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July First international conference of settle-
ments held in London.

August Bureau of Home Economics cre-
ated in the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

November Under a new plan The Survey,
a weekly with a monthly graphic issue, be-
comes a semi-monthly publication, Survey
Graphic and Survey Midmonthly.

December The new Congress considers a
child labor amendment to the constitution.


May The Supreme Court holds unconstitu-
tional the minimum wage law for women
and minors in the District of Columbia.

National Confer-
ence of Social Work
celebrates its fiftieth
anniversary, many
foreign delegates con-
tributing an interna-
tional flavor. Homer
Folks' presidential ad-
dress, Prevention Suc-

June The report of
the department of re-
search and education
of the Federal Coun-
cil of Churches on its study of the twelve-
hour day in the steel industry, urges the
feasibility of the eight-hour day.

August The Iron and Steel Institute reverses
its previous stand and calls for the elimi-
nation of the twelve-hour day in the steel

December ". . . the problem par excellence
/ the next fifty years. The problem of
mhat lies back of the attitude of the indi-
vidual; how these atlitudinal walls may be
scaled, or better, broken and the energies
/ the individual set free to rational intelli-

MAY 1938


During the year bills for old age pensions
in one form or another were introduced in
twenty-four state legislatures.


May New quota immigration bill enacted
"the beginning of a new American immigra-
tion policy."

June Congress passes the Federal Child
Labor Amendment.

December The National Social Work Coun-
cil is organized, David H. Holbrook, secre-

The Duke Endowment with assets of about
$40 million established by James B. Duke of
North Carolina.


March After a ten-year legislative campaign
probation is extended to the federal courts.

October First national conference on mod-
ern parenthood held in New York under
auspices of Child Study Federation of

First national conference on adult educa-
tion held in Cleveland "looking toward the
formal organization of an association for
adult education."

"The community chest is coming into


February The Massachusetts Commission
on Old Age Pensions agrees on "a state of
need" but fails to agree on recommendations.

American Association for Community Or-
ganization, appoints Allen T. Burns director
to further community chest work.

May At the National Conference of Social
Work in Cleveland "the crest of the scientific
advances in experimental psychology and
psychiatry swept in. . . . The drama of peo-
ples' insides rather than the pageantry of
their group contacts and needs was foremost."

Josiah Macy, Jr. Foundation, established
with $5 million by Mrs. Walter G. Ladd,
will be more interested in the "architecture
of ideas than in the architecture of buildings
and laboratories."

"While little has been achieved in the
domain of social organisation in this coun-
try during the past ten years much has been
accomplished by the emphasis on the indi-
vidual and a result-
>*f effort to under-
stand him. . . . A
somewhat discourag-
ing aspect of the
situation is the com-
parative inertia of
the profession of so-
cial work with regard
to the legislative
movement as com-
pared with the very
substantial support
compensation teas I. M. RuBINOW
receiving from social

workers in 1911, and health insurance in
1916. . . . There is at this moment no very

active movement for social insurance "


September Training School for Jewish So-
cial Work opened in New York, Maurice J.
Karpf, director.

November The Harmon Foundation puts
forward a plan for pensions for nurses.


April The American Association for Old
Age Security, Abraham Epstein, director, or-
ganized to further national interest in old
age legislation. (Now the American Associa-
tion for Social Security.)

May Committee on Cost of Medical Care,
Dr. Ray Lyman Wilbur, chairman, under-
takes a five-year study of the economic factors
affecting the organization of medicine.

The psychiatrists' approach to family case-
work presented by Dr. Frankwood Williams
engages much attention at the National Con-
ference of Social Work. "The psychiatrist
sees the family chiefly as a set of emotional

June The will of Henry Buhl, Jr., of Pitts-
burgh set aside about $12 million to establish
the Buhl Foundation.

October Conference on Family Life in Buf-
falo, home of the first Charity Organization
Society in the United States, celebrates the
fiftieth anniversary of the family welfare
movement in this country.

