Print Page   |   Contact Us   |   Report Abuse
Social Work Honor Roll
Share |

Pioneers in Professionalism: Ten Who Made a Significant Difference 1880-1930
Ms. Michael Crouse, P.I.
Mark Battle, Susan McFeaters, Esta Glazer (Project Commitee)

Foreward | Introduction | Daniel Coit Gilman | Amos Griswold Warner | Jeffrey Richardson Brackett | Mary Ellen Richmond | Louis Hiram Levin | Sidney Hollander | Anita Rose Williams | Sarah A. Collins Fernandis | Thomas Jacob Shyrock Waxter | Esther Lazarus
| Appendix I | Appendix II


Foreword

To a significant degree, Baltimore has been recognized as the cradle of professional social work. The individuals who are profiled here are among those who made significant contributions to the development and professionalization of this field. We leave it to the research of others to expand this list for Maryland and across the country. Meanwhile, we choose to honor the following individuals as the forward-thinkers of their time. The School of Social Work is proud to share in this beginning.

Jesse Harris, D.S.W., Dean
School of Social Work
University of Maryland, Baltimore


Introduction

This Honor Roll covers the period between 1880 and 1930. The profiles included here have been produced through the collaborative efforts of the following organizations. It is their contribution to the documented history of the profession.

American Red Cross, Central Maryland Chapter

Catholic Charities

Enoch Pratt Free Library, The Maryland Room

Jewish Family Services, Community Relations

The Johns Hopkins University, Communications and Public Affairs

The Johns Hopkins University, Milton S. Eisenhower Library

National Association of Social Workers, Pioneers Group

National Association of Social Workers, Maryland Chapter

Young Women's Christian Association, Madison Center

University of Maryland, Baltimore County: Albin O. Kuhn Library

University of Maryland, Baltimore: Learning Resource Center

University of Maryland, Baltimore: School of Social Work


 

Daniel Coit Gilman


While functioning as the first president of the Johns Hopkins University, Daniel Coit Gilman founded the Charitable Organization Society (COS) in Baltimore in 1881. (Picture courtesy of the Ferdinand Hamburger, Jr. Archives of The Johns Hopkins University)

In December of 1880, Daniel Gilman heard an address by the President of the Boston Associated Charities which inspired him. He came home and gathered together a small group of socially-minded men in his study to discuss what he had heard. The new Charity Organization Society (COS) began to function in Baltimore in November, 1881. He remained active in the organization in its youth, participating in policy formation and encouraging faculty members and graduate students to become active as well. He regarded the COS as a type of social laboratory, where students could see social problems first hand as friendly visitors. In 1891, he became president of the society and served in that capacity until 1902. In 1892, he organized the charity organization section of the International Congress of Charities and Correction.

Dr. Gilman was among the first to declare that the university should have a formal curriculum for scientific charity. He developed the content and conducted a lecture series on the undergraduate level. Over time it was further developed under his direction. Dr. Gilman also helped to start a working library, which by 1887 had grown to almost two hundred volumes. Because of the involvement of the students and faculty of the Johns Hopkins University, under the direction of Dr. Gilman, the Baltimore COS thrived with a scholarly influence to which no other organization during that period was privy.

The organizers of the COS believed that direct relief created problems for people and should be avoided if it was possible to help a family learn how to make use of its own resources. At the Annual Public Meeting in New York in 1889, Gilman is quoted as saying, "Charity is to reach its highest achievement, as modern science lends its forces to the service of philanthropy, giving us system instead of spasmodic action, plans instead of impulses, and in place of uncertain, overlapping, extravagant bounty, providing guidance, sympathy, counsel, and friendship."

