By Anna R. Igra
Laying off new gentle on modern campaigns to motivate marriage between welfare recipients and to prosecute "deadbeat dads," other halves with no Husbands lines the efforts of innovative reformers to make "runaway husbands" help their households. Anna R. Igra investigates the interrelated histories of marriage and welfare coverage within the early 1900s, revealing how reformers sought to make marriage the answer to women's and kid's poverty. Igra faucets a wealthy trove of case records from the nationwide Desertion Bureau, a Jewish husband-location service provider, and follows enormous quantities of abandoned girls in the course of the welfare and felony platforms of early twentieth-century ny urban. She integrates a vast variety of themes, together with Americanization as a gendered approach, breadwinning as a degree of manhood, the connection among client tradition and social coverage formation, the category dimensions of relations legislation, and the Jewish neighborhood as a resource of welfare coverage innovation. Igra analyzes the background of antidesertion reform from its emergence in social coverage debates, throughout the institution of family family members courts, to melancholy reduction courses. She indicates that early twentieth-century reformers, by way of trying to make instrumental use of bad people's intimate relatives, expected welfare rules in our personal time that advertise marriage as a solution to poverty.
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Additional resources for Wives without Husbands: Marriage, Desertion, and Welfare in New York, 1900-1935 (Gender and American Culture)
The commission created to make recommendations on mothers’ pensions to the New York State legislature included several people who had 34 An Antidesertion System in New York been immersed in debates about desertion for over a decade, among them William Hard, Robert W. Hebberd, and Hannah Einstein. Their report argued for extending beneﬁts only to widows because ‘‘the misfortune that follows upon the decease of the poorer laborer is not caused in any way by those who must su√er. Then, too, adequate relief cannot in any way increase the number of worthy families in distress as can easily be the case with other mothers whose husbands are living.
The family lives. ’ It is the foundation-stone of the Republic. Its sanctity spells the well-being of the State. ’’π∑ While many antidesertion reformers agreed with Rabbino’s conviction that ‘‘the preservation of the family as a unit is the ﬁrst and paramount duty of society,’’π∏ none concurred with his bottom-line disregard for the expense that might be entailed in creating a new institution. ’’ he exclaimed. ’’ππ However, Rabbino’s plan for a domestic relations court met with success only when he teamed up with those for whom ‘‘dollars and cents’’ were of primary importance.
Two trends contributed to the emergence of deserted women as a distinct category in social welfare policy: ﬁrst, the attempt by charities, overwhelmed by the depressions of the 1890s, to trim their relief rolls and hence their expenditures; and, second, the movement to return institutionalized children to the care of mothers. Antidesertion activists deﬁned their twin goals as restoring family life and saving public and community funds. Beginning in the late 1890s, social welfare workers began advocating treating deserted women di√erently from widows as a means to accomplish these ends.