Information

Julia Lathrop


Julia Lathrop, the daughter of William Lathrop, was born in Rockford, Illinois on 29th June, 1858. Julia's father had helped establish the Republican Party and served in the state legislature (1856-57) and Congress (1877-79).

Lathrop attended Rockford Seminary where she met Jane Addams and Ellen Gates Starr. After graduating from Vassar College in 1880 she worked in her father's law office.

In 1890 Lathrop moved to Chicago where she joined Jane Addams, Ellen Gates Starr, Alzina Stevens, Edith Abbott, Grace Abbott, Florence Kelley, Mary McDowell, Alice Hamilton, Sophonisba Breckinridge and other social reformers at Hull House.

In 1893 Lathrop was appointed as the first ever woman member of the Illinois State Board of Charities. Over the next few years she helped introduce reforms such as the appointment of female doctors in state hospitals and the removal of the insane from the state workhouses.

The women at Hull House were active in the campaign to persuade Congress to pass legislation to protect children. In 1912 President William Taft appointed Lathrop as the first head of the newly created Children's Bureau. Over the next nine years Lathrop directed research into child labour, infant mortality, mother mortality, juvenile delinquency, mothers' pensions and illegitimacy.

In 1925 Lathrop was appointed to the Child Welfare Committee established by the League of Nations. Julia Lathrop died in Rockford on 15th April, 1932.


Lathrop, Julia Clifford (1858–1932)

American social worker and reformer who was appointed director of the U.S. Children's Bureau (1912) becoming the first woman to head a government bureau. Born in Rockford, Illinois, on June 20, 1858 died in Rockford on June 29, 1932 eldest of five children, two girls and three boys, of William Lathrop (a lawyer and politician) and Sarah Adeline (Potter) Lathrop attended Rockford Seminary (later Rockford College) graduated from Vassar College, 1880 never married no children.

A pioneer in the field of child and publicwelfare administration, Julia Lathrop was born in 1858, the eldest of five children, and raised in Rockford, Illinois, where the family had settled in 1851. Her father William Lathrop, a descendant of nonconformist cleric John Lothropp, headed his own law firm and helped organize the Illinois Republican Party, serving in the state legislature and later as a congressional representative. Her mother Sarah Potter Lathrop , valedictorian of the first graduating class of Rockford Seminary, was an ardent suffragist and a cultural leader in the community. Following high school, Julia Lathrop attended Rockford Seminary for a year, then transferred to Vassar College. Graduating in 1880, she then worked as a secretary in her father's law firm and devoted her spare time to a number of reform movements. In 1889, she left Rockford to join Jane Addams at the newly founded social-service settlement, Hull House, in Chicago, where she remained for the next 20 years.

During the depression of 1893, Lathrop was appointed by governor John P. Altgeld to serve on the Illinois Board of Charities. In that capacity, she investigated 102 county farms and poorhouses in the state, examining the facilities and interviewing directors and inmates. In the winter of 1893–94, she interrupted that work to investigate relief applicants in the Hull House district. Her stark descriptions of Cook County's charitable institutions, including the infirmary and insane asylum, were included in the publication Hull-House Maps and Papers (1895). Continuing her state-wide work, Lathrop traveled to Europe in 1898, and again in 1900, to study modern techniques of organizing and staffing charitable facilities. Her experiences became part of a handbook, Suggestions for Visitors to County Poorhouses and to Other Public Charitable Institutions, published in 1905. Within its pages, as well as in her other published articles and in a speech to the National Conference of Charities and Corrections in 1902, Lathrop expressed her objections to the indiscriminate grouping of the young and old and the physically ill and insane in the same state institutions, and suggested separate facilities for delinquent children and specialized hospitals for mental patients. Later, in 1909, Lathrop became a charter member of Clifford W. Beer's National Committee for Mental Hygiene.

In 1901, Lathrop resigned from the Board of Charities in protest over the staffing of state institutions with inadequately trained attendants and political appointees. She would serve the board again from 1905 until her plan for its reorganization along nonpartisan lines was adopted in 1909. In 1903, in order to facilitate an upgrading of institutional staffing, Lathrop joined Graham Taylor in developing a training program which became the Chicago School of Civics and Philanthropy in 1908. Lathrop both lectured at the school, and, with Sophonisba Breckinridge , established its research department. She continued to serve the school as a trustee until it became part of the University of Chicago in 1920.

Julia Lathrop's ongoing concern with the rehabilitation of child offenders led her to a joint effort with Jane Addams and Lucy L. Flower to find a solution to the problem through the juvenile court movement. In 1899, with the support of the Chicago Woman's Club and the Chicago Bar Association, the women secured legislation to establish the first juvenile court in the country. Constructed on a site across the street from Hull House, the court building housed a detention home and eventually, in 1909, a psychopathic clinic. Lathrop was instrumental in establishing a Juvenile Court Committee which raised money for the salaries of two probation officers for the juvenile court. She also had a hand in the formation of the Illinois Immigrants' Protective League in 1909, and would remain a trustee of the organization until her death.

