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1'vlMtR (lull. KluRKNlf. LoEB KELLOGG, LoU-

BRIGHT. Ltd\ \\ HIPPLE, associate editors; RUTH A.
LERRICO, HELEN CHAMBERLAIN, assistant editors.

ributing editors.

WALTER F. GRUENINCER, business manager;
IOLLIE CONDON, circulation manager; MARY R
NDERSON, advertising manager.

APRIL 1938



Mary Kingsbury Simkhovitch PAINTING BY I.F.OPOI.D SEVFFF.RT


"The Past Is Prologue" WILLIAM HODSON

Twenty-five Years of Growing ALLEN T. HI KN>>

"Oh, Those Nurses!" KATHRYN CLOSE


A World Safe for Mothers THOMAS PARRAN. M.D. 104

The Education of an Examiner MARIE DRESDEN LANE 105

Dear Billy Cogswell: A Symposium



German Emigres Help Each Other TONI STOLPER 1 1 1

The Common Welfare "2

The Social Front 114

Relief Public Assistance Public Welfare Against
Crime Schools and Education Compensation The
Public's Health Citizen Service Professional People
and Things

Readers Write 123

Book Reviews ". 124

<0 Survey Associates, Inc.


monthly will depart from its usual size and

rrangement to mark the twenty-fifth year
of Survey Associates and its own fifteenth
year as a monthly publication. This special

loublc size, illustrated issue will focus on
social work as it finds itself today on the

iring line of social advance, with changes

n process which condition the functioning
of all social work, with new "fronts" tak-

ng form.

\ a curtain raiser, Paul Kellogg will
write on how we got the way we are; the

hings we have fought for and the climate

n which we fought.

.nterprcters of some of the "hot spots"
of social work, the editors have enlisted
men and women close in to areas where
change has overtaken growth and generated

PIGEON HOLE by Charles F. Ernst, d\-
riftor, Washington State Department of
Social Security. Organized and articulate.
the clients demand a share in shaping the
services from which they benefit.


iVilliam Haber, recently administrator,
Michigan State Emergency Welfare Relief

Commission. Social work, no longer the
concern of the contributing classes but of
the masses, is subject to the realities of our
politically organized way of public service.

SOCIAL ACTION by Helen Hall, presi-
dent. National Federation of Settlements
and administrator, Henry Street Settlement,
.\f:t- York. The renewed emergence of the
drive for social action and its implications
for board member, social worker and client

Adie, commissioner. New York State De-
partment of Social Welfare. Administrative
relationships which condition the function-
ing of the whole system of public welfare
and security.

director, Bureau of Research and Statistics,
Social Security Board. The impact of the
social security act on the public'i concept
of social welfare and its implications for so-
cial work and social workers.


Gertrude Sturges, M.D., consultant, Amer-
ican Public Welfare Association. The con-
fusions of responsibility and authority in
the present facilities for medical care of
persons unable to pay for it.

Cody Baker, Council of Social Agencies,
Chicago. The mental neighborhood of social
work where dwell organizations alike onlv
in their sincerity and conviction.


Sidney Hollander. Baltimore business man
and board member. The areas of uncer-
tainty, impatience and confidence of the
socially minded taxpayer and private con-

THEIR GROWTH . . ." by Gertrude
Springer. The strains and pressures of the
past five years on an adolescent profession.

BYSTANDER by Margaret Farlow. Off
the record moments with retired volunteers.
Comment by Eleanor Roosevelt, Evelyn K.
Davis and others.

Courtesy Grand Central Art Gallery, New York


Portrait by Leopold Seyffert

Greetings to a life-long Good Neighbor, on the occasion of the publication of her book, Neighborhood. The warm phil-
osophy and kindly humor of the founder and director of Greenwich House permeates every sentence of this story of the
beginnings and development of the famous settlement. Mr. Seyffert's beautiful portrait was presented to the House
last May, in honor of its thirty-fifth anniversary, by a group of old friends, club members and former residents.


