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“Brother, Can You Spare a Dime” – 1932

In the song a beggar talks back to the system that stole his job. Jay Gorney said in an interview in 1974 “I didn’t want a song to depress people. I wanted to write a song to make people think. It isn’t a hand-me-out song of ‘give me a dime, I’m starving, I’m bitter’, it wasn’t that kind of sentimentality”. The song asks why the men who built the nation – built the railroads, built the skyscrapers – who fought in the war, who tilled the earth, who did what their nation asked of them should, now that the work is done and their labor no longer necessary, find themselves abandoned and in bread lines.Continue Reading »

Disaster Relief Experiences of the American Red Cross

Everywhere emergency care was promptly and effectively given. At Pittsburgh the Chapter performed an admirable service of caring for sixty thousand refugees – feeding, sheltering, clothing and giving medical and nursing attention at over 150 centers. At Greensboro, North Carolina, one of the many recorded acts of unselfishness and devotion to duty by a Chapter officer was reported when the Chairman of the disaster committee hardly paused at his own tornado-wrecked business to take charge of Red Cross relief at great personal sacrifice. At Gainesville, Georgia, so completely devastated by the storm, the Atlanta and other nearby Chapters virtually took charge of emergency aid. At Wilkes-Barre, as at many other points, the Chapter gave a wonderful service of rescue to thousands from flooded homes without a single casualty – aided by the courageous and skilled men of the U.S. Coast Guard to whom my hat is always off in tribute for an endless procession of service of rescue. And so it went in Chapter after Chapter.Continue Reading »

Bondy Appointed Director of ARC Disaster Relief 1931

During his period of service, Mr. Bondy has, at different times, represented the Red Cross in liaison with the Veterans’ Bureau, the American Legion, the National Council of Social Work and its constituent agencies, and numerous other organizations. He was Director of Reconstruction in Red Cross relief work following the disastrous flood of 1927, frequently serving as aid to Mr. Herbert Hoover and Vice Chairman Fieser in their joint direction of Mississippi flood relief work. During the past year he directed drouth relief work in the Eastern Area. These experiences, together with his work in connection with numerous lesser relief operations during the past ten years, give him an acquaintance with recent disaster methods and procedures possessed by few Red Cross executives.Continue Reading »

Public Assistance–Values and Lacks

Through provisions in the public assistance titles of the Social Security Act, great progress has been made in fulfilling the obligation of government to secure and protect human rights. For the first time in the United States, the legal right of a needy person to public assistance was established for four groups. Requirements for approval of state assistance plans included: the right to apply for assistance and to have prompt action taken on the application, and if eligible, to receive unrestricted money payments for as long as needed, to have personal information kept confidential, except as required for administration of public assistance, and to have the right of appeal to a state agency and the courts if denied assistance by a local agency. These provisions were all intended to prevent discrimination and humiliation and to help recipients maintain or rebuild their independence.Continue Reading »

Temperance Movement

Written by Alice W. Campbell, Virginia Commonwealth University Libraries. “During the first half of the 19th century, as drunkenness and its social consequences increased, temperance societies formed in Great Britain and the United States. These societies were typically religious groups that sponsored lectures and marches, sang songs, and published tracts that warned about the destructive consequences of alcohol.”Continue Reading »

Women In Nineteenth-Century America

As household production by women declined and the traditional economic role of women diminished, the “home” appeared as a topic to be discussed and an ideal to be lauded. Less a place of production than a spiritually sanctified retreat from the hurly-burly of economic life, the home was where women nurtured men and children into becoming morally elevated beings. It could be said that what we think of as the traditional “home” was actually an invention of nineteenth-century Americans.Continue Reading »

Women and Nineteenth-Century Reform

The work of Dorothea Dix to improve the treatment of persons with mental illness illustrates the gendered nature of nineteenth-century reform activity. Like many women of her generation, Dix began her career as a teacher, a profession that many women and men believed ideally suited to women as it both mirrored and prepared them for their roles within the home. Dix’ tireless activism within the Unitarian church and sense of moral religious duty was also common for women of her day. Eventually Dix felt that school teaching was insufficiently rewarding and in 1831 left the United States for a tour of England and Scotland. There, she became acquainted with a number of leading reformers who worked to improve the conditions for the poor and the mentally ill. On her return to the United States, Dix accepted a position to teach Sunday School to women prisoners at the East Cambridge jail. Thus, her life’s purpose grew out of a very common role for women at this time, that of educator and moral guide.Continue Reading »

Social Insurance & Social Security Chronology: Part IV — 1940s

The following pages present a detailed historical chronology of the development of social insurance, with particular emphasis on Social Security. Items are included in this compilation on the basis of their significance for Social Security generally, their importance as precedents, their value in reflecting trends or issues, or their significance in SSA’s administrative history. The information includes legislative events in Social Security and related programs. Our expectation is that this Chronology can be used as a reference tool and finding aid for important dates and events in Social Security’s long history.Continue Reading »

Social Insurance & Social Security Chronology: Part III – 1930s

The following pages present a detailed historical chronology of the development of social insurance, with particular emphasis on Social Security. Items are included in this compilation on the basis of their significance for Social Security generally, their importance as precedents, their value in reflecting trends or issues, or their significance in SSA’s administrative history. The information includes legislative events in Social Security and related programs. Our expectation is that this Chronology can be used as a reference tool and finding aid for important dates and events in Social Security’s long history.Continue Reading »

Social Insurance & Social Security Chronology: Part II – 1900s – 1920s

The following pages present a detailed historical chronology of the development of social insurance, with particular emphasis on Social Security. Items are included in this compilation on the basis of their significance for Social Security generally, their importance as precedents, their value in reflecting trends or issues, or their significance in SSA’s administrative history. The information includes legislative events in Social Security and related programs. Our expectation is that this Chronology can be used as a reference tool and finding aid for important dates and events in Social Security’s long history.Continue Reading »

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