The Great Depression of the 1930s produced widespread unemployment, hunger and misery in the United States and around the world. In response, FDR’s New Deal created several new government agencies to promote the economic security of the American people. Within the new Social Security Bureau, social worker Jane Hoey took charge of relief programs for poor mothers and their children. Because women’s leadership in government was still a relative novelty in the 1930s, female New Dealers like Hoey pioneered new ways to establish their authority. Hoey called upon all her resources to do so, drawing upon both her professional experience and ethnicity. Hoey built an image of herself in which red-headed Irishness was equated with strength, stubbornness, and willingness to fight for a good cause. Hoey used this image to fight for the professionalism of her staff and the rights of poor mothers and children.
Refreshments and an informal atmosphere encourage the interchange of ideas. Refreshments are served at 7:00 p.m., and the talk begins at 7:30 p.m.
Subscribers to the series help support historical research. See the History Institute’s website for subscription information.