December Three related institutions reor-
ganize as the Brookings Institution, for ad-
vanced research in national political and
economic problems.


February Citizens Conference on Com-
munity Welfare in Washington marks rapid
rise of laymen's interest in community chest

March In the face of many evidences of
high prosperity "the threads that shuttle
through The Survey office have been weaving
an unexpected picture of nation-wide un-
employment ... a real crisis."

April The National Federation of Settle-
ments appoints a committee, Helen Hall,
chairman, to study unemployment and its
consequences in households, neighborhoods
and communities.

July First International Conference of So-
cial Work in Paris, July 8-1}.

October A labor policy for a modern Chris-
tian church is submitted to the general con-
vention of the Protestant Episcopal Church.

November "Wt have no wide flung sys-
tem of insuring old age care and support
. . . but we are beginning to learn that our
private and public patchwork is woefully
inadequate and becoming more so." WIL-
LIAM H. MATTHEWS, New York Associa-
tion for Improving the Condition of the


January The Association of Community
Chests and Councils undertakes a study of
its "most acute problem," local contributions
by national corporations.


March "Men and women all over the state
and all over the country have shared the
belief that it is possible so to modify our
social and economic institutions as to make
possible good lives for those in our great
machine-like com-
munity who cannot
govern and control
their own situations.
I take it for granted

^^Kr' ^9Bk we are all committed
to the thought that
through such modi-
f^t^nfij^ fication of these in-

stitutions there
^ comes social prog-

Bk H



ress for us all, to
the end that modern
industry shall bear
down kindly and not

bitterly upon those who serve its interests."
dustrial Commissioner.

"The recent seminar at Columbia Uni-
versity dealing with the relations of Prot-
estants, Catholics and Jews in the com-
munity and in the country was at least a
significant experiment."

April Survey Graphic's special issue, Un-
employment and the Ways Out, "seeks to
help clear the way for a new working con-
cept of modern unemployment as a needless
and controllable by-product of industrial

Senator James B. Couzens establishes
Michigan Children's Fund with $10 million.

May President Hoover appoints a national
commission, George W. Wickersham, chair-
man, to study law enforcement and observ-

June "The rising tide of relief which has
strained the budgets of family welfare so-
cieties for several years past, reached a
still higher mark during last winter and

November "Leadership in social progress
cannot be achieved [by social workers] by
remaining aloof from political activity."

December Research Committee on Social
Trends, Wesley C. Mitchell, chairman, ap-
pointed by President Hoover.


January "The Cost of Health . . . How
Shall the Doctor Be Paid . . . Adequate Medi-
cal Care for Everyman." Special Issue Survey

California makes an actual start paying
old age allowances.

March Governor Franklin D. Roosevelt of
New York appoints a state committee on
employment planning, first of its kind.

April Business and social agencies all over
the country report efforts "to organize a com-
munity front on unemployment."

May New York State adopts a system of
old age assistance "clearly one of outdoor
relief, not pensions properly speaking."

First International Congress on Mental Hy-
giene held in Washington May 5-10.


June American Association of Public Wel-
fare Officials organized (now American Pub-
lic Welfare Association).

"With the mind of the practicing social
worker attuned to the economic implica-
tions of the job the meaning of technique is
enlarged and social work becomes increas-
ingly a major constructive force in social
advance." JOHN FITCH to National Con-
ference of Social Work.

Massachusetts adopts a plan for old age

July The Family Welfare Association of
America predicts the need of 6000 "new and
properly trained" social workers by 1935.

October President Hoover appoints an
emergency committee on unemployment. Col.
Arthur Woods, chairman.

"Confronted by the prospect of the most
distressful winter since the war, handi-
capped by relief budgets already swollen to
bursting and by signs and portents of a
general tightening of the public purse, the
family welfare societies are face to face
with a situation critical to their whole care-
fully developed structure."
November White House Conference on
Child Health and Protection. Ray Lyman Wil-
bur, M.D., chairman.

