By Brent Ruswick
Within the Eighties, social reform leaders warned that the “unworthy” bad have been taking charitable reduction meant for the actually deserving. Armed with information and burdened notions of evolution, those “scientific charity” reformers based businesses cause on restricting entry to aid by means of the main morally, biologically, and economically undeserving. Brent Ruswick examines a in demand nationwide association for medical social reform and negative reduction in Indianapolis so one can know how those new theories of poverty gave delivery to new courses to aid the bad.
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Additional resources for Almost Worthy: The Poor, Paupers, and the Science of Charity in America, 1877-1917
As the visitors of the COSs produced data on poverty to be consumed first by their own society’s leadership and then by the NCCC, a hail of complaints came pouring down about the visitor’s reliability as a scientific observer. If she were not reliable, how could the movement ever have confidence that it had identified and eliminated root causes of pauperism like bad heredity? From the 1890s to about 1910, a scientific charity also meant one where charity volunteers had adequate training in the use of statistics and application of sociology.
47 Few nondenominational charity or reform groups rivaled the COS’s rate of growth. From Stephen Humphreys Gurteen’s founding of the Buffalo COS in 1877, the first COSs clustered around large cities in the mid-Atlantic and Great Lakes regions, but they soon began to appear across the continent and enjoyed great popularity in midsize cities, small Introduction 19 towns, and even a few rural counties. Determined to keep abreast of and coordinate these developments, a committee at the National Conference of Charities and Correction worked to keep in correspondence with each COS.
Neither were they discrete social problems unique to the circumstances of in div idual cities and towns. Instead, pauperism was a common national problem that could be described scientifically in terms of underlying causes and could conceivably be ended by concerted social reform. Chapters 4 and 5 chronicle how several of the movement’s most prominent national leaders had by 1900 constructed a new synthesis of scientific and moral perspectives that rejected the very notion of pauperism, of a biological basis to chronic economic dependence, and the worthy/unworthy dichotomy, in favor of a progressive and at times even radical interpretation of the poverty problem.