By Regina G. Kunzel
In the course of the first half the 20 th century, out-of-wedlock being pregnant got here to be visible as probably the most pressing and compelling difficulties of the day. the trouble to outline its which means fueled a fight between 3 teams of ladies: evangelical reformers who appeared single moms as fallen sisters to be stored, a brand new new release of social employees who considered them as challenge women to be handled, and single moms themselves. Drawing on formerly unexamined case documents from maternity houses, Regina Kunzel explores how girls negotiated the difficulty of unmarried being pregnant and analyzes the various methods they understood and represented single motherhood. Fallen ladies, challenge women is a social and cultural background of out-of-wedlock being pregnant within the usa from 1890 to 1945. Kunzel analyzes how evangelical girls drew on a protracted culture of girl benevolence to create maternity houses that will redeem and reclaim single moms. She indicates how, via the 1910s, social staff suffering to accomplish specialist legitimacy attempted to dissociate their very own paintings from that previous culture, exchanging the reform rhetoric of sisterhood with the medical language of professionalism. via interpreting the real and unexplored transition from the conventions of nineteenth-century reform to the pro imperatives of twentieth-century social welfare, Kunzel deals a brand new interpretation of gender and professionalization. Kunzel areas moving structures of out-of-wedlock being pregnant inside of a vast background of gender, sexuality, classification, and race, and argues that the contests between evangelical ladies, social employees, and single moms distilled better generational and cross-class conflicts between ladies within the first 1/2 the 20th century.
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Extra resources for Fallen Women, Problem Girls: Unmarried Mothers and the Professionalization of Social Work, 1890-1945
Flexner we were more or less aware that quietly and behind his back . . there was developing a skill quite different in method and in aim from the work that he described. "15 But Flexner's denouncement haunted social workers for decades and set the stage for long-lasting professional self-consciousness and self-doubt. Social workers would spend the next twenty years responding to Flexner, directly and indirectly. Having proclaimed themselves professionals, they nervously measured themselves against the yardstick established by medicine and law.
The social worker was not an autonomous professional but "mediated" among other professions. "13 His declaration dealt a devastating blow to social workers. "His assessment of social workers as mediators among real professionals made them out to be little more than errand boys and girls in the world of social altruism," historian Don Kirschner writes. "14 Flexner's comments elicited a flood of responses from social workers, including some angry rebuttals. Mary Richmond recalled that "as we listened to Mr.
124 If maternity home residents could not be redeemed through marriage, they might still benefit from the purifying influence of motherhood, seen by evangelical women as a powerful rehabilitative tool. Convinced that nurturing the maternal bond was one of the most effective methods of guaran- The Maternity Home Movement S3 teeing that unmarried mothers would conduct themselves responsibly and avoid moral relapse once released from the home, evangelicals insisted that every effort be made to keep mother and child together.
Fallen Women, Problem Girls: Unmarried Mothers and the Professionalization of Social Work, 1890-1945 by Regina G. Kunzel