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Drogress and results came out in the bright vernacular of
he new section on Educational Publicity, and the popular
dinner meetings of the Committee on Publicity Methods in
Social Work, as well as in the more specialized approaches
of the division on Organization of Social Forces, with a
strong undercurrent of finance. The problems of crime and
of criminals were considered gravely and intelligently; the
central plea expressed by Alfred Bettman of Cincinnati was
for the more speedy and certain operation of the machinery
of criminal procedure, and for a philosophy which stresses
the treatment of the offender rather than the punishment
of the crime. "No available data proves that severity of

G~unishment is seriously to be accepted as the main preventive
f crime. All human experience is to the contrary."
Because of the unusual opportunities which its meeting-
>lace afforded, this Conference had a special focus of in-
terest on rural problems. The economic dilemma of the
farmer was brought out sharply in the address at the second
evening session by Henry A. Wallace of Des Moines, editor
of Wallaces' Farmer.

The trouble seems to be that farmers, comprising 26 per
cent of the population, get only about 10 per cent of the
national income, whereas before the war they received about
20 per cent. Some damage has been done by the fall in land
values, but this is not nearly so serious as the drop in income.
The United States apparently has no more of an agricultural
policy than did Rome two thousand years ago or England one
hundred years ago. Under this policy we have about four
million fewer people living on farms of the United States
today than we had ten years ago. Sooner or later, however,
it is to be expected that the policy of let things drift will result
in so many people living in town and so few on the land that
the price of farm products will again start advancing faster
than the price of other things. The differential advantage

ear '


in the big industrial
^in find it necessary

f their inc me f

nil" - a r findS itSC l f ge " ing a smaller Pontage of the
troZ L C h me ^ 3ft " year there is d an g er of rious
Ire in n V ' " C " Ot cons " v ative like farmers and they
m position to cause trouble that farmers cannot. If there
frnJ f m d.sturbances ,n our cities during the period extending

usHr 4 Y J^ thCy WiU tra fundamentally to the in
J stices suffered by western and southern farmers during the

iteen years following the World War. The great industrial
system is running away with us. Soon we shall have four or
hve people living in the city to every one person living on the
land, ine immediate need is undoubtedly to drive more folks
irom the farms into the cities so as to bring about a rise in
the price of farm products and a decline in the wages of labor.
i he long time need, however, may be the exact reverse. The
statesmen and historians of forty years hence may marvel at
the blind folly of the way in which the agricultural situation
was handled during the fifteen years following the Great War.

Looking across the huge auditorium of the Shrine Temple
it was amusing to notice the understanding attention of
perhaps half of the audience, the interested bewilderment of
the others, a clear commentary on Mr. Wallace's statement
that "neither the industrial East nor the political East has
any definite attitude on agricultural matters aside from a
rather wearisome desire for those folks out West to stop
making so much noise." The Eastern delegations felt more
at home when "Grace Abbott of Nebraska" rose to
enumerate the social problems which run through the life
of the country as well as the city poverty, disease, crime,
neglect, feeblemindedness, cruelty and constructive efforts
of the Children's Bureau on behalf of the health and edu-
cation work and protection of country children.

IN the section meetings these, subjects split up into the
faceted work of rural social workers perhaps most
vividly presented in the first meeting of the Division on
Children. Here Agnes Penrose of the Church Mission of
Help in the Albany, New York, diocese told of the ap-
proach, through the known and loved center of the church,
of the modern spirit spreading through many parishes like
one in which the ladies' society was arranging to sell the
hand-hewn timbers of the disused buggy-sheds to raise
money toward a community house. The visiting teacher
of Boone County, Missouri, Janet Davidson Baskett, went
on with the story of the expanding place of the country
school, called upon to meet a string of crises in the families
of its pupils which might well appall the stoutest heart of
a caseworker and called forth the subtlest skill of the
profession; Constance Hastings of the Pennsylvania Chil-
dren's Aid Society told how a state-wide private agency is
meeting local committees half way in the work of their own
communities; and Lydia Eicher, of the State Bureau of
Child Welfare in New Mexico, pictured casework along
the frontier where in one instance at least it had been
necessary to place the barrier of almost a whole state be-
tween a child and her family to enable her to grow up
away from the gossip of a countryside which knew all about
the neighbors. A simultaneous round table led by Louise
Cottrell, extension director at the University of Iowa,
discussed the organization needed to free and support a
local worker for undifferentiated casework against the
background of the unique Iowa plan. (See The Survey,
February 15, 1925: A Social-Working State University, by
Louise Cottrell.) Rural jails, rural research, rural surveys,


