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Board of Charities, the institutions with which she has had dealings, and the parents who have been her


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We fear that the existence of Del Drago and the sale of the baby reported by the newspapers are symptoms of a weakening of parental responsibility. If so, every agency for constructive social work should endeavor strenuously to counteract it. Clearly it is not desirable that parents should sell or give away their offspring, still less that they should hire others to take them. The situation, as is already widely recognized, calls for the combined efforts of religious and charitable and civic forces, both to prevent the necessity for any such step in individual cases, and quite as obviously to create a sense of the wickedness and social danger of the parental indifference which are implied by such instances.

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Mr. R. Fulton Cutting, President of the Association for Improv ing the Condition of the Poor, has submitted to the Charter Revision Commission in a printed pamphlet some recommendations concerning the control of the various departments of the city government. In brief his plan is to do away with the present system of plural-headed paid commissions, and to replace them with an unpaid board of from fifteen to thirty members. The model or example of Mr. Cutting's plan is to be found in the present constitution of the Department of Education. The authority in this department is a board

of nineteen members practically appointed by the Mayor, and serving without pay. This system embodies, Mr. Cutting believes, the true philosophy of municipal administration. The members of this board are "counsellors," and their existence is the recognition in this department of a distinction between the legislative and administrative functions of departmental government. Mr. Cutting proposes for all of the departments, except those of Finance and Law, the appointment by the Mayor of boards similar to the Board of Education, each board to be responsible for the policy of the department, and to have under its "advisory control" a paid commissioner or executive who shall be responsible for the administrative functions of the department. He thinks that there are a vast number of citizens who would not give up their pri vate business to accept paid employment from the city, men whose services can not be bought with money nor their civic spirit measured by commercial standards, but who would, in the way suggested, give their services to the city. Mr. Cutting believes the history of the Education Department, the character of the non-paid members of the Park Board, and the example of similar boards in the cities of Great Britain furnish valid arguments for the adoption of this system. It offers a means of introducing to one another, in the field of patriotic service, representatives of classes now unfortu nately separated by unfounded suspicions and industrial antagonism,

and it will do much to overthrow the malicious spoils system which has made politics a remunerative profession, not the service of the people.

Some considerations respecting the plan as it affects the Department of Charities were given by Mr. Cutting in the March number of "Municipal Affairs," in an article on "Public Ownership and the Social Conscience."

The system of department boards "would enable the city to take advantage of the services of the most capable and devoted men and women, among those who are giving their time and labor to the conduct of

private institutions. Set them free from the serious burden of financing their institutions and give them the authority of the state to enhance the benefits of their judicious methods, and they will accomplish what is impossible to-day.

The weakness of voluntary charity in dealing with the complicated issues of poverty is its practical powerlessness to enforce corrective measures. Kindness without authority. is shorn of half its efficacy; and while it is true that the mere distribution of alms may be no charity at all, the ideal to be sought is found. in a union of the personal element of the voluntary with the disciplinary element of the authoritative system. It may be said that the state has always failed in its effort to administer charity, and that the voluntary system is a great advance upon the governmental, and this is largely true; but the experiment has never been fairly tried under a democratic form of government, that is, a government by the people.'

In the German dual city of Elberfeld-Barmen, with a limited electorate, and under favorable conditions,

the system is carried to its logical conclusion. There the electoral franchise carries with it the obligation of charitable service, and every citizen annually serves a term as a local visitor among the poor. With the complicated issues of our cosmopolitan population this would be impracticable in New York; but with a strong central body to be known, perhaps, as the Board for the Improvement of the Condition of the people, and with affiliated committees in every ward, the system would be sufficiently democratized, and the people brought under the subjective influence of participation in the city's applied humanity."

The municipalization of private charities, which Mr. Cutting advocates, would involve a great additional expense. The millions contributed by the generous few would have to be provided from a general tax levy. The strictest economy in the use of the city's present income would hardly suffice to meet the new requirements; but there is nothing terrible in this. The citi zens who now voluntarily support philanthropic institutions can fairly be claimed to represent the highest standard of intelligence and virtue in the community, and they virtually advocate a larger expenditure by it.

The plan is interesting, and we hope to see it discussed. We are informed of other suggestions of various kinds which have been or are to be submitted to the commission, one or two of which, relating especially to the Charities Department, are to be outlined by their proposers in CHARITIES.


There was a discussion of direct practical value to the students of the

Summer School on June 21, when papers were presented by Mrs. F. P. Strickland, Superintendent of the Joint Application Bureau in the Charities Building, and Mrs. E.V. H. Mansell, who is at the head of the Investigation Department of the Charity Organization Society. From. a rich fund of personal experience both of these speakers were able to draw suggestions, warnings, and illustrations of the right way to get the facts upon which relief and care can be intelligently given.