Lathrop, who never married, was a thinfaced woman with dominant features. Her sincerity and vitality, however, often transformed her plainness, and she could be persuasive. As her friend Jane Addams noted, she had the ability "to evoke a sympathetic response from the most unpromising human mind."

In 1912, Lathrop was appointed by President William Taft to head the newly created Children's Bureau of the Department of Commerce and Labor, and in that post became the first woman to head up a federal bureau. Although her budget and staff were limited, the bureau embarked on a series of studies, the first of which was on infant mortality. After developing a system for uniform birth registration, the bureau undertook studies on child labor, pensions for mothers, illegitimacy, juvenile delinquency, nutrition, and retardation. During World War I, it was additionally concerned with the children of soldiers and working mothers. With the passage of the Keating-Owen Child Labor Act in 1916, a Child Labor Division was set up within the bureau to enforce the mandate, and Lathrop appointed Grace Abbott to administrate the division. Lathrop went on to campaign for the Sheppard-Towner Act, offering federal grants-in-aid to states for maternity and infant-care programs, which passed in 1921. That same year, suffering from a hyperthyroid condition, Lathrop resigned as director of the Children's Bureau and was succeeded by Abbott.

Lathrop remained active in retirement, living with her sister in Rockford, Illinois. She served as president of the Illinois League of Women Voters (1922–24) and was also on a presidential commission investigating conditions for immigrants at Ellis Island. She wrote articles and contributed a chapter to The Child, the Clinic, and the Court (1925). From 1925 to 1931, she served as an assessor on the Child Welfare Committee of the League of Nations. In the months just before her death in 1932, she was still at work, attempting to win a reprieve

for a 17-year-old Rockford boy under sentence of execution for murder.


The Embryo Project Encyclopedia

Julia Clifford Lathrop was an activist and social reformer in the late nineteenth to early twentieth centuries and the first chief of the United States Children’s Bureau. In that capacity, she conducted demographic studies to identify links between socioeconomic factors and infant mortality rates. Lathrop mobilized the effort to increase birth registration and designed programs and publications to promote infant and maternal health throughout the US. Through her studies, she empirically linked poverty and lack of education with higher than normal risks of infant and maternal mortality, and her results supported legislation aimed at lowering infant and maternal mortality in the US.

Lathrop was born on 28 June 1858 in Rockford, Illinois, to Sarah Adeline Potter and William Lathrop. Lathrop had one sister, three brothers, and was the eldest child in the family. Her father was a lawyer and a member of the Illinois State Legislature in Springfield, Illinois and her mother was active in the women’s suffrage movement. Lathrop’s friend and colleague, Jane Addams, described the Lathrop household as a place where ambition and independence were encouraged equally in both sons and daughters.

As a child, Lathrop attended local public schools. Addams described her as a good student with a shy personality. According to Addams, when Lathrop was seven her anxiety about being tasked to run a note upstairs was interpreted by her teacher as a show of stubbornness and met with a curt remark. Lathrop later claimed that the moment stayed with her for years and informed her lifelong opinion that too many adults make no effort to respect or understand children. After graduating from Rockford High School in Rockford in 1876, Lathrop spent a year at Rockford Female Seminary in Rockford before transferring to Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, New York, as a sophomore in 1877. Addams described Lathrop as eager to experience the educational opportunities an institution like Vassar provided, although Lathrop found the atmosphere of social formality at Vassar difficult to adjust to. Lathrop spent three more years at Vassar, and received her bachelor’s degree in 1880.

Women had few opportunities for careers, so after graduating from Vassar Lathrop returned to Rockford to work as a secretary in her father’s law office. In addition to her secretarial and administrative work, Lathrop studied law. In 1889, Addams and Ellen Gates Starr, women Lathrop knew from her year at Rockford Female Seminary, asked Lathrop to join them at the Hull Settlement House in Chicago, Illinois. In settlement houses activists and volunteers, many of them women, lived communally in poor neighborhoods and assisted residents with food, shelter, childcare, and educational programs. Addams and Starr had established Hull House in a neighborhood of working-class immigrants and were recruiting educated women to live there and assist with community development programs. Lathrop agreed and moved to Chicago in 1890 to join the project.

