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Women, Culture, and CommunityReligion and Reform in Galveston, 1880–1920$
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Elizabeth Hayes Turner

Print publication date: 1997

Print ISBN-13: 9780195086881

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195086881.001.0001

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

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

(p.94) 4 “A Blessing upon Our Labors”: Women's Benevolent Societies and Poor Relief
Women, Culture, and Community

Elizabeth Hayes Turner

Oxford University Press

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

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