T :i :: s U Rf


June 15, 192',

came in for their share of discussion. A city worker who
strayed into these meetings might well have imagined her-
self Alice through the looking glass, seeing her familiar
struggles with overcrowding transmuted into an equally
thorny problem of isolation ; her efforts to supplant too
hectic a life for children countered by the drab monotony
of distant farm-houses ; the evils of overwork the same, but
the work so different.

A^TER all, as Gertrude Vaile of Ames, Iowa, reminded
one group, the processes in rural casework are not
unlike those of the city, but the point of view may be very
different. This difference Professor George Von Tungeln
of Iowa State College defined in schematic terms: in the
city, social work is likely to be a triangle, with three
corners occupied respectively by the contributors of money,
the workers, and the clients. The people who sup-
port city social work ordinarily do not think of themselves
as beneficiaries. In the country, the relationship is likely
to take the form of a straight line, with the taxpayer at
one end as both supporter and gainer, the social worker at
the other. The worker and the work become a kind of
service for which everyone pays and to which everyone is
entitled, like that of the schools. The farmer thinks in
terms of community work rather than casework, whatever
the technique by which results are obtained.

Professor E. L. Morgan, of the University of Missouri,
emphasized the farmers' capacity for community action, an
art lost in the vastness and complexity of city life. "In the
cities things are 'put over,' but no group of country people
will go further or faster than the majority of the people
both see and believe. No community will go further or
faster than its own local leaders will take it. The challenge
to every organization which has a unit in a small town is
to play fair. Whenever the outside leader does a single
thing which the local leader could do he is a robber."
Because of the closeness of community interaction, the social
and economic factors in rural work are interdependent and
must be developed together. "Social work is new to cities
but not to country life. We must graft modern techniques
on to the enormous reservoir of good-will."

The points at which the differing attitudes of country,
town and city folk found their common meeting ground
were the Sunday meetings. The afternoon session, held
under the auspices of the W.C.T.U., heard Grace Abbott
declare the Eighteenth Amendment the "great child-welfare
measure of the century" ; heard John A. Lapp's vigorous
assertion, "There can be no substitute for prohibition," and
Martha Bensley Bruere's graphic story of the survey ini-
tiated by the National Federation of Settlements as result
of its discussions at Cleveland last year. (See The Survey,
February 15, 1927: Does Prohibition Work? by Haven
Emerson, M.D.)

WHAT next? Mrs. Bruere asked. We have been
eager to abolish alcohol and its evils; what have we
to offer in place of the satisfactions it offered? "One or
two drinks in a miserable little girl in a box factory will
make her feel like a debutante." What legitimate release
can take their place? The substitute for the saloon is an
immaterial thing. The best aids to prohibition that we
have developed so far are the movie, the aui o, the radio ;
but they are not enough. The saloon was adventure, it
offered a social occasion, Mrs. Bruere continued in a dis-

cussion meeting on the same subject the following day
Enforcement by the strong arm of the law might bring on<
kind of aridity; but, aside from that, what can be done tc
promote observance?

Sunday evening Rabbi A. H. Silver of Cleveland thrilled
a meeting of town and conference which overtaxed the
enormous hall and stage of the Shrine Temple and turned
hundreds away by a vision of a church which is "shifting
its center of emotional gravity from the heavens which
belong to God to the earth which God gave to the children
of men; from the realm of human conjecture and imagina-
tion to the realm of reality where men live and toil and
suffer and struggle for a bit of happiness. . . . The church
must not remain content to speak of social justice in the
abstract. The church is not an academy for speculative
sciences. It is a dynamic agency equipped for social re-
construction. It must enter the arena of life and do battle
for its sanctities."