During her time at Hull House, Lathrop participated in a range of social welfare activities. She worked to document potential abuses in mental health facilities, orphanages, and jails. In 1893, after she exposed poor conditions in county shelters and asylums, John Altgeld, the governor of Illinois, appointed Lathrop to the Illinois State Board of Charities to conduct further studies of those institutions and make recommendations for their improvement. Lathrop was also involved in a variety of child welfare efforts. She campaigned against the use of child labor and the incarceration of children in adult jails and worked to help establish the country’s first juvenile court in Chicago in 1899. In 1908, she and a colleague, Graham Taylor, founded The Chicago School of Civics and Philanthropy in Chicago. The School instructed people in social work and research best practices and later became a part of the University of Chicago’s School of Social Service Administration.

In 1912, Lathrop became the first chief of the US Children’s Bureau, a new federal department established by US President William Howard Taft, that year. The Bureau grew out of the efforts of activists such as Addams, Lillian Wald, and Florence Kelley, women with whom Lathrop had worked at Hull House, and organizations such as the National Child Labor Committee founded in New York City, New York. They had lobbied for the creation of a federal agency that would have the power to investigate, study, and develop standards and solutions for child welfare. Citing Lathrop’s years of experience working on child welfare campaigns in Chicago, Addams and others encouraged Taft to appoint Lathrop as chief. After over twenty years at Hull House, Lathrop moved to Washington, D.C., for the position.

In June 1912, Lathrop gave an address before the Biennial Meeting of the General Federation of Women’s Clubs in San Francisco, California, in which she outlined her plans for the first few years of the Children’s Bureau. In that address, Lathrop stressed the need to approach social issues in a scientific way, using accurate metrics and employing rigorous use of statistics and field studies. She also addressed critics who argued that the Children’s Bureau would replace local charities and welfare organizations. She assured them that her approach was to work together with such organizations as much as possible, arguing that such collaborations were necessary for the success of the Bureau’s aims. She explained to the assembled Women’s Club members that the Bureau’s small staff could not accomplish all of its goals without the assistance of local community groups such as theirs. Lathrop suggested that Women’s Clubs assist in registering births in their own communities, adding to the Bureau’s effort to expand the collection of vital statistics.

When Lathrop became chief of the US Children’s Bureau, the purview of the Bureau included issues like child labor, juvenile justice, and infant health and welfare. In a 1914 report to the US Congress, Lathrop argued that the most effective way for the Bureau to use its limited funding was to dedicate much of its effort to a single, well-defined project. For approximately the first decade of the Bureau’s operation, Lathrop focused the attention of the Bureau on infant and maternal mortality. Citing census mortality statistics, Lathrop said that too many women and infants were dying of preventable diseases and accidents. In response, she commissioned the publication of booklets such as Prenatal Care (1913), which provided pregnant women and their families with pregnancy and birth related health and hygiene guidelines.

From 1913 to 1915, under Lathrop’s leadership, the Children’s Bureau conducted a large, eight-city study on infant mortality to determine what factors put infants at risk. Lathrop summarized the findings of the study in her 1918 article “Income and Infant Mortality”. Lathrop found that poverty and lack of access to accurate information led to higher rates of infant mortality, which informed later projects at the Bureau. In other words, Lathrop found that infants from poorer families lacking access to medical information were more likely to die than infants from richer families.

Throughout Lathrop’s time at the Children’s Bureau, she received letters both from colleagues in the field and from individual women seeking advice. Historian Alice Boardman Smuts cited one such letter from a woman in Sweetwater County, Wyoming, who wrote Lathrop in 1916 asking for copies of the Bureau’s informational booklets. In the letter, the woman expressed her fear at being pregnant while living in a rural area far from medical support, especially after experiencing complications during the births of her two older children. When Lathrop wrote back, she asked the woman for permission to publish her letter. Lathrop explained that the woman’s personal story could be an effective way of showing the need for more access to health services in rural communities.

The Children’s Bureau conducted studies of maternal mortality in rural communities of the southern and western US. Those studies indicated women faced a high risk of dying during childbirth in those areas. Lathrop argued that if those areas had more nurses to help women birth their children, then maternal mortality rates would drop in those areas. To test that claim, Lathrop urged for a nurse to be sent to one such location, and if the mortality rate dropped, more nurses would be sent to similar areas. In a 1917 letter to the philanthropist Ethel Dummer, Lathrop asked for her help in funding the project and presenting the idea to the Sweetwater County governing body. A nurse was eventually hired through the efforts of Lathrop, Dummer, and Katherine Morton of the Wyoming Public Health Association. Smuts notes that the experiment provided a working model for the kind of programs later funded under the Sheppard-Towner Act. Signed into law by US president Warren Harding in 1921, the Sheppard-Towner Act provided federal funds to states to establish programs and centers aimed at reducing maternal and infant mortality, particularly among rural populations. Lathrop testified before US Congress in support of it.

