Trends in Social Work, 1874-1956: A History Based on the Proceedings of the National Conference of Social Work

By Frank J. Bruno | Go to book overview

13
THE UNIVERSITIES AND THE SOCIAL SERVICES

THE SOCIAL SCIENCES

PHILOSOPHY 11, taught by Dr. Francis G. Peabody at Harvard University, was the inspiration that turned many young men into social work. Seven men who later became leaders in their chosen calling came out of Harvard, and its Philosophy 11, in the short period between 1885 and 1893. Four of them became presidents of the Conference: Dr. Richard C. Cabot; Homer Folks, who also had the honor of being the only person twice elected to that office; Sherman Kingsley; and Robert A. Woods. One, Charles Birtwell, of Boston, was a pioneer in child welfare work in New England; one, William H. Pear, of Boston, was a long-time leader in the Boston Provident Association; and one, Harvey Baker, became judge of the juvenile court in Boston during its formative years ( 1906-15).

The description of Philosophy, 11 ran as follows, "The Ethics of Social Reform. The questions of Charity, Divorce, the Indians, Labor, Prisons, Temperance, etc., as problems of practical ethics--Lectures, essays, and practical observations," and the content differed but slightly from that of courses elsewhere given in departments of economics or sociology. Dr. Peabody said that when he first gave the course, the suitability of its material for inclusion in a university curriculum was seriously questioned by the leaders of the university; and it was only the great reputation he bore--as well as his father before him --in the department of philosophy at Harvard that made it possible to offer the course in the oldest educational institution

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