Cover image for The poor belong to us : Catholic charities and American welfare
The poor belong to us : Catholic charities and American welfare
Brown, Dorothy M. (Dorothy Marie), 1932-
Publication Information:
Cambridge, Mass. : Harvard University Press, 1997.
Physical Description:
viii, 284 pages ; 24 cm
Reading Level:
1560 Lexile.
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
BX2347.8.P66 B76 1997 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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Between the Civil War and World War II, Catholic charities evolved from volunteer and local origins into a centralized and professionally trained workforce that played a prominent role in the development of American welfare. Dorothy Brown and Elizabeth McKeown document the extraordinary efforts of Catholic volunteers to care for Catholic families and resist Protestant and state intrusions at the local level, and they show how these initiatives provided the foundation for the development of the largest private system of social provision in the United States.

Author Notes

Dorothy M. Brown is Professor of History at Georgetown University
Elizabeth McKeown is Professor of History of Christianity at Georgetown University

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Responding to both the increased numbers of Catholic poor and the anti-Catholic charity campaigns of Protestant reformers during the late 19th century, Catholics developed a network of institutions and services designed to take care of their coreligionists. Activism soon generated debates over professionalization, as Catholic "providers" contended with the new ideas of professional social workers and centralization and vied with local Catholic bishops over control of diocesan charity institutions, services, and funding. As the leadership of Catholic charities realized that access to policy making at all levels was essential for continued public financial support, Catholic charity work became increasingly politicized. In learning to advance their interests in the forum of national pressure group politics during the 1930s, Catholics positioned themselves to have a significant influence on New Deal programs affecting families and children. Although narrowly focused, this institutional history is valuable for underscoring the importance of the private sector in American welfare and for adding a Catholic dimension to recent welfare scholarship. Upper-division undergraduates and above. S. L. Piott; Clarion University of Pennsylvania

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsp. vii
Introductionp. 1
1 The New York Systemp. 13
2 The Larger Landscapep. 51
3 Inside the Institutions: Foundlings, Orphans, Delinquentsp. 86
4 Outside the Institutions: Pensions, Precaution, Preventionp. 120
5 Catholic Charities, the Great Depression, and the New Dealp. 151
Conclusionp. 193
Sourcesp. 199
Notesp. 201
Indexp. 279