Lathrop retired as head of the Children’s Bureau in 1921. She selected Grace Abbott, who had also worked at Hull House, to replace her as chief. Lathrop, who never married, returned to her hometown of Rockford, Illinois, to live with her younger sister. In 1922, two years after women in the US won the right to vote, she became president of the Illinois League of Women Voters, founded in Chicago, Illinois. Lathrop also held an advisory position with the League of Nations Child Welfare Committee, an international organization focusing on issues such as child trafficking headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, from 1925 to 1931. Lathrop died on 15 April 1932 in Rockford as a result of complications from surgery to remove a goiter.


Julia C. Lathrop

Julia C. Lathrop
American Humanitarian and Social Worker
1858 – 1932 A.D.

Julia Clifford Lathrop, an American humanitarian and social welfare worker, born in Rockford, Ill. She has spent much time as a volunteer resident of Hull House, Chicago, and has been active in various reform movements. She has made a special study of the care of the insane, and of the better education of children, and has written many articles on these subjects.

Reference: Famous Women An Outline of Feminine Achievement Through the Ages With Life Stories of Five Hundred Noted Women By Joseph Adelman. Copyright, 1926 by Ellis M. Lonow Company.


1. Biography

Julia Clifford Lathrop was born in Rockford, Illinois. Julias father, a lawyer and personal friend of Abraham Lincoln, helped establish the Republican Party and served in the state legislature 1856–57 and Congress 1877–79. Her mother was a suffragist active in womens rights activities in Rockford and a graduate of the first class of Rockford Female Seminary.

Lathrop attended Rockford Female Seminary where she met Jane Addams and Ellen Gates Starr. After one year, she transferred to Vassar College, developing her own multidisciplinary studies in statistics, institutional history, sociology, and community organization and graduated in 1880. Afterwards, she worked in her fathers law office first as a secretary and then studying the law for herself.

1.1. Biography Work in Chicago

In 1890, Lathrop moved to Chicago where she joined Jane Addams, Ellen Gates Starr, Alzina Stevens, Edith Abbott, Grace Abbott, Florence Kelley, Mary McDowell, Alice Hamilton, Sophonisba Breckinridge and other social reformers at Hull House. Lathrop ran a discussion group called the Plato Club in the early days of the House. The women at Hull House actively campaigned to persuade Congress to pass legislation to protect children. During the depression years of the early 90s Lathrop served as a volunteer investigator of relief applicants, visiting homes to document the needs of the families.

In 1893, Lathrop was appointed as the first ever woman member of the Illinois State Board of Charities, beginning her lifelong work in civil service reform: advocating for the training of professional social workers and standardizing employment procedures. This would lead to opening the labor market for educated women as well as improving social services in Progressive Era cities and towns. Over the next few years she helped introduce reforms such as the appointment of female doctors in state hospitals and the removal of the insane from the state workhouses.

1.2. Biography Director of United States Childrens Bureau

Reacting to pressure from Progressive women reformers for the appointment of a woman for the newly created Childrens Bureau, in 1912, President William Taft appointed Lathrop as the first bureau chief. Over the next nine years Lathrop directed research into child labor, infant mortality, maternal mortality, juvenile delinquency, mothers pensions and illegitimacy.

The Childrens Bureau under Lathrop 1912–21 known as "Americas First Official Mother" and her successors became an administrative unit that not only created child welfare policy but also led its implementation. For many conservative women, the Bureaus focus on maternal and child welfare gave them a role in politics for the first time - something that the suffrage or womens rights movements had not offered them. The Bureau expanded its budget and personnel to focus on a scientific approach to motherhood in order to reduce infant and maternal mortality, improve child health and advocate for trained care for children with disabilities. Lathrop modeled the Childrens Bureau investigations from the work she did while at Hull-House. The Bureau also lobbied to abolish child labor. Scientific language became critical to the reform efforts such as the baby-saving campaigns in towns with large working class and immigrant populations where the middle class maternalists battled contemporary beliefs in the inevitability of high infant mortality rates. "Mother-work in the community" meant that women educated in the latest scientific theories about childrens health and safety would lead the movement for child welfare reform.

In her first annual report for the agency, Lathrop described the plans for expansion: promotion of birth registration, infant mortality field studies, production of instructional pamphlets and reports, expand the study of child labor laws, explore issues regarding mothers pensions, and study the status of "dependent, defective, and delinquent children." Lathrop wrote in 1914: "Work for infant welfare is coming to be regarded as more than a philanthropy or an expression of good will. It is a profoundly important public concern which tests the public spirit and the democracy of a community."

