Date of Award

Fall 1986

Document Type

Restricted Thesis

Terms of Use

© 1986 Elizabeth Rose. All rights reserved. Access to this work is restricted to users within the Swarthmore College network and may only be used for non-commercial, educational, and research purposes. Sharing with users outside of the Swarthmore College network is expressly prohibited. For all other uses, including reproduction and distribution, please contact the copyright holder.

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


History Department


With the use of primary sources such as letters, autobiographical writings, and case files from the Young Women’s Union, Rose analyzes the complex relationships between German-Jewish immigrant women and social workers in South Philadelphia. Focusing on the case files specific to 1910-1911 and 1915-1916, she draws out a meaning of “true womanhood” as defined by the interactions between these immigrant women and social workers. She also interprets her sources through feminist concepts, weighing a women’s movement that focuses too much on motherhood with one that overlooks it. In doing so she brings the stories and conflicts of these Jewish immigrants in the early twentieth century to the present day.