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tration fee. However, what was lacking
in attendance records was made up by
meetings, of which 350 were scheduled,
topping last year by nearly half a hun-
dred. The fat and indispensable pro-
gram, with pine trees and a beguiling
mountain lake on its cover, was a mas-
terpiece of organization, and to onlook-
ing Seattle became the trademark of the
visiting social worker.

The delegate conference of the Amer-
ican Association of Social Workers, the
National Probation Association and
Community Chests and Councils, Inc.,
arrived two or three days early and al-
ready were in possession when the
conference proper arrived on Sunday,
June 26. Sessions revolved around two
large hotels, an auditorium and two
churches, more or less concentrated in
one region, so that footwork, while

Facts and Figures

largely up and down hill, was not too
extensive. However, a taxi driver re-
marked that, "There is more riding go-
ing on at this meeting than at any I can
remember except the Shriners and of
course the bankers." A directory of
"speakers, discussants, discussion leaders
and presiding officers," listing 386
persons, looked like a minor telephone
book with its lix "Williams"s, four
"Smiths," two or three each of many
other names and a half dozen "McC-"i.
"Speakingest" persons at the conference
were Charles F. Ernst of Olympia,
Wash.; Sanford Bates of New York;

Howard R. Knight, ubiquitous conference
secretary, at a moment of high triumph

and Dr. Samuel W. Hartman of
Buffalo, N. Y.; each listed for five
appearances on the program.

to be held in Buffalo, N. Y., are: presi-
dent, Paul Kellogg, New York; vice-
presidents, Edward L. Ryerson, Jr.,
Chicago, Ida M. Cannon, Boston, Jane
M. Hoey, Washington, D. C.; chairmen
of sections: Social Case Work, Florence
R. Day, Cleveland; Social Group Work,
Lucy P. Carner, Chicago; Com-
munity Organization, Wayne McMillen,
Chicago; Social Action, Mary Ander-
son, Washington, D. C.; Public Welfare
Administration, Charles F. Ernst,
Olympia, Wash.

The place of the 1940 session remains
undetermined, subject to the develop-
ment of new plans for conference
organization. Officers nominated for
that year, to be elected at the Buffalo
meeting, are: president, Grace Coyle,
School of Applied Social Science,
Western Reserve University, Cleve-
land; vice-presidents: Arlien Johnson,
Graduate School of Social Work, Uni-
versity of Washington, Seattle; Sidney
Hollander, Baltimore, Md. ; Mrs.
DeForest Van Slyck, Association of the
Junior Leagues of America, New York.

JULY 1938


The Common Welfare

Forward March

ALONG advance over rough country is embodied in
executive orders which President Roosevelt issued in
late June, extending the merit system to all federal employes
except the highest policy-making officials and those spe-
cifically exempted by law. The orders, beginning February
1, 1939, will affect some 130,000 jobs, including 71,000
persons in emergency agencies and corporations. They direct
that all employes and most officials be selected and pro-
moted on merit alone; forbid political activities by govern-
ment employes or the use of patronage and political influ-
ence to give or obtain government jobs; institute scientific
personnel divisions in each agency; create in-service train-
ing, transfer, reinstatement and appeals machinery ; give the
Civil Service Commission powers and adjuncts necessary to
operate and strengthen the civil service system. The new
regulations apply to jobs in agencies which may be created
in the future as well as to those now in existence.

Heartening evidence that states and local communities
are, like Washington, on the way toward a genuine merit
system is furnished by a recent statement from David C.
Adie, New York State social welfare commissioner. On the
basis of a recent state-wide personnel check-up, Mr. Adie
reports that 94.9 percent of 20,338 employes in local public
welfare programs are qualified through civil service exami-
nations for their jobs in connection with the administration
of old age assistance, aid to the blind, aid to dependent chil-
dren and home relief.

The executive orders not only constitute a major defeat
for the spoils system, but for the first time since civil service
was established fifty-five years ago, make possible a genuine
career system in the United States. Mr. Adie's statement is
one of the many indications that this country is ready to con-
solidate the gains of this civil service victory.

