Lil­lian Wald: Amer­i­ca’s Great Social and Health­care Reformer

  • From the Publisher
March 29, 2018

Pres­i­dent Franklin Roo­sevelt called Lil­lian Wald one of the least known yet most impor­tant peo­ple” of her time. Born into a life of priv­i­lege, and descend­ed from a fam­i­ly of Jew­ish pro­fes­sion­als, Wald became a relent­less advo­cate for the wel­fare of chil­dren. She is respon­si­ble for many of the social and health relat­ed pro­grams we take for grant­ed today. She cam­paigned for school lunch­es and nurs­es in pub­lic schools, found­ed the Hen­ry Street Set­tle­ment, and was an ear­ly pro­mot­er of wom­en’s suf­frage. Wald was adept at nav­i­gat­ing both the poor­est, most dense­ly pop­u­lat­ed neigh­bor­hoods, as well as the upper cir­cles of soci­ety, where she sought donors to sup­port her efforts.

Through his reveal­ing pro­file of Lil­lian Wald, Paul Kaplan deft­ly illus­trates how far we’ve come as a soci­ety, how much work it took to get here, and how much more work there is still to be done.

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