At the age of 24, Elizabeth Blackwell had a revelation that changed her life, taking her far from her tiny Cincinnati schoolroom where she was teaching. She had gone to see Mary Donaldson, a family friend dying of what was probably uterine cancer. “My friend,” Blackwell later recalled, “died of a painful disease, the delicate nature of which made the methods of treatment a constant suffering to her.” A “lady doctor,” Donaldson told her young visitor, would have spared her the embarrassment of having male physicians examine her. Indeed, Blackwell believed, had a female physician been available, Donaldson might have sought treatment in time to save her life. For the idealistic Blackwell, moved by her friend’s plight, the idea of becoming a doctor “gradually assumed the aspect of a great moral struggle.”

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The organization of municipal charities and corrections should be carried out in line with the principles of efficiency. The cities’ activities for social welfare should all of them be administered by a permanent staff of well qualified experts. This means a fair and practical merit system for the civil service. There is an increasing tendency to recognize the professional character of social work and to admit that training and experience are necessary, and this will receive increasing recognition on the part of all people who appoint workers to social service positions, whether they are civil service boards or not. One difficulty at the present time is that there is not an adequate number of qualified people seeking these positions or of people qualified to hold them if they got them. There must be increased training for public service. The difficulties connected with establishing the civil service of cities on a higher plane are not insurmountable and nobody is justified in dismissing this problem as a hopeless one. In fact, it is the special duty of social workers to see that the public service is improved and elevated in every possible way.

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Voluntary Health Insurance

On May 26, 2015 By

In many respects the most direct answer of all is found in the formation of a group health cooperative or similar type of group health association. Such an organization represents the practical realization on the part of its members that they cannot safely rely either for the presence of doctors among them or for adequate health facilities upon the fortuitous illness and generosity of well­ to-do people. Instead the potential need for health care on the part of an entire group of people is pooled, together with monthly payments to cover the esti­mated cost of such care. In other words, the principle of pre­payment, which everyone agrees is the central answer to the problem of en­abling people generally to pay for ade­quate health care, is applied.

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Certain broad concepts about community organization as carried on by social workers have been developed in the social work curriculum and in practice. We have developed certain values which give us a philosophical underpinning. In addition, we have a body of rough-and ready rule-of-thumb ideas about how to carry on our daily tasks. However, if our literature is a guide, we have moved very slowly toward the development of any precise or clear body of concepts to govern either the teaching or the practice of community organization. This gap is found primarily between the philosophy, which tempers our work, and the mechanics of day-by-day action. This fact becomes apparent when we try to translate our philosophy into operational theory.

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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.

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When the English-speaking colonists arrived in the New World they brought with them the ideas and customs they knew in England, including the “Poor Laws.” The first colonial poor laws were fashioned after those of the Poor Law of 1601. They featured local taxation to support the destitute; they discriminated between the “worthy” and the “unworthy” poor; and all relief was a local responsibility. No public institutions for the poor or standardized eligibility criteria would exist for nearly a century. It was up to local town elders to decide who was worthy of support and how that support would be provided. As colonial America grew more complex, diverse and mobile, the localized systems of poor relief were strained. The result was some limited movement to state financing and the creation of almshouses and poorhouses to “contain” the problem. For much of the 18th and 19th centuries most poverty relief was provided in the almshouses and poorhouses. Relief was made as unpleasant as possible in order to “discourage” dependency. Those receiving relief could lose their personal property, the right to vote, the right to move, and in some cases were required to wear a large “P” on their clothing to announce their status.

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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.

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The Temperance Movement

On March 18, 2015 By

Temperance efforts existed in antiquity, but the movement really came into its own as a reaction to the pervasive use of distilled beverages in modern times. The earliest organizations in Europe came into being in Ireland in the 1820s, then swept to Scotland and Britain. Norway and Sweden saw movements rise in the 1830s. In the United States, a pledge of abstinence had been promulgated by various preachers, notably John Bartholomew Gough, at the beginning of the 1800s. Temperance associations were established in New York (1808) and Massachusetts (1813). The American Society for the Promotion of Temperance (1826) was interdenominational. Thanks largely to the lead from the pulpit, some 6,000 local temperance groups in many states were up and running by the 1830s.temperance-movement

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Horace Mann (1796-1859), “The Father of the Common School Movement,” was the foremost proponent of education reform in antebellum America. An ardent member of the Whig Party, Mann argued that the common school, a free, universal, non-sectarian, and public institution, was the best means of achieving the moral and socioeconomic uplift of all Americans. The reform movement he led sought to create the virtuous republican citizenry needed to sustain American political institutions, the educated workforce required to expand the American economy, and the disciplined generation necessary to forestall the social disorders so common in American cities in the decades before the Civil War.

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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 Social Security Administration’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.

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