Category Archives: Social services

‘Poor House Rules’ — the drawings of Alfred S. Harkness

Alfred S. Harkness (1866-1941) was an artist, illustrator and engraver whose specialty — at least for part of the time he lived in Springfield — was public health illustration. Harkness had been a member of the artist staff of the … Continue reading

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Sangamon County Jail conditions, 1847 (Dorothea Dix)

Social reformer Dorothea Dix wrote the following letter – Dix characterized similar communications as “memorials” — to the Sangamo Journal and Illinois State Register on Feb. 19, 1847. It was published in the March 4, 1847 edition of the Journal. … Continue reading

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Sangamon County Poor Farm

Sangamon County first created a home to care for the poor, feeble, disabled and mentally ill somewhere between 1847 – when famed social reformer Dorothea Dix wrote a scathing commentary about the county’s practice of keeping paupers and the insane … Continue reading

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Springfield Library Association

The forerunner of today’s Lincoln Library was the Springfield Library Association, a private library supported by membership dues and donation. (Lincoln Library, Springfield’s public library, should not be confused with the state-operated Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library.) But even its creation, … Continue reading

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Elizabeth Brown Ide

Elizabeth Brown Ide (1873-1978), who was born into money and married more, could have been merely a socialite. Instead, she became Springfield’s most prominent children’s advocate during the early 20th century. Ide’s parents were Christopher Brown and Caroline Owsley Brown, … Continue reading

Posted in Children, Medicine, Prominent figures, Public health, Social services, Springfield Survey, Women | Tagged , | 4 Comments

Women’s literary clubs

The literary club movement began early in the 19th century as a consequence of the Industrial Revolution. The first recorded occurrence was a lecture series started in Milbury, Mass., in 1826. By 1834, 3,000 groups had been organized to listen … Continue reading

Posted in Amusements, Arts and letters, Lindsay, Vachel, Prominent figures, Social services, Springfield Survey, Women | 3 Comments

Illinois Agricultural Works

The Illinois Agricultural Works, founded in 1882, had a farm implement plant at 10th and South streets for a few years. However, it is most notable because of its status as an early, failed business venture of the later cereal … Continue reading

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Fire escape hazards, 1914 (Springfield Survey photo)

The Springfield Survey was a massive study of local schools, prisons, and other institutions undertaken in 1914 by the Russell Sage Foundation with the help of hundreds of local volunteers. Topics covered included schools, care of “mental defectives, the insane … Continue reading

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Franciscan Life Center (Franciscan motherhouse)

The Hospital Sisters of St. Francis, who have served the sick in central Illinois since 1875, have their headquarters on a 300-acre site northeast of Springfield. The order of Roman Catholic nuns purchased the property (then 500 acres) in 1917 … Continue reading

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Child and Family Service of Sangamon County

Child and Family Service was created when the Family Welfare Association and the Springfield Day Nursery merged into the existing Children’s Service League in 1953. The Colored Children’s Service Bureau joined CFS in 1959, and the name was changed to … Continue reading

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