The AMA Stands Pat

IN spite of currents of protest that ran through the meet-
ing of the American Medical Association in San Fran-
cisco last month the sessions ended "with relieved smiles"
and the acceptance of resolutions which in effect reaffirmed
the association's traditional opposition to any organized ap-
proach to planned, tax-supported medical care.

Efforts to modify this attitude, at least to crack the door
to change, headed up in resolutions offered by the Califor-
nia, Michigan, Illinois and Connecticut delegations; each
proposing in varied forms a committee to maintain contact
and cooperation with governmental and lay organizations
and to interpret the AMA and its policies. None proposed
any specific program. These resolutions went before a joint
committee headed by Dr. H. A. Luce of Detroit, which
also heard individual physicians and association officials.
The report of this committee rejected the proposed action,
affirmed the "complete harmony as to purpose and objec-
tives" of the officers and "entire membership"; and at-
tributed any "apparent lack of harmony in the ranks of
organized medicine ... to attempts to discredit that large
group who, from the time of Aesculapius, has contributed
so much to human life and happiness." The report expressed

satisfaction with existing "contacts and channels" in public
relations and emphasized "the importance of avoiding any
innovation which might disturb these arrangements, which
have been built up through the years and depend upon many
subtle and delicate personal relationships."

With the record thus cleared the joint committee went
on to say that "by reason of the sentiment revealed by the
presentation of these resolutions [by state delegations] and
the support of them from so many diverse quarters" it "felt
impelled ... to impress upon the board of trustees its feel-
ing that careful consideration should be given to the opera-
tion of our agencies of public information so that, on the
one hand, the necessary fortiter in re may be preserved and,
on the other, that certain deficiencies of suaviter in modo
may be corrected."

To the accompaniment of "the relieved smiles" of th
assembly fortiter in re was translated as "strength in the
matter" and suaviter in modo as "smoothness of method,"
and the report was added to the archives of the professiona


Children of Cleveland

"T1[7"HEN we see their flabby, pale faces we do not need
V to put them on the scales to know they are victims
of malnutrition. They haven't actually had enough to eat
for five or six years and now it is far worse. What we are
seeing is a gradual breakdown of child health comparable
to that in Europe in the World War."

These are not the children of Spain or of China but th
children of the 20,000 relief families of Cleveland, Ohic
rich modern American city, in June 1938. The words ar
those of Dr. Richard A. Bolt, distinguished pediatrician,
director of the Cleveland Child Health Association, a scien-
tist not addicted to overstatement.

For many months relief has been the football of Ohio
politicians. For weeks the legislators, in special session, have
jockeyed and blustered. "Nobody is starving," they say. Not
quite perhaps, but one wonders if sometimes the thought of
those "flabby, pale faces" does not disturb the rest even of
an Ohio politician.

Overhauling the Machinery

THE principle of unemployment insurance, even to such
unsparing critics of the social security act as Abraham
Epstein, is sound. Most of the current dissatisfaction with
this country's first large scale experiment in this field spring
not from distrust of the principle, but from impatience with
delays in payments, uncertainties as to the amount and
duration of benefits, the seemingly unnecessary load of paper
work put on the employer. Granted that the current de-
pression has upset calculations and vastly complicated the
new undertaking, present unemployment insurance admin-
istration seems to employer, worker and the public too
cumbersome and too costly.

The Social Security Board's announcement of a thorough
study of unemployment insurance administration, therefore,
is sure to meet with general approval. The study is to be
carried forward jointly by the board's Bureau of Unemploy-



ment Compensation, the individual state agencies and the
Interstate Conference of Unemployment Agencies, with the
cooperation of informed employers, labor leaders and repre-
sentatives of the public. By early fall, it is expected that the
study will have yielded definite recommendations for revi-,-
ing state administrative methods and for needed changes in
r\i>ting state laws. The principle aims of the proposed re-
visions, according to R. Gordon Wagenet, director of the
Bureau of Unemployment Compensation, are: "Greater
economy in unemployment insurance administration ; de-
\rlopment of methods for calculating and paying benefits
which will be more easily understood by workers and em-
ployers and will result in more prompt payment of benefits;
reduction, insofar as possible, of the volume of detail re-
quired of employers in complying with the legislation."

