Columbia Univ. Press.

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    This report, often called the Hollis-Taylor Report, provides a review of social work education in the United States at midcentury.

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  • Kendall, Katherine A. 2002. Council on Social Work Education: Its antecedents and first twenty years. Alexandria, VA: Council on Social Work Education.

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    Part I of this memoir deals with social work education organizations in the decades before the establishment of the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) in 1952. Katherine A. Kendall (b. 1910–d. 2010) was a participant in the creation of CSWE, having been appointed executive secretary of the American Association of Schools of Social Work, one of the organizations involved in the merger that became CSWE, in 1950.

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