Charles Richmond Henderson.

Modern methods of charity; an account of the systems of relief, public and private, in the principal countries having modern methods online

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poor mothers and children. The recreation piers are due to its
efforts. The play grounds, small parks, roof gardens, sanitari-
ums and day nurseries are recipients of its support.

The Health Protective Agency guards the health of the tenement
dwellers. It also has to meet the problem of the tenement house.
It keeps the city Health Department active and sees that the
streets and alleys are properly cleaned and the garbage removed.
It is also interested in the establishments of parks and play

The Needlework Guild of America. — The object of the Needle-



work Guild is to collect and distribute new clothing suitable for
the needs of homes, hospitals and other charitable institutions.
There are at present throughout the country thirty-one branches
of the Guild. The plan of organization is simple, each branch
having sections and each section president being responsible for
the annual donation of no garments. Anyone may become a
member of the Guild by contributing two new articles of wear-
ing apparel a year. Besides garments, household linen is also
supplied. In cases of national disaster the Guild is in readiness
to send supplies of clothing.

Visiting Nurses Association. — The object of the Visiting Nurses
Association is to furnish skilled attendants to the sick poor, to
promote cleanliness and to teach the proper care of the sick.
Their work is not confined to nursing, but advice and help are
given in many ways. When in destitute circumstances patients
are given emergency relief, food, medicine or clothing, or are
referred to a relief society.

The Woman's Relief Corps is an auxiliary of the Grand Army of
the Republic. Its purpose is to assist such Union veterans as
need help and protection, to find them homes and employment
and to extend needful aid to their wives and orphans. The ladies
of the Grand Army of the Republic look after the Soldiers' and
Orphans' Homes and see that the children who leave the Home
are provided with proper situations.

The Young Women's Christian Association. — The work of this
organization is well known. Their services are rendered chiefly
among women who are dependent upon their own exertions for
support. Part of their work consists in organizing homes and
securing employment for self-supporting girls. The doors of
their homes are open to girls and women who are strangers in the
The Charitabe Work of the Social Settlements.^

In spite of their protestations the social settlements are chari-
table institutions. They do not dole out charity in the form of
food, money or discarded clothing, but with sympathy, love and
patience they give and share with their unfortunate neighbors
those things which lift life from a mere existence to a noble pur-

^ The paragraphs on Settlements were prepared by Miss Florence Ashcraft,
A. B. Cf. Charities, Feb. 20, 1904, pp. 195 ff.



pose. Their aim is to put within the reach of all the opportunity
to get what is best out of life, and by mutual help to stimulate
ambition and self-regard in those who have no interest in life
and no appreciation of it. They have found that the opportuni-
ties these people most needed were those for health, increased
intelligence and greater happiness, and in their endeavor to sup-
ply these they have gained for society that which is lovely and
heroic from the midst of poverty which seems so uncouth and

Health. — Endeavors to provide opportunities for securing bet-
ter health have not ended in theories. Much practical work
has been accomplished. In New York and Chicago, especially,
the all-important problem of the tenement house is depending
largely upon the social settlements for solution. Already legis-
lation has been secured regulating the construction of such build-
ings, requiring better lighted apartments, greater regard for sani-
tary conditions and ventilation, fire escapes, fire-proof stairways
and halls, and limiting the number of stories and number of apart-
inents on a given area. But legislation cannot do all. The set-
tlement workers have entered these over-crowded apartments
and are impressing upon the minds of the tenants the evils which
accompany this manner of living. They are making cleanliness
attractive and revealing it as a necessity. They are instructing
in the care of the sick and the prevention of the spread of con-
tagious diseases. Several of the settlements offer to the women
of their neighborhoods instruction in cooking for the sick and
other practical suggestions for the sick room. In all the settle-
ments the gymnasium is made an important branch of the work.
The public baths in the tenement districts have proved most
valuable. In the summer when the patronage is naturally the
heaviest, one of the settlements has estimated that the number of
baths given reaches ii,ooo per month, and from seven to eight
hundred on the warmest days.