"American communities face an unprece-
dented burden of mass relief. . . . Private
relief agencies admit their lack of resources
to cope alone with such a situation. ... On
the whole cities with even a skeleton or-
ganization for public outdoor relief seem
in better condition."

December Drought relief, "the biggest re-
lief operation this country has ever known ir
peacetime" administered by American Red


January Governor Roosevelt of New York
calls a conference of governors of industrial
states to consider "what can be done to fore-
stall the next depression and to deal construc-
tively with unemployment." Interstate Com-
mission on Unemployment Insurance ap-

March President Hoover vetoes the Wagner
bill to establish a national employment ser-

The legislatures of Wisconsin, Ohio and
New York have unemployment insurance
measures before them.

May The President's Emergency Committee
for Unemployment calls on the Association
of Community Chests and Councils to aid
cities and towns in discovering relief needs
and in organizing to meet them.
June The impact of the unemployment situ-
ation was felt all over the National Confer-
ence of Social Work. "Government employ-
ment. . . . Unemployment insurance. . . .
Unemployment will be permanent if we let
it alone. . . . Next winter we will have
federal aid ... The rising trend toward
public relief . . . Public welfare is here. 1

August President Hoover's Emergency Com-
mittee on Unemployment reorganizes as the
President's Organization on Unemployment
Relief, Walter S. Gifford, director, to stimu-
late and coordinate state and local activities.

September New York, first state to act, sets
up Temporary Emergency Relief Administra-
tion, and appropriates $20 million for its
purposes. Harry L. Hopkins appointed di-

December President Hoover's Conference
on Home Building and Home Ownership
meets in Washington.


January Congress has Costigan-La Follette
bills providing federal financial cooperation
with states for unemployment relief.

Wisconsin first of the states to adopt an
unemployment insurance measure.

February Florence Kelley dies.

Interstate Commission on Unemployment
Insurance recommends a "compulsory state-
wide system of unemployment reserves."

March American Red Cross begins distribu-
tion of government owned wheat and cotton
as a measure of relief.

July Law creating Reconstruction Finance
Corporation makes $300 million available in
loans to states for relief of destitution. Fred
C. Croxton to direct relief program.

November The American Federation of.
Labor breaks its traditional opposition and
endorses the principle of unemployment i


March Franklin Delano Roosevelt inaugu-
rated as President. "The New Deal."

Unemployment insurance bills pending ir
twenty-three states; minimum wage bills ii


May Congress creates Federal Emergen ,
Relief Administration and makes $500 mil
lion immediately available for grants I
states. Harry L. Hopkins appointed admin-

National Industrial Recovery Act estab-
lishes labor's right to organize and promise
in practice to establish minimum wage and
abolish child labor.

Congress passes Wagner-Peyser bills set-
ting up federal-state employment service.

August "Things have been happening rap-
idly in the office of the new FERA
Washington." RUSSELL KURTZ, New York.

September "The present situation in so-
cial work calls for a reexamination of the
whole attitude of social workers with a
new focus at two points. First, the elimi-
nation of the vested interest complex. .
Second, a recognition that we have a lont
pull ahead of us in the achievement of our
two most important objectives economil
security and the establishment of sound
standards of public activity in social wel-
/ ar g."_poR TE R R. LEE, New York Scho
of Social Work.

November Civil Works Administration
launched in Washington to put four million
people into full time jobs in thirty days.

December Repeal of the prohibition amend-
ment becomes effective.




February First conference on labor legisla-
tion, sponsored by Department of Labor,
held in Washington.

"The news that CWA is likely to be dis-
continued by the first of May has given
the country a bad jolt."

Congress appropriates $9)0 million for
relief purposes.

March President Roosevelt announces new
relief policy to meet needs of distressed fami-
lies in rural areas, stranded populations and
the unemployed in large cities.

May National Con-
ference of Social
Work in Kansas City
rises to the challenge
of Mary van Kleeck's
"cool, beautifully rea-
soned and dispassion-
ately argued case for
a break with our ex-
isting form of gov-
ernment into a col-
lectivism shorn of
the profit motive."

