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

. (page 45 of 73)
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 45 of 73)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

home and abroad.

The Charity Organization Society finds, with diminishing
hostility and misunderstanding, many of its most liberal and
intelligent allies among the pastors and the members of churches.
In the city of Bufifalo cooperation with the churches has taken
a .unique form ; for there the entire city is divided into districts,
and each district is assigned to some particular church for over-
sight. It is claimed by the managers of the C. O. S. in Buffalo
that the experiment has been successful.

The congregations of the religious bodies are generally ready
to hear the interests of scientific charity explained and urged.

The Deaconess movement has now a firm place in the eccle-
siastical life of America, the original stimulus having come, with
many other good importations of persons and ideas, from Ger-
many. Rev. W. A. Passavant, a Lutheran clergyman of Penn-
sylvania, visited Theodore Fliedner in Kaiserswerth, and, in Juse,
1849, brought some deaconesses to Pittsburg to minister i 1 a
hospital. For many years the movement to train and send )ut
deaconesses met with much opposition, but it finally overcame
hostility and gained support. In 1896 the Lutheran mother
houses established a conference of German, English, Swedish and
Norwegian institutions. They have 218 deaconesses. The Bap-
tists, German and English, have made a beginning. The
Methodists have entered upon the undertaking with zeal and
energy, and in 1888 their highest legislative body recognized it
as having an official position in their ecclesiastical system. Their
organization aids institutions in all parts of the world in con-
nection with city, home and foreign missions. They possess a
property of about $2,000,000, have 685 deaconesses and 738 pro-
bationers. The Protestant Episcopal church has also given an
official position to deaconesses and provided regulations in the
canons for their selection and government. Some of the deacon-
esses are trained in hospitals to act as nurses ; others are visitors


among the poor, or assist in Sunday school and other oarish

Roman Catholic Charity. — This ancient church has brought to
America its sacred traditions of benevolence and its splendid
organizing ability. In the Catholic Directory of 1903 one finds
that the entire Catholic population in the Union is estimated at
11,289,710; priests, 12,268; churches, 10,878; parishes with
schools, 3,978; orphanages, 257; orphans under care, 37,108;
benevolent institutions, 923. Under the guidance of "religious"
persons there are various orders, with their several duties.
There are : (i) those who wait on the sick in their homes (Sisters
of the Assumption, Helpers of the Holy Souls, Sisters of Bon
Secours, etc.) ; (2) those who visit the poor in their homes and
give consolation (Sisters of Mercy, Sisters of Charity, Italian
Sisters, etc.) ; (3) homes for the aged (Sisters of the Poor, etc.) ;
(4) hospitals of all kinds ; societies for the care of destitute and
neglected children.^ There are 115 different orders for "religious"

Under the direction of lay societies are: (i) the Society of
St. Vincent de Paul, with its branches in many city parishes; (2)
the Queen's Daughters, with the principal office in St. Louis and
branches in all parts of the country. They aid in all forms of
benevolent activity.

The Catholic church societies have begun to draw together in
federations in the great centers. Thus in Greater New York
there is the "Association of Catholic Charities" which holds
periodical meetings and publishes the reports of affiliated insti-
tutions and societies. Similar arrangements are found in Phila-
delphia and elsewhere.

The societies which labor for the welfare of needy Catholic
immigrants are important. Other societies, as the Guild of the
Infant Savior, care for foundlings.

Jewish Charities. — Since we have devoted a special article to this
subject it is merely mentioned in this place, with the remark that
Jewish charities are generous, sensible and well organized; and

* It is not uncommon for such institutions to receive considerable sums as
subsidies or payments for services from the citizens and poor authorities. This
is also true of some Protestant institutions and societies. This policy has been
seriously challenged.


that, in all parts of our country, an appeal for others than Jews,
and for any cause of public concern, is heard by the Hebrew com-
munities with kindness and responded to with liberality. While
the immense immigration of indigent Jews has laid upon their
co-religionists in America enormous burdens, which are bravely
and wisely borne, Jewish charity does not mean merely charity
to Jews.^
The Salvation Army.^

To most people the Salvation Army is best known by its
familiar evening drum-beat and hallelujah meetings, and quite
naturally since it is primarily an evangelistic agency. But there
is another side to its work, as the Christmas dinner kettles on
the streets attest at each annual approach of the holiday season.
Organized for the purpose of giving the Bread of Life to the
spiritually destitute multitudes of London's East End, it was
soon found wise to minister also to those who were in need of
"the bread which perisheth," and this twofold ministry is carried
on wherever the army exists.

