By Brent Ruswick

Within the Eighteen Eighties, social reform leaders warned that the “unworthy” terrible have been taking charitable reduction meant for the really deserving. Armed with records and stressed notions of evolution, those “scientific charity” reformers based organisations motive on proscribing entry to reduction through the main morally, biologically, and economically not worthy. Brent Ruswick examines a well known nationwide association for medical social reform and negative aid in Indianapolis so that it will know how those new theories of poverty gave delivery to new courses to aid the negative.

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Extra resources for Almost Worthy: The Poor, Paupers, and the Science of Charity in America, 1877-1917

Sample text

Where did the pauper go? Ameri­can poverty discourse today continues to be guided by concerns for in­di­v idual deservingness. However, we do not imagine today’s icons of the “undeserving poor” like supposed “welfare queens” and workmen’s compensation frauds to be so numerous, distinct, wretched, threatening, or requiring of new policy initiatives as Gilded Age observers imagined the pauper. What happened to Big Moll? 2 “A r mi e s of V ice ”: Evol u t ion , H e r e di t y, a n d t h e Pau pe r M e nace The Biological Pauper In the late 1870s, the pauper became a threat not only to the nation’s economic and moral health but to its biological health as well.

These limitations notwithstanding, the conference quickly emerged as a highly influential national platform for religious, academic, and secu­lar communities to exchange theories and research pertaining to a dizzying array of social reform topics. 63 Although it did not represent a particular scientific or professional community, its membership shared an aspiration to bring data-­ driven methods and scientific theories to the study of social problems. The founders of the NCCC presented their work as “applied sociology” and believed that human ills could be combated with proper scientific methods.

Over the same period, the conference appointed 609 committee chairs. Frank Bruno has identified the geographic distribution of those chairs: New York, 164; Illinois, 72; Ohio, 60; Massachusetts, 56; District of Columbia, 38; Pennsylvania, 33; Minnesota, 32; Indiana, 23; Michigan, 22; New Jersey, 17; Missouri, 15; Maryland, 14; and Wisconsin, 14. Other than the District of Columbia, which gained greater influence due to the emergence of a stronger relationship between social work and charity or­ga­ni­za­tions and the federal government, the distribution of influence between states remained relatively stable.

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