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Article

Paul H. Stuart

Stephen Humphreys Gurteen (1836–1898) founded the first Charity Organization Society in the United States. In 1875 he was ordained an Episcopal priest and appointed assistant minister of St. Paul's Church, Buffalo, New York. The Buffalo COS launched in December 1877.

Article

John F. Longres

Mary Ellen Richmond (1861–1928) formulated the first comprehensive statement of direct social work practice principles. She founded the Public Charities Association, the juvenile court, and the Housing Association, and helped to develop teaching materials for Charity Organization Societies nationwide.

Article

American social welfare began in the colonial period with the adoption of the Elizabethan Poor Laws as the basis for treatment of society's poor and deviant. By the beginning of the Progressive Era (1900), immigration, the Women's Movement, scientific investigation of social problems, and societal growth produced significant innovations in both public and private perceptions, programs, and treatment in such areas as poor relief, mental and physical health, and corrections, and led to the beginnings of professionalization of social work.

Article

Renee Bowman Daniel and Karen Berner Little

Maria Maltby Love (1840–1931), social architect and humanitarian, pioneered two projects to improve the lives of women and their families: the Fitch Creche (1881), the first U.S. day nursery, and the Church District Plan (1896), a citywide, interdenominational community services program.

Article

Philip R. Popple

Formal or institutional social services began in the United States in the late 19th century as a response to problems that were rapidly increasing as a result of modernization. These services were almost entirely private until the Great Depression in the 1930s when the government became involved via provisions of the Social Security Act. Services expanded greatly, beginning in the 1960s when the federal government developed a system wherein services were supported by public funds but provided through contracts with private agencies. This trend has continued and expanded, resulting in a uniquely American system wherein private agencies serve as vehicles for government social service policy.

Article

Jean K. Quam

Robert Weeks De Forest (1848–1931) was a lawyer, philanthropist, and social reformer. He is credited with developing the New York School of Philanthropy and the Russell Sage Foundation. He was the president of the New York City Charity Organization Society from 1881 to 1931.

Article

Jean K. Quam

Edward T. Devine(1867–1948) was a writer, educator, and administrator. As general secretary of the New York Charity Organization Society, he formed the Wayfarer's Lodge and the Tenement House Committee. He was Director of the New York School of Philanthropy.