Foreward | Introduction | Daniel Coit Gilman | Amos Griswold Warner | Jeffrey Richardson Brackett | Mary Ellen Richmond | Louis Hiram Levin | Sidney Hollander | Anita Rose Williams | Sarah A. Collins Fernandis | Thomas Jacob Shyrock Waxter | Esther Lazarus
| Appendix I |
Appendix II

"Nothing that he did has had to be undone and no works that he wrote or uttered then but seem equally true and important today." Spoken by Mary Richmond on the occasion of Amos Warner's death. (Picture courtesy of the Ferdinand Hamburger, Jr. Archives of The Johns Hopkins University)

Amos Griswold Warner, a graduate student in economics at the Johns Hopkins University, became general agent of the then-struggling Charity Organization Society of Baltimore in 1887. Through his efforts, central committee membership increased which, in turn, increased the city-wide area from which agents could solicit funds and gain support for reform projects. In an effort to develop standard practices of procedure, Dr. Warner established the Difficult Case Committee, where the most experienced workers from each district met to discuss the biological and social aspects of unusual cases. Under his leadership, the bonds between the districts were strengthened and the demand for services grew in conjunction with the support to meet those demands.

Amos Warner's greatest contribution to the professionalization of social work was a system for the statistical analysis of cases. The majority view at that time was that heredity was the cause of personal inadequacy. He was a pioneer in his views that poverty and personal misfortune were not the result of a single cause, but a plethora of causes, many of which could be outside the control of the individual. He set about developing a series of categories to be used in conjunction with a weighted score which allowed for the prioritization of family problems. Additionally, he developed a listing of the possible causes of poverty, categorizing them as subjective (within the individual) or objective (attributed to environmental causes such as industrial or economic conditions).

Dr. Warner left Baltimore in 1891 to become the first superintendent of charities for the District of Columbia. In 1894 he wrote American Charities, "the first comprehensive effort to describe the entire philanthropic system and to bring together existing knowledge and experience in dealing with problems of charity." His book later became one of the standard textbooks in the schools of social work.

Foreward | Introduction | Daniel Coit Gilman | Amos Griswold Warner | Jeffrey Richardson Brackett | Mary Ellen Richmond | Louis Hiram Levin | Sidney Hollander | Anita Rose Williams | Sarah A. Collins Fernandis | Thomas Jacob Shyrock Waxter | Esther Lazarus
| Appendix I | Appendix II 



Jeffrey Richardson Brackett

Jeffrey Brackett found little fault with relief except for its inadequacy. (Picture courtesy of the Ferdinand Hamburger, Jr. Archives of The Johns Hopkins University)

As a recent graduate of the Johns Hopkins University, Jeffrey Richardson Brackett was active in the Baltimore Charity Organization Society (COS), eventually becoming the chairman of the Executive Committee. He was committed to helping the city's poor and believed in personal contact with clients. He is credited with the establishment of the Wayfarer's Inn for the housing of transients. In 1903, he emphasized the importance of cure and prevention in charity work over short-term care. At the same time he spoke out against the excesses of "industrial capitalism, inadequate vocational training, social barriers, and public apathy".

Dr. Brackett believed that the way to care for the poor was through societal reform. In 1897, he chaired a committee on reform and was instrumental in the establishment of Baltimore's Board of Supervisors of City Charities. He became chairman of the new board at the same time that he led the city's Department of Charities and Corrections. He held both posts from 1900 until 1904, at which time he chaired the City Relief Committee to assist victims of the devastation of Baltimore's great fire. From 1899 through 1904, he lectured on public aid and charity. He spoke out against jails that bred new crime and the amount of time that it took to implement sanitation laws. In 1903, he was elected president of the National Conference of Charities and Correction. In 1904, he left Baltimore to organize what later became the Boston School of Social Work.

Considered a pioneer in social work education, he was dedicated to the "systematic training of professional social workers". Dr. Brackett believed that social workers should receive training in a broad base of academic subjects as well as the methodology of charity. He was ahead of his time in his opinion that social service theory classes should be differentiated from apprenticeships. His forward-thinking influence changed the pattern of education for American social workers.

Foreward | Introduction | Daniel Coit Gilman | Amos Griswold Warner | Jeffrey Richardson Brackett | Mary Ellen Richmond | Louis Hiram Levin | Sidney Hollander | Anita Rose Williams | Sarah A. Collins Fernandis | Thomas Jacob Shyrock Waxter | Esther Lazarus
| Appendix I | Appendix II 


Mary Ellen Richmond

"Here and there, one finds even now the charity agent of exceptional ability.... These exceptional workers, underpaid and overworked, are the pioneers of a new profession. They will create a demand for a grade of service which can only be adequately supplied by charity training schools." Mary Ellen Richmond.