In addition to these activities for the protection of the health
of their neighbors the settlements have spent much time in keep-
ing the city Health Departments active, in insisting upon the
removal of garbage and the cleaning of streets and alleys. All
this is done, not with a feeling of disgust because these people
live as they do, but in recognition of the truths that the conditions


under which they Hve are due as much to lax city officials and
avaricious landlords as to the people themselves, and with the
conviction that could the homes be lifted from such surround-
ings, where health is a stranger, morbid feelings, lack of ambi-
tion, low aims and the sordid and unhappy aspect of life would

More Intelligence. — The most valuable work of the settle-
ments is based upon the principle that it is knowledge which
most broadens the view of life and makes things seem worth
while. But to administer instruction to those whose intellectual
faculties are untrained and disused, requires dexterity and tact;
social atmosphere is needed for its diffusion. The method?
which have proved most practicable are easily discernible in a
study of the different clubs of the several settlements.

(a) Boys' Clubs. — ^The University Settlement of New York has
forty active clubs in operation. Upon the theory that what the
members do for themselves gains more than what is done for
them, dues have been fixed at the rate of 3c weekly for afternoon
clubs, 5c for evening clubs, with J^c weekly turned over to the
house for rent. The boys' clubs are most active. Among these
organizations it is interesting to note that the Civic Club, whose
principal object is the study of civic conditions and affairs, takes
the lead.

The G. H. Smith Club has a suggestive program. On the first
meeting night of the month there is a lecture by some prominent
man, on the second a debate, on the third an impromptu talk by
club members, on the fourth night there are held social meetings,
to which the various other clubs of the settlement are invited.

The Economic Club follows the program used generally by the
settlement in its consideration of economical and sociological
subjects. Such topics have been treated as socialism, trade
unionism, factory legislation, housing conditions, single tax and
child labor.

The Endeavor Club devotes its time to debating, essay-writing,
talks by members and frequent talks by prominent men.

The City History Club, by its study of the history of the State of
New York, is training fifteen boys into useful and loyal citizens.

The Writers' Club appeals to young men who are interested in
English composition and journalism.



The Boys' Athletic Clubs in all the settlements have proved their
worth. The Garrett Athletic Club of Law^rence House, Boston,
deserves special mention. It has become a club of trained ath-
letes who find time for other interests. They are proud of their
orderly business meetings and their study classes. Last winter
the boys themselves hired a dancing teacher and went at danc-
ing energetically and enthusiastically. A little later Shakespeare
was suggested, and the boys undertook the study of Hamlet as
enthusiastically as they had undertaken dancing, and in the
spring gave a very creditable presentation of the first act.

The Boys' Cluhs of the Chicago Commons have been very suc-
cessful. During the past year 325 boys have been enrolled. The
basis of the work is mainly social, and is directed along the lines
of education, recreation, industrial and moral discipline. Club
membership is required to admit the boys to the privileges of the
gymnasium and manual training departments. Three large
rooms are devoted to their club ; one of them is furnished as their
parlor, another as a game room and the third for assembly pur-
poses. Their experiment of the Commons Democracy was an
interesting one. The object was to maintain a mimic city gov-
ernment, each club forming a ward and sending its aldermen to
represent it in the monthly meeting of the city council. The duty
of the commissioners of the several municipal departments was
to familiarize themselves with the work of the various branches
of the city government.

The Hull House Boys' Club gives two evenings a week to purely
recreative meetings, when games and books are used. On the
other nights the members are expected to attend at least one of
the classes in carpentry, metal work, clay modeling, pottery, or
one of the groups studying American history, current events or

In addition to these clubs some of the younger boys, six to
twelve years, have formed clubs of a scientific nature. One club
is interested in the planting of flowers, another is studying birds.
The Lend-a-Hand Club of Lincoln House, Boston, carries flowers
to the sick and fruit and toys to the crippled children,

(b) Girls' Clubs. — The girls' clubs follow much the general plan
of the boys' clubs, although their programs are not so varied.
The greater part of the time is devoted to sewing, cooking, basket



weaving and crocheting. For recreation they have their gym-
nasium classes and social gatherings. Their study clubs devote
their time to general reading, study of the drama, the modern
novel, famous women and history. Other clubs are interested
in nature studies, and one club is editing a club journal.

