University of Minnesota
University Relations

The Job is Never Done: 50 Years of Documenting Social Welfare History

An exhibit of historical materials celebrating the Social Welfare History Archives’ 50th Anniversary. Founded in 1964 by University of Minnesota Professor Emeritus, Clarke Chambers, the Archives preserves the history of social work, social service and social reform in the 20th Century.

Documents in the exhibit highlight the organized charity movement; the origins of federal government programs; the "war on poverty" and the welfare rights movement; international migration; the social work profession: community centers, recreation and camping; housing and urban planning; child and family welfare issues; public health; and social issues surrounding race, gender, sexual identity, religion and ability. The exhibit also includes documents from the Archives’ office files to tell the “behind the scenes” story of collecting and caring for the historical records of the individuals, organizations and communities that shaped the history of reform and social service in the United States.

The quotation "The job is never done" is from Eveline M. Burns' presidential address to the National Conference on Social Welfare in 1958, “Social Welfare is our Commitment.”