Many of us grew up hearing our parents exclaim 'you are driving me to the poorhouse!' or remember the card in the Monopoly game which says 'Go to the Poorhouse! Lose a Turn!' Yet most Americans know little or nothing of this institution that existed under a variety of names for approximately three hundred years of American history. Exploring the history of the 'inmates' as well as staff and officials in New England, this book connects contemporary times to the 'poorhouse' history as the homeless shelter, jail, prison, and other institutions again hold millions of poor people under institutional care, sometimes in the very same structures that were poorhouses.
David Wagner is professor of social work and sociology at the University of Southern Maine. He is the author of five books, including Checkerboard Square: Culture and Resistance in a Homeless Community, winner of the 1993 C. Wright Mills Book Award.
Chapter 1 Poorhouse, Almshouse, Poor Farm: Buried American History Chapter 2 Scenes from the Poorhouse Chapter 3 What the Forefathers Had in Mind: The Purpose and Contradictions of the Poorhouse Chapter 4 Undermining the Poorhouse: Long and Short-Term Inmates in the Late Nineteenth Century Chapter 5 Inmates, Overseers, and the Politics of the Poorhouse Chapter 6 The Long End: Inmates in the Twentieth Century Poorhouse Chapter 7 Matrons, Doctors, Staff, and the End of the Poorhouse Chapter 8 The Ironies of History: The Return of the Poorhouse