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About

The Social Welfare Image Portal presents archival materials related to the history of social reform and social welfare in the United States. These images include photographs, pamphlets, placards, handbills, and comics pages drawn from the collections of VCU Libraries and other participating institutions. 

In addition to single items, the Image Portal presents a variety of
Discovery Sets -- curated groups of items related to particular topics. These sets bring together particularly interesting or representative materials that serve as an entry way into research with primary source materials.

The history of social welfare is a story encompassing many volunteer and professional activities to "establish Justice ... promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity." It chronicles the development of social work and social services, as well the nation's extension of civil rights to greater numbers of the population. Social welfare history is profoundly interdisciplinary, looking at many, often conflicting, ideas of community and community responsibility, as well ongoing discussions of our national identity.

The Image Portal is a collaborative project encouraging the use of primary sources and directing students and scholars to the institutions that hold these materials. If you have questions, or would like to learn more about becoming a partner institution,
please contact VCU Libraries at LibSWHP@vcu.edu.

Image: Farmville 1963 Civil Rights Protests, VCU Libraries Digital Collections 

 

The historical materials presented on this website are products of their particular times and cultures, and may contain offensive language or negative stereotypes. The opinions expressed in these materials are those of the authors and creators, and do not necessarily represent the opinion of VCU Libraries or any of our partner institutions.