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World War I and the 1920s

World War I Veteran
World War I veteran
Photo: Library of Congress
Digital ID hec 36930

  • 5,000 Women March for Equality: 1913In a woman's suffrage demonstration to-day the capital saw the greatest parade of women in its history. In the allegory presented on the Treasury steps it saw a wonderful series of dramatic pictures. In the parade over 5,000 women passed down Pennsylvania Avenue. Some were riding, more were afoot. Floats throughout the procession illustrated the progress the woman's suffrage cause had made in the last seventy-five years. Scattered throughout the parade were the standards of nearly every State in the Union. It was an astonishing demonstration.
  • Adoption Project: 1937Modern adoption history has been marked by vigorous reforms dedicated to surrounding child placement with legal and scientific safeguards enforced by trained professionals working under the auspices of certified agencies. In 1917, for instance, Minnesota passed the first state law that required children and adults to be investigated and adoption records to be shielded from public view. By mid-century, virtually all states in the country had revised their laws to incorporate such minimum standards as pre-placement inquiry, post-placement probation, and confidentiality and sealed records. At their best, these standards promoted child welfare. Yet they also reflected eugenic anxieties about the quality of adoptable children and served to make adult tastes and preferences more influential in adoption than children’s needs. The Adoption Project paper is a part of that history.
  • Bresette, Linna EleanorLinna Eleanor Bresette: Teacher, Advocate for Women Laborers, Catholic Social Reformer (1882-1960). By Michael Barga
  • Brown, Mary E. (1865 — 1948)In January, 1919, Mary E. Brown was one of the suffragists who picketed the White House during President Woodrow Wilson’s Administration. She was arrested for her efforts advocating for the 19th Amendment designed to allow women the right to vote. Mrs. Brown was subsequently sentenced and spent five days in the District of Columbia’s jail.
  • C.C. Carstens (1865-1939)C. C. Carstens: Interpreter of the Needs of Dependent Children (1865-1939). Written by: Emma Octavia Lundberg.
  • Can Intelligence Be Measured? (1922)We are told that there is a mental quality known as "natural intelligence" and that it is possible to develop mental reflexes which are called "acquired intelligence." The sum of the two is intellectual power. Here an interesting question enters: Do psychologists measure intelligence or something else ? Added to this is a practical question: Is it wise to proclaim broadcast that this mental quality is intelligence? Is it common sense to say that there is such a thing as natural intelligence and another thing known as acquired intelligence?
  • Carry On: Magazine on the Reconstruction of Disabled Soldiers and Sailors"In the first number of this magazine, June 1918, Surgeon General Gorgas promised that 'the Medical Department of the Army will 'Carry On' in the medical and training treatment of the disabled soldier until he is cured or as nearly cured as his disabilities permit.'"
  • Catholic Community Service Organizations in War Time"American Catholics supported the nation’s efforts in the First World War by founding the National Catholic War Council (NCWC) in 1917."
  • Catt, Carrie ChapmanA dynamic speaker and tenacious organizer, Carrie Chapman Catt was a powerful force in the woman suffrage movement. Her relentless campaigning won President Woodrow Wilson’s respect and support, and ultimately led to passage of the Nineteenth Amendment granting women the right to vote.
  • Child Study Association: History 1928"The Last decade of the nineteenth century witnessed the beginning of educational experimentation based on an awakening interest in child psychology. Gradually invasions were made in the old academic curricula as the needs and nature of childhood became more evident."
  • Child Welfare League History 1915-1920Written by Jack Hansan. "The League had its beginning at the time of the National Conference of Charities and Corrections (later known as the National Conference of Social Work) in Baltimore in 1915, when a group of executives from approximately 25 children's agencies met together for the purpose of exchanging information and discussing the needs of the child-caring field."
