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This section includes articles written from a variety of points of view, and some personal recollections relevant to the history of American social welfare programs, issues, and personalities.






  • Robert M. Ball, Social Security Pioneer - Larry DeWitt, Historian, U.S. Social Security AdministrationBall started his career in the Social Security field in 1939 and he labored on issues related to Social Security without stint for the next 69 years, working up until two weeks before his death at age 93.
  • Roots of Social Security - Frances PerkinsBefore I was appointed, I had a little conversation with Roosevelt in which I said perhaps he didn't want me to be the Secretary, of Labor because if I were, I should want to do this, and this, and this. Among the things I wanted to do was find a way of getting unemployment insurance, old-age insurance, and health insurance. I remember he looked so startled, and he said, "Well, do you think it can be done?" I said, "I don't know." He said, Well, there are constitutional problems, aren't there?" "Yes, very severe constitutional problems," I said. "But what have we been elected for except to solve the constitutional problems? Lots of other problems have been solved by the people of the United States, and there is no reason why this one shouldn't be solved." "Well," he said, "do you think you can do it?" "I don't know, " I said But I wanted to try. "I want to know if I have your authorization. I won't ask you to promise anything." He looked at me and nodded wisely. "All right," he said, "I will authorize you to try, and if you succeed, that's fine."
  • Schiff, Philip: 1958 MemorialThe Metropolitan Washington Chapter of NASW held a special memorial meeting for Philip Schiff on September 25, 1958, at which Dean Inabel Lindsay of the School of Social Work of Howard University presented this paper.
  • Settlement Houses: The View Of The Catholic ChurchNeighborhood and Community: The View Of The Church by Rev. William F. O'Ryan, St. Leo's Church, Denver, Colorado--a presentation at the 52nd Meeting of the National Conference on Social Welfare, Denver, Colorado, June 10-17, 1925
  • Social Work and Aftercare of the Mentally Ill in Maryland - Betsy S. Vourlekis, University of Maryland School of Social Work, Baltimore Campus"The question of affording proper care for patients discharged from hospitals for the insane is by no means a new one. The best and most satisfactory method of administering this aid has not yet been entirely decided…" (Arthur P. Herring, Secretary of the Maryland Lunacy Commission, September 14, 1910).
  • Social Work: Community Organization If we define community organization in its broadest sense, as a recent writer has done, as "deliberately directed effort to assist groups in attaining unity of purpose and action... in behalf of either general or special objectives," it is clear that a substantial part of community organization falls even outside the broader field of "social welfare," of which the whole of social work is an integral part. But it is also clear that another substantial part, whose function has been described in a recent report as that of creating and maintaining "a progressively more effective adjustment between social welfare resources and social welfare needs," certainly belongs within the "social welfare" field. But does this practice of community organization for a "social welfare" purpose conform to our criteria of generic social work practice?
  • Social Work: Community Organization Process - 1947Urban League finds it easy to talk about the principles of good housing for all the people, but when steps to attain that housing contravene the purposes of profit interest groups, threaten to change the racial character of a given neighborhood, or run into the cross fire of opposing citizen interests, the League finds that principles constitute one thing and practice something entirely different. Thus, in organizing the community for social action, it must be remembered that frequently all the community cannot be organized, and a choice, therefore, must be made as to with which groups the agency will work. It mut be remembered, also, that even when over-all community support is essential, the cells of hidden or open resistance must be located and either isolated or dissolved before the organizing process can gain its full momentum.
  • Social Work: What is the Job of a Community Organizer? - 1948Community organization must never be seen as merely a job. We are working with the materials out of which a community is built, a cooperative society is fashioned. We are in the thick of the personal, group, and inter-group relationships that make up modern social life. The community organization worker needs a sense of vocation. He is performing an essential function. He is a producer and conserver of social values. He has a vital and crucial role to play in the social drama of our time-the role of a servant of democracy.
  • Tammanyizing of a Civilization (1909)The oldest and most infamous organization in America for exploiting this population is Tammany Hall of New York, which the great classic historian, Professor Guglielmo Ferrero, recently compared to the very similar organizations that were formed for exploiting the city of Rome during its decadence. For fifty years and more this body has perverted civilization in New York, using the great politically untrained population for this purpose. Its political saloon-keepers have killed unnumbered multitudes of these people through excessive drinking; its political procurers have sold the bodies of their daughters; its contractors and street-railway magnates have crowded them into the deadly tenement districts by defrauding them of their rights of cheap and decent transportation; and its sanitary officials have continuously murdered a high percentage of the poor by their sale of the right to continue fatal and filthy conditions in these tenement districts, contrary to law. Meantime they have kept control of the population they have exploited by their cunning distribution of wages and charity.
  • The Longest Day - Andrew Malekoff, CEO, North Shore Child and Family Guidance Center, March 2007A chill returned as the sun disappeared behind the ruins of the World Trade Center. Renee Fleming, accompanied by the orchestra of St. Luke’s, sang God Bless America. I waved to a police officer wearing a light blue windbreaker. The words NYPD COMMUNITY AFFAIRS were printed in white block letters on the back of her jacket.