Building the Invisible Orphanage: A Prehistory of the American Welfare System

By Matthew A. Crenson | Go to book overview

11
Religious Wars

JOHN ADAMS Kingsbury was descended from Massachusetts Puritans but grew up in the Pacific Northwest. Kingsbury's invalid mother died when he was seven, and not long afterward his father lost his job and started drinking heavily. John and his two older sisters were sent to a Catholic orphanage near Yakima, Washington.

John's father managed briefly to bring the family together again, but his harsh discipline and heavy drinking made life at home worse than in the orphanage, and John ran away when he was eleven. He supported himself as a porter and bootblack in a small-town hotel, and in 1890, when he was fourteen, he moved to Tacoma where he worked as a telegraph messenger and slept under the steps of the telegraph office. John's family reunited after the elder Mr. Kingsbury took the temperance pledge at a tent meeting and found employment as an engineer for an irrigation company. For the first time in more than three years, John attended school, entering the sixth grade at the age of sixteen. At age twenty-one he graduated from high school and, after a brief experience as a teacher, became a school principal and then a school superintendent in a small town on the Puget Sound. His next job was as a principal for a larger school district near Seattle. It was here in Seattle, at the University of Washington, that he took his first college classes, completing the equivalent of two years of undergraduate work by the time he was thirty. He also became friendly with a Seattle banker and his

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Building the Invisible Orphanage: A Prehistory of the American Welfare System
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Illustrations ix
  • Acknowledgments xi
  • Introduction 1
  • 1 - The Decline of the Orphanage and the Invention of Welfare 7
  • 2 - The Institutional Inclination 37
  • 3 - Two Dimensions of Institutional Change 61
  • 4 - Institutional Self-Doubt and Internal Reform 92
  • 5 - From Orphanage to Home 113
  • 6 - The Orphanage Reaches Outward 147
  • 7 - "The Unwalled Institution of the State" 171
  • 8 - The Perils of Placing Out 202
  • 9 - "The Experiment of Having No Home" 227
  • 10 - Mobilizing for Mothers' Pensions 246
  • 11 - Religious Wars 284
  • Conclusion: An End to the Orphanage 306
  • Notes 333
  • Index 375
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