APRIL 1938


The Past Is Prologue


, Department of Welfare, Neu- York City

EVKRY welfare department has the same job to do,
namely, to provide purchasing power for those who
have none. In tackling this job, public welfare offi-
- have the same basic problems. They need more money
to provide relief for a constantly increasing number of fam-
ilies and more staff to give these families proper attention.
The public is sometimes confused, sometimes resentful, but
at all times uninformed about the nature of the problem of
unemployment and the character of the assistance given
those who are without resources; this increases the dif-
ficulty of getting the proper kind of community coopera-
tion. The growth and gradual maturing of employe associ-
ations and unions require considered readjustments and af-
ford new opportunities for progressive action in the area
of the employer-employe relationship in public employ-
ment. The organized unemployed are becoming more artic-
ulate in their protest ; both the organization and the pro-
need to be studied and understood. The approach of
these groups to public officials calls for new procedures. On
i the organizational side, the partnership of local, state and
| federal government is still in its infancy, and sharp grow-
pains are being felt. The distinction between adminis-
tration and supervision is easier to state than to apply and
I the proper balance between delegation of authority and
tuate oversight calls for a judicious handling of the
Ni.ilex. However, it is not the purpose of this article to go
into all these questions. I have dealt with some of them
elsewhere, and constructively, I hope. I want to present
| here some special phases of New York City experience,
! with the thought that the trends here, both general and

lie, will be found to have parallels in other places.
First, a word about the general relief picture in Ne\\
^ ork Ciu. Most discussions of relief these days seem to
I be in terms of millions millions under care and millions
of dollars spent to provide it. Ncccssan as these mass fig-
in c-, are, they make it increasingly hard to keep in mind
] . the human realities which lie behind them, and which alone
I are important. With apologies, let me cite a few statistics.
I have compared the month of February in each year
from 1934 to 1938, inclusive. Taking the total families
on both direct and work relief, we find a sharp rise in 1935
1934 and in 1936 over 1935. The increase from 1934
Ito 1936 was 35 percent. As the effect of improved busirv

conditions was felt in 1936 there was a substantial drop
resulting in a February 1937 case load that was 16 per-
cent lower than that of February 1936. February 1938 was
6 percent lower than the same month in 1937. However,
the Home Relief figures, when considered separately, re-
flect the recent downward trend in business because the
case load for February 1938 is 9 percent higher than in
1937. This is shown further by a large increase in appli-
cations this year over last. At present, our applications run
about 28,000 per month as compared with 18,372 in Febru-
ary 1937. We accept about 3300 additional families each
week with a weekly closing rate (exclusive of closings to
WPA and unemployment insurance) of about 1350. As
would be expected, home relief is a sensitive index of em-
ployment and business conditions. Declining employment
means immediately rising case loads. Thus, after four years
of limited recovery and recession we have more families on
work and direct relief in February 1938 than we had in
February 1934, and we are spending more for relief a
little more than $18 million in February this year, a little
less than $16 million in February 1934. If this merely re-
flected more adequate care for the people in need, the situa-
tion would not be alarming. If, on the other hand, it
reflects inability to improve industrial conditions for more
than short periods of time with a general downward trend,
the seriousness of the problem cannot be overstated.

HOW long do people remain on relief ? A recent study of
a random sample of our relief families gives some clues
to the proportion of our case load that is likely to remain
permanently on relief. No doubt the workers in these fam-
ilies are victims of technological development, and the new
physical and age requirements of modern industry, as well
as of disease and accident. Families to the number of 3540
receiving relief in January 1937 were chosen for analysis;
some of these families had come on relief as early as 1930,
some as late as January 1937. Some of them had been on
relief continuously since their first acceptance, others had
been on and off. Of the total of 3540 receiving relief in
January 1937, 2202 had been accepted in 1934 or before.
Of this number 1 130, or 51 percent had remained on relief
continuously, some had been with us for seven years, others
for two years, depending upon the date when they were


first accepted. The other 49 percent had been on and off
one or more times, but had returned and were active cases
as of January 1937. This study, of course, takes no account
of those who left our rolls and never came back. It would
be illuminating to know how these families fared and what
elements in them or in their environment made continued
self-support possible.