Tuberculosis Next

WITH an initial appropriation by Congress of $3 mil-
lion, strong federal leadership is assured in the cam-
paign to control venereal disease. Such leadership has already
been given to the campaign against cancer by the action of
(.'(ingress last summer in establishing the National Cancer
Institute in the Public Health Service. Next, say the states-
men of public health, must come tuberculosis a definite
nation-wide program, enlisting federal, state and local col-
laboration, to bring about the "practical eradication" of a
disease which in spite of the great advances of the past
twenty years or so still takes many thousands of lives an-
nually, and is the chief cause of death among young people
between the ages of eighteen and twenty-five.

The program put forward by the National Tuberculosis
Association [see page 246] has been welcomed by Dr.
Thomas Parran, chief of the U.S. Public Health Service
as "a scientific and statesmanlike approach to a great na-
tional health program." In further comment he said:
"Tuberculosis is a battle half won ; the ways to gain com-
plete control of the disease are known, we need only the
means to apply them. . . . Your association has taken an
historic step which may be as important to tuberculosis
control as was the discovery of the tubercle bacillus."

The "New" WPA

FIRST fruit of the "new" WPA program, with its
eight-months' appropriation of $1,425,000,000, was the
announcement of a rise in the "security wage" of workers
in some thirteen southern states. The rise, averaging about
$5 a month, will go chiefly to unskilled and intermediate
workers whose monthly pay in the lowest brackets has been
as low as $21. Critics of the Administration see the cloven
hoof of politics in this ruling, but many others welcome it,
politics or no politics, and take at face value the assurance
of Harry L. Hopkins, WPA administrator, that:

We have felt for some time our security wages in certain
areas of the country were based on a standard of living below
the levels of health and decency and did not bear sufficient
realistic relationship to the actual cost of living. The new mini-
mum wage rates created for these half-million workers re-
ceiving the lowest monthly security wages, while still inade-
quate in my judgment, give these people something nearer to
an income which will assure a minimum standard of living.

It seems probable that in general the "new" WPA pro-
gram will follow the old one with expenditures directed
largely to "quick spending" on light projects. WPA rolls,
now including about 2,750,000 persons may be increased to

3,000,000, but are not likely to go much higher this sum-
mer. Mr. Hopkins and his advisers do not propose to be
caught without funds should a new crisis develop early next
winter as it did last.

Mr. Hopkins estimates that of the total WPA fund
$1,325,000,000 will go directly into the pockets of the
workers from which it will spread out $515 million for
food; $220 million for shelter; $150 million for household
operation, fuel, gas, electricity and the like ; $50 million for
medical and dental care ; $60 million for street car and bus
fares; and so on. WPA workers, he says, will spend $2,-
500,000 a day for food alone.

Somewhere in the brain-swirling total of millions with
which WPA faces its new fiscal year is an item of $10 mil-
lion or so with which it proposes to buy for distribution to
clients the surplus stock of manufacturers of men's and
boys' clothing, stock which by clogging the market is retard-
ing the reemployment of thousands of needleworkers. Curi-
ously enough two-pants suits and "odd" pants, unaffiliated
with coats and vests, are barred in this gigantic clothing
purchase no one seems to know why.

As relatively minor items in the relief program are $30
million appropriated for relief grants to low income farm-
ers through the Farm Security Administration and $75 mil-
lion for the National Youth Administration. Not to be
overlooked are the operations of the Federal Surplus Com-
modities Corporation which is spending more than $500,000
a day just now for food for distribution through the states
to some 3,050,000 families on relief. Expenditures for the
year may run to $150 million.

Relief remains big business in these United States, and
like it or not, President Roosevelt the federal government
is still in the business, right up to the neck.

". . . and sudden death"

FEW leaders of any race have made so distinctive a
contribution to their people as James Weldon Johnson,
whose death in late June brought a sense of shock and sor-
row that reached far beyond his wide circle of friends and
associates. Mr. Johnson was killed when his automobile was
struck by a train near Wiscasset, Me. Born in Florida, Mr.
Johnson began his career as a school teacher in Georgia.
From the beginning he showed himself of that "talented
tenth" of humanity that breaks through all limitations. For
fourteen years, as secretary of the National Association for
the Advancement of Colored People, he stood out a militant
protagonist of the political rights and the cultural advance
of the Negro. Since 1930 he has been professor of creative
literature at Fiske University and since 1934 visiting pro-
fessor at New York University. Lawyer, poet, musician,
diplomat, author and educator, Mr. Johnson, said the New
York Herald Tribune, "gazed on horizons which few Ne-
groes had ever seen." Because of his life and labors the
horizons of a race have been widened and extended.

