Explore the history of American social reform and social services 

The Social Welfare History Image Portal brings together photographs, pamphlets, artifacts and documents chronicling the history of the nation's response to human need. This history includes the work of volunteer organizations, reform movements, social workers, and government legislation and systems.

Featured Items

An Amendment to the Constitution is Needed to Give the United States Power to Safeguard the Child Life of the Nation

HD 6250_U3A5 1920 An Amendment to the Constitution is Needed p1 rsz.jpg

Pamphlet advocating for the Child Labor Amendment, passed in 1924, but never ratified.Cover cartoon by Pulitzer Prize-winning newspaper cartoonist…

Errand Boys, Child Labor Street Permit #254 [pinback button]

M9 Box 230 Adele Clark_Errand Boys Child labor street permit crop rsz2.jpg

Child labor street permit. This pinback button for an errand boy was issued in 1929. Variant state seal with armored Virtus and mountains in the…

Neighborhood House Sabbath School Class, 1921

Beth Ahabah_Neighborhood House Sabbath School Class 1921 ages 8-9 rsz.jpg

Photograph of children ages 8 - 9 in the Neighborhood House Sabbath School, Richmond, VA. Taken in 1921.In the early 1900’s, non-resident settlement…