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Willard State Hospital, New York. Primary Sources

Plans and elevations and a historical sketch of the Willard Asylum for the insane, at Willard, on Seneca-Lake, N.Y. (1887) This report may also be read through the Internet Archive. Annual report of the Trustees of the Willard State Hospital, for the year 1892 This report may also be read through the Internet Archive. Annual… Continue Reading »

Immigration and Ethnicity: Documents in United States History

Immigration and Ethnicity: Documents in United States History By Catherine A. Paul     Chinese Exclusion Act, 1882 The Chinese Exclusion Act was signed into law on May 6, 1882 by President Chester A. Arthur in response to native-born Americans’ belief that unemployment and declining wages were due to Chinese workers. This act was the first… Continue Reading »

Children Who Labor – film (1912)

Children Who Labor (1912)   Children Who Labor was a collaboration between the Edison Company and the National Child Labor Committee, the nonprofit organization founded in 1904 and chartered by Congress to promote the rights of “children and youth as they relate to work and working.” In this melodrama, the daughter of a well-to-do industrialist is… Continue Reading »

Letters from the Field: Introduction

We spent the morning in conference, took a quick look at the transient setup–thousands came here looking for work, you see, and present quite a problem–and spent the afternoon looking over Muscle Shoals–Wilson dam and power house, Wheeler dam, the houses they are building there for the engineers and their families, the construction camp, and so on. It’s all on such a huge scale! But darned interesting. Always in the background, though, is this dreadful relief business– dull, hopeless, deadening. God–when are we going to get out of it? As nearly as I can figure it out, most of the relief families in Tennessee are rural, living on sub-marginal or marginal land. What are we going to do with them? And, so low are their standards of living, that, once on relief, low as it is, they want to stay there the rest of their lives. Gosh! TVA is now employing some 9,500 people. But it doesn’t even make a dent! . . .Continue Reading »

Letters from the Field: June 11, 1934

On this trip I’ve tried not to be too preoccupied with relief. I’ve tried to find out what the people as a whole are thinking about–people who are at work. I carry away the impression that all over the area, from Knoxville, Tennessee, to Tupelo, Mississippi, and on up to Memphis and Nashville, people are in a pretty contented, optimistic frame of mind. They just aren’t thinking about the Depression any more. They feel that we are on our way out and toward any problems that have to be solved before we get out their attitude seems to be, “Let Roosevelt do it.”Continue Reading »

Letters from the Field: June 6, 1934

Nearly 10,000 men–about 9,500–are at work in the Valley now, at Norris and Wheeler dams, on various clearing and building projects all over the area. Thousands of them are residents of the Valley, working five and a half hours a day, five days a week, for a really LIVING wage. Houses are going up for them to live in–better houses than they have ever had in their lives before. And in their leisure time they are studying–farming, trades, the art of living, preparing themselves for the fuller lives they are to lead in that Promised Land. You are probably saying, “Oh, come down to earth!” But that’s the way the Tennessee Valley affects one these days.Continue Reading »

Hindrances To The Welfare And Progress Of State Institutions (1883)

Presentation at the Ninth Annual Conference of Charities and Corrections 1883 by Michael Anagnos. “…public institutions for the poor and the perverse, the halt and the criminals, the blind and the deaf, the idiots and the insane, are established by law, and are supported by means raised by general taxation. This policy, admirable and beneficial as it evidently is in most respects, is not free from grave disadvantages and certain dangers…”Continue Reading »

What is Professional Social Work?

Social work does not consist of maintaining any social activity which has become standard and permanent. Social workers are continually originating certain activities and vindicating them and making them standard and permanent but after they have reached that stage they are not rated as social work. At one point kindergartens which are now a regular part of our educational system were promoted and maintained as social work. Some activities that are more or less permanent and standardized in regard to their procedure such as the relief work of old family welfare societies are nevertheless exceptional activities because the circumstances of the different individuals require and receive special treatment in each case. Even relief giving may pass out of the realm of social work if it is put on the basis of flat pensions and paid for out of taxation, as in the case of soldier’s pensions; or if pensions are given as a part of a fixed policy of a big corporation toward its employees, there is no reason to class the administration of these pensions as social work. Continue Reading »

Community Service Society of New York City

The Community Service Society (CSS) was formed in April 1939 by the merger of two of New York City’s most prominent nonprofit social welfare organizations: the New York Association for Improving the Condition of the Poor (AICP), organized in 1843 and incorporated in 1848, and the New York City Charity Organization Society (COS), founded in… Continue Reading »

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