Helen Harris Perlman


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(1905–2004) Helen Harris Perlman, the Samuel Deutsch Distinguished Service Professor Emerita in the School of Social Service Administration, was a pioneering figure in social work who enriched the field of social work with many contributions spanning several decades. She graduated in 1926 from the University of Minnesota with a BA in English. Because her teachers advised it would be difficult for a female Jewish graduate to obtain a job in the humanities, she found a job working as a summer caseworker for the Chicago Jewish Service Bureau. She got a great deal of satisfaction helping people and continued in the field of social work until she received one of four Commonwealth Fund scholarships for students at the New York School of Social Work, now the Columbia University School of Social Work. She has said that “a whole world opened up to me,” “I had no idea of the kinds of trouble people had. I got a great deal of satisfaction from being able to help people. I found that in many cases, families faced the same kind of problems and conflicts that one encountered in the great works of literature.”


From Encyclopedia of Social Work in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Social Work.

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