The Pullman Strike of 1894 was the first organized national strike in United States history. Before coming to an end, it involved over 150,000 persons and twenty-seven states and territories and would paralyze the nations railway system.Continue Reading →
Dr. Gunnar Dybwad was a nationally recognized authority on retardation, autism, cerebral palsy and other disabilities. He is credited with being one of the first professionals to frame mental disability as an issue of civil rights, rather than as a medical or social work problem.Continue Reading →
Rather than settle for a comfortable life as a middle-class wife, Janie Porter Barrett devoted herself to social service work. The first major product of her early career was to create the Locust Street Social Settlement in 1890. The Locust Street Settlement was operated out of her home until her prominent husband, helped Barrett build a separate settlement facility in 1902. Locus Street settlement was the first of its kind in Virginia and the first social settlement for black people in the United States. Locust Street House was modeled on Jane Addams’s Hull House in Chicago.Continue Reading →
Kate Agnelli is a research associate with a state criminal justice agency in Virginia. She holds an MSW with a concentration in administration and community practice from VCU and a BA in History from UNC-Chapel Hill. Kate has worked as a fair housing researcher, investigator, and advocate at a non-profit housing advocacy agency in Richmond, […]Continue Reading →
Mary McDowell (1854 – 1936): Founder of the University of Chicago Settlement House and Co-Founder of the National Women’s Trade Union League
Editor’s Note: This entry is a composite of information about Mary McDowell. The name of the author is unknown; however, many of the quotes are attributed to individuals who knew her […]Continue Reading →
As the United States prepared to enter World War II, the general public and many leading social service agencies voiced the need for expanded social services in coordination with the U.S. military. In 1940, General George Marshall also called for social services for the military. The USO was founded in 1941 in response to a request from President Roosevelt to provide morale and recreation services to U.S. uniformed military personnel. Roosevelt was elected as its honorary chairman. Discussions among the military, the National Jewish Welfare Board, the Salvation Army, the National Board of the Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA), the National Council of the Young Men’s Christian Associations of the United States (YMCA), and the National Catholic Community Service resulted in the establishment of the United Service Organizations for National Defense Inc. (USO) in New York City on February 4, 1941. In the following month, the National Traveler’s Aid Association joined the organization and, thus, these groups became the six primary member agencies of the USO.Continue Reading →
Perhaps the first outstanding instance of the Settlement’s service to the community, through Miss McDowell, was its successful petition to have a public bath-house erected in the area (12,000 persons used it in August, 1900). Another instance was the successful campaign to have the alleys and streets of the district cleaned, and trash and garbage hauled away. Efforts on the part of the Settlement resulted in a series of events which led to the present system of neighborhood playgrounds. The Settlement was instrumental in the establishment of summer schools or “vacation schools,” and vocational schools where classes in manual training, domestic science and vocational guidance were held.
…It sponsored nutrition and hygiene classes, provided a nursing clinic and visiting nurses and the services of cooperating doctors, all before these functions were recognized as a municipal responsibility. The Settlement even served as a hospital ward on two occasions, once during an epidemic of whooping cough, and again during the influenza epidemic of 1918. Miss McDowell led the campaign for the abolition of the great garbage dumps in the area and for the filling in of the notorious “Bubbly Creek”—a stagnant branch of the Chicago River into which was poured raw sewage.
The settlement crusade for social justice was firmly rooted in what the residents learned from neighborhood life. The reforms they proposed or promoted were realistic and practical, in part because many were tested in the neighborhood first. If a program proved worthwhile, the residents persuaded schools, labor unions, civic organizations, and the municipal, state, or federal government to take it over and expand it. But the point of origin was usually the neighborhood contact. The diversified program of the settlements put them in touch with a cross section of their communities. They sponsored day nurseries, kindergartens, and play schools; mothers’ clubs and women’s organizations; clubs and classes for children, teenagers, and young adults; discussion groups, educational classes, and civic reform organizations for the adults; free legal services, informal employment bureaus, dispensaries, and clinics.Continue Reading →
Volunteers “are the phalanx for a changed public attitude.”1 These words best characterize the career and contribution to volunteerism made by Robert E. Bondy (1895-1990). Bondy spent the majority of his career with the American Red Cross, overseeing disaster relief efforts together with implementing programs and services to deal with returning U.S. veterans who served in the two world wars. Bondy ended his illustrious career as director of the National Social Welfare Assembly and, finally, as chairman of the Health and Welfare Advisory Council of the AFL-CIO.Continue Reading →
Mr. Boehm is known as a social work educator whose pioneering work was in curriculum development in the U.S. and social work in Canada. He taught at the University of Minnesota from 1958 to 1963. He also taught at the Graduate School of Social Work at Rutgers University and was the dean from 1963 to 1972. Dr. Boehm enjoyed a varied and highly respected career as a practitioner, academic administrator, and scholar, and for almost half a century he provided leadership to Social Work education. He is best known for having directed a landmark study on Social Work curriculum development for the Council on Social Work Education from 1955-1960.Continue Reading →