Unlike the National Congress of Mothers, Lathrops leadership of the Childrens Bureau relied on her belief in the New Womans right to freedom for individual development and opportunities, including a college degree of equal merit to mens and a decent job. However, Lathrop was careful to insist that motherhood was "the most important calling in the world" and to deny that women should have career ambitions. This way Lathrop could avoid controversy even while she built public support for the new agency.

In 1917, the American Association for Labor Legislation proposed a national health insurance act that included a provision for weekly cash allocations for pregnant women. Lathrop went against the private insurance industry and the American Medical Association to support this proposal, believing that the maternity benefit systems already in place in Germany, England and France left too many women and their babies uninsured. Lathrop argued in an address before the American Public Health Associations 1918 meeting in Chicago that U.S. leaders needed to address the reasons for poverty in order to address childrens health needs - that high infant mortality among the poor and working class in American cities was not just due to ignorance or laziness. Lathrop asked: "Which is the more safe and sane conclusion! That 88 per cent of all these fathers were incorrigibly indolent or below normal mentally, or that sound public economy demands an irreducible minimum living standard to be sustained by a minimum wage and other such expedients as may be developed in a determined effort to give every child a fair chance?"

The attitude of most of the staff in the Childrens Bureau and other government agencies however, was that women - especially with children - should not work outside of the home even if impoverished. Any connections between childrens health and such issues as expansion of workers insurance, minimum wage or sanitation systems lost credence. The popular strategy remained focused on "Americanizing" immigrant workers and teaching white mothers how to take care of babies. It is important to note that the Bureau chose not to address the horrifyingly high mortality rates among babies in families of color. In the South, much of the public health campaigns were undertaken by African-American, Hispanic or black clubwomen working in their own segregated communities.

In 1921 the Sheppard-Towner Maternity and Infancy Act became the first federally funded social welfare measure in the United States. The law provided federal matching grants to the states for prenatal and child health clinics, visiting nurses for expectant and new mothers, distribution of information on nutrition and hygiene as well as midwife training. Contrary to Lathrops original ideas, the final version of the law did not provide any financial aid or medical care.

The first 30 years of the twentieth century marked a transition between traditional social medicine that included the use of relatives or local midwives and the rise of a modern medical management of childbirth and childrearing by experts outside the family and home. However, as the federal bureaucracy blossomed in the years after World War II, the only agency focused solely on children lost its power and influence.

1.3. Biography Juvenile Justice

As early as 1898, at the third Annual Illinois Conference on Charities, organized by the philanthropist Lucy Flower and Julia Lathrop, reformers called for a separate system of courts for children. Lathrops experience at the Hull House and as a Charities Board member had given her firsthand knowledge of the conditions for children in county poorhouses and jails. Prior to the reform era, children over the age of seven were imprisoned with adults. Lathrop helped found the countrys first juvenile court in 1899, and the Chicago Womans Club established the Juvenile Court Committee electing Lathrop as its first president in 1903 to pay the salaries of fifteen probation officers and run a detention home located at 625 West Adams Street.

By 1904, Julia Lathrop helped organize and then became the president of the Juvenile Psychopathic Institute. The director was psychologist William A. Healy who led scientific studies of the physical and mental health of the children, shifting away from the belief that environment alone was responsible for a childs delinquent behavior. Together with members of the National Congress of Mothers Lathrop worked to organize a juvenile court movement nationally with justice law reformers such as Judge Ben Lindsey who later chaired the National Conference of Charities and Corrections juvenile court subcommittee.

1.4. Biography Later life

In 1918, President Woodrow Wilson sent Lathrop and Grace Abbott to represent the U.S. at an international conference on child welfare. There Lathrop consulted on the formation of a childcare bureau in the newly formed country of Czechoslovakia. After her retirement from the Childrens Bureau in 1922, Lathrop became president of the Illinois League of Women Voters. She also helped form the National Committee of Mental Illness. In 1925 Lathrop represented the U.S. in Switzerland at the Child Welfare Committee established by the League of Nations.


Julia Moses 57, died peacefully on April 13 in her home surrounded by those who loved her.

In her inimitable way, she left us just as she arrived, in her own unique timing. This beautiful redheaded baby joined her large family, all of whom she adored, on New Year s Day. From the time Julia was able to form her first thoughts, she wholeheartedly pursued the fundamentals of what it means to live in truth and in health. Her unwavering desire for knowledge and learning awarded her great advancements in the fields of metaphysics and physical therapy.

Words are incapable of describing the intense bond she formed with her children T.A. Moses, Collin Moses her son-in-law, Steven and her former husband, John Moses.

Julia Moses embraced the unique beauty she found in each of her siblings, Steve (Alma) Lathrop, Rae (Randy) Wilson, Alan Lathrop (deceased), Sally Stephens her step-siblings, Julie (Fritz) Steck, Jane (Chad) Stephens, John (Lannie) Thompson, Jean (John) Corey, Jim Bob (Susan) Thompson, John (Linda) Appel, Fred Appel and Steve (Claudia) Appel.