June President

Roosevelt appoints a committee on economic

and social security, chairman, Secretary of

Labor Frances Perkins, to study economic

hazards and methods of fending against


July "Inexorable facts have brought lead-
ers in high places to public recognition of
the plain truth that relief of destitution
is not an emergency but a long time pub-
lic obligation that must be faced realisti-

September "It is unthinkable that this re-
lief scheme should be carried on beyond
tit* emergency. It is purely temporary
and the sooner we can do away with it the
better. We want a permanent scheme under
which people will know what to expect,
with the sense of security that is so es-
sential. It will take time and cannot be
done over night, but that is the federal
relief of tomorrow." HARRY L. HOPKINS.

November National Conference on Eco-
nomic Security called by the Administration,
meets in Washington as one stage in the
framing of administrative measures to be
put before the new Congress.


January "J he federal government must
and will quit this business of relief."

President Roosevelt announces plan for
WPA and for the "orderly liquidation of

Wagner-Lewis bill (social security act)
introduced in Congress.

February First National Convention of
Rank and File Groups in social work held
in Pittsburgh.

May Jane Addams dies.

Congress passes Works Bill authorizing
the President to spend $4,800,000,000 to
put 3,500,000 unemployed wage earners to
work on public projects. The WPA is born.

June The U. S. Supreme Court decision
in the Schechter case knocks out the whole
NRA code structure.

The national labor relations act provides
new machinery to safeguard labor's right to
organize and to bargain collectively.

August Congress passes social security act
laying groundwork for old age insurance and
unemployment compensation and fortifying
state provisions for the aged, for dependent
and crippled children, maternal and child
welfare and public health.

November "The issue of industrial versus
craft unions has now split the American
Federation of Labor and brought about a
new organization within the federation . . .
the Committee for Industrial Organization."

December "The need for a federal hous-
ing policy is still in the forefront of pub-
lic concern. It is increasingly evident that
federal legislation must be enacted which
takes housing out of the emergency cate-
gory and lays down procedure for a long
range housing policy."

"The final allotment of federal funds to
states for direct relief was made on De-
cember 1 and the FERA officially went out
of 'the relief business.' "


March "Only federal aid, say the social
workers of the country, can prevent the
disintegration of unemployment relief and
new and needless depths of suffering."

April "The real struggle for adminittra-
tion of the social security act by competent,
qualified personnel is not in Washington;
it is in every state capital and every county
seat up and down the country."

December "In spite of urging from vari-
ous quarters President Roosevelt has
shown no disposition to appoint a non-
partisan commission to study the tangled
web of relief in order that the new Con-
gress when it approaches the problem
might have at hand facts and proposals
by which its immediate action could be
geared into a long range policy."


January "The depression is over. Unem-
ployment and relief remain to challenge
the best statesmanship of the country."

May "We know that our great objective
it the complete liquidation of the great
relief pool. We are determined that the
near-employables shall be made employ-
a'bles. We are convinced that our admin-
istrators instead of being urged to give
their time to spreading relief thin, must be
allowed to spend that time constructively
in working out methods of retraining and
finding opportunities for reemployment."-
EDITH ABBOTT to National Conference of
Social Work.

"Machinery for the peaceful settlement
of industrial disputes is in operation all
up and down the labor front."

June Congress has bills proposing reor-
ganization of certain government machinery
and providing for "an executive department
to be known as the Department of Welfare."

September Congress passes the Wagner-
Steagall housing bill which "establishes
housing as a public function."

State and large city relief agencies report
a "highly disturbing" increase in relief ap-

October A new business recession is re-
flected in a sharp drop in stock market

December Reports from all over the coun-
try show a drastic rise in unemployment,
especially in the industrial Middlewest.
"There's nothing seasonal about it this is
new unemployment."

At the end of 1937 . . .

