Review by Choice Review
Hasci's deeply researched, well-written study overcomes the inherent defect of recent case studies of orphanages--their lack of representativeness--by surveying the entire range of institutions from 1800 to the Great Depression. Hasci confirms the major outlines and many of the conclusions of similar studies, e.g., Kenneth Cmiel's A Home of Another Kind: One Chicago Orphanage and the Tangle of Child Welfare (CH, Jun'96), Nurith Zmora's Orphanages Reconsidered: Child Care Institutions in Progressive Era Baltimore (CH, Jun'94). Hasci's systematic, comprehensive, and concrete account of the institutions' functions, managerial style, funding, admission policies, daily routine, and treatment of children makes his book especially authoritative. Also of value is the author's identification of the long-term changes in the functions of asylums. According to Hasci, before the 1870s orphanages served either as "isolating institutions," cutting off children from "evil" environmental influences including their parents, or as "protective asylums," providing food, shelter, and religious training to poor children. After the 1870s, as a result of criticism from child welfare reformers, orphanages evolved into "integrative institutions," introducing their charges to the outside world through contact with public schools, churches, and voluntary groups such as the Boy Scouts. An excellent overview of American childcare. Upper-division undergraduates and above. E. W. Carp; Pacific Lutheran University
Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.