There is no other division of the Church Militant which has
given so large a place in its warfare to feeding the hungry, cloth-
ing the naked, sheltering the homeless, and in every possible way
providing for other than distinctly religious needs of mankind.
It is with the philanthropic work only that this section deals.
The manifold non-religious — this far from saying irreligious —
work of the Salvation Army may be roughly classified in three
divisions — simple charity, work for the workless, homes for the

Simple Charity. — It is with the "submerged tenth" that the Army
has most to do. Here the pangs of poverty are most keenly felt,
here wretchedness and woe abound, and here naturally is the
greatest need for its generous ministrations.

Christmas Dinners. — This is one of the best known features of its
purely charitable work. In all places where it is established
money and provisions are gathered for the purpose of bringing
some bit of Christmas cheer into otherwise cheerless hearts. In
many cities a great dinner is provided, especially for homeless
persons, the tables spread in Madison Square Garden, New York,

^Article of C. R. Henderson, in Zeitschrift fiir das Armenwesen, 1904, p. 11.
" Prepared from documents furnished by the Army, by F. G. Cressey, Ph. D.



feeding four thousand. Admission is by ticket and care is ex-
ercised to keep out the unworthy, but the plan is Hable to such
abuses that in Chicago and elsewhere it has been abandoned.
Moreover, it is sometimes so conducted as to become a public
spectacle, blunting the finer sensibilities of both beneficiaries and
beholders. In its stead — or, where still in operation, in addition
to it — well filled baskets are sent to the homes of the poor, each
family having been personally visited to ascertain its need and
deserts. The total number of beneficiaries of this Christmas
generosity, which usually includes special provision for the chil-
dren, is 300,000 a year.

Outdoor Relief. — "Christmas comes but once a year," while "the
poor ye have with you alway." There is, therefore, a constant
demand that destitute homes be provided with the necessaries
of life. It is a general rule that all beneficiaries shall render some
equivalent in money or work, but in cases of helplessness due to
infancy, infirmity, old age, or other disabling cause this is of
necessity disregarded. Food, clothing, coal, ice, rent, and
medical services are some of the items that help to make up a
considerable share of the $800,000 expended annually upon the
poor. Living for the most part among those who need their
benefactions and so knowing them more or less intimately, the
army workers are ordinarily able to escape imposition by profes-
sional mendicants. This intimate knowledge and daily experi-
ence help to offset the disadvantage of pursuing a practically
independent course, so far as other charitable agencies are con-

Besides manifold ministries in the homes of the poor, thou-
sands of summer outings are provided for the children of the
tenements and their over-taxed mothers.

Indoor Relief. — In yet another instance is it found necessary to
transgress the "no work, no benefit" rule, the case of deserted
and orphaned children. In day nurseries, rescue homes, orphan-
ages — one such at the Fort Amity colony accommodates a hun-
dred children — and other institutions an average of 650 are cared
for daily.

Here, too, may be classified, even though not conducted on a

^ This isolating policy is severely criticised by many managers of charitable
societies. — C. R. H.


purely eleemosynary basis, twenty-one rescue homes for fallen
girls, providing a haven and temporary home for two thousand
young women a year, of whom 90 per cent, are restored to virtu-
ous lives.

