By Brent Ruswick
Within the Eighties, social reform leaders warned that the “unworthy” terrible have been taking charitable aid meant for the really deserving. Armed with information and pressured notions of evolution, those “scientific charity” reformers based enterprises motive on restricting entry to reduction by means of the main morally, biologically, and economically undeserving. Brent Ruswick examines a popular nationwide association for medical social reform and terrible aid in Indianapolis so that it will know the way those new theories of poverty gave start to new courses to aid the terrible.
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Additional info for Almost Worthy: The Poor, Paupers, and the Science of Charity in America, 1877-1917
COS executives and social scientists often used the NCCC to express concern for the friendly visitors’ and investigators’ overly sentimentalized approach to charity, their lack of scientific training in the methods of objective investigation, and therefore their Introduction 31 inability to identify the pauper from the common poor or contribute toward the endeavor to systematize investigation and relief across the nation. 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.
Those judged deserving would receive “judicious and effectual assistance” from one of the cooperating agencies. . social and sanitary principles” among the poor and work to repress “mendacity and imposture” among paupers. ” 45 Although an English creation, charity organization’s greatest success would come in America. 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.
Heirs to the American Social Science Association, they saw themselves—and were seen by academic social scientists— not just as producers of raw data on poverty but as conductors of crucial experimental work and authors of scientific treatises affecting the experience of poverty for countless numbers of people. Scientific charity’s luminaries produced theoretical treatises and empirical studies of remarkable scope addressing the causes and treatment of poverty, work that the period’s academic community recognized as making important contributions to economics, sociology, heredity and eugenics, psychology, and social work.
Almost Worthy: The Poor, Paupers, and the Science of Charity in America, 1877-1917 by Brent Ruswick