Wisdom, Justice and Charity: Canadian Social Welfare through the Life of Jane B. Wisdom, 1884-1975

By Suzanne Morton

© 2014

One of Canada’s first social workers, Jane B. Wisdom had an active career in social welfare that spanned almost the first half of the twentieth century. Competent, thoughtful, and trusted, she had a knack for being in important places at pivotal moments. Wisdom’s transnational career took her from Saint John to Montreal, New York City, Halifax, and Glace Bay, as well as into almost every field of social work. Her story offers a remarkable opportunity to uncover what life was like for front-line social workers in the profession’s early years.

In Wisdom, Justice, and Charity, historian Suzanne Morton uses Wisdom’s professional life to explore how the welfare state was built from the ground up by thousands of pragmatic and action-oriented social workers. Wisdom’s career illustrates the impact of professionalization, gender, and changing notions of the state – not just on those in the emergent profession of social work but also on those in need. Her life and career stand as a potent allegory for the limits and possibilities of individual action.

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Product Details

  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 328 pages
  • Illustrations: 24
  • Dimensions: 6.3in x 0.9in x 9.0in
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SKU# SP003624

  • PUBLISHED JUN 2014

    From: $31.46

    Regular Price: $41.95

    ISBN 9781442614611
  • PUBLISHED JUN 2014

    From: $31.46

    Regular Price: $41.95

Quick Overview

In Wisdom, Justice, and Charity, historian Suzanne Morton uses Jane B. Wisdom’s professional life to explore how the welfare state was built from the ground up by thousands of pragmatic and action-oriented social workers.

Wisdom, Justice and Charity: Canadian Social Welfare through the Life of Jane B. Wisdom, 1884-1975

By Suzanne Morton

© 2014

One of Canada’s first social workers, Jane B. Wisdom had an active career in social welfare that spanned almost the first half of the twentieth century. Competent, thoughtful, and trusted, she had a knack for being in important places at pivotal moments. Wisdom’s transnational career took her from Saint John to Montreal, New York City, Halifax, and Glace Bay, as well as into almost every field of social work. Her story offers a remarkable opportunity to uncover what life was like for front-line social workers in the profession’s early years.

In Wisdom, Justice, and Charity, historian Suzanne Morton uses Wisdom’s professional life to explore how the welfare state was built from the ground up by thousands of pragmatic and action-oriented social workers. Wisdom’s career illustrates the impact of professionalization, gender, and changing notions of the state – not just on those in the emergent profession of social work but also on those in need. Her life and career stand as a potent allegory for the limits and possibilities of individual action.

Continue Reading Read Less

Product Details

  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 328 pages
  • Illustrations: 24
  • Dimensions: 6.3in x 0.9in x 9.0in
  • Reviews

    ‘This is a remarkable book about a seemingly unremarkable woman… In this rich case study of Jane Wisdom’s career in Canadian social work, Suzanne Morton has made a major contribution to Canadian gender and social welfare history.’


    James Struthers
    Canadian Historical Review, vol 96:03:2015

    ‘Since Morton has framed her masterful examination of the emerging Canadian welfare state within Wisdom’s career, it will be virtually impossible for future scholars of the Canadian welfare state to ignore the role of women in its on-the-ground construction.’


    Sarah Glassford
    Acadiensis, vol 44:01:2015

    ‘In this evocative, thoughtfully crafted, and engagingly written political biography of social worker Jane wisdom, Suzanne Morton traces the large historical processes of liberal welfare state expansion and the professionalization of social work through the life and carrier of one individual woman.’


    Lara Campbell
    Labour/Le Travail, vol 76: Fall 2015

    Wisdom, Justice, and Charity is an engaging and thoughtful study of pioneering social worker Jane Wisdom, whose long career took in the most important decades in the evolution of the Canadian welfare system. Morton’s delightful prose and rich descriptions pull the reader into the story of a woman who left many marks on her profession and her communities.”
    Karen Balcom, Department of History, McMaster University
  • Author Information

    Suzanne Morton is a professor in the Department of History and Classical Studies at McGill University.

  • Table of contents

    Abbreviations

    Acknowledgements

    Introduction

    Chapter One – Saint John: Religion, Philanthropy and the Poor Law, 1884-1909

    Chapter Two – McGill: The Ethos of Female Service, 1903-1911

    Chapter Three – Montreal: Charity, Social Service and Philanthropy, 1903-1912

    Chapter Four – New York City: Private Agency Work, 1910-1916

    Chapter Five – Halifax: Bureaucratization, Emergencies and the Progressive State, 1916-21

    Chapter Six – Montreal and Cape Breton: Social Work Training and Professionalization, 1921-1939

    Chapter Seven – The Women’s Directory of Montreal and Private Agency Work, 1923-1939

    Chapter Eight – Glace Bay: Exploring Public Welfare, 1940-1952

    Conclusion – Sutherland’s River, 1952-1975

    Endnotes

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