ON MAY 20, 1874, representatives from the State Board of Charities of Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, and Wisconsin met in New York and organized the Conference of Boards of Public Charities. Invitations to the meeting were sent jointly by the Section on Social Economy of the American Social Science Association and the Massachusetts State Board of Charities.
It was only the short space of eleven years since Massachusetts had created the first board in the country to supervise the administration of the state's charitable, medical, and penal institutions; but the device was so patently useful that by the spring of 1874 eight additional states had set up such bodies and were invited to the meeting to consider the proposal to establish some sort of clearinghouse of ideas and experiences between state boards. In addition to the four states represented at the initial meeting, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Kansas acknowledged the proposal and expressed their approval; one, the Illinois board, did not reply.
The New York meeting of 1874 was not the first at which representatives of state boards had met for consultation on their common problems. Frederick II. Wines, secretary of the Illinois board, and Andrew E. Elmore, president of the Wisconsin board, spent several days together in February, 1872, visiting institutions in Wisconsin, and were so impressed with the significance of their mutual discussions that they decided to invite the boards in the upper Mississippi Valley to meet together in