Guide to the Research Collections
POVERTY (Welfare, the Poor, Charities, etc.)
Works on poverty and plans, programs, and institutions designed to ameliorate the condition are acquired comprehensively. Among the 21,000 volumes classed here are most of the significant bibliographies, histories, and statistical studies published throughout the world. Other important works may be found in the resources for the study of religion and local history.
The international representation of periodicals and the publications of associations, conferences, and congresses is good. Many of the older works, now of historical interest, appear in various editions and languages. Primary source materials of several kinds are perhaps the most important feature of the collections. The official publications of American and foreign nations, states, and cities are strongly represented. Almost every important government report on poverty issued by Great Britain and the Commonwealth Nations may be found in the parliamentary papers series of these countries (Billings class mark *S). The publications of private welfare institutions include the reports of charitable funds and foundations, settlement houses, and other institutions for the underprivileged. The earlier materials are particularly strong; although many of the series of reports are incomplete, the files are representative. American cities are most fully covered.
There is a great deal of material in the library on related aspects of the subject. For example, approximately 2,500 entries on unemployment and the unemployed are found in the Public Catalog, with a dated arrangement for works after 1929. Materials published by or about the Works Progress Administration of the United States are also well represented, with about 3,500 entries. Photographs from the Farm Security Administration Photographic Project collection in the Picture Collection, a unit of the Branch Libraries, cover most of the states of the Union with an extensive and interesting file on the black American. Glass slides in the Local History and Genealogy Division document tenement life of the east side of Manhattan around the turn of the century. The library's Prints Division has a wealth of material ranging from sixteenth- and seventeenth-century representations of the seven acts of mercy to the work of present-day artists.