She was faithfully and constantly accompanied by her beloved dog, Dakota.

This spring, Julia's family and friends will welcome her first grandchild, Piper Jane, and delight in sharing all that made Julia such a special woman including relationships she formed throughout her life's journey. Memories will be passed down from the people who cherished the life and love of Julia Moses.

The family will gather for a private service and then welcome friends to join them to celebrate Julia's life on Wednesday, April 15th from 4:00 to 6:00 pm at The Lodge at Riverwalk located at 6729 Westfield Boulevard. Memorial contributions may be made to The Orchard School and Amani Children's Foundation.

Arrangements were entrusted to Flanner and Buchanan Funeral Center Broad Ripple.


Biography

Julia Clifford Lathrop was born in Rockford, Illinois. Julia's father, a lawyer and personal friend of Abraham Lincoln, helped establish the Republican Party and served in the state legislature (1856–57) and Congress (1877–79). Her mother was a suffragist active in women's rights activities in Rockford and a graduate of the first class of Rockford Female Seminary.

Lathrop attended Rockford Female Seminary where she met Jane Addams and Ellen Gates Starr. After two years, she transferred to Vassar College, developing her own multidisciplinary studies in statistics, institutional history, sociology, and community organization and graduated in 1880. [2] Afterwards, she worked in her father's law office first as a secretary and then studying the law for herself.

Work in Chicago

In 1890, Lathrop moved to Chicago where she joined Jane Addams, Ellen Gates Starr, Alzina Stevens, Edith Abbott, Grace Abbott, Florence Kelley, Mary McDowell, Alice Hamilton, Sophonisba Breckinridge and other social reformers at Hull House. Lathrop ran a discussion group called the Plato Club in the early days of the House. The women at Hull House actively campaigned to persuade Congress to pass legislation to protect children. During the depression years of the early '90s Lathrop served as a volunteer investigator of relief applicants, visiting homes to document the needs of the families.

In 1893, Lathrop was appointed as the first ever woman member of the Illinois State Board of Charities, beginning her lifelong work in civil service reform: advocating for the training of professional social workers and standardizing employment procedures. This would lead to opening the labor market for educated women as well as improving social services in Progressive Era cities and towns. Over the next few years she helped introduce reforms such as the appointment of female doctors in state hospitals and the removal of the insane from the state workhouses.

Director of United States Children's Bureau

Reacting to pressure from Progressive women reformers for the appointment of a woman for the newly created Children's Bureau, in 1912, President William Taft appointed Lathrop as the first bureau chief. [3] Over the next nine years Lathrop directed research into child labor, infant mortality, maternal mortality, juvenile delinquency, mothers' pensions and illegitimacy. [4]

The Children's Bureau under Lathrop (1912-21) (known as "America's First Official Mother") and her successors became an administrative unit that not only created child welfare policy but also led its implementation. For many conservative women, the Bureau's focus on maternal and child welfare gave them a role in politics for the first time -- something that the suffrage or women's rights movements had not offered them. The Bureau expanded its budget and personnel to focus on a scientific approach to motherhood in order to reduce infant and maternal mortality, improve child health and advocate for trained care for children with disabilities. Lathrop modeled the Children's Bureau investigations from the work she did while at Hull-House. The Bureau also lobbied to abolish child labor. Scientific language became critical to the reform efforts such as the baby-saving campaigns in towns with large working class and immigrant populations where the middle class maternalists battled contemporary beliefs in the inevitability of high infant mortality rates. "Mother-work in the community" [1] meant that women educated in the latest scientific theories about children's health and safety would lead the movement for child welfare reform.

In her first annual report for the agency, Lathrop described the plans for expansion: promotion of birth registration, infant mortality field studies, production of instructional pamphlets and reports, expand the study of child labor laws, explore issues regarding mothers' pensions, and study the status of "dependent, defective, and delinquent children." [4] Lathrop wrote in 1914: "Work for infant welfare is coming to be regarded as more than a philanthropy or an expression of good will. It is a profoundly important public concern which tests the public spirit and the democracy of a community." [1]

Unlike the National Congress of Mothers, Lathrop's leadership of the Children's Bureau relied on her belief in the New Woman's right to freedom for individual development and opportunities, including a college degree of equal merit to men's and a decent job. However, Lathrop was careful to insist that motherhood was "the most important calling in the world" [1] and to deny that women should have career ambitions. This way Lathrop could avoid controversy even while she built public support for the new agency.