  • Christodora Settlement House, 1897-1939Written by June Hopkins, Ph. D., History Department, Armstrong Atlantic State University. "Almost one hundred years ago, when Christina Isobel MacColl and her friend Sarah Carson founded Christodora Settlement House in the slums of New York City's Lower East Side...these two indomitable women, inspired by such social activists as Jane Addams and Lillian Wald, intended to settle in the slums and form bonds of "love and loyalty" with their immigrant neighbors while helping them adjust to the mean streets and squalid tenements of urban America."
  • Cleveland Federation for Charity and Philanthropy: 1913From its inception, the Cleveland-area volunteers were the first in the country to set up a volunteer-driven system to study human care needs, to allocate funds, and monitor their use. The new organization added budgeting to the single campaign concept, i.e., funds were allocated to agencies on the basis of demonstrated need rather than on hopes for as much money as possible. This "citizen review process" became the model for United Way organizations across the country.
  • Community Chest Movement: An Interpretation 1924"Rich and poor, the various religious denominations, the great forces, social, commercial, and religious, should be willing to join hands for common ideals, to make a better city for the living of human life, better health for all, better educational opportunities for young and old, moral conditions that strengthen character, better laws, less legal restrictions, and better standards of living. The community chest is a factor in this great work, and if organized and carried on in the proper spirit will contribute substantially to the realization of this high aim." By C. M. Bookman, Executive Secretary, Community Chest and Council of Social Agencies, 1924.
  • Community Councils: What Have They Done And What Is Their Future?Presentation by John Collier, Director, Training School for Community Workers at the National Conference Of Social Work Annual Meeting in 1919. "I want to insist at once that Community Councils are independent, self -operating neighborhood organizations...As such they remain, now that the war is over, to help in the work of reconstruction and in the upbuilding of a useful and beautiful leisure life."
  • Community Federation: A Model Constitution and PlanThe community federation, regardless of the way it has been established, must not attempt to be an overlord administering the affairs of the constituent agencies. The federation should be the machinery by means of which the agencies and their social workers function together. When new standards of work are being developed, the federated agencies interested in those standards should help formulate them. The federation can safely exercise administrative direction, but should not exercise administrative control. From this it clearly follows that a social service federation should be entirely representative of the agencies, having only such powers as the co-operating agencies delegate to it.
  • Community Organization MovementIn this presentation immediately following WWI, Wm. Norton presents his views on why community organization is essential. In one part he said: "The intention of the new community organization therefore is not to supplant the old but to strengthen and to supplement it. It aims to gather all of these specialized agencies with their different approaches and conflicting personalities together into a single community-wide co-operative society, with the purposes of creating a feeling of comradeship among them, of eliminating waste, of reducing friction, of strengthening them all, of planning new ventures in the light of the organized information held by all, of swinging them in a solid front in one attack after another upon the pressing and urgent needs of the hours. It says to a Protestant, "We know you are a Protestant and have a right to be one. That man there is a Catholic and has a right to be one. And that man there is a Jew and has a right to be proud of that. Stick to the points in your work where race and religion tell you to differ from others but admit the others' right to do the same and remember always that you are all of one clay, American citizens in this American community, and wherever you can do it without sacrifice of principle, work and plan as one."
  • Coolidge, John Calvin, Jr. - 30th President of the U.S. (1923-1929)Coolidge was "distinguished for character more than for heroic achievement," wrote a Democratic admirer, Alfred E. Smith. "His great task was to restore the dignity and prestige of the Presidency when it had reached the lowest ebb in our history ... in a time of extravagance and waste...."
  • Educational Alliance"Educational Alliance: A History of a Lower East Side Settlement House," by EJ Sampson. "The Educational Alliance...balanced the growing professionalization of settlement house work by becoming community-based, and kept its emphasis on encouraging public civic culture even as in other ways it aligned with a social service “agency” model. And it kept it eyes on its Jewish origins not only in its neighborhood work, but in negotiating its internal ethos. "
  • Family Life Of The Negro In The Small Town-- 1926Even the briefest account of the family life of the Negro must include a consideration of the history back of the present Negro family. This history naturally divides itself into three periods: Africa, slavery, and freedom. While the African period, it must be remembered, does not claim our attention because an unbroken social tradition still affects the present formation of the Negro family -although traces of the African tradition were detected in marriage ceremonies near the opening of the present century —it is necessary to call attention to this period because of subsequent events. In Africa the Negro lived under regulated sex relations which were adapted to his social and physical environment. It was through the destruction in America of these institutionalized sex relations that slavery was able to bring about complete subordination.
