American Social Hygiene Association.

Journal of social hygiene (Volume 16) online

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Social Hygiene






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Copyright 1930, by
The American Social Hygiene Association, Inc.








At the close of the old year's work and the beginning of
the new it is fitting that we pause and survey the horizon,
to look again to the direction in which we are travelling, how
far and how fast we have come on our road. For we have
travelled. Certain sign-posts passed indicate that we are
really moving. It has not always been easy, for even now,
after years of going, we have oftentimes to build our own
road break the new ground of experimental method, blast
out the last deep-rooted stumps of old prejudices, and push
aside with all our strength the boulders of indifferent or
opposing public opinion. Showers and wind flurries have
blown about our shoulders, but sunshine and rainbows have
come again, and no effort has gone without result.

Shall we say our goal is a place where sound heredity and
education make life happier and less troubled with emotional
strain, where the environment contributes to socially and in-
dividually acceptable behavior, and such satisfactions as
accrue thereto?

In attaining this goal social hygiene has played its part.

It has convinced parents, teachers and other child leaders

* By Mary S. Edwards, the American Social Hygiene Association, in collabora-
tion with other members of the staff.



that they have the first and most important responsibilities
and opportunities in educating by precept and example the
children under their care, especially where the sex phase of
character training is concerned. It has trained these child
leaders how and when to grasp these opportunities. It has
made clear to officials and tax-payers the value of providing
opportunities for the wholesome use of leisure time. It has
proved that prostitution and other anti-social sex manifesta-
tions in the community tend to debase and demoralize sex
attitudes and ideals which have been built up at great pains
and effort. It has sought to inform the public of the great
and serious health problems presented by syphilis and gonor-
rhea how they may be prevented and controlled.

In the year 1929 we have seen certain sign-posts as evidence
of progress permanent advance in the social hygiene move-
ment. These represent points at which the aims of the move-
ment have become established as an integral part of the
thought of the nation resulting in public demand for the
specific services which social hygiene offers. They count for
more than that sort of necessary activity which represents
the means to the end, rather than the end itself. In pages
5 to 26 are contained some of the details of the year's work
of the Association.


This year has been outstanding in the wide recognition by
social agencies of need for guidance of adults in the effort
to secure more successful marriage and parenthood. After
a year's study of the activities of over 20 leading agencies
and institutions having to do with family relations, and con-
ferences with important leaders as to the need for a work
of this kind, a Division of Family Eelations has been estab-
shed in the American Social Hygiene Association. Mrs.
Anna Garlin Spencer has served as the Director in organizing
its work. (Page 10.) . . .

The ultimate objective of a national society is to get the


program and activities for which it stands adopted and applied
to community life. The American Social Hygiene Association
has endeavored to accomplish this chiefly by working through
other existing agencies. During past years this policy has
been most satisfactory and still continues to be the principal
method of organizing social hygiene work. With the growth
of the Community Chests, however, and the rapid develop-
ment of organized social work in the cities and larger towns
throughout the United States, the public has come to expect
specialization and to ask for a separate agency to deal with
social hygiene questions. This has resulted in an increase
in the number of special state and local societies, a significant
trend of the times. There are now 31 social hygiene societies
in 19 states and the District of Columbia, and many more
committees which are carrying on one or more phases of the
work. (Pages 22 and 27.)

# * *

Long years of careful, considered efforts toward impress-
ing educators with their responsibility for sex education as
a part of general education are now bearing fruit. There
is a growing demand for well-equipped teachers and leaders
who know social hygiene, and the organization of training
courses to meet that demand. (Page 8.)

# * *

Many national as well as local religious agencies have
adopted the principle that sex education is an essential phase
of character education. Such agencies as the Federal Council
of Churches, the Y.M.C.A., the Y.W.C.A., some of the leading
denominational boards, city church federations and individ-
ual churches are developing capable leadership within their
own ranks for this part of their program, and are under-
taking to prepare educational materials for their own needs.
When the older established branches of the church adopt a
theory, it can no longer be called radical, it has joined the
ranks of conservative and proven principles. (Page 8.)


The Encyclopedia Britannica is the Eock of Gibraltar of
information. Its 1929 edition contains for the first time two
articles written by Association staff members the one, Con-
trol of Venereal Diseases in the United States; the other,
a Definition of Social Hygiene. Whatever the pros and cons
of the use of the latter phrase as descriptive of certain aims
and programs of activities, it is evident that it serves a useful
purpose and has come to stay.