Work for the Workless. — As already noted, the Salvation Army
follows wherever possible the apostolic principle, "If any will
not work neither let him eat." It believes that the best way
to help a man is to help him better his own condition, rather
than weaken his manhood by impulsive-hearted but wrong-
headed generosity. That "more harm is wrought by want of
head than by want of heart" is one of its cardinal principles in

Employment Bureaus. — When city magistrates in New York
affirm that, even in prosperous times, "there are hundreds of men
of good habits, physically equipped for the hardest work, and
willing to work without raising the question of compensation,"
and that "as a last resort many of them apply at the courts and
are committed, often at their own request, to the county jail
and even the penitentiary," there is evidently a need of organized
effort to bring work and workers together.

That the unemployed are by no means wholly the inefficient
appears from the returns of the labor unions of New York State
in a recent year. These show that during a very prosperous
quarter one-tenth of their members had been out of work.

In addition to what each corps does there are several bureaus
especially for this purpose, the combined result being the find-
ing of work for 50,000 men a year.

Salvage Warehouses and Stores provide work for many for whom
no employment can be found. In these great quantities of waste
material, such as paper, rags, clothing and furniture, are sorted
and made fit for sale. Men so engaged are paid a ver}?- small
sum, sufficient to provide the bare necessities of life, the purpose
being that only emergencies be thus tided over and so no induce-
ment is offered them to continue on so low an industrial plane.
The sale of this "flotsam and jetsam" on the one hand nearly
covers the cost of collection and sorting, and on the other enables
the poor to secure many useful articles at an otherwise impossible
price. The annual turnover is $300,000.

Industrial Homes. — These are usually established in connection



with the preceding and provide food and lodging at so low a
price that the meagre amount earned in the salvage work, in
woodyards which are commonly run in connection with them, or
other similar work, will pay for them. The economic and moral
value of this work-test commends it highly.

There are fifty-four of these homes with accommodation for
750 men. An effort is being made to further this work by the
organization of the Salvation Army Industrial Homes Company,
with an authorized capital of $500,000.

Homes for the Homeless. — In every city there are many single
workers, both men and women, whose earnings are so small that
they are able to provide neither homes nor fit boarding places.
Until recently the low lodging house, too often the herding-place
of loafers and criminals, has been almost or quite the only place
of shelter open to the honest toiler of scanty means.

Hotels for Working Men and Women have accordingly been
established as an integral part of the army's manifold work of
ministering to the physical needs of humanity. There are
eighty-five of these — four being for women — accommodating
some 9,000 persons. Here one may have a bath, bed, light break-
fast and laundry facilities for as low as ten cents a night, and be
assured of moral surroundings, together with sympathy, religious
comfort and such other help as may be possible.

This is considered "the next step in the ladder to restoration,
after passing through the industrial home." The hotel in New
York is a substantial new fireproof building ten stories high.

Farm Colonies. — Even the best hotel, however, is a poor substi-
tute for a home. Practical recognition of this finds expression
in the efifort to bring together "the landless man," of whom there
are so many among the poor, and the "manless land," of which
our country has so much.

"The increasing difficulty among the married poor of finding
permanent and remunerative employment, together with the de-
moralizing surroundings of families huddled together in un-
healthy tenements, combined to give rise to the army's coloniza-
tion plans."

There are three colonies, the first having been established in
1898 at Fort Amity, Colorado, 267 miles east of Denver on the
Santa Fe Railway. Here, on some 2,000 acres, are three hun-


dred colonists, settled on allotments of from ten to twenty acres
per family. At Fort Romie, California, near the Bay of Mon-
terey, are seventy settlers on 500 acres, and at Fort Herrick, Ohio,
twenty miles east of Cleveland, thirty-three on 288 acres.

