By Brent Ruswick
Within the Eighteen Eighties, social reform leaders warned that the “unworthy” bad have been taking charitable aid meant for the actually deserving. Armed with records and pressured notions of evolution, those “scientific charity” reformers based organisations rationale on restricting entry to reduction by means of the main morally, biologically, and economically undeserving. Brent Ruswick examines a favourite nationwide association for medical social reform and terrible aid in Indianapolis on the way to know the way those new theories of poverty gave delivery to new courses to help the bad.
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Extra info for Almost Worthy: The Poor, Paupers, and the Science of Charity in America, 1877-1917
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. As the movement expanded, members turned their attention from repressing the pauper to relieving the poor and from eliminating pauperism to eliminating poverty. Reformers’ efforts to bring a scientific study to worthiness and dependence somewhat unwittingly introduced a more subtle and potentially radical critique of chronic dependence as a problem that remained one of morality, but that also might be open to social engineering by purportedly objective experts.
But mostly the common volunteers did not actively identify with the scientific aspirations or with the increasingly progressive politics of the attendees at the NCCC. The charity organ ization committee at the National Conference regularly surveyed the COSs for their data on poverty and pauperism, sought to standardize their investigative and relief practices, and generally sought to promote the exchange of practices, theories, and data between the different COSs in pursuit of standardized investigations that might reveal the causes of pauperism and means for its elimination.
65 Initially the NCCC’s founders from the state boards of charity responded favorably. ”66 Letchworth explained the charity organizers’ prominence in the conference as due to their skill with scientific investigation. 67 Such endorsements notwithstanding, the NCCC’s founders proved reluctant to turn so much of their forum over to groups from outside the state boards of charity. 68 The representatives of local charity organization societies who attended the conference, typically an executive officer of that COS, in conjunction with the like-minded academicians and public administrators with whom they sought to collaborate, can be characterized as the leadership of the scientific charity movement.