The Association has been gratified by the response to its
efforts to arouse interest in the prevention of congenital
syphilis, and activities directed to that end. The response
has been of such definite nature as to encourage belief that
good ground has been gained toward the consummation of
that hope expressed by Dr. Kay Lyman Wilbur, Secretary
of the Interior, "When we can keep the spirochete of syphilis
out of the body of every new born babe, we shall have added
enough to human life and happiness to heal the wounds of
the Great War." (Page 16.)

* * *

The Association has cooperated in a series of researches
during the past year, one of which has had a very definite
part in speeding up interest in and activities on behalf of
the merchant seaman. The intended program very properly
is not limited to efforts in our own country, but reaches into
many foreign countries and their great port cities. Certain
improvements in services offered to seamen have already been
made as a result of this new and widespread interest and
acceptance of responsibility. (Page 17.)

* * *

The continued support of the Committee on Kesearch in
Syphilis in 1929 is significant evidence of recognition by a
group of lay donors of the importance of discovering and
testing improved methods of diagnosis and treatment of
syphilis. The Association has also contributed to this re-


search by providing secretarial and administrative facilities

for the Committee.

* * *

That there is a further recognition of the fact that environ-
ments should be established and maintained for young people
which are free from influences which degrade sex standards,
attitudes and practices, is evidenced by the demand for, and
putting into practical use, of vice surveys, not only in the
United States but abroad. The Council and the Assembly of
the League of Nations have voted to extend the inquiry into
international traffic in women and children to the Far East.

(Page 12.)

* * *

The organization of the President's White House Confer-
ence on Child Health and Protection bases its hopes on future
action. Still the mere fact of its organization can be counted
an impressive sign of the times for 1929, since it stands for
the conviction by the head of our government that the health
and happiness of the child is of basic importance to the
welfare of the land, and his belief that our child protective
and educational agencies can, will, and must extend and
strengthen their activities. Social hygiene thought and ex-
perience will take its place in the plans for action growing
out of the conferences of this Committee, since the General
Director of the Association is a member of the Plan-
ning Committee and the Sub-Committee for Communicable
Diseases, and one of its staff of the Sub-Committee for



The significance of the year's activities as related to the
whole movement for social hygiene education can perhaps
be best evaluated by noting certain major trends that are
becoming increasingly manifest.


459 lectures tn
cotteget and
normals with
50,070 litteners.

In the Colleges.

The number of colleges that are accepting responsibility
for sex education as an important feature of their educational
task is steadily growing. Institutions that are not yet pre-
pared to act upon that conviction in any adequate sense are,
nevertheless, accepting the responsibility in principle. The
necessity for arguing that responsibility is rapidly dimin-

The method which the Association has consistently advo-
cated, namely, the integration of sex teaching in appropriate
broader subjects, as against special courses in sex education,
is becoming more and more established as sound pro-
cedure. A significant development is the growing number
of courses on the family in which the sex factor is given
full consideration.

There is noticeable a gratifying disposition toward inde-
pendent experimentation. The reports on the study ''The
Colleges and Sex Education" which the Association conducted
in cooperation with about 200 institutions, have resulted much
more in stimulating experimentation in various directions
than in acceptance and use of the exact plans and materials
suggested in the reports. The reports were distributed to
teachers in selected departments in all the 200 cooperating
colleges, and to 350 additional colleges.

In order to assemble and in turn, disseminate the best
experience, the Association is making a study of the status
of sex education in the colleges.

The Association has continued its lecture and conference
service in the colleges.

In the Schools.

As in the colleges so in the schools there is a growing dis-
position to recognize sex education as a school responsibility.
Two studies of the status of sex education in the high schools
made in cooperation with the United States Public Health
Service showed that in 1920, 16 per cent and in 1927, 29 per


cent of the schools reporting regularly included sex instruc-
tion in such subjects as biology and physiology; in 1920, 25
per cent and in 1927, 16 per cent used emergency methods,
such as talks by outsiders, and pamphlets. There is marked
growth toward comprehensive and thorough instruction, and
away from inadequate methods.

Growing interest in sex education in the schools is shown
in the many requests for information about successful experi-
ence with it. To meet this demand the Association secured
from more than 50 of the high schools that seemed to be doing
the best work along this line, more detailed information as
to their methods, courses, subject matter and results. ies taUcs &y

The Association has received a larger volume than in I,? school*, lotai
any previous year, of requests for suggestions, courses, out-
lines, literature and bibliographies to aid in sex education.
Demonstration lectures and conferences by members of the
field staff have met with sincere appreciation.