The newcomer is provided with a cottage, the necessary farm-
ing implements, and some livestock, for all of which, including
the land, he pays as soon as possible, ten years being the time
required. If necessary he is given instruction in agriculture and
horticulture by the comeptent head of the colony. All the col-
onists are now self-supporting and have paid a considerable share
of their indebtedness. The following instance shows the prac-
ticability of the plan:

"In April, 1902, the first colonist discharged his entire debt
to the army. He had arrived at Fort Amity in March, 1899,
his entire capital, the savings of ten or twelve years of married
life in the city, being a team of horses and a few household goods.
He now owns twenty acres with a neat stone cottage, horses,
cattle, pigs, and poultry, all free of incumbrance. His indebted-
ness to the army was $900 and in three years he paid it off, be-
sides supporting a wife and three children and building his

Despite many predictions that no persons could be found to
go, or if so they would not stay, or even in that event they cer-
tainly would not pay, the plan has been highly successful. The
work will be enlarged as fast as increased means make it possible
to settle thousands of waiting families upon the hundreds of
thousands of available acres.^

Concerning all the foregoing lines of work further informa-
tion may be had from Commander Booth Tucker at the national
headquarters, No. 122 West Fourteenth St., New York City.^

^ The reports throw little light on the question how far incompetent persons
can be helped by the colony plan. — C. R. H.

* To this general survey the following facts are added concerning the work in
Chicago for the year ending September 25, 1903: The sum spent in relief work
was $17,222.89, being nearly sixty per cent, of the general expense account.
Twenty thousand persons were supplied with coal, either free or at a low price.
Over two thousand mothers and children were given summer outings. In the
industrial home a thousand tons of paper and other waste material were prepared
for sale. In five salvage stores 150,000 articles of clothing and furniture were
handled, the expense and income being respectively $20,344.93 and $21,034.15. Six


The Volunteers of America.

This is similar in purpose to the Salvation Army, of which
it is an off-shoot. Although differing somewhat in principles
and methods from the much larger organization its operations
on the whole are practically parallel, so that an account of its
charitable work, which is worthy and extensive, is unnecessary.
One line of effort, however, deserves special mention, namely, the

Volunteer Prisoners' League. — Work for the uplifting of the
inmates of the State prisons was started in 1896, at Sing Sing,
N. Y., and now embraces most of such institutions. In over
seven years about fifteen thousand members have been enrolled,
pledging themselves to daily prayer and Bible reading, refrain-
ing from bad language, faithful observance of prison rules, and
mutual helpfulness. Its appropriate motto is "Look up and
hope." The wife of the President of the Volunteers, Mrs. Maud
Ballington Booth, gives a large share of her time to visiting the
prisons and conducting an extensive correspondence with the
men, who affectionately call her "little mother."

Much attention is also given to helping discharged men by
securing employment and otherwise enabling them to become
worthy members of society. There are two "Hope Halls," in
New York and Illinois, where they may find a temporary home
and such other help as may be possible. In the latter State,
where the indeterminate sentence (so-called) prevails, prisoners
are often paroled to the officer in charge of the home, thus secur-
ing the release of many otherwise friendless men.

The work of the league is cordially endorsed by many prison
officials and is becoming widely known through the lectures of
Mrs. Booth and the circulation of her book, "After Prison —

The headquarters of the Volunteers are at No. 38 Cooper
Square, New York City.

hotels for men and one for women accommodated more than 250,000 guests, the
expense and income being $31,525.76 and $25,831.52. Besides the foregoing the
Salvation Army has in Chicago 12 English-speaking corps, 6 Swedish, 2 Norwe-
gian and I German corps, 3 slum posts, 2 training schools, i home for fallen girls,
I maternity hospital, i slum nursery and i bureau for tracing missing relatives and
friends. The headquarters are at 399 State street, under the direction of Colonel
Charles Sowton.