  • Federal Government and Negro Workers Under Woodrow Wilson - J. MacLauryPaper written by Judson MacLaury, U.S. Department of Labor Historian, and delivered at the Annual Meeting for the Society for History in the Federal Government. It reflects another step in the evolution of the civil rights movement and a graphic description of some of the political and governmental obstacles the African-American community faced in becoming an integral part of American society.
  • Glenn, Mary WilcoxMrs. Glenn’s move to New York coincided with the growing awareness for the need for professional training for charity workers and the importance of trained caseworkers. It was also a time when social welfare advocates and charity workers were beginning to realize the necessity for more efficient organizations of “good will” and better means for dealing with the conditions of a society where large numbers of able-bodied workers were being compelled to seek handouts, depend on breadlines and soup kitchens. Mrs. Glenn became an active participant in discussions about the possibilities of a larger, national movement that would bring together local agencies and advocates into some form of national organization.
  • Harding, Warren G., 29th President of the U.S. (1921-1923)Behind the facade, not all of Harding's Administration was so impressive. Word began to reach the President that some of his friends were using their official positions for their own enrichment. Alarmed, he complained, "My...friends...they're the ones that keep me walking the floors nights!"....Looking wan and depressed, Harding journeyed westward in the summer of 1923, taking with him his upright Secretary of Commerce, Herbert Hoover. "If you knew of a great scandal in our administration," he asked Hoover, "would you for the good of the country and the party expose it publicly or would you bury it?" Hoover urged publishing it, but Harding feared the political repercussions.
  • Haynes, Elizabeth RossIn the early twentieth century Progressive era reformers largely ignored the needs of African American women. Lacking settlement houses and other resources African American reformers such as Elizabeth Ross Haynes turned to one of the few institutions available to them, the YWCA.
  • Home Missionary Society of PhiladelphiaWhile some children required long-term placement, assistance was often temporary. One worker describes a case below which particularly displays the “uplift” mentality of the Society:"After a meeting, I called on a widow with four children. She is sick. To secure daily bread, her boy, twelve years of age, sells papers. He called to see me, asking for a situation in the city, whereby he might help his mother. I knew a man of business who wanted a boy, took him with me and secured the place. He has been with him three weeks, and gives such good satisfaction that his wages have been raised, and he is promised permanent employment with a knowledge of the trade. When the mother had sufficiently recovered she came to thank me for the interest I had taken in her son. In this case it was not the money given which called forth her gratitude, but the fact that I had helped the family to help themselves."
  • Hoover, Herbert, 31st U.S. President: 1929-1933 Before serving as America's 31st President from 1929 to 1933, Herbert Hoover had achieved international success as a mining engineer and worldwide gratitude as "The Great Humanitarian" who fed war-torn Europe during and after World War I. Son of a Quaker blacksmith, Herbert Clark Hoover brought to the Presidency an unparalleled reputation for public service as an engineer, administrator, and humanitarian.
  • Hoover, Herbert: Another View of His CareerHe was elected thirty-first President of the United States in a 1928 landslide, but within a few short months he had become a scapegoat in his own land. Even today, Herbert Hoover remains indelibly linked to an economic crisis that put millions of Americans out of work in the 1930s. His 1932 defeat left Hoover's once-bright reputation in shambles. But Herbert Hoover refused to fade away. In one of history's most remarkable comebacks, he returned to public service at the end of World War II to help avert global famine and to reorganize the executive branch of government....By the time of his death in October 1964, Hoover had regained much of the luster once attached to his name. The Quaker theologian who eulogized him at his funeral did not exaggerate when he said of Hoover, "The story is a good one and a great one. . . . It is essentially triumphant."