The meeting of the National Conference of Social Work
in Seattle last month was saddened by the death of Lieut.
Col. and Mrs. William H. Range of the Salvation Army
who, enroute to the conference from Atlanta, Ga., were
killed in the train wreck near Miles City, Mont. Colonel
Range had given more than forty years to the social work
of the Salvation Army, largely in the men's service depart-
ment in such cities as New York, Philadelphia, Cincinnati
and Louisville. He was head of that service for the Army's
southern territory when "line of duty" took him and his
wife on the fatal journey westward.

JULY 1938


The Social Front


AvJY persisting idea that President
Roosevelt, in view of current con-
ditions, might modify his attitude toward
the use of federal funds for grants-in-
aid to the states for direct relief has
been dispelled by his letter to Mayor
La Guardia of New York, president of
the U.S. Conference of Mayors.

Said the President: "In reply to your
telegram regarding federal relief pro-
gram, there is no intention of shifting
from present policy of providing relief
for able-bodied unemployed through a
work program. The states and munici-
palities must continue to provide for
direct relief as their fair share of the
total program and cannot expect assist-
ance from the federal government in
meeting this responsibility. Any confusion
regarding the respective responsibilities
of federal, state and local governments
which results in a weakening of the
efforts of states and municipalities in the
field of direct relief or of the federal
work program will prove disastrous and
should at all costs be avoided."

Stalemate Prospects for sound relief
programs for the harassed states of Illi-
nois and Ohio [see Survey Midmonthly,
June 1938, page 206] continue remote.
In the special session of the Illinois leg-
islature the traditional Chicago-downstate
struggle was promptly renewed after
$4,500,000 had been voted to be expended,
$500,000 a month. A proposed additional
appropriation of $16 million had been
whittled down to $11,200,000, with pros-
pect of further whittling to $7 million,
when the whole discussion was ended by
a ruling that the special session had no
power to vote more relief funds and that
the whole matter must await another
special session to be called at the discre-
tion of Governor Horner. Says the Chi-
cago Daily News: "When the new call
is issued it is expected to open the
treasury gates a little wider but only
contingent upon the legislature providing
new state revenues."

Meantime relief allowances in Chicago
have been cut to a level that is the despair
of clients and staff workers alike.

In Ohio the clash of rural and urban
interests has continued to block decisive
action. The relief administration in Cleve-
land appears to be the special hate of
one body of official opinion. A special
examiner's report by the state auditor
charging "lax and wasteful methods"
contained such comment as: "The entire
relief administration is being conducted,
controlled and administered by the social

workers and their union ... a powerful
bureaucracy . . . motivated solely for the
purpose of establishing a job tenure. . . .
Entries [in case records] were practically
useless and might be considered as so
much drivel and drool. . . ."

The special session of the legislature
called in mid-May authorized municipali-
ties to borrow certain sums against
anticipated sales tax revenues in 1939.
Cleveland's quota was $400,000, but due
to questions on the legality of that form
of borrowing, the money was not avail-
able until late June. Meantime another
"stop-gap" of $60,000 was transferred
from city hospital funds. During the
early months of this year Cleveland's
regular monthly relief budget was about
$750,000. Most recent Cleveland pro-
posal for raising funds, blessed by the
City Council, is for a series of mammoth
' entertainments," euphemism, it appears,
for a lottery scheme.

In mid-June both house of the legisla-
ture passed relief bills, but efforts to iron
out differences between them were
blocked. Added to the political confusion
was the demand of the Ku Klux Klan,
12,000 strong "which up to then had
taken no part in the conversation" that
relief benefits should be denied aliens who
have entered the country illegally. The
legislature "recessed" on June 25, leav-
ing the whole matter in the air.

in Cleveland can be imagined from casual
comments in the news columns of the
Cleveland Press:

"Hundreds of hungry people gathered
today outside three relief stations which
had no more money to give them. Funds
at the Broadway and Detroit offices were
exhausted and no more orders were being
issued not even for emergencies. From
the Lake office the crowd shifted to
East 51 Street where prunes, oranges,
tomatoes and canned peas were being
distributed by the Federal Surplus Com-
modities Corporation. Spectators reported
the line waiting for these articles extend-
ed for five blocks. A patrolman was dis-
patched to prevent congestion but no
disorder was reported.