Mary Ellen Richmond was the leading figure in the professionalization of social work. Before she became a part of the Baltimore Charity Organization Society (COS) in 1889, social work was non-professional, depending largely on part-time volunteers. In 1891, she became the General Secretary of the COS. As such, she developed training classes "for the study of charitable work in the homes of the poor". At the same time, she increased the number of paid workers, who seemed to be more effective at handling the difficult cases. She spoke out about the need for money to pay trained workers at a time when all money raised was expected to go to the needy. Ms. Richmond understood that a small, disciplined body of workers "advised by well-trained, professional charity workers" would be more effective over time than a large body of volunteers. In 1895, she was instrumental in implementing an apprenticeship program for workers due to an increasing number of complaints about new workers.

Ms. Richmond and others in the Baltimore COS led a national movement for the establishment of social work schools. As part of that effort, she made a historical speech to the National Conference of Charity and Correction in 1897, calling for a school to train professional social workers. Her book, Friendly Visiting Among the Poor, published in 1899, was the first to present practical suggestions for working in the field. Previously, her theories and suggestions had been published in the Baltimore Charities Record, which became an important resource to COS leaders across the country.

Mary Richmond left Baltimore in 1900. Her book, Social Diagnosis, was published in 1917, and was the first to argue that the practice of social work should be based on a body of scientific knowledge applied with highly developed skills. She presented the how and why of practice as a process, and laid the foundation for the principles of social casework.

Foreward | Introduction | Daniel Coit Gilman | Amos Griswold Warner | Jeffrey Richardson Brackett | Mary Ellen Richmond | Louis Hiram Levin | Sidney Hollander | Anita Rose Williams | Sarah A. Collins Fernandis | Thomas Jacob Shyrock Waxter | Esther Lazarus
| Appendix I | Appendix II


Louis Hiram Levin

"His spirit of social service was a driving force that never allowed him to rest while there was still work to be done to help his fellow men". Tribute to Louis Hiram Levin.

Louis Hiram Levin was quite prolific and often used the local press to document his thoughts regarding "civic problems". In 1895, he wrote a weekly column in Baltimore's Jewish Comment; he became editor-in-chief in 1899. He maintained his position until 1916. He was active in the Jewish Charities and advocated fervently for unity at a time when there were two separate Jewish communities in Baltimore. As a result of his influence, there were a series of mergers over several years, resulting ultimately in the formation of the Associated Jewish Charities of Baltimore in 1921. He became the first executive director of that organization.

Mr. Levin came to believe in the importance of training social workers through his work with the Jewish Charities. In May, 1912, he advertised for "persons desiring to train for social service" in the Jewish Comment. A year later, he was outspoken regarding the need for a school to train Jewish social workers. From 1908 through 1916, Mr. Levin volunteered as secretary of the National Conference of Jewish Charities, which became the National Conference of Jewish Social Workers. In 1919, he presented a plan to "legalize the profession" to this national organization. His plan included a State appointed commission that would develop a process similar to that used in registered nursing, to provide for the professional recognition of social workers. In 1920, they elected him president.

Mr. Levin, in 1913, conceived of a clearing house for the placement of Jewish children which resulted in the formation of the Jewish Children's Bureau. He is also credited with the formation of the Jewish Big Brothers Bureau whose mission was to work with delinquent young men and boys. He received national acclaim in 1915 when he led a relief effort to Palestine, transporting supplies to impoverished refugees. As an acknowledged expert in the United States, Mr. Levin taught an immigration class at Goucher College and again at the Johns Hopkins University in 1921-1922 as part of the social work curriculum.

Foreward | Introduction | Daniel Coit Gilman | Amos Griswold Warner | Jeffrey Richardson Brackett | Mary Ellen Richmond | Louis Hiram Levin | Sidney Hollander | Anita Rose Williams | Sarah A. Collins Fernandis | Thomas Jacob Shyrock Waxter | Esther Lazarus
| Appendix I | Appendix II 

 




Sidney Hollander


"There is no place for a half-a-loaf philosophy in a country where there is bread enough
for all!" Sidney Hollander

Sidney Hollander was not afraid to speak out for what he believed. For more than 60 years, he delivered his message admonishing outdated thinking and inappropriate practice. In 1920, the sphere of his influence increased when he was appointed trustee of the Board of State Aid and Charities. Over the years, he held "top positions in more than 40 welfare, civil rights, and religious groups" on a national and local level. He had a passion for social justice. As a Maryland activist, he led a tireless battle against discrimination. "He defended every victim, regardless of race, religion, color or rank in society".