  • How To Interest Women In Voting"...Of course, no one woman has the right to say what the mass of women want to accomplish with their vote, but I can at least say what I hope the Democratic women wish to achieve.First: Honest, clean administration in party organizations, coupled with a real desire to have the people understand fundamental issues. The trouble is the means for knowing the truth are very few, and I consider that it is one of the real duties of political parties to state clearly and plainly their belief and the things for which they stand...."
  • Hunter, Jane EdnaJane Edna Hunter (1882-1971) – Social Worker, Advocate for Women and Founder of the Phillis Wheatley Association
  • Indians At WorkAnd suddenly the Navajos have been faced with a crisis which in some aspects is nothing less than a head-on collision between immediate advantages, sentiments, beliefs, affections and previously accepted preachments, as one colliding mass, and physical and statistical facts as the other....The crisis consists in the fact that the soil of the Navajo reservation is hurriedly being washed away into the Colorado river. The collision consists in the fact that the entire complex and momentum of Navajo life must be radically and swiftly changed to a new direction and in part must be totally reversed. ...And the changes must be made—if made at all—through the choice of the Navajos themselves; a choice requiring to be renewed through months and years, with increasing sacrifices for necessarily remote and hypothetical returns, and with a hundred difficult technical applications.
  • Kempshall, Anna "Star" - (1891 -1961)In 1917, four days before Christmas, and with only twenty hours notice, Miss Kempshall was dispatched by the C.O.S to assist the American Red Cross in relief work in Halifax, Nova Scotia, the site of an enormous explosion that caused death and damage to a large area surrounding the Halifax Harbor area. (Editor’s Note: On December 6, 1917, two ships collided in Halifax Harbor in Nova Scotia, Canada. One ship was loaded top to bottom with munitions and the other held relief supplies, both intended for war-torn Europe. The resulting blast flattened two towns, Halifax and Dartmouth. The toll of the Halifax Explosion was enormous with over 1,600 men, women and children killed. An additional 9,000 people were injured and 25,000 buildings spread over 325 acres were destroyed.)
  • Lutheran Social Services of MichiganThis entry was copied with permission from the book "This Far By Love: The Amazing Story of Lutheran Social Services of Michigan" by Nancy Manser. Motivated to serve others as an expression of the love of Christ, Lutheran Social Services of Michigan continues today to help those in need regardless of religion, race, ethnicity or national origin.
  • McLean, Francis H.In 1908, McLean gave another presentation at the 35th annual session of the National Conference of Charities and Correction held in Richmond, VA. The title was: “How May We Increase Our Standard of Efficiency in Dealing with Needy Families.” One of his major points was the necessity for workers to record and maintain Diagnosis and Treatment Cards for the families they are trying to help. He said:“…A growing realization of the need of an aid which would impart definiteness to records and give one a clear idea of not only the main problem, but all of the subsidiary problems, caused the Field Department last fall to send out to the societies in the exchange branch of the department, a proposed form to be known as a diagnosis and treatment sheet. A study of the records last winter has convinced the field secretary that these sheets are an absolute necessity, and should be used by all the societies. Even the very best of the records would have been much clearer to the reader with such a sheet. In many cases, apparent lapses in treatment would have been revealed to the societies, if they had attempted to fill out the blanks...."
  • Menace Of Racial And Religious Intolerance (1925)Presentation by Professor Charles Ellwood at the National Conference Of Social Work. Dr. Ellwood was concerned that intolerance seemed to be growing in every form of American life and he concluded that intolerance was a handicap to social progress.
  • Music & Social ReformWritten by Catherine A. Paul. "Throughout the history of the United States, music has been used to bring people together. By singing together, people are able to form emotional bonds and even shape behavior...Therefore, it is unsurprising that social movements have similarly interwoven music and action to create and sustain commitment to causes and collective activities."