E. Co-operation/ The Charity Organisation Society. — In the
United States there is no system of unpaid almoners or visitors
to assist the officials of outdoor public relief, as in German mu-
nicipalities. In the cities partisan administration under the
reigning "spoils system" has made the benevolent public and the
poor regard the machinery of public relief with distrust and dis-
favor. In some of the largest cities, as New York and Phila-
delphia, public aid to needy families has been reduced to the
lowest terms, and many of the friends of the C. O. S. advocate
the total abolition of this form of charity in American cities. To
the writer it does not seem probable that this view will prevail ;
because State relief is firmly established in our jurisprudence and
national customs, and the duty of the State to assure a minimum
livelihood is universally acknowledged. The C. O. S. seeks to
prevent pauperization so far as possible, and then to reduce the
evils of public charity by all practicable means. The C. O. S.
was transplanted from Great Britain. In 1877 the Rev. S. H.
Gurteen established the first association of this type in the city
of Buffalo. There are now in the United States and Canada
about 143 societies, and these are generally in correspondence
with each other and are strongly influenced by the National Con-
ference of Charities and Correction. It must not be supposed
that the C. O. S. was an absolutely novel creation in England
nor that all its features were new in America. It is true that
the earlier benevolent societies grew up in response to special
demands and without preconcerted plans in any city. Most of
the principles for which the movement works had been organized
by practical administrators previous to 1877. But the new
organization certainly gave to American cities a powerful im-
pulse to cooperative action, and revealed the central ideals of
intelligent charity in a more brilliant light.

We seek here to indicate the spirit and tendency of the
C. O. S. The dominant purpose of scientific charity is to bring
all the agencies for mitigating suffering and ameliorating con-
ditions under the sway of a conscious and prescient policy of the
benevolent community; and that policy is nothing less than to
further the life process of the nation, especially within the field
of philanthropy. More specifically this purpose includes ma-

* By C. R. Henderson.


terial relief of the suffering and helpless, that they may not lose
the chance at life ; to apply the methods of selection and of edu-
cation as required by the situation; to prevent needless waste
and loss of the resources of the self-supporting members of so-
ciety through aimless alms, fraud and imposition ; and to provide
against the degradation of those who are perilously near the
margin of dependence.

This policy requires, first of all, a knowledge of conditions,
of the situation of famihes and localities, as a basis for judgment
and action. This knowledge is secured by making and keeping
a record of every person or family who applies for assistance ; and
the form of this record is itself the product of long experience,
trial, study and discussion. This study of individuals is ex-
tended to a minute and exhaustive investigation of all the influ-
ences which work toward the physical and moral deterioration
of whole groups of people. In the latter effort philanthropy has
found a most efficient ally in the residents of social settlements.

The society for organizing the charities of a town must also
know the benevolent resources of the community, its institutions,
its societies, and its educational and protective agencies. There-
fore in the United States, as in Great Britain, the societies have
collected in their central offices information relating to the pur-
pose, scope, funds and methods of all the charitable societies and
institutions upon which they may call in any special case of

In order to influence action this knowledge of the poor and
of their helpers must be printed and placed at the disposal of
the philanthropic public. The business men must be warned
against impostors ; the railroad companies must be protected
against vagrants asking for free transportation ; the church
workers must be given transcripts of records of professional
beggars. Illegitimate schemes for wheedling money out of im-
pulsive and generous benefactors must be exposed and defeated
and the money turned to better account. Sentimental incom-
petents, making a trade of charity at public expense, must be
discouraged. The temptations, hardships and depressing sur-
roundings of the poor must be held before the public imagina-
tion. The principles and methods of effective social service are
taught by means of lectures, reports, bulletins, discussions, cir-


culars and articles in the daily newspapers and magazines. A
digest of charities or a directory of institutions and societies of
a city, as in New York, Boston, Philadelphia, places before a
community in systematic form the information necessary to di-
rect benefactors and to discover to the indigent the accessible
sources of help.

But the acquisition and popularization of knowledge are
means to an end, — rational action. Charity is not mere ma-
terial relief, but it includes material relief. The C. O. S. associa-
tions in the United States have, indeed, sought to diminish the
habit of resorting to charitable funds because that habit tends
to degradation; and they have, in many instances, refused to
regard themselves as relief-giving agencies. These facts have
led many persons to suppose that they underestimate the impor-
tance of material relief. But, on the whole, the C. O. S. stands
for the most speedy, humane, considerate and adequate help. If
it does not possess a fund of its own its agents always know
where they can find means of aid, and they consider it their duty
to secure necessary resources without requiring the indigent per-

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 45 of 73)