IN about one third of the families studied, no member
of the family had been employed for six months or more
prior to the date of application for relief. Evidently they
had maintained themselves with the aid of friends and rela-
tives or on past savings or credit.

It frequently has been said, with considerable justice, that
we do not know enough about our people and particularly
about their employability. A recent occupational classifica-
tion of our workers has shed some light on that subject.
The length of time people stay on relief is obviously re-
lated directly to the supply of available jobs and the ability
of our workers to accept and hold jobs. As of January 1938
there were 561,000 people in the families under our care.
Of these 222,000 were children under sixteen (about 40
percent of the total) and another 75,000 were homemak-
ers or housewives who ordinarily would not be available
for outside employment. It was estimated that there were
150,000 persons over sixteen years of age (exclusive of
homemakers and housewives) who were physically and
mentally able to do some kind of work. This information
is superficial and while it has value we need much more
extensive study of individuals than has yet been possible
to determine what proportion of the physically and men-
tally normal workers are really potential job holders in a
competitive market, which has outmoded many skills and
which rejects older workers and makes new and different
demands upon its workers than those to which they were
accustomed in the past. We do know that about 20 percent
of our adults are permanently disabled and in all proba-
bility never will work again. If you add the number who
are temporarily disabled, there would be 24 percent of our
workers incapable of work at any given period of time.

The census of occupations of 1930 shows that 45.8 per-
cent of the total population of New York City supported
the rest of the population by gainful employment. Our an-
alysis of relief families indicates that 34.1 percent of the
total relief population are capable of supporting the balance
of those on relief. However, the terms "employable" and
"unemployable" are vague and are variously applied. A
man may be employable in the sense that he can do some
kind of work, but he may remain unemployed because
there are more capable people in search of the available
jobs. What we have to remember is that when there is a
rise in employment the most efficient of the workers on
relief will be employed first. In boom times, when there is
a real scarcity of labor, the less efficient and marginal work-
ers gradually will be taken on, but they will be the first to
be dropped as recession occurs. Always there will be a con-
siderable number willing and able to work who never will
be employed again for various reasons, including age and
the fact that their skills are no longer marketable and they
cannot acquire new ones. It is a tragedy to brand people
as unemployable because they are unemployed.

A frequent criticism levelled at relief is that it provides
some families with more money in the form of relief allow-
ances over the period of a year than the family could earn
in wages in that same period. Why this fact, for unfortu-

nately it is a tact in many cases, should be regarded as a
reprehensible relief practice instead of tragic commentary
on the state of certain industries, is beyond my compre-
hension. Obviously, relief budgets provide a mere subsist-
ence. The wages of many workers in certain industries pro-
vide less than a subsistence and public welfare authorities
have had to accept the doubtful policy of supplementation
in order to prevent hardship. A study of some 5934 em-
ployed persons for whose families we provided supplemen-
tary relief showed that the median wage for men in jobs
where there were no tips was $6.01 per week, for women
$4.81. Only 25 percent of the men and 21 percent of the
women earned over $10 per week. These were not all part
time workers ; nearly half of the men and more than a third
of the women worked thirty-six hours or more per week;
more than half were heads of families and over 116 were
under twenty years of age. We found the usual correla-
tion of low wages and long hours in nearly every type of
industrial occupation.