Several of the young women's clubs are doing unique work.
The Progressive Club of Chicago Commons, in addition to its
educational and social functions, has for several years maintained
a country cottage on the lake shore or in some suburb, where they
have spent their vacations and shared their privileges with many
of the younger girls.

The Jane Club of Hull House maintains a club house for young
women upon the cooperative plan. The weekly dues, including
board and room, amount to $3.00. The club has also its educa-
tional and social features.

(c) Women's Clubs. — In every settlement every possible effort
is made to appeal to the mothers through the women's clubs.
The Women's Columbian Club of the Northwestern settlement
has proved to be a useful one. The membership is about forty.
A small fee is paid by each member. In addition to the regu-
lar business of its meetings the club has taken an active interest
in bettering the conditions for women and children in the neigh-
borhood and in securing the location of a small park near their
settlement. A linen chest has been maintained for the use of
the visiting nurse. The club has also maintained a summer
house at Bluff Lake for the use of the members and their friends.

The Hull House Women's Club has also been successful. Its an-
nual picnics and excursions for the mothers and children of the
neighborhood are two of its attractive features.

The Kindergarten Clubs, composed of the mothers of the kinder-
garten children have always been popular. The kindergarten
games are taught, and as a result the mothers become more inter-
ested in the work of their little ones. Because these women are
weighted down with the burden of housework and children, it
has been found best that the programs of their clubs should be
made as light and pleasurable as possible. They love to play
kindergarten games, but most of all they enjoy their cup of tea
and the social time that goes with it. Of course these clubs


have their more serious occupations along educational lines, the
care of the home and child, cooking, sewing, etc.

(d) Men's Clubs. — It has been very difficult to reach the older
men through the clubs. They enjoy particularly the use of the
library and are interested in the debating clubs. Chicago Com-
mons has reached many of them through its free-floor discus-
sions, where under the lead of widely representative men and
women, about two hundred manual laborers engage in the dis-
cussion of industrial and economical issues. The rule, "free
speech, all sides and no favor" has always prevailed, and on no
occasion have the meetings departed from their original charac-
ter of a free and informal conference.

The Men's Community Club of the Commons is an active organi-
zation. Its membership numbers about one hundred. Its object
is to further social fellowship, the betterment of municipal con-
ditions, non-partisan political education and the promotion of
civic patriotism.

The Music Clubs. — The report of the music department of the
New York settlement might give encouragement and suggestions
to those who are endeavoring to give this branch the important
place to which it rightfully belongs. The department has a daily
attendance of ninety. There is a corps of 25 teachers who give
instruction on piano, violin, singing, harmony and ensemble play-
ing. The fees are computed at the rate of 50c an hour but loc
lessons are given. Practicing is charged for at the rate of 4c
per half hour. In connection with the department Sunday even-
ing concerts are given. A class is held in sight reading; another
class is studying the choral works of Mendelsshon, Beethoven,
Schumann, Schubert, and other of the classical composers. The
enrollment of seventy-five in their young people's singing club
and children's glee club bespeaks the success of this work.

Dramatic Clubs. — The dramatic clubs of the various settlements
are busy with their studies and presentations of Shakespeare,
Ben Jonson and other writers. Their value as social and edu-
cational factors is apparent.