In 1917, the American Association for Labor Legislation proposed a national health insurance act that included a provision for weekly cash allocations for pregnant women. Lathrop went against the private insurance industry and the American Medical Association to support this proposal, believing that the maternity benefit systems already in place in Germany, England and France left too many women and their babies uninsured. Lathrop argued in an address before the American Public Health Association's 1918 meeting in Chicago that U.S. leaders needed to address the reasons for poverty in order to address children's health needs -- that high infant mortality among the poor and working class in American cities was not just due to ignorance or laziness. Lathrop asked: "Which is the more safe and sane conclusion! That 88 per cent of all these fathers were incorrigibly indolent or below normal mentally, or that sound public economy demands an irreducible minimum living standard to be sustained by a minimum wage and other such expedients as may be developed in a determined effort to give every child a fair chance?" [4]

The attitude of most of the staff in the Children's Bureau and other government agencies however, was that women -- especially with children -- should not work outside of the home even if impoverished. Any connections between children's health and such issues as expansion of workers' insurance, minimum wage or sanitation systems lost credence. The popular strategy remained focused on "Americanizing" immigrant workers and teaching white mothers how to take care of babies. It is important to note that the Bureau chose not to address the horrifyingly high mortality rates among babies in families of color. In the South, much of the public health campaigns were undertaken by African-American, Hispanic or black clubwomen working in their own segregated communities. [5] [6] [7]

In 1921 the Sheppard-Towner Maternity and Infancy Act became the first federally funded social welfare measure in the United States. The law provided federal matching grants to the states for prenatal and child health clinics, visiting nurses for expectant and new mothers, distribution of information on nutrition and hygiene as well as midwife training. Contrary to Lathrop's original ideas, the final version of the law did not provide any financial aid or medical care.

The first 30 years of the twentieth century marked a transition between traditional social medicine that included the use of relatives or local midwives and the rise of a modern medical management of childbirth and childrearing by experts outside the family and home. [1] However, as the federal bureaucracy blossomed in the years after World War II, the only agency focused solely on children lost its power and influence.

Juvenile Justice

As early as 1898, at the third Annual Illinois Conference on Charities, organized by the philanthropist Lucy Flower and Julia Lathrop, reformers called for a separate system of courts for children. [8] Lathrop's experience at the Hull House and as a Charities Board member had given her firsthand knowledge of the conditions for children in county poorhouses and jails. Prior to the reform era, children over the age of seven were imprisoned with adults. Lathrop helped found the country's first juvenile court in 1899, and the Chicago Woman's Club established the Juvenile Court Committee (electing Lathrop as its first president in 1903) to pay the salaries of fifteen probation officers and run a detention home located at 625 West Adams Street.

By 1904, Julia Lathrop helped organize and then became the president of the Juvenile Psychopathic Institute. The director was psychologist William A. Healy who led scientific studies of the physical and mental health of the children, shifting away from the belief that environment alone was responsible for a child's delinquent behavior. Together with members of the National Congress of Mothers Lathrop worked to organize a juvenile court movement nationally with justice law reformers such as Judge Ben Lindsey (who later chaired the National Conference of Charities and Correction's juvenile court subcommittee). [9]

Later life

In 1918, President Woodrow Wilson sent Lathrop and Grace Abbott to represent the U.S. at an international conference on child welfare. There Lathrop consulted on the formation of a childcare bureau in the newly formed country of Czechoslovakia. After her retirement from the Children's Bureau in 1922, Lathrop became president of the Illinois League of Women Voters. She also helped form the National Committee of Mental Illness. In 1925 Lathrop represented the U.S. in Switzerland at the Child Welfare Committee established by the League of Nations.


Rockford College, 1941 – photos and article

Source: Rockford Streamlined 1834-1893 Rockford Chamber of Commerce, c. 1941, page 38 above, and page 37 below.


10 Things You Might Not Know about Occupational Therapy

April is Occupational Therapy Month. In honor of this special month, I thought I’d share 10 things that you might not know about this profession.

If you’re a fan of Chicago history, you may know that Julia Lathrop worked in the Hull House with Jane Addams. Ms. Lathrop’s work focused on improving conditions for the city’s new immigrants, children, women, and workers. She also collaborated with Adolf Meyer and Eleanor Clarke Slagle to develop “reform treatment” for individuals with mental illness. Ms. Lathrop was one of the first to teach about occupational therapy interventions and led a class sponsored by the Chicago School of Civics and Philanthropy and the Hull House called “Invalid Occupations”.

2. Eleanor Roosevelt knew the value of occupational therapy.

Mrs. Roosevelt, perhaps one of our most famous First Ladies, served the American people during FDR’s four consecutive terms as President of the United States. Mrs. Roosevelt was an honored guest at the 21st Annual Meeting of the American Occupational Therapy Association and paid tribute to Eleanor Clarke Slagle, one of the most influential people in the history of occupational therapy. In her tribute, Mrs. Roosevelt commended Eleanor Clark Slagle for her contributions to the field occupational therapy and advocated for further advancing women’s rights.