WILL unemployment compensation reduce the relief
rolls ? Not much, so far as those now on relief are con-
cerned. This seems to be the universal experience. In New
York less than 5000 workers on the relief rolls have been af-
fected by unemployment insurance. This number may increase
by several thousand. We have dropped about 3510 families
because their unemployment insurance benefits were suffi-
cient to provide for their care temporarily and in 1481 cases,
we have been able to reduce the amount of relief but we
are still supplementing the benefits. It may possibly turn
out that we will have to supplement as many workers
whose benefits are inadequate as we are able to close out
entirely because insurance meets their present needs. Many
of our workers have had no employment at all and are,
therefore, not eligible for benefits. Others have had short'
periods of work and so are entitled to small benefits forj
short periods. I understand that English experience in the^
past has indicated that approximately half of those who.
receive unemployment insurance will never be in need of
relief because their insurance is adequate, or because of the
existence of other resources, or because they secure a johl
before the benefits are exhausted. Under our present law it
has been necessary for the welfare department to carry per-
sons entitled to unemployment benefits for a considerable
period of time because, after the loss of a job, it is five and
one half weeks, at the earliest, before the first check arrives,
and often the waiting period is longer. In many cases, after
the first check has been received, the second or third checks
have been delayed because of administrative difficulties,
arising out of the fact that the unemployment insurance
system is just getting under way and has been overwhelmed
by the size and difficulty of its problem. The hope is that,
as more and more people become eligible for unemploy-
ment compensation, the relief rolls will reflect the fact ofl
a functionary unemployment insurance scheme.

Our most urgent problem can be stated very simply. We
need jobs for all who can work, at wages which will pro-l
vide a decent standard of living. In the long run no business '
or industry can hope to have the patronage and support on
the American people which does not provide this minimum..-
I assume that no self-respecting business man wants to
receive charity from the government through the subsidiz-l
ing of the wages he pays to his workers. Adequate wages
not only will eliminate supplementation, they also wilt
keep people off the rolls in the future by enabling them to,



support theniMrlxrs ami to lax a-icle something for a rainy
day. More and more it is necessary for us to focus attention
on the annual wages paid by industries because it is total
yearly income that determines the standard of living and
not the hourly rate, however high, when employment is
provided for only part of the year. Forcing hourly rates at
the expense of total income is a mistake from the point of
view of labor. It leaves the employer who pays the hourly
rate part of the time, and then closes up. in a better position
than he ought to be. The objective of our policy as a na-
tion must be to put a floor under wages. Apparentlx

some kind of legislation is mvessarx to achieve that end
if those employers who are willing and anxious to pay the
minimum and better are to be protected from those who
never would do so save under compulsion. It would help
if the socially-minded industrialists of the country would
face this question of devising such legislative compulsion
or other governmental action on a state or federal level as
may be necessary to protect the welfare of the American
people. Much has been said about the necessity for coopera-
tion between capital, labor and government here is the
best place to begin.

Twenty-five Years of Growing

Executive y ice-President , Community Chests and Councils, Inc.

THE community chest as a factor in American social
work, this spring passed its first quarter century.
It is amusing now to recall the fear that attended
the advent of the movement; fear that the social services
of a community would be held in a mold as solidified, regi-
mented and mechanical as ice cubes in a refrigerator. Hap-
pily that fear did not survive before the pioneer spirit that
imated the chest movement from its very beginning,
chest or central federation inevitably has had to listen
the voices that argue for a flexible plan of service, that
>lead for experimentation, that urge reexamination and
(shaping of accepted customs of helping people. Often it
us added its own voice to the same demand. As commu-
lities have come to hold the chest and council responsible
or getting things done, the chest has been both advocate
ind executor. Far from being a crystallizer, it has tended
n many instances to be a "mover and shaker."

It was altogether natural that the first community chest
vas born in Cleveland in 1913, when Newton D. Baker
vas mayor. That was the hey-dey of Cleveland's civic lead-
rship. The new "Federation for Charity and Philan-
hropy" sprang from the same stock as Cleveland's new
lublic welfare department and home rule charter. Cleve-
and's mayor, a leader in all such experiments, was chair-
nan of the committee that appointed the provisional board
f the Cleveland Federation.

