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date: 04 December 2020

Lee, Porter Raymondfree

(1879–1939)
  • Larraine M. EdwardsLarraine M. EdwardsPractitioner, Winston–Salem, NC

Summary

Porter Raymond Lee (1879–1939), social work education pioneer, helped to formulate a generic social casework theory. He was general secretary of the Philadelphia Society for Organizing Charity and was instrumental in organizing the American Association of Schools of Social Work.

Porter Raymond Lee was a pioneer in the development of social work education. Born in Buffalo, New York, he graduated from Cornell University in 1903. He developed an interest in social work as an undergraduate student and later attended the summer institute of the New York School of Philanthropy. In 1909, after serving as assistant secretary of the Charity Organization Society of Buffalo, he succeeded Mary Richmond as general secretary of the Philadelphia Society for Organizing Charity. Lee joined the faculty of the New York School of Philanthropy as a social casework instructor in 1912. Recognizing the need for differential training in social work, he became instrumental in organizing the American Association of Schools of Social Work in 1919.

As a teacher and philosopher, Lee integrated ideas from other fields such as psychiatry, economics, and political science to help formulate a generic social casework theory. He served on a number of professional boards and was elected president of the National Conference of Social Work in 1929. Lee's published works include Social Salvage (1924), co-authored with Walter Pettit; Mental Hygiene and Social Work (1929), co-authored with Marion Kenworthy; and Social Work: Cause and Function (1937).