Classes. — Closely allied to the clubs are the classes. These are
formed for those who desire educational, more than social life.
The work of the class room varies from the elementary studies
of arithmetic, spelling, geography, reading and writing of Eng-



lish, to chemistry, physics and history of art. The following
program of the Hull House is a fair example of what is done
along this line in most of the settlements. There are classes in
grammar, rhetoric, reading, beginners' English, intermediate and
adyanced English, poetry, history, history of art, German,
French, Spanish, Italian, and hygiene. One settlement deyotes
most of its class work to tutoring backward children of the grade
schools. Other settlements hold night schools where the regu-
lar programs of the grammar and high schools are followed.
That these night classes are welcomed and appreciated by the
young people is apparent to one who has seen anything of their
work. It is pitiful to witness the eagerness with which these
young men and women labor oyer the multiplication table and
first reader.

The Domestic Science and Manual Training Classes. — The work
of any settlement is incomplete without its classes in domestic
science and manual training. The programs of these classes
throughout the settlements are much the same. In domestic
science there are classes in cooking, in the chemistry of cooking,
cooking for inyalids, the yalue of foods, and general classes and
lectures on the care of the kitchen and kitchen utensils. There
are also classes in sewing, dressmaking, millinery, embroidery,
basket-weaving and lectures on the care of the home.

The Manual Training Department has its classes in carpentry,
sloyd, wood-carying, mechanical drawing and designing, metal
work and pottery. The art class adds to this, clay modeling,
drawing, painting, sketching and architectural sculpture.

The settlements which haye introduced courses under the
Uniyersity Extension lectures haye found them very valuable.
That they are appreciated is evinced by the number of young
people who have attended every one that has been offered. In
all of the class work a small fee is usually charged to defray
expenses and to maintain the self-respect of the students.

Greater Happiness. — All of the departments of the social settle-
ments are intended to secure greater happiness to the neigh-
bors. They endeavor to do this by bettering every phase of
their lives. They do not overlook the importance of the work
among the children. Their day nurseries care for the tiny
ones whose mothers are obliged to work during the day; the


kindergarten is made an attractive place for the children be-
tween three and six ; to the kindergarten graduates the boys' and
girls' clubs open their welcome doors ; with school children the
g}'mnasium is especially popular; the play grounds and summer
outings are delightful to the children of the neighborhood.

Relief and Aid Work. — While the settlement does not place much
emphasis upon the relief work, it is necessarily an important de-
partment of its activity. In cases of extreme poverty and desti-
tution material help must be given. Where possible, this branch
of the work is carried on by cooperation with the Associated
Charities, or some similar organization.

TJie Legal Aid Society aids people who are in need of the services
of a lawyer but are unable to pay the charges. The majority
of the applicants are victims of mortgage sharks, or else foreign-
ers who have not been in this country long enough to learn its
customs and laws, and who, on account of their ignorance, be-
come a prey to anyone caring to take advantage of them. Dur-
ing last year one of the settlements reported that it had 3,850
applicants ; 2,000 of these applications were made to collect un-
paid wages. Justice is attained in other cases, including the law
of the landlord and tenant, domestic relations, questions of ad-
ministrators, personal accident cases and bankruptcy proceed-

The Penny Provident and Savings Banks have been the means of
saving many of the pennies and nickels of the children. The
bank is also used by the mothers who save their money for the
things which they have been accustomed to buy on the install-
ment plan. As a rule, the bank is opened for deposit and draw-
ings two days of the week. One report shows that the attend-
ance on one of these days averaged from 400 to 800 children, of
which number about 90 per cent, were depositors. The amount
deposited ranges from ic to $5.00, and the amounts withdrawn
from 50C up.

The Provident Loan Society, as operated by the New York settle-
ment, aids people in temporary distress by loaning money at
a reasonable rate of interest on jewelry, the rate being uni-
formly I per cent, a month, save in the case of large loans for
long periods, when it is less. It is in all details a model pawn



The Library, with its reference and reading rooms and distribut-
ing department, is usually found in the settlements.

Dispensaries have been successfully operated by several of the
settlements. At the New York dispensary during last year 809
cases w^ere treated, 376 professional visits w^ere made. A great
deal of v^ork can be done by this department.