"The offices remained open although
there was little for the workers, them-
selves unpaid for a month, to do except
to tell the people the money was gone
and go through the gesture of recording
their needs."

$ $ $ Direct relief expenditures for
New York City for the fiscal year which
began July 1 are estimated by William
Hodson, welfare commissioner, at "not

less than a total of $137,228,000." Of this
sum $86,579,200 must come from city
emergency taxes, the rest from the state.
This total is an increase of about $17,-
634,000 over the preceding fiscal year, an
increase due, says Mr. Hodson, to "in-
creased expectancy" of need, and larger
contributions for materials and the like
required by WPA. Mr. Hodson antici-
pates that relief will be required by a
probable maximum of 207,500 families,
including 16,600 families of veterans.
This means about 622,500 persons of
whom 264,000 are children. Lunches and
milk must also be provided for some
123,000 school children.

Among the items in the financial esti-
mate are the following: food and other
necessities, $85,100,000; staff salaries
and wages, $14,775,000; clothing $6,000,-
000; medical, nursing and dental care,
$1,977,000; school relief, (lunches, cloth-
ing and so on) $1,920,000; veterans aid i
$6,550,000; homeless relief, $1,750,000;
sponsor's contribution to WPA $15,-

Back to the Counties Maryland's
general public assistance program direct
relief through the counties which has
had fairly regular if meager funds was
brought up short when, in April, the state
comptroller announced that a distribution
of $200,000 to the counties for direct re-
lief would be the last state allocated
funds for this purpose until March 1939.
Direct relief expenditures in March 1938
alone had come to $217,191. Direct relief
is thus thrown back on the counties and
on their willingness to make special tax
levies for the purpose. This the counties
are loathe to do with a tendency to ear-
mark any such levies "for unemploy-
ables only." In most counties the case load
is governed not by need but by availability
of funds. The city of Baltimore has no
specific funds earmarked for general pub-
lic assistance but the city officials are
permitting a deficit to accumulate which
by the end of the year will amount to
more than $4 million. In late May the
caseload was 4250 with applications aver-
aging 250 a day. At that time there werr
18,053 Maryland persons on WPA and
2166 boys in CCC camps.

Owing to varied local policies and defi-
nitions much confusion has existed in
Maryland in the area of general public
assistance. The Board of State Aid and
Charities is now engaged in a compre-
hensive study to the end of defining the
problem of general relief.

Research and Report From WPA
comes a covey of publications all of which
contribute to knowledge and understand-



ing of the current relief scene, and add to
the growing shelf of material for future
students of relief history. Among them:

A Survey of Relief and Security Pro-
grams, by Arthur E. Burns and Edward
A. Williams. A review of the whole
"business of relief," prior to and during
federal participation, including FERA,
l. \VA, WPA, the social security program
and the programs of the states. Sum-
maries of statistics are brought through
February 1938.

General Relief Statistics.- A compila-
tion of figures with explanatory text cov-
ering the fifteen months' period ranging
from January 1936 to April 1937, when
the Social Security Board assumed re-
sponsibility for future compilation.

Effects of the Works Program on
Rural Relief, by Rebecca Farnham and
Irene Link. A comprehensive survey of
rural relief cases in seven widely scat-
tered states during the summer and fall
of 1935. Judgment on the situation in
the cases after the withdrawal of relief
is left to the reader.

Intercity Differences in Cost of Liv-
ing, by Margaret Loomis Stecker. A de-
tailed study made in March 1935 in
fifty-nine cities, east, west, north and
south, which provides a large body of
information for domestic budget-
makers in every walk of life. Budgets are
figured on a maintenance standard and

Online LibrarySurvey AssociatesSurvey midmonthly : journal of social work (Volume 74) → online text (page 64 of 109)