The social security act was operating under all titles. Every state had enacted unemployment compensation laws; Wis-
consin was paying benefits; twenty-one states and the District of Columbia were poised to start on January 1. A total of
11.976,000 workers were covered by the twenty-three active state schemes.

Under the old age insurance provisions, 36,688,339 applications for social security numbers had been received.

Under the public assistance titles a summary of the program as 1937 closed shows:

Aid to the aged
Aid to the blind
Aid to dependent children

Approved plans

(in 211.969 families)

December payments

A verage grants


32.08 (per family)

MAY 1938


Social Action and Social Workers


INCREASINGLY, we hear it said these days, "I should
think social workers, of all people, would work for a
thing like that." The "thing like that" may be slum
clearance, low rent housing, adequate relief and public
assistance, protection of consumers, better labor relations,
improved race relations. The thing may be reduced milk
prices, increased recreation facilities, health insurance, mini-
mum wages, workers' education, peace, birth control, civil
liberties. It is fortunate others should say of us that we of
all people should work for such ends ; but it is even more
wholesome that growing numbers of us are saying it of

All through the years there have been leaders in social
work who have struck out beyond the remedial to the
preventive and constructive. Nevertheless, the profession as a
whole has not been held responsible, nor have we always
held ourselves responsible, for initiating progressive measures
and pushing social planning in our communities. There are
those, of course, who still feel that social workers should
stop once they have fed the needy or kept children off the
streets; who resent it when we show an interest in going
further in ways that may come into conflict with elements
in the community whose support or cooperation is desired
in our immediate tasks. Even more inhibiting, to my mind,
have been the limitations that perhaps unconsciously social
workers have placed upon themselves. The depression has
shaken loose some of these limitations, increasing our sense
of responsibility as a profession and at the same time in-
creasing the public's consciousness of our part in the whole
scheme of things. As a result we come under cross-fires
from those who are outraged at what we do and from
those who are irritated at what we do not do.

Where we take hold, how, and for what, depends of
course in part on the temperament and field of activity of
the social worker, board member, or volunteer concerned.
Some people can fight on more fronts than others and on
different ones. I remember being pressed one day to do
something about a narcotic bill. I can't remember what I
was to do about it, but the request found me deep in other
urgencies. That narcotic bill seemed the last straw, and I
turned it down so hard, it must have left the impression
that, while perhaps I didn't take dope myself, I was entirely
sympathetic with its consumption and distribution !

Nonetheless, I feel that our areas of concern have as
broad a base as the "general welfare." That concern springs
from our work itself and the terms on which the people
with whom we deal must face life today. This is why I
believe that no one really belongs on a staff or on a board
who isn't hardy enough to encounter any problem faced
by the individuals for whom he or she is helping make

We surely should expect to take into purposeful consider-
ation the determining factors in the lives of those our agency
serves. We may recoil at some new political theory but our
people may be stirred by it. We may be far removed from
bad housing ourselves but the families among whom we
work may be living in bad houses. We may chafe that
boys and girls loaf on street corners but their idleness is the
call upon us to find jobs as well as additional natural outlets:

for them. In becoming a part of a social agency we inevi-
tably become in some measure responsible for dealing not
only with the results but with the causes of those maladjust-
ments that make our particular social work necessary.

To begin with, we can all recognize our obvious re-
sponsibility toward legislation affecting city, state and county
departments of public welfare. I don't mean that staff and
board members of social agencies should be the only ones in
a community to be involved in drafting or pressing for such
laws ; but their experience and techniques should be brought
to bear very directly upon the process. It is stupidity itself
for laws to be dropped in our laps to administer, as social
workers and members of citizens boards, when we have
had no hand in shaping them. Nor do I imply that only
those concerned in the public administration of relief and
social security, for example, should feel responsibility toward
these measures. All social workers and lay participants in
social work should feel that responsibility. They know
where community resources break down, where needs are

Online LibrarySurvey AssociatesSurvey midmonthly : journal of social work (Volume 74) → online text (page 42 of 109)