It was Sidney Hollander who led the effort to persuade Baltimore hotel owners to "practice racial decency". He was instrumental in "breaking the color barrier" at the Peabody Conservatory concerts and in booking the first African American performer, Marian Anderson, at the Lyric Opera House. To say that "he fought religious, racial, and ethnic bigotry" was an understatement. In addressing charity and welfare organizations, he encouraged them to develop future goals and, at the same time, he reminded them that they were dealing with human beings with immediate needs. He was quoted as saying, "a beautiful pattern laid out for the future is not enough to feed the hungry and clothe the naked today." He believed that the interest and welfare of the client was first, and should not in any way be clouded by the "institutional pride of board members" or the "professional pride of social workers". He believed that private agencies should become advocates of "better public welfare standards" because far more people were recipients of public funds than private philanthropies.

Sidney Hollander gave of himself, his time and his money for humanity. He was tenacious in his battle against the injustices that he saw. As a speaker, he was much in demand because he spoke the truth. He had the ability to excite and motivate an audience to work for those in need, "not shut them out of society". For the tireless work that he did, he received countless awards, including an honorary Doctorate in Humanities from Morgan College.

Foreward | Introduction | Daniel Coit Gilman | Amos Griswold Warner | Jeffrey Richardson Brackett | Mary Ellen Richmond | Louis Hiram Levin | Sidney Hollander | Anita Rose Williams | Sarah A. Collins Fernandis | Thomas Jacob Shyrock Waxter | Esther Lazarus
| Appendix I | Appendix II 


(no picture available)
Anita Rose Williams

Anita Rose Williams has the distinction of being the first Catholic African-American Social Worker in the United States.

Anita Rose Williams' interest in welfare began while she was in the employ of a wealthy philanthropist, where she helped with volunteer activities at various agencies. It was in those early years that she also began working at the Colored Young Women's Christian Association and was ultimately elected to the board of directors. In 1912, she became a charter member of the Interracial-Interfaith Committee in the City of Baltimore, whose mission was to seek solutions to the many problems concerning race relations in the city.

In 1921, she began to organize the women of the four African-American parishes of the city to work with their youth regarding welfare, financial assistance, goal orientation, and recreational activities. The activities of the organization were sanctioned by the church and continued in the parishes until the Great Depression. In 1922, she began her career with Associated Catholic Charities, Inc. as a caseworker at the St. Vincent de Paul Society. The next year, she was transferred to the new Bureau of Catholic Charities of Baltimore and went to work in St. Mary's County. At a national meeting of the Directors of Catholic Charities, she was praised for her work. The result was that Catholic Charities across the country began to hire African-American social workers.

In September of 1933, Miss Williams and four other workers organized District Eleven of the Baltimore Emergency Relief Commission where she became the first African-American supervisor to be employed by a social agency in Baltimore. When the commission disbanded in 1936, Miss Williams returned to Catholic Charities, Inc., where she remained until she retired. Over the years, Miss Williams was involved in countless charity and welfare organizations, many as a charter member. Likewise, she received many awards for her work in the city of Baltimore, including an honorary degree as a Doctor of Humane Letters from Loyola College, and a Certificate of Appreciation by the Baltimore Chapter of the American Council of Human Rights.

Foreward | Introduction | Daniel Coit Gilman | Amos Griswold Warner | Jeffrey Richardson Brackett | Mary Ellen Richmond | Louis Hiram Levin | Sidney Hollander | Anita Rose Williams | Sarah A. Collins Fernandis | Thomas Jacob Shyrock Waxter | Esther Lazarus
| Appendix I | Appendix II 



Sarah A. Collins Fernandis

As the first African-American female to be hired as a social worker for a public welfare agency in Maryland, Sarah A. Collins Fernandis became a role model for all African American women interested in social work.