"Who were the insurgents?" asked a social worker who
had not been at Des Moines. "Who were the people who
worked up the unscheduled meetings because they had some-
thing to say which was not on the regular program?"

Two groups organized spontaneously to pass resolutions,
as the Conference as a body cannot pass them; one set
looking toward the humanizing of our present policy
toward European immigration and its proposed application
to immigrants from this hemisphere; the other to ask the
governor of California to pardon a social worker, Anita
Whitney, who, except for that action, will go to jail under
the criminal syndicalism law of her state without even an
imputation of wrongdoing of any kind on her part, but
merely through her membership in the outlaw Communist
Labor Party. Yet to judge by expressions of sentiment on
many hands either of these actions might well have been
taken by a majority of the Conference itself were its
practise to pass resolutions.

TF there were insurgencies, they came not in the form of an
organized group, or a plan for action, but rather the
vague questionings of some in each of the sections as to the
potency of external conditions in individual disaster en-
vironmental determinism, it might be called so stirringly
expressed in the president's address. Such an insurgency,
if it be one, questions the determining power which has
been attributed commonly to external handicaps; looks
patiently past these indubitable conditions at the person
behind, to seek in his emotion patterns the source of some
of the failures which have beset him.

Somewhat of this attitude was described by Dr. Frank-
wood Williams as the psychiatrist's approach to family
casework. The psychiatrist, he declared, sees the family
chiefly as a set of emotional relationships. There are other
aspects which may be regarded the physical, the social, the
economic, the legal ; the psychiatrist tries to look at and
past these. He sees that all human beings possess at a very
early age feelings of anxiety, fear, guilt and inferiority.
Parents quite generally have not handled these problems
well, yet all other aspects of the child's whole life, in-
cluding the physical, may be greatly affected by the success
or failure with which this early sense of insecurity is met.
Many of the latei difficulties which seem to be social, or
economic, or legal, appear to the psychiatrist as symptoms,
as pain is a symptom; the root of the trouble lies deeper in
the emotional life of the individual.

June 15, 1927


Such an approach wipes out the tag of "privileged" and
"under-privileged" whereby some people have tried to
designate the proper clients of social agencies, and leaves
most of mankind adrift in the same boat, social worker and
client together. "Most hoboes are quite as normal as the
rest of us who haven't the independence to stake our careers
on one urge," declared Professor Joseph Jastrow of Wis-
consin. "Perhaps traveling salesmen are cautious, inhibited,
or conventional hoboes." "When confronted with a problem
child, we haven't far to look to find a problem parent,"
suggested Jeannette Regensburg of the Bureau of Children's
Guidance. One of the most discussed papers of the Con-
ference was that by Grace Marcus, of the staff of the
National Committee for Mental Hygiene, on the adaptation
of casework training to deal with the worker's personal
problems, which will be published in a subsequent issue of
The Survey. The humanity, as well as the charm of Leon
Whipple's talk on The Magic Gift of Style, tracing the
course of "social-work writing" from Malthus to the studies
in personalities by Eleanor R. Wembrfdge and Miriam Van
Waters, was another of the outstanding successes of the
Conference. Let us not only make the world safe for
people, these insurgents said in effect, paraphrasing Chester
Rowell's appeal, but make people safe for the world and
for themselves.

Other unusually successful meetings, by general agree-
ment, included one in the health section and one by the
Committee on Publicity Methods at which a group of
speakers were limited to five minutes each to tell of some
specific job, and by reason of their brevity, were forced to
concentrate on the high spots, squeezing out its generaliza-
tions ; in two meetings at which speakers failed to turn-up,
thereby leaving the field open to spontaneous discussion;
in the experiment, first tried this year, of a series of meetings
at which the same group came together several times by
invitation to work on rural problems, limited in number
and planned to include varying points of view. (One of
the persistent obstacles to successful round tables has been
the habit of delegates of "shopping around" from meeting
to meeting, leaving one to try another if the flavor does
not last, instead of considering themselves as members of
a body committed for that hour to consider and contribute
to the stated topic.) Unusually successful, too, was the
device of having this Conference close at a luncheon
meeting; crowding to the doors the largest ballroom of the
largest hotel with delegates who wanted to hear Jane

Addams speak on the Social Aspects of the Immigration
Law and Royal Meeker on International Aspects of Social
Work, and found that they could do so and still have time
to pack and make the night trains. There was no petering
off of this Conference at the end ; on the other hand, it
gained steadily in momentum through the final days, and
reached its appointed conclusion with all flags flying.

