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The Job is Never Done:
Fifty Years of Documenting Social Welfare History

By April 2, 2015September 16th, 2023No Comments
Clarke Chambers, founder and director talking to Andrea Hinding, first staff person and former curator

Clarke Chambers, founder and director talking to Andrea Hinding, first staff person and former curator

The current exhibit in the Elmer L. Andersen Library Main Gallery is “The Job is Never Done”: Fifty Years of Documenting Social Welfare History.  The exhibit was curated by Linnea Anderson, Archivist in the Social Welfare History Archives, and designed by Darren Terpstra, ASC Exhibit Design/Project Specialist.

The Social Welfare History Archives was founded in 1964 by University of Minnesota Professor Emeritus, Clarke Chambers, to preserve the history of social work, social service and social reform in the 20th Century and to document their impact on American life.

“The job is never done” documents the ongoing work of both the social services and the Social Welfare History Archives. The
exhibit highlights important topics in the history of social welfare with unique materials from the collections.  It also draws on the archives’ office files to tell the “behind the scenes” story of collecting and caring for the historical records of the individuals, organizations and communities that shaped the history of reform and social service in the United States.

Clarke Chambers attended opening reception

A cartoon illustrating the idea of Scientific Charity

A cartoon illustrating the idea of Scientific Charity

Over 70 current and former staff as well as faculty, friends, and individuals from local social work programs gathered on February 19 to celebrate the Archives’ 50th anniversary and the opening of the exhibit.

Guests included the founder and former director of the Archives,
Professor Emeritus Clarke Chambers; retired archivist and curator, David Klaassen; and speakers Liz Richards, Executive Director of Minnesota Coalition for Battered Women, and Meghan Morrissey, Associate Director for the School of Social Work, and the Director of the School’s Master of Social Work Program.

Visitors to the exhibit can view documents, photographs, posters and other materials on such social welfare history topics as “scientific charity;” the origins of government assistance programs such as social security; the “War of Poverty” of the 1960s and the welfare rights movement; social work as a profession; camping, recreation and community centers; public housing and the urban environment; domestic violence advocacy; public health; and child welfare issues such as adoption, orphanages and maternal and child health.

View photos from the opening reception

Watch a video recording of the celebration and program

Watch a video recording, above, of the Archives’ 50th anniversary celebration and exhibit opening reception on February 19. Thanks to all of the guests for the wonderful speeches and reminiscences! 

Mark Engebretson

Author Mark Engebretson

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