  • National Woman Suffrage AssociationThe NWSA dealt with many issues of interest to women besides suffrage, such as the unionization of women workers. In 1872, it supported Victoria Woodhull, the first woman candidate for president of the United States. In 1890, the NWSA and AWSA overcame their previous divisions, joining as the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA), thereby strengthening the movement.
  • National Woman's Party's TacticsIn early 1917, Wilson rebuffed a delegation of more than 300 suffrage supporters who presented him with resolutions drafted at the memorial for Inez Milholland Boissevain. The NWP thereafter significantly shifted its strategy toward overt forms of public protest and civil disobedience. While the more formal political work of the NWP legislative committee continued, the NWP picketing campaign, its banners fully visible to the president as he came in and out of the White House gates, became its own form of lobbying. Picketing the White House also sought to influence international opinion by pointing out the irony of advocating democracy abroad while limiting the exercise of political rights at home.
  • Negro in Virginia (1940)Compiled by Workers of the Writers Program of the Work Projects Administration in the State of Virginia. Sponsored by the Hampton Institute.
  • Program of Work for the Assimilation Of Negro Immigrants In Northern Cities (1917)Presentation by Forrester B. Washington, Director of the Detroit League on Urban Conditions Among Negroes, given at the 44th Meeting of the National Conference on Social Welfare, 1917. "The establishment of a bureau of investigations and information regarding housing comes next in importance. The character of the houses into which negro immigrants go has a direct effect on their health, their morals and their efficiency. The rents charged determine whether the higher wages received in the North are real or only apparent, whether the change in environment has been beneficial or detrimental. The tendency is to exploit the negro immigrant in this particular."
  • Recreation Movement in the United StatesThe first playground in the United States to offer recreational opportunity coupled with leadership was in 1885 when a large sandpile was placed in the yards of the Children’s Mission on Parmenter Street in Boston through the efforts of the Massachusetts Emergency and Hygiene Association.
  • Rehabilitation Of The Mentally And Physically Handicapped (1929)Further progress must of necessity depend on a deeper understanding on the part of every man and woman in the United States. Knowledge of the splendid results already accomplished is not widespread. You can go into thousands of farming districts in this State and you can go into thousands of closely populated wards in our great cities and find ignorance not only of what has been accomplished but of how to go about utilizing the facilities which we already have. There are literally hundreds of thousands of cases of boys and girls in the United States hidden away on the farm or in the city tenements, boys and girls who are mentally deficient or crippled or deaf or blind. Their parents would give anything in the world to have their mental or physical deficiencies cured, but their parents do not know how to go about it.
  • Roosevelt, Eleanor: The Women's MovementEleanor 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.
  • Smith, Zilpha DrewIn 1886, Smith was appointed general secretary of the Associated Charities of Boston and formally launched her professional career in the charity organization movement and social work education. Under her leadership, Associated Charities was successful in bringing together most of the charities and relief organizations operating in Boston. Building on the skills she learned earlier, Smith organized a central file of families being served, a system of district offices, paid agents and volunteer friendly visitors. In an 1887 presentation at the annual meeting of the National Conference of Charities held in Omaha, Nebraska, Smith described aspects of the relationship among committees, volunteer visitors and paid agents doing the service of Associated Charities:
  • Social Insurance & Social Security Chronology: Part II - 1900s - 1920sThe 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.
  • Social Welfare In The Black Community,1886-1939Over the past two decades, social work educators and students have developed a body of literature, which describes the legacy, and contributions of African Americans or members of the Black community to social welfare historical developments.
  • Survey Associates, Inc.Survey Associates was a non-partisan, non-profit organization whose primary work was the publication of the Survey magazines. It was incorporated without capital endowment; contributions from members made up deficits which ordinary publishing receipts could not cover. The organization was managed by a board of directors and advised by the National Council of Survey Associates. Officers of the organization were a president, a chairman of the board of directors, vice-presidents, a secretary, a treasurer, and an editor. Presidents of Survey Associates were Robert W. de Forest, 1912-1931; Lucius Eastman, 1931-1938; and Richard B. Scandrett, 1938-1948. Chairmen of the board of directors were Julian W. Mack, 1938-1943; and Joseph P. Chamberlain, 1943-1952.