During the year a number of important cities have been
added to the list of those in which the school system as a
whole is facing up in concrete ways to its responsibility in
sex education. In several cities thorough-going courses in
teacher training are being established with a view to a grad-
ual, systematic development of sex education in the schools.
In one city the Superintendent of Schools sent a memorandum
to his teachers advising them to prepare themselves for sex
education in view of the likelihood that it may soon become
a requirement.

The Alabama State Normal College in cooperation with the
American Social Hygiene Association conducted conferences
with the faculties of 15 Negro high schools to outline methods
and subject matter for a year's experiment in sex education.
The experiment has now been concluded, and the results are
being assembled in a report which is to be made available
for the guidance of the Negro schools of Alabama and other



31 courses for
trackers giving
376 lectures
tritA total at
tendance 1,115.

44 series for
leader t, embrac-
ing 196 talks,
total attend-
ance If, 664-

160 talks to re-
ligion* groups,

In Teacher and Leader Training.

The most conspicuous and most significant trend in social
nygiene education is the growing demand for teacher and
leader training courses in the subject. It measures more
accurately than anything else the fruits of pioneer labors
in this field during the years past.

In addition to work with teachers the staff gave many
series of talks to selected groups of leaders in various fields,
such as colleges, religious agencies, parent-teacher organiza-
tions, and others.

In Religious Education.

In view of the fact that until recent years religious agencies
were more apathetic than other agencies in the matter of
social hygiene education, the present rapid awakening in the
religious education field to its opportunity in this phase of
character education is most gratifying. Such agencies as the
Federal Council of Churches, the Y.M.C.A., the Y.W.C.A.,
some of the leading church boards, city church federations,
and individual churches are developing capable leadership
within their own ranks for this phase of their program, and
they are undertaking to prepare educational materials for
their own needs. Representatives of leading church boards
and of other religious agencies met recently with members of
the Association's staff to plan the preparation of a series of
discussion outlines for young people. The first of these is
to be a discussion outline for young people of marriageable
years, dealing with education for marriage.

In one city for the third year a study group of ministers
was conducted to consider the problems of sex education as
related to the church. Such groups are being duplicated in
other cities.

The Protestant Episcopal Church has made public an-
nouncements of a plan for developing education for marriage
in connection with all its parishes in Greater New York. The
Association is cooperating in this development. In other states
the same denomination is taking steps to bring the study of


sex problems more fully into the preparation of its ministry
in the theological schools.

In the Parent-Teacher Organizations.

Progress has continued through the year in establishing
social hygiene as a systematic feature of the parent-teacher
program and in extending social hygiene activities.

Reports show marked increase in series of lectures, study
groups, single talks and use of literature. The Association
has 1,214 collaborating members among Parent-Teacher
Association officers. Two states have inaugurated one-day
institutes for training Parent-Teacher Association leaders in
social hygiene. Social hygiene featured at 14 state and 18
district conventions. The Association's staff gave 310 talks
before parent-teacher groups. According to reports from
the National Congress these were supplemented by over 1,200
additional talks with an estimated attendance of more than

A member of the Association's staff serves as National
Social Hygiene Chairman of the National Congress of Parents
and Teachers, and is a member of three other committees,
thus helping to shape social hygiene policy and program
in that organization. Another staff member is chairman of
the Committee on Parent Training in Churches.

An outstanding feature of the year was the presentation
of a paper by a member of the Association's staff before the
International Federation for Home and School in Geneva,
Switzerland, and his services on the Board of Managers of
the Federation. He also conducted a six-session discussion
group on sex education, during the World Conference of New
Education held at Elsinore, Denmark.

Educational Materials.

In addition to the preparation of some new pamphlet mate-
rial some of the old pamphlets have been revised, new exhibit
material prepared, articles written for various magazines,
and numerous courses, outlines and programs prepared upon

40 state P.-T.
A. social hy-
giene chairmen,
14 with active

310 talks before
P.-T. A. groups,
total attendance

20 exhibit dis-
plays and 40,-
000 pamphlets
furnished P.-T.
A. members.

