Skip to main content

Roosevelt, Eleanor: The Women’s Movement

Eleanor Roosevelt (ER) became aware of the barriers women faced while working with other women on other social justice issues. Although she did work in a settlement house and joined the National Consumers League before she married, ER’s great introduction to the women’s network occurred in the immediate post World War I period when she worked with the International Congress of Working Women and the Women’s International League of Peace and Freedom (WILPF) to address the causes of poverty and war. Continue Reading »

Schiff, Philip

As headworker at Madison House during The Great Depression, Schiff, like so many other settlement house workers, tried to cope with the immediate problems of relief, unemployment, and evictions. He established a day care center, introduced venereal disease and tuberculosis control programs, and started a vocational training program for unemployed youth. he was also was a community organizer and helped create a network of Lower East Side social service agencies to advocate for social welfare policies, especially unemployment and housing. In 1936, Philip Schiff ran unsuccessfully on the American Labor Party’s ticket for First Assembly representative to the New York State legislature.Continue Reading »

Federal Emergency Relief Act of 1933

Text from the The Federal Emergency Relief Act of 1933Continue Reading »

Emergency Relief and Construction Act of 1932

President Herbert Hoover said: “I expect to sign the relief bill on Tuesday. I do wish to express the appreciation which I have and I know that the country has to those leaders of both political parties who have cooperated to put the bill into effective shape and to eliminate the destructive proposals which were from time to time injected into it.Continue Reading »

Townsend, Dr. Francis

After the war the Townsends lived in Long Beach, Calif. But Townsend’s private medical practice did not prosper so he took a position as assistant city health director. Because of the Great Depression, he soon lost that job. Then, at the age of 66 and wanting to retire, Townsend grew increasingly indignant over the plight of the large number of poverty-stricken old people like himself. In 1933 he proposed a plan whereby the Federal government would provide every person over 60 a $200 monthly pension. The plan called for a guaranteed monthly pension of $200, a quite-considerable sum in the 1930. The pension would be sent to every retired citizen age 60 or older, to be paid for by a form of a national sales tax of 2% on all business transactions with the stipulation that each pensioner would be required to spend the money within 30 days. His idea was to end the Depression through consumer spending by way of ending poverty among the elderly.Continue Reading »

Springer, Gertrude

“Gertrude Springer has sprung from Better Times to The Survey. With this issue of the Mid-monthly, she takes over, as associate editor, the Social Practice Department…. ” (15 October 1930, p. 106.) Springer undertook field trips and initiated contacts to determine the lay of the social welfare landscape beyond New York. In pithy writing about social issues, policy, and services across the country, she never neglected to explain how things came down to affecting individuals. “Amelia Bailey,” — “Miss Bailey” to most people — was a 1930s-style virtual-reality public relief supervisor. “Miss Baily Says…” columns dealt with issues such as: “When Your Client Has a Car,” “Are Relief Workers Policemen?,” “How We Behave in Other People’s Houses.” Continue Reading »

Hopkins, Harry Lloyd

Written by Dr. June Hopkins, Associate Professor, History Dept., Armstrong Atlantic State University. Harry L. Hopkins (1890-1946) — Social Worker, Architect of the New Deal, Public Administrator and Confidant of
President Franklin D. RooseveltContinue Reading »

National Recovery Administration

The National Industrial Recovery Act of 1933 (NIRA) was signed by newly elected President Franklin D. Roosevelt on June 16, 1933. The new law created the National Recovery Administration (NRA). The NRA began to work with businesses to establish the mandated codes for fair competition, which were to be exempt from the antitrust laws.Continue Reading »

Temporary Emergency Relief Administration

In 1930, with unemployment rising and jobs becoming increasingly scarce, American citizens began to feel the effects of the economic downturn that began with the Stock Market Crash the previous October. The Great Depression was just beginning. The problem of unemployment in New York State and in its major cities grew increasingly critical, and it was obvious that neither local funding nor privately-supported agencies could handle the crisis. Despite the lack of accurate statistics, all cities had reported that unemployment had reached unprecedented proportions. New York, as the leading industrial state, had an especial need to maintain and develop the wage-earner market. With the support of both labor and business, Frances Perkins, the state industrial commissioner, told Governor Franklin Delano Roosevelt that public works projects were “the greatest source of hope for the future,” and she recommended the immediate implementation of local public works programs along with public employment clearinghouses.1Continue Reading »

Great Depression: American Social Policy

One observer pointed out to Franklin D. Roosevelt upon taking office that, given the present crisis, he would be either the worst or greatest president in American history. Roosevelt is said to have responded: “If I fail, I shall be the last one.” By the time Franklin Roosevelt was elected in 1932, the traditional ideologies and institutions of the United States were in a state of upheavel. Americans who had grown up promoting the ideology of the “deserving and undeserving poor” and the stigma of poor relief were now standing in line for relief.Continue Reading »

View graphic version