“MORE?! MORE?!” CHARLESTON’S POOR, CHARLESTON’S ORPHAN HOUSE, AND CHARLESTON IN THE NINETEENTH CENTURY
Mansbridge, Jamie Alistair
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This thesis examines the Charleston Orphan House, a welfare institution within the City of Charleston, South Carolina, and the community of the white poor which it served from the beginning of Reconstruction through to the beginning of the Progressive Era. More specifically, this thesis seeks to examine how the Commissioners of the Orphan House understood the community which the Orphan House served. In addition, the thesis examines how parents sought to keep their children out of the Orphan House. However, when they approached the Orphan House they did not lack resources: although they were poor, they sought to present themselves in a way which would be most favorably interpreted by the Commissioners. Far from being unique, the way the Commissioners understood the white poor of Charleston was typical of nineteenth-century America, and that the community which they served was also largely typical of nineteenth-century America.