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No right to be idle : the invention of disability, 1840s-1930s / Sarah F. Rose.

  • Rose, Sarah F.
  • Books

About this work


"In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, a major transformation was occurring in many spheres of society: people with every sort of disability were increasingly being marginalized, excluded, and incarcerated. Disabled but still productive factory workers were being fired, and developmentally disabled individuals who had previously contributed domestic or agricultural labor in homes or on farms were being sent to institutions and poorhouses. [The author] pinpoints the origins and ramifications of this sea-change in American society, exploring the ways that public policy removed the disabled from the category of "deserving" recipients of public assistance, transforming them into a group requiring rehabilitation in order to achieve "self-care" and "self-support." By tracing the experiences of advocates, program innovators, and disabled people caught up in this epochal transition, Rose ... integrates disability history and labor history to show how disabled people and their families were relegated to poverty and second-class economic and social citizenship, with vast consequences for debates about disability, poverty, and welfare in the century to come"--


Chapel Hill : The University of North Carolina Press, [2017]

Physical description

xiii, 382 pages : black and white illustrations, charts ; 25 cm

Bibliographic information

Includes bibliographical references (pages 339-367) and index.


Introduction -- Chapter One. Her Mother Did Not Like to Have Her Learn to Work: Disability, Family, and the Spectrum of Productivity, 1840s-1870s -- Chapter Two. He Had No Home but the County Poor House: Family Incapacity, Charity Policy, Wage Labor, and the Shift to Custodial Care, 1870s-1900s -- Chapter Three. I Wish to Thank You for My Freedom: Paroling Feeble-Minded People into Farm and Domestic Work, 1900s-1930s -- Chapter Four. We Do Not Prefer Cripples, but They Can Earn Full Wages: Mechanization, Efficiency, and the Quest for Interchangeable Workers, 1880s-1920s -- Chapter Five. The Greatest Handicap Suffered by Crippled Workers: The Perverse Impact of Workmen's Compensation, 1900s-1930s -- Chapter Six. Saving the Human Wreckage Cast on the Industrial Scrap Heap: Goodwill Industries and the Imperative of Efficiency, 1890s-1920s -- Chapter Seven. The Duty to Make Himself a Useful, Self-Supporting Citizen: Disabled Veterans and the Limits of Vocational Rehabilitation, 1910s-1920s -- Conclusion.


  • English

Where to find it

  • Location

    History of Medicine NH.6.AA8-9


    Open shelves

Permanent link



  • 9781469630083
  • 1469630087
  • 9781469624891
  • 1469624893