Total Division
lectures 1,395 in
24 states, with
attendance 206,-
765 and 12
radio talks ad-



Objectweg of
tooial hygiene
in relation to
the family.

call from the field. This furnishing of outlines and programs
together with the opportunity for personal conferences
afforded by the visits of staff members, is one of the most
important services the Division is rendering. It is the object
of the Division's lecture staff to distribute and interpret still
further these educational materials, and to demonstrate to
local teacher-leader groups how they may be most effectively


In addition to lectures before colleges, schools and religious
groups, Division lecturers have addressed 298 other com-
munity audiences, with a total attendance of 66,208. The total
number of lectures for the year was 1,395 with a combined
attendance of 206,765. These figures do not include 12 radio
talks for which the audience could not be estimated. That
there were many listeners, however, can be judged from the
numerous letters received by the Association referring to the


This Division has grown out of many studies made in past
years. A statement phrased by President Charles W. Eliot
and embodied in the Constitution began: "The purpose of
this Association shall be to acquire and diffuse knowledge
of the established principles and practices, and of any new
methods which promote or give assurance of promoting social
health . . . " The welfare of the family has always
been a concern of the organization. As early as 1917 a mer-
ger with one or more agencies dealing with marriage was
under consideration, but was laid on the table when the War
claimed every resource.

In 1925 the social hygiene organizations of the United
States and Great Britain reviewed existing data and adopted
a statement which read :

4 'It is recognized that Social Hygiene in its widest sense
includes all things that have to do with the welfare of human
beings living in societies ; but for the purpose of this organiza-
tion it is proposed to devote attention chiefly to the following



points by disseminating the knowledge acquired in the med-
ical, psychological, sociological, anthropological, and other
fields of science and of education and religion in order to
form an instructed public opinion and to secure action when
possible :

I. To preserve and strengthen the family as the basic

social unit.

II. To promote educative measures concerning the re-
lations of the racial instinct to the conditions of
civilized society.

III. To emphasize the responsibility of the community
and the individual for preserving or improving
the quality of future generations by educative and
social measures.

IV. To further social customs which promote a high
and equal standard of sex conduct in men and

V. To promote the prevention and treatment of vene-
real disease by appropriate educative, medical, and
social measures.

VI. To repress commercialized vice.
VII. To ameliorate conditions conducing to promiscuity.
VIII. To cooperate with the various organizations inter-
ested in the above subjects with a view to coordi-
nating efforts to secure these ends."

Following the assembling of data in previous years, the
Board of Directors early in 1929 began further studies of over
twenty national agencies and institutions having to do with
family relations, and has held conferences with important
leaders throughout the country. The need for setting up
this new division became apparent, and the details have been

There are no topics, apparently, in the social field which
awaken more intense interest than those which have to do
with successful marriage and parenthood. Consultation serv-
ices providing a direct approach to personality and family

Lectures, con-
ferences, dis-
cussion groups
emphasize sig-
nificance of
major subject.

1930 program

of adititif*.

9J ttudiet In

5^7 rnnmvni-
tin in 8 states.


problems are in demand. The new division is studying all
such activities to learn what is being done and what success

attends the work.

Many lectures and round-table discussions have been ar-
ranged during the year, particularly among ministers, ethical
leaders, parent-teacher and social-work groups. The purpose
of these has been to focus attention upon family relations
and the solving of sex relationships among the normal in an
effort to secure more successful marriage and parenthood.

A considerable number of agencies are now in touch with
the Association through printed and mimeographed reports
regularly received.

Mrs. Anna Garlin Spencer has accepted the direction of
the division during its period of organization. With her
are associated Mrs. Gertrude R. Luce and other members of
the staff for special purposes. The activities outlined for
1930 include: (1) correspondence, interviews, and conferences
with persons qualified by training and experience to aid in
developing the program; (2) studies in the preparation and
experimental use of outlines of training for marriage ; (3) in-
quiries concerning work and plans for parental education and
family consultation service; (4) promotion of cooperative
relations and general activities calculated to minimize the
number of broken homes, to increase intelligent application
of knowledge to practical family life, and to develop a sense
of social responsibility of youth and direction of ethical
idealism in the interests of satisfying and socially helpful
family relations.



The Association has continued to respond to requests by
local organizations who have desired appraisals of conditions
favoring juvenile delinquency in their cities, or of commer-
cialized prostitution. One local society in an important city
has found these surveys so useful in securing effective action



and maintaining cooperative relations with its city officials
that six such studies during this year have been arranged.
Progressive improvement was shown after each of these
studies with the result that this city now stands in the front
rank of cities who maintain clean environments for their

Studies of road house conditions represent a new and
interesting development of the year. Local organizations in
three states, and the state health officer in another state,
have called upon the investigation staff for such studies of
conditions in these places, and of the relation of conditions
found to prostitution or sexual delinquency.

These studies which are believed to picture the best and
the worst conditions to be found indicate that prostitution

Online LibraryAmerican Social Hygiene AssociationJournal of social hygiene (Volume 16) → online text (page 1 of 52)