  • Temperance MovementWritten 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."
  • The 19th AmendmentThe 19th amendment guarantees all American women the right to vote. Achieving this milestone required a lengthy and difficult struggle; victory took decades of agitation and protest.
  • The Individual Approach: 1915Mrs. Glenn was a close friend and colleague of Mary Richmond and one of the influential voices in support of casework and social work education. In this 1915 presentation she describes her vision of a sensitive and helpful caseworker. One of the paragraphs states: "...The worker's effort is futile unless the individual to be aided become first a co-worker and then pass on to take the lead in carrying through any plan made in his behalf. The worker, whose aim is to rehabilitate men, must be one whose preparation for the task has carried him deep in a considering of human life lived in simplicity and in close relation to those who earn their daily bread. The study of recuperative power must lead the worker back to gauge the mainsprings of strength that lie hid in the individual's past. But there must be more than the harking back, there must be the readiness to take a forward leap, He is not what he may become, is the attitude of mind which gives the power to stir men to be twice made, and it is faith in one's fellow which gives the power to make men make themselves. An intense desire to see life well lived makes a worker, with tender, with restrained devotion, care to see the "downmost man" come through his wracking experience actually on top....
  • Urbanization And The Negro: 1933It is a significant fact that while there was a distinct loss in both Negro and white rural farm population during the past decade, the land operated by Negroes decreased by 31,835,050 acres, approximately 5,992 square miles (an area slightly larger than the combined land areas of Connecticut and Rhode Island), between 1920 and 1930. At the same time there was a very substantial increase of 34,743,840 acres, or approximately 54,287 square miles for white farm operators.
  • 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.
  • Wilson, Woodrow, 28th President of the United States (1913 – 1921)Woodrow Wilson, a leader of the Progressive Movement, was the 28th President of the United States (1913-1921). After a policy of neutrality at the outbreak of World War I, Wilson led America into war in order to "make the world safe for democracy."....Like Roosevelt before him, Woodrow Wilson regarded himself as the personal representative of the people. "No one but the President," he said, "seems to be expected ... to look out for the general interests of the country." He developed a program of progressive reform and asserted international leadership in building a new world order. In 1917 he proclaimed American entrance into World War I a crusade to make the world "safe for democracy."
  • Women Must Learn to Play the Game as Men Do"...To many women who fought so long and so valiantly for suffrage, what has happened has been most discouraging. For one reason or another, most of the leaders who carried the early fight to success have dropped out of politics. This has been in many ways unfortunate. Among them were women with gifts of real leadership. They were exceptional and high types of women, idealists concerned in carrying a cause to victory, with no idea of personal advancement or gain. In fact, attaining the vote was only part of a program for equal rights--an external gesture toward economic independence, and social and spiritual equality with men...".
  • Women's Suffrage: The MovementIn 2005, the passage of the 19th amendment to the Constitution, giving women the right to vote, celebrated its 85th anniversary. The resolution calling for woman suffrage had passed, after much debate, at the Seneca Falls Convention in 1848, convened by Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott. In The Declaration of Sentiments, a document based upon the Declaration of Independence, the numerous demands of these early activists were elucidated.
  • Y.W.C.A.: Brief History of Service in Times of WarIn one particular the Y.W.C.A. war service of 1917 differs from that of 1942. Then the Y.W.C.A. operated hostess houses on camp grounds as well as in large manufacturing areas. Today it operates U.S.O. centers close by camps, near navy yards, and in the big industrial defense areas. Now as then, while doing its share for the men in uniform, it never forgets that its main purpose is to supply the needs of women and girls—wives and families of service men, workers in cantonment areas and in war industries, nurses and employees at military posts, and others directly affected by the emergency needs of the nation. The program included recreation; education in health, nutrition, first aid, and other essential subjects, counsel on personal problems, and spiritual guidance.