Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
The Sympathetic StateDisaster Relief and the Origins of the American Welfare State$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Michele Landis Dauber

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780226923482

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226923505.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 21 May 2022

We Lost Our All

We Lost Our All

(p.185) Seven We Lost Our All
The Sympathetic State

Michele Landis Dauber

University of Chicago Press

This chapter examines a random sample of letters to Eleanor Roosevelt, most of which asked Mrs. Roosevelt for help in the form of money or personal items such as clothing. These letters are examined as indicators of the kinds of stories that ordinary people thought would work as compelling appeals for aid. In this sense, the letter writers faced writ small the same problem that New Deal proponents faced: how to fashion a story against the backdrop of an existing moral economy that would constitute a compelling case for aid. That the letter writers overwhelmingly turned to disaster (rather than to other possible accounts, such as need, former military service, citizenship, or political patronage) to bolster their cases for help demonstrates the pervasiveness of disaster as an institutional logic governing redistribution in the American context.

Keywords:   letters, correspondence, Eleanor Roosevelt, federal aid, disaster

Chicago Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.