The unique feature of the new organization was a con-
olidated budget of all private welfare expenditures, to
eplace catch-as-catch-could budgeting and financing. The
ace was no longer to be to the swift nor the battle to the
trong money raising agency. The city's need for specific
ices was to be the strong influence in determining the
live financial resources of each organization.
This quest for a balanced ration of welfare services, this
leaver to see the problem whole, now is accepted as the
;sary foundation of modern chest policy. But in 1913
Cleveland Federation was venturing into unproved
und in holding that givers would welcome such a uni-

systematized service and finance program.
The idea of financial federations took root in this coun-
because of local combinations of circumstances, not be-
,use of field organizers or promoters. Forces at work in
Lmerican cities unconsciously had prepared the ground for
. Men like George Eastman of Rochester, Samuel Mather
f Cleveland. William Cooper Procter of Cincinnati, the

PR II. 1938

Fleishhackers of San Francisco, recognized it as at least
a partial answer to their local problems of social welfare

Before the United States entered the world war fifteen
cities had followed Cleveland's example and were trying
out the plan. The multiplicity of war appeals spread the
experiment to unrecorded scores of cities, many of which
combined their local and war needs in one united cam-
paign. By 1919 forty cities were making a unified budget
appeal for local peacetime social and health services. An
average of twenty-five additional cities each year have
adopted some form of federated giving, and 80 percent of
them have persisted year after year. Today the 467 so-
called "chest cities" include a population of fifty million
or 68 percent of all the urban residents of the United States.

In many of these cities more people join in giving to
the chest than vote together, worship, work, or play to-
gether. Its unifying influence reaches out to men and women
of every creed, of every political faith, of every race, of
every economic class. Whatever the current issues, such as
political partisanship or industrial strife which divide opin-
ion at any given moment, the chest campaign serves always
as a call to work together toward a common goal. "By com-
mon consent the plan of city-wide fund raising," say Silcox
and Fisher in their book, Catholics, Jews and Protestants,
published for the Institute of Social and Religious Research,
"has done more to foster good relations among leaders of
the three faiths than any other single influence."

UNDER the chest plan, giving has increased and the
contributions on which agencies rely have been sta-
bilized. Before the depression, records kept for the same
group of chests showed a steady average increase of 3 per-
cent a year. Even in the financial crashes of 1929 and 1937,
chests maintained the same rate of increase. New chests
during the depression averaged a 50 percent increase over
previous pledges to separate agencies. While philanthropy
as a whole was shrinking 52 percent through the lean years,
the older chests shrank less than one third that much. Nor
was the shrinkage caused by a decrease in large gifts; in
every year since the depression began givers of $5000 and
over have contributed a greater share of the total than they
did in 1929.

The community chest fort was held during the depres-
sion years but not without strenuous effort. In the begin-


ning of that period relief needs had nearly swamped all
social services and when the federal government came to
the rescue with FERA funds, many chest leaders feared
that appeals for non-relief services would fall on deaf ears.
In 1932 an all-time "high" of 101,377,537 was raised by
the chests of the country. After that contributions dropped.

In the darkest hour a new plan was formed, the Com-
munity Mobilization for Human Needs. Newton D. Baker,
its first chairman, demonstrated that the "united front"
for voluntary welfare services could be as forceful nation-
ally as locally. Under his leadership the decline of con-
tributions was stopped short. The total began to mount
again under the chairmanship of Gerard Swope, and has
continued its rise under Charles P. Taft of Cincinnati.
Growing year by year, the amount raised by chests and fed-
erations for 1938 is estimated at $83 million or more.

The confidence which the American people have placed
in this "modern way to neighborliness" has resulted in great

Online LibrarySurvey AssociatesSurvey midmonthly : journal of social work (Volume 74) → online text (page 29 of 109)