Social Science in the Making

Social Science in the Making: Essays on the Russell Sage Foundation, 1907-1972

David C. Hammack
Stanton Wheeler
Copyright Date: 1994
Published by: Russell Sage Foundation
Pages: 176
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  • Book Info
    Social Science in the Making
    Book Description:

    "Together, the historical essays in this volume provide the best account of how the Foundation moved away from its roots as a policy think tank.... This book of essays is the only extended treatment of the Foundation's history that includes both its distinguished early years and its emergence after World War II as the principal private foundation devoted to strengthening basic research in the social sciences." —ERIC WANNER, president of the Russell Sage Foundation, in his foreword to the volume

    eISBN: 978-1-61044-266-4
    Subjects: Sociology, Business

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. [Illustration]
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Foreword
    (pp. ix-XIV)
    Eric Wanner

    The Russell Sage Foundation was born in an era of enormous optimism about the power of social research to transform social life. The new wave of American philanthropists at the turn of the century recognized that poverty, unemployment, poor housing, and poor public health can have fundamental social and economic causes that transcend individual moral failings. Like many Progressive Era reformers, they looked to the emerging social sciences to analyze social problems and point the way toward solutions. Social research, they hoped, could inform and rationalize the increasingly urban and industrialized mass society that was emerging in the early years...

  5. 1 A Center of Intelligence for the Charity Organization Movement: The Foundation’s Early Years
    (pp. 1-34)
    David C. Hammack

    Judged by its charter and by the character of its initial program, the Russell Sage Foundation might be described as the oldest general-purpose foundation in the United States. Yet it was created to serve particular purposes for one movement, the movement to organize charity and professionalize social work, and it is generally viewed as having been devoted to the field of social work from its founding in 1907 until its reorganization in 1947. In fact, the Russell Sage Foundation was also deeply involved in several other fields during its first decades: it was as influential in the fields of housing,...

  6. 2 A Road Not Taken: The Independent Social Research Institute
    (pp. 35-58)
    David C. Hammack

    By the time of America’s entry into World War I, the Russell Sage Foundation’s broadly conceived efforts on behalf of the charity organization movement had made it not only a think tank and organizational nursery for social work and social welfare but also the nation’s pioneer independent institute for social research. After the war, the Foundation’s trustees might have chosen to use newly available resources to strengthen its social science research program and to offer long-term employment to unusually productive researchers. Such a move might have encouraged other independent social science research institutes and helped establish the institute as an...

  7. 3 The Regional Plan of New York and Environs: A Plan and a Planning Service
    (pp. 59-80)
    David C. Hammack

    On February 4, 1921, the trustees of the Russell Sage Foundation approved a proposal by Charles Dyer Norton, one of their own number, to create “a Plan of New York bold enough to visualize the commercial, the industrial, the social and the artistic values and possibilities of our glorious harbor and of all [its] broad and varied environs.”¹ This plan, the trustees agreed, was to be prepared “through the agency of a Committee to be appointed and financed by the Foundation.” As the Foundation’s official history notes, “for the next ten years this was its single largest object of expenditure.”²...

  8. 4 The Commitment to Social Science: A Case Study of Organizational Innovation
    (pp. 81-140)
    Stanton Wheeler

    From 1907 to 1948, the Russell Sage Foundation fulfilled its charter as the first general-purpose foundation in the United States by pursuing its general and activist interests in social welfare and domestic social reform. It created a special and important niche in philanthropy through its commitment to the developing profession of social work and to what was then known as the charity organization movement. In this role it exerted leadership in many ways, including housing the major social work organizations of the time.

    As it developed its programs, the Russell Sage Foundation made use of the newly emerging social sciences....

  9. Trustees and Chief Operating Officers of the Russell Sage Foundation
    (pp. 141-144)
  10. About the Authors
    (pp. 145-146)
  11. Index
    (pp. 147-161)