But possibly the outstanding proof that a conference of
this magnitude can confer came in a meeting which con-
sidered the choice of place for the 1928 session. Memphis
and Detroit had invited the Conference ; a committee on
time and place had worked exhaustively on a choice ; and
its recommendation had been overruled by the executive
committee. The issue came before the voting membership
prickly with the differing and firm opinions of the opposed
adherents. A principle was involved: would the colored
members of the Conference be assured south of the Mason
and Dixon line of a chance to participate in conference
sessions without inconvenience or discrimination? Under
the patient, direct and impartial chairmanship of Dr. Lapp
all the cards were laid on the table. The Time and Place
Committee reported convincing assurances from the cham-
ber of commerce, the churches, and responsible citizens of
Memphis that there are adequate facilities for housing all
the members of the Conference comfortably, and adequate
meeting places in which no discrimination as to race or
color will be made. Luncheon and dinner meetings will be
held in the churches and served by the staffs of the hotels.
With the pledge not only of cooperation, but of courtesy,
a session which might have been a squabble evolved in an
orderly and intelligent fashion as a discussion. Instead
of heat, the energies of the meeting were transmuted into
light whereby the mountain was seen to be no more than a
molehill. By a vote which finally was made unanimous,
the fifty-fifth National Conference of Social Work will
meet in Memphis, Tennessee, under the presidency of
Sherman C. Kingsley, executive director of the Philadelphia
Welfare Federation. Mr. Kingsley was chairman of the
organization committee of the Conference that nominated
the first woman president, Jane Addams, and provided for
the first organized consideration of industrial problems
through the appointment of a Committee on Occupational
Standards. Social workers in Brooklyn, Boston, Chicago,
Cleveland and Philadelphia have known his leadership. <
to Memphis!

What the Conference Did to Des Moines


A I sat in my padded cell at press headquarters the
day after the National Conference of Social Work
at' Des Moines closed, futilely scribbling this
question on a sheet of otherwise blank paper,
George Hamilton, Des Moines' jolly convention bureau,
looked over my shoulder and said:
"Well, did it?"

"Did what what?" I inquired intelligently.
"Did the conference do anything to Des Moines?
"Yes," I said, "it made nervous wrecks of a number of
reputable citizens who served on committees and it broke
up several families. It added the conference widow to the

ranks of golf widows, lodge widows, and the like.

George looked at me compassionately for a while
then remarked dryly, "Your brain is just back from a hard
drive and you are suffering from imperfect oxidation^

"Well," I alibied, "what it did to Des Moines isn t

"Anvwav, 1 r'"~ petulantly, "The Survey didnt
word the title right. The preposition 'to' coupled with any
form of the verb 'do' suggests damage or punishn nt.

"You've told all there is to that," soothed George,
don't let yourself be handicapped by the Manhattamzed
Inception of the English language. Tell what the Con-



June 15. 1927

ference done for Des Moines and for itself in Des Moines."

"I can't," I emitted feebly, "I'm done for myself."

"Then let George do it," said George.

"Shoot," I shouted.

And this is what he said. George's ideas. My words.
It was ever thus.

An eminent sociologist remarked at the conference that he
had much enjoyed preparing a paper on "Popular fallacies
in regard to health." There are a great many fallacies
in any community in regard to social work. It is barely
possible that some of these fallacies may have existed in the
"nation's convention city" which has elsewhere been referred
to as the Athens of America; and it is also barely possible,
as the same sociologist just now observed, that some of these
fallacies have been dissipated ("dispersed" is a better word
the corn belt is dry).