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On June 22, Mr. Frank Tucker, General Agent of the New York Association for Improving the Condition of the Poor, read before the Summer School an exceptionally interesting paper on the Uses and Limitations of Material Relief. He traced the evolution of the charitable impulse from its cruder expressions when it meant only To GIVE, to the higher expressions in which it. means not only TO GIVE but To ACT. Organized charity Mr. Tucker

defines as the association of individuals seeking in an enlightened way, through an experience gained in common, to encourage, develop, and control that impulse of the human heart which impels the individual to aid those whom he believes to be in distress.

Two general directions may be given: Do not use material relief when you can solve the problem in another way; do not limit it when by its liberal use you can restore to economic independence him who has appealed to you to readjust his affairs which, by reason of conditions.

either within or without him, have gotten beyond his control.

The problem of organized charity. so far as it relates to the care and relief of destitute families in their homes, is the restoration of such families to economic independence. The solution is best obtained by the higher type of trained professional worker. The proper use of material relief is only to be obtained by placing its administration in the hands of professional workers of ability and scientific training.

The paper concluded with a series. of ten propositions submitted for discussion, one of which was as follows:

Organized charity as an educator should teach the individual seeking to give expression to the charitable. impulse to give it in the shape of liberal financial assistance [to the organized charities], or if such impulse must find expression in work that such work should be performed entirely under the direction of the paid professional worker, and only as supplementary to the work of such paid


This proposition naturally called forth animated discussion which will doubtless be continued in this and other periodicals, or in the National Conference, where it would form an excellent topic for a section meeting.


The State Conference of Charities and Correction which was organized on June 14, as reported in last week's CHARITIES, has an excellent corps of officers and committees. The first conference will be held in November, as soon as practicable after the na

tional election. The chairmen of the section committees are all men whose standing is a sufficient guarantee that they will give the time and thought necessary to make a success of any undertaking for which they become responsible. The program of the Section on the Care and Relief of Needy Families in their homes is intrusted to a committee of which Mr. Frederic Almy of Buffalo is chairman.

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At a conference of Roman Catholic workers held at St. Rose's settlement several weeks ago, Mr. Thomas M. Mulry made two practical suggestions which are reported in the current number of the St. Vincent de Paul Quarterly: The first of these was for a regular organization of the Catholic Charities; the other for more active cooperation with nonCatholics by membership in the Charity Organization Society. The speaker made it plain, says the Quarterly, that where non-Catholics were favorably disposed toward us it would increase the good that could be done; where they are unfavorably disposed, it would lessen the evil likely to be done, for it would enable us to care for the interests of our Own.

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a will executed within sixty days before death. The sums bequeathed by the will to the charitable institutions pass to the sister of the deceased.


The Fifth District Committee of the Charity Organization Society wishes again to call the attention of the readers of CHARITIES to the case of the blind sailor-blind for the last eight years-who is very much in need of a few weeks in the country. He is not eligible to the Sailors' Snug Harbor, not having sailed in American vessels. His wife is recommended as an excellent laundress, and if she could secure some work in a country resort she could earn a good living and her husband could at the same time have, what he imperatively needs, a change to country air. The woman would be glad to work in an institution or hotel, if the man could be accommodated at the same place for the summer.

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The vacation schools and playgrounds will be opened on July 9, and continued for six weeks, if sufficient money can be obtained for their support during that period. All the buildings which were used last year, except three which can not be occupied on account of necessary repairs, will be available this summer. The play centres include five kindergarten tents, five outdoor gymnasia, three Central Park kindergarten ground, six recreation piers, seven roof gardens, and ten swimming baths. There are also to be a new play-ground and outdoor

gymnasium in the new Hamilton Fish Park; and the opening of the new Botanical and Zoological Gardens in Van Cortlandt and Bronx Parks enlarges the field for fruitful excursions.


Under a decision announced on June 13 by the Board of Classification of the United States General Appraisers, hospitals are not entitled to import surgical instruments free. of duty. The paragraph which permits free entry of philosophical and scientific apparatus and instruments is interpreted to mean only those imported by religious, philosophical, educational, scientific, or literary institutions; and the educational work of hospitals is considered only incidental to the main purposes of a hospital.





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The Workrooms

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Old garments and rags are used to supply work for those who would otherwise need relief, and the work is made a means of training for self-support. The workrooms desire a number of suits of underwear to be supplied to women whose clothes it is necessary to disinfect while they are at work.

Notify the Charity Organization Society, 105 East 22d Street, by postal or telephone: and packages will be sent for.

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