The Trade Unions have always found a place of meeting at the
settlements. As many as ten or twelve different unions meet
at the same house, and although the members of the union for the
most part are not engaged in any other of the activities of the
settlements, yet it is essential that the settlement workers should
show a friendly spirit to every branch of labor interest.

The Picture Loan work is in itself a charity. It has spread happi-
ness and cheer in many dark and unhappy homes. Its plan of
management is simple. It secures a collection of pictures and
puts them on exhibit in one of the settlement rooms. It also
lends photographs or prints in groups at a time in the homes of
the poor. After the group has remained in one home for a few
months it is exchanged for another, and this continual exchange
goes on until the whole collection has passed through all of the

The Coffee Houses, as successfully operated by Hull House and
Northwestern University settlements, partake of the nature of
the well-managed public restaurant. Orders are taken for cater-
ing, and food is furnished, with services, to any part of the city.
Special dinners and luncheons are served in the Coffee House by
the various clubs of the settlement.

The Visiting Kindergarten is a unique departure found in Hull
House. Children who are chronically ill, or those too crippled
to attend schools, are visited in their homes by trained kinder-
gartners. Manual training lessons are given to those too ad-
vanced for kindergarten work. The older children are also given
instruction in the common school branches.

The Labor Museum is one of tlie most successful departments at
Hull House. As stated by the bulletin, its object is to show the
development in methods of production from the earliest times
to the present, and as nearly as possible to illustrate the differ-
ent forms of production used by the various nations. Actual
work is going on in metal work, wood work, pottery, cooking,


spinning, weaving, book binding and clay modeling. The trades
are further illustrated by collections of charts and pictures which
are open for study and inspection.

Home Libraries. ^ — The home library work was first developed
on a large scale by Mr. Charles W. Birtwell, superintendent of the
Children's Aid Society of Boston. It has been introduced into
Chicago by the Bureau of Charities and the Library Club, and
affords an admirable introduction to friendly visiting, since the
visitor has a definite and agreeable introduction in the neigh-
borhood of poor people by means of the library. The plan is
simple and inexpensive. A small box of attractive books is
taken to a home, children gather to hear them read or to listen
to stories, and the books are lent to the children in turn. From
this beginning the visitor becomes acquainted, acquires influence,
learns conditions and is able to assist her new friends with sym-
pathy and counsel.

D. Ecclesiastical Charities.'^ Protestant. — It is a general cus-
tom for the churches to take collections for their poor mem-
bers in connection with the celebration of the Lord's Supper or
at other times, and the amounts thus contributed must be con-
siderable, although it is impossible to secure reliable statistics.
Generally speaking there are comparatively few destitute mem-
bers of Protestant churches ; one of the first effects of a reduced
income is frequently retirement from active membership in a
church. Few are the churches in cities, however, which have not
some dependents, even favored pets of their bounty. The teach-
ers of Sunday schools, especially of missions in the poorer
quarters, visit the pupils in their homes, provide clothing and
assist the families in various ways. Many hospitals, homes for
aged people, orphanages, and lodging houses for wanderers are
assisted or supported by members of churches. Sometimes the
institution bears the name of a particular denomination, and this
is especially true of the Episcopalian, Lutheran and Presbyterian
bodies, and in a less degree of Methodists, Baptists and Con-

Generally there are benevolent societies and institutions sup-
ported by the gifts of many churches contributing to a common
fund for the assistance of needy families, dependent children,

^ By C. R. Henderson. 'Ibid.


waifs' missions, industrial schools and hospitals. On the govern-
ing boards of such institutions will be found representatives
selected from the contributing churches of the community.
These beneficent works would not appear in the statistics of any
denomination, and for this reason the charitable activities of
the churches in America are likely to be underestimated both at

Online LibraryCharles Richmond HendersonModern methods of charity; an account of the systems of relief, public and private, in the principal countries having modern methods → online text (page 44 of 73)