3. Occupational therapists are recognized as part of the Army Medical Specialists Corps.

Army Capt. James Watt, an occupational therapist, helps Senior Airman Dan Acosta through some prosthetic arm warm-up drills Thursday, Feb. 23, 2006, in the amputee rehabilitation clinic at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio. (U.S. Air Force photo/Steve White)

The Army-Navy Nurses Act of 1947 (P.L. 80-36) established the Women’s Medical Specialist Corps in the Regular Army. This corps included occupational therapists, physical therapists, and dieticians. The Army Nurse Corps was also established under this Act. In today’s Medical Specialist Corps, occupational therapists provide interventions to support mental and physical health. In fact, occupational therapists are recognized as independent practitioners and physician extenders for soldiers with acute and chronic upper extremity disorders.

4. Occupational therapy was one of the first services covered under Medicare and Medicaid.

This February the President signed the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018. This important piece of legislation permanently repealed the cap on Medicare outpatient therapy services, of which occupational therapy is a part. The repealed cap means that Medicare patients can receive occupational therapy services for as long as they are deemed medically necessary under the Medicare criteria. The Social Security Amendment Act of 1965 (P.L. 89-87) established both Medicare and Medicaid and specifically included occupational therapy under home health and extended care services. For more information about OT and the therapy cap repeal, check out: Treating and billing without the Medicare therapy cap: FAQs about the 2018 repeal. (2018). OT Practice, 23(5), 20–21. doi: 10.7138/otp.2018.2305.lu

5. FAOTA stands for Fellow of the American Occupational Therapy Association.

In 1973 the American Occupational Therapy Association established the Roster of Fellows . According to the American Occupational Therapy Association, the Roster of Fellows “recognizes occupational therapists who through their knowledge, expertise, leadership, advocacy, and/or guidance have made a significant contribution over time to the profession with a measured impact on consumers of occupational therapy services and/or members of the Association”.

6. Approximately 1 in 5 occupational therapists works in the public school systems.

The Education for All Handicapped Children Act (P.L. 94-142) of 1975 specifically identified occupational therapy as a related service in schools for students with disabilities. Current legislation like the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) of 2015 and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEA) of 2004, include provisions associated with the delivery of occupational therapy in general education and to students without disabilities.

ACOTE is responsible for ensuring quality occupational therapy education. ACOTE develops and implements accreditation standards. In order to take the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy Examination, one must graduate from an ACOTE accredited occupational therapy program. In 1994 the need for program’s to receive joint accreditation with the American Medical Association (AMA) was also discontinued. Since this time ACOTE has been independently recognized by the U.S Department of Education.

8. Licensure is required for occupational therapists to practice in all 50 states and 3 U.S. jurisdictions.

Hawaii was the last state to require licensure and adopted it in 2014. Practitioners in each state have to follow their respective practice acts and regulations.

9. Fred Sammons, one of the forefathers of assistive technology, is an occupational therapist.

Have you ever known someone who benefited from using a reacher, a button hook, or a rocker knife? If you have, you should probably thank Fred Sammons. Mr. Sammons began his career as an occupational therapist in 1957 at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago and soon later went on to work in the amputee clinic at Northwestern University. Mr. Sammons was a natural inventor and in his free time he began to design and build devices to promote the independence and participation of people with physical disabilities. By 1965, creating adaptive equipment and assistive technology was his full-time job. Mr. Sammons turned his business into a multi-million dollar corporation and is credited with many advances in the field of occupational therapy. In 2017, Mr. Sammons was named one of the 100 most influential occupational therapists.

And, last but not least…

10. Occupational therapy has been found to be the only spending category associated with reducing hospital readmissions.

Spending more on occupational therapy may lead to better outcomes. An independent study published in 2017 by researchers from Johns Hopkins University reported that receiving occupational therapy services had a statistically significant association with lower readmission rates for patients with heart failure, myocardial infarction, and pneumonia. Occupational therapy’s focus on safe independent living, the use of assistive technology and devices to support performance with activities of daily living, cognitive functioning, and home modifications were cited as some of the factors associated with lower readmission rates. To read more about this study, go to the Medical Care Research and Review article, which can be found at: Rogers, A. T., Bai, G., Lavin, R. A., & Anderson, G. F. (2017). Higher hospital spending on occupational therapy is associated with lower readmission rates. Medical Care Research and Review, 74(6), 668-686.doit: 10.1177/1077558716666981


Watch the video: Julia Lathrop (December 2021).