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The Art and Craft of Settlement Work in Oakland Point

The Art and Craft of Settlement Work in Oakland Point

Chapter:
(p.177) Six The Art and Craft of Settlement Work in Oakland Point
Source:
A City for Children
Author(s):
Marta Gutman
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226156156.003.0006

As the new progressive mood took hold in California, Elizabeth Watt led the expansion of the West Oakland Free Kindergarten into the class-bridging, racially integrated charity, first called the West Oakland Settlement and later the New Century Club. A comparison with Manse Polytechnic and the Oakland Club shows how women used architecture to shape working class childhood. Inspired by Jane Addams and Hull House, Watt made a plain cottage into a feminized setting of fine design, suited for bourgeois women to meet and open to all in the neighborhood. Coupling a gender-defined reform agenda with self-interest, Watt led the settlement to help mothers in the Salvage Bureau, organize sewing classes and clubs for immigrant girls and boys, and acquire buildings for kitchen garden and domestic science classes. Her support of integration is situated in the disputes about racial exclusion that fractured the women’s club movement in the 1890s.

Keywords:   Elizabeth Watt, class-bridging, racially integrated, West Oakland Settlement, childhood, Jane Addams, gender-defined reform agenda, salvage bureau, kitchen garden, domestic science

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