Rowman & Littlefield Publishers
Trim: 6⅛ x 9⅛
978-0-7425-2945-8 • Paperback • January 2005 • $44.00 • (£34.00)
978-1-4616-4520-7 • eBook • January 2005 • $41.50 • (£32.00)
David Wagner is professor of social work and sociology at the University of Southern Maine. He is the author of five books, including Checkerboard Square: Culture and Resistance in a Homeless Community, winner of the 1993 C. Wright Mills Book Award.
Chapter 1 Poorhouse, Almshouse, Poor Farm: Buried American History
Chapter 2 Scenes from the Poorhouse
Chapter 3 What the Forefathers Had in Mind: The Purpose and Contradictions of the Poorhouse
Chapter 4 Undermining the Poorhouse: Long and Short-Term Inmates in the Late Nineteenth Century
Chapter 5 Inmates, Overseers, and the Politics of the Poorhouse
Chapter 6 The Long End: Inmates in the Twentieth Century Poorhouse
Chapter 7 Matrons, Doctors, Staff, and the End of the Poorhouse
Chapter 8 The Ironies of History: The Return of the Poorhouse
An eye-opener! Wagner carefully and judiciously combs through the data to give us a vivid picture of 19th century institutions for the care of the American poor. There is nothing quite like this, and American social welfare history will never be the same.
— Frances Fox Piven, Distinguished Professor of Political Science and Sociology, CUNY
David Wagner's extraordinary journey through the history of 'the poorhouse' in the United States is meticulously researched and brings alive, in eminently readable prose, the lives of those human beings who were both victims and overseers of this much-neglected part of American life. This is an important contribution to our social history.
— Howard Zinn, author of A People's History of the United States and professor emeritus of Political Science, Boston University
At a time in which the Social Security Act (1935) itself is under ideological assault, Wagner's informative book is required reading.
— New England Quarterly
This impressively researched history of the poorhouse, a mainstay social welfare resource for 300 years in America, will fascinate and enlighten even a casual reader.
— Journal Of Religion and Spirituality In Social Work
For a small volume, David Wagner's The Poorhouse: Ameica's Forgotten Institution has a hefty agenda. Over seven short chapters, Wagner sketches the story of the fabeled symbol of vulnerability and failure that for generations accumulated America's infirm, superannuated, and dipossessed while birthing specialized institutions for child wellfare, substance abuse treatment, and psychiatric, medical, and geriatric care.
— Social Service Review
The Poorhouse: America's Forgotten Institution takes its place as a thought-provoking, well-researched volume that has no rival in the field. It will be the standard of reference for years to come.
— Maine Sunday Telegram
The Poorhouse turns out to be a most appealing and timely book with much to say about contemporary social policy. It is highly recommended for undergraduate and graduate students in schools of social work, for social welfare and social policy historians, and for historians of disability.
— Journal of American History
Based on newspaper accounts, poorhouse records, oral history interviews, and local government records, Wagner provides and rich description of life in six New England poorhouses between the 1830s and the 1940s.
— The Journal of Sociology & Social Welfare
With many photographs, the book provides an excellent picture of a forgotten aspect of American history.
— Midwest Book Review