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Orphaned in Oakland:

Orphaned in Oakland:

Institutional Life during the Progressive Era

(p.247) Eight Orphaned in Oakland
A City for Children
Marta Gutman
University of Chicago Press

During the Progressive Era, new state agencies transformed the charitable landscape in Oakland. College-educated women, Jessica Peixotto at the State Board of Charities and Corrections (1903), and Amy Steinhardt, at the Children’s Department of the State Board of Control (1913), targeted congregate orphanages, especially when run by Catholic charities. In line with the first White House Conference on the Care of Dependent Children and the Children’s Bureau, they advocated mothers’ pensions and foster care and replacing dormitories with cottages. The concept, selective accommodation, is applied to the Smith Cottages, West Oakland Home, and the Ladies’ Relief Society, where racial segregation went hand in hand with modernization, as did sorting children qualification for state aid. The insistence, that the physical condition of an institution determined the emotional consciousness of children, is challenged using the oral history of Mollie and Belva Cooley.

Keywords:   State Board of Charities and Corrections, Amy Steinhardt, White House Conference on the Care of Dependent Children, Children’s Bureau, mothers’ pensions, foster care, Smith Cottages, Ladies’ Relief Society, Mollie Cooley, Belva Cooley

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