Now as a matter of scientific social statistical study it will
pay to inquire, "What are some of these fallacies?"

Since in The Survey we can not use the pink, green, red,
buff and purple sheets of the Russell Sage Foundation, we
will use a numbering and lettering system in presenting a
typical group of these fallacies:

i a. Social workers are Puritans.

ib. Social workers are Bohemian.

2a. Social work is "cold and statistical," stingy and

2b. Social work is sob-sister stuff, coddling, pauperizing.

3a. The following statement is correct: "I know I can
do social work because I love children."

3b. The A. A. of S. W. is a trust of technicians.

43. Social workers have no sense of humor.

4b. Strike out "of humor."

5a. There is too much overhead.

5b. There is not enough head (work).

Most of these fallacies have been at least partially elim-
inated in Des Moines by the presence of the conference.

Those people of Des Moines who were interested enough
either to attend the meetings or to read the newspapers
were impressed with the following facts:

1. The scope and variety of social work.

2. Social work is really a profession, important, dig-
nified and skilled.

3. Social workers are human.

5. They possess sincerity, courage and a deep enthusiasm
for their jobs and for the big causes they represent.

A CERTAIN citizen prominent in both the state and na-
tional manufacturers' associations said before the con-
ference that he had in mind to write a pamphlet suggesting
that various sorts of social workers get together, compare
their experiences, knowledge and ideas and unite their
forces in discussion of all the various phases of human wel-
fare. A little later he came to the Shrine Temple and
found that this very thing was being done. He said, "Isn't
it fortunate I did not publish what I considered a brilliant
original idea? I would have been embarrassed to learn that
I was just fifty-four years too late."

The most frequent comment among newspaper men was
that social workers are quite human after all. On the other
hand a local reporter, after enjoying for more than half an
hour an informal chat with a dozen leading lights of the
conference, in which wit and humor and common sense
were expressed in Anglo-Saxon, ended up by asking that
each one give in two or three sentences a definition of social


work and a statement of its aims. Immediately the minds,
of the leading lights were thrown into reverse gear and
sonorous technical terms of Latin origin rolled forth. Thus
the interviews so carefully staged by Evart G. Routzahn
proved unusable at least they failed to appear. This re-
minds me of the conference story of the man who locked
his room-mate out, went to sleep and stayed there so soundly
that the Ft. Des Moines Hotel had to pry the servidor off
to get in. The day's speeches must have been opiated. Per-
haps it was this that led to the suggestion of the gentle-
man from Indiana that speeches in division 12 should her
after be selected on a competitive basis.

Just one comment on what Des Moines and Iowa woul
have liked to do to the conference but perhaps failed to do.
There was a lot of rural propaganda. I question very much
whether it fully got over except to those already sold. Prob-
ably Henry Wallace's masterly but possibly highly technical
discussion of agricultural economics produced the same effect
upon the New York delegation that a review of Social
Diagnosis would have produced upon Henry Wallace. New
York City is pretty far east of the Hudson and the corn belt
is vaguely somewhere west of the setting sun. But of course
if President Coolidge doesn't understand the economics of
the McNary-Haugen bill, how can we expect a social
worker from Boston or the Bronx to do so?

One thing the conference did do for Des Moines was to
give visitors from all parts of the country .an enthusiasm for
what one from Philadelphia termed the buoyancy and alert-
ness, the optimism and kindliness of the people. Perhaps
this was in part a ready reflection of those same qualities
by the social worker delegates, as one citizen remarked.

A great many local residents through whose cypress trees
the moon never shines had their first opportunity to see the
stars in the dome of the Shrine Temple. This scenic
effect was a most appropriate prelude to the eloquence of
Rabbi Silver which so uplifted an overflowing auditorium.

Oh, yes, the conference added several words to the vocab-
ulary of Iowa's intelligensia, conspicuous among them "devi-
ates" as a noun and "rapprochement."

This was a veterans' conference. There they were for
Des Moines to gaze upon, those heroic figures

Alexander Johnson, perennial boy, dean of jesters but
trader in horse sense, self-styled dry nurse of the conference

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