Almost Worthy

Almost Worthy

The Poor, Paupers, and the Science of Charity in America, 1877-1917
Brent Ruswick
Distribution: World
Publication date: 12/17/2012
Format: Hardback 10 b&w illus.
ISBN: 978-0-253-00634-9
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In the 1880s, social reform leaders warned that the "unworthy" poor were taking charitable relief intended for the truly deserving. Armed with statistics and confused notions of evolution, these "scientific charity" reformers founded organizations intent on limiting access to relief by the most morally, biologically, and economically unfit. Brent Ruswick examines a prominent national organization for scientific social reform and poor relief in Indianapolis in order to understand how these new theories of poverty gave birth to new programs to assist the poor.

Author Bio

Brent Ruswick is Assistant Professor of History at West Chester University. He is currently researching a book on the "mutual aid" theory of evolution in American reform.

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Table of Contents

1. Introduction: Big Moll and the Science of Scientific Charity
2. "Armies of Vice": Evolution, Heredity, and the Pauper Menace
3. Friendly Visitors or Scientific Investigators? Befriending and Measuring the Poor
4. Opposition, Depression, and the Rejection of Pauperism
5. "I See No Terrible Army": Environmental Reform and Radicalism in the Scientific Charity Movement
6 The Potentially Normal Poor: Professional Social Work, Psychology, and the End of Scientific Charity

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