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Larraine M. Edwards

Zilpha Drew Smith (1852–1926) was a social worker who devised a systematic approach to screening and investigating relief applications by using friendly visitors. In 1904 became associate director of the Boston School of Social Work.


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.


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.