My interest in the history of social work and child welfare had its beginnings in Robert V. Bruce's graduate course in the organization of modern America at Boston University. He encouraged me to probe deeply in pursuit of working-class history, and the results were refined into a doctoral dissertation under his witty and skillful direction. I am also indebted to many colleagues and teachers who encouraged my research and rewarded my efforts with friendship and advice. Boston University and Pine Manor College provided generous support. Also, I must thank the librarians, archivists, social workers, and court officials who placed facilities and materials at my disposal with good wishes and faith that my research would bear useful results.
The primary sources, in the form of admission ledgers, case records, probation files, manuscript letters, and institutional reports, were drawn from Boston social work and juvenile court agencies, as the notes and bibliography indicate. More than fifty individuals permitted oral history interviews and shared important and often moving recollections with me.
The manuscript benefited from critical advice, comments, and encouragement from many historians and social workers, but none more supportive than Kathryn Ellis Beers, without whom it could not have been completed.
Cambridge May 1989