Sarah A. Collins Fernandis was born in Port Deposit, and taught elementary school in Baltimore for several years before moving to Washington, DC. She established the first and second neighborhood settlement houses for African Americans in the United States in Washington and Rhode Island, respectively. She returned to Baltimore in 1913 after completing a degree in social work.

At the request of the Women's Civic League in Baltimore, she opened a day nursery to provide day care and early education for the children of working mothers in the city. She supervised the nursery from 1913 until 1917. During this same time, she organized and became president of the Women's Cooperative Civic League for African American women who were interested in working toward "the social and civic betterment of their neighborhoods". The League brought pressure on City Hall to clean up the filth in the streets and alleys, and to include African American neighborhoods in citywide trash collection. They put pressure on the Health Department to ensure that milk was put in sanitary containers and "dispensed in shops that were clean". They pressured City Hall to demolish a whole block where there was a high incidence of tuberculosis, treat the residents, and then move them to sanitary living conditions. She was one of the organizers of the Interracial, Interfaith Association during this same time.

Throughout her career, she was sought out by many agencies in the city. In 1920, she was employed by the Baltimore Health Department as the first African American social worker in the city Venereal Disease Clinic. In 1923, she was instrumental in the opening of Henryton State Hospital as a sanitorium for African American tuberculosis patients. After retirement, she opened the National Youth Administration office for housing homeless young women and continued her volunteer efforts around the city. She served as a model for others and is remembered for her great work in the African American community.

Foreward | Introduction | Daniel Coit Gilman | Amos Griswold Warner | Jeffrey Richardson Brackett | Mary Ellen Richmond | Louis Hiram Levin | Sidney Hollander | Anita Rose Williams | Sarah A. Collins Fernandis | Thomas Jacob Shyrock Waxter | Esther Lazarus
| Appendix I | Appendix II 


Thomas Jacob Shryock Waxter

For more than three decades he carried on a tireless crusade "to improve the lot of the unskilled, the minorities, the aged, the afflicted, and the downtrodden". Mayor Theodore McKeldin regarding Thomas Waxter.

Thomas Jacob Shryock Waxter, was credited with being one of three founders of the Legal Aid Bureau in Baltimore. He held the position of Chairman of the Board for ten years. He was a lawyer who left a lucrative practice to become the second Chief Magistrate of the Baltimore City Juvenile Court System. He held that position from 1929 through 1935. It was his firm belief that "a good beginning in life is imperative if one is to achieve the fullness that life has to offer in later years". To that end, Judge Waxter reorganized and modernized our juvenile court system, making it a significant social agency by the end of 1929. One of the most important changes that he orchestrated was securing the services of a psychiatrist and a physician to conduct clinical examinations under the auspices of the court. He was also actively involved with training schools and later helped set up forestry camps for the city's troubled youth. He was responsible for the first commission on the problems of youth.

In 1935, Judge Waxter was appointed the first Director of the Baltimore Department of Public Welfare, a position he held for eighteen years. The first program he instituted in his new position was Old Age Assistance. Later, in an effort to clean up the neighborhoods in Baltimore City, he went to Chicago to learn about that city's neighborhood improvement associations. Area Project #1 in East Baltimore was the result. The Welfare Department was responsible for City Hospital, which at that time was an almshouse for the poor. He was credited with recruiting students from Johns Hopkins and creating a first class hospital to administer to the needs of the poor in the city.

In 1952, Judge Waxter accepted the position of Director of the Maryland State Department of Welfare. For ten years, he carried on his work statewide, until he died in 1962. During his career in Public Welfare he was a member numerous councils and boards. He is remembered as a man who cared, and who "advocated fiercely for the youngest and the oldest in our society".

Foreward | Introduction | Daniel Coit Gilman | Amos Griswold Warner | Jeffrey Richardson Brackett | Mary Ellen Richmond | Louis Hiram Levin | Sidney Hollander | Anita Rose Williams | Sarah A. Collins Fernandis | Thomas Jacob Shyrock Waxter | Esther Lazarus
| Appendix I | Appendix II 


Esther Lazarus

Esther Lazarus spent the majority of her professional life working with the Baltimore City Department of Public Welfare, now known as the Department of Social Services.

In 1926, Esther Lazarus began her career in social work as a caseworker at the Jewish Social Services Bureau in Baltimore. Within a year, she moved into the juvenile court system of Baltimore City as a probation officer. After completing her MSW in 1938, she joined the Department of Public Welfare as a Training Supervisor, and in 1943 was named Assistant Director under Thomas Waxter. In 1952, she became the only woman in the country in the position of Director of "welfare services" in a major city. She held that post for 16 years.

Ms. Lazarus was known for her dedicated advocacy for the rights of the underprivileged and disadvantaged. In her role as the Director of the Department of Public Welfare, she was instrumental in establishing new programs to meet the needs of those populations. Protective Services for Children was established to work with families where abuse or neglect of children was a potential problem. The Baltimore Emergency Services Center became a model program for providing emergency assistance to the needy. Ms. Lazarus has the distinction of having served as the principal consultant to the Virgin Islands, assisting in the development of a welfare system there. Too numerous to mention are the local, state and national boards and commissions on which Ms. Lazarus served during her career.

After her retirement in 1969, Ms. Lazarus maintained her focus on the needy. She was an early proponent of the Waxter Center for senior citizens. She was a founding member of the board of directors of the House of Ruth, a privately owned shelter for battered women. As one of a group of several professionals, she helped establish WISH (Women in Self Help), a telephone referral service for women under stress. From 1970 through 1973, she served as a consultant to the United States Department of Health, Education and Welfare.

Foreward | Introduction | Daniel Coit Gilman | Amos Griswold Warner | Jeffrey Richardson Brackett | Mary Ellen Richmond | Louis Hiram Levin | Sidney Hollander | Anita Rose Williams | Sarah A. Collins Fernandis | Thomas Jacob Shyrock Waxter | Esther Lazarus
| Appendix I | Appendix II 

Appendix I

 

We would like to thank the following individuals for their contribution to this project:

Bonnie Bessor

Beverly Bowles

Betty Broadhurst

Harris Chaiklin

Carolyn Colwell

Jacqueline Fassett

Edith Furstenberg

Lily Gold

Rosalind Griffin

Sidney Hollander, Jr.

Hermetta Hudson

Ruth Knee

Jastrow Levin

Paul Lurz

Abe Makofsky

Robert Morris

Pearl Moulton

Doretta Richards

Sandy Scholz

Harriet Trader

Betsy Vourlekis

Thomas Waxter, Jr.

Peggy Waxter

Gwen Young

Ruth Young

With special appreciation to Norman Crouse for his work on the digital photo enhancements.

References

A history of family and child welfare agencies in Baltimore, 1849-1943. William Gibson. Thesis (Ph. D.)—Ohio State University, 1969. Microfilm. Ann Arbor, Mich. : University Microfilms, 1969.

A longer view : the Mary E. Richmond legacy. Patricia Drew. Baltimore, Md. : School of Social Work & Community Planning, University of Maryland, 1983.

Biographical dictionary of social welfare in America, Walter I. Trattner, editor-in-chief. Westport, Conn. : Greenwood Press, 1986.

Encyclopedia of social work. 18th ed. Anne Minahan, editor-in-chief. Silver Spring, MD : National Association of Social Workers, 1987.

Esther Lazarus archives in the Learning Resource Center, University of Maryland, Baltimore.

Mary Richmond and the rise of professional social work in Baltimore: the foundations of a creative career. Muriel Warren Pumphrey. Thesis—Columbia University, 1956. Microfilm. Ann Arbor, Mich., University Microfilms, 1956.

Notable Maryland Women, edited by Winifred G. Helmes. Cambridge, Md. : Tidewater Publishers, 1977.

Papers of Judge T.J.S. Waxter, compliments of Mrs. Peggy Waxter.

Sidney Hollander: A Biographical Sketch. Sidney Hollander, Jr.

Sidney Hollander: Beloved Warrior. Jack L. Levin. Jewish Historical Society of Maryland.

Foreward | Introduction | Daniel Coit Gilman | Amos Griswold Warner | Jeffrey Richardson Brackett | Mary Ellen Richmond | Louis Hiram Levin | Sidney Hollander | Anita Rose Williams | Sarah A. Collins Fernandis | Thomas Jacob Shyrock Waxter | Esther Lazarus
| Appendix I | Appendix II 

 

Community Search