“A Blessing upon Our Labors”: Women's Benevolent Societies and Poor Relief

Elizabeth Hayes Turner

in Women, Culture, and Community

Published in print December 1997 | ISBN: 9780195086881
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199854578 | DOI:
“A Blessing upon Our Labors”: Women's Benevolent Societies and Poor Relief

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This chapter discusses the women who joined benevolent societies and how they acted and moved among the suffering and the destitute. The women never lost their patronizing air, nor did they openly criticize an economic system that left women underpaid. They helped working women adapt to the realities of the workplace. They provided a type of insurance for employees at a time when sick pay and unemployment compensation did not exist. They were able to develop a case system of social welfare in Galveston long before the advent of professional social workers. Women sought more ways to be more effective, to help those who were unable to care for themselves. They formed parallel institutions to care for the city's dependents. They became public edifices and public endeavors which paid homage to female effectiveness.

Keywords: benevolent societies; working women; poor relief; social welfare; Galveston

Chapter.